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Three Tennis Myths Explained

Posted on Jul 01, 2015 in Seaside Tennis , Tracy Townsend , July-August 2015

Every pro you’ve ever taken a lesson from was truly trying to help you understand the game of tennis better. Tennis professionals often repeat sayings they think will stick with you. Some things get lost in the translation from their mouths to your brain, though. Let’s look at three tennis myths most players have engrained in their brains.

You’ve all heard, “Watch the ball,” right? Well, that’s not exactly true. What you need to watch is your opponent hitting the ball. You need to see what spin is coming at you. You need to see how much net clearance the ball has to figure out where to move to hit the ball. You do need to watch the ball to make good contact, but you probably won’t actually see it. The ball is travelling too fast and the swing is too quick to see actual contact.

My favorite myth is, “Stay out of no man’s land.” First of all, to get from the baseline to the net position, you have to go through this zone. You usually have to hit a ball from there as you move to the net. I believe you should spend vast amounts of time in practice learning to manufacture shots better from this area. Work on picking up difficult half volleys. Work on taking a volley out of the air and moving up into the court. Work on your overhead from this area since it’s where overheads are hit. This mid-court area is the best zone for you to be in as far as court coverage goes. Your opponent can’t lob it over your head if you are standing between the service line and the baseline, and you can cover most balls landing in front of you. Most everyone I know tends to move forward better than they do backwards. I’m not telling you to live in no man’s land, but work hard on improving your game there.

“Forehand has the middle,” right? What if your partner has a better backhand than your forehand? What if your partner is left-handed and you are right-handed and you both have forehands? My advice is to get over the forehand thing; whoever can get to the ball first and get it back to the other side first should take it. Cut down your opponent’s recovery time by getting the ball back quickly. Tennis is about time. If you can improve the amount of time you have to prepare and hit the ball and cut down the time your opponent has to do the same thing, I’ll bet you have more success.

These are just a few of the tennis myths that are commonly thought to be true. Come see me at the courts and we will talk about what sayings you’ve heard in your tennis travels. We’ll separate myth from fact. Bottom line, don’t believe everything you hear from any pro without a good explanation.

See you on the courts.

Tracy Townsend is a resort tennis expert, and his company 30A Tennis manages Seaside Tennis on behalf of the Seaside Community Development Corp. You can reach him at or call (850) 231.2214. For news, events and court conditions, find Seaside Tennis on Facebook.

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