What follows here is an unnecessarily detailed description of my tennis strokes.

Preparation: before each point, I mentally prepare myself.

Free the muscles in my neck and jaw using the Alexander Technique.
Smile at the thought of winning the next point.
Think about where I want the ball to go.
Rehearse the next stroke I am going to use, usually the serve or return of serve.
Say the score.

Basic Stroke Mechanics.
Twist my trunk to bring the racket back.
Step into the ball and bend my knees.
Grip the racket solidly with a neutral wrist position, approach the ball with a closed racket head and hit the ball early rather than late.
Swing through the ball and up and follow through.

Forehand/Two Handed Backhand
Keep my feet moving.
When my opponent hits the ball, jump into a split step.
Twist my trunk to bring the racket back as I run to the ball.
Step into the ball and bend my knees.
Swing through the ball and up while thinking about where I want to ball to go.
Move back to the neutral position on the court.

Slice Backhand
Keep my feet moving.
When my opponent hits the ball, jump into a split step.
Twist my trunk to bring the racket back as I run to the ball.
Step into the ball and bend my knees.
Swing under the ball and up while thinking about where I want the ball to go.
Move back to the neutral position on the court.

Serve: there are three important parts of my serve: 1. bend my knees and rotate my trunk 2. move my head and spine up towards the ball – this keeps me from tilting my head forward and taking my eye off the ball 3. snap across the ball at impact to get as much rotation as possible.

Twist to the right and toss the ball with a straight arm. At its highest point, the ball will be in line with my head and a racket length in front of the baseline.
Bend my knees and rotate, loop the racket behind me and aim the edge of the racket at the ball.
Snap the racket across the ball at impact while thinking about where I want the ball to go.
Move back the behind the baseline.
When my opponent hits the ball, jump into a split step.

Return of Serve: I use a one-two-three rhythm to return serve. One is when my opponent hits the ball. Two is when the ball bounces on my side of the court. Three is when I hit the ball. Keeping this rhythm in mind helps me adjust to different service speeds.

Keep my feet moving.
When my opponent hits the ball, jump into a split step.
Step into the ball and bend my knees.
Swing through the ball and up while thinking about where I want the ball to go.
Move back to the neutral position on the court.

Passing forehand/passing backhand: this shot should either land at the volleyer’s feet or pass them to the right or left. It’s also useful as a winning shot when your opponent is at the baseline because the angle is so sharp.

Keep my feet moving.
When my opponent hits the ball, jump into a split step.
Twist my trunk to bring the racket back as I run to the ball.
Step into the ball and bend my knees.
Swing through the ball and up sharply while thinking about where I want to ball to go.
Move back to the neutral position on the court.

Approach Shot
Twist my trunk to bring the racket back as I run towards the ball.
Move to a position behind and to the side of the ball.
Step into the ball and bend my knees.
Swing through the ball and up while thinking about where I want the ball to go.
Be sure to finish the swing before moving forward.
Move forward to the net until my opponent hits the ball then jump into a split step.

High Bouncing Shot
Keep my feet moving.
When my opponent hits the ball, jump into a split step.
Twist my trunk to bring the racket back as I run to the ball.
Lift the ball by swinging the racket up and in a circle. The racket will end up facing down in front of my body.
Move back to the neutral position on the court.

Lob: because I have had problems with tennis elbow, I avoid hitting shots with an open racket face. For this shot I use a flat racket face.

Keep my feet moving.
When my opponent hits the ball, jump into a split step.
Twist my trunk to bring the racket back as I run to the ball.
Hit under the ball and sharply up with a flat racket face while thinking about where I want the ball to go.
Move back to the neutral position on the court.

Volley
Preparation: stand with the racket head up and racket directly in front of my body.
Move forward on the diagonal and step into the ball.
The racket moves very little in space, it just meets the ball.
Keep the racket head up when hitting a low volley.
Just meet the ball when stretching for a volley.

Forehand Overhead
Move to a position behind and slightly to the side of where the ball will drop.
Twist my body to the right and point up at the ball with my finger.
Swing the racket in a figure eight and hit the ball while thinking about where I want it to go.

Backhand Overhead
Twist my trunk to bring the racket over and behind my left shoulder while running to a position in front of and slightly to the side of the ball.
Snap the racket up and over the ball while thinking about where I want it to go.

Drop Shot: a successful drop shot lands near the outside line of the service box and short enough that it bounces at least twice in the service box. I use a continental grip for the forehand drop shot to avoid tennis elbow. Don’t you do that.

Keep my feet moving.
When my opponent hits the ball, jump into a split step.
Twist my trunk to bring my racket back as I run to the ball.
Step into the ball and bend my knees.
Slice down at the ball and forward while thinking about where I want the ball to go.
Move back to the neutral position on the court.

After the Point
If I won the point I say, “That’s like me!”
If I make an unforced error I go onto the next point.
If my opponent makes a winning shot I congratulate them.
Start the preparation for the next point.

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