Connect 3 – A Perfect Contact
Determining Where Racket Meets Ball (which determines most everything else)
I believe the most important part of a tennis stroke (if not tennis as a whole) is the point of contact.
The point at which you connect your racket strings to the ball gives oxygen to every other aspect of a tennis stroke and if you make a bad connect, the stroke is pretty much worthless.
The Connect 3 Principle
‘So what is a perfect contact?’
There are three defining rules for a perfect contact on a forehand and they are:
Connect 1: To allow your racket head (and consequently the ball) to carry on and through towards the ultimate destination, you should be hitting forward of your hitting shoulder.
We can simplify this to say make contact forward of your body, which Pete Sampras has done in this image.
Connect 2: to avoid grazing your knees with the racket head, and other mini technical catastrophes, the ball should be out to the side of your body like Martina (below).
Connect 3: a contact at waist height is preferable to scooping the ball off your ankles or flapping at a ball above your head and Jennifer Capriati fulfils each strand of the Connect 3 principle (below), though her preferred height is slightly above her waist.
However, shoulder height – and further forward – can be the aggressive player’s preferred option, as seen in this blistering example from the relentless, always technically relevant and too often underrated Jim Courier – if you want a ball-popping baseline game, you won’t do much better for a stroke model.
But the higher ball is something for lesser players to work towards – master the easier waist height first.
Testers and Teasers
Might as well compare Alberto’s contact to Jim Courier’s.
Each contact is at a similar height…
Each player is palm under (to ever-so-slightly different degrees)…
Each player is clearly shifting up the court and on the attack….
But Beresetegui’s contact is nowhere near as far out front – consider why.
Here’s the mystery player again: Why do you reckon she’s making contact further forward of her body – to be precise, it is forward of her hitting fist – than any of the others?
There are other reasons why making contact at around waist height is the best option, but for now take it from these pictures that it’s the place to be.