Today, I want to introduce you to a new concept in tennis. The three “F”s. Find it, Feel it, and Finish. Although normally an “F” stands for failure, these three in tennis stand for success.
F number one: Find it.
Finding the ball could be defined as making contact with the correct racquet angle, racquet speed and in the optimum spot on the strings. Ideally, while running or accommodating yourself to the ball, keep the racquet between you and the ball as long as possible, as if you were going to catch it.
Then you take your swing in one continuous motion, letting your backswing be determined by how hard you want to hit the ball and how much spin you want.
Preparing early is an old concept that you can throw overboard. Tracking the ball with your racquet keeps you tuned in on the changing patterns and speed in the flight of the ball.
F number two: Feel it.
The racquet angle, rather than body position, will be the prime determining factor on the ball’s height and direction. Your body may be facing in one direction, but if the racquet is facing in another direction that is where the ball will go.
The idea that you missed a shot because your feet were not positioned properly is preposterous. Pay attention to your feet and the ball will hit you on your head!
Ideally, pay attention to your hand and racquet and let your feet do whatever they want (you taught them well when you were a little child). So now that we have clarified that the best way to play is with your hands, letting the body help naturally in any way possible, let’s analyze what your hands do.
First of all, you feel more when you brush something with your fingers than when you meet the object head-on. The same goes for tennis. Brush the ball, and you’ll have a longer lasting feel (and more control). Racquet speed and acceleration will determine the speed of your shot.
On groundstrokes it is optimum, as clearly demonstrated by the top pros, to approach the ball slowly, at a controlled racquet speed, and then accelerating up and across the ball, rather than following its path.
F number three: Finish.
To conquer all the usual fears and worries people have when executing any stroke in tennis, the key is to focus on finishing the stroke always on the same spot — that is, to make sure your hand and racquet end up in the same position time after time, no matter what where you meet the ball.
The ball may bounce badly or unpredictably: just focus on finding it and finishing the stroke as usual. As you progress through the lessons in this website, you will instinctively adjust the other parts of the stroke, such as the racquet angle, to send the ball into the other court.
Emphasizing the finish surprisingly is one of the best-kept secrets of the top pros. Human beings tend to worry too much about mechanics, how things are done. So don’t be human. Top pros look like gods (on their best day) on the court because they focus on finding the ball, feeling it, and emphasizing the finish.
Put too much attention on other areas, you’ll have ten different swings. When you look at a pro, you notice his swing looks always the same. It is “his” forehand, “his” backhand, and “his” serve.
He might have more than one type of shot for some situations, but it is always well defined by the way it ends.