Arlinda Wiebe is always on the tennis court, refining her technique. Whether someone is a novice player seeking to polish their skills or a seasoned competitor aiming to elevate their game, continuous improvement is the key to success. In the following article, Arlinda Wiebe discusses ways to improve tennis technique, exploring fundamental principles, expert insights, and actionable tips that can propel players to the next level.
Professional players make tennis look deceptively simple.
They serve with power and grace. There’s a gentle slice of a drop shot, a perfected forehand, and a methodical backhand. They move quickly and precisely. There’s an effortless sense of control.
In reality, tennis is a difficult sport to master. It requires deep dedication to crafting athletic prowess — and decades of endless practice — to develop just the right serve, forehand, and backhand.
Arlinda Wiebe on the Keys to Technique
There are several different shots in tennis, but many of them share the same general techniques.
First things first — players need to find a good grip. Grips have changed over the years, but they play a huge role in how to swing hard or soft with minimal effort. Also essential is mastering the so-called “unit turn,” when one’s racket and body both turn sideways to prepare for different forms of strokes.
Arlinda Wiebe says that a swing’s shape is equally important. The right balance of motion separates average plays from good players and good players from the best players. With the right positioning of one’s arm and racket, power is easily generated.
When it comes down to it, tennis relies on a player using the right muscle combinations. One’s feet, arms, and legs need to work together effectively no matter the type of shot.
Arlinda Wiebe explains that from beginners to pros, tennis players typically spend the most time working on their serve.
Like most shots in tennis, an improved serve means finding the best grip, whether it’s a forehand or a continental grip. They vary in hand and finger placement and are the sources of consistent control and speed. When launching a serve, many experts subscribe to the “start slow, then fast” method. The feet should be firmly on the ground, with eyes and heads turned toward the target. The shoulder should be kept down, and the arms need to relax.
Arlinda Wiebe also notes that the players with the most powerful serves know how to move their shoulders for efficiency. One’s shoulder should have a slight turn as a serve begins. The arm used to toss the ball should also be ahead of the one that is serving.
And don’t forget the toss. Holding the ball with the tips of the fingers is a good place to start and one’s wrist should be kept neutral as the ball is tossed. The tossing arm needs to be kept straight, the body should be still, and the toss should come more from the shoulder than the hand or arm.
Arlinda Wiebe says that the most common forehand grip is used by the majority of the world’s top players — the semi-western.
The semi-western grip is designed to work well with the octagonal shape of a tennis racquet’s handle. A player puts the palm side of their index finger’s knuckle on the fourth section (or “bevel”) of the handle if they are right-handed and on the sixth bevel if they are left-handed. This grip is responsible for creating powerful topspin and for players hitting a ball much higher over the net.
Arlinda Wiebe explains that the grip is just the beginning. For an improved forehand swing, players should concentrate on a low-to-high weight transfer with their feet to keep a good balance. A solid forehand usually hits the ball at a height that is comfortable for the individual player, and that’s usually at waist level, and it is hit when the ball is by the front of the hip.
Don’t forget the key follow-through of a forehand. This should be done on the shoulder of a side of the player’s body that is non-dominant.
Developing a good backhand is just as important as finding the best forehand swing.
The first step is figuring out when the game requires a backhand swing, and that’s usually dependent on the opponent’s move.
Arlinda Wiebe says that many beginners find the backhand movement more challenging than the forehand, but a few simple techniques make it seamless. Many tennis coaches suggest trying to contact the ball when it isn’t right in front of a player. Right-handed players should make contact on the left side when the ball is just barely in front of one’s body. It’s similar to the way one positions their body when they are opening a door.
There are two-handed and one-handed backhands. With a player’s dominant hand placed at a handle’s bottom, the two-handed is the most common backhand form. Backhand swings often do not feel as natural as the forehand, so discovering the right individual grip is important and depends on dominant or non-dominant hand placement.
Arlinda Wiebe also says that shifting one’s body weight to produce power is also essential. During a backhand, all of a player’s body weight needs to shift to their back foot and then be transferred to the front foot moving forward. The goal for the backhand follow-through is to have one’s elbow facing toward the target.