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Player to Player: What Is the Proper Swing?

August 1, 2011 12:02 PM
Have a question? Receive advice from your fellow tennis players!
Real Tennis Players - Like You! - Asking For and Offering Advice on the Sport They Love
Player to Player is USTA.com’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question of the week.

Player to Player:
This week's question from Ron:
I run a men's double league. We have a wide range of player skill level and age. Over the last few years, the better players have migrated to one or two teams, resulting in them wining all of their matches. I plan on scrambling up the teams with some type of player protection for a team captain and then a player draft by the captains. Also would like to have some type of player or team handicap. Any suggestions?
Please share your thoughts by e-mailing Player@USTA.com, and include your name and hometown.
Got a question of your own? Send that along, too!

Last week's question from Jeff
(Please note: There is no need to send additional responses to this question.)
My daughter is 9 years old, and she has one coach advising us that she should continue learning and practicing the traditional swing. He believes that as she gets older and stronger, she will automatically develop the millennium swing, but the other coaches at the club where she trains are proponents of the millennium swing for all kids right now. What is the proper swing for my daughter?
Player Responses:
Eric R., Northern California

Your question implies that there is only one correct way to teach and play a forehand. I think that variety is the spice of life and tennis. What works for a world-class pro may not be best for every player.

Why not stick with what works best for you at this young phase in your tennis life? You can, of course, benefit from a variety of strokes and spins. Add more variety when you are ready, from a base of steady, reliable strokes.
Google Federer's forehand, and you will see different spins and strokes all fluidly produced. Some wrap lower on the finish than others. Some are classic low to high finish. Heavy topspin is imparted on some, and flat or inside-out side spin is imparted on other forehands.

This is the fundamental question: Can you handle generating the very fast racquet speed necessary to use the advanced millenium style stroke?

Wrapping a low finish with massive topspin depends on coordinating your whole body in a turning motion. Are you ready for this approach? This decision should be individually decided based on your aptitude, racquet speed and level of aspiration.

Enjoy the journey.
Bob Hastings, Raleigh, N.C.

I assume your daughter is playing 10 and Under Tennis, so the court, balls and racquet are proportioned to allow her to hit any stroke that an adult can hit. By all means, let her learn all the stroke variations.

Coach Poppie, Palm Bay, Fla., and Selbyville, Del.

Call it what you may, Turn Back & Down or the Loop Swing at nine, is she playing 60' orange ball?

With the orange 25 percent compression ball, the "C" swing pattern is easily learned. So why fight physics? One continuous pivot from the feet to the shoulders, timing the flight of the ball instead of just the bounce, adjusting her feet to just the right place to strike the ball, and your nine-year-old will be golden. "I see the ball. I hitssssss the ball."

Learn Practice Play

Kenny Sommer, Chicago

When you're starting out in tennis, getting the fundamentals correct is key. The swings on the different shots are not that complex, keeping your eye on the ball and not moving your head. On the forehand and backhand, you turn and take the racquet facing the fence behind the player. You can take it straight back, or add a little loop to it. Usually a low to high swing is the best place to start, and hitting out rather then in the net is important. Do not go across the body too much. When you see pros hitting the shots, it looks like they are doing this, but they are first going forwards.

On the volleys it should be just a little turn of the shoulders and very little swing, keeping the racquet in front of you. On the serve, you want to have the racquet going up and behind your shoulder at the same time you are using the other arm to toss the ball. Don't let the ball come down -- one of the most common mistakes I see on the serve. Go after the ball and swing toward the net poll and around and into the court.
*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or altering your existing one, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.
Click here for USTA.com's Player to Player Archive.


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