Sunday, 22 December 2013


What's wrong with looping a tennis ball over the net with lack of pace yet deep into the court with a heap of spin on it that will invariably keep your opponent behind the baseline so they cannot dictate play? It aint cool , that's why kids like to skim the net and put it straight back into their opponent's hitting zone only to get it hit straight back just as hard as it had no chance whatsoever of bothering the opposition . Flat tennis went out of vogue with the retirement of the great man Jimmy Connors and i mean that in all due respect , Jimmy hit it better than any , Bjorn was the 'loop King'. I read once that an opponent of Borg's said that unless he tried to take the Swede's shot on the rise it would bounce over his head , that's a lot of spin , much in the same mould as what Rafa does , the net is taken out of the equation . 
Sometimes i wonder if it's the era i grew up in , Borg , Wilander , Vilas and their ability to hit the ball in with ease and quite simply to not hit the net that gave me my focus as a Coach on net clearance. This 'philosophy' is not unique , the game is played at a quicker pace now days so it is deceiving. However if you watched from a side on view you would see that a ball hit by Rafa off his famous forehand side clears the net with ridiculous ease and if allowed to take it's full spin by his opponent it would bounce at a height that to most onlookers would seem rather uncomfortable to try and return. 
Kids in my town do not own a comfortable net clearance as they are not being taught to hit it , they are net skimmers because it is considered the 'macho' way of hitting a tennis ball , but there are a few exceptions . I hit with some kids who i have had some influence on over the years and they mainly hit long if they miss , their follow through's are high and their racket preparation low , enabling the racket to come through on an angle that will generate a high amount of topspin . The way i teach the game i would consider to be a 'safe' way of playing , not a risky or 'macho' way and i would be willing to take this way of teaching to any experienced and knowledgeable Coach in Australia or beyond and be surprised if it is not how they also teach it . 
A ball that is hit with a loop on it that carries it deep into court is a ball that cannot be attacked regularly or consistently , it's a ball that asks the opponent the question 'what have you got ?' . At a junior level i would be more than surprised if a high bouncing ball can be hit back regularly with any real conviction , it's physical demands are too high . 
I will continue to teach the loop ball , not a moon ball , but a ball that takes the opponent out of their hitting zone that i believe will eventually wear most opponents out , both physically and mentally, call it old fashioned if you wish , i call it Smart Tennis.......

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