Articles and Tips

Some Tennis Facts:
HEART HEALTH: People who particiapte in tennis three hours per week (at moderately vigorous intensity) cut their risk of death in half from any cause, according to Physician Ralph Paffenbarger of Harvard University School of Public Health

MENTAL HEALTH: Tennis players scored higher in optimism and self-esteem while scoring lower in depression, anger, confusiion, anxiety and tension than other athletes or non-athletes, according to Dr.Joan Finn and colleagues in a detailed study recently compiled at Southern Connecitcut State University

MENTAL DEVELOPMENT: Since tennis requires alertness and tactical thinking, it may generate new connections between nerves in the brain and thus promote a lifetime of continuing development of the brain, reported scientists at the University of Illinois.

PHYSICAL EXERCISE: A study published in a 2007 issue of the 'British Journal of Sports Medicine' found that recreational tennis players gained significant health benefits, including aerobic fitness, lower body fat, lower cholesterol and better bone health.

CALORIE BURN: Competitive tennis burns more calories than aerobics or cycling according to detailed studies on caolorie expenditrues.


How To Be Ready-By Peter Farrell-Leinster Development Officer


How To Warm-Up

By Peter Farrell-Leinster Development Officer

At the start of their practice session I see a lot of players go straight to the baseline and hit shots at full pace right from the first ball.
It’s much better for your body, and much less likely to cause injury if you start slowly – ideally by rallying in the service boxes for a few minutes. Here are three of my favourite service box exercises:
 
1. You and your partner both place a small target (a couple of tennis balls will do) about two metres inside your service lines. Rally to each other, attempting to hit the target on your partner’s side.
 
2. Rally with your `wrong` hand - use your left hand if you are right handed. This is great at the start of a practice session because you really have to concentrate, watch the ball closely and be extra aware of using excellent footwork.
 
3. Rallying in the four boxes, you and your partner have to play a half volley on every shot. This involves a lot of forward and backward movement, so is ideal as the last service box exercise before you both move back to the baseline.


How To ... Practice [top]

Peter Farrel - Leinster Development Officer

 Most people play tennis because...they love to play tennis.
That is, games, sets and matches. We love the challenge of trying our best to win the match having lost the first set. Not much gets our adrenalin flowing the way it flows at 4-5 in the third… And that is as it should be, since all our coaching and practice sessions are designed to lead to only one thing – making us better match players.
 
But that doesn’t mean that the best practice for matchplay is always matchplay itself.
Why? Because there are some shots and tactics that don’t crop up enough in matches to allow us to improve or perfect the movements involved. I’m thinking here of parts of the game like the smash, the drop volley, the down the line drive serve return in doubles – the list is long.
 
Within five minutes of stepping on to the court, most players are involved in games, sets and matches.
They never give themselves the opportunity to really master the finer points of tennis. Better to select a particular aspect of the game, and spend 20 minutes working on it intensively. Then play your set. You'll feel the benefit the next time that short, high lob is descending slowly towards your racquet…


Tips For Doubles [top]

Contents:
  1. Preparation
  2. Practice Sessions
  3. The Knock-up
  4. During Play
  5. Suggested Drills
read article


Junior Racket Sizes [top]

By Peter Farrell-Leinster Development Officer

It is vital that a young player uses a racquet of the right size relative to his or her height, in order to ensure correct development of the players technique.

Using the wrong size of racquet only makes the game more difficult for a junior.
The more difficult the game appears to be, the less young players will want to
participate. . .read more


How To .... Anticipate [top]


By Peter Farrell - Leinster Development Officer

After your opponent hits a shot, you usually have very little time to react. You need to calculate how hard the ball has been hit, with what type of spin, and where it is heading for. And you need this information in a hurry.
 
Would it help if you could have some idea of what type of shot is coming before your opponent actually hits it? Many people think that this skill of `anticipation` is only for advanced players, but this is not the case. A player at any level who has his or her thinking cap on can make it easier to get to the ball, by asking a few relevant questions.
 
Anticipation is not something you need to do on every one of the other player’s shots. But if your opponent is in a strong position, and looks as if she will be able to hit a winner unless you move in the right direction before she hits the ball, here are some questions you should ask yourself:
 
What shot has she played before in this situation? If a player has a habit of going crosscourt off a short ball on their forehand side, chances are they will do so again.
 
What shots can this opponent not play? If you know she cannot hit a wide slice serve to the deuce box, you need not concern yourself with having to prepare to return this shot.
 
What shot would I play if I were in my opponent’s position? If you see a logical place where your opponent`s next shot should go, she probably sees it too.
 
Anticipation boils down to an educated guess. If you guess right you have a chance to get to a ball you really had no right to get to!


How To...SERVE AND VOLLEY [top]

Peter Farrell – Development Officer.
 
  
DECISION TIME….
The decision to serve and volley is one that has to be made before the serve is hit. Make this decision during your `service ritual` - those few seconds between the time you step up to the baseline and the time you start your service action.
 
THINK POSITIVELY…
Assume your serve will go in, and start to move towards the net as soon as possible. If you wait to see if your serve was in before you start running to the net, you will be too late.
 
GET READY…
As the receiver is about to make contact with the return, you need to `split step`. This means that you will stop moving forward, and be in a balanced ready position, poised to react to the return no matter where it is going.
 
FIRST VOLLEY-AND BEYOND…
Where you are when you split step depends on a number of factors, but as a rule it is generally around the service line area. Not the ideal place to volley from, because you will often have to play a low volley. Focus on hitting the low volley with good depth, then immediately move forward to a stronger volleying position nearer the net.
 
Now you are in an ideal position to dominate the point and put maximum pressure on your opponent!

TENNIS ON THE WEB [top]

Peter Farrell – Development Officer.
 
 
You have already made a smart decision by visiting www.leinstertennis.ie! But what other sites are useful for tennis players to spend some time on? Here are five of my favourites:
 
www.tennis.com - the website of `Tennis` magazine, with lots of instructional articles and video, plus all the latest stories from the pro game.
 
www.tennisplayandstay.com - an International Tennis Federation site that clearly spells out why red, orange and green are very important colours for the development of the game and those who play it! (The ITF is the world governing body of tennis).
 
www.tennisireland.ie - website of the National Governing Body in Ireland. Hugely popular, it is always bang up to date with what is happening in tennis on this island.
 
www.tica.ie - the site of the Tennis Ireland Coaches Association. Should be your first stop if you are looking for a coach for yourself or your club. Just press the blue button on the home page for a list of qualified coaches in your area. Also has some interesting articles and product reviews.
 
www.youtube.com - Search within the site for `slow motion tennis` and you are presented with up close video of many of today’s top players hitting their strokes in slow motion. This is a great way to learn what the pros actually do – something that it is hard to pick up when watching a match on TV.
 
Remember
You can learn a lot about the game from surfing the web, but I am convinced that nothing can replace an on court session with your friendly local coach!