The Three Gs
THE THREE Gs - GOOD EYES, GOOD FEET, GOOD HANDS
It's truly fascinating to see how the game of tennis on the ATP and WTA tours has become extremely physical. We can argue that to some extent that's also the case at the club level. Players do more off court training. The new technology in racquets, the use of polyester strings, and footwear are all part of what has become the new era of tennis, or as so many people call it: "The Power Game."
At the pro level, although players use their whole body when they hit the ball, the fact is that there are only three essential body parts which enable any player to execute a shot: eyes, feet, and hands. You use your eyes to read the incoming ball, feet to move to, or out of the way of the ball, and hands to execute the shot.
Hand eye coordination, which is one of the abilities a person needs to play any sport at a decent level, is described as the ability to do a job with the use of your eyes, hands, and feet simultaneously. Driving a car is the best example. When you're driving a car you are coordinating your eyes to check the surroundings, your feet for the breaks or accelerator and hands in order to steer the car. In tennis, you use your eyes to see the court and to look for the open space. You use your feet for movement, to cover the court, to stay agile, and to keep moving. Finally, you use your hands to maneuver the racquet and to execute the shot all at the same time. To stay balanced during the process, simply try to keep your head steady at all times.
It's been said that the first step to ground strokes is the pivot and shoulder turn. The shoulder turn facilitates a good, smooth backswing and promotes proper, correct weight transfer. If you have your hips and shoulders follow your hands during the backswing, as well as in the forward motion or follow through, you will generate the right amount of upper body turn you need to create optimal power in your shots.
On TV, the commentators never say "good shoulders" or "good hips." Instead, "good eyes", "good feet", or "good hands" is what's used when describing a top athlete's nice play. The human body was made for action and movement. To exercise as natural as possible and with minimal effort is critical to maximizing power and performance in today's game.
Next time you step on the court, relax your body, play loose, and trust your natural ability. Let your eyes, feet, and hands naturally and effortlessly do their job. Stop asking your body to do too many things at once and you will also stop paying those visits to your PT.
ITF, USPTA & USPTR Certified Tennis Teaching Professional
Director – Summer Adult USTA Teams for Weston Racquet Club