If you watch a professional player the most amazing thing about it is how easy he makes all shots look. Almost playful! Sometimes pros can even fool you into believing tennis is just a game.
Tennis players are great showmen and actors, they love to play for the gallery. Remember that silly shot Roger Federer played in between the legs at match point for himself to win the final against Marat Safin at the Australian Open 2005? How many choices do you think Federer had 4? 5? Yes, he did have several choices but he chose the worst, to play for the gallery! He lost the point and Safin ended up walking away with the title.
Tennis players are also a little bit like the girls in Synchronized Swimming, it all looks easy, the girls even smile, but underneath those legs and feet do not cease to move!
When you watch a tennis match forget for a while about scores and the ball or great shots and focus on the players feet and watch the fantastic dance they execute to get to the ball and stroke it perfectly. It is simply fascinating!
If you consistently apply this simple footwork observation during your practice and match play, I am willing to bet your game will experience a dramatic improvement.
Another thing you should do when watching a professional tennis match is just watch the players head in isolation, notice how they always look over the rotating shoulders and how still they keep it as the shot unfolds, even though the rest of their bodies are in frenetic motion. Amazing!
What to learn from the Pros; the footwork and keeping the heaviest part of our bodies, the head, still and upright.
You will also notice that most players appear not to be looking at the ball at the moment it is struck, because they keep their focus on the hitting zone which lies between real focus and your peripheral focus. This occurs out in front of the player.
Your head leads your weight, if your head is pointed forwards your body weight goes forwards. For better understanding you can see this article with pictures at: http://www.tenniscruz.com/login.asp
Last thing, because of the way most Pros position their heads (eg. eyes) looking forwards and towards the hitting zone this gives them 5 major advantages:
1. Earlier ball contact
2. Keep the court and opponent within one's peripheral view.
3. Keep their bodies well balanced
4. Better transfer of body weight into the shot.
5. Better targeting of the ball as well as maintaining superior ball control and placement.
When practicing these complex elements try one of them at a time for a period of 5 to ten minutes with intervals for resting. For example, if you're focusing on the footwork just focus on that alone and so on.
P. S. - Some pundits pretend that it is allright to look extremely sideways at the ball like Roger Federer does, I totally disagree, all you need to know are the laws of physics to understand it. As far as Roger goes, I enjoy him very much and you can not beat his success, but please I beg you DO NOT copy or teach your children to place their heads the same way as Rogers!
Enjoy improving your “Game".
If you have any comments or observations to this article please contact Sergio Cruz
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Sérgio Cruz is an ex # 1 National Champion, Davis Cup Player from Portugal and former Coach Jim Courier ATP World Ranking # 1
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