“If you have put castles in the air, your work need not be lost;
that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.”
Henry David Thoreau
What is a champion tennis swing or what many refer to as a world-class stroke?
Certainly, there are no shortage of websites these days promising to answer this question. This is a good thing! Having resources to go along with your local pro is wonderful.
Still, if you asked most tennis players to define champion tennis swings in simple terms, it is unlikely you would get an accurate answer.
You might be wondering whether you need delve into this subject. After all, you might just play for fun, and it’s highly unlikely that on your deathbed your last words will be, “I wish my forehand had been better.”
But I submit to you that unless you only scrounge up a racket on family holidays, it is worth your attention.
If you have pro aspirations, it’s a must. Hit and hope or blind faith in someone with a hopper and a smile won’t cut it. If you’re an amateur, certainly you want to improve and enjoy better tennis. Why not model the best?
This was the mentality I took on as a 12 year-old. All I knew was that there was something about champion tennis swings that stood out. Some players had them; others did not, and the ones who did won more. That was enough of a reason for me to insist on having them.
Over the years, the daunting challenge for me was finding a coach who could give me all the puzzle pieces.
Finally, in my early twenties I worked with a coach who opened my eyes. For six months, he preached efficiency as the Holy Grail of tennis excellence while I kept my “Yah…but” questions at bey and let him completely remold my game.
It was a mixed blessing.
While understanding basic principles of efficient strokes gave me a whole new set of eyes, this coach took it to such an extreme that my game became robotic. My problem became my solution, though, as I now understood precisely what I was seeking to generate.
A champion tennis swing is…
These are the three core characteristics that must be present in your strokes to be the best player you can be. That might not be a seminal conclusion, but it forms the body of champion tennis swings, and it gave me a compass on my quest as I then went about putting together the pieces of the puzzle.
So how can you use this basic description?
Use it as a guide when watching professional players. Notice how these three characteristics play out in strokes that are exceptionally effective and in those that falter. Use it as you watch instructional videos online or digest advice from your local pro.
The point is not to over-analyze or copy someone’s game but to be clearer on what works and what does not. And, that is, after all, what champion tennis swings are… strokes that work and work better than most.
Reach for them.