Sounds like there must be a catch, but there isn’t. You can significantly speed up your improvement in tennis or pickleball with fewer lessons.
And, if you are a coach, wouldn’t you love your reputation to soar and have students lining up to take lessons?
Using visual guidance systems is one of the keys. But it is often misunderstood. And, it’s simpler than you think since we all use visual guides hundreds of times EVERY DAY!
There are two types of visual guides. Primary Targets above the net AND Secondary Targets on the court.
Primary Targets are like “windows” to aim through. Thinking of bowling. Aim for a mark on the bowling ally for the ball to end up hitting the ideal pin. Or, think of a rifle. You aim through the sites to focus on your target. Or, think of lining up a putt in golf.
In tennis or pickleball, a primary target is set up ABOVE THE NET! You simply aim either above or below a rope or bungee above the net and the result is guaranteed! What kind of improvement can you expect? Studies show that players training even briefly with visual target systems experience nearly double normal improvement rates compared to a control group not using visual targets. That’s a HUGE difference!
Wouldn’t you like to improve more in half the time?
Here’s a funny but true situation that has happened to all of us. You hit a great shot and someone says, “Wow! That was a terrific shot!” Then, because you didn’t actually aim for that spot, you think to yourself “Boy, was that a lucky shot. I didn’t even aim there!”
Targeting in tennis, pickleball, and many other sports requires the player to visualize their target before they hit their shot. In practical terms setting up a Primary or Air Target is very simple.
Create a large enough “Air Target” above the net for you to succeed more than you fail. Here’s an example for tennis and another example for pickleball:
In a baseline rally in tennis, we want to hit as many balls behind the service line on the other side of the net to keep our opponents pinned in the back area of the court. The two ways to accomplish hitting consistently deep into the court are to hit the ball harder OR just higher over the net. Guess which one yields better results.
You got it! Hit higher over the net! We use a primary target (a bungee above the net)
to guide us to hit with higher arc over the net, resulting in groundstrokes that land deeper in the court! Pretty simple!
And, for pickleball, since the court is almost half the length of a tennis court and the fact that players come to the net much more easily and much more often than tennis, we need to practice hitting pickleballs lower over the net to avoid setting your opponents up for point-finishing volleys or smashes.
The results of smart target practice with highly visual target areas speak for themselves. You will improve twice as fast! This is a fact.
The next question is obvious. How can we practice like this?
Joe Dinoffer is a Master Professional in both the USPTA and PTR, has been recognized with numerous national awards including the 2019 City of Dallas Humanitarian Award for contributions to inner city tennis, and has conducted clinics and exhibitions in over 50 countries. Joe is the author and editor of 9 books and more than 20 DVDs, has more than 300 published articles in various tennis and pickleball magazines, and has aired many instructional tips on the Tennis Channel. Plus, Joe’s YouTube channel has more than 2 million views and growing! His latest book “Words, Wisdom, and Whimsy” is the second volume of an illustrated series called “Poems from the Heart.” In 1994, Joe founded OnCourt OffCourt, Ltd., a company dedicated to serving the tennis, pickleball, fitness, yoga, and physical education industries with innovative training aids and educational tools. Today, he has designed and manufactured more than 150 creative products being distributed and used in 100 countries worldwide.