Master your game with tips from this top Miami coach

If getting a message across to your players is a skill then the All Court Tennis Club's Miami Ambassador Frederico Goncalves is a master of his craft. Here, the Portugal-bred, Miami-based coach gives us a run-down on how to take some simple steps towards improving your game.


Hit from the outside to the inside. You have to shape the ball, so start with the racket on the outside and end with it on the inside. Also, keeping your non-dominant arm out in front is vital. Too often, we see players with their arm by their waist as they hit the ball, but that doesn’t give you the best balance. Get your left hand out and it gives you a real chance to have perspective on the spacing between you and the ball. I still make this mistake at times, we all do.


If you have a two-handed backhand, remember that your left hand brings all the power to the shot if you are a right-handed player. The bottom hand guides the ball and the top hand generates the top spin and the action on the ball. Also, always remember to ground yourself before your shot. You don’t want to be moving to the ball when you are striking it.


I focus on telling my students to keep their chin up. It allows you to get into the best position possible for a serve. If your chin is pointing down, you will not reach up to the ball. It also allows you to maximise your power.

The other big factor in the serve is the toss. I would say 80% of the serve evolves around the toss, so being patient and getting it right is important. Statistically, one out of five tosses will be poor. Spend time working on it and if it’s not right, stop the motion and start again. Waiting for the right toss, each time will be a massive help to your game.

Finally for the service, I would say reach up to try hit the ball before it starts dropping. Try and hit it when the ball freezes in the air. On the second serve, you are brushing up so you can let it drop a little more.


You need to have some feel on the volley to be an expert in this area of the game, but these tips will help:

  • Keep the elbow close to your body before you strike the ball.
  • Make sure the racket head is high and always above the hand. You want your racket to be in the V position.
  • Try to block the ball back on the volley and avoid swinging.


As well as being a tennis coach, I am a certified health coach too. Talking about your feelings in tight moments on court can really affect how you perform under pressure.

My biggest tip here is to visualise the match before it starts. Think about how you expect it to pan out and think about a day when you played amazing.

Stay positive so when you go out there, you are thinking about what a great player you are.

The other big tip I have here is to take time when you can to reset, as you never want to lose more than three points in a row.

You can adjust your strings, go to your towel and if the momentum is not with you, break up the match and try and find a way to get it back on your side.

Also, I recommend taking a little book on court with notes that help you with strategy. Once your match is over, quickly note down what worked, what didn’t work and what you will do next time.



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