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SBGirl
10-18-2007, 05:02 PM
Hi,

I’m a tennis newbie – I have always wanted to learn to play and recently started taking group lessons through my city’s parks and rec. dept. I am very much enjoying it and about 5 weeks into the 8 week beginner session. Lessons are once a week for an hour, and I’ve been trying to practice a couple of hours a week on whatever we’ve learned (working girl here, not endless time available to practice). The tennis instructor is focusing on having us perform the different strokes properly (and with follow through) and is always telling us when we’re rallying that it’s fine if the ball bounces more than once before we get to it, or if we miss, etc. because he’d rather have us take the time to do the stroke correctly than have us running for the ball and swinging without proper form. I completely understand the focus on learning technique.

Here comes the question…Last night after our lesson I asked the instructor, “Hypothetically, if you were playing against someone, what would you do if the ball came at you and you knew you didn’t have time to prepare properly for returning the ball. Is it better to give it a try that might look ugly or is it better to not even try and have your pride in “nice looking form” no matter what? The instructor looked at me and said “Competing? It’s much too early for you to compete. When people compete too early that’s how bad habits get formed.” I kind of laughed because I didn’t envision myself signing up for a tournament anytime soon – I’m SO not there. But, the way he spoke so emphatically made me wonder how long it takes before you actually are ready to play against other people? I realize this is a very subjective question and depends on how athletic I am by nature, how much time I can invest in practicing, etc. I guess his words just made me wonder about my current goals and maybe trying to create some mental timeframe for myself. I also feel disappointed because I would think the whole point of taking lessons is to be able to eventually play other people. I didn’t think I’d just be endlessly taking lessons and never getting to play against others. He really wasn’t encouraging whatsoever. What should you be able to do before you can play against someone else? Yes, I know I’m never going to be Justine Henin, but I’m wondering what is acceptable competence to play against someone else?

I have searched the forum already and couldn’t find a similar thread, but if there is one please direct me. Thanks for any words of wisdom from those of you who have risen above beginner status.

HyperHorse
10-18-2007, 05:24 PM
Just keep your eyes on the ball and get it on the sweet spot everytime.
Develop your strokes at your own pace.
There's a heap of information on here, How old are you and what racquet are you using?
I would personally suggest an hour of practise a day if you really want to improve.
Surely it can't be that hard to play before/after work?

TheShaun
10-18-2007, 05:40 PM
there's no reason you can't go out and compete/practice with people of your own skill level. just keep in mind the things you were taught in your lesson. i found my hitting partners from the group lessons i took. people who are eager to learn and are your same skill level.

SBGirl
10-18-2007, 05:41 PM
I could hit it on the sweet spot every time! Thanks for the reply HyperHorse.

I am 38 and playing with a friend's old racquet, a Yonex RQ-360. The only info I know about it is from someone else's question to TW, to which the response was that "The length is 26 3/4", unstrung weight is 12.1 ounces (avg), and an unstrung stiffness rating of 66 (avg). Unstrung balance is 9 pts. headlight (avg.)." (TW) I haven't bought my own racquet yet because I wanted to learn to play a little first and get an idea of what I might need in a racquet.


I don't know if I can practice an hour a day - I'm at work by 6:30am and work out five days a week already, after work and weekends, depending. At some point I also have to eat, bathe, do laundry...:grin: Maybe playing against others really is far off if I don't have an hour a day to improve?

Sorry if my original post was too much. I see lots of posts where people say the original poster doesn't give enough specific background info, so I tried to give a decent synposis ;)

tenniscrazed
10-18-2007, 05:41 PM
Whew, OK here goes. First don't "overlesson" yourself, at the same time don't try to perform an athletic event without good technique. It doesn't have to be great just good. You don't want to hurt yourself. Example, I switched to a one handed backhand for a couple of weeks, thinking I was such the great athlete, well the bad technique caused me not to even move my arm for 2 weeks.

So take the lessons for stroke technique. Then remember it's a running game you need to be able to move, side to side, forward, backward, angles so be sure you are in good cardio shape.

Lastly, you must be able to serve. If your serve is not in the right box the point doesn't start. From there GO PLAY. Play kids, adults, seniors any breathing human with a racquet and ENJOY.

SBGirl
10-18-2007, 05:48 PM
Hi TheShaun.

Your reply makes me feel slightly better because you're not ruling out playing against others entirely! Maybe I will ask someone from my group lesson about practicing. Three of the group are sort of a clique of teachers who already know each other, and another two are married to each other. I admit I can be shy, but maybe you're right. Why not ask? Surely there are others who need practice!:-)

SBGirl
10-18-2007, 05:53 PM
Thanks TennisCrazed. Good words of advice. I think I'm in shape enough, but will work on that. I went to a Wed. lesson yesterday (usually I'm in a Monday group and the instructor invited us to come Wed. as well if we wanted because that group is sorta small). Whereas my Monday group is almost all girls, the Wed. group was just this one guy who hit hard and I was pooped after just an hour of drills with him! Yes, definitely working on the serve. I just bought more balls today because I practiced serving with just 3 last weekend and I may have spent more time picking them up than actually serving! Anyway, you have given me some good mini-goals, so thank you!

tenniscrazed
10-18-2007, 06:01 PM
As far as serving, buy a case of balls from Tennis Warehouse (should be about $40 - $60.) If you want to simulate real tennis then serve run to the net touch it with your racket, run backwards back to the baseline, serve again. Repeat until you are either out of breath, or out of balls which ever comes first. Have fun. :D :D :D

TheShaun
10-18-2007, 06:08 PM
Hi TheShaun.

Your reply makes me feel slightly better because you're not ruling out playing against others entirely! Maybe I will ask someone from my group lesson about practicing. Three of the group are sort of a clique of teachers who already know each other, and another two are married to each other. I admit I can be shy, but maybe you're right. Why not ask? Surely there are others who need practice!:-)

if you could join the teachers then you'd have even numbers! what i did was at the end of one of the lessons offer to start a mailing list so that we could be in contact an organize practice time. and from sending out an invite to play you can weed out who's keen on learning and improving. also you can check meetup.com to see if there are any tennis meet ups in your area.

redsoxrock930
10-18-2007, 06:31 PM
go santa barbara! i assume that is where you're from i am too

SBGirl
10-18-2007, 06:34 PM
Thanks again for your replies.

Tenniscrazed: Didn't mention before, but sorry about your arm. :-( Definitely something to keep in mind when my confidence might be more ahead than my body! I think I will try your drill this weekend and also buy a case o'balls from TW! That kind of net and back drill will definitely help next time I'm one on one with the guy in the other lesson!

TheShaun: You know, I hadn't even thought about the idea of making their 3 into a 4. Good idea! They actually are very friendly and funny and might be receptive. I've never heard of meetup.com but will check into that as well as trying for contact info from the others in my group.

Maybe someday I will get to compete, hee hee. Someday, in a land far, far away. I know it's in me because it really pains me inside to NOT go after the ball sometimes, or let it bounce twice like he tell us. :grin:

TheShaun
10-18-2007, 06:38 PM
i use meetup.com for business networking mostly. but there are all kinds of meet ups for whatever you're in to. i'm part of a tennis one and a walking one to go along with all the business ones. you can even start up your own if there are none.

SBGirl
10-18-2007, 06:38 PM
Hi RedSoxRocks930. I do love Santa Barbara but, sigh, that's not where I'm from. SB = South Bay = Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach area, a couple of hours south of you.

But I appreciate your enthusiasm! Santa Barbara is gorgeous and deserves the recognition.:grin: If you're ever in the South Bay and want to play against a beginner I'm your girl ;)

SBGirl
10-18-2007, 06:56 PM
Hey TheShaun, I checked out meetup.com and it's cool! There are actually a few tennis groups near me already, most having started up earlier this year. I'll probably join :-)

tenniscrazed
10-18-2007, 06:59 PM
SB - In Long Beach @ the Billy Jean King Tennis Center they have something called twilight tennis on Friday and I think Saturday eves. all levels just organized play no lessons or drilling.

By the way you are right to never let the ball bounce twice. This is a one bounce, if any, game. Remember the volley. :)

Have fun :D :D

tenniscrazed
10-18-2007, 07:01 PM
Friday and Saturday 7-9 pm. Match play only, all levels. Google it and you will find it. Have fun.

SBGirl
10-18-2007, 07:10 PM
Tenniscrazed: Just checked out the website for the BJK Tennis Center in LB. I think I just might try that! So funny, I lived in LB for 10 years and didn't even know it was there, but then again, I wasn't taking tennis lessons, either. Thanks for the lead! It's funny, I have been on the USTA site many times and never seem to find the stuff I want unless someone posts a direct link or gives me some good keywords. When I googles BJK Tennis Center it took me right to the USTA website info on it. Who knew?

Yeah, I still ignore him sometimes and go for it instead of letting it bounce twice! Bad learner, bad learner! I know he's just trying to get us to have proper technique and not trip over all the balls laying around on the court during our drills.

TheShaun
10-18-2007, 07:11 PM
Hey TheShaun, I checked out meetup.com and it's cool! There are actually a few tennis groups near me already, most having started up earlier this year. I'll probably join :-)

yeah do it! no reason not to. all the meet ups i belong to are free:) good luck sbgirl. keep us posted. hope to see you around the boards often it's a great place to learn about the game, technique and equipment...

Geezer Guy
10-19-2007, 07:38 AM
Hi,

I’m a tennis newbie – I have always wanted to learn to play and recently started taking group lessons through my city’s parks and rec. dept. I am very much enjoying it and about 5 weeks into the 8 week beginner session. Lessons are once a week for an hour, and I’ve been trying to practice a couple of hours a week on whatever we’ve learned (working girl here, not endless time available to practice). The tennis instructor is focusing on having us perform the different strokes properly (and with follow through) and is always telling us when we’re rallying that it’s fine if the ball bounces more than once before we get to it, or if we miss, etc. because he’d rather have us take the time to do the stroke correctly than have us running for the ball and swinging without proper form. I completely understand the focus on learning technique.

Here comes the question…Last night after our lesson I asked the instructor, “Hypothetically, if you were playing against someone, what would you do if the ball came at you and you knew you didn’t have time to prepare properly for returning the ball. Is it better to give it a try that might look ugly or is it better to not even try and have your pride in “nice looking form” no matter what? The instructor looked at me and said “Competing? It’s much too early for you to compete. When people compete too early that’s how bad habits get formed.” ...

Well, I guess there are lots of WRONG ways to learn tennis, and probably more than one RIGHT way to learn as well. When I was learning my coach always chided us for letting the ball bounce twice or for not running for a ball that "seemed" to be out of reach. We were encouraged right from the start to play matches or practice outside of class as well. Often times the problems presented in a "real world" match is something you can ask your instructor about at the next class. When we had to hit an ugly or off-balance shot in class, the instructor would tell us what we did wrong, and what we should have done. Techniques you learn in class SHOULD be applicable to your next match. You opponents are not going to hit the ball right to you every time.

I don't want to go against what your current Pro is telling you. I'm sure s/he knows more than I do. And I understand the premise - but I've never heard of it before.

Maybe some of the teaching pro's on this board would offer an opinion.

SBGirl
10-19-2007, 11:39 AM
Hi GeezerGuy,

Thanks for offering your perspective. I think I just figured my instructor's attitude would be more like what you have experienced, which is why I was surprised at his response to me. Like you, I expect that outside of class, the ball isn't always going to be coming right at me all nicely placed. Believe it or not, he never really answered my question, though. In real life, I'm still not sure if it's better to just take a stab at swinging at the ball, or just let it go if the chances are it will be an ugly return ;)

Others on the board have already given me ways to get in touch with fellow beginners with whom I can play, which is helpful in itself. I can see that no one wants to play someone who's not competent, but it would be good to play against others who are learning, too.

I was actually hesitant to post my question at all, but I'm glad I did. I've gotten some interesting feedback and learned from other people's advice and experiences.

peter
10-19-2007, 11:58 AM
In real life, I'm still not sure if it's better to just take a stab at swinging at the ball, or just let it go if the chances are it will be an ugly

In a real world situation - *always* go for it. You will be amazed at how many hopeless balls you actually *will* be able to reach an return *well* after a while. It really requires practice though (to get that instinct going - to always really *really* try to get to the ball).

LuckyR
10-19-2007, 12:24 PM
At the beginning it is easiest to groove stroke patterns by being "fed" balls that are all in your strike zone. Once the strokes are grooved then balls from outside the zone are usually added but not by rallying (since rallys lead to balls way outside the zone you have worked on). Only later in the development of footwork is rallying added to complete the package (correct strokes both inside and outside your preferred zone of striking the ball, and the footwork to make it all possible).

If rallying is added too soon the student usually reverts to an "emergency" stroke to get the shot over the net and this stroke usually looks nothing like the stroke that you have grooved and worked on. This is where poor form can creep into your game and the more "incorrect" strokes you hit, the more they inadvertantly get added to your "correct" stroke. The result can in some cases be much worse than if rallying was added later.

SBGirl
10-20-2007, 10:18 AM
Because you sound right on track with what my instructor is probably thinking, although he didn't really give me more explanation than competing too early leading to bad habits.

Thanks for your input. It sounds like you know well what the progression should be, which is more than I know, so at least it gives me some idea of where I am in the continuum of learning (way at the beginning, ha ha!). I am planning to rent a ball machine at the courts near me and work on grooving my strokes today (at least my forehand and backhand). I've only otherwise practiced against a wall at my local high school and that practice has just been dropping a ball for myself, trying to hit it with the proper stroke against the wall, and then catching it on the rebound. I catch it because in class he doesn't really encourage us to return balls yet, probably for the reasons you describe.

I guess I will just have to be patient with myself and hope that practice will lead to success in the grooving process, which may someday lead to playing against another human being:)

Cindysphinx
10-20-2007, 10:48 AM
Hi,

I’m a tennis newbie – I have always wanted to learn to play and recently started taking group lessons through my city’s parks and rec. dept. I am very much enjoying it and about 5 weeks into the 8 week beginner session. Lessons are once a week for an hour, and I’ve been trying to practice a couple of hours a week on whatever we’ve learned (working girl here, not endless time available to practice). The tennis instructor is focusing on having us perform the different strokes properly (and with follow through) and is always telling us when we’re rallying that it’s fine if the ball bounces more than once before we get to it, or if we miss, etc. because he’d rather have us take the time to do the stroke correctly than have us running for the ball and swinging without proper form. I completely understand the focus on learning technique.

Here comes the question…Last night after our lesson I asked the instructor, “Hypothetically, if you were playing against someone, what would you do if the ball came at you and you knew you didn’t have time to prepare properly for returning the ball. Is it better to give it a try that might look ugly or is it better to not even try and have your pride in “nice looking form” no matter what? The instructor looked at me and said “Competing? It’s much too early for you to compete. When people compete too early that’s how bad habits get formed.” I kind of laughed because I didn’t envision myself signing up for a tournament anytime soon – I’m SO not there. But, the way he spoke so emphatically made me wonder how long it takes before you actually are ready to play against other people? I realize this is a very subjective question and depends on how athletic I am by nature, how much time I can invest in practicing, etc. I guess his words just made me wonder about my current goals and maybe trying to create some mental timeframe for myself. I also feel disappointed because I would think the whole point of taking lessons is to be able to eventually play other people. I didn’t think I’d just be endlessly taking lessons and never getting to play against others. He really wasn’t encouraging whatsoever. What should you be able to do before you can play against someone else? Yes, I know I’m never going to be Justine Henin, but I’m wondering what is acceptable competence to play against someone else?

I have searched the forum already and couldn’t find a similar thread, but if there is one please direct me. Thanks for any words of wisdom from those of you who have risen above beginner status.

This is an outstanding question. Really.

My background is like yours. I started with the one-hour weekly group lessons through the county program. I did this from October through January. Then I switched to a different, better, more expensive program that was more court time and fewer participants. The emphasis was on learning strokes correctly, of course.

I think I disagree with your pro, though. Learning tennis is a very long road. You will *always* be developing some new shot or other. It is not, IMHO, practical to say you won't compete until you've grooved your technique on every shot. On some level, you have to get out there and test yourself and see what problems you develop In The Real World. I assure you that there will be many times when you misjudge a ball and have to "improvise" to stay in the point. There is nothing wrong with this, so long as it doesn't happen too often. Even Federer hits ugly shots sometimes.

The problem, as your pro correctly recognizes, is that when people start competing before they have mastered correct form, they do whatever it takes to get the ball in. Some seriously ugly strokes can result from this. This surely happened to me, and I have spent many hours in private lessons un-learning these bad habits.

Still, I think you should play, but you should balance your matches/competition with lots of instruction and hitting against a wall as a check against bad habits.

If you compete, be prepared to lose. You should hit your shots correctly as much as possible. You will miss. A lot. Don't change, just keep trying to do things right. So long as you don't decide to win with bad form, you won't harm yourself, IMHO. Also, you learn *a lot* about tennis from competing, so I think that is an invaluable part of the learning process.

Oh, and I don't like the idea of taking two bounces routinely. The fix is easy: hustle and get there in time to hit well with one bounce. If the pro is feeding balls in a class, how come these balls are not within easy reach of a beginner so they can get it with one bounce?

Welcome to the sport! Your timing is perfect. If you keep at it, you'll be ready for 2.5 USTA league play by April. That's what I did, and I had a blast!

Cindy -- who took months to un-learn the habit of breaking her wrist on her forehand takeback

Cindysphinx
10-20-2007, 10:51 AM
Wait!

I don't like the ball machine idea. Most new players who hit with a ball machine accomplish nothing other than hitting hundreds of balls badly and grooving bad form. You need to have someone there to watch and correct your form until you know what you're doing.

Also, if there is any flaw in your technique or your racket is wrong for you, you will give yourself the mother of all cases of tennis elbow from hitting so many balls.

Be careful with a ball machine, please.

Cindysphinx
10-20-2007, 10:55 AM
Thanks TennisCrazed. Good words of advice. I think I'm in shape enough, but will work on that. I went to a Wed. lesson yesterday (usually I'm in a Monday group and the instructor invited us to come Wed. as well if we wanted because that group is sorta small). Whereas my Monday group is almost all girls, the Wed. group was just this one guy who hit hard and I was pooped after just an hour of drills with him! Yes, definitely working on the serve. I just bought more balls today because I practiced serving with just 3 last weekend and I may have spent more time picking them up than actually serving! Anyway, you have given me some good mini-goals, so thank you!

Buy a hopper (size 75 balls or bigger). Buy a case of balls from somewhere (Costco).

Practice your serve for one hour, once a week. Take a serve lesson now and then and practice what you are taught.

You will develop very quickly.

tbini87
10-20-2007, 12:38 PM
i think playing is a good way to put new tactics and strategy into use. you can do drills and practice all day, but it also helps to put your new skills to the test by playing a little bit. i think if you are practicing a few times a week you should also play once or even just a few games at the end of each practice session. no need to start playing any competitive matches until you are fully ready, but a set here and there with a friend couldn't hurt, imo.

SBGirl
10-21-2007, 07:56 PM
Hi CindySphinx,

Thanks for the multiple posts and opinions. To start off, never fear, somehow my nose spared my elbow this weekend because although I intended to go rent a ball machine and groove my groundstrokes, my allergies were so bad I didn't even leave the house. I just passed out on medicine in a bed of kleenex! So, by the time I read this again it wasn't too late! The racquet I have is pretty heavy (See post above) and I thought tennis elbow had to do with racquets being too light, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. It sounds like you're speaking from experience. I did go out and practice serving for an hour today and my next lesson is tomorrow so hopefully there will have been improvement. Last weekend I practiced serving, too, but in all honesty I think serving is hard to practice alone because you can't see what you might be doing wrong. For example, last week in class I was told I wasn't bending my elbow enough, and I did think about that when I went and practiced, but he said the same thing the following lesson. I ended up asking him to show me what I looked like because I thought I was already bending my elbow.

Thanks so much for sharing your own tennis progression timeline. It helps and gives me an idea for how long it might take me to get into a decent place for competing. In regard to the double-bouncing, sometimes when he has us practice serving he tells the person on the opposite side they can try and return it (if there are 4 of us on a court), and that's when he doesn't want us trying too hard. In all honesty he hasn't fed us balls too much. He often has us doing stuff where one person is across the net from the other and one person performs the stroke and the other catches it or returns it. He then goes past each of us one-by-one per side and tries to correct our form, and answers questions, etc. I'm 5 weeks into the 8 week session so once it's over I'll decide whether to stick with Parks and Rec or find something more expensive.

Many others on the board seem to agree with you that competing occasionally against others probably won't harm me and would probably do me good. I think I need to "groove" my instinct to not just go for it ugly-style, though, because in class I often catch myself hustling to something without enough time and going for it when I shouldn't. I can easily see how the bad habits could form if I don't train myself to do the stroke properly before I'm playing against another person. So I guess I'll hold tight for now!

Again, thanks for the camaraderie and perspective. It does help!
Lisa - who must learn to bend her elbow MUCH more or risk an ugly serve forervermore ;)

SBGirl
10-21-2007, 08:00 PM
Hi Tbini87,
Thanks for the reply. Playing with/against friends is what it should all be about, right? I'm going to have to recruit someone to play with me a couple of times a month or so, so that I have some feedback on how my game is developing. Based on opinions similar to yours that have been posted I think I'm going to try to make it though the 8 week beginner session and then maybe continue lessons and add in playing against another person. That way I won't be diving in too early and hopefully won't develop bad habits along the way. Oh, and I'm talking about a friendly game or two, not actual tournament style competition just yet! I think you're right about that!
Thanks again,

Cindysphinx
10-22-2007, 03:00 AM
SBGirl, I started having trouble with tennis elbow. I told my pro, he watched me hit, and he decided the problem was I broke my wrist on my forehand takeback. I changed this, and the tennis elbow went away (returning again when I played with year-old strings!). So poor technique can get you into trouble if you hit a lot of balls.

Regarding practicing serve alone, it's not so bad. You can take your time and experiment to see the effect of doing various things. I'd make it a regular part of your routine, and I am mystified that some of my teammates complain so much about their serves but don't practice much.

Here's a hint until you get a hopper: hit your serves against a wall. Just stand, oh, maybe 15 back. Hit 20 gentle ones, just to loosen your shoulder. Then move back until you feel you are a comfortable distance. Focus on form, as there's nothing to aim at anyway. This is more efficient than using a hopper for your current purposes, and you only need one ball.

SBGirl
10-22-2007, 07:11 PM
SBGirl, I started having trouble with tennis elbow. I told my pro, he watched me hit, and he decided the problem was I broke my wrist on my forehand takeback. I changed this, and the tennis elbow went away (returning again when I played with year-old strings!). So poor technique can get you into trouble if you hit a lot of balls.

Regarding practicing serve alone, it's not so bad. You can take your time and experiment to see the effect of doing various things. I'd make it a regular part of your routine, and I am mystified that some of my teammates complain so much about their serves but don't practice much.

Here's a hint until you get a hopper: hit your serves against a wall. Just stand, oh, maybe 15 back. Hit 20 gentle ones, just to loosen your shoulder. Then move back until you feel you are a comfortable distance. Focus on form, as there's nothing to aim at anyway. This is more efficient than using a hopper for your current purposes, and you only need one ball.

So, tonight I had my lesson and there were only two of us, so it was practically like private tutorial night. He went over our forehands and backhands and noted that both the other girl and I were breaking our wrists at some point during the forehand (for me it was at the end after bringing the racquet up). He said we'd better stop doing that quick! So, I guess it's a good thing I didn't go out and rent that ball machine on the weekend, huh? I did find my serves are improving though, so my practice time wasn't for nil. Also, we actually used a ball machine during our lesson today and he said it wouldn't be a bad way to practice as long as each night we were taking 50 practice swings of forehand and backhand so that we could create muscle memory.

Overall, a fun night, if a bit light on the cardio, but that's mostly because of the fires and bad air quality. He didn't want us working out too hard considering the conditions.

Anyway, thanks again!
Lisa (who now must also be sure not to break her wrist!)

OrangeOne
10-22-2007, 07:42 PM
I actually coach a few girls quite similar to you - beginning the game as adults, they're all in their mid 20s. Some random comments based on scanning this thread:

a. An hour a day is absolutely not necessary.
b. If I was your coach, I'd do as I do now, and get my students playing against one another *every single lesson*. Even if it's only 10 or 15 mins, it's necessary as far as I can see, especially if they don't play any other tennis. Perfect strokes.... is a great concept, but many people will play forever and not even come close to having 'great' strokes.
c. My local club runs about 5 comps, 2 of them have grades all of the way through to "just picked up a racquet". These comps are great, they simply get people playing. Maybe you should look for something along these lines....

Good luck!

SBGirl
10-22-2007, 10:09 PM
Hi OrangeOne,

Thanks for dropping in and giving me your thoughts.

a. Thank goodness an hour a day isn't necessary. I think HyperHorse was giving me the route to speedy improvement there, but I just don't have that kind of free time on my hands!
b. Unfortunately I can't change the format of my lessons, but most seem to agree with you that playing against others of my level isn't a bad idea.
c. In regard to the local club comps, do you typically have to be a member of the club to be able to compete, or do they offer participation for a fee if you're not a member? The format you describe, that includes all levels, sounds right up my alley but I'm not currently a member of any clubs and wonder if I'd have to dive into club membership to do it, or if outsiders are welcome.

Thanks again,

LuckyR
10-23-2007, 12:26 PM
LuckyR, do you teach tennis?

Because you sound right on track with what my instructor is probably thinking, although he didn't really give me more explanation than competing too early leading to bad habits.

Thanks for your input. It sounds like you know well what the progression should be, which is more than I know, so at least it gives me some idea of where I am in the continuum of learning (way at the beginning, ha ha!). I am planning to rent a ball machine at the courts near me and work on grooving my strokes today (at least my forehand and backhand). I've only otherwise practiced against a wall at my local high school and that practice has just been dropping a ball for myself, trying to hit it with the proper stroke against the wall, and then catching it on the rebound. I catch it because in class he doesn't really encourage us to return balls yet, probably for the reasons you describe.

I guess I will just have to be patient with myself and hope that practice will lead to success in the grooving process, which may someday lead to playing against another human being:)


Just my 10 year old daughter...

Personally I agree with Cindy about not being too impressed with ball machines. I would vote for the wall method. It is really good at teaching you how to control where the ball is going and how to predict where balls hit to you are going to land and bounce. This is critical to actually playing real tennis against another player.

Playing against the wall isn't exciting sounding, but it is an extremely efficient way of learning the game.

Good luck.

timeisonmyside
10-23-2007, 12:36 PM
Props to you SBGirl for playing in these conditions! I've been stuck indoors itching to get out...

BeHappy
10-23-2007, 01:18 PM
Cindy -- who took months to un-learn the habit of breaking her wrist on her forehand takeback

breaking your wrist forward like after a serve or back?

SBGirl
10-23-2007, 02:15 PM
breaking your wrist forward like after a serve or back?

Apparently I'm breaking my right wrist after the forehand has been hit, when I'm bringing the racquet up and over towards my left shoulder, my right wrist is breaking in towards my body.

SBGirl
10-23-2007, 02:19 PM
meaning in a pronating kind of way like serving.

kevhen
10-24-2007, 11:15 AM
I never took lessons but just got out and played an competed and learned from watching and reading and asking questions and after about 10 years have a 4.5 rating and play evenly against most DIII guys. You can compete at any level. At the lowest beginner levels you should practice more but competing some is good too so you know what you really need to work on in your next practice. Your instructor just wants to ingrain good strokes in you. I have sort of unorthodox strokes since I didn't take lessons but I am good at getting the ball back when in awkward positions. You do try to always get the ball back and sometimes have to not worry about form so much. Your instructor worries about form so maybe he is not a good match for you since you like to get out and play and not worry about being perfect so much.