849 N. Buffalo Dr. Saratoga Springs, UT 84045801-368-3927carl@saratogaspringstennis.com

What are Shadow Strokes and How Can They Help Your Game?

Post 5 of 40
Tennis Shadow Stroke

These aren’t the shadow strokes I’m talking about!

I absolutely love Oscar Wegner and his method for teaching tennis.  I like the way he’s simplifies the “modern game” so “anyone can play like the pros.”  Check out his website at http://www.oscarwegner.com you’ll be glad you did.

A few days ago I received my daily installment of Oscar Wegner’s Once a Day Tennis Tips and this is what it said:

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

“It has been said that confidence breeds on familiarity. Quite true, and in tennis you need muscular familiarity as well to perform confidently.

The strongest way to reinforce this familiarity of feel (or quickly learn new or more perfected strokes) would be in front of a mirror.

A large mirror would be ideal, but in its absence, the reflection on a glass door or a large window will suffice (provided you have ample space in front, of course).”

As a young man, I spent hours practicing my strokes in the basement, living room, patio—anywhere I could get in some swings.  It was like I was a tennis addict needing a fix.  (I later accepted the fact of my addition.)  In my college studies I learned these were called “shadow strokes” and are very important for developing muscle memory or familiarity as Oscar puts it.

Oscar’s addition of a mirror is genius.  By watching your strokes as you perform them, you’ll ensure you are performing them correctly.  This is important because ingraining incorrect strokes will only enforce incorrect muscle memory.  And, incorrect strokes with improper muscle memory will only need to be changed down the road.

I still need my daily fix of shadow strokes, but these days I perform them in my living room (no mother to chase me out for fear of breaking something and no sister to make fun of me).  Luckily, my living room has this large mirror over the sofa where I can watch my strokes—and I must admit they look good!

Find out what good strokes are and what they look like (become a student of the game—the subject of my next post), and practice to your heart’s content.  The best part about this practice session is you don’t need a court, balls, or a partner.  Just grab your racket and swing away!

Let me know how this tip works out for you?

See you on the courts!


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TomazNovember 12, 2012 at 8:23 amReply

Hey Carl,

Practicing in front of a mirror is something I used to do a LOT in my early days as a tennis player.

I was watching pros on TV, taped them to a VHS 😉 and then played it in slow motion. Then once I saw the whole stroke, I went into the living room and mimicked those same shots in front of the mirror.

I am sure I hit a few thousand shots of each stroke in front of the mirror and that’s how I developed very sound technique without taking any tennis lessons.

I highly recommend shadow stroking in front of the mirror!

CarlJanuary 28, 2013 at 11:33 amReply

Thanks for you comments Tomaz. I’ve been a follower of your website for a long time. I even have some of your video products. Keep up the good work!

George EdwardJune 21, 2016 at 5:16 pmReply

Muscle memory comes with shadow swinging, as long as the practice is correct. I like to use http://www.coachinthemirror.com to both watch myself in the TV from my video camera in my laptop and at the same time see a pre-recorded video of a pro. I can put the camera anywhere, even behind me, to see what my body is actually doing. Neat stuff, better than a mirror plus it includes a coach.

CarlFebruary 27, 2017 at 6:27 pmReply

Hi George,
Thanks for the info about http://www.coachinthemirror.com. I’m sure it will help others out there!