RAVI'S COURT…by Ravi Gill, USPTA Professional

Developing Fundamental Skills For Tennis


We need to fully understand the factors that affect the ability to learn and develop the skills needed for playing tennis. A player's ability will be the result of opportunities, experiences, participation, motivation, influence and support as well as the quality of lessons and coaching. When the factors are not all in place to learn a skill quickly, it results in a player struggling and frustrated to learn what should be simple and easy. Physically, Emotionally & Mentally... we are constantly growing and developing. As the limiting factors develop, the skills can be developed more easily. The foundations of good performance are set firmly by learning the stroke techniques as well as developing other skills like... Motor Skills, Coordination Skills & Tracking Skills.

  • Motor Skills include running, jumping, balance and movement patterns to create players with excellent athletic skills.
  • Coordination Skills include hand-eye coordination, use of both sides of the body, use of arms and legs in different ways to enable the player to use the body in most efficient manner... the overall development of a kinetic chain.
  • Tracking Skills include visual ball tracking, orientation to the ball, and timing of the body and racquet preparation with respect to the ball flight... Speed, Spin, Depth, Height & Trajectory.

A player needs to first learn the basic fundamentals in order to control the ball with direction and pace. The three main parts of any stroke are the Preparation Phase, Hitting Phase & Follow-Through Phase.

Early preparation is the key to good clean ball contact and it is best to hit the ball early, in front of the body. It is vital to develop racquet-head speed through the hitting phase and is also necessary to finish with the racquet above the ball. If a player prepares early, hits the ball in the correct contact-zone in relation to the body, gets the racquet head above the ball after contact, and also generates good racquet-head speed, then it doesn't really matter if the follow-through is at waist level or above the shoulders. The player needs to maintain good balance in the follow-through phase and recover quickly for the next shot. Good balance is absolutely necessary at all times through the stroke to execute the shot properly. A great serve even requires the player to have a good ball toss, hip & shoulder rotation, and a loose relaxed wrist to accelerate through the contact point.

The basic technique is important, but don't get bogged-down in it so that you forget the importance of keeping your balance as much as possible and move to the ball well. Remember the three key factors in playing good tennis are... Movement, Balance and Racquet-head speed.

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