“You swing too fast dude.” Is something I heard the other day on from the court next to me. It came from a guy who was telling his tennis partner to try not to swing so fast. He was telling him this because – after watching them for a few minutes – nearly every two or three balls would either go waaaaay long or he would hit a nice down the line or cross court winner, not effective for practice. The guy trying get the other to slow his swing down was visibly frustrated as he was either picking up balls or just feeding.
I’ve seen this before with some of my hitting partners and I have also been guilty of doing the same thing. This got me thinking, does swinging faster equals a ball that travels faster? Well, not really, especially if you’re only arming the ball. You know what I mean, if you are using your arm only to increase racquet head speed, chances are you will not have success in hitting a better ball.
Swing faster or swing better?
Sure, swinging the tennis racquet faster can, at times, result in an increase in the velocity of the tennis ball, but it is inconsistent. What can a tennis player do hit a better tennis ball without having to swing faster? That’s the million dollar question.
Well, to put it in layman terms, if you use your entire body to hit the ball, the result will be more impressive and more consistent. Shocking isn’t it?
But, what’s the actual way of hitting a more powerful tennis ball? It’s all in your core baby! By creating tension in your core (stomach), and “coiling” your body, if you time it right, you can unwind (or uncoil) into the tennis ball at contact. Wait, what? How does gathering the energy your body creates and expelling that into your swing will result in a better hit? Unlike just hitting the ball with your arm and maybe even some shoulder rotation, uncoiling the body and using the harnessed energy, the tennis player is continuously expanding, and intensifying in energy, from the body’s core out to the apex of where the racquet meets the ball.
The idea with coiling and unwinding is that you don’t have to swing faster to get more ball speed, because you are generating the energy you need with all of your body’s energy. You will naturally have better racquet head speed, not just faster.
Being able to get yourself to coil and eventually unwind into the hit is no easy task, it’s not something you can learn overnight and without the right tools. There is one tool I use, the 8-Board, which has shown me the path to the promised land. This is the training tool to have to learn a be the best tennis player you know 😉
Of course, you can always just keep swinging with just your arm which will lead to crappy groundstrokes and possible injury to your shoulder, elbow, or wrist.
I guess if I were that guy was telling his partner to not swing as fast, I would say “Swing better by using your entire body.” That’s just me though.