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Everyone has encountered truly great ball strikers.

The golfer who seems to do nothing differently

and yet hits the ball 30% farther.

The batter who hits the ball so much harder.

The tennis player who seems to do everything the same

and yet hits the ball so much faster.

When I discuss this extra power and its source with other coaches, I am always told that it is "Great Timing"

I hate the phrase “Great Timing”

What does it mean?

It is like saying, “Oh this is magic, you will never understand or teach it”

In today’s article, I want to demonstrate what those ‘Great Ball Strikers’ are doing differently and give you practical examples of how you can test if you are swinging correctly and become a great ball striker.

The kinetic chain that is at the heart of all modern tennis strokes is governed by two simple principles.

From the ground up.

From inside to outside.

So the stroke should begin from the ground with the legs turning and pushing upwards.

Then involve the body as the hips rotate and the upper body follows

And then the arm is pulled by the body and finally the racket is dragged by the arm.

If everything works perfectly and the body has stayed relaxed, then the racket now accelerates so quickly that the racket, now drags the arm which pulls the body and the whole process stops towards the end of the range of motion.

Much of the added racket speed and therefore, Power and Spin are created by two forces.

These forces are inherent in the Kinetic Chain.

Centripetal Force and Centrifugal Force.

Centripetal force is the force that keeps an object moving in a circular path.

Imagine swinging a tennis racket to hit a ball.

Centripetal force is what pulls the racket towards the center of the circular swing.

It's what prevents the racket (or any object) from flying off in a straight line and helps it stay on its curved path.

This force is necessary to maintain the object's circular motion and keep it from flying off tangent to the circle. In essence, the centripetal force acts as a "center-seeking" force, always directed inward, allowing objects to move in circles.

Centrifugal force is the sensation of being pushed away from the center of a rotating object.

Imagine when you spin around while holding a string with an object tied to it, like a ball on a string.

You feel like the ball is pulling your hand outward.

This feeling is centrifugal force.

However, it's important to note that centrifugal force isn't a real force like gravity or electromagnetism. Instead, it's what scientists call a "fictitious" or "pseudo" force.

It's the result of inertia, the tendency of objects to continue moving in a straight line even when they're in a curved path.

So, while you feel like you're being pushed outward, it's actually your body's resistance to changing direction that creates this sensation, not a force acting on you.

Once you have the feeling of this, and experience the easy, fluid power that it creates, it is natural to reproduce it.

But there is a problem.

99% of players have never experienced this beautiful yet far-from-natural movement. How can you find it, if you have never experienced it?

Maybe more importantly, if you think you are making the stroke correctly, how can you check that it is perfect?

Remember- Practice does not make perfect. Only Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Here is a great way of testing the Kinetic Chain in your Forehand Stroke

How to test the Kinetic Chain and efficiency of your forehand swing

Instead of a racket, use a small bottle of water. remove the top of the bottle and hold it

by gently squeezing the bottle

Do not hold it from the top, where the lid would screw into the bottle because that will result in your grip being unnaturally tight.

Now recreate your forehand stroke. Swing at your normal speed and see what happens to the water contained in the bottle.

If the water comes out of the bottle, then your stroke is inefficient and where the water leaves the bottle will be a good indication of where you are losing and wasting energy.

If the water stays in the bottle then your stroke is correct.

If the water is forced to the bottom of the bottle then you have an excellent Kinetic Chain and therefore Forehand stroke.

The natural progression is to swap the bottle for your racket and check that the swing and stroke feels the same with the racket as it did with the bottle.

Then simply move on to slowly hitting balls. Even hand-feeding yourself is useful, if you feel that the swing is changing in any way, then go back to using the bottle of water to check the efficiency of your stroke.

If your stroke passes the bottle test, you have an efficient, fluid, and powerful swing.

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