Content & Context of PLAY

Content without Context is a ship without a rudder!  In order to play a sport, any sport, especially tennis, you’ve got to apply context with your content.  I’d like to go through the difference and how the two flow together to PLAY better.


Content is the WHAT & HOW of doing (Technique)

I.  Receiving the ball and Sending the ball

  1. Spin (receiving) – the very first aspect of receiving the ball, can be detected before your opponent strikes the ball by:
    1. observing their backswing (high to low, low to high)
    2. observing their position receiving the ball (defensive, offensive, or neutral) (sending) – what type of spin you desire to strike can be determined before the ball arrives to you, and based on:
      1. height the ball is coming towards you
      2. approaching speed of the ball
      3. the way the ball spins towards you
      4. the direction of the ball affecting the position you find yourself in (defensive, offensive, or neutral)
  2. Direction – what your eyes determine immediately as you see the ball played by your opponent
  3. Height – what you eyes determine along with direction
  4. Speed – one of the most difficult aspects of determining, this recognition skill improves the more you play (experience and time)
  5. Depth – I list it as number 5 only because Depth is a huge part of learning to receive and send the ball, it is though a combination of the Height and Speed of the ball.

II. Swing Path of the Racquet

  1. Backswing & Forward Swing
    1. Low to High (topspin)
    2. High to Low (under-spin/side-spin/combination of the two)
    3. Flat through (topspin, side-spin/combination of the two)
    4. Accelerate/Decelerate
    5. Length of swing
  2. Follow-Through/Finish
    1. Elevated – over non-dominant shoulder
    2. Horizontal – around non-dominant shoulder
    3. Inverted – around hip/waist
    4. Vertical – above dominant shoulder
    5. Buggy-whip, Bull-whip (“Rafa”) – above and around head
  3. Point of Contact (POC)
    1. Out in Front
      1. Off to the Side
      2. Literally in front of the body
    2. Beside the Body (in the “pocket”)
    3. Behind the Body

III. Movement

  1. Readiness Position
    1. Wide Stance/Feet Actively Moving
  2. Read Position
    1. Split-Step
      1. Stationary Up/Down/Slightly Forward
      2. Flow-split
      3. Shift-split
    2. First Step (3 primary types)
      1. Jab
      2. Cross-Over
      3. Drop
  3. Reaction Position
    1. Adjusting Steps (4 primary types)
      1. Walking
      2. Shuffle
      3. Running
      4. Carioca
  4. Respond Position
    1. Loading Stance (4 primary types)
      1. Open
      2. Semi-Open
      3. Neutral or Square
      4. Closed
    2. Contact Move – 15 primary types (stance // mode)
      1. Step-down Pivot (neutral-square // offensive/neutral)
      2. Transfer Move (semi-open/open // offensive/neutral)
      3. Low Spin (semi-open/open // offensive/neutral)
      4. Front-foot Hop (neutral-square // offensive)
      5. Traverse Hop (reverse semi-open // offensive)
      6. 1-Foot Pivot (semi-open/open // neutral)
      7. Step-down Reverse Pivot (neutral-spuare // neutral)
      8. Lateral Shift (semi-open/open // neutral)
      9. Lateral Hop (semi-open/open // neutral)
      10. Closed Pivot (closed stance // neutral/offensive)
      11. Reverse Pivot (semi-open/open // defensive/neutral)
      12. Reverse Spin (semi-open/open // defensive/offensive/neutral)
      13. Mogul (semi-open/open // defensive/neutral)
      14. Back-foot Hop (neutral // defensive)
      15. Power Move (closed // defensive)
    3. Balance Move
      1. Kick Back
      2. Side Kick
      3. Knee Pull

IV.  WHAT type of stroke you are playing

  1. Serve (Flat/Kick/Slice) 1st/2nd
  2. Forehand/Backhand Return of Serve (1st/2nd)
  3. Forehand (Drive/Loop/Arc)
  4. Backhand (Drive/Loop/Arc)
  5. Volley (High/Low/Swinging)
  6. Smash (Offensive/Defensive)
  7. Lob (Offensive/Defensive)
  8. Slice/Dropshot