Tip of the Week Archive

   There was a tennis book years ago with the title, “Watch the Ball, Bend
your Knees, That will be $20 Please!â€�  Well, today it’s more like $60
Please, but the bend your knees part is even more important today. In todays
modern tennis game the forces involved require good players to bend the legs
for several reasons.
   The first reason is for stability. The body is more balanced when its center of
gravity is lower to the ground. Balance and stability are vital for power and
recovery. The body must be stable before changing directions. Moving is caused
by instability. If you are moving in one direction, your body must stop the
instability before you can change directions. This requires your body to become
balanced during a change of directions. Bending the legs is a good way to regain
your body’s stability.
   The second reason for using your legs is power. In order to hit a tennis ball
with maximum power, one must coil their body like a spring. The body will twist
more with less stress when your legs are bent.  Try standing straight up without
bending the legs, now twist one direction and feel the tension of the muscles as
the body turns. Now try twisting to one direction while bending the legs. You will
find that the body is able to turn farther thus providing more coil power for your
   The third reason for bending the legs is power absorption. When a ball is hit
hard at you, bending the legs will act like a shock absorber. The body is more
stable and more able to recoil from the power. By bending the legs on balls that
have a lot of speed, you’ll be better able to take that power and reverse it
back into your return.
   One thing you will notice on all the professional tennis players is their sturdy,
strong legs. People will admit that tennis players have “nice legs�. This is
because tennis is played from the ground up. So get your legs in shape for
better tennis or play tennis to get your legs in shape!

Doug Hofer, USPTA                                October 11, 2004