Improve soft hands

toth

Hall of Fame
I find it difficolut to improve soft hands - nobady wants to practise it...
i have found a video of drills and still found 2 tennisfriends to try to practise it

However these tries were weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Has anyone any idea how could i improve soft hands?

Thank you for your answer
Toth
 

nyta2

Hall of Fame
I find it difficolut to improve soft hands - nobady wants to practise it...
i have found a video of drills and still found 2 tennisfriends to try to practise it

However these tries were weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Has anyone any idea how could i improve soft hands?

Thank you for your answer
Toth
i do many, if not all those drills, but not all of them every day... usually pick one for like 2-3m in the beginning as part of my mini tennis warmup.
can do the bounce-up-volley-back drill on the wall.
to be fair, it can be hard just to find folks that even want to do mini tennis (or do it right - eg. they bunt it back)... which is a form of soft hands/feel training (though not as good as the bounce-up-volley-back drill.
some of those soft hands drills/games are very physically demanding... so could be that your buddies are "saving their energy" for when you eventually play "real points"
 

MGArchitect

New User
If working with your tennisfriends has not yielded results, a couple of suggestions:
- Practice bouncing the ball of the ground and catching it on your racquet repeatedly.
- Play keep up with your racquet with both forehand and backhand sides.
- Progression of that: try different heights and different numbers of bounces between low and high bounces and always catch with your racquet. For example, two short hits, one high hit, then catch, slowly increasing the number of short hits you can do in a row.
- Find a wall and practice touch shots against the wall.
- Don't forget you can hand feed yourself short balls as well.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Don’t know if this has yet been suggested in this thread. Soft hands can be developed with a “blending” drill. The idea of blending comes from some martial arts such as Aikido. We also see blending with the ball in basketball dribbling, volleyball setting and catching a cricket ball. Blending with a tennis ball is the catch as seen in the video below


With this blending skill, you must match the speed (& direction) of the incoming ball and then gradually decelerate it. It takes touch / soft hands to master this.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I would like to have confidence if i get a low short ball
For example dropshot or low slice
I believe that a lot of mini tennis warmups are done wrong. I encourage the high school teams I coach to use "mini-ball", but to treat the shots like volleys and not like ground strokes. Those short court "make believe" topspin balls that the guys are hitting at the start of their demonstrations in the video up top are exactly what I try to stay away from with the kids. Doing that reinforces terrible habits that are easy to see - completely arming the ball, feet stuck in one place, dead legs with straight knees... Practicing those bad habits from no deeper than the service line only makes them easier to recall in the middle of point play and make us more error prone.

For mini tennis to be effective, I think the focus needs to be on the footwork. Soft hands are generally quiet hands that hold the racquet relatively still. So when the hands need to go "soft", the feet need to do the work of carrying the racquet through the ball. That's what I'm always reinforcing with mini-ball.

The one drill they did that I do like is the double hit where they bump the incoming ball gently up to themselves and then hit it back. This helps big-time with developing a lighter grip for hitting touch shots. That double hit drill can be good for better players, but for others who don't quite have the good hands and quick feet needed to sustain that sort of rally with the self-volley, the next step down in terms of intensity is to bump the ball up to yourself, let it bounce instead of volleying your own bump, reset your feet (!!!!!!!), and send it back to your warmup partner.

I do believe that there's a version of short court topspin hitting that can be an productive warmup. This is where the hitters exchange exaggerated topspin strokes - lots of spin with low pace - from one or two steps inside the baseline. A little down the line, but also a little cross-court forehand to forehand as well as backhand to backhand. Compared with the dead-leg pretend topspin shots hit from one service line to the other, these exaggerated topspin strokes engage everything needed for baseline rallies minus the full speed pace of shot. I've seen stronger kids effectively use this as part of a decent pre-match warmup on many occasions.

Gotta find willing hitting partners who are game for several minutes of "volley rallies" where you're volleying to each other from different areas. When we're trying to sustain a volley rally instead of putting the ball away, that forces us to employ more touch shots in rapid succession. A good alternative to straight ahead volley rallies can be setting up on opposite corners of the service line (where it meets the sideline). That sort of volley rally is great for controlling those more extreme cross-court angles that are really useful on game day. Use some variations to keep it fresh.
 

toth

Hall of Fame
I believe that a lot of mini tennis warmups are done wrong. I encourage the high school teams I coach to use "mini-ball", but to treat the shots like volleys and not like ground strokes. Those short court "make believe" topspin balls that the guys are hitting at the start of their demonstrations in the video up top are exactly what I try to stay away from with the kids. Doing that reinforces terrible habits that are easy to see - completely arming the ball, feet stuck in one place, dead legs with straight knees... Practicing those bad habits from no deeper than the service line only makes them easier to recall in the middle of point play and make us more error prone.

For mini tennis to be effective, I think the focus needs to be on the footwork. Soft hands are generally quiet hands that hold the racquet relatively still. So when the hands need to go "soft", the feet need to do the work of carrying the racquet through the ball. That's what I'm always reinforcing with mini-ball.

The one drill they did that I do like is the double hit where they bump the incoming ball gently up to themselves and then hit it back. This helps big-time with developing a lighter grip for hitting touch shots. That double hit drill can be good for better players, but for others who don't quite have the good hands and quick feet needed to sustain that sort of rally with the self-volley, the next step down in terms of intensity is to bump the ball up to yourself, let it bounce instead of volleying your own bump, reset your feet (!!!!!!!), and send it back to your warmup partner.

I do believe that there's a version of short court topspin hitting that can be an productive warmup. This is where the hitters exchange exaggerated topspin strokes - lots of spin with low pace - from one or two steps inside the baseline. A little down the line, but also a little cross-court forehand to forehand as well as backhand to backhand. Compared with the dead-leg pretend topspin shots hit from one service line to the other, these exaggerated topspin strokes engage everything needed for baseline rallies minus the full speed pace of shot. I've seen stronger kids effectively use this as part of a decent pre-match warmup on many occasions.

Gotta find willing hitting partners who are game for several minutes of "volley rallies" where you're volleying to each other from different areas. When we're trying to sustain a volley rally instead of putting the ball away, that forces us to employ more touch shots in rapid succession. A good alternative to straight ahead volley rallies can be setting up on opposite corners of the service line (where it meets the sideline). That sort of volley rally is great for controlling those more extreme cross-court angles that are really useful on game day. Use some variations to keep it fresh.
The main problem is with these drills, nobody wants to do it...
I can not do it witout a tennis mate
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
I find it difficolut to improve soft hands - nobady wants to practise it...
i have found a video of drills and still found 2 tennisfriends to try to practise it

However these tries were weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Has anyone any idea how could i improve soft hands?

Thank you for your answer
Toth
I find it difficolut to improve soft hands - nobady wants to practise it...
i have found a video of drills and still found 2 tennisfriends to try to practise it

However these tries were weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Has anyone any idea how could i improve soft hands?

Thank you for your answer
Toth
Mini tennis with volley grip..
 

AleYeah

Rookie
My primary tennis buddy and I always warm up with some mini tennis, first just kinda warming up and then going competitive/keeping score, but with no topspin. Has been great for developing touch, and surprisingly enjoyable if you get into it.
 

ey039524

Professional
There are several techniques to try while playing mini tennis. Karue posted a video w Naomi Osaka, in which they play out slice only.

I almost always start w mini tennis, but use a shortened back swing w exaggerated topspin and full follow through to get the ball to clear the net and drop back down into the service box. It helps w controlling short balls on approaches or put aways (Also, if you want heavy, dipping balls to a net player's feet or even topspin lobs).

But for good touch at the net, you have to practice absorbing pace and dropping a volley short, even better w angle or from below the net.

The best touch shot would be a half volley off a hard hit, dipping groundie, and then barely clears the net, dying before it leaves the service box.
 

toth

Hall of Fame
I find it difficolut to improve soft hands - nobady wants to practise it...
i have found a video of drills and still found 2 tennisfriends to try to practise it

However these tries were weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Has anyone any idea how could i improve soft hands?

Thank you for your answer
Toth
The drill from 2:16 does not work.
My tennis friend kills the first ball that comes down from the net...
 

toth

Hall of Fame
The drill from 2:16 does not work.
My tennis friend kills the first ball that comes down from the net...
Has anybody idea how could be started this drill ralies with about neutral first and second shots?
 

onehandbh

G.O.A.T.
If you are really lacking in feel, just try bouncing a ball on your racquet with the racquet facing the sky. try varying the height it bounces off your racquet.

eg from high to low and back to high...

Then eventually try ro have it go from high up to barely bouncing on your racquet.

You should be able to do this almost indefinitely. Once this is too easy try it against a wall.
 

nyta2

Hall of Fame
The drill from 2:16 does not work.
My tennis friend kills the first ball that comes down from the net...
your friend does not understand the game... where the rule is every shot must be hit upwards. so in a game like this a ball that would normally taken as an overhead can be a tough shot to handle/place well if you must "hit up" (usually i just neutralize by hitting another high & deep bump to the svc line).
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Volley Secrets by Bret Hobden.

It shows some ways to volley and position yourself for the ball.

He calls one way "Losing the Collision" - at 12:03. For the loosely held racket handle and still hand, the racket head is seen to bounce back at the collision and not forward as usual. That is very effective for taking pace off the ball and for decades I did not know it existed. You can see ATP players doing it when they show slow playbacks of drop volleys on TV broadcasts of tournaments. Once you see it, you can always see it. It may be more useful in singles than doubles. ?

Never seen it?
 
Last edited:

toth

Hall of Fame
Volley Secrets by Bret Hobden.

It shows some ways to volley and position yourself for the ball.

He calls one way "Losing the Collision" - at 12:03. For the loosely held racket handle and still hand, the racket head is seen to bounce back at the collision and not forward as usual. That is very effective for taking pace off the ball and for decades I did not know it existed. You can see ATP players doing it when they show slow playbacks of drop volleys on TV broadcasts of tournaments. Once you see it, you can always see it. It may be more useful in singles than doubles. ?

Never seen it?
As i remember i already have seen this video.
My net game is better than my reaction for incoming short balls expecially on the bh wing.
 
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