Originally Posted by Wegner
I have tested, for decades, an interesting experiment that has proven helpful to a lot of players, from amateurs to pros.
Rather than trying to position your body at a certain distance from the ball, track the ball with your playing hand or hands as if you were trying to catch it.
Now comes something that is instinctive, dictated by your intention of driving the racquet to your favorite end of the stroke. For example, you track the ball with your hand, you see it right where you want it, with a bit of back and forth hand movement you then accelerate your racquet diagonally, that is, up for topspin and across your body for control. You finish the stroke pointing the butt of the racquet to where you sent the ball.
It is an easy transfer of focus where you transition from catch to hit with no doubts or reservations in the blink of an eye.
You may even have your racquet quite loose.
It may seem too simplistic, too left to chance. But by keeping both hands on the racquet while tracking the ball, your playing hand will determine the timing necessary and the details of your stroke. Just make sure you finish the stroke all the way.
Focusing initially on the hand, rather than on the racquet, can develop several abilities. One is something that you most likely learned at a very young age: the skill to catch a moving object while YOU are on the move as well and then throw it away.
Another resulting advantage is the simplification of the thought process.
There is a hand and there is a ball you want to catch. Nothing else matters. Iíd like to venture that there is no thought necessary at all. You are free to go about it as you please.
It is nothing complicated, nothing rushed. Your lower body may be in an emergency, running fast. It will tend to look for efficiency to help you execute your primary intention, which is your stroke. Let your body teach you. Feel it and donít force it in authoritarian ways.
Give it your best try and let me know the results.
i tried this approach with a 40+ female beginner with no sports background this summer and it worked wonders.
i saw a video of your on youtube about how to teach a beginner the forehand within minutes by letting him catch the ball, hit it with the hand, etc. and that made a lot of difference, thanks
i am a big proponent and have been for a long time on developing the feel for the ball first and moving naturally to the ball without thinking about footwork
i believe though in the value of working on your footwork and integrating different moves and stances in your game. what i try to do is work on different strokes and present them with options on what might work better in a certain situation and why.
mind you, not all the players i work with have had good coaching in the past. some are entirely self-thaught. concepts like doing a well-timed splitstep, unit turns or more open stances need to be brought to attention i believe.