Most tennis instruction suggests an ideal strike zone for swing contact from mid-chest to mid-thigh, with an emphasis on ‘waist level’ contact being ideal. The picture below improves this by depicting it from just above the knees up to the shoulders, so I do give them credit here.
But what if you could change and improve that strike zone even beyond what is depicted here? What if you could EXPAND it from your forehead down to well below the knees? Granted, hitting at the very edges of this new and expanded strike zone would be less than optimum, but what if the outer edges of your past contact zone now became the most optimum and sought after contact locations? What if instead of testing your upper limits of execution you now handle these situations with ease? What if the previous lower limits became areas of strong execution? Can you see the major impact this would make on your game? My experience suggests that players are shocked at how the CTM contact zone expansion improves their games.
With the Congruent Tennis Model, not only can we show you how to Expand your contact area, but later we will explain how this Expansion of effective contact will also ‘Extend’ your contact areas more forward into the court to attack, as well as how to effectively move further back in the court for stronger Rally/Defense.
The Key Concept to expanding your zone is learning to master the ‘Fade and Draw’ strokes we describe on our site, as well as use the guidance in this article on when and how to use the Fade and Draw All during history answers for the issues on the rising or falling ball, contact heights, types of swings and types of topspin have been very elusive! One prolific coach in tennis history came close, but even a few key points eluded his epic tennis mind.
One of the things you can learn from the articles referenced above is not only how to use higher contact points, but to also turn them into consistent strengths instead of weaknesses. Just imagine the shift of offensive momentum this offers you by converting unforced errors into attacks! Another thing you can learn from these articles is how to make very effective use of lower contacts with a much more dependable and aggressive result.
Some of the best and most common tennis strategies revolve around contact height. They either kick the bounce up above your normal contact zone or to keep balls down low, below a normal contact zone. A good coach can scout opponents to tell you what strike zone players struggle to handle well. This strategy is extremely effective against most players because they will struggle to hurt you if you can get the bounce out of the strike zone that they prefer. Even for those exceptional players who are better with dealing with higher bounces…. they tend to be weaker on lower bounces. Players who are solid with the lower bounces tend to struggle with higher contacts in general. Not only can your opponent draw both errors and weakness this way, but they can also force you into positions on the court that give them advantage. They can pull you in short or back you up deep into spots you don’t prefer.
If your contact area is standard, then you are very limited in your options to return certain balls due to where the bounce places your better contact options. But with an ‘Expanded contact zone’, a well trained player can take the ball much earlier or even further back in the court if that offers advantage. In this way, with deliberate practice, a player can use ‘Expanding the Contact Zone’ to greatly ‘Extend the Contact Zone’
Congruent Tennis has the most comprehensive guidance on Expanding your Contact Zone. It gives you the ‘Dual Objectives’ of skills to be far more aggressive on more balls, while also allowing you to be far more in control of where on the court you decide to receive balls. This combination is part of why Devin Knox wrote about the Knowledge Advantage of CTM. Using fades and draws to expand the contact zone grants a unique edge - a solution to problems that most don't even recognize.