View Full Version : Best thing a 17 year old guy can practice to become a better tennis player

09-30-2007, 04:53 PM
wondering what anyone thinks is the best way for a young adult to get better in tennis.what drills should they do the most>?and also what about when they have know one else to play with.just wondering what older or kids this age think.

09-30-2007, 05:59 PM
17... An interesting time in life. Thinking back, I wish I'd learned better shot selection. By that, I mean learning not to go for winners too often. One drill you could do is to rally with a partner and count how many times you two can get the ball back in a row while hitting only past the service line. If you both go for a high number, this will teach you restraint.

09-30-2007, 06:21 PM
If you are serious about becoming a good player, and you (or your parents) can afford it, you should get lessons form a good instructor so you begin developing correct form and won't have to "unlearn" awkward sapects of your game at some later point.

Think of tennis as, basically, a sport where you try to repeat the same basic motions over, and over, and over.

So, ralley/practice your groundstrokes, down the line, crosscourt and with different spins. Practice, practice, practice.

Learn to come to the net and volley purpously.

Practice your serve until it becomes a smooth, natural motion.

Then practice all the other shots as well.

If you lack a partner, practice against a wall. Sampras and Billy Jean King both started out hitting balls against their garage door (better to find a wall).

I would say, practice about 70% and play matches- for fun or otherwise, 30%. Practicing gives you confidence (and the shots) to win matches, playing matches builds the competitive edge.

09-30-2007, 06:39 PM
ah i see thanks for the help

10-01-2007, 07:27 AM
...here's some other thoughts:

- The serve is the most important stroke in tennis. Period. Doesn't mean you have to hit a hard serve, although that never hurts. I'm 5' 7", so I can't serve 130 m.p. h...but I can move my serve around, change pace and spin, and I have enough juice on it, plus a dependable second serve, that I can structure points and control them the way I want. If you don't work on anything else, work on your serve. If you improve your serve, for example, to that of a 4.0 level player, you'll leapfrog out of the 3.0 level in short order, even if none of your other strokes improve. The serve is the only stroke that you don't hit in response to your opponent's shot. The serve, therefore, is a unique opportunity to start things off on your terms, so use that opportunity.

- The return is the second most shot, for obvious reasons. If you can't break serve, or create a mini-break in a tie-breaker, you can't win. My theory against a big server is block it back, make him play the ball, get lots of returns in. As Chris Evert said, however, a soft second serve may be the shortest ball you get in a rally, so learn to move in when you can and punish the return.

- I have a theory that the "keystone" shots are the overheard and the backhand volley. It sure ain't easy, as we all know, to set up for and dispatch an overhead, even a sitter. But you need an overhead if you want to go anywhere near the net, and I believe that once you've mastered the overhead, the serve comes fairly easily.

Similarly, the backhand volley, done correctly, is also the basis for a clean slice backhand and for a block or chip service return. One of the things my main hitting partner and I do when we're starting to spray ground strokes around when we're rallying is to stop rallying from the baseline. We both go to the service line and hit volleys back to each other until we've regained the kind of efficient movement and racket discipline you need on all shots. Then we return to the baseline, and the balls start falling in a little more often.

- Understand what the major playing styles are (see the T warehouse sticky) and experiment with them. You've never actually done any serve and volley? Get with your coach or hitting partner and try it out. Even if you don't use it often, you may have a situation where you need to S&V, and now you have Prior Experience. It also helps to play other styles...baseline grinder, slice and dice artist, whatever...because you'll know how those styles feel, which will make it easier for you to come up with a game plan to counter those styles.

- Finally, above all, have fun. Tennis is a sport for a lifetime, a game, not a jail sentence. One of my favorite ski racers of all time, the U. S.'s Christin Cooper, was leading the Women's Giant Slalom after the first run in the 1984 Winter Olympics. On the second run, Christin slipped down on her hip, bounced up, finished the course...and wound up second to American Debbie Armstrong, who had a great second run. After the race, a reporter asked Cooper if she felt disappointed at not winning the gold when it was so obviously in reach. To which Cooper essentially replied (I paraphrase here): "Hey...I didn't lose a gold, I won a silver. You could take all the joy out of life out by always wanting something more..."

Words to live by...

10-01-2007, 12:04 PM
Two things from Sweden....

1. Every shot must have a purpose. Offensive or defensive.
2. When your opponent serve, think at your return as your serve and a chance to build up the point.

mark rodgers
10-01-2007, 12:15 PM
At 17 a guy is really thinking mostly about one thing: girls. So the best thing for him to practice is his pick up routine so he can concentrate on his game in the morning - LOL. Did anyone watch the VH1 series "The Pickup Artist"? Good show.

10-01-2007, 12:32 PM
Judging by the success of John Isner at the US Open, I'd say learn to serve at 135!