In this second instructional with accomplished tennis player Phil Whitesell, we continue on going over advanced tennis strategy and technique. Phil Whitesell graduated from the University of Southern California where he helped his team to three NCAA tennis championships in 1991, 1993 and 1994. Some of his teammates included Byron and Wayne Black, both of whom held a top 50 singles ranking in the world and who held the number one ranking in in the world in doubles. Whitesell is no stranger to the game of tennis, having played in the main draw satellite, challenger, and qualifications for the ATP tour events, where he maintained a world ranking. Whitesell coached on the women’s professional tennis tournament from 1995-98 and worked with Brenda Shultz-McCarthy, who was a top 10 player of the world. Whitesell coached division one college tennis at College of Charleston for over 6 years. Two as an assistant and then six years as the head coach. He also is nationally recognize for his success in beach tennis. Whitesell coached Meredith McGrath, who made it to the semi-finals at Wimbledon. Phil discusses the mindset that is needed along with how to read and play opponents with specific strengths and weaknesses. Phil also discusses the proper strategy and technique needed for successfully executing an offensive attack towards the net. Keep checking back for more advanced instructional videos, tutorials, workouts, and interviews as we show you what it takes to play at the professional level in tennis!
Tennis Video Transcription: Another thing that juniors need to really work on also that I see a lot of is they all hit a short ball, and this is kind of what Lleyton Hewitt and some of the dirt ballers, the guys that play on sand, are so good at, or that play on clay, are so good at. When they hit a short ball or mis-hit the ball, they're on a line with their opponent. So, as short as the ball is, is as far as they're going to back up. This way when they back up, of course, the ball's got to be hit inside the baseline. You can still make a play at the ball by stepping in. So, you're going to make a much better pass.
If you stay up here, where I see a lot of the juniors do it, if you stay up on top of the baseline when you hit that short ball, then when they hit their approach shot, your opponent hits the approach shot, now you're going backwards and trying to hit the ball. All your body weight's going this way, normally you fly it up, and the guy's going to come right in and smash it. What you want to do is you want to back up when you hit that short ball, again being on a string with your opponent. If they show the drop shot a couple of times, then they're pretty smart, and that's the way to counter when somebody's backing up.
So, for you juniors, if you see your opponent doing that to you, then you can come in, act like you're going to rip the ball, and then throw a little dropper and come to the net. So that's a very good play. Then, that draws your opponent back up on the baseline, and then you can hit the deep approach and still have him there.
Those are just a couple of different strategies, moving the ball around, moving your opponent around. I also like, a lot of times I worked with a girl that went from about 120 to top 40 in the world on just this one pattern. And that was just rolling the ball up, getting heavy spin on the person's backhand, because that's where you're most weak at, most people are weak at, on that high backhand. This is what Nadal does actually to Federer at the French Open. He just rolls, rolls, rolls on his backhand, especially on a one-handed backhand way up here. There's not as much strength. He finally gets a short ball, then he can put the ball away. So, that's a very good plan.
I don't want you to think about, oh that's wimpy tennis, and all you're doing is just rolling the ball up, I'm playing twelve and under division. I'm playing little kid's tennis. It's not. You hit it, and you're very aggressive with it. And that's a very good pattern.
Also, some things that I like to do is kind of the one-two punch. I've already got my pattern set up. I'm playing Joe Smith across the net. The first thing that I think about is like, all right, I'm going to serve out wide. If I get a short ball, I'm going to rip it to the open court. So, right away I'm looking for the one-two punch. Now, if I don't get that one- two punch, then I'm going to say, what am I going to do against Joe Smith if I don't get the one-two punch? Well, now I'm going to roll the ball up on his weakness. I've already got the one-two punch set up. If I don't get that, then I've got my pattern set up of what I'm trying to do to him.
It's kind of the same thing as basketball. I'm sorry that I refer to basketball so much. You always look for the fast break. If the guys don't get back on defense, hell, go down there and dunk the ball on them. Cherry pick, whatever you got to do. I think Charles Barkley used to be incredible, the round mound of rebound. I know you never played defense, Charles. You just stand down there and wave your arms and get a cherry pick and get a little dunk from it. Pretty funny stuff.
Anyway, where was I? You look for the fast break each time. If you don't get the fast break, you pull back then you run your pattern. You run your offense. Same thing as in basketball that you can relate in tennis. And that is why I think it's so imperative when you're younger, even if you want to play pro tennis or whatever you want to go pro in, that you play different sports because you can really take bits and pieces from different sports and cross train them, and it's fun.
You're learning how to win in different sports. For football players, linemen. I know a guy that used to go out and play tennis to help him out with his footwork. Basketball's the same thing. You're running patterns, just like you'd be doing in tennis. And there was a guy and I can't remember, he was a coach from the San Antonio Spurs that coached Rodman. He was an all-American in tennis and an all-American in basketball. I think he played for the Miami Bucks. Anyway, I can't remember the guy's name, but anyway, he was able to play two sports and tennis was actually alongside with basketball. S
You can gain a lot for tennis players, especially playing hoops, that way you can get that jumping in. That's a lot of your plyometric work and jumping a lot, and that'll make you a better athlete. I always played some of my best tennis after playing a season of basketball. It made me quicker playing defense, which is very much similar to playing defense against your opponent when he hit's a big shot and then also just making myself a better athlete, leaping. I'd stay away from football if you're a tennis player because you don't want to break your wrist, or break your ankles. Good stuff.
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