Loading and Unloading
Coaching Article by Samson Dubina
One of the most neglected aspects of perfecting a stroke is learning how to load it properly. If you first learn the proper balance, positioning, and timing, then you have a great base to develop more and more power, better deception, and more tactical variations.
Regardless if you are a beginner or a world-class player, you need to daily focus on how to load the shot. There are dozens of key points, but we are just going to focus on a few of them here today. For illustration purposes, let’s use the foundational loop against backspin.
#1 Based on your serve or receive, can you anticipate the possibility of a long push coming?
#2 Based on your opponent’s reaction, body language, timing, and incoming stroke, do you visually see a long push coming?
#3 Are you neutral enough to react if something else comes?
#4 Is your body able to respond quickly while still being relaxed and adjustable?
#5 Are you able to move there and be balanced?
#6 Are you able to contact the ball at the preferred timing?
#7 Are you able to be balanced and feel the weight transfer?
#8 Are you able to stay balanced and recover for the next ball?
Once you can load it properly, then it is easier for you to unleash different types of loops to different depth and locations. As seen in the video below, Sarah has very explosive core strength, this is great because her balance, positioning, and timing is good. Once the technique is sound, then the training can be focused on becoming more explosive, without sacrificing consistency.
As you develop your game this year, make this your theme… Balance, Positioning, and Timing! That’s what it is all about!