The latest episode of the Tennis Quick Tips podcast is now available! In this episode, I'll tell you some great tips about the tennis ready position and how to use it in your tennis game. You can listen to this episode by clicking on the gray media player above or by listening in with your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe in iTunes by clicking on this link: tennisfixation.com/itunes. Right now, let’s talk about the tennis ready position.
Last week, I was less than ten feet away from Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, James Blake and Jim Courier. So how did I get so up close and personal with these tennis legends? Well, I volunteered to work for a day at the Camden Cup tennis tournament in Houston, Texas which is one of the events on the PowerShares Series of tennis events. I was there all day and through most of the evening since I stayed to watch the matches.
My job was to lead people around the inside of the Toyota Center, where the tournament was held, and make sure they didn’t get lost or wander off somewhere they weren’t supposed to be. But I also got to spend a lot of time watching the players hit and seeing them all over the place.
I also got to attend the players’ party that was held for people who paid some huge amount of money to attend. It was all great but, at one point, I was complaining on the phone to my husband and he asked me how come I didn’t take a picture with all of them and I told him how you can’t really do that with these guys. No one can get that close with all four of them at once and certainly not without paying some big bucks to be in the rallies they hosted or the party. And as soon as I said that, here all four of them came, walking down the hallway where I was standing, with a video crew in tow. I think they were shooting some stock video footage for the media but let me just say – I was easily within ten feet of all four of these tennis legends. While I was talking on my phone. So I had no way to take a picture. Unless I would have hung up on my husband which in retrospect might have been the right move. Anyway, I waved at them and Andy Roddick waved back. So that’s something, right?
I had a great time working and met some interesting people who were also volunteers and some other interesting people who actually work for the PowerShares Series and get to travel around on this tour. There was even someone stringing racquets for these guys!
Anyway, as I sat watching the matches that night, I was thinking – what can I learn from all of this? What can I possibly learn from these four American tennis legends that would apply to a game like mine? And while there are a number of really basic things they do that we all should do, one thing that stuck out to me was the ready position. Not only how all four of them start each point in the ready position, but also how all four of them have a very similar looking ready position.
So let's talk about the tennis ready position.
The ready position is the stance you take before your opponent hits the ball that allows you to move quickly around the tennis court in any direction. It helps ensure that your footwork is quick, light and moving in the right direction.
How do you get in the ready position? It’s pretty easy. First, you want to be facing forward with your eyes forward, looking towards your opponent which is where the ball should be coming from.
Your feet should be facing forward also, about shoulder distance apart, and your weight should be slightly shifted forward on the balls of your feet. You don’t want your weight shifted back into your heels as that will slow the transfer of your weight and momentum into your shot.
Your knees should be slightly bent but should be loose and relaxed. You should be bent slightly forward at the hips which will also help with your forward momentum. So, you’ll be in a somewhat crouched position, but not overly so. You don’t want to be bent too far forward. Just in a relaxed and loose slightly forward crouch.
Finally, your arms should be out in front of your body and your hands should both be on your racquet, holding it lightly but firmly. Since you won’t know if you’re getting a shot to your forehand or your backhand, you want to be ready for either. If you hit a two-handed backhand, you can keep your hands closer together on the grip of the racquet. If you hit a one-hander, you can move your non-hitting hand up towards the throat of your racquet to help with your shoulder turn and to stabilize the racquet.
By adopting this athletic and loose ready position, you’ll be able to easily shift into position to hit any ball that comes your way. You can hit either a forehand or a backhand. You can move forward on short balls or move back when necessary to track down deeper balls.
I think the most important things to remember about using the ready position are, first, that your body should be loose and relaxed in this position so that you can quickly react to whatever ball comes your way. And, second, you need to use this position over and over, until it becomes a habit with you. If you’re not using it right now, and I know a lot of recreational players aren’t, it may feel kind of goofy at first. But consciously force yourself to apply the ready position in your game and in probably just 3 to 4 matches, it will become second nature, something you don’t even think about.
So, since I noticed that Agassi, Courier, Roddick and Blake all had a very similar looking ready position stance, I looked for a photo to of one of them to really illustrate this position. But I just couldn’t find a good one that showed what I was looking for. And if you saw any of the photos or video that I took of them last week and posted on Facebook, you would know – those were horrible so nothing there.
But, in my research, I did find a great photo of Li Na in the ready position and I’m including it in the show notes to this episode. On it, I’ve made notations of the key points for the ready position. The photo is really good at showing you just what a near-perfect ready position looks like. You can see it in the show notes for this episode which can be found at tennisfixation.com/quicktips31. I’ll also include it as a pdf file in those show notes so that you can print it out and take a closer look.
So those are my ready position tips and my thoughts on how we can all play more like Agassi, Courier, Roddick, Blake and even Li Na. How about you? Do you have any great tennis tips to share? Let me know in the comments to the show notes for this episode as I’d love to let other Tennis Quick Tips listeners know.
And if you’re looking for a whole lot of tennis tips that you can quickly and easily apply to your game, check out my new e-book, “Real Tennis Tips for Real Tennis Players.” I just released it last week and am very excited about the feedback I’ve gotten from those of you that have already purchased it. It’s packed with the kind of tips I give here at the Tennis Quick Tips podcast – tennis tips that really work for us real tennis players! If you want more information about the book, you can check it out over at tennisfixation.com/tipsbook. I’ll also have it available for purchase on the tennisfixation.com web site so you can look for it there too.
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Thanks for listening and, as always, Happy Tennis!
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