Top 3 Worst Tennis Tips | Why They Will Hold You Back as a Tennis Player

Top 3 Worst Tennis Tips | Why They Will Hold You Back as a Tennis Player

In today’s video I’m going to show you
the top three worst tennis tips and explain why these tips will hold you
back as a tennis player. So one tip that you’ve probably heard many times is stay
low and this is a really bad tip because staying low only applies to low balls. So
if I get a ball that’s very low for example a slice then of course I’m gonna
stay low in order to perform my stroke, whether it be a volley, or a backhand, or
a forehand, but any ball that’s above the waist staying low would be counter intuitive to your technique. So it makes absolutely
zero sense to stay low on a ball that’s above your waist. Just think about it if
the ball let’s say it’s up here and if I continue to stay low on a ball like this, this will bring the contact to my head level. That’s not what you want on a
tennis stroke. Naturally on a ball that’s higher you are going to get low
initially to load your stroke by bending your knees but then once you start
accelerating the stroke you need to lift the body up and straighten the leg in
order to accommodate the higher contact. Now at the higher level there’s a lot of
spin being produced and players will very often make contact above their
waist because balls with spin have a tendency to
bounce higher. So what will happen at the high level is that the contact is
made above the waist somewhere between the shoulder and the rib-cage and now
players will of course lift into these balls. If you watch high level players
they very often will lift the dominant leg and the non-dominant leg will go
into the air usually. And on some situations they might even become
airborne. So when you’re playing make sure that you are staying low on balls
that are below your waist. There’s nothing wrong with that and that is what
you should do. However, if you get a ball that’s higher do not stay low but simply
allow your body to lift and accommodate the higher contact. Another tip that you hear very
frequently is take your racket back early. And this is very logical. So the
ball comes and if we take the racket back early we have a better chance of
timing the ball correctly. But when you observe high-level players
you will see that this is not the case. The only professional players that will
sometimes take the racket back early are Venus and Serena and this is only in
practice when you see them play matches you see this less, but they will indeed
take the racket back early, however, all the other players will not take the
racket back early and they will sequence the stroke in the following way. They
will be in a ready position observing the incoming ball and now they’re gonna
make a turn once they make that observation to either side. And let’s
assume the ball is coming to my forehand. So as soon as I see it coming to my
forehand I’m gonna turn towards my forehand side and now the next step is
I’m going to set up the ball and you can see that my non-dominant hand is still
on my racket while I’m setting up the ball. Now once that ball comes close to
me I’m perfectly set up then I’m going to initiate the stroke. And the
initiation of the forehand begins when that non-dominant arm starts to pull
across the body and the racket starts to drop so that once we hit the forward
phase the forehand starts to accelerate really fast. So here’s the
problem if you take the racket back early, you’re probably going to bypass a
couple of steps. So if you see the ball coming to your forehand side and the
first thing you do is take your racket back really fast,
you’re most likely not going to make a turn, you’re going to be too open and
most likely you’re going to be feeling very awkward setting the ball up with
the racket already back. See we don’t really move efficiently with one arm
being down and the other arm being up. It’s more efficient to move like this.
This is kind of like a runner’s position. See if we have both hands on this side
this is how sprinters run and it’s very comfortable to set the ball up when both
hands are across the body in this way. And the biggest problem with taking the
racket back early is that you’re most likely going to lack swing momentum and
rhythm. So if you take the racket back and racket just sits there you will have
to accelerate it from zero. See on a regular forehand we’re going to
gradually accelerate the racket by dropping it and then going into the
forward phase with a lot of momentum. And if you put this in context of the
incoming ball it will make even more sense.
So all high-level players will wait until the ball has crossed the net and
then it’s either about to bounce or already has bounced to start initiating
the stroke. And just take a look when you watch tennis the next time and you will
see that players, for example on the forehand, will hold the racket with both
hands and now once the ball has cleared the net they might start separating the
hands but they’re still haven’t initiated the stroke. So the racket head
still hasn’t dropped until the ball is close to bouncing then they will start
dropping the racket and accelerate. And it’s exactly this late timing that
makes the strokes so effective and so fast. But I know what you’re thinking. If
you do this method you’re gonna think you’re gonna hit the ball late, but quite
the opposite is the truth. You can easily hit the ball late if you take the racket
back early. And what does it mean to hit the ball late? Well late contact would be
a contact with the string bed pointing towards the outside and the ball will
shoot off to your right if you’re right-handed. And this will not happen
with this timing because you are going to accelerate very fast. In other words
there’s gonna be no time to stop. There’s not going to be any possibility of
developing a hitch in your backswing where you get caught somewhere along the
way, but if you wait for the ball to bounce and then you accelerate you’ll
have to do it real fast or otherwise you will not be able to hit the ball and
this is what all high-level players do. And because this stroke accelerates
rather fast players are very rarely making late contact. So to summarize, the
reason why I don’t want you to take your racket back early is because you’re
going to lack swing momentum, you’re going to lack rhythm and most
importantly you’re going to develop a hitch in your stroke. And this will not
look like a high level stroke. What you should do instead is do the proper
sequencing on the stroke which is, you’re going to be in a ready position and then
you’re going to observe where the ball is coming and as soon as you see it
coming for example to your forehand side you’re gonna make a turn and now you’re
gonna set the ball up perfectly and now you’re gonna be in the perfect position
to strike and when the ball is about the bounce you’re going to separate and
accelerate and you’re gonna meet the ball in the right place most of the time. And finally the worst tip ever is hit
through the ball. And this is something that a lot of recreational players do
but you will see no high-level players hitting through the ball. In other words
high-level players will always have a circular rotational swing path on all
their strokes. And high-level tennis would not be possible if there wasn’t a
circular swing path, but what you see from a lot of recreational level players
is for example a forehand like this. Just picture someone at your local club
hitting in this way. This is very common and players are
indeed hitting through the ball on a forehand like this. And the reason is
they’re not utilizing torso rotation. So in a sideways position like this, if I
make contact I’m almost forced to hit through the ball because my body is
blocking the racket so there’s no other path for the racket to go then to go
forward through the ball like this. See the strokes will accelerate really fast
and you don’t really have to consciously manufacture a circular swing path on
your forehand and your backhand. It will happen naturally if you utilize torso
rotation. So on the forehand for example if I rotate and I have my
non-dominant arm lead the way, see if I continue this rotation
naturally the racket will continue along the same path and I end up with an
intuitive circular swing path. It’s very unlikely that if I have a full rotation
that I’m gonna continue going forward like this. And this is very
counter intuitive and it’s not something that’s likely to happen. On the backhand
is the same thing, if you’re talking about a one-handed backhand there is torso
rotation involved. So players will make a large turn usually with their shoulder
blade pointing towards the incoming ball and they will rotate into the contact
like this. Now some players will continue to rotate ala Shapovalov, Thiem or Wawrinka and some others like Federer will rotate into the contact and then will
hold the sideways position as they finish. Both of these backhands will
utilize torso rotation and the arm is simply accompanying this rotation by
going in a circular path across the body. Looking something like this. On a
two-handed backhand there’s a larger amount of torso rotation involved and
players will make that same type of turn with the shoulder blade pointing towards
the incoming ball. And now the rotation will start and contact is made with the
non-dominant shoulder slightly behind the dominant shoulder and then this rotation is
continued until the chest is pointing towards the side fence. So you have to
utilize torso rotation to develop this intuitive circular swing path and the
advantages you will get from such a swing path is number one you get more feel
because you are connecting that ball to your body and just feels a lot better to
do a swing path like this. And doing it the other way we are disconnecting the ball
from the body and going forward. This feels like we’re losing the ball. Another
thing you will gain from a circular swing path is control and power. By going
across the ball like this or on a backhand like this, it’s far easier to control
the ball this way and we also can generate more power in the same fashion
because we’re connecting the ball to the body, we’re using our core more. It’s a
lot easier to accelerate the racket this way. On the other hand if you are making
contact on the forehand for example and you are in a sideways position, even if
it be a minimal sideways position and you hit through the ball, you are
forced to push through this ball to gently massage it and a lot of players
are aware of this maybe even at the subconscious level and they know that if
from a position like this where the body is blocking the circular swing path and
you are forced to go forward. If you do this too hard
there’s a big chance that the ball will fly long on you. And it’s not that you
couldn’t get power by hitting through the ball, you could, you could be in a
sideways position and swing really fast like this but the chances of the ball
going in consistently are almost zero and this is why players that utilize
the hitting through the ball style usually don’t play with power. They gently
are massaging the ball and pushing it in. So if you want to have a chance to play
high level tennis and eventually hit the ball with control and power you must
utilize the torso rotation so you can get that intuitive circular swing path.

12 thoughts on “Top 3 Worst Tennis Tips | Why They Will Hold You Back as a Tennis Player

  • March 13, 2020 at 10:22 am

    What coaches mean by hitting through the ball is not how you interpreted. When you use the ATP forehand, the contact is made out in front of the body. Hitting through the ball means to drive through the ball before the wiper motion. In other words, don’t start the wiper at contact but delay it a fraction of a second after contact so you hit a heavier ball. Also, since you are lagging the racket, the trajectory of the racket is more linear than purely circular for the ATP forehand.

  • March 13, 2020 at 10:24 am

    I think coaches who say take the racket back early really mean turn with both hands on the racket and rotate, not to separate the arms.

  • March 13, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Top three tips that you will not see performed at the high level:
    3. Stay Low
    2. Take Your Racquet Back Early
    1. Hit Through The Ball

  • March 13, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Thanks again Nikola,hope all is under control with the Covid 19 in your neck of the woods,haven't heard of any tennis pros down with it yet so maybe cancelling most of the the tour is a good thing….stay safe.

  • March 13, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks, Nik! Helpful insights here. Re your #1 bad tip, in my experience I have heard coaches use the "hit through the ball" or "imagine hitting three balls in a row" advice specifically for players who are alligatoring their arm on contact. In other words, they are bending their elbows and bringing the racket across their chest in an effort to maintain control, or from being nervous. The French coach I knew called this syndrome "le petit bras" syndrome (small arms).  
    In that circumstance it may be helpful to some to be told to extend outward ("hit through the ball") which could alleviate the collapsing, clamping action that they normally do, albeit that the actual result would likely be to have a more natural, circular path through the stroke, the kind you advocate for so well.

  • March 13, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Great tips Nick !!!! Thanks for putting this together. Thankfully your content is a relief with all of the drama going on….

  • March 13, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Nikola,

    Thank you for another excellent video.

    One thing I will say in defense of the “Take Your Racquet Back Early” tip is as follows.

    When the ball is coming fast and is about to hit close to the base line (close where you are). Most of us, rec players, do not read the ball well and move back in time. So, in this case, the only recourse is to take the racquet back early. Otherwise, you hit very late.

    Thank you.

  • March 13, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Hitting through the ball means something different. The path of the stroke has nothing to do with it. You can either brush up the ball, using your wrist or elbow, which is very wrong, or hit through the ball, like you and all pros do. I have never seen someone doing this thing that you showed when they got told to hit trough the ball.

  • March 13, 2020 at 2:48 pm


  • March 13, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Great tips, specially numer 1, thanks Nikola 👌🏻

  • March 13, 2020 at 3:48 pm


  • March 13, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    Keep busting those myths! Thanks


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