Wow! did I get a tennis thrill yesterday. I was in New York speaking and a speaker friend of mine Jane Ubell who just happens to be married to a former top 100 player Rick Meyer arranged a tennis lesson for me. Rick has beaten some of the all time greats like Ilie Nastase and others that I’ll put in this post as soon as I get their names.
Here’s what Rick told me after working with me for an hour:
- He likes my forehand but he emphasized never missing. He told me to have a consistent game to hit the ball from 6-12 just about every time to get good net clearance and depth.
- He likes my topspin backhand, but again he wanted me to never miss. By the end of the lesson I did not miss one top spin backhand. He again mentioned hitting low to high with plenty of net clearance. He said you can’t win consistently smashing the ball flat.
- He did not like my slice backhand at all. He said I’m leading with my elbow and popping the ball up and putting mostly side spin on the ball.. He said I was pretty much hitting the ball flat and he wanted pronounced underspin.There were various other things he didn’t like about it that I can’t remember. What I do remember is that he said I must lead with the racket head …. not my elbow. He said its a very slow stroke and even though my upper arm is moving slowly the racket head will be moving much faster since it’s at the end of the lever. He said to picture a table top in front of me, turn very much to the side and hit down the table top.
- He did not like my overhead. I shanked quite a few. He said it was because I was focusing on the outcome not the process. He said when he gets an overhead in his mind he is saying thank you to the opponent because the point is over. He said he does not care where the opponent is and he has absolutely zero focus on the other side of the net. All he focuses on is the ball contact. He showed me that he even switches to what looked to me like a 9 year old’s pancake grip to make sure he hit the ball perfectly in the center of the racket. He said he can hit hundreds in a row without missing because he focuses on the process, not the outcome.
- He didn’t really like my volley. He said it’s more like a high five motion and by the time he was done with me he was cranking some pretty fast pace that I was able handle because of the high five motion to simply get right in front of the ball with the racket. He also emphasized keeping everything out in front with the racket head up.
- He did not like my serve at all. This was a little perplexing because I had just come from Vic Braden’s training where I was doing darn good and added a ton to my speed, but I hadn’t had any practice with my new method learned at Vic’s since getting home so I looked pretty pitiful. Mostly what he didn’t like was my ball toss. He filled up a glass of water and made me go through the tossing motion with a full glass of water… luckily we were on clay where a little spillage doesn’t hurt :)We ran out of time, but before we did I cranked some pretty good serves but I obviously have a lot of practice in front of me with my new found speed and two methods to wrestle with.It is pretty cool though when you’re standing next to a guy like Rick who can effortlessly crank a hundred mph serve pretty much nonchalantly while he’s talking to me.
Overall this was a thrill of a lifetime to get a lesson from someone who has “been there and done that”.
Oh, by the way. Rick promised to give me a blog posting with a pros viewpoint on the approach shot. Watch for it.