The clay court season has started and I am sure for many of you it is not always easy to transition to a different surface, especially when switching to the famous red clay.
Tennis is a game played on many different surfaces. And many tennis players find it difficult to switch surfaces. The solution is adaption and being open to the change. The more open your approach, the better and easier it will be for you. It is very important to work on your movement. Sliding is a way to get to a ball, but also to stop or terminate a movement before changing direction.
Specific exercises help you to get more confidence in your movement. One of the most important aspects for clay is being balanced. Yes, it is not always easy to keep your balance when sliding towards (or even into) a shot. Recognizing this as a difficulty, it is up to you to do something about it.
Start slowly by implementing the sliding into your warm up routines with a small range of movement first.
Check out this video that explains the exercise above step by step: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HivAFmRWHKw
When doing these exercises it is also important to focus on injury prevention. Learning how to control your body will not only help you to play better clay court tennis, but also keep you away from getting injured.
In general when sliding you should pay attention to the following:
Looking at the professional players, it appears to be the easiest thing in the world for them to slide around the courts. But in realty, it is nothing else but hours of hard work.
Upsides of sliding?
Downsides of sliding?
All in all, improving your sliding skills on clay will improve your overall body awareness as well. Your game will improve and you will be able to get more balls back.
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Good luck with practice and have a great clay court season!