The concept and drill I have to share with you in today’s lesson is absolutely vital to your success as a tennis player.
If you can understand and correctly impliment what I’m teaching today then it will mean more power, spin and accuracy on your forehand, backhand and serve. No fooling!
Did you enjoy this lesson? Leave me a commend down below. Thanks in advance, I really appreciate your support!
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What a simple tip and a great reminder! I watched this for the first time yesterday (10/10) and then went and played a combo 8.5 match. I'm a 61-year old 4.5 rated player, and I have gotten too hung up recently trying to hit the ball harder. By just focusing on my swing without worrying about hitting the ball, my strokes were much better – and harder! I hit several winners, including one service return that had both my opponents shaking their heads. Thanks Ian!
Great concept lesson. Hard to keep all the things in mind that you need to keep in mind, but this seems very helpful. One thing I always try to do when playing is "WATCH THE BALL HIT THE RACQUET" — dang, that's hard.
Dear Ian, this is a most profound tennis lesson, maybe this concept was one of the major factors (of course there are many other things that contributed) to Roger Federer becoming the great, great player that he still is! Thank you for sharing it.
Hi Ian, your material emphasizing that " keep it simple" is the most efficient way of playing is very good. Bravo.
Another way to look at a loose grip is calling it the "OK grip".
The OK grip is made by making a 'ring' with your thumb and middle finger on your racket, and keeping the rest of your fingers loose. The OK grip ring allows the racket to swing relatively freely during a ground stroke or serve. See video at 1:30 for an example of Ian's OK grip between his thumb and middle finger… Pros typically have the same sort of OK grip…
Another way to learn and practice the OK grip in an exaggerated fashion is to make an OK grip with your thumb and index finger at the butt end of the racket, leaving the rest of your fingers off the end of the racket to eliminate any chance of you imposing a death grip on the racket. Then go hit a few minutes worth of balls with this exaggerated OK grip to learn how a loose grip changes the timing of your strokes. Once you've got how that feels, move to the OK grip with the middle finger and thumb, leaving the rest of your fingers relatively loose.
You'll also note that with this sort of exaggerated OK ring also requires you to adopt proper opposite hand racket holding and pre-stroke movement mechanics, otherwise the racket just flops all over the place instead of going where you want it to be before starting your stroke.
Very Practical Hints.
You mean the Matrix as a tennis movie?
Also my favorite movie and quote!
Also an excellent tip… This will stay on my mind for a long time next time I'll go practicing… is there a simple drill for your forehand to implement this relaxation? I do shadowswings, but during rallies matches it's more difficult to have a relaxed swing and not thinking about the contact/collision…
Ian My best day of serving came this afternoon after taking warm-up swings with what you taught today and recently in a slightly different way. Despite having over 100 items in my notebook on serving, nothing worked really well. But just a few day ago you suggested that we put 2 tennis balls into 2 long socks and just practice by swinging the socks until the basic feeling of the swing just comes to you. Once I got the feeling , it was quite easy to transfer it to the swinging of tennis racquet. Thanks a lot Ed
Thanks for another helpful bite size lesson, its amazing how that damn ball keeps getting in the way of everything us tennis junkies try to do! I'm guessing this works great when adding power as the swing needs to stay fluid and smooth throughout it entire duration regardless of power level??
But I have a burning question that's driving me nuts: Is that your house in the background? Nice place!!
Jeff S, NJ
I get ton's of promotional tennis garbage and would like to say there is a reason Forbes (I think) put you and Brent Abel in the spot light. You do a great service to club level players and your lessons are a matter a fact and not too much babbling. Great job, thanks for all you do….
Totally get it – you're trying to free my mind, but you can only show me the door, I'm the one who has to walk through it.
Great tennis movie.
Good video and interesting concept. And it's interesting that it brings up the related concept of tossing at the swing. It is said that good players can serve blindfolded. Their tosses are so consistent that they can count on the balls being where they're supposed to be.
Try it as a test. As a practice technique, it might improve both toss and the relaxed, fluid motion of one's swing.
What do you think?
Ian … Great concept! For me, I think it will be even more important on flowing thru the forehand ground stroke. Thanks!
Your previous advise was to use a sock with balls in it.
Great tip !!! thanks a lot !!!
Ian/ i happened to have a match right after i saw the video and i used it for all strokes- for everything. Never played better. A great reminder for us all.
Thanks and i love your new house that we all helped pay for! You deserve it…
Hi Ian, I do practice shadow swings and probably do well but when the ball comes into play my rhythm goes out the door and I experience a lot of inconsistency in the 1st serve – balls either go into the net or are too long. If I get the ball into the service area it is a nice powerful serve. My mates think that I have a very good serve despite what I think is an inconsistent 1st serve.
What do you think is the problem?
Fascinating concept! My pro keeps after me to "complete" my stroke. By that he means to continue past impact. The impact is not the end of the stroke, explaining that if you stop at impact it means you have slowed down momentarily before contact and I don't get the full benefit of my stroke. This message pulls it all together for me. John
I wonder if a blindfolded tennis person would brace for a shot or swing naturally when guided by sound to swing and incidentally hitting a ball.
PS did you happen to luck up on that court – looks like no one living on the premise!
totally agree – not sure how else to achieve this other than hitting many balls!
Beautiful background dear Ian. Thank you for the tip and it is very helpful. I have tried on my serve. Good result. Thanks again
Great point.I have been incorporating the shadow swing into my practices,but the simple thought of letting the ball "get in the way" is perfect.Keep it coming!
This is awakening, a smart tip I will never forget who is it taught by. Too good, too smArt and too generous a tip, it shows again the value of ET. Keep up the good work Ian, ET is the only one that I can not afford not to read now on my phone. I really appreciate your effort in producing REAL substance in the material you are presenting.
That's very kind of you, Mike. Thank you so much for the kind words and your ongoing support!
Good video Ian.
My problem is how do I incorporate this into volleys..
I have always been told the volley is an abbreviated swing and contact is an important component of the volley feel the way I hit em..
Bummer! I just got home after 3 sets of tennis and here's this great tip. If only I had seen it before I left…I might not have lost 6-1 6-1 6-3! D'OH!
Eureka! This is about the best concept/tip I've received in the past couple of weeks, if not months. I've been having fluidity issues especially with my forehand. The example you gave with the serve, I also got it from Florian Meier. So, my serve is coming along nicely. But this concept can/should be applied to every stroke. Less stuff to think about when hitting a stroke. It's a there in muscle memory. This should lead to effortless tennis in due time. THANK YOU!
You're very welcome, Jevon. Keep me up to date on your progress
This makes total sense but seems to be exactly opposite to some of the other training lessons I've seen on the serve with regards to saving the hit, and storing all the coiled up energy until just before impact. Your method seems to imply hitting through the ball, whereas what I have been studying is the opposite. I'm not sure how to reconcile the two concepts together, or if I"m visualizing them incorrectly.
That's a great question, Greg. This is important: just because you're storing big amounts of energy and releasing it all at once into the ball does NOT mean your body should be tense and tight. I promise you that the more tense your body is the less efficient your swing will be.
You should start practicing this concept at a slow speed with the goal of eventually being able to use full acceleration while still being as relaxed as possible. Those are two things that many people assume are at odds with each other but I promise you they aren't. Do your muscles contract as they're being used to accelerate? Yes, but that's not the same thing as your body being tense.
Hopefully that makes sense. If not feel free to reply
As always great info ,but seemed a little deep for me.
Thanks for the feedback and thanks for watching!
This is analogous to the "surprise trigger break" when shooting a handgun.
If you try to _make_ the gun shoot, the expectation of noise and flame will cause you to flinch just before the shot breaks, completely ruining your aim. Instead, you keep try to do two completely separate things simultaneously: (1) Contain the wobble of the sights on the target to the extent you are able (no one can hold a gun perfectly still), as you (2) smoothly increase the pressure on the trigger. What you do _not_ focus on is the exact moment the hammer will fall. Instead, you let the shot "surprise" you. Because you are not anticipating the blast, there will be no flinch when it occurs. Because you tried to keep the sights on target as as best you could as you squeezed the trigger, a remarkably accurate shot will result.
Don't think about the shot — instead, focus on the sights and the smooth trigger press. In tennis, don't focus on the hit — instead, watch the ball as you try to make a good swing. Same principle.
YES, exactly, Frank. Funny you mention that, I remember thinking to myself "I really need to make a video about this" years ago while on a target range, haha. The only difference is that in tennis you know precisely when contact is going to occur so you can't exactly "surprise yourself", but obviously the whole concept of remaining completely calm and relaxed is completely the same.
I can't wait to try this idea! Totally makes sense.
You're welcome, Dina. Let me know how it goes!
no spoon… got it.
I opened up the link thinking… another long and boring Tennis video.
It was not the case. I got your point at Tee. I am a relatively beginner and always notice I feel good when things are fluid and the impact is made. I am incorporate this in to both my Tennis and Golf.
Thanks for this short and sweat (rather nutritious) video.
I'm glad this video was more the style you were looking for, Nex! Thanks for watching.
"Put the ball in the way…" as it refers to the serve, it reminds me of, "Toss at/into your swing, as opposed to Swing at your toss". Nice tip to stay nice and relaxed and to focus on producing a high quality swing Ian! Thanks!
You got it, Kelvin, exactly the same concept. That's another great way of saying it!
Kelvin I always though of my serve that way. I think that concept also improves the ball toss. most toss and swing where the ball is I toss to where and when my swing is. I put the toss in the way of the swing
Great job thank you very much
You're very welcome, Atallah. Thank you for watching.
Isn't there an opposite concept: to focus on the contact, on the impact, on "finding the ball". I think this is the Oscar Wegner theory.
What do you think about that?
I wouldn't exactly call it an "opposite concept", but that being said I'm actually not exactly sure how I would relate the two. I'll have to think about that.
In general I think the concept of "finding the ball" is a very good one when it comes to getting students to feel things instead of constantly thinking about them (namely positioning and contact point).
I do this for the serve and one-handed backhand (15 min every day at home) and I'm improving a lot faster than with just hitting once a week in the court. Great advice!
That's amazing, great job, Fernando!
Hi, This seems to fall in line with the purpose of "shadow tennis", where you practice the swings without the ball, before introducing the ball into it. Thanks.
Absolutely, Gary. Hope you're doing well
iAN, THANKS SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SHARE THIS VIDEO. I'm SURE IT WILL
HELP TO IMPROVE MY SERVE. AT IMPACT I TIGHTEN THE GRIP EVEN HARDER
Thank you for watching, Jerold
So simple and yet fundamental. The relaxed fluid movement is more like an attitude- allows you to play more naturally and smoothly, concentrating in the movement and not only the stroke. Besides it avoids injuries that come from a stiff /contracted muscle hiitting the ball hard.
I´ve changed the way I played after understandind and adopting this simple concept
Congratulations for this tip and overall for your site
You're absolutely correct about injuries, Paula. That's a great point! Thank you for watching
Absolutely true, Ian.
Yes, this is not a new concept: Jim McLennon says: "Toss into your swing". In karate you find the same idea.
The difficult part is to make the mind overcome the obstacle to the motion – this is where guys-professionals like you
should come – to show us different ways to apply the concept, because, as you maintain: everybody learns differently.
Keep the intelligent work, Jan!
I'll absolutely embrace that challenge, Chavdar. I'd like to do another video just for the forehand and backhand, maybe by then I'll have a few new ideas. Thanks for watching!
Great lesson. New subject- Have you ever considered taking a video from overhead angle never know what you might learn.
Thanks Steve G.
I have, FYB actually did that many years ago. Definitely an interesting angle to learn from!
That makes a lot of sense. I've always noticed that when I do shadow serves, my technique is much better and smoother that when I actually go to hit one. As soon as there is a ball in the way everything changes! The problem is that even though I'm aware of this, I can't seem to correct it. It's obviously a mental barrier rather than a physical one. Do you have any tips to overcome this?
You hit the nail on the head, Paul: "As soon as there is a ball in the way". THAT'S what you need to mentally start overcoming. You need to start to learn what it feels like to just swing as if it isn't there at all, which is exactly what my drill was designed for in this video. Go do it!
Your advice in this video is so crucial and so simple, as it indirectly addresses so many issues we recreational players are mired in: i.e. thinking about what we just did that wasn't correct, trying "too" hard on our next shot, just "hitting the ball in", wanting to see where our shot is "going".
If we could simply just do our shadow shot and let the ball get in the way all of our games would improve dramatically!
Would you recommend extensive repetitive "shadow" strokes for all players?
You're exactly right, Rob. Following this advice would be the perfect work around to a LOT of different issues. "Trying too hard" being a huge one.
When learning new technique and/or making improvements to existing technique I'm definitely a big fan of shadow swings in general, yes. Not every person learns the same way and so it isn't always as effective for everybody, but most of the time it's an excellent tool as long as it'd being done correctly.
I love that house behind you. Is that yours?
I wish! The court this video was filmed on is actually very special to me. It's the home of my childhood tennis instructor and some of his family (on the same land). It's an absolutely beautiful setting for tennis. Down the hill to my left is a big lake.
Its wonderful that you reminded us about this concept. I know I do worse if I am trying to smash the ball.
I plan to practice this concept with my serve.
Excellent, let me know how that practice goes for you, Joe!
One of your best short videos by far. Would you suggest to practice groundstrokes the same way you showed it with he serve? If not, why?
YES, absolutely. That's something I really should have added at the end. Maybe I'll create another video just for groundstrokes about the same concept. The only difference is that it would be best to have the ball coming at you for groundies (hitting parter, feeder, or ball machine) so you can really get the most realistic feeling possible. That being said, starting off just dropping it to yourself is much better than nothing! Give it a shot.
Thank you for watching, Marek!
When I was starting out I used to practice shadowing my forehand at home (mostly due to a lot of bad weather) and found that it improved a lot in a very short space of time. I highly recommend it! Just make sure you move any breakables out of the way first…