What is one of the prime reasons we all don’t have consistent ground strokes and volleys? The answer: Not hitting the ball consistently in the center of the racquet. So, what can you do about it? Here are answers from two veteran pros.
Recognizing the Problem
The issue came up after I watched an online video about “off center hits”. My frustration was the instructor was teaching how to KNOW when you are hitting off center. His keys were to listen to the sound of the ball on your racquet and to feel the slight twisting in your hand.
But that is not my problem… I am usually very aware that my volley or ground stroke is going shorter than I wanted because it was not struck in the middle of the racquet. But what to do about it?
Use Long and Close Distance Viewing
Former Dartmouth tennis coach Chuck Kinyon, says that most people play tennis only using their “distance vision,” i.e. watching their opponent strike the ball 60-70 feet on the other side of the court. And keeping that same vision even as the ball approaches them and their racquet.
What he says you need to do is then switch to your “close vision,” as if you were reading a book, and follow the ball into your racquet face. That close-in concentration he says will allow you to hit many more shots solidly in the center.
Know Where Your Racquet Head Is
Former touring pro Hank Irvine has given me many great pointers. One particularly relevant to this topic involves solid hits on the volley. Hank says, “You have to know where your racquet head is.”
What he means is that most of us amateur senior players are inconsistent on the angle of the racquet and wrist on the volley; therefore will be inconsistent on where the ball strikes the racquet face. So when hitting the volley, not only do you need to watch the ball all the way in, you must know where your racquet face is – and the angle of the face — so that you can strike it in the center.
What about YOU, any tips on more consistent ball striking?
And, speaking of “bifocal tennis,”
how many of you play with corrective lenses and what impact does it have?
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