Watching your favourite players either live or on TV is a great way of motivating yourself and picking up tips on technique and temperament.
It is a good idea to watch replays of the top pro’s with somebody who really knows your game well, either your tennis coach or playing partner. They can point out problem areas that you may have that perhaps your idol makes to look easy.
In this blog we look at Maria Sharapova, how she plays and her strengths and weaknesses.
Maria is known for her powerful groundstrokes, and in particular her forehand is one of her biggest weapons. She usually uses a semi-western grip and rather hits a flattish ball that goes right through the court. Her swing is classical and her movement is fluid.
Perhaps she has one slight fault in that she makes rather a big loop with the racket too far behind her back.
Overall Maria’s backhand is a very solid shot, it is a lot more consistent than her forehand. She rotates her body well and gets into the perfect position and is fully prepared to play the shot. This allows her to play great backhand cross-court shots or down the line when needed.
Not a natural net player, but Maria does like to come towards the net to close a point occasionally. When the ball is a bit higher she prefers to use topspin or swinging volleys which she is excellent at.
Maria’s forehand volley is definitely stronger than her backhand which is weaker. Her trouble is similar to a lot of women in that she has trouble stabilizing the racket head at contact.
On the backhand volley, she sometimes uses two hands but at times she lets go with her left hand at the point of contact. This has a destabilizing effect on the racket head.
When playing a forehand volleys she often moves the racket down after contact with the ball, but generally her grip is good.
Maria can deliver an extremely hard and fast serve, combined with accuracy and disguise. But lately Maria has been hampered with shoulder problems and her serve has suffered as a consequence of this. One major issue with her serve is a definite tilt of her body to the left hand side at point of contact with the ball.
There is a theory that Maria tries to hit the ball too hard, and does not vary her games enough. This is perhaps because she prefers short games, and that is a consequence of her height effecting her movement and speed. This is a good game plan for a player of her build, remember that tactics have to also take into consideration the build of the body.
By studying Maria Sharapova, women tennis players can pick up many tips for improvement. There are not many areas of her game she is delinquent in, and so by copying her technique you will improve.