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raiden031
04-09-2008, 08:29 AM
So I'm really trying to get to the highest level I can (~4.5ish) in the shortest amount of time, with limited resources available. I don't have all the time in the world to spend on a court nor do I have the funding to pay for private lessons, aside from the occasional lesson.

I'm in the 3.5 range as far as my ability to win matches but I think I would be higher if certain aspects of my game were more consistent such as backhands and volleys. I play with alot of variety such as hitting with alot of topspin on both sides (1-hbh) as well as the ability to hit slice well on both sides. I can hit variety with my serves and have good success with them. I S&V alot in both singles and doubles, and also play well at the baseline. I am athletic enough that I can move around the court well and have decent coordination. I would say my game is pretty developed compared to others at this level but what really lets me down is execution. Sometimes if the ball is just a little out of my strike zone it throws off my shots. In doubles I might have those days where my volleys are not hitting the ball at the sweetspot so my depth and pace might be lacking or I might hit alot of errors. I know there are some technical issues I can correct on my strokes, but I think they are not that far off from proper when compared to many people at the same level. When a deficiency is identified I focus on correcting it rather than ignoring it so I'm reasonably trainable.

I would say my tennis development has been based on 50% matches, 35% wall drills, and 15% court drills or cooperative hitting. I usually spend 1.5-2 hours on the court when practicing or playing and might total about 25-30 hours a month in total time spent hitting a tennis ball.

My question is based on what I describe, what type of training do you think I should be doing presently to keep improving quickly. More hitting/drills, more matches, more video analysis on TW (only one video so far), or anything else to do differently?

Djokovicfan4life
04-09-2008, 08:40 AM
If you're really serious then my advice would be to buy a ball machine.

seb85
04-09-2008, 08:40 AM
I would say my tennis development has been based on 50% matches, 35% wall drills, and 15% court drills or cooperative hitting. I usually spend 1.5-2 hours on the court when practicing or playing and might total about 25-30 hours a month in total time spent hitting a tennis ball.



I picked this phrase out. There is no mention of any off court physical training. You also said that feel your shots are best when you are in the correct position to play them. This is true for all levels of player- the pro's never hit a shot without being in the correct position for it (unless its a desperate scramble). So to combine these two points, i suggest you do some footwork drills.

I am not an expert in footwork (since i learned all mine at too young an age to remember), however im sure somebody who knows wha6t they are talking about will come along soon to give you some specific drills. :)

Seb

raiden031
04-09-2008, 08:46 AM
I picked this phrase out. There is no mention of any off court physical training. You also said that feel your shots are best when you are in the correct position to play them. This is true for all levels of player- the pro's never hit a shot without being in the correct position for it (unless its a desperate scramble). So to combine these two points, i suggest you do some footwork drills. I am not an expert in footwork (since i learned all mine at too young an age to remember), however im sure somebody who knows wha6t they are talking about will come along soon to give you some drills. :)

Seb

No mention of physical training but I do workout. I don't feel that my physical shape has hindered my play, but surely I would benefit by being in better shape. Though I don't think I'd win any more matches because I would still make the same mistakes I make now.

I don't know what footwork drills would be most helpful but I think the problem with footwork is that I don't know how to sense that my footwork is good or bad, or anyone else's footwork for that matter. I can only see people who are mobile vs. those who are not mobile. And I am very mobile, but I do catch myself off-balance if I don't know how to set up for a shot that is just a little out of my strike zone such as a ball that bounces one foot in front of me or has a weird spin or something.

mordecai
04-09-2008, 10:55 PM
If your execution is suffering it's either confidence or consistency. I would recommend taking a good look at your footwork, and also focus on tracking the ball actively and keeping your head and eyes still on the contact zone all the way through contact.

spiritdragon
04-10-2008, 06:05 AM
So I'm really trying to get to the highest level I can (~4.5ish) in the shortest amount of time, with limited resources available. I don't have all the time in the world to spend on a court nor do I have the funding to pay for private lessons, aside from the occasional lesson.

I'm in the 3.5 range as far as my ability to win matches but I think I would be higher if certain aspects of my game were more consistent such as backhands and volleys. I play with alot of variety such as hitting with alot of topspin on both sides (1-hbh) as well as the ability to hit slice well on both sides. I can hit variety with my serves and have good success with them. I S&V alot in both singles and doubles, and also play well at the baseline. I am athletic enough that I can move around the court well and have decent coordination. I would say my game is pretty developed compared to others at this level but what really lets me down is execution. Sometimes if the ball is just a little out of my strike zone it throws off my shots. In doubles I might have those days where my volleys are not hitting the ball at the sweetspot so my depth and pace might be lacking or I might hit alot of errors. I know there are some technical issues I can correct on my strokes, but I think they are not that far off from proper when compared to many people at the same level. When a deficiency is identified I focus on correcting it rather than ignoring it so I'm reasonably trainable.

I would say my tennis development has been based on 50% matches, 35% wall drills, and 15% court drills or cooperative hitting. I usually spend 1.5-2 hours on the court when practicing or playing and might total about 25-30 hours a month in total time spent hitting a tennis ball.

My question is based on what I describe, what type of training do you think I should be doing presently to keep improving quickly. More hitting/drills, more matches, more video analysis on TW (only one video so far), or anything else to do differently?

You say that the ball is out of your strike zone a lot which probably means you have lazy footwork. run a few miles each day to strengthen ur legs and u probably won't be so lazy.

raiden031
04-10-2008, 07:01 AM
You say that the ball is out of your strike zone a lot which probably means you have lazy footwork. run a few miles each day to strengthen ur legs and u probably won't be so lazy.

I don't think the problem is that my legs aren't strong or quick enough because I do alot of running, both long distance and sprinting. I think its just that my brain doesn't know what to do with my feet when the ball is coming certain ways. Its sort of confusion of how to properly set up for the shot. So I guess the question with that is whether there are drills to help teach my feet or whether its something you pick up through just repetitive groundstroke drills.

Mahboob Khan
04-10-2008, 07:08 AM
You may like to throw in some aerobic/anaerobic/gym fitness 3 times a week. In your situation, the game-based approach is good that you learn by playing the game and correct through exercises and drills. If possible, I would have you play practice sets/matches 75% of your on-court time; in the remaining 25% of your oncourt-time, I will have you take lessons to correct a technical and or tactical situation.

Regards,

Mahboob Khan

k_liu
04-10-2008, 07:10 AM
I don't think the problem is that my legs aren't strong or quick enough because I do alot of running, both long distance and sprinting. I think its just that my brain doesn't know what to do with my feet when the ball is coming certain ways. Its sort of confusion of how to properly set up for the shot. So I guess the question with that is whether there are drills to help teach my feet or whether its something you pick up through just repetitive groundstroke drills.

Running long distance and sprints do not equate to good footwork in tennis. I'm sure you have good endurance and quickness from running. How about split steps, stepping into the ball...etc

Mahboob Khan
04-10-2008, 07:15 AM
I don't think the problem is that my legs aren't strong or quick enough because I do alot of running, both long distance and sprinting. I think its just that my brain doesn't know what to do with my feet when the ball is coming certain ways. Its sort of confusion of how to properly set up for the shot. So I guess the question with that is whether there are drills to help teach my feet or whether its something you pick up through just repetitive groundstroke drills.


It reminds of a book that USTA produced several years ago "USTA's Winning Pattern of Play". It is a great tactical/technical book and has all the patterns of play on serve, return of serve, rally, attack, defense. The playing drills described in this book will program your mind to an "auto pilot". If you practice a pattern long enough, it will become automatic in a match. It reminds me of a simple playing drill:

Drill 1: Establish a forehand cross-court rally in the deuce court, on an easier/short ball hit a FH winner down the line.

Drill 2: Establish a backhand cross-court rally in the ad court, on an easier/short ball hit a BH winner down the line.

The above two drills are very useful, and there are thousands more. Refer to that Booklet I just mentioned.

Nellie
04-10-2008, 07:31 AM
Raiden,

In looking you video from a couple of weeks ago, I would say you (like almost all of us) are limited by your footwork. In particular, I think that you were much too upright and did not play with your knees bent to have a lower center of gravity. I think if you really spent a couple of months working on playing with your knees bent when you practice hitting slowing against the wall to develop consistency, worked on keeping your focas on the ball, worked on your service placement a couple of hours per week, and developed strategy so that you are hitting high percentage shots, such as crosscourt all of the time except on floaters, you would move up fast. I would also advocate playing with better players so you get used to the faster pace of the ball. For you, I would recommend playing 4.0 so you can see the better serves, even if this means you are taking a beating. I pay a kid on the varsity team at the University of Maryland to hit with me for the same reason.

Tennisman912
04-11-2008, 08:38 PM
raiden031,

A couple of suggestions. You say your weaknesses are your backhand and your volleys. The first thing you need to do is make sure you are hitting these shots technically correct. Practicing the wrong technique makes it harder to change later. Take a few lessons to make sure you are fundamentally doing things correctly. Fix it now because most will not take a few steps back to correct faulty techniques to move forward. If you are not willing to fix faults you will probably not make it to 4.5. Getting to 4.0 is doable but above that you have to do certain things correctly. This hurts many people from advancing.

For example, on your volley do you use a continental grip on both volleys or do you use a forehand grip on your volleys? This is very important if you want to make it to 4.5. If you don't use a continental grip you must change NOW. It will suck for a while but you must make this change sooner rather than later. Do you use the same basic grip (continental) for your serve, slice BH, slice FH, volleys off both wings and overheads? You must do this to advance to the 4.5 level. Not trying to insult your intelligence if you are doing some of these things but the basics must be in order to advance.

I will save the BH info for another post. I also use a OHBH.

Footwork as others have suggested is also important. It is one of Federer's biggest strengths. Being in position makes life a lot easier. As far as missing shots just outside you contact zone, this will improve with experience and playing time but if possible being in the correct position is extremely important. As you improve your strokes your mind will make the necessary adjustments when not quite in perfect position but it takes a lot of time to develop that level of feel. Practice grooving your strokes and then worry about the nuances. The basics will set you free. I hope this helps.

TM

Mahboob Khan
04-14-2008, 07:34 PM
Exactly. A few days ago, Bungalo Bill posted System-5. I am sure you will learn from it.

One simple thing which has helped me through the years:

Red ball (difficult ball) topspin it deep cross court or deep down the middle;

Yellow ball (medium difficulty) be aggressive with it, and can be hit down the line!

Green ball (easy ball), attempt a winner in open court, or hit down the line and close in for volley.

Practice the common patterns long enough so that they become second nature.

Mahboob Khan

Djokovicfan4life
04-14-2008, 07:38 PM
Exactly. A few days ago, Bungalo Bill posted System-5. I am sure you will learn from it.

One simple thing which has helped me through the years:

Red ball (difficult ball) topspin it deep cross court or deep down the middle;

Yellow ball (medium difficulty) be aggressive with it, and can be hit down the line!

Green ball (easy ball), attempt a winner in open court, or hit down the line and close in for volley.

Practice the common patterns long enough so that they become second nature.

Mahboob Khan

This makes a lot of sense, I'll try that tomorrow in my match, assuming that this also applies to doubles. Thanks man. :)

Mahboob Khan
04-15-2008, 04:42 AM
Of course. In doubles the first serve, even if it is medium, is very important, because on the second the returners' mind set is to chip and charge. Wide serve, in both deuce and ad courts, are very important if they are mixed with up the T serves!

When you return serve in doubles, if the serve is difficult, return cross-court or down the middle.

When rallying, return most of your shots cross-court or down the middle. Occasionally going down the line if you feel that the ball is easier and your opponent is cheating more to the center leaving a gap down the line.

On a short approachable ball, aim your approach shot down the line, or to the deep person, and both of you should close in (one covering cross court and the other down the line passing shot angles).

When attacked, remember lobs; and aim majority of your passing shots down the middle, inbetween them. This does not mean that you should not exploit the gaps. You should create gaps, and insert your balls there!

Keep your game plan less complicated and your mind will not choke.

Take care.

Mahboob Khan

Rickson
04-15-2008, 04:56 AM
If you're really serious then my advice would be to buy a ball machine.

Jabba, stop teasing them just because you bought a ball machine. Why don't you share that machine? Lend it around in a tennis circle.

nytennisaddict
04-15-2008, 06:41 AM
My progression from 3.5 to 4.5 went something like this... (each level bump was via USTA matches, and via the computer ratings)

3.5 // 10-12 years ago (mid 30's now)
As a 3.5 I had not much of a 2 handed backhand, and often just sliced everything high, or ran around it. I had an extreme western grip forehand that typically was either a winner (at the 3.5 level) or went out. My serve, was 1 fast, 2nd dink,.. but at 3.5 not many folks can really attack the dink serve, so I could survive. I only came to net to shake hands. Even in doubles I played baseline, and usually my severe topspin on the forehand was enough to win. I was also pretty fast, so I had that going for me.

To improve to the 4.0 level (8 years ago), I had to shore up my serve, and my backhand. I worked hard to develop a consistent 2nd serve (top spin), to avoid double faults. At this point, I just spun both my serves in, to make sure I didn't double fault. I never won points (on my serve) outright at the 4.0 level, but I never really gave them away like I was at the 3.5 level. I still was probably double faulting at least once per game, and usually won by breaking more times that I was (inevitably broken). For groundstrokes, I fortunately had access to a ball machine, so I practice for 1.5hrs 3-4x a week (for ~6mos-1yr) improving my forehand, and getting at least a more consistent on my (2h) backhand. Both shots often landed short however. I also forced myself to start playing alot more doubles, so I can improve my volley.

To improve to the 4.5 level... (6 years ago to present) The milestone for me was, beating good "pushers" at the 4.0 level consistently... which usually meant you needed to dictate the point enough without making too many mistakes while trying. I used to hate pushers, but realized they were probably the best training for footwork, conditioning, and working on consistent offense. They really showcase your weaknesses. Around this time I actively looked to play that guy that nobody wanted to play (you know... strokes look short and choppy but he never missed a freaking ball). At the 4.0 level, if you're consistent, you can get away with short balls, because not everybody can attack short balls consistently (at 4.0). At the 4.5 level, everyone is looking for a short ball to attack, come in, and end point at net. Even the "pushers" that graduated to 4.5 know when it's time to attack. So I needed to either learn to hit more pace, and learn to hit the ball deeper (consistently), to prevent that. I also started developing a kick serve (or american twist) around this time, which helped prevent folks from attacking my 2nd serve. I went through a couple grip changes on fh and bh sides, to flatten out my strokes (very spinny is consistent but often ends up a short ball that is attacked at the 4.5+ levels - unless you're nadal). FH: western (vs. extreme western) BH: semi-western/continental

Getting to the 5.0 level? (Comments/criticisms/advice welcome at this point)... When I hit with 5.0's, in practice I look/feel like I can hang with them. I can usually handle their pace (after some adjustment), and at least get the ball back fairly consistently, on both wings. Every so many shots I feel I can hit the ball clean (ie. presumes I set up appropriately, etc...). So after hitting with a 5.0 (or really strong 4.5), I feel that I have a chance in the match... until we start playing :P I find that I tend to make more unforced errors (usually when he's running me side to side, with not necessarily alot of pace). When I'm playing well, I'll cut down on my mistakes, and the match becomes a question of who'll hit the short ball first (usually me). Additionally when I do get a short ball, my transition shot is not great (ie. usually hit too big, and it goes out, or I rush and it goes out, or I get tentative, and my transition ball becomes a short ball), so obviously I need to be more consistent and accurate when I do get a short ball, as well as work on conditioning and mental toughness to consistently hit back an unattackable ball (not by necessarily pounding the ball everytime, particularly when I'm not 100% in position). My serve is crap.. usually even when i win, it's because i was able to break 1 more time than my opp (and i always get broken). Playing agst stronger players I found that they often have either a big 1st serve or a very accurate spin serve, and a very reliable/accurate 2nd serve... So I really need to work on getting my 1st serve percentage to over 50% and 2nd serve (placed deep in the correct 1/3 of the box) 90+% of the time. My speed has helped me alot at the 3.5, 4.0 and current 4.5 level... but at the 5.0 level... everybody seems to be in awesome shape. So I'm continuing to work on that. Even picked up Etcheberry's dvd set, for movement/conditioning drills. So the 2 biggest glaring things I think I need to work on to get to 5.0 is 1) more effective serve 2) more consistent transition game. Then there are also the ongoing things that i need to work on (ie. more consistent groundstrokes, and specialtly strokes like overheads, lobs, drop shots, etc...) I'm considering switching from a western grip forehand to semi-western, since i mostly play on hard courts, and I want to be able to drive through the ball more... but i know it will take me like a year (3-4x/week) of just hitting this shot, before I can start using it in a match with at least the same effectiveness/consistency of my current forehand.

I could go on forever about tips I've used to improve (it's never just one or two things), but ultimately you'll need educate yourself (books, videos, or ideally regular lessons), and become very self critical of how you play. If I had it all over again (I'd play when I was little!), but as an adult to save time, I probably would have invested more money up front with a good pro. Unfortunatley finding a good pro is the trick (usually they are teaching all the good juniors), so ask around before your drop your dough. Check who else they've taught (and if they're students are good....) I've spent too much money on "pros" that really didn't know how to teach, or catered to adults that like to be coddled on the court (not taught tennis). My best lessons were from former touring pros... they're more expensive but worth it... They usually aren't really concerned about feeding you praise, and just get down to gritty details of "this is what you're doing wrong or this is what you need to do". Ideally I'd have taken predominantly technique type lessons 1x/mo and practiced like crazy for that month before taking the next lesson. This probably would have saved me time invested in switching/relearning grips. As my technique became more solid, I'd start transitioning to game based lessons (ie. he/she watch you play agst different types of opp), and he'll critique your strategy, weaknesses, shot selection, and possible situational stroke technique (ie. hitting on the run, moving backward, moving it, handling a high ball, shortball, etc...). I'd probably do this 1x month a practice like crazy. I'd also have started keeping a journal of things I've learned (especially from the teaching pros) much earlier. I look at my journal every week, and I find myself forgetting certain things even on a day to day basis (it's the cheap alternative to going to a camp/lessons regularly where the pros are *hopefully* reminding you of all the things you're doing wrong on every shot).

Lastly, as I move up the ranks, it seems it gets harder and harder to find folks to hit at your level or better (ie. sometimes folks aren't around, time commitments, or scheduling, etc...) so I'll actively play folks I've regularly beaten in the past (they seem to make time!), and choose a new strategy (ie. hit to their forehands, drop/lob, run around my strength, etc...) I've had to get over the ego part of losing (or having that person adverstise that they beat me), but what matters in the end is that I'm learning why I lost and what I need to improve next time....

hope this helps...

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 07:04 AM
I don't think the problem is that my legs aren't strong or quick enough because I do alot of running, both long distance and sprinting. I think its just that my brain doesn't know what to do with my feet when the ball is coming certain ways. Its sort of confusion of how to properly set up for the shot. So I guess the question with that is whether there are drills to help teach my feet or whether its something you pick up through just repetitive groundstroke drills.

Enough of this.

First off,

Your practices need to mean something concerning your match play. Everything needs to revolve around winning matches. That means your losses and your wins need to be analyzed. If you want to improve the fastest, some how you are going to have to take stats of your matches. I remember in Cali, some people offered to take a players stats for like $20 - $30 for the match. Whatever you do, you need feedback.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE FEEDBACK
In your stats, information about your weaknesses and strengths exist. This is as good as gold because it tells you exactly what you need to work on in your practices. Are there too many double faults? Did you miss too many short balls? How many volleys went into the net? Was your second serve strong enough? How many errors did you make on the forehnad side? When did the errors start piling up? How many first serve returns did you miss?

This feedback will make your practices much more meaningful. You will then design your practices to shore up your weaknesses and improve your strengths.

FOOTWORK
I dont give a darn if you run a million miles a day. Tennis is about getting to the ball in time in the most efficient way. This means tennis has its own footwork patterns and this is critical if you want to move up a level. you must learn:

Split-steps, step-outs, shuffle step patterns, moving backward, gravity steps are all skills that need to be developed and improved.

The step-out is perhaps one of the best footwork patterns to learn for people who are incorporating this training in their regime. It has so many benefits and feeds into other footwork patterns as you advance. The step-out drill will be useful in your:

1. Groundstrokes
2. Volleys
3. Service returns.

It works on strengthening and coordinating the weaker side of your body. It balances you out in other words. The other footwork patterns are very important as well, so you need to work on them also.

OKAY, I GOT MY FOOTWORK, NOW WHAT?
Now you need to take the right angle to the ball. This takes practice as well. Learning to cut off a ball that is moving away from you nearly everytime is difficult and needs to be practiced. However, if you really want to get serious, moving to the ball properly coupled with good footwork will immediately place you well on your way to acheiving your goals.

Remember, a tennis player should be built from the ground up. It doesnt matter how nice your strokes are or how well you hit the ball standing still, the true test is when you have to move to hit a ball.

Geezer Guy
04-15-2008, 07:12 AM
This may have come up already - I have not read all (actually, any) of the previous posts.

However, you describe yourself (not too humbly) as a good all-around player. You can do everything pretty well. My suggestion (and I was just joking about the "not too humbly" remark, btw) is to take one of your skills and really turn that into a go-to weapon that you can count on to end points. Your current skills are adequate to keep you in most points, until you get a ball in the strike zone of your new-and-improved Raiden-Weapon - then it's Point Over and thankyouverymuch.

Djokovicfan4life
04-15-2008, 07:54 AM
BB, is it true that you're supposed to move at a right angle to the path of the ball? I remember reading that somewhere. Also, what is the step out drill? I'm getting the split step, maybe I should start thinking about this?

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 08:11 AM
BB, is it true that you're supposed to move at a right angle to the path of the ball? I remember reading that somewhere. Also, what is the step out drill? I'm getting the split step, maybe I should start thinking about this?

Most players move parallel to the ball based on where they are standing. All this does is cause the ball to move further away from them. Which means it is difficult to get to the ball on time to setup and transfer weight into the ball.

You should be moving in an angle for your returns, groundstrokes, etc...

As far a moving in a right angle? I have not heard of that, show me where it is and I will read up on it.

The step-out drill can be found in Coaching Tennis and Serious Tennis books to name a few.

As a drill, you can place most of your weight on the outside foot to the ball. When the ball is hit towards your right side, step -out with your right foot while pushing off with your left foot. Eventually this will lead to incorporating the gravity step. However, dont move to that yet until you feel coordinated and stronger doing this on your weaker side. Most people naturally do it on their forehand then their backhand.

Djokovicfan4life
04-15-2008, 08:24 AM
I didn't really mean a right angle, just like what you said, toward the path of the ball and not away from it. Makes sense, but my ability to hit on the rise has got to improve before I can really make good use of this advice.

Maybe I should just half-volley from no mans land for a while to get used to it? :lol:

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 08:32 AM
I didn't really mean a right angle, just like what you said, toward the path of the ball and not away from it. Makes sense, but my ability to hit on the rise has got to improve before I can really make good use of this advice.

I can see your point but you can move to the ball in an angle even if you are not hitting on the rise.

It makes sense but still needs to be practiced and it does a world of difference to your game.

I remember when I first learned it, I struggled with the angle thing. Then one match it just happened and man was I picking up returns that I would normally be outstretched or off the court for. It just woke me up on the benefits. However, it took time for me.

Djokovicfan4life
04-15-2008, 02:05 PM
Thanks, I'll try to work on moving toward the ball and not away from it, I've been getting pushed behind the baseline a lot lately, Nadal style. Not really very good at all for a hard court game.

Rafael_Nadal_6257
04-15-2008, 02:29 PM
Ah BB, I've heard gravity steps, step-outs, and other footwork patterns mentioned quite a bit, especially from you :p. I know what a split-step is, but what exactly is a gravity step and a step-out???

Djokovicfan4life
04-15-2008, 02:36 PM
Here's the article I read by the way: http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/step1.html

ohplease
04-15-2008, 03:12 PM
I don't know what footwork drills would be most helpful but I think the problem with footwork is that I don't know how to sense that my footwork is good or bad, or anyone else's footwork for that matter. I can only see people who are mobile vs. those who are not mobile.

Do yourself a favor and spend some time watching other player's footwork. Look at their balance. Look at the repeatability and efficiency of their movement. What's their back/front/outside/inside foot doing before the shot? During? After? If it's haphazard and ad hoc, in contrast to purposeful, they're doing it wrong - even if they're doing haphazard movements quickly.

I've been lucky enough to see current Division I players on court right next to club players. Even pretty good club players looked pretty graceless, in comparison. Once you train your eye, you'll notice that the typical person's footwork is pretty much terrible. Most of us waste acres of time and effort before getting into or out of position, assuming we get into the correct position in the first place. The good news is that inefficiency can't be reliably exploited by average club players.

The bad news is really good players will definitely notice - and just hammer on it. They know how to control the pacing and trajectory of their shots to take away more and more of your time, making you even less prepared, and your shots even slower - which gives them even more time to strike. Whether we're talking individual points or over the course of a match, the timing differential won't feel like much at first - but the compound effect often feels like...being buried? Drowning? Strangulation? Whatever it is, it's not pleasant - and it's pretty much unavoidable if you don't know how to counter the tactic.

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 05:24 PM
Do yourself a favor and spend some time watching other player's footwork. Look at their balance. Look at the repeatability and efficiency of their movement. What's their back/front/outside/inside foot doing before the shot? During? After? If it's haphazard and ad hoc, in contrast to purposeful, they're doing it wrong - even if they're doing haphazard movements quickly.


Ahhhhh, no. A person judging footwork needs to first understand what good footwork looks like. They need to understand what good footwork patterns are in order to be able to see what "haphazard" and "adhoc" actually is.

Recommending someone to go out and look at other peoples footwork without knowing what good footwork is, is like the blind leading the blind! LOL!

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 06:04 PM
Ah BB, I've heard gravity steps, step-outs, and other footwork patterns mentioned quite a bit, especially from you :p. I know what a split-step is, but what exactly is a gravity step and a step-out???

Here you go:

1. Step-out: Imgaine the ball is going to your backhand side. You are righthanded. Instead of first moving your foot farthest away from the ball (your right foot), you step-out with your left foot while pushing off with your right foot.

Here is a split-step with a step-out combo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LZyPKaeGlA

Note: Once you learn the individual footwork moves, blending starts to happen.

2. Gravity step: Instead of stepping out, you lean out as if you are going to fall over. Thus, in order to get your balance you will have to bring your outside foot over to prevent yourself from falling over.

Of course you can feel real bad when you watch this litle girl perform her footwork. This is enough to make us older tennis players sick. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pFMiSZ1rDY

FedererISBetter
04-15-2008, 06:50 PM
I know my replies are sorta random lol... I read somewhere about getting a ball machine.... I definately would have to disagree... especially moving up to 4.5 level. I say staying in good physical shape, working out, go to a pro to brush your techniques and making sure you're on the right path ( 2-3x a month ), play with various levels of players...and watch some tennis.... : )

Djokovicfan4life
04-15-2008, 06:55 PM
Why does that girl lift her front leg up on some shots? I've seen some pros do this to, wouldn't that rob you of a great deal of power?

And why would you advise against a ball machine, FedererISbetter?

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 07:10 PM
I know my replies are sorta random lol... I read somewhere about getting a ball machine.... I definately would have to disagree... especially moving up to 4.5 level. I say staying in good physical shape, working out, go to a pro to brush your techniques and making sure you're on the right path ( 2-3x a month ), play with various levels of players...and watch some tennis.... : )

A ball machine isn't a miracle worker but it certainly has its benefits. Especially if it has an oscillator. Although
I wouldnt tell everyone to go out and buy one, I certainly wouldn't go as far as you saying they shouldn't.

Further, there are more things a player should do besides the things you said above.

Swissv2
04-15-2008, 07:29 PM
Great tips from the people before me.


My contribution is to play high level players who are extremely consistent, otherwise known as the players you "loath". I recommend 4.0 minimum players who are experts at giving you the junk ball, moon ball, slow sitting balls - and can do it for 2 minutes straight. You will need to simulate match play and all you have to do is work on hitting the ball with your "match play swing" with accuracy.

Be forewarned: when starting this, you will feel enraged and annoyed at the same time due to habits of the other player - and if you do become better than them, they will not want to "practice" with you anymore.

Fay
04-15-2008, 07:49 PM
...... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pFMiSZ1rDY


I found this quite inspiring and listened to what he said about doing what is natural and building upon that. Thanks for posting!

5263
04-15-2008, 09:07 PM
Greatest single drill ever! If I could do only one thing in practice, this would be it.
takes 3-4 people.

1 person works from baseline and tries to hit passing shots on 2 players at net.
If there is a 4th person, they can feed the ball to the baseliner for the point to be played out.

Rotate thru a different position every 2-3 minutes and keep working briskly. Go thru all the positions a couple of times.
It's not important that you actually pass the net players, but that you make your shots, to your spots and challenge their volleys. Their volleys will challenge your balance and footwork plenty!

On net rotations, your hands will get so much better seeing lots of balls and volley in the singles court. Work on crisp volleys in front of you, shifting to follow the path of the ball and proper stagger if you know what that is. This stuff will become very natural if you will work this drill regularly, but you will never get too good for it!
This will make a pretty good player out of you unless your strokes are really bad.:)

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 10:13 PM
This will make a pretty good player out of you unless your strokes are really bad.:)

3-4 players? :)

I really liked this comment above. Every one of your tips has no substance. It is all jibberish and you have no care how your "tips" are taken.

"Unless your strokes are bad?" What kind of nonsense advice is this?

Djokovicfan4life
04-16-2008, 05:05 AM
Hahahahahaha, do this drill "unless you suck"! Awesome advice! :lol:

5263
04-16-2008, 05:28 AM
See you guys just put yourselves on report on how you don't understand how this game is built.

That drill puts pressure on your footwork and develops the decision process on what shots to hit. It gives you a lot of good looks at different shots in a min amount of time, volleys and groundstrokes. It is also used regularly by all the top academys.

What you don't seem to understand, is that if you haven't at least got a base of OK strokes, the drill won't be as useful yet. It moves too quickly to be an optimal way to develop a swing.

So continue to post and illustrate your lack of understanding.
Bungling Bill, you should know better and Djok4, you are a self admitted 3.5 player who is just parroting something you heard or read somewhere.

So what's wrong with 3-4 players?? If you can't get a 4th someday, then you can do this drill and get more out of it than playing and if all 4 are there, it is a great 15-20 warmup practice for the ensuing match.
:)

Djokovicfan4life
04-16-2008, 06:15 AM
I would actually self rate at 4.0, but I'm sure I'm wrong so lets just say 2.5, M'KAAAAAY?

5263
04-16-2008, 07:10 AM
ok, 4.0 in OKlahoma,
thats about a 3.5 in Cali, GA, or FL right?

DJ, you are oK.

FedererISBetter
04-16-2008, 07:44 PM
A ball machine isn't a miracle worker but it certainly has its benefits. Especially if it has an oscillator. Although
I wouldnt tell everyone to go out and buy one, I certainly wouldn't go as far as you saying they shouldn't.

Further, there are more things a player should do besides the things you said above.

It was under my impression of wanting to improve ASAP= investing money in a ball machine and go bam bam bam with it. It's a good start to have one, to get all that prep + hitting correctly. But as far as improving your gameplays, probably not. Basically, from my experience, i feel myself improve a lot more through hitting around, drills, whatever with a person than with ball machine... its all repeitive with the machine. It just doesn't provide that variety a person can bring, along with the uncertainities that will, I think, make one a better player faster

ohhh yea, theres tons of stuff I didnt mention... but those are the mains for me as a player. I met various pros and they all capitalize on different things, and so I capitalize on those things lol.