Tennis Skills Part 1

Last Updated on March 4, 2023 by Andrew Pirie

Tennis Skills Part 1


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

International Pacific College

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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 confusing.

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 jump straight to the more advanced steps, getting the basics right first.

Tennis is 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]

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2. & 3.

Definition: The most natural ground stroke, which can be played from both a closed and semi-open stance. Is the major groundstroke 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 than practicing solo.

Tennis Skills

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

Tennis Skills

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 are 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 return 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, and 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 for 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.

Tennis Skills

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

Tennis Skills

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 your partner do an overhead catch and return the ball.
2. Softball Throw -Low to high simulation, forehand prep. Variation: toss the ball into the target in-service box from T Have a partner alligator catch or finger catch the toss.
3. Backhand lift -Forearm lift, rotating & lifting socket Variation: toss the ball into the target in-service box
from T Have a 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 on 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

Tennis Skills

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) and 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

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 other sports 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 through 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 is what you feel or sense about your performance. Extrinsic Feedback is 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 can 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. 

DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION How to Hit a Forehand in Tennis
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.

Part 2

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
the 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.


Tennis Skills Part 2



By Andrew Pirie

Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021- Current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is  Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education. He can be contacted on [email protected] You can find more information on Coaching here

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