Attn: Jake Nelson
June 10, 2002
By STAN…THE TENNISMAN– STAFF WRITER
Fundamentals of the game we love
Another part of the enjoyment
of playing tennis is building a fundamental base of skills that will help you have fun playing the game. If you master them
well enough you will have a strong game and be able to then expand your skills by allowing your particular talent and creativity
to come through.
The first fundamental stroke
needed is the serve. All game play
starts with a serve. Depending on speed, placement, spin and depth the serve can give you an advantage on the point. Otherwise
it can be a neutral shot to get the point started without giving the opponent an advantage.
Next are the basic ground strokes, forehand and backhand. You should be able to hit aggressive,
neutral and if forced, a defensive shot. It is best to learn when the appropriate time for each shot to be played. The balance
of knowing these three shots will develop a thinking-winning player.
Different styles of ground
strokes are topspin, slice, or flat. The ball height, when hit, will be low, in the zone, or high. You need to master landing
these shots to all parts of the court. This can take years to learn. With each new skill your game will allow you to advance
up the ladder and win over other players.
The easiest shot to learn
is the volley. Both the forehand and
the backhand volley are technically easy to perform. You can excel by using your willingness to approach the net to use the
volley to win the points.
With your good strong net
game, your opponent may tend to rely on the defensive lob to get back in to the point after you take the net. The next fundamental
shot you need to master is the overhead smash.
This shot is hit out of the air or after a bounce. Watch out for the lob and move to the correct position as quickly as you
can. Early preparation is very important. Again you should be able to hit the overhead from any place on your side to any
place on the other side.
Learn to hit
these shots at will, to the intended location, with the intended spin and speed, without straining any part of your body,
and you will have a complete game to be proud of. This will take time, be patient. oHHH
However, this is also the
beauty of the game. Once the fundamentals are understood you can continue to develop them to a very high level. Along the
way you will learn variations and other skills that will make your game unique and bring you loads of fun by improving yourself
and by winning matches.
Tip of the month: Along your
path of improvement take time to play a match with an opponent you do not mind losing to. Use this chance to hit a certain
shot over and over in game play. This will allow you to test your skill, and see what happens when your opponent hits it.
After you master the shot, you can tuck it away in your arsenal and develop the next fundamental.
Special thanks to coach,
teacher, and mentors Don Henson, USPTA tester, Eric Mann USPTA First vice president California Division for iniating this
discussion and helping me understand the fundamentals of the game we love.
For further information call
Stan Carter, USPTA certified professional, at the Flint Canyon Tennis Club: 818-790-3355 or 213-321-8699. You are invited to please email questions and comments to Coach@StanTheTennisman.com.