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In This Issue

As a thank you for subscribing to the monthly

newsletter, there is a FREE BONUS of 100 drills.

See below.

Item 1/.       Tip of the month

Item 2/.       Drill of the month

Item 3/.       Fun Game of the month

Item 4/.       Play Better Doubles

There are 100 drills of various types that will help you
with your tennis, some are for more than two players,
but you can adapt these to suit your needs.
Where a pro is mentioned, substitute 'your partner'
Click on the following link to go to the download site.

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Tip of the Month



 “Try to hit shots in your Power Zone”


Your power zone for your forehand and backhand is between your knees and chest, approximately two feet away from your body. Hitting balls in this zone will allow you to add the most control, spin and power.


During a game or a match, the main reason that you will be able to hit balls in your power zone will be your footwork.


Through footwork (making split-steps, taking little steps and a quick recovery) you can change different types of balls (high, low and wide) to shots that you will hit in your power zone.


Keep your feet moving and consistently hit balls in this zone to turn on the power.


Pro’s complete far more feet movements between shots than players of lesser ability.

When practising, consciously put in a lot of small steps between hits. You will be surprised how this will improve your movement generally.





This tip focuses on the mental side of the game


Were you aware that once you have mastered the technical and tactical side of the game of tennis, your tennis becomes 65% mental. You will need to look at my advanced tennis facts to understand all of the areas covered by the mental aspects of tennis.


In this document we are only going to look at errors and mistakes.  In all areas of tennis, whether it be at club level or pro. level, 75% of points are lost, in other words these are lost to the opponent due to a mistake occurring, whether this be

a forced or an unforced error


Just consider serving, we always look at a player first serve as a criteria, but even at the professional level, we often see a 50% success rate and that is before the point has even got under way.


Are you spending too much time thinking about your mistakes?  Are past mistakes affecting how you are playing the next point. if so, you may be your own worst enemy!


Mental problems are not like physical or technical problems that you can solve by reaffirming your technique, repetition and drills. The answer is to concentrate immediately on the NEXT point as soon as you make a mistake that costs you the point. One of the problems with tennis is that you have more time in which to think than you do actually playing.


In Sampras versus Moya at the Australian Open 1997, the following was analysed:

                        Total playing time:               87 minutes

                        Action time:                            17 minutes

                        Time between action: 70 minutes (potential thinking time)


During these 70 minutes, there was the opportunity for both negative and positive thoughts, feelings and selk talk;  plenty of time in which to think oneself into or out of the match.


If you will observe the professional player when the point has finished, they walk slowly back off the court, seemingly adjusting their strings, this is called a ritual and they are actually putting the last point out of their mind, to focus on the point that is coming up. There is absolutely no mileage in dwelling on the negative last point, it has happened and gone.


However, if you did a great last shot, then you can place this in your memory bank, it could come in handy for the future, it makes you feel good and positive.


Another suggestion… talk to someone about the good things you did after each game or practice.  There will be points on this in the Mental aspects in Advanced  Tennis, keep an eye open for this addition in the near future.

Remember that tennis is a game where one player wins and one player loses every single match and you have to come to terms with this. The object is to learn from your mistakes, try not to make the same one twice and you will become a better player.  If you demand too much of yourself, try to play to perfection, this can become a weakness.


Jimmy Connors once remarked ‘The next best thing after playing and winning, is playing and losing’….. think about it!

Drill of the month.


(Extracted from my drillbook - (Over 250 games & Drills)

please see the diagram in the attachment.



Serious Drill   -   Double Trouble


Object to practice the return of serve.  To develop confidence.


Play a game of singles or doubles with your partners, however the server only gets one serve, whereas the returner gets two chances.to get the ball back into play.

The receiver is allowed to miss the serve the first time and still gets another chance. The server has to serve another ball to the same box.


This drill takes the pressure off the receiver and places it on the server.


This should encourage the receiver to go for bigger shots on the first ball.


To begin with the receiver should go for consistency and try to build a rhythm




Fun Game   -   DODGE BALL


Players line up along the service line without their rackets


Coach hits balls at their feet and they have to dodge out of the way, anyone who is hit leaves the court. Last ones left at the end of the basket are winners.

When I do this game, they always want to have another go, but I only do it once. I believe with all kids games that you should not over do it, left with anticipation makes it all the better next time.


For all of these types of games, only use transition balls. Real tennis balls are too hard and are likely to cause some hurt

New Item.


Playing Successful Doubles.


Part Three of this monthly feature.


The Return of Serve.


Whilst the serve is the most important shot in the game, equally, the second most important shot is the return of serve.


As with the serve, if you do not get the ball into the correct service box, you are not in the game, so with the return, if you cannot return the ball into court, you do not feature in the point.


If you get the opportunity, you should try to see your opponents play before hand and especially their serve. If you don’t have this luxury then you will have to quickly find out how and where they serve in the warm-up and at the beginning of the match.


Where you stand to receive the serve has a bearing on how and where your opponent serve to and at what speed. You will also need to fathom out their ability to change the style of their serve, whether they can place it in different positions and if they change the speed.


The speed and depth of the serve will require you to either stand behind the base line or whether you can stand inside the base linem also whether you have time to wait for the ball or if you need to pick it up early.


Not only will the above influence your return, other points to take into consideration are the elements as these could also provide a problem ti you. Is there a wind and which way is it blowing – cross court, in your face or from behind you; these will all have some affect on your return.


Whilst I did not mention this in the serve write-up, naturally your serve will also be affected in the same way, however, with the serve a useful tip is to stand 2 – 3 feet behind the base line, if your serve is being pushed forward by the wind, and to hit the ball harder and a little higher if facing into the wind. Experiment, see what works for you.


During the warm-up you should look at the type of serve your opponent is using, is their first serve a flat serve, do they use slice from the deuce court. Is their second serve heavy top-spin. Look to see whether their stance changes for the different serve and whether they throw the ball up in a differeny position. These are all clues which should help you in the return.


Where you stand, waiting to receive the serve, is a matter of choice and you will gradually find the best position that suits you. Much will depend on the level of play in which you are participating and whether you favour your forehand or backhand.

I believe the best place to start from is roughly one foot from the singles line and about two feet behind the baseline. On both the deuce and ad. sides.


You should be in the ready position on the balls of your feet, alert and ready to spring into action.

You should be watching the server and as they begin their throw you should do a small hop, a split step followed by a unit turn as soon as you know which side the ball is coming,  by turning your shoulders together with a slight pivot of the feet, your racquet is automatically going to the correct side. You can now move swiftly to the ball. You should adjust quickly to ensure you have your weight transferring forward into the shot.


If the serve is a relatively short or soft ball you will be able to use a fairly short swing and a solid forehand/backhand shot.  For a fast hard serve, there needs to be no or little swing and it is far easier just to block the ball back, although you should still follow through with the stroke.


In order to meet the ball in the best position, you should move diagonally to the ball when it is on the outside of the court, but straight along the baseline when moving to the middle of the court.


Where to return the ball !  I will be dealing with the Wardlaw directionals in my advanced tennis section, so to beging to understand these, go and have a look. This will help you considerably, however, at this stage – in general – you should return the ball back to where it originated,.


An important point to remember is that the further away you stand from the place the ball hits the court, unless it is coming straight towards you, then the angle you will need to cover will possibly be greater.


If you watch the professionals play, their first concern is to get the ball back into play and then you will have the opportunity to build the point. Obviously, if you can succeed in putting the ball where you want to, from the serve, then you are gaining an advantage.


What grip should you use when waiting for the serve? With the advent of the double handed backhand, then it would seem that the best grip is the Eastern Forehand, however if you use the single handed backhand, there is some advantage in waiting in the ready position with the Eastern backhand grip.


The thinking behind this is that to many players it is easier and quicker to find the Eastern Forehand grip if the ball arrives that side, but you will already be prepared for a backhand if your opponent serves to your backhand ( In doubles, this is the preferred area to serve to.).


Should you worry about a hard, fast serve?  Don’t let it intimidate you too much, here are some facts:

            A ball served at 110 MPH is doing about 80 by the time it hits the ground.

            It then slows down to roughly  50 MPH by the time it arrives at your racquet.

This is still quite formidable but one premise I have always worked on is:


Someone who serves hard is probably only going to get 50% of them in – you have a 50/50 chance of the total points and Heck – you may also win one of the hard serves.



To get used to facing hard serves, have your coach or a partner stand on the service line diagonally from you. They can use a chocked-up grip (i.e. holding the racquet at the join of the throat and handle). From there they can hit really hard balls to various parts of your service box.  Also with spin.

Two items to see on the website:
1/. Advanced Tennis - click on link in left hand
coloumn - this info. has only just been started.
Keep viewing to keep up-to-date.
2/. Rules - Misunderstood and mis-interpreted rules.
This will also be added to.



Tennis Balls now available



I.T.F approved pressurised Tennis balls – can of four only 2.60 plus postage.


See on website




Tennis Racquets and Stringing.




Top Quality racquets and excellent junior racquets at competitive


Visit the website for details.

Until next month,


John Hoskins – Coach.



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