For those starting out in tennis, getting to know the different types of strokes, stances, terms, grips, etc., can feel over-whelming. Not to worry, we have your back! In our new teaching series titled, “The Beginner’s Guide” (fitting, right?) we’ve enlisted some of Canada’s top instructors to provide us with their expert steps and hot tips on how to approach the various basics of tennis. A free lesson? Pretty sweet, right?
Background: Guillaume Marx joined Tennis Canada’s National Training Centre (NTC) in the fall of 2007 and oversees the development of Canada’s top male players with a special focus on the country’s best junior boys.
The game of tennis has many layers, and one of those layers to consider is hitting the ball with thought, control, and precision. To see your game improve, slow your game down, work on your shot preparation, and hit the ball with an end goal in mind.
As a beginner, it’s important to focus on control first, and then power. Hitting the ball harder has a tendency to reduce the amount of control you have and increase the number of errors you make. When you focus more on control and ball placement instead of hitting it with all of your power, you are bound to see your game improve.
At the most basic level, the easiest way to successfully place the ball is to ensure your hips and shoulders line up with where you would like the ball to land.
Two things to consider when you’re selecting your shot: how far you are from the baseline and your current situation (attacking, neutral or defending). Basically, the further you are behind the baseline (defensive position), the more you have to play a long middle or crosscourt shot; the closer you are (offensive position) the more possibilities, including a direct down the line or drop shot.
Continue to play your strong shots until your opponent forces you to play otherwise. You always want to be ahead of the ball, placing winners is harder to do when you’re chasing after it or are two steps behind.
Shot selection broken down point by point:
A practice drill to perfect your placement:
Nailing the basics of placement: