The tennis ball toss

The Ball toss

 

The problem of the wayward ball toss is sometimes more of a mental and confidence issue.   However, it can often be overcome by improving your technique.

 

1: Holding the ball

Problem: Players tend to hold the ball in the palm of their hand facing down.  This is often the result of players bouncing the ball before they serve in order to relax and gather their thoughts.  This kind of ritual should be positively encouraged but you nevertheless have to be wary of your hand remaining ‘closed’ to the ground when you start your toss.  If it is still closed it will result in you having to use extraneous movement of the hand to open it up again to release the ball.  This kind of unnecessary movement is enough to send the ball in all directions.

 

Fix:  When you bounce the ball catch it with an open palm.  Then, before you toss the ball, hold the ball more in your fingers with your thumb on top. Avoid holding it too tightly or you will lose control over the direction of the ball.  Hold it lightly as if you have a bird in your hand.

 

2:  Arm movement

Problem: Some players toss the ball by swinging their arm out to the side and along the line of the baseline.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and it in fact has many advantages.  But if you are having trouble with your toss, it is best to keep your arm movement simple.

 

Fix:  As you toss the ball keep your arm going out towards the net band in a line with your left hip.  It may even help to touch your left hip before you let the arm go.  A good tip to help this action is to imagine that you are standing sideways on in a tight corridor with there being no room for your arm to go out to the side.

 

3:  Releasing the ball

Problem:  People with tossing difficulties tend to let go of the ball too early – often around hip height, resulting in loss of control.

 

Fix: Think about letting go of the ball later – at around eye level.  This way you will be holding the ball for longer plus the ball will not have to travel quite so far, resulting in greater control.  This is a particularly good strategy to deploy on a windy day!

 

4:  Keeping the arm straight

Problem: This follows on from the last point in that players often toss using the wrist and or the elbow, creating a kind of flicking action.  It’s not surprising therefore that the ball flies all over the place!

 

Fix:  Once you have touched your left hip (as in point 2) keep your arm straight like a piece of wood and concentrate on placing the ball up from the shoulder (or armpit).

 

5:  Taking your time 

Problem:  The serve is the only part of the game in which you are in control of the time, yet people still tend to rush.  It’s as if they have a hot coal or bomb in their hand and just want to get rid of hit. They tend to think the quicker they can get the ball up in the air, the harder they will be able to hit it.  In fact, the reverse is true.

 

Fix:  When placing the ball in the air, be very slow and deliberate.  It should be as if you are placing something valuable or fragile on a high shelf.  This will encourage you to take your left arm (for a right-hander) up with you, aiding balance and generation of a stronger throwing action. You’re also more likely to end up in that classic ‘trophy position’ as is often demonstrated by the pros.

Social Bookmarks:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • blogmarks
  • email
  • Live
  • MySpace
  • Reddit
  • Twitter

1 comment to The tennis ball toss

  • My tip for the ball toss is to have palm sideways still holding the ball in fingers and thumb(like holding a can of pop)

    Takes a bit of getting used to but wrist can’t bend, elbow can’t bend.

    Makes for a really accurate ball placement.

You must be logged in to post a comment.