I have been playing tennis for more than 30 years. The groundstroke is one of the most important skills to learn if you want to play the game. It seems to elude a lot of people as to how to really learn to groundstroke or how to improve their groundstroke.
In this article I am going to talk about what a ground stroke is and how you can improve yours.
What is a tennis groundstroke?
A ground stroke is any shot taken after the ball bounces off of the ground. Though this sounds like a good definition, I would add that the ball shouldn’t reach a significant height over your head. If the ball goes too high over your head then you would execute an overhead shot.
How do you hit a groundstroke in tennis?
There are many ways to hit a ground shot in tennis. If you are just starting out, then you probably just want to make contact with the ball with your racket perpendicular to the ground and an upward swing. This will push the ball forward and place a little top spin on the ball. You should start off using this same technique on the forehand and backhand.
Once you can hit the ball back and forth using a simple stroke, then you will want to try different strokes. Slicing the ball by swing your racket at an angel and making contact on the underside of the ball will put back spin on the ball. Backspin can cause the ball to move upward or sideways as it is traveling in the air. When it hits the ground, backspin will cause the momentum of the ball to slow and it will make the bounce flatter. When side spin is applied, the ball will move to the side when it hits the ground. Both backspin and side spin can be used to throw your opponents timing off.
After learning to slice the tennis ball, you will want to learn how to hit flat shots with almost no spin. Flat shots are very effective when the ball is higher than the net. A flat shot allows you to put a lot of speed on the ball and have very little bounce when the ball hits your opponents side of the court.
You will also want to learn how to stop a stroke or just touch a ball. This type of stroke gives you the ability to drop the tennis ball on your opponents side of the court using their momentum. This can be very effective if you are taking the ball right of the ground.
Off course mastering topspin is a must. Topspin can be used for all kinds of things. Mid-court balls that you want to fire at an angle and don’t have sufficient height to hit a flat shot. Balls that are high and you want to hit with a full stroke and dive at the baseline. Topspin helps when you want to send a ball over your opponents head if they are playing close, but you don’t want the ball to be a high lob.
Which is the best tennis trainer for groundstrokes?
First, nothing beats getting out on the court and hitting real live groundstrokes. But there are times when you can’t get to the court or when you would just like to train at home.
For beginners, I think a ball trainer that utilizes a ball attached to a base and swings back and fourth is good. Billie Jean King’s Eye Trainer is a good option. You can also find some less sophisticated versions on line. The key is to get a beginner to start seeing and feeling the ball as it hits the racket. Too much time is spent trying to get beginners to stand a certain way or swing a certain way. The best thing you can do as a beginner is to swing the racket and feel the ball as it makes contact with the racket.
Once you can start to hit the ball back and forth on a court, I would recommend using a solo tennis ball rebound trainer. The rebound trainers consist of a ball on a long rubber band that is attached to a base that is either heavy or you fill it with water. You can start out by letting the rubber band out by 10 feet. Try to hit the ball in a back and forth rally. Don’t worry about hitting the ball hard. Just be consistent.
Once you are consistent with the short band, you can make it longer. Try lengthening the band in increments so you can build up to the full length of the trainer.
Another way to practice your ground stroke is to hit against a wall or a board. This will simulate hitting the tennis ball with a real person. Start off hitting the ball slow. It will take you a little time to get used to how hard to hit the ball to have it come back to you without bouncing too many times. You also will probably have some issues with the angle the ball bounces off the wall.
Once you get comfortable hitting on the wall, you can pick up the pace up. The harder you hit the ball at the wall, the faster it will come back to you.
How do you make a tennis trainer?
I’d tried to make my own tennis trainer several times. The first time I tried to use a piece of elastic rubber band. The second time I tried to attach a tennis ball to a flexible fiberglass rod.
To make my own groundstroke trainer with elastic I bought 25 feet of elastic from the fabric store. I also used an old tennis ball. First, I put a hole in one side of the tennis ball. Then I tied a screw to the one end of the elastic and put it into the hole in the ball. This solution worked okay, but the elastic kept getting tangled up.
For my attempt at making a trainer with a tennis ball and fiberglass rod, I didn’t do so well. I attempted to attach the ball to the rod gluing it, putting a screw all the way through it, and tying a string through it, but none of it could hold it when I hit the ball with a racket.
The hardest thing for me was to attach the ball to the rubber band or to a flexible fiberglass rod. I did get the ball attached to the fiberglass rod, but wasn’t able to keep it on too long. After hitting the ball a few times, the ball would come detached.
How do you use a Fill N Drill Tennis Trainer?
After trying to make my own ground stroke trainer, I decide to buy a Fill N Drill tennis trainer. This was a great investment. The Fill N Drill is inexpensive. Its easy to use and store.
To get started with the Fill N Drill, you have to fill it will water to keep it from moving around. Then let out about 15 feet of rubber band and try to hit the ball back and forth. Don’t hit it too hard when you start. Just get a rally going.
Once you can get the ball going at a short distance, let a little more of the rubber band out. Work with the new length for a while and then increase it. Work you way up to the full length slowly. You will have to hit the ball at a substantial pace to keep it moving when you have the rubber band fully out.
The ground stroke is probably the most important stroke in tennis. It may seem hard to get good at it, but its not. Practice it on the court as much as you can. When you can’t get to the court, find a way to practice it at home. Build your own ground stroke trainer or buy an inexpensive solution. Either way, get your practice in and you will improve.