Tennis has been a great sport to take up this last year during the pandemic. It is a socially distanced, safe sport but still works up a sweat. When you’re sweating, you know you’re playing hard. But do you want to learn how to play tennis with a strong foundation? At Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club, you can improve your technique, hone your skills, and develop as a player. Sometimes it just takes a mindset shift to learn how to play tennis right.
How to play tennis: Build out your strengths to improve your weaknesses
You’re on the court. The ball is returned to your backhand — your weakest hit — what do you do? It’s easy to tense up and overthink how to return the ball. Rather than returning with your backhand, try placing yourself in a forehand return to work on your footwork and position. Only hit with your backhand when you’re comfortable and relaxed. By recognizing your weakness, you can build out other tennis strengths.
Rafael Nadal, ranked #3 best professional tennis player in the world, is an excellent example of a player who focuses on their strengths to boost their tennis skills. Nadal is indisputably the king of clay courts but is not nearly as good on hard courts. Rather than trying to improve his hard-court play, he has focused entirely on perfecting his clay-court game. Think of your strengths as a military arsenal. You have a strong army and air force, but your navy is weak compared to your opponent. You are going to focus on perfecting your strengths and not your weaknesses. Your weakness is something to build out over time. Keeping this in mind when you are learning how to play tennis is fundamental for growing as a player.
Follow through and recover
Have you ever been so impressed by your own hit that you pause to acknowledge it? Commonly, when this happens, we’re too distracted to get ourselves prepared for our opponent’s return. Following through is essential for any sport. You need to move your feet during and after you’ve hit. Not only will this improve your footwork but also your time to recover.
When watching the pros play, it looks like they are already beginning to recover mid-hit. Although it may be hard to put aside that feeling of glee after a good return, you must hit and recover from now on. Recovering from your hit will prepare you for your opponent’s return and will teach you how to play tennis with recovery top of mind.
Never let the ball bounce twice
In Roger Frederer’s interview with Vogue, he gives the advice that his mother gave him: never let the ball bounce twice. But all joking aside, when volleying or running hitting drills, calculating the first bounce is key to learning how to play tennis.
Each game has rhythm and pace which is defined by the bounce. If you let it bounce twice you get a dead ball. Touch is simply when the racquet and the ball meet: learning touch is just as important as a strong hit across the net.
Improve your tennis game today
We can’t all be Rafael Nadal, but we can certainly take a page out of his book. If you want to learn how to play tennis and to learn more about playing on hard courts and clay courts, join us for one of our 2021 tennis camps! With a full membership at Swell, it’s never been easier to get your game on!