WATER POLO

So, you are seeking an introduction to water polo? The first thing to know is that while a few sports claim to be the ‘sport of kings’, water polo officially has the royal seal of approval.

The Duke of Cambridge himself is a fan of the sport and played at university and at national level for Scotland.

It’s also a sport we can truly call our own, with the first set of rules for the game developed in 1885 by the Swimming Association of Great Britain, a precursor to the ASA.

The sport combines speed and strength, as well as teamwork and a high level of fitness. One outfield player can cover up to two miles in one game alone!

So how do you play water polo? Find out below.

Introduction to water polo rules

Put simply, there are goals at each end of the pool and the winner of the game is the team that scores the most goals by getting the ball between the posts.

Players are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool and have to tread water the whole time. Water polo players use a movement called eggbeater which is more efficient than the normal action of treading water.

Players can move the ball by throwing it to a teammate or swimming while pushing the ball in front of them. They can only hold the ball with one hand, other than the goalkeeper who can use both hands.

The match starts with a swim-off. The ball is released in the middle of the pitch with the players lined up along their own goal lines. The first team to reach the ball has the first possession of the game.

After each goal, the team who conceded resume the match with the ball. All players for each team must be in their own half at the resumption of play.

Water polo matches have two referees with one stood on either side of the pool. The referees are in control of the game and are the only officials who can award fouls. Click here to find out more about fouls and the physicality of water polo.

How many players are on a water polo team?

In senior water polo and most junior games, water polo teams consist of 13 players. Each team is allowed to have seven in the water at one time – six outfield players and one goalkeeper.

Except for the goalkeeper, players move continuously around the pool during a game. Most teams structure their outfield players with one centre back, one centre forward, two drivers and two wingers. Click here to find out more about water polo positions.

Water polo players need remarkable stamina because of the considerable amount of holding and pushing that occurs during the game.

As it’s such a fast game and can be quite draining, each team is also allowed a maximum of six substitutes (one goalkeeper and five outfield players).

Players can be substituted in and out of the game at any time although the goalkeeper can only be replaced by the substitute goalkeeper and the outfield players by designated outfield substitutes.

The player coming in to the game can only enter the match at the following times:

  • during the intervals between periods of play
  • after a goal has been scored
  • during a timeout

How long does a water polo match last?

Under FINA rules, a water polo match is divided into four quarters of eight minutes.

However, because the clock is stopped when the ball is not in play, the average quarter lasts around 12 minutes.

Each team is only allowed to hold onto the ball for a maximum of 30 seconds before shooting for the goal. If they haven’t done this then possession passes to the other team.

GIFTS FOR ARCHERS

If you have an archer in your family or as a friend finding gifts can be hard, but not anymore. I will provide you with archery gifts that I would personally love to get. There are so many things we love in archery and is passionate about making them a great gift.

If you don’t know anything about archery, that`s no problem! This article is going to explain to you what you need to know.

The 13 best archery gifts listed and rated

1. Custom Strings

The string is something archers change every year and is something your archer would most likely love to get as a archery gift. You have the option to get a custom color that you think he or she will love.

The important thing to remember is that you need to know the exact length of the string he needs. You can either measure this on his bow or find out the model he is using and find it online or tell it to the pro shop. All measurements are easy to find so dont worry, all you need to do is to be a little sneaky and find that model or model number.

Our recommended String on amazon (Click here)

2. Release

The release is an equipment an archer needs to help him with his shot, but at the same time protecting the archer’s fingers. The release is easily damaged because of its usage time. It’s used for every shot and is an item that needs to be renewed after some time. This is a perfect archery gift if you have found one yet from the list.

There are several types of releases on the market and archers usually have their preferred type of release. Changing the type of release can be hard to get used to. Look after he usually uses and upgrades the one he is using. The ones that are popular are gloves, finger release, and a regular release.

Recommended Glove : ( HERE)

Recommended Release ( HERE)

3. Arrow Rest


The arrow rest is something all archers need and want to upgrade, the arrow rest is the rest the arrow is layed on. Having a adjustable rest can help out a archer, a adjustable rest is very deverified and can fit to any bow. Thats why we recommend the HDX, its not very expensive, but at the same time a high quality and adjustable rest.

Arrow recommended arrow rest (here)

4. Arrows as an archery gift

Arrow is something that brake regulary and is something that all archers need either more of or better arrows. Arrows can bend or get lost because they shoot a animal and then the animal can run away with it if the shot is not leathal which happends.

The best quality arrows are made of carbon. They are lighter, more robust and workes for everything from target shooting to hunting. They can last for several seasons because of the great material. We recommend this to all archers if their not a professional archer. They would prefer a professional contest arrow instead. We will link to both below and you can choose the one that you feel fits best for your archer.

Recommended Carbon Arrows : Here 

5. Camouflage Clothes

If your archer is a regular hunter and you know if there are any hunting clothes it doesn’t have then great, you have an archery gift. If he has all the clothes he needs then dont buy more of it. Its something that lasts for years so a new one wouldn’t be very useful. Instead, you can buy some accessories for hunting such as knives, decoys, and insect repellent. These are things that are a must for a happy hunt.

6. Scent remover for Hunting

Scent a remover is something that is essential for bow hunters. They won’t have a successful hunt without it. Many hunters use natural bushes and grass to make the “natural smell”, but the problem with that is that it leads to bacteria growing on their clothes and can make them sick. That’s why a chemical scent remover is highly recommended. The price for a good scent remover is cheap but at the same time a great gift. If you want to go for a bundle and knife and a scent remover would be a great archery gift.

Best scent remover for hunting (here)

7. Case – An amazing archery gift

If your archer dont have the best bow case for his bow and arrow there is no question what he needs. A bow case is essential in every archer’s setup. If they travel, especially with airplane a case is a must. It will make it simpler for the archer to stay organized and have his equipment in place and carry it around.

Our recommended bow case, it looks great and not just metal box : here

8. Sights

Sight is an equipment that is important for the perfect shot and can increase a archers aim. There are several different types of sights so its understandable if you dont know which one to choose, we will link to our favorite down below. 

9. Quiver

A quiver can be custom made to be very personal. You can choose a color or design you want and think he would like. If your archer already owns a quiver, which he probably will. Then its no problem, because two doesn’t hurt anyone. Especially if its custom made it will be remembered as a fantastic archery gift, hopefully.

Our recommended modern quiver : here

10. Lessons in Archery

If you have a child or he wants to perfect his archery skills than archery lessons can be a great archery gift. Make sure to not buy a beginner course if he is a professional.

Adjust the lessons to his needs, if he has been shooting archery a lesson can still be very useful. The stance is the most important skill in archery. Giving him a professional to look and adjust his stand can be a great archery gift and opportunity for him.

11. Renting an Indoor Range


In the wintertime, an archer wants to shoot as well, but it’s not that delicate to shoot outside when it’s freezing outside. So a potential archery gift can be to rent an indoor range for your archer. Shooting inside is great because of the shooting conditions and is a luxury for every archer out there.

12. A New Target

ok targets, they are a great gift! Targets are used very frequently and have to be switched after a few seasons. A bigger and better target can never be the wrong archery gift.

13. Bow Stand

Bowstand is for holding the bow, this can be either placed outside or inside. For maintenance purposes and practical purposes, a holder can be great to have. When an archer shoots through his arrows he needs to go towards the target and pull all arrows out of the target, you dont want to lay the bow on the ground because of potential damage to the bow, and having a bow holder is great for this, making it the perfect archery gift.

14. Gift Card

If you haven`t found anything yet on this site that you would like to give to your archer or can’t decide on a gift either to your local bow shop or Amazon can be a great archery gift as well. The archer can then decide for himself what he needs and wants.

If you have something in mind, but is not sure if it will be correct I recommend you to buy something, but be sure that you are able to change it back later. Because if you actually try to buy something it will show him or her that you actually put the time to look for a gift and tried to learn about the sport.

THE TENNIS SERVE

A tennis serve is a weapon only when the technique is correct. When the serve technique is not correct, then the serve is often more a liability than an asset.

In order to learn correct tennis serve technique, simple serving tips won’t get you there.

Instead you need to follow step-by-step progressions that build the service motion from the ground up.

The following technical progressions of building a proper tennis serve can be used to correct your existing serve techniques if you find your serve ineffective.

These step by step serve lessons can also be used if you’re a total beginner and want to learn correct serving technique from scratch.

Step 1: The Stance

A proper tennis serve stance is when your feet are positioned so that the front foot is pointing towards the right net post (for right-handers) and the back foot is parallel to the baseline.

Basic tennis serve stance

Basic serve stance gives you balance in all directions

The toes of the back foot are also roughly aligned with the heel of the front foot because you need to be stable in all directions once you initiate and execute your full service motion.

This is a basic stance which you adjust depending on which direction you’re serving to.

If you’re a tennis beginner starting to learn correct serve technique, I suggest you start learning the serve from the ad side because there is less difference in the direction of the swing path and the actual ball flight, which makes it easier to master at these early stages of learning.

There are two types of stances on the serve: the platform stance and the pin-point stance.

 

The platform serve stance is where the feet remain in the same position throughout the whole service motion.

 

You simply bend your knees, coil and tilt your body and push off upwards into the serve.

Pin point and platform serve stance

Pin point vs platform stance (Images credit: tennisserver.com)

The pin-point serve stance, on the other hand, is where you initiate the serve from a platform stance, but as you toss the ball up, you bring the back foot closer to the front foot and then push off upwards towards the ball.

 

Both serve stances in tennis are correct, but typically the platform stance is used by more explosive players and the pin-point stance is used by taller players that are not looking for so much explosive power off the ground.

Step 2: The Grip

A proper tennis serve grip technique is to hold a continental grip.

There are many descriptions for how to find this grip. The one I’ll use makes it easy to check if your grip is really a continental grip.

Grip the racquet like a hammer and hold the racquet with the edge perpendicular to the ground, as shown in the picture.

Then place your left index finger in the “valley” between the thumb and the index finger of your right hand (for right-handers), just next to the bone on the thumb.

Now check where your left index finger is pointing on the racquet handle. It should point to the top left edge on the racquet handle.

continental tennis serve grip

One of the ways to check if you hold a continental grip…

The way you hold your racquet determines many things about the final serve technique and its effectiveness.

That’s why it’s crucial that you grip the racquet correctly.

In the ServeUnlocked course, I share two more tips on the grip. First, I explain how to grip the racquet with fingers spread more apart and why that helps with pronation.

Then I describe how to find a loose grip using a little exercise just before you start your serving ritual.

Step 3: The Hitting Part – Loose Drop, Swing Up And Pronation

The hitting part is where the serve happens either correctly or incorrectly.

Think of the backswing elements ‒ like coiling, bending your knees, swinging the racquet back, maintaining the trophy position and so on ‒ simply as ways of gathering energy.

You are simply accumulating energy in order to release it explosively into the contact with the ball.

It is this hitting moment that defines whether the ball is hit correctly (flat, topspin or slice) and cleanly or not.

The elements above are not directly responsible for correct hitting of the ball, although they influence it.

I can, for example, demonstrate incorrect backswing, trophy position, have no coiling in the body, completely straight legs and STILL hit a CLEAN and correct flat or topspin or slice serve – except that it will have less power and I’ll be more uncomfortable.

On the other hand, I can do the elements before the contact correctly and still not hit the ball correctly because I am not using my hand, forearm and arm correctly through the contact phase.

There are smaller parts of the hitting part:

  • loose drop of the racquet and arm
  • swing up & contact
  • pronation

The loose drop before the swing up is achieved by “bouncing” or dangling the racquet behind you.

The serve generates a lot of power because of many body parts dynamically moving when they have to. If we at any moment of the serve stop the movement, we will lose power.

When we teach serve technique in this analytical way of breaking down the whole complex motion into smaller parts since that’s easier to learn, we unfortunately also break down the natural fluid movements of the body.

And the danger in this hitting part of the serve is that we initiate the swing up from a static position which in the long term might become a part of our whole serve technique.

Therefore, I use the “bounce” element to make sure the racquet is moving and that the arm is loosened up before you swing up – because that’s exactly what will happen when you execute the whole tennis service motion.

serve drop drill

The bounce drill

The swing up and pronation parts are best imagined and learned by placing two rows of balls on the ground. The first row of balls is at a roughly 45 degree angle, and the second one is perpendicular to the net.

Two swing paths of a tennis serve

Balls in two rows give you a proper guidance on your serve swing paths.

This gives us a clear mental image of how the racquet and arm must move through the hitting part.

It’s a slight exaggeration at first, which helps the player learn to pronate and to understand that the hitting part of the serve is not one single swing through the ball with the whole arm. That is one of the most common misconceptions and mistakes out there.

The serve might look like that at first glance, which deceives us into interpreting the hitting part of the serve as one straight motion of the arm.

But, as you look closer, especially in slow motion, you realize that the swing towards the ball and movement of the forearm after the contact are not in the same line.

It is the internal rotation of the upper arm and pronation of the forearm that create these two racquet paths before and after contact.

Therefore, imagine swinging towards the ball at a 45 degree angle leading with the edge of the racquet and following the first row of balls.

tennis serve swing path up

The swing path towards the ball

Once you reach the contact, push the racquet head straight towards the net following the second row of balls and finishing on the right side of the body with the buttcap pointing upwards at a roughly 45 degree angle or more and the stringbed pointing towards the back fence.

serve swing path with pronation

Swing path after contact with emphasis on pronation

While you may think that this oversimplifies the hitting part, I can assure you that, once you fluidly merge these two swing paths together, you’ll realize that this is exactly how a flat serve is done.

I personally repeat this part very often with players who are correcting their old serve techniques because it’s exactly here where they get it wrong.

Not only that, if they eventually learn the hitting part well, the dreaded waiter’s serve position of the racquet often disappears because it was simply an indicator of an incorrect hitting part of the serve.

If the waiter’s position persists, then complement the hitting part exercise with additional drills for correcting the waiter’s serve.

Step 4: Backswing & Toss

Now that you have established the hitting part, you need to get to that stage from the initial serving position.

This part combines the backswing with the toss because they happen simultaneously.

The serve toss is often quite tricky to master and is often times practiced on its own. My own view is that it should never be practiced without simulating your backswing.

The very common toss drill where you place a target or even your own racquet in front of you on the ground and try to make the toss hit it is, in my opinion, not very effective if at the same time you are not getting into the same serving position as you would in reality.

That’s because if you just try to toss the ball in the target you won’t move any other body parts in order to be accurate.

But when you initiate your serve, you will immediately start turning your body to the side, your dominant arm will start swinging back, you’ll start leaning and coiling, etc.

All these movements must be present also when you just focus on your toss – hence, I consider backswing & toss as one step in this serving progression tutorial.

tennis serve toss technique

Imagine toss more like “‘lifting” the ball rather than ‘throwing’ it

The key points about the toss:

  • Place the ball in the middle of your hand, meaning exactly where the palm spreads out into fingers.
  • Hold the ball with your thumb on top gently.
  • Always toss with a straight arm using only your shoulder joint.
  • Release the ball at around your eye level and keep lifting the arm up following the ball.

If you’re having troubles mastering the toss, look into my ServeUnlocked course that dedicates an entire module to an integrated toss which happens simultaneously with the backswing.

The backswing should be a relaxed swing backwards, as if your arm and the racquet are a pendulum that you swing backwards.

tennis serve backswing

The backswing and toss sequence from the start (Click to enlarge)

The tossing arm moves simultaneously up as the dominant arm swings up.

The tricky thing here is that the tossing arm is much more stiff as it’s lifting the ball accurately up towards the contact point while the serving arm has to be very relaxed.

This is not natural to our body as it tends to tense or relax both arms in a similar manner.

Just something to keep in mind as you’re working on your toss and the backswing and you’re having some trouble synchronizing both arms, keeping one more stiff and the other one more relaxed…

It may be tricky and therefore takes some repetitions and time to master.

As you swing back, your arm eventually ends up in the trophy position as we like to call it.

I suggest you don’t look for a vertical racquet in the trophy position for two reasons:

  1. When your racquet is vertical in the trophy position, it tends to fall back into the waiter’s tray position as gravity likes to take over your hand’s movement.
  2.  
  3. There is also a much longer loop to be made from that trophy position all the way up until contact. This makes the timing of the toss and the swing up to the ball more difficult, and you may have troubles putting it all together. 
  4.  
  5. The most common mistake that then happens is making a very shallow drop in order to “make it” in time to the contact point but in the process you’re then losing power.

I suggest bringing your racquet into a more diagonal position which you can determine by bringing the racquet closer to your head and touching it. The bottom edge of the racquet should touch the back of your head.

tennis serve trophy position

My suggested trophy position in a tennis serve

Move the racquet then slightly away from your head and you’ll now be in a good trophy position on your serve.

From there, you will drop the racquet into the loop and find it much easier to time this swing with the ball coming down from the toss.

The whole backswing & toss sequence then consists of swinging both arms simultaneously where the tossing arm lifts the ball up (which you catch again in your hand!) and the hitting arm reaches the trophy position.

Here, the racquet is slightly tilted with the bottom edge of the racquet aligning with the back of your head.

There is one more important part of the backswing & toss sequence, and that’s turning your body parallel to the baseline as you initiate the whole sequence.

You need to initiate everything first through your body rotation, which creates the first impulse from which the arms swing.

coiling on a tennis serve

Initiate your backswing & toss from the body turn

This also starts the coiling phase from which you will generate a lot of power once you start uncoiling.

If you toss the ball up before you start coiling, you’ll probably do much less of a coiling because you’ll be running out of time since your ball will be already in the air. As such, there’s not much time left for you to complete your whole serve up until contact.

I agree that turning the body first and then starting your toss and the backswing makes it more difficult for you to place the ball accurately in your ideal contact point.

However, with some practice, you will surely master it and gain many more benefits from having enough time for your whole serving motion and more power from having more torque in your body.

Step 5: Serve In Two Parts

The serve in two parts consists of step 4 and step 3, meaning we’ll do the backswing & toss first (step 4) and then the hitting part (part 3) in sequence.

Complete first your backswing & toss phase and catch the ball back in your hand while holding your trophy position.

serve backswing into trophy

Part 1: Backswing and toss and catching the ball in your hand

Toss again from this position and complete the hitting part which consists of the drop (bounce) and two swing paths.

serve technique with pronation

Part 2: Hitting action with pronation

You can still keep the balls on the ground in two lines in order to get proper guidance on how to move your racquet in the swing up and pronation phases.

Repeat this process of serving in two parts until you are quite successful with two key points:

  • tossing the ball so accurately that you can catch it back in your hand without moving your feet, and
  • finding your trophy position where the bottom edge is just behind your head without much correcting when you check for it.

When you can toss the ball well and find your trophy position easily through a relaxed backswing, you’re ready to put your serve together.

But before we do that, let’s focus for a little while on a key move that generates a lot of power…

Step 6: The Power Move

The power move is initiated from the trophy position, and two things must happen simultaneously:

  • your racquet starts to drop, and
  • your body starts to rotate/turn forward.

If these two movements happen at the same time, the hitting arm and the racquet will start to lag behind.

whip effect on a tennis serve

Creating lag of the racquet or whip effect which generates effortless power

You will create a stretch through your body going across your shoulder, chest and core all the way down to the left hip (for right-handers).

Imagine it like a giant rubber band that you just stretched fully.

As you can imagine, this rubber band wants to snap back to its original state, and that’s exactly what we want to achieve with our body.

Most tennis players make the mistake of tensing their muscles in this phase of the serve thinking that “strong” muscles will help them hit a “strong” serve.

Sure, you can hit a serve this way and the ball will leave your racquet with some speed, but if you really want to know how the serve works and how the pros do it, then realize that the pros use a different principle of generating power.

The principle of stretching your body and allowing it to snap back generates much more racquet head speed than the principle of tense muscles and thinking you want to be “strong” as you hit your serve.

The tricky thing about the stretch principle is that you must actually RELAX in order to allow your muscles to stretch, which is a very counter-intuitive thing to do just as you’re about to hit a fast serve.

And that’s why most tennis players get the serve wrong and reach their speed plateau very quickly and cannot move beyond it.

That’s also why I am including the power move in these fundamentals of the serve technique in tennis, even though it seems like an advanced technique that only the pros should practice.

The power move has to be practiced often in order to feel the lag of the racquet and how we create a whip effect with it. This effect creates a lot of racquet head speed with little effort.

We initiate the body turn through our hips and then use our trunk and shoulders to rotate forwards while we let the racquet lag or trail behind.

technique for a powerful serve

The power move from the side: drop and turn happening at the same time

This only happens when we relax our arm so that the muscles in the shoulders and chest get stretched.

Since this is a feel-based exercise, we can exaggerate the rotation of the body in order to really feel how the racquet lags and then shoots out from our backswing through the contact zone.

So we can actually turn our body all the way up to the point where we face the net with it.

But keep in mind that, when it comes to correct serve technique, we actually decelerate and stop the body rotation at around a 45 degree angle between the baseline and the net.

In both cases, though, we are using the principle of transfer of momentum which happens only when we decelerate the body.

At that moment, the momentum built in the body is then transferred to the arm.

Since the arm is much lighter than the body and momentum has to be maintained, the arm has to accelerate.

Step 7: Serve With The Follow-Through

The best way to start serving correctly is to do a few serves in two parts and then take a leap of faith and do the complete serve from start to finish.

This is also the stage where I’d like to clarify the follow-through on the serve.

When you watch the pros serve, you’ll see that they finish their serve on the left side of the body (for right-handers) and you may want to copy that.

proper serve technique in tennis

You can see the racquet finishing on the left side of the body but did Ljubicic actually swing that way?

But what happens is that they do not actually swing or forcefully push their racquet to the left side. Instead, it’s simply the inertia and relaxation of their body and the serving arm that swings the racquet in that direction.

In other words, the follow-through on the left side happens. We don’t do it.

What we do, meaning the direction of our swing and force, is that we swing outwards towards the ball. For right-handers, that’s forward and right, roughly at 45 degrees which then changes as pronation takes place.

As soon as we finish the pronation, we start to relax our body and arm (since all the work is done and the ball is on the way), which eventually brings the arm to the left side.

tennis serve follow-through

The follow-through on the left side of the body happens, we ‘don’t do it.’

So, keep in mind that some parts of the serve are done by an intentional swing and applying force and some parts of the serve just happen because of relaxation and inertia.

Therefore, you shouldn’t try to “do” the parts of the serve that just happen.

Finding Flow – How To Generate Effortless Power From Step-by-Step Mechanics

Because we have been breaking down the serve into smaller parts so that they are easier to learn, we have unfortunately also broken down the natural flow of the body.

We stopped moving our body fluidly, making our movements now very mechanical.

Therefore, we must re-establish the natural flow of the body which is another key element of generating effortless power on the serve.

We find flow through drills that make us move our body continuously without stopping or any jerky movements.

One the best tennis training aids to do that is the Serve Master by Lisa Dodson. (affiliate link)

You use the Serve Master by swinging it in a continuous manner that simulates the whole service motion. That exercise helps you re-establish the flow of your body and feel the effects of it as you realize that you can accelerate the balls at the end of the Serve Master quite effortlessly.

ServeMaster tennis training aid

Swinging the ServeMaster helps you re-establish the natural flow of the body

You can of course also use the ball on the string or the famous trick with a couple of tennis balls in a long sock. Either of these will also help you feel the fluidity of the service motion.

Another good exercise that you can do with the racquet is the three-finger drill where you hold the racquet with only your thumb, index and middle finger.

This prevents you from holding the racquet tight as you go through your service motion and therefore creates a very fluid movement.

You can also work on one technical element while you do the above exercise. Namely, you can do the “Edges exercise” in which you always lead with the edge in any direction that you move your racquet.

tennis serve drill

The ‘Edges drill’ where you always lead with the edge as you swing your racquet

That helps you prevent the waiter’s tray mistake that happens often and also trains your arm and forearm how to be positioned throughout the service motion.

Summary

A tennis serve is the most challenging stroke to master.

Here are just some of the key reasons:

  1. A relaxed and loose way of accelerating the racquet gives you more power than tensing your body and arm and hitting the ball “hard” even though the latter approach seems to make more sense at first glance.
  2. There are two swing paths of the racquet where we transition into pronation just before contact rather than the one straight swing path with no pronation that we often perceive as we look at serves of professional tennis players.
  3. We get more power by decelerating the body before contact than if we keep rotating our body through contact, which is a very counter-intuitive thing to do.
  4. We must swing up towards the ball instead of down, even though the target is down in relation to the ball ‒ which again doesn’t make sense at first.
  5. We swing the racquet initially in the other direction than in the direction of the target, and this difference is even bigger when it comes to topspin and slice serves.

The 7 steps of building a proper advanced tennis serve technique described in this article build a solid foundation from which you can then progress to more advanced elements of the serve.

This article also addresses all of the above challenges of a tennis serve that are tricky to understand at first and often lead tennis players in the wrong direction.

In my work with tennis players of all levels, I keep coming back to these fundamentals even when I work on more advanced skills like coiling the body more, jumping into the court, learning the kick and slice serve and so on.

There are of course many drills and exercises that help you address various sticking points that you may have as you’re working on your serve.

I’ve shared many of them for free on this blog, and there are some that you can access only in my ServeUnlocked video course that goes much more in-depth on:

  • unlocking the mental locks that hold you back from hitting your best serves,
  • unlocking the body by showing you drills on how to loosen up your wrist,
  • understanding the difference between speed and “strength” and how to learn a fast, effortless serve, and
  • understanding how to integrate the toss into your service motion and how to troubleshoot it.

The ServeUnlocked video course also includes the extended version of these 7 Steps To Proper Serve Technique where I share additional tips on the grip, racquet acceleration, coordination of both arms and even how to use your shadow on a sunny day to correct your serve technique! 😉

 

tennis serve video course

The extended version also includes clips of regular tennis players where I point out their mistakes and how to correct them.

But, as I mentioned before, you really need to master the fundamentals of the serve technique which are crucial for learning how to hit a correct tennis serve with good power and consistency.

You can see a big change in the serve technique of Andrea in the video below which compares the “before and after” service motions.

All his progress, which took only a few days, was thanks to continuous repetition of the fundamental drills and techniques described in this article.

I hope this points you in the right direction of taming the most challenging tennis stroke.

But keep in mind that really mastering a tennis serve technique takes years of dedicated practice – which, by the way, is definitely attainable even by recreational tennis players as long as they follow proper progressions and are willing to dig deep into the mysteries of a tennis serve.

COMPRESSION SLEEVES

Lately you can’t watch an NBA, MLB or NFL game without noticing the pervasive presence of arm and leg sleeves on many of the players. Another thing you’ll notice is the variety of sleeves that the players wear both in terms of color and style. Robert Griffin III (RG3), Johnny Manziel, Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, Ray Allen and Dwayne Wade are just a few of the notable athletes you’ll see wearing an arm sleeve and in some cases a leg sleeve. Are these sleeves just a fashion statement or do they serve a purpose? The simple answer is both. RG3 has explained that he wears a sleeve because being stylish gives him confidence, but the majority of professional athletes wear sports sleeves for compression purposes. Sports compression sleeves became popular when Allen Iverson started wearing a white arm sleeve for his elbow bursitis in 2000.

Sports compression sleeves are designed to squeeze blood vessels causing them to open forcefully. This allows more oxygenated blood to reach compressed muscles which helps lower your heart rate. Compression sleeves have actually been in existence for over 60 years and were originally intended to treat venous disorders like thrombosis. A 1987 study in the American Journal of Medicine found that compression garments lowered blood-lactate levels and blood pooling. Both blood lactates and blood pooling can cause swelling and reduce performance. Lactic acid builds up in the bloodstream during intense exercise and causes muscle soreness. Another study in the 2007 Journal of Sports Science had a study group of males wear compression apparel during 10K time trials and found that muscle soreness was significantly reduced by wearing compression leg sleeves.

Quarterback Forearm Sleeve

QUARTERBACK FOREARM SLEEVE

In both of these studies sports compression sleeves were worn to improve performance and reduce soreness. However, compression garments are also worn by athletes recovering from injury in an effort to speed up the healing process. Any damaged muscle tissue or strained ligaments need positive circulation and time to heal. Improving circulation can not only reduce recovery time but some experts believe that keeping the muscles warm can also reduce the chance of re-injury.

The NBA rumor mill has been circulating a story that Carmelo Anthony started wearing arm sleeves for protection after multiple altercations with Kevin Garnet left his arms scratched and bloody. Like Allen Iverson, Carmelo also suffers from elbow bursitis so he may actually be wearing an arm sleeve to aid in healing and recovery. Arm compression sleeves worn in the NBA are often referred to as basketball shooting sleeves. They are worn to keep the shooting arm warm and prevent muscles from tightening up. One of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA, Ray Allen, wears a basketball shooting sleeve.

While several studies have shown that sports compression sleeves can improve blood flow and reduce soreness they can’t make you a better jump shooter or a more accurate quarterback. Sports compression sleeves have been proven to help increase blood flow and lessen recovery time but don’t expect your shooting percentage or pitching accuracy to improve without practice, proper training and good coaching. Any athlete that takes themselves seriously should be ready to compete, anytime, anywhere, anyplace… CA3!

Carmelo Anthony Wearing Compression Sleeves

CARMELO ANTHONY WEARING COMPRESSION SLEEVES

TABLE TENNIS SERVE

MASTER YOUR TABLE TENNIS TECHNIQUE (5): SERVING

The serve is one of the most important skills that a table tennis player should develop first. 

Although many people believe that delivering a dramatic smash will help win a game, your service can dictate a point within the first five seconds of a match.

Why is the serve so important? It is the only time of the game where you have absolute control over how and where you want to play the ball. The speed, height and direction of the ball is completely up to you. The best players can also read their opponent’s stance and serve in a way that immediately places your opponent at a disadvantage.

Depending on your grip and playing style, there are various ways to deliver a service. However the basic tips for every serve remains the same, and must follow the rules set by the International Table Tennis Federation. A good serve can help you gain quick advantage over your opponent.

Table Tennis serve toss up activesg
File Photo Credit: John Yeong/SportSG

Step 1: Pre-Serve

Remember to always hold the ball flat in the palm of your hand and above the table. This is one of the rules set by the ITTF that your opponent must be able to see the ball at all time.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot deploy any form of deception. Many top players hide their racket behind their body or below the table so as not to give away their intended serve.

Step 2: Planning the serve

Plan your serve to exploit your strengths and your opponent’s weaknesses.
– Against a penhold grip, aim to their backhand side.
– Against a shakehand grip, aim again to the backhand side but closer to the player’s body.
– If your opponent is too close to the table, try to hit further back to the table so that the ball will bounce up uncomfortably close to his body.
– If your opponent is far from the table, short or slow, do a short serve. Beware however, that a short serve is usually slower and thus allows a player to attack the ball quicker with greater angles of return.

table tennis toss and strike activesg
File Photo Credit: Chandran Mookken/SportSG

Step 3: The toss and strike

For beginners, employ a short toss up – enough to give yourself time to hit the ball and also so that you’re unlikely to miss. Allow the ball to drop and hit the ball with your racket. The ball should bounce on your side of the table before going over the net and bounces on your opponent’s side of the table. 

Tips on serving

  1. Always watch the ball when you’re serving. 
  2. Keep your wrist relaxed for maximum spin. If you’re holding the racket in the ‘Western’ or ‘shake hands’ style, keep your three lower fingers loosed and relaxed. This will allow you a greater ease to spin the ball.
  3. Do not always attempt to win at your first serve. While you should try to serve to your opponent’s weaknesses, remember that the return serve is just as important. Your serve should set up the next shot.

JAI ALAI

Jai alai is a sport where a ball is bounced off a walled space. A hand-held device called cesta is used to accelerate the ball to a high speed. The speed record for a jai alai ball is 302 km/h. This speed was recorded set by José Ramón Areitio at the Newport Jai Alai in Rhode Island, USA.

jai-alai batJai alai has its roots in a Basque ball game, which in turn is based on ball games played by the Greek and other ancient cultures in Southern Europe and around the Mediterranean. Today, Jai alai is chiefly played in former Spanish colonies in the Americas and South-Eastern Asia. Prior to the communist revolution in China, Jai alai was a popular gambling sport in both Shanghai and Tiajin, but when the communists came to power they banned the game. Another East Asian country where Jai alai has been banned is The Philippines, where the sports was outlawed in 1986 because of problems with game fixing. The law was changed in 2010 to allow Jai alai in the country again.

In the United States, Jai alai is chiefly played in Florida, a state with a large Hispanic population. There is currently six jai alai frontons in Florida; they are located in Miami, Orlando, Dania Beach, Reddick, Jasper, and Forth Pierce. The very first jai alai fronton in the United States wasn’t opened in Florida though; the first U.S. fronton was the one that opened in St. Louis, Missouri around the time of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

Spain has 10 frontons for professional play. Five of them are in Basque Country, two are located in Barcelona, and the remaining three in Madrid, Zaragoza and Palma de Mallorca, respectively.

In Mexico, there are two frontons in Mexico City, plus one in Acapulco and one in Tijuana.

Trivia

  • In the U.S., a professional jai alai player will wear a jersey with one number on the front and another number on the back. The number on the back is the player’s permanent number. The number at the front is the players current playing position, so this number changes with every game. It’s a bit like the number worn by a racehorse; the horse is given a new number prior to each new race.
  • In Basque, the game is often called zesta-punta, which means basket tip.
  • In Spanish, the game is known as pelota vasca.
  • jai-alia gameThe name jai alai was coined by Serafín Baroja (1840 – 1912) who first used it for the game of Basque pelota in 1875. Baroja was a Basque writer and mining engineer who wrote Basque poetry and lyrics. In Basque, jai alai means merry festival. When the game was introduced on Cuba at the turn of the century (1800/1900), the name jai alai was the one that caught on.
  • During World War II, Ernest Hemingway suggested that jai alai players should be used to lob grenades down the hatches of German submarines.
  • A traditional cesta, the 2.5 feet oblong curved wicker scoop strapped on the player’s right arm, is made from steamed chestnut wood and woven reeds. A leather glove is sewn to the outside to hold the player’s hand in place.
  • A traditional jai alai ball is made from goatskin. The ball is called pelota, which simply means ball in Spanish. When rubber was introduced to Europe from South America, this new material was included in the pelota, permitting an even faster game than before. The faster balls hurt the players’ hands and they started wearing a leather glove (guante) on the right hand. It is from this guante that the cesta evolved.
  • A contemporary pelota is still made from hardened goatskin, but with virgin rubber as well, and a few final turns of linen or nylon thread. The pelotas are made by hand and quite expensive. (Expect to pay $100 per ball in the U.S.) The goat skin cover must normally be replaced after just 15 minutes of play, since it wear out quickly due to the extreme forces it is subjected to.
  • A jai alai pelota is both harder and heavier than a golf ball. It is roughly ¾ the size of a baseball. Since the cancha walls needs to be really durable, they are often made from granite, especially the front wall. For budget reasons, having a concrete back wall and side wall is quite common.
  • The high speed makes the ball capable of causing serious injury. The audience is usually seated behind a chain-link fence to protect them. The players on the other hand have no such comprehensive protection, and injuries are not uncommon. In the United States, professional players will wear a helmet to protect the head. It wasn’t always so though; in 1968 a professional player ended up in a coma for 6 months after the pelota hit his unprotected head.
  • Professional jai alai players (pelotaris) are traditionally known by a short nickname rather than their real name, e.g. Jabi, Borja, Padin, Pedro, Kompa, Larru, Hoey, Gino, Erik, Azpiri, Rocha, Ander, Rekalde, Aperri, Olabe, Kompa, Larru, Don, Elgueta, or Mouhica – all examples of successful pelotaris active in the USA.
  • A jai alai player will usually wear a t-shirt, white pants, sneakers, a helmet and a red sash. The red sash is worn around the waist, and is called faja.
  • The practice of using a woven basket-glove on the right hand was popularized by Gantchiqui Dithurbide from Saint-Pée, France in the 1860s. The long version known today was brought to mainstream attention by Melchior Curuchage from Buenos Aires, Argentina in the late 1880s.

LEARN KUNG-FU

Chinese martial arts have been placed under the umbrella term kung fu. Therefore, there isn’t just one kung fu; there are many different disciplines. You might have seen high-flying kung-fu moves in movies or heard about the self-defense benefits from learning the techniques and strategies in kung fu. If you want to learn but can’t find an instructor near you, there are resources readily available to help you.

Depending on how self-motivated you are, learning at home can be quick and painless. If you can find a partner to practice with, you can get close to a classroom experience. The only thing you’ll be missing is proper feedback from an instructor.

Kung Fu Lesson DVDs

It might be difficult to seek out a high-caliber kung fu instructor, but you can garner their information through instructional DVDs. If you need help finding proper instructional videos for beginners, here are a few to get you started:

Shaolin Kung Fu—Fundamental Training

In two different beginner-level courses, you’ll go over stretching, fundamental stances, hand drills, walking, hopping, jumping and kicking. This DVD covers the kung fu styles of White Crane and Long Fist.

Shaolin Longfist Kung Fu: Intermediate Sequences

If beginner videos are a little too slow for you, try out this slightly more advanced instructional DVD. You’ll learn different forms of Shaolin kung fu that you can use in tournament-style competitions.

Wing Chun Kung Fu: Solid Basics Part 1

Wing Chun kung fu is one of the most well-known forms of kung fu, partially due to the legendary actor Bruce Lee who trained in this style. You can learn the basics in this instructional DVD. Once you master this video, there are more advanced options from the same instructor, Grandmaster Steve Lee Swift.

Read more: Kung Fu vs. Taekwondo

Online Kung Fu Courses

DVDs are a stepping stone to online kung fu courses. Where a DVD is limited to a few lessons, an online learning platform can have dozens of lessons available at any given time. That way, you don’t have to wait before progressing to the next step in kung-fu mastery.

KungFu.Life is an example of one such learning platform. The site offers a variety of lessons. Some are free to access, and others have a fee. The lessons are taught by a 34th-generation Shaolin kung fu disciple.

WingChunOnline is another platform that offers different memberships. This site’s online courses are broken down into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

Books for Kung Fu Learners

Video technology is extremely helpful, but some people prefer old-fashioned books when trying to learn a new skill. Luckily, there are kung fu texts available complete with pictures and written descriptions of different moves.

Art of Shaolin Kung Fu

If learning the moves isn’t enough of you, deep dive into the history and meaning behind the martial art with this book. You’ll learn about the origins of kung fu and the meanings behind different moves. You’ll also cover combat strategies and fighting techniques.

Wing Chun Kung Fu

Grandmaster Ip Chun is the author of this book on Wing Chun. His father, Grandmaster Ip Man, was a legendary teacher who taught Bruce Lee. In this book, the system of Wing Chun kung fu is broken down with over 100 pictures demonstrating different moves. They also include a thorough history lesson of Wing Chun kung fu in the book.

LEGEND: JOHN MCENROE

CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS

Top Ranking     
Singles World No. 1 (1980)
Doubles World No. 1 (1979)

Grand Slam Results
17-time major champion, 7-time finalist

Career Titles
155

Career Record
Overall: 1409-301
Singles: 877-198
Doubles: 532-103

Davis Cup
Member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team 1978-1984, 1987-1989, 1991-1992
Member of the U.S. Championship Davis Cup Team 1978-1979, 1981-1982, 1992
Captain of the 2000 U.S. Davis Cup Team
Overall Record: 59-10
Singles Record: 41-8
Doubles Record: 18-2

  • CITIZENSHIP: USA
  • BORN: FEBRUARY 16, 1959 IN WIESBADEN, GERMANY
  • PLAYED: LEFT-HANDED

John McEnroe was Pablo Picasso using a tennis racquet instead of a paintbrush. “The greatest compliment I ever got was when people called me an artist,” McEnroe said. “I understand that solo aspect of being an artist, when you’re in there by yourself, trying to do something great.”

McEnroe was a player of considerable skill and finesse; his volleying touch considered the best tennis has ever seen. The subtle nuances he displayed at net, which was just a sliver of his wide arsenal of shots, stood out in sharp contrast to his boisterous outbursts between the lines, which often overshadowed the depth of his game. McEnroe was controversial, immensely competitive, and prone to outbursts, but there could be no disputing his enormous talents. He possessed a capacity to defeat any competitive style he faced – he could nullify the power and pace of Ivan Lendl, match the aggressive counter punching of Jimmy Connors, and trade groundstrokes with Björn Borg, his three biggest rivals. What made McEnroe a marvel was how easy he could make the game appear, all the while defeating the world’s best players and winning seven major singles titles. His deft acumen around the net earned him nine major doubles titles and one major mixed doubles championships. The bombastic McEnroe won 77 singles titles, 72 in doubles competition and was ranked No. 1 in the world in both categories, compiling an 877-198 career record in singles and a 532-103 mark in doubles. The combined 149 titles are the most in the Open Era, highlighted by the 1979 season in which he won 10 singles and 16 doubles titles.

His play sparked some of tennis’s most intense rivalries, especially with Borg and Connors. McEnroe won three of four major finals against Borg (at the US Open in 1980 and 1981 and Wimbledon in 1981; and his Wimbledon loss in 1980 to Borg is considered one of the greatest matches in tennis history) and spilt his 14 matches against the Swede. His battles with Connors, who he defeated 20 of 34 times, were epic matches, but the pair only met in two major singles finals, McEnroe losing at Wimbledon in 1982, but rebounding on Centre Court in 1984. Lendl was a tough foe in three major finals, nipping McEnroe at the French Open in 1984 and the US Open in 1985, while McEnroe captured the 1984 US Open.

McEnroe won three championships at Wimbledon in five trips to the finals. It was the site of his memorable match against Borg and his most memorable outburst, coming in opening round against Tom Gullikson in 1981. After a shot McEnroe hit was called out, he approached chair umpire Edward James bellowing, “You cannot be serious, man. YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! That ball was on the line, chalk flew up (to emphasize his point McEnroe threw his arms up). It was clearly in. How could you possibly call that out! He (Gullikson) walks over, everyone in the whole stadium knows it’s in and you call that out?” McEnroe walked away saying, “You guys are the absolute pits of the world.” Upon hearing that less-than-flattering description, James calmly said, “I’m going to award a point against Mr. McEnroe.” Readers of Britain’s Telegraph once voted McEnroe’s rant as the “top Wimbledon moment of all time.” To his credit, McEnroe later admitted he felt “terrible” about the incident, but it nonetheless cemented his fiery legacy, and McEnroe later titled his autobiography, “You Cannot Be Serious.”

McEnroe was born in Wiesbaden, West Germany, where his father was stationed in the Air Force. The family moved to Douglaston, an upper middle class community in Queens, New York. McEnroe began playing tennis at age 8, honing his game at the Douglaston Club and then the famed Port Washington Tennis Academy in Long Island. His tireless assault on the game led him to become a junior champion at the 1977 French Open, and few will recall that the first of McEnroe’s 17 major titles came as an amateur playing mixed doubles with Mary Carillo at the 1977 French Open. He advanced to the French second round that year and made an unexpected run at the Wimbledon Championships after his play in the qualifying tournament earned him a spot in the main draw. He lost to Connors, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, in the semifinals (the youngest semifinalist in 100 years), and the match was the start of a combative history against his fellow left-hander. McEnroe won 12 of his last 14 matches against Connors, starting in 1983 at the Cincinnati Open, where he lost in the final to Mats Wilander.

McEnroe’s play at Wimbledon led him to attend Stanford University in the fall of 1977, and although he led the Cardinals to the NCAA Division I National Championship and won the national singles title, his stay in California was short-lived. He turned professional in late 1978, winning five tournaments and defeating Arthur Ashe in his first of three Masters Grand Prix championships, 6-7, 6-3, 7-5. McEnroe’s three subsequent Masters Grand-Prix Year-End Championships were: 1978 (over Arthur Ashe), 1983, and 1984 (both over Ivan Lendl). He was also runner-up to Lendl in 1982. To close out the 1978 majors, McEnroe advanced to the fourth round of the US Open. In 1979 he won the first of four his US Open titles – and three straight – defeating friend Vitas Gerulaitis convincingly, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. At 20 years, 6 months and 24 days old, McEnroe was the youngest US Open champion in 31 years, dating back to when Pancho Gonzaleswon the title at the same age in 1948. He won 10 ATP championships that season.

The 1980 season was historic for McEnroe, playing in back-to-back epic major singles finals against Borg. The 1980 Wimbledon final, McEnroe’s first-ever Wimbledon final, is widely considered one of the finest matches in history, won by Borg, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6. The 34-point tiebreaker that decided the fourth set, saw McEnroe thwart off five match points and Borg stave off six set points himself before McEnroe prevailed to force a fifth set. “There’s a magic when our names are mentioned together,” said McEnroe “We brought tennis to a place it wasn’t at before.” “It’s a match I will remember for the rest of my life,” Borg said of the 4 ½ hour classic.

Another McEnroe-Borg classic would ensue at the 1980 US Open, where McEnroe outlasted Borg, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 5-7, 6-4, but the duo, who were as different as night and day in playing style and on-court demeanor, were far from through with contesting major singles championships.

McEnroe won 10 championships in 1980. He and Borg met again in the 1981 Wimbledon final, with McEnroe battling Borg’s heavy topspin baseline game with a picturesque serve and volley match en route to his first Wimbledon title, 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4. The 1981 US Open would pit the two combatants against one another for a fourth time with a major title at stake, and McEnroe remained composed after dropping the first set to win in four, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3. He added the second of his three Wimbledon titles in 1983, defeating unseeded and relatively unknown New Zealand native Chris Lewis, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

Perhaps McEnroe’s finest year on tour came in 1984, when he recorded the best single season win-loss record in the Open Era, comprising an 82-3 record (96.5 percent). He advanced to his lone French Open final, losing a tightly-contested five setter to Lendl, one that saw McEnroe take the first two sets, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5. He won his third Wimbledon by routing Connors, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, and evened the score against Lendl at the US Open with a prolific performance, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. McEnroe had reached the height of his career; in the following eight seasons he advanced to just one major singles final – a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-4 loss to Lendl in 1985 at the US Open. He took a six-month break from playing in 1996 and a seven month break in 1997, and never regained his form upon his return. In his 16-years playing in the majors, McEnroe only entered the Australian five times and played the French 10 years, though unevenly dispersed through his career.

McEnroe’s doubles prowess may be among the best of all time. He forged a virtually unstoppable tandem with Peter Fleming, and the duo won 52 doubles titles, including four at Wimbledon (1979, 1981, 1983, 1984) and three at the US Open (1979, 1981, 1983). He was 9-3 in major doubles finals, winning a fifth Wimbledon doubles title with German Michael Stich in 1992 and a fourth US Open championship with Aussie Mark Woodfordein 1989. McEnroe was ranked No. 1 in doubles for 270 weeks.

McEnroe was ranked in the World Top 10 in singles for nine years, finishing No. 1 four consecutive years (1981-1984) and spent 170 weeks atop the rankings. He was the top-ranked doubles player for five consecutive years (1979-1983). He played Davis Cup for 12 years, helping the Americans win the Cup five times (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1992). For his dedication to Davis Cup play, McEnroe was awarded the Davis Cup Commitment Award by the International Tennis Federation in 2013.

McEnroe also won a record eight season ending championships, including five WCT Finals titles and three Masters Grand Prix titles from twelve final appearances at those two events, a record he shares with Ivan Lendl. He won five WCT Year-End Championships: 1979 (over Björn Borg), 1981 (over Johan Kriek), 1983 (over Ivan Lendl), 1984 (over Jimmy Connors), and 1989 (over Brad Gilbert). He was a finalist in 1980 (Jimmy Connors), 1982 (Ivan Lendl), and 1987 (Miloslav Mečíř).

McEnroe earned his 78th doubles title in 2006 when he partnered with Jonas Bjorkman to win the SAP Open in San Jose, California. The win came just a few days shy of his 47th birthday. McEnroe had last won a doubles title at the Paris Indoors in 1992 with his brother Patrick. Both brothers are former Captains of the United States Davis Cup team and they both entered broadcasting following their careers. John is recognized by a younger generation of tennis fans as a familiar face and voice working for CBS, NBC, Tennis Channel, and ESPN at all of the major championships. McEnroe has made numerous television and movie appearances, and written and collaborated on many books.

MAKE A CONVERSION KICK

While scoring a try might look simple enough, scoring by kicking the ball in a game of rugby can be a lot trickier. It is an important aspect of rugby as there are several ways for players to score through kicking alone, such as the drop kick and conversion. Here are some tips and drills that you can do, to make sure you manage to score.


Warm Up 

While every sport requires you to warm up before participating, this is especially important for rugby as the game involves a high level of physical exertion and contact with other players. Be sure to do thorough warm up exercises, as ligaments and muscles can be strained while kicking since these kicks often require a lot of force and impact from the player. 

Drills such as squats and lunges are good for warming up the muscles in your legs to avoiding over-exerting them. 

Distance 

Kicking in rugby requires the player to be able to project the ball across great heights or distances. While strength is one very important factor when it comes to long distance kicking, players often do not realise that speed of kicking is another determining part of how far and high the ball travels. 

Take a few steps backwards and to the side from where the ball is, before running towards it in order to put in as much power as possible when kicking. Another useful tip is to keep your body straight, as well as to kick the ball with the knuckle of your foot directly above your big toe in order to ensure maximum power. The knuckle of the foot is the strongest part, and also tend to lower the risk of injury when kicking with that part. 

Accuracy 

After you’ve gotten sufficiently warmed up, the next most important thing is to make sure your accuracy is spot on in order to get the ball where you want it to be. One trick that many rugby players use to make sure of their accuracy is to align the seam of the ball to the spot they want it to be after kicking. For example, when placing the ball on a tee or on the ground before kicking, players should always try to position the pointed end of the ball upwards and towards their target. 

Follow Through 

While the main point of kicking is to try to score or to get the ball to a teammate, players should also pay attention to what comes after they kick the ball. For instance, the player should be mindful to follow through with the kick, meaning to let his leg complete the arc after making contact and kicking the ball, instead of abruptly stopping his leg mid-motion.