The Magic of Calmly Waiting Mentally While Moving Fast and Furiously
Tennis seems to be a very fast sport, but I have a surprise for you:
IT IS NOT!
Let me explain.
From baseline to baseline, a groundstroke loses more than half its speed. A forehand hit at 100 MPH at one baseline gets to the other baseline at around 40 MPH. One hit at 50 MPH gets to you at 20 MPH.
A serve hit at 100 MPH gets to the other baseline at approx. 45 MPH. Imagine being Rafa Nadal returning serve about 6 ft. behind the baseline. He has times to scratch several parts of his body, all the while running to meet the ball for a masterful return.
What makes the game look so fast? YOUR IMAGINATION! You see the ball starting fast and you make up your mind about its speed.
Rather, use your power of observation of the last stages of the ball flight, well after the bounce.
According to Andre Agassi, in the height of his career he hit the ball when it stopped. I have never seen a ball stop in mid-air, but I use this concept to get students in the Zone. And it works!
If you calmly observe the ball while you are running, tracking it with the racquet in front, rather than behind you all prepared to slam it like in baseball, you’ll find the ball easily, you’ll stroke it more efficiently, you’ll have more feel and control.
Gone are the days when you had to prepare early. You’ll feel you have more time the other way around, waiting for the ball to get near your racquet.
Become a better player, much more serene and able, by waiting for the ball.