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Find It, Feel It, Finish!

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.

Tip: Can’t find what’s the right racquet for you? Come and take a look at our extensive beginners, intermediates and junior tennis racquet guides.

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.

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