Sunday, May 13, 2012

Can Tennis History Improve Your Game? Yes! And here's how . . .

- By learning from the styles and attributes of the great stars of the past, says Peter Burwash of PBI in his latest piece for Tennis Magazine, "Learning from the Past", pp. 38-43 (June 2012)

In this masterful article, Burwash readily admits that there's a lot to admire in the games of today's top pros such as their remarkable power, accuracy and fitness.

But he admonishes that today's recreational and club players may not be able to "copy" such super-charged games.

And he suggests that we "mere mortal" players may profit much more by simply studying the styles of yesteryear's players.

Here are a few examples:
1. Forehand of Bjorn Borg - Borg's heavy Western topspin blazed the trail for today's pro forehand, explains Burwash. Lesson: hit with more topspin and higher over the net.

2. Backhand of Ken Rosewall - The one-hander will become more important as you get older, says Burwash. Lesson: You can use it to get better reach to offset the fact we get slower as we age.

3. Volleys of Billie Jean King - King has the perfect technique on the forehand volley, writes Burwash. Very short take-back, no huge backswing, and an open racket face. Lesson: "Catch" your volley, don't "punch" it.

4. Finish the Stroke like Andres Gimeno - Burwash comments that he never saw any player hit and stay through the ball into the court as well as Gimeno. Lesson: Staying through the swing pushes the ball deep towards the baseline, making sure your opponent cannot hurt you.

5. Move Between Points like Steffi Graf - For Burwash, no one offered a better example of footwork, especially between points, than Steffi Graf. You can't play very good tennis, no matter the quality of your strokes, if you are out of position. Lesson: Work on improving footwork between points and, for that matter, before every point.

For more insights and illustrations, check out Burwash's fine review in the June 2012 issue of Tennis Magazine.


Video:  The Top Thirty Tennis Players of All Time
By: itakse

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