An Alabama attorney with nearly 35 years of legal experience, Kenneth “Ken” Randall serves schools by providing educational content in his role as president and CEO of iLaw and iLawGlobal in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Outside of his work life, Kenneth Randall is an avid tennis player.
Tennis is a leisure activity that helps promote physical fitness. For new players, it can be tempting to try to emulate everything one sees in tennis instructional manuals and other learning tools, but sometimes such rigidity can be counterproductive to progressing as a tennis player. Here are some tips about body movement that run counter to popular wisdom, but are actually fundamental to becoming a better player.
Many tennis players subscribe to the notion that the body should be moving forward on every shot. While this might be ideal, the very nature of tennis precludes such a thing, because many shots require the body to be moving sideways, and sometimes even backwards. Instead of trying to fight against the body’s mechanics and force an unnatural motion, it’s more advantageous to learn how to work with your body’s natural movements while shotmaking. It’s good to move one’s weight into the shot when circumstances allow, but it’s also important not to be afraid to make a shot while moving backwards or sideways.
Similarly, many players have been told that they must bend their knees on every shot. Again, while this is ideal when a player has time to set up perfectly and wait for the ball, sometimes the circumstances of play simply do not allow it. It’s natural for the body to bend the knees, actually, so focusing so hard on doing it takes vital mental energy away from other aspects of shotmaking that require concentration. Also, it brings unnecessary critical thought in response to situations when one needn’t bend the knees to make a shot. As with body weight movement, leg movement is more about athleticism and leaning into the body’s natural movements than trying to artificially introduce knee-bending into every shot.