How to improve your game with topspin, serve, accuracy and the right grip
Why is serving so difficult?
Most tennis players and coaches agree that the serve is the most difficult stroke in tennis. There are many reasons why the serve in particular is difficult and it can differ from player to player. Obviously it is very difficult for a beginner but even experienced players need to constantly work on improving their serve technique. The most common reason why you find it difficult to get a good serve is that there are so many elements in one. We spoke to Lisa Dodson, serve expert and former WTA player. She says that part of what makes it extra complicated is the combination of movements. When serving, you use both the right and left sides of your body, which makes it difficult to, for example, practice one part on the right side and then put it together with the other side, the left part. So the throw and the serve movement combined is very complex for us to get together in a good way. Then the individual parts are also difficult individually with some players having the most trouble with the throw while others find it more challenging with the serve itself.
How do I serve better?
There are certainly a lot of answers on how to improve your serving technique. Usually the coach can best determine what the player should practice to improve. If you want to use tools that can help you as a player to improve, we recommend training with ServeMaster which is a tool for training the actual serving motion. It can also be used for other strokes but is primarily designed for the player to practice the actual movement to understand how it should feel. To see the movement is one thing, but to then apply it yourself and really feel how to move the body is not the easiest thing. That's why ServeMaster is so incredibly good, it helps you through the whole movement and through repetitive practice with it, your brain will imprint the correct flow when you move on to serving with your rack. If you have a ServeMaster, you can easily practice at home or on the court, either by yourself or with your coach and tennis buddy. The ServeMaster is for all players regardless of ambition. For a beginner and intermediate player, it helps to consolidate the movement and can also correct an incorrect movement that you have used in the past but which is preventing you from advancing in your game. For a more advanced player who already has a correct serve movement "in their backbone", ServeMaster is perfect for warming up the serve before practice sessions and before a match. Today the ServeMaster is widely used in tennis clubs for teaching the serve and for warm-ups. It is very popular with both coaches and players as there is a quick improvement. Clubs report that it makes a big difference to many players, especially those who previously did not really understand the movement correctly. Read more about ServeMaster here and buy it from us and get a 5% discount if you quote the code "expert" at checkout.
Another tip on improving your serve is for those players who grip their rack incorrectly. To optimize your serve you should keep a continental grip, so called hammer grip. This can be difficult for some players, both beginners and players who have never learned to hold correctly. To correct this error, you can use the GripFixer, a type of positioning guide that you place on the handle and that "forces" your hand to hold correctly. Immediate results, simple and effective! Learn more about the GripFixer here and buy it from us and get a 5% discount if you enter the code "expert" at checkout.
What is topspin and why should I know it?
Players who can hit topspin have a big advantage in the game. If you're a beginner and don't know topspin, you'll find it amazing that experienced players seem to be able to hit very hard groundstrokes and still not hit the ball out! It may seem impossible! But what is happening is that the player is spinning the ball, a technique that causes the ball to be pushed down the court and then spin away at high speed. So that's topspin, or if you prefer topspin or overspin. The technique has to be learnt properly, it has to settle in for you as a player to be able to use it in your game. The important thing is to first understand what topspin is and how to do it, then you have to practice a lot for it to become part of your tactics. If you want to develop as a tennis player then you should definitely learn topspin as it will improve you greatly as a player as it is much more difficult for your opponent to receive a ball that has topspin. What's so great is that it's never too late to learn topspin!
How do I learn topspin?
Your coach is probably good at explaining how to perform the move but it can be difficult to do it despite instructions. And you have to practice often at first so that it really sticks in your muscle memory. This means that training only when you are with your coach may not be enough if you want to learn topspin in a reasonable amount of time. In that case, using the TopspinPro tool is ideal. It is a tool for you to quickly learn the technique itself but also to practice on a regular basis so that you can really apply it in your game on the court. You can practice with TopspinPro both at home and on the court. It is easy to carry with you and takes no more than 2 minutes to set up. Our best tip is to keep it in front of you where you are often, it will increase your chances of getting good at topspin quickly, as you tend to often grab your rack and hit a few shots. If you live in a place with a relatively short outdoor season, it's really good to have a piece of equipment that you can use indoors and practice on at any time. More than 100,000 tennis players have bought a TopspinPro so it is very well proven and tennis coaches use it extensively in their training sessions to speed up the process of teaching their players how to play with the correct topspin technique. Read more about TopspinPro and buy it from us here. Use the code "expert" to get a 5% discount. For inspiration, you can also check out tennis drills with TopspinPro here.
HIT SAFETY - find your sweet spot
Why do I hit wrong and why is it hard to hit "clean"?
As a player, you can often tell immediately when you get a clean shot. It's a very good feeling and you have great control over your game. These clean strokes are what players strive for but it is far from easy and is considered a big challenge for many players. Because it is unfortunately very common that you don't actually get to the ball right and therefore get a miss, which can be very frustrating. After all, a rack has quite a large hitting area, so sometimes players can't believe that they get so many misses. But the fact is that not all the surface of the racket head is the right place to hit. The goal is usually to hit the so-called sweet spot, which is located in the central part of the racket head, and that area is actually not as large as you might think. Of course, to get the ball right, you need to do a lot of things right, and quick feet are very important. You also need to get a feel for where the sweet spot is and you need to be very concentrated on the game and not lose your mind on other things.
How can I get better at hitting the ball right? How do I find my sweet spot?
Through regular practice with racks, you can gradually get better at hitting it right, but there are also tools that will speed up the process and teach you faster and more effectively. For example, there are three tools called Tennis Pointer, Toalson Sweet Area Racket and Tennis Stroke Catcher to choose from. All three of these tools actively work on your eye-hand coordination, raise your concentration level, make you run faster and stay alert, and practice your sense of how to hit the sweet spot. There are slightly different functions to these three and of course it's best if you work with all three. For inspiration, you can also check out tennis drills with the products here. Here we describe a little bit about each tool:
- Tennis Pointer: A wooden spade with a very small sweet spot that is difficult to hit. The handle is shaped like a tennis racket handle for an authentic feel. Requires extra fast feet to get right to the ball. Warning, can cause great frustration due to how much you miss but also great satisfaction when you get good at getting right to the ball. Suitable for all players. Available in 3 models: junior, mid and pro. Read more about Tennis Pointer and buy it from us here. Use the code "expert" to get a 5% discount.
- Toalson Sweet Area Racket: Like a regular rack but smaller head size. With this rack you can almost play as normal but you are forced to concentrate extra hard as there will be mis-hits if you don't hit quite right as it is not forgiving like a regular rack. Suitable for all players. Available in 3 models: junior 280gr, 280gr and 320gr. Read more about the Sweet Area Racket and buy it from us here. Use the code "expert" to get a 5% discount.
- Tennis Stroke Catcher: a rack that has a hoop instead of strings. The frame is smaller than on a regular rack so high concentration is important to hit the right shot. Provides instant feedback if you miss the sweet spot. Ideal if you are practicing by yourself as you can easily and smoothly pick the ball directly from the hoop and continue your practice. The only balls you need to pick up are when you hit the wrong one. The Tennis Stroke Catcher can be used for many different strokes and has more functions than just practising the sweet spot. For example, it is very good for practicing release and follow-through. Suitable for all players. Available in small, medium and large models. Read more about the Tennis Stroke Catcher and buy it here. Use the code "expert" to get a 5% discount.
Why should you grip the racket differently depending on the stroke?
Most people who don't play tennis have probably never reflected on the fact that you hold a tennis racket in different ways. And for a beginner it can be very difficult to understand why but also to remember to change the grip for different strokes. It can be frustrating to say the least and it can take a long time to get the grip right. But getting it right isn't just important for you to develop your game and become a better player. It's also important to get your grip right so that your technique is correct to minimise the risk of injury. There are several ways to hold your racket and it differs from player to player and your coach will probably teach you Hens style. But there are general recommendations to go by and they are continental grip, also called hammer grip, when serving, playing backhand, volleys and smashes; and then semi-western grip when playing forehand. Then there are more grips but these two are the most commonly used grips that will take you further in your game and advance if you keep it right. If you hold the grip correctly, your strokes will be optimized. So for example, to hit as hard as possible, the continental grip is the best grip, it is undeniably proven to provide the most power and result in the technique required for the best possible serve. What's nice to know is that even if you've been gripping incorrectly for all your years as a player, there are methods that can teach you how to do it right.
I'm holding the racket wrong, I'm gripping wrong, how can I get help?
There is a solution! And it's immediate, it's simple and it's effective. With the tool GripFixer you can't grip wrong. The tool makes sure your hand doesn't slip and get stuck. The GripFixer acts as a positioning guide for your fingers; semi-western grip for forehand and continental grip/hammer grip for backhand, serve, volleys and smash. You can easily switch between the grips without having to move the GripFixer and therefore you can use it all the time you play. Once you feel that you are getting the different grips into your muscle memory, try removing the GripFixer periodically and eventually you will no longer need to use it. Fits all players and comes in two sizes (small and medium) and covers all racket sizes from 0-5. Medium fits sizes 2-5. Of course available for both left and right handed players. Read more about the GripFixer and buy it from us here. Use the code "expert" to get a 5% discount.