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How To Watch The Ball
By: Andrew S. Rosz

South Florida Professional Tennis Instruction
Hollywood, Florida
, USA
(954) 922-8040

WHAT YOU SHOULD OBSERVE WHEN WATCHING THE BALL COMING TOWARD YOU

  1. The speed of the ball
  2. The spin placed on the shot (if any)
  3. The height of the ball as it clears the net

STUDY the ball as it comes toward you. Learn to predict where it will bounce and how it will bounce. Ultimately, by observing and analyzing the speed, spin, and height of each ball, you can learn to quickly "compute" where the ball will bounce and how high the ball will bounce. Once you learn to QUICKLY anticipate where and how the ball will bounce, you will also decrease your "reaction time" thus providing you with more time to prepare for the next shot.


TECHNIQUES FOR SUCCESSFULLY WATCHING THE BALL

  1. Begin to intensely watch the ball as soon as it bounces off your opponent's strings.
  2. Your concentration level should be highest as the ball is coming toward you (not when the ball is going away from you as previously discussed). The closer it gets, the more intensely you should concentrate on watching (following) the ball.
  3. Watch the ball all the way into your strings. That is, watch the ball actually hit your strings. This technique is often difficult for the novice to learn, but with sufficient practice, it can be mastered.
  4. Rotate your head (not your eyeballs) when watching the ball come toward you. Lock your eyeballs firmly in their sockets while sharply rotating your head as the ball approaches your strings near the 3 o'clock position. This technique is essential in learning how to watch the ball actually hit your strings as discussed in technique #3 above.
  5. Allow your eyes to relax and ease off your concentration as the ball leaves your strings. You need this time of mental relaxation in order to effectively concentrate on watching the next ball.

To summarize proper ball watching technique; begin watching the ball as soon as it bounces off your opponent's strings... intensely watch the ball as it approaches your strings... watch the ball actually hit your strings... then relax your eyes as the ball moves away from you.


EYE-TRAINING EXERCISES

  1. Keep your eyeballs locked in your head and watch your racket head follow through after impact (as opposed to watching the ball move away from you). In this exercise, the eyes transfer their focus from the ball... to ball and racket at impact... then to the racket head as it follows through. This exercise essentially teaches you to "watch your stroke" as an awareness development exercise. It will also train you to slow your stroke down; the first step in developing smooth and consistent strokes.
  2. Watch the ball actually hit your strings and notice the degree of racket pitch at impact. This exercise will help you develop your awareness of racket pitch.

Note: Each of the tennis tips outlined above are more fully discussed in a series of expertly-written tennis instruction training manuals and book publications for players who prefer to be "self-taught."  For more information on our world-renowned SFPTI tennis instruction training manuals and book publications CLICK HERE.

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