Sports Performance II
By Andrew Pirie
Due: October 5, 2004
Submitted to Allison Rhodes Robinson

International Pacific Colllege


Distributed rather than mass because it is better to learn one skill at a time. By teaching Forehand, Backhand, Serve, and Service Return on separate days in the training program for tennis. And keeping each session specific to that skill, rather than mixing the skills and causing confusion.

Part instead of whole as it is easier to learn step by step. By breaking the drills down into a step by step process of learning, instead of trying to jumping straight to the more advanced steps, getting the basics right first.

Tennis more mental than physical, as a more skilled player is going to swing more efficiently than someone with stronger arms who is a complete novice.

Tennis’s a difficult game from a mental standpoint that it drives perfectly rational people to emotional outbursts, wearing, throwing, racquets, and the like. Tennis is a very difficult game, which requires a precise combination of timing, coordination, quickness, decision-making, and stamina. In fact in the average tennis match, a player will have to
make approximately 900 to 1000 decisions each of which has to be made in less than a second. [Weinberg, R. S. The Mental Advantage]


2. & 3.

Definition: The most natural ground-stroke, which can be played from both a closed and semi-open stance. Is the major ground-stroke for the novice and the well-learned player. Tennis players have a usual impulse to hit the ball on the forehand side. If you feel the natural urge go for it and build up a forceful approach from the start.

Objective: An all-round attacking stroke that dictates play from the backcourt and sets up netplay chances.

Activities and Drills & Outline

Day 1
VI. Ball Toss Drills:
Can be utilized on one or in groups.
1. Forehand Drill.
A. Stand on the T and toss balls to the hitter. Have them hit the ball down the line
B. Stand at the service line and toss to the hitter at the baseline in the middle of the deuce court.
Have them hit cross-court shots.
C. Stand behind the Hitter and Toss balls into the court with slight topspin. This forces them into
the court and to hit up through the ball.
D. Feed the Hitter balls from the other side of the net for both down the line and crosscourt shots.
E. Feed balls from the middle of the court and finally from the baseline.

It is a specific drill for the forehand serve and involves working with a partner. The partner will be able to give feedback, which is more advantageous then practicing solo.

Definition Ground stroke partner of the forehand drive.:

The Backhand stroke has a good deal tidier and a smaller amount of energy-sapping takes back than the forehand. A comfortable grip and complete body turn will ensure that you uncoil into the hit like a striking rattlesnake. Use the full Eastern backhand grip.
*Full Eastern backhand grip

Objective: Initially to offer sound defense then to develop as a counter-attacking weapon
Activities and Drills & Outline

Day 2

VI. Ball Toss Drills:
It can be utilized on one or in groups.
1. Backhand Drill.
A. Stand on the T and toss balls to the hitter. Have them hit the ball down the line
B. Stand at the service line and toss to the hitter at the baseline in the middle of the deuce
court. Have them hit cross-court shots.
C. Stand behind the Hitter and Toss balls into the court with slight topspin. This forces them into
the court and to hit up through the ball.
D. Feed the Hitter balls from the other side of the net for both down the line and cross court shots.
E. Feed balls from the middle of the court and finally from the baseline.

2. Backhand tossing Drills the same as above. When utilizing these ball toss drills with 2 or 3 students the coach can stand with the hitter and have other students returning these forehands using a backhand and the third player can volley the return. The coach can work the students quite hard with this drill moving the hitter up and back, calling for more depth, more height over the net, more movement, giving high and low balls. The coach can also replace the student with him tossing a few to show the corrections in the backswing, contact point or follow-through, etc. It is quite easy to maintain an awareness of the other student’s shots and suggest their improvement or call out encouragement. If (IF) all the balls land in one corner and stay off the net then it worked.

It varies from the forehand drill as 2 or 3 students can participate and involves a lot of people. There is a lot more variation the coach can add to this exercise.

Definition: This is the most important stroke of the game because it begins and can end every point.

Service is the most advantageous stroke in tennis. From a stationary – and seemingly harmless – launch, the well-timed service will discharge tennis balls into your adversaries court at blistering speed. From your ankles upwards, you should sense a gathering of momentum rising rhythmically through your body, like your legs, hips, stomach, back, shoulders, playing arm and wrist create a chain reaction of power that results in an “anatomic” explosion at impact. Go for an adapted Eastern Forehand grip, to begin with graduating to the continental grip

Objective: To dictate the run of play and set up winning situations.

Activities and Drills & Outline

Day 3.
III. Ball Toss: Arm & Swing Drills
1. Baseball Throw -Service motion, balance & pro-nation Variation: throw the ball over the back fence from 6-8 ft Have partner do an overhead catch and return the ball.
2. Softball Throw -Low to high simulation, forehand prep. Variation: toss the ball into target in-service box from T Have partner alligator catch or finger catch the toss.
3. Backhand lift -Forearm lift, rotating & lifting socket Variation: toss the ball into target in-service box
from T Have partner alligator catch or finger catch the toss. IV. Ball Catch: Coordination &
Balance positioning drills.

Involves a variety of different throws. Tests coordination and balance.

Definition: Sound only to the service in match play importance

The skill to constantly send back the serve is a proficient art and has an enormous effect upon the outcome of every point. It is strategically imperative to return every serve effectively but the serving intensity of your opponent governs the type and condition of your reply. You must, therefore, learn to adapt your basic ground-strokes to counteract the height, speed, spin, and placement of the serve. At first, when returning serve, use your basic forehand and backhand drives and then evolve them to play the featured returns.

Objective: To keep the ball in play and to take the initiative from the server. Grips: Basic Eastern Forehand and backhand grips.
Activities and Drills & Outline

Day 4.
1. Back-court wide ball drill.
Start to either the forehand or backhand and feed five balls each a bit wider than the first until the student must cover the whole singles court to reach the fifth ball.
2. Approach and Volley Drill #1.
Forehand approach volley. Start with a deep backhand in the middle of the ad court then feed a short ball to the middle of the deuce court. The student must execute an approach shot down the line to the opponent’s ad court (typically backhand corner) then execute a forehand volley cross-court. B. Back approach volley. Same as above but reversed. As the players get more advanced add in an overhead or offensive lob.
3. Attacking Drill.
3 ball. Start the player at the (T) and throw up a shoulder-high sitter to the forehand. The student is to hit down the line and then prepare for a backhand volley down the line and then move to hit a wide forehand passing shot. Variation: starting on the backhand side and hitting a low or sliced ball at his feet.

Specific to the activity, it can adjust as the player gets more advanced.

TENNIS SKILLS DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION Application of chosen learning strategies

  • I felt that these lessons were part of learning as it has been broken down into step-by-step procedures. Mental instead of physical as when we were being taught tennis skills by Big John a lot of us were quite tired, as it was quite early in the morning. I felt that mental is more important than physical as we had to concentrate more, and I didn’t find Tennis as
    physically exhausting as another sport such as Track and Field or Basketball. A lot more thinking is involved as there are set patterns to follow. These drills are distributed as they take a while to learn and you can get better at them by consistent practice.
    Feedback is the most important aspect of learning because without it we wouldn’t know where we were going wrong or how could improve. Intrinsic Feedback, what you feel or sense about your performance. Extrinsic Feedback what you can see or hear e.g. the sound of the ball hitting the bat.Oral Feedback.Knowledge of performance information about the actual movement (that you feel inside) e.g. not enough drive in the take-off. E.g. Tennis KR = Balls lands out. KR = Racket Face too open.
    Feedback is the single most important factor in learning how you are going to apply it to your program? Selection Attention
    This determines what information is passed on for action. Our brain has the ability to concentrate on relevant items not irrelevant e.g. cocktail party phenomenon. When coaching or giving feedback the general rule is to give the athlete 3=1 things to concentrate on otherwise they get information overload. 

Are your forehand ground-strokes not making it over the net? Try these steps to improve not only your skills but
your enjoyment of the game.
1. Position yourself just inside the court’s baseline and near the centerline.
2. Keep your feet at the width of your shoulders.
3. Hold the racket at about waist level directly in
front of you.
4. Bend your knees slightly. You should be able to feel some strain on the quadriceps muscles in your thighs.
5. As the ball is hit toward you, turn your shoulders to the right (or left, if you’re left-handed). Lower the racquet head toward the playing surface.
6. Pivot on your right (or left) foot. With your other foot, step forward and across your body and plant this foot pointed at a 45-degree angle toward the right (or left) net post. At the same time, swing the racquet backward while pulling it up from the ground.
7.. Stop the backswing when the head of the racquet is slightly below waist level and your arm is extended and relaxed. The racquet and your arm should be perpendicular to the net.
8. Wait for a split second. Before the ball reaches you, pause for a moment by holding the racquet in the backswing position.
9. Begin driving the racquet forward with your shoulders. Try not to allow your arm to change position and exert more pressure on the swing. Grip the racquet firmly but avoid squeezing the handle too hard.
10. With the ball at waist height (and you bending or straightening your knees accordingly), continue the swing, making contact with the ball at a point slightly in front of your body.
11. Follow through by driving the racquet forward so that it ends up above your shoulders, pointing up to the sky and in the direction of the ball you just hit.
12. Quickly get back into the original position for the next shot. Tips:
• Always pull the racquet back as soon as the ball is approaching your forehand side. Your backswing should come from the shoulders, not the arm.
• If you have to hit a running forehand, push your momentum up from the foot opposite to your forehand side. For example, use your left foot to lean into a ball hit to your right side.
• Try to hit the ball on the sweet spot (middle area) of the racquet. This gives you a solid forehand by maximizing the efficiency of the shot.
• Using a two-handed forehand is quite difficult. If you’re a beginner, learn the one-handed approach for more control and power. Leave the twohanded
technique for your backhand.

TENNIS SKILLS DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION How to Hit a Backhand Ground Stroke in Tennis
The backhand groundstroke is an essential aspect of tennis, as both a defensive and offensive shot. Follow these steps for a righthanded player. Reverse the alignment if you’re a left-handed player.
1. Move from the ready position, pulling the racket back with the proper grip.
2. Use the Continental grip for topspin or the Eastern grip for a slice, drop shot or lob.
3. Keep your right hand loose on the grip.
4. Tuck the racket toward the inside of the body, with both arms held close to the body.
5. Cross over with your right foot.
6. Dip the right shoulder to the front.
7. Release the racket head to take the shot, with a sense of throwing the shot from your right shoulder.
8. Finish the two-handed shot up and over the right shoulder.
9. Make a one-handed shot by extending your playing arm straight out.
10. Extend the opposite arm backward as a counterbalance.Tips:
• Take small steps to position yourself after getting to the ball.
• Try to avoid muscling the shot. Tightening your forearm can cause pain in the wrist and
elbow. Let the racket head do the work for you.

• To get started in tennis, you first have to pick up a racquet, so here are some notes on choosing and using the right grip for your tennis game.

Eastern Grip
• Note that the eastern grip is popular with beginners and is widely used with forehands because of its comfort. The grip can also be used to hit backhands, serves, and volleys.
• Hold the racquet in front of you in your left hand (or right hand if you’re a left-handed player).
• Rotate the racquet so that the face (strings) of the racquet is perpendicular to the ground.
• Lay the palm of your free hand flat on the face of the racquet.
• Move your palm toward your body, down the shaft of the racquet, until it hits the end of
the handle.
• Wrap your fingers around the handle and space them slightly apart. Your thumb and forefinger should lie almost directly on top of the handle, forming a V that points toward your right shoulder (toward your left shoulder if you’re left-handed). Your thumb should lie across the top of the handle.

• An eastern grip is also called a “handshake grip” – it’s like shaking hands with your racquet.
Continental Grip
• Note that the continental grip is used by more advanced players in serving and volleying. Begin by forming an eastern grip.
• Ease your grip and turn the racquet with your left hand (or right hand if you’re a lefthanded player).
• Turn the racquet until it is perpendicular to the ground, or pointing to the “12 o’clock” position. Then, if you are right-handed, turn the racquet to about the “1 o’clock” position. If you are left-handed, turn the racquet to the “11 o’clock” position.
• Wrap your fingers around the handle and space them slightly apart. The V formed by the thumb and forefinger should point toward you, and the thumb should lie along the length of the handle. The bottom knuckle of your index finger should lie right on top of the racquet.

Western Grip Steps:
• Note that the western grip is excellent in forehand play but feels awkward for beginners, especially when used for backhands, serves, and volleys. Advanced players often use it to enhance their forehand play.
• Start by holding the racquet with an eastern grip.
• Relax your grip and turn the racquet counterclockwise until the top of the racquet points toward the “11 o’clock” position. Left-handed players should turn the racquet clockwise to the “1 o’clock” position.

  • Wrap your fingers around the handle and space them apart slightly. The V
    formation should point to your right (or left), and your thumb should lie
    across the top of the handle. Overall Tips:
    • Choke up, or slide your hand toward the racquet’s face, for more control. The amount of control depends on which stroke is used.
    • Don’t squeeze the handle too much, and keep your arm relaxed while swinging.
    • Keep your wrist straight and your fist tight so that the racquet doesn’t spin out of your hands.
    • The best grip is the one that’s most comfortable for you. If you find grip variations that work particularly well, use them.Semi-Western Grip
    • Study the racquet handle. It is eight-sided: four sides are flat; four sides are beveled.
    • Place the racquet in your hand in the Continental grip.
    • Move your hand to the right from this grip, with the base knuckle of your index pointer finger on the bottom right bevel of the racquet.
    • Use only on a forehand. In fact, Semi-Western grip is recommended by some schools as the number one forehand grip.
    • Hit shots with a quick, upward motion when using this grip.
    • Keep your fingers together, just as you would on the Western or Eastern
    grip. Tips:
    • Use this grip no matter what your playing level. It is the preference of clay court baseline players.
    • Be aware that when using this grip, it is more difficult to make the move to another grip for a backhand or a volley.


InternetCooper, J. (2004). Slice Tennis Backhand Analysis. Your Guide to Tennis. Retrieved
October 2, 2004. from

Mackenzie, B. Skill Development. Sports Coach. October 2, 2004, from

We Make it Look Easy. Retrieved October 2, 2004,

(September 1997) Vol 3(1) The Nature in Skill Learning. Learning in Sports. Retrieved
October 2, 2004. from

(March 2004). Tony Lee’s Professional Tennis School. Retrieved October 3, 2004. from


Douglas, P. (1991). Learn Tennis in a Weekend. London. Dorling Kindersley Ltd.

Weinberg, R.S. (1988). The Mental Advantage. Canada. Human Kinetics Publishers.

Tennis Biomechanics: Backhand

tennis-female2004 Sports Course

International Pacific College

Big John/Me

Versus Professional

Versus Original Performance

What is it?

BMX (Biomechanics) is the study of human movement, what forces both internal and external to cause the movement to happen and the results of forces when exerted.

Why is it important?

  1. Once you find the most effective way a body can move you can compare it with your own actions and then improve your technique.
  2. Improves your performance
  3. It gives an understanding of why things happen and how you can change to improve.
  1. Stability and Balance

What is the C.O.G? (Center of Gravity)

What is mass use weight?

What is gravity?

Center of Gravity = is the center point of an object’s mass, the point about which parts are equally balanced.

Mass = the amount of substance in a body/object

Weight = is the force of gravity (8 newtons) acting on the mass.

Gravity = Pull of Earth 9.8 newtons

Important Points

  1. Size of the base of support
  2. Height of C.O.G (the lower the better)
  3. Line of gravity must remain in your base if support

To increase stability

  1. Widen base of support
  2. Lower center of gravity
  3. Keep the line of gravity inside the base of support
  1. Motion
  1. Linear Motion is when all parts of the object move the same way at the same speed.
  2. Rotary Motion is motion around an Axis (Pivot point) e.g. a gymnast performing a giant circle on a high bar. The bar is the axis. The axis is external to the body.

e.g., A cricketer bowling a ball. The axis is the shape shoulder joint, from the ball’s point of view. External axis.


Is the amount of motion a body has. It is related to speed and mass. I.e. the faster the object is moving the greater the momentum.

The faster the object is moving the greater the momentum..

Momentum is = to M X V

Transfer of Momentum

An object has mass and also velocity when it strikes another object it transfers momentum to the other object.




This occurs when there is some movement between two surfaces.

Skin Friction – relation between air and surface of the bowl.

Decrease – smoother surface ball

Increase – rough surface

Rolling Friction – a major influence on how far the ball will travel.

The surface of ball – the surface of the ground, condition of the ground, footwear, type of footwear

Rebound – how high things bounce when one objects come into contact with another object. E.g. the ground or a racket.

The material ball is made of

It depends on the hardness of the ground.



Magnus Force

Top Spin

Side Spin



Stability and Balance

Big Johns’s eyes are watching, concentrating on the ball.  His knees are flexed and shoulder-width apart. He holds the racket in the center. I have my knees flexed and shoulder-width apart on both videos and am trying to hold it in the center.


Really no motion is involved apart from the balancing side of things.

Plane of swing

I & John both are adjusting our grip on the racket.

Force Summation


Not much momentum is being used as the knees are bent and I & John are getting ready to move to grip the racket. A stable secure base is being built by bending the knees.

Transfer of Momentum

Me and Big John have are knees bent to allow for the legs to be utilized in the swing,

Friction & Rebound

Friction between me and Big John bending our knees means that our shoes are pressing hard against the wooden floor of the gymnasium.


Projectile Motion




Big John starts with the shake hands “(Eastern) forehand grip, changing his grip by feel. I am using the same technique that he has taught us in lessons where you have to place your middle finger along with the handle of the racket and grip. He balances forward turning on his left letting his weight move on to it as he takes back the racket. He keeps his head steady.

I am not as good at gripping the handle as Big John, as I am not as used to holding a tennis racket as he is. In the later video, I felt that I could hold the racket a lot more firmly and felt more comfortable holding the racket this way. Big John taught us to steady the racket and turn the playing hand inwards around the center of the handle.


This is mainly a steady motion. Big John Is mainly concentrating on a sound grip and getting ready to turn on his left foot. I am keeping steady and also preparing to turn and hit the ball.

Plane of swing

The handle of the racket is being gripped. And I and Big John are holding the racket sideways with the net facing towards the server. The racket is being held so it is pointing to the right side.



Transfer of Momentum

Big John balances forward, turns on his left foot, he lets the weight move on to it as he prepares to takes back the racket.

On my first attempt, I do not turn out my left foot. On my second attempt, I am conscious of this error and I try to attempt to do this unsuccessfully, I am not coordinated to the movement yet.

Friction &



Projectile Motion


Stability and Balance

Big John bends his knees relaxed, bending his back knee more as he turns away. I don’t bend my knees so much. In my later video, I bend my knees equally but don’t overemphasize one particular knee.


Big John looks over while his hitting shoulder at the coming ball.

I turn my head and it isn’t and I look over my back instead of my shoulder in the first video. I am balancing on my feet but I am not turning on my left foot as I come back.  In the later video, I am looking over my shoulder.

Plane of swing

Big John brings Racket back with elbow locked at 90 degrees, the racket head points downwards. On the first video, I have my elbow locked at 90 degrees but my racket head is not pointing downwards. On my second video, I have my racket head pointing downwards and my elbow is locked at 90 degrees.

Force Summation


Transfer of Momentum

As John pivots, he takes his racket back below his intended hitting height. I am unable to concentrate on this in both videos.

Friction & Rebound




Forward swing

Stability and Balance

After releasing his support hand from the racket Big John extends it for balance.

On my first attempt, I lunged for the ball and was not very balanced. On my second attempt, I succeeded in extending my hand and the racket to hit the ball and remaining balanced.


John’s front legs come across as he contacts the ball. I also do the same.

Plane of swing

Big John racket head lifts through the ball in the direction he is aiming. I just try and hit the ball hard on my first attempt in any direction. On my second attempt, I hit the ball and look in the direction I want to hit it.

Johns’s racket arm is straight and diagonally upwards. His fist is just above his head. In the first video, my arm goes straight up over my head. In the second video, my arm with the racket is not quite so high.

Force Summation


John lets his racket sweep out and up through the ball. I also do the same.

Transfer of Momentum

John turns his shoulders more and shifts his weight onto his left foot and leading hip. Keeping his support hand at the racket as he brings it behind the left hip. I do the same on both videos except I don’t look as balanced.

Friction & Rebound




Stability and Balance

Big John stays down on the shot by keeping his weight forwards bent over his front knee.

His support arm and back foot act as stabilizers. He holds his racket arm straight and keeps him down until the stroke is complete. He keeps sideways-on through the stroke.

On my first attempt, I hop up in the air. On my second attempt, I stay on the ground but have not really assumed the right position and my head is not staying down.


Big Johns Upper Body rotates and he stays down on the shot. I manage to rotate my upper body but am unable to stay down on the shot in the videos.

Plane of swing

John points the racket head up when after making contact with the ball for topspin effect. I am also easily able to do this in both videos.

Force Summation


Johns body uncoils has he drives through the ball. I do the same in both videos.

Transfer of Momentum

John rotates his upper body has a high finish with extra topspin and is able to gain increased control. He stays down on the shot to maintain the pace. I manage to rotate my body but am unable to emulate the topspin. John transfers his weight fully onto his bent front knee. I do not do this on the first video, and remember to do this on the second video. His back foot stabilizes his finish. I am unable to remember this in both videos.


Friction & Rebound


John uses high elbows to produce brushed topspin for greater control. I am not able to bring my elbows up high in the first video. In the second video, I am able to bring my elbows up.




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