How to hit the ball
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How to hit the ball

Correctly hitting the ball requires four crucial ingredients:

  1. Wrist cocked - The racquet and forearm should form a 90 degree angle with wrist turned as far back as possible towards your body. This puts your swing in the ready position to play powerful shots quickly. When you swing, you 'release' the wrist so that it ends up pointing away from your body in the follow through.

  2. Racquet up at the T - Keep the racquet up when you are on the T. It should be above waist level. This will keep you ready to volley the ball on short notice. Also it lets you quickly bring the racquet behind your neck as you prepare for your shot while moving to the ball. To switch to backhand you only need to rotate your body and shoulders a little. With the racquet down, you waste time bringing it up when you are ready to volley and it is difficult to switch to backhand quickly.

  3. Be perpendicular to the sidewall - Make sure you are 'square' with the wall when hitting the ball. What this means is your leading foot needs to be perpendicular to the sidewall when playing a shot you want to go parallel to the sidewall. On the forehand side for a right-handed player the leading foot is the left foot. For backhand side the leading foot is the right foot. Avoid the common novice mistake of having the body face the front wall when hitting. Like this you can only play cross-courts. To play a straight game up and down the sidewall the foot of you leading leg must be perpendicular to the sidewall.

    Try to always hit off the leading foot. Keep the heel of your "back foot" up off the floor a little - i.e. balance forward on the 'front foot' . This allows you to rotate your shoulders and to swing freely at the ball which allows your elbow to bring your arm through . This helps to reduce the excess wristiness.

    Though the trend is to hit off the 'wrong' foot - problem is long term possibility of knee, hip and lower back damage - good balance is essential - if hitting of the 'wrong foot', the body is not utilising perfect balance. This habit puts a lot of stress on the lower back in particular but also causes you to use much more wrist than necessary - also causes you not to turn your shoulders and to put a lot more effort into power shots than should be necessary.

  4. Bend / lunge when stroking the ball - Never hit a ball standing fully straight up, unless your opponent directly hits the ball back to you. Always lunge into it so you can spring back to the T, and get low enough to lift the ball high on the front wall to get it deep in the back corners. Professional players often have their upper body parralel with the floor of the court, i.e they are completely bent over when hitting. You can generate more power and control like this compared to hitting the ball standing fully straight. Most important you can play any shot from this positiion, i.e drop, drive, lob or boast. This keeps your opponent guessing and on their toes.

So keep these pointers in mind when practicing and playing games. Always compare your game to the professionals and ask yourself what is the difference. 95% of the differences will be found by not following one of the above pointers.

Next article -> Basic training tips and strategies for D players Questions?
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