Uh? What’s David and Goliath got to do with Tennis and more importantly Tennis Coaching in Paphos? If you remember it’s a story about a normal guy taking on a giant, a great lesson, but for the purposes of this article, I’m more interested in the weapon he used – a sling.
Whenever you’re coaching, you have to choose carefully the words you use to describe how to hit a ball. You don’t push it, but you also don’t just slap it. You stay with it for a distance and then it flies off and your racquet continues its arc or follow though. It’s important for the pupil to be able to visualise what they are aiming for and the closest analogy I can think of is a sling.
With a sling, there are two ends held together and the stone, or other projectile, is held in the centre. It is swung in an arc and at some point the other end is released with the stone being flung out at a target. The sling continues on its arc for a distance afterwards. It is a flowing movement (no pauses in the racquets trajectory and always moving in arc, no linear movement). You certainly don’t push or slap the stone.
If you imagine you’re racquet as the sling and feel your racquet as if it is part of your hand, you can watch the ball coming towards you. You can imagine the ball pushing your racquet back and then, using the racquet to gather up the ball, fling the ball off in the direction you wish it to go, like a sling, and allow the racquet to continue its path. By visualising the path of your shot and feeling your racquet make the trajectory, you will hit the ball in a similar way to a sling. The result? A smooth stroke that is pretty good.
It’s not something you will read in a book (at least not one I’ve read), but I’ve tried it out and my opponents have commented on how good my swing was and, most importantly, my consistency improve. So, try it out and let me know what you think 🙂