Tennis Tips from Mark

In December, The Foundation’s Tennis Tour Hawaii Program hosted California’s Michael Shpizner for days of intense tennis lessons. Michael enjoyed the sessions so much that he even took notes highlighting his lessons, which are set forth below:

Ground strokes

  • Move the feet
  • Coil and uncoil
  • Make many small steps to adjust position (“boxer’s feet”)
  • Move my weight in the direction I want the ball to go in
  • Racket follows the direction of the ball for 12 inches
  • Push off with the back foot
  • Contact point out front on every shot
  • See the racket make contact with the ball
  • Follow through over shoulder on every shot
  • [Backhand:] Backswing to pocket
  • Move the feet


  • Practice “perfectly balanced serve”
  • Left foot still; swivel on right toe
  • Drive right hip into court
  • Follow through to racket down position
  • Snap wrist
  • Practice distance serves (hit back fence)
  • Bend knees
  • Relax hitting arm


  • Move the feet
  • Between shots, hold racket (touching strings) with left hand
  • Between shots, elbows and racket out front
  • Contact point out front
  • Arm stays level with body; body turn guides racket
  • Front foot steps forward on every shot

Return of Serve

  • This stroke most resembles the volley
  • Move the feet
  • During opponent’s ball toss, elbows and racket out front
  • See the ball leave opponent’s racket; move to the ball
  • Contact point out front

Mental/Physical and Miscellaneous Aspects

  • Move the feet
  • There are only two moments when I’m not in motion:
    (1) when I’m hitting the ball and
    (2) when my opponent is hitting the ball
  • The most important element is the first step
  • Aggressive legs; soft hands (or more colorful description)
  • Between points, hold racket up with left hand; relax right hand
  • Practice “mini-tennis” — feet under body for every shot
  • Practice “volley-wall” — move the feet; touch the strings before every shot; contact point out front
  • Between points: always practice proper form
  • Move to the ball
  • At the moment my opponent hits, split step; see ball off racket; move to the ball
  • Immediately after I hit, move; shuffle back to ready position (or run back, if necessary)
  • There are three possible conditions for each shot: offensive, defensive, and neutral. Recognize which it is, and hit the appropriate shot.
  • When in trouble, send the ball up and deep
  • Go for depth on most shots
  • When needing more depth, go for more clearance over the net
  • Did I mention: Move the feet?
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