Our favourite ball-thwacking festival, Wimbledon, starts today at 12pm. This means three things: rain showers, surreptitious iPlayer-watching and a curious desire to start playing tennis.
But how? Clearly, this isn't a question to ask the English, so we quizzed the current women’s World number one Caroline Wozniacki on the best technique for striking passing shots and blowing away your opponent’s seasonal tennis enthusiasm for good.
How to…hit a winning passing shot
1. Create an opening
It’s rarely a good idea to try and hit a winning passing shot from the first ball. Try to read and anticipate your opponent’s movements, then draw them into the net with a drop shot or an angled slice. This will give you the opportunity for a passing shot.
2. Get in position
Footwork is so critical in tennis. Getting it right gives you a strong base, and also allows you to adapt to any deviations the ball may take. Use as few steps as possible to get to the ball, and aim to have the ball 2-3 feet to the side of your body and 6-12 inches in front of you.
3. Stay balanced
When I hit a passing shot I focus on a target in my opponent's court, and concentrate on keeping my balance. Keep your head steady and eyes level, and follow the ball from the moment it leaves your opponent’s strings to the moment it hits yours. Then transfer your weight forwards through the shot for extra power.
To create more openings for passing shots work on anticipating your opponent’s movements, and do side-shuffling drills to practice your recovery speed from awkward positions back to the centre of the court. This will give you more time to hit shots and improve your accuracy.
Caroline Wozniacki is an Adidas athlete and is supported by the Adidas player development program – for more info visit www.adidas.com.
Still using your uncle’s wooden racquet from 1972? Check out our Ultimate Wimbledon setup for ways to upgrade your tennis armoury.