Wimbledon just finished, so I wanted to bring 4 things to your attention that grass court tennis demands of players, but can be helpful on all surfaces and make anyone a better tennis player:
- Number 1: Bend your knees. This admonishment is thrown about with abandon, however, it needs to be specific. Many players bend at the waist. This is a big no-no. When you bend, focus on keeping your torso erect. Imagine you are standing in an elevator and everything from your waist up is going down in the elevator. You do not bend over to descend in the elevator, your torso is just along for the ride as your knees take you down.
- Number 2: Get your racket back early. Again, this is a common admonishment, but what does it mean? Get your racket behind you, as if you are hiding it from your opponent before the ball crosses the net. This will make meeting the ball in front much easier no matter how hard the shot comes. Turning your shoulders to the side of your body the ball is on should also be part of taking the racket back.
- Number 3: Stay light on your feet. Grass court tennis produces a lot of unexpected bounces, especially as the grass gets chewed up later at Wimbledon. The players have to be ready right up until the last second to make quick adjustments with their feet or it could cost them an important shot.
- Number 4: Work on serve placement. Go out and practice your serve. Don’t just practice getting it in. Put targets out, like a stack of four balls in a pyramid, and try to hit specific parts of the service box. Do this for both the ad and the deuce side. Work on making your best serve better and work on making your worst serve more accurate. You need to be able to move the ball around the box so that you can exploit your opponent’s weaknesses as well as keeping them off balance in big moments. The serve alone can win you half the games in a match, so learn to be accurate with that shot.
With an accurate serve, a low center of gravity, early prep, and twinkle-toes, you’ll be ready for anything the ball or your opponent can do in your next match at the Big W.