| By Liam Gough

 

Grass is a fun surface where your great shorts will be made to look even greater! Great serves will turn in to aces; powerful shots will be tougher to get back turning in to winners! However, if you go on grass trying to play how you do on clay it simply won’t work! You need to embrace the surface and adapt by using all the information in this article!

1) Footwork

Move softer with light footwork.  The grass court season comes just after the clay season where players have been sliding to get to balls, one of the big differences on grass is we don’t want to slide as this could end up coursing an injury instead I advise you stay balanced with light steps on a grass court. Before playing a match spend some time working on stopping and changing direction, for example sprints and then stopping balanced before hitting.


2) Serve

The serve is one of the most important shots on grass. The grass will help your serve get through the court quicker.  Its important to be prepared to improvise a lot on grass! For example making use of the slice serve and then using the serve and volley. When we play on  clay courts the ball will bounce up high making the kick serve the main choice for the pros, on grass the ball stays lower therefore I advice you switch to the slice serve keeping the ball low.


3) Mentality

Play aggressive tennis! You have less time therefore you need to think a little less and go for your shots. Steal time from your opponent and look to move forward shrinking the court.


4) Improvise

Grass is the only living surface therefore the bounce will not always be the same and sometimes may vary depending on the quality of the grass court. A fantastic grass court player will always be prepared to improvise both their footwork and technique depending on the bounce. Expect the unexpected.


5) Intention

An intention is an idea that you plan (or intend) to carry out. If you mean something, it's an intention. Your goal, purpose, or aim is your intention. It's something you mean to do, whether you pull it off or not. When playing on a quick surface like grass you must have the correct intension from the start of the point, both with your attacking mindset and your clear  tactical plan. There is no time on  grass to second guess or have the wrong intension.


6) Slice

A slice backhand is more effective on grass mainly because the bounce on a grass court is lower than that of a bounce on a hard or clay court. When we slice we want to keep the ball as low as possible stopping your opponent from attacking.


7) Serve & Volley

There’s no doubt less professionals are serve and volleying now than in the past however I still believe on grass this can be a valuable tool! Next time you play on grass try to move your opponent wide with for example a slice serve and then rush the net following the line of the ball as quickly as possible, split step and volley to the open court.


8) Racket Back

When you play on a grass court the ball comes much quicker therefore you need to get your racket back early so that you can make contact out in front of your body.


9) Shorter Points

Points will be shorter on grass therefore the first player to impose themselves in the point usually wins it. Try to use your serve+1 to impose yourself early in the point. To do this you hit your serve and then try to hit your most attacking favorite shot after the serve  which usually is a players forehand, on the flip side when returning try to neutralize big serves and attack second serves stopping your opponent from using their serve plus one. 


10)  Embrace grass and enjoy it!

Grass is a fun surface where your great shorts will be made to look even greater! Great serves will turn in to aces; powerful shots will be tougher to get back turning in to winners! However if you go on grass trying to play how you do on clay it simply won’t work! You need to embrace the surface and adapt by using all the information in this article!

 

 

Liam Gough

Liam Gough is currently a coach at the Beckford Tennis Club, Winchcombe Tennis Club, Gotherington Tennis Club and Bredon Tennis Club in the United Kingdom. He has a degree in Sports and Exercise Science, and is a Level 3 LTA Tennis Coach. He has coaching experience working with players from the beginner to the advanced level in both the UK and Spain. He can be reached at Liamgough_PT@hotmail.co.uk