When developing junior players or working with adults, strategy and learning how to construct a point is one of the most important skills needed to improve your level. ‘Targeting the Backhand’ is one of the basic strategies and building blocks for other more complex strategies. The goal of the series was to illustrate what angles, height, speed and spin needed to target the backhand corner from different areas of the court. In order to measure this, we used the Augmented Reality Tennis App and placed virtual shapes (circles & squares) over the net to help us visualize the height, speed, spin and angle needed to high the target area.
Hitting a Target on the Court:
When placing a physical target on the court, the ball needs to cross over the net at a certain height, speed, spin and angle to hit the target. This is affected by the type of ‘ball’ that you hit: If you hit a flatter ball, the ball will not have as much height, less spin and speed will be increased. If you hit a ‘heavier’ ball – with more spin, then the ball will cross over the net higher, have more spin and less speed. Whichever type of ball you hit or the type of ball that you are working on, The Augmented Reality Tennis App can help you visualize the spot over the net that you need to cross in order to hit the target.
Forehand Down the Line:
With this pattern, we placed virtual targets over the net and adjusted the position based on my ‘style of ball’ that hit the backhand corner targets. By concentrating on a position over the net, this allows me to focus on a particular area over the net, pinpointing the exact position – which results in the ball hitting the target. Approaching target practice this way, provides an understanding that the ball needs to cross the net at a certain position to hit a target, simplifying the concept of hitting a target.
Backhand Cross Court & Inside Out:
With this pattern, we were still targeting the backhand corner, but the added difficulty was that the target was not directly in front of us, in that we needed to use angles to hit the target. Through testing and adjusting, we identified the correct angle that the ball needs to pass over the net from hitting a wide backhand, more neutral backhand and inside out forehand.
Backhand at Different Heights & Forehand Down the Line:
With the 3rd lesson, we focused on showing how you can use the virtual targets to visualize different heights that can be used for pattern training. During point construction, there are certain spots on the court that players should hit higher over the net to give themselves more time vs a flatter ball that drives through the court. For example: With the Forehand down the line target (green square) players should hit this ball higher over the net with spin, this gives the player more time to recover to get better court position and gives their opponent a tougher ball to drive cross court, since the ball has more spin and most likely out of their power zone. This is the same concept with the backhand wide, players should hit this ball with more spin and height to give them time to recover and out of the opponents power zone. With the backhand lower target, this represents a ball that is inside the court and closer to the baseline – which puts the player in a position that they can attack and drive a ball to the backhand corner to get a head in the point.
In summary, when training juniors and working with adults, point construction is essential portion of training. Constructing the point allows the player to ‘get ahead’ in the rally, ‘secure a dominant position in the point’ etc. which allows the player to get a winning position in the point. With the Augmented Reality Tennis App, you can place virtual targets over the net that represent areas in space (different heights, angles relative to the target) needed to hit your target. In training with the AR Tennis App, visualizing the target over the net can help build muscle memory in relation to what spots over the net you need to hit, in order to hit your target. Placing virtual targets help players visualize the spots they need to hit, which can reduce the learning curve of target training.
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