Efficient tennis technique is the cornerstone of every great player!Here we will talk about why that is the case and what technique really comes down to.
But first have a look at these female professional players. Notice how similar their racket and body positions are around contact!
Studies have shown that professional players are close to identical when it comes to their racket and body positions around contact!
Of course you find different styles and different looking tennis strokes among pro players, but when it comes to the crucial racket and body positions that need to be achieved in order to hit the ball well, the pros all look very much the same!
It seems like there must be something close to a best way to hit a tennis ball and the pros have figured it out!
One thing you have to be aware of as an amateur player though is that it is not always smart to try and copy the pros. The pros have figured out the best tennis technique to deal with the kind of balls that they face on a regular basis; balls that are extremely fast and often with heavy topspin. So before trying to copy all the tennis strokes from the pros ask yourself what type of balls you face at your level ? Do you need a semi-western grip to deal with high topspin balls for example ?
Looking at super slow motion of the pros you do not have to be a tennis expert to notice that there are more commonalities than differences regarding their tennis technique. Why would this be the case ?
Having great tennis strokes really comes down to physics!
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There is an efficient way to hit the ball and an inefficient way. Vic Braden, probably the most knowledgeable coach in the history of the game, is famous for the following quote:
The dimensions of the court and physical laws dictate stroke production!
What he is trying to say is that technique is not a matter of opinions but a matter of physics. The ball is in contact with the strings of the racket for about 3-6 milliseconds. So what it really comes down to in Tennis is what happens in these 3-6 milliseconds. How fast is the racket travelling and at what angle is the racket travelling ?
In order to consistently hit the ball well you need to repeat the same correct motion with the racket travelling at the right speed and right angle over and over!
That’s why repetition of the correct tennis strokes is the biggest key to becoming a better player!
What separates someone like Roger Federer from Andy Roddick ?
Looking at these two players games I believe that the main difference lies in tennis technique! Andy is certainly in unbelievable physical shape; similar to Roger. Tactically Roger is probably better but I am sure Andy would improve here as well if he had better technique to give him more tactical options. Mentally I would consider Andy as slightly stronger which I know some people would argue with me.
My point is that the big difference between these two is technique!
Andy has a great serve but so does Roger. Andy’s forehand is good but cannot compare with Roger’s. Andy’s backhand is weaker, his slice and his volleys are weaker. His comparatively weak backhand technique causes him to be off-balance often on the backhand side. To overcome all of these disadvantages and beat Roger on any given day is a very difficult task!
Playing with mediocre technique is like running uphill constantly!
Why do so few coaches teach technique ?
Tennis Technique can be a bit complicated to understand and it can take years to really figure things out from a coaching standpoint. This is probably one of the main reasons many coaches argue that technique is not that important. It is simply easier for them to teach tactics and fitness and not deal with the technical part!
So if you are looking for a coach, try to find one that knows and values technique!