Saturday, October 24, 2020

It Don’t Mean A Thing If You Ain’t Got the Swing 

Coach Wayne’s Corner

Submitted Photo

People often relate the sport of pickleball with tennis, but not too many people relate the sport of pickleball with golf.  

So, how do the sports of pickleball and tennis relate to the sport of golf? 

Simplistically speaking, what jointly relates pickleball, tennis, and golf is successfully completing the task of striking an object (aka a ball) with a device (aka a paddle, racquet, or a club) and we are attempting to place it somewhere into a specific dimensional space. 

The common denominator of accomplishing that task in all three sports is “the swing” and believe it or not, the method and execution of a golf swing is directly related to a tennis and pickleball stroke. 

So, let’s improve our pickleball and tennis strokes by taking a golf lesson. 

The three key factors to a good golf swing are the speed of your swing in relation to contact with the ball, the length of your swing, and your balance throughout the swing.  

I will directly and individually address each of these key factors in my column over the next few weeks. 

So, let’s begin with the “the speed of your swing in relation to contact with the ball.” 

Players in all sports have a misconception that in order to hit a ball harder and faster that they need to swing harder and faster. 

I will relate this theory as it applies to the sport of baseball.  

The reason a batter strikes out on a fastball pitch is because he swings too fast (aka too early or too late) at the pitch. 

However, if the batter anticipates the fastball and times his swing appropriately then “BAM!” He hits a home run! 

The mistake we tend to make as pickleball and tennis players is when someone hits a ball hard and fast to us our initial response is to just swing harder and faster to offset and compensate for the faster speed of the ball. 

The trick to hitting a harder and faster ball is to maintain the speed of your normal swing and adjust the timing of that swing to the speed of the incoming ball. 

Unfortunately, a faster swing usually translates to a shorter swing which leads us to the second key factor, which is the length of your swing. A subject I will discuss in next week’s column. 

For now, however, focus on the timing, the smoothness, and the consistency of the speed of your swing. 

Wayne Clark is a professional tennis instructor with over 25 years’ experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction and is on staff as an instructor with The Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida at East Naples Community Park. Contact Coach Wayne by email at coachwayneclark@aol.com, or by or by phone or text at 239-450-6161. 

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