Acceleration

Here are 10 good reasons to develop a fluid, extended groundstroke swing pattern that builds momentum and accelerates the racquet head through the hitting zone.

  1. Hold up better under pressure. A fluid, relaxed, extended and accelerated swing pattern (versus a tighter, more muscled swing pattern) is less likely to break down under pressure.  Tightness and deceleration of the racquet head under pressure results in balls that land short, lose velocity, lose spin and/or sale out of the court.
  2. Minimize the chance of injury and stress-related aches and pains. Acceleration of the racquet head requires a fluid, circular and continuous motion (versus a stop then start motion) and a relaxed grip and finish.  The stroke pattern utilizes the weight of the racquet head and a kinetic incorporation of all the main body parts to generate racquet speed.  The result is a stroke that is less ballistic and less jarring on the joints.
  3. Less fatigue. A fluid stroke pattern with acceleration through the hitting zone is less fatiguing to the body.  Less fatigue allows for better recovery after each point and a better ability to stay in the point and a match (at a sustained level of intensity).
  4. Hit a better and more effective passing shot. To be successful with the passing shot (particularly in hitting to a narrowly defined target), it’s important to generate racquet head speed and utilize a decisive swing pattern.
  5. Hit a heavier ball. There are three main control variables for spin (path of the racquet head through the hitting zone, angle of the racquet at the point of contact and speed of the racquet head through the hitting zone).  A low-to-high, inside-out stroke pattern that accelerates through the hitting zone (combined with an radial flexion of the wrist) creates more topspin and a heavier, higher-bouncing ball.  Similarly, a high-to-low, outside-in stroke pattern with acceleration creates more backspin (and sidespin) and more “bite” on the ball.
  6. Hit for higher margin. The ability to hit with more spin translates to an ability to better keep the ball in the court.  Acceleration of the racquet head and the ability to generate more racquet head speed allows for higher net clearance (and margin for error).
  7. Hit with more power and pace (“or not”). It’s easier to generate racquet head speed and force at the point of contact with a swing pattern that starts more slowly and then builds momentum and accelerates as the racquet progresses to the point of contact.  A cycling analogy is a climbing technique in which the rider starts pedaling slowly at a comfortable rhythm and cadence at the base of the climb, then progressively works the pedals to a higher and a higher cadence towards the conclusion of the climb and finally attacks over the crest of the hill to literally fly on the bike when the gradient of the road levels out.  The “or not” means that an accelerated swing pattern does not necessarily equate to power.  You can accelerate the racquet head through the hitting zone with a complete swing without hitting the ball hard (by starting more slowly, using a more relaxed grip and minimizing your loop and backswing).
  8. Successfully work with less court. Acceleration and racquet head speed are the keys to successfully hitting from the mid-court (with drives, angles, approach shots, etc.) and from the baseline when the need is to hit an angle short of the service line.
  9. Handle balls hit below and above your strike zone. Effectively responding to balls below and above your strike zone requires more spin and as a result, more acceleration and racquet head speed.
  10. Have more fun. It’s fun to be able swing more freely and still keep the ball in play.

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