Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lesson : Question About Getting Started In Tennis

If you’re thinking about giving the game a try, good for you: Tennis is a sport you will enjoy for a lifetime. Here are the answers to most common questions beginners ask about getting into the game.

1. What kind of racquet should I purchase? There are many great options available, and most retailers will allow you to test racquets before you purchase one.

Rick Macci, a U.S. Professional Tennis Association-certified master professional who has trained the Williams sisters and Andy Roddick, among others, says that first-time buyers should look for a frame that has the proper grip size, depending on the size of your hand, and the correct length and weight, depending on your age and strength.

2. How do I hold the racquet? Does it matter? It matters a lot, but you have a lot of options, too. Professionals use all variety of grips, so don’t let anyone tell you that any particular grip can’t be successful. That said, some grips are easier to learn than others, and some are more versatile.

On the forehand side, for example, we would advise against a full Western grip, which isn’t suited to all surfaces unless wielded by an expert. On the serve, the Continental is a must, though you might not be able to use it right away.

3. I want more court time, What should I do? The wall is the only undefeated player in history. If you need to hit a lot of balls, find the side of a building. It’s that simple. Also consider practicing, rather than playing sets, with players at or slightly above your level. There are many drills and workouts you can run on your own that will improve your game quickly.

4. What can I learn from the pros? A lot—a lot that’s good, and a lot that’s bad. Pros have amazing technique, but that technique is often too sophisticated for a club player to try to adopt for himself or herself.

If you try to emulate the extreme body rotation pros use on their strokes and their serves, you’ll be disappointed in your results (and might suffer some aches and pains, too). Also, the pros’ most underappreciated skill is their footwork. Learn how to improve yours.

5. How often should I play? As often as you can. The sport is a blast, and you’ll want to play for the rest of your life. But don’t overdo it. Work up slowly and make sure you have a pro check out on your technique from time to time; this will help you prevent injuries.

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