Are you a newbie tennis player, there is a high tendency that you will keep hitting the tennis ball long.
However, hitting the tennis ball long is not always a good practice and can mar your performance on the tennis court.
If you’ve always been hitting the tennis ball long and don’t know why, then this article will help you to understand why and also guide you on how to prevent hitting the tennis ball long.
Newbie tennis players are always faced with two big problems:
- Hitting the forehand into the net, or...
- Hitting the tennis ball long
Most times, newbie tennis players want to hit the tennis ball as hard as possible just like the tennis pros do on TV.
While this is a lofty goal, newbies can’t keep the tennis ball in play consistently just by hitting hard on it.
When beginners swing or hit as hard as they can on the tennis ball, the most likely result is that the ball will go long and not fall anywhere within the court.
This experience can be frustrating and make beginner tennis players feels pretty bad.
Imagine a scenario where you seem to be hitting the ball perfectly but the ball isn’t responding the way you want it to.
If care is not taken, you may end up disliking the game instead of enjoying it and having a good time with it.
It’s not your fault to keep hitting the tennis ball long, it’s natural to face such problems.
If you’re a beginner tennis player, expect to go through these kinds of problems in your journey,
However, there are a few things you can do to keep the tennis ball inside the lines.
The first and most important thing to do is to develop some proper tennis strokes – topspin.
Do not hit the tennis ball flat. Always put some spin on the ball – not slicing it.
When you hit the tennis ball with a racquet, ensure that you aren’t hitting it flat in the middle but try as much as possible to hit just the top part of the ball by tilting your racquet at the proper angle.
This will make the tennis ball have enough rotations and not travel too far.
Always try to add more spins to your shots.
When you hit the tennis ball with topspin or backspin, it’ll help you land your strokes within the tennis court, which will be difficult for your opponent to deal with.
Hitting the tennis ball with topspin is the greatest service you can do to your game.
It’ll keep the tennis ball high enough to go up over the net and also gets the ball to land well at your target spot inside the court.
Topspin is undoubtedly the best weapon for a tennis player. However, most beginner tennis players have no idea how to get this working.
To hit the ball with topspin, keep your racquet under the ball, brush up on the outside of the ball and follow through with your racquet, bringing it across your shoulder.
To hit the ball with backspin, keep your racquet up the ball, brush down on the outside of the ball and follow through with your racquet low.
Adding a spin to the tennis ball will cause the ball to dip back down and into the court.
Adding a spin to the ball also converts lots of the energy in your swing from kinetic into rotational energy - it's the kinetic energy that makes the tennis ball to go long and beyond the court.
The main difference between a tennis pro and a beginner is that when a tennis pro hits the tennis ball hard, much of that energy is goes into spinning the tennis ball – though trajectory also matters.
Note that adding spin to the tennis ball takes time and consistent practice.
At first, you might try to make as many vertical motions as possible, which may seem ineffective. However, give time to practice and don’t overdo it to avoid injuring yourself.
Another way to achieve topspin is by doing the following:
Go to a wall near you, draw a line about 3ft up the wall, draw another line (marked X) about 6ft above that.
Hit the wall with the tennis ball aiming at the X line every time for about an hour daily until it clicks.
You can aim at hitting about 100,000 shots at the X line. There's no other remedy other than repetition.
Aside from preventing the tennis ball from going too far, adding spin is a great skill that will take your tennis game to the next level.
For instance, a spinning tennis ball is hard to return flat and this will give you an advantage over your competitor.
Secondly, you must fix your gaze at the tennis ball as it hits your racquet rather than fixing your gaze at where you want the tennis ball to land.
Most tennis players, especially newbies, usually make the mistake of fixing their eyes at the target they want the tennis ball to hit.
This practice is quite similar to closing your eyes and trying to hit the tennis ball.
Instead, always look at your target spot before you hit the ball and when the ball is getting closer to you, change your focus, and look at the ball as it hits your racquet.
This way, the tennis ball will be more likely to stay within the tennis court.
Thirdly, when playing the tennis game, use proper footwork to ensure that you’re hitting the tennis ball in your strike zone.
For instance, when you’re in the best position to hit the ball, your chances of having the tennis ball stay within the court will increase.
While playing the tennis game, always take small steps that will help you adjust your standing position so you can increase your odds of hitting the ball with proper form.
This will always help to ensure that your ball lands within the lines.
When you take small steps rather than long steps, you’ll be able to stay balanced and in the right position to hit your target spots.
Next, to avoid hitting the tennis ball long, set up cones to practice target spots during tennis drills. To do this, place the cones about 2ft. in front of the baseline very close to both allies and practice hitting the cones – cross-court and down the line.
Aiming at the cones will help you to develop muscle memory for how to hit target spots on the tennis court.
Always keep your racquet up and above the net when hitting the tennis ball.
If the tennis ball is sailing out when you hit it, your racquet might be down below the net but this will cause you to open your racquet face and pop the ball up.
However, if your racquet is up, you will be able to hit down or straight through the ball to hit the target spot instead of popping it up and out.
Another thing you can try to avoid hitting the tennis ball long is trying a tighter tension. Loose tension may force your strokes out, so always go for a tighter tension.
Finally, try stepping back while playing the tennis game. You can start the point from a tad bit behind the baseline, and then step into the court.
These are some things you can do to help you tackle the problem of hitting the tennis ball long.
From the post above, what you’ve realized is that hitting the tennis ball long is a normal occurrence with beginner tennis players.
Except in very rare cases, newbie tennis players can't generate overnight the same skill and playing power that pro tennis players have generated.
As a beginner tennis player, you have to build up your playing skills and power gradually as you start practicing to get more balls within the lines consistently.
Also, always focus on spinning the tennis ball such that it has a higher chance of being within the lines – topspin.
Every pro tennis player who hits the tennis ball at an unbelievable pace always adds topspin to the ball to keep it in the lines.
The best way to practice to get more balls within the lines consistently would be to find a pro or trainer who can help you feed your tennis balls at the same pace over and over again until you’re used to the swing pattern.