1.      .The player executes the back-swing by first taking his hand back, leaving the racket head in front. This error can be seen in the two photos below.





A player who prepares for a shot in this way, would fail to take the racket back quickly enough, and would provoke inaccurate use of the wrist. Correct timing of the shot would become very difficult and the racket head would not arrive consistently into a good position on impact. This in turn would cause the ball to deviate towards the sidewall or towards the T.


On impact the position of the wrist shown above would send the ball towards the middle of the court.

Here, the racket head has arrived late. Causing the ball to deviate towards the sidewall.



The player is made to practice the use of the wrist to take the racket head back. See the section on the back-swing.



2.      The player starts the back-swing well, but then takes his hand back too high and raises the elbow excessively.




Raising the hand and elbow too high would lead to difficulty in hitting the ball effortlessly and inability to send it high against the front wall. This error can be seen in video by clicking here. A player who carries on like this will encounter great problems when playing a game. His shots will require more effort and he/she may end up over-slicing the ball. Raising the elbow too high would lead to raising the shoulder excessively, which in turn would hamper equilibrium of the upper body when moving around the court. Also, a raised shoulder makes it very difficult to hit the ball when it is only a few centimetres off the ground.




The player must be urged to take his racket further back towards the back wall, rather than raise the elbow. The player should concentrate on taking the elbow back but keeping it low and close to his body.


3.      The player extends his arm completely (similar to a tennis style backhand) then pushes the ball. See this error on video here.  The movement adopted here produces a very slow, weak swing, and a point of impact very close to the player’s body. Such technique would force the player to expend twice the amount of energy when hitting the ball and moving around the court.





The whole concept of the backhand must be explained to the pupil. The player is made to stand with one foot forward as if ready to hit the ball, but no racket is used. He is then made to go through the rotation exercise seen in the photo series below while maintaining the head perfectly still.





The next step would be to do the same with the upper body leaning forward slightly. This is illustrated in the next 3 photos. Note that the arms are no longer horizontal. The next stage is very similar but with the right elbow bent at the beginning, then extended as the player rotates. The player is then made to do the same but with the racket in hand.





Having gone through these exercises, the player tries again with the racket and ball. Another exercise, which offer further understanding and feel for the shot, can be seen below.




The wall represents the point of impact. This exercise helps the player understand how the elbow moves first towards the point of impact, and is then followed by the hand. He also sees how the hand is distant from the body (photo, far right) and that the side of the hand and not the rear, makes contact with the wall.



4. The player places his left arm forward.    (Right-handed player)


This is a common error indeed among beginners. Often, they do not know what to do with the left arm. Players must understand that the left arm must be kept out of the way and used as a counter-balance. The left arm also has the important role of keeping the left shoulder high. To find out more about the use of the left arm, the videos and photos illustrating all the various shots later in the book will provide sufficient help.


5.The player keeps his "racket shoulder" (right shoulder) low even after he hits the ball.


This action would cause over-slicing and loss of power. Eventually the player will find himself in great difficulty when he needs to play the lob or hit the ball out of the back corner.




The player should be urged to feel the position of the other shoulder and instructed to bring it forward while keeping the head still. Simulating the shot without the ball, to get this torsion right, would be a good idea.


6. The player positions himself too close to the ball.


Standing too,close to the ball forces the player to “shorten” the arm, and ruin his technique. His shots would lack power, and he would eventually move more on court. He would also allow too much room for his opponent, by having to evacuate the T even for shots around the centre of the court. Standing too close to the ball and hitting it with a bent arm, would also mean banging the racket very often against the walls. Shots very close to the sidewall would be impossible to retrieve.




The coach should hold the ball, and ask the player to position himself and take a slow swing, bringing the racket against the ball. The player then finds himself with the elbow still bent on impact, or with little room to extend his arm. (photo below left) The coach makes him note how close the ball is to his body. The coach then moves the ball to the correct distance, (photo below right), and the player is asked to note the difference. The distance from the player’s right knee is important to note in both cases. If the player is made to lean forward slightly, chances are, he will maintain a good distance from the ball. If a player finds himself too upright or leaning backwards, he can be sure that his position is too close to the ball.




Another solution would be to send the ball very close to the sidewall. As soon as the player attempts to hit the ball, he should be asked to stop and leave his right foot in position, as in the photo to the right. The coach should then make the player reach towards the sidewall and note that there is hardly any room for his arm, let alone the racket. Again, leaning forward slightly with the upper body before stepping forward will solve the problem.