Tennis tips from our great instructors!

Posted in tennis on June 29, 2012

It’s Wimbledon, it’s summer and the sun is out (well, 2 out of 3…) so time to dust off the racket and get back out on the court! To help you on your way we asked a few of our tennis coaches to give some of their top pieces of advice to become the next Nadal  Murray.

tennis upmysport

Nadal was a shadow of his former self yesterday (sorry!)

First up it’s Justin Pimm who teaches out of Woodfield Grove Tennis club near Streatham with his advice on what you should be doing in that crucial period before starting the match.

  •  “Spend 5 to 10 minutes doing very basic racquet/ball skills before you play (simple bouncing activities for example)! Being able to control your racquet whilst hitting the ball is an element many recreational players often overlook!”
  • “Start small!! That is, before you start whacking balls from the baseline and begin a game of “sorry” tennis, start warming up within the service boxes. Keeping things gentle and controlled at the beginning will hugely improve your timing as you begin to get into your rhythm”
  • “While watching Wimbledon is great, it’s not a shortcut to getting better! Don’t think that by simply watching the pros, you’ll be able to jump onto the court straight away and emulate them! Pick up tips when you watch them yes, but remember they’ve spent many years perfecting their style. So, begin by learning the correct grips for the forehand/backhand before you start. You can’t play the sport correctly if you can’t hold the racquet correctly!”
Ross Askell, who is based at a number of courts across East London looks at some key principles to stick to once the match is underway:

  • Always be on your toes between points. You will send a message to your opponent that you are fresh and ready for anything they throw at you and it will get the ball back in play more effectively.”
  • “Relax and enjoy hitting. As soon as people go into the game they tend to stiffen up, which impacts their movement considerably.”
  • “As soon as you get a short ball, ATTACK!! Do not retreat back to the baseline! Again, this shows you are being aggressive and want to take control of the point.”
  • “Once you master the basics it’s important you keep your technique the same, ensuring it will be recognised in your muscle memory (meaning you feel the movement). Keep hitting from low to high and try to finish with a follow through. Point your elbow to the direction you want the ball to go in so you’re in control and dictating the play!”
Last but not least Robert Appleson, based in North London, shares his tips on what can be the most important area of the game: the serve.

  • When returning: “If you feel your opponent’s speed of serve is putting you under pressure, shorten your back swing to give yourself more time. This may seem obvious, but concentrate on getting the ball back in play and put the pressure back on the server”
  • When serving: “When you’re struggling with faults and double faults you can lose the server’s advantage so it’s important to make sure that you are comfortable with your service action. One quick way to do this is to ensure that the ball toss is close to perfect for you.  If it is going long then throw it slightly further forward; if short or going in to the net, slightly further back.”

We hope you enjoyed the tips and they give you the edge when you head out on the court this weekend! Also a big thanks to our instructors – you can find them, and others, here.