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raiden031
03-13-2007, 12:54 PM
If one or more of my USTA league teammates has very bad stroke form, should I tell them or keep it to myself?

The reason I ask is that as I've become so focused on technique, I look for flaws in other people's technique and I don't want to overstep my bounds because 1) who am I to give them advice as I'm playing at the same level and 2) I don't want to screw with their match performance mid-season by making them change to a new technique that they aren't comfortable with.

As an example, one guy uses what looks like a semi-western frying pan grip on serves and volleys, and his volleying really bothers me because its just a push straight ahead. I want to tell him to switch to continental and show him better form but I'm reluctant to do so.

Voltron
03-13-2007, 01:02 PM
"Frying pan" grip? Tell him before he embarrasses himself..........oops, too late. ;)

Cruzer
03-13-2007, 01:15 PM
Some people welcome advice from anyone and you should consider how he might receive your advise however unless you are a really good volleyer you may want to think twice about saying anything. Otherwise the guy may think to himself "This guy is trying to tell me how to volley? I watch him dump volleys into the net left and right and he wants to criticize my stroke?"

raiden031
03-13-2007, 01:20 PM
Some people welcome advice from anyone and you should consider how he might receive your advise however unless you are a really good volleyer you may want to think twice about saying anything. Otherwise the guy may think to himself "This guy is trying to tell me how to volley? I watch him dump volleys into the net left and right and he wants to criticize my stroke?"

I think he is the kind of person that would probably take it well, but I still don't know if its appropriate because even though I'm alot stronger than him at our level, I am still playing at the same level. Although I think my technique is good, but I don't have the consistency or ball control to play at a higher level yet.

The worry I have is that he will not be able to hit any successful volleys for a while if he switches to the uncomfortable continental grip. But that can't be so bad since he is a very weak player already, and can only get better with a few practice sessions with the proper grip.

raiden031
03-13-2007, 01:21 PM
"Frying pan" grip? Tell him before he embarrasses himself..........oops, too late. ;)

How do you like your eggs?

Jracer77
03-13-2007, 01:29 PM
[QUOTE The reason I ask is that as I've become so focused on technique, I look for flaws in other people's technique and I don't want to overstep my bounds because 1) who am I to give them advice as I'm playing at the same level and 2) I don't want to screw with their match performance mid-season by making them change to a new technique that they aren't comfortable with. QUOTE]


I wouldn't unless they asked. You already gave two good reasons why you shouldn't. Many people are satisfied with their technique even if it isn't textbook.

Voltron
03-13-2007, 01:32 PM
How do you like your eggs?

Sunny side up please. ;)

tennismike33
03-13-2007, 01:35 PM
For me input is important, but when explaining things people tell me I use this grip or that grip I have no idea what they are talking about. I am not a technition of the game, I play by what works and what feels good.

IMO if you explain things make it simple, such as, "Open the face of your volley, it will get more balls over the net." OK, I can understand that, but if you start detailing all of the little things involved all I hear is the buzz of the TV while it details for me it is checking the Emergency Broadcast System.

cak
03-13-2007, 01:36 PM
It's approrpriate to critique another player's form when they ask you to. Level doesn't matter.

raiden031
03-13-2007, 01:37 PM
[QUOTE The reason I ask is that as I've become so focused on technique, I look for flaws in other people's technique and I don't want to overstep my bounds because 1) who am I to give them advice as I'm playing at the same level and 2) I don't want to screw with their match performance mid-season by making them change to a new technique that they aren't comfortable with. QUOTE]


I wouldn't unless they asked. You already gave two good reasons why you shouldn't. Many people are satisfied with their technique even if it isn't textbook.

Well if he was having success at the level, I would say fine. But he's been playing a few years at the same level and still loses most if not all his matches.

10sfreak
03-13-2007, 07:02 PM
Well if he was having success at the level, I would say fine. But he's been playing a few years at the same level and still loses most if not all his matches.

I think it mostly depends on the guy, and how you two relate to each other. If you think he'd welcome it, and that in the long run your advice would truly help him, then do it. It also depends a lot on HOW you present your advice. As long as someone doesn't come across as a know-it-all, then I've never minded someone trying to give me advice. I may not actually do what they say, but I'm certainly willing to listen. Hey, the guy you're talking about may actually welcome your advice more than you know...

lars
03-13-2007, 07:54 PM
... one guy uses what looks like a semi-western frying pan grip on serves and volleys, and his volleying really bothers me because its just a push straight ahead.

I played a guy last month whose greatest asset was a wickedly accurate volley just like the one you describe. When I first saw one go in for a point I figured it was a fluke, so I kept challenging it until I realized that it was working for him. Some people are self-taught or stubborn and develop unique styles, one of the cool things about this game at any level.

But to your main point: never give advice to anybody who doesn't ask you for it. If you've spent so much time studying technique it should be apparent; your team will be lining up for pointers. If not, either you aren't as good as you think or they're the kind of people who don't pull over and ask for directions when they're lost. (Pre-navigation system reference!

Cindysphinx
03-14-2007, 02:46 AM
My opinion?

I think most players of our level should be cautious about offering unsolicited advice. We aren't teaching pros, so even if something looks way wrong we don't always know the fix. Besides, if someone has the wrong grip when serving, they aren't going to miraculously convert to the right grip in the middle of a match and fire off service winners.

My coach and I discussed this during our last lesson. I wanted help with groundstrokes and approach shots. He immediately said my problem was that I stop before I hit rather than moving through the ball. I said the reason I was doing it was because at least six teammates had said that I need to stop running through my shots.

After explaining why he was right and they were wrong, he said something else that I will definitely put into practice. He played Davis Cup for a bit for a very small country. He said that before and after their matches, all sorts of people would offer advice, what with national pride on the line. Their coach told them to ignore all advice they receive and just smile and nod, even if the advice came from their own mothers.

Those are my new instructions: acknowledge all unsolicted advice, but ignore it completely. And guess what? The very next time I was playing with my teammates, they again said I need to stop before I hit the ball! :)

10sfreak
03-14-2007, 07:29 AM
That's weird. My coach tells us to stop before we hit the ball. I've had a bad habit of running through my shots, and have finally started stopping before I swing my racquet, and it has really helped me...

Joeyg
03-14-2007, 07:56 AM
This is hilarious! Something about the "blind leading the blind" comes to mind. I think that you would be better off, and have more friends if you kept the advice to yourself. Maybe invite your teammate to a clinic that you attend, and then have a PRO give him a few tips. I don't think that many folks would appreicate unsolicated advice from a person at the same level.

raiden031
03-14-2007, 08:08 AM
This is hilarious! Something about the "blind leading the blind" comes to mind. I think that you would be better off, and have more friends if you kept the advice to yourself. Maybe invite your teammate to a clinic that you attend, and then have a PRO give him a few tips. I don't think that many folks would appreicate unsolicated advice from a person at the same level.

I don't think it takes a pro to recognize that a continental grip is far superior for serves and volleys. I don't attend clinics so thats not an option for me to do anyways.

But I'll take the majority's advice and keep it to myself.

sue20852
03-14-2007, 08:15 AM
It depends on the player who is receiving the advice and how the recipient perceives the advisor. I like proper technique, which is lovely to watch. But I don't feel it is needed to win a point or match.

Cindysphinx
03-14-2007, 09:11 AM
That's weird. My coach tells us to stop before we hit the ball. I've had a bad habit of running through my shots, and have finally started stopping before I swing my racquet, and it has really helped me...

Approaches may vary, but the idea was that you want body weight on your shots. You slow down enough to have balance and be able to see the ball, but you keep moving forward.

And when you are hitting on the run, you are of course running through your shot.

Once I stopped trying so hard to stop to hit each shot -- frequently winding up too far away from the ball and often lunging at it -- I was hitting much better. It really worked for me, especially with service returns, which are often supposed to be approach shots.

YMMV, of course.

JHBKLYN
03-15-2007, 12:32 PM
If one or more of my USTA league teammates has very bad stroke form, should I tell them or keep it to myself?

The answer lies with what you asked. Would you like it if your teammate critique on your form? :)

Actually, if I were having problems and a teammate who is better than me gave me advice, I will probably listen. But if the advice is coming from a player not as good, it may go out one ear and out the next and I would ask him why he isn't listening to his own advice? *L*

spot
03-15-2007, 12:37 PM
Go out and beat him in practice by hitting a vulnerability repeatedly then when having a beer afterward tell him how you did it.

On my team there are a few guys who hit their volleys with an eastern forehand. Thats great when they get a shoulder high volley to the forehand side but when they get a ball low to the backhand side they repeatedly net it. If I just told them that they were doing their volleys wrong it wouldn't carry any weight- but after we play a set and I hit them 4 or 5 times in the same spot then they want to listen.

Another good thing is to watch a match of someone else who does the same thing- talk about the weaknesses of that other person and the grip they use- let them put 2 and 2 together.

And find a way to make fun of yourself when you are giving the advice. self deprecation goes a long way when you are telling someone else what they should be doing when you know that you don't always do it right yourself.

JHBKLYN
03-15-2007, 12:44 PM
Approaches may vary, but the idea was that you want body weight on your shots. You slow down enough to have balance and be able to see the ball, but you keep moving forward.

And when you are hitting on the run, you are of course running through your shot.

Once I stopped trying so hard to stop to hit each shot -- frequently winding up too far away from the ball and often lunging at it -- I was hitting much better. It really worked for me, especially with service returns, which are often supposed to be approach shots.

YMMV, of course.

If one is lunging at the ball, that means one is probably out of position. Unless you have precise timing, it's very difficult to hit the ball while "running through it." From the tapes I watched of really good players and pros, most of the time, they get in perfect position, stand still, and shift their weight forward to hit the ball. Speaking of which, I too use to lunge or jam myself because I have lazy feet, but during practice yesterday, I learned how taking little steps to get into position help hitting the ball more consistantly. But different strokes for different folks and if it works for you, keep doing it! :)

raiden031
03-15-2007, 12:46 PM
The answer lies with what you asked. Would you like it if your teammate critique on your form? :)

Actually, if I were having problems and a teammate who is better than me gave me advice, I will probably listen. But if the advice is coming from a player not as good, it may go out one ear and out the next and I would ask him why he isn't listening to his own advice? *L*

I would absolutely welcome advice from teammates whom I trust their knowledge. I know when to take advice and when to ignore it, because I've read alot of material on tennis technique. Also I'm a firm believer that some people are better at tennis in their mind than their bodies show. Meaning they can spot good and bad technique, even though they may not be great players themselves.

The reason I'm concerned is because he has remained at the lower end of the level for several years, losing most all of his matches, and I can easily see major flaws that I think are the cause. I don't know if he gets lessons, but if he does, then he certainly reverts back to his old strokes when playing matches, or has a horrible teacher that is ignoring his bad strokes.

If I played him in singles, I would probably bagel or breadstick him, so there is no question as to who is better, but the majority seems to think unsolicited advice is not really appropriate, so thats probably the route I'll take.

Raiden.Kaminari
03-15-2007, 12:52 PM
Approaches may vary, but the idea was that you want body weight on your shots. You slow down enough to have balance and be able to see the ball, but you keep moving forward.

And when you are hitting on the run, you are of course running through your shot.

Once I stopped trying so hard to stop to hit each shot -- frequently winding up too far away from the ball and often lunging at it -- I was hitting much better. It really worked for me, especially with service returns, which are often supposed to be approach shots.

YMMV, of course.

Your teaching pro is correct. When hitting, your body should be shifting the weight forward. However, even with the pros, you will see them pause, just briefly, to balance themselves prior to hitting the ball (even when they're moving forward, side to side, etc.). After the contact, they keep moving to rebalance after their weight has shifted.

Back to raiden031's original question.

1. Never critique another person without their requesting it.
2. If they ask for critique, recommend they go to a teaching instructor (just mention something vague ... "I know an instructor who can help you if you don't feel confident about the stroke") or attend a clinic with you (the instructor may ask the player if he wants additional help).

What Cindysphinx said earlier is correct ... a lot of people have tons of advise to give you as a player.

But as a player, you need to know how to "add" to your inventory of strokes, not to "change." If something is natural and works, find an instructor willing to add to the inventory. If the instructor tries to change a stroke, he's way more interested in making money.

Guess what? When push comes to shove, the old ugly strokes usually come out ;) So find someone to help add to the inventory of strokes.

raiden031
03-15-2007, 01:00 PM
2. If they ask for critique, recommend they go to a teaching instructor (just mention something vague ... "I know an instructor who can help you if you don't feel confident about the stroke") or attend a clinic with you (the instructor may ask the player if he wants additional help).

What Cindysphinx said earlier is correct ... a lot of people have tons of advise to give you as a player.

But as a player, you need to know how to "add" to your inventory of strokes, not to "change." If something is natural and works, find an instructor willing to add to the inventory. If the instructor tries to change a stroke, he's way more interested in making money.

Guess what? When push comes to shove, the old ugly strokes usually come out ;) So find someone to help add to the inventory of strokes.

I don't agree with this because its not like teaching tennis requires an MD degree. There is no major risk associated with giving bad advice. But if you're not confident about the advice you're giving, then you shouldn't give the advice; but to say that someone should refer to a teaching pro for something you know how to correct yourself is unnecessary.

And I think that certain strokes need to be changed if the player ever hopes to improve. How can you add to a frying pan serve or volley without changing it? Its just bad all around.

If the receiving player doesn't trust you, then they can take it up with a pro, but if someone asks me for advice and I'm confident of the answer, I'll help them out and save them the $70/hour it costs for the pro to answer it.

JHBKLYN
03-15-2007, 01:40 PM
The reason I'm concerned is because he has remained at the lower end of the level for several years, losing most all of his matches, and I can easily see major flaws that I think are the cause. I don't know if he gets lessons, but if he does, then he certainly reverts back to his old strokes when playing matches, or has a horrible teacher that is ignoring his bad strokes.

I too believe some are better at coaching than playing but I think it helps if they had some track record.

If he is losing and not improving, perhaps he doesn't care about moving up and just playing for the fun of it? A lot of people at the 3.0 level don't want to move up because they don't have the desire or the skills to do so and are comfortable where they are. Have you asked him if he want to move up or at whether winning matches is a concern to him?

If he wanted to improve, I may say something like: "You keep shanking your shots, you may be holding the racquet wrong" and see how he responds. If he shows interest in what you say, then it wouldn't be a bad idea to show him proper grips. If he doesn't respond, I would follow up with: So, you see the Nadal match last night? :p

Cindysphinx
03-15-2007, 01:58 PM
The risk with giving bad advice is that you'll annoy people.

That's a pretty big risk in a social endeavor like league tennis.

Besides, if you really want to help people improve, tell them to drop some weight. :)

JZImmer123
03-15-2007, 09:04 PM
I don't think bringing up your doubles parters bad form during a match is such a great idea, unless you're really good friends with your partner. Some people don't take criticism well, lol.

raiden031
03-16-2007, 04:03 AM
I don't think bringing up your doubles parters bad form during a match is such a great idea, unless you're really good friends with your partner. Some people don't take criticism well, lol.

I never said it was my doubles partner and never said I would do it during a match. I believe it would be far more inappropriate to do that during a match, then say during a casual hitting or practice session.

raiden031
03-16-2007, 04:05 AM
The risk with giving bad advice is that you'll annoy people.

That's a pretty big risk in a social endeavor like league tennis.

Besides, if you really want to help people improve, tell them to drop some weight. :)

Maybe in the women's league, but I don't think it would blacklist me in the men's league if I said something that turned out to be wrong. But as I said, I wouldn't give advice if I'm not confident that it is good advice, or I will give a disclaimer beforehand if I'm unsure.

PimpMyGame
03-16-2007, 09:07 AM
Well if he was having success at the level, I would say fine. But he's been playing a few years at the same level and still loses most if not all his matches.

Sounds like he has never asked for advice, and doesn't have regular coaching. So my suggestion is don't offer either.

BTW, once in a while at my club I hear some players giving other players advice, which is always answered by the most ridiculous reasons for why they play like they do and why they won't change what they're doing.

Free tennis advice offered = hiding to nothing.

raiden031
03-16-2007, 09:47 AM
Sounds like he has never asked for advice, and doesn't have regular coaching. So my suggestion is don't offer either.


Is this because he isn't likely to accept it so its a wasted effort?


Free tennis advice offered = hiding to nothing.

What does "hiding to nothing" mean?

Raiden.Kaminari
03-16-2007, 01:05 PM
I don't agree with this because its not like teaching tennis requires an MD degree.
No, it doesn't require a degree. I think you will agree there are some horrible instructors out there, most of whom are not certified by either the USPTA (http://usptafindapro.com/index.cfm/MenuItemID/654/MenuGroup/Find-a-Pro.htm) and/or PTR (http://www.ptrtennis.org/categories.htm).

There is no major risk associated with giving bad advice.
Hmmm ... the phrase, "do what I say, not what I do" comes to mind.

Vic Braden often says in his lectures, if people practice so much, why aren't there more recreational players at the 5.0+ level? There are lots of recreational playes who think they are at the 5.0+ level, and more than willing to give "free" advise. The risk for many players is that in the end, the free advise usually sticks people to a particular level.

On the other hand, I've been the recepient of free advise when I was a junior. I only had two private paying lessons, while the rest was from Vic Braden on TV (back in the '70s, they aired his free tennis lessons on PBS and during the majors), and a bunch of seniors at the public courts. The seniors were wise enough to know when I outgrew their advise, and told me to take the lessons to help improve my service motion.

But if you're not confident about the advice you're giving, then you shouldn't give the advice;
Very true, but you have to look at the credibility aspect. Sounds like we're now switching from critiquing, to giving advise.

Criticism is usually not well received, especially from players of the same ability. In contrast, advise is sometimes better received, but often perceived as criticism.

A trained instructor knows the words to create a positive image of what needs to be done. Unfortunately, there are many tennis instructors out there that think they're substitute ball machines, and don't possess the correct verbal skills.

but to say that someone should refer to a teaching pro for something you know how to correct yourself is unnecessary.
How much time are you willing to commit, instead of making a remark (as a critique or advise) and leaving it at that? Are you willing to go out and hit with the player several times a week to help them add to their current stroke inventory? To show them the weakness of their stroke inventory? Are you able to dominate them enough to demonstrate the need for variety?

Most certified instructors (PTR instructor or USPTA pro 2+) are at least 4.0+ level players, even former 5.0+ level players.

And I think that certain strokes need to be changed if the player ever hopes to improve. How can you add to a frying pan serve or volley without changing it? Its just bad all around.
Yes, but that is a personal decision. Some players are out to have fun. Some players are out to win. The ones out to win are most likely already taking lessons and trying to improve. The ones that are out for fun don't necessarily want to invest the time to change.

Yes, if they want to add variety, they need to change from frying pan serves/volleys that generate only flat shots. But it's not necessarily bad all around. If you watch the pros very closely, they do pronate and go flat at the last second for certain strokes. Some people refer to it as using their wrist, but it's really not that. Again, a verbal image is required to help players go from using flat to correctly hitting the ball flat at the last second.

If the receiving player doesn't trust you, then they can take it up with a pro, but if someone asks me for advice and I'm confident of the answer, I'll help them out and save them the $70/hour it costs for the pro to answer it.
I admire that you're willing to help them improve. Really, I am. I'm a certified tennis instructor, and I give free clinics to introduce tennis to people. I especially focus on the basics. I try to add to people's natural strokes, not change them. And I've found that all the best instructors try to help people add, and not change. Only the instructors with large egos think they can change people ... they can not. It has to come from within.

There are many male players at my club (around 3.0 and 3.5 level) who believe they can hit the ball much better than other players at the club. They usually offer unsolicited advice. People don't like playing against them, much less partnering with them. It's really funny to watch when they partner with each other (since noone wants to partner with them), and they spend the night criticizing each other's strokes.

They often critique players with unorthodox strokes, but who have a lot of talent and are winning. Sometimes, because of the winning at a particular level, say 3.0, they don't feel the need to change. The other part is exactly what PimpMyGame said.

Sounds like he has never asked for advice, and doesn't have regular coaching. So my suggestion is don't offer either.

BTW, once in a while at my club I hear some players giving other players advice, which is always answered by the most ridiculous reasons for why they play like they do and why they won't change what they're doing.

The only thing you can do is improve yourself, and hope they notice that you've improved. When they ask, that's when the players are receptive to change. When they seek private tennis lessons, that's also an indication the players are receptive to change.

AndrewD
03-16-2007, 11:51 PM
As an example, one guy uses what looks like a semi-western frying pan grip on serves and volleys, and his volleying really bothers me because its just a push straight ahead. I want to tell him to switch to continental and show him better form but I'm reluctant to do so.

Raiden,

Before offering advice, I think it's best to be absolutely sure that the person 1) wants it, 2) can handle it and 3) needs it.

Just because they have a very unconventional style doesn't mean they can't be very effective. That frying-pan grip you mentioned was used very, very effectively by Kathy Jordan and, many years prior, Sir Norman Brookes. If your club-mate is able to make it work (to his satisfaction, no-one elses) then good luck to him.

darkblue
03-17-2007, 05:04 AM
If one or more of my USTA league teammates has very bad stroke form, should I tell them or keep it to myself?

The reason I ask is that as I've become so focused on technique, I look for flaws in other people's technique and I don't want to overstep my bounds because 1) who am I to give them advice as I'm playing at the same level and 2) I don't want to screw with their match performance mid-season by making them change to a new technique that they aren't comfortable with.

As an example, one guy uses what looks like a semi-western frying pan grip on serves and volleys, and his volleying really bothers me because its just a push straight ahead. I want to tell him to switch to continental and show him better form but I'm reluctant to do so.

only when i'm asked by that person

simi
03-19-2007, 01:28 PM
When is it appropriate to critique teammate's form?

1. When you can play an entire match yourself without a single unforced error, or
2. when he is paying you to be his/her coach.

J011yroger
03-19-2007, 05:16 PM
Offer advice when you are asked for it.

I was playing Pro-Am type doubles at a social thing, I was partnered with a 4.0ish middle aged guy, playing against my buddy, a 5.5ish guy, and another 3.5-4.0ish guy.

So I am serving from the ad court, and I belt a first serve in, get a floater back, run in, and hit a clean backhand swing volley winner.

The guy I am partnered with turns to me and says. "You know you should have let that bounce and stepped around it, and you would have had a nice forehand sitter."

J

raiden031
03-20-2007, 04:50 AM
When is it appropriate to critique teammate's form?

1. When you can play an entire match yourself without a single unforced error, or
2. when he is paying you to be his/her coach.

I guess nobody on the planet including Federer is qualified to give tennis advice with #1.

But I don't understand why only a paid coach should give advice. Not everyone has the opportunity to learn from a coach, and would rather have a peer show them things than not develop at tennis because they don't have the means to have a coach.

Cindysphinx
03-20-2007, 08:20 AM
Because even paid coaches don't give unsolicted advice.

kevhen
03-20-2007, 11:40 AM
Unless he seems interested in your advice, best to just keep to yourself. I don't use continental for serves or vollies and I won a 4.5 doubles match in straight sets a week ago. Technique is important but perfect technique with poor timing or poor footwork gets you nowhere.

Raiden.Kaminari
03-20-2007, 05:01 PM
Offer advice when you are asked for it.

I was playing Pro-Am type doubles at a social thing, I was partnered with a 4.0ish middle aged guy, playing against my buddy, a 5.5ish guy, and another 3.5-4.0ish guy.

So I am serving from the ad court, and I belt a first serve in, get a floater back, run in, and hit a clean backhand swing volley winner.

The guy I am partnered with turns to me and says. "You know you should have let that bounce and stepped around it, and you would have had a nice forehand sitter."

J

I love your posts. :)

They bring back a lot of interesting memories.

J011yroger
03-20-2007, 08:53 PM
I try.

J

vllockhart
03-21-2007, 12:14 PM
During a practice session. Ask to see what grip he uses. Then ask if he's ever thought about using a different grip. If he's open, show him the continental grip. If he's not, then walk away. All he can do is bite your head off.

PimpMyGame
03-22-2007, 08:05 AM
Is this because he isn't likely to accept it so its a wasted effort?

In a word yes. Don't offer anything unless it's asked for.

What does "hiding to nothing" mean?

It means you will go out of your way to give advice that will not be acted upon or wanted.

PS sorry for the delay in replying, not much time to go on this board lately.