Adding pace - specific how tos?

#1
I'm a 49 year old woman playing 3.5 and 4.0 singles both USTA league and tournaments. I'm small (5'3") and intentionally went from very underweight and frail to getting a lot stronger overall working out ST with a trainer. I went from 96# to my current 107# with a goal of 112# and my gains have almost entirely been lean body mass. (IE I'm fighting hard and earning every ounce I gain.) My strength/gain process has been a little over a year so far. I've always been very fast, like people comment all the time that I get everything back, frustrating to play because I chase down every ball, running like a lunatic all over the court, but I've been more of a weak pace pusher/placer. I'm purposely trying to work on ways to add pace to my balls. I found a tennis instructor and took two lessons then got pneumonia this spring which kind of killed me, and I'm just bouncing back now. My running speed is 90% back but when I hit, I feel like a weak kitten. And if I get tired, any pace on my shots is the first to go. I am getting back into the tennis instruction (first time ever taking lessons! I've done clinics but never specific 1:1 lessons on form) and some things she was having me work on with adding pace are turning my body more, bending my knees more, and rotating to use my core more. So what can/should I do to help this process along? My current routine is strength training with trainer 3 days a week for an hour - we. do weights and working on gaining 5# more but he has a sports training focus (he mostly trains rugby and soccer) so we do footwork drills, running little obstacle courses, my gym has the fancy thing where you strap into a belt around your waist then run with tubing holding you back, medicine ball throws sideways against the wall, a lot of balance work where I'm standing on the wobbly ball or board and throw medicine ball back and forth, jumping and recovery etc. I currently play league matches 1-2/week depending on schedule, then I may throw in my favorite tennis clinic (large group with more of a doubles drills focus but 90 min class that has me drenched in sweat by the end). Then I will be adding a 30 min private lesson weekly. Any other specifics or just keep at it? I feel like I was making noticeable strides in adding pace before the pneumonia and now I am terrified that I won't get it back. Ideas, thoughts, motivation, feedback, war stories? Help! Thanks!
 
#4
You don't need muscle mass to hit a tennis shot with powerful pace--it's mostly about proper technique--body "core" rotation will add some more pace to the kinetic chain, but without the fundamentals of proper stroke technique, adding a lot of other things are like putting lipstick on a pig.

I've seen skinny little juniors and old ladies who's limbs looked like pencils who hadn't been to muscle beach, who hit with good pace. Serve and ground stroke technique is comparable to cracking a whip. Whips have no muscle but can deliver quite a spanking. For the most pace from the least effort, you want the biggest range of motion from the kinetic chain of proper stroke production--if your coach is telling you to "get the racket back" with a straight arm, shortening your strokes--run away, and find a coach who teaches "the loop" (see RFed's FH & BH). In summary, forget getting tennis power from the gym--80% of points are won by opponent's misses. Hitting the ball "hard" can work against you, only providing your opponent a ball with a consistent trajectory, using your energy to return against you.

To more directly answer your question, you can add more power to your stroke by "cracking the whip"--that's with using your wrist--after all the other elements of the kinetic chain have been lined up and coordinated.

That's the short answer--recover your energy from your recent illness and feel better--then hit a million practice balls with proper technique.
 
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#5
I suggest experimenting with adding lead tape to your frame. A little a time. Start with a few grams at 10 and 2. Add double that amount at top of handle to maintain similar swing feel.

Test out on wall to see what amount of weight let’s you add pop and maintain control.

Most stock frames, especially ones marketed to ladies, are underpowered due to low swingweight.
 
#6
Yikes. Can I suggest that you not play around with lead tape? Lead tape is not a great substitute for correct technique. You could really hurt yourself, especially if you're not strong enough. If you don't have an appropriate racket now, change to an appropriate one instead.

I don't hit with much power, so I do understand what you're saying. I might have some ideas based on what my pro has said about this, but I'd want to hear more about the questions I asked earlier.
 
#8
I suggest experimenting with adding lead tape to your frame. A little a time. Start with a few grams at 10 and 2. Add double that amount at top of handle to maintain similar swing feel.

Test out on wall to see what amount of weight let’s you add pop and maintain control.

Most stock frames, especially ones marketed to ladies, are underpowered due to low swingweight.
Only after other technique issues are addressed - everyone is not you to haul a 14 oz club around!
 
#9
I agree with the other posters .... although I am now no longer 49 (crossed the threshold) and I am built more like an Amazon than anything considered dainty or petite .... There is no substitution for technique.

Proper technique and racquet head speed is how you generate a powerful good stroke.

Your endurance and being able to maintain that speed is done in the gym. but adding a lot of weight to your body (even lean muscle mass) is not really that necessary, although I love personally being exceptionally strong. I would focus on adding to your strength and not worrying about the scale.

In terms of racquet specs, I like a heavier racquet in general .... my form starts going awol with a light stick. Play around with it if you are interested in doing so.

To add power, you can string at a lower tension .... but you sacrifice some control and some spin potential.

Keep working on your technique ... the power will come and great placement will overcome power every single day against nearly every single opponent.
 
#11
I will add a war story since you did ask ....

3 years ago when I just started back playing after long hiatus, I had all the power in the world. I hit screaming flat shots off both wings ... that when they found the court were simply not returned in ladies' league. But I hit the fence, the net, the adjacent court perhaps more often than the court with these screamers. I was a danger, at best.

I have since altered my stroke, I hit with heavy TS (for my gender, age and level), lots of margin over the net and actually in the court. They still have a lot of pace on them (again for gender, age and level I am not delusional) and I can still knock a racquet out of some weaker player's hands .... but nothing like before.

I have no desire for more power than I have now ... the technique and the heaviness of the good TS combined with smarter placement contributes much more.
 
#12
I would like more power. Then again, I rarely try to hit hard. At my level, players are just as likely to miss on a softer shot as a hard shot.

If I had a choice between having power of the ladies who play at 4.0 or the touch (spins, placement) of ladies who play at 4.0, I would take touch.

No contest. Touch is super valuable, and it gets more valuable with every passing year.
 
#13
I know a lot of fast women that can run all day and bunt balls back. But one of their problems is they rely on that speed too much. They wait for the ball to be hit, sprint over to where its going and arm swing it back, then wait again to chase it down. You can't get good power that way.

You need to anticipate where the ball is going so you can get there with your legs planted and shoulders turned ready to uncoil into the ball. Power comes from the legs and core in tennis. Anticipate, get there early, turn your shoulders early, uncoil into the ball and then immediately recover to the right spot and observe your opponent carefully to anticipate the next shot once again.

Chase, hit, watch, chase just makes it too hard to be prepped early.
 
#15
@DailyG&T You seem very concerned about your physical size and strength. Don't be. There are talented 10 year old juniors that hit the ball harder than most adult rec players. I'm sure you are bigger and stronger than almost all of them. Power comes from racquet head speed, and even the heaviest tennis racquets are lighter than tee-ball bats for 6 year olds so you are plenty capable of swinging one fast.

As many others have said above, the swing needs to come from your legs, hips, and core and not your arm. You will get better results in the long run by trying to keep your swing compact -- especially the take-back component -- because this prevents you from trying to "muscle" the ball with your shoulder and arm.

The main reasons I see why rec players don't hit hard:

1. They don't know how -- especially those players that aren't comfortable with topspin. But you are taking lessons and searching the internet for help, so I bet you have a pretty good idea of what good mechanics are, at least in theory.
2. They are too lazy. Getting to the right spot early, setting up, loading up, and driving the ball using the whole body takes a lot more effort than planting yourself and and punching the ball back with your arm and shoulder.
3. They chicken out. Seriously, I think this is a big block for many players. They back off from swinging their hardest even when they have a good ball for it -- maybe they are afraid of an embarrassing big miss, losing an important point, getting too tired, straining something, whatever -- and over time, the idea of "being cautious" on even easy balls becomes a permanent mental block against taking a full swing.

If you feel bad about spraying the ball, for example you think you are letting down your hitting partner, then I suggest using a ball machine to work on swinging big on every shot just to get more comfortable with it.
 
#16
You will get better results in the long run by trying to keep your swing compact -- especially the take-back component -- because this prevents you from trying to "muscle" the ball with your shoulder and arm.
Good post! A question : I've never understood what a "compact swing" looks like--can you give me an example of a player I may be able to watch playing currently in tournaments on the Tennis Channel to better visualize it? Or, if anyone is good at this Youtube stuff, a video demonstrating the "compact swing" technique. Thanks.
 
#17
Good post! A question : I've never understood what a "compact swing" looks like--can you give me an example of a player I may be able to watch playing currently in tournaments on the Tennis Channel to better visualize it? Or, if anyone is good at this Youtube stuff, a video demonstrating the "compact swing" technique. Thanks.
Agassi serve return, starting around 6:40 in first video and continuing into second. Specifically talks about "cut down on the backswing."


 
#19
Fast women run faster than slow men. If they set their attention on you, you can't get away. :happydevil:

My question involves net clearance. Do you clear the top of the net by > 6 feet? Perhaps you should aim to clear the net between 2' and 6' max. I do not hit with a lot of spin [between 500-1000 rpm], but 2' will have my balls landing near the service line; 6' much nearer baseline. I use a relaxed swing, heavier frame, higher SW.
 
#20
Thank you for all of these responses! I play with a Wilson Ultra 108 racket. I have never heard of lead tape. Does it make the racquet heavier? I have been told I hit "very flat" and one thing I want to work on is topspin. I think (??) I am hitting a moment later than I should so I'm not getting that spin. I do tend to hit low with very little net clearance (my most common error is the ball that looks like it's going to clear the net but doesn't.) I would say when I get tired I do bunt it back vs finishing out my entire swing. Relieved that size isn't a determining factor. I do want to be bigger and stronger just in general for life. (Nobody wants to be a 96# weakling lol.)
 
#21
Thank you for all of these responses! I play with a Wilson Ultra 108 racket. I have never heard of lead tape. Does it make the racquet heavier? I have been told I hit "very flat" and one thing I want to work on is topspin. I think (??) I am hitting a moment later than I should so I'm not getting that spin. I do tend to hit low with very little net clearance (my most common error is the ball that looks like it's going to clear the net but doesn't.) I would say when I get tired I do bunt it back vs finishing out my entire swing. Relieved that size isn't a determining factor. I do want to be bigger and stronger just in general for life. (Nobody wants to be a 96# weakling lol.)
Yes lead tape makes the racquet heavier .... but based on your description if you are tired your swing degrades a little. So, based on that, I would not recommend adding weight you may tire faster..

The Wilson Ultra 108 is heavily marketed to women .... with that large head it helps generates power but is not a control or spin-friendly racquet IMO

Consider lowering your string tension ... what tension and strings are you using now?

If you are hitting flat with low net clearance ... worry about that issue before you worry about adding power. All you will do is more powerfully hit the ball into the net .... (not speaking from experience or anything LOL)

Again, equipment cannot replace technique ... only enhance or hinder it..
 
#22
Good post! A question : I've never understood what a "compact swing" looks like--can you give me an example of a player I may be able to watch playing currently in tournaments on the Tennis Channel to better visualize it? Or, if anyone is good at this Youtube stuff, a video demonstrating the "compact swing" technique. Thanks.
Here's a specific drill one of our best pros gave me to help keep my take-back compact: Note that this is designed around modern topspin forehand with a loop take-back. This drill is done WITHOUT a racquet. Do your unit turn so that your shoulders are facing a flat wall (or the back curtain or fence if trying this on an actual tennis court), in other words the imaginary ball is traveling towards you along the wall. Position yourself so that your fingertips are all on the wall with both hands (your front hand is mimicking the extended front hand you see in high-level forehands, and your back hand is roughly in front of your back shoulder as if you had just started taking your racquet back after your turn). Both elbows have a relaxed bend; don't lock them out or bend them too much. You can be in whatever forehand stance you like for your feet. Mimic your normal forehand swing, imagining a waist-high rally ball. THE KEY POINT to keep your swing compact is that your racquet hand should remain in fingertip contact with the wall the whole time until you get to the follow-through. Do not make your wind-up bigger by pulling your arm further back and breaking wall contact when you do drop your racquet and start your forward swing. DO let your fingers stay in contact with the wall as long as possible through your swing to promote a bigger contact zone and more extension.
 
#24
Lol at people saying forget gym and fitness and building power.
Why exactly?
The better your physical shape the better your tennis and strokes.
You can only benefit from it.

And regarding stroke power, yes of course technique is a huge, but power from your muscles is also a thing.
And no, not arm muscles, but leg and core muscles.
Everyone mentiones those "skinny" pro players, but those "skinny" pro players work heavily on the power and explosiveness of their core and legs.
 
#25
Given the description of your swing, I can think of 3 things that would probably be an easy change and add some pace. You need to lengthen the swing and follow through over the ball. If you hit completely low and flat, the physics are very difficult to add much pace and still be consistent.
1. Make sure you are getting the racquet back as soon as possible. A lot of people I have seen that hit flat tend to be a quick pendulum, meaning that you take the racquet back and immediately start bringing it forward. You want to get the racquet back early so that you can generate forward momentum. As a quick test, have somebody feed you a ball with your racquet already back and see how much more pace you can generate with all your momentum going forward.
2. Keep your off hand on the racquet to take the racquet back and use it for balance. This will force your shoulder turn, which will lengthen the stroke and make it more consistent and add quite a bit of pace. I was teaching this the other night to somebody and we observed all the people at the club that learned as adults and how many of them just keep their left arm down by their side. You have to get your shoulders turned so that you get that twist from your core and lengthen the stroke.
3. To get a bit of topspin, focus on keeping the strings facing downward when the racquet is behind you. This will force some topspin and hopefully help your follow through over the ball.


Watch that video and focus on watching their off hand, and the direction that their strings are pointing.
 
#26
I have been told I hit "very flat" and one thing I want to work on is topspin.
You and about 1,000,000 rec women in the 3.0-4.0 ranks. I'm not sure why its so endemic. If you really want to learn topspin, switch your FH grip to SW and really concentrate at getting your racket head lower than the incoming ball, every single time.

Topspin is the only way to hit with power since you've already discovered to keep the flat ball in the court needs low net clearance which is riskier.

You will shank dozens of balls at first but it is the only way. You cannot hit topspin with a flat stroke.

Just watched one of our top Canadian junior girls this am. A petite 15 y.o. She can just pound that ball from both wings. If anything her 2HBH is better. Truly the most impressive BH I've seen at our club, men included. You don't need size. But you need topspin and you need to step into the ball to get that kind of power.
 
#27
I don’t know why everyone is so down on flat hitting. There are plenty of pros that hit relatively flat, even some top ones like Serena and Delpo. Topspin certainly helps us mere mortals in the consistency department however.
 
#29
I don’t know why everyone is so down on flat hitting. There are plenty of pros that hit relatively flat, even some top ones like Serena and Delpo. Topspin certainly helps us mere mortals in the consistency department however.
Delpo does not hit flat.

His arc is low over the net but he has the technique that adds a lot of topspin to his forehand even on lower arc shots.
 
#30
I don’t know why everyone is so down on flat hitting. There are plenty of pros that hit relatively flat, even some top ones like Serena and Delpo. Topspin certainly helps us mere mortals in the consistency department however.
Flat is when you can read the brand of the ball as its moving towards you.

Delpo isn't hitting flat. He's hitting relatively flat for a pro. 1500 RPM vs 3000 RPM. And he has all the advantages in the world to hit flat: 1) receives high topspin balls from other pros 2) is 6'6". Nobody doubts a tall man can take a high ball and nail a fairly flat shot safely. A 5'4" woman hitting a waist high ball doesn't have that room for error if she wants to hit hard.
 
#33
Can I suggest you consider a racket with a smaller head size? Others here may be more knowledgeable, but that sounds big to me.

When I started, I had a big racket like that, and I took my pro’s suggestion to change. I went to a racket with 100 head size (Aeropro, now Pure Drive). The problem with the big racket was that it encouraged a short swing, a bunt. It enables you to generate power without good mechanics, at the expense of control.

I agree with those who said hitting with topspin is more important than power for now. If you learn to add topspin, you will distinguish yourself among women at your level because so few can.
 
#35
Thank you for all of these responses! I play with a Wilson Ultra 108 racket. I have never heard of lead tape. Does it make the racquet heavier? I have been told I hit "very flat" and one thing I want to work on is topspin. I think (??) I am hitting a moment later than I should so I'm not getting that spin. I do tend to hit low with very little net clearance (my most common error is the ball that looks like it's going to clear the net but doesn't.) I would say when I get tired I do bunt it back vs finishing out my entire swing. Relieved that size isn't a determining factor. I do want to be bigger and stronger just in general for life. (Nobody wants to be a 96# weakling lol.)
Cibulkova is 5' 3" but has tree trunk legs. Misaki Doi is 5' 2 1/2" and is slender. Schwartzman is 5' 6".

If you're a flat hitter, that swing path is drilled into your subconscious. It will take concerted effort to modify that. Get out the phone and video your shadow swings and your actual strokes [drop feeds to faster types]. You may think you're swinging low to high but the camera might show the same flat trajectory. Be patient.
 
#36
I know a lot of fast women that can run all day and bunt balls back. But one of their problems is they rely on that speed too much. They wait for the ball to be hit, sprint over to where its going and arm swing it back, then wait again to chase it down. You can't get good power that way.

You need to anticipate where the ball is going so you can get there with your legs planted and shoulders turned ready to uncoil into the ball. Power comes from the legs and core in tennis. Anticipate, get there early, turn your shoulders early, uncoil into the ball and then immediately recover to the right spot and observe your opponent carefully to anticipate the next shot once again.

Chase, hit, watch, chase just makes it too hard to be prepped early.
Yes. Even world class players travel to generate lots of pace went on the dead run. In those situations they are typically playing high percentage shots with plenty of net clearance and spin. The shots are less about getting the ball hard and more about staying in the point. It sounds as if you have adopted the mindset of a defensive baseline her. If you want to change you’re playing style you’re going to need to be more proactive and take a more aggressive mental approach.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
#38
I have never heard of lead tape. Does it make the racquet heavier?
Yes. Sometimes the specific idea is to weight the top of the head to increase swing speed. I don't like it for most people. I think you can find equipment to give you the same benefits, but I agree that technique is a better route either way.

There are talented 10 year old juniors that hit the ball harder than most adult rec players.
Definitely. I'm amazed when I see how hard young girls with excellent technique can drive a tennis ball. I had a chance to see this 15 year old girl play in a local tournament. She's just a little bit over 5 foot tall with a very slender build. She was absolutely ripping forehands (including on the run) against her D1 college opponent. I'm an adult man with an objectively "big" forehand shot (70mph+), and she was right there with me in terms of power. So I couldn't help but wonder why her opponent didn't at least try to go to her backhand more to get away from that power... then she did, and the young girl drove a winner with total control right down the line. If anything the backhand was more impressive because it seemed more precise.

Granted, she is one of, if not, the top junior in the country, but that underscores how far technique can take you. Here's an article with a picture for reference:
https://www.tennisrecruiting.net/article.asp?id=240234975

Edit: Just saw she won the girls 18s singles & doubles titles for USTA Winter Nationals in January. I'm very interested to see how her tennis career unfolds over the upcoming years.
 
#39
Granted, she is one of, if not, the top junior in the country, but that underscores how far technique can take you
The funny thing is that its probably little to do with the swing. We can all shadow swing a beautiful FH. It's really the footwork and timing that separates these juniors. They just get set in the right spot early and swing loosely but precisely so they hit the ball in the same spot with high RHS every time.

Put a ball in front of my beautiful loose shadow swing and goodness knows where I'm going to hit it on the string bed and which direction it will go. In order to get control I have to tighten up that loose movement and that naturally lowers my RHS.

Can I suggest you consider a racket with a smaller head size?
I'm always a fan of using a smaller head size if you really want to improve your strokes. They tend to be less powerful so you have to learn to take a full turn and swing to get depth, you have to concentrate more on the ball since you have a big drop off in power on off center hits and they end up being more accurate since there is less string deflection.

They may not be the ideal competition racquet long term but they are excellent training tools. I do most of my practice sets and drill sessions with my Phantom 93P but i'll usually pull out my Phantom 100 18x20 for important doubles matches so I get a little more forgiveness. But the 93P has really honed my serve, overheads and volleys and improved my focus on groundstrokes.
 
#40
Re-reading your post, it's 90% fitness training and 10% (or less) on technique--it should be more the opposite. You've established your fitness with your speed. Your private lessons have been about body rotation adding pace--it does add pace--but stroke technique is the priority--without it all the physicality gets you to the ball, but you may be on the short end of controlling it. You actually want your biceps and triceps relaxed and not opposing each other. When big servers are discussed they always talk about them having a loose spaghetti like arm--back to the whip analogy--when they talk about choking, they say the player tightened up, that's the biceps working against the triceps.

Longer strokes will give you longer levers, which can give you more pace. What kind of strokes, if any, is your coach teaching you? Are you, or is she, modeling your stroke technique after any pro player? One hand back-hand or two? Pace can be added with some wrist snap, like cracking a whip, after all the other elements of the kinetic chain are calibrated and lined-up. Tilden had a good book, "MATCH PLAY AND SPIN OF THE BALL", where he talks about the importance of ALL shots being hit with intention to choice of spin.
 
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#41
It's really the footwork and timing that separates these juniors.
No doubt. Their ability to contact the ball at precisely the same spot gives them a level of control that allows for hitting "harder" but maintaining control. If I could have more consistency with that I'd be able to go a lot harder on most shots, but I basically have to wait for fat shots that I can really set up on.

I think that's why her running forehands were so impressive to me. If I'm at a run like that I have to do something different than usual, or I'll be hitting a very low percentage shot. She's able to time her arrival to still generate the power while maintaining the consistent target. Almost everyone underestimates just how much power is derived from the rest of your body, and that's especially true when looking at serves.
 
#42
I'm a 49 year old woman playing 3.5 and 4.0 singles both USTA league and tournaments. I'm small (5'3") and intentionally went from very underweight and frail to getting a lot stronger overall working out ST with a trainer. I went from 96# to my current 107# with a goal of 112# and my gains have almost entirely been lean body mass. (IE I'm fighting hard and earning every ounce I gain.) My strength/gain process has been a little over a year so far. I've always been very fast, like people comment all the time that I get everything back, frustrating to play because I chase down every ball, running like a lunatic all over the court, but I've been more of a weak pace pusher/placer. I'm purposely trying to work on ways to add pace to my balls. I found a tennis instructor and took two lessons then got pneumonia this spring which kind of killed me, and I'm just bouncing back now. My running speed is 90% back but when I hit, I feel like a weak kitten. And if I get tired, any pace on my shots is the first to go. I am getting back into the tennis instruction (first time ever taking lessons! I've done clinics but never specific 1:1 lessons on form) and some things she was having me work on with adding pace are turning my body more, bending my knees more, and rotating to use my core more. So what can/should I do to help this process along? My current routine is strength training with trainer 3 days a week for an hour - we. do weights and working on gaining 5# more but he has a sports training focus (he mostly trains rugby and soccer) so we do footwork drills, running little obstacle courses, my gym has the fancy thing where you strap into a belt around your waist then run with tubing holding you back, medicine ball throws sideways against the wall, a lot of balance work where I'm standing on the wobbly ball or board and throw medicine ball back and forth, jumping and recovery etc. I currently play league matches 1-2/week depending on schedule, then I may throw in my favorite tennis clinic (large group with more of a doubles drills focus but 90 min class that has me drenched in sweat by the end). Then I will be adding a 30 min private lesson weekly. Any other specifics or just keep at it? I feel like I was making noticeable strides in adding pace before the pneumonia and now I am terrified that I won't get it back. Ideas, thoughts, motivation, feedback, war stories? Help! Thanks!
It's not length of swing path or even necessarily technique, but swing speed. Cleaner hits will impart pace more efficiently, but it still ultimately boils down to swing speed.

Part of the struggle here will be what you're bringing to the table. You've had a lot of success with court coverage and placement. You'll be fighting your own previous success by adding pace. Consider committing to hitting full strokes more often instead of just hacking/pushing to keep the ball in play. You won't be hitting harder right away, but you'll be training yourself to keep your swing speed up, which will eventually lead to more pace on average.
 
#43
It's not length of swing path or even necessarily technique, but swing speed. Cleaner hits will impart pace more efficiently, but it still ultimately boils down to swing speed.
Fair, I'm sort of lumping the assumption in that good technique was getting clean hits :) I agree with your point about full strokes too.

I don't want to blindly diagnose anyone's shots over the Internet, but I should add that many people I've played with who had trouble increasing power had the same problem: playing the ball too close to their body. This is sometimes a byproduct of bad footwork, but often it's simply them setting up wrong. It's hard to generate a good, consistently powerful swing when you're "crowded". If you're someone who does this, it'll feel really bizarre as you work on a better target for your contact point (like the ball is very far from you).
 
#45
Grip pressure is a major factor when it comes to hitting with pace. Many people hold their racquet too tightly which prevents a free-flowing swing which is needed for developing pace. The harder a person tries to swing fast the tighter they tend to hold the grip and that results in a slower swing speed. Your instructor probably has some exercises she can show you to help loosen your grip. The exercise that worked for me is called "racquet circles." After the follow-through, transfer the racquet to your non-racquet hand and pass it behind you transferring it back to your racquet hand before the next ball comes. Transferring the racquet from one hand to the other and back again helps to loosen the grip.
 
#46
Wouldnt you lose the point if you step into the ball and touch it with ur foot?
Just in case if this is a serious question. "Stepping into the ball" just means you step in the opposite direction of the incoming ball's flight path as you swing. As you do that, you transfer your weight from back foot into front foot in the opposite direction of the ball flight, and creates opposing momentum that adds to the racquet head speed.
 
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