If you want more topspin you should switch to a more extreme grip, right? Wrong! If you want to hit with more power you should “step in” and transfer your body weight through the shot, correct? Not necessarily. These are two misconceptions that are incredibly common but very often not the technical element that should be focused on to create great results in your forehand ground strokes. Listen to Ian describe exactly what is essential!

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Link to the video discussed on this episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inQvbT8uEGk

[music] Welcome to the Essential Tennis Podcast. If you love tennis and want to improve your game, this podcast is for you. Whether it’s technique, strategy, equipment, or the mental game, tennis professional Ian Westermann is here to make you a better player. And now, here’s Ian.

Ian: Hi, and welcome to the Essential Tennis Podcast–your place for free, expert tennis instruction that can truly help you improve your game. Today’s episode of the Essential Tennis Podcast is brought to you by tennisexpress.com. Please check them out by going to essentialtennis.com/express.

Well, thanks very much for joining me on today’s episode of the podcast. It’s great to have you as a listener. And speaking of listeners, got a lot of great comments in response to Podcast number 151. I asked all of you to head over to the website at essentialtennis.com/podcast and leave your comments about last week’s episode. A lot of you did, and I really appreciate that, and I enjoyed reading those comments and responding. And at the end of today’s show I’m gonna read some of those. And I think I’m gonna start making that a regular part of the show–is reading just… just a couple of comments that were left in response to the previous week’s show. I think that’s a cool way to interact and kind of have a dialogue back and forth between myself and those of you who listen. So, if you enjoy today’s show, or you disagree with something I said, or you have any further questions, feel free to go to essentialtennis.com/podast. This is episode number 152. Leave a comment. I’ll be happy to reply to it. And maybe I’ll read it at the end of the next week’s Podcast episode.

Alright, let’s go ahead and get down to business. Sit back, relax, and get ready for some great tennis instruction. [music] [music]

Alright. So let’s go ahead and get to our first listener question for today’s podcast. And it comes to us from Mark in London, England. He wrote and said: Is your grip the most important factor in the amount of topspin you’ll potentially be able to generate on the ball? You’re probably aware that Nadal has quantitatively… has been quantitatively measured as being able to produce the most RPMs on a tennis ball on the ATP tour. But is that due mainly to the combination of his swing path, straight-on technique, athleticism, and racket head acceleration, or mainly his extreme semi-western forehand grip. I know that western/semi-western gripped forehands like Nadal’s, lend themselves naturally to Nadal’s style of forehand. But, as Sampras proved, and recently Federer, you can also hit a reverse forehand with an eastern grip. So, if Nadal played with an eastern grip, but still took those wild, cowboy, lasso-style, reverse forehand swings at the ball, would he be able to generate as much topspin? I like to play a safe, high-percentage, counter punching game, based on loopy, topspin forehands, backhands, and serves, with good neck clearance. But I was wondering or not whether that would be possible with an eastern forehand. Thanks very much for your time. Mark.

Alright, Mark. Well, good question. And yeah, that’s an interesting topic. There’s a lot… there’s a lot of talk and a lot is made of Nadal’s technique, because it’s so aggressive, and he makes so much spin. I mean, a pretty wide margin between him and other players on the ATP tour as far as topspin generation. And his technique is well… he kind of has made famous the reverse, forehand follow through, or the lasso type forehand follow through, which players have been doing for decades, but not as regularly as what Nadal has been doing.

So I’m gonna go down the list here and answer all of your questions, because I think these are important topics to understand when trying to decide exactly which techniques to copy and try to recreate yourself in your own game, and which ones not to. I think those are always important questions, and things that I want those of you listening to this show to really understand fully, so that you make wise decisions in deciding what to implement into your own game.

So, Mark’s first question here is: Is the grip the most important factor in creating topspin? Well, it is important, but it’s definitely not the most important factor. And Mark laid out several things, several aspects of Nadal’s forehand that do have a direct [inaudible] in how much topspin he’s able to create. Let’s see, right here in his question he said: Swing pass, straight arm technique, athleticism, racket head acceleration, and his grip. He said: Extreme semi-western grip.

Well, without the vertical swing path, Mark, and the acceleration… Those are the two most important parts. And you listed 5 different elements there, to Nadal’s forehand swing. And in my opinion, and to be honest, I mean, just in terms of physics… It’s not even really my opinion, but just based on the physics of what it takes to create topspin on a forehand, the two most important aspects that you listed there–and they’re all important… well, I would say with the exception of the straight-arm technique. I don’t think that’s essential. It’s not essential to creating topspin. So I would take that off the list. So the other four elements that you were talking about, of those four, I think definitely the vertical swing path and the racket head speed, just the massive acceleration in that direction that Nadal creates, without those two things he wouldn’t make topspin–regardless of what grip he uses.

That’s really important to understand: If his swing path was forward, he wouldn’t make topspin. Or if his swing path was, you know, downwards, clearly he wouldn’t make topspin. So grip, in terms of those two things, is not irrelevant, but not the most important aspect. And this is even, by the way, with his modern, you know, frame, and the polyester strains. Those things are not super important either. If you gave him a wooden racket, with whatever type of string you want to put in there–clearly players usually used natural gut back in the day of wooden rackets–he’s still be able to make heavy topspin.

Now, does that mean that the lighter rackets and the new string technology has no bearing, or it hasn’t had any effect? No, it definitely has some effect. I’m not gonna say that the gear technology and advancements in rackets and strings hasn’t made a difference. Clearly it’s much easier to hit topspin with a newer racket, but the technique is much more what creates the spin than his grip or his equipment.

Now, let’s talk about exactly what the grip does, because it does have a bearing and it does make it easier to create topspin. But I want all of you to understand exactly why and how. It’s not some magical formula. That’s really what I want to get across here. In perusing tennis message boards and forums, and reading questions from recreational players just like those of you listening, I’ve seen a pattern of players having the assumption that the grip is where the spin is at, and if I use this grip, I’ll make topspin. And I used to use an eastern grip, I had a hard time making topspin, so I’m gonna switch to a semi-western grip, and then I’ll make lots of spin, it’s gonna be great. And it has nothing to do with it.

Now, changing your grip can help the actual important parts, but it’s not what actually creates the spin. And in order to understand why it helps, I’d like you guys, if you can, to grab a racket and do this with me. I’d like you to first hold the racket that you have in an eastern grip. And an eastern grip–I’m gonna describe it briefly here. If you don’t understand, please go online and type eastern forehand grip into Google, and click on Images, and I’m sure that Images will come up of what an eastern forehand grip is. But, if you look at the big knuckle of your index finger, so… not your actual knuckle of your finger, but at the base of your index finger–where your index finger meets your hand. That’s called your base knuckle, your bottom knuckle of your index finger. If you put that flat on the side bevel, the wide side bevel of your racket, that’s an eastern forehand grip.

So, get an eastern forehand grip, support the racket with your other hand so that you’re just holding your grip and the racket out there in front of you, and then open up your dominant hand. So, if you’re right handed, and you have that eastern grip with your right hand, just open up your palm and leave your hand where it is on the grip. And you’ll see that the palm of your hand is now parallel with the racket face. So, it doesn’t take a big imagination to see that since your palm is just flat, straight behind the racket face, this makes it very natural to drive or hit through the ball, cause your hand is lining up directly behind the ball.

Now, if you hold the racket in a full western grip, which is two notches over on the grip, two bevels over from that eastern grip… So it has your base knuckle, your big knuckle of your index finger, all the way on the bottom bevel of the racket as you’re holding the racket perpendicular to the ground right in front of you. If you put yourself in a full western grip, and just like before, open your palm up, you’ll see that your palm is now facing straight upwards, so parallel to the ground or to the court surface.

So we’ve made a 90º turn with your palm. From an eastern forehand grip, to a full western forehand grip is a full 90º angle –turned angle–in the direction that your palm is facing as you make contact with the ball. Now, that’s substantial. That’s a huge difference. And when your palm is lined up underneath the racket like that, and it’s facing upwards towards the sky, it makes it more natural to swing upwards. Got the palm of your hand underneath the ball, and so now it’s very much a natural thing to accelerate upwards.

Now, does that mean that you’re going to swing upwards? Does it mean that you’re automatically going to have a vertical racket path and you’re going to make topspin? No. If you’re natural swing path, or the one that you’ve developed and has become a habit to you, if it is horizontal to the court surface, and you, as a habit, just swing forwards, changing to this extreme western grip is not going to force you to change your racket path. It’s probably going to make you feel more awkward to use the racket path you have been using if it’s a forward one, but it doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to switch to a vertical swing. That’s still something you need to learn, even when you change your grip. It does not mean you’re automatically gonna do it.

So, Nadal doesn’t use a western grip–which I just had you guys go to. He uses a semi-western grip. And Mark in his question said extreme semi-western. Uh, I looked at a couple pictures online… I don’t know. This is probably debatable. He’s definitely not a western. So we can agree on that. So, his grip is turned relatively far, but not, I wouldn’t say super far. It’s not incredibly far over. It’s relatively standard for players on the ATP tour. So that being said, yes, he’s hitting a reverse forehand a lot. And as a result, that does help him make a lot of spin. And I want you guys to know that even though Nadal does it with a semi-western grip, is possible to do it with an eastern grip.

And that was Mark’s next question: Is it possible to use that type of technique, make a lot of spin, even with an eastern grip? And yes it is. Trust me, Federer hits with plenty of topspin on his forehand side–compared to us. Alright? Now, compared to Nadal, who hits with more topspin than any player in history… and who knows, maybe here on out he’s gonna hit with more topspin than anybody will ever hit with. I don’t know. I’m just throwing that out there. But right now of everybody else on the tour.

Could it be possible for him to do that with an eastern grip? I’m sure that he would still make a lot of spin. Would it be possible for him to make just as much? Well, my instinct is to say “probably not”. But I’m honestly not sure. The combination of acceleration and acceleration and racket path, and athleticism as well, as far as Nadal is concerned, it’s much more important than whatever specific grip Nadal uses. And he’ll still have those traits. He’ll still have the acceleration, the racket path, and the athleticism. He knows what direction to swing to make a lot of topspin. He’ll still be able to use a reverse forehand follow through.

So all of those things are still there. However, I think it would be dumb for me to say that the grip has no bearing. It does. It does make it easier to make that upward acceleration. So it’s my guess that it would probably have some bearing, but probably not a ton. As I said a second ago, Federer clearly makes plenty of topspin. Lots more than everybody listening. I’m sure he’s capable of hitting lots more topspin than I am on my forehand. And I use the semi-western grip.

So, the big point here, Mark, is that it’s not the grip. The grip can have bearing, and it can make it easier. But it’s the other technical elements that are much more important. And if all of you listening can understand that, I think that it will clear up a lot of misunderstanding, and it will keep you from putting a lot or a lot of trust or faith, into just one small technical change, and hoping that it’s going to drastically improve your output on a certain part of your game, and this instance specifically–creating topspin on your forehand.

Now, Mark’s last question: Are loopy topspin forehands possible with an eastern grip? Yes, absolutely. It’s certainly possible. If you’re currently coming from a semi-western grip, or a western grip, then of course it’s gonna take time for you to learn it and get used to it. And Mark doesn’t say what grip he currently uses. I’m assuming he’s somewhere past eastern right now. But if you’re looking at making that switch, Mark, yes it is possible to still make loopy topspin with an eastern grip. It’s definitely possible. However, just understand that if you’re not used to it, it’s gonna take you some time to make it a comfortable part of your game.

And I’m not familiar with your game, and so I can’t say whether or not this will be worth it. Maybe you’re one of these people that has a really hard time driving the ball, and all you can do is make a loopy shot. I’m not sure what goal you’re trying to achieve by possibly switching your grip, so I can’t give you a firm answer on whether or not you should do this. But to answer your question, yes, it’s definitely possible. And if you have anything further on that, if you have any more specific questions, or you want to tell me what change you’re thinking of making, feel free to let me know. Any time. My email address is ian@essentialtennis.com.

So at this point, Mark, that brings me to the end of my outline. Thanks very much for your question. Hopefully this cleared up some misconceptions from many of you listening to me right now. It’s definitely a big misunderstanding. And, yeah. That brings me to the end. So Mark, thanks very much. Take care. And let me know if I can help you any further. [music] [music] [music]

Alright. Before we get to our next question, real quickly I want to remind you all about the official sponsor of the Essential Tennis Podcast. That is Tennis Express. Please check them out this week by going to essentialtennis.com/express. That will automatically route you right over to Tennis Express. And that way if you make any purchases through them–which I recommend if you’re in need of rackets, or strings, bags, shoes, clothing, stringing machines, whatever you might need–if you make any purchases through them, after going to that link the Essential Tennis Podcast will receive a small percentage of your purchase to help support the show, which I would appreciate very much. And it also shows Tennis Express that you’re a listener and you appreciate their sponsorship of the show. So please check them out. Free shipping on orders of over 75 dollars.

Okay, moving on. We have another question today from Chris in Wisconsin, my home state. Chris how about them Packers, by the way. Awesome playoff game last night against the Eagles. I won’t get into that, but I’m sure you’re excited about that as well, Chris, assuming that you’re from Wisconsin. So Chris wrote and said: Most players today hit the forehand using an open stance. I also hit with an open stance, unless the ball is coming at a slower pace and I can step into the ball and hit with a neutral stance. However, when I’m forced to hit with an open stance, I can’t seem to get my weight into the court. My weight is often moving sideways from my right leg to my left. And he says in parenthesis: I’m a righty. Or, if I’m in a really bad position, I’m falling backwards. How do I get my weight moving forward on an open stance forehand?

Well, Chris, good question. And this is another really common misconception. This is a good show. The forehand misconception show. First the extreme grip automatically creating topspin question, and now the weight transfer question, moving forwards. Well, let me start off my answer by saying that the open stance is designed for lateral movement–meaning lateral to the baseline. And making an aggressive swing at the ball, and then immediately being able to recover back towards the middle of the baseline, is really the whole point.

The back in the day players always turned to the side, they would step in with their front foot, and they had time to finish their swing and still get back to the center of the court. Points, or shots, where not traveling back and forth nearly as quickly–at least at the professional level, compared to today’s professional level obviously. So, pros started using the open stance more and more as shots got faster and faster, points got quicker and quicker, to be able to still hit an aggressive shot, but be able to immediately recover back to the middle without turning to the side, stepping across… stepping into the court, and still having to stop, change their momentum, and move back again. Obviously, with an open stance, you still have to change your momentum and push back towards the court, but from an open stance it makes it much easier to immediately push off with your outside foot and go back towards the center of the court.

And that’s exactly what Chris was describing: making his swing, pushing sideways from his right foot, and then across over to his left foot. That transfer of momentum makes it very easy to recover back to the middle of the court. That’s exactly the point. And when you watch pros on TV, this is what you’ll see them do–exactly what you’re describing. You’ll see them load up on their outside foot, which for you, your right-handed, or if they’re right-handed you’ll see them load up on their right foot. And then as they make their swing, they’ll transfer their weight over to their left foot, towards the middle of the court. And you’ll see them use… exactly as you were describing once again. You’ll see them use a neutral stance to allow their body to move into the court and through a shot when they’re trying to attack.

So, open stances are typically used for a more neutral, or a defensive phase of play, i.e. rally shots. So, that would be a neutral shot, would be a rally ball. Just exchanging a rally back and forth, from baseline to baseline. That’s not to say that you can’t hit an aggressive, or offensive shot from an open stance. Obviously, you know, professional players hit big shots from an open stance all the time. But I just wanted to point out that that’s kind of the main benefit, or main point to the open stance, is being able to recover quickly, and without the, you know, the sequence of steps going across, and then back to open stance again to be able to shuffle back towards the middle. It just… it takes out a lot of different steps–literally. And so it makes the recovery much easier.

Now, in preparation to talk about this, I just quickly went and did some video research on YouTube. And I’m gonna post the video that I was watching so that you can go and see exactly what I’m talking about. But I found a video of Nadal hitting forehands. And it’s in slow motion so that you can see exactly what he’s doing. Of course, if you type in “slow motion”… well, I didn’t type in “slow motion”. I just typed in “Nadal forehand”. Of course, you’ll get a whole bunch of videos from my friends over at Fuzzy Yellow Balls. And I’m gonna link to that. If you go to essentialtennis.com/podcast, I’m going to… in show number 152, I’m gonna link to that video, so that you can watch exactly the video that I was looking at.

And what you’ll see in that video, is all either open stance, or semi-open stance. Semi-open stance is between a neutral stance, or a square stance, which is perpendicular to the baseline, and open stance. Like an actual open stance means that you are parallel to the baseline. And a semi-open stance as you may deduce or assume, is kind of half way in between. And in this particular video, it shows 2 minutes of slow motion forehands from Nadal. And he hits with a combination of open stance and semi-open stance. And I want you to watch what he does with his feet. You’ll see him consistently–every shot–load up on his left foot–he’s a left-handed player. So, you’ll see him load up on his outside foot, his left foot, and then transfer as he makes his swing, over to his right. Now of course, that means that when he’s in a full open stance, he’s not moving his weight forward at all into the court.

And if you’re listening to me, and you don’t believe me, go watch the video. And don’t even watch his racket, just watch his feet. Watch where his feet are as he sets up, and as he finishes his swing, you’ll see that his feet, on most of the shots, remain in the same place on the court. There is no significant forward momentum shift into the shot. And some of them more than others. When he’s in a full open stance, he’s just transferring back to his right. When he’s in a semi-open stance, because he’s at a 45º angle with his stance, and he goes from his left foot to his right foot, he naturally will transfer forwards a little bit as he shifts his weight from his left to his right. But it’s not anything that I would call significant. He’s not like leaning into the shot and transferring, you know, 3 or 4 feet into the court as he hits his shot. There’s really not any significant transfer at all forwards. However, he’s clearly still hitting big forehands, right? Um, wait, go look at the video. You’ll see. He’s clearly still making a full cut at the ball. But he’s not transferring his weight.

So, what does this mean? It means that swing technique–and we could list off a whole long list of things that are important to swing technique, but the general technique that he uses to swing his racket–his racket head speed, and the use of his body in general, the kinetic chain, these are all much more important aspects to hitting a solid shot than transferring your body weight in general forward into the shot. It’s much more beneficial to be using your body correctly and to be swinging your racket correctly, than it is to step into the shot, or transfer into the shot.

Now don’t get me wrong, transferring through the ball is great, and it can definitely be beneficial. I’m not saying that it’s useless, and it doesn’t serve any purpose. And again, when you watch pros hit, when they are on the attack, and they see an opportunity to hit a big shot, you will very often see them step into the shot, transfer forwards, through the point of contact, and transfer their weight into the shot. You will see them do that. But the reality is that you can’t always do it. And that’s because players are being moved around the court, back and forth, up and back, and you don’t always have the luxury of being able to transfer. Because you just can’t sometimes, even at the professional level. And I would say that most shots that pros hit from the baseline, they aren’t actively transferring their weight forward through the shot. They’re just neutral with their bodies momentum, or they’re moving in a totally different direction than forward, and yet they’re still able to hit a big shot.

So, if you can’t make any power, Chris, on your forehand, or any of the rest of you listening, it means that you should really be focusing your efforts on your swing technique and how you’re using your body to accelerate the racket. I would look at that first, instead of focusing on weight transfer. Weight transfer can be great, but it’s not gonna fix your stroke problems. And you can’t always do it anyway, because your position on the court is largely dictated by what your opponent hits to you. So you don’t always have the ability to transfer anyway.

So, Chris, hopefully this all makes sense. And I’m happy I’m able to point out another misconception. It’s old school tennis teaching, and old school instruction, that you should always transfer your weight into the shot. Again, don’t send me hate mail saying that I’m stupid and not a good pro because I’m saying that it’s bad to transfer your weight. It can be very beneficial. And when possible, I recommend you do so. However, just understand that it’s not always possible. In fact, very often, the majority of the time, it’s not possible. And so you have to rely on your technique, and your acceleration of the racket to still hit a solid shot back to your opponent. So, stepping forwards, transferring your weight, not always essential. In fact, in general, I would say not essential to hit a solid forehand or backhand ground stroke. Can be beneficial, but not essential.

So, Chris, hopefully that makes sense. If you have any follow-up questions, let me know. Or you can post a comment in the comments for this show, number 152, at essentialtennis.com/podcast. Also go to that page to be able to see the video that I was looking at in preparation to answer your question. I’ll have a link to it there so that you can check it out and see what I’m talking about. And then feel free to get back in touch with me, if you have anything further. Chris, best of luck to you while trying to figure this out, and hopefully this clears things up. Take care. [music] [music]

Alright. That brings episode number 152 of the Essential Tennis Podcast to a close. Thank you very much for joining me on today’s episode. And in wrapping things up, as I said before, I’d like to read some comments that were left for last week’s show–number 151–about mental toughness and also recovering with your feet after a server.

First of all, I’d like to… and I didn’t write down the names of these people, but I heard back from 2 separate people, that they heard the episode, my response about getting nervous and choking when you’re ahead in a match. I heard from 2 separate people that won matches just last week after listening to that episode, against people that they typically wouldn’t have beat. Or, they got into a match situation where typically they would blow a lead, and ended up winning the match, you know, decisively because of that information. And that’s awesome. I love hearing that, and thank you to all of you who wrote and gave me feedback–especially those of you who won matches last week because of that information. That’s awesome!

Now, I have some specific comments here I’d like to read–3 quick ones. First one from Gary. He wrote and said: Very interesting. It’s good to know that we can build up our competitive fire by repeated confrontations with pressure situations, and that this should help counteract the fear of failure and general debilitating anxiety and nervousness. One question I might have about what little things one can do while on the court itself, as you are in the pressure situation to help your long term or short term competitiveness. For example, I heard that it’s easier to replace thoughts like fear or failure, and fear of choking, and consequences of choking, rather than just trying to avoid it or not think about it. In other words, to replace a thought with another thought.

And Gary, that’s really a good comment. And this is something that I’ve discussed I believe with both Dr. Kone[?] and David Grumping[?], my 2 most common mental experts that I have on the show. It’s absolutely–and actually several people brought this up in the comments for show number 151–it’s absolutely a great technique to use, is when you feel nervousness, or anger, or frustration, or any other emotion or feeling that is counter-productive to your success, it’s absolutely a valid response or tactic to realize that it’s sneaking into your head, and then replace it with something else. And typically, what I like to do when I get into a pressure situation, is think positively about it. I’ll start getting, you know, nervousness, or a little bit of tightness, and I get excited about it. What I like to tell myself is, This is great. I’m competing. I, you know, I take that nervousness as a positive thing, cause I tell myself, Wow, this is exciting. I’m in this match, it really matters to me. I can tell that, because I’m starting to get some butterflies here. And I just kind of have an appreciation. I think, Wow, how much fun is this. This is awesome. And I use that to get myself excited and pumped up for the next point, and even more focused than I was before.

Of course, if your natural reaction is to start getting those butterflies, and then you think, Oh, no! I might lose this match. I’m starting to get nervous. Obviously the physical reactions to that are going to be negative. So, if you typically have those negative thoughts, absolutely it’s a good strategy to start replacing those purposefully with something positive instead. So Gary, really good thoughts there.

Next up from Howard. Howard had a follow up question about the recovering from a serve with your feet. Howard said: Does the movement back to the baseline after serving also happen when playing doubles? I thought you were supposed to try to keep going to the net and close into the service line as soon as possible.

Howard, that’s a good point. I didn’t talk about doubles, or serving and volleying in general at all, in response to that question last week. And you are correct. You should definitely be moving forwards. If your plan is to close into the net, especially if you’re a doubles player, you should be closing into the net most of the time. Obviously, at that point–well, I guess not obviously, since I didn’t point it out, and people had questions about it –you should not use that pattern that I talked about last week. You should, again, push up with both feet, land on your front foot, and then stride forwards with your back foot, rather than catching yourself with your back foot. I described catching yourself and then pushing back. Rather than doing that, you should land on your front foot, stride forwards with your back foot, and then continue striding forwards step after step until you make your split step as you move forwards. So, good question. And I probably should’ve clarified that last week.

And lastly, from Paul, he wrote and said: I’m a new Podcast listener, enjoyed this segment on mental toughness. I just thought of a fun way to build a little anxiety and competitiveness. Add a few dollars for the winner of even the simplest game during practice, and all of a sudden the stakes go up. And for most, so does the desire to win.

Paul, that’s something I really should’ve added into last week’s show about dealing with anxiety, and going through the purposeful practice of putting yourself in those type of situations so that you can practice and get more comfortable with it, and build that competitiveness. I absolutely condone betting, as long as it’s not money. You guys really shouldn’t be betting money out there. I mean, if you want to, go ahead. But me and my coach, on a regular basis–in fact, probably multiple times a lesson on average–would bet push-ups on whatever we were doing. Maybe it was target practice thing, and he would say, Alright, I’ll bet you 20 push-ups you can’t hit this target, or you can’t hit this spot on the court 5 times in a row. And I do that with my own students all the time. We’ll be playing a game, you know, like a volley game up to 7. And I’ll ask them: You want to put something on this? You want to bet some push-ups, or a sprint or something? And that’s a great way to add pressure. Both players then… And this, it’s more realistic because there’s actually something on the line.

In an actual match you have that social or personal pressure of really wanting to win, and you don’t want to be the loser. When it’s practice, you kind of lose some of that, because in the back of your mind you know it’s not “real”. It’s not a real match. So you can replace some of that by wagering. You know, maybe Gatorades after the practice session, or maybe lunch afterwards, or push-ups, or whatever you want to do. I think that’s a great way to add pressure. So, Paul, thanks for your comments there.

Alright. So, thank you all who left comments. By the way, including my own responses, there were, I think, there was over 40 comments on last week’s show, which is great. Over 20 people stopped by to tell me their thoughts, and I’d love to hear from you this week as well. So go to essentialtennis.com/podcast, and leave me a comment for episode number 152. Very possible I’ll feature it next week in reading back some of those comments. So thank you everybody for listening this week. Take care, and good luck with your tennis. [music] [music]