Eye Contact

Does your racquet rattle when you hit the ball?  Do you look up after contact only to see your shot slap miserably into the net?  You've got a case of bad eye contact, baby.  Nine times out of ten, this malady is caused by nerves or excitement.  If you're worried you're going to miss the shot or you're about to shout in delight because of the sitter you're going to kill for a winner, you're likely to take your eyes off the ball. This causes inevitable pain.

Good eye contact actually means going blind, just for a moment.  See the ball into the strings, but not off.  After you've hit the ball you should see the contact point, not the flight of the ball off your racquet.  Your eyes should look at the past, not peek at the future.  For, when we take out eyes off the ball, we do so right before contact--to see if the shot is in, the glory that's about to be ours.

Fixes:  Keep your head quiet until after the swing.  Or, sub-vocally, say "Ball," as you hit.  After you say it, you can look up.  Or, on a ground stroke, don't look up until you've touched your chin to your shoulder, when your follow through is done.  If you've kept your eyes on the ball long enough, you won't see it on your side of the net.  Rather, it will just be landing successfully in your opponent's court. 

c Keith Shein