Written by Ian Westermann
For Fun — 18 February 2014
2 Tips for Better Touch

Today’s lesson will show you two fun drills that you can do at home to improve your touch, especially for soft shots around the net.

You’ve probably seen professional players smoothly “catch” a ball flying towards them or dropping from the sky before. Ever wonder how it’s done? Today’s video will show you in a two step progression!

Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below along with any other questions you may have.

Thanks for watching!

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  1. Thank Ian for sharing your great tips, I have practiced this at home and works very well on the courts.
    How do this shot with your backhand volley? Did you have a video on that?

  2. Must really help tracking skills. I will try it. I enjoy all your videos!

  3. Cant wait to try this out. For once I cant predict accurately whether it will be 8 out of 10 or 3 out of 10!
    Fond regards

  4. like it. hope to see you at Indian Wells. It is fun to catch it. Stephen [the artist]

  5. Great video – I've always wondered how to do that! I can only imagine the many things I will break practicing this in my living room. Thanks Ian – great video as always!

  6. Great fun to practice.

  7. Excellent video as usual!

  8. Having "touch" and "feel" of course also requires having soft hands on the racket, which depending on the student can be a tough concept to get across, and catching the ball with their racket is a great way to get them to relax the grip.
    Also, reading Stavroula's comment reminds me to tell you how much I appreciate what you do with Essential Tennis, from your early pod casts to your video instructions and course.

  9. Great Ian!

    Let me give you my 2 cents: you can try to catch the ball with the other side of the racquet (i.e. backhand). That is more difficult but definitely adds on top of your forehand hand-eye coordination. And you can alternate between the two of them, and doing so requires a continental grip, so this alternating drill is very useful for getting used to that grip.


  10. Hi Ian,
    Could you please do a video on extension with the forehand because thats what the pros do and I believe that if you focus on extension, you will get depth as WELL as plenty of topspin. So I think when you have an off day with the forehand, extension is key, is it not?
    Have a good day,

  11. Amazing but hard

  12. very cool hand-eye coordination! i just tried it and it is way harder than you make it seem!

    • Happy to hear I made it look easy, haha. The ones coming at you are definitely pretty tough…..takes some quick yet soft hands!

  13. very good

  14. I would like to thank you, only because you are the most wonderful tennis teacher I have ever known plus I admire your character. Also you are very business oriented. Thank you for being in our tennis lives

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, that means a lot to me!

  15. I enjoyed this video quite much. It must be pretty cool if your oponent completely mishits a shot and you can catch the ball like that at the baseline! ;)

    • Steve….yes kool, but u'll lose the pt ;)

  16. This is a great drill. It is one of the first things I try to teach my new students, along with a few other racket control tricks. Excellent video. Best, Bud Light

  17. Another great video, Ian. Thanks

  18. I definately will try this one…Thanks….Joyce

  19. great drills can't wait until my girls tennis starts into two weeks to have them try this! thanks

  20. I can do that already but TY for explaining Y its done…..Hey when R U gonna going to devote some time to 'lefty tennis' players(ie advantages/weaknesses)??

  21. this works well against practice wall

  22. do we just keep on trying to do it and we will get the touch?

    Can you give us some specifics how to drill for the touches?

  23. Hey Ian thanks, great nice fun drill the with the ball machine not easy but practice makes better

  24. Ah, but can it be done on the backhand side?

    • It can…..but it's a LOT more difficult.

      • Ian, you would have been a good jai-alai player!