View Full Version : Looking for critique...

09-09-2004, 04:16 PM
Recently, I registered for the tennis warehouse forums, and this is my first post actually. I have been reading many of the articles here and in the fitness section.

I am a high school player (Junior) and will be moved up to a quite awkward position on my school's tennis team, one singles. This would be my third year playing tennis and I want to be competitive so I have been practicing for countless hours. Most one singles players have played since a young age or have had several private lessons so many have a major edge. This winter I plan on taking a few lessons. Overall, I want a successful season.

So, I decided to post a few videos looking for comments that may give me some new innovation in my strokes. After all, I am not a pro. I am around a 3.5ish - 4.0ish player. Any comments would be greatly appreciated and thanks ahead of time.

My grips are as follows (Right-Handed)
Forehand - Semi-western
Backhand - Between Semi-western and Eastern on the left hand and Continental on the right hand
Slices - Both Continental

I am looking to add more pace to all my shots and correct any bad habits that are forming.

The links for the videos are... (Make sure you copy and paste the exact links, because its case sensitive)


Thanks very much again, and fire away, I am open to anything.

09-09-2004, 08:33 PM
First of all, I'm not an expert. THe following is just my opinion.

First of all, your slices are not continental. It's not a crime, per se, just don't delude yourself. When you slice, on both sides, you drop the racquet head during the motion. Try to lead your racquet with your fist and do the stroke by moving your feet, with more compact swing. You should sort off slide into your slice. Now you look like you are lame in your front leg.

On your forehand topspin. Your left hand looks sort of passive. It does not help you to coil and uncoil your shoulders. It should.

Your movements are not fluent. I think it's because of a late preparation.

I know nothing about 2hbh.

Camilio Pascual
09-10-2004, 09:42 AM
C_Urala is dead bang on about your forehand topspin. I think if you brought your off hand back with the racquet on your forehand, you would get some needed shoulder turn. This would also allow more of the rotational force from your body to impart energy into the shot in addition to the normal forward movement. You might want to try kicking the heel of your back (right) foot out on your foreswing to get more hip rotation. I also think you don't bend enough with your knees, but then again almost none of us do!
My 2H BH is very different from yours, so I'll be interested to hear the comments on your backswing. I was taught to drop my racquet head down pretty far, but it's not the only way to hit a 2H BH. Good luck.

09-10-2004, 05:10 PM
Thanks alot for the help you two.

Yea, I'm pretty sure my motions aren't fluent, because whenever I watch other good players in tournaments and such, they have a distinct motion to it where it looks much smoother, and I don't look smooth.

Recently, after I viewed these videos and before I posted these, I actually did begin to make a larger effort to add a shoulder turn, and just like you suggested here, it helps alot.

When you say my slices are not continental, are you saying my grip is closer to an Eastern forehand grip? Or something else?

Other than that thanks for your comments, I will try altering my slice a little, next time I get the chance to play.

09-10-2004, 08:25 PM
wow, you look like my cousin :shock: . Anyways, I suggest using a more closed stance on your backhand for more pace.

09-11-2004, 07:40 PM
When you say my slices are not continental, are you saying my grip is closer to an Eastern forehand grip? Or something else?

Other than that thanks for your comments, I will try altering my slice a little, next time I get the chance to play.

Yes, I meant namely this. On the forehand side, your grip is more Eastern forehand, while on the bachand side, it's more toward Eastern backhand.

But as I said it's not necessarily a mistake. It depends on what you want to do. Your motion looks like chopping and you can hit sort of drop shots with the swing like this. But if you want deep penetrating clices, than your swing shoud be more horizontal. And lead your racquet with your fist. Instead, you drop the racquet head below your hand. Do you like your slices?

09-11-2004, 09:12 PM
You're not hitting through your 2hbh, but rather, you're wiping up too quickly. This motion leads to a short topspin backhand with minimal pace. I'd hit through the backhand a bit more if I were you.

09-12-2004, 03:16 AM
Yes, I love my slices and want a penetrating slice, so I understand what you mean now. Thanks for clarifying.

Alright, and on the backhand I will try hitting through more, thanks for the tip.

09-13-2004, 07:04 AM
SoupyKnight..I maybe wrong, but from looking at your videos you really don't look like a 3.5-4.0 player. More like a 2.5-3.0 player.
Your body looks so stfiff when hinting those groudstrokes. I don't see a lot of knee bent and footwork is a little off.

In one shot, you were doing a backhand slice and it looked like you were going to topple over bc youe footwork weren't position properly, which was probably a result of lack racquet preparation.

09-13-2004, 07:20 AM
Thanatos, you've got to remember that different areas of the country have DRASTICALLY different ranking interpretations. Secondly, I've played guys at the 4.0/4.5 level who easily look like 3.0/3.5 players during warmup, but are really good players even though their strokes are not developed correctly. SoupyKnight is posting because he knows he needs improvement. He doesn't need somebody telling him that he is a lower ranking.

Other than that little rant, a lot of what was said by the other posters is true. Hopefully BB or Mahboob will make an appearance to give some additional insight.

09-13-2004, 07:58 AM
You are leaning back on your forehand. You need to step into the ball, rather than back away form it at impact, and drive through it. Also, try to strike the ball earlier (on the rise). You are letting it drop too low before impact. As others mentioned above you also need to use your left arm to coil your body.

Good luck.

09-13-2004, 12:41 PM
As to the person saying the poster is 2.5-3.0 and not 4.0.. I would disagree with that.. As long as he win's 4.0 matches, he's 4.0.. He may be a pusher or whatever but he just needs to win 4.0 players.. You dont need to have great looking strokes to win.. That's ugly tennis for u..

As to the critique.. It seems your preparation is very late. You take the racquet back just as you're about to hit the ball.. Additionally, it looks like u play without a left arm.. You don't use your left arm for anything, except when hitting the backhand.. You don't reset with your left hand holding the racquet or grip, and you don't use it for balance or shoulder turn. This especially holds true for videoclip #1 when you're just hitting forehands.

The weight distribtion and loading phases aren't great either. Therefore, you can't be generating much power with your strokes. If you are, its all arm. The slice has little shoulder rotation and no weight transfer. It's all arm as well.
That's my view.

09-13-2004, 02:47 PM
Alright, as of recently, I adjusted to where I use the left hand to set the racquet back as well as added a larger shoulder turn, and it has seemed to improve alot.

I'll try to prepare earlier, when you all mean early preparation, do you mean sooner racquet take back? Or something else? I remember reading a similar post about preparation or something, about it, but it seems awkward to run around with the racquet taken behind you already.

I'll try adding a shoulder turn and driving through my slice more as well.

Thanks for the advice again.

09-14-2004, 12:01 AM
Hey soupyKnight. Since Mahboob and Bill have been MIA, I'll do my best to try and analyze your videos and give you some feedback the way I feel they would(though they'll probably come back and tear my analysis to shreds.) I will let Bill and others comment on the knitty gritty of your actual stroke mechanics, but I will touch on some things that I believe will help quite a bit when thos comments come around. I did teach tennis at a local country club and for my city for a few years, so I do have some background in teaching. Here we go.

Footwork and Movement

The most important aspect of playing tennis is your footwork and preparation. A high level player is always on their toes and in a ready position, ready to anticipate the next ball and move into position to hit their shot. I noticed that after every shot you hit, you relax and become flat-footed and kinda walk back to the ready position. Instead of this, really try to bounce on your toes a bit after every shot and use a sidestep motion to get back to the center of the court. For instance, if you've ever seen Lleyton Hewitt on tv, he is constantly on his toes, and after every shot, he uses a quick sidestep with small steps in order to get back in position, never turning his shoulder, but instead staying perpendicular to the net. Don't ever stand on the flats of your feet and wait for the next ball to be fed when practicing. This only reinforces those bad habits, and they are tough to break. Stay up on those toes and bounce a little bit between shots, staying in a constant state of motion.One way to work on your quickness and footwork is to buy a speedrope and work with it often. My high school tennis coach would make us do 5 minutes of fairly intense rope work before we could start hitting. BB also emphasized the use of a jump rope to me in a similar thread(only for 10 minutes instead of 5), and I can assure you that it will increase your footwork tremendously.

Racquet Preparation

A few posters have brought this up already. First off, when settling in position to hit your strokes, be sure to get there using small steps. You seem to always take one or two large, lunging steps in order to get into positon to hit the ball, causing your body to be off-balance and unstable when you start preparing your racquet. Watch any pro or college player when they move in position to hit the ball, and you will see that they always use little steps to stabalize their position and adjust to the ball. Secondly, you tend to take your racquet back late, causing a chain reaction that leads to mishits and late contact. It is difficult to see when exactly you're taking your racquet back in relation to where the ball is on its way over the net, but it looks as though it is not until well after the ball bounces. This is causing you to hit the ball late and get jammed. With your semi-western FH grip(though it looks like it's pushing more towards western), you really have to concentrate on making contact out in front of your body. And even though the contact point for you backhand is a little bit closer to your body, you still must focus on getting the racquet back early, even if it is while you are moving(which takes alot of practice in order to be comfortable.) In order to do this, you must start your motion before the ball bounces and while you're on the move. I am an advocate of a person taking their racquet back as soon as they know where the ball will travel and moving to the ball with their racquet in the ready position, especially on the backhand side. I also only see you bend your knees when the ball is short and low. You must bend your knees when in the ready position no matter how high you will make contact with the ball.

It's getting really late here, so I'll end with that for the night and finish commenting later. But before I go I do need to say a few more quick things. Relax your grip on the racquet. The analogy that is often used is to grip the racquet like you would a small bird: firm enough so that it won't fly away, but softly enough to not kill it. Your body and arms look incredibly stiff and mechanical when you're hitting your shots. Loosen up those limbs.

09-15-2004, 02:50 PM
Alright, I won't stand flatfooted anymore, now that you point it out that much, it could become a bad habit and I don't want that. Relaxing seems to help alot too, its like a rubberband how if its loose, it can be pulled and snapped, where if its pulled completely it can't really be pulled anymore and snapped huh? I must also be gripping too hard, a sign of it was sometimes my hand would hurt.

Thanks alot for the tips, I learned some new things actually.

09-15-2004, 03:56 PM
Are you hitting through the ball more? Keep us posted on your progress.

09-15-2004, 05:01 PM
Alright, here is my progress so far.

My forehand is pretty much consistent in terms of spin, I think I'm still having trouble hitting it out more in front. I have added a shoulder turn and tried loosening up, so its pretty good right now. Much better than before as I tried to make everything much more fluid.

My backhand is consistent with depth, but not really with much pace, other than that, I'm quite satisfied.

My forehand slice is pretty much the same, its not something I'm really concerned with because the main problem was I chopped too much.

My backhand slice, well, I got lost. I'm not sure how to hit it properly anymore, so I'm still trying to make some changes with the suggestions I have.

Other than that, things are progressing well, the tips have helped alot, especially the forehand.

09-15-2004, 07:21 PM
Sorry I have not commented sooner(and I apologize if these have already been said)
With the topspin backhand, you are pulling off the ball often, and you are often hitting off your back foot. I believe that both of these problems would cure themselves if you would see the ball coming off the racquet and get to the ball and prepare early.

Backhand slice, you seem to be chopping down at the ball a little bit too much, the swing should be much more smooth and relaxed. The stringbed should be more or less parallel to the ground throughout the swing.

Another way to explain this could be: your swing has your racquet starting up, then "chopping" almost straight down then lifting back up. You should try and get rid of this "chop" and swing smoothly through the ball.

For the forehand: there seem to be two problems, one is the hitting the ball behind you, the other is not *getting* to the ball. The part about hitting the ball in front of you is simple: shorten your backswing. Drop your huge loop, almost none of the greatest groundstrokers have this huge loop.

Have a pro/hitting partner feed you forehands, and work on shortening your backswing, use your body weight (foreward momentum) as well as the pace to guide the ball back into the court.

The other problem: movement, while you may be in perfectly good shape, being a good tennis mover is very different. You seem to be lacking in explosiveness, practice running suicides (start the doubles line, touch the singles line, run back, etc. for every line on the court) You have to recognize to where the shot is, and move to the ball as quickly as possible.

Just my humble analysis of watching the videos.

09-16-2004, 04:16 PM
Something you can't tell is I think I spectate too much, but that's another story. But any help is appreciated, thanks for your input SmashLob.

Ironically, someone else suggested (last year's captain) told me I should do suicides too. He said it helped him tons, so I guess I'll give it a shot.

Again thanks.