Posts Tagged how to hit a tennis ball

Frank Adams’ Innovative Tennis Swings Filmed For Possible TV Airings

Two days ago I was part of a film shoot describing a different way to hit a tennis ball. What fun!

Frank Adams coached players for 50 years. But after three decades, he figured out a movement he calls Natural Tennis that is based on the same arm swing you do automatically when you walk down a street or catch and throw a ball without thinking. He thinks the way the pro’s hit—and amateurs try to imitate—is difficult, stressful on the joints and terribly misguided.

Dean Adams films me demonstrating an old-style swing, while Harry Moses (center) directs

Frank’s friend and neighbor, award-winning producer/director Harry Moses of documentary movie and “60 Minutes” fame, was in charge of the shoot, and I was one of the converts who briefly demonstrated my before-and-after-Frank swings. I also described how much my game has improved. Frank not only showed his innovative moves to the camera, he also taught two women who don’t play tennis how to do it the Natural Way in just 10 minutes.

The plan is to edit the two hours of footage down to three or four minutes that is presented to The Tennis Channel as a possible special or maybe a few of its One Minute Clinics. Frank’s son Dean is a professional filmmaker who is working with Harry on the editing and operated the camera.

Harry (left) and I laugh with Frank Adams during a filming break

This filming all happened hours after Nadal won the French Open. Frank has often admired Rafa’s athleticism, but claims this champion is too extraordinary to be copied by mere mortals. The injuries he and other professionals endure are all part of Frank’s evidence that the ideal way to hit a tennis ball is NOT how it’s generally being taught.

Although I have only been learning tennis seriously for three years, the first 12 months was just two hours of lessons a week attempting to hit a ball with multiple confusion. For a forehand, I had to: turn my body 90 degrees to the right, adjust my feet, extend my left arm and aim my left hand at the ball, raise my racket, bend my knees, watch the ball, swing with top spin, follow through, delay looking across the net, shift my weight to my right foot with a giant step, grab my racket at the throat with my left hand, make sure my racket hits my shoulder.

Whew! I was often exhausted. I could hardly remember to follow all these commands. My brain is just not able to recall them and direct my body to act. I have enough trouble simply watching the ball until I hit it.

Frank’s method worked for me instantly, so I adopted it. My backhand improved dramatically, and my forehand is more consistent. I am such a believer that I have also helped Frank edit the manuscript for his book and participated in the creation of multiple-exposure pictures that will illustrate Frank’s moves in print.

It’s all very exciting, and has accelerated my skills and playing level. My only apology is to my first-year coach, a young woman formerly 120 in the world who taught me the modern method so patiently and passionately. I know she thinks I have gone over to the Dark Side. But she definitely instilled in me her love of the game, the benefits of practice, and the need to jog around the court two or three times to warm up before every session.

It's a wrap! Karen Merritt (far left), Wanda Heckel and Ed Letteron were also filmed in the shoot

Some of you may remember my earlier posts about Frank’s method and that I also made simple videos of his moves that are on this site as well as on YouTube. Reaching a wider audience would capitalize on Frank’s insights as well as assist the many players who are struggling to emulate their tennis idols.

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Terrible Tennis And My Glass Is Half Empty

OK there is a Life Lesson to be learned in my tennis playing of the last 10 days. I can’t wait to benefit from it.

Basically I have been losing consistently, and with four different partners, so I can’t blame it on the other guy. There have been four days of playing plus two practice sessions, almost 12 hours on the court, and I can’t seem to do what I need to: make winners rather than unforced errors—I hit the ball long, and I can’t fall on it with my body the way I want to for extra power. I also find it difficult to keep watching the ball until it hits my racket—I look away just before impact to see where the ball is headed.

Lost all of the regular doubles games, a couple of singles games, and four out of five matches in a 4 ½ hour tournament with the age 50’s set (including three of those in tiebreakers). I am very frustrated, cursing out loud, grumpy, angry and real, real pissed at myself. Even though I was complimented by a couple of guys much better than I am who hadn’t seen me play in a while and couldn’t believe how much I had improved.

Not sure how to overcome this setback. Read the rest of this entry »

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