The Importance of Proper Tennis Form / Technique
One of the main reasons why you may be reading this article is because you want to learn correct tennis technique, which is also called "proper form."
I believe there are some misconceptions about proper form, how to develop it and whether it is important.
Is Correct Tennis Form Important?
There are two angles to this question:
1. You don't get any points in tennis for performing the stroke in the correct way.
There are many sports where you do get points for proper form, like artistic ice skating, gymnastics, dancing and others.
But in the case of tennis, the form of your strokes is irrelevant. Basically all sports with balls are the same - soccer, basketball, table tennis, volleyball, and so forth.
The only thing that counts is whether you win a point, and you do that by PLAYING better than your opponent, NOT by hitting better looking shots.
2. Proper tennis technique allows you to hit the ball faster, with more control and less effort.
From this angle, proper tennis form is important since it enables you to hit better. But keep in mind that hitting the ball better does not necessarily make you a good player. It only makes you a good hitter of the tennis ball.
One of the biggest misconceptions when learning tennis technique is that if you perform the stroke with the correct form, you will hit the ball better.
But I can easily hit the ball out or into the net with proper tennis technique. It doesn't guarantee me a good shot.
In fact, just watch a match on TV for 2 minutes, and you will surely see a tennis professional with correct tennis technique miss a shot.
So correct tennis form does not guarantee a better shot, but it does give you a good guideline as to what a tennis stroke should ROUGHLY look like.
Also, you won't find two tennis players with the exact same technique (same preparation, same follow-through, same position of the hips and shoulders, same foot position, and so on).
So there is no point in perfecting the tennis technique if in fact the perfect tennis form does not exist. It's just an approximate guideline on how to perform the shot.
How Do You Develop Correct Tennis Technique
The common way of learning tennis strokes is by repeating the same form of the stroke (movement) until it becomes unconscious.
The other way of learning the stroke is by trying to hit the ball in the court and allowing your technique to develop naturally.
Let's take a look at both approaches:
1. Learning technique with repetition of correct movement
Should you START learning to PLAY tennis by learning how to MOVE your arm in the correct way?
Yes and no.
If there is no ball, you can learn the correct tennis groundstroke technique with the help of the coach in about 2 minutes. The serve might take you from 5 to 10 minutes.
I have seen Dennis Van Der Meer, the CEO of PTR Tennis, teach correct serve technique in about 2 minutes to a 12-year-old girl who had never held a racquet in her hand.|
She was able to serve on her own with a Continental grip in good form, though her serves didn't go in very often.
Yet the technique / form was there.
The only thing you need to do is to copy the movement that someone shows you. It's even better if you can see yourself in the mirror or on video and get this feedback on how you really perform that movement.
So the biggest challenge for a tennis beginner is not technique but ball judgment, balance, coordination and FEEL.
And even these challenges are nothing compared to the most difficult thing in tennis which in opinion is making the right tactical decision in less than 0,5 seconds.
But as we all know, when you learn a certain movement, it's difficult to change.
That's why learning tennis at the beginning needs to be a COMBINATION of developing playing skills and learning the basic fundamental movement for each stroke.
2. Learning the technique by playing
The technique or proper form will develop by just hitting the ball in the correct way. This is explained in detail in the article about the Origin of Forehand and Backhand Tennis Technique.
The key is that the correct form will develop automatically if you hit the ball in the correct way and THEN listen to your body whether is feels comfortable and you can hit with power with little effort.
This process needs to be repeated thousands of times until your brain and body refine the movement and feel to the level where you can hit the ball like the pros do.
The main question that comes to mind is: Then why don't all recreational tennis players who have been playing for 20 years have correct tennis form?
They have hit the ball thousands of times, why don't they have perfect technique?
4 Reasons Why Recreational Players Cannot Have Perfect Tennis Technique
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