Today, Bob Wilkie and i had the pleasure (and challenge) of playing a doubles match on a beautiful grass court in Vermont. The court is on an incredible country estate, which is owned by a friend of former Dartmouth tennis coach, Chuck Kinyon (who helped install the court).
On this rolling hills estate, along with the grass court, is an indoor HarTru court (that Chuck also helped install) in a converted horse show arena, a trout pond, a herd of Llamas, and the Main House. P.S. It is now on the market, if you are interested!
But, back to the tennis. Here are Chuck’s tips for playing on grass:
* Don’t let the ball bounce – this is the number one and most important tip. Since the ball stays so low and tends to skid on the grass, best to try to take everything you can in the air.
* Make the ball bounce – If you are on the hitting side of the ball, you want to try to keep your shots low and make your opponents take the ball on the bounce.
* Lift your feet – While the first step on hard and soft courts can easily slide to the side, on grass, you have to lift your foot, otherwise you will catch it on the grass.
* Use a lot of poaching – To help save your serving partner from making a tough half volley on the return, poach a lot to either pick it off or draw the fire.
* Watch the ball – A given in any circumstance; but critical on grass with its funny bounces. And also, shorten your swing.
* Serve smart – Avoid the topspin serve, which tends to sit up on the grass; but use the flat and slice serves, which will be more difficult to return. And vary your speeds and placement; so the returners can’t get a consistent bounce.
It was a totally enjoyable June day of quality tennis … on a quality court.
You have any other grass court experiences or tips?
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