The single adjustment that has given me more pace, spin, and consistency

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Jun 12, 2009
    Bend your knees. Deep.

    It sounds simple and I'm sure you think you already have a good knee bend. I thought I was bending my knees enough too. However, I watched a video of myself and I noticed I was too upright.

    For a long time I have struggled to understand why my forehand didn't get the kind of depth, height, and spin that I wanted. The moment I focused on getting more kneed bend, I was clearing the net by 3-4 feet and the ball was dropping in the court and kicking up high. It also had more pace than usual.

    Even if you think you have good knee bend, give this a shot next time you play. Your legs should be around halfway between parallel to the ground and upright, your butt should stick out a little, and your torso should be at about a 45 degree angle. I kept this knee bend even while not hitting the ball.

    For those who are weightlifters, you're basically in a squat position but with your legs a little above parallel.

    Only problem with this is your legs can get pretty tired from holding this position.
  2. SuperDuy

    SuperDuy Hall of Fame

    Sep 17, 2009
    Not too deep though, I screwed up my knees for a whole month by doing that. Then I started working my legs quite hard with squats and exercises and now they don't hurt as much when I play tennis. Biking also helps to strengthen them.
  3. Ajtat411

    Ajtat411 Semi-Pro

    Apr 15, 2009
    Every good stroke starts from the ground up. Bending the knees is also key to the volley. I'm told. :)

    Easy to remember but hard to do.
  4. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Jun 12, 2009
    Yep, hard to do point in and point out. It works your quads like crazy to hold that position for an extended period of time.
  5. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

    Dec 19, 2005
    For me it was moving from eastern to SW. I never actually used eastern for very long.
  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Maybe that's why my game is fading downhill really fast.
    At 61, there is no bending knees, compared to you youngsters..:):)
    But my groundies are the same as 34 years ago, my volleys about the same, and my serves lost only 25mph..:confused:
  7. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

    Oct 20, 2006
    Makes sense... that's where the big muscles live and they sure can't help much when those knees get locked out straight. There's got to be a little help with balance and movement in that knee bend, too.

    Something to consider that's a bit of a variation on this theme is my idea of "getting off my back foot" when I hit my shots. Aside from my serve, this general thought tends to keep my legs more active and contributing to my strokes and volleys like I want them to on a regular basis.

    Keep in mind Hunter that this idea of focusing on your knee bend might also be tricking your brain's focus away from your arm and racquet. It's often easier to take a bigger, smoother, less restricted swing when we're not actively monitoring the motion. This might be a big help with other things down the road. If you've got a problem at one end of the chain, try focusing on something at the other end and see if it helps to "get your head out of the way". Sometimes it's all we need.
  8. maxplymac

    maxplymac Banned

    Oct 6, 2010
    Do wheelchair players have an advantage, considering they are always lower...they play like "they are sitting in a chair."
  9. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Legend

    Jan 25, 2010
    michael chang is a great example of bending his knees deep.



    while you can't see lendl's leg bend you know he's bending based on the taut quads.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  10. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

    Sep 28, 2009
    Any professional is a great example of a deep knee bend... The pros can hit very good slices that stay inches off the floor and can also return them easily. Why? Because they have solid footwork. The deep knee bend seems most prominent in the backhand, which likely has something to do with the closed stance and perhaps the crosscourt backhand slice? Either way, most deep knee bend pictures will be of a professional backhand.

    And your knee bend (while it should always exist in the stroke) should only be as deep as necessary (which is to get you and your racket under the ball). I mean, you can argue that getting more knee bend will probably give you much more load into your stroke (and you'd probably be right), but unless you're very fit, which I can barely stay on the court for 20 minutes straight nowadays, you're exhausting yourself prematurely. All you need to do is guarantee that you're getting the ball in, which means you just need to get enough lift to get the ball over the net and deep into your opponent's court (and preferably off to the side unless you plan to change it up hard and deep up the middle). Pace is nice, but until I get back into a state I can call "somewhat in shape", I'll settle with running every ball down with good footwork and playing with consistency and depth. Pace tends to have you reaching for more and more when it doesn't work, which murders your consistency.

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