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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How to Win a Rally Without a Swing Part 2

Are you here to play or to watch...

After having conversations about hitting too many balls headed out of bounds, I wrote a post yesterday using Coach Mo's tips to help break the habit. Today's post will continue discussing that same topic but with an excerpt from Sarah Ansboury and the RV Picklers article The Secret to Not Hitting Out Balls.

Secret #1: Slow Down
One of the most important things you can do to not hit out balls is to slow down! Often players seem to have such a sense of urgency to get the ball back, that they rush through the point. If you watch the better players play, it often seems that they have plenty of time to get to the ball. They are comfortable and set before they execute the stroke. They see the ball, the court and seem to have all the time in the world to make a decision.
The biggest factor allowing the player to slow down is body control. This is why I emphasize balance so much in my teaching.  You must be stopped and in a balanced position before you hit the ball. You also must breathe as it is essential to remain in a relaxed state and will naturally slow you down. Slowing down enables you to make choices, rather than simply react.
Secret #2:  Paddle Position
Along with body control, we need to keep our paddles up and in front of us if we want to stop hitting out balls. We need to create and maintain space between our paddle and our body. When your paddle is pointed down at your side, and a ball is whizzing by at shoulder height, our natural reaction is to raise the paddle quickly…sometimes inadvertently making contact with the ball. Such a large movement makes it even more difficult to pull back.
When we have a shorter swing and less motion to the ball, it gives us even, more time to react. We can move toward the ball or more easily pull away from a ball that is going out.
The most important sentence in that article, in my opinion, is "Slowing down enables you to make choices, rather than simply react". I wrote a series last month about movement around the court that included a post titled Speed Kills, in which I used another Sarah article to highlight the need for players to slow down. The ability to make better decisions is a big part of that strategy.

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