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bmg4
04-04-2008, 05:59 AM
I am looking to improve my balance and agility before aiming for more explosive power. I am looking for home training that avoids expensive training equipment. Any suggestions are helpful!

Nellie
04-04-2008, 06:34 AM
Lots of drills you could do. Unfortunately, they all make you look foolish while doing them. For example, I spend a little time each week, hitting ground strokes while bouncing on one leg.

I bought a set of videos from Pat etcheberry at http://etcheberryexperience.com/

Essentially, the videos have a lot of drills moving side to side.
If you look at the site, you can see, in the preview video, many of the drills taught in the videos.

obnoxious2
04-04-2008, 07:37 AM
Plyometrics. Try to see if you can find a video by p90x. It basically works on your balance and helps your muscles react faster. It's about a 45 minute workout and let me tell you its TOUGH.

fuzz nation
04-04-2008, 08:55 AM
I've never had a better sense of balance than when I took up some yoga a couple of winters back. Some of the positions demand that you stand on one leg for a while and this really forces a lot of muscles in your thighs and ankles to be more active toward keeping you stable. After a few classes, my balance and movement while playing doubles was significantly better.

Julieta
04-04-2008, 09:20 AM
You definitely don't need equipment. However, a medicine ball is very useful!

As others have said, ploymetrics and yoga are excellent. You can find lots of ploy stuff on web sites esp those geared toward sprinters and body building. Medicine ball tosses on one leg (look up the Jesse Levine workout someone posted here on TW) are very helpful.

For yoga, you can buy some cheap dvds at discount stores or watch that Namaste yoga show. It does really help with balance and stretching.

This stuff will make you tired in subtle ways - you wont be huffing and puffing (except on the ploymetric stuff but even then that is short duration) but you will be tired the next day. Yoga in particular just wears me out. Make sure you schedule it with enough time to recover before playing a match.

Bungalo Bill
04-04-2008, 09:36 AM
I am looking to improve my balance and agility before aiming for more explosive power. I am looking for home training that avoids expensive training equipment. Any suggestions are helpful!

A great way to imprve your balance is by coordinating and strengthening your stablizing muscles in the ankles in connection with your knees.

BALANCE
1. Use those large balls that people use in the gym. Sit on one with your legs in a 90 degree position. Bring one foot off the ground and hold. You can bring your arms up to make it hard. The goal is to exercise those stability muscles in the ankle. You will see them working hard to keep you in balance.

2. Hit and freeze. In this drill you are not trying to hit hard. You are simply using your swing and holding your weight over the front leg as you make contact. This is a good drill for the slice backhand as well. When you make contact with the ball, stop the followthrough and hold your balance over one leg. Maintain your balance for 5 full seconds and do not cheat. If you are wobbly or can't maintain balance, that is your feedback to build your balance for your shots.

AGILITY
1. Do a search on agility, I am sure you have plenty of information from the internet.

smoothtennis
04-04-2008, 10:13 AM
Plyometrics. Try to see if you can find a video by p90x. It basically works on your balance and helps your muscles react faster. It's about a 45 minute workout and let me tell you its TOUGH.

Read his orginal post. Plyo's are exposive energy training- very specific to exposive energy.

He doesn't want to train that yet.

Julieta
04-04-2008, 11:23 AM
Read his orginal post. Plyo's are exposive energy training- very specific to exposive energy.

He doesn't want to train that yet.

I didn't read it carefully enough...sorry...glad someone else is paying attention!

Julieta
04-04-2008, 11:59 AM
A great way to imprve your balance is by coordinating and strengthening your stablizing muscles in the ankles in connection with your knees.

BALANCE
1. Use those large balls that people use in the gym. Sit on one with your legs in a 90 degree position. Bring one foot off the ground and hold. You can bring your arms up to make it hard. The goal is to exercise those stability muscles in the ankle. You will see them working hard to keep you in balance.

2. Hit and freeze. In this drill you are not trying to hit hard. You are simply using your swing and holding your weight over the front leg as you make contact. This is a good drill for the slice backhand as well. When you make contact with the ball, stop the followthrough and hold your balance over one leg. Maintain your balance for 5 full seconds and do not cheat. If you are wobbly or can't maintain balance, that is your feedback to build your balance for your shots.

AGILITY
1. Do a search on agility, I am sure you have plenty of information from the internet.

Thanks for the tips.

I'm a two hander but I've been working on a one handed slice. I find that I hit this shot the best when I really lean on my front bent leg and I definitely have to feel stable, which is sometimes easier said than done. In general, I'm always looking to improve my balance. I am definitely going to try this drill! Just to confirm - I stop right at contact when my front leg is bent and my head etc. should be lined up and hold from there? I think this would be good to develop stability in my ankle too.

Bungalo Bill
04-04-2008, 12:23 PM
Thanks for the tips.

I'm a two hander but I've been working on a one handed slice. I find that I hit this shot the best when I really lean on my front bent leg and I definitely have to feel stable, which is sometimes easier said than done. In general, I'm always looking to improve my balance. I am definitely going to try this drill! Just to confirm - I stop right at contact when my front leg is bent and my head etc. should be lined up and hold from there? I think this would be good to develop stability in my ankle too.

Yes, this is an old drill I used to do. So I know it works.

We hit the ball by taking our normal swing, except it was a little slower. We hit through the ball but then froze our extension (the best we could) and balanced ourselves over our front leg.

It was actually pretty funny seeing how many fell over. If you look at Steffi Graf hit em, man she had great balance over her front leg. Awesome balance! And that balance was used to create a wicked slice backhand.

Also, work on the big ball exercise I mentioned above. That also will help with balance and coordination of the stablizing muscles. These are not the big gross muscles. These are the little ones that gives our stability and support the big muscles.

TennisProdigy
04-04-2008, 02:06 PM
Agility and Balance - Set up an obstable course that is about half the size of a football field.
Set up 50 verticle large wooden sticks and stick em firmly in the ground.
Be sure to spread em around.
Enclose the obstable course with fencing.
Wear all red.
Unleash a 500 pound bull in the arena with you there too.
Let him chase you and you run around as long as you can swiftly avoiding the post and letting the bull crash into em.
This will help agility stamina, balance, footspeed, strategy, and mental toughness. All are needed for tennis GL.

Julieta
04-04-2008, 02:12 PM
Yes, this is an old drill I used to do. So I know it works.

We hit the ball by taking our normal swing, except it was a little slower. We hit through the ball but then froze our extension (the best we could) and balanced ourselves over our front leg.

It was actually pretty funny seeing how many fell over. If you look at Steffi Graf hit em, man she had great balance over her front leg. Awesome balance! And that balance was used to create a wicked slice backhand.

Also, work on the big ball exercise I mentioned above. That also will help with balance and coordination of the stablizing muscles. These are not the big gross muscles. These are the little ones that gives our stability and support the big muscles.


Thanks! I'm going to try this tomorrow! I have a fitball too so I will try that one as well.

I love Steffi's slice backhand. In fact just today before I hit I watched a bit of one of her matches on youtube. And Stan Smith's backhand approach is great too. I looked for him on youtube but there is nothing on there!

Thanks also for the serve tips in the other thread. I wish I could understand why it is so hard to relax sometimes. I have had patches when I've felt like I had noodle arms and my serve is so much better. I'm working on my serve a ton right now and I try to keep relaxation in mind as I do other stuff - for example this week the focus is on keeping my tossing arm up longer - but I do catch myself realizing that I don't think my arm is as relaxed as it should be. But I guess the fact that this tennis stuff is never in the bank makes all of this fun.

Bungalo Bill
04-04-2008, 02:39 PM
Thanks! I'm going to try this tomorrow! I have a fitball too so I will try that one as well.

I love Steffi's slice backhand. In fact just today before I hit I watched a bit of one of her matches on youtube. And Stan Smith's backhand approach is great too. I looked for him on youtube but there is nothing on there!

Careful, you might be dating yourself :)

Thanks also for the serve tips in the other thread. I wish I could understand why it is so hard to relax sometimes.

Just need to realize that your body motion provides the energy and the arm is flung because of it. It takes time, patience, and practice to learn to relax one part of your body while the other parts are reeking havoc.

Julieta
04-05-2008, 09:31 AM
Careful, you might be dating yourself :)



Just need to realize that your body motion provides the energy and the arm is flung because of it. It takes time, patience, and practice to learn to relax one part of your body while the other parts are reeking havoc.


I tried the balance drill while practicing slice backhands today. It was very helpful. On the first couple I realized I was cheating and not really holding for five seconds! It did help though for sure. I could also see exactly where I was finishing which was an added bonus.

I actually never got to see Stan play unfortunately but there was a video of him representing "perfect" form. I think Chris Evert was supposed to be the female version. For the two hander I like Kafelinkov's (sp?) backhand. I'm really visual so I like to look at the youtube stuff of the shots of certain players.

Thanks for the help!

Bungalo Bill
04-05-2008, 10:01 AM
I tried the balance drill while practicing slice backhands today. It was very helpful. On the first couple I realized I was cheating and not really holding for five seconds! It did help though for sure. I
could also see exactly where I was finishing which was an added bonus.

Do it as part of your practice and watch it transfer into your actual stroke! Of course, it takes time.

I actually never got to see Stan play unfortunately but there was a video of him representing "perfect" form. I think Chris Evert was supposed to be the female version. For the two hander I like Kafelinkov's (sp?) backhand. I'm really visual so I like to look at the youtube stuff of the shots of certain players.

Yeah, he has a good one. I would take anyones backhand on tour. :)

Try looking at this instruction. http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/index.php?id=410625&col=260822

I am really liking this stuff because he says so many things I agree with and have said on this site.

http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/index.php?col=260822

I like how he incorporates the footwork and shoulder turn (it isn't just a stroke). The topics he covers in a stroke is very close to how I would present things here.

I always build a stroke from the ground up. So the first thing I evaluate before looking at a persons upper body and swing is his feet and legs. If I can't get past that, I really dont get into further comments.

Julieta
04-05-2008, 10:08 AM
Do it as part of your practice and watch it transfer into your actual stroke! Of course, it takes time.



Yeah, he has a good one. I would take anyones backhand on tour. :)

Try looking at this instruction. http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/index.php?id=410625&col=260822

I am really liking this stuff because he says so many things I agree with and have said on this site.

http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/index.php?col=260822

I like how he incorporates the footwork and shoulder turn (it isn't just a stroke). The topics he covers in a stroke is very close to how I would present things here.

I always build a stroke from the ground up. So the first thing I evaluate before looking at a persons upper body and swing is his feet and legs. If I can't get past that, I really dont get into further comments.


Ooh, more clips. Thanks!

Funny you say that about the ground up. I always notice that too, for example where the outside foot is on the forehand and the where the stomach points on the backhand finish. I am amazed at how many coaches I see who don't correct that stuff. However, I try not to look at people's shots!!!! Maybe that is why I'm always looking at their feet!

Thanks again!

obnoxious2
04-05-2008, 12:43 PM
Read his orginal post. Plyo's are exposive energy training- very specific to exposive energy.

He doesn't want to train that yet.

Yes it's explosive energy training but the workouts they do in there also help out your balance. Don't believe me? Go rent that vid. And if you train your muscles to react faster, the more agile you become.

TennisDawg
04-05-2008, 08:08 PM
I am looking to improve my balance and agility before aiming for more explosive power. I am looking for home training that avoids expensive training equipment. Any suggestions are helpful!


I recently started using a BOSU ball specifically to improve my balance. It's a hard rubber half-sphere mounted on a flat hard surface, all one-piece. The BOSU ball is specifically for balance, I've really seen an improvement in my balance on the tennis court. Been training with it about 2 mos., now.

For agility, I prefer a jump-roop.

anchorage
04-06-2008, 02:47 AM
If I could add one more general comment - really build up your leg strength. A good way to do that, without any equipment or gym is simply to perform your own squats, going right down and up again in a slow and controlled motion. When you get really strong in your legs, you should be able to do this using only one leg.

From what I see, most recreational players don't really have very strong legs. As a result, they end up bending from the waste too much when they should really be trying to retain a more upright posture with the upper body and bending the legs more. That will improve your overall balance for tennis purposes.

migjam
04-06-2008, 06:25 AM
Plyometrics. Try to see if you can find a video by p90x. It basically works on your balance and helps your muscles react faster. It's about a 45 minute workout and let me tell you its TOUGH.

I agree, the P90X plyometrics will work you.

Bagumbawalla
04-06-2008, 11:03 AM
If you have access to a tall building or a stadium with plenty of steps, you can devise a number of patterns for running up (and, well, also down)- skipping a step, striding from the left side of one step to the right side of the next- and so forth. Very inexpensive.

A jumprope is, also very good. Very good (worth saying twice).

You can also just go to the baseline of the tennis court and hop (on one foot) to the other side-- making each hop to the opposite side of the line- short hops about a foot or so. Turn around and do the other foot on the way back.

If you are willing to risk possible injury, there is a thing called a "balance board". Basically, a flat board resting atop a tube. I have tried one and they are quite fun.

And though I haven't tried one, myself, there is the new-style skateboard with 2 wheels and hinged in the middle. Looks like it would be good for balance.

Yoga is, of course, all about balance. I believe there are books out there on excercises that are specific for tennis.

If you have one of those stair-stepper type excercisers, two pedals with a rope and pully between them, (find them cheap at a thrift store) you can close your eyes and "climb" - balanced on the balls of your feet. Closing your eyes helps you to feel/sense the shifting of weight and balance and what is happening to your body.

Also, There is that French girl, Bartoli, whos father has devised some interesting balance programs-- you might look them up.