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Tennis Coach's Corner

Tennis Tip

Presented by J.J. Whitlinger, Camp Director
Nike Tennis Camp at Furman University

Tennis Groundstrokes Tip: Timing is Everything

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Groundstrokes are inevitable in a tennis match, so it is important to master this stroke from all aspects. However, JJ Whitlinger, Head Men’s Tennis Coach at Furman University, emphasizes how the primary focus on our groundstrokes is to get there “on time.”

Too often, young players try to run to the ball as fast as they can or move up to the ball and hit inside of the baseline. Let the ball come to you and move fluently! In such a fast-paced game, you only have a few seconds to think about your next move - Rather than rushing to get to the ball, let the timing happen naturally and focus your attention towards the hit and the placement of your shot. The goal is to find your “tennis rhythm.”

Rushing: Players gain adrenaline throughout the match, which causes them to rush their shots and push up to the baseline. Closing in on the baseline too quickly creates less distance between you and your opponent, therefore leaving you less time to hit the ball.

Hesitating: Overcompensating for rushing creates a similar problem. Hesitation causes balls to fall behind you, which disrupts your footwork and leaves players off-balance. Practice remaining behind the baseline and train your brain to find the perfect timing for yourself.

Being on time will allow you to use your momentum and rotational force to hit the ball cleanly and consistently. Find your “tennis rhythm” and see how natural groundstrokes become!

For more tennis tips like this, join us this summer at the Nike Tennis Camp at Furman University led by the program’s Head Men’s Tennis Coach, JJ Whitlinger!

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