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Coaches Corner - tip of the month

FEBRUARY 2009

Insights to Mastering your Game, from Jak

SUPPORTING YOUR GAME

Playing TennisYou’ve put in the time on the practice court – you’ve paid your dues. You’ve invested your hard earned money into lessons and coaching. Yet, achieving improved mechanics and technical skill, even high level ball striking skills, will not pay the dividends that you’re banking on if you fail to consistently support those abilities.

Q. – What is the most important skill in tennis?
A. – Watching the ball!
Q. – What is the most difficult skill in tennis?
A. – Watching the ball!

Yes, it is indeed a skill, one that not only has to be developed, improved upon, and monitored day in and day out, but one that must be reinvented in every single warm-up on a daily basis.

Besides paying close attention to the optimal moment to strike your shot – that’s what you’re watching the ball for – always maintain a relatively still head while you’re in the act of tracking the ball. If you are a frequent "bobble header" you will not only adversely effect your timing but also have difficulty finding the racket’s sweetspot.

How many times do we hear world class player’s state in press conferences after an especially good on-court performance: "I saw the ball really well today."

Don’t be confused about this since you claim that you "saw" the ball. But that was through your periphery – that’s not good enough. Sure, you can "see" through your periphery, but you must focus intensely on the flying yellow sphere as best you can since the human eye is somewhat limited, but, thankfully, they do receive help from the brain.

Remember the Rod Laver’s (only player to ever capture all four slams in one calendar year – twice!!!) take on the great game of tennis: "It’s a simple game. It’s just not easy."

Questions and comments are welcome at anytime for all tips present and past via email.

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