Hitting your tennis groundstrokes long? Try a Faster Raquet Head Speed.

Floating balls long from the baseline? Not enough spin on your groundstrokes? It’s probably your raquet head speed. I can remember the words of my coach being screamed in my ears – “faster racquet head speed”. And he was right…basically the faster your racquet head, the more control you have over the ball. The more topspin you’re able to put on a tennis ball, the higher clearance you can go for over the net.

Faster racquet head you say – then won’t I blast the ball out of the court…probably not – even without practice. To really leverage the improved control of the faster racquet head, you will have to master the feel for the difference between hitting through the tennis ball at high speed and brushing the tennis ball at high speed. The latter increases spin the former increases power but both increase control. In future posts I will try to talk more about the merits of spin.

To improve your racquet speed:

1. Practice your ground strokes in the air – preferably a raquet that has NO strings so you can get the free flowing feeling of a high speed swing. This allows you to practice keeping the form of your swing while increasing your speed (speed without form is as bad as no speed). Start slightly slower than your current natural swing speed and then steadily increase – focus on maintaining (near) perfect form.

2. Take a basket of balls and stand by one baseline and practice hitting the ball with fastest racquet head speed that you can. Then move in closer and closer to the service line while not slowing down your swing speed. This helps you to feel the various amounts of spin you need to put on the ball to keep it on the court. Hit through the ball more from the baseline and brush the ball more as you move in (but do not slow your swing speed – more speed=more control)

3. Do wrist strength training (consult your local coach or fitness instructor first as wrist injuries can be particularly difficult to heal)

4. Hit against a wall. This will help you to put it all your other practice together.


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