By P.J. Simmons

One of the most exciting things about the road to better tennis is that the learning and growth never stops.

With technique, I love the fact that as I make leaps forward I unlock new opportunities to make refinements that enable me to generate more effortless power, execute more accurately, and play with more confidence. And as I improve, I gain greater awareness about what my body (and mind) are doing at a given moment — which helps me make tweaks more easily.

So I’m always really grateful when I work with a coach who, in just a few minutes, can pinpoint something that helps open up new doors for big improvement.

My friend Paul Tortora (a 4.0 player from CT) and I recently had one of those moments with Howard Moore, Program Director at the Saddlebrook Tennis Hopman Program in Florida (who also recently joined the faculty of The Tennis Congress).

Howard spent about 5 minutes working intensively with both me and Paul on our backhands (Paul’s 1-hander and my 2-hander).

One of the key takeaways for us was that we both need to do a better job with our initial unit turn (when we “Initialize!” as Howard puts it). Get that right and it sets everything up well for proper footwork, loading and unloading. Get it wrong and it can lead to a chain reaction in the opposite way.

Below Paul and I share videos of our coaching session with Howard in the hopes that they might help others working on their backhands.

HOWARD COACHING P.J. ON 2-HANDED BACKHAND

HOWARD COACHING PAUL ON 2-HANDED BACKHAND