exploring the world of tennis . . .     
Coach's Cave

"You'll never know how far you can go unless you take one more step." (D.W.)



Introduction . . .

  Notice to all explorers

Serving . . .

Why do commentators go on and on about first serve percentages?
How can I stop burying my serves in the net?
How can I get more power on my serve?
What is a topspin serve and how do you do it?
How high should the ball be when you hit it?
How can I make my toss more reliable?
How does pronation occur on spin serves?
My serve is too predictable. What can I do?
How do I master a basic service action?
How can I get more topspin on my serve?
My serve keeps going long. How can I fix it?
What is pronation? I don't know if I'm doing it right?
My game is ruined by double faults! What can I do?
How do you jump properly when you serve?
I just punch my serve in. How can I develop a fuller action?
Should I use a pinpoint stance like the top pros?
The wind-up on my serve is too fast. How can I slow it down?
I'm too static when I serve. How can I correct this?
Is it a bigger problem to hit serves in the net than long?
I'm an intermediate player with a beginner's serve. What can I do?
How can I make my serve more accurate?
I need to go back to basics. What are they?
How do you hit a slice serve?
Would a certain type of racket give me a faster serve?
What is a foot fault?
  Please suggest a progressive method of mastering the serve

Returning . . .

How can I improve my return of a wide serve?
How do you return a really big serve?
How can I improve my reaction time on returns of serve?
What grip should I use for my returns?
How do you return a wide lefty slice serve in the ad court?
How do you deal with an American twist serve?
  How can you become a good returner?

Groundstrokes (general) . . .

How do you hit with topspin?
How come I do all the running when we're both at the baseline?
How can I really bury those short high balls?
Where should I aim my passing shots?
How do you hit passing shots on the run?
How do you avoid hitting short when you use topspin?
How can I avoid overhitting when I get a real sitter?
Should I pass crosscourt or down the line?
What's the best way of hitting a lob?
How early should I take my racket back for groundstrokes?
How do you hold the racket?
I hit a lot of shots off-balance. How can I improve this?
How can I get more power without radically changing my technique?
How do you hit down the line?
How do you hit groundstrokes on the rise?
How do you hit drop shots?
What height should the ball be when I hit my groundstrokes?
Is it really possible to watch the ball right onto the racket?
What's the best type of approach shot?
What are the 'Whys' and 'Whens' of using spin on groundstrokes?
What's the most efficient way to change grip between shots?
Have you got a few simple tips to improve the consistency of my groundstrokes?
How do you avoid all those mishits?
What exactly are topspin and slice?
Is it safe for very young players to use open-stance groundstrokes?
How do you play against slice if you're a topspin hitter?
I've been told my topspin prevents me hitting winners. Should I change to a flatter shot?
  I'd like to hit topspin drives but I can't stop slicing. What should I do?

Groundstrokes (forehand) . . .

Can you tell me how to play a basic forehand, as I'm new to tennis?
How can I stop dumping my forehands in the net?
I want a cleaner hit on my forehand. Should I change my western grip?
What should you do with the non-racket hand when you play a forehand?
Can you give me some tips on hitting the forehand slice?
How can I stop missing easy putaways?
Open-stance or closed-stance - which is better?
I have a closed stance forehand. How can I improve accuracy and power?
What's the best way to hit a high forehand?
Which is best - topspin or flat?
  Can you use wrist to produce a more powerful shot?

Groundstrokes (backhand) . . .

How can I hit a more powerful backhand without sending the ball out?
How can I stop my whole game going to pot when my backhand won't fire?
How can I hit my backhand slice with more pace?
I'm having trouble playing my double-hander on the run. Should I change to a one-handed backhand?
How can I stop my sliced backhand sailing out?
How can I improve my two-handed backhand?
How do you deal with a high ball to the backhand?
What's better - a one-handed or a two-handed backhand?
I want to keep my backhand approach shot low, but how do you do it?
I only have a slice backhand. Should I learn to play a two-hander?
What are the benefits of an open stance two-hander and what's the correct technique?
What are the basics for a good backhand?
Why do I keep netting my backhands?
I have a two-handed backhand and can't cope with low-bouncing balls. Please help.
What must I do to stop skying the ball with my one-handed topspin backhand?
My slice backhands are more like drop shots. How can I get more depth?
  As a coach, I'm confused by the different ways of hitting a two-handed backhand. Which method should I teach?

Volley and Smash . . .

Why can't I control my backhand volleys?
How can I stop swinging on my volley?
I don't seem to reach wide volleys. Why?
How can I really put the ball away with my smash?
I volley well in practice. Why do I lose control in matches?
Why is my racket always in the wrong place when I'm at the net?
Why do I always put low volleys in the net?
How do you hit a successful half volley?
Can you suggest how I could practise playing drop volleys?
What is a split-step and when should I use it?
How do you volley a ball aimed straight at your body?
I normally volley ok. Why do I make so many errors when I follow my serve in?
Why do I struggle to get behind the ball for my smash?
How can I put a bit more bite into my forehand volleys?
How can I do more damage with my volleys?
  What's the correct technique for an overhead smash?

General tactics . . .

What is meant by 'the big points'? What are they?
Why do I always lose when it's windy?
How can I make my steady baseline game less predictable?
How can I prepare for playing on clay?
How do you come up with a good match strategy?
What do you have to do to be successful on grass?
  How can I avoid being lobbed when I go in to the net?

Singles tactics . . .

What is meant by playing the percentages in singles?
How can I dominate a groundstroke rally without making errors?
How can I find a player's weaknesses quickly?
How do you wrong foot your opponent?
How can I break serve against a strong server?
How do you beat a "pusher"?
What can I do to avoid people exploiting my weak backhand?
Why is my game successful against some players and not others?
How do you play a topspin slugger?
Why do I always have trouble against net-rushers?
Should I try a different string tension to play a big-hitter?
When is the right time to try a drop shot?
It doesn't work when I change my game to play a moonballer. What do I do?
Is it best to attack or play safe?
I can't decide what type of player I should be. Can you help?
I don't have any weapons, but I'm steady and accurate. What tactics best suit my game?
  How do you play a consistent power player?

Doubles tactics . . .

What are the the basic principles of good doubles?
Can I serve in a way that helps my partner intercept returns?
Is it my job to guard the tramlines when my partner serves?
Where should I aim my shots in doubles (when it's not obvious)?
How often should I try to pass the net player with my return in doubles?
What is my role as receiver's partner?
How can I react better when a net player poaches (and avoid getting hit)?
Where should I aim my returns?
Can you suggest some hand signals to use when poaching returns?
Where should I move when my partner is dragged out of court?
Why shouldn't I look back at my partner while he is hitting the ball?
Can I try to distract my opponents by moving when my partner's serving or receiving?
What is the "I" formation?
What do we do when our opponents start lobbing?
Where should you aim your serves when you use "Australian" formation?
How can communication help you in doubles?
When your opponents close in on the net very fast when they're serving, what can you do?
What's wrong with one up, one back?
What are the do's and dont's of poaching?
I get lobbed a lot. Should I stay back more?
How do you contend with opponents who use the Australian formation?
What's the best way for me and my partner to practise our doubles?
  As receiver, how can I avoid a poaching opponent?

Physical (footwork, exercise, movement, nutrition, etc) . . .

I get to drop shots OK, but why can't I control the shot?
What exactly is "good footwork"?
I took up tennis recently but I tire quickly. How can I improve my stamina?
How can I avoid getting injured all the time?
Can you recommend footwork practices other than line drills?
Can you recommend some abdominal exercises?
How can I avoid blisters on my feet?
What can I do about tennis elbow?
What supplements can I take to help recovery?
What drills can I use to improve my reactions?
How can I prevent muscle cramps?
I want to improve my endurance without having to run long distances. How can I do it?
  How should you warm up before a match?

Mental . . .

People say I self-destruct. What can I do about it?
How can I stop my bad temperament hurting my game?
I keep losing. How do you cope with a bad run of results?
How do you play the big points?
The harder I try the worse I get. How come?
When the top pros talk about focusing well, what do they mean?
What should I look for in my opponent's body language?
On big points, I tell myself not to double-fault. Then I always do! How can I cure this?
My intensity level goes up and down when I play. How can I control it?
I never win if I lose the first set. How do you turn a match around?
I want to be a champion - am I setting my sights unrealistically high?
What's the secret to closing out matches?
What can I do about big match nerves?
How can I get into the right mood to play matches?
How can I avoid lapses when I'm in front?
  I'm keen but I'll never be better than average. Should I give up the tennis lessons?

Equipment . . .

I need more power. Should I have my racket strung tighter?
I'm returning to tennis after a 10 year break. How do I pick from all these new rackets?
How do I know which grip size I need?
Are heavy rackets better than light ones?
Where do you put lead tape on a racket?
  What should you look for in a pair of tennis shoes?

Other . . .

Can you learn from watching tennis on TV?
I wasn't sure about a call and suggested we replay the point. My opponent accused me of cheating. Was he right?
Please explain the tennis scoring system.
What are the dimensions of an official tennis court?
How do I become a professional tennis player?
My game is going nowhere. Should I change my coach?
Should I partner my boyfriend in mixed doubles?
Can you recommend some rules for a singles ladder?
My coach doesn't say very much. What should I expect from a coach?
If a ball spins back over the net before you can hit it, should a let be played?
Can you suggest a couple of fun games for a group of juniors.
  My opponent refused to play a let when a ball rolled on the court. Was he right?

Dave 'Caveman' Winship


© 2001-6 Dave Winship

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