keeping your eye on the ball?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Goldberg, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. Goldberg

    Goldberg Rookie

    Mar 11, 2004
    i have been constantly working to improve my game. i am a college level player and i just finished my freshman year and it only left me ready for more. i truly love the game and i am always tring to improve.
    i have a lot to work on in my groundstrokes but i think i will start with the basics.
    I am having trouble keeping my eye on the ball. How long are you supposed to watch? are you supposed to see it hit the strings?
    are there any good practice techniques to work on as i try to improve this?
    any help would be appreciated
  2. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

    Feb 26, 2004
    People do generally say that you should see the ball through the follow-through. Some pictures of pros hitting serves or groundstrokes will show that they are actually looking at the contact point after the ball has been struck. I think it is important to keep your head steady through the stoke in order to hit consistant, solid shots. Not sure about any specific techniques besides just concentrating on trying to actually watch the ball come off the strings, though you may not actually be able to.
  3. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    I did a post on the difference between focal vision and peripheral vision. A tennis player will go in and out of these vision types througout the point and match.

    It is important that when you are going to hit the ball that you dont drift into peripheral vision. Concentration is key for this. Using peripheral vision to hit a shot is a poor choice because it is weak in providing key information to the brain so it can bring the racquet to the ball. Usually mis-hits happen.

    I agree with TennisDog, you will not be able to see the ball into the strings - it is a blur you will see. The main reason why tennis teaching pros say to watch the ball into the strings is to keep the head still just before contact, at contact, and through a small part of the followthrough.

    Try to concentrate and practice with distractions around. This is a good way for you to discipline yourself in your ability to hold focal vision. Focal vision can be easily disrupted from your emotions (that is why staying calm and breathing right to control your heart rate is important), your senses, etc. Most tennis players are undiscplined in this area. Nervousness can also cause a tennis player to go in and out of focal vision too much and help cause errors or inconsistent play.

    A coach friend of mine has made a CD on the Mental and Emotion aspects of the game and tips on how to correct this. Lots and lots of good tips for players to use. You might find a couple you like and incorporate that in your game. I will contact him to find out where you can get one.
  4. orange223

    orange223 New User

    Feb 27, 2004
  5. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    You can purchase the CD by emailing Frank at

    Please note I do not receive any monetary gain from this recommendation. I just ask that you mention Bungalow Bill referred you to him for the CD so he knows that the email is legitimate.
  6. TMB

    TMB New User

    Mar 24, 2004
    I found Bungalo Bill's earlier post (the original version) on two kinds of vision extremely helpful. It opened my eyes (sorry!) to a whole new way of seeing the ball so it's worth finding that post. I also recommend Timothy Galway's "The Inner Game." His suggestion on specifically identifying the rotational direction of the ball each shot (together with his bounce/hit routine) is the most helpful tip I have ever received. The book has a whole section on the issue you raise.
  7. lelopez

    lelopez Rookie

    Jun 9, 2004
    A great drill to learn to keep your eye on the ball is to play dodge-ball. I know it sounds kinda corny with the new Ben Stiller movie coming out, but in this exercise you are forced to keep an eye on the ball at all times so it doesn't hit you. I found it particularly helpful to move to smaller and smaller (up to a tennis ball size) balls as your coordination progresses. Try to see the ball all the way til it gets to you and catch it.

    I know some of you (including me) may think you are too old to play this, well, you are not, and you can always play with just one other partner throwing balls at you. You can make beer bets to see who dodges or catches the most balls. Or a ball machine is very effective as well if you have one and are all alone.

    Racquetball is a good 2nd choice in my opinion.
  8. trigger1

    trigger1 New User

    Apr 9, 2004
    San Jose CA
    The one technique ,more than any other, that helps me to hit the ball with more consistency and pace is keeping my eye on the ball. We have heard this a thousand time but few of us really go to great lengths to perfect it. What I personaly do that helps me is to actually focus on the bounce just prior to making contact with the ball. This sets up a rythym to my shot making but more importantly is ensures that I make accurate and repeatable contact with the ball.
    However the problem for me is to the same thing during my matches. Under the extra pressure of a match it becomes harder and harder to practice what I preach.
  9. irishbanger

    irishbanger Rookie

    Feb 22, 2004
    Its impossible to watch the ball hit the strings. You just have to hit enough balls to have good judgement on hitting the sweet spot of your racket.
  10. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004

    There are things a player can do to improve their focus besides "hitting a lot of balls."

    A player can watch less of their ball standing still after they hit and incorporate movement. A player can watch their ball into their strings to keep the head still and disciplined. No you will not be able to see the ball, but you should see a blur. That is good discipline.

    A player when the ball is coming towards them can say HIT BOUNCE HIT to stay focused. This is what I do to help remove distractions and increase my ability to time the ball. Or as the above poster mentioned watch the bounce closely.
  11. Cypo

    Cypo Rookie

    Feb 11, 2004
    For me, the seams of the ball were distracting ! I would get so involved in trying to see them I would forget to do anything else. Eventually I found a modification that which works for me: being aware of the arc of the ball - is it rising, at the apex or falling.

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