Unforced errors can be an Achilles heel for even the most experienced tennis players, and a lot of those errors can be the result of improper swing technique. Without learning how to swing with proper form or accuracy, you can sabotage your shots and give your opponent easy points. Below are three of the most common swing errors that plague tennis players, as well as what you can do to fix them.
1. Not Keeping an Open Racquet Face
If you find yourself frequently hitting the ball into the net, or if the ball keeps going in directions you're not intending it to go when you swing, you may have to check whether or not you're hitting with an open racquet face. What this basically means is that you're not keeping the face of the racquet perpendicular to the ground, which will cause you hit the ball at some kind of angle. When your racquet face is not open, the ball will either head lower (if the racquet face is tilted downward) or higher (if it's tilted upward) than you want it to go.
Try to practice hitting the ball with a completely straight-up-and-down racquet face, so that your shots will keep a horizontal trajectory, giving you a much better chance of making it over the net. As you work on mastering this essential technique, you can then expand your game to include angled shots--but by that time they'll be on purpose!
2. Not Following Through
Lack of follow-through will produce shots that lack power. If you stop your swinging motion as soon as the ball makes contact with the racquet face, your shots will have substandard velocity, and more often than not, you'll end up coming up short.
When you make forehand shots, be sure to follow through by bringing the racquet across your body and over the opposite shoulder, in the classic "windshield wiper" motion. Be sure to execute proper follow-through on backhand shots as well by swinging your racquet in a low-to-high motion.
The type of follow-through you need to will largely depend on what type of shot you're executing (e.g., slice, lob, etc.), but the important thing to remember is that you need to bring your stroke motion to full completion if you want to maximize the effectiveness of the shot.
3. Not Preparing with Proper Backswing
Backswing--also referred to as "taking the raquet back"--is a critical step that will help you prepare for whatever shot your opponent is sending your way. Many players wait until the ball has already bounced on their side of the court before taking their racquet back, and if you do this, you'll almost always be ill-prepared to respond to your opponent's shots.
You have to start your backswing from the moment you determine whether the ball is coming to your forehand or backhand side; this normally happens right after your opponent's racquet makes contact with the ball. Learning how to take your racquet back early is an important part of developing the skill of anticipation, which is a critical core competency of all successful tennis players.
Developing accuracy and good form with your tennis swing takes time, so be patient with yourself! Keep the above tips in mind to help you correct any errors in your swing, so that you can become a greater threat on the tennis court.