About the racquet head speed. But what is it? Racquet head speed is simply how fast the head of your racquet travels when you go to hit a ball. What many have come to realize (including all of your coaches, friends, and tennis idols) is that you can generate more power and spin when you increase your racquet head speed. That being said, your probably wondering how to do that. Here are 5 ways anyone can get more racquet head speed without losing their head:
1. Keep good posture throughout a shot
Good posture in tennis means that your shoulders are level at all times, your back is straight, your feet are shoulder width apart, your head is still, your weight is shifted slightly forward, and your knees are relaxed with a slight bend to them. Don’t worry. Even though it seems like a lot to remember at first, it will soon become natural with practice. A strong foundation is crucial for every shot in tennis. And generating racquet speed is no exception. If you practice playing with good posture on the court, your balance will greatly improve, and you will be hitting with more racquet head speed in no time.
2. Don’t equate racquet head speed with violence
Don’t get mad at the ball when your coach tells you to hit with more racquet speed. This is a common misconception players have when they try to swing faster. Instead of trying to swing smoothly and effortlessly, players often try to muscle the ball – leaving them off balanced. They try to do too much with the ball and end up violently jerking their body in the process (remember, good posture also mean having minimal body movement). Violence and force do not produce more racquet head speed. But a fast, smooth swing does. Just look at Roger Federer.
3. Point your butt cap towards the ball
Simple as it sounds, you will be surprised how much this will actually increase your racquet head speed. When you turn your hips and shoulders as you start your backswing, lay your wrist back and aim the butt cap of your racquet towards the ball. This allows you to accelerate when you make contact with the ball and create more spin.
4. Relax your wrist
A lot of coaches say to use your wrist to generate more racquet head speed. Yes, using your wrist is important. But it is important for every stroke in tennis as well. So, don’t overthink it or try to do too much with your wrist. Remember to relax your grip on the racquet. Sometimes, without even knowing, tennis players end up with such a tight grip on their racquet that it makes it impossible to hit freely with power and spin. So, RELAX! Calm your mind and relax your wrist and grip. If you simply hit freely on the ball, sort of like cracking a whip, (I like to think of whipping my racquet to hit the ball) you will accelerate more through your shots like never before.
5. Follow through with your shot
It is very basic concept and we have all heard it a billion times, but it is worth mentioning here. The reason why it is repeated so many times because it is SO TRUE! The only way you can swing faster is by giving your racquet room to accelerate. The follow through allows your racquet to pick up speed and can really add biting spin to your ball. If you stop your follow through halfway, you end up with a weaker shot and one that is prone to either go long or in the net. It is also good to note that when you do follow through, keep your head focused at the point of contact. That means, don’t look at the other side of the court immediately after or during your shot. Keeping your head down towards the point of contact minimizes unnecessary body movement and emphasizes the “whipping” of the racquet.
So, go out there and practice generating more racquet head speed. Practice aggresively, but not violently. And always remember to relax!