Just as we are made up of unique genes, all tennis players possess a unique point at which their racquet contacts the ball so cleanly there’s virtually no resistance between ball and string.
Think about what it felt like when you hit that perfect groundstroke and the ball simply flowed off your racquet. That’s when you’ve found your perfect strike point.
Problem: Why can’t I hit the ball like that every time?
The great thing here is everyone has this perfect contact-strike point, and when you recognize, remember and constantly strive to get in position to consistently hit the ball there, your tennis will improve.
So, how does one go about finding their unique “strike point”? Well, here’s how I suggest you find it in real time:
Take a ball and stand behind the baseline like you’re going to feed yourself a forehand (deuce side for righties, ad side for lefties).
With the ball in your off hand, face sideways to the net and extend your off hand toward the net post about waist high. Now, drop it underhand, step toward the net post (while bending your knee) with the off-side foot just after the ball bounces. Then lean in to catch the ball underhand and freeze!
This will take some practice, but you’ll quickly find the perfect height above the court for you to contact the ball – uniquely yours -your tennis DNA.
Once you have this reference point and work toward getting in position to use it as often as possible, many other aspects of the game, including footwork, balance and timing will play integral parts, too.
To get in position to hit, while getting your body out of the way, and moving your weight from back to front is no easy task. At the same time, you’ve got to keep your eye on the ball, and at some point have decided where to hit it in the court… Whew! That’s a lot to remember.
Oh, and before all this you’ve got to be prepared (refer to my “Boy Scout Motto” article): Racquet back, turn your hips, bend your knees, and all that.
By the way, for the lazy person in all of us, if you simply take a measurement of your inseam, that’s the ideal height for your unique and perfect strike point.
Here’s to hoping you find it and discover how much better your tennis game can be.
Lou Marino is a USPTA Cardio and youth tennis coach who lives, teaches and provides racquet service in the Bluffton-Hilton Head Island area. firstname.lastname@example.org