| By Harvey Becker
Photo credit: Getty Images/LightFieldStudios
Photo credit: Getty Images/LightFieldStudios


When you play only once or twice a week in a friendly (or unfriendly) doubles or singles match, it is hard to make big changes without constant practice. So here are a few fixes for you without having to make big changes to your game.

Having coached all levels and ages for more than 25 years, here are some simple ideas on how to look at making improvements yourself whilst on court. I have chosen one fix for each aspect below …

1. Technique

Problem: Balls are going long, wide or into the net—groundstrokes.

It is obvious, but there are only four results your shot can have: Into the net, long, wide, or the one we want, in the court. Simply put, the ball will go where your racket wants it to go. In other words, contact point in relation to your body and racket angle are the two factors, along with the swing path, to get to that contact point.

Tip: Focus on the contact point being a comfortable distance from your body, a little in front with the racket face as square as possible (not open where he ball goes out) and not closed (where he ball goes into the net).

Note: The racket face needs to be open on slice with the swing path going more in a downward path.

2. Footwork During Rally: The Four Movements

Problem: Hitting while moving is a common fault, so is hitting while off balance.

Tip: For starters, move to the ball. Arrive and be steady with a final step with the ball in good a contact point; recover while facing the net; and split-step constantly while waiting for the next ball.

3. Strategy: Volleying Balls in Center in Doubles

Problem: Covering the alley too much with poor balance.

Tip: When moving to cover your alley, steady yourself before the opponent hits. Most people move to the alley and are leaning that way when opponent hits, so getting to balls moving the other way is more difficult. And try not to move too near the alley … you only need to be two large steps away from outside alley line.

4. Mental: A Tip on Focus in Play

Problem: A sloppy start to the point.

Once a rally is in progress, you are reacting and its happening. Focus loss often occurs at the start of the point. For example, you rush your serve or you are in a lazy ready position.

Tip: Take your time on your serve. Be in a good, ready position on your toes for the return. Loosely plan where you intend to serve or return plus the shot after. You can always adjust your plan if needed.

So if you get focused, control your contact point, move with balance and poach those volleys then get that Wimbledon Entry Form ready!


Harvey Becker's picture Harvey Becker

Harvey Becker is a Tennis Instructor at CourtSense Tennis Academy. He started playing tennis at 10-years-old, and he was the County Junior Champion in all age groups he competed in. he reached a Men’s Singles ATP World Ranking of approximately 470 and number 13 in Men’s Singles in the United Kingdom. He played on the pro circuit from 1980-1985.