Racquet Director’s Diary

If there’s one thing the current situation has forced us all to do, it’s to get creative with the ways we can still take part in our sports and hobbies. Over the last few weeks, I have seen this on a global scale with many tour players posting various challenges on social media in order to keep tennis fans active and invested in the game.

If you have not seen, Roger’s ‘hat and volley challenge’ then you can check it out at the following link: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-rjLx5FoJg/

Andy Murray and his wife Kim also posted the 100-volley challenged which involves hitting 100 hundred consecutive volleys with your partner. This personally tested my skills as a coach and especially my patience, which can see here at one of our early attempts: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-9UNBanhJn/. We did eventually manage it after a few cross words, and it turned out to be a lot of fun: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-9SwJVHYox/.

Please send me any videos, would be great to see tennis Members trying this!

Wimbledon 2020

Wimbledon’s been cancelled for the first time since the Second World War, and I wanted to share the video the All England Club put together which Roger Federer narrates. I am sure we are all going to miss it this year! https://twitter.com/i/status/1248270337256628225

LTA Tennis at Home

The LTA have put together lots of resources and activities for tennis players. They have a part of the website dedicated to the tennis at home initiative. There are lots of things to keep you busy alone, or as a family. These include tennis-at-home exercises, activity cards, personal development challenges and learning activities. Follow the link to find out more:


Volley Grip Tips

To help with the challenges I have put together some hints and tips on the volley.

In order to volley successfully the most important thing you need to get right is the grip. Being comfortable holding the racket in a continental (or chopper) grip is crucial in developing your volley skills.  If you don’t have this grip on your volley you will be forced to change grips as the ball comes to either side – forehand or backhand. This might work at the lower levels, but when the ball starts to move faster, there is not enough time to change grips. It also limits player’s options on the volley. The continental grip also plays a huge part in being able to serve effectively. Therefore, use this time to try lots of racket and ball skills using the continental grip. If you have not tried the frame tap challenge yet – have a go as this is a good drill for hand eye coordination and promotes the use of the continental grip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O68cnQwXBUo.

To find the continental grip, form a ‘V’ with your thumb and forefinger and place the ‘v’ on the throat of the racket and slide it down until you reach the grip handle.

Be careful not to apply too much pressure on the grip. You should feel like you have control over the racket but you do not want to feel like you are choking it. If you must squeeze the grip, do so from the pinky and ring fingers for the forehand volley and the thumb and forefinger for the backhand volley. This will give you a good feel for the racquet and control over it.

Grip pressure will influence the type of volley you hit. For example, if you hold the grip tighter, you will put speed on the ball and if you hold the grip looser, you will take some speed off the ball. Therefore, if you are trying to put the ball away with a high volley you need to hold the racket tight and if you are playing a drop volley off a low dipping ball the grip needs to be loose.

The Drill

  1. Practice hitting volleys with the continental grip against the wall.
  2. Vary the distance from the wall so you can start to feel how grip pressure effects ball speed.
  3. Place a bucket halfway between you and the wall. Hit 5/6 volleys against the wall and then take pace off the ball by gripping the racket loser and see if you can get the ball to bounce off the wall into the bucket.

For video click here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-9tniknhXf/

Stay safe and stay active!

Dan Lott | Racquets Director