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tfergus09
04-15-2008, 02:36 AM
Any tips on how to react to the ball better. Ive only been playing for about 8 months but when i play more advanced people with hard strokes....sometimes my body does not even move. I am watching the ball!!

albino smurf
04-15-2008, 03:27 AM
Do wall drills from about five or six feet away. You will learn to react quicker this way. Rent a ball machine is another thought.

Rickson
04-15-2008, 05:08 AM
Any tips on how to react to the ball better. Ive only been playing for about 8 months but when i play more advanced people with hard strokes....sometimes my body does not even move. I am watching the ball!!

Don't play inside the baseline, move back to the center after every groundstroke, and keep those little feet moving.

fuzz nation
04-15-2008, 05:23 AM
If you don't have the habit yet, you want to take a good "split step" just as the person across the net makes contact with the ball. That will set you up to move better in any direction and the other thing that will help you to stay ahead of the ball is to at least make a partial shoulder turn to your forehand or backhand side. As you take that partial turn, you can take the racquet at least part of the way back so that as you move toward the ball, you are already constructing your backswing. The idea is that you want to get some stuff done before you get to the ball... and the ball gets to you!

Make that split step and quick turn happen immediately and assertively so that you can move to where you need to be ahead of the ball's arrival. You can never be set up too early and that quick first movement will help to get you set up on time for a nice, unrushed swing more often.

Oh yeah. When someone is hitting a harder ball, remember that you don't need as big and long of a swing to send it back - your stroke can be shorter and quicker because you're mostly redirecting energy instead of adding a lot to the ball. Quick move, short stroke!

Nellie
04-15-2008, 06:17 AM
Don't worry - a lot of improvement comes from practice/experiance.

There is a good suggestion above about the split step. I like try to be ready to hit by turning my shoulders and having my racquet back before the ball crosses the net. Of course, you sometimes need to get moving to get to the ball before worrying about the racquet prep.

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 07:16 AM
Any tips on how to react to the ball better. Ive only been playing for about 8 months but when i play more advanced people with hard strokes....sometimes my body does not even move. I am watching the ball!!

You could watch the ball all day long but if something doesnt trigger your feet to move, what good is it? You might as well sit in the stands.

Get your mind and feet working together. Use the HIT-BOUNCE-HIT cadence throughout your match. I will warn you though, you will forget to use it so you will have to keep trying until it is second nature.

Kokopelli
04-15-2008, 09:36 AM
...Get your mind and feet working together. Use the HIT-BOUNCE-HIT cadence throughout your match. I will warn you though, you will forget to use it so you will have to keep trying until it is second nature.

From my personal experience, this is the single greatest advice for improving my game. I didn't get it from BB, but good advice is still good advice!!!

I'm a chronic late-ball hitter. So to improve my timing, I alter the HIT-BOUNCE-HIT cadence to my personal preference, but the concept stays the same.

1) I said "HIT" when the opponent makes contact with the ball. Immediately after contact, I determine whether I'll need to use the forehand or backhand.
2) After knowing whether it's the backhand or forehand, I said "PREPARE." This is when I do my unit turn and take-back and trying to watch to point of contact. The key is that the take-back must happen BEFORE the ball hits the court, otherwise, I will make late contact.
3) After hitting the ball (watching the point of contact), I said "RUN." This is when I drift back to the center of the court, and ready for the split-step and step 1.

Using the HIT-PREPARE-RUN cadence, I was able to get back a lot more balls than before, and my POC is further out in front (more powerful shots) because I'm better prepared.

It's very "unnatural" at first and took some times for me to get use to it.

Once I got the timing down, I found it's a lot easier to improve the nuances of my strokes and footwork and strategy. Hope this helps.

boojay
04-15-2008, 09:46 AM
2) After knowing whether it's the backhand or forehand, I said "PREPARE."

But that's TWO SYLLABLES!!! I don't have enough time to say/think that!!


:shock:

Kokopelli
04-15-2008, 09:48 AM
But that's TWO SYLLABLES!!! I don't have enough time to say/think that!!


:shock:

Yup, that's why I altered the hit-bounce-hit cadence, because my "prepare" include the "bounce-hit" parts. "Bounce-hit" = 2 syllables

EDIT: The beauty of this is that you can make it any word you want. The key is using that word as a trigger to take the racket back earlier than before so that you won't make late contact.

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 10:01 AM
Yup, that's why I altered the hit-bounce-hit cadence, because my "prepare" include the "bounce-hit" parts. "Bounce-hit" = 2 syllables

Keep it simple guys, this isnt rocket science. :) HIT-BOUNCE-HIT is also good for service returns. The first HIT and the BOUNCE is critcal in moving and getting to where the ball will bounce whether it is a deep ball, a short ball, or any other ball. The point to all of this is the brain is engaged and the feet are in sync with it. Focus, move, focus, move, focus, move...

user92626
04-15-2008, 10:43 AM
That cadence is one that works extremely well for me! In fact over the last weekend I applied it and beat my friend who was fairly consistent but a great runner!

Actually I already knew "bounce-hit" but I thought it was too short comparing to "hit-bounce-hit" :).

Now I'm gonna work on my form and alter this to "hit-bounce-set-hit" where set is getting into my full form/long swing. I feel I have so much time with "hit-bounce-hit".

With this whole thing it'd rather feel like work than play! lol.

edit: hey I didn't know this would work for service return. Gotta try it.

babar
04-15-2008, 10:48 AM
I've found that many people slow their footwork to the pace of the shot. Regardless of the speed of the shot, your footwork should be the same. The Hit-Bounce-Hit helps with that as well. Good Luck!

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 10:49 AM
That cadence is one that works extremely well for me! In fact over the last weekend I applied it and beat my friend who was fairly consistent but a great runner!

Actually I already knew "bounce-hit" but I thought it was too short comparing to "hit-bounce-hit" :).

Now I'm gonna work on my form and alter this to "hit-bounce-set-hit" where set is getting into my full form/long swing. I feel I have so much time with "hit-bounce-hit".

With this whole thing it'd rather feel like work than play! lol.

edit: hey I didn't know this would work for service return. Gotta try it.

Volleys too. :) Obviously without the "bounce" part. YOu want to keep doing it to improve your movement to the ball and your timing. Over time, it will work into your senses and you will feel it more.

FedererISBetter
04-15-2008, 06:38 PM
I remembered when a pro told me I was lazy. So get your feet moving and go for it no matter what, you gotta force yourself to return balls that are above your pace zone. Probably wont expect you to hit it the first time, but a step or two... and then next thing you know... youll be ALL OVER IT ; )

boojay
04-15-2008, 08:59 PM
Keep it simple guys, this isnt rocket science. :) HIT-BOUNCE-HIT is also good for service returns. The first HIT and the BOUNCE is critcal in moving and getting to where the ball will bounce whether it is a deep ball, a short ball, or any other ball. The point to all of this is the brain is engaged and the feet are in sync with it. Focus, move, focus, move, focus, move...

Sweet, I will give it a go. Yet another thing to think about and ruin me in the interim ;).

Hehe, I know it'll help in the long run, BB, thanks.

boojay
04-15-2008, 09:07 PM
Quick question for you, BB. Should the HIT-BOUNCE-HIT be as rhythmical as possible? For example, when I hit with a strong player who gives me a consistent ball, I do zero thinking, but I imagine the H-B-H mantra would be very rhythmical and evenly spaced. Against a weak player who has no idea what kind of shot he'll produce, I'll have to make numerous adjustments to varying balls spins, depths, etc., so it would be more like, HIT...BOUNCE...................HIT.

Should my goal be to make it rhythmical? *i.e., after the BOUNCE, I move to the ball to shorten the .................. before my HIT.

I hope that makes sense. If not, I'm crazy.

baseline08thrasher
04-15-2008, 09:16 PM
my best advice is go up to a backboard and just smack away. It really gets your reflexes going, this will help your volleys and groundies.

Bungalo Bill
04-15-2008, 09:24 PM
Quick question for you, BB. Should the HIT-BOUNCE-HIT be as rhythmical as possible? For example, when I hit with a strong player who gives me a consistent ball, I do zero thinking, but I imagine the H-B-H mantra would be very rhythmical and evenly spaced. Against a weak player who has no idea what kind of shot he'll produce, I'll have to make numerous adjustments to varying balls spins, depths, etc., so it would be more like, HIT...BOUNCE...................HIT.

Should my goal be to make it rhythmical? *i.e., after the BOUNCE, I move to the ball to shorten the .................. before my HIT.

I hope that makes sense. If not, I'm crazy.

That is exactly what you should be doing. HIT-BOUNCE-HIT is for the following:

1. Timing

2. Early movement

3. Focus

When you play someone with varying speeds this cadence helps you time the ball better.

Soon however, you will not have to say it to yourself and you will begin using your senses on when to move and time the ball. Sometimes players move on to breathing noises as they hit. I am sure you have heard Guga make those humming noises when he hits the ball.

For aspiring players the main thing is focus on the first hit for movement, focus on the bounce for timing, focus on the last hit for followthrough and recovery.

boojay
04-15-2008, 09:46 PM
That is exactly what you should be doing. HIT-BOUNCE-HIT is for the following:

1. Timing

2. Early movement

3. Focus

When you play someone with varying speeds this cadence helps you time the ball better.

Soon however, you will not have to say it to yourself and you will begin using your senses on when to move and time the ball. Sometimes players move on to breathing noises as they hit. I am sure you have heard Guga make those humming noises when he hits the ball.

For aspiring players the main thing is focus on the first hit for movement, focus on the bounce for timing, focus on the last hit for followthrough and recovery.

SAH WEET, BB! May have just struck gold there. I will do this the next time I'm on the courts. I'm confident it will help heaps. Thanks again!

Hopefully someday I'll reach the "unconsciously competent" stage, as Essential Tennis puts it. Right now there's so much noise going through my mind that I end up focusing on the wrong things. My guess is this will be a big step in getting rid of some of that 'noise'.

Rickson
04-16-2008, 03:04 AM
So Johnson and Bill are on good terms again. Good for you, Johnson.

boojay
04-18-2008, 09:20 AM
Bicky R is just bitter because he has small arms.

Anyway BB, tried it out for the first time yesterday. I was ******** enough to try it during a doubles league match. I must say though, it gave me interesting results when I tried it. I can't give detailed feedback yet because I didn't do it often enough and attempted to implement it in too advanced a situation. There was one fellow who was cracking 110-120 mph serves at me so before I could go HIT-BOUNCE-, the ball was already on my racquet. I will try it again tonight when I practice with my doubles partner.

Bungalo Bill
04-18-2008, 10:08 AM
So Johnson and Bill are on good terms again. Good for you, Johnson.

Who is Johnson?

Bungalo Bill
04-18-2008, 10:14 AM
Bicky R is just bitter because he has small arms.

Anyway BB, tried it out for the first time yesterday. I was ******** enough to try it during a doubles league match. I must say though, it gave me interesting results when I tried it. I can't give detailed feedback yet because I didn't do it often enough and attempted to implement it in too advanced a situation. There was one fellow who was cracking 110-120 mph serves at me so before I could go HIT-BOUNCE-, the ball was already on my racquet. I will try it again tonight when I practice with my doubles partner.

Yeah, on the faster shots it is more of a challenge. You are actually swinging while you are saying it.

Remember the goal is to not have to say this and it becomes engrained in the senses.

You simply want to use it to react to the ball sooner (preferrably before it crosses the net), move to the bounce, and hit on time.

boojay
04-18-2008, 09:21 PM
Yeah, on the faster shots it is more of a challenge. You are actually swinging while you are saying it.

Remember the goal is to not have to say this and it becomes engrained in the senses.

You simply want to use it to react to the ball sooner (preferrably before it crosses the net), move to the bounce, and hit on time.

Hell yes! It was workin' tonight, BB. I mean, it helped that I was hitting against a stronger partner, but I was taking everything on the rise and seeing the ball really well. My backhand felt fantastic; the forehand wasn't as smooth because my takeback's more exaggerated than on my backhand, but I'm still working on smoothing out my FH stroke, so that was to be expected. My footwork isn't as fluent as it could be, but I was definitely moving in and toward the ball, so I did less chasing and cut off more shots. I just need to keep doing this and I can see myself reaching the next level as a result.

Thanks so much for the tip!

ShooterMcMarco
04-19-2008, 02:25 AM
You could watch the ball all day long but if something doesnt trigger your feet to move, what good is it?


Bungalo, I couldn't have said it better, that basically sums up what absolute focus really is.

The Home Run Kid
04-19-2008, 09:46 PM
BB, I tried the HBH today at practice, and as well as helping with my timing, it calmed me down so much. I'm one of the people who has constant chatter in his head during my shot, usually "don'tmessupdon'tmessupdon'tmessup", but the focusing on those three words completely emptied my head. I actually started thinking about using spin and stuff today, which I've never done before lol. Thank you!

Bungalo Bill
04-20-2008, 08:47 AM
BB, I tried the HBH today at practice, and as well as helping with my timing, it calmed me down so much. I'm one of the people who has constant chatter in his head during my shot, usually "don'tmessupdon'tmessupdon'tmessup", but the focusing on those three words completely emptied my head. I actually started thinking about using spin and stuff today, which I've never done before lol. Thank you!

You are welcome. Dont forget it is hard to make this a habit. If you keep using it (even when you don think it is helping you), you will begin conditioning the mind to capture the direction of the ball sooner and sync the feet in moving you to get into position. The main goal is to move before the ball crosses the net, relax and hit through the ball with good timing (remember the key to power is CLEAN CONTACT + TIMING = POWER), followtrough, and recover.

Eventually, you will not need to say this if you make it a habit.