Net Clearance Fix
(Tennis article by Randy Lynn Rutledge - a former USPTA tennis teaching professional)
This article discusses precision of tennis ball net clearance.
The primary target in tennis is net clearance. The point is over if the ball hits the net and stays on your side of the court.
A net mistake is final. No one can help you, as sometimes happens when an opponent plays a ball which would have landed outside of the boundary lines.
Drawing a line through the ball to guide it to the primary target
Imagine the tennis ball as having the markings of a world globe: Every stroke or hit needs rapid calculation of how high the ball should be as it crosses over the top of the net. I have my students draw an imaginary line through the tennis ball which, coupled with an accurate matching of racquet head speed and racquet face bevel, allows them to have good amount of success with variations of net clearance to reach consistent landing depths.
My students understand the importance of matching racquet bevel changes with appropriate stroking speeds to cause consistent ball landing depth. To help them understand, I attach a cord between the center-court light poles to suspend brightly colored strands of twine over the center of the net at a height of about three feet. Students use the target as a visual point of reference while learning to match stroke speeds with racquet face bevel changes to achieve consistency of ball landing depth.
I encourage my students to maintain a consistent ball landing depth while hitting a series of three balls, each with a different amount of net clearance. Opposite mistakes are made on purpose when tennis balls land long or short of the targeted depth in the court.
The black line represents an imaginary line through the tennis ball which would allow the string-to-ball contact point to happen at about 190 to 200 degrees and continue onward toward the primary target at an incline of about 10 to 20 degrees above zero on a protractor whose base is parallel to the court surface.
The black line (above) would require the bevel of the tennis racquet face to be positioned at an obtuse angle to approximately match the slants of the lines between the center of the protractor and the 105 to 115 degree marks.