IVGID Tip of the Week: The two most important shots in tennis
Special to the Bonanza
Will Roger Federer win another grand slam? I’m one of the few who is waiting for some of the younger stars to beat Federer, but we shall see.
Roger and my favorite, Rafael Nadal, are brilliant at two key aspects of the game: Roger has mastered the serve, while Rafa is incredible with the return — the two most important shots in the game of tennis.
If you want to improve both of these shots all you need to do is to get a bucket of balls and a tennis buddy, and get out to the courts. You serve 10 to each side while your buddy returns 10. Go back and forth for about half an hour and over time both shots will improve.
When serving, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Use the continental grip. If you are right handed, the V between your thumb and index finger will be slightly to the left of center (opposite for lefties). If you don’t use this grip, your serve will not improve. If this grip is new to you it will be uncomfortable for a while, but stick to it, your hard work will pay off.
2. First move is a slight shoulder turn with your tossing side and a good toss. Slightly to the right and in front for righties and to the left for southpaws. Again bad toss — bad serve. There is no wrist or elbow bend on the toss. Just a smooth slow lift with a clean release. Don’t let the ball roll out of your fingertips.
With the right grip and a good toss, there are still about five coordinated movements you need to make to serve well, and it’s best to take a lesson to learn those from a pro. But when you’ve had some instruction and are practicing with that buddy, work on placing the ball deep into each corner. Try your best not to hit your bad tosses and also work on your consistency.
If you are missing most of your serves, slow down a bit, and get the ball into play without pushing it over. Still try to make a complete motion, just do it slower until you get a few in.
Serena Quarelli is Director of the Incline Village Tennis Center
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