WHY IS THIS A HORRIBLE INSTRUCTION?
Tennis pros and coaches say it ALL THE TIME! Racket back! Racket back! Racket Back!
Students are taught that they need to take their racket back to the back fence or further. Why? Because a backswing is needed to help you swing faster leading up to contacting the ball. This is how you generate ball speed or power, but a big backswing can also backfire on you very easily.
So, how do you know if you have taken your racket back too far? Here are just two of the easy ways to know. First, if you are spraying your volleys. Second, if you contact the ball behind you and hit the ball late.
Yes, these simple two words (Racket back!) have limited millions of players’ improvement for decades. In fact, many would argue that this is one of THE WORST instructions ever!
Think about it. Program a new tennis player – or any tennis player for that matter – to take a full backswing anytime they see a ball coming is a recipe for failure, as there are many times in tennis (and pickleball) NOT to take a full backswing. Here are 10 of them:
- Returning hard hit serves
- Returning any hard-hit balls
- Playing against hard hitters
- Half Volleys
- Most approach shots
- If you are in a defensive position
- If you are on the run
- If you are running forwards to retrieve your opponent’s dropshot
- When you are returning an overhead smash
When is “racket back” a good instruction? My vote would be never. But one can argue over semantics forever. So, let’s just say that “racket set” or “prepare (your racket)” is more appropriate because the size of your backswing should vary from shot to shot.
The good news is that there is an EASY way to fix your habit of taking your racket back whenever you see the ball coming. Check out this simple guidance tool called the Backswing Solution.
It is one of the most painless ways to fix your backswing problems that I have found after more than 45 years of tennis instruction!
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.