One of the most common instructions in
tennis is watch the ball. We hear it
over and over and over but we still have
a hard time really hitting that ball at
the right spot at the right time. So why
is watch the ball so complicated. Well I
think a lot of times people don’t really
understand what watching the ball really
means. Everybody looks at the ball that’s
The problem is that you’re sometimes not
looking at the ball at the right time.
Let me try to clarify that. If I am
playing tennis in the ball is on the
other side of the court, I have a wide
focus. I’m looking at the ball, I’m
looking at the opponent, I looking at the
court, I’m looking at the situation. As
the ball nears to me, my focus needs to
narrow. So as the ball gets closer, I’m
focusing more and more on the ball. Once the ball bounces the ball is my whole
focus and usually that’s where the
mistake lies. The ball bounces and we
still have a little bit of a wider focus.
We’re hitting the ball and we’re trying
to watch where we’re hitting instead of
just focusing on the ball totally. So
from the bounce to the hit that’s where
the problem lies. What we’re going to try
to do is we’re going to try to pay more
attention to the ball as it gets closer.
So I’m going to show you a few exercises
that are going to force you to really
concentrate on the ball as it’s close to
you. The last foot, that is the key, that’s
what makes the difference.
So on the first exercise I am going to
track the ball the whole time and I’m
going to say “bounce”, “hit” every time the
ball bounces or somebody hits the ball.
When the ball is on the other side and
my partner hits the ball I’m going to
say “hit” when ITcomes here and
bounces I am gonnas say “bounce” and whenI’m hitting it I’m gonna say “hit”. The key
to this exercises is to do it exactly at
the right time. So I’m going to
have to say” bounce” exactly as it bounces and “hit” exactly as it hits. Let’s take a look.
Bounce, hit, bounce hit, bounce hit, bounce hit, bounce hit, bounce hit, bounce hit
bounce hit, bounce hit, bounce hit bounce hit, bounce hit. By really concentrating
every time exactly when the ball is
going to bounce and when your going to
hit you’re getting your mind away
from any other thoughts. The ball is the
focus and that is the key in tennis. For
the next couple of exercises the focus
is also going to be the ball especially
as it comes closer. So what I’m gonna try
to do is I’m gonna try to rally with my
partner and stop the ball with the grip
and then rally it back. If I can move
my body and stop the ball with the grip,
I should have no problems hitting it in
the middle. Let’s take a look.
So trying to stop the ball with the grip
really forces me to watch the ball
especially well after it bounces. The
same thing, I am going to try to do
exactly the same thing with the return
of serve. The return of serve is one of
those shots where it’s very easy to look
up especially if the serve is coming fast. So let’s
take a look at that. So I’m ready here to
return, I watch the ball and I try to
stop it. Do it again.
If I really concentrate on looking at
the ball hitting my grip, I understand
the feel of really looking at the ball
and then watching my racket swing by and
hitting it. That is a key. One of the… as I
mentioned earlier one of the main
problems is this last foot before the
ball reaches the racket. That’s when we
have a tendency to look up and see where
the ball is going to go. So one exercise
to prevent us from doing that is going
to have our heads freeze at contact
without our eyes following the ball.
Let’s take a look at that.
the serve is the same thing. A lot of
times we think about watching the ball
on everything, every other shot, but we
forget about the serve. We want to do the
exactly same thing on the serve. We want
to make sure that your eyes are up and
we’re watching contact. So let’s take a
look at that.
We’re going to do exactly the same
exercise but with the serve.
at the beginning you might feel a little
bit strange keeping that head up, and it
might be very difficult for some of you
to do it because it’s…you’re so
used to moving your head with the ball,
but after a while you will really
understand what it means to stay focused at contact on the serve, and that is
really going to help your game.