Ever dream of becoming the next Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams and competing in a tennis major such as the U.S. Open? Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company (NYSE: LTM) may not be able to get you to the big match, but the largest operator of indoor tennis facilities in the United States suggests that with a few small changes in your stroke, serve and speed, you can feel like a pro in no time. Life Time Tennis is led by world-renown champions and instructors including Greg Lappin, Grant Stafford and Ellis Ferriera, who offer the following tips for acing your game.
- Reconsider your competition: A tennis match is between you, the ball and the target—not your opponent. During a point, your main focus should be seeing the ball so intently that it looks to be coming more slowly and appears larger. Your main objective is to place the ball at the most difficult spot for your opponent.
- Toss to your swing: The most important concept in tennis is to have the optimal contact point on every shot you hit. During your serve, remember the phrase “toss to your swing, don’t swing to your toss.” Practice your ball toss so you can consistently deliver it into the strength zone for your serve.
- Reading is fundamental: No two balls will ever travel across the net in the same way, therefore, the skill to “read” the flight of the ball sooner and more accurately will allow you to have the optimum contact point for the most power and accuracy. Choose to read well and have the best contact point on every shot, and the wins will come.
- A forehand does not exist: During a match the only two kinds of shots that exist are a set up shot and a finishing shot. In between you’re either trying to develop the point or end the point. Work on your forehand groundstroke and backhand volley during practice but don’t over think what stroke to use in your game. Be smart and know what the potential and limitations are with each shot you hit.
- Use your trigger finger: To improve serve speed, space your index finger slightly wider with the second finger and use your “trigger” finger to accelerate the racket at contact. Try this with your forehand volley and groundstroke and you’ll your increase power too.
As the largest operator of indoor tennis facilities in the United States 18 of Life Time’s 106 clubs feature indoor and outdoor courts, as well as two USTA Regional Training centers and a full-time Tennis Academy. More than 210 certified tennis instructors offer a range of tennis programs and services including a USTA beginner programs, weekly mixers, clinics and drills, and competitive play as well as programming for kids such as the “Tour Play” Kids Tennis program. In 2012, Life Time Tennis had nearly 12,000 unique participants across the country.