Monthly Archives: December 6, 2021

Warmup


I go through a set of exercises that puts all of my joints through their range of motion.

Stroke practice

I place 9 targets
on the court across the net from me and I practice by bouncing the ball and hitting to those positions. In between practicing each of the ground strokes and overheads, I practice the serve. I think it’s better to intersperse serve practice in between other shots instead of practicing the serve for one long period of time because you have to serve in between other shots during a match.

For positions 7, 8 and 9, I aim for the baseline or beyond because it’s better to hit a few long shots than a lot of short shots in a match.

  1. Slice backhand : hit five slice backhands to position 9 and five slice backhands to position 7.
  2. Forehand: standing in position to receive a serve on the deuce side and then the ad side, hit two forehands each to positions 7, 8 and then 9.
  3. Serve: practice the serve toss and serve for 5 minutes to warm up. Serve two balls each to positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  4. Backhand: standing in position to receive a serve on the deuce side and then the ad side, hit two backhands each to positions 9, 8 and then 7.
  5. Serve: serve two balls each to positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
  6. Passing forehand: standing in position to receive a serve on the deuce side and then the ad side, hit two forehands each to positions 1, 4 and 6.
  7. Serve: serve two balls each to positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  8. Passing backhand: standing in position to receive a serve on the deuce side and then the ad side, hit two backhands each to positions 6, 4 and 1.
  9. Serve: serve two balls each to positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  10. Forehand approach: standing in the middle of the baseline, throw the ball into the court and hit two forehand approach shots each to positions 7, 8 and 9.
  11. Backhand approach: standing in the middle of the baseline, throw the ball into the court and hit two backhand approach shots each to positions 9, 8 and 7.
  12. Serve: serve two balls each to positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  13. Forehand high bouncing shot: standing in the middle of the baseline, hit the ball high in the air with racket to the forehand side and hit two forehand high bouncing shots to positions 7, 8 and 9.
  14. Backhand high bouncing shot: standing in the middle of the baseline, hit the ball high in the air with racket to the backhand side and hit two backhand high bouncing shots to positions 9, 8 and 7.
  15. Serve: serve two balls each to positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  16. Forehand lob: standing in the middle of the baseline, hit to two lobs each to positions 7, 8 and 9.
  17. Backhand lob: standing in the middle of the baseline, hit two lobs each to positions 9, 8 and 7.
  18. Serve: serve two balls each to positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  19. Forehand overhead: standing on the midline of the court in the middle of the service box area, hit the ball straight up in the air with your racket and hit two forehand overheads each to positions 7, 8 and 9.
  20. Backhand overhead: standing on the midline of the court in the middle of the service box area, hit the ball to your backhand side and straight up in the air with your racket and hit two backhand overheads each to positions 9, 8 and 7.
  21. Serve: serve two balls each to positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  22. Backpedal and hit overhead: standing on the midline of the court in the middle of the service box area, hit the ball straight up in the air and behind you with your racket. Sidestep backwards to get under the ball and hit two overheads each to positions 7, 8 and 9.
  23. Run forward and hit overhead: standing on the baseline, hit the ball up in the air and into the court with your racket. Run forward, let the ball bounce then hit two overheads each to positions 7, 8 and 9. This is useful practice for hitting overheads from any position on the court.
  24. Serve: serve two balls each to positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  25. Forehand dropshot: standing in position to receive a serve on the deuce side and then the ad side, hit two forehand dropshots each to positions 6 and 1.
  26. Backhand dropshot: standing in position to receive a serve on the deuce side and then the ad side, hit two backhand dropshots each to positions 1 and 6.
  27. Serve: serve two balls each to positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  28. Between the legs: just for fun I stand in the middle of the service boxes and hit the ball back over my head. Then I turn around and run towards the baseline with my back to the net and practice hitting the ball between my legs. I haven’t been able to do it yet.

Sprints


To improve my conditioning, I do a set of sprints after practice and matches. I do 3 sets of five sprints each:

  1. Set 1: from the T at the baseline, run up to the service box T, do a karaoke step to the right sideline, a side step to the left baseline, a karaoke step back to the service box T, run backwards to the beginning position.
  2. Set 2: from the T at the baseline, run up to the service box T, do a side step to the left sideline, a karaoke step to the right sideline, a side step back to the service box T, run backwards to the beginning position.
  3. Set 3: from the T at the baseline, run up to the service box T, do a side step to the right sideline, a karaoke step to the left sideline, a side step back to the service box T, run backwards to the beginning position.

Yoga

(coming soon)

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 264 user reviews.

Another disclaimer: As I said, I’m a Level E player, what do I know? This is just my experience.

Sometimes it’s unbelievable how thick some people can be. A year and a half ago I developed tennis elbow. I had a one handed backhand and I was hitting the ball too late – my elbow was leading my racket. Essentially I was pushing the ball instead of launching the racket at it.

A year and a half later, I have tennis elbow again. It’s not my backhand, I switched to a two hander. This time it’s my forehand. I tracked down the same physical therapist who rescued me before, Andy Choi at Vert Therapy, and here’s what he found.

As far as I can tell, the most important thing in tennis is to get the ball over the net and into the other court. To do this, I changed my stroke to get topspin on the ball so that it would go higher over the net but also dip down and stay inside the court when it gets there. I added a loop in my backswing so that I could get under the ball more and lift it. Big mistake.

I think the biggest problem contributing to tennis elbow is the mistaken idea that you swing at the ball with your arm. O.k., it’s pretty hard to swing at the ball without your arm but it’s actually your trunk that does the twisting and swinging. Your backswing is actually a trunk twist. Your racket goes back because you twist in that direction. Your racket moves forward because you step forward and twist in that direction. At the end of the step and twist, your racket’s momentum is going to carry it beyond the twist but it’s your trunk providing most of the firepower.

I should have figured this out, my gym sessions consist of endless twisting exercises. Twists while bent over a ball, twists while straddling a ball, twists while pulling a cable, twists while hugging a medicine ball. Still, it takes an injury to sink in.

These are the errors I introduced by changing my swing:

  1. I was taking my trunk twist out of the backswing by putting the loop
    in it.
  2. I was hitting the ball with an open racket face to get more lift thereby exposing my elbow to extra strain.
  3. I was dropping my racket and therefore my wrist to get under the ball which put my wrist in a weak position.
  4. Oh yeah, and I was still hitting the ball late.

These are the changes I have to make:

  1. Twist my trunk on my back and forward swing.
  2. Bend my knees as I hit the ball in front of me with a neutral wrist position and closed racket face.
  3. Swing through and brush up the ball instead of just brush up.
  4. Catch my racket at the end of my swing to avoid overtwisting my forearm.

Twist, bend, hit, swing and catch. Twist, bend, hit, swing and catch. Twist, bend, hit, swing and catch. Twist, bend, hit, swing and catch. My new mantra.

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 169 user reviews.