Parts of a Tennis Stroke
(Tennis article by Randy Lynn Rutledge - a former USPTA tennis teaching professional)
Oh Boy! There's a new mistake; the more mistakes I fix, the sooner I'm a better tennis player.
Most tennis strokes or hits can be broken down into progressive components, or parts. This article will show multiple tennis players as models for the progressive stages of a two-handed backhand.
Neutral Wait Position
A neutral wait position gives Caroline the same chance to execute a tennis stroke from either side of her body.
From a neutral racquet waiting position, Caroline watches her opponent's preparation and execution to get a read on the location in her court where the ball will most likely be landing.
Caroline's dominant hand is positioned between her shoulders.
From this wait (or ready) position, Caroline will execute a split-step to unhinge her knees and prepare herself to quickly move her shoulders into proper position to stroke the approaching tennis ball.
Initial Shoulder Turn
Once visual information is received about an approximate landing location for the next incoming tennis ball, Laura uses all parts of her body to begin turning her shoulders to a degree which will allow her arms to take her tennis racquet to a position from which to begin the forward portion of her stroke, according to a predetermined ball flight angle, speed, and height.
Laura's knees have lowered her body and she is prepared to step in a direction required for execution of the type of tennis stroke she chooses, or is forced to use.
Notice that her non-dominant hand has slid down the racquet to a position which allows the fingers of her left and right hands to touch.
Adjusting the Tennis Racquet and Body Positions
As Laura continues to turn her shoulders, she positions her body and raises her tennis racquet as she prepares to make a racquet takeback.
Laura's tennis racquet is still in a relatively neutral position which will allow her to move her racquet in whichever direction is required to find an appropriate starting position for the forward portion of her stroke or hit.
Forward Portion of the Tennis Stroke
Laura moved her tennis racquet back to a lower starting position from which to begin the forward portion of her tennis stroke.
Moving her tennis racquet into position for the forward portion of the stroke could have been accomplished by using a backward or a forward motion depending upon the length requirements of the stroke to be used to respond to the height, speed, and spin of the approaching tennis ball.
Laura Mongin coordinates her vision, footwork and shoulder turn, racquet speed, and racquet bevel up to the exact moment of contact to produce a two-handed backhand groundstroke.
Note: The position of the tennis racquet at the exact moment of string-to-ball contact is the most important part of a stroke or hit.
Tennis Racquet Follow Through
The length of a stroke should be determined by the amount of available time and the desired amount of force to be imparted to an approaching tennis ball. A greater distance between you and your opponent affords you more time to make a longer stroke.
A Completed Two-Handed Backhand Follow Through
Vary the length and height of a follow through to create various amounts of speed and spin as required to produce a desired stroke.
The end point of this follow through for a two-handed backhand is evidence of the use of a great amount of racquet head speed.
The tennis photos used on this page are from a Facebook photo album:
FINALES CRIT 2010 created by a Bernard Brad Pacalin.
View each photo at its source:
First, log onto Facebook;
Next, click on a photo number (in the order of appearance in this article):
Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5, Photo 6, & Photo 7
Note: Photos used with permission of Bernard Brad Pacalin.