Have you ever been frustrated from missing that easy put-away shot? The opponent is in a defensive position and the ball comes at you nice and easy, but once you make contact with the ball it soars out of the court.
Generating pace is one of the hardest things to master in tennis. It can dictate many things, such as how you play against various opponents and which shots you feel confident in hitting. For example, playing someone who puts similar or even more pace on the ball is typically an easier adjustment. Playing someone with slower pace may allow for more mistakes, such as the one in the scenario above. In fear of missing the shot, you might play it safe by hitting an easier shot and lose the opportunity to win the point.
One way to practice generating your own pace is the following drill:
Have a coach (or a friend) stand in the middle of the service line facing away from the net with a hopper of balls. They should alternate lightly tossing a ball to each back corner of the court, as the player moves side to side along the baseline hitting cross court shots. This not only benefits efficient sideways movement, but also focuses on applying the right amount of force and spin on the ball in order to generate the correct amount of pace.
So head to the courts and try it out! Your tennis game will consistently improve and you will feel more confident hitting those winning shots. Go Dawgs!