The contact of your tennis racket with the ball is probably the most important moment in tennis. It is the place where everything can go disastrously bad or incredibly right. Does it happen to you sometimes that you hit with frame? Why is this?
Watching the ball
You remember how your first coach always kept repeating: “keep your eyes on the ball”? Yes, that’s correct, always keep looking at the ball. But there is a moment when you just lose the ball from sight. This is when the ball makes contact with the racket and the sudden bounce from your strings is too quick for your eyes and head to follow the ball. You just lose it for a microsecond from sight. The other option you have is to keep your eyes on the ball until the point when it almost touches your strings and right before the contact point your sight stays with the opponent and you catch the ball again right after it goes off your strings. The latter technique allows you to see what your opponent is doing, but results in more mishits and frame hits. I personally prefer the first option where you see the contact point, because it results in a much cleaner stroke.
Hitting the ball at the right time is called timing. To hit the ball at the exactly right place is harder than it sounds. Hitting the ball 2cm later or earlier might result in 2m length difference in the ball trajectory. So how do I hit it at the right time? Easy. Just let your mind tell you. Do not overthink it. Hit the ball where it feels naturally and where the trajectory of the ball is exactly right. If you hit the ball too early or too late you will notice it right away. It won’t feel good. A good tip for practicing the right timing is by telling yourself when to hit the ball. Say 1 when your opponent strikes the ball, say 2 when the ball lands on the ground, say 3 when you need to hit it. With 3 you should be hitting it. Just keep counting in your mind 1, 2 and 3. Get the rhythm.
By keeping your eyes on the ball and getting the timing right you will eliminate mishits and you keep the stroke clean. Keep practicing and stop overthinking it! Everything in tennis should feel naturally. If it doesn't you are not doing it right. If you have any questions about this article or about your contact point do not hesitate to contact us.