Greetings from Manchester 100K (Fusion 100 Manchester Trophy)

Greetings from Manchester where Everyball and PROv3 player Beth Grey takes on Tunisia's Ons Jabeur (WTA 180), second on court 1.  Beth then teams up later with Olivia Nicholls (Loughborough Tennis) to take on 3rd seeds Jamie Loeb (US) and An-Sophie Mestach (BEL).

Conditions a little breezy to say the least but rain looks to be staying away, and the grass courts here at The Northern Tennis Club are in great shape.

Beth warming up this morning and also pictured below with Olivia after yesterday's doubles victory.

Conditions a little breezy to say the least but rain looks to be staying away, and the grass courts here at The Northern Tennis Club are in great shape.

Beth warming up this morning and also pictured below with Olivia after yesterday's doubles victory.


Want some more juice on your forehand?

Everyball's Sophia Mezzone demonstrates her killer forehand in training yesterday.  Notice how she sets up with great load through the legs and upper body turn/coil, ready to explode into the shot.

'In groundstrokes, the back leg and hip, to a greater (square stance) or lesser (open stance) degree, are the first part of the kinetic chain.  They begin trunk rotation and drive the trunk upward and forward.  This enables the trunk and then the arm to build racket speed...The trunk of the body links the legs and the racket arm, and has an important role to play in transferring energy from the slower-moving yet large legs to the faster-moving yet smaller upper limbs.' (Elliott/Reid from 'Tennis Science')

Rotation as we know is key to developing power, but notice also how well Sophia combines her body segments and uses the forward movement of her hitting shoulder through impact.  Her head also stays beautifully still providing great stability through the shot.

Great work Sophia in learning to bring more control to your fearsome forehand!



The least practiced and paid attention to aspect of the serve?

It's one of the great contradictions of our sport that arguably the most important stroke, that is also the most easily practiced (just you and a basket of balls), is often the most ignored.  

And more often than not, the efficiency and effectiveness of the serve hinges so often around the contact point area and therefore the ball toss, or ball placement ('toss' conjures up images of a jerky throw, whilst placement suggests something more precise, smoother and controlled).

There are 3 aspects of contact point that relate directly to the location/accuracy of ball toss as shown in this video of world number 67 Taylor Fritz delivering a second serve at the Surbiton 100K last week.

 

1.  Height

Typically most top players contact the ball on the fall (ie: as it's dropping from the apex of the ball placement) so the ball requires a placement high enough to enable this.  Taylor has a relatively low ball toss, but a careful look shows he still makes contact on the fall.

2.  Distance front to back

Contact ideally should be made inside the baseline for both 1st and 2nd serves, though to facilitate more spin a second serve ball toss will be placed further back to encourage more vertical path of the racket (for a top/slice spin).

3.  Distance side to side 

A tricky one.  12 noon (in line with heel of front foot) to 1pm would be considered within a range of acceptability.  Ideally, you are looking for a contact point that enables 'shoulder over shoulder' (cartwheel rotation) rather than shoulder around shoulder as this creates more vertical velocity through the hips, a higher contact point, and promotes greater internal rotation of the hitting shoulder (this action contributes to 40% to the generation of racket velocity at impact in the male high-performance serve).  [Bruce Elliott & Machar Reid, 'Tennis Science']

Elliott and Red however, are keen to point out that 'coaches of young players alike must be careful to appropriately time when they emphasise the importance of internal rotation in the service action.  For example, research has observed that increases in internal rotation velocity occur primarily after puberty.  Therefore, young players should attend to other aspects of the service action and lay the foundations for appropriate internal rotation velocity development prior to puberty, so that they can most effectively use this aspect of the serve when they mature.'

A couple of photos below showing a slight contrast in body position at contact of Fritz to a younger, physically developing 14 year old (albeit it different angles)

Finally, a few keys for an accurate ball placement:

  • A smooth rhythmical service action is helpful, especially when score-board pressure and muscular tension come into the equation
  • Release at eye level
  • Straight arm and lift from the shoulder
  • Imagine holding on to a tube of balls or a plastic cup/ice-cream cone to limit last second wrist flick which can send the ball anywhere!

Above all, have fun getting out there and practicing your serve - no hitting partner required!








 


Beth and Olivia take on top seeds at Surbiton 100K today after wild-card reward

Everyball and PROv3 Beth Grey and partner Olivia Nichollls (Loughborough Tennis) have been awarded a wild-card into the 100K Women's ITF event at Surbiton today, taking on top seeds Laura Robson and Monique Adamczak (not before 2pm centre court).

Best of luck Beth and Olivia!!

Beth is no currently ranked WTA 550 in singles and 236 in doubles.

See her ranking progress over the last few years below.  Great strides this year so far Beth, keep up the great work!

Width of your base foundation for great movement and strokes

An old colleague of mine always used to say: 'You can't fire a canon from a canoe!'

How very true this is.  A good wide base is the foundation for explosive movement and great stroke stroke production.

Look at Eugenie Bouchard (you may remember at Wimbledon 2014 she became the first Canadian-born player to reach the finals of a Grand Slam in singles, finishing runner-up to Petra Kvitova) hit a few balls here.

Pay particular attention to the width of her base as she executes her split step as her hitting partner is striking the ball.  (Video courtesy of Everyballer Amelie Brooks who is currently out competing at the Moratoglou Academy and was able to watch Bouchard training).

Something we can all seek to emulate, whatever level we play at!