Best Girls Soccer Cleats

Nike addias soccer cleats


Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • The Nike Mercurials Are One Of The Best Girls’ Soccer Cleats Available.
  • Adidas F50 Soccer Cleats Are Also A Good Quality Choice.
  • Girls Selecting Soccer Cleats Can Make The Right Choice For Them By Following A Few Tips Before Purchasing Cleats.

Whether girls are new or experienced in soccer, picking the best new soccer cleats is always important.

Currently, more girls in the US play soccer, which is one of the most popular among US citizens.

In addition, the US National Women’s Team (USWNT) is the world’s number one in the official FIFA international rankings following their consecutive World Cup wins in 2015 and 2019. 

From my research, I like this soccer cleat:

With more girls playing and enjoying soccer, the demand for cleats increases.

However, deciding which soccer cleats are the best makes the difference between enjoying the game and not. 

I’ve had my own negative experiences when picking the wrong cleats.

As a younger player, I suffered through small, ill-fitting cleats when I went through a GROWTH SPURT. As a result, I suffered from agonizing blisters and friction. 

Then, I made the same mistake as an adult player when I opted for cheap, poor-fitting cleats.

Both times this happened, during my playing days, I missed out on many matches and training while I recovered, and it was a tough time. 

But, it’s not just the amateurs who make mistakes when choosing the right cleats.

In 2018, Brazilian star Neymar injured his foot while playing for Paris St Germain, which his cleats may have caused.

Therefore, for girls, picking the right soccer cleats is essential.

Not only will making the right choice help your play and development, but you also won’t miss out by watching from the sideline from blisters and pain!

This article shares some of the best girls’ soccer cleats available. Also, we provide some of the pros and cons of these. 

How to Pick the Right Soccer Cleats?

Before selecting your soccer cleats, consider the following guide to help your decision. 

As a coach and a player, I have often seen many soccer players get the wrong pair of cleats and suffer physically.

Sometimes, these injuries are minor, but blisters and foot and heel damage can be long-lasting. 

To prevent this, preparation and research are key.

1) Material 

Firstly, a good starting point is to consider what material you want your cleats to be. Generally, there are three material types: leather, synthetic, and knit. 

One of the best ways to get a feel for the material you want is to head to a store and pick up some of the cleats. Immediately, you can feel what is heavy, light, breathable and what could be well fitting.

I usually do this when considering new cleats, and it is a good starting place. 

2) Lightweight or Sturdy

Similarly to the material, think about whether you want your cleats to be lighter or heavier. 

Ultimately, this depends on different factors.

First, it will depend on your playing conditions. Any player in a hot, humid, or dry environment would benefit from more lightweight cleats that are more breathable.

In contrast, picking heavier leather cleats may suit players in wetter, colder climates.

Second, players can think about their playing position.

For example, players who pass, shoot, and control the ball more may prefer lightweight cleats for a better feel and control.

However, players who kick further and tackle more may benefit from heavier leather cleats. 

3) Size and Fit

Finally, after completing the research above, the fun part comes.

Before getting out onto the pitch, always try on your preferred cleats before committing.

Pop them on as they arrive and try walking, jogging and running in them and see how they feel. If there’s any discomfort, it’s best to try a different size.

At university, I was asked to play in a tournament at the last minute.

But having left my cleats in my hometown, I had to grab some cleats from the local sports store. I rushed in, grabbed the cheapest cleats my size, and headed to the tournament.

Within ten minutes, my feet were throbbing in pain. I continued to play for the entire tournament and had several blisters, sprained my ankle, and swollen feet. 

It is essential to take the time to try out cleats, send them back or try a new pair. Without this trial period, you are vulnerable to serious injury. 

What are the Best Girls Soccer Cleats?

So, it’s time to commit to your favorite brand after completing research and trying out your preferred girl’s soccer cleats!

For me, Adidas Predators were my go-to growing up. Icons like David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane were the face of the Adidas Predators, and everyone wanted to play like them.

Once I tried a pair in the mid-2000s, I was hooked, and they provided style and comfort for many years. Also, as I played in multiple positions for different teams, these cleats suited my needs as an all-rounder.

However, today the best soccer cleats for boys and girls have changed.

But Nike and Adidas still lead the way in quality and consistency even with constantly new releases. We outline some of the best currently available below. 

1) Nike Mercurial 

In terms of well-fitting and good-quality cleats, the 2022 edition of the Nike Mercurials is one of the best options available. 

These cleats suit both beginner and experienced players as they are lightweight and smooth. Also, Nike has these cleats available with different studs and under-soles so they can be used on different playing surfaces. 

2) Nike Tiempo Legend 9

Another impressive cleat from Nike is the Tiempo Legend 9 brand.

This brand is worn by leading soccer stars, including Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker, and Thibaut Courtois. 

This is surprising as the cleats are meant to be for more offensive players.

However, their sturdy design and relatively wide fit show that the Nike Tiempo Legend 9 cleats suit a range of soccer players for different positions. 

3) Adidas F50 

The Adidas F50 cleats have been available since the European Championships in 2004 when they were first released.

Over time, Adidas has tweaked and improved its appearance and feel to make them suitable for modern use.

Today, the F50s are suited for players who prefer speed and pace over something more heavy-duty.

The likes of Lionel Messi have worn this brand in previous seasons, showing that they are well made for offensive players who like to control the ball and dribble.

Best Dribblers in Soccer

messi dribbling ball


Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • The Best Dribblers In Soccer Make The Game Look Easy And They Produce Hair-raising Moments.
  • Three Current Players Are Seen As The Best Modern-day Dribblers In Soccer.
  • Diego Maradona Is The All-time Best Dribbler In Soccer History.

Dribbling in soccer is like art. The best of the best MAKE IT LOOK EASY..

..Almost as if the ball is GLUED TO THEIR FEET while tackles fly in around them.

There is no better feeling when you play soccer than producing a trick and evading an opposition player.

As a kid, I used to try and copy the likes of Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, and Jay Jay Okocha when playing drop-down games with friends, on the street, or in the back garden. 

Often, I would borrow my Dad’s coaching equipment to set up real-game situations and TRY TO COPY professional players.

Then, when it came to matchday, I would try and do the tricks and dribbling skills in a real-life soccer game.

Admittedly, this was trial and error, and I regularly experienced anger from teammates and coaches to pass rather than dribble past every player.

But, these memories remind me that young players get the best joy and freedom from copying their heroes on the pitch, particularly when dribbling.

Usually, everyone wants to be Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe.

Not because they are the best defender, goalkeeper, or solid holding midfielder, but because they entertain and get the crowd on their feet.

This article looks at some of the best dribblers in professional soccer today and gives a rundown of the best all-time dribblers. 

Top 3 Best Dribblers in World Soccer Today

In soccer today, many players can dribble past opposition without breaking a sweat. The skill is admirable, and it takes plenty of hard work and practice to pull off at speed.

However, some players make it look easy like the ball is glued to their feet. Some current players are good at dribbling in soccer, but others are world-class. 

Lionel Messi

messi dribbling ball

One of the best-ever players in soccer, Lionel Messi, is a supreme dribbler with the ball.

The PACE, POWER, and SKILL he produced for Barcelona were ELECTRIC and led to some of soccer’s greatest moments. 

For instance, my most clear, iconic Messi dribble was against Real Madrid in the Champions League when he received the ball near the halfway line and, within seconds, took on Los Blancos’ world-class defense and coolly struck the ball into the net. 

This moment showcased the Argentinian’s PURE DRIBBLING CLASS.

But it was just one of many iconic solo runs he produced. In La Liga and the Champions League, Messi tormented the best defenders in world soccer with his unstoppable dribbling skills. 

Neymar

Neymar dribbling ball

Regarding skills and trickery, Neymar is among the world’s best.

The Brazilian has been turning defenders inside out for a decade after bursting onto the scene as a youngster playing for Santos in Brazil. 

When Neymar joined Barcelona in 2013, my concern, like many of my soccer-mad friends, was whether he could continue to produce spectacular dribbling skills in Europe.

Neymar has since excelled for Barcelona and Paris St Germain to prove his initial doubters, like me, completely wrong. 

The Brazilian continues to produce hair-raising skills and tricks for PSG, and he is a central player for the national team.

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe regularly showcases how to pace, and his expert dribbling ability is a deadly combination in professional soccer.

The French international was ranked as the fastest player in Europe in 2019/20, reaching a top speed of 28 kilometers per hour. 

The ability to control the ball at this speed without tumbling over is impressive and takes a lot of rehearsal.

When I played regularly, I would slow down in control of the ball to remain composed. I would never dream of running a full sprint while remaining in control of the ball for fear I would end up kicking it out of play.

Mbappe has frequently shown how he can utilize his deadly blend of speed and control by scoring some vital goals for his club, Paris St Germain, in recent seasons.

One of his most iconic was a 70-yard solo run and finish against Lyon 2020. 

https://www.eurosport.co.uk/football/coupe-de-france/2019-2020/football-video-watch-kylian-mbappe-score-incredible-solo-goal-against-lyon_vid1303478/video.shtml

Best Dribbler in Soccer History

However, before these recent stars, a select few of soccer’s best demonstrated their mind-bending dribbling skills. 

Regularly, football fans debate the best dribblers in soccer history.

Many argue that previous players, like Diego Maradona and George Best, were the greatest because they produced skill and control on wet and muddy pitches where the ball would barely roll. 

In addition, opposition players could tackle harder with less punishment in older soccer matches, again leading to debates about which players were the best. 

Diego Maradona 

Diego Maradona is often regarded as the best dribbler in soccer history.

The Argentinian used his generational talent to lead Argentina to win the 1986 World Cup. He also led an average Napoli side to two Italian League titles and an Italian Cup victory.

Very few of the worlds best have produced such influential periods at football clubs or for their national team.

Maradona achieved this through all-around soccer ability, but mostly because of his world-class dribbling skills. 

Comparisons have been made between Maradona and Messi.

Both are Argentinian, both small, both from humble, lower-class backgrounds, and both learned their skills on Argentina’s Potrero.

However, due to the context of his achievements, often in underdog teams, Maradona is generally regarded as the greatest of all time. 

Ultimately, Maradona’s brilliance made the difference countless times, and he was adored for his incredible soccer ability. So much so that Argentina had three days of mourning following his death in 2021. 

22-Week Marathon Training Plan

22-Week Marathon Training Plan
  • 22-Week Marathon Training Plan Is Designed With Beginners in Mind to Prepare Them for Their First Marathon (Who Can Run at Least 3 Miles with relative ease).
  • Use Your Breathing as Your Guide and Slow Your Pace Accordingly Through Walking or Light Jogging.
  • Have Fun With Cross-Training You Also Enjoy, Which Could Be Swimming, Biking, or Shooting Hoops Twice a Week on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Whist Saturday is almost always the race day – the following 22-week marathon training plan is designed to prepare you for your race day in a particular structure.

Your work schedule and family commitment may not allow you to work on the training plan to the T.

However, please follow the guided program as much as possible to help prepare yourself and give yourself the BEST CHANCE to complete your first marathon with pride and injury-free.

Swimming and biking are the best for your cross-training because they put LESS STRESS on your knees and joints while you get a good cardio. Please train at a moderate intensity anytime from 30-45 mins.

If you are a hooper or like hitting mitts, it is a good idea to use it as your cross training, or your cross training could include simple walking.

WeekMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1Rest3 miRest3 miRest3 mi2 mi
2Rest3 miCross-training (CT) or Rest3 miRest4 mi3 mi
3Rest3 miCT4 miCT or Rest5 mi3 mi
4Rest3 miCT4 miCT or Rest6 mi3 mi
5Rest4 miCT4 miRest7 mi3 mi
6Rest5 miCT4 miCT or Rest8 mi3 mi
7Rest5 miCT4 miRest9 mi3 mi
8Rest5 miCT4 miCT or Rest10 mi3 mi
9Rest5 mi3 mi4 miRest6 mi4 mi
10Rest5 miCT4 miRest12 mi4 mi
11Rest5 miCT4 miCT or rest13 mi4 mi
12Rest5 miCT5 mi (1 Miles at Estimated Marathon Pace {EMP})Rest14 mi4 mi
13Rest5 miCT5 mi (2 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest10 mi5 mi
14Rest6 miCT5 mi (3 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest16 mi4 mi
15Rest6 miCT5 mi (3 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest10 mi4 mi
16Rest5 miCT5 mi (4 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest18 mi4 mi
17Rest5 miCT5 mi (4 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest10 mi5 mi
18Rest6 miCT6 mi (5 Miles at EMP)Rest19 mi4 mi
19Rest5 miCT6 mi (5 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest14 mi4 mi
20Rest4 miCT4 miCT or Rest20 mi3 mi
21Rest4 miCT3 miCT or Rest8 mi3 mi
22Rest2 miCTRest Day – All your hard work is done. Get a good full rest day.20 minutes light runIt’s Show Time!Rest Day!

Can I Run a Marathon in 22 Weeks?

As a general guide – If you can run 3 miles at relative ease – with the 22-week training plan, you can run a marathon in 22 weeks.

There are tons of videos on youtube of people running without training, but it could POTENTIALLY DAMAGE your joints or, in some cases, permanent injury.

Please follow the 22-week training plan and give yourself a good chance to complete a marathon without injury.

Is 20 Weeks Enough Time to Train for a Marathon?

Yes, if you are relatively fit and can run 3 miles at relative ease now – 20 weeks is enough time to train for a marathon.

Using the above 22-week marathon training plan, you could start from week three if 20 weeks are remaining for your marathon.

You can see from the marathon training plan above that you are gradually increasing the intensity and number of miles a couple of weeks before the race day.

How Long Does It Take To Go From Couch to Marathon?

This depends on how disciplined you will be in your training and diet ahead of the marathon and, your current health condition & your motivation level.

As a rough guideline, six months of preparation for a marathon give you a good chance to go from couch to marathon.

How Long Does It Take to Train for a Marathon if You Are Out of Shape?

A good nine months.

There is a saying, “Fence that builds fast – falls fast.”

If you are over-ambitious or you get inspired by the Forest Gump movie and decide you will run a marathon the next day without training.

I sure did get inspired by this movie, but if you are out of shape and decide to run a full marathon the next day – It could be the decision you may regret for the rest of your life.

Because you may well have caused permanent damage to your joints and your body.

Not only will you not be able to run or walk for the next few days, but it could also be detrimental to your health.

For your first 1 to 3 months, take baby steps to increase your fitness level. For example, it could be as simple as walking around the block or your garden.

At around five months, follow the 22-week marathon training plan to prepare for your marathon.

Ideally, your fitness level would be to be able to run 3 miles at relative ease before following the 22-week marathon training plan above.

If this is your first marathon, please don’t beat yourself up for not completing a marathon under 4 hours, among others.

If you are out of shape now and in the next nine months, go from out of shape to completing a marathon – 26 miles!

That is a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT, and I applaud you for your effort.

When Should Your Last Long Run Be Before a Marathon?

You can see on the 22-week marathon training – a couple of weeks before the marathon should be your last long run.

This allows your mind and body to give you plenty of recoveries and rest before your race day. Good Luck!

Who is the All-Time Best African Soccer Team?

Best African Soccer Team

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • Cameroon, Egypt and Nigeria Are the All-Time Best African Soccer Teams Based on Titles and Achievements.
  • Senegal Is the Top-Ranked African Nation in Fifa World Rankings. 
  • African Nations Have Become More Competitive and Successful on the International Stage in the Last 30 Years.

There are many contenders for the best African soccer team in history.

Several nations have performed above AND BEYOND expectations in international tournaments to highlight Africa’s soccer talents. 

Like many passionate soccer fans, I watch the African nations at World Cups and the Africa Cup of Nations with interest and intrigue.

One of my clearest memories of historic performances that drew my attention to African soccer nations was Cameroon’s memorable quarter-final run at the FIFA 1990 World Cup.

Although I was born just after Italia 1990, my soccer-mad family owned a VHS highlight tape of the competition.

Often, after a day playing kickabouts over the local park or after a weekend morning full of training or matches in the mid-1990s, my brother and I would put the tape on to fulfill our further soccer fix. 

Other than the outrageous kits, watching England’s semi-final torment and enjoying the exploits of a sensational Diego Maradona…

…one of the GRIPPING ELEMENTS of this highlight reel was the performance of the Roger Milla-inspired Cameroon.

The image of Milla dancing around the corner flag in celebration and the scenes when the nine-man Indomitable Lions downed Argentina are images that spark pure imagination and shock in my soccer memory.

What this early experience showed me was that soccer is a global sport.

It is loved and adored by millions on almost every continent. But it also highlighted the flair, competitiveness and beauty of African soccer.

We take a look at some of the all-time greatest African soccer teams to come from Africa.

Also, we look back at some of the memorable moments that put the African nations on the soccer map. 

All-Time Greatest Soccer Teams from Africa

Ultimately, there is no one all-time greatest African soccer team.

Ultimately, there have been several top-quality sides that have competed in regional and international tournaments.

However, in recent decades, the competitiveness of African nations has increased hugely.

Between the eight World Cups from 1930 and 1966, Egypt was the only nation to feature in this competition.

The Egyptian side that played in Italy in 1934 was eliminated in the first round following a 4-2 defeat against Hungary.

Then, a 36-year barren spell set in before Morocco reached the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, 

But, an African nation has appeared at every World Cup since 1970.

In the last seven World Cups, four or more African teams have reached the finals, with varying levels of success. 

Although, in this spell of competitiveness for African nations, several teams from different eras have shone on the world stage.

In addition, many have achieved great continental success in the Africa Cup of Nations. 

Cameroon 

Besides their memorable performance at Italia 90, Cameroon has been one of the most consistent African nations in international soccer.

The Indomitable Lions have made the most appearances of any African nation at the World Cup finals (7). 

Also, they will be back for an eighth time in Qatar in 2022.

Cameroon sensationally beat Algeria in a knockout qualification match in March, where Karl Toko Ekambi scored a late, late goal, 

But, it is not just the World Cup where Cameroon has excelled.

The nation is also one of the most successful in Africa Cup of Nations history, winning the competition five times.

In 2017, the most recent of those AFCON victories came with what was described as the ‘worst Cameroon team in living memory’ pre-tournament.

However, the Indomitable Lions’ impressive record in major competitions shows that they are a true force to be reckoned with at the international level. 

Egypt

Perhaps as the first African nation to feature at a World Cup finals, Egypt may have an ESTEEMED REPUTATION to uphold.

This reputation has certainly translated into AFCON tournaments and the Pharaohs have dominated the competition several times.

Egypt is the all-time record-holder for AFCON victories, winning the tournament on seven occasions and they won the tournament three consecutive times between 2006 and 2010.

Yet, while the Pharaohs have achieved unrivaled continental success in the AFCON, they have not replicated this form at the World Cup.

Other than their historic appearance as the first African nation at a World Cup finals, Egypt has only made two more competitions since. In 1990 and 2018. 

Nigeria

As an avid fan of English soccer in the 1990s and 2000s, I grew up watching some of Nigeria’s generational talents compete in the Premier League and English Football League. 

Nwankwo Kanu was an exceptional player and became a cult hero under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, while Jay Jay Okocha took the Premier League by storm at Bolton, producing sensational, mind-boggling tricks and flicks to deceive defenders.

Then, players like Yakubu, Joseph Yobo, John Obi Mikel and Obafemi Martins also became regulars in the Premier League and achieved great success. 

Check out this link video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-9LIzW5T_A

Nigeria had experienced international success before this period, winning the AFCON in 1980.

But from the 1990s onwards has been a bright spell for the Super Eagles.

They lifted the AFCON again in 1994 and 2013 and they reached six of the last seven World Cup finals following their debut in 1994.

Best African Soccer Team 2022

Some African nations have experienced long-term success in international soccer.

However, the achievements of Cameroon, Egypt and Nigeria show us that winning titles is periodical. 

In my lifetime as a soccer fan, some of the best African soccer teams have changed year by year.

When I was very young, in the early 1990s, the talk was all about Cameroon, especially after they won the hearts of soccer fans at Italia ‘90. 

Then, in the late 90s to mid-00s, Nigeria was considered the best African nation.

Also, during the 2010 World Cup, Ghana had a spell of success, reaching the quarter-finals, only to be eliminated in controversial circumstances by Uruguay. 

Like all soccer teams, African nations experience ups and downs in international soccer.

But, judging by recent triumphs combined with the official FIFA World rankings, one team is the leader currently. Senegal is considered the best African soccer team in 2022. 

Much like 1990s Cameroon and 2000s Nigeria, 2020s present-day Senegal has a wealth of talent, which has produced great recent success. 

Led by record goalscorer Sadio Mane, the Lions of Teranga won their first-ever AFCON in 2022, after finishing as runners-up in 2019.

The side also qualified for their first-ever consecutive World Cups after reaching the finals in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

Today, they are placed 18th in the world rankings, their highest-ever position. 

If Senegal can build on their AFCON-winning momentum at the 2022 World Cup finals, they could write themselves into African soccer folklore.

An impressive performance at the competition will also stake their claim to be one of the best-ever African soccer teams.

Helping Players to Succeed: The Best 9v9 Soccer Formations

The Best 9v9 Soccer Formations

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • Coaches Choose the Best 9v9 Soccer Formations to Get the Best Out of the Players in Their Squad.
  • Hundreds of Formations Are Available and Each Has Its Pros and Cons.
  • Formations Are Not Rigid, Coaches and Players Can Train and Utilize Various Formations in Matches.

Picking the best 9v9 soccer formations can be a challenge for coaches and soccer players.

In reality, having fewer players on a team should give a coach fewer headaches regarding formation. But it is actually MORE DIFFICULT in some respects.

For example, in one season I coached 9v9 youth soccer and had 15 excellent players in my squad.

Ultimately, as per the English FA’s guidance for youth players in small-sided football, my role was to GET THE BEST out of these players…

…by putting them in positions where THEY WOULD EXCEL, whilst keeping the balance of the team. 

However, getting the best out of each player, whilst remaining competitive in matches was initially a challenge.

We experimented with various 9v9 formations until we eventually found a settled tactical setup that suited our needs. 

Although we did not win any leagues or trophies in that season, the players enjoyed their soccer.

Also, I learned a lot as a coach that the formation in this form of soccer is essential to a well-balanced and happy team. 

To help 9v9 coaches and players make the best choices when it comes to picking the right formation, we provide some analysis of some of the most common tactics.

Also, we will outline some of the pros and cons of the available formation. 

What is the Best Formation in 9v9 Soccer?

Unfortunately, there is no ultimate, best 9v9 soccer formation that will produce miracles.

Players and coaches have a huge number of options available when it comes to setup and tactics.

However, the main considerations are always these:

How do I get the best out of my players available?

How can I create development opportunities for players?

How can we remain competitive?

Again, there is no quick way of getting the formation and tactics right straight away.

In fact, rotating players, especially developing youth soccer players has benefits and coaches can implement ‘shifts’ and a ‘three-game rotation’ model to support soccer role familiarity.

In my experience, after playing or coaching matches, I often left after a defeat and tried to figure out WHAT WENT WRONG.

Sometimes, I’d be at work the following week and ideas on formation changes would spring into mind that we could try in the upcoming matches.

This trial and error is a good way, especially at the youth level, to find what suits your players best and to find what builds confidence. 

Alternatively, coaches may find that some formations stick straight away.

Occasionally, players just get their instructions and the tactics and the whole team clicks.

But, training different formations for competitive soccer does not harm either.

Through this, players get exposure to DIFFERENT STYLES OF PLAY and they develop their knowledge and understanding of soccer.

Below, we share some of the most common 9v9 formations used in soccer.

However, these are a starter guides, each with pros and cons.

Essentially, there are hundreds of different ways to set up a team and picking the best formation will depend on the strengths and weaknesses of the players available. 

3-3-2 

When I take on a coaching position with any new team, this is my go-to formation.

I regularly use it during pre-season training sessions or as a starting point.

This is because one of the most balanced formations and I can see what positions players are best suited for.

In addition, research shows that playing young players in certain positions in training should be done before giving them REAL MATCH EXPOSURE in an unfamiliar role. 

Tactically, there are also benefits to the 3-3-2.

For instance, it makes your team hard to break down with two lines of three defenders and three midfielders.

But, the setup also helps the team to get forward and attack in numbers, with the midfield three, or even the defenders, moving up the pitch when in possession. 

Yet, the downsides are the lack of flexibility and it requires players to be quite rigid in their approach.

For example, when I first used this formation with one youth team, I put one of my players on the right in the midfield three.

He wasn’t used to defending and he became a weakness in the formation when the other team had the ball.

The same applies to the attacking players, who sometimes stay too far up the pitch in and out of possession. 

4-3-1

Any team that is loaded with good defenders may prefer the 4-3-1 formation.

This setup has four defenders, similar to how many 11v11 sides would pick their formation, with two central defenders, and two fullbacks. 

Some of the benefits of this formation are that all defensive areas should be well-covered when the opposition is in possession.

For instance, the two full-backs should snub out any danger from wide areas and the central defenders can control the more narrow sections.

It also has the option for players to be flexible, with the full-backs joining in with attacks and the midfielders contributing more offensively when necessary.

But, one of the biggest cons of the 4-3-1 is the lone striker’s isolation.

Often, playing as a lone striker effectively requires excellent awareness and tactical positioning.

When the ball is released to the striker in this formation, it is often their role to keep possession and pass to teammates when they support.

Alternatively, they CAN GO IT ALONE to cause a goalscoring threat on the counterattack. However, for many, developing players, these demands are quite challenging. 

2-3-3

In contrast, the 2-3-3 formation is a more attacking-minded approach to 9v9 soccer.

Three attackers and midfielders mean the team tries to control the match in the opposition’s half.

However, the midfielders and attackers may play more fluid roles when defending, running back to support the two-player defense.

This setup helps the team to keep pressure on the opposition by pressing them high up the pitch.

Also, attacking options are plentiful with lots of players supporting attacks when a team is in possession.

\But the clear downsides are from a defensive viewpoint.

Playing two defenders is a RISKY MOVE and leaves a team vulnerable to counter-attacks.

Also, the midfield players may have to work hard, running up and down the pitch to support defense and attack.

Ultimately, using this formation will depend on whether you have effective attacking players.

Coaches may also need their defensive pair to be very organized and structured to all the attackers to keep pressure on the opposition. 

2-1-2-1 

The 2-1-2-1 formation has some quite complex tactical roles that often resemble similar positions on a 11v11 setup.

In this formation, a midfielder plays just in front of the defensive pair.

Then, two other midfielders occupy spaces higher up the pitch to support a lone striker.

With this formation, the players are distributed well across the central areas of the pitch, which forces the opposition into wide, unthreatening areas when they attack. 

One of the key roles in this formation is the player in front of the defense, also known as the holding midfielder.

This player often tries to break up opposition attacks and then distributes the ball to DICTATE THE TEMPO of the game.

This requires positional awareness, good vision and communication with teammates.

Although this formation provides a good balance between defense and attack, essentially with a three-player defense and three-player attack, there are some cons.

The narrow setup leaves teams vulnerable to overloads in the wide areas.

For instance, the two defenders can easily get drawn from central positions into wide positions, leaving vulnerable areas exposed. 

Why is the Formation Important?

Soccer formations are important because they give the team structure and a common goal when approaching a match.

The formation could be based on attacking or DEFENDING EFFECTIVELY.

Additionally, it can be used and adapted to counter opposition threats or play to your team’s strengths.

However, as child soccer players develop and they move up to 7v7 and 9v9 formats, they can develop a deeper understanding of the sport by playing in formations.

Exposing young players to formations can help development and awareness. 

Although, doing this too early and being too rigid with player positions and roles can backfire.

Ultimately, as coaches and passionate soccer fans, we want young players to enjoy soccer and play with youthful freedom first and foremost.

Choosing the right formation can achieve both of these aims, but understanding your players and how to utilize their strengths is the key to achieving the balance between player development and enjoyment. 

Defend or Attack? 7v7 Soccer Strategy

7v7 Soccer Strategy

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  •  7v7 Soccer Strategy Is When a Team and Its Players Choose a Tactic and Formation for a Match. 
  • The Most Common 7v7 Soccer Tactics Are; Attack, Defense or Counter-Attack. 
  • Basic Team Strategy Can Improve Performance and Tactics Support the Strengths and Weaknesses of Individual Players.

A 7v7 soccer strategy is when a team chooses a formation and tactical approach for this format.

For 7v7 soccer, teams have various options when selecting strategy and formation. These include an attacking approach, a defensive setup or counter-attacking. 

7v7 soccer is a small-sided format of the sport, with seven players on each team.

Often, this includes a goalkeeper, then teams are free to choose their out-field formation with the REMAINING SIX PLAYERS.

Ultimately, there are different challenges to picking a 7v7 soccer strategy compared to 11-a-side.

According to the Football Association, 7-a-side soccer matches are more fast-paced, players receive MORE TOUCHES and they must make multiple decisions per match.

As a result, players are challenged many times throughout a match, which makes picking a strategy important. 

Even some basic team strategies can make a difference. In the late 2000s and early 2010s.

I coached and captained a local 7-a-side team and we had great success, winning multiple trophies and leagues by using different formations and strategies. 

Our success was built on simple tactics that we could adapt depending on the opposition and their strengths and weaknesses.

Also, we kept things simple in terms of setup and approach.

This was just in case, as often happens in amateur football, we had late dropouts and we could easily pass on instructions to the incoming stranger to fill the vacant position. 

In this article, we highlight some of the most common tactics approaches to 7v7 soccer matches.

We also outline some of the pros and cons of these strategies and we share some real-life situations on when to use different tactics. 

What Is the Best 7v7 Soccer Strategy?

Generally, the best 7v7 soccer strategy is the one that suits your player’s strengths and covers their weaknesses.

It also depends on the opposition and trying to combat their strengths. 

However, choosing the right tactical approach also depends on context.

As a result, coaches and players should have an open mind about being flexible to get the outcome they need for a particular match.

For example, an in-depth analysis by Tifo Football, in partnership with the Athletic, explained how Sean Dyce’s Burnley adapted their tactical approach during the 2019/20 Premier League season.

This tactical flexibility is also used in high-stakes games. When I played in a weekly, 7v7 soccer league at university…

..Our team was top of the table and we needed one point against the second-placed team to win the entire competition. 

Usually, we played possession soccer, controlling the ball and then moving it quickly forward to create scoring chances when the opposition showed gaps in the defense.

However, we knew the other team liked to play in a similar way in our head-to-head for the league title.

But we were also aware they had players who were less confident in possession that we could pressurize and then counter-attack. 

So, we set up to defend first, then attacked QUICKLY in numbers when we had possession.

Every player understood the task, we were defensively solid and won the match 2-0 by playing more counter-attacking football.

While the tactical suggestions below are good starting points, depending on the players you have available in your team, remember to TRY AND BE FLEXIBLE. 

Often, when I observe other managers, the best of the best react to problems in-game and provide clear, simple instructions to players without panic.

This could be as simple as changing two players’ positions to combat an opposition threat.

Or, it could be instructing your whole team to change its strategy to defend or attack. 

Defensive Strategy

Overall, the main goal of being defensive is to try and limit opposition chances.

Teams do this by playing close together and forcing the opposition out into wide positions on the pitch.

As a result, this protects the vulnerable, central areas inside and around the penalty area.

Usually, in 7v7 soccer matches, three defenders are preferred in a 3-2-1 formation.

Often, one of the three defenders will join in with attacks when in possession and then retreat to their defending position when the other team is in possession.

However, the middle defender in the three is more likely to hold a position to intercept or clear any quick opposition attacks. 

Some teams may even choose to play FOUR DEFENDERS. But, be aware that attacking opportunities may be LIIMTED.

In addition, the one striker in this formation may provide an outlet in attack.

Frequently, in a defensive setup, players will win possession and get the ball to the striker as quickly as possible for them to hold up and bring other players into the game.

However, when out of possession, the striker may drop deeper behind the ball.

Attacking Approach

With an attacking approach, teams often control possession and they try to create a lot of scoring chances against the opposition.

Generally, attacking teams have more players further up the pitch in attack than they do in defense.

Sometimes, teams may even commit every player to an attacking position to apply SERIOUS PRESSURE to the other team.

In 7-a-side soccer, attacking formations may include 2-3-1 or 1-3-2.

Having more players in attacking positions ultimately keeps the other team camped in their own half. 

However, attacking approaches are often vulnerable to counter-attacks and, if the other team is clinical when finishing, it can backfire very quickly.

In my regular weekly small-sided friendly matches, I often see players try to join into an attack only for a wayward shot or pass to give the opposition an easy goal.

Counter-Attacking

In any form of soccer, counter-attacking is a defense-first strategy that aims to draw in the opposition before attacking with speed to expose openings.

Similar to a defensive approach, teams will set up to play with less possession and limit any clear scoring opportunities for the opposition.

Then, when in possession, the counter-attacking side will get the ball forward quickly and directly to snatch a goal.

Some of the most common counter-attacking formations in 7v7 soccer are 2-2-2. 3-1-2 or even 3-2-1, like a defending setup.

One of the main issues with counter-attacking is conceding early goals.

For instance, if a team lets in two goals in the first five minutes, they then have to scrap their counter-attacking approach and chase the game.

Also, it relies on the entire team defending and making chances hard for the opposition, which isn’t always easy. 

How to Choose a 7v7 soccer Strategy?

Selecting the right strategy depends on the players in your team.

For instance, if you have good technical players who can pass, shoot, and have good creativity and vision, then an attacking approach is a good choice.

However, if you have defensively solid players who are more physical, then defending or counter-attacking may be best.

One of my biggest struggles as a youth coach is trying to settle on the perfect tactic that suits the side. 

In a previous role, I had a blend of good, technical players and physically strong players.

However, influenced by the possession-based philosophies of Barcelona, I wanted the team to play tiki-taka football, controlling possession and picking moments to pass forward with speed.

Some players were ready to play in this way, but so many weren’t.

What I eventually learned was I set up the team on how I wanted to play, not what would give them the best chance of success. 

This is the ultimate consideration for any 7v7 soccer strategy.

Ask yourself, how can I get the most out of this group of players?

How can we compete in every game? 

How Long Are High School Soccer Games

How Long are High School Soccer Games

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • High School Soccer Games Are 80 Minutes in Total.
  • Matches at Under-15 to Under-16 Level (Ages 14-16) Are Made up of Two 40-Minute Halves.  
  • High School Matches Are Shorter to Help With Player Development and Stamina in Preparation for 90-Minute Soccer Games.

High school soccer games consist of two 40-minute halves, which make up an 80-minute match.

This rule comes from the United States Youth Soccer Association’s guidance in the ‘US Youth Soccer Policy on Players and Playing Rules.

Knowing THE LENGTH of a soccer game is important for players, coaches, and fans.

However, the players are at somewhat of a disadvantage as they are not completely aware of the game time on the field.

In my playing days, I would often pester the referee at regular intervals.

As a former captain of some teams, I felt it was my responsibility to keep track of the time and game situation and relay this to my teammates.

But, I also felt this was completely necessary as, in the thick of the PLAYING ACTION, you often have little idea of how long is left in a soccer match. 

Although, younger players I have coached since care less about the game time.

Mostly, youth soccer players just want to get on the pitch and play the game.

In this sense, it is strange that high school soccer matches are shorter.

It seems an ample opportunity for young soccer players to enjoy the game for the full 90 minutes and to develop their skills. 

But, there are reasons why high school soccer matches are 80 minutes and not 90, like a senior 11-a-side game.

In this article, we explore the length of high school soccer matches and explain some of the reasoning about why games are shorter at the youth level.

How Long is a High School Soccer Games?

As the US Youth Soccer rules state, games for players between under-15 and under-16 levels should be 80-minutes long. 

Although, Part Three of the rules also has information about overtime, which should last for two 15-minute halves, totaling 30 minutes.

This is more in line with a full senior match, where extra time is 30 MUNUTES TOO.

However, overtime is rare in youth soccer as it only applies to cup competitions where a knockout match ends in a draw. 

Also, the rules blend some elements of the IFAB ‘Laws of the Game’, specifically if a match goes to penalties.

In such cases, the “FIFA “Kicks from the Penalty Mark” rules apply to determine the winner.”

The rules in Part Three also have some discretions too.

For instance, US Youth Soccer or individual State Soccer Associations can make exemptions for the length of matches.

This could be made in a pre-match agreement between coaches and the referee.

When I played at the youth level, one of my matches was cut short because the players wanted to finish in time to watch the FA Cup final.

Such cases are very rare, but clubs, referees, and leagues do have the power to determine the length of youth soccer matches. 

Despite the grey area where, technically, leagues can set their time limits for matches.

But coaches I have worked with within the UK, who spent time coaching in the US, have never reported matches going beyond the length of the US Youth Soccer rules. 

In discussions on match length, colleagues have often mentioned the pointlessness of straying from the official guidance as it does not help player development.

For example, making 14-year-olds play an additional ten minutes of a competitive match is unlikely to help develop any new skills. 

When Do High Scool Players Progress to 90-Minute Matches?

Ultimately, high school soccer matches last for 80-minutes for two seasons, during under-15 and under-16 levels. 

Once a player is aged 16, or they reach the under-17 level, then they move up to the full 90-minute matches, made up of two 45-minute halves.

This rule remains for the rest of a player’s career.

The only exception is when players take part in different soccer formats, like 5-a-side or drop-down soccer, where the rules are LESS RIGID.

Why are High School Soccer Games Shorter?

A lot of young soccer players I have coached between the ages of 14 and 16 seem ready for 90-minute matches on the surface.

But, when they eventually start playing 90-minute games, it becomes clear that there are developmental reasons for shorter games at the high school level. 

For example, I have seen some players struggle to pace themselves and give everything in the first 60-70 minutes, only to blow out in the final third of a game.

In rare cases, I have seen injuries from over-exertion and tired legs, ultimately affecting players’ development.

As a result, high school soccer games are shorter as part of PLAYER DEVELOPMENT.

This eventually leads to match readiness when soccer players reach the 90-minute THRESHOLD.

Players need time to build up stamina in soccer and gradually increasing the competitive, on-field playing time is a good way to support player stamina.

What Is a Glider Soccer Ball?

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • The Glider Is a Soccer Ball Produced by Adidas.
  • It Has a Reputation for Being an Affordable, Good-Quality Option for Everyday Soccer Players.
  • Originally, the Glider Was Used as the Official Ball of the 2013 Confederations Cup Before Being Widely Distributed in 2017.

The Glider is an affordable soccer ball made by Adidas.

It is well-known for its durability and low price point, making it ideal for both TRAINING and MATCH SITUATIONS.

Often, I have either trained with Adidas Gliders or used them as a match ball.

Ultimately, from my experience, they are a great all-around ball to use those players of all abilities can use.  

In addition, its affordability is one of the big appeals for a soccer coach like me, who loses equipment all the time.

In any given training session, wayward shooting drills, loose passes, and even powerful headers can send the ball FLYING OVER THE FENCE.

To combat the inevitable missing soccer ball, I have purchased the Adidas Glider in bulk before.

Very few similar purchases have matched for quality and affordability.

Since the Adidas Glider was first introduced in 2013, it has RISEN HUGELY in popularity.

So much so that it was ranked in Bleacher Report’s top 20 Coolest Soccer Balls of the Last 20 Years

In this article, we outline what makes the Adidas Glider so appealing to masses of soccer fans and players.

In addition, we provide a guide on how to get the best performance and longevity from your Glider. 

Features of an Adidas Glider Soccer Ball

Ultimately, the Adidas Glider’s features are what make it such a universally good soccer ball for many players and coaches. 

It is designed to be used by casual and competitive soccer players around the world, whilst also being affordable compared to many other branded balls.

In past soccer matches I have played in, we sometimes found ourselves with poor quality soccer balls that would either burst after use or they would GRADUALLY DEFLATE.

So many times, I have seen coaches use sub-standard equipment that is cheap and of poor quality. 

Although this is sometimes a necessity due to budget or a quick fix, there is no real substitute for a good quality soccer ball, and the Glider ticks a lot of the boxes here for several reasons. 

Below are some of the key features that make the Glider soccer ball unique and user-friendly.

adidas Messi Glider Soccer Ball Football Blue/Active Red/Silver Metallic, 3

I) Affordability

When compared with other branded soccer balls, the Glider is incredibly cheap.

Today, soccer players pay way over the odds for branded equipment that sometimes isn’t even the BEST QUALITY. 

A lot of modern soccer is about the brand and looking the part.

Now, I coach kids who won’t even kick a ball that isn’t branded, or who come to training and matches with the latest ball on the market. 

But often, there is little difference between cheaper balls like the Glider and the most expensive soccer ball.

Unless you can strike a ball with the same technique as Kevin De Bruyne, you are unlikely to notice the difference between high-end and low-end soccer balls. 

II) Durability

Overall, durability is what all soccer players, coaches, and fans want from their soccer balls.

If a ball is durable and affordable, it is head and shoulders ABOVE THE REST.

Some important aspects of the Adidas Glider set it apart from the rest in the same price bracket.

The list of features below make this ball more durable and longer-lasting:

  • Hard but Responsive 100% Tpu Cover
  • Machine Stitched for Compactness
  • Rubber Bladder Inner for Bounce and Responsiveness

III) Ease of Use

Lastly, the usability of the Glider makes it popular for many players. It is a ball that is easy to control and it doesn’t waver too much for passes and shots. 

Also, the fact it comes in three different sizes (3,4, and 5) makes it ideal for players of different ages learning the game.

Smaller soccer balls help to develop technique and touch, while large balls are used in more match-specific situations. 

The Football Association’s official guidance for youth football suggests the following size soccer ball for specific age groups.

  • Size 3: Age 6-9
  • Size 4: Age 10-13
  • Size 5: Age 14-18

How to Use a Glider Soccer Ball

Even though most soccer balls are made for outdoor use in ALL WEATHER conditions, there are ways to get the longest use from an Adidas Glider. 

In the past, I have been guilty of overlooking care of my equipment, especially when coaching.

Usually, distractions such as giving a player some pointers, talking with a parent, or taking a phone call after training led me to forget proper care for my soccer items. 

While I was less precious about things like cones, fold-down goals, and bibs, having damaged soccer balls was the worst.

From not inflating or deflating balls properly to leaving the balls in poor weather conditions, there were ways I could take better care of my soccer equipment.

Don’t make the same mistakes I did and follow some of the guidance below on properly caring for an Adidas Glider:

1. Deflate After Practice: If you aren’t going to be training for a week, take some of the air out of the balls after your session. This decreases the pressure on the inflatable bladder and the outer coating.

2. Store in Dry Conditions: One I have certainly ignored and paid the price for! Make sure you keep your soccer balls out of wet, cold, or too hot weather. Such conditions can cause irreversible damage to soccer balls.

3. Inflate Properly Before Practice: Make sure the balls are inflated enough so you force your thumb into the outer layer with a medium amount of pressure.

4. Don’t Use on Concrete Too Much: The odds game on a rough surface may cause some damage to the outside of your soccer ball. But playing consistently on hard surfaces will eventually burst the ball. 

adidas Finale Glider Soccer Ball Silver Metallic/Bold Blue/Football Blue/Light Blue Bottom: Active Red S19, 3

History of the Adidas Glider 

Although the Adidas Glider has earned a reputation in soccer for being an affordable, high-quality ball, its evolution began at the very top. 

During the 1990s and 2000s, Adidas had a phase of producing dazzling soccer balls with different graphics and designs.

I remember seeing the brightly patterned Adidas Icon ball used in the 1999 Women’s World Cup.

Then, came the Adidas Power Orange for the 2008 European Championships, a purely orange ball used well in snowy conditions.

Lastly was the Adidas Wawa ABA.

This green, yellow, red, and black ball was the official one for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. 

Adidas continued to produce boldly patterned soccer balls into the 2010s.

For the 2013 Confederations Cup, the manufacturers continued this theme and the Adidas Glider was born.

As Brazil hosted this competition, Adidas created a yellow, blue, and green ball to represent the country’s flag colors. 

However, other than the replica ball sold while the tournament took place, Adidas did not mass-produce the Glider until 2017.

This is when Adidas dropped the price and created a soccer ball available to be used by all soccer players, NO MATTER what standard.

True to its original daring colors, the first Glider was lime green and intentionally visible so players could see it spinning in real-time.

Since then, Adidas has released VARIOUS STYLES of Glider balls to suit the everyday player.

Today, there are five types of Glider balls, including the Glider 2, the Tango Glider, and the Messi Glider soccer ball.

What Is the Minimum Number of Players That Can Play On One Soccer Team?

Individual Competition, Age Group, or Regional Governing Body Regulations. 

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • Seven Is the Minimum Number of Players Allowed on a Soccer Team.
  • If a Team Fields Less Than Seven Players at Any Time During a Match, It Will Be Abandoned by the Referee.
  • Minimum Player Numbers Vary Depending on Regional Rules and Individual Competition Rules (e.g. 5-A-Side Soccer and Casual Matches). 

There must be a minimum of SEVEN PLAYERS PER TEAM on a football pitch for a soccer match to go ahead. 

According to the 2021-22 International Football Association Board (IFAB) Laws of the Game, “a match may not start or continue if either team has fewer than seven players.”

In addition, the rules state that there must be a maximum of 11 players per team, including one goalkeeper FOR EACH SIDE.

However, this rule only applies to men’s senior football.

Rules may vary depending on:

  • Individual Competition
  • Age Group, or
  • Regional Governing Body Regulations

It is extremely rare for a team of seven to play against a team of 11, especially in professional soccer.

However, at the amateur level, this is MORE COMMON than you think.

When I have coached soccer teams at youth and senior levels, some players have not shown up on matchdays (especially in the cold, wet winter months).

LUCKILY, I have always managed to field a team, even when I once had to borrow one of the opposition’s players, who turned out to be our Man of the Match that day!

In this article, we look at why seven is the magic number for a minimum number of soccer players on the field.

We also highlight some further rules related to soccer team numbers. 

Why Is the Minimum Number of Players on a Soccer Team Seven?

There is no official reason or explanation about why there should be a minimum of seven players on a soccer team.

However, it is likely that any less than seven players would be TOO MUCH of a disadvantage for one team.

As a result, the referee can stop playing in the interest of sportsmanship.

In professional soccer, it is unlikely that teams will ever have less than 11 players to field.

Many professional teams have huge numbers of backup and youth players.

As a result, they could technically field an 11-person team for any fixture. 

Alternatively, things are different at the youth and amateur levels.

Over the years, I have seen and heard stories from clubs where teams end up playing 6v9 or 8v10 when there aren’t enough players.

Often, in such instances, the team’s coaches consult with the referee and, if the two sides are happy to go ahead, the match is played. 

Although these examples would counter the IFAB laws, they are often decided in the interest of sportsmanship and fun, rather than a professional judgment. 

What Happens if There Are Less Than Seven Players on a Soccer Team?

In the unfortunate event that a team has less than seven players, the referee will abandon the match. 

Usually, an abandoned match is replayed at a later date, unless the regional, national or international governing bodies make alternative arrangements.

Some examples of alternative outcomes include awarding the result to one team or voiding the fixture. 

In November 2021, during a Portuguese Primeira Liga match between Benfica and Belenenses, the referee abandoned the fixture after halftime.

Due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their squad, Belenenses started the match with just nine players, before three more withdrew due to injury.

When Belenenses went down to six players, the referee enforced the IFAB laws and called off the match shortly after halftime. 

Another extreme example comes from English soccer when Sheffield United vs West Brom turned into the ‘Battle of Bramall Lane’ in 2002. 

During this Championship clash, referee Eddie Wolstenholme was the first official to abandon an English professional match because one team had fewer than seven players.

Throughout the match, tensions were high and both teams committed huge numbers of aggressive fouls.

Eventually, Sheffield United had three players sent off. In addition, two of their players came off with injuries.

With eight minutes left to play, Wolstenholme abandoned the match. 

In this instance, because Sheffield United was seen as the main leader of aggression in the match, West Brom was awarded a 3-0 win and three points. 

What Is the Minimum Number of Players for Other Forms of Soccer Matches?

Different forms of soccer have different rules.

For instance, small-sided games, such as five-a-side and seven-a-side, differ from 11-a-side.

As a result, minimum numbers of players for small-sided games have no unified rules to follow.

Instead, regional soccer associations and bodies SET THEIR OWN laws of the game.

Growing up in London, playing small-sided soccer was a hobby for me between competitive training and matches.

After school and work, casual small-sided games in parks, on the street, or on concrete pitches were part of the soccer culture. 

However, we didn’t have rules on team numbers.

Sometimes we would have teams of 5v6, 2v3, 4v5, etc. as the numbers didn’t really matter.

Whoever showed up next would join the team WITH THE LEAST players to level the playing field. 

Furthermore, casual soccer matches are played internationally.

Whether on the beaches of Brazil or the concrete pitches in Europe, conventional codes and game laws DO NOT APPLY.

As a result, any number of players can technically play a drop-down game of soccer.

This can range from 2v2 or 20v20 and it is more about inclusivity rather than abiding by the exact laws of the game. 

You’re Running Down the Soccer Field When You Develop a Side Stitch; What Should You Do

You’re Running Down the Soccer Field When You Develop a Side Stitch; What Should You Do

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • Slow Down, Take Deep Breaths, Apply Pressure and Keep Upright if You Develop a Side Stitch.
  • Trying to Prevent a Stitch by Taking Precautions Before a Match. This Is Easier Than Managing a Stitch.
  • There Are Two Theories About Why Stitches Occur When Athletes Exercise. 

If you develop a stitch whilst playing soccer, take DEEP BREATHS, apply pressure to the area and KEEP UPRIGHT.

These are some of the most important tips. But, the main thing to do is to KEEP CALM and try to get your BREATHING PATTERN NORMAL.

Recognizing what a stitch is is important in helping to eliminate it.

I have seen soccer players think they are in severe danger of having heart palpitations when in fact, they just have a stitch.

However, if you are in bad discomfort, go down and ask to be substituted off the pitch. 

According to advanced practice nurse Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., a stitch is “pain felt on either side of your abdomen.

It’s more commonly reported on THE RIGHT SIDE.

Symptoms may range from CRAMPING or a DULL ACHE to a pulling sensation or a sharp, stabbing pain.”

Ultimately, the severity of stitches varies.

As a teenage soccer player, I could eat half a meal an hour before a game, get a stitch and run it off.

However, as I continued playing at a higher pace and standard of soccer, stitches were harder to shake off.

This required some adaptations and awareness of how to continue playing whilst trying to subside a pain in my side.

More often than not, players can get rid of stitches whilst remaining on the pitch. I

n this article, we outline some of the top tips to help get rid of a stitch when running down the pitch.

We also provide advice on how to prevent a stitch from occurring. 

What to Do When You Get a Stitch on the Soccer Pitch?

Firstly, it is important NOT TO PANIC.

Some players OVERREACT and fear the worst when they have any injury.

However, this is COUNTER PRODUCTIVE and can cause unnecessary concern and panic.

When people become anxious, their breathing pace increases and their heart rate rises.

This will not help to get rid of any injury quicker, let alone a stitch. 

Once you recognize it’s a stitch you are experiencing, follow our advice below on how to help subside the discomfort.

1) Take Deep Breaths

Deep, controlled breathing pushes down on the diaphragm (the affected area during a side stitch).

By regulating breathing and TAKING LONGER INHALES, players can relieve some of the pressure.

In soccer matches, this can be difficult as the fast pace of the game leads to faster heart rates and faster breathing.

In the past, I have seen players sit down and take their time once they have a stitch rather than try to keep pushing through and running a stitch off.

This is a good strategy as it allows the player to fully recover rather than make the issue worse. 

2) Apply Pressure to the Area Affected

PRESSING DOWN GENTLY on the SIDE where the stitch is happening can also help to manually relieve the pressure.

Again, this is not always a practical mid-match.

However, do not be afraid to go down with an injury rather than try to push through the pain. 

3) Stretch

Gently moving the affected side during a stitch can ease the pressure. For instance, if the pain is around the left side, try arching your left hand over your head towards your right side. You should feel a stretch in your left abdomen and around the ribs. Continue this for a few minutes and the pain can ease. 

4) Keep Upright and Keep Moving Gently

If the stitch is uncomfortable, come off the pitch, keep standing and talk a gentle stroll away from the pitch.

Whilst doing this, concentrate on DEEP BREATHS and apply some pressure to the area. 

Coming off the pitch and taking time to calmly regain composure will help to speed up the recovery rather than forcing through the pain.

In my experience, as is the case with any injury, playing through the pain almost always has long-term effects. 

After heavy stitches whilst playing, I have seen players continually holding their side for hours after a match.

Others have no appetite and some can’t even handle drinking water because of the pressure on their side.

Sometimes, thinking about your health is more important than the pride of staying on the pitch. 

How to Prevent a Stitch When Playing Soccer?

Stitches develop for numerous reasons.

These include eating too soon before:

  • Exercise
  • Eating Too Quickly
  • Being Dehydrated
  • Over-Exerting Too Quickly and
  • Poor Posture

Ultimately, preventing a stitch from developing is easier, more manageable, and less painful than dealing with the pain during a match.

Here are some tips to try and prevent a soccer stitch. 

i) When and What Are You Eating?

Regularly, I see players eat RIDICULOUS MEALS before matches.

I have seen players DEVOUR a sandwich, chips, a sausage roll, and even a FULL English BREAKFAST.

Sometimes, this would be an hour or less before a match!

Unsurprisingly, they would head out onto the pitch only to be back in the changing room 20 minutes later with a stitch.

Heavy food anytime leading up to a match is a BIG NO.

Avoid food that is hard to digest and swap this for MORE HEALTHY, LIGHT OPTIONS.

Also, consider a routine diet around your soccer activity. Christopher R. Mohr, Ph.D. has several helpful tips on what and when to eat for athletes of all abilities in his sports nutrition article. 

Usually, when I have an early morning match, I would get up early, have a light breakfast, then keep hydrated until the match.

I also ate fruit, such as oranges and bananas just before or during a game to keep my GLUCOSE LEVELS HIGH.

This worked for me, but each player will have their routines and habits to help improve performance and prevent those pesky stitches. 

ii) Keep Hydrated

Being hydrated during a soccer match is essential to performance…

..But, drinking the right amount of water is also key as too much liquid can lead to bloating and a side stitch. 

In the hot summer months during pre-season training, I and my teammates were always encouraged to DRINK WATER.

Scheduled breaks would help to keep topping up water levels.

However, when playing soccer in 30-degree heat, you often drink more than your body can handle.

This would lead to uncomfortable feelings in the stomach and eventually create cramps in the abdomen and side. 

Therefore, think about topping up with regular sips rather than drinking liters and liters of water to ward off those unwanted stitches.

iii) Don’t Skip the Warm-up

In soccer, players need to combine static and mobile warm-ups before matches and practice.

Static warm-ups are based on stretching the muscles.

Mobile warm-ups help to get oxygen moving through the body through gentle jogging, for example. 

These activities prepare your body for more vigorous activities during high-intensity matches and training.

But, they can also prevent side stitches.

In particular, stretching the muscles around your diaphragm can help to prevent a stitch. 

iv) Pace Yourself

Getting caught up in the heat of a match is a BIG MENTAL CHALLENGE for soccer players at all levels.

I remember playing in important cup matches, League Title Deciders, Relegation Dogfights, and Simple Local Rivalries.

In these instances, going on to the pitch with a level head is challenging, but it is essential.

So many times, especially when coaching youth teams, I have seen players become too relaxed with their warm-up then try to start the match at 100% performance.

Simply put, this is impossible for any soccer player, and taking time to get into the flow of a match is important.

It also helps to prevent overexertion and injury, including stitches.

Your body will not be ready to go from near static to full mobility in an instant. 

What Is a Stitch and How Is It Caused?

According to health writer Jane Chertoff, in an article peer-reviewed by Dr. Deborah Weatherspoon there are two theories about how side stitches occur.

However, the exact cause is still unknown. 

  1. Blood in Diaphragm: Too much blood can move to the diaphragm causing pain and strain in the side. 
  2. Lining of Abdominal and Pelvic Cavity: Irritation and friction of this area can happen during intense physical activity. As a result, this can cause more specific, local pains, like in the shoulder. 

Goals Galore: What Is GF in Soccer?

What Is GF in Soccer?

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  •  ‘GF’ in Soccer Stands for ‘Goals for’, Referring to the Number of Goals a Team Scores Throughout a Season.
  • A Team’s GF Is Tallied Throughout a Season and Their Total Is Shown in the League Table. 
  • The Total Goals Scored by a Team Are Vital in Soccer. It Can Impact Their League Position at the End of the Season. 

GF in soccer stands for ‘Goals For’.

This is shown in a league table to show how many goals a team has scored during the season.

GF can also be used in group stages in competitions like the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

Years ago, as a young soccer enthusiast, I was completely unaware of how league tables worked.

This was made even harder when following English soccer.

There are five national leagues and 14 further semi-professional leagues in English soccer. 

Yet, I VIVIDLY REMEMBER watching the scores on Teletext and then seeing the league tables after the final whistle on a Saturday afternoon.

Initially, I couldn’t make heads or tails of the data presented IN FRONT OF ME.

I simply knew Man United would generally be near the top of the Premier League.

In comparison, my team, Crystal Palace FC, would be NEAR THE BOTTOM of whatever league they were in.

But understanding WHY was confusing. 

With help from my equally soccer-mad friends and family, I learned about all the numbers and their abbreviations.

This includes GF, ‘Goals For’. At the time, it helped me understand the league standings more thoroughly.

But, in the long-term, understanding abbreviations like GF helped me understand how some in-game situations in soccer would have a bearing on the outcome of a league table.

Below, we explain what GF is in soccer.

But we also highlight why it is an important abbreviation to understand when fans are following or playing soccer AT ANY LEVEL.

What Is the Point of GF in Soccer?

Like me when I was a young soccer fan, you may be thinking, what is the point of GF?

Why keep track of how many goals a team scores across the season?

GF in soccer keeps track of how many goals an individual team scores in a single season or competition.

In the rules of some soccer competitions and leagues, the number of goals scored CAN DETERMINE final positions. 

If two teams battling for the league title have the same number of points, and the same goal difference (or GD), then the number of goals they have scored can be used to determine THE WINNER. 

In the 2011/12 Premier League season, the closest-ever goal difference margin decided the eventual winners of the league…

..Man City JUST EDGED their rivals, Man United, to the Premier League title as they had a +64 goal difference, compared to United’s +56 goal difference. 

However, the official Premier League rules changed recently. Instead of using GD, head-to-head results are used TO FINALIZE team positions under rule 17.

This means that the team with the most wins against their rivals will determine the eventual winner of the league.

This can also apply to relegation places as teams with the worse head-to-head results may get relegated. 

Most GF in Soccer History

The title for most GF in top soccer leagues goes to Real Madrid who scored 121 goals in the 2011/12 season. 

Soccer can be enjoyed for its tactical depth.

For instance, I enjoy watching an underdog team digging in defensively and scoring one goal on the counter-attack as much as I enjoy one team scoring five goals per game. 

One of my favorite games was when Celtic beat Barcelona 2-1 at Parkhead in the Champions League.

Celtic had 27% possession and five shots but still won.

However, many would rather see Barcelona win 5-0 in this instance because goals equal entertainment, a view that I totally accept also. 

Ultimately, netting goals at the top level of soccer is no mean feat and VERY FEW TEAMS have surpassed the 100 goals mark in the leading soccer leagues.

Below are some of the highest-scoring teams in some of the most competitive soccer leagues in the world. 

In Which Country Is Baseball More Popular Than Soccer

In Which Country Is Baseball More Popular Than Soccer

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • Baseball Was Invented in the United States and Its Popularity Grew in the Late 19th Century.
  • As Us Expansion Began Into Central America in the Early 20th Century, Explorers and Industrialists Introduced the Sport to Countries Like Panama, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
  • Soccer Has Lagged Behind in the United States and Only Gained Widespread Attention When Major League Soccer Began in the 1996 Season. 

Baseball is more popular than Soccer in the following countries:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Cuba
  • the Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico
  • Venezuela and
  • Japan

Although soccer is the most popular global sport by a long stretch, with an estimated 4 billion fans.

Baseball is played more often and supported more in specific countries and regions due to a range of SOCIAL and HISTORICAL FACTORS.

For me, soccer was always the most talked about, most played and MOST ENJOYED SPORT from my childhood.

In fact, its presence was everywhere in British culture.

From adverts on the television to drop-down games played in school playgrounds and on neighborhood streets, soccer was ALMOST UNAVOIDABLE to an extent. 

In different countries and cultures, other sports are more prevalent, which is why they become more popular in these societies.

When I have visited other continents and countries, most of which have been in continental Europe and South America, the presence of soccer is everywhere.

Much like the UK, small soccer pitches are built into concrete estates, in the favelas of Brazil and some form of soccer is shown in bars EACH DAY. 

For baseball, similar histories exist, but they stem from the US instead.

When soccer spread around the world as part of British industrialization, baseball followed a similar path after its invention in the US in the late 18th century.

In this article, we highlight some countries where baseball is more popular than soccer and we compare the popularity of each sport. 

Why is Baseball More Popular Than Soccer in the United States?

As baseball was invented in the US, it is no surprise that the sport is more popular here compared to soccer.

Early, informal games of baseball were played since the 1700s when English colonists brought rounders and cricket to the US.

The two games were blended to create baseball in the late 18th century.

By the time of the American Revolution, baseball was played in major cities, mostly on the East Coast where many British colonists landed.

Then, the game went from strength to strength and the first codified set of rules was created in September 1845.

A group of New York City men who founded the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club came together to improve the gameplay and structure of baseball.

Eventually, Major League Baseball began in 1869, and the sport has been a favored pastime, particularly on the East Coast, ever since.

By comparison, Major League Soccer didn’t begin until 1996, the first time soccer was given a NATIONAL AUDIENCE and platform in the US. 

Although soccer has been unable to compete with MLB for around 150 years, there are signs that the tide is shifting.

Soccer is reportedly becoming more popular and a 2018 survey by American analytics company, Gallup, found that 9% of participants had baseball as their favorite sport, while 7% chose soccer.

How Did Baseball Become More Popular Than Soccer in Japan and Central America?

US culture, including sports like baseball, was introduced into Central America in the early 20th century.

Military personnel, explorers, and business people working in this region brought a piece of home WITH THEM.

Also, the conditions in these countries and regions suited a slower-paced sport like baseball rather than an INTENSELY physical sport like soccer.

The same happened in Japan after the end of World War II as military GIs and overseas workers continued to play baseball when stationed in the country.

However, baseball was already popular in Japan as the aims of the sport suited the Japanese philosophy of teamwork, making it a popular team sport before the US influence from 1945 onwards.

This introduction of baseball has had a POSITIVE EFFECT in these countries.

It is the most popular sport in countries like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Japan.

Alternatively, the reach of British and European colonists, who introduced soccer to new countries and regions, had VERY LITTLE INFLUENCE on the central American countries or Japan. 

How Should Soccer Cleats Fit: A Guide to Comfort?

How Should Soccer Cleats Fit

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • Soccer Cleats Should Be a Tight Fit but Have a Small Space in the Toe.  
  • Different Players Have Different Needs for Their Cleats Based on Playing Time, Conditions and Playing Surfaces. 
  • Preparation, Trying On Cleats and Breaking Them in Is Essential. 

Soccer cleats should not fit tightly around your foot and some space is required between the end of your toes and the cleats.

Ultimately, you want the cleats to be a SLIGHTLY EXTENSION to your foot size for comfort and some room to maneuver. 

There is no substitute for a well-fitting pair of soccer cleats as problems will occur if players get the wrong size.

I have experienced poorly fitting cleats in the past from hand-me-down pairs and, honestly, it becomes PAINFUL IF YOU PERSIST.

When I saved up and eventually brought my pair of cleats, I was SO EXCITED to try them out that I came back with bloodied feet and was sidelined with injury for two weeks because I got the size wrong.

On the other hand, when I played soccer at university, I rushed to get a pair of cleats from the local sports shop, opting for a couple of sizes bigger as that was all the shop had.

Needless to say, my performance suffered as a result, and felt like I was playing on an ice rink. 

A lot of younger players I have coached also head into the game unaware of the potential injuries that come with ill-fitting cleats, such as blisters and friction burn.

In a recent season, one of my players was out of action for a month as they continued to wear poorly fitting cleats. 

To help find the best cleats for you, we have compiled a useful step-by-step guide to follow when purchasing cleats. 

How Should My Soccer Cleats Fit?

As a general guide:

  1. You should be able to press your thumb on the toe of the cleats and feel half of the space.
  2. If you can only feel your toe and nothing else, the cleats are too tight.
  3. If you cannot feel your toe at all, they are too loose. 

In an ideal world, soccer players would be able to go into a sports shop or head online, select their preferred cleats in their shoe size and start playing.

However, soccer cleat manufacturers update and change their styles and fits so much that no two boots are the same.

By the time you come to upgrade your cleats, they may be a completely different fit from YOUR PREVIOUS PAIR.

Research conducted by podiatrist Emma Cowley outlines all the factors that can play a part in ill-fitting cleats and the knock-on effect they can have on player injuries.

Her research outlines the fine details of getting soccer cleat fittings correct as movements in soccer are so reliant on the foot as a base. 

Whether you are a new soccer player or experienced and looking for an upgrade, we have outlined some questions to ask yourself below when trying to find well-fitting cleats.

How Can I prepare for My New Soccer Cleats?

Spending a bit of time researching your soccer needs and requirements for soccer cleats can save time, money and help you perform better on the pitch.

When I have rushed into purchases in the past, by choosing a cheap, ill-fitting pair to fill the void after my old cleats have broken, it has NEVER ENDED WELL.

The immediate knock-on effects were missed training sessions and matches while my feet recovered from blisters and burns.

However, long-term injuries mean I now have one permanently swollen little toe on my right foot from continuous friction and wear and tear, which occasionally becomes painful.

The steps below can help to PREVENT INJURIES like mine and they make for a smoother playing experience.

My failures were the result of being young, inexperienced and simply wanting to get on the pitch and play, completely unaware of the damage I caused to my feet.

A short amount of prep time would have led to more playing time.

1. Know Your Shoe Size First 

Any footwear shop will help you to measure your feet to find your correct shoe size.

Alternatively, you can measure your feet and use an online guide to find out.

From here, you may want to get a half-size bigger soccer cleats so you have the additional wiggle room in the toe area. 

2. Playing Conditions 

If you are playing in hot and dry conditions, a more breathable, lightweight fitting cleat will help.

Alternatively, wet and cold playing conditions may need more heavy-duty cleats made from natural leather. 

Also, think about how different layers may affect the fit.

When I played in the winter months in the UK, I would sometimes wear two pairs of thick socks and an ankle brace so I would get one size up from my natural shoe size. 

3. What Are Your Playing Needs? 

Are you playing soccer outdoors multiple times a week on a grass surface?

Or do you play the occasional small-sided match on artificial surfaces?

One of the joys of soccer comes from the multiple gameplay formats available.

Knowing your needs will help you prepare for the cleats you need, For example, a player who plays once a week on artificial grass may need more snug-fitting cleats with multiple, smaller studs.

Alternatively, a player who plays on grass multiple times a week may need soft ground cleats that allow some space for the toe.

When Should I First Try On My Cleats?

Once you have done your preparation and found the cleats you want, it is time to get them and TRY THEM ON.

But, never get your cleats out of the box and head straight on to the pitch as you could be heading back to the changing room in minutes. 

I have seen countless players of all ages, including myself, showing off their brand new cleats, ready to get on the pitch and take them for a spin, only to be limping by the end of the training session or match.

In many cases, players literally cannot jog after ten to 15 minutes of wearing badly fitting cleats.

Often, players don’t have time to break in their cleats as they fit in soccer between work, family, school etc.

However, just taking your new cleats out of the box and trying them on with a pair of soccer socks in your home will give you some kind of guide about how your cleats fit.

If the toe feels cramped in any way, or your heel is rubbing and feels sore, the cleats are too tight. 

Is Breaking In Important?

There is no substitute for breaking in a pair of cleats.

Even if you have found a pair of cleats you absolutely worship and they feel like they fit perfectly once they have arrived, you are likely to still encounter injuries or problems WITHOUT BREAKING THEM IN.

Taking things slowly and easing in your new boots is the ideal preparation to get them to match ready.

Rather than getting straight onto the pitch and going the whole 90 minutes in your new cleats, give them a 5-10 minute burst first.

This could be some passes, sprints, jogs, and jumps to get your new cleats used to the movement of your feet.

Furthermore, you get a feel for how your new cleats react on your feet and you can decide if they are the right fit for you and your playing needs. 

How to Hit a Drop Shot in Tennis (Try This 3 Techniques)

How to Hit a Drop Shot in Tennis
  • Place Backspin on the Ball
  • Hit With a Continental Grip
  • Play From an Appropriate Court Position

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Hitting a drop shot in tennis is one of the shots that is not exploited enough in my opinion.

With the modern-day game, players are often slugging it out far behind the baseline.

This alone suggests that a drop shot is a great way to mix things up, especially since they would then need to track forward to the net from all the way back behind the baseline.

Of course, the purpose of a drop shot isn’t always to end the point, despite what some people think.

In most cases, playing a drop shot is simply done to SWITCH UP THE RHYTHM or gain a MORE DOMINANR POSITION in the point.

With that said, in order to play a drop shot successfully, you need to be fully aware of how to execute the shot.

And as you can see from the information presented above, you can give yourself the best chance possible of a successful drop shot by following those three tips.

Note that this doesn’t guarantee a 100% drop shot success rate, but these tips will certainly improve how effectively you hit the shot.

And now, I’d like to take some time to run into further details on each of the three points raised above.

A More Effective Drop Shot Explained

If you need any confirmation as to how prolific a great drop shot can be, look no further than the 2020 French Open match between Stan Wawrinka and Hugo Gaston.

(Hugo Gaston vs Stan Wawrinka – 2020 Tennis Match)

Wawrinka is a huge hitter of the ball, and he is far better than Gaston from the back of the court.

But Gaston was able to beat the great Swiss player by simply hitting AWESOME DROP SHOTS.

Obviously, this match was played on clay, which is the surface in which drop shots are used more often, in general.

But regardless, the Gaston drop shot managed to completely turn the outcome of this match!

And now that I’ve highlighted how effective a great drop shot can be, let me run through the three tips mentioned earlier.

1) Applying Backspin

When hitting a drop shot, the aim is to get the ball as tight to the net as you can.

Since you can win a point in tennis by getting the ball to bounce twice, this is the best shot you have of an outright winner from a drop shot.

But this isn’t always, and shouldn’t always be your aim when hitting this shot.

However, the objective is always to get your opponent out of position and hustling forwards to the ball.

Now, in addition to hitting the ball tight to the net, it’s always important to add a little backspin if you can.

This is what stops the ball from sliding through the court, which is advantageous if you are dragging your opponent OUT OF POSITION.

To apply backspin successfully, I recommend cutting down on the ball – not necessarily slicing right underneath.

It’s also good if you can reduce the follow-through of your racket when playing a drop shot, as this will stop the ball from carrying too far into the opposing court.

I’d recommend watching this video of Roger Federer hitting drop shots to get a better understanding of how this is done:

2) Continental Grip

If you are to successfully hit backspin on the ball, you need to hold a continental grip on the handle.

This is the grip that is used for serving, volleying, and when hitting slice backhands.

When holding the racket in this position, the racket face is more open than usual, so you can really cut down on the ball, which creates the backspin.

I also find that it’s easier to control the amount of spin and power you are putting on the ball with this grip.

However, beginners and sometimes intermediate players try to hit the shot with a standard forehand grip.

But when doing this, your racket face is flat to the ball on contact.

So not only is it very difficult to cut under the ball with this grip, but the ball will then push through the court after the FIRST BOUNCE.

This reduces the margin for error that you have on the shot, and it increases the likelihood that your opponent will track the drop shot down easily.

This then puts you in a defensive position instead of an attacking position following a drop shot.

3) Appropriate Court Position

Finally, I’d like to talk about when you should actually be hitting a drop shot in tennis.

Besides the technical pointers raised above, if you don’t play the drop shot at the correct time, it will not work in your favor – I promise you.

So what is an appropriate court position?

Well, there are two parts to this answer really.

The first answer is your own court position.

Personally, I would only be looking to play a drop shot if I find myself inside the baseline.

The one and only exception to this is if my opponent is way behind the baseline, as a standard rallying position.

I recommend this because it INCREASES THE CHANCES of success on your drop shot.

Secondly, you need to have a fundamental understanding of your opponent’s positioning, which I’ve touched upon earlier.

To hit the most effective drop shot, you need to hit this ball when your opponent is either off balance or out of position.

This gives them the least chance of actually tracking the drop shot down. 

Finally – make sure that you actually follow your drop shot in once you’ve played it.

I see many club players making this mistake and getting burned for it. Remember, the most likely return from a drop shot is another drop shot.

This is also the easiest shot to hit once you’ve tracked one down.

Therefore, you need to move forward with the ball in order to eliminate this shot choice from your opponent.

Has this helped you to understand what’s required to hit a great drop shot? Let me know in the comments if so!

Top 3 Simple Ways How You Can Coach Tennis

TONY NADAL How to Coach Tennis
  • Be Positive
  • Adapt to Each Individual
  • Understand Students’ Needs

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Coaching tennis is something that almost anybody can get involved with.

However, only a small percentage go on to become what I would consider being ‘good or great coaches’.

Having worked as a full-time coach myself in the past, I’ve seen evidence of this first hand.

There are many people who become qualified as a coach, and then try to follow a supposed blueprint for coaching the game.

This has always been a bit of a mystery to me, as there is no exact way to coach tennis that will suit all people.

However, some have obviously found an approach that works for most, such as the great Nick Bollettieri.

For that reason, I’ve included ADAPTATION as one of the MOST IMPORTANT TRAITS of any decent tennis coach.

And as you can also see, positivity and understanding the student are the two others.

Sure, there are a few more things to being a great tennis coach than these three traits.

But I firmly believe that all good coaches need to demonstrate EFFECTIVE ABILITIES in each of these three fundamental areas. 

So now that these have been highlighted, I think it’s time that we took things a little deeper.

Becoming a Great Tennis Coach

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about becoming a decent tennis coach is that you need to have been a great player to do this.

The evidence is everywhere that this just isn’t necessary.

Look at guys such as Richard Williams or Toni Nadal – both guys never played tennis at an ELITE LEVEL, yet they have produced some of the greatest players of all time.

In fact, I found this cool video of Toni Nadal giving a Ted Talk, and this gives a real insight into the mind of this truly awesome coach (video is in Spanish with English subtitles):

Of course, you’ve then got other guys that have indeed played tennis at a pretty high level.

But in my experience, it’s not always your own level that dictates whether you would be a good coach.

It’s how you can explain the game to a student and get them to understand and improve, and this is different for every individual.

Coming back to the three traits now, let me explain why they are so important.

1) Positivity

When it comes to positivity, I’d like to take you back to your high school days to emphasize why this is so important.

Think back to your class schedule – which classes did you enjoy the most?

Did you enjoy classes where the teacher had a ton of knowledge but presented things in a rather boring and methodical manner?

Or did you prefer the classes with an upbeat, passionate teacher who explained things in a positive manner?

I would hope that the answer is the latter!

And this also holds true when it comes to tennis coaching.

Being a great tennis coach all STARTS WITH:

  • YOUR PASSION FOR THE GAME and
  • HOW POSITIVE YOU CAN BE when teaching people to do it.

You have to be able to explain what the student needs to do and demonstrate this in a way that is exciting, not in a way that is somewhat robotic.

Believe me, I’ve seen coaches go through the motions out there on the court.

And I always liked to think that if I was ever bored or disinterested when teaching a class, then this certainly means that the students were bored!

Of course, creating a positive environment is also critical if you are to get the best out of your players.

2) Adaptability

If I am to be completely honest, I feel that the way in which tennis is taught to most people is FAR TOO GROOMED and robotic.

I’m not denying that there are certain fundamentals that need to be taught in tennis in order for an individual to improve and REACH THEIR POTENTIAL.

This is common knowledge.

But I firmly believe that you need to adapt to how an individual prefers to play the game and then style your coaching approach to suit.

For example, if you are teaching a student who loves to hit the ball flat from the baseline and this is one of their main strengths, it would not make sense to then focus so much on trying to get them to hit heavy.

In addition to switching your focus in relation to the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, you need to adapt how you actually explain things as well.

Some people are very visual learners, whereas some are perfectly okay with you just explaining how things are done.

So on that note, you need to be flexible and adapt your approach until you find a style that is getting the best out of the individual.

3) Understanding of Student’s Needs

It goes without saying that not everyone you teach wants to become a Wimbledon Champion.

In fact, depending on where you actually teach tennis, you may never teach someone who wants to become a professional.

So for that reason, you need to make sure that you actually understand what the intentions are for your students.

It’s important to keep in mind that some people receive tennis coaching purely because they want to get some exercise while socializing at the same time.

And if you have a group like that, you will obviously approach the session differently than if you were coaching aspiring juniors.

On a more personal basis, if you are teaching private lessons, it’s important to ask the student what they want to work on.

I always found that this is the best approach rather than simply picking what I think is important and then hammering it home.

By taking this approach, the individual will get the most out of the session, and they will leave the court with the knowledge that they worked on what they wanted to – not what you felt was necessary. 

Do you have anything to add when it comes to teaching tennis in the best possible way? If so, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.

Best Tennis Courts in the World. Here’s Why They’re So Cool.

Coolest Tennis Courts in the World
  • Monte Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo
  • Il San Pietro di Positano, Amalfi Coast
  • Foro Italico, Rome

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

There are plenty of cool places to play tennis in this world.

But when people imagine cool tennis courts, they often think of the major stadiums where Grand Slams are played.

Sure, these courts are magnificent in their own right.

But in my opinion, when I think about cool tennis courts, I like to think of courts that are a little bit out of the ordinary.

So for that reason, I’ve listed the three tennis courts that you can see above.

You can always go and see these courts for yourself, but since they are so exclusive, I don’t believe that you can book in and play on them – as much as we’d all like to!

And while I have listed these three tennis courts above…

..I have to give some honorable mentions to stadiums such as Centre Court Wimbledon, the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open, Melbourne Arena, and Phillippe Chatrier at the French Open.

I feel that these stadiums are full of character, and they have been host to some extraordinary tennis matches over the years.

But coming back to the main point of this piece now, I would like to get into why these three tennis courts are so spectacular.

Details of These Three Unbelievable Tennis Courts

As you’ve seen already, these three courts are not all in the same country!

However, two of them are actually based in Italy – which is a testament to the quality of the architecture of that nation in general.

So without further ado, let me run through some specific details on the courts mentioned.

Monte Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo

The Monte Carlo Country Club is one of the MOST EXCLUSIVE SPORTS COMPLEXES in the world.

Of course, this country club is centered around tennis, and many of the most elite tennis players in the world actually use this place as a base.

Guys such as Novak Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov spring to mind here, with both of these guys being residents of Monte Carlo.

You can even see a quick guided tour of the place from Dimitrov in this video:

All of the courts in this complex are clay courts, and as you probably already know, this is the location for one of the biggest Masters events of the ATP Tour.

This tournament is simply known as the Monte Carlo Masters, and a man by the name of Rafael Nadal has won that event nine times!

While there are many courts around the complex, I believe that the Center Court, which many games are played on during the Masters, is one of the COOLEST COURTS in the world.

Not only is the court itself spectacular, surrounded by the mountains of Monte Carlo, but it also has a backdrop at the Balearic Sea which LOOKS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.

I’m not sure how the players can even concentrate on competing in their matches with such beautiful scenery around! 

Il San Pietro di Positano, Amalfi Coast

(Spectacular View From the IL San Pietro DI Positano, Amalfi Coast Hotel)

Speaking of exclusive tennis courts, this one is right up there with the Monte Carlo Country Club.

As it happens, the Il San Pietro di Positano is actually a five-star hotel and resort, and it is pretty spectacular from what I’ve seen (in photos).

Of course, the Amalfi Coast is one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL regions in Italy, and in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful places in Europe, period.

And since you’ve then got a 5-star hotel and resort nestled between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, what more could we really ask for?

However, in order to play on this tennis court, you need to be staying at the hotel as a guest.

The court is completely closed off to the general public, and even if you are staying at the hotel, I believe you still need to pay a handsome rate to play a game of tennis on the court.

But when you look at the photos of the location, IT REALLY IS BREATHTAKING.

However, since II SAN PIERTRO DI POSITANO is so close to the sea, I think that if you were to shank a ball out of the court…

.. you might need to go and purchase another one rather than TRYING TO FISH IT OUT!

Foro Italico, Rome

(Foro Italico, Rome Tennis Court)

The third and final tennis court I would like to talk about is located in the Foro Italico sports complex in Rome.

Much like the Monte Carlo Masters, this is the location of another Masters event, simply known as the Rome Masters.

This is another clay-court event, and surprise surprise, Rafael Nadal has been the most successful player at this event, winning the title a staggering 11 times.

Putting the tournament aside, when you look at the architecture and location of the court, I really do think it is one of the coolest tennis courts in the world.

With the court being built into the ground, which is ALREADY COOL, I love that it is then surrounded by statues of great Romans of the past.

Obviously, Rome is one of the most historical cities in the world, and I love that the design of the court has captured this.

So even though guys are playing there and competing to win a tennis match, this court really does have a sense of magic about it, which adds to the spectacle.

It’s almost as though the Romans of the past are there to ENJOY THE SHOW AS WELL.

And naturally, with Rome boasting some pretty nice weather, this court looks ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR against the clear blue skies of Italy’s capital.

Conclusion

I do hope you have enjoyed this brief piece about the coolest tennis courts in the world.

And if you feel that you want to actually visit any of these locations, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND DOING SO.

Should you be able to combine your visit with watching one of the Masters events, for two out of the three courts, this will be even better.

And if you do get to visit, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

Shortest Male Tennis Player

Diego Schwartzman shortest tennis player
  • Diego Schwartzman
  • 5ft 7 inches
  • Argentinian

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Tennis is a sport where being tall certainly has major advantages.

And as the years have rolled by, becoming a successful player when you are a little on the short side has become increasingly difficult.

The days where a guy such as Michael Chang (5 feet 9 inches 175 cm) has been able to reach the VERY PINNACLE of the game are all but over.

So for that reason, it is particularly impressive that Diego Schwartzman has been able to break into the top 10 and enjoy the kind of results that he has.

At just 5 feet and 7 inches tall, he is the shortest male tennis player that is currently playing at the top of the game.

He even has the nickname ‘El Peque’, which translates as ‘shorty’ in Spanish.

Mind you, he seems to embrace his height and he’s not afraid to take on the big guys out there on the court.

I must also confess, he is one of my favorite players because of HIS FIGHTING SPIRIT and because of the way that he’s able to GRIND OPPONENTS DOWN.

After all, given his height, he will not be blowing any players away with massive serves or huge groundstrokes.

He has to fight out there for every single point, and I commend him for this.

Below, no, I’d like to continue to discuss Diego Schwartzman in terms of his rise up the ATP rankings and the greatest achievements of his career. 

Diego Schwartzman – The Little Miracle

It is no great secret that Diego Schwartzman is very small by tennis-playing standards.

In fact, some matches where he has needed to shake hands with guys such as John Isner at the net have been quite comical!

Of course, this is where you really see the height difference between Schwartzman and some of the other guys on tour.

But despite his height, which would be regarded as a disadvantage in the modern game, he has still been able to achieve some pretty astonishing things:

ATP High of Number 8

Schwartzman has been a very consistent player throughout his career.

Sure, he isn’t somebody who has managed to claim a ton of titles, but he has always done well in important events.

He has been consistent in Grand Slams and at the Masters 1000 level, and this is proven by his career-high ranking of number 8 in the world.

This was achieved in October 2020, mainly thanks to his 4th round appearance at the Australian Open and his first semi-final appearance at a Slam at the French Open.

This brings me to my next point.

French Open Semi-final – 2020

Given that Schwartzman has to really grind to win points in tennis, you would assume that his game is well suited for the clay courts.

Of course, the fact that he also grew up playing tennis in Argentina means that he is well adapted and comfortable playing on clay.

I’ve always known that Schwartzman was a very good player on the dirt, but I often thought that he lacked the necessary firepower to really cause a threat during the major clay-court events.

However, I’m pleased to say that he put my doubts to bed at the 2020 French Open.

This was the biggest achievement of Schwartzman’s career, where he managed to reach the semi-finals before losing to Rafael Nadal in an incredible four-set match.

En route, he also managed to beat Dominic Thiem in five sets – a match that lasted more than five hours.

Bear in mind that Thiem was a strong contender to win the event, which made this victory and semi-final appearance all the more impressive. 

The tennis was absolutely remarkable too, as you can see from the video here:

Rome Masters 2020 – Beating Nadal on Clay

The Rome Masters is a huge tournament on the ATP calendar.

And in this particular tournament, it seemed that Diego had a little added firepower to his game.

During this event, he came up against Rafael Nadal, a man whom he had a 9-0 head-to-head losing record against.

One of the main reasons he has struggled so much against Nadal over the years is because Nadal is physically stronger and he can hit a heavier ball than Schwartzman.

But on this day, none of that seemed to matter, and Diego put in a miraculous display to beat the greatest clay courter of all time in straight sets.

Most amusingly, after the match, Schwartzman was asked about his victory.

And the only response he gave is – ‘nobody beats me 10 times in a row’. 

Number 3 for Breaks of Serve

For a man who is 5ft 7 inches tall, it goes without saying that he’s never going to have the biggest serve in the game.

So not only will he struggle to hold serve more than other players, but this places even more emphasis on his ability to break serve.

On that note, Schwartzman is actually third in the rankings when it comes to total breaks of serve for his career.

He is behind only Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in this category, in terms of percentage return games won.

Currently, his return game success is more than 32%, meaning that he tends to break serve, on average, almost 1 in every 3 return games.

For me, this is incredible, and this has helped Schwartzman massively throughout his career.

Early Struggles in Tennis

When Schwartzman was playing tennis as a junior, his family didn’t exactly have a bunch of money to invest in his tennis.

According to his own accounts, his mother would make bracelets and Diego would then go and sell them to people to raise money to fund his tennis adventures.

However, despite having relatively poor finances, he made it work, DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to keep going and keep chasing his dream.

And today, it would seem that the sacrifices made by him and his family have paid off.

Did you enjoy this piece? Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

World’s Tallest Tennis Player: Who Is Taller Than Everyone Else

Tallest Tennis Players Ever
  • Ivo Karlovic – 6ft 11
  • Reilly Opelka – 6ft 11
  • John Isner – 6ft 10
  • Kevin Anderson – 6ft 8

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

As the years have gone by, tennis players just seem to have become taller and taller.

And I’m not just talking MODERATELY TALLER EITHER.

As you can see from the players mentioned above, these guys are absolute giants, and they wouldn’t even look out of place if they were to take to an NBA court in all honesty!

If you’ve ever seen these guys actually playing a match, they really do look LIKE MAN MOUNTAINS OUT THERE.

And as you probably already know, there is a direct connection between how tall a player is and how big they can serve.

In fact, two of the guys from this list are responsible for some of the biggest serves ever recorded.

John Isner managed to hit a serve at 157.2mph at the 2016 Davis Cup.

And right behind him, you have Ivo Karlovic, who managed to hit a serve at 156mph at the 2011 Davis Cup.

I can only imagine the difficulty that players must have had in returning serves coming down at that kind of speed.

And it’s not just the speed of the serve that causes issues either. It’s also the angle of the serve raining down from such a height.

So what are some other feats that these guys have achieved besides being so tall?

Well, let’s continue to find out.

Man Mountains on the ATP Tour

Each of the four guys mentioned below is taller than 6ft 8 inches, which is pretty STAGGERING, to be honest.

But besides their miraculous height, let’s see what else these guys have been able to gain recognition for in their careers!

1) Ivo Karlovic

Karlovic has managed to gain a nickname as ‘Dr. Ivo’, because of the way that he just slices people apart with his serve – much like a surgeon would do to a patient.

This much-loved Croatian has been on the tour for many years as well.

And at the time of writing, he is still competing at the ripe old age of 42.

What I love about Karlovic is that he’s an old-school serve and volley player as well.

So when he rains down his serve he is immediately charging into the net and looking for his first volley.

I’ve actually had the pleasure of being able to WATCH THIS MAN PLAY LIVE, at the US Open.

And it amazes me how tight he got to the net when volleying.

But then again, I guess that’s what you can do when you have such a huge wingspan!

People often forget that Karlovic has been ranked as high as number 14 in the world too, despite his somewhat ‘outdated’ style of play.

And most impressively, he is the all-time leader for aces, with more than 13,700 to his name!

2) Reilly Opelka

Reilly Opelka is the joint tallest tennis player to ever play the game, alongside the one and only Ivo Karlovic.

Standing at 6 feet 11 inches, Opelka has one of the biggest serves on tour right now.

I wouldn’t say that he is a fantastic spot server, but the speed and height that his serve comes down from is enough to help him hold serve easily most times.

Opelka has actually been ranked as high as number 19 in the world too, which is FAIRLY IMPRESSIVE.

And in my opinion, he has one of the best kick serves in the game. 

I can remember watching him play at the US Open against Fabio Fognini, and poor old Fabio was hitting his returns above shoulder height most of the time.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

And perhaps most amazingly, Opelka has had some good results on the clay courts in his career.

This is most unusual for a taller guy, but I guess it’s a credit to the quality of his serve and how he is able to battle during the rallies too.

3) John Isner

Now we have the huge serving American, John Isner.

Of all the big guys I have been talking about here, John Isner has been the most successful on a CONSISTENT BASIS.

He is actually regarded as one of the best servers to ever play the game.

This is backed up by the fact that he has hit more than 13,200 aces in his career, and that he has the fastest recorded serve (official) of all time at 157.2mph.

Note that there have been faster serves than this, but the ATP hasn’t officially recognized them due to unregulated equipment.

Isner has been ranked as high as number 8 in the world.

And in my opinion, he also has the best groundstrokes out of the guys mentioned here.

He plays a super attacking style of tennis, hitting big forehands and taking his backhand early.

But he is also a decent mover for a guy of his height – 6ft 10 inches.

4) Kevin Anderson

Last but not least, we have Kevin Anderson.

This formidable South African has been ranked as high as number 5 in the world, which is actually the highest of the four guys I’ve talked about here.

Anderson is also one of the only guys to have PERFORMED WELL at the Grand Slam level.

He has reached the finals of both the US Open and Wimbledon – two feats that helped to push his ranking into the top 5. At 6ft 8 inches, Anderson has a SMOKING SERVE TOO.

He seems to hit his spots a little better than guys like Opelka, and he also moves well along the baseline.

Anderson also makes full use of his rather large levers by hitting big on both the backhand and forehand wings.

I love his temperament on the court too, fighting to the very end but remaining calm and positive throughout.

He is also the holder of the second-longest match in Grand Slam history too, sharing the title with John Isner for their 2018 Wimbledon semi-final.

After 6 hours and 36 minutes, Anderson managed to wriggle through to the finals, which must have been demoralizing for big John!

Did you enjoy this piece? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Why Do Tennis Players Bounce the Ball Before Serving

Why Do Tennis Players Bounce the Ball Before Serving
  • Focus
  • Think About the Serve
  • Calm Nerves

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

I must admit, having played tennis for more than 20 years at this point, bouncing the ball prior to serving has just become second nature.

But if I take a step back, I can understand why this action might seem a little strange for those who aren’t all that familiar with tennis.

Of course, when you start to watch tennis being played you will realize that the VAST MAJORITY OF PLAYERS actually do bounce the ball before serving.

Some do this more than others, with a certain Novak Djokovic being well known for excessive ball bounces prior to big points.

For a little bit of fun, check out this video that highlights Djokovic’s ball bouncing prowess:

Obviously, this video isn’t a real reflection of what he was doing during the match.

But in all seriousness, he has been known to bounce the ball up to 30 times before hitting a serve.

This is obviously a bit of an EXCESSIVE EXAMPLE, but most players will bounce the ball several times before they proceed to hit their serve.

I have mentioned the three main reasons why players do this above, and these reasons hold true for all tennis players, regardless of whether they are a beginner or a professional.

But why are these areas so important and how does bouncing the ball help? Well, let me discuss this in greater detail right now.

The Ball Bouncing Mystery Explained

It doesn’t matter who the player is, what surface they are playing on, or what kind of serve they have – tennis players will usually bounce the ball before kicking the point off.

Assuming you already play the game, you will likely have your own reasons for bouncing the ball.

You may even have your own preferences as to how many times you bounce the ball before hitting a serve.

But while this is all a matter of personal preference, I still believe that the three fundamentals mentioned previously are consistent for all.

(i) To Focus

It goes without saying that if a player was to just step up to the line and hit their serve, they probably wouldn’t be all that focused.

Not only that, but they wouldn’t have had time to set their balance and get into the correct serving position either.

Of course, bouncing the ball before the serve helps to slow down the game and create a bit of THINKING TIME.

This is where the element of focus comes into play.

Personally, when I am bouncing the ball, I am looking at where my opponent is positioned, and I’m also considering my serving options. 

These are the two things that I am primarily focusing on, and thinking about these things before serving has helped me throughout my career.

However, other players may prefer to focus on other things when bouncing the ball.

For example, you might like to focus on what your first shot will be after the serve, what direction the wind is blowing, or what kind of spin you want to apply to the ball.

Again, this all comes down to PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

In addition to this, as a bit of a bonus, some players like to do this purely as a ritual. And some of these rituals are a little more bizarre than others.

Take John Isner as an example – he doesn’t just bounce the ball, he passes it between his legs before each and every serve!

(ii) Think About the Serve

Speaking from personal experience, as I’ve touched upon above, I am always thinking about the serve when bouncing the ball.

If it is the first serve, these are the few seconds in which I can compose myself and decide what spin, speed, and wherein the box I will be AIMING MY SERVE.

Of course, I will also be planning what kind of shot I may be looking to hit after my serve.

But the only downside to doing this is that the return is unpredictable, and if the ball doesn’t come back as you’d expect, YOUR ENTIRE PLAN HAS EVAPORATED.

Either way, it is still good practice to consider what you will be doing with the serve when bouncing the ball.

And if it is a second serve that you are facing, you may want to think about adding some topspin or slice to the ball.

This can all be considered in those few seconds that you spend BOUNCING THE BALL.

You may even want to think about what kind of serves have been successful for you so far against that particular opponent.

If you’ve had decent success going to the backhand, you may want to think about doing this again, or switching things up depending on the point.

(iii) Calm the Nerves

This reason for bouncing the ball isn’t quite as prolific as the first two I have mentioned.

But when it comes to a big point, bouncing the ball in order to steady your nerves is actually a VERY COMMON PRACTICE.

If you’ve ever faced pressure situations in a tennis match before, you will definitely know what I’m talking about.

As you approach the line, your arm might be shaking, the sweat might be running into your eyes, and your mind may FEEL A LITTLE CLOUDY.

Therefore, it is critical that you then bounce the ball and take some deep breaths while doing so to calm yourself prior to hitting the serve.

Note that deep breaths are almost as important as bouncing the ball itself.

By slowing your breathing you will send signals to your brain that you are in a calm state, and this can really help with nerves ahead of a BIG POINT.

This is just my own advice based on experiences I have had in the past.

However, you might prefer to engage in other rituals that help you to steady your nerves.

Has this piece clarified the reasons why tennis players bounce the ball before serving? Let us know down below!

The Science of Tennis: What Makes a Good Tennis Player?

What Makes a Good Tennis Player
  • Intelligent Shot-Making
  • Tenacity and Fighting Spirit
  • Physical Fitness and Strength

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Have you ever stopped and wondered about the makeup of all good tennis players?

I certainly have.

And I believe that while all tennis players have their own strengths and weaknesses, there are some fundamentals that have to be there.

These three fundamentals have been listed above, and the good thing is that you can always work to improve these three areas in your own game.

Of course, we all have a certain limit to our talents in the game of tennis.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot reach the very pinnacle of how far your talents ALLOW YOU TO GO.

In fact, when I used to coach promising juniors, I would tell them that it was their duty to maximize the talents they had been given.

To that end, we all know the phrase ‘hard work beats talent when talent is lazy’.

I do believe this to be true, which is why it’s important to work on the three fundamentals as much as possible.

And if you manage to combine hard work with supreme talent, this is where you get THE GREATS OF THE GAME.

But for now, let me dive into some more details as to why these three areas are so important to becoming a good tennis player. 

The Three Vital Ingredients for Good Tennis Players

If you look at some of the best tennis players in the game right now, they all excel in different areas.

Take Novak Djokovic as an example – he is incredibly quick around the court and his ability to control the point is almost unrivaled.

This is different from others such as Rafael Nadal, whose main strengths are his competitiveness and NEVER SAY DIE SPIRIT.

But even these two guys, among many others, still display the fundamentals that I have outlined above.

So without further ado, let me describe why these are so important and so evident in good tennis players. 

1) Intelligent Shot-Making

It goes without saying that being able to hit a tennis ball well is a surefire way to become a decent player.

This is true in terms of your timing, technique, and how often you can REPLICATE CERTAIN SHOTS.

With that said, I have seen many tennis players who can hit a fantastic ball who never really do well in matches.

In fact, I’ve often seen great players lose to others who cannot hit the ball as well as them, but they choose their shots in a MORE INTELLIGENT MANNER.

This area is popularly referred to as having a good ‘tennis brain’.

In my opinion, intelligent shot-making comes down to two main things.

The first of these is being able to identify opponents’ weaknesses and then exploiting those weaknesses as much as possible.

The second comes down to your general choice of shots, regardless of which opponent you are playing.

Some players just seem to have a knack for choosing the right shot most of the time.

This is often what separates average players from great tennis players.

2) Tenacity and Fighting Spirit

Tennis can be a bit of a rollercoaster sport.

Unless you manage to dictate a match from the very first point, there is a STRONG CHANCE that you will need to deal with adversity and come from behind at certain times.

This is especially true if you manage to lose your serve early on or lose the opening set.

For that reason, I believe that tenacity and being able to fight through tough circumstances are absolutely pivotal for good tennis players.

All too often I have seen players start to lose early in the match and then their head just seems to go.

But those who maintain a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE and keep fighting for every point will always be in with the chance to turn things around.

Remember the two guys I have mentioned previously – Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic? 

These guys are two of the greatest fighters on a tennis court that I have ever seen, hence why they have such fantastic matches when they play each other.

Neither of them wants to give an inch to the other, and no matter the score, they will always fight to the end.

Nadal proved this in his recent Australian Open title, coming back from two sets down to beat Medvedev in five.

And Djokovic showed this magnificently when he won the 2021 French Open title – coming back not once, but twice from a two-set deficit en-route to the title.

3) Physical Fitness and Strength

If you have played tennis to a reasonable level, you will understand how physical things can be out there on the court.

Matches can extend for hours and HOURS, and the rallies that you will NEED TO ENDURE if you are to get the win can be brutal.

For that reason, being physically strong and fit is one of the most important aspects of all.

I can remember when I was a junior, I used to win plenty of matches on fitness alone, even if the other guy was a better ball striker than I was.

If you can extend a match and keep the opponent out there, FITNESS and STRENGTH definitely become a factor.

This becomes all the more apparent when you look at some of the matches that are played on the professional tour.

Again, I’d have to reference the recent Australian Open final between Nadal and Medvedev.

This game lasted almost 5 1/2 hours, and while Nadal is 10 years older than Medvedev, I’d have to say that Nadal had him in the fitness department.

This is also apparent with other players who use fitness to their advantage – as Djokovic also does.

Check out his fitness training video here to get a glimpse of how he does it:

Especially when it gets to the clay-court season, this is where those in peak condition shine through.

Look at players like Schwartzman, Tsitsipas, Zverev, Ruud, and many others.

They are all incredibly fit, and surprise surprise, they are all within the top 20 in the rankings!

Has this piece given you an insight into what makes a top-level player? Let me know in the comments!

How to Replace a Tennis Racket Bumper in 3 Simple Steps

How to Replace a Tennis Racket Bumper
  • Cut Out All Strings From the Racket
  • Push the Original Bumper Out Using the Grommets
  • Add the Fresh Bumper and Push Grommets All the Way Through

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Over time, our tennis rackets take a fair bit of punishment out there on the court.

One of the main parts of the racket that shows this is the bumper.

This is the part on top of the racket that tends to get scuffed up for many reasons.

Personally, I have a habit of hitting the ground with the bumper if I am hitting a low slice backhand.

Naturally, the more I do this, the more that the bumper starts to wear through.

And if you let the bumper get really bad, you can actually start to damage the frame of the racket itself.

Now, if you have played a fair bit of tennis before you will know how significant this can be.

And as I always like to say, PREVENTION IS CHEAPER THAN THE CURE.

I say this because should you continue to play with a worn-out bumper, you run many risks – with the most extreme being a full break of the racket.

This means you would need to spend in excess of $200 for a brand new racket if that happened.

But if you had replaced the bumper, which costs around $20 if you had to do it yourself, you would have saved quite a bit of money.

So hopefully, you can see the importance of learning how to replace your tennis racket bumper.

And on that note, I’d like to now proceed by explaining exactly how you can do this.

Replacing the Racket Bumper – Step by Step

I’d like to kick things off by stating that replacing the bumper on your racket isn’t overly difficult.

People often believe that it is, and this prevents them from taking the action necessary to replace the bumper in the first place.

However, I can assure you that this isn’t the case.

In fact, once you have bought a fresh racket bumper to put in, you can complete the whole replacement within a few minutes.

So without further ado, let’s get into the actual steps necessary to replace the bumper on your racket.

STEP 1: Remove All the Strings

First thing’s first, the bumper cannot be replaced while you have got strings in your racket.

Therefore, I recommend that you only replace the bumper when it is time to restring your racket.

Again, this will AVOID UNNECESSARY EXPENDITURES by restringing a racket before your string has busted.

And just like you would do when restringing a racket, you must remove all of the strings prior to taking the bumper out.

If you’ve strung a racket in the past, you will know exactly how easy this is to do.

Simply chop through the mains and the crosses, which can be done with a string clipper, or even a pair of scissors if you don’t have one handy!

And once all of the strings have been chopped, you can then pull them out and discard them.

You don’t even need new strings handy in order to put the new bumper in place, so you can always wait to perform the restring if you want. 

STEP 2: Strip Out the Original Bumper

This is where things can start to get a little tricky.

So if you would prefer a visual aid before attempting to do this for yourself, I’d suggest checking out the video right here:

As you can hopefully see from the video, once the strings have been removed you then need to take out the worn-out bumper.

The way in which to do this is to push from the inside of the frame.

Each of the little black holes on the inside of the frame, known as grommets, is what you need to push through and then snap the bumper out of place.

Assuming the bumper is not glued down or attached to any kind of lead tape, it should snap out of the racket PRETTY EASY.

If not, you may need to use a little device for a bit of assistance.

In my experience, the best device is an ‘Awl’.

This is basically a pin-type device, only much thicker, and you can insert the pin into the grommets to then push them through.

I even use this tool to squeeze the string through a tight grommet when restringing my racket, so it has a double usage here! 

STEP 3: Put the Fresh Bumper in Place

With the original bumper now removed, you can then look to put your new bumper in place.

Before I explain exactly how to do this, I’d like to take a moment to give you some advice on where to buy YOUR NEW BUMPER.

Not only should you purchase from reputable vendors, but I would highly recommend that you stick with bumpers from well-known tennis brands too.

This includes brands like Wilson, Babolat, Head, and others.

WILSON Sporting Goods Plastic Stencil, Red

In fact, I recommend that you purchase a corresponding brand to your racket, as some of the cheaper versions in the market today just will not do the job. 

So with that out of the way, it’s time to start putting the new bumper together.

You will always need to start with one end of the bumper and insert the first grommet through the respective hole.

You should get a little guide with your new bumper, but if not, YouTube can always be a good resource to find ‘how to’ videos for your specific racket model.

Once this first grommet has been pushed through, you can then start to roll the bumper over the top and push each grommet through as you go along.

Again, you can use the Awl tool if you like to make sure that the grommets are pushed all the way through.

And once they are all snapped into place, you have officially replaced the bumper and extended the lifespan of your racket!

Did these tips help you to successfully replace your bumper? Let us know below!

How to String a Tennis Racket: 3 Easy Step by Step

How to String a Tennis Racket
  • Cut the Strings Out
  • Complete Your Measurements
  • Learn the String Pattern and Proceed

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

If you watch someone string a tennis racket for the first time, things can seem a little confusing.

Believe me, I know!

The first time I watched my brother string one of my tennis rackets it was like a man discovering fire.

This is no exaggeration!

But once I actually learned, step-by-step how to do this, I realized that things are actually PRETTY STRAIGHTFORWARD.

I guess it’s like anything –  once you have learned the steps and done it for yourself, it certainly doesn’t seem too confusing anymore.

And while each tennis racket is somewhat different, the process for stringing the racket remains pretty much the same.

As you can see from the information above, the first thing you need to do is cut the strings up.

The second step is where you can make your measurements, and these are different depending on whether you are stinging in one piece or two pieces, and the string pattern can also ADJUST THIS TOO.

Don’t worry, I will explain all about this later.

Finally, which is pretty much the most important part of the process, you need to learn what the string pattern is for the racket you are stringing.

While every racket will tell you what the string pattern is somewhere on the frame, you still need to look at which holes to put the string through. 

By the end of this piece, I am confident that you will have a much better idea of how to string your first tennis racket.

However, I’d recommend checking out this video for visual aid, in addition to reading through the information below:

Stringing Your First Tennis Racket – Step by Step Guide

Of course, if you are stringing a tennis racket, you need to actually have a machine in which to do this.

There are many stringing machines available for purchase these days, with electric stringing machines ranking as the very best.

However, these do come at a cost.

So if you want to save a bit of money but still grab a decent machine, you may want to consider a crank or drop weight machine.

I actually prefer crank machines as they are easy to transport and I find them very quick when stringing, but this is all a matter of PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

With that out of the way, let me jump into this tennis racket stringing guide. 

STEP 1: Removing the Strings

Removing the strings on your tennis racket is the easy part.

You will need some clippers in order to cut through each string in the racket, and these should come with the machine once you purchase one.

You need to cut through all of the main strings and all of the cross strings, and then weave your fingers through them to ensure that they are not tangled anymore.

After this, you can simply start pulling them out one by one.

Even if you have only broken one string in the mains or the crosses, I always recommend restringing the entire racket.

Not only can it be a pain to try and remove just one section of strings if you have snapped one, but it can also be very time-consuming.

In addition to this, the more you play with a racket the more your strings will lose tension.

Therefore, the best way to get a fresh racket is to string the entire thing. 

STEP 2: Making the Measurements

This is a very important part of the process, so make sure you are zoned in for this one!

If you recall what I mentioned earlier, you can string a racket in one piece or two pieces.

If you are stringing in one piece, once you have actually put the racket on the machine to string it, I generally measure around 17 to 18 lengths of the entire racket.

This is easy to do once you have got the racket placed on the machine.

With that said, make sure you have a look at the string pattern to see whether you may need more or less string.

This video should also help you out:

For example, if you are stringing a racket with an 18 x 20 string pattern, this will need 18 lengths at least if you are stringing it in one piece.

But if you are stringing a racket with a 16 x 18 pattern, this will require less string.

The more you get used to stringing a certain racket, the easier it becomes to make these measurements.

But what about if you are stringing in two pieces?

This is done if you are attempting to perform a HYBRID JOB for your racket.

A hybrid in this sense means that you use a different string in the mains than the crosses.

However, I often string in two pieces even if I’m using the same string.

I find that the tension is more accurate this way, and I also find it easier to string rackets in two pieces in general. 

STEP 3: Learn the Pattern and Go

So now that you’ve chopped the strings out, placed the racket on the machine, and made your measurements, it’s time to learn the pattern and START STRINGING.

You will always start stringing with the mains in a racket.

And to clear up something that people get confused about, whether you start from the top or the bottom depends on the available holes on the throat of the racket.

If you see six holes, you will start from the bottom.

But if you see eight holes, you will start from the top!

Keep that in mind when stringing, as it will save you plenty of time in the form of avoiding mistakes and needing to restart.

And when it comes to the crosses, the way that you string a racket is to weave under and over AS YOU GO ALONG.

Just take a look at any strung racket and you will see what I mean.

Make sure you take your time with this process, especially if you are brand new to stringing.

Mistakes of weaving under or over more than once are pretty common, and this can mess up the string job if you are not careful. 

Finally – when it’s time to tie off the racket, just make a quick loop and pull the remaining string through.

Make sure you tension it and then cut off the remaining string.

And voila, you have just strung a racket for the first time!

Has this made you feel more comfortable with stringing a tennis racket? Let us know in the comments.

Best Tennis Academies in the World

  • Rafael Nadal Academy
  • Nick Bollettieri Academy
  • Mouratoglou Academy

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

For the most promising tennis players in the world, and even established professionals, the main places to go to in order to maximize playing potential are tennis academies.

There are hundreds of tennis academies in various parts of the world these days.

But NATURALLY, only a few of them rank up there as the VERY BEST.

As you can see from the information presented above, there are three academies (plus a bonus later on) which I would consider to be the best in the business.

These academies have been in the game for quite some time, and they have produced some great players over the years.

But putting the resumes of these academies aside, it’s also amazing to look at the facilities that they have at their disposal.

And of course, the structure of the programs within these academies is also prolific in making them rank towards the top of the tree.

All of this comes at a considerable cost unless the players are getting sponsored, however. For example, reports indicate that the Nadal Academy can cost upwards of $62,000 per year!

So is all of this worth it?

If you’ve got the money, sure!

But even if you don’t, you can still marvel at the facilities and quality of these places. 

Details of These Amazing Academies

Note that I have simply shortlisted four academies here that I believe are the best in the world right now.

Some of you may have others in mind.

But based on the players they have produced, the QUALITY OF FACILITIES, and the coaches that they have at their disposal, I really do feel like these are the best you can find.

So without further ado, let’s discuss these academies now.

Rafael Nadal Academy

The Rafael Nadal tennis academy is one of the best in the world, and it is backed by one of the greatest players of all time.

Obviously, this academy bears the mark of the great Rafael Nadal – now a 21-time Grand Slam champion.

And if his attempts at perfection on the court are reflected in his academy, which I’m sure they are, his place must be absolutely phenomenal to visit.

The academy is based on the island of Menorca, and this amazing place has 19 hard courts alongside 7 clay courts.

Some of the most promising juniors in the world play here, and many professionals also use the Rafael Nadal Academy as a base.

For example, guys like Casper Ruud are training at the Nadal Academy these days, as does the great man himself!

They are one of the few academies that have an all-inclusive program for those who attend as well.

Juniors are able to train full-time on the court, benefit from tailored fitness programs, and all of the schoolings is also thrown in.

Bollettieri Academy

If I was to base this list purely on which academies have produced the best players, the Bollettieri Academy would definitely RISE ABOVE THE REST.

Of course, this academy is headed by the legendary coach, Nick Bollettieri.

The number of top players this man has worked with is SIMPLY STAGGERING.

And if I was to name a few, he has helped players like Serena Williams, Andre Agassi, Venus Williams, Kei Nishikori, Maria Sharapova, and many others.

The great thing about this academy is that it is based on the West Coast of Florida too – YEAR-ROUND SUNSHINE!

This academy has been around since the 1970s, and today, it remains a top-level place – only now it is branded under the IMG umbrella.

If you need any further information to assure you of the popularity of the Bollettieri Academy, let me tell you that right now, more than 1300 student-athletes are pursuing their tennis dreams FROM THIS BASE.

This is SIMPLY STAGGERING in my book!

This video gives a great insight as to how the academy works, should you like to check it out:

Mouratoglou Tennis Academy

The Mouratoglou Academy is one of the newer academies on this list.

This one is headed by another coaching legend – Patrick Mouratoglou.

He has worked with players like Serena Williams, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Coco Gauff in recent times.

But without question, his success with Serena Williams is what has driven himself, and his academy INTO THE LIMELIGHT.

This academy has a FANTASTIC LOCATION as well, operating in the south of France and basking in 320 days of sun per year.

The academy is a little bit more versatile than some of the others as well, which makes it more accessible, generally speaking.

Players can come and engage in summer camps for block periods, they can schedule off-season training blocks, and there is a full-on academy for junior prospects too.

And with 34 courts and 28 tennis courts, it’s fair to say that Mouratoglou puts on a rather nice spread for all who attend.

Sanchez Casal Academy

Last but by no means least, the Sanchez Casal Academy definitely deserves a spot on this list.

These guys have also been in the game FOR SEVERAL DECADES.

And since the inception of this academy, they have managed to branch out into several different countries.

The great thing is that the initial academy still stands strong as well, located just five minutes outside of downtown Barcelona.

With a wealth of clay courts and some of the world’s best coaches, it’s no great surprise to see that they have produced guys like Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and countless others!

The beauty of this academy having locations all over the world is that kids don’t need to stray too far from home to enjoy full-time tennis either – not if they don’t want to.

This has been a common criticism of the sport over the years, where families have needed to undergo huge sacrifices to even give their kids a shot at turning professional.

So of course, we have to take our hats off to Sanchez Casal for this, and for all else that this academy stands for!

Have you ever been to these academies? Please share your experiences in the comments if so.

Best Baseball Strategy Books Reviewed For 2022

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

Baseball like every other sport, is largely a game of strategy.

Of course, baseball is not easy, so any edge that can be GAINED PURELY by having a BETTER STRAGETY is one of the many ways players and teams can get ahead of the competition.

Some strategies are bad, and some are good, it all depends on when they are put into play.

What To Look For

Sometimes the wrong strategy can come back to bite you.

While other times, having the right strategy can be the difference between a win and a loss.

At the end of the day, if you can have a better strategy than your opponent, the odds are in your favor.

Strategies in baseball are changing by the pitch.

They also seem to change depending on what level of baseball you are playing at.

In the past number of years, long time baseball strategies have CHANGED TOO.

In the past, you would have never seen teams open a game with a relief pitcher on the mound.

Now, in professional baseball, you do.

That is just one small example of how some baseball strategies have changed just in recent years, there are MANY MORE.

Baseball is fairly simple once you have a much better understanding of the ideal baseball strategies in situational play.

These strategies can take a while to learn, but after doing so, you will a much more confident baseball player.

Knowing what to do on the field could be the difference between a starting role and riding the bench.

Though it can be simple, baseball is also very tough to play.

Once you know what you are doing, it can be very fun.

Luckily many of your peers can help teach some things to you to HELP YOU IMPROVE AS WELL.

There are also several books that deal with educating the public about baseball strategies as the game goes on.

Players and coaches can learn a great deal from these books.

There is a lot of knowledge to be gained from an informed baseball professional.

Recommendation For You – Baseball Strategies by Jack Stallings & Bob Bennett

So you may be wondering, what are some baseball strategy books that can help me?

Well, I can recommend the book Baseball Strategies, written by Jack Stallings and Bob Bennett.

Written in 2002, Baseball Strategies is a great book for anyone looking to dive deeper into the various strategies of playing baseball competitively.

Baseball Strategies was developed by a star-studded cast of coaches selected by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

There is a lot to dive into, with 360 pages of baseball strategy KNOWLEDGE TO SOAK UP.

I recommend this book for both baseball players and coaches.

Useful Links

Best Baseball Hitting Books Reviewed In 2022

Best Baseball Hitting Books

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

There are many great baseball books available on the market today.

Many of them help accomplish different things.

Some of them can help teach players how to be better on the BASEBALL DIAMOND.

Although, some modern methods may be more effective such as visual aids or short gif clips followed by detailed step-by-step instructions.

There are still many great baseball books that can help.

Even if they were written a while ago, there are still a lot of good bits of information in them that can really HELP A YOUNG PLAYER IMPROVE.

What To Look For

If you are looking for a baseball book that can help you improve your hitting approach at the plate, there are some GEMS out there.

I do admit though, that there are not AS MANY AS YOU WOULD THINK.

It seems as though not as many people are writing baseball books to help hitters improve in the modern day.

With that being said, there are some great hitting books out there.

Some of my favorites are some that were written or helped written by some professional baseball legends of the game.

Tony Gwynn’s The Art of Hitting is a great baseball book written in 1998 that dives into the mechanics of:

  • Hitting
  • Including Grip
  • Stance
  • Balance
  • Footwork
  • Release Point
  • Swing
  • Follow-Through

Tony Gwynn’s book is 144 pages long and it includes a foreword written by the great Ted Williams.

Gwynn was a great hitter for a long time and won 8 National League batting titles in his time in the Major Leagues.

Though this book may be a bit tougher to find at your local library, it is available online.

Recommendation For You – Tony Gwynn’s The Art of Hitting

Speaking of Ted Williams, he wrote the other great hitting book I would recommend:

The Science of Hitting – Written in 1986 by Williams and co-authored by John Underwood and Robert Cupp, the Science of Hitting is well known in the baseball community.

The Science of Hitting is 96 pages long.

Regarded as possibly the best hitter of all time, I definitely recommend giving the Science of Hitting a read.

It can’t hurt. Many great baseball players read the book at some point in their lives.

Useful Links

Best Baseball Books for Kids Reviewed In 2022

best baseball books for kids

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

To choose the best baseball book for kids, there are so many options, getting started can be overwhelming.

I remember when I was going to the library as a young kid.

I had no idea where to start!

The library is this large blank canvas with literally thousands of books, how could I know what a good book was?

Well from looking at the cover right?

Haha wrong!

What To Look For

The first thing I did of course was to find the sports section.

Once I was there, it QUICKLY BECAME A PROBLEM.

I had never been in one place with so much reading material; it was like I was IN A DREAM.

I am sure my parents were happy too, I finally had plenty of reading material to stay out of their hair for a few days.

They no longer had to worry about me behaving or knocking things down in the house.

I had my head in a book and I was going to be busy for the foreseeable future.

THEIR PLANS WORKED.

Of course, they also had to keep bringing be back.

It seemed like each time I went, there was a new book or something else had caught my eye, I WAS HOOKED.

I became to notice that a lot of the baseball books I had were written by the same name, Mike Lupica.

Yeah, I liked reading biographies, non-fiction and fictional stories, but I liked Mike Lupica’s STYLE.

His books are not really lengthy and they do a great job of immersing you in the story.

He even has some books that extend into a book series or a trilogy.

This kept me chasing MORE AND MORE of his books.

Pretty much any book you can find by Mike Lupica, I would recommend.

Unfortunately, since he has written so many sportsbooks, not just baseball, it is very hard to recommend just one.

So if I had to recommend a good place to start, find some books written by Mike Lupica.

You cannot go wrong with his work.

Recommendation For You – Baseball Biographies For Kids by Dean Burrell

Though, if I am selecting just one book, it is not from Mike Lupica.

The book I would recommend for young readers is called Baseball Biographies for Kids.

The Greatest Players from the 1960s TO TODAY.

This book is very interactive and great for young readers.

This book is a compilation of sports biographies of many of baseball’s greatest recent modern players.

Though, if you are looking for a fictional tale, you may want to look elsewhere.

Each story in this book is True.

Written by Dean Burrell, Baseball Biographies for Kids will keep your child interested to keep reading till the end.

If your kid likes history or true stories complete with baseball stats, THEY WILL LOVE THIS BOOK.

It is also currently the #1 New Release in Children’s Baseball Books on Amazon.com.

I know there are many great kids’ baseball books out there.

Though I have covered several, I want to hear from you.

Which children’s baseball book have you found or have your kids found that they really like?

Useful Links

Best Baseball Coaching Books Reviews For 2022

Best Baseball Coaching Books

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

Some baseball coaches and players have enjoyed their time in baseball so much that they WANTED TO SHARE THEIR SUCCESSES by writing a baseball book to help players and coaches improve.

As the sport of baseball continues to grow and evolve…

.. more and MORE..

.. there are more books being written about new ways of plating or coaching.

There have been many great books written over the years.

What To Look For

Some books have been written by former baseball players. Other books have been written by great baseball coaches.

Sometimes they are written by coaches attempting to teach their unconventional methods to pass down to the next generation of baseball players.

I know I can appreciate their efforts to continue to help make the game of baseball even better than the game they GREW UP WITH.

The more people that invest their time and money into improving the game of baseball, the better off the game will be.

Hopefully, that continues with our next generation of baseball players.

Recommending just one great baseball coaching book is tough.

There are so many!

But I would have to recommend The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s New Nonconformists Are using Data to Build Better Players.

Why do I like this book so much?

Because it takes an unorthodox approach to build better baseball players.

It is a great book to pick up for baseball coaches EVERYWHERE.

The book is also a best seller.

Written by Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik, this book is a classic.

On Amazon, it is currently listed as the #1 Best Seller in the Baseball Coaching category.

Many coaches have been buying the book and passing it on to their peers.

The book takes an IN-DEPTH LOOK at some specific players and how they have become very successful pro ballplayers.

They also delve into some traditional pitching and hitting techniques for baseball players to work on.

Recommendation For You – The MVP Machine by Ben Lindbergh & Travis Sawchik

At the end of the day, The MVP Machine is a book that I recommend to any baseball coach at any level of baseball.

This book can help coaches take a new approach to some players that maybe they are confounded on WHAT TO DO NEXT WITH THEM.

Some talents are so UNIQUE AND RARE, that you just don’t know how to best utilize their skills.

If you are a coach, do your players and yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the MVP Machine.

Let us know how the book has helped you improve or helped your players improve. Parents should also give this book a read to help their young baseball player thrive.

Alright coaches, I know I am certainly no coach!

I want to hear from you.

Which is your favorite baseball coaching book that you have found success with?

Useful Links

Best Selling Baseball Books Reviewed In 2022

best seller

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

As a popular sport, baseball has had many best-selling books that have been written over the years.

Who doesn’t have an interest in reading a best seller?

If so many other people are buying it and reading it, well it must be good right?

It is very tough for a book to become a best seller.

Best-selling books have to be very well written and researched thoroughly for the book to do well.

Many have attempted to write a best-seller; only a select few HAVE ACTUALLY SUCCEEDED.

What To Look For

Luckily for baseball fans, there have been several best-selling baseball books written over the years.

Though there have been many, one of my favorites is actually one I referenced other posts.

My recommendation for the best-selling baseball book is Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

I and many others love this book because of the incredible story that Michael Lewis has written.

Not only is it a great baseball story, but it is also 100 percent true.

The book did so well; a movie was later made about the book.

The book is also a recent story, which makes it even more impressive with how historical the game of baseball is. Moneyball was written in 2003.

The book is definitely a best seller.

Recommendation For You – Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Although I really like Moneyball, I know there are several others, such as Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.

Honestly, that was a close second for me personally, it was tough.

But I’m curious, which is your favorite best-selling baseball book?

Useful Links

Best Baseball History Books Reviewed In 2022

Best Baseball History Books

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

Baseball is a historical sport that has been around forever and has many great stories to tell.

There are SO MANY STORIES that many of the greatest ones have been FORGOTTEN.

Baseball has been written about for a really long time too, leading to plenty of great reading content for baseball fans to absorb.

What To Look For

From stories detailing how teams built a winning ball club to the drama of a clubhouse, there are many different types of stories to be read.

Some stories will do into great details of an individual’s career, while others WILL FOCUS ON A TEAM.

Either way, there are great stories out there that can take you away from your current environment by absorbing yourself into a great book.

Perhaps learning about a lot of different stories compiled into one collection MY INTEREST YOU.

It is a great way to learn about a wide range of baseball topics.

Mike Sowell wrote a book in 1989 that did just that.

The Pitch That Killed tells many true stories of the great sport of baseball. Some are sad and almost unbelievable and others are positive and uplifting.

It is a pretty good way of telling multiple stories to baseball fans looking for another story to read about their favorite sport.

Recommendation For You – The Pitch That Killed by Mike Sowell

Although I like The Pitch That Killed, there are many others out there that tell many of the game’s greatest stories.

This book is well known and popular so you should be able to get your hands on it.

Let me know which baseball history book that you have found to be good.

Useful Links

The Best Baseball Fiction Books Reviews For 2022

Best Baseball Fiction Books

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

Sometimes the best baseball books are fictional books that are not a true story but usually written as something that DEFINITELY COULD HAVE HAPPENED.

Some of the best books of all time are FRICTIONAL.

These books can go outside the box a little and create a fascinating story that is compelling to read.

Fictional books are wonderful because they can go outside the normal realm FOR WHAT IS POSSIBLE.

Though usually with fictional baseball books, they are still realistic and reasonable.

Although not always, you will definitely find some stories that are outside the normal box of thinking and that is wonderful too!

What To Look For

There have been many fictional baseball books written over the years.

Some have been great and some not so great.

So which fictional baseball book would I recommend?

My favorite fictional baseball book story I have ever read or heard is Shoeless Joe.

Many of you may already be somewhat familiar with the “Field of Dreams”.

If you are not, I highly recommend that you read Shoeless Joe, written by W.P. Kinsella.

If you just mention the famous line “If you build it, they will come”, many sports fans, not just baseball fans know what you are referencing.

This book is legendary and many non-sports fans have read it as well.

Of course, like many great books, there was also a movie made about the book.

There are even some real life tie-ins to the story.

The entire story is incredible, I cannot understate that. I highly recommend that any baseball fan read Shoeless Joe.

Shoeless Joe is such a great book and WIDELY LIKED that the legendary tale has become one of the most well-known, if not the most well-known baseball book ever written.

With how many have been written, that is MONUMENTAL.

Shoeless Joe has inspired many baseball fans and players over the years and I hope it can inspire you also.

Here is a movie trailer about the movie, Eight Men Out, released in 1988.

Another popular movie about the book, and even more well-known than Eight Men Out, is the movie Field of Dreams.

I have seen Field of Dreams many times and it never seems to get old.

The movie is also very well produced and features many famous actors.

The movie is a great portrayal of the book and very well-liked among baseball fans.

Kevin Costner, the main actor really does a great job.

Baseball movie fans will recognize Costner as many of his movies feature a baseball theme.

Recommendation For You – Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella

In fact, Shoeless Joe is so popular that the MLB even recently announced that a baseball game is going to be played at the “Field of Dreams”.

I think this is a really cool gesture by Major League Baseball. I know I will try and tune in when the game is on.

The game will be played in Dyersville, Iowa between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees.

The game took place on August 13th, 2020.

A game has never been played there and they are constructing a stadium just for this game.

Here is a movie trailer for the popular movie, Field of Dreams.

Useful Links

Best Baseball Books of All Time

Best Baseball Book You Should Read

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

There have been many great baseball books written OVER THE YEARS.

Once you learn how many there are, it can be a bit overwhelming, where do I start?

I hope to provide you with a good starting point on which books are some of the best.

Part of that depends on your reading level and age.

If you are a YOUNG READER, Mike Lupica writes many great baseball books that young players can relate to.

There are also many great historical or true stories that have been written about legendary greats such as Jackie Robinson, Robert Clemente and others.

What To Look For

True stories are some of the best that are told because even though they may seem UNIMAGINABLE and impossible…

.. the fact that they are true gives us all some hope that anything is possible.

With enough dedication, hard work, and effort, you can become the baseball player you have always wanted to become.

Though it may not be easy to get there, in the end, someday you will look back and see that all that hard work paid off and that it was worth it.

While there are baseball books for all levels of experience and age, if you are a baseball fan like me, you will probably read just about ANY BASEBALL STORY THAT EXISTS.

I love to hear the new stories that are told every day.

You just never know what you may find interesting.

A more experienced reader may enjoy some of the books that deal with an advanced level of baseball.

There are many books that have recently been written that go into where baseball as a game is headed.

Some of these books focus on advanced stats and efficient ways to hit and throw a baseball.

Recommendation For You – Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

But perhaps my favorite baseball book and STORY that I have seen yet is Moneyball.

If you are not familiar with the Moneyball story, it is an incredible story of a team’s quest to BEAT A GIGANTIC POWERHOUSE.

Almost like a David vs. Goliath story and it is all true.

I do not want to spoil the story for you, so I won’t go into too much detail.

The book is definitely one of my favorites.

Hopefully, after you read it, it will be one of your favorites too.

If you have read the book and you still can’t get enough of the Moneyball story, it also has a movie made about the book.

The movie is very well-made and features famous actors you MAY RECOGNIZE.

The book was released in 2003 and the movie was released in 2011.

If you are looking for informative baseball books to help you improve, there are plenty of those as well.

Here is a movie trailer:

Useful Links

How To Choose The Best Tennis String For Topspin And Control Reviewed In 2022

Best Tennis String For Topspin And Control

  Your Guide

Gavin Davison

Gavin Davison

Spin and control are two features that really do complement each other, as it’s tough to have one without the other.

The one and only exception would be if you love to hit flat from all areas of the court, although I haven’t seen many players that play this way without a boatload of unforced errors.

MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE TENNIS STRING FOR TOP SPIN AND CONTROL:

When it comes to selecting a string that helps you to hit with control as well as spin, I like to source strings that have an edged shape as well as those that aren’t OVER LIVELY.

By this, I mean that you don’t want a string that makes the ball absolutely zip off the spring bed, not if control is your goal anyway.

What to Look For 

Just for a little added clarification, it is possible to control the ball without hitting topspin.

However, this is reserved for lower intermediates, as well as those advanced players that hit the ball completely flat.

Once your game reaches a certain level, topspin really is your friend, and it is this spin that allows you to control the ball.

Therefore it goes without saying that finding a string that blends these features together can be highly advantageous.

By hitting heavy spin on the ball you can make the ball dip down at the last second, which enables you to hit acute angles as well as maintain good depth when trading from baseline to baseline.

It is this reality that leads me onto the next focus, what the specifications should be.

I believe that the string needs to follow an irregular shape to get this topspin on the ball and that the stringbed needs to be quite firm to avoid too much flex, therefore avoiding any UNWANTED POWER ON THE BALL.

For me, I’ve found that this can usually be seen with co-polyester strings or even multifilament strings.

To suit players of all levels, I would go with a multifilament string as it is softer as well as cheaper.

This makes it much more friendly on your bank balance, and it gives you that added feeling on contact with the ball.

Recommendation for you- Wilson NXT

Wilson is no doubt my second favorite tennis brand after Babolat, and the strings that they produce year after year really are top-drawer.

NXT is a multifilament string that scores highly in many key areas for me, and specifically for this category, the string is perfect for those in search of extra spin and control.

I like that it is tougher than synthetic gut but much more forgiving than a polyester, therefore providing the IDEAL BLEND for these two features.

You can even string your whole racket with this without losing too much power, although if you do decide to do this.

Just be warned that the strings may move around a bit more than usual.

When I’ve used this string in the past, I’ve also enjoyed putting it in the crosses and following up with a full polyester in the mains.

Useful Links

How To Choose The Best Tennis String For Beginner Reviewed In 2022

best tennis racquet for beginners

  Your Guide

Gavin Davison

Gavin Davison

Choosing the right string if you are brand new to this wonderful game is CRUCIAL, but nobody really emphasizes just how crucial it actually is.

First of all, if you use the wrong strings to start with you can soon after encounter injury problems such as tennis elbow.

MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE TENNIS STRING FOR BEGINNERS IS:

Secondly, if you choose strings that are difficult to play with you will have a much harder time learning the game, which can lead to frustration.

The bottom line is that when you start playing the game, you want a string that is very soft on the arm, has a good feel on the ball and doesn’t overload the ball WITH POWER.

To enjoy the game, you need to learn how to rally and build on the fundamentals of your technique, all without worrying whether you have the right string in your racket, to begin with!

What to look for 

There is some really good news if you are brand new to the sport of tennis – the strings and rackets that are suitable for your game are often much cheaper as a beginner.

This will already save you money on your initial equipment, and it will give you more money to invest in lessons and practicing the sport itself.

When I am coaching any new player and they ask about strings, I always give the same answer – you need to get a synthetic gut string to begin with.

You can pick up some awesome synthetic gut reels for well under $50, and they provide some of the best feel that you could ask for on the ball.

Synthetic gut strings won’t provide you with heaps of power or tons of spin, but this isn’t your goal here.

Your goal is to find an affordable string that will assist you along your journey of learning to play tennis and let me tell you – Tennis Really Is a Sport for Life.

Once you learn, you will enjoy decades of fun with family and friends.

Recommendation for you- Babolat Synthetic Gut

I’ve been using Babolat products for as long as I can remember, but there is a specific reason for this.

I believe that the quality of the products that they create is simply awesome, and they are on a par if not above Wilson, in my humble opinion.

For beginner players, the lightning blue synthetic gut string will give you everything that you need to kick off your learning journey.

The string gives GREAT FEEL on the ball, whether you are hitting forehands and backhands from the back of the court or coming up to hit some volleys.

It’s an extremely versatile string, and it doesn’t break as frequently as other strings that are made from synthetic gut.

To fully understand the reasons of using synthetic gut string, as well as gain an understanding of why it is perfect for beginners.

Please watch the video from the tennis equipment gurus, Tennis Warehouse, right here:

Useful Links

How To Choose The Best Tennis String For An Intermediate Player Reviewed In 2022

best tennis racquet for intermediate player

  Your Guide

Gavin Davison

Gavin Davison

As an intermediate tennis player, you have no doubt spent PLENTY OF HOURS LEARNING the strokes of the game, and you may have even started to play in a few competitive events.

You may not yet be classified as an advanced player, (click here for recommended tennis racquet for advanced players) and there may be a few kinks to work out in your game…

..which means that there is a specific kind of string you should be looking for.

MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE TENNIS STRING FOR SPIN AND POWER IS:

Given your playing level, it would be too adventurous to use a full polyester string due to the tennis elbow risks and the price of these products.

With that said, you’d also be doing yourself an injustice if you settled for a synthetic gut string, as you’d be losing out on POWER AND SPIN.

That is why I like to suggest co-polyester strings for intermediate players, but the filtering process doesn’t end there.

What to Look For 

Before I even get into the specifics of intermediate-level appropriate string, I’d like to quickly congratulate you.

I know that the game of tennis is difficult to learn, and given that you’ve stuck with it and reached an intermediate level is already VERY COMMANDABLE – so well done. 

Now, let’s get to finding you the right string.

Given that you are still in the process of working on your game…

..I don’t believe that it is necessary to choose a string WITH ENORMOUS AMOUNTS of spin and power just yet.

I feel that it is far more beneficial to source a string that gives you control along with moderate levels of power.

This is because you are still in the learning process.

And you must first understand how to control the ball and apply the relevant spins to prepare yourself for that next jump up.

Incorporating more power and masses of spin into your game will come with time, and there is NO RUSH.

Everybody develops this awesome game at their own pace, as did I all those years ago.

With that in mind, there is also no need to go out and buy the best string on the market, as you just don’t require it as of yet.

It’s much more important to control the ball and continue enjoying your development at this stage, and I’ve got just the string in mind.

Recommendation for you – Wilson Revolve

I first experimented with the revolve string a few years back, while I was coaching tennis in the USA.

This string was a huge hit with the kids, given that it is available in a range of bright colors, but it’s also a great string for intermediate-level adults too.

Wilson has designed it in such a way that the string performs like polyester, but it is nowhere near as harsh on the arm.

It is incredibly forgiving if you don’t quite catch the ball right either, for the strings have a tri-polymer shape that enables a MODERATE LEVEL OF SPIN.

Personally, I love that these strings don’t move around all over the place when you play too, as that drives me crazy out there on the court!

You can buy these strings in individual sets or as a reel, so the choice is yours.

Useful Links

Best Tennis String For Spin And Power Reviewed In 2022

Tennis String For Spin And Power

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

If you are unsure of your exact game style, or you don’t really want to go all-in on a string for any specific category…

.. I’d recommend going for a string that provides a BLEND OF BENEFITS.

This is the reason that I’ve put together a category for spin and power, as these two elements combined can add plenty of benefits to your game.

MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE TENNIS STRING FOR SPIN AND POWER IS:

Finding a string that gives you a greater spin, of course, means that you can really get some bite on the ball and generate spins such as topspin and slice to great effect.

There are strings out there that offer more of a ‘meet in the middle’ solution for these features too, which essentially gives you the best of both worlds…

– Adequate Power With an Increased Ability to Whip Up Some Spin.

What You Need to Know

As I mentioned above, finding a string that gives you both of these BENEFITS IS IDEAL for those of you who are unsure of what your game style may be.

It’s also beneficial for those of you who wouldn’t classify as a power player or a spin/control player.

So why not choose a string that gives you a broader range of benefits?

It’s perfectly normal for players to choose a string that doesn’t have just one exact benefit.

For example, if you choose a string that is purely designed for power, you are likely going to sacrifice on feel and control.

The good news is that there are strings in the industry that give you more of an all-round solution to enhance your game – you just need to know where to look!

Usually, to source strings that meet this description, you will need to look at full polyester or co-polyester strings, and the gauge can vary.

Personally, I prefer to check out strings that are middle of the range in terms of the gauge…

.. As this means that the string will be DURABLE enough and provide ENOUGH FEEL ON THE BALL.

That isn’t always the case, but I’ve looked into this category for a long time and done my research to bring to you the best fit – in my opinion.

Recommendation For You – Tecnifibre Black Code

If I ran out of my all-time favorite string, Babolat RPM Blast, this was MY GO-TO STRING during my college playing days.

I guess it helped that my college was also sponsored by Tecnifibre, but that’s ANOTHER STORY.

For me, the Tecnifibre Black Code gives a string that is not only durable.

But it also offers a decent level of power along with a reasonable amount of bite on the ball.

It’s true that this string won’t give you as much power as Luxilon.

And it won’t give you as much spin as the Solinco mentioned earlier, but it gives a great level for each of these features.

Always remember, this is a category where we are trying to get the best-blended benefits that we can, and I believe that this string is the best on the market right now.

Tecnifibre even has their own guidance on which of their strings could suit your game style – so please take the time to look at this page.

Useful Links

How to Choose the Best Tennis String for Power in 2022

How to Hit a Two-Handed Backhand in Tennis

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

The funny thing about choosing a string for power is that it’s rare you will find a powerful string that also gives comfort with durability.

That is why this category, in particular, can be quite tricky to navigate, which can often cause turmoil for those of you trying to find the right power string.

MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE TENNIS STRING FOR POWER IS:

There are loads of brands and strings out there that claim to give you this, that, and the other, but it’s rare that they follow up on these claims.

I’m personally not what you would call a POWER PLAYER, but I sure know what makes an impressive power string.

If you are a power player, and you are ready to find the right string that will complement the attributes of YOUR GAME, read on for full details.

What to Look For 

Oftentimes, when you choose to purchase a string designed for power.

It is because you need to add this element to your game to reach the next level.

I completely get it, and I’ve experimented with several types of tennis strings through the years that really give that CATAPULT EFFECT on contact with the ball.

There’s a major problem within the industry for power strings, however, which is the connection of getting that dead feel with power strings.

This is why I always look for strings that have been manufactured by those bigger brands, and even though they can be expensive, it’s WORTH THE INVESTMENT.

I look for strings with a slightly thicker gauge than most, as this naturally improves the durability of the string.

As well as this, if a string holds its position during play, you can be sure that the quality is up there.

Any strings that move around and lose tension quickly are simply not worth it.

For me, there is one particular string that rises above all others for this category.

Recommendation For You- Luxilon Alu Power Rough

Luxilon as a brand has been around for years, and they’ve been a string of choice for many top professionals throughout this period.

This is because they are well known for their power strings, although they do come at a price.

You can expect to pay well over $100 for a reel of this string, but for me, it is unrivaled in terms of the quality that it offers for power.

I would always put this string in the mains and crosses if you are an intermediate/advanced player looking for power.

If you are a beginner, however, I would always put a much softer string in the crosses.

And only use this string if you already have the fundamentals of your technique in place.

The reason I chose this string out of the entire Luxilon range is due to the fact that the string really grips the ball too, hence the ‘rough’ title.

This creates added feel and a bit of extra spin on the ball too, which goes well WITH THE INCREASED POWER TOO.

Useful Links

How to Choose the Best Tennis String for Control Reviewed In 2022

Best Tennis String For Control

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

There are many different game styles in the world of tennis.

There are players out there who LOVE TO HIT THE BALL at 100mph to try and out-power opponents.

MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE TENNIS STRING FOR CONTROL IS:

There are players who love to sit at the back and defend, and even players that love to rush the net after a serve.

YES, the days of the ‘Tim Henman ‘style’ aren’t dead and buried yet!

Regardless of your chosen playing style, however, there is a fundamental reality that we all must face in tennis.

This is something that I tell my players time and time again, and that is the fact that WITHOUT CONTROL of the ball, you aren’t going to GET FAR IN TENNIS.

For example, if you hit the ball at 100mph but you are simply unable to keep the ball in, you won’t win many points.

If you like to defend from the back but you will miss after two or three shots, you won’t be EFFECTIVE out there on the court.

Control is everything, which is why I’ve taken the time to look at this category.

What to Look For 

There is something that I learned about many years ago while sitting in my economics classes in college, and I feel that it applies to this category.

There is something referred to as ‘opportunity cost’ in economics, which simply put, means what must be sacrificed or given up in exchange for something else.

Stay with me here – I promise it isn’t as complicated as it sounds.

When you choose a string that is designed with control as the main objective, the string is not going to provide you with a wealth of power or spin.

This is what must be given up if you will in exchange for such control on the ball, but this isn’t necessarily a negative thing.

If you really think about it, if you are able to hit the ball from corner to corner with AMAZING ACCURACY, your opponent won’t be able to attack the ball.

This is something that I learned very early on in my junior career, which is why I value control as one of the most desirable characteristics of any string.

Strings that are designed for control will typically have an excellent feel on the ball, although they will break more often – that’s just the way it is.

Recommendation for you – Head Hawk

Head has produced some great tennis strings in the past, but this string really has TAKEN ME BY SUPRISE.

To get things started, it’s a string that is perfectly round, so it doesn’t grip the ball intensely and put any unwanted spin on the ball.

It’s also a co-polyester string, so you are getting the best out of both worlds really in terms of durability and comfort.

The main reason that I’ve chosen this over other control strings is that you can actually string your whole racket with this string and it still feels great.

This means there is no need to go and purchase a separate string to put in the crosses, which ultimately saves you money while providing you with a top-level string.

Useful Links

How to Choose the Best Tennis String for Spin Reviewed In 2022

Julia Goerges Best Tennis String For Spin

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

This section is for all of you players (like me) WHO LOVE to sit at the back of the court and try to grind your opponent off the court.

Don’t worry guys – no matter how many times they may call us ‘Hackers’ or ‘Grinders’…

.. it’s still a SWEET FEELING to run the other person from corner to corner and let the fitness shine through!

All jokes aside, the benefits of using a string that provides you with the ability to GENERATE MORE SPIN is truly an asset for your game.

MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE TENNIS STRING FOR SPIN IS:

Tennis strings have evolved these days into different shapes and sizes, and there are strings out there now that are:

  • Hexagonal
  • Square
  • Octagonal, and
  • Any other ‘Agonal’ that you can think of.

I do know that these strings provide a much better bite on the ball, and depending on how your technical ability is…

..you can WHIP UP TOPSPIN as you have never done before once you get your hands on the right string.

Understanding the shapes on tennis strings can be a bit confusing.

Therefore I’d suggest that you check out this comprehensive explanation concerning the shapes here:

What To Look for 

I’ve talked about the shapes of the string in the introduction above.

But now, please allow me to explain why it is important to get a string that compensates spin.

To emphasize this, I can give you an example of my own game – I’m sure that many of you will be able to relate.

I’ve never been the tallest guy in the world, or the strongest for that matter, which is obviously not ideal for the game of tennis.

What I have always had on my side however is speed and fitness, which ultimately lead to the development of a ‘GRINDER GAME STYLE’.

To be an effective grinder or baseline player, being able to HIT MASSES OF TOPSPIN on the ball allows you to open up the court and maneuver your opponent around to win the point.

Let’s face facts – we will never be the type of players to blast somebody off the court through ENORMOUS POWER and PRESENCE.

With this in mind, it is absolutely crucial to find a string that will allow you to generate added levels of topspin, as this is our main advantage! 

I’ve spent years trying different tennis strings in search of this, and I recently came across an absolute gem of a string.

My Recommendation – Solinco Hyper G Heaven

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first of all – the bright green color won’t be for everyone.

And it certainly doesn’t fit in aesthetically depending on the color of your frame.

With that in mind, how your racket looks won’t improve the way that you play, but the STRING ITSELF WILL.

Solinco is quite a new brand in the tennis world, and I first started to experiment with their strings back in 2018.

Out of all the strings I tried, I found that this string provided a FANTASTIC FEEL combined with an awesome bite on the ball.

This bite is what allows you to hit with masses of topspin shot after shot, and the square ship means that the ball really reacts well on contact.

Useful Links

How to Regrip a Tennis Racket

  • Remove the Initial Grip
  • Stick the Grip at the Very Bottom of the Racket
  • Wrap Around With a Brief Overlap Until Finished

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Regripping a racket is a pretty important skill if you plan on playing tennis regularly.

And I must make a confession here – I didn’t learn to regrip my own rackets until I was about 15/16 YEARS OLD.

Until then, my father used to regrip my rackets for me, which isn’t something I’m overly proud of!

However, it’s actually amazing how many people still don’t know how to regrip a racket.

And until you learn, someone else will always need to do it for you, which is far from ideal.

This is especially true when you need to regrip a racket DURING A MATCH!

There is nothing more embarrassing than having to leave the court to ask someone to regrip a racket for you, TRUST ME.

With that said, of course, there are both replacements and overgrips that you can use.

But regardless of which type of grip you use, the method for regripping them remains the same. 

Below, I’d like to highlight exactly how you can regrip your racket from start to finish.

So let’s get started.

Regripping Your Racket – Step by Step

Once you have regripped a fair few rackets in your time, you will usually be able to do this in around a minute or two.

Like anything, it just takes an INITIAL UNDERSTANDING of how to do it and then a boatload of practice.

But the first element is what I’ll be focusing on here, starting with the very first thing you must do:

1) Removing the Grip on Your Racket

People don’t regrip their rackets just for the FUN OF IT!

The main reason for regripping your racket is because the one you are currently using is either worn out or you just don’t like it.

So on that note, the first thing you need to do is to remove the current grip on your racket.

This is actually the easiest part of the regripping process.

All you need to do is tear off the tape attaching your grip to the handle (should be at the top of the handle), and then unwind the grip.

The one and only exception to this is if you are simply putting an overgrip over the top of your current grip.

But in the vast majority of cases, you will want to remove the current grip before you go and put on THE NEW ONE.

Make sure you discard all parts of the previous grip, including any parts of the grip that stick to the handle, as these can make the new grip somewhat BUMPY and UNCOMFORTABLE

2) Attaching Your New Grip to the Bottom of the Handle

Once the previous grip has been removed from your racket, it’s time to start putting on your new one.

All grips come with two main parts of extra packaging you’ll need to take care of first.

The first of these is the plastic wrapping that coats the grip to maintain that STICKY FEEL.

This must be removed, and then you’ll see a small sticky tape on the inside of the grip.

You must remove this as well, as this is the part of the grip that you use to stick to the handle to begin regripping it.

And as it happens, this is the very first thing that you need to do.

Make sure that you stick the grip to the very bottom of the handle, leaving no parts of the previous grip or handle exposed.

Personally, I like to let the grip hang over the bottom of the handle slightly, as I find it more comfortable.

But with that said, this is all a matter of personal preference.

3) Wrapping the Grip Around

Starting the wrap around is the most delicate and difficult part of regripping your racket.

In this stage, I recommend stretching the grip as much as possible, without tearing it, of course.

That’s because it helps to ensure that the grip fits tightly around the handle, removing any annoying bumps or gaps in the grip when finished.

Keeping THIS PRESSURE, you can start to wrap the grip around the handle, trying to very slightly overlap the grip on each turn of the handle.

The overlap should be no more than a fingernail’s length, as anything more might mean that you run out of material as you get to the top of the handle.

This actually presents an interesting decision.

If you have a two-handed backhand, you must regrip the racket and cover the entire handle.

But if you have a one-handed backhand, this isn’t strictly necessary.

Check out how Richard Gasquet does his racket regrip to see what I mean: 

As you’ll see in the video, he only regrips half of the handle, as that’s the only bit of the grip that he uses.

Bonus – Making Sure You’ve Done It Correctly

Before you actually put the sticky tape on top of the grip when finished, you might want to take a moment to investigate the job you’ve done.

While keeping the pressure on the grip, you can look back to ensure that the overlap is consistent all the way up the grip.

If there are any gaps or inconsistencies, you can simply unwrap the grip to that point and correct it.

That’s why I recommend that you don’t put the sticky tape on the grip prior to checking out the job that you’ve done.

But once you are satisfied that you’ve done things correctly, you can then stick the tape on and finish things off.

You’ll also notice that your racket has a small rubber tag at the top of the handle.

I like to slide this down to cover the sticky tape used to attach the grip to the handle.

This ensures that the sticky tape won’t peel off, and from an AESTHETICS POINT OF VIEW, I think it looks better – not that this really matters!

Let me know if these tips help you to regrip your racket correctly in the comments!

National Tennis Day – What Is It

National Tennis Day
  • June 20th – Every Single Year
  • A Day Where People Play and Celebrate the Sport of Tennis
  • Can Play in the Park, Local Club, Your Garden, Street, Wherever Else!

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

There seems to be a day of the year dedicated to many things these days.

And while I believe some of them are a little silly, I must say, this one is PRETTY COOL.

On June 20th, every single year, people are encouraged to pick up a racket and play some tennis.

Whether you are a beginner, a seasoned veteran, or you’ve never even picked up a racket before, National Tennis Day is NOT ONE TO BE MISSED.

You may even be more motivated than usual to give tennis a try since this date falls between the French Open and Wimbledon.

It’s a time of the year when tennis is in full flow, and I highly recommend marking it on your calendar so that you don’t miss it.

With that said, I do have my own bits of advice on how you can make the most of this day when it comes around.

Read on to find out what these tips are.

Making the Most of National Tennis Day

Unless you already have plans on June 20th, why not clear your schedule and try some tennis?

If you’ve never played before, let me tell you now, this is one of the MOST SOCIAL, FUN, and ‘LONG TERM FRIENDLY’ sports you can possibly get involved with.

It’s also a sport that can be enjoyed regardless of your age, starting with toddlers all the way to those in their twilight years.

And National Tennis Day is the perfect time to kick off YOUR INTERESTS in tennis. 

So how do you make the most of it?

Well, you can try the following: 

Get a Game Arranged

Above all else, the best way to get involved with National Tennis Day is to simply pick up a racket and play.

After all, the best way to fall in love with any sport is to get out there and give it a try.

If you only watch from the sidelines, you will never FEEL THE JOY and EXCITEMENT that this sport can bring.

Even if you don’t own any rackets, you can easily pick up a couple from your local sports store for a cheap price.

Of course, you’ll also need a few tennis balls, but unless you are going for high-end brands in either area, you won’t have to spend a bunch of money.

And if you have a local club that allows guests, you might be able to rent the equipment without needing to invest any money at all.

Not all clubs allow this, but hey, it’s WORTH A TRY.

Make sure you arrange the game well in advance, however, as you might be scrambling if you are trying to arrange a game with just a few days to go.

Invite Your Friends and Family to Join You

In tennis, I like to think that the more people who get involved, the more fun you are going to have out there on the court.

Back in my college days, I used TO LOVE being out there on the court with 10-15 of my friends and fellow athletes.

Those were some of the best times of my life, playing fun tennis games without a care in the world!

And what better way to get a taste of this than by inviting your closest friends and family to come and play tennis?

If you have a lot of people who want to play, of course, you’ll need a few courts to play on.

But if you head to a local park, you should find that there are quite a few available.

You can even book courts at certain public parks, but this isn’t always the case.

However, if you can indeed book a court or two, make sure you do so to guarantee that you’ll be able to play.

Get an Early Jump on the Day

National Tennis Day might only come around once per year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a jump on the day ahead of time!

If you already play tennis year-round, this might not apply to you as much as others who don’t usually play.

But on that note, I have two pieces of advice for those who don’t usually play tennis year-round.

The first bit of advice I have is to try and watch the tournament that is held just before June 20th.

The tournament I am talking about here is Queens (the Cinch Championships), one of the warm-up events for Wimbledon.

Queens is played from the 13th to the 19th of June, and it’s a pretty awesome grass-court tournament.

And while this tournament is on, why not start playing and practice what you have seen on TV?

I used to love doing that when I was learning the game, and I have a feeling that you might just enjoy it too.

Expand Your Knowledge of Tennis Superstars

National Tennis Day obviously provides a 24-hour opportunity where you can get involved and enjoy the sport of tennis.

But if you are to really fall in love with the game, I suggest that you get familiar with some of the biggest superstars of the sport.

After all, once you learn about the best in any sport, you gain admiration for what they are able to do, and I’ve found that it serves as motivation to DEVELOP YOUR own skills.

Sure, this might not be the case for everyone, but it has certainly worked for me over the years.

On that note, some of the players you might want to learn about on National Tennis Day include:

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, Ash Barty, Daniil Medvedev, Alex Zverev, Andy Murray, and countless others.

Why not read up on them and see what they’ve been able to achieve in the sport of tennis? 

Finally – have a great National Tennis Day!

Let us all know how you plan on spending it in the comments right here.

3 Great Tips to Increase Power on Your Serve

Tennis How to Get More Power on Your Serve
  • Drive Up With the Legs
  • Adjust Your Ball Toss
  • Work on Your Pronation

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

With the serve being such an important part of the game, it makes sense to want to improve it.

Improving your accuracy on the serve is one way to do it.

But besides this, the one area that everybody wants to improve on is the power they get on their serve.

Why?

Because powerful serves yield more free points, more aces, and the follow-up shot then BECOMES SIGNIFICANTLY EASIER after a powerful serve.

Looking at the ATP rankings for aces, big guys like Isner and Karlovic take the top two spots – both huge servers.

But interestingly, Roger Federer is in 3rd place, showing that serve placement can also GAIN PLENTY OF ACES.

However, working on where you can place your serve only comes with practice, whereas more power can be gained by adjusting certain mechanics.

The latter is what I shall be focusing on in this quick read, as proven by my top tips shared above.

And now, let me get a little more specific on each of the adjustments I have recommended earlier.

Specifics on My Top Three Tips

Just imagine what an EXTRA 5 or 10mph could lead to when serving!

I’ve never been a huge server, but then again, I’m not exactly tall for a tennis player.

However, I’ve often wondered how great the game must be for guys who can HAMMER DOWN serves at 130, 135, or even 140mph.

While I’m not promising you will get to those kinds of speeds, I can guarantee you that the following will help you to hit your serve with more pace.

i) Making Full Use of the Legs

In many shots in tennis, your legs are your best asset.

What I mean by this is that you need to get every ounce of energy and assistance that you can from them.

And for many shots, you must try to bend your knees, load up, and then spring through the ball to MAXIMISE THE PACE you can get.

This is no different when serving, as you need to use your legs to spring up from the ground and contact the ball.

Getting a little air time here is preferable, and the reason for this is that you want to get your contact point AS HIGH AS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE.

When you think about it, the higher you hit the ball, the better angle you have to work with when applying power and aiming towards the service box.

That’s why tall guys are often such huge servers!

But perhaps the best (and smoothest) example I can think of here is Roger Federer.

Check out this video to see how well he uses his legs when serving:

ii) Adjusting the Ball Toss

The ball toss is one of the most important parts of the serve, yet it often gets overlooked or under practiced.

But in my experience, and from what I’ve learned about tennis over the years, if the ball toss isn’t right, everything GOES SOUTH.

That’s why it is so important that you work on it to maximize the power you can get.

Many intermediate players believe that the ball toss merely needs to be high enough, and slightly in front of the body.

But this isn’t the case.

If you were to toss the ball and let it bounce, it should be a good couple of feet inside the baseline.

There are some pretty specific reasons for this too.

(1) Firstly, the ball needs to be right out in front of you because it forces you to drive up to the ball – remember point one above?

When you have to spring to the ball to get to it, you will automatically engage the legs and do so.

(2) Secondly, by tossing the ball ahead of you, the way in which you can contact the ball is more efficient.

This is often referred to as a ‘SNAP MOTION’.

Basically, the more your racket is ahead of your wrist, the easier and more powerful it is to snap over the top of the ball. 

iii) Perfecting the Pronation

My third tip is closely linked with the second point. You’ve probably noticed a pattern – all of these tips are intricately linked.

Now, in terms of perfecting the pronation, this is more of a technical element some might say.

However, by tossing the ball in front of you, you will automatically improve your pronation to the ball.

This is a little more complex than the first two tips, but let me explain.

For this one, let me refer you to the video below of one of my all-time favorite players, Pete Sampras:

Now, pronation describes the way in which you lead with your elbow and drive up to the ball before snapping it.

Pete Sampras does this to perfection!

The more that you lead with your elbow, ideally from a starting position further down your back, the better you will coil up the arm and then let rip on the ball.

If this still sounds a little confusing, I often like to compare the pronation on a serve to simply throwing a ball. 

If you want to throw a ball as far as you can, you will really want to wind up the elbow and then release your arm.

The serve is no different, apart from the fact that you’ve then got a racket in your hand!

Conclusion

I sincerely hope that the information shown above lets you develop more pace on your serve.

The changes might be quick, or they might be rapid – it all depends on how much you actually practice on the court.

I know that nobody likes working on their serve, but believe me, your game and your results will thank you later down the line if you do. 

Do you have anything else to add to improve power on a serve?

Have you used the tips above and seen any results? Let us know in the comments!

How to Toss a Ball

How to Toss a Tennis Ball
  • Keep Your Arm Movement as Smooth as You Can
  • Toss From Your Palm if Possible
  • Try Not to Watch the Ball

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

The serve is the only shot that you have COMPLETE CONTROL OVER in the game of tennis.

And since it is such an important shot, it makes sense to practice it as much as you can.

With that said, as important as serving is, there is one part of this shot that absolutely needs to be on point.

The part I am talking about is, of course, the ball toss. If the ball toss doesn’t go as planned, the rest of your service motion WILL CRUMBLE.

The result will be a relatively poor serve compared to what you could have potentially produced.

In my many years of coaching, I’ve seen that the ball toss tends to get overlooked all too often.

Many coaches focus on the serving technique, yet all of this goes to waste if the ball toss isn’t executed correctly.

This is true even at the highest level, with one of the most famous incidents involving Andre Agassi at the 1998 US Open – read all about it right here.

But coming back to the purpose of this piece now, I’d like to show you how to IMPROVE YOUR BALL TOSS.

That’s the bottom line, and I’ve detailed three main tips on how you can achieve this.

Specifics of Each Top Tip

Believe it or not, there is NO EXACT WAY that coaches recommend tossing a ball for your serve in tennis.

Some players prefer a QUICK RELEASE, some prefer to toss the ball from their FINGERTIPS, and some probably don’t think much of it at all.

It all depends on the individual.

But in my experience, the following tips remain somewhat consistent and effective for most players.

1) Smooth Arm Motion

Before you even toss the ball, it’s important to address the arm motion.

After all, you must raise your arm, usually from below your waist, and then release the ball once the arm approaches your shoulder height.

This is how every serve begins, making it an important element of getting a GREAT BALL TOSS.

And on that note, my number one tip on this one is to keep your arm motion as smooth as you possibly can.

If you can maintain a smooth motion, the actual release of the ball from your hand will also BE SMOOTHER.

Why?

Well, to explain that I can highlight what tends to happen if the motion isn’t overly smooth.

If you raise your arm in a somewhat ‘Jerked Motion’, you actually lose the momentum, which hinders the release of the ball when it comes to tossing it.

But if you keep the arm gliding through towards your shoulder height, the ball toss will then follow the path of your arm, most likely. 

Watch Novak Djokovic in this video to gain a bit more insight on this:

2) Tossing From the Palm

Of the three tips I have talked about here, this one is the most susceptible to personal preference.

But what I can tell you is that people who toss the ball USING THEIR FINGERS tend to have a more difficult time releasing the ball correctly.

That’s because the ball can just graze one of your fingertips on the way up, which completely distorts the trajectory of the toss.

Of course, there is no guarantee that this will happen…

..but why not remove the possibility altogether if you can?

On that note, I like to recommend that players nestle the ball in the palm of their hand when approaching the serve.

If this doesn’t feel comfortable, you could move the ball slightly towards the crease of your fingers and the top of your palm.

Just make sure that you don’t start to let the ball roll onto your fingers prior to the release, as that’s what we are trying to remove.

And since the palm of your hand is nice and flat, should you combine this with a smooth arm motion, there is a better chance that the ball toss will release in a nice straight manner.

3) Don’t Watch the Ball

When people are starting to get in their own heads about tossing the ball, one of the main things they will start to do is watch the ball.

Believe me, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by staring at the ball prior to releasing it.

If you do this, all of your focus will turn towards the ball toss and you MIGHT START HAVING some technical issues on the serve.

So to avoid this, I recommend simply feeling the ball in your hand to ensure you are releasing from the most ideal position. 

And if you can do this without watching the ball, you can then FOCUS MORE ON YOUR MOTION where you want TO HIT the serve.

Don’t worry if this feels a little strange at first!

It does take a bit of time and practice to get used to tossing the ball this way, but it will greatly help you in the long run.

Conclusion

It’s no great secret that the ball toss can be one of the most frustrating things in tennis.

But since it is part of the only shot that is entirely in your control, if you practice it enough, I am confident that you will MASTER IT.

You don’t even need to be on a tennis court to practice this, which cannot really be said for any other part of the game.

Just take a tennis ball at home, go out into your yard or the street, and start putting these tips into play. 

As the weeks and months roll by, YOUR CONFIDENCE WILL GROW, and your ball toss will be better than ever.

You will also notice that your serve improves as a result of improving your ball toss, which is always a huge positive further down the road!

Let me know if these tips help you to improve your ball toss in the comments below.

Which Joints Get Injured Most in Tennis

Which Joints Get Injured Most in Tennis
  • Shoulder – Usually Due to Serving and Overhead Motions
  • Knee – Suffers From Heavy Impact
  • Wrist – High Impact Zone When Striking the Ball

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Tennis is an extremely high-impact sport, much like others at the highest level.

The court surface can be unforgiving, especially on hard courts.

And with players needing to sprint from side to side, stop instantly, and twist on a dime, it goes without saying that your joints can take a fair beating.

All of this definitely takes its toll as you get older, trust me!

And as you can see above, the three joints that bear the brunt here include shoulders, knees, and wrists.

I’ve had the displeasure of having a major shoulder injury in my time, and my wrist has flared up from time to time too.

Fortunately, I’ve not had too many problems with my knees.

But with that said, I’d still say I’m reasonably qualified to talk about the issues facing joint problems in tennis.

Nobody wants to get injured, of course, but it is simply a fact of the game that these things can

happen. This is also true for professional players.

We’ve seen Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer suffer from knee problems in recent years.

And even the superhuman specimen of Novak Djokovic has endured elbow and wrist injuries during his career.

So as you can see, injuries can strike us all, and I’d like to delve a little deeper on this topic right here.

Explanation of Why These Joints Get Injured Most

I’ve chosen not to list elbows as one of the main joints that get injured in tennis.

Besides the recurring issue of tennis elbow that certain players have, I’m not aware of too many players suffering from other elbow problems.

While I’m not saying that elbows don’t get injured besides tennis elbow, I’d say that the other three joints carry more significance in the injury department. 

Why do I believe this to be the case?

Read on to find out.

(A) Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries can vary greatly in terms of the UNDERLYING PROBLEMS.

Personally, I’ve had a long-standing impingement in my right shoulder.

This causes sharp pain when raising the arm above shoulder height, and unfortunately, it’s a problem I’ve dealt with most of my career.

But this is just one problem – there are countless others that can arise.

With the shoulder being a ball and socket joint, there are many things that can go wrong when playing tennis

And while I’m not a qualified physio, I can tell you now that these problems mainly arise from overhead movements.

When someone has a shoulder injury, serving, overheads, and anything above shoulder height can be a real problem.

With the shoulder being involved in every stroke in tennis, it is tough to give this joint time to heal and rest too.

(B) Knee Injuries

While shoulder injuries arise from actually playing the game, knee injuries arise largely due to movement, instead of the act of hitting a tennis ball.

When you think about it, it makes PERFECT SENSE as to why the knees might get injured more than other joints.

Every single shot in tennis requires you to drive with your legs to a certain extent.

Serving requires that you bend and push up to the ball, groundstrokes require you to lift with the legs to get adequate upward motion through the shot….

…and even volleys require you to spring towards the ball.

Not only this, but tennis rallies can be PRETTY GRUELLING.

On a hard court, players must stop and change direction instantly, and players cover some serious ground throughout matches.

Nadal is a classic example, with his style of play being more of a grind on his body.

(C) Wrist Injuries

Much like the shoulder joint, your wrist is involved with every single stroke in tennis.

And if there is a weakness or some kind of inflammation there, believe me, you’ll feel it.

The pain can range from moderate to severe when contacting the ball, and wrist injuries can be rather crippling in general.

Take Dominic Thiem as an example – he has been away from the tour for a long time now with a wrist injury that JUST WON’T HEAL.

Bear in mind he will have access to the best physios and doctors around!

How to Protect These Joints on and off the Court

Although these three joints do bear a lot of the injuries sustained in tennis, there are ways to protect the joints.

Here are my top tips for doing so:

Shoulder – Strengthen and Restrict the Joint

The first thing you should think about here is how to strengthen the joint.

I’d recommend grabbing some of therabands to perform some exercises, every single day.

This video should help give you some ideas if you are stuck:

In addition to these exercises, you should try and restrict the joint when playing.

Depending on the injury, you might just strap the shoulder.

But if you want optimal support and restriction, you might want to tape the upper part of your back too.

Knees – Play With a Knee Support and Rest as Much as Possible

If your knee injury is severe, of course, your best option is to rest as much as possible.

There is no way of avoiding impact on the knees in tennis, unfortunately.

But if you are able to play and the pain isn’t too bad, make sure you purchase knee support to at least reduce the impact.

If it’s a severe injury, I’d recommend knee support that extends both above and below the knee.

But if your injury is mild, a simple device to add pressure below the knee joint could do the trick.

Wrist – Sweatbands and Strapping, Strengthen the Joint

I’m currently suffering from a wrist injury in tennis, so I’m probably most qualified to give advice on this one!

If you can, try and strengthen the joint by using either therabands or forearm grippers.

Both will help to improve your range of motion and strengthen the muscles/tendons surrounding the wrist.

But if you want to keep playing through the injury, make sure you use a supportive tape and a wristband every time you step onto the court. 

I’ve found that these steps are helping with my current wrist injury, and I hope they will help you just as much.

Do you now feel more aware of what to look for concerning joint injuries in tennis?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

When to Switch Sides in Doubles

When to Switch Sides in Doubles
  • When You or Your Partner Gets Lobbed
  • As a Strategy Following an Aggressive Serve
  • When Taking an Ambitious Poach

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Doubles is obviously a slightly different game from singles when it comes to competitive tennis.

The formations are different, the skillset to be a great player is different, and the roadmap for success is VERY DIFFERENT from singles.

In my opinion, it’s almost like a new sport at times, which is why great singles players aren’t always great doubles players.

And one of the most misunderstood elements of doubles is when to actually switch sides during a point.

After all, you and your partner are each responsible for one-half of the court, unless this all changes!

Switching sides in doubles can happen by choice, or you might be forced to do it, such as when you or your partner gets lobbed.

Check out this video to see just how frequent switching sides is at the highest level:

Now, these are the two underlying reasons for switching sides, but there are certain situations where switching sides is more appropriate than others.

On that note, I’d like to talk about these situations in more detail right now. 

Switching Sides Explained

As I’ve stressed above, in a typical doubles point, you and your partner will start off by covering one-half of the court.

Each of you will be set on either the Deuce or Ad side of the court, and this is true when serving and returning.

But while this is the standard formation, there are a number of situations where switching IS APPROPRIATE.

So with that cleared up, let me share some finer details on these scenarios right now.

Getting Lobbed by Your Opponents

Regardless of whether you are serving or returning, your opponents could lob you in order to take back the net.

For example, let’s say that you are the net player while your partner is serving.

If your opponent chooses to switch things up, they might lob the ball over your head.

Now, unless you can take the ball out of the air and hit it as an overhead, the ball will ultimately bounce in the back half of the court.

This then puts you and your partner in a defensive position, unfortunately. 

And since your partner must scramble to the other side of the court to retrieve the ball, it is now logical to switch sides.

Just note that your opponents may then both be at the net, or the person who hit the lob might stay at the baseline.

If they both come to the net, you should retreat back to the baseline, as this is the best way to neutralize the point. 

Switching After a Big Serve

At the highest level in doubles, you might see a fair bit of chatting going on before someone actually serves.

Believe it or not, there is a METHOD TO THIS MADNESS.

The first thing that a great pair will talk about is where the server plans on hitting the ball.

Secondly, they will discuss whether the player at the net will switch on the first ball or not.

For example, if the pair agree that the serve will be hit down the T and that the net player will switch, this is an aggressive strategy in which the pair will switch sides immediately. 

Doing this does open up the alley return, but that’s why the pair will make sure they are on the same page to cover all angles.

Of course, this doesn’t just happen following a T serve either.

It can happen when serving at the body, or following an Australian-style formation.

And at the very least, switching sides immediately following a serve does make the returners start to think and question where they should be hitting their return.

Coming Across to Poach

Unless you are switching sides following a lob, most of the time, switching sides is done with the intention of the net player claiming a poach.

In case you are unsure of what a poach is, this is an action done where the net player comes across to either the middle line or the other side to cut off the volley.

Of course, the reason for doing this is to hit an attacking volley and hopefully win the point.

Now, poaching won’t always mean that you have to switch sides, but there are two key situations where this is appropriate.

Firstly, if you and your partner are both at the net, should the player closer to the net come across to take the volley, the court behind them will be exposed.

That’s where the player further back must quickly switch across to cover the space.

Secondly, if there is just one player at the net, should the poach require the player to come all the way over the centerline, usually on a higher volley, it’s then appropriate to switch sides. 

This is the case regardless of whether you are poaching with a forehand or a backhand volley.

And ideally, you should be taking the poach and aiming at the feet of the net player on the opposing side.

Alternatively, you could steer the volley straight up the middle and then look for the NEXT VOLLEY.

It’s completely up to you, and it does somewhat depend on the situation.

Conclusion

As you’ve now seen from the information above, switching sides can be both a defensive and attacking strategy.

When forced to do so, this is when you might want to neutralize the point by putting a lob of your own up there.

But if this is done intentionally, make sure that you take full advantage and put the POINT TO BED!

And to conclude, switching sides may feel a little strange at first unless you are an experienced player.

However, I highly recommend that you stick at it, and eventually, switching sides and when to do so will become SECOND NATURE.

At this point, you’ll find that the quality of your doubles significantly improves too.

Has this information helped you to understand when to switch sides in doubles?

Let us know in the comments if so.

How to Win Doubles Tennis With a Weak Partner

How to Win Doubles Tennis With a Weak Partner
  • Take More Chances Than Usual
  • Neutralize Your Partner’s Weaknesses as Much as Possible
  • Make the Most of Opportunities When They Come

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

It goes without saying that it isn’t EASY to win a doubles match if your partner is an OBVIOUS WEAK LINK.

This becomes even tougher when you play a pairing that is much better than the level of your partner too.

Believe me, I’ve been there!

With this said, it is still possible to get the win by following the tips I’ve presented above.

Of course, these tips aren’t guaranteed to get you the win, as there are many factors at play in all matches.

However, they should definitely BOOST YOUR CHANCES of bagging a win, even with a much weaker partner than usual.

So now that I’ve given you a quick introduction as to how to improve your chances of success with a weak partner…

..let me now dive deeper and explain how to follow through on these tips in the BEST POSSIBLE WAY.

Strategies Discussed in Detail

No matter what level of tennis you are currently at, if you play doubles, there will likely be a time when you compete with a Weak Partner.

This happens all the time, and it can be a rather large challenge to come out on top of your partner isn’t a great player.

That’s exactly why I’ve put these tips together so that you can hopefully take the steps necessary to turn things IN YOUR FAVOR.

So without further ado, let’s get into the various tips and strategies mentioned earlier.

1) Taking More Chances or Risks Than Usual

Once your opposition figures out that your partner is much weaker than you, they will likely start to target them to get the win.

This can be PRETTY FRUSTRATING, trust me, but it’s not something that cannot be overcome.

After all, you are still guaranteed to hit 100% of the serves in your own service games, and 50% of all returns when they are serving.

So really, you can still exert your own skills and presence on the court to a certain degree.

But with that said, you are going to need to play things a little riskier.

For example, when you are serving, you might need to increase the pace on your serve and hit closer to the lines.

If you get an ace, fantastic, but even if your partner then gets an easy volley, this is still a good result.

And on your returns, you might need to attack the ball immediately rather than trying to hit a neutralizing ball. 

Then when you are in open play, I recommend that you try and poach the ball more often, and take more chances with your groundstrokes.

Neutralizing Your Partners Weaknesses

Since your partner is a weaker player than you are, they will likely have obvious weaknesses that your OPPONENTS WILL TRY TO EXPOSE.

But with that said, this doesn’t mean that you cannot take the necessary steps to protect these weaknesses.

For example, if your partner has a weak backhand, you might want to put them on the Deuce side instead of the Ad side.

And if your partner has some suspect skills at the net, you can always play with both of you at the back rather than the usual staggered formation

While yes, it is tough to shield these weaknesses at all times, there are clearly ways to move the goalposts to some extent.

At the same time, you should figure out a way to shield these weaknesses in a way that will allow you to use your own strengths.

This can be very different from one partner to the next, so I’d recommend having a discussion with your partner to see how this can be done.

Taking Your Opportunities

This might sound obvious, but it is extremely important when playing with a weaker partner.

Of course, in an ideal world, you would take every chance that you get in tennis.

However, there are still ways that you can play the big points to increase your chances of taking such opportunities.

And since these opportunities might be few and far between if you are playing with a weaker partner, I’d recommend playing high percentage tennis, within reason.

For example, you might not want to pull the trigger and try to hit a clean winner with your return on a break-point.

But since I also believe you must take additional risks to win with a weaker partner, it’s important that you find a balance between risks and high percentage play when these opportunities arise.

At the very least, you don’t want to squander a break-point or even a set-point by hitting an unforced error – you should definitely make them win it.  

Bonus – Remain Positive

To thoroughly understand why this is so important, put yourself in the shoes of your partner.

They will likely be feeling more pressure than usual since they will probably be well aware that they are a weak link on the court.

In my experience, the best thing you can do is to constantly encourage them and PROVIDE PRAISE when they have done something good.

This will boost the morale that you share as a partnership, and it will also boost the confidence of your partner.

Ultimately, this will help them to play better, not to mention that doubles is all about energy. 

If the pair of you keep your energy positive and intense throughout, you will have a much better shot at winning the match. 

Conclusion

It goes without saying that even if you executed everything here to perfection, you might still lose the match.

But the good thing is that you will then leave the court knowing that you have done everything possible to try and get the win.

And at the end of the day, both you and your partner will be better for the experience, and you will live to fight another day.

Please let me know if these tips help you to turn matches around with a weak partner.

Should you have anything you’d like to add, feel free to do so in the comments section!

What Is Poaching in Tennis

What Is Poaching in Tennis
  • Intercepting a Ball in Doubles
  • Usually Describes a Volley
  • Done When the Opponents Are Under Pressure

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

If you’ve ever taken a coaching session for doubles before, you’ve likely heard the coach bang on about ‘POACHING’.

This is a term that describes the process of moving out of your standard position to attack a volley, often intercepting the ball somewhere over the middle line.

The objective of poaching a ball is to gain an attacking position in the point, rather than watching the two baseline players trade strokes.

Of course, some balls are easier to poach than others, and it all depends on how sharp you are with coming across to take the volley.

As you’ve seen above, there are three fundamentals relating to poaching in tennis.

It describes intercepting a ball, it involves a volley, and the most effective way to poach is when your opponents are under some kind of pressure.

And if you watch top-level doubles, poaching occurs in the vast majority of points.

Take a look at this video of the Bryan brothers to see what I mean:

So now, with the description of poaching clarified, let me go into some further details on how you can improve your poaching game in doubles.

The Art of Great Poaching

It’s not overly complicated to understand what poaching entails, as you’ve already seen above.

However, many people do not have a fundamental understanding of how to poach effectively.

For that reason, I’d prefer to concentrate on improving your poaching skills rather than focusing on some of the finer details of what poaching ACTUALLY CONSIST OF.

On that note, I’ve put together my top tips for effective poaching right here.

Move Forward to the Volley

In order to hit an effective and attacking volley, you must spring forward to the ball.

Beginners and even intermediate players assume that movement to a volley involves a PURELY LATERAL MOVE, but this isn’t the case.

If you can imagine a V on the court that extends out from your feet, you need to move along this V to get the best punch possible.

So if you are taking a forehand volley, which means you are poaching from the left of the court (for a right-hander), you must move to your right and forward.

The opposite is, of course, true for a backhand volley.

It’s CRITICAL that you bend your legs and spring towards the ball here.

This FORWARD MOMENTUM is what will help you to generate power on the ball, instead of taking a bigger swing, which is never helpful when it comes to volleying!

Cross on an Appropriate Ball

Even if you were the best volleyer in the world, you wouldn’t be an effective poacher if you constantly crossed on the wrong balls.

Of course, since poaching requires that you intercept the ball before it reaches your partner, whether on the baseline or at the net, it needs to be done on a realistic chance.

In my opinion, if you have to take more than one big step to intercept a volley, it’s likely that the ball is TOO FAR AWAY.

And if you try to poach a ball that is beyond your comfortable reach, you likely won’t get a good result from the volley.

As for what an appropriate ball might look like, there are two instances really.

If your partner has drilled the ball up the middle of the court, this reduces the angles and you can look to edge across.

Alternatively, if your partner has hit a good deep shot and the person across from you is on the back foot, this is also a good time to hunt down a poach.

Don’t Be Afraid of Getting Passed up the Line

This one used to always make me laugh back when I was coaching full time.

The queries regarding poaching were always the same. People would ask, ‘but what if I get passed up the line’.

My response – GOOD!

First of all, if you get passed up the line, you have forced your opponents to hit a winner in order to win the point.

Secondly, once your opponents realize that you are looking to poach, this will always be at the back of their minds.

Believe me, this alone can result in a range of unforced errors! 

And it doesn’t really matter at what point you get passed up the line either.

If it’s on a return or during a rally, it doesn’t matter.

The bottom line is that your opponents will start to concern themselves with your poaching at the net.

Constantly Move

This is something that all great doubles players do.

If you watch a doubles match at the highest level, the net players are constantly shuffling and looking to attack a loose groundstroke.

Should they be static, they wouldn’t get off the mark as quickly to poach for one, and for two, the baseline players wouldn’t then see them as a threat.

When moving, you should shuffle back as the ball passes you, and move forward as the ball passes to the opposing baseline player.

This video should help clarify what I mean: 

Make sure you don’t shuffle before the ball has passed either you or the other net player, however, as it’s important to remember that they will also be looking to poach.

Hitting Your Volley at the T

Finally, you must think about where to hit your volley when you do poach.

There is no use in poaching to go back to the baseline player, as you’ve then left a big gap up the alley for them to PASS YOU!

Instead, when you get your volley, you should be targeting the T – the place where the service boxes meet in the middle.

This means you are hitting the ball between your two opponents, and if the volley player gets involved, they haven’t got much time to react. 

Without question, this is your best shot at ending the point following a poach. 

I hope this has helped you to understand what poaching is, and how you can do this as effectively as possible.

If so, please let us know in the comments!

How to Get a Tennis Scholarship

How to Get a Tennis Scholarship
  • Compete in Top-Level Events to Get Ranking Up
  • Reach Out to Desired Colleges
  • Put Pen to Paper and Away You Go

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Getting a tennis scholarship in the USA is an ambition shared by many tennis players.

This is the avenue that I went down for my tennis career, and I DON’T REGRET IT WHATSOEVER.

But then again, while I would recommend this path for most people, it isn’t for everyone.

I’ve had friends that decided to turn professional, friends that got TOO HOMESICK and left and friends that decided to do university in their Home Country instead.

These are all things you must weigh up before pursuing a tennis scholarship in the USA.

However, if you decide that you do want to seek a tennis scholarship, you can give yourself the best shot by following my tips above.

If you are a junior, you’ll want to start competing in top-level junior events, ideally ITFs.

And if you are a senior, you may want to consider playing some future events.

It is likely that if you are a top player, colleges will actually approach you, instead of needing to reach out.

But everyone’s path is different.

With this said, securing a tennis scholarship in the USA can be broken down into two phases, as I’ve discussed below.

(A) The Preparation Phase

Once you’ve actually decided that you want to get a tennis scholarship in the USA, it’s time to start planning.

If you are a male, you will obviously be pursuing a male tennis scholarship.

And if you are a female, you’ll obviously be looking for a female tennis scholarship.

There’s GOOD NEWS if you are a female too, as there are more scholarships available for female tennis players than for men!

But regardless, the preparation phase still remains the same:

1) Competing in Tournaments

If you are thinking about a scholarship in the USA, there’s a fair chance that you are already competing in tournaments.

Some of you might be competing on a national level, and many of you might be competing on an international level.

Either way, it’s important that you boost your ranking as best you can to ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF PRESTIGIOUS COLLEGES.

Personally, I received my scholarship due to performances in international events and because of my ITF ranking.

However, it is possible to do this by simply having a TOP NATIONAL RANKING TOO.

2) Take Your SATs

If you are from overseas like me, you likely have no idea what SATs even mean!

I have to admit, I didn’t before I started looking at the process required for my own scholarship to come through.

But for those who don’t know, SATs are basically College Entrance Exams, and you should try and study for them as best you can.

Your score might determine whether you get any kind of academic assistance, financially, and it can even determine whether you get into a specific college or not.

So it’s better to take them seriously and brush up on your math and English skills!

3) Reach Out to Various Colleges 

If your ranking isn’t spectacular, the initial connections with college coaches might need to come from yourself.

You can easily obtain the email addresses of various coaches through a quick online search, and don’t be afraid of REACHING OUT TO THEM.

The worst they can do is not email you back or decline your interest in a scholarship.

But the good news is that the USA is full of great colleges, so your options ARE PLENTIFUL.

Once a connection is made, they might want to SEE YOU PLAYING too, which is why some players prefer to make a QUICK VIDEO and send this off.

I didn’t do this, but I know of many guys that did.

(B) The Execution Phase

After you’ve laid the foundations for obtaining a tennis scholarship in the USA, it’s time to put the finishing pieces together.

It’s a very exciting time, but you still need to make sure that you do things correctly, which brings me to the execution phase:

1) Go Through the NCAA Clearinghouse

There are multiple divisions that you can play in for college tennis.

And in order to decide which division you are eligible to compete in, you’ll need to go through the NCAA Clearinghouse.

This is necessary for all potential scholarship candidates, and these guys weigh up things like your academics, professional status, and more.

You’ll need to be approved by this body before accepting a scholarship for each respective division too.

2) Assess Your Options

If you are a great player, you’ll likely receive a bunch of offers for scholarships in various parts of the USA.

But each scholarship offer will not be the same – that I can promise you.

Your scholarship will be offered as a percentage, which will cover a portion of your tuition, accommodation, meals, and other things too.

Of course, the higher the percentage, the less you must pay each semester. With that said, the figures alone shouldn’t dictate your decision. 

I highly recommend researching the college, its academic programs, and whether you believe this would be a good fit before jumping at any offer.

3) Pick One and Get Your Visa (If Necessary)

At the end of the day, if you are to officially take a tennis scholarship in the USA, you’ll need to put pen to paper.

Take your time in looking at your options, and ensure that you’ve taken everything into consideration BEFORE MAKING YOUR DECISION.

And once you’ve picked which college you’d like to go to, it’s time to let the coach know and start putting things in place.

Only once you’ve received and accepted an offer can you then get your visa for the USA, if you are a foreign student, of course.

You’ll need to book an appointment at the US embassy for this, and you’ll also need to obtain a form called an I-20 from the college you will attend.

Finally, once all of this has gone smoothly, you will then jet out to begin your scholarship.

And if it is anything like my experience, you’ll have a great time!

Has this article helped you understand the process better? Do you have anything you’d like to add?

Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Why Are Tennis Ball Cans Pressurized

Why Are Tennis Ball Cans Pressurized
  • Extend Their Shelf Life
  • Ensure Optimum Performance Once Opened
  • Balance the Pressure Inside the Ball

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Let’s be honest – we all love that ‘POP’ when opening a tennis ball can.

Perhaps the only thing better is the scent of brand new tennis balls, although that’s a matter of personal preference!

But have you ever stopped and wondered why these cans are pressurized in the first place?

I have to admit, I’d never given it much thought before addressing this piece.

But as you can see above, cans are pressurized for 3 main reasons.

This involves extending the shelf life of the balls, to guarantee optimum performance, and to balance the pressure with the balls themselves.

And believe it or not, such pressure is required if tennis balls are to be used in professional competitions.

This is dictated by the International Tennis Federation, which is a pretty interesting read if you get the chance.

But coming back to the main point of this piece now, I’d like to highlight in more detail why cans are pressurized.

Of course, this won’t change the way you play the game in any way, shape, or form.

However, it will give you some insider knowledge which I think is pretty cool.

So, let’s get on with it!

Main Reasons Explained in Detail

I didn’t want to just give you the three main reasons and leave it there.

Instead, I wanted to ensure that everyone reading this receives an in-depth explanation for each of the main points.

This is outlined in the information presented below.

1) Shelf Life Extension

I found this to be one of the most interesting factors of them all.

But if you think about it, it REALLY DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.

After all, tennis balls, like other products, don’t have some kind of guarantee that they will be bought by a certain date.

So what better way to keep them as fresh as possible, for as long as possible by selling them in a pressurized can?

When this is done to a high quality, a can of tennis balls can sit there on the shelf for as long as two years before the pressure is NO LONGER ADEQUATE.  

And the only reason that the shelf life doesn’t go beyond this is due to micro leaks in the packaging, which is unavoidable according to the experts.

With that said, you cannot open the can and then play with the tennis balls TWO YEARS LATER and expect the same result.

Once they are opened, the pressure of the tennis balls decreases FAR MORE RAPIDLY.

2) Optimum Performance

We’ve all been there – playing with duff tennis balls during a practice session with friends.

Of course, if the balls aren’t bouncing as desired, you’re going to have a hard time rallying and above all, HAVING FUN!

But if the cans are pressurized correctly, the balls will bounce well straight out of the tin, and they will be lively on the court.

After all, that’s what you want when purchasing a brand new tin of balls.

And in all honesty, as long as you get that popping sound after opening the tin, this alone shows that the balls are in good condition.

The better the pop, the better the balls will perform, in my humble opinion.

And if you’re looking for some of the liveliest balls of all, I’d recommend checking out Wilson, Dunlop, or Babolat tennis balls.

In my experience, these balls tend to perform much better than other brands out there today. 

3) Pressure Balance

Tennis balls are always manufactured to a certain INTERNAL PRESSURE.

This is a requirement if the balls are to be used in professional events, as previously stated.

However, the fact that the can itself is pressurized is actually directly linked with the pressure of the balls.

Since the balls are pressurized to a higher level than air pressure, in order to get the desired bounce, the air inside the cans has to match.

This is done so that the balls DON’T LOSE PRESSURE for one, and also so that they don’t lose their shape while sitting on the shelf.

It’s actually a very intricate process of manufacturing and packaging tennis balls in their cans.

And if you’ve got a few minutes spare, I recommend checking out this video:

Bonus – How to Test the Tennis Balls Straight Out of the Tin

Although prestigious brands like Wilson and Babolat RARELY miss the mark in terms of quality, the same cannot be said for other brands.

And for that reason, I suggest a quick quality check after opening the tin to ensure that the balls will perform as expected.

This can be done by running through the following:

(a) Squeeze the Tennis Balls

You can easily check whether the pressure of a ball is expected by squeezing it.

Normally, you should find it pretty difficult to squash the ball all the way down to the middle.

In fact, you shouldn’t be able to squeeze it ALL THE WAY!

If you can, it’s likely that you’ve purchased some duds and you might want to consider returning them.

I suggest that you squeeze each tennis ball from the can for a quick pressure check.

(b) Drop Them From Shoulder Height and Check the Bounce

Squeezing the tennis balls is the first thing you can do.

But in addition to this, you can perform a quick bounce check by dropping them from shoulder height.

A tennis ball that is pressurized correctly should bounce back to an adequate height.

Depending on the surface, the bare minimum is that the ball should BOUNCE HIGHER THAN YOUR KNEES.

Of course, this can vary somewhat depending on which surface and which ball you are using. 

But as a general rule of thumb, this will give you a good idea of whether the ball is going to perform as expected.

Did you enjoy this piece? Do you have anything you’d like to add? Share your thoughts in the comments if so!

The Art of Deception: Why Do Soccer Players Flop So Much?

Why Do Soccer Players Flop So Much?
  • Soccer players flop to deceive, gain an advantage or waste time.
  • Some believe flopping in soccer is bad; arguing that it breaks the rules and is unsportsmanlike.
  • Others argue that flopping is a learnt skill that is part of the game.

   Your Guide

Alex Waite   Alex Waite

Soccer players flop to deceive the referee, to Gain an Advantage or to Waste Time.

The act of flopping sometimes referred to as diving, has become a regular feature of modern soccer.

Its impact is the subject of much debate among players, pundits, fans and coaches. 

Flopping is when a player over-reacts to a slight tackle or contact.

This can result in rolling around on the floor and acting like a tackle has caused serious harm, when, in fact, the player is absolutely fine.

Below is a compilation from Sky Sports, showcasing some of the most extreme dives in the Premier League.

When I was learning the ropes as a soccer player in growing up in South East London, flopping or diving was CONSIDERED CHEATING and was discouraged by teammates, coaches and even the opposition.

My teammates and I were encouraged to stay on our feet whenever possible.

At times, we were even coached on how to ‘ride’ a tackle, where you could lessen the brunt of a full-blooded tackle from an opposition player and keep possession of the ball. 

If a player went down too easily from a tackle and flopped, there would be NO SYMPATHY.

Growing up playing soccer in a working-class environment there were certain connotations of being tough and competitive, but also by playing by the rules and calling out any cheating. 

However, as I grew up and started playing and discussing soccer with people from different backgrounds and cultures, such as people from South America and continental Europe when studying at university, I understood that there were different perceptions towards flopping.

Some now see it as a LEARNED SKILL and learning to flop to give your team the upper hand in some situations can be advantageous. 

This has led to many arguments about whether flopping in soccer is right or wrong.

In this article, we outline some of the reasons why soccer players flop, but also delve into the discussion of whether the act is acceptable in soccer. 

Why Do Players Flop?

There are many reasons why soccer players flop when playing the game.

Soccer is a competitive sport and many players will do anything in their power to gain a slight advantage, even if that involves making a meal out of a BIT OF CONTACT.

Below are some of the top reasons why soccer players flop:

1) To Deceive

In general, the act of flopping is aimed at deceiving the referee or other officials.

Over-reaction to a seemingly tame slide tackle or challenge can make it seem worse in the eyes of the referee.

As a result, match officials may brandish yellow or red cards for tackles that weren’t worthy of any action.

In 2011, a group of five Australian biologists published research on flopping in soccer for a peer-reviewed scientific journal, PLOS One.

Their research highlighted how players dive when they are in closer proximity to the referee, rather than in the mid or far range of the official’s sight.

Furthermore, they found that the diving player is sending a ‘cost free’ signal to the referee to gain an advantage against their opposition. 

2) Gain Advantage

In certain situations in soccer, gaining even the slightest advantage over the opposition can pay off.

Concerning flopping, this can apply to tricking the referee into giving a penalty or a free kick in a dangerous area of the pitch, even though there was little contact on a player in the first place. 

Another advantage a player can gain by flopping is getting an opposition player sent off by making a meal out of minimal contact.

Sometimes, this occurs when the game has been stopped for a foul, throw-in, penalty etc.

Certain soccer players are known to throw themselves to the floor at a slightly raised hand from an opposition. Their intention is clear, to try and get their opposition SENT OFF. 

One of the most notorious examples of flopping to get an opposition player sent off happened during the 2002 World Cup.

Brazilian great Rivaldo was waiting for the ball so he could take a corner in a semi-final match against Turkey.

Turkey trailed 2-1 and, in an attempt to speed up Brazil’s corner-taking process, Hakan Unsal kicked the ball towards Rivaldo and it struck him in the midriff.

Rivaldo rolled around, feigned injury and Unsal was sent off for appearing to kick the ball intentionally towards Rivaldo’s head.

Ultimately, the Brazilian’s dramatics earned Unsal an undeserved red card.

3) Waste Time

Wasting time in soccer is a COMMON TACTIC.

Many teams and players use delay tactics in certain situations.

As I became a more experienced soccer player, and then when I was developing as a coach, I learnt more and more about game management.

This can involve slowing the pace of a match down when your team has a slender 1-0 lead, for example, by trying to keep possession or kicking the ball towards the opposition’s defensive corner to avoid a dangerous attack. 

However, some players and coaches use flopping to waste time too.

By STAYING DOWN and feigning injury, a player can slow the pace of the game down, especially if the physio has to come on and provide ‘treatment’ for the seemingly injured player.

This allows coaches to get instructions to players and bide time when a team needs to run down the clock. 

Is Flopping Good or Bad?

Ultimately, flopping in soccer is a rule-breaking offence. According to the FA Laws of the Game, flopping, also referred to as “attempts to deceive the referee…

..e.g. by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled” is classed as simulation under Law 12, Fouls and Misconduct.

The punishment for simulation is a yellow card.

However, while flopping is technically a bookable offense in soccer, and therefore against the rules, some see it as a skill and even several of the best-ever soccer players are remembered for their theatrics as much as their world-class ability. 

In 2016, sportswriter, Alejandro Chacoff, explained how, when growing up playing football in Brazil, flopping was part of the fabric of the game.

He explains that flopping was ingrained in his family generations before he started playing and the act was admired when professional players like Romanian Gheorghe Hagi flopped in international matches. 

Chacoff’s experience of flopping is in complete opposition to my own, which is that going down easily from a challenge was, and still is, completely unacceptable in any form of soccer.

However, the contrasting views highlight how the act is perceived in world football.

Although it is against the rules, flopping is considered either a skill or something that tarnishes the nature of the game.

Depending on CULTURAL DIFFERENCES and EXPERIENCES of soccer from a young age, flopping is perceived differently. 

Which College Wrote Early Fundamental and Influential Rules for Soccer?

Which College Wrote Early Fundamental and Influential Rules for Soccer?
  • The first set of soccer rules for soccer were written at Cambridge University in 1843.
  • Standardised rules for soccer were eventually agreed upon by the Football Association in 1863.
  • Since the late 19th century, rules have changed and adapted to keep up with modern developments, such as goal-line technology and Video Assistant Referees (VAR)

   Your Guide

Alex Waite   Alex Waite

Cambridge University was where the early, fundamental and influential rules of soccer were written in 1843.

Since then, the rules of soccer have EVOLVED and they have become refined to modern-day soccer in professional and amateur games. 

Like the history of soccer rules, learning them requires the ability to adapt and change.

Personally, when I first started playing the game in the 1990s, I didn’t know my offside from my foul throw, or my free-kick from my red card.

There were so many things to wrap my head around, whilst also trying to learn the basics of ball control and technique. 

To make things more challenging, the rules change regularly, but this is reflective of how soccer has evolved over time to adapt to an ever-changing game.

The first rules that were written up by a group of enthusiastic soccer players at Cambridge University in 1843 may be a world apart from the modern-day soccer rules. 

But these fundamental laws got the ball rolling for future generations of organized and standardized soccer rules.

In this article, we look at the original laws created at Cambridge and we will analyze how the rules have changed over time. 

Cambridge University Rules

Before a group of Cambridge University students met in 1843 to decide how to create soccer rules, the game was largely unorganised and informal.

Early forms of the game included large numbers on each team (sometimes reaching the hundreds), chasing a ball around huge spaces, like fields or even entire towns, and trying to score in loosely defined goals.

There was also no defined rule on handling the ball WHIST IN POSESSION.

However, in the mid-1800s, public schools in the UK started to form their own rules.

Then, five years after the initial meeting in 1843, the group of Cambridge students published the first known set of standard soccer rules.

Once confirmed, the students pinned the 11 rules to trees around Parker’s Piece, a large common in Cambridge where soccer matches took place, and these became the first set of soccer rules ever.

The list included some of the rules still in use today, including:

  • “At the commencement of the play, the ball shall be kicked off from the middle of the ground: after every goal, there shall be a kick-off in the same way.”
  • “After a goal, the losing side shall kick-off; the sides changing goals unless a previous arrangement be made to the contrary.”
  • “The ball is out when it has passed the line of the flag-posts on either side of the ground, in which case it shall be thrown in straight.”
  • “The ball is behind when it has passed the goal on either side of it.”
  • “Every match shall be decided by a majority of goals.”

Evolution of Soccer Rules

When I attend soccer matches, as a coach, player or fan, a big source of discussion about the rules and how they are implemented is common.

A lot of the time in post-match discussions, fans, players and other coaches criticise the referee about how they should have done this, seen that or not given a foul. 

However, I always have sympathy for the referee, largely because I cannot keep up with the law changes myself.

Luckily, coaches and players do not need to keep up with every detail and change to the rules. But referees do need to enforce rule changes. 

Considering how many times the rules of soccer have adapted and changed over the past 150 years, my personal take is that referees need a bit more slack.

As a general guide to showcase how much the rules change, we have listed some of the major dates and rule alterations to soccer below. 

1863 Football Association

Between 1848 and 1863, when the Football Association (FA) expanded the rules of soccer, there were different regional styles of play.

Sheffield rules, for example, were largely used in the north, while Cambridge rules were implemented in the south, as many ex-Cambridge students went on to found soccer clubs.

However, following meetings between soccer clubs in London in 1863, the FA was formed, and the new, revised rules were IMPLEMENTED.

The major change from the new rules was taking out any rules that involved holding the ball or running with the ball whilst it was in a players’ hands.

By 1889, when the English Football League was established, the FA’s rules were the most commonly used soccer rules. 

1886 IFAB

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) was founded by the English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh FA and it was announced as the worldwide governing body that vowed to develop and uphold the Laws of the Game. 

1891 Referee Introduced

Although umpires were used previously in soccer matches, they were hardly comparable to the referees were are used to today.

Before 1891, two umpires, one for each team, would stand on the sidelines and they were only consulted if the two teams had a DISPUTE OVER THE RULES.

But, referees were given a more active role in 1891 as they were armed with a whistle and given the power to signal for fouls, penalties and penalise players. 

1904 FIFA Established 

As soccer grew globally, Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was established to bring organisation and professionalisation to the sport.

Representatives from France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland met in Paris on 21 May 1904 to sign the foundation act for FIFA.

Today, the organisation has 211 member countries from around the globe. 

1938 Rous Laws

Minor tweaks were made regularly to the rules of soccer after the FA standardisation in 1863.

However, then international referee and secretary of the FA spent two years re-wording and re-organising the existing Laws of the Game, so they applied to a modern, global game.

In 1938, the Rous Laws were accepted by the IFAB and they became the new, standardised Laws of the Game. 

1990 Modern Offside Law Introduced

This is a rule that has divided opinion between me, family members, friends and colleagues on many occasions.

Watching replays on Match of the Day on a Saturday evening to argue whether Thierry Henry had made a WELL-TIMED RUN

Or whether the Arsenal striker was being naive by timing his off the ball run incorrectly, was like presenting evidence in a court case in my household GROWING UP.

The modern offside rule was introduced in 1990 and the change meant an attacking player was onside if he was level with the last defender once the ball was played.

This law is still in use today and, for me, it remains one of the most controversial and debated in world soccer.

 2013 Goal Line Technology Introduced in England

Another issue that has caused pain and mass discussion and debate, especially as all England fans will remember from the 2010 World Cup.

England trailed Germany 2-1 in the World Cup quarter-final before Frank Lampard thumped a volley that crashed off the underside of the crossbar and bounced over the GOAL LINE.

Watching the game with my friends in a crowded London pub, I remember the WHOLE PLACE ERUPTING IN CELEBRATION.

Even to this day, it was clear the ball bounced over the goal line, and the replays proved this by a good yard! 

Yet, there was no goal-line technology to check and angry England fans would have to wait until 2013 (three years too late for the Three Lions faithful) until goal-line technology was introduced.

It was first used in the 2013/14 Premier League and English cup competitions and remains a key component of the rules today. 

2017 Video Assistant Referee Debuts at Confederations Cup

One of the most significant developments of modern soccer was the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

The technology was debated for years before it was finally used in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

Major League Soccer (MLS) then brought in VAR a few months later for the new season.

In the 2018 World Cup, VAR was used, and it was then implemented in the Premier League in the 2018/19 season. 

More Than Just a Name: What Does FC Stand For in Soccer?

What does FC stand for in Soccer?
  • FC means ‘Football Club’ and the phrase was used to separate soccer teams and general sports clubs in the 19th century.
  • There are many variations of ‘Football Club’ in world soccer, such as AC, United and SSC.
  • FC and alternative phrases in team names are part of a club’s unique identity and history.

   Your Guide

Alex Waite   Alex Waite

FC in soccer means Football Club.

Thousands of teams worldwide, whether professional or amateur, will have the phrase ‘Football Club’, abbreviated to FC, after or before their team name. 

As an enthusiastic young soccer fan in the UK, I would follow the live scores on a Saturday afternoon on the television, or listen to matches on the radio.

Apart from being COMPLETELY ENGROSSED in the on-field action, I was also transfixed by the different team names.

From the famous, such as Liverpool FC, to the lesser-known, Queen of the South, I was always interested in soccer team names and where they originated.

After asking my soccer-mad dad what FC stood for, a quick explanation ingrained the term in the soccer section of my mind.

However, as I got older and watched more international soccer and UEFA competitions, there were more team names to get my head around.

The likes of:

  • AC Milan,
  • SSC Napoli,
  • AS Roma from the Italian Serie A
  • Atlético Madrid
  • Real Madrid from the Spanish La Liga: were some of the clubs that came up regularly on the soccer highlight reels. 

I then understood that FC may be one of the most common phrases in a football team’s name, but there are actually so many variations in world soccer to unpick.

In this article, we look at the origins of FC and its relevance today.

We also unpick some of the alternative team names to FC and their relevance to individual soccer clubs. 

Origins

The origins of FC in soccer come from the UK.

Originally, soccer clubs in the UK formed when groups of people from factories, businesses and even religious establishments banded together to form teams in the mid 19th century. 

To help distinguish themselves as specific teams that exclusively played soccer, rather than general sports clubs, they would place FC after the name. Some of the earliest examples of the use of FC in the UK include:

  • Sheffield FC (1857)
  • Wanderers FC (1859)
  • Hallam FC (1860)
  • Crystal Palace FC (1861)
  • Notts County FC (1862)

Expansion of FC and Alternative Phrases

The professionalisation of soccer in the UK soon expanded to continental Europe and even South America in the later 19th century.

Tradesmen, religious groups and overseas businessmen took their love of soccer with them and set up many teams in other continents during the industrial era, as Charlotte Johnson explained for the Manchester Historian.

This is where the term expanded to incorporate DIFFERENT VARIATIONS.

Many countries now have unique alternatives to FC in their team names.

For me, this caused confusion when trying to learn more about soccer clubs from around the world, but the reasons behind unique additions are usually a reflection of different languages or cultures that express how soccer is more than what happens on the field.

For example, many German team names, such as Hannover 1896 and FC Schalke 1904, set themselves apart by including the year in which they were founded.

Italian teams have AC or SSC in their name, including AC Milan and SSC Napoli.

These are abbreviations for Associazione di Calcio (Association Football) or Società Sportiva Calcio (Soccer Sports Society). 

While many teams around the world will have FC or an alternative, some still adopt even more unusual names in place of Football Club.

Football news website Planet Football ranked the strangest football names from around the world, with teams like Cape Coast Mysterious Ebusua Dwarfs and Club Always Ready, making the list. 

Team Names: A Clubs Identity

I used to think the use of FC after a team name was unnecessary and I sometimes questioned the need for the phrase.

After all, most soccer fans would be aware they were watching or supporting a team play the game.

Also, in the UK, fans rarely refer to the FC part of their favourite team’s name.

But, I grew up supporting and following my own team, Crystal Palace FC.

The more I went to matches, the more I suffered and experienced joy with this club and I also understood that the team name is a huge part of its culture, history and identity.

No football team name is the same, and that includes the FC phrase at the beginning or end of a name. 

Similarly, any fan of AC Milan would say that they are NOT SIMPLY, Milan.

They are their own team in the city, with the AC, which stands for Associazione di Calcio a key part of their culture and history.

AC Milan is one of the most recognized soccer teams in the world and the AC part of their name is what sets them apart as a HEAVYWEIGHT IN SOCCER.

How to Hit a Two-Handed Backhand in Tennis

How to Hit a Two-Handed Backhand in Tennis
  • Work the Non-dominant Hand to Control the Ball
  • Rotate the Body and Drive With the Legs
  • Keep Enough Space Between Your Body and the Ball

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Before I kick things off, I’d like to stress that the points you see above are just the TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

Hitting a great two-handed backhand is like creating a flawless piece of music – everything has to be in sync for the outcome to be as desired.

While two-handed backhands are more common than one-handers, mainly because they are easier and more consistent to hit, this doesn’t mean that you can IGNORE THE FUNDAMENTALS.

Take Novak Djokovic as an example, his technique isn’t complicated, yet he hits a phenomenal two-handed backhand.

Why?

Because his fundamentals are ABSOLUTELY PERFECT.

He is able to rotate the body through his shot thanks to great footwork.

He works his left hand to generate awesome spin on the ball, and he is rarely crowded when playing the shot.

Check out this slow-mo video of Djokovic hitting backhands at Monte Carlo to see what I mean:

These are all critical boxes that need to be ticked to hit a top-level two-handed backhand.

But rather than simply giving you a few critical points, I’d like to dive deeper and get a little more technical. 

A Breakdown of How to Hit a Great Two-Hander

There have been many great two-handed backhands over the years. Guys like Agassi, Djokovic, Nalbandian, Nadal, Medvedev, and Zverev all spring to mind here.

And while they all hit their backhands a little differently from one another, they always performed the basics to a PHENOMENAL LEVEL.

These ‘basics’ are what I’d like to talk about right now.

1) Use the Left Hand to Work Your Spin

Before I continue with this one, I’m talking about right-handed players here.

If you are a left-hander with a two-handed backhand, you would need to work your right hand to generate the required topspin.

But let’s stick with a right-hander for SIMPLICITY.

With a two-handed backhand, you will drive towards the ball with your right hand on the bottom of the grip.

However, contrary to what many beginners think, the spin isn’t created by your right hand.

Instead, the left-hand needs to lag back in order to generate a kind of elastic band effect before rolling over the ball.

In fact, the entire racket head is controlled by the left hand – the right hand is merely there as a guide.

You can even practice generating this topspin with your left hand by simply hitting left-handed forehands.

Believe me, IT WORKS, and your backhand will improve as a result.

2) Drive Through With Both Arms

Like all groundstrokes, it is important that you extend right the way through your shot to generate ENOUGH PACE.

It’s one thing getting a nice degree of topspin with the left hand, but both arms must hit right through the ball and extend towards your target at the same time.

Those that hit a two-handed backhand short usually find that they are doing too much with the left hand and too little on the follow-through. 

If you watch a guy like Novak Djokovic or even Serena Williams for that matter, they both drive-through and finish the stroke over their opposing shoulder.

You’ll also notice that both players absolutely throw their body weight through the ball in order to get this extension, with the back leg sometimes coming through in transition too.

3) Keep Your Stance Neutral or Open

The rotation of the body with a two-handed backhand is a little more important than it is with a one-hander.

In case the terminology has thrown you here, a neutral stance is where your right leg is in front of your left (right-hander) facing down the court.

With an open stance backhand, the left leg is ACTUALLY PARALLEL to the right in a horizontal stance.

In all honesty, I prefer to hit from a neutral stance, as this way you can get the bodyweight moving through the ball and get decent rotation too.

Open stance backhands, again, in my opinion, should be reserved for situations in which you are under pressure.

That’s because you don’t have the time to plant your right foot, and if you did, you wouldn’t be able to rotate due to your hips being closed off. 

4) Grip Specifics

Although people hold their non-dominant hand in different ways on the grip, the dominant hand is always held in continental.

You can read here if you need a reminder of what this is.

So, first thing’s first, you need to hold your right hand at the bottom of the handle, IDEALLY with a continental grip.

From here, you should place your non-dominant hand above your right hand, with the fingers touching on the grip.

The top parts of your fingers should be nestled on the flat side of the grip, although you can adjust this as you see fit.

The further around your left-hand goes, the more closed your racket face becomes.

This means that you will be setting yourself up to hit more spin on the ball, much like Rafael Nadal DOES.

But if you open up the racket face by sliding the left hand in the other direction, your racket face will approach the ball at a flatter angle. This means you’ll be looking to HIT THE BALL FLAT.

Final Thoughts

At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of the fundamentals for a two-handed backhand, but there is one more thing I’d like to say.

If you are a beginner, or you don’t feel strong enough to play with a one-hander, please, stick with a two-hander.

And while developing your backhand, focus on getting the technique correct and hitting a consistent ball before ramping things up in the power department.

Believe me, you will feel so much more confident on the court by doing things this way.

Do you have any other tips for hitting a great two-handed backhand? Let us know if so!

How to Hit High Balls in Tennis

How to Hit High Balls in Tennis
  • Propel up with your legs for a better contact point
  • Neutralize the shot rather than attacking it
  • Take it out of the air if you feel confident enough

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

High balls are some of the toughest tennis shots to hit of all.

They are troublesome as these high shots are far out of a traditional comfort zone, meaning they are above your shoulder height most likely.

But while they can be difficult to hit, as you can see from the three tips shown above, they are not impossible to deal with whatsoever.

And since you are definitely going to need to hit high balls at some point in your career, it makes sense to learn HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM.

If you’re a junior, you might find that high balls are more frequent than in the adult game.

That’s because juniors don’t really have the power to hit through the court, so the ‘moonball’ tactic can come out to play at times.

But even for adults, you will need to hit high balls if your opponent is hitting heavy from the back of the court.

They might even be throwing in high balls to try and TAKE YOUR RHYTHM AWAY. 

Whatever the reason, you can easily deal with high balls by following the advice I have outlined below.

Technical Pointers to Help You Out

To deal with high balls, the first section I’d like to address is based on Technical Pointers.

After all, being able to deal with high balls through technique alone will transform your confidence when faced with these types of shots.

And just to clarify, everyone has to deal with high balls, especially shorter guys – check out this video of Diego Schwartzman vs Rafael Nadal to see what I mean: 

And now that you’ve watched that masterclass from Schwartzman, here are my technical tips:

1) Push up With the Legs as Much as Possible

By nature, high balls will start to creep up around your shoulders or even higher.

So while a natural contact point is between your waist and shoulders, unfortunately, you don’t have this LUXURY when faced with high balls.

For that reason, I highly recommend that you try to gain some height off the ground by driving up to the ball with your legs.

This brings your body to a height that is more in line with the ball, which makes the shot less ‘unnatural’. 

2) Try Not to Change Your Swing Path

This might seem easier said than done, but I promise you that it is possible.

Of course, a traditional groundstroke requires you to drive up through the ball on a low to high path. With high balls, however, it’s not quite as easy to drive up through the ball since it is beyond your natural strike zone.

With that said, I would still encourage you to try and get a nice brush on the ball so that you KEEP YOUR CONTROL. 

Alternatively, you can swing on a more horizontal path towards the ball, but try to keep your intentions somewhat neutral here.

If you try to attack high balls too much, you might find that errors creep in.

3) Try to Flatten the Ball Where Feasible

My final technical pointer is to flatten the ball out if you can. Since the ball is higher, you can actually hit a flat ball with more margin for error.

This is purely because of the height that you’ll be contacting the ball – just be sure to keep your weight on the front foot otherwise you risk pulling the ball upwards.

I always tell people to keep their chest over the ball and their head still to avoid such a problem from occurring.

Tactical Pointers to Help You Out

Now I’d like to look at this from the other side of the coin.

If you can somehow change a high ball into a MORE COMFORTABLE SHOT, that’s a more preferable approach than taking on the high ball.

Don’t worry, all will become clear through the advice shared below:

1) Drop All the Way Back

If you are playing on a court that doesn’t have much of a backdrop, this isn’t your best option. But if you do have some space at the back, you can SIMPLY DROP FURTHER BACK as the ball approaches.

By doing so, instead of the ball reaching you at shoulder height, there is a better chance that the ball will be dropping down by the time it reaches you.

This allows you to hit a more comfortable ball, ideally between the waist and shoulder height. 

2) Take the Ball on the Rise

This is the complete opposite of option one shown above. If you are feeling confident, you can take the ball on the rise to prevent it from climbing too high and reaching your shoulders or more.

Doing this requires that your footwork is immaculate, and your preparation for the shot has to be nice and early so that you are ready to PULL THE TRIGGER.

It may even help you to ride the baseline if you want to use this tactic. This means your recovery point is more or less on the baseline, which forces you to take it early.

3) Take Them Out of the Air to Attack the Ball

If you are feeling super confident, as a high ball approaches, you could step into the court and take it on the volley. You have two options here – hitting a drive volley or a REGULAR VOLLEY.

If you go for a drive volley, you are setting your stall out to attack the ball and take a dominant position in the point.

If you take a regular volley, you could still move forwards, but your opponent won’t be under quite as much pressure. Again, the choice is COMPLETELY YOURS.

Conclusion

High balls can be a bit of a nightmare in tennis, but I hope that the information above has shown you that these shots can be dealt with.

But to conclude, I’d like to say that you should try and follow the tips that you feel most comfortable with.

If you’d prefer to hang back and play a neutral shot, do so.

But if you want to really take it to your opponent, get those legs moving and take it on the rise!

It’s all on you, and I’m confident you can make positive changes to handle high balls moving forward. 

Has this advice helped? Jump into the comments and let us know!

How Does the Temperature of a Tennis Ball Affect the Bounce?

How Does the Temperature of a Tennis Ball Affect the Bounce?
  • Cold Weather – Very Low Bounces
  • Mild Weather – Decent Bounces, Not Overly Lively
  • Hot Weather – Very Bouncy and Lively

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Did you know that the temperature can actually affect how a tennis ball bounces?

I’ve had a fair bit of experience with this having played tennis all over the world.

But for those that haven’t really played in various locations, the impact that temperature can have on the ball would surprise you!

For example, I grew up in the United Kingdom, and let me tell you – those balls would barely GET OFF THE GROUND in the WINTER TIME .

But I’ve also played college tennis in South Carolina, where the temperature was always hot towards the end of season and the balls would bounce ALL OVER THE PLACE.

For a relatively short guy like myself, this could often be a bit of a nightmare!

Perhaps I should have kept my career going on home soil in the freezing cold?

Anyway, as you can no doubt see already, the temperature definitely impacts how the ball bounces, and it can completely change the game.

What You Can Expect for Each Condition

Since tennis is a sport that is played all over the world, it goes without saying that it is played in different temperatures.

That’s why tournaments in Spain are quite different from tournaments in the UK!

With that said, it’s important that you understand how the temperature will actually impact the bounce of the ball, so here you are:

1) Cold Weather

As I’ve touched upon above, cold weather is the absolute worst condition possible if you want the ball TO BOUNCE.

When temperatures get low, the ball will barely react to the surface and any heavy groundstrokes will have no impact whatsoever.

That’s why cold weather is also well suited to players that hit the ball very flat, or for those that like to slice the ball a lot of the time.

Since the ball won’t be bouncing anyway, there is no need to try and hit excessive spin, as all of the venom will be taken out of the ball once it hits the surface.

2) Mild Weather

In my personal opinion, mild weather is the best for tennis.

You won’t be dealing with freezing temperatures, you won’t be sweating uncontrollably, and the bounce on the ball is just right.

In addition to this, not only is mild weather a COMFORTABLE CONDITION to play in, but it prevents the ball from springing wildly once it hits the court surface.

This obviously benefits some more than others, which was actually a major complaint from Rafael Nadal during the 2020 French Open, which was played during the Autumn instead of early Summer. 

Then again, it can’t have affected him that much, as he still smoked Novak Djokovic in the final to win yet another French Open title.

3) Hot Weather

There are many players that prefer hot temperatures over the other two categories.

In hot weather, the ball will bounce much higher than usual, and to be perfectly honest, it’s easier to get longer rallies in hot weather.

This is great for players that are still learning the game, as they can then build on their strokes and develop confidence in their game.

Personally, while I don’t mind playing in hot weather, it’s not my favorite. It can sap your energy and all of those high balls can be pretty exhausting.

How You Can Adjust for Each Condition

While you can’t control the temperature, of course, you can certainly control how you respond to it.

Depending on the conditions, you might need to change your game in order to play the best, or rather the most effective tennis that you can.

On that note, let me show you some different ways you can adapt based on the temperature:

I) Cold Weather

When it’s cold, just remember that the ball won’t react well to the court surface and it won’t really bounce either.

For that reason, if you are someone that likes to hit with a lot of topspin, you might want to consider flattening out the ball.

This will ensure that your opponent doesn’t get a sitter at the other end. Alternatively, you could always start to throw in a FEW MORE SLICES, as slice shots will stay super low during cold weather.

II) Mild Weather

Mild weather provides a Happy Medium for players of all styles.

As I’ve stated previously, the balls won’t bounce super high in mild weather, but they also won’t bounce ridiculously low either.

For that reason, if you do hit heavy, you can continue as you normally would.

But if you are a flat hitter, you might want to consider mixing things up with heavy spin, more slice, and even come to the net to volley at times.

Mild weather pretty much suits all strokes, which is why it’s my preferred condition to play in.

III) Hot Weather

Finally, hot weather can be just as problematic as cold weather.

Here you’ll notice that the balls are bouncing way higher than usual, which causes many issues in itself. In terms of how you can adapt, you might want to drop back in the court to avoid making contact above your shoulder level.

You may also want to RAMP IT UP in terms of topspin as the ball will react incredibly well to the surface, especially on clay or hard courts.

And when it comes to serving, you can also add some topspin to your second serves since it will kick off the court nicely.

Conclusion

So there you have it – the way that a tennis ball bounces in all temperatures.

I hope that after reading this you are feeling more comfortable with your understanding of how tennis balls will REACT FOR EACH CONDITION.

And at the same time, I hope you can apply the tips I’ve mentioned about adapting your game to suit each temperature. 

Has this article helped? Do you have anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments.

What Is a Body Serve in Tennis?

What Is a Body Serve in Tennis?
  • A serve targeted at the body of the opponent
  • Why? To jam them up and prevent a comfortable return
  • When? Whenever you feel like mixing it up

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

In tennis, you’ll often hear people speaking of hitting a ‘tee serve’ or a WIDE SERVE.

However, the body serve tends to get overlooked.

But in my opinion, it’s a serving option that is ideal in order to attack your service games and mix up the play when required.

How is it done?

Well

basically, you aim your serve towards the body of the opponent.

The objective here is to jam up the opponent so they cannot take an easy swing at the ball. 

That’s the issue with tee or wide serves – if you don’t hit them well enough your opponent gets a nice shot on the ball.

But with a body serve, you’ve got a little more MARGIN FOR ERROR.

As long as your serve gets somewhere within your opponent’s hitting circle, they won’t have full extension on the ball and therefore a weaker return should be coming your way.

This isn’t always the case, of course, but it’s worth a shot.

In terms of how to get the most out of your body serves, I’d like to share some secrets below.

How to Hit an Effective Body Serve

Above all else, a body serve needs to do exactly that – it has to go in towards the body of the opponent, which causes problems, just ask Roger Federer!

If not, as I’ve stressed above, your opponent’s could easily neutralize the return and before you know it, you are on the BACK FOOT.

The good news is that I have a few bits of advice that should prevent that from happening:

1) Add Some Slice to the Ball

This is my favorite way to hit a great body serve, and it’s something I tend to use when playing both singles and doubles.

By slicing the ball, you can create some movement in the air, and some great bend on the ball after it contacts the court surface.

This alone makes the return more difficult to hit, in the same way that a cricket or baseball player ADDS SPIN to their delivery to get the batter to miss.

And if you choose to slice the ball, you’ve also opened up some additional options.

Should you aim the ball to the left of the opponent’s body, the ball will be swinging into their backhand (for a right hander).

If you aim to the right, the ball will be swinging into the forehand, but at the same time, they will need to MOVE FORWARD to prevent the ball from getting too far beyond their strike zone. 

2) No Slice? Hit Flat and Hard

It goes without saying that some people just aren’t comfortable with slicing the ball.

That’s completely understandable, and if that’s you, then you’ve always got the option of increasing the pace and going STRIGHT FOR THE BODY.

While slice is designed to add movement to the ball in the air and off the ground, which makes it harder to hit, pace is designed to reduce the time for the opponent to react.

Which one is more effective?

Who’s to say really, as it depends on what the opponent feels more uncomfortable in dealing with.

Just bear in mind that if you go hard and flat to the body, if your opponent does manage to connect cleanly on the ball, it will be coming back down your end at pace.

At the same time, it might be the case where your opponent cannot handle the pace and you get an easy point on the board.

3) Rotate Your Grip Further Around the Handle

In a traditional serve, you will be using the continental or ‘chopper grip’ as some people call it.

That’s the grip you use when shaking hands with your racket, at least that’s the easiest way to comprehend what the grip entails.

However, if you actually rotate your grip further around the handle, which opens up the racket face, you can hit even MORE SLICE THAN USUAL.

Sure, this makes the ball slightly tougher to time, but the more you practice this, the better you will get.

How does that relate to a body serve you ask?

Well, if you can increase the slice that you add to the ball while aiming to the left of the opponent’s body, it will be swerving in towards their body IN A BIG WAY.

This increases the movement of the ball in the air, and it makes the return considerably harder to time. 

4) Toss the Ball Wider Than Usual

In addition to changing your grip to hold it further around the handle, you can also toss the ball a little wider than usual.

Most coaches will tell you that you should be making contact with the ball at 1 o’clock (referencing a clock face), and I agree, this is ideal for most serves.

However, if you want to add more slice, you can toss the ball further away and make contact with the ball at 2, 2:30, and even 3 if you want to go a little MORE EXTREME.

This in itself forces you to hit around the ball to get it into the opposite box.

And YES, you guessed it, this means you must slice the ball pretty aggressively to get the desired in-swing. 

Why You Should Use a Body Serve

People use body serves for different reasons.

Personally, I like to use body serves with some added slice to ensure I have a decent first serve percentage in matches.

However, others like to do these serves to shake up an opponent, as is done in other sports like baseball and cricket mentioned earlier.

But above all, I believe it’s a serve that everyone should keep in their back pocket to add variety to their game. And who knows, you might just improve the success rate for service games!

Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Which Tennis Star Married Actress Brooke Shields in 1997?

Andre Agassi
  • Andre Agassi – eight-time Grand Slam champion

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

I can remember when I was a kid, watching Agassi on TV against guys like Sampras, Federer, and many others.

I was mesmerized by the way this guy played the game, and to be honest, I still am when I look back at HIS HILIGHTS.

Of course, as a kid, I was only concerned with what I saw him doing on a tennis court. I didn’t really dive into his personal life until later, which is when I discovered that he actually married Brooke Shields back in 1997.

Full Disclosure – I had absolutely no idea that he was married prior to Steffi Graf!

And for those that don’t know, Brooke Shields was an actress and model, something that obviously appealed to the young Andre Agassi.

But while they got married young, things weren’t to last, and they separated just two years AFTER GETTING MARRIED.

With that said, they actually started dating back in 1993, so they clearly had a long-lasting relationship before the firecracker marriage. 

The two obviously led quite different lives, with Agassi competing all over the world and Shields working on a plethora of movies at the time.

And from what I’ve read, they have both led happy and successful lives since the divorce.

Shields’ Life Beyond Andre Agassi

Since the divorce in 1999, it would be fair to say that Brooke Shields has been pretty successful. She remarried in 2001, just two years after meeting her current spouse, Chris Henchy.

The couple have two children together, and they live in Greenwich Village, New York. To this day, Shields has continued to work in Film, Fashion, and she has continued to Model.

Of course, these professions have taken her down a path that is entirely different to the one that Agassi has walked since. 

And while I’m by no means a qualified relationship expert, I believe she has been happy and successful since the divorce in 1999. 

Agassi’s Life Beyond Brooke Shields

Andre Agassi was 29 years of age when he married Brooke Shields, so it’s not like he rushed into marriage TOO YOUNG.

However, as history now shows us, he was to divorce Shields just two years later at the age of 31.

Interestingly, just like Brooke Shields, Agassi remarried just two years later, this time to a tennis player, and a very successful one at that!

He married Steffi Graf in 2001 at their home in Las Vegas, and it’s fair to say that this was probably the most powerful tennis marriage in history.

By powerful, I mean the talents and success that the couple shared.

Agassi alone managed to win 8 Grand Slams, which was significant and still is TO BE FAIR.

This might be overshadowed by the numbers posted by guys like Djokovic and Federer since, but 8 slams cannot be taken away or overlooked.

However, his wife Steffi Graf managed to win 22 Grand Slams, a simply sensational achievement. The couple also has TWO KIDS together, and I can only imagine the tennis-playing genes that these kids must have!

But interestingly, Agassi and Graf aren’t pushing their kids to play the game, which is admirable in a way. 

More on Agassi’s Tennis Playing Days

Now that I’ve discussed Agassi’s relationship with Shields, and what both of them have done since this marriage, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane.

And by memory lane, I mean I’d like to discuss the amazing achievements of Andre Agassi on a tennis court:

8 Grand Slam Titles

During his impressive career, Agassi managed to win 8 Grand Slam events.

This included 4 Australian Open titles, 1 French Open, 1 Wimbledon, and 2 US Open titles.

He rose to the top of the game at the same time as other legends such as Pete Sampras, and later, Roger Federer.

This meant that he was competing in an extremely high-level era, which makes his 8 Grand Slams all the more impressive.

Of these 8 Grand Slam titles, he also managed to win the Australian Open on his very first attempt back in 1995.

The reason he was able to win so many top-level events was down to his sensational ball striking, competitive mentality, and amazing return skills.

This served him well throughout his career, hence the success he obviously enjoyed.

Career Grand Slam

Agassi was also a career Grand Slam winner, which means that he managed to hold all 4 Grand Slams at some point in time.

This is an achievement that has also been matched by guys like Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic, which puts him in quite an exclusive club, to say the least.

Many thought that Agassi wouldn’t be able to do this given HOW FLAT HE PLAYED THE BALL, something which served as quite a hindrance to Agassi when it came to the clay-court season. 

However, he put the critics to bed and achieved this during the 1990s, even if he did lose in a number of Grand Slam finals along the way.

First Man to Win All Grand Slams on Different Surfaces

The career Grand Slam wasn’t a breakthrough achievement. Now, that’s not to say that this isn’t an enormous achievement – it is.

However, he wasn’t the first man to achieve SUCH A FEAT.

With that said, he holds the record for being the first man to win Grand Slams on all 4 surfaces, and this record will never be broken.

After all, he was the first to do it, and you can only be first one time!

For me, the most impressive thing about this was that he was able to win the French Open back in 1999.

Given the way in which he played, I never thought he would win the French, but he adapted and ultimately lifted the title.

Again, this showed how versatile his game was, and how determined Agassi was in general to become the very best player he could be. 

And finally, if you have a chance to read his autobiography, I highly recommend it!

Enjoy the article? Have any other interesting facts on Agassi or Shields? Let us know down below.

When to Switch Sides in Tennis

When to Switch Sides in Tennis
  • Every two games in regular play
  • Every six points played in a tie-break
  • At the end of a set depending on the score

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Have you ever noticed that tennis players don’t always play on the same side of the court?

If you’ve watched professional events, or even if you play competitively yourself, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

While there are three main situations in which players switch sides in tennis, the underlying reasons aren’t as obvious as you might think.

Sides are switched due to:

  • Weather Conditions
  • Court Conditions, and
  • Also for Spectator Viewing Reasons (although that’s not technically as important).

So, coming back to the three points raised above, these are the MAIN SITUATIONS in which you’d switch sides in a game of tennis.

In order to ensure you have a concrete understanding of each situation, I’d like to go into a bit more detail now.

A Breakdown of Each Situation

Changing sides in tennis is PERFECTLY NORMAL.

In fact, it’s a requirement in accordance with the ITF regulations for the game.

You can check out information on these rules and others on the main USTA website – a great resource if you are ever unsure on something to do with tennis in general.

With that said, let me cover the three main situations right now.

1) Every Two Games

When playing competitively, you will change sides after every two games. Now, the reasons for this might be a little More Specific than you first think.

Not only do players change every two games so that things are fair concerning court and weather conditions, but it is specifically two games so that each player gets a turn serving before switching.

Now, this is slightly different in doubles, where you pick an end to serve at and you’ll be serving at that end until the set is over. 

But in singles play, you will change every two games, meaning you’ll play a service game on either side each time. The only contrast here is where a set first begins.

In this case, players switch sides after the first game has been played.

And then they will switch on every two games after this. Some people find it easier to explain this as ‘changing on every odd number’.

For example, players change sides at 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, and so on and so forth. 

As you can see, these numbers add up to make an odd number.

2) Every Six Points in a Breaker

One of the hardest things for new players to learn is how to actually score in a tie-break.

Not only this but changing sides during a breaker is completely different from the way in which it is done during regular play. In a breaker, one server will kick things off and serve one point.

From here on in, players will each serve for two points until the breaker is over.

But rather than changing sides every two points, which would get a LITTLE RIDICULOUS, players now switch sides after every 6 points. 

Theoretically, this can continue indefinitely, as breakers need to be won by two clear points by either player. With that said, it’s pretty rare that breakers will EXTEND LONGER than one or two changes of ends.

Now, at the end of a breaker, you will then switch sides to play the first game of the next set.

And since this is the first game, you then switch straight back. I know, a little confusing, but that’s the way it is.

3) At the End of a Set

This is also a slightly confusing one, so let me clear it up.

Whether you switch sides at the end of a set or not depends on how many games were played.

Remember what I said about the games totaling an odd number before?

Well, that’s exactly how it works for the end of a set too.

If a set ends on an odd total, such as 6-3, 6-1, or 7-6, you will change sides.

For any other outcomes, you will stay at the same side at which you finished the set, and then change only once the first game has been completed. 

Bonus – After the Coin Toss

In professional tournaments, you will often see the umpire perform a coin toss before the players go back to warm up.

One of the players will make a heads or tails call, and if they are correct, they get a choice.

They can choose whether to serve or receive, or they can choose which end they want to play the first game on.

Whichever decision they make, the opponent can then choose on the other factor.

For example, if I won a coin toss and chose to serve, you could then choose to take the opposing side to the one we will warm up on.

This is actually quite a TACTICAL MOVE from players. If I chose to serve, you might then put me to serve at the end where I will be serving into the sun.

Of course, that makes it awkward for me and you might have a better chance to win the first game. With this said, coin tosses are only performed if there is an umpire present.

If one isn’t present, you will then proceed to spin your racket to determine who wins the toss.

The way in which this is done doesn’t really matter in all honesty, as one player or pairing will still get the chance to switch sides after the warm-up.

Final Thoughts

I hope that the information above has helped you to feel more comfortable with when to SWITCH SIDES in tennis.

But if you are still feeling a little uncertain, I highly recommend that you watch some competitive tournaments on TV.

You’ll see all of this in action, and you can even take some notes to help out. I must confess when I was learning to score and when to switch sides as a kid, that’s exactly what I did! 

Find the article useful? Have anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments.

How Much Do Tennis Shoes Weigh?

  • Men’s shoes – 2.5 – 3.0lbs for a pair
  • Women’s shoes – 2.0 – 2.50lbs for a pair

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

As you can see above, men’s tennis shoes are slightly heavier than women’s tennis shoes.

In short, that’s because on average, male tennis players are stronger and heavier, which is why the shoes will be slightly bulkier for added support.

Of course, that’s not to say those female tennis players aren’t strong, but THE DEMANDS on the body, and subsequently the feet are less than male players.

And while performing my research, I found that:

Male tennis shoes generally fall into the 2.5 to 3.0lb range in terms of weight, while

Female tennis shoes are generally between 2.0 and 2.5lbs.

This would make sense, but of course, there are DIFFERENT BRANDS and TYPES of shoes that can fall outside of this range. 

In my experience, it’s better to use tennis shoes that are as lightweight and durable as possible.

The lighter the shoes, the LESS ENERGY you need to expel to lift your legs and move around the court.

As for durability, this speaks for itself. But let me get a little more specific now on how the weight of your shoes can impact your game.

The Weight of Your Shoes – It Matters!

As I’ve stated above, you should be looking to use tennis shoes that are as lightweight as possible.

I’ve always found that Nike shoes are some of the lightest available, which is why they are so popular with both amateur and professional players.

However, let me detail some of the main reasons right now as to why lightweight shoes are MORE PREFERABLE than others:

Speed Around the Court

In short, you need to be quick around the court in tennis, it’s that simple.

Being QUICK means you will have a decent Defensive Game, you will get plenty of balls in the court, and you’ll become a bit of a nightmare for your opponents.

But in order TO MAXIMIZE how quick you can be around the court, you should be looking to use lightweight shoes.

Heavy shoes, even if it’s just a Slight Difference, can SLOW YOU DOWN in terms of how quick you are off the mark and how RAPIDLY you get around the court, in general. 

And if you think about the most successful guys on tour, Djokovic, Medvedev, and Zverev, they are all pretty speedy, and I GUARANTEE YOU that they are using lightweight shoes.

When I say speedy, I mean how quickly they can

  • Get Across the Baseline
  • Charge Up to Drop Shots, and
  • Scramble the Ball Back When They Are Put On the Defensive

Check out this video of Djokovic’s defensive skills to see what I mean:

Less Energy Expelled 

In tennis, EVERY CALORIE COUNTS, let me tell you!

When you are involved in a Grueling Match, your energy will get sapped, and you’ve got to dig deep if you are to come out on top.

But there is a way that you can do yourself a favor on this topic – just get yourself some Lightweight Tennis Shoes.

The lighter the shoes, the less effort you need to put in when gliding around the court, and this will BENEFIT YOU GREATLY during those long matches.

And just to put it in perspective, thinking of calories burned, tennis can often burn upwards of 500-600 calories per hour.

That means that if you were to play a match that lasts over 3 hours, you are almost Burning Your Daily Calorie Intake in ONE SESSION.

That’s pretty considerable when you sit back and think about it, but since we’re not talking about diet here, I’ll simply state that the shoes you wear CAN HELP OUT massively in this area.

Light on Your Feet

Being ‘light on your feet is something that tennis coaches will often say to their students, myself included.

Of course, you can’t change your body weight on the spot and INSTANTLY be lighter on your feet.

This is a figurative way of letting you know that you need to be on your toes and ready for action at all times.

In a standard ready position, you’ll be on the balls of your feet and then you’ll perform a split-step as the opponent hits the shot.

This is your best bet for chasing after the ball AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

And since you’ll be putting in a little spring in your step here, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by using shoes that fall outside of the recommended weight range.

However, with lightweight shoes, you’ll:

  • Effortlessly Bounce up and Down on the Balls of Your Feet, and
  • I Have a Feeling That the Coach Will Be Pleased With What They See!

Recommended Lightweight Tennis Shoes

Over the years, I’ve experimented with all kinds of tennis shoes.

I’m talking about brands, court-specific shoes, and so much more. But throughout my many years of playing, I’ve also come back to the same two brandsNike or Adidas.

These guys are still the best in the business when it comes to performance tennis shoes. Their shoes aren’t cheap, no, but you get what you pay for in this world.

To this day, I still play in Nike or Adidas tennis shoes whether I am practicing or competing.

Nike is arguably Slightly Lighter than Adidas, on the whole, but they aren’t as durable.

But if you’re not overly bothered about buying a new pair of shoes quite often, Nike might be the best route to go down.

If you’re like me, and you want to use quality shoes while getting the most for your money, Adidas is always a good call.

And without bashing the brands too much, I would steer clear of brands such as Wilson, Babolat, or K-Swiss, mainly because the shoes are heavier than others. 

Have anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!

What Is the Height of a Tennis Net?

What Is the Height of a Tennis Net?
  • 3 feet – 0.914 meter

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

The rules of tennis, including the specifics for things like the net, are determined by the ITF – International Tennis Federation.

As stated in the rules on their website, the height of the net should be 3 feet.

This is 0.91cm, or 0.914cm if you want to be exact.

It’s WORTH NOTING that this is the required height at the center of the net.

Of course, this is the LOWEST POINT of the net, and the metal cord that runs through the net is then attached to the net posts at either side of the court.

You should measure the height of the net using a tape measure to ENSURE COMPLETE ACCURACY.

But if you don’t have such a tool handy, there is actually a ‘cheat tactic’ you can use to check the height of the net.

You can measure one racket length up from the ground, and THEN ROTATE your racket sideways and add this on top of the original measurement.

The edge of your frame should nestle nicely in line with the net tape, and that will ensure that the net is more or less the required height.

And finally, any good net will then be strapped into the ground at the CENTRE LINE.

This is done to ensure that the net isn’t affected by wind and that the height of the net holds constant when the balls hit it. 

The Ways That You Can Adjust the Height of a Net

Since a tennis net is adjustable by nature, this means that you can take it upon yourself to set the height.

Of course, if you are competing or training on a full-size court, you’ll want to set the net height to 3 feet.

In most tournaments, the official will actually do this for you, so don’t worry if you’ve never done this before!

But with this said, there are a few ways you can adjust the height of a tennis net:

1) A ‘Net Winder’

If you are playing at a local club, or any club for that matter, there should be a net winder at the side of the court.

This is a brass-looking lever in most cases, and you may use this to adjust the height of the net at the net posts.

If you look on the side of a net post, there should be a small bolt that this net winder attaches to.

It is sized PERFECTLY TO FIT these little things, so all you have to do is attach it and start winding the device to adjust the height.

I found this cool video that gives you a quick overview too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFK1u3aorLw

When you are doing this, you are actually adjusting the tension of the cord running through the top of the net.

WIND IT TIGHTER, the cord becomes tight and the net height will rise.

Wind it looser, and the net will start to sag lower.

This is useful if you are playing on a court with small kids or juniors, where they might benefit from a lower net height.

2) The Net Strap

The net strap runs directly up the middle of the net, and much like the cord of a net, the strap can be adjusted.

You can adjust this by altering the tension of the strap at the back, much like you’d adjust the tension of the straps on a backpack, for example.

This is the best way to get an accurate net height, as when you apply the RIGHT TENSION with the net strap, the net cannot really move around even when the balls fly into it.

Working in tandem with the cord running through the net tape, these two bits of equipment are mainly responsible for setting the correct net height.

On the subject of the net strap, and before we continue, net straps can also be hooked into the ground beneath the net.

You should always look to do this, particularly in windy conditions as this will hold the net’s height in place

3) Using Singles Sticks

Last but not least, singles sticks can also alter the height of the net

. If you’ve not seen singles sticks before, these are put within the alleys on a court and they prop up the net at the sides.

This actually changes the height of the net at the sides of the court, as it lifts the net at the point that is in line WITH THE ALLEYS.

As the name indicates, these sticks are only used for singles, and they should never be put on the court for doubles.

Singles sticks are only really sold at one height too, so if you are using any, or you are buying new ones online, they will usually fit the standard height.

Note that this doesn’t actually change the height of the net in the middle, it simply boosts the height of the net in the alleys.

Does the Height of the Net Matter?

In a word, YES, the height of a tennis net absolutely matters.

The ITF has set the net height at 3 feet for a reason, and that is to keep the net height in line with the regulations for the rules of tennis in general.

At the same time, this is the accepted height for a tennis net across the board, from junior tournaments all the way to international events.

Now, if you are competing in any of these events, the officials or tournament organizers should ENSURE that the height of the net is set correctly.

But if you are competing with friends or you are hitting the practice court, you’ll need to measure the height of the net yourself.

In practice, you can probably get away with the net being off by a few cm, that’s if you’re not overly bothered about being precise.

Or you might not have access to a tape measure to ensure accuracy.

In this case, you should use the cheat tactic I mentioned above – something which I use all the time down at my local club I might add!

So there you have it, the height of a tennis net explained. If you found this article useful, jump into the comments and let us know.

How to Swing a Tennis Racket

How to Swing a Tennis Racket
  • Groundstrokes – low to high extended swings
  • Serving – up and over the ball
  • Volley – short punch & slight downward motion

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Tennis is an extremely technical game. In fact, I believe it to be one of the MOST TECHNICALLY CHALLENGING SPORTS in the world.

Of course, other sports such as golf might be considered just as technical by others, but I’m speaking from my own experience here.

And on the subject of tennis being a very technical sport, one of the MAIN THINGS you have to GRASP as a beginner is how to swing the racket.

Now, with tennis having multiple shots involved in the sport, there isn’t just one answer here, as you can see above.

For GROUNDSTROKES, it’s all about swinging low to high to get that ball LOFTED OVER THE NET.

However, for serving, you want to reach up and hit over the ball as serving is a POWER SHOT!

Then we have volleys, which require an entirely different swing altogether.

Don’t worry, if this seems a lot, I’ve explained each in much greater detail below.

The Different Swing Patterns Explained

If you are concerned about how to swing your racket for DIFFERENT STROKES, I’m going to work from the presumption that you are relatively new to the sport.

Of course, that’s absolutely fine, and I’m pleased you are seeking external help with YOUR GAME!

So on that note, please let me try and explain how to swing the racket for the different strokes in detail:

1) Serving

Serving – this is one of the MOST IMPORTANT shots in tennis.

After all, if you are going to play competitive matches at some point, you will need to serve every other game in singles.

But at this point in your tennis development, there is NO POINT WORRYING about hitting different spins or trying to hit the fluff off the ball.

For now, let’s FOCUS on getting you a consistent serve by developing your understanding of the swing path.

When serving, your aim is to toss the ball up a height that is about AS HIGH AS YOU CAN REACH with your racket in your hand.

Of course, that’s much higher than your head!

So when the ball is at its highest point, you should be swinging up to the ball and then turning your wrist at the top to actually hit over the top of the ball.

This wrist snap is where MUCH OF THE POWER comes from on a SERVE, and a great example would be Roger Federer:

2) Groundstrokes

Groundstrokes describe both the forehand and backhand in tennis.

And once you are involved in a rally, these are the shots that YOU WILL HIT THE MOST.

As you advance in your game, you will start applying different spins in Various Scenarios to get the upper hand.

But all of that will come in good time.

For now, your groundstrokes need CONSISTENCY, and that can be achieved by following a simple low to high swing path.

On both sides, your racket face should be slightly open, meaning that the palm of your hand will be facing upwards as you approach the contact point.

Of course, with the racket face being open, this means that the ball will then go upwards as YOU HIT IT.

After all, you need to clear the NET WITH YOUR SHOTS!

Even as you develop your game and you start to add different spins, this low to high swing path remains the same.

3) Volley

Remember I said volleying is completely different from the other strokes?

I WASN’T LYING!

To be perfectly honest, out of all the strokes I’ve talked about here, it took me the longest to learn how to hit an effective volley.

That’s because the recommended swing path and the way to hit the ball is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what you think is true in tennis.

When volleying, you need to have a very short punch on the ball, as that’s how you are able to get the RIGHT CONTROL. 

And when you actually ‘swing’ to the ball, the swing path should be horizontal or slightly downwards – depending on the height of the shot you are receiving.

If a ball comes to you at shoulder height, this is where you can have a Slight Downward Motion towards the ball, giving it a nice bite as it hits the court surface on the other side of the net.

But if the ball is waist height or even lower, you can’t swing down to the ball as you’d hit it in the net.

Check out this video to see what I mean:

3) Slice Groundstrokes

On occasion, you may want to use a slice groundstroke to MIX THINGS UP A BIT.

Most players will look to do this on their backhand side, but you can hit slice forehands too if you want.

Now, with a slice backhand, while this is still classed as a groundstroke, the SWING PATH IS DIFFERENT from traditional groundstrokes mentioned earlier.

When you hit a slice, you need to chop down through the ball to keep the TRAJECTORY LOW and MAINTAIN A LOW BOUNCE on the other side.

To achieve this, you should start with your racket up around your shoulders, and then Chop Down and through the shot to get the desired result.

Choosing when to use a slice is the tricky part.

I like to use it as a mix-up to traditional groundstrokes, as well as when approaching the net.

However, other people like to use a slice backhand as a defensive or NEUTRALIZING BALL.

It all depends on who you are playing with and what you feel most comfortable doing.

But regardless of the purpose of your slice backhand, make sure you keep the swing path EXACTLY as described above.

And please – make sure you HIT DOWN THROUGH THE BALL rather than horizontally, as this will reduce the risk of floating your shot into the air.

Did you find this article useful? Feeling more confident with how to swing a tennis racket now? Let us know down below.

Why Do People Put Tennis Balls on Walkers?

Why do people put tennis balls on walkers
  • Used to glide across a surface (double usage)
  • To protect the frame of the walker
  • The perfect size

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

You’ve probably seen it before – people using tennis balls on the legs of their walkers.

This has been done for DECADES ALREADY, obviously by those who need assistance with walking.

While you might not be at that age yet, it’s worth taking the information in for future reference!

You don’t even need to be old to use a walker to be perfectly honest. I’ve seen tennis players using walkers after an injury too. Sure, it’s not much fun, but every little helps.

So, as you can see from the points I’ve raised above, there are three reasons for using tennis balls on walkers.

  1. The first is for those who HAVE TROUBLE actually lifting the walker, hence the need to SLIDE IT instead.
  2. The second is to actually protect the bottom of the walker’s legs. These are usually made of rubber but they can get damaged over time, which is why tennis balls are sometimes put on the ends.
  3. And tennis balls are the BEST OPTION rather than slicing up others such as squash balls.

They are a perfect size, and I’d like to DIVE A BIT DEEPER into each of these points right now.

But first, if this is a new concept for you, check out this video on how to actually put tennis balls on a walker:

The Main Reasons Explained in Greater Depth

At a glance, the reasons I’ve mentioned above might not seem significant.

But once you understand exactly why I’ve picked these three points, as detailed below, you’ll realize why these need to be noted.

Using as a Glider

By nature, walkers are used as a piece of equipment to help people with mobility issues.

This can arise from a whole range of problems, ranging from age to injury.

However, those who are having significant difficulties IN LIFTING THE WALKERS will sometimes stick tennis balls on the ends.

Why?

One, because they might NOT HAVE THE STRENGTH to pick up the walker when moving along.

And two, because this means they can glide across the surface without having to pick it up – providing a WIN-WIN solution.

Tennis balls are STURDY and SMOOTH when sliding across surfaces, making these a stable and helpful solution for those wanting to glide along with a walker.

Of course, this then gets a little tricky if the surface isn’t smooth such as GRAVEL OR LOOSE STONES.

However, that’s a topic that somewhat goes beyond the scope of this piece.

Protecting the Frame

Putting tennis balls on the end of the walker isn’t just an ASSISTANCE EXERCISE.

In fact, the rubber that goes on the ends of a walker’s legs can easily get damaged, especially when used OUTDOORS.

That’s another reason why some people look to put tennis balls on the END OF THE LEGS.

By doing this, the tennis balls will bear the brunt of the IMPACT with the ground when using the walker.

Of course, cutting up a few tennis balls and putting them on the legs is much cheaper than replacing the entire walker.

This is true even if the walker is used in adverse weather conditions.

Tennis balls can get wet and wear down over time, but they will completely protect the rubber on the legs.

And once they are WORN DOWN to the point where they are no longer providing adequate stability, they can simply be replaced.

Perfect Size

There is a very distinct reason that tennis balls are used instead of balls from other sports.

One of the main reasons is because tennis balls are a PERFECT SIZE.

When they are cut up into the cup shape needed to put them on the walker, as shown in the video, they are PERFECT TO GRIP the legs of the walker.

Other balls such as squash, racketballs, and a whole range of others just wouldn’t be suitable.

And if you picked a ball that didn’t grip the legs of the walker well, the whole purpose of adding stability to the walker GOES AWAY.

What Tennis Balls Should You Use to Do This?

Now we arrive at the final question – exactly what tennis balls should you be looking to use in this scenario?

After all, there are many different kinds of tennis balls these days, so it’s better to know the EXACT ANSWER before making a guess!

Regular Tennis Balls

The main reason I advise using regular tennis balls is that these have the Right Pressure and Materials.

Sure, when the tennis balls are cut up, the internal pressure goes away, but the rubber and outer materials REMAIN INTACT.

So when regular tennis balls then come into contact with the ground, they WON’T COMPRESS as much as other tennis balls.

Of course, this works to provide the desired amount of stability when using the walker. 

Worn Tennis Balls

Let’s be honest – it would get PRETTY EXPENSIVE if you were constantly chopping up new tennis balls and sticking them on your walker.

Therefore, do yourself a favor and steer clear of using brand new tennis balls for this purpose.

Instead, I would advise using tennis balls that are somewhat worn and no longer good for actual play.

After all, you are probably going to toss these balls away anyway, so why not give them another purpose?

Final Thoughts

I hope that you don’t have to consider this activity for yourself any time soon.

But then again, if you happen to GET INJURED or you need walking assistance for some reason, understanding why tennis balls are a good choice is never going to be a bad thing.

You may even want to learn about this for a friend or relative.

All the same, now that you understand which balls to use and why they are used, you are in the perfect position TO LEND A HELPING HAND!

Did you find this article useful? Have anything to add? Jump into the comments if so.

What Is a Double Fault in Tennis?

What is a double fault in tennis
  • A player misses both their first and second serves
  • Impact – loses the point without the opponent needing to hit a shot
  • Frequency – not seen in volume with professional players

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Hitting a double fault is one of the worst feelings in tennis – trust me.

This occurs when you:

  • Step up to the Line
  • Miss Your First Serve, and
  • Then Miss Your Second Serve Too

Of course, nobody wants to hit double faults, as it gives the opponent a COMPLETELY FREE POINT.

Now, at lower levels of tennis, double faults are actually fairly common.

That’s because players are still working on their games and improving, especially concerning the serve.

However, in professional tennis, double faults don’t tend to happen with extreme regularity.

They do, of course, occur in matches though.

Take guys like Alexander Zverev as an example, he can often get the yips on his serve and throw in a BUNCH OF DOUBLE FAULTS.

Getting these ‘yips’ was also a major problem for Guillermo Coria, a talented clay courter who struggled with double faults for years.

As you can imagine, double faults can be hugely detrimental to a players performance and confidence.

But why do they happen, and is there ANY PARTICULAR SITUATION in which they become more frequent?

Read on to find out.

In what instances might a player hit a double fault?

As I’ve stressed above, double faults do happen in the professional game (check out this article to improve your doubles game).

Sure, they’re not AS FREQUENT as they might be in amateur tennis, but they have the same detrimental impact.

Why do they occur? I’ve discussed this below.

I) Trying to Go For Too Much

For a double fault to happen, the server MUST MISS BOTH their first and second serves.

Now, missing a first serve happens all the time in tennis. (check out my guide how to serve better in tennis).

But missing the second then hands the point to the opponent.

In my experience, and from my observations over the years, one of the MAIN CAUSES of double faults is when someone tries to go for too much.

This means they are trying to hit the second serve too hard or go too close to the lines.

Both of these results in a RISKIER and LESS CONSISTENT SERVE.

However, this is sometimes done as a reactive measure when playing against phenomenal returners of the ball.

Nowadays, Novak Djokovic has THIS EFFECT on his opponents in their service games.

But besides the great Djokovic, Andre Agassi would have the same impact on guys he played against.

He was SO DANGEROUS off the return that guys would try and hit a big second serve TO AVOID Agassi taking immediate control over the point.

II) Huge Pressure From the Returner

This brings us to the point I’ve touched upon above.

When you are serving against a great returner of the ball, it’s normal to feel under more pressure and believe that YOU NEED to hit a better second serve.

This in itself will cause a player to hit far more double faults than they might usually hit during a match.

But it’s not just consistent returners like Djokovic, and previously Agassi, that have this effect.

It’s also very apparent when guys play against BIG HITTERS of the ball.

These days, guys like Berrettini, Shapovalov, Sinner, Rublev, and many others can absolutely unload on the ball.

And this is certainly true on the return of serve.

Imagine trying to put the second serve in play when you’ve got guys like that down the OTHER END.

I can only guess at the pressure it puts on the quality of the second serve.

III) General Match Pressure

Tennis is an extremely psychological sport.

In fact, many psychologists say that 90% of tennis is mental.

While I don’t know about that, the psychology of the game DEFINITELY HAS AN IMPACT on player performance.

And in the case of double faults, when a match gets tight, these can start to fly in more than you might expect.

Of course, when serving, it is ALL ON YOU.

And if the match is at a pivotal point:

  • Your Arm Can Get Heavy
  • Your Technique Might Start to Wobble, and
  • You May Have a Harder Time Hitting a Quality Second Serve

All of this is PERFECTLY NORMAL I’d like to add.

But regardless, match tension and pressure inevitably start to alter the double fault numbers

How to avoid hitting too many double faults

At the end of the day, we all want to avoid hitting double faults in matches.

While it might not always be possible to HIT ZERO in a match, we can certainly reduce them.

Here are my top tips on doing exactly that:

1) Focus On Making the First Serve

This may seem overly obvious, but players don’t tend to think about it.

To hit a double fault, I’d LIKE TO EMPHASIZE that you need to miss both serves!

So rather than getting to the pressure situation where you must make the second, why not simply make the first?

To do this, stop trying to hit the fluff off the ball and add a little movement to it. 

You could also start to HIT MORE BODY SERVES rather than trying to paint the lines down the tee or wide.

2) Add More Spin to the Second

By this, I don’t mean slow down your racket head speed and push the ball.

That’s a common mistake that players make for second serves.

Your racket head speed should still be rapid, but now you should try and add some slice or even topspin to the ball.

Doing this slows down the ball in the air, but IT GETS THE BALL deviating once it hits the surface, making it tougher for your opponent to hit.

3) Don’t Worry About Your Opponent

Speaking of your opponent, try not to pay any attention to their position, abilities, or anything else for that matter.

The serve is ALL ON YOU and that’s how things should stay.

So even if they are a great returner, don’t let that put you off going for your favorite serve, even if that plays to their strengths.

Also, don’t think too much about them hitting A CLEAN WINNER on the return. If they do that, too good.

But at least make them replicate this to win points rather than handing the point over with a double fault.

Has this article helped you understand double faults?

Are you now more knowledgeable on why they occur and how to avoid them? Jump into the comments and share your thoughts.

How to Improve Footwork in Tennis

How to Improve Footwork in Tennis
  • Specified fitness routines – SAQ (Speed, Agility, Quickness)
  • Live ball drills with focus on footwork
  • Practice with intensity, light on the feet, use aids if necessary

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

If you are to improve your game, FOOTWORK IS EVERYTHING.

It paves the way to being in the right position FOR EACH AND EVERY SHOT YOU HIT.

Great footwork means you can really maximize the way you strike the ball.

Sloppy footwork will cause your technique to break down and you won’t hit your shots correctly.

One of the best, in my opinion, is Rafael Nadal – just check HOW INTENSE he is with his feet in the video here:

Bear in mind that’s how he moves his feet in practice!

When he gets into a game, his footwork is EVEN MORE INTENSE.

You can even hear the squeak of his shoes on the surface when hustling TO EVERY BALL.

But of course, we can’t all be as exceptional as Rafael Nadal on a tennis court. We can, however, improve our footwork drastically to reach our full playing potential.

You can see my top three tips above, but I’d like to DIVE DEEPER on each tip to really show you what you can be doing – starting today.

The three tips explained

There are LOADS OF WAYS you can improve your footwork in this day and age.

Naturally, different coaches and players have their own thoughts on how this is achieved in the best possible way.

But for me, the three tips discussed below have proved pivotal through my entire playing career, which is why I’d like to go into greater depth right now.

SAQ Routines

Fitness and footwork routines have gone through ALL KINDS OF branding changes over the years.

But I can remember when I was a kid, we had a routine called Speed, Agility, and Quickness.

Basically, this is where the coach took us to one side for anywhere between 30 minutes to one hour and hammered home FOOTWORK DRILLS.

We would often get the ladders out there on court, and weave in and out with specific footwork patterns.

But we would also get the cones out there on the court and practice moving around the courts with our rackets, SHADOWING CERTAIN SHOTS at various points on the court.

The whole objective of this was to get the FEET:

  • Firing Faster
  • Be More Precise With Our Strokes, and
  • Build Up a Natural Intensity to Our Movement

SAQ training had a HUGE IMPACT on me as a child, and it no doubt led to the footwork levels I still enjoyed as a competitive adult.

Check out this resource for a list of footwork drills you could get started with right away.

Live Playing Drills With Footwork Focus

Although fitness and footwork drills without a ball are HIGHLY BENEFICIAL, sometimes, you just can’t beat the real thing.

The number of tennis drills you can do is obviously rather extensive, and not all of them depend on great footwork.

However, that’s not our goal here.

Our goal is to identify drills that will improve your footwork.

You’ll find that most of these ‘footwork focused’ drills get you to work on Specific Footwork Patterns instead of getting your footwork sharper in general.

For example, rapid-fire volley drills get you to focus on the split step to prepare for each BALL COMMING AT YOU.

GHB Pro Agility Ladder Agility Training Ladder Speed 12 Rung 20ft with Carrying Bag

And if you perform a drill where the coach feeds you a running, wide ball, you might be focusing on the flow or power step.

Sometimes, you might be working on a transition ball too, which then REQUIRES YOU to flow forward up the court instead of horizontally like a wide ball.

Head actually has a fantastic series of tennis drills you can check out right here should you want to EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE on this some more!

General Intensity When Practicing

Rather than being quite specific like my previous two tips, this one has to come from within.

It’s entirely up to you how hard you practice, but if you can constantly practice with high intensity, I guarantee that YOUR FOOTWORK WILL GET BETTER.

And when I say intensity, I mean:

  • Keeping Your Feet Dancing Between Shots
  • Always Executing a Split Step
  • Making Those Adjustments Around the Ball, and
  • Giving It 100% Effort at All Times

If you want to take things further too, YOU CAN.

Back in the day, I would make conditions with friends on the court that the first guy to make an unforced error would need to do 10 push-ups.

This fear of ‘punishment’ AUTOMATICALLY RAISED THE INTENSITY, and we would even play with weights on our ankles sometimes.

All in good fun of course, but it definitely helped the footwork.

Benefits of improving your footwork

At the end of the day, why should you worry so much about your footwork?

After all, isn’t hitting the ball the most important thing?

Well, I would have to say NO, because everything stems from footwork.

And here are the benefits of working on it:

1) Quicker Around the Court

If you are quick around the court, you can get in the:

  • Right Position for Your Shots
  • Hang in the Rallies Longer, and
  • Your Defensive Game Will Improve Dramatically

But you can ONLY BE QUICK around the court if your footwork is on point! 

2) Set Yourself up to Hit the Ball Correctly

You could have the best technique in the world, but if your footwork isn’t great, having awesome technique won’t matter.

You need to get your feet planted right and your body in the perfect position if you are to hit the BEST POSSIBLE SHOT.

Of course, this only occurs when you are moving your feet correctly.

3) Maximize Your Potential

Above all else, improving your footwork means that you are giving yourself the best shot at playing your best tennis.

And if you repeatedly work on your footwork, YOUR ENTIRE GAME WILL IMPROVE as a result of better

  • Movement
  • Fitness, and
  • Agility

Trust me, I’ve seen the improvements this can have on players, and it is WELL WORTH going through the pain barrier.

Have you found this quick read useful? Do you have any specific footwork drills you’d like to share with our community? Let us know in the comments.

How to Serve in Tennis for Beginners

How to Serve in Tennis for Beginners
  • Toss the ball up to an appropriate height
  • Contact the ball in front of the body
  • Extend the arm on contact and push with the legs

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

The serve is ARGUABLY THE MOST important shot in tennis.

It’s the only shot that you’ve got complete control over.

And it’s ALSO CRITICAL that you hold on to your service games when playing competitively.

Needless to say, it’s a shot that you need to learn if you are to become an EFFECTIVE TENNIS PLAYER.

And on that note, I’m glad you are here, as I have some top tips on how to get a decent serve – even as a beginner.

As you can see from the three tips above, these are the MECHANICS NECESSARY to hit a good serve.

But if these seem a little broad right now, make sure you read through the specifics below so that you understand them better.

Now, I can’t promise that your serve will INSTANTLY become like Roger Federer, but I’ll try my best!

Specific advice on giving your serve a boost

Speaking of the great Roger Federer, have a QUICK WATCH of this slow-motion video of him serving to see what a perfect serve looks like:

It really is poetry in motion watching this man hit a serve.

And many of the basics that he does EXCEPTIONALLY WELL are explained below.

The Ball Toss

When coaching, I used to always say that the ball toss is the MOST IMPORTANT PART of the serve.

After all, if your ball toss isn’t right, the entire service motion gets thrown off.

So, what should the ball toss actually look like?

Well, the toss needs to go in front of the body for starters.

While this does vary based on personal preference, I’d say that the ball toss NEES TO GO AROUND one foot in front of the baseline to be effective. 

Tossing the ball up this way actually FORCES YOU to drive up with the legs to reach the ball – more on this later.

In addition to tossing the ball out in front of you, it is CRITICAL that the ball toss goes high enough.

For your own reference, stand with your racket at full extension in your hand, above your head. That’s about where you need to be making contact with the ball. 

The Service Grip

This one is somewhat OPEN TO DEBATE for beginners.

Some coaches will try and get you to hit a serve with a forehand grip, to begin with, as it’s EASIER TO MAKE CONTACT.

However, I like to teach players to use the APPROPRIATE GRIP right off the bat.

Sure, it makes it a little tougher to learn, but it avoids the player GETTING INTO BAD HABITS by serving with a forehand grip, to begin with.

It also makes it tougher to transition should they initially learn to pancake the serve with a forehand grip.

Anyway, putting my pet peeve coaching tips aside, what is the right grip?

Well, the right grip for serving is the continental grip, sometimes called the chopper grip depending on your coach.

This is the OPTIMAL GRIP for hitting any kind of serve you like.

If you want to hit it FLAT, you can.

And if you want to hit a slice or topspin serve as you get MORE COMFORTABLE with serving, you can do that too.

Use the Legs

In every single shot in the game of tennis, you should be looking to involve the legs as much as you can.

Take a groundstroke as an example, you should bend your knees and drive through the shot with your legs to get as much pace and movement on the ball as possible.

This is SOMEWHAT TRUE of the serve too.

If you are to maximize what you get from your serve, you must use your legs to jump up to the ball and drive into the court. 

What else do I need to keep in mind?

Remember what I said about the ball toss being as high as you can reach with your racket and around a foot in front of the baseline?

This BECOMES OBSOLETE if you don’t involve the legs with your motion.

To get specific, when you toss the ball, you should try and bend your knees towards the court, and then jump and hit the ball when it’s time to do so.

This EXPLOSIVENESS ADDS:

  • Power
  • Heightens Your Contact Point, and
  • It Ensures That You Are Getting the Most Out of Your Body When Serving

As a beginner, don’t worry too much about vertical, horizontal, or any other form of jumping when serving.

Just FOCUS ON PUSHING UP and forwards towards the ball.

Lead With the Elbow and Extend the Arm

We’ve all thrown a ball before.

The tennis serve is actually no different from how you’d throw a ball.

The one and ONLY DIFFERENCE is that you’ve then got a racket in your hand!

So, when throwing a ball, ideally, your elbow should actually come through ahead of the rest of your arm.

This gives it a bit of a CATAPULT EFFECT, and while it may feel strange to start with – STICK WITH IT.

This will add enormous value to your serve in the LONG RUN.

Why leading with elbow and extending the arm is important?

When leading with the elbow, your forearm WILL ACTUALLY BE hanging back around your shoulder blades.

Take another view of the Federer video posted above if you are struggling to imagine what I mean.

And when your elbow then drives forward, you should pull the rest of your arm up to extend towards the ball.

This creates a NICE SNAPPING MOTION over the ball, and it’s the best way to hit your serve as hard as you can.

Of course, in the beginning, you might miss quite a few serves if you are trying to hit it as hard as possible.

Instead, I’d Recommend:

  • Reducing the Power
  • Focusing on the Control, and
  • Really Concentrating on Mastering the Technique

And if you don’t FEEL OVERLY COMFORTABLE with mastering this with a racket in your hand, just go back to throwing a ball.

That’s actually what I did hundreds of times to figure out how to lead with my elbow and extend my arm on a serve.

So don’t FEEL SILLY by doing it – it all helps to learn the serve as best you can as a beginner.

Let me know if these tips help you to develop your serve after reading this. I’d love to know in the comments below.

What Do Tennis Players Drink?

What Do Tennis Players Drink
  • Regular water
  • Electrolytes 
  • Energizing drinks

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Whenever you watch a professional tennis match, there are ALL KINDS OF BEVERAGES flying around.

Novak Djokovic famously has his own concoction that he drinks on the court, although he hasn’t disclosed what’s in there.

Whatever it is, it SEEMS TO WORK QUITE WELL I’d say!

With that said, of course, it varies greatly from player to player what they CHOOSE TO DRINK ON COURT.  

The topic is so interesting that even the USTA has got in on the action and PUT TOGETHER an interesting read on what players should be drinking!

Read that at your OWN LEISURE if you are looking to implement things to drink for your own game.

But coming back to professional players and their BEVERAGE OF CHOICE, there are three that most will drink. As you can see above, the three drinks include water, electrolytes, and energizing drinks. 

That’s why you’ll often see a bunch of bottles next to their chairs on court.

But of course, what they drink does depend on:

  • The conditions
  • Their physical status, and
  • The stage of the match too

This is something that differs from player to player, and it all depends on PERSONAL PREFERENCE really.

So rather than run through that, I’d like to talk about why they drink the three beverages mentioned above.

Reasons why they drink each beverage

As I stressed previously, every player is different concerning what they like to drink.

I’ve seen guys like Dominic Thiem knocking back a Red Bull on court before!

But would someone like Nadal do this?

I highly doubt it.

With that said, the three drinks I’ve mentioned are FAIRLY CONSISTENT among professional players, which is why I will focus on them now.

1) Water

FIJI Natural Artesian Water, 33.8 Fl Ounce Bottle (Pack of 12)

We’re all encouraged to drink more water, aren’t we?

Even for non-tennis players, it is suggested that people drink somewhere between 6-8 glasses of water each day.

I’ve even read that some doctors want you to drink at least half a gallon of water EVERY DAY.

The requirements do vary for men and women.

However, these requirements are obviously far greater for physically active people, like professional tennis players.

The most obvious reason that players need to DRINK EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF WATER is to stay hydrated.

Staying hydrated is critical to keep:

  • Mentally Sharp
  • Keep the muscles performing as well as they can, and
  • To be able to last for hours out there on court.

Therefore, it’s NO GREAT SUPRISE that the most common beverage of choice for players is water.

With this said, players can’t chug too much water out there on the court.

If they do, they can get bogged down and start to become a little sluggish out there.

That’s why players will tend to sip away at their water at the CHANGE OF ENDS. It’s very rare that you’ll see someone chugging the water

2) Electrolytes

Electrolyte Supplement for Immune Support and Rapid Hydration | NO Calories NO Sugar | 20%+ More Potassium, Magnesium & Zinc | 48 Servings

Electrolytes are of GREAT IMPORTANCE among professional tennis players.

These little beauties are actually electrically charged particles that THE BODY NEEDS to be at optimum levels of performance.

I won’t bore you with the science!

Instead, I can simply tell you that without sufficient electrolytes running through the system, optimum performance levels would be ALMOST IMPOSIBLE.

And that’s exactly why tennis professionals DRINK THEM. 

Check out this video for a bit more information on electrolytes and how they assist the body:

As seen in the video, electrolytes are SO IMPORTANT that they even help your:

  • Heart beat
  • Your lungs breathe, and
  • Your brain fire impulses through the body

Needless to say, those are some pretty IMPORTANT JOBS INDEED.

But specifically for tennis, it’s the demand for muscular contractions that make electrolytes so important.

After all, players are PUSHING THEIR BODIES to the absolute limits.

And since they are sweating so much on the court, electrolytes are just flowing out of them.

That’s why they must be replaced!

Many players even shoot for a drink known as Pedialyte, which I have taken myself during SUPER-HOT CONDITIONS.

3) Energizing Drinks

Gatorade Classic Thirst Quencher, Variety Pack, 12 Fl Oz (Pack of 24)

One of the great things about the ATP and WTA Tours is that they FOLLOW THE SUN.

This means that players are often competing in super hot conditions.

Might sound like fun, but during long, grueling matches, I doubt that the players think of it THIS WAY.

In fact, it is more of a hindrance than a blessing!

Think of tournaments like the Australian Open as a prime example.

Temperatures can often surge WELL PAST 100 degrees on the court, and heat warnings aren’t all that uncommon.

With the players needing to do battle in such conditions, their energy can just GET SAPPED.

If they get so tired they may start to:

  • Suffer From Cramps
  • They Could Get Lightheaded, and
  • Such Exhaustion Can Impact Their Performance Massively

Now, I’m not talking about the standard energy drinks here.

I’m talking about proprietary sports drinks, often with high levels of glucose in them.

Many of them, such as Gatorade or Powerade will also have QUITE HIGH LEVELS OF SUGAR in them to give players an immediate burst of energy.

Of course, in the long run, drinking loads of sugar isn’t all that great for the body.

But when players need it most, it can mean the DIFFERENCE BETWEEN winning and losing a match.

Final thoughts

If you aren’t overly sure of what you should be drinking on the court, these three categories are definitely a good start.

It’s also important that you don’t overindulge in any single category.

For example, you don’t want to go out there and drink tons of water but IGNORE ELECTROLYTES and ENERGIZING DRINKS.

And likewise, you shouldn’t solely focus on the energizing drinks or electrolytes and IGNORE THE WATER. 

It’s all about finding the right balance, and it depends on how you are feeling on the court.

To maintain optimum performance levels, I’d recommend drinking all three.

But if you are feeling tired or about to cramp, PUMP UP the electrolyte intake and you’ll be just fine. 

I do hope all of this helps, and I look forward to hearing any inputs in the comments.

How Long Does a High School Tennis Match Last?

How Long Does a High School Tennis Match Last
  • Standard formats are followed for singles – best 2 out of 3 sets
  • On average, singles matches last from 1-2 hours 
  • Doubles matches may last up to 1 hour

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

High school tennis is the STEPPING STONE for players before moving into college tennis.

Anyone can play on the team ONCE THEY START high school. Both boy’s and girls tennis matches are played, and generally, there will be many inter-school matches played each season.

As for how long the games can last, it’s usually anywhere from 1-2 hours, on average

Of course, this depends on:

  • How close a game is
  • How well-matched the players are
  • As well as their Overall Game Styles

Players THAT GRIND will usually have longer matches than those that like to hit big .

But there is more that influences the length of a high school game than just game styles and closeness of abilities.

There are also SUBTLE RULES that you need to be aware of when thinking of how long a match will last.

Specific rules that you need to know about

Now I’d like to take a CLOSER LOOK at some of the finer details that tend to get overlooked with high school tennis.

Most Games Use Ad Scoring

Although some matches MAY WARRANT ‘no-ad’ scoring, most high school games will use ad-scoring.

Basically, this means that when a game GETS TO DUCE, a regular advantage will be played until the game has a winner.

This in itself means that high school games CAN LAST LONGER when ad scoring is used compared with no-ad scoring.

As we’ve seen on the professional tour, games that involve multiple deuces can sometimes last more than 10 MINUTES!

Should a high school game involve several of these, naturally, it MAY GO BEYOND the average of 1-2 hours play.

Of course, there is no guarantee that this will happen.

Then again, if a high school game is played without advantages, once a deuce point is played that will be the end of the game.

Over time, this can make QUITE A DIFFERENCE to the length of the match.

Doubles Is a Pro-set to Eight Games

While singles matches are played in a best 2 out of 3 set format, doubles is QUITE DIFFERENT.

The way in which doubles is played is actually the exact same as we used to do in NCAA college tennis.

The format for doubles matches is known as a ‘pro set’, and it’s essentially an EXTENDED SET.

Pairs are required to reach 8 games to win the match, and if the game goes to 8-8, a 7-point tie break will decide the match.

Given that these matches will NATURALLY INVOLVE FEW GAMES than singles, they tend to BE SHORTER.

For example, if one doubles pair dominates the other and wins the match by 8-0, that’s just 8 games they’ve had to play.

In contrast, the lowest number of games that can be played in a singles match is 12 – that’s assuming one player wins by a score of 6-0, 6-0. 

Even if a doubles game goes to a tie-break, however, it is QUITE RARE that the game lasts for much longer than one hour.

Singles Is Regular With a 10-Point Breaker

One of the main reasons that high school singles match RARELY GO much past the 2-hour mark is due to this rule.

Unless a player wins by 2-0 in sets, the match will be split and IT WILL BE one set apiece.

If this situation occurs, there is NO POSIBILITY of a full third set.

That’s because full third sets have been scrapped for high school tennis, and the Championship tie break has replaced it.

A Championship tie break has also been introduced on the pro tour too, as seen at the Australian Open.

High school tennis has obviously followed suit and implemented the third set tie break rule.

Basically, this is AN EXTENDED TIE BREAK where one player needs to reach 10 points instead of the regular 7 points.

This has been done to avoid overly lengthy matches and to allow high school games to be wrapped up in an APPROPRIATE LENGTH OF TIME.

Of course, since the third set is played this way, matches can save up to one hour’s worth of tennis!

Regular Lets Are Used

For those that haven’t heard of this rule before, you’ll probably find this PRETTY INTERESTING.

In Division One college tennis, should a serve hit the net, it is still live.

So if the serve JUST TRICKLES over into the box, it is viewed as an ace and they will win the point.

This was introduced to speed up the matches, and it was briefly trialed on the pro tour too until players basically VOTED AGAINST IT.

In high school tennis, however, regular lets are used for all matches

This means that if a serve does hit the net and just trickle over, the serve MUST BE REPEATED.

In my opinion, this is MUCH BETTER FOR THE GAME, and lets don’t really extend the length of a match all that much anyway. 

Key takeaways on the length of high school matches

Now that I’ve covered the scoring systems and average length of matches, I would hope that your question has been answered.

But let’s do a quick recap on the main points so that you leave this post fully informed!

So, for singles matches, you are usually looking at a length of 1-2 hours. 

The only way it would be less is if one player BLOWS THE OTHER one off the court, usually by a pretty convincing scoreline.

And the only way it would be more than 2 hours is if you had two very evenly matched players who played a somewhat GRINDING STYLE.

Of course, the match would likely need to go to 3 sets to EXTEND BEYOND the 2-hour mark too.

As for doubles, I can say with confidence that I never had a College Doubles Match that lasted more than one hour.

And since this is the case in college, I would think that this is REPLICATED IN HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS.

Of course, there might be rare discrepancies, but this is fairly accurate!

Have any stories from high school tennis you’d like to share? Feel free to jump into the comments below.

What Was the First Tennis Ball Made Of?

What was the first tennis ball made of
  • The very first tennis ball – wood (dating back to the 1300s)
  • First mass-produced tennis ball – rubber
  • Today – rubber and felt

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

This is actually a very interesting topic. The more you research, THE MORE YOU’LL REALIZE that opinions and facts vary greatly.

However, historians believe that the original tennis ball dates back to the 1300s.

With this being 700 years ago, sadly, NO LIVING HUMAN CAN CONFIRM – none that I’m aware of anyway!

On that note, it is widely accepted that French Aristocrats started to play some form of tennis during that century.

And wooden tennis balls have been recovered by historians IN RECENT TIMES.

So if you want to be super technical, these wooden balls were the first documented tennis balls.

But in the interest of talking about tennis balls since the sport has been played BY THE MASSES, the first tennis ball would then be viewed as rubber.

I did say it was an interesting topic!

This was all made possible since a rather CREATIVE MAN by the name of Charles Goodyear developed the process of vulcanizing rubber.

That occurred around the 1840s, and some enterprising Germans started TO SELL PRESSURIZED, rubber balls

But by the 1880s, opportunistic businessmen were developing tennis balls with rubber and felt.

Clearly, tennis balls have gone through QUITE A CHANGE over the years.

Let’s look into this fascinating piece of history in greater detail now, shall we?

Details of how the first tennis ball came to be

Ignoring the historian’s estimate of wooden balls by the 1300s, LET’S FOCUS on the creation of the rubber tennis ball.

There simply ISN’T ENOUGH EVIDENCE or documentation to talk too much about the wooden balls used by the French Aristocrats, and I’d hate to be TOO SPECULATIVE with the information provided!

Instead, let’s take a look at specifics for the rubber tennis ball.

Charles Goodyear Vulcanization Process

Do you know of an enterprise named the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company?

You probably do – they are one of the MOST SUCCESSFUL rubber-tire producing enterprises of the last few Centuries.

This all stemmed from Charles Goodyear’s discovery of how to vulcanize rubber, an experiment that he performed in the 1840s.

He was actually a chemist who happened to stumble across this process during a series of INTERESTING EXPERIMENTS.

Basically, vulcanization hardens rubber and makes it more responsive to the environment.

It also makes the rubber more:

  • Resistant
  • Strong, and
  • Flexible.

My interpretation is that vulcanization effectively takes regular rubber and turns it into a better version.

We don’t need to get much MORE SCIENTIFIC than this for the purposes of this short read. 

And sure, this experiment wasn’t performed with the intention of making tennis balls.

But it did PAVE THE WAY for the process to be used for manufacturing balls and transforming the game of tennis as we know it.

Pressurized Rubber Balls From Germany

News of Goodyear’s process OBVIOUSLY REACHED Germany a few years later, and that’s where the first tennis ball starts to become well documented.

These rubber balls were manufactured from the late 1840s onwards, and according to reports, they were either Red or Grey with NO COVERING.

The balls were also lightly pressurized to give them BETTER RESPONSES from the court, much to the delight of tennis players of that era.

However, the development of the tennis ball obviously sent shockwaves through the tennis world.

Everyone wanted to get in ON THE ACTION, and another enterprising individual by the name of Walter Wingfield visualized the next transition.

He was a Welsh inventor, and it was Wingfield who came up WITH THE IDEA of adding flannel to the balls

Of course, this didn’t STAY SECRET FOR LONG, and by the 1880s, tennis balls were being sold with a felt covering.

Pressurized Rubber With the Addition of Felt/Cloth

Tennis balls were actually BEING SOLD with this recent change in England during the 1880s.

This was the case for many decades, with VERY FEW CHANGES to the design of a tennis ball up until the 1920s.

This was the decade in which the modern-day tennis ball started to really present itself. Previously, tennis balls were just ‘Lightly Pressurized’ to give them a bit of ADDED BOUNCE from the court surface. 

However, the 1920s then implemented balls that were pressurized to a significantly GREATER DEGREE.

Of course, these pressurized tennis balls were also made with cloth/felt around the outside of the ball.

This cushioned the ball regarding how IT REACTED TO THE SURFACE, the strings at the time, and it really did revolutionize the way that tennis was played. 

The modern-day tennis ball

It’s fair to say that the tennis ball has come A LONG WAY since the 1800s.

With that said, the ball has come an even longer way if we turn our attention back to the 1300s.

I’m CERTAINLY PLEASED that we don’t play with wooden or rubber balls these days, mind you!

On that note, modern-day balls use the same:

  • Vulcanized Rubber,
  • Felt/Cloth, and
  • Pressurization Process

that came about back in the 1920s. For those that are interested, here’s how tennis balls are actually MADE TODAY:

As you can see from the video, two rubber cups are now STUCK TOGETHER to create the round ball we use today.

The process is incredibly slick too, and tennis balls are now produced in a way that allows one ball to be IDENTICAL TO THE NEXT.

Fun fact for you - there are now 200+ tennis ball variations manufactured these days.

That’s certainly a whole lot more than the singular variation produced back in the 1800s.

Tennis balls are EVEN ALTERED in terms of the:

  • Thickness of Felt
  • Pressure, and
  • Ultimately – Cost

That’s because tennis has evolved to now be played on multiple surfaces, which has naturally demanded MORE VERSATILE tennis balls for the most optimal playing experience

Did you enjoy this quick read on the original tennis balls?

Do you have any other interesting historical facts to add? I’d love to hear them in the comments if so!

How to Tape Tennis Elbow?

How to tape tennis elbow
  • Use a strong and durable tape
  • Stabilise the joint & promote blood flow
  • Consider a tennis elbow support product too

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Tennis elbow is one of the MOST FRUSTRATING INJURIES out there.

In fact, at the time of writing, I am actually undergoing physio for this EXACTLY INJURY!

When you play your elbow hurts, of course. But away from the court, tennis elbow can actually impact daily tasks too.

This may include PICKING UP your coffee, doing some gardening, and a whole range of other tasks. But as frustrating and painful as it can be, you can help yourself by taping it correctly.

To give you an idea of how this is done, check out the video right here:

As you can see, the physio tapes the arm tightly WITH A STRONG TAPE.

And this is the overall goal of taping the elbow.

Firstly, the tape IS DESIGNED to stabilize the joint and provide added support.

But secondly, the location and techniques used for taping are actually designed to INCREASE BLOOD FLOW TOO.

I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure how this works, but I am inclined to trust the professionals!

So – I’ve listed the KEY BITS OF ADVICE about taping the elbow. But let’s get a little more specific now.

A closer review of each point

Before I get into the ins and outs of taping the elbow, let me quickly give you a great resource.

Tennis elbow can often BE HARD TO DIAGNOSE, and it is sometimes confused with other ailments.

Therefore, I highly recommend you check your symptoms here before making any kind of self-diagnosis.

If you think YOU MAY BE SUFFERING from the tennis elbow, do contact your doctor to see what the best course of action might be.

But in the meantime, should you want to continue playing, strapping the joint is a good place to start!

Use of Strong and Durable Tape

The elbow is a HIGHLY MOBILE JOINT, and when you play tennis, the pressure on the elbow is actually very high.

Of course, when you are moving around the court hitting forehands and backhands, and when serving – you are extending the arm a great deal.

This also PUTS PRESSURE on the tape you are using for your tennis elbow too.

Therefore, it’s important that you choose strong and durable tape.

My number one recommendation is always KT Tape, as it’s approved by physios and I’ve actually used it in the past.

The tape is FLEXIBLE ENOUGH that it won’t tear when extending your arm, but it’s also very strong to stabilize the joint.

Of course, you don’t have to choose this tape, but it’s certainly ONE TO CONSIDER.

And if you need a refresher on how to tape the joint, check out this physio guide.

Joint Stabilization & Better Blood Flow

I highly recommend FAMILIARIZING YOURSELF with how to apply the tape for your tennis elbow before attempting to wing it.

If you’re not sure, you can always CHECK WITH YOUR doctor or with a physio.

Alternatively, you can easily watch videos like the one shown above to GAIN AN IDEA of what to do.

That aside, the main objective of applying the tape is to ensure that your joint gets all the support it needs when playing

As you will see through videos and diagrams of applying the tape, IT’S IMPORTANT to strap tight around the upper forearm initially.

Unless I’m mistaken, this is WHAT PROMOTES additional blood flow to the area while stabilizing your LOWER ARM.

However, since all of the ligaments are linked in around the elbow, you may also WANT TO CONSIDER applying some tape from your outer bicep to the upper forearm too

Remember, stabilization and joint support are the PRIMARY OBJECTIVES HERE.

And applying the tape correctly will ensure that you can get out there and play!

Nobody wants to take time off due to injury – TRUST ME, I’ve been there.

Tennis Elbow Support Product

If you feel that taping the joint just isn’t enough, you may want to consider getting an elbow support product.

There are plenty out there these days, and if you combine taping the elbow with one of these, you should be JUST FINE.

Or at the very least, you can rest assured that you are doing everything possible to stop the pain and keep playing.

Since there are so many products out there, it can be hard to choose just one.

Personally, I prefer the smaller products that fit snugly around the forearm.

The pressure applied from the strap really does help to stop the pain, and it avoids too much restriction concerning YOUR MOVEMENT OF THE JOINT. That’s a common problem with larger tennis elbow supports!

Bonus – preventative measures for tennis elbow

If you have recently recovered from tennis elbow, or perhaps you don’t have it bad yet, you will WANT TO PAY ATTENTION to the following:

1) Smooth Out Your Technique

In my many years of coaching, I’ve found that tennis elbow is more common in those with RELATIVELY POOR TECHNIQUE.

Players that try to muscle the ball put additional stress on the elbow and this is a HEAVY CONTRIBUTOR to tennis elbow.

Therefore, I’d recommend booking yourself in with a qualified coach to see where you can improve your technique.

2) Check Your String Gauge

This has actually been the cause of my recent tennis elbow struggles.

Stupidly, I figured it would BE A GOOD IDEA to get a cheap reel of string for the winter.

I had planned to put this string in the crosses and keep my expensive string in the mains, therefore extending the life of each re-string I did.

However, without PAYING ATTENTION TO THE GUAGE, I found out that it was much thicker than what I’d normally use. 

This has caused my elbow to FLARE UP and it has been problematic for many months now – don’t make the same mistake!

Warm-up Properly

Whenever you go out there to play..

Please.

Make sure.

You warm up all of your muscles.

A few laps of the court isn’t really enough.

You must get the:

  • Blood pumping
  • Loosen up the muscles
  • Joints with dynamic stretches, and
  • Start off slow when playing

I always start out by ROLLING A FEW BALLS in the service boxes before moving back to the baseline, and I’d recommend you do the same – ESPECIALLY if you are having tennis elbow issues.

Has this article helped you regarding how to tape your elbow? Do you have anything you’d like to add? Let us know below!

What Is a Foot Fault in Tennis?

What is a foot fault in tennis
  • An automatic fault due to a foot stepping onto the line mid-serve
  • Regularity – not overly common at the highest level
  • Result – same as a regular fault

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

If you’ve watched a fair bit of LIVE TENNIS before, you’ve probably seen a foot fault called before.

Basically, a foot fault is called by a lines judge, specifically, the baseline judge, should a player STEP ONTO THE BASELINE in the middle of their motion.

It can happen in both men’s and women’s tennis, at any level.

In fact, the number of foot faults that go un-called at the lower levels is SURPRISINGLY HIGH, since there are no lines judges.

I’ve seen guys step a good foot into the court when hitting a serve in the past. As AMUSING AS THIS IS, it’s still technically against the rules.

Mind you, you won’t get too many sticklers for calling foot faults on their opponents outside of the professional game.

With this said, I’d like to get a little more specific regarding the ins and outs of foot faults right now. 

Some of this information you may already know, but much of it I hope is brand new!

A blow by blow of foot faults in tennis

As stressed above, foot faults can and DO HAPPEN in the professional game.

One of the most famous of them all was when Serena Williams was called for one during a huge US Open game against Kim Clijsters in 2009:

As you can see in the video, this foot fault call basically ended the match for Williams and gave Clijsters a walkthrough to the final.

This is, of course, an extreme example, but it UNDOUBTELY TRANSFORMED the match.

But let’s get specific regarding foot faults now.

Exactly how does foot fault occur

When serving in tennis, there are TWO METHODS relating to what you can do with your feet.

You can either ‘toe up’ or not.

If you toe up, this means that you bring your back leg forward to meet your front leg, and then use both together when springing up.

Some PEOPLE BELIEVE that this is better, but that’s a debate I will leave for another day.

Regarding foot faults, however, these are more common WITH PLAYERS who do toe up on their serve.

That’s because there is MORE MOVEMENT WITH THE FEET, meaning that more things can go wrong.

And by going wrong, I mean that one of the feet may then touch the baseline or run completely OVER IT.

That’s how a foot fault actually occurs!

According to the official rulebook, should any part of your body enter the court prior to the ball being struck, this would be a foot fault. 

Once you’ve hit the ball, however, you can land in the court AS FAR AS YOU LIKE. 

The Impact Foot Fault Have

If a player does perform a foot fault in a match, the impact it has IS IDENTICAL to if they have actually hit a fault.

That’s where the name comes from in the first place – foot fault.

If a player manages to step on the baseline during their first serve, the automatic fault means that they then MOVE ON to hit a second serve.

If they do this on their second serve, however, this means that they lose the point since they have then technically HIT A DOUBLE FAULT.

In terms of the impact they have in the grand scheme of things, they’re not overly influential.

That’s the case unless they occur at a MAJOR MOMENT in the match, like the example provided above in the Williams vs Clijsters game.

In cases like these, a foot fault can QUITE LITERALLY CHANGE the entire match.

Frequency In The Professional Game

Given the number of serves that are ACTUALLY HIT during the course of a tennis match, foot faults aren’t very common at all .

Sure, they do happen, but it is by means something that you can expect TO WITNESS in most matches.

In fact, if you see more than one-foot fault during a live match, you are doing well!

Ways to avoid a foot fault

Now that we’ve addressed foot faults from a definitive perspective, let’s look at how you can avoid them.

The good news is that avoiding foot faults is ACTUALLY EASIER than you might think, as detailed here.

1) Stand Further Back From The Line

Keep in mind that foot faults happen when you step over the line when serving.

Therefore, one of the BEST REMEDIES is to stand further back so that your feet are then FURTHER FROM THE LINE.

The further back you are, the LESS CHANCE you have of stepping onto the line during the middle of your motion.

But the downside of doing this is that you LOSE A FEW INCHES regarding where you contact the ball.

However, unless you are playing at a high level, you don’t need to worry too much about this. 

Consider Avoiding The ‘Toe Up’

If you currently toe up with your service motion, you might want to think about CHANGING THIS.

This is ESPECIALLY TRUE if you are being called up for foot faults during your matches.

I actually changed my service motion while in college from toeing up to not, and it HELPED MY SERVE MASSIVELY.

I didn’t do this because of foot faults, but regardless, you just never know whether THIS CHANGE MIGHT HELP YOUR SERVE in general!

Keep Your Ball Toss Closer To You

Chasing a ball toss that is TOO FAR from you is another contributor to foot faults.

Basically, when you toss the ball too far, you end up chasing it and you are more likely to drag your feet over the baseline.

If you do this, of course, this results in a foot fault.

Therefore, a good way to cure the issue is to toss the ball closer to the baseline.

It still needs to be in front of your body so that you get that forward motion, but keeping it closer should GREATLY HELP with the problem.

Have any foot fault stories you wish to share? Or have you any tips/advice to help our readers stop foot faulting that isn’t mentioned? Feel free to share your thoughts below if so.

How to Win a Tennis Match Against a Better Player

How to win a tennis match against a better player
  • Play to your strengths
  • Expose their weaknesses
  • Take your opportunities when they arise

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

It goes without saying that when you PLAY BETTER PLAYERS, the odds aren’t in your favor.

After all, that’s why they would be viewed as being a better player THAN YOU ARE!

Now, unless your name is Novak Djokovic, you are going to play against players who are better than you.

That’s just the nature of the sport, and I am most certainly including myself in this category.

I’ve played many guys over the years that were BETTER THAN ME. 

They may have been:

  • Physically Stronger
  • Fitter
  • Hit the ball harder
  • Been more crafty
  • Or a whole range of other things

But at the end of the day, they were a better player than I was.

At the same time, I can tell you that they didn’t always beat me.

In fact, I’ve managed to come up trumps against many guys who were better tennis players than me in the past. 

I don’t say this to pretend I’ve got the magic recipe to beat better players.

I say this to encourage you that it is possible IF YOU STICK to the points highlighted above.

And on that note, let’s now get a little more specific as to what you can do.

A breakdown of the tactics to beat better players

To keep things simple, I won’t be talking about court surfaces, conditions, or anything of that nature.

Instead, I’ll be focusing on the things that you CAN CONTROL, rather than discussing ELEMENTS that are beyond your control.

This is actually something that one of my favorite coaches used to tell me OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

By focusing on what you can control, there’s a better chance that you’ll:

  • Stay Calm
  • Play Well
  • Get the Result you want

So, here are the tactics in GREATER DETAIL:

1) Utilize Your Strengths

Once you get to a CERTAIN LEVEL in tennis, you really should know what your strengths are.

Taking myself as an example, I have always been a fit, quick, and consistent player. This puts pressure on my opponents to HIT WINNERS back to back, and it forces them to go close to the lines to win points.

On top of this, I have always had a decent forehand TO OPEN UP the court.

These are my strengths, and if I was playing a better player, I would try and perform well in these areas as BEST I CAN. 

In contrast, if my opponent had a huge forehand and they were able to hit through me, I’d try to avoid their forehand like the plague.

This actually brings me to my next point.

2) Try and Expose Their Weaknesses

Most players you go up against will have obvious strengths and weaknesses.

And as you progress into the HIGHER LEVELS OF THE GAME, players will naturally have more strengths than weaknesses in their game.

With that said, on the whole, even if a player is better than you, there will still be weaknesses that you CAN EXPLOIT.

In most cases, a player will likely have a weaker backhand than forehand, and this is a good starting point.

But of course, it depends on the individual YOU ARE PLAYING.

Moving beyond those basics, some players might struggle with a certain type of shot.

For example, I like to think I have a good slice backhand.

And if I know a guy hits quite flat and struggles to hit heavy topspin, I will hit plenty of slices to give them a ball they don’t like.

But sometimes these weaknesses might not be an EXACT SHOT.

For example, you might come against someone who is excellent at moving laterally across the baseline, but they struggle to PUSH OFF and get up to short balls.

Again, this is something you could then look to take advantage of by playing short angles and drop shots.

3) Focus and Take Your Chances

By nature, if you play better players, you won’t get MANY CHANCES to go ahead in the match.

A few breakpoints here and there might be all you get.

So when these opportunities arise, you need to BE AS ALERT AS POSSIBLE and truly zoned in to win those big points.

On that note, players play big points in different ways. Personally, on big points, I will do my absolute best to keep a good length and not miss a ball. 

However, I know of other guys that will try to GO AS BIG AS POSSIBLE and hit a clean winner on big points.

It all depends on your style, but either way, you have to take chances when they come.

Other important ingredients to beat better players

Apart from the physical elements of tennis, including fitness and shotmaking, the mental side is also enormous.

Just look at a guy like Novak Djokovic if you need any confirmation!

His mental game is just as good IF NOT BETTER than his actual game, which brings me on to the next three ingredients:

i) Belief

There is an old saying in tennis – before you can beat the guy in front of you, you first need to beat yourself.

That’s because the INTERNAL BETTLE of the mind must be won before you can win the battle on the court.

Once you believe that you are capable of beating the player across the net, only then can you actually go out there and do it.

ii) Positivity

Playing guys better than you means that you might be in for a FRUSTRATING GAME.

You’ll be pushed to your limits and things may go against you.

That’s why positivity is SO CRITICAL.

Again, try to FOCUS on:

  • What you can control
  • What you are doing well, and
  • Think about positive outcomes you are having in the match

Some people even like to use visualization to overcome negativity here, but that’s up to you. 

iii) Resilience

Not only is this critical in tennis, but it is also critical in life.

Things won’t always go as planned, and sometimes, you may FEEL LIKE EVERYTHING is going against you.

This is certainly the case in tennis, but it’s important to keep fighting, stay positive, and BELIEVE THAT if you stick with it – a better outcome is on the horizon

Any other tips on beating players from your own experience? Share your thoughts below.

How to Win a Tennis Match Against a Better Player

what is an unforced error in tennis
  • An error that is hit without being under any perceived pressure
  • Reasons – poor form, pressure, bad footwork, threat of opponents next shot
  • Examples – double fault, missed rally ball, missed mid-court ball

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

There are few things MORE FRUSTRATING in tennis than unforced errors. Hit too many and your opponent could win the match without needing to do too much.

As detailed above, an unforced error describes any error that has been hit without being under any pressure.

Everyone from amateurs to PROS HIT unforced errors.

But of course, professionals will hit fewer unforced errors than your average club player, IN THEORY.

In short, your goal should be to hit as few unforced errors in tennis as possible.

This means you won’t be giving your opponent too many ‘cheap points’.

Take Rafael Nadal as an example, ESPECIALLY ON CLAY. The guy barely gives you a free point, meaning that his unforced error count is typically VERY LOW.

The fact that he can get many balls back in play is also a nightmare for opponents, hence his success

Which other player gives opponents makes fewer points from unforced error?

Another guy who is amazing at reducing the unforced error count is Novak Djokovic.

In fact, that’s partly why he was able to beat Nadal at the 2021 French Open!

Therefore, it’s NO SUPRISE that these two are some of the best players on tour.

But are unforced errors really that easy to avoid, and what contributes to them?

Ways of hitting an unforced error

Unforced errors can be hit in ALL KINDS OF WAYS.

But regardless of how they are hit, they are always documented as AN ERROR that was hit without being under pressure.

Here are the different ways of hitting an unforced error:

Double fault

Of course, with the server starting the point in tennis, they are under NO PRESSURE at all.

The server simply tosses up the ball and hits it to kick things off.

In tennis, you get a first and a second serve. If you miss both, not only is this classed as a double fault, but it’s also classed as an unforced error.

These tend to be higher for guys who try to GO BIG on first and second serves

However, the double fault count can always be higher for guys when facing a great returner, as this actually CREATES PRESSURE on the quality of the serve.

Hitting the Ball Long

Keeping a good length on YOUR GROUNDSTROKES is the best way to prevent the opponent from attacking the ball.

But hitting the ball within a few inches of the baseline is difficult, EVEN FOR GREAT PLAYERS.

That’s where unforced errors can arise from hitting the ball long, as a player can simply be trying to keep a great length time and time again.

Naturally, the margin for error is VERY SMALL at the top of the game!

Hitting the Ball Wide

One of the best ways to maneuver your opponent around the court is to hit angles.

But sometimes, you might like to try and CLEAN THE LINE on a groundstroke to hit an immediate winner.

Either way, YOU’LL BE TRYING to place the ball close to the lines, which can and does result in unforced errors.

Hitting the Ball in the Net

That pesky net has a habit of getting in the way at times, right?

Then again, tennis wouldn’t be the same WITHOUT THE NET standing in the way.

Of course, hitting the ball in the net without being under any pressure goes down as an unforced error.

Guys that hit the ball very flat tend to hit unforced errors in this way, as they have very little net clearance on their groundstrokes. 

What contributes towards a higher unforced error count?

If you hit a high number of unforced errors in a game, you’re always going to be up against it.

This means you are giving your opponent MANY CHEAP POINTS.

In my experience, and from players I’ve coached over the years, there are four reasons for unforced errors:

1) Poor Footwork

Sloppy footwork results in you being in the WRONG POSITION for the shot.

If you get too close, the ball gets TOO FAR, or your contact point is off, there’s a higher chance you’ll miss the ball.

That’s why footwork is so amazingly important in tennis.

So if you’re hitting quite a few unforced errors, you’ll want to CHECK YOUR FOOTWORK!

2) Opposition Pressure

Trying to hit the ball close to the line is often a response to your opponent playing good tennis.

Especially if they are big hitters, you’ll feel MORE PRESSURE to keep them pinned back and stop them from controlling the point.

This creates a subconscious need to try and play things a LITTLE RISKIER, resulting in unforced errors.

3) Scoreboard Pressure

Nobody is immune from pressure.

Even the greats like Djokovic and Federer start to miss a few balls when they are up against it.

At big moments, you may be MORE LIKELY to hit an unforced error because you’ll get nervous, or ‘tight’ as we like to call it in tennis.

This often throws your footwork off, YOUR ARMS GETS HEAVY, and your strokes won’t be as precise or smooth

4) Going for Too Much

If you like to ATTACK THE BALL, this one’s for you.

When you are trying to push the opponent, hit clean winners, or just dominate the point – there is a higher chance that YOU’LL MISS.

That’s just part of the game, although if you are trying to play too risky for whatever reason, your unforced error count will certainly rise.

If this happens, you may want to rein things in a bit.

The impact that unforced errors have on a match

You’ve probably guessed that a high unforced error count is bad for your game.

More to the point, it can be CATASTROPHIC when trying to win matches.

Hit too many and your confidence will fade, your opponent will be OVERJOYED, and you’ll get incredibly frustrated.

Consistent unforced errors also means that the scoreboard will KEEP TICKING OVER in the wrong direction from your perspective too.

If you’ve been there before, I highly recommend tightening your game up a bit.

These are the things you ought to start doing:

  • Play further from the lines
  • Hit with less pace
  • Keep your footwork intense, and
  • Give the net more clearance

Incorporate these and I am pretty confident that your error count will decrease.

Have anything to add? Jump into the comments and let us know!

Choosing the Right Tennis Rebounder

The best tennis rebounder
  • Cost-effective
  • Strong design (durable, weather resistant, good meshing)
  • Portable and versatile

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

These are the three MOST IMPORTANT elements for me when looking at purchasing a tennis rebounder.

This piece of equipment can be great if you get the right one, but there are some not so great ones out there that you definitely need to avoid.

My personal favorite tennis rebounder is:

But since you are here, you’ll see my top five suggestions regarding tennis rebounders and WHY I BELIEVE these to be the best in the market. 

Choosing one of these can help you:

  • Practice your swings
  • Get a good workout, and
  • Even enjoy some family time since many people can get involved at once.

So, which tennis rebounder should you be looking at these days?

Keep reading to find out!

My top five picks

i) Jaques of London Rebound Trainer

This is a great rebounder not only because it is significantly cheaper than others, but because it has a STRONG STRUCTURE too.

The frame is made of steel, meaning that it should hold strong when whacking the ball at it, and the net itself covers a rather impressive 7ft span.

So even if you aren’t overly accurate with your hitting (yet), you’ve still got quite a LARGE SURFACE AREA to aim for.

And to top it all off, this one is durable to the elements, boasting a degree of water resistance so you can keep it in your garden year-round!

Key Features

  • Much cheaper than other brands
  • 7ft surface area for hitting
  • Firm steel frame

Pros 

  • Fully adjustable net
  • Easy transport with wheels on bottom

Cons

  • Requires a large space to use

ii) XK Sports Tennis Rebounder

The one thing you’ll notice about this one right off the bat is the curved design, compared with the flat design of the rebounder mentioned above.

You’ve even got different regions of the court to aim for WITH THIS ONE, which lets you work on some accuracy.

You can also adjust the tension of the net to absorb your shots AT DIFFERENT LEVELS, and this then fires the ball back at different speeds too.

This rebounder is also WATERPROOF, made of steel for the frame, and it should last an awfully long time!

Key Features

  • Replicates a court with the design
  • Adjustable net tension
  • Curved mesh to absorb shots better

Pros 

  • A more realistic rebounder
  • Great for volleys and serves

Cons

  • One of the pricier models

iii) Tourna Tennis Rebound Net

The Tourna Tennis rebounder is a bit of a beast, boasting a 9ft mesh to AIR FOR!

Again, this would suit beginners or those who are still perfecting their accuracy, and since the net has a fixed tension, you’ll get a constant return speed on the ball.

I’ve never actually seen this one in action, but from what I’ve read, you can assemble it within 5-10 minutes, and then it folds away nicely for storage.

As you can see, it also has a virtual net line on the mesh, so it’s realistic too.

Key Features

  • Large 9ft surface area
  • Steel frame
  • Fixed mesh tension

Pros 

  • Easy to assemble
  • A good choice for beginners

Cons

  • Can’t really vary the response from the net

iv) Pro’s Pro Tennis Rebound Net

Pro’s Pro is a fantastic brand for getting cost-effective goods, and this is also true in the case of their tennis rebounder.

Boasting a decent-sized surface area and a solid frame, you can hit the ball fairly hard at this one without ANY WORRIES.

You can’t adjust the net tension or angle, but for some people, this is MORE PREFERABLE, especially in the interest of practicing a certain stroke over and over again.

This rebounder is amazingly lightweight too, allowing you to transport it around with ease.

Key Features

  • On the lower end of the price spectrum
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Solid frame and net

Pros 

  • Can practice many different shots
  • High-quality structure

Cons

  • Not much flexibility regarding choice of tension/angle

v) RapidFire Mega Tennis Rebounder

This is one of the top rebounders out there, in my humble opinion.

The manufacturing quality on this one is PHENOMENAL, with a tightly woven mesh to rebound the ball with pace, a steel frame for sturdiness, and an adjustable surface area to control the response.

Of course, you’ve also got the net line on there so that YOU CAN SEE whether you are hitting the ball at an appropriate height.

And finally, there are multiple size options for this rebounder, ranging from a 6ft to an 8ft surface area, making it ideal for both children and adults.

Key Features

  • Different sizes available
  • Incredibly sturdy design
  • Adjustable angle for varying responses

Pros 

  • Many positive reviews from previous customers
  • High-quality and durable frame

Cons

  • A relatively pricey model 

And the winner is ….

Out of the five tennis rebounders I’ve shortlisted above, I’m going to have to go with the last one mentioned – the RapidFire Rebounder.

There isn’t another rebounder quite like this one in the market today, boasting such versatility and high-quality materials.

It’s ALSO IDEAL that you can purchase this one according to the size that suits you, based on whether you are purchasing it for yourself or your child, and based on the actual space you have at home.

Again, this creates Choice and FLEXIBILITY from the same product.

Since it has a fantastic mesh design and steel frame, I would expect this rebounder to last for years too.

So while it does come with a heavier investment required on your part, I believe that the cost is still worth it in the long run.

If you’ve used any of these rebounders before, or you proceed to purchase one and find it useful, do let us know down below!

All comments help our readers to make the most informed decision possible.

Finding an Appropriate Overgrip for Sweaty Hands

Best Tennis Overgrips
  • As sweat-absorbent as possible – indicated in the product description
  • Tacky enough for optimum performance
  • Sufficiently durable

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

In my experience, overgrips are FAR BETTER at dealing with sweaty palms compared with replacement grips.

They are usually much better at absorbing sweat, generally tackier, and in my personal opinion, they have a better FEEL TO THEM.

My personal favorite overgrip for sweaty hands is:

I like the feeling of a THINNER GRIP as it makes me feel like I’ve got more control over the racket, as crazy as that might sound.

And since I am a bit of a sufferer with sweaty hands when playing, I can confirm that overgrips are the best way of overcoming this problem – if you ignore other external products!

In terms of sourcing the very best overgrips for sweaty hands, I’ve come up with my top five recommendations below. 

My top five picks

Wilson Pro Overgrip

Wilson makes great products for tennis players, PERIOD.

They make some of the best rackets, string, and for our purpose, the best overgrips.

They are a LITTLE PRICER than others, but the quality is exceptional.

Especially with the Pro Overgrip, these are SUPER TACKY, durable, and they have a great feel in the hand.

Personally, I like the white version, as it LOOKS CLASSIC – something that Federer would use at Center Court Wimbledon.

However, it comes in many different colors, so you’ve got plenty of options here.

Key Features

  • Available in multiple colors
  • Polyurethane material
  • Very stretchable

Pros 

  • Used by Roger Federer
  • Can be bought in bulk

Cons

  • Pricier than others

Tourna Grip Original

This was the grip of choice for MANY PROFESSIONALS back in the day.

We are talking about the likes of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and countless others.

They’re not as popular these days since the market has many other competitors, but this is still a fantastic grip for sweaty palms.

I actually used this grip for MANY YEARS, mainly while playing in college, and it never failed me.

It has quite a DRY FEEL to it, unlike modern-day grips that are designed to be as tacky as possible. But with that said, it’s amazingly sweat-absorbent, and it still performs well when wet.

Key Features

  • A legendary grip
  • Dry and soft feel
  • Pre-cut and ready to go

Pros 

  • Used by countless professionals over the years
  • Reversible for extra usage

Cons

  • Only available in one color

Babolat VS Overgrip

If it’s good enough for Nadal, it’s got to be fairly decent, right?

If you’re a fan of soft, tacky grips, this one will suit you down to the ground.

I’ve used these in the past, and THEY CERTAINLY have a good amount of padding in the grip, without being too chunky.

You can only get these grips in white or black right now, but most players prefer these basic colors anyway!

And in terms of the grip’s sweat absorbing properties, the non-woven layer of the grip absorbs sweat RAPIDLY and EFFECTIVELY

Key Features

  • Used by Nadal and Fognini
  • Incredibly soft on your hands
  • Rapid sweat absorption

Pros 

  • Great for humid conditions
  • Not as harsh on your hands as others

Cons

  • Loses its tack quicker than other overgrips

Yonex Super Grap

Yonex isn’t quite as PROLIFIC as other brands in the tennis world these days.

They are usually good at creating high-performance rackets, but that’s about the only category where they are competing with major players.

However, I’ve unearthed THIS COOL OVERGRIP that is fairly cheap, absorbs sweat well, and is available in pretty much whatever color you like.

The only thing with this one is that while it performs great at the beginning, it can wear quickly in certain parts of the grip, but that depends on how often YOU PLAY!

Key Features

  • Available in many different colors
  • Polyurethane material
  • Can be bought in 3-packs or in bulk

Pros 

  • Cheaper than most overgrips
  • Very tacky feel

Cons

  • Not great in humid/damp conditions

Head Xtreme Soft

And finally, we have a fairly solid overgrip from Head.

This one is specifically DESIGNED FOR PLAYERS with hugely sweaty hands, as seen with the design.

This one has multiple holes all over the grip that allows the sweat to seep through and not sit there on the surface, which can lead to all kinds of problems.

On top of that, it has an immensely tacky feel to it, which keeps your hand feeling dry, keeps the contact firm on the grip, and it actually HELPS TO AVOID excess moisture build-up too.

Key Features

  • Holes in the grip for rapid absorption
  • Very thin for a great feel
  • Multiple colors available

Pros 

  • Nice packaging for easy transportation
  • Middle of the road in terms of price

Cons

  • The highly tacky feel won’t suit everyone

And the winner is ….

When all is said and done, the question has to be answered – which overgrip should you go for?

In my experience, I would have to shoot with the original Tourna Grip.

It has served me very well OVER THE YEARS, and I generally love the feel of this grip compared to all of the others.

I’m not really one for the immensely tacky feel, but then again, that’s all a matter of personal preference.

And to be honest, that’s why I prefer this grip, because it is NICE and SOFT, TACKY without having to peel your hand off the grip, and it absorbs moisture incredibly well.

It’s also a pretty economical grip too.

When I was a college student, I would flip the grip around and TURN IT upside down to get as much use as I could from just one grip.

Back in the day when every cent mattered, this was something that I found to be HIGHLY BENEFICIAL.

But of course, above all else, it’s the performance of this grip that has kept me going back for more throughout my career!

Do let us know if any of these grips help with your sweaty hands!

And if you have any other recommendations, feel free to add these in the comments.

How to Beat a Pusher in Tennis

How to beat a pusher in tennis
  • Take the game to them – attack, attack, attack
  • Play your game, and play to your strengths
  • Look for opportunities to come to the net

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

If you’ve played a fair amount of competitive tennis before, there’s a STRONG CHANCE you’ve come across what we would call a ‘pusher’.

Basically, this is someone who simply pushes the ball into play, not doing much with it, and waiting for you to miss in order to win points.

These guys can be INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING to play against, especially if you are losing, as most of the points will inevitably end on your errors.

But as frustrating as this can be, there are ways to turn things IN YOUR FAVOR.

Rather than choosing to play their game, you need to STEP IT UP and play to your strengths.

Even if you aren’t naturally a very attacking player, it’s important to start taking control of the points TO AVOID getting into a pushing battle.

Another thing – if you’re not overly fit, pushers can wear you down over the course of a match and eventually, you could lose based on fitness alone.

So, what’s the remedy?

I’ve highlighted my top three tips above, but let’s get a little more specific now.

1) Intricate strategies for each tip

Pushers come in all shapes and sizes, LITERALLY.

In fact, the pusher has become so profound in tennis that the USTA has discussed how to deal with different pushers right here or you could watch the video below:

But they all have the same thing in common:

  • They make plenty of balls
  • Usually have a good defensive game and
  • A relatively poor attacking game.

This means that the following strategies and tips WILL BE EFFECTIVE against all pushers:

2) Playing an attacking game

Pushers will run around ALL DAY LONG and have an annoying knack of finding the court, no matter HOW FAR YOU MOVE them around.

Therefore, the best way of dealing with this is to switch up your style and play a more attacking game.

After all, if they make EVERY SINGLE BALL in the court, and scramble around getting most balls back, how else will you beat them?

You have to take it to them and TAKE CONTROL of the match. 

Starting from the back of the court, I would advise taking the ball early so that you GIVE THEM LESS TIME to recover in a point.

On top of this, I would recommend trying to work in some angles, slice a few balls now and then, and occasionally, when the opportunity presents itself, flatten out the ball and GO FOR THE WINNER.

Creating different ‘images’ during points gives pushers less of a rhythm, and in my experience, this is something THEY ABSOLUTELY NEED to play their best tennis.

You could also try to work in some two-punch combinations during your service games.

This means that you hit a big serve, and then follow it up by smoking the first ball in the rally to try and END IT.

Again, this takes away any rhythm and keeps the points NICE and SHORT.

3) Utilizing your strengths

Individual players have THEIR OWN individual strengths.

For myself, I can hit a pretty heavy forehand that works the opponent around the court, but I also have a decent slice backhand.

I try to use these two shots as much as possible during matches, with VARYING REGULARITY depending on the style of opponent I’m up against.

For yourself, you might have a

  • Great Backhand
  • Awesome Volleys, or
  • You might be particularly skilled at playing a Grinding Style of tennis.

Whatever your strengths are, you need to use them to YOUR ADVANTAGE.

Pushers want to suck you into their game, and this effectively takes away the strengths you might have in your own game.

It’s important that you don’t get sucked into this trap, as pushers will be rubbing their hands WITH GLEE if you do!

Avoid getting into those loopy-style rallies where nobody is really doing anything with the ball, and start to incorporate your strengths to DOMINATE THE POINT.

Even if this doesn’t work all of the time, you will be making a statement that you’ve come to play your game!

4) Attacking the net

Pushers will always HANG OUT at the back of the court, looping the ball back and forth until you get frustrated and make an unforced error.

Of course, you might also end up hitting a winner, but the pusher RELIES ON YOUR unforced errors to get wins.

Now, since they will be lobbing the ball back and forth, it can be difficult to hit an attacking shot from the back of the court and TAKE CONTROL.

Therefore, you can always look for an opportunity to take a drive volley or even a regular volley to then transition into the net. 

When you do this, the pusher WILL BE FORCED to do what they inherently don’t like to do, which is to hit through the ball and play a more attacking shot.

If they LOB IT UP from the back of the court once again, you will get an overhead, which is pretty much the most aggressive, point-finishing shot in tennis.

THEY WILL want to avoid this like the plague, and it shows to them that you have an EXACT STRATEGY to beat them.

And should they SQUEAK the ball past you on a couple of occasions, that’s absolutely fine.

I can almost promise you that they won’t be able to replicate this enough times to make your strategy ineffective. 

Final thoughts

So there you have it guys – a recipe to beat one of THE MOST annoying game styles in tennis, THE PUSHER.

A bonus tip: I’d like to provide is to get yourself in the best physical shape possible too.

Pushers will make you hit plenty of balls and you’ll need to work VERY HARD to win the match, so it’s important that your body is up to the challenge.

Combine this with the tips presented above, and you should be just fine!

What is your experience with pushers?

Did you overcome this by using any tips not mentioned above? Jump into the comments and let us know.

Why Get Yourself a Tennis Rebounder?

Why get yourself a tennis rebounder
  • Perfect if you want to replicate/practice a particular shot
  • Ideal if you struggle to find hitting partners
  • Great if you don’t live near tennis courts

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Tennis rebounders aren’t necessarily something new, but not many people realize THE BENEFITS of actually investing in this piece of equipment.

It may seem a little quirky at first, with a strange-looking mesh and a white line to represent a net, but these cool little gadgets can be awesome for your game – especially for beginners.

Sure, once you reach the level of intermediate or advanced, tennis rebounders aren’t going to be the best things to practice with. But until you reach that point, they are WORTH LOOKING INTO.

As the name indicates, the objective for this piece of equipment is to keep the ball coming back to you – hence the ‘rebounder’ description.

Net World Sports RapidFire Mega Tennis Rebounder | Groundstroke & Volleying Practice (Small Or Large) (Large (7ft x 8ft))

You do need a fair bit of space if you are to use a tennis rebounder too, meaning that IDEALLY, you need a large garden or at least a quiet street where you can use it.

But if you do have access to these areas, and you are STILL LEARNING the game of tennis, you may want to keep reading!

You’ve already seen three reasons why a rebounder is a good choice above, but now, I’d like to get a little more specific on each element highlighted above (and more).

Situations in which you should consider getting a tennis rebounder

To clear up any doubts, a tennis rebounder is NOT SOMETHING I recommend for players who are intermediate or advanced.

That’s because you will likely be hitting the ball too hard to receive any real benefit here, and to be completely honest, you need real tennis to improve your game once you reach this level.

So, with that cleared up, let’s dive into the scenarios in which a rebounder is a good choice.

1)You Have a Certain Shot You Want to Practice

When learning the game, REPETITION IS EVERYTHING.

I guess it’s like anything really, the more you work at it, the more you’ll figure out what is working, what isn’t working, and what corrections you need to make to improve.

I’d like to place a FAIR BIT OF EMPHASIS on the word ‘repetition’ here, as THAT’S EXACTLY what you get with a tennis rebounder.

I remember my coach used to tell me that nobody beats the wall, and in this instance, nobody beats the rebounder!

Then again, that’s what you want, so that you get to hit plenty of balls and PRACTICE YOUR STROKES.

If you have the space, you can pretty much work on any shot you like here. But if space is of a bit of a premium for you, you can still work on shots like:

  • Volleys,
  • Slice groundstrokes,
  • And even your serve. 

2) You Want to Test Out Some Rackets

Testing a racket is extremely important before you decide to go and purchase one.

The worst thing you can do is to buy a racket before you have properly tried it.

And by properly, I mean that you have tested it several times to ensure that it is the right racket FOR YOU.

Basically, testing a racket is all about:

  • How it feels in your hand
  • How it feels when striking the ball
  • Whether you like the sensation of the frame or not.

There are all kinds of tips out there for comprehensively testing a racket, but for the purpose of this piece, I won’t be running through those.

Instead, I will say that testing a racket requires HITTING PLENTY OF BALLS.

The more you hit, the more of an idea you will get as to whether you like that racket or not.

And what better way to hit plenty of balls than by picking a partner who never misses? 

3) You Fancy a Workout Involving Tennis

Just because the tennis rebounder is designed to spring the ball back at you, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be a great tool FOR A WORKOUT.

Naturally, hitting plenty of balls will tire you out over time, but if you hit the ball at an angle with your rebounder, you will be MOVING and HITTING.

In a sense, this replicates the movement of SLIDING ACROSS the baseline and hitting forehands and backhands on a real court.

The only downside here is that you need to have plenty of space, although you could perform this side-to-side style of play by hitting volleys too.

And let’s be honest here, burning calories by hitting tennis balls is significantly more fun than slugging it out on the treadmill. 

The fact that you can work on your strokes at the same time makes the PERFECT COMBINATION!

4) You Aren’t Getting Enough Court Time to Practice

This was always a problem for me as a kid. I lived near the tennis club, but I always STRUGGLED TO FIND players to practice with, and sometimes, the courts would just be booked out entirely.

This meant that I couldn’t get on the court and work on my game ANYWHERE NEAR as much as I would’ve liked.

But if I had a tool like a tennis rebounder as a kid, I could have put in HOURS OF MORE PRACTICE than I managed to do.

I’m sure my parents would’ve been thankful too, as this would’ve meant that I wasn’t hitting against the wall of the house anymore!

Even if the rebounder helps you to get an EXTRA HOUR or two each week, this can make an enormous difference concerning your progress, confidence, and ultimate enjoyment from the SPORT WE ALL LOVE.

My conclusion

It’s completely up to you whether you decide to purchase a tennis rebounder or not.

As I’ve stressed above, I wouldn’t recommend it if you are already relatively advanced with your game.

But if you are just starting out or there is a particular stroke that is frustrating you beyond belief, this is a WORTHWHILE INVESTMENT, in my honest opinion.

Have you used a tennis rebounder before? Do you have any product recommendations for us?

How did a rebounder help your game? Let us know in the comments.

How to Clean Tennis Balls

How to clean tennis balls
  • Use a standard brush – ideal for moderate dirt
  • Soak in the sink – best for above-average levels of dirt
  • Washing machine – if the balls are filthy

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Nobody enjoys playing with dirty tennis balls.

Not only can this WEIGHT the balls down, but it ALSO HURTS the general performance of the balls too.

So even when you are hitting your favorite forehand down the line, it WON’T FIRE like usual if you’re playing with dirty tennis balls.

This is true when the balls get hindered for whatever reason, whether it be damp, damage or even the tennis court surface GETTING TANGLED up in the outer fluff.

With this said, regardless of how you’ve managed to get the tennis balls dirty, it’s fairly easy to get them clean again.

And let’s be honest, this is FAR MORE cost-effective than purchasing new balls just because your current ones have got a little dirty.

You can see my top three recommendations above, but I’d like to go into a bit MORE DETAIL as to how you can clean the tennis balls with each method, without overdoing it and ruining the balls.

Believe me, it’s easy to find bad advice online regarding this issue. So please, allow me to give you some real advice on how to SUCCESSFULLY CLEAN your tennis balls today.

Main methods of cleaning

The method you ultimately decide to use depends on the LEVEL OF DIRT you are seeing on your tennis balls.

This can be mild or it can be severe, which is why I’d like to cover all three scenarios right now:

1) Moderate Dirt

There are many ways of actually getting your tennis balls dirty. But let’s ASSUME you haven’t let your dog tackle the balls for the sake of keeping things simple!

I would class ‘moderate dirt’ as dirt that has managed to get caught on the outside of the ball, but IT HASEN’T properly affected the ball’s performance.

It’s fairly easy for your tennis balls to enter this category too.

Balls can FLY OUT of the court and land in the bushes, mud, or if you have been playing on heavy clay, this can easily attach itself to the ball.

All three can be mildly problematic, but it’s EASY TO SOLVE.

In my experience, the easiest way of cleaning tennis balls that are just moderately dirty is to simply brush them.

This can be done with a simple dustpan and brush that you will probably have at home, but if the dirt is a little more resilient, you might want to get one with stronger bristles.

Casabella Wayclean Handheld Angled, Medium, Gray Dustpan and Brush Set, 1-Pack, Green and Taupe

Just place all of the balls in a bucket, and then BRUSH AWAY.

Since the dirt is likely dry, it should tear off the ball easily

I’d recommend brushing each ball individually, and then removing it from the ‘dirty bucket’, and putting it back into whichever location you store your tennis balls in.

2) Above-Average Dirt

If your tennis balls get into the ‘above average’ category, it’s likely that the dirt has managed to become ingrained into the fluff.

This can happen if the balls get stuck into WET DIRT, where it will then easily attach to the ball and make it heavy.

It can also change the color of the ball if the dirt is particularly EXTENSIVE.

So, if your tennis balls are looking a little worse for wear and you don’t feel that brushing them will get the job done, you will likely need to soak them to remove the dirt

To be honest, there isn’t much MAGIC involved here, and you can treat the balls much like you would treat your dirty dishes – unless you’ve got a dishwasher (please don’t do that!).

I would recommend filling up your kitchen sink with some warm water, not hot water, and then adding a little dish soap to the water to alleviate the dirt.

You don’t need to then scrub them, just leave them for somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes and then REMOVE THEM from the sink.

You should then stick them somewhere dry – possibly outside in the garden if you live somewhere warm, or spaced out in a warm room of your home if not.

If you are feeling a little apprehensive about this method, you can see a step-by-step guide right here.

3) Caked in Dirt

When I say caked, I mean CAKED!

Imagine your dog has been playing with them in wet dirt, and then chewing them, and then REPEATING THE PROCESS.

You can probably imagine the EXTENT of the dirt I’m talking about here.

If your tennis balls are suffering from this kind of appearance, I doubt that brushing, soaking, or combining the two will be of MUCH USE.

Instead, you will likely need to get your washing machine involved in the cleaning process.

You can stick as many tennis balls in there as you like, add some washing-up liquid, and then stick them on at a VERY LOW TEMPERATURE.

Do not run a cycle at a high temperature, as this can damage the balls and even change their shape.

Also, please do not stick them on with a ‘spin cycle’, as this can have the same effect.

Once complete, you can put the balls in your dryer on the lowest possible heat setting, but this shouldn’t be done for longer than 10-15 minutes.

Ideally, I would recommend letting the balls AIR DRY, as this will remove any risks of damaging the balls during the drying process.

Final thoughts

So there you have it, my top three recommendations on how to clean tennis balls!

As you can hopefully see, each of these methods is QUICK, cost-effective, and fairly easy to do.

I like that each of these methods involves tools/items that you should already have at your disposal in your home, most likely.

This removes the need to go and purchase any items PURELY TO CLEAN your tennis balls, which creates a nice, win-win scenario!

Do you know of any alternative methods not mentioned here? Perhaps you have some other advice for our readers? If so, please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.

Where Should You Be Storing Tennis Balls?

Storing tennis balls
  • Keep them in the tins (most ideal thing to do)
  • If opened – store somewhere warm and dry
  • Once opened and used – your tennis bag

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Believe it or not, finding the RIGHT PLACE to store your tennis balls is super important.

I’ve managed to choose the EXACT WRONG LOCATIONS in the past, so here, I’d like to help you to avoid making the same mistakes.

This saves you A LOT OF Time, Money, and Plenty of headaches – trust me! 

So as you can see above, you have several options of storing your balls depending on their status (brand new, opened, opened and used).

The overarching choice here is that you should store the balls somewhere warm, dry, and out of any potentially harmful elements like Rain and Cold Weather.

This will EXTEND the longevity of the balls, and if you can avoid opening the tins until you are ready to use them, EVEN BETTER.

I’ve gone into details ON WHY you should store the balls in these areas/conditions below…

And I’ve described some specific storing areas too – all to help you keep your tennis balls in the best condition possible.

Benefits of storing in these locations

Of course, you can go ahead and store your tennis balls wherever you like, as long as they fit the required Warm and Dry criteria.

But the reasons for doing so are MORE SPECIFIC than you might have thought, as detailed here:

Keeping Them in the Tins

Did you know that the cans that tennis balls come in are pressurized?

I must admit, I knew they were pressurized to provide that ‘POP’ when opened, but I DIDN’T KNOW WHY.

During my research, I discovered that these tins are pressurized IN ACCORDANCE WITH the external air pressure, all to keep the balls as new as possible and EXTEND their shelf-life.

I learned that you can leave brand new balls, unopened, in the tin for years until they START TO LOSE significant amounts of pressure.

Therefore, unless you are needing to use the balls immediately, the best storage strategy is to simply keep them in their pressurized tins/cans.

Of course, keeping them in their cans is ONLY BENEFICIAL as long as you do not remove the pressurized lids that are keeping THEM FRESH.

So please hold back your excitement on POPPING all of your new cans once they arrive – something I have done many times in the past!

Warm and Dry Areas

This doesn’t apply SO MUCH to unopened tins, but it certainly applies once you have gone ahead and opened the tins.

Basically, FROM THE MOMENT you remove the lid on your can of balls, they will start to lose pressure and become less fresh and BOUNCY than they once were.

This natural aging process is accelerated if you keep your balls in WET or COLD AREAS, such as your outside garage!

Once upon a time, I opened a FULL BOX OF BALLS and then stuck them in my garage, only to find that they were all flat as a pancake a few months later.

It would seem that the elements really do play a factor here, and the combination of cold and wet/damp conditions can ABSOLUTELY RUIN your tennis balls.

Needless to say, this means that you’d have to go and purchase another batch of balls once they ALL GET RUINED, which nobody wants to go and do!

Keeping Them in Your Bag

shiningwaner Tennis Bags Tennis Backpack with Shoe Compartment Shoe Bag for Men and Women, Holding Tennis/Badminton/Squash Racket, Pickleball Paddles and Other Accessories, Black

If you have a FAIRLY MORDEN tennis bag, even if it’s a backpack, it should be designed to KEEP CONDITIONS as dry and warm as possible.

Most bags have a silver, foil-type lining ON THE INSIDE which prevents moisture from coming through and destroying your