You may watch professional tennis or play at a club around junior players all poised on set-up to load & explode on their next forehand crosscourt ball. But have you ever really paid attention to the players non-dominant hand? For right handers we’re talking about the left arm today and for lefties – we refer to your right.
We take the non-dominant arm for granted. We think it’s no big deal. We even feel a little odd when asked to strike a pose. That’s right ladies & gentleman of all ability levels if you aren’t making darn good use of your non-dominant hand you’re missing the boat. Big Time!
Ever see a surfer ride a wave? Their two hands balance out the body to ride it successfully.
Their main center of gravity comes from those 2 hands balanced in order to ride forwards like you do with your body on court.
Benefits of the non-dominant hand?
- It helps to turn the shoulders
- It creates space between you and the ball
- It helps you find balance
- You look like a pro
1# It helps to turn the shoulders.
It helps to turn your shoulders and hips to the ball. Remember, when you set up for a forehand from ready position your hips start parallel to the net. The shoulders & hips turn perpendicular to the net as you load up the racquet and at the finish of the stroke the body turns forward again with hips & shoulders parallel to the net – back to ready position.
2# Creates space between you and the ball
Using the non-dominant hand out in front makes it easier to track & connect with the ball out in front of your body giving you space for a full extension.
3# It helps you find & keep your balance
It helps find your center of gravity as one hand holding a racquet goes in one direction so the non-dominant hand sets in the opposite direction getting you centered and poised to explode towards the ball.
4# You look like a pro 🙂
Ever seen the pros start or finish a stroke without their non-dominant hand? Probably not! They innately understand its power and function within their games whether using it on forehands, serves, overheads or volleys. Utilizing this simple mechanism can improve & ground your game tremendously.
Ideally, at the end of the stroke the player places the non-dominant hand back on the racquet frames throat to adjust for the next incoming shot – assisting proper grip changes where needed. Remember between the forehand & backhand there is a grip change.
Cradling the racquet at the throat helps to quickly & easily make this change with plenty of time to spare.
Back in the day we use to finish by catching the racquet in that left non-dominant hand. Nowadays things move pretty fast, finishes are different and today many don’t catch the racquet. It’s simply the difference between a classic forehand finish or modern windshield wiper finish.
Next time you watch professional, college or good juniors strike a ball, notice their use of the non-dominant hand on every single forehand.
When I ask adults to do it and they shy away during our camps, I point blank ask them, why? They tell me they feel weird, but the truth is they look off balance if they don’t use it.
Take charge of your shot! This will instill confidence in seeing, setting up and executing your shot.
It’s a big deal! Believe me.
You can thank me later 😉