HOW TO GET BEGINNERS STARTED

 

If you were a beginner, it would be best to go through these exercises with the help of a coach. The first sequences cover the forehand.

 

Starting with the position shown in the photos below (body turned towards the side wall and the racket well prepared). The coach launches the ball just below the line on the back wall. The player tries to place the left foot just ahead of the ball’s bounce, but perpendicular to the sidewall. The player must try to bend his right knee considerably as he places his left foot at exactly the same moment that the ball hits the floor. Note how the right shoulder remains low while the upper body is almost erect.

 

 

 

 

The elbow is still tucked in, permitting the player to get very close to the back wall if necessary. The elbow moves from the player’s side to his abdomen. This takes the arm into a roomier area within the corner. The slight movement of the elbow also puts the arm into motion, initiating the racket’s acceleration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is clear though, how the player relies mainly on the wrist to really accelerate the racket. The elbow has been extended to reach the ball and free the arm to gain more speed. See how low the ball is on impact. Therefore, it is vital to bend both knees as much as possible. In fact the right knee is almost touching the floor. After the ball has been struck, the player follows through. Only when his racket smoothly decelerates and comes to a stop, should he attempt to get up and back to the initial position.     play video

 

Going on to the second phase, the player should be made to start from the position seen  in the photo below. A frontal position but near the back wall. Racket preparation is the first move, as usual. The racket is taken back and the shoulders turned while the legs remain in a frontal position. Note how the left heel is a little off the floor and the knees slightly bent. It is of great importance to understand that the player still has his weight on both feet and effortlessly balanced. At this stage, he has not shifted his weight totally onto his right foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The player then places his left foot into position just as for the previous exercise and the rest is identical.    play video

 

 

Phase three, would be to let the player start from the T but already facing the sidewall. This gives him more security and allows him to concentrate on fewer details at a time. Note how the player should move to the backcourt, close to the glass wall, but staying well clear of the sidewall.   play video

 

 

 

 

 

Phase four, would be to let the player start from a frontal position on the T. The player should begin his racket preparation only when the coach moves his arm to throw the ball. Note how the player moves to the backcourt, staying well clear of the sidewall.   play video  The photo below to the right, indicates how important it is to move down the court through the centre, keeping clear of the ball and sidewall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fifth phase is the same as the first with the exception that the coach actually hits the ball high on the front wall, just over the service line. The coach’s shot must first bounce on the floor then high up onto the back wall. The player starts from the position shown in the photo, as in phase one. The player must be instructed to have the left foot into position just after the ball bounces onto the floor, on its way to the back wall and by no means later.

 

 

 

This will teach him to observe the ball and understand its trajectory in advance. He must then wait as much as possible and strike the ball just before the second bounce, when the ball is extremely close to the floor. This serves to teach him how to create time and not be rushed.     play video

 

 

 

Phase six is the same as the fifth, except that the player starts from the position shown in the photo.    play video  This phase should teach the player not to rush into position. He becomes aware of having enough time to take a good back-swing, turn his shoulders, and then step into position.

 

 

 

 

 

Phase seven takes the player to the T, except that he starts from an advantageous position. Beginners will often believe to have very little time to reach the back corner and play the shot. Making them adopt this position at first should make things simpler and reduce their anxiety.  play video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

GETTING BEGINNERS STARTED ON THE BACKHAND SIDE

 

Hopefully, you will have seen the section on the forehand, and better still, put it into practice. The same is implemented on this side. The backhand is probably easier because the position of the elbow is much more natural and it is easier to move closer to the back wall. Follow the photos, video clips, and explanations below.

 

Phase one      The player starts from a simple position with the racket ready and facing the sidewall.        play video

 

 

 

  The feet are next to each other at first.                 The player steps forward as the ball bounces

 

 

          Both legs are bent and he goes down low, striking the ball as late as possible.

 

 

 

                    On the follow-through, the player rises and returns into position.

 

 

 

Phase two        Here, the coach launches the ball while the player starts off from a frontal position.     play video

 

 

 

 As soon as the ball travels towards the back wall, the player prepares his racket. He twists the upper body while perfectly balanced on both feet.

 

 

 

This allows him to place the right foot accurately as the ball bounces on the floor. Note that both knees are bent in advance to produce the necessary low stance.

 

 

 

Phase three   Now the player starts from the T, but already facing the sidewall. This gives him more security and allows him to concentrate on fewer details at a time. Note how the player should move to the back court close to the glass wall, but staying well clear of the side-wall   play video

 

 

 

 

 

Phase four        At this stage the player starts off from a realistic position on the T, but the coach still launches the ball. The shot is fairly simple by now, so it is time to concentrate on correct footwork from the centre of the court to the corner, and back.   play video

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as the ball is thrown…

 

 

..the player flicks the racket behind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back-stepping while turning….

 

 

.. he move through the middle of the court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As usual he goes down low to strike…

 

 

..then transfers his weight with the arm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The right foot makes its first step towards the T, and not the side.

 

 

The following steps take him easily back to an ideal position.

 

 

 

At this point, the coach should let the player practice on both sides by throwing the ball once to the left and the other to the right, as you can see in the video.    play video

 

The coach should then try to wrong-foot the player to see if he can remain calm and co-ordinated.     play video

 

 

Phase five  Now the coach can hit the ball to the player who starts off from the position adopted in phase one.   It is time to apply the acquired technique to a different and more realistic bounce.     play video

 

 

 

 

 

Phase six     Just like the exercise above, but the player starts from a frontal position. He is already near the back wall, so, all he has to concentrate on is the co-ordination between the upper and lower body, and the timing of the shot.    play video

 

 

 

 

 

Phase seven    the player is standing on the T but facing the sidewall. He must first reach the back of the court before positioning himself and swinging at the ball. As you will see, in the video clip, it is important to side-step with the feet pointing towards the sidewall and not towards the back corner.    play video