Tips for my bro


I have a 13 year old younger brother who is just starting in competitive junior tennis. He is a pretty decent player for his age (he can beat most of the older 3.5 guys at my club) but hasn't played many junior tournaments yet. His game is unusual in the sense that his best shots are his BH and volleys. His 2hbh is very technically sound and by far his best shot. He can do almost anything with it. Lasers DTL, angles, half-volleys, heavy crosscourts etc. His signature shot is taking a high ball off the BH, doing a jumping hitch-kick, and pulling a hard crosscourt angle for a winner. His volleys are not as technically sound as the BH, but he has good enough feel to make them above average. His serve is pretty average for his age and the FH and movement are quite poor. The FH is often late and prone to mishits. And his movement is compromised by the fact that he is tall but not muscular, which kills his footspeed and first step. I've been giving him some tips lately on how to improve his game. The main thing I tell him is to use his strengths and try to hide his weaknesses. I tell him to take the ball as early as possible to hide his poor mobility and to try to hit his BH as much as possible (he sometimes even runs around the FH). As soon as he can take the BH DTL I tell h to try to rush the net and finish. What do you think of my advice? Feel free to give your own tips on strategy and how to help him with the transition to competitive junior tennis.
At 13, he should go out on court and have fun. Instead of working on match tactics, he should be focusing on improving his strokes and movement on the court. Perhaps not get competitive until he's addressed those basic mechanics issues.
I'm a big brother myself (we're 37 and 34 now) and I think it's not necessarily your task to give him advice on how to play tennis. I'd leave that to his coach. In any case let him have fun and be positive.

That said, on such a young age there is so much that can be improved. A bit of focus on improving weaker points is fine as long as it's done in a positive, healthy and fun way. His body is still developing, and his movement should become better in a few years. It's clearly something that he can work on by doing some exercises / games that focus on movement.

In my mind, one of the best ways to practice your weak points is to play a better player who has the tactics to put some pressure on those points. To lose to such a player is nothing to be ashamed of, and progress can be seen in the score; he might be able to get more points/games after a while. You could be that player if your relationship is mature enough to deal with that without unpleasant sibling rivalry. Otherwise it should be someone else.


OP, if your brother would like to improve (versus winning more at the same skill level) he needs to practice, practice, practice his weaknesses. There is no reason his forehand should not be better than his backhand. He needs to get the proper fundamentals in his stroke. He should hit is as often as possible.
Same with the serve. If he has a fundamentally sound serve, he will become a good server, though it may take longer than other strokes because he has to develop more coordination, which he will do as he grows older.


Bionic Poster
Try introducing a 2 handed forehand.
Feed him slow easy balls to his forehand and increase the pace as he hit's better and better shots.
His size has little to do with it, his focus everything.
I sometimes play with 14 year old who's 6'3" and 110 lbs. His Dad says he's lighter in weight, but peer pressure tells him he HAS to be over 100 lbs.