Tennis Facilities Tip
Quality lighting is a big differentiator for a tennis facility. It’s not difficult to assess your lighting system’s performance and it should be done annually using a light meter to take foot-candle readings. These can then be compared with USTA recommendations for nighttime play to see how your system is holding up. And it is worth checking out the latest innovations in tennis court lighting. New technology has led to the development energy efficient, high performance systems that may save you money while improving performance.
Click here to learn more.
Two-Handed Forehand: Reworking a Flawed Forehand
David W. Smith, Senior Editor TennisOne
For those of you who are TennisOne members, last issue I wrote a feature piece called “Extreme Makeover: Forehand Topspin,” the last of a series of articles addressing common problems and potential solutions for a particular shot.
There is a common problem when players try to “makeover” any shot: the new patterns are usually fairly close to the flawed patterns and the tendency is for players to inevitably revert back to their old methods, usually without even realizing it. The “muscle memory” infused in players after they have established various stroke patterns makes it very difficult to maintain new patterns long enough for them to become the dominant “muscle memorized” shot.
As a teaching pro, I often recommend extreme measures to “over-ride” the muscle memory enough to learn a more desirable stroke pattern. With volleys I often use extreme angles to help players gain comfort with the continental grip; with serves, I emphasize a much bigger closed stance when a player is learning to slice the ball with the continental grip. When teaching groundstrokes, I often use a two-handed backhand to rework a flawed one-hander.
Well, what about learning a two-handed forehand for the same reason? For most pros, those that have never taught the shot, the answer is “huh?” This is because few understand the shot, and fewer still believe what it is capable of. Until the last fifteen years, there were virtually no pros on tour using a two-handed forehand. Unfortunately, it fell outside the realm of what was orthodoxy, much as the two-handed backhand did forty years ago! (Connors, taught by his grandmother was labeled as having a “women’s backhand” and Borg, after winning the French Open was asked when he was going to learn a one-hander!)
Monica Seles set new standards on the women's tour with her left-handed two-handed forehand.
When Monica Seles showed it could be taken to the highest level on the women’s tour, people took notice. Like the two-handed backhand, it would take a good ten years before enough pros recognized the stroke, taught the stroke to enough potentially skilled players, and enough of those made it to the pros.
Of those of you old enough to remember, beyond Connors, Borg, Chris Evert, and Tracy Austin, few will be able to name more than a couple two-handed backhand players that came after them for about ten years! (Some might remember a guy by the name of Harold Solomon, one of the few two-handed backhanders to emerge during that transition period.)
But what value does the two-handed forehand offer to the typical recreational, club, and tournament player?
I often label any good tennis stroke as one that is repeatable, reliable, and with an effective swing pattern. However, the biggest problem I see when I teach large groups of players is that very few create this good stroke pattern.
A few days ago, I was asked to speak at a contingent of senior players at a retirement community. When we worked on forehands, the strokes ran the gamut: rolling the racquet, flipping the racquet, decelerating the racquet, slapping the ball with the racquet, etc. The only thing that every player had in common was that they all hit with a one-handed swing!
I introduced the two-handed forehand to the group and within five minutes, every player had a very repeatable swing pattern. Of course, when each went to hit topspin forehands, most didn’t hit these first few balls over the net. However, within ten minutes, most had figured out where they now needed to aim, (since most were aiming where their old stroke used to go!), and each and every player hit with topspin, (some for the first time!), and each hit with a stroke that the group could all readily recognize as congruent and repeatable.
Another time to introduce the two-handed forehand is when a player has really tried everything but failed to develop this repeatable, reliable, and effective swing pattern. I have a very athletic 70-year old man who looks about 45, and has all the talent in the world. Unfortunately, he learned the game a few years back using a very flawed swing. Within one lesson of teaching the two-handed stroke, the player was able to execute the swing with far more progressive and consistent form. This, again, was because the two-handed forehand was different enough from his one-handed form that he could more easily employ the stroke elements that were advantageous for him to improve.
While I don’t believe every player is suited for a two-handed forehand, it can open many eyes as to how to stroke differently from the old, familiar swing pattern
TennisOne Lesson Library
It was just about a week ago that I received an e-mail from a newsletter subscriber commenting on why we don’t talk about the value of the two-handed forehand, (one of the reasons which prompted this particular topic today!). Because she was not a member of TennisOne, (only a newsletter subscriber), she wasn't aware that there are three in-depth articles on the two-handed forehand which are always available in the TennisOne Lesson Library. (TennisOne is the only site to discuss the two-handed forehand in such depth.)
Fabrice Santoro proved how versatile the two-hander could be. They called him the magician because of his mixture of spins and speeds.
This made me stop to think that among the thousands of newsletter subscribers we have at TennisOne, many have never considered spending the small amount of money to gain an annual subscription to the site. For the price of one private tennis lesson, a student of the game can gain about 700 articles on tennis; about 6000 video clips of pros hitting every shot imaginable, from every angle imaginable; and gain information on such topics as the two-handed forehand, rounding out drills, or Parallel Mode Processing, all unique to TennisOne and all extraordinarily valuable to anyone who wants to become the best tennis player they can be!
So, my final thoughts to you are this: Take up the free one-month trial subscription to TennisOne and spend ten or fifteen minutes a day reading one or two articles and looking at two or three video clips. I challenge you to discover something new every single day and in the process become a far better tennis player than you probably ever thought you could be!
I could have only dreamed of having something so valuable to learn from when I was growing up! (Yes, I’m that old!)
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
Acquiring the Essentials of the Serve
Ready position. Grip. Backswing. Contact point. Follow-through. These are the stroke components that have been drilled into us when taking tennis lessons. And they are important components of shot making, but, what are the true essentials that lead to a successful tennis stroke? Feisal Hassan believes that seeing /watching the ball, moving to the ball, maintaining balance when hitting the ball and controlling the racquet head are the real fundamentals and here he applies them to the serve.
Converting Break Points
We don’t have to look much further than the disappointment on Roger Federer’s face at the Aussie awards ceremony, as he could not escape the memory of all the break opportunities squandered to understand just how important breakpoints are. Here, Jim McLennan talks about break point opportunities, and how those chances are shaped by the placement of the opponent’s serve, your court positioning, and finally whether you are receiving a first or second serve.
ProStrokes 2.0 - David Ferrer's Serve
David Ferrer plays the prototypical Spanish game – if such a thing exists now that Nadal and Verdasco play so much more offense. But that said, Ferrer, presently ranked 13th, but with a ranking high of 4th in February of 2008, is a dangerous performer on any surface. An indefatigable retriever, with a semi western forehand and reliable two-fisted backhand. Ferrer holds wins over nearly all the top players, and although his ranking has slipped a bit, this relatively young 27 year old still may have some big things in store.
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
If you wish to be removed from our newsletter list, please send an email to email@example.com and leave the subject line blank. A confirmation email will be sent to you, and you will be removed from our newsletter list once you reply to that confirmation.
Copyright Notice: The contents of the TennisONE web site and contents forwarded to you by TennisONE are intended for your personal, noncommercial use. Republishing of TennisONE content in any way, including framing or posting of these materials on other Web sites, is strictly prohibited. See our full copyright statement