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TENNIS TIPS: Racket head up

July 5, 2013
By JAK BEARDSWORTH ( , Lake Placid News

Club play worldwide is predominantly doubles. That fact immediately begs the question: Why do so very, very few televised tour matches feature doubles?

Curious since the overwhelming TV audience is made up of clubbers. But let's be thankful that the Bryan brothers - the most successful doubles team of all-time - are Americans, or we could very well be seeing zero doubles.

Nonetheless, another axiom is that approximately half the time that's spent playing doubles is at the net - one player aggressively occupying a threatening position and wanting the ball. In an ideal doubles world, the ball is played in the air whenever possible to try and get on top of the point, and even end it outright.

Article Photos

Photo by Shaun Ondak
Jak Beardsworth demonstrates how to keep the racket head elevated above the wrist at the net.

When already positioned at the net, as seen in the accompanying image, and also even when in transition and approaching the net from the back court, it's important to keep the racket head elevated above the wrist.

Too many players unknowingly allow their racket ready position to consistently be mostly parallel to the court surface - a placement more suitable for preparing to hit groundies - which typically leads to unwieldy, ill-timed swinging volleys that often end up being mishit or in the windscreen on the fly.

Racket-up triggers a smaller more compact prep - a take back path that saves time, enables a more easily maintained and better leveraged arm-racket shot making configuration, and allows for a better opportunity to keep the racket-on-ball impact well in front of one's body.

Simple. Better volleying 101.

Do your best. Always aspire higher. Love the game.


Jak Beardsworth, USPTA, is based at the Crowne Plaza-Lake Placid Club, and available for adult and junior lessons by appointment:, 941-626-0097,



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