ASK tennishead: Your problems answered
Originally published on: 08/02/12 11:41
I keep getting blisters on my feet when I play a lot of tennis. Do you think it’s my shoes that are the problem?
We handed this one to the General Manager at the Racket Sports Specialist and Retailer, PWP, Giles Woodhouse.
“The most effective way to combat blisters is to take care of the socks you use,” says Giles. “Many ordinary sports socks have little or inadequate cushioning for the stop-start and diagonal movements that you make during every point. Thorlos make tennis-specific socks which have superb cushioning right where you need it most, and will almost certainly help anyone suffering with blisters. Alternatively, Sorbothane insoles are tried and trusted by many players for their cushioning and added comfort. It is, of course, also well worth checking carefully when you buy new shoes that they really are comfortable for your foot shape, and not too wide or narrow. If they’re a bad fit, this is one of the most common causes of irritation.
How can I develop confidence at the net? I hate being there!
Dave Sammel, Head Coach at Team Bath-MCTA, says: “OK, don’t panic! There’s really nothing to stress about. Begin by volleying lots of easy balls fed to you by a friend or your coach to build up your confidence. If your technique is reasonable, then by slowly building up the pace the balls are fed to you until they’re coming at you at maximum speed appropriate to your level of competition – and you’re still coping comfortably – your confidence will grow. Try to remember it is actually pretty hard to get hit by a ball if you remain alert so much of the fear is unfounded.”
Can you kick it?
As a girl, I’d like to have a kick second serve. Is it possible, would you recommend it and how do I go about it?
We threw this one over to our man with the ball hopper, Dave Sammel. “It is possible for girls to hit kickers, but, personally, I wouldn’t recommend it. Without real power and big racket-head speed behind a kicker the ball tends to sit up nicely for your opponent to hammer away. If you were one of my pupils I would encourage you to develop a slice second serve, which, generally speaking, is more productive in women’s tennis. The Aussie top tenner Sam Stosur has probably the most effective kick serve on the WTA tour so if you’re still inclined to learn hit YouTube and search for some slow motion videos of her service technique and employ a good coach to help. Good luck!”