TENNIS TIP OF THE WEEK
This page is now filled to capacity, so if you have read everything on this page, click on this link for more cutting-edge tips: (Type "Coach Brian Walters" into the search bar when you access the website. You'll find even more tips from the man who discovered THE SECRET to learning tennis).
I wrote that tennis is becoming a game of inches and nerves, -shot accuracy, and, which player can make their shots under pressure... Add to that, it's also now about the serve and tie-breaks. Note that 80% of the tie-breaks at Wimbledon, 2019, were won by the winners of the match. This may or may not translate to recreational tennis, but I'm guessing it probably does. So, especially encourage your players to develop a dynamite serve, and, teach them to ALWAYS elect to serve first if they win the opening toss or racquet spin. Should they get into a tie-break situation, they will get to serve first in the tie-breaks.
Most of the internet / on-line / email blast tennis hustlers out there think that you are gullible. Any rec player, 3.5 and above, can figure out most of it by watching tennis on TV and youtube. You may think that if you "unsubscribe" from them you will be missing out on something... The truth is, just like quitting watching TV with all of it's brain-confusing commercials, will give you peace and better mental focus, you will also gain mental tennis clarity if you drop the overly complicated and useless advice from most of the internet tennis instructors. Stop fogging your mind with bad advice. Get out there and hit more balls, take an in-person lesson from a qualified Target Tennis™ instructor when needed, video record your strokes and your progress. It's not rocket science, it's about striking a ball and clearing a net.™
Everyone talks about how loose and flexible Novak Djokovic is, and how it helps his game... So, GO GET A MASSAGE! -I don't mean the kind that pervert, pedophile, slime-bag, Jeffrey Epstein gets... I mean, seek-out a qualified, deep-tissue therapist or chiropractor that can locate, stretch and grind-on, your long-standing muscle knots and lactic-acid build-ups, from your feet, legs, glutes, back, arms, shoulders, pecs, neck and to the top of your head. If you really want to improve your game, loosen-up with a series of deep-tissue massages and assisted stretches on a regular basis, -but especially before tournaments, or real competition, that you would like to "seek and destroy." -What's that tip worth to you?
The serve is the ONLY shot in tennis that you have complete control over...
Even the pros are IMPROVISING 80% of the time on all other shots. Your racquet must become an extension of YOU, -your body and your arms. You must hit more balls until this reality comes into your awareness. More "learning" is NOT the answer folks, -The answer is in HITTING MORE BALLS™. -trademark/trade-dress "secret" from Coach Brian. -No more copying, Mr. "ball touches," copy-cat instructor Jorge Capestany, and others, who read this blog for cutting-edge ideas.
Want to win more tie-breaks? Then work on your serve and elect to SERVE FIRST if you win the opening coin toss or racquet spin! -This gives you the advantage of serving first and drawing first blood in the tie-breaks. Brad Gilbert, the guy who wrote "Winning Ugly" had it all wrong. It is much smarter to practice your serve until it is a dependable weapon, so that you are 100% confident in winning your service games. If you win your service games and break your opponent ONCE each set, YOU WILL NEVER LOSE A MATCH! -You do not even need a partner to get out there and practice your serve. If you have courts close to home, daily practice is well advised, -if you want an easy way to win more matches.
YOUR SERVE: Placement is preferable over power. Practice your serve every day if possible. Set up a line of target cones or cans and get to the point where you can pick them off one by one from either side. Then, grasshopper, you will have learned...
2019 Wimbledon men's final: Remarkable play from Roger and Novak, all tournament. I picked Novak to win in 4-sets, but it could have gone either way. -A rematch in 2020?
Hats off to Simona Halep, Women's 2019 Wimbledon Champion! -for coming out aggressive and not giving-in to fear or nerves... Serena was a little off target, -kind of like her racquet string tension was slightly too loose. This is a good reminder for all players to restring often, and, go a pound or two TIGHTER when you are playing outdoors, on hot, sunny days. Scroll down for my string and tension recommendations.
If your child is healthy and motivated, I can get them prepared for pro tennis and ready for the U.S. Open, within 10 years.(6-8 years old is the right age to start). -If your family is committed, we WILL create a champion. The Williams' family did it, so can yours.
I propose that nations resolve their differences over a tennis match.
Forget the corrupt U.N., let's pursue peace with tennis! Winner nation gets to
direct policy for a year. Wink, wink, -will never really happen.
We welcome Jeff Salzenstein, former ATP pro, and instructors Jorge Capestany and Ian Westerman, as regular readers of this blog and visitors of my website!
"Never approach the net on a prayer." Translation: Unless you have properly set-up your volley with a good approach shot so you are in good position to angle-off a volley winner, do not go in. You would be better off to retreat and stay in a rally and patiently wait for another ball to attack. As proven on this website, every player LOVES a target. If you have not made a good approach shot, there is a very good chance that you will get passed.
As far as the above goes, you should also NEVER go for a "bomb" serve on a prayer, either... Hit your serves within your conscious awareness and ability.
Placement is preferable over low-percentage hard/flat "bomb" serves.
At times, you(rec players and readers of this blog) may not always get the "perfect" serve toss... What to do?
First, you must train your eyes to focus 100% on the contact event (just like your ground-strokes) and learn to improvise(at times). -Meaning that you can adjust your racquet's approach to the ball(your overhead swing) based on your toss. You may be thinking of a wide serve, but at times, your toss may dictate a kick, body or "T" serve. Until you can perfect your toss with repetition, learn to adjust your contact event to make the ball go where you want it to go. Always, always, always practice your serves with a target (cones or can of balls) in the service box that you are serving into. You should be visualizing an exact position/place in your opponent's service box for each and every serve. Line up a series of cones and pick them off one by one to really improve your serve placement and effectiveness.
Former,(very expensive) Coach to the Williams' sisters, Rick Macci, recently revealed his "secret" to hitting more powerful ground-strokes: "Relax, relax, relax, relax and relax"... Exactly what Coach Brian has been teaching for years... Scroll down on this page and see for yourself!
Two "Stars of the Show" at Wimbledon, 2019:
Future ladies world #1, Cori "Coco" Gauff, and, the low-bouncing, backhand slice! -the shot you must now have in your arsenal. You can also go far with a "bomb" first serve like Serena, if you can follow it up with an aggressive one-shot winner or volley. -If not, you are just giving your opponent another opportunity at a passing shot.
What every tennis player(male or female) can learn from Venus and Serena:
GET YOUR RACQUET BACK EARLY for your shots... The Williams' sisters were even better at this earlier in their careers, so go back to youtube, watch their early matches, and imitate greatness.
Was "Coco" slipped some bad tuna that caused her stomach upset during her match with Halep at Wimbledon, 2019? -Miss Gauff (and parents) should never have revealed that she was eating Thai food at the same restaurant each evening... Too easy for the bad guys to infiltrate and mess-up her chances, especially in the U.K., where that kind of thing is all too common. Had Cori been feeling 100%, she has all of the skills necessary to defeat Halep, and she will defeat her, in he very near future, for sure...
To understand the meteoric rise of 15 year old, U.S. women's stunner, Cori "Coco" Gauff, you need only to look to her parents. Poised, humble and God-fearing... This family serves as an example to all of the liberal, leftist, brain-washed, junk-food poisoned, TV sit-com watching, couch-potato, loser families out there. Get off your duffs and make something happen, for you, and your children, -as did the Williams' family with Venus and Serena, 30+ years ago. Families should have short, and, long-range goals for their kids and instill the qualities named above.
Grass courts are no longer safe or practical for professional tennis. Wimbledon started out as an amateur, baggy-pants tournament... The grass courts are no longer safe or practical for fast-paced, modern tennis, and should be changed to hard-courts and the players should demand it. Who of us likes to watch our favorite players slip and fall (and risk injury) on the grass at Wimbledon? Tradition, schmadition, it's time to let the grass go...
Imagine how good the "big three" or "big four" men's(or ladies) players would become if they practiced together on a daily basis... The separation between them and the rest of the pack would no doubt become even greater... Why is this true? Because they would push each other to higher levels of competency while improvising under pressure. This is how rec players can move up a level too. Your practice sessions must push you to IMPROVISE and you must seek out better and better hitting partners. Confidence and shot-selection is the only thing holding you back from the next level.
Has former ATP pro player, Jeff Salzenstein, been reading this blog again?
Two weeks ago he was recommending that you hit down the line very early in a point. Yesterday, in his daily email blast, he now tells you to play down the middle, like Coach Brian has been teaching for years... Even at the pro level, if you watch matches carefully, you will notice, that invariably, the first player to UNNECESSARILY hit down the line will LOSE the point.
Recreational players can learn more from watching women's pro tennis than men's. The men's players of today are super-athletes and simply play too fast.
Or, rec players can also learn from the older men's and ladies matches from the 70's - 80's on youtube as well.
Mr. Ian, of "Essential Tennis", takes two pages to recommend whether or not you should Serve or Receive if you win the toss. Coach Brian explains it in a sentence or two(scroll down on this blog). Like I've said many times before, these clowns are overly complicating a very simple sport. We also welcome Mr. Ian as a regular reader of this blog and visitor of this website for ideas to copy.
Another ALERT to all you rec. players out there:
Mr. Ian, of "Essential Tennis", apparently read my recent post(below) about using the lob, and now offers a complete "Utility Shot" course advising you to add a confusing array of high-risk, low-percentage shots to your repertoires. Don't be fooled by this bimbo, or any others out there, who are only phishing your pockets for $$. Rec players should stick with the basics/fundamentals. The answer, folks, is NOT in more "learning," -it's in hitting more balls. Contact me for a mini-camp in Minnesota, Florida, or, fly me out to your location for personal, one-on-one, Target Tennis™ training. NOTHING will ever replace a personal lesson from a qualified (Target Tennis) instructor. Save your hard-earned money for a one-on-one lesson, or weekend mini-camp.
I am 100% certain, that TV tennis analyst, Craig O'Shannessy, also visits this website. I worked with him at his clinic in Mpls., MN, two years ago, and we have exchanged some emails. As you watch Wimbledon this year, notice how often he uses the expression: "court awareness." I emailed my TENNIS SECRET FOR COACHES(see in More link above) to Craig, and I am certain that he is borrowing this "awareness" concept from ME. I have not heard Craig mention this term before I sent him my "secret" which I wrote three years ago! -Note too that Craig agrees with me that most of your passing shots should be CROSS-COURT. -I wrote about that more than two years ago. Send me an email for the article.
Your performance in practice, when you are relaxed, reveals your actual potential... So, your job in a real match, is to remember how your body feels in practice.
Jeff Salzenstein, former ATP pro and popular USTA and internet instructor (says he charges $300 an hour for a private lesson), teaches to hit down the line very early in a point. Coach Brian teaches students to AVOID hitting down the line unless you are in a position to hit aggressively and move forward toward the net, and, to NOT change direction on an aggressively hit cross-court ball. So, who is right?...
Geometrically and statistically speaking, TV tennis analyst and coach to Novak Djokovic, Craig O'Shannessy, PROVES that Coach Brian IS RIGHT!... Students and readers of this blog also know that Coach Brian, recognized years ago, that if Andre Agassi had not unnecessarily hit down the line as often as he did against Pete Sampras, Andre would have had a better win/loss record against Pete. Jeff Salzenstein's wrong advice should be an example to all players out there, to be very careful about who and what you listen to in the on-line tennis world, or anywhere. It's no wonder that the U.S. has not had a world #1, or even top 10, men's player for so long!
February, 1964, Miami, Muhammad Ali(Cassius Clay), stunned the boxing world with his win over Sonny Liston, and proclaimed: "I shook up the world!" January, 2015, 126 miles west of Miami, Coach Brian reveals to a close tennis friend and fellow instructor that he had been testing a ground-breaking theory on his tennis students by using a hula-hoop to help them VISUALIZE A TARGET ABOVE THE NET. Coach Brian also showed this friend the youtube video of the point between Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer as posted on the ABOUT link above(bottom of page), as PROOF that this was NO theory. VISUALIZING A TARGET ABOVE THE NET IS FUNDAMENTAL TO LEARNING TENNIS™. Coach Brian has offered a REWARD on this website, and now adds another: $100.00 REWARD for reporting any instructor that has copied* this copyrighted, trademark/trade-dress/trade-secret of Coach Brian, -the man who "shook up" the tennis world when he published this website. (*without having my written permission)
The answer, folks, is NOT in more learning, it's in hitting more balls...
My students hit an average of 400 - 500 balls in a typical 1 hour lesson.
They can easily hit 1,000 ground-stroke balls in one hour with one of my on-court backboards(see them in the SHOP link above). Buy one and have your child go for Wimbledon, or, the Guinness World Record for longest rally.
-Repetition makes perfect!
Hey, all you internet hustlers peddling your tennis course du jour: 95% of all tennis players out there are 3.0 and below(USTA, NTRP), -So why are you trying to teach them 5.0 - 7.0 stuff?... As you know, recreational players are far more likely to win points by their opponent making an error, rather than having to hit winners. Keep it real, keep it consistent, K.I.S.S.
Ask anyone, of any age, to draw you a target on a piece of paper...
Invariably, it will be circular. This is how we have been conditioned to think.
This explains why Coach Brian's targets work with such a high level of success.
Other's have copied the concept, replacing "target" with the word: "window."
This does not "click" with children and beginners as well as visualizing a circular target or position above the net. Circular, above-the-net targets simply work better and make more sense to people learning the game. Coach Brian's exclusive targets are available for sale in the SHOP link above.
"I've got your back-hand™"
The player that is hitting more forehands is usually the one winning the match.
Work on your footwork and force yourself to run around balls that you would normally take as a backhand.
Distill means: to concentrate or extract the essence of...
This is Coach Brian's approach to tennis learning. Keep it as simple and focused as possible. Make drills and practice practical so they translate directly to match play... Avoid all the tennis hustlers out there who are overly complicating a very simple sport. They are the main reason why students get frustrated and give up on tennis, and, why the U.S. is falling way behind on having players in the top 10. The U.S. used to dominate world tennis. -What happened??
Throwing a football is very similar to the serving motion, and, it's a very good shoulder warm-up... Every coach and player should have a football in your tennis bag... Keep a smaller size football on hand for your younger/smaller students as well.
Remember the song: "Video killed the radio star?" Well, slow-motion video recording is what has advanced tennis learning more so than anything else, -as Coach Brian reveals in the ABOUT link above.
The MOST under-utilized shot in all of tennis? The LOB!
Yes, the lob can get you out of trouble, give you a breather or just plain frustrate your opponents. You can use a lob at any time, for any reason...
A good lob should be just out of reach and land deep in your opponent's court so they don't have time to run around it. However, when playing outdoors, the great Jimmy Connors would often hit his lobs sky-high. Do you know why? Because even if his opponent let the ball bounce, they would still have to hit a fast moving/dropping ball. You can bounce and hit practice the lob by yourself and gauge how much "snuff" to put on it to go just out of reach, and land deep in the other court. If the sun is affecting play during your match, go ahead and throw a few up there, you just might get a few free points, -your opponents rarely practice the over-head smash and they will likely miss half of them.
The Principal of Intensity of Focus™ (in Tennis) explained...
The reason why the pros rarely miss a point-ending shot like an over-head smash or passing shot, is the same reason why it is often difficult for you and the pros, to close-out a match. This principal applies in nearly ALL competitive sports, but ESPECIALLY in tennis. Here is two examples:
It's into the late rounds of a boxing match, both fighters are tiring, their arms are getting heavy... one boxer lands a punch that he notices hurt his opponent, his eyes widen and instantly he musters the speed of a tornado to keep landing punches and end the fight. Example #2: It's the last game of the World Series, the score is tied with the winning run on 3rd base, both pitcher and batter's nerves are on high alert, all the batter needs is a base-hit to win the series for his team, He digs down, deep inside, mentally recalling a past, similar (successful) situation... He sees the pitch that he likes, and BAM!, he bangs it out of the park for a game-winning home-run...
In the same way, top 50 or even top 100 tennis players will rarely miss a point-ending, over-head smash or passing shot... WHY? When a player is presented with a do-or-die shot, they raise their "intensity of focus" and either go-for-broke(relax and just play the moment) or, they raise their mental focus up (several notches), the same as the boxer or home-run hitter... This principal applies in every competitive sport that I can think of, and, we can help our students to be aware of this and call upon it when needed in key moments in a tennis match. It can NOT be used on every shot of every point, otherwise the player would simply tire him/herself out. This is something that must be managed and applied strategically throughout a close tennis match.
Managing the Intangibles™ (in Tennis) -coming soon!
In a long, aggressive tennis match, a one-handed backhand will tend to break-down. It is important for children and beginners to learn a one-handed slice, but, if you have long-range tennis goals for your child, they should learn to use a two-handed backhand.
A good tennis instructor will help you to become self-sufficient, a not so good one wants you to become dependent... I've said it before: TENNIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, IT'S ABOUT STRIKING A BALL AND CLEARING A NET™. Richard and Oracene Williams produced TWO world champions(their children, Venus & Serena), and they had NO prior tennis experience whatsoever. Their story is well worth investigating. Send me an email, I will send you a link to it.
Some on-line tennis hustlers are now promoting the use of a "cheat code sheet." But, what if following their "code sheet" does not work for you during your match??? -How much better to learn strategy and problem-solving from a qualified instructor based upon your strengths, rather than playing what I call: Reactionary Tennis™. Never let your opponent dictate to you. Tennis favors the AGGRESSOR,™ so play Pro-active Tennis™ instead.
An aid to learning and building problem-solving tennis skills is to TURN THE SOUND OFF when you are watching tennis on TV, and call the game YOURSELF, IN YOUR MIND. -the only exception to this is when John McEnroe is commentating, you can learn much from his incites.
Visualizing a target, The Secret to Learning Tennis™, Spacial Awareness in Tennis™, Using the court lines to help you line-up your shots, The Principal of Intensity of Focus™, Momentary Mental Resignation™, Improvisation in Tennis™ -Coach Brian leads the way to the future of tennis with his cutting-edge discoveries, -coming soon in video and book form! He is often imitated but Coach Brian doesn't care, he just wants to advance tennis and help the U.S. get a men's player back into world #1, -where they belong! Read his blogs on the Home page, other popular tennis coaches do. -One of them recently spammed his email address just to try to hinder his contributions to the sport.
Learning with my exclusive above-the-net hoop targets gives the student immediate feedback that they have performed correctly. -see the targets on my Home page and Shop link above. You can see them in use on the Target Tennis International youtube page.
Q: From the baseline, what is the FIRST indication that you should move forward toward the net, -the very first? A: Your own shot! -If you have just hit a deep, solid ground-stroke, you should take two steps into the court... If you see that your opponent has had to turn sideways to chase down your shot, you should take two more steps in, and anticipate a floater that you can volley or smash away for a winner.
What percentage of their shots do you see the pros being perfectly set up for?
Maybe 50%, 40%, 30% or even LESS? The pros are always trying to keep their opponent off balance and take them by surprize. Watch matches carefully and you will see that they are IMPROVISING most of the time, -meaning hitting the ball out of their ideal strike zone. This too you will learn by hitting hundreds of balls a day and reacting to the feedback from your racquet and the results of your shots... REPETITION makes perfect!
Tennis is best played in a relaxed state, -relaxed body, relaxed mind. Stay loose and do not over-think the mechanics. When you focus 100% on the contact event between the ball and your racquet strings, and visualize your target above the net, everything else follows quite naturally...
The best place to return serve? -Mostly, right back to their feet!
In a slump lately? Get out those Zig Ziglar, Wayne Dyer, Denis Waitley and other motivational tapes and regain your PMA: Positive Metal Attitude.
-you can usually find them on Amazon for just a few dollars.
Nothing will ever replace personal, one-on-one tennis lessons with a qualified teaching pro, -preferably a certified Target Tennis™ instructor. Video tape your progress with a video camera or your iphone.
The tennis serve requires the same visual focus and concentration on the moment of contact (between the ball and your racquet strings) as Coach Brian reveals here about hitting ground-strokes and all other tennis shots. When serving, the target in your mind, is a specific place inside your opponent's service box. Practice with cone targets until you can place your serves as accurately and consistently as your baseline shots. Watch the videos in the links above for examples to follow.
Power, accuracy and consistency should increase the more you play and practice. But, the basic differences between a 3.0 player and a 3.5 player, and a 3.5 - 4.0 and a 4.0 - 4.5 (and so on, even up to pro level) is: Shot selection and confidence.
Most other "instructors" or "teaching pros" will tell you to hit mostly cross-court (from the baseline)... But Coach Brian teaches recreational players to hit mostly down the middle, high over the net, with the ball landing deep in your opponent's court... WHY?
1. At the very least, you have forced your opponent to make a decision, to either hit a forehand or a backhand, -and this, in itself, is often enough to create a weak shot, or even an unforced error by your opponent.
2. Hitting deep down the middle takes away the angle that is often created when you hit cross-court. Very often players open up the court and hit themselves into a running situation when they hit cross-court.
3. Hitting deep down the middle of the court eliminates the risk of flirting with the side lines, which increases your chances of an unforced error. For the rec player, it really is best to hit mostly deep down the middle while you patiently wait for the right ball to attack. -However (there are always exceptions), if your opponent hits an aggressive cross-court shot, you MUST reply with an equally aggressive cross-court shot. Do not try to change direction on an aggressively hit ball.
"The Principal of Intensity of Focus™" -Why is it that most professional tennis players rarely miss or miss-hit a point-ending shot (passing shot or overhead smash)? The reason is the same as why it is often difficult (for you and the pros) to close out a match... -Coach Brian explains this tennis phenomenon in a future post.
Attention: Pete F., Nick B., Ian W. Jeff S., Mr. Fuzzy Balls and others... you are hindering tennis by overly complicating a very simple sport. The SECRET is found here. Let's collaborate to get it out there to the world!
After learning THE SECRET, tennis students will figure out much of the stroke minutia themselves by just hitting more balls. REPETITION MAKES PERFECT™, and... Experiencing the experience is really the best teacher™.
The U.S.A. has not had a men's player in the top 10 for many years now. It takes a committed family to produce a champion. -U.S. children are/have been disadvantaged by the effects of a decline in the family unit. "Garbage in" from the corrupt media and entertainment industries has also lead to eroding morals, divorce, stress at school, economic problems and a breakdown of the family unit. The other problems in the U.S. are the dumbing down of the masses and thyroid damage caused by water fluoridation, mercury tooth fillings and an overly aggressive vaccine schedule which are all designed to reduce your child's potential. Plus: processed foods, cold cereals, heavy sugar consumption, lack of exercise and development of motor skills all aggravate the above issues as well. Richard and Oracene Williams produced TWO world champion tennis players (Venus and Serena) yet they had NO prior tennis experience. They made tennis a FAMILY priority.
Which racquet and strings are best for you? Control is really the name of the game... So, you want a racquet that you can control and feel the ball with. I recommend a racquet that weights at least 10 ounces, has a tight string pattern (like many of the HEAD brand racquets) with an even or slightly head-light balance, then string as tight as recommended with a textured string for maximum spin. -Spin / topspin is what will help you to hit hard and still keep the ball inside the court.
Why do we sometimes hit a shot or a serve that we instantly regret as a bad choice or decision? For example: 5th set, Wimbledon, 2001, Pete Sampras, on match point, serves to Roger Federer's forehand... Why Pete, WHY? Pete was having good success the entire match serving to Roger's backhand. I dare say, that if Pete had not done that, he had a good chance of winning that match and playing on for a few more years... What happened? I call it the MMR principal: MOMENTARY MENTAL RESIGNATION™. It is very possible that Pete momentarily lost hope of winning, when in fact, he was STILL VERY MUCH IN THE MATCH. He could have also been thinking that he had accomplished all that he wanted to in tennis, and was looking forward to retirement and spending more time with family (this is understandable, -have you seen his wife??). Or maybe he was hoping for a "free" point(not likely against Federer). Whatever the case, if you ever find yourself in a similar state of mind, remember the famous British, Winston Churchill WW2 quote: "Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, NEVER give up!"
Do you want your opponent(s) to lob? Yes! -Singles or doubles, if your opponents are not lobbing occasionally then you are not playing aggressive enough. Tennis favors the aggressor... and most players rarely practice their lobs so half of them will fall short giving you an easy point-ending shot. The over-head smash should be your favorite tennis shot!
Most games(and matches) are won(or lost) in the add-court. Play-out practice points two times more on the add side than you do on the deuce side. -same for serve and return practice.
The player(or doubles team) that is hitting more forehands is usually winning.
Figure out ways, on paper, for you, or you and your doubles partner, to hit more forehands. You can screen-shot or download court-shaped diagrams from my Shop link above to plan out some plays and strategies.
Tips for WINNING DOUBLES:
1. If you win the toss, always elect to SERVE FIRST.
2. The stronger server for your team should ALWAYS serve first.
3. Your net partner should ALWAYS know where your serves are going to go.
4. Serve to set-up your net partner for a poach and keep points short.
5. Win your service games.
6. If in doubt, hit down the middle.
7. Poach and fake poach often.
8. Move side to side in unison with your partner.
9. Decide who will be more aggressive when going for shots down the middle.
10. Volley to your opponents feet so they pop up the ball for an easy put-away.
Read and watch both videos on the About page, then read THE TRUST FACTOR blog and then THE SECRET TO LEARNING TENNIS in the More link above... Your eyes will be opened and you will make faster progress than you ever thought possible!
There is no substitute for getting on the court and hitting balls. Spend half your time in rally drills and half your time playing out points. There is enough free information (and misinformation) on youtube, and nothing will ever replace a lesson with a qualified teaching pro. So forget all of the on-line
instructors that want you to buy their program du jour... Save your money for court time and private lessons, -preferably with a Target Tennis™ affiliate.
Coach Brian and this website made "VISUALIZING A TARGET" the tennis buzz-word phrase starting in 2016... Coach Brian predicts that developing player SPACIAL AWARENESS, -of yourself in relation to the court, and an awareness of the court lines, will be the next new buzz-word/tennis topic starting here in 2019, and on into 2020, when other instructors catch up with Coach Brian...
Having an awareness of the lines of the court can actually help students to line-up and direct their shots, for example: When hitting balls from the baseline(while visualizing a target well above the net), the student can use their awareness of the baseline and the center service marker, as a reference point for lining up their racquet. Meaning that if their racquet is parallel with the baseline upon contact with the ball, the ball should go straight ahead and down the middle of the court if the contact event happens near the service mark on the baseline.
Those of you who know me and follow this website, are aware of my claim of discovering what I am calling: "The SECRET to learning tennis." Well, recently, (Nov. 2018), it came to my attention that Joe Dinoffer, owner of: wrote a book: "Airzone," back in 1995, that mentioned "visualizing a target" above the net. My claim, as you can read here, is that visualizing a target above the net IS FUNDAMENTAL TO LEARNING TENNIS. Joe did not make this claim in his book but I still wanted to recognize Joe for his work. I am happy to finally find a respected authority that validates my claim after so many of my tennis "friends" still have never acknowledged this tennis fact to me.
Hate getting down on the floor to do your ab work? -Then do them in bed! You can bang out your sets first thing upon waking, or, do them later in the day before dinner.
Here's a secret tip to give yourself a hormone boost(legally), for your next match: If available, step into a sauna for 5-7 minutes JUST PRIOR to match time. The heat will give you a testosterone boost and should calm your nerves too. -I learned this tip from a champion body-builder years ago.
A new study finds that playing tennis can add years to your life. Way more fun than an hour on a treadmill. No doubt the social / camaraderie element plays a part, in addition to the cardio benefits of tennis. Whatever the case, get into the game and start with a good foundation: The Target Tennis™ method.
One of the best and most valuable reads in all of tennis is my TRUST FACTOR blog found at the bottom of my Home page. Read it and benefit, -but don't tell your competition about it...
I've posted this before but it's worth repeating: Tennis is NOT rocket science, It's about striking a ball and clearing a net. Most instructors out there are overly complicating a very simple sport. Until you get up to 4.5, or college level tennis, you are far more likely to win points by your opponent making an error, -rather than you having to hit "winners". Hitting a moving ball does take some skill, but repetition makes perfect. Model a good example for any given shot, work with a qualified pro, or, use our NEW remote coaching to tweak your strokes. Find good hitting partners, or, buy the best hitting partner, which is our on-court backboard(it never misses, see Shop link above). *Talk to your club, school or city park about buying one of our backboards, get other members, parents and players to ask for a backboard as well. Depending on your goals, practice every day, or 2-3 times a day in shorter, more intense periods. Stay in shape, stay healthy, do not clutter your mind with all of the junk from the hustlers who want to sell you their tennis program du jour. Push yourself to hit harder, deeper and closer to the lines in every practice. Take video of yourself and study it. Keep a tennis diary. Take our training and become an instructor, see how teaching others helps YOU to improve YOUR game.
Serena Williams, 2018 US Open Final, Injustice or Fair Play? Let's look at the FACTS:
1. Serena's coach admitted trying to send a message to Serena.
2. Whether she saw his hand signals or not, she knows this is a violation of the rules, regardless if it is, or is not, uniformly enforced. Her coach should have known better, but he foolishly took the risk of being caught. Serena should have taken her aggression out on her coach.
3. Serena had 20 years experience over her young opponent who looked up to her as "my idol." -as if a player with as much experience as Serena should even need coaching to defeat a junior player new to the tour...
4. Serena tends to "choke" if she does not get off to a comfortable lead early.
5. Serena often seems to have excess nervous energy. She should know by now to work this off before play starts and/or during the warm-up.
6. Serena knew smashing her racquet would give her a second(point) violation.
(Smashing racquets sends the signal to your opponent that you are imploding)
7. Above all, a professional keeps him/herself in a position to win by staying focused so as to problem-solve the match situation.
8. "A stupid person gives vent to all his/her feelings, But the wise one calmly keeps them in check." -King Solomon, Proverbs 29:11
9. By continuing to try to justify her actions and keep arguing with the chair umpire, Serena showed she was willing to put her feelings/unchecked emotions above the dignity of this world-class, world-televised event.
10. Time will tell if this affects Serena's come-back, or, adds to the size of the "chip" on her shoulder that she often seems to carry around.
BOTTOM-LINE, WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM SERENA: Work-off your excess nervous energy before the match, Seek counseling if you fear losing or fear competition to the point where it affects your performance.
What does it take to get really good at tennis? The same things as getting really good at playing a musical instrument:
Passion, Practice, Patience, Persistence, Perseverance...
You must love the game, Practice everyday, Be patient while learning, Be persistent and keep challenging yourself to hit harder, deeper and closer to the lines, and, Persevere if you play less than up to your ability, or have an "off-key" day...
Sturdy legs are the foundation for the tennis athlete, -as well as most other sports. Squats, leg-press, lunges, wall-sit, jump-rope, bicycling, rollerblading, running up-hill, sprinting and stretching all contribute to strong, healthy legs.
Endurance athletes, like tennis players, consume lots of water. So why hasn't the USTA ever alerted you players to the hazards of drinking municipal, fluoride-treated, tap water? See: fluoridealert.org for the FACTS.
Confidence in tennis comes from being well prepared, and is built upon past successes. It's the feeling of self-assurance that you get from having a positive, inner-dialog with yourself. -It does not come from the adulation from others, it's about what you believe about yourself. This is why I highly recommend keeping a tennis diary, remembering and writing about what you did well after each practice and match.
You get two serves... That's two opportunities to win a point with one shot. Give serving practice equal time to your all-court practice.
This epidemic of "pros" smashing their racquets has got to stop. Immediate ejection/disqualification should be the penalty for these mental-midgets. What a bad example for our younger players and students!
Keep a daily practice and match diary. After each, write down what you did well, what you would like to practice or work on, and questions for your coach.
Training with targets keeps practice time challenging and fun. Give yourself mini rewards for achieving your goals in each session.
Practice as hard and with the same focus and intensity that you expect to be required of you in your next match.
In addition to visualizing a target above the net, your awareness of the court lines can help you to line-up shots, and, hit safely within the lines. Spacial awareness is closely related to your peripheral vision.
Let's remember that we all get to "play" tennis... It's a "game" after all. -Negativity and bad attitude never really helped anyone, except maybe McEnroe, but even he admitted that tantrums inhibit performance. Instead, use Federer as your role model, and keep your "play," and even practice, a joyful experience.
Tennis is a sport that is best played in a relaxed state, -relaxed mind and relaxed body.
Early-Offense Tennis™ is what I am calling the current trend in tennis strategy. It's about being alert to take charge and be the first player to hit aggressively, in each and every point. This is higher-risk tennis for the advanced player.
One Target-Tennis lesson cures the most common error in tennis.
Hitting balls through my on-court, above-the-net, hoop-targets gives the student immediate feed-back that they have performed correctly.
So far, two "Elite" USPTA "teaching pros" have told me that they have heard of my tennis secret somewhere else before, but when it came time to show me the proof to claim my reward, they could not produce it... -Anyone else out there like to try to claim my reward?
Q: Should I serve and volley? A: It depends. -If you can serve like Sampras, Federer or the Williams sisters, and you are playing on grass, then yes, you should serve and volley more often.
To play "serve & volley," BOTH shots have to good, -otherwise you're just giving your opponent another opportunity at a passing-shot.
"Serve & volley" is being replaced by "serve & winner." -A wide serve and an inside-out forehand or backhand winner into the open court.
For the rec player and even the pros, it is more like: "serve & observe." -If you hit a big serve, take a step or two into the court... You'll know by observing the return if you can move in for a volley, or, crack a short ball (after the bounce) into the open court for a winner.
What's the best place to hit your returns of serve? -Right back to the server's feet.
Want a better serve? -Then get really good at throwing a football, the arm motion is very similar.
Visualizing a target is FUNDAMENTAL to learning tennis!
New strings and a new grip, -Oh what a difference it makes!
BAG CHECK, things you'll especially want to have with during tournaments: Extra shoelaces, water, shirts, change of cloths & shoes, bandages, tape, scissors, towels, string dampener, extra racquets, umbrella, chair, coins, cash, replacement grips, over-wrap, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, jump-rope, watch, food/snacks
Turn the sound OFF when you are watching a pro match on TV... Call the match in your own mind and see how this tip can help you with shot selection the next time you are playing on the court.
Q: If you win the toss, should you always let your opponent serve first?
A: If you detect some nerves or weakness in your opponent's serve, then yes, let them serve first. -However, if you are serving well, I say, elect to serve first and then let your opponent play catch-up with you. Allowing your opponent to serve first might send the message that you lack confidence in your own serve.
Every baseball batter has their "ideal" home-run swing, -The job of every good tennis instructor is to help each student find THEIR ideal swing.
If you watch singles matches carefully, you will notice, that the first player to UNNECESSARILY hit down the line, will almost invariably LOSE THE POINT, -even at the "pro" level. If Andre Agassi had not done this as often as he did against Pete Sampras, Andre would have had an even, or winning record, against Pete.
Do not try to change direction of an aggressively hit cross-court ball. -Rather, return the ball with an equal pace and stay in a cross-court rally, while you wait for a ball that you can attack.
They say that athletic success is 80% mental. -I dare say, that if the ability of opposing tennis players is equal, it is 100% mental! -Desire, or the will to win, along with problem-solving skills, makes all the difference.
Sometimes, you don't have to win your match, because your opponent will lose.
Pro Tennis is becoming a game of inches and nerves... It's all about who can make their shots under pressure.
Another way that the USTA has hindered American tennis: -By adding the extra court lines for "10 and Under." The additional court lines are affecting the SPACIAL AWARENESS of other players. They should have just played the kids service box to service box. No wonder the U.S. has not had a men's player in the top 10 for so long!
I wrote to the USTA about my target method that greatly shortens the learning curve for beginners. Their reply: "We are not interested in any new training methods." -Unbelievable!
Could you win more matches by simply hitting more forehands? -Run around more backhands and hit more forehands, pound away at your opponent's backhand while you patiently wait for the right ball to attack.
Do you often win the practice (or warm-up), but then lose the match? -The reason is usually worrying about the outcome rather than enjoying the game. Get a good warm-up, learn to relax, and instead, think in terms of testing your ability against a worthy opponent. Enjoy competing and compete more often if you tend to get nervous. Constant exposure to the fear, immunizes against the fear.
When I first went public with my discovery of what I am calling: "The Secret to Learning Tennis," I could not even get my closest tennis friends and fellow instructors to admit (to me) that: VISUALIZING a target above the net is FUNDAMENTAL to learning tennis. -But now I see a few youtuber coaches (that I invited to claim my reward over a year ago, 2017) are now imitating what I have been teaching for years... Instead of calling it a "target," the copycats are using the word "window." Their "window" is too low. Your target should be at least 4 feet above the net, -unless you're hitting a passing shot.. Visualizing a circular target is better than a rectangular "window" any day.
What's a good racquet choice? We recommend one with a tighter string pattern. Most Head brand racquets have a tighter string pattern which puts more strings on the ball upon contact. You also want one heavy enough to handle the "collision" with the ball. A tennis ball weighs 2 ounces. -Traveling toward you at speeds of up to 50-60 mph after the bounce, juniors and adults will want a racquet that weighs at least 10.5 ounces. Balance point makes a difference too. Ask your pro shop to demo an "even balance" vs. a "head-light" racquet and feel the difference.
A word about Racquet Grip Size: A smaller grip size will tend to make your shots more "wristy." If this is what you are feeling, try enlarging the grip size a little at a time. Your pro shop will be able to do this for you (or buy the next size up racquet). Watch the Roger Federer video (on the ABOUT page) and notice that he is swinging from the shoulder, his wrist is firm and only minimally involved. -See also the note about strings below.
What does it take to go from being a 3.0 - 3.5 player to a true 4.0 - 4.5 player? More practice, more consistency and confidence to go for your shots. Competing more often and accepting occasional losses will alert you to areas that need more work and training. We can help you get there, -and beyond.
You should use the drop-shot at least 5-10 times in a three-set match. Most players move well side to side, but not as well back to front. A good drop shot will often aggravate the "pusher."
What should be your favorite tennis shot? -The overhead smash! Why? -Because it's a point-ending shot that is often demoralizing to your opponent, and frequently turns the tide in a close match. If your opponents are not lobbing you occasionally, then you are not playing aggressive enough. Practice your over-heads and lobs often.
What's the best string for your racquet? -The one that you can afford to change more often. All strings lose their qualities/properties very quickly. Better to go with a cheaper textured nylon and change often, rather than an expensive string once or twice a year. Choose 16ga Prince Topspin or similar, string at the maximum tension for your racquet. Drop down a pound each restringing until you notice a slight loss in control, then go up one pound and stay with it. Avoid changing brands/types, stick with one and restring often. More expensive DOES NOT mean better.
"Looking for that mental clarity and energy edge over your competition? -Have your blood type tested and investigate the Dr. Peter D'Adamo "Eat Right for Your Type" diet. Wrong food choices (for his blood type) just may be the issue for Novak Djokovic right now."
"All you have to do is win your service games and break your opponent once each set AND YOU WILL NEVER LOSE A MATCH"
"It's really time to think outside the court."
"Your job in a match, is to remember how your body feels during practice."
"Avoid hitting down the line unless you are in a position to hit aggressively and move forward toward the net."
"Everything in tennis happens in a millisecond, -The time your racquet strings come in contact with the ball."
"Visualizing (the correct) target is as fundamental to tennis as is properly holding the racquet."
"Tennis IS NOT "rocket science," -It's about striking a ball and clearing a net"
"On-line tennis courses? -Save your money... Most are overly complicating a very simple sport. Nothing will ever replace an in-person lesson from a qualified teaching pro. If we do not have a Target Tennis™ instructor in your area, email some video of your play for Coach Brian's analysis. He can help most out-of-towner's via telephone or email."
"When preparing for a tournament, don't forget to hydrate... Start doubling your water intake a few days before."
"Until you get up to 4.5 or college level tennis, you are far more likely to win a point by your opponent making an error than by you having to hit a winner."
"Hit the first ball of every point as hard as you can... -That's basically how the Williams' sisters did it..."
"If your child is a "lefty," try to find a left-handed instructor for their first few lessons. Some subtle details in the mechanics can get lost in translation when a young "lefty" is starting to learn, -from a right-handed teacher."
"Does a tennis playing career require "gifted" genetics? Venus Williams has Sjogren's syndrome, Gustavo "Guga" Kuerten had a similar affliction, James Blake had scoliosis, Andre Agassi was pigeon-toed, Simona Halep is only
5' - 6" tall, Tsonga and others show signs of ADD/ADHD... A big heart and determination goes a long way!"
"In tennis, REPETITION makes perfect."
"Most "break points" happen in the add-court, so you should be practicing serves and returns in the add-court twice as much as the deuce-court."
"Tennis favors the aggressor... Play aggressive, but be patient, -Wait for the right time and the right shot... Always consider the game score, the set score and the match score to determine how much risk you will take."