Tennis Techniques Basics

Minh Nguyen

New User
Hello, I see that techniques in tennis varies a lot from player to player depends on thier style, physique, and situations. However, I believe that there are some basics rules/habits that share between players regardless of styles and physique.

Basically, what are you looking for when talking about good technique? (Strokes, footwork)

I know there are always exceptions. My purpose of this thread is to have like a reference of the ideal technique.

Just for an example:
Forehand:
- Be fluid through the shot
- Turn body sideway on preparation
- Hit in front of your body

I think everyone can pretty much agree on those.
 

Slicerman

Semi-Pro
In my opinion, the most important general skills that make the biggest difference are:

-proper kinetic chain to generate efficient strokes, I believe this applies to all skill levels
-ability to accurately read the flight and bounce of the incoming ball
-using footwork to move into the right position and at the right time to meet the ball correctly
-establishing your intention of shot as early as possible
 

Minh Nguyen

New User
In my opinion, the most important general skills that make the biggest difference are:

-proper kinetic chain to generate efficient strokes, I believe this applies to all skill levels
-ability to accurately read the flight and bounce of the incoming ball
-using footwork to move into the right position and at the right time to meet the ball correctly
-establishing your intention of shot as early as possible
I agree with you. However to me your list is more like the goal of tennis techniques. By having a efficient techniques (ex: splitstep, crossover step...) will definitely bring one closer to do well at those. Also I want to bring this thread up because of injury prevention as well. A few years ago my forehand was really rigid and I hit behind my body (improper kinetic chain) and I ended up using more energy and usually have shoulder problem. After changing it to the front, I was able to play more efficiently and decrease the impact on my arm.

Thanks for the input though
 

user92626

Legend
Minh,

Your questions can be very difficult to answer depending on one's perception. If you boil everything down to the basics, it's simply raising the racket, swinging across the body. You also initiate your movements with the same foot, same moving patterns, hit the ball off the same foot for consistency.

The idea here is that you do everything kinda naturally and in the same consistent manners. That's the basics. Apparently every player can do the basics.

Hitting and movements going beyond the basics and becoming techniques when they speed up. But that's where things also become murky. The higher things go, the fewer players know.
 

Minh Nguyen

New User
I guess I should rephrase the question:

In your oppinion, what do you think that will improve one's technique?

I understand that it really depends on one's perception, I just want to see different inputs from people and discuss about it, of course there will be opposition at some point, and from there can be break down even more (like given a particular situation, one would be more effective). It's just interesting to see how people are taught and the reasons behind it. I will then just summarize it on the first post so we can keep track of what the majority is thinking.
 

user92626

Legend
I guess I should rephrase the question:

In your oppinion, what do you think that will improve one's technique?

I understand that it really depends on one's perception, I just want to see different inputs from people and discuss about it, of course there will be opposition at some point, and from there can be break down even more (like given a particular situation, one would be more effective). It's just interesting to see how people are taught and the reasons behind it. I will then just summarize it on the first post so we can keep track of what the majority is thinking.
Again, you have to be more specific. You can't just leave it open ended like that or up to anyone!

Say, if your target is to get up to 3.5 ntrp or something, reading this place and applying some of the tips may be sufficient. However, there are many "basics" that can be used to get 3.5 ntrp level. Some may rely on fitness. Others rely on a couple strokes to be their go-to weapons.

I dunno, man. I don't think there's an ideal technique to a recreational level because rec tennis is virtually rule-less, goalless, and everyone's situation, priorities is different. How do you measure it (to get a sense of it being superior or bad) if there's nothing to measure against?

If it's professional tennis, you can talk about the ideal technique/performance and you can use the number of titles, number of weeks staying #1, etc.
 

vex

Hall of Fame
The basics of good technique no matter who you are:

1) get your feet in the right spot to execute a good stroke
2) hit up the ball imparting topspin and pace.

Once you get those down its literally just a matter of repetition and practice to build muscle memory for accuracy, depth, handling varieties of incoming pace/spin, controlling your own pace/spin
 
...................
Just for an example:
Forehand:
- Be fluid through the shot
- Turn body sideway on preparation
- Hit in front of your body

I think everyone can pretty much agree on those.
- Fluid - is there a definition for fluid in a tennis stroke? Do we know anything about the biomechanics of 'fluid'?
- "sideway" - is this a basic, do you mean the upper body only?
- "in front of the body" I think that some use 'in front' to mean closer to the net but others could mean literally more in front of the body. Or some part of the body if it is twisted.

If, instead, you use words plus images and videos the communication can be much clearer.

If you said 'Be fluid through the shot as in this high speed video' and always show the video communication is likely to be much better. If the term 'fluid' conveys any meaning you should be able to see it in videos. (Hana Mandlikova was the most fluid and graceful player that I have ever seen. But you had to see her in person for the full effect.)

A few words alone are poor for describing tennis strokes. Words just don't contain enough information to describe complex tennis strokes. Often they are misleading.

Two of the inadequate words are 'the basics' and 'the fundamentals'. These words are often used to refer to a mysterious body of information that really is not known by the user and that you can't Google.

For the closest to the 'basics' or 'fundamentals' see the reference books
Biomechanics of Advanced Tennis, 2003, B Elliott, M. Reid, M. Crespo.

Technique Development for Tennis Stroke Production, 2009, same authors

I like these descriptions of tennis strokes and their biomechanics.

Unfortunately, the ITF Store must have run out of its copies and now the prices have gone up 400% over the price of a few years ago. These books are much longer than a forum thread but all the information is by tennis biomechanics researchers, so that the percentage of true information is much higher than on the forum.

In the 1970s, I read the 'basics' and 'fundamentals' over and over, perhaps hundreds of times. I still have most of the books. I remember one 'It's the weight that makes the ball go.' It was confidently presented as deep wisdom. I did not quite understand, but I believed! When it comes to the stroke details that anyone can learn today, so much of that 1970s information - UGH!!

From the 1970s to 1995, how the serve worked was still not correctly identified. More scientific examination of a high speed films of a serve would have shown ISR. It's clear in a high speed film of a server, Gerald Paterson, in 1919! But the 'basics and fundamentals' seemed to be well established in the 1970s............

Kinetic Chain - another misleading term to cover much that is not understood - has a limited use but it is a blind alley for understanding tennis strokes. Stretched muscles are critically important. But what does the Kinetic Chain Concept tell you about stretched muscles? Are you drawing a blank? Stretched muscles are all swept under the rug in the Kinetic Chain Concept of speeding up body parts ........
 
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heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
In your oppinion, what do you think that will improve one's technique?
For the self-taught player I recommend using key checkpoints. For example, for the forehand, Macci's pat the dog position helped me to get a more compact stroke. I also use the finish as a check point on that shot.

Fluid looking technique comes from streamlined movement without hitches, leaning towards simplicity when designing your own strokes and staying loose.

Grip choice is important. At the beginning I got lucky with my grip choices in that they happen to suit the way I want to play. If you want to hit a certain type of forehand, see the difference between Sock and Del Potro shots and their grips.
 
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