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The Home Run Kid
04-07-2008, 06:59 PM
So here's the deal. Saturday marked my one month anniversary of playing tennis. As my username suggests, I'd been a baseball player for the past 12 years (I'm 17). When I tried out for my high school team and was immediately cut, I turned to tennis because I wanted to stay active and I knew I'd have a place on the team. I showed up for tryouts and could not for the life of me keep a rally going. Long story short, I got sick of it and started practicing my tail off, and now I think I can sorta kinda maybe a little bit play tennis. I just have a couple of questions.

I find that my biggest problem is consistency. Sometimes, I will completely groove a forehand that is just a fantastic, unreachable winner that makes me feel like I could really do well in this sport. Then the very next point, I drill one into the net. This isn't so much true for my volleys or serves, as I volley pretty well and I get about 85% of my first serves in. By far the worst part of my game is my backhand. As it turns out, my username is kind of a double entendre because while I may have let the game of baseball behind, I have not left my affinity for putting balls over the fence behind with it. I believe today was the first time I didn't hit at least one ball over the fence, and I just missed one by the skin of my teeth. Of course, sometimes, my backhands are fantastic.

I know its not a lack of practice, because I usually spend about an hour and a half or more after team practice every day on my own trying to work out the kinks in my game, and to little success. I'm just at a loss. How do I improve the consistency of my groundstrokes?

Thursday at practice I challenge a very inconsistent player, but when he gets it over, it comes over hard. I NEED this challenge, because my goal for the season is to be on the 3rd doubles (at least) team, and this challenge is for a chance to challenge for a chance to challenge the last player on the third doubles team *pant*. The baseballer in me tells me all I need to do is turn his hard strokes around and I'll have the same power he had, but I also don't trust myself to get a racket on some of his harder strokes. Is there anything I can do to make my swing more compact and efficient?

Thanks so much guys, I really appreciate it.

P.S- Congratulate me, because I won my first match ever today, as well as recording my first ace. ...Yeah, feelin' good, just sayin'.

TokyopunK
04-07-2008, 07:10 PM
Why did you get cut from the team if you have been playing ball since you were 5???

Did you go to a Pre-MLB high school or something!

The Home Run Kid
04-07-2008, 07:14 PM
Just because I've played since I was 5 doesn't mean I'm good lol. I love baseball, and I tried very hard to be good at it, and I was pretty good, but not quite good enough to make the team. I understand baseball like nothing though, I like to think of myself as a fat Cal Ripken Jr. I was very good at getting to the right spot at the right time. But yeah, it was really dissapointing, I'd prepped for it since November, lost 40 pounds, got a lot more muscle tone, blister after blister on my hands from tee drills, but oh well I'm over it. I really do love tennis though, it's much more... free than baseball is.

CantBeBeat2
04-07-2008, 07:51 PM
i know alot of people who think tennis is a "gay" sport but once they play it their like this is so much fun. once you tried it you found out it was alot of fun as well. if you want to go the the next levels hire a tennis trainer. i have one and it helps me alot. i am playing first singles for my high school.

Oxford
04-07-2008, 10:59 PM
Try to have someone feed you medium paced balls to the middle of the court and just groove a good FH and BH. Or get a ball machine.

I only know what you posted but I am guessing that you are trying to be a basher when you are not ready to deal with the power.

Read my thread here titled: "Placement beats Power" The TW forum regs really laid into that topic with incredible insight and suggestions. Amazing.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=190550

Work on footwork and just keeping the ball in play without overly pushing the ball back.

Good luck

OX

Djokovicfan4life
04-08-2008, 03:40 AM
Don't focus on hitting the ball hard for now. Like it or not, you've only had a month's experience, you should be worrying about other things than smacking winners.

If you want to hit the ball hard eventually I would strongly encourage you to learn to use a semi-western forehand grip. This will help you to get more spin on your shots which enables shots to go in that would have hit the fence before.

Rickson
04-08-2008, 10:28 AM
So here's the deal. Saturday marked my one month anniversary of playing tennis. As my username suggests, I'd been a baseball player for the past 12 years (I'm 17).

This is right up my alley. I never had a killer throwing arm or even ran down a lot of balls in the outfield, but one thing I could do was bat well righty. Unfortunately for me, this didn't do anything for me on the tennis court due to the fact that a righty at bat is the same as a lefty two handed backhand which I'm good at btw. Anyway, as for groundstrokes, you have to think base hit rather than homerun. You also have to do a few things you're not used to while being at bat such as hitting directly toward 3rd base which is similar to a crosscourt groundstroke. You also want to incorporate topspin which would usually spell trouble for a batter being that it would probably be an infield out. I know that you were used to hitting the long ball, but tennis has much shorter boundaries than baseball so keep that in mind and you'll do well.

k_liu
04-08-2008, 10:40 AM
Congrats on winning your first match and recording your first ace.

Work on the basic fundamentals: footwork, proper form and technique, hitting the ball in front of you, follow through on your swing...etc. Try to sustain a rally: 10, 20, 30 strokes, with little to medium pace.

Bungalo Bill
04-08-2008, 11:09 AM
Is there anything I can do to make my swing more compact and efficient?

Yes, I have wrote about the imaginary line that extends from the net tothe back fence. If you place your feet near the baseline and stand perpendicular with your toes touching the line, you should not take the racquet back past that line. That is what you need to get used to in tennis.

In baseball, you can sort of swing without regard to how efficient and effective your backswing is. In tennis, it is a completely different story. You dont have a fence to hit over and a wide field to hit the ball into, you have a boundary that you must place the ball in to be able to win points.

P.S- Congratulate me, because I won my first match ever today, as well as recording my first ace. ...Yeah, feelin' good, just sayin'.

Okay, you are congratulated. Now, get out there and practice.

Rickson
04-08-2008, 11:16 AM
Yes, I have wrote about the imaginary line that extends from the net tothe back fence. If you place your feet near the baseline and stand perpendicular with your toes touching the line, you should not take the racquet back past that line. That is what you need to get used to in tennis.

In baseball, you can sort of swing without regard to how efficient and effective your backswing is. In tennis, it is a completely different story. You dont have a fence to hit over and a wide field to hit the ball into, you have a boundary that you must place the ball in to be able to win points.


I'll tell you this much, Bill. Baseball players may not transition that quickly from batting stance to groundstrokes, but for serves, baseball players have more natural power than from any other sport going into tennis. A powerful throwing arm usually equates to powerful serves.

Bungalo Bill
04-08-2008, 11:40 AM
I'll tell you this much, Bill. Baseball players may not transition that quickly from batting stance to groundstrokes, but for serves, baseball players have more natural power than from any other sport going into tennis. A powerful throwing arm usually equates to powerful serves.

Maybe, I remember some slouch named Courier that wasnt so bad. I could take him though. ;)

Rickson
04-08-2008, 11:44 AM
Maybe, I remember some slouch named Courier that wasnt so bad. I could take him though. ;)

Courier used to play baseball?

Bungalo Bill
04-08-2008, 11:52 AM
Courier used to play baseball?

Yeah, he was pretty good but went with tennis instead. he grew up in Florida and was a hot prospect for the college ranks.

The Home Run Kid
04-08-2008, 06:25 PM
Thank you so much guys for the tips. I actually, for the most part, don't TRY to kill the ball. I really don't, and I know you guys think "Yeah, come on" but I figure that most points at my level are gonna be won via unforced error, and my best strategy is to sustain a rally for as long as possible. So I try to focus as much as I can on placing my shots, which goes against the baseball "Don't aim, just swing" mantra, which I think shows some progress.

And Rickson, I actually bat lefty, so backhands are just like swinging a bat for me, which is more of a curse than anything. About serving, it is weird, I do have a little bit more pop in my serve than I would have expected, maybe it is the baseball thing.

Rickson
04-08-2008, 06:30 PM
Thank you so much guys for the tips. I actually, for the most part, don't TRY to kill the ball. I really don't, and I know you guys think "Yeah, come on" but I figure that most points at my level are gonna be won via unforced error, and my best strategy is to sustain a rally for as long as possible. So I try to focus as much as I can on placing my shots, which goes against the baseball "Don't aim, just swing" mantra, which I think shows some progress.

And Rickson, I actually bat lefty, so backhands are just like swinging a bat for me, which is more of a curse than anything. About serving, it is weird, I do have a little bit more pop in my serve than I would have expected, maybe it is the baseball thing.

So you switch hit? Does that mean you play tennis as a righty? I have a perfect solution for you if that's the case: Use a one handed backhand.

Fay
04-08-2008, 06:32 PM
I came to tennis as a retired figure skating coach ... I looked at tennis and thought "well figure skating is pretty difficult and this doesn't look dangerous, so it can't be that hard." I found out very quickly that it requires a lot of control and practice. I think it would be helpful to take some private lessons and find a coach who teaches you to play like you envision yourself.

By that I mean if you want a great, modern open-stance stroke, don't take from a traditional coach. Also, asap find someone to video tape you do that you don't develop bad habits early on. It is easier to learn something correctly the first time than have to unlearn something in muscle memory and try to re-learn it.

What helped me the most was watching a lot of pros using slo-mo videos. You can move the action with your mouse to anywhere you want on the clip and I learned a lot about various motions in the body doing that. Congrats on your tourny.

The Home Run Kid
04-08-2008, 06:38 PM
So you switch hit? Does that mean you play tennis as a righty? I have a perfect solution for you if that's the case: Use a one handed backhand.

No, I don't switch hit. I'm one of those freaks who is right handed, yet bats left. It's just the way I learned. But yes, I do play tennis as a righty, and I do use a one-handed backhand (with a surprising consistency) on the run. I've yet to try it set though.

And Fay, I do use a lot of slo-mo videos, they do make it a lot easier to see things.

Bungalo Bill
04-08-2008, 06:43 PM
No, I don't switch hit. I'm one of those freaks who is right handed, yet bats left. It's just the way I learned. But yes, I do play tennis as a righty, and I do use a one-handed backhand (with a surprising consistency) on the run. I've yet to try it set though.

And Fay, I do use a lot of slo-mo videos, they do make it a lot easier to see things.

Wow, more teachable kids. This is great. Get those videos up, lets get to learning. I love helping people that are humble and arent full of it.

The Home Run Kid
04-08-2008, 06:49 PM
Thanks :-D, it really annoys me when people ask for help and then when someone gives them their honest opinion get all offended by it... but I digress. I will try to get a video up, but you guys might have to settle for me and my favorite playing partner, the wall. Nobody wants to play with me, I spend a lot of time in solitary confinement with the wall.

Bungalo Bill
04-08-2008, 06:57 PM
Thanks :-D, it really annoys me when people ask for help and then when someone gives them their honest opinion get all offended by it... but I digress.

You gotta learn how to have fun with it. I cant tell you how many thin-skinned boneheads are on this site. And some of the instruction is, well, pretty bad. When I get those nuts, I just play with their little heads. :) It is a lot of fun for me as it gets boring giving instruction and advice all the time.

I will try to get a video up, but you guys might have to settle for me and my favorite playing partner, the wall. Nobody wants to play with me, I spend a lot of time in solitary confinement with the wall.

You can post some wall stuff. I can get an idea. Just dont cream the ball against the wall. The wall should be used to work on form, footwork, and keep the ball going longer, so you have to slow down the pace. Use it wisely.

You're alright kid.

The Home Run Kid
04-08-2008, 07:01 PM
O.K, like 8-10 feet back good? Would you be best served from a side or back view? (i've never done this before lol)

Rickson
04-08-2008, 07:01 PM
Thanks :-D, it really annoys me when people ask for help and then when someone gives them their honest opinion get all offended by it... but I digress. I will try to get a video up, but you guys might have to settle for me and my favorite playing partner, the wall. Nobody wants to play with me, I spend a lot of time in solitary confinement with the wall.

Listen to Bungalo Bill, he knows his stuff. He doesn't know how good my backhand is, but he knows his stuff.

Bungalo Bill
04-08-2008, 07:06 PM
O.K, like 8-10 feet back good? Would you be best served from a side or back view? (i've never done this before lol)


Yes, and dont be concerned about hitting the ball on the first bounce. Most practice walls are setup up straight-up and down which is not condusive for balls to come back similar as they would on the courts.

So at times it is okay to take the ball on the second bounce. Just work on maintaining a rally and not being macho.

Actually I think Mike Cottrell (I hope I spelled his last name right), knows more than I do on camera angles. I am sure others here can help you better on that. Just ge me the strokes. If I dont answer, make sure you post here to bump it up so I can see someone added a post.

Bungalo Bill
04-08-2008, 07:07 PM
Listen to Bungalo Bill, he knows his stuff. He doesn't know how good my backhand is, but he knows his stuff.

LOL, I just cant see how that little arm could help. :)

The Home Run Kid
04-08-2008, 07:45 PM
I will post the video as soon as possible, not tomorrow, because I have an away match tomorrow. Thank you guys so much, you have no idea how much I appreciate this.

Rickson
04-08-2008, 07:58 PM
And Rickson, I actually bat lefty, so backhands are just like swinging a bat for me, which is more of a curse than anything. About serving, it is weird, I do have a little bit more pop in my serve than I would have expected, maybe it is the baseball thing.

If you use a one handed backhand and bat lefty, your form must be similar to Darryl Strawberry's form. Strawberry was known for releasing his top hand.

The Home Run Kid
04-08-2008, 08:28 PM
I do release my top hand when I swing, and to clarify, I use a two-handed backhand when I'm set, I only one hand on the run. When I played baseball, I wasn't a long-ball hitter, I was more of a long drive/hard grounder hitter.

Rickson
04-08-2008, 08:31 PM
I do release my top hand when I swing, and to clarify, I use a two-handed backhand when I'm set, I only one hand on the run. When I played baseball, I wasn't a long-ball hitter, I was more of a long drive/hard grounder hitter.

We should make a change right now. The one handed backhand is a better looking, better feeling backhand than the 2 hander. Yes, it's more difficult to learn, but the payoff is exceptional. Make that switch right away.

Trinity TC
04-08-2008, 08:32 PM
No, I don't switch hit. I'm one of those freaks who is right handed, yet bats left. It's just the way I learned. But yes, I do play tennis as a righty, and I do use a one-handed backhand (with a surprising consistency) on the run. I've yet to try it set though.
Me too. Ted Williams was another who batted left and threw
right.

The biggest difficulty I had switching from baseball to tennis was the swing tempo change. I threw and hit at about 85-90% my maximum swing speed. Tennis was about 70% max swing tempo.

The one benefit of having played baseball was that I started out hitting everything on the rise or on the short hop/half volley. That was from fielding ground balls and having "you have to (move forward) play the ball...instead of letting the ball play you" drummed into my head at a young age.

It's easy to get too left-brained and over analyze your mechanics. Sports are right brained. Spend an hour a week de-empasizing mechanics and work on hitting every ball on the sweet spot. It's like playing soft toss or catch in baseball where the emphasis isn't on perfect game day up tempo technique but more about smooth rhythm and timing.

The Home Run Kid
04-08-2008, 08:48 PM
I do notice that I can handle short hops and weird balances pretty adeptly, which is kinda cool. It's so nice to see that I'm not alone lol.

Rickson
04-08-2008, 09:15 PM
I do notice that I can handle short hops and weird balances pretty adeptly, which is kinda cool. It's so nice to see that I'm not alone lol.

The funny thing is that not too many people played baseball around these boards. I used to play baseball and basketball before I took up tennis.

Hot Sauce
04-08-2008, 10:12 PM
We should make a change right now. The one handed backhand is a better looking, better feeling backhand than the 2 hander. Yes, it's more difficult to learn, but the payoff is exceptional. Make that switch right away.

Very biased opinion. Just do whichever one you feel more comfortable with.

The Home Run Kid
04-09-2008, 05:34 PM
I want to experiment a little more before I decide what I'm gonna stick with. I didn't use my 1h today in my match, just cause I didnt' wanna switch up my game too much when it actually mattered. Another match tomorrow, then maybe I'll take some time and figure out what's right for me.

mordecai
04-09-2008, 11:10 PM
Practice a one-handed backhand slice against the wall. This is one of the best shots to practice against the wall. Make sure you keep your eye on the ball and stay low.

Djokovicfan4life
04-10-2008, 03:22 AM
Practice a one-handed backhand slice against the wall. This is one of the best shots to practice against the wall. Make sure you keep your eye on the ball and stay low.
The ball will also come back at you like a topspin shot, allowing you to hit it off of the first bounce.

And while I admit that Rickson and I ARE quite biased when it comes to backhands, I would strongly encourage you to learn the one-hander if you've been batting like that anyway. Just start out using an eastern backhand grip and you'll be fine.

Rickson
04-10-2008, 01:50 PM
HK, did you bat lefty like this? Watch at the 2:30 mark.

Darryl Strawberry batting practice (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzDAyRnCaS8)


If you did, you'd make a better one hander than a 2 hander.

The Home Run Kid
04-10-2008, 04:15 PM
If you look at the way he swings, yes. However, I start a lot more coiled and with my weight further back than Straw. But yes, I do release my top hand like he does.