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A short explanation of a tennis stroke

coaching Oct 16, 2022
I’m going to share a few ideas and personal opinions on how to execute a tennis stroke. I would like to emphasize though, that strokes are just one of the components that influence high performance, besides the speed with which you process information (perception), decision taking (strategy and tactics), physical skills and capacities, and most important, your MINDSET
I strongly believe that MINDSET is the most important of them all because it includes all of the other areas and runs in the background like an OS, integrating the parts into a complex whole, meeting the demands of the game. But that is another chapter.

That said, I’m going to focus on the fundamentals of a stroke. I believe that the two most important aspects of a stable stroke are:
  1. Balance
  2. Contact Point
BALANCE is influenced by: 
  1. the direction you are moving
  2. How you use your legs on the ground to support and transfer your body weight
  3. The depth and width of your legs flexion
  4. Your upper body and head position
  5. Your non playing arm
CONTACT POINT is determined by
  1. Body posture
  2. Distance
  3. Hight
  4. Court position

Now, if we take a forehand as an example, (BH being very similar because this are fundamentals) you are going to find that good strokes are found in a broad variety of ARM motions all over the tennis history, for example Lendl and Federer; different motions, similar fundamentals, both excellent forehands. A good way to measure the quality of a shot is by observing its levels of activity and consistency; how much can I force  Precision, Speed and Variety, without making errors.
We are going to combine 2 forces:
  1. Rotation of the hips and shoulders
  2. Linear momentum of the arm and racquet
So first of all you want to 
  1. turn your body sideways and measure the distance to the ball. If you have a Bad DISTANCE you will not produce a quality STROKE
  2. You are going to ground one leg to generate stability and strength
  3. The other leg and not playing arm are going to help maintain balance. Remember that we are moving around 300 grms. + at a high speed  
  4. Try to make contact higher than the net from low to high, in a range between hip and shoulder.
  5. The contact point is not only in front of your weight but also beside your body to allow your arm to move forward freely

As you can see, in this short time we execute a lot of complex motions at the same time. 
In order to improve a shot we have to be able to set priorities, like what I’m going to work on next and have a strategy in mind. You can’t skip fundamentals because at some point you won’t be able to deal with the demands of time pressure and complexity of the game. The internet is full of excellent material, however we have to be in the position to understand what is the one step I need to take next towards improvement.
That’s all for now and enjoy your journey

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