I hope your summer is going well. You will receive an email from me every two weeks on tennis related topics. My goal is to furnish you with the right knowledge and provide you with a logical understanding of the game. The topics will vary from physical and mental training, technique, drills, and understanding the physics of the game. Today’s email is an illustration of the importance of having the right knowledge. Subsequent emails will dive into specific components of tennis. Please get in touch with me if you have questions, feedback, or simply want to say hi. LeoaRosenberg@gmail.com
My mother coached me and my sister and we both received full scholarships into Division 1 tennis programs. I was the singles finalist and doubles champion of the 2003 Les Petite As—the 14’s World Championship. My mother understood many things about tennis that were correct, and they led to big results for my sister and me. I have also grown up competing with players who had terrific coaches. Some of my peers are ranked top 50 ATP. But I have seen players train just as hard as the professional players I know but, without getting the returns they deserved. Why is that? Why do some players reach their goals or get close to reaching them, while others don't despite investing just as much into their game?
Essentially, success boils down to working on the right things. For example, a common error is trying to hit hard by tensing up the arm. If you’re tightening your arm, you might believe that you’re hitting hard. But you are weakening your shot. Adding tension to your arm slows down your swing speed. And it doesn’t increase the mass of your arm. Without adding any mass into the ball and by slowing down the swing speed, your shot will be weaker than you expect. Physics explains why this is true: Force = Mass x Acceleration. The mass of the arm does not change whether it’s tense or relaxed. Acceleration does vary, however. If your upper body is loose, you can increase your acceleration; you thus increase your force. Tension, on the other hand, is equivalent to hitting the breaks as your trying to speed up.
So, next time you’re on the tennis court, please work on keeping your upper body and arms as loose as possible. The challenge is to keep your footwork intense while being relaxed with your upper body. I also suggest that you practice staying relaxed throughout the day. The more you work on it off-court, the easier it gets on-court.
High Performance Advisor