|Maybe your tennis needs EURYTHMICS
Canít get into the swing of things? Always
out of synch?
Got no rhythm? Youíre a candidate for Eurythmics.
Eurythmics is the teaching of music through
Its originator, a Swiss guy named Dalcroze, believed that the mind, ear
and body were so inter-connected that to develop one is to develop the
other. His thesis was that by moving better you think better. He could
have been a tennis teacher.
Put a racquet in a
fire a ball at him, and what you see is a frozen moment of panic
by a herky-jerky poke. Tennis is based on rhythm, and you, not the
are the instrument. The strokes are incidental to the basics of
breathing and relaxation. I subscribe to the theory that one develops a
clearer picture of whatís happening on the courthe has
awareness, even creativitywhen he develops a sense of rhythm.
Start with the fundamental of all fundamentals:
The lungs establish the rhythm, the phrasing, the timing. Breathe in
the nose, exhale through the mouth. Inhale on the backswing, exhale
the stroke. Take one deep breath between points.
Grunting helps. The sound of your
reminds you that there is a point in time and space where
thereís a connection
between racquet and ball, hand and handle, arm and shoulder, foot and
As any yoga practitioner will be happy to tell you, relaxation follows
the routine of controlled breathing.
Don't Choke the Racquet!
Itís the head of the racquet that
generates pace, not
the handle and throat; to feel it, the racquet must be held in the
left hand, so the right hand can relax. The science of timing is based
on racquet head speed and a squeeze at a precise moment in time. Loose
precedes tense. The artist waits for the ball to come to
hand and arm are supple in anticipationuntil just the right
To trigger the correct response,
the throat of the racquet in the left hand, fingers spread, the left
Stand up Straight
For the muscles to work appropriately, you must
them. Back straight. Shoulders squared. Knees relaxed. Head forward
Heels off the ground.
Crouching is for football and wrestling, I
and games like leap frog. In tennis, the body must not interfere with
natural force of the arm, hand and the accompanying racquet.
The orchestra conductor establishes the tempo by
prior to the first note. And in tennis, movement must precede the
of the ball. To stand still, like a statue, is to lessen the chances of
being ready to respond. Whether serving or receiving, the craftsman is
already in motionhis metronome is ticking as he anticipates
A tennis player rocks back and forth,
his weight from foot to foot. Meanwhile he spins the racquet, and
wiggles his fingers in anticipation of action. Feet, hands and arms,
move in coordinated rhythm. The server bounces the ball down, rocks
and forth, spins his racquet, spreads his fingers, bobs his
before the toss.
Step, Step and Hit
Many are introduced to tennis mechanics with the
step and hit" method, which can have a robotic look to it. But tennis
a dynamic, perpetual-motion activity. Feet are in motion continually;
the ball is about to be struck, they often keep moving. Like a
fielding a ball, the feet search for the optimal spot right up to the
The untrained player habitually gets too
to the ball, rendering the racket head useless. The answer is to key
the rhythm of "step, step and hit." The final two steps take place a
of a second prior to contact.
1, 2, 3 an 4
Here comes the ball: the shoulders begin to
(on the count of one), the racket is drawn back, hesitating on the
for the briefest of moments (on the count of two); the stroke is
assured, smooth (and on the count of three); in anticipation of the
return, the outside foot swings out to push off, squaring the
hips and feet, to respond to the ball (on the count of four).
The serve is better perceived, understood
when applying the 4-count system: Hands drop down on one, toss
point at ball (tossing hand stays up) on two,
pause at the top of the backswing on three, and
on the count of four.
Excerpted from Watch
Ball, Bend Your Knees!