Make More Progress on the Court by Unlearning Bad Habits

In tennis and pickleball, you add little bits of knowledge and skill to your game every time you’re on the court or practicing. 

The more you practice, the more you gain… right? 

Well, not always. 

Sometimes we don’t learn in the most efficient way. Though rarer, sometimes we learn how to do something wrong… and that sticks with us until we unlearn them. 

The following is a transcript of our Game Changers webinar, where Joe talks about learning a basic tennis skill incorrectly from a young age and how he had to relearn it to take his game to the next level.


When I was a kid, my first lesson was in 1958 at 5 years old. And the standard way to teach then was one grip. There wasn’t any forehand/topspin grip those days or at least not commonly taught. 

And there was one grip, and your arm was straight, and that is how we learned to hit. And my forehand, I had to relearn it just after college.

And now I hit in a completely modern style, semi-western topspin forehand, which I love, but it took going through that. My arm used to be straight for every shot, and that really kept me back. 

Here’s an example of how this can be problematic. 

Let’s say Billy and I are playing a match, and we’re about the same level of skill. In the warmups, you realize my arm is straight on my forehand, right? 

And I don’t hit with much topspin. 

So, that person is going to have two weaknesses. 

Number one, they’re going to have trouble with high balls because with the straight arm, typically, a person is going to hit with an eastern or continental grip. And high balls become very difficult, and they’ll end up coming underneath it, and they’re going to float the ball out of the court because it’s going to go too high. 

The other thing, which is really easy to do, is to let the straight-arm player warm up and get in the flow of the game. 

Then, in the match, during important points, hit the ball at them, a bit higher and harder, and their habit is going to be to get their arm out, and that will give them a lot of trouble getting inside to hit a ball close, once their elbow is locked. 

So, that’s a few quick ways to exploit your opponent when they use a locked, straight arm. 

If you’re the player struggling with using a straight arm too often, you can do what Joe did and unlearn bad playing habits with our unique array of kinesthetic training aids designed to accelerate learning. 

Whether you want to improve your grip, perfect your serve, or anything in between – we have you covered! Click here to see how easy it is to change your game for the better !