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View Full Version : Can medicine ball training help develop muscle memory and timing?


zic
04-15-2008, 02:41 AM
I'm having trouble getting into the habit of doing a full unit turn on my FH and using rotation to hit the ball.

I tend to rush a partial unit turn at best and arm it. It's almost like my body doesn't know how to use rotation to hit the ball nor how much time is needed to set it up (i.e. do the unit turn).

I know medicine ball training is good for core strength, but I'm wondering, could shadowing the stroke with a medicine ball also help me develop the muscle memory and timing I need to hit a solid FH?

I figure that, because you hold the ball with both hands, to get it back you have to turn both your shoulders, i.e. make a full unit turn, and because it's moderately heavy, you naturally load up your outside foot.

Similarly on the forward swing, providing you extend the ball towards an imaginary target, or throw it at a wall, again, because both hands are on the ball, you can't over-rotate, i.e. your weight will go in the direction of the shot, not off to the side (as it often does for me).

Surely it's got to help?

Mahboob Khan
04-15-2008, 04:48 AM
Yes. Mimicking FH, BH, overhead, and serve throws, if done properly, will also cure your technical flaws, and it is great for muscular endurance and memory. You might experiment with different weights, and bouncing medicine balls are better.

Before each practice session, practice sets, or a match, medicine ball throws will help improve your confidence too because doing more assures confidence.

fuzz nation
04-15-2008, 05:08 AM
I'm reading a USTA endorsed book, Complete Conditioning for Tennis which contains a bunch of workout guidance. The medicine ball training that you're referring to is certainly among the essential exercises for developing the "kinetic chain" that incorporates the legs and core rotation that we want in a productive tennis stroke. The book even came with a DVD - not a bad resource. I'm definately going to shop the medicine balls in my next visit to the sporting goods store - they look to be especially useful.

maleyoyo
04-15-2008, 05:24 AM
Yes. Mimicking FH, BH, overhead, and serve throws, if done properly, will also cure your technical flaws, and it is great for muscular endurance and memory. You might experiment with different weights, and bouncing medicine balls are better.

Before each practice session, practice sets, or a match, medicine ball throws will help improve your confidence too because doing more assures confidence.

I think it's a great idea to practice with medicine balls. I can understand doing it to mimick a 2HBH but how do we do it to mimick FH, overhead, and serve? Are you suggeting to use smaller medicine ball so that you can hold it in one hand?

5263
04-15-2008, 05:42 AM
A medicine ball is great, but remember, you don't have to throw or release your training device, so you can use a kettle bell or dumbell as well to simulate swinging with extra weight or demand.

Big point to remember! Focus your eyes on something and keep your head still during the movement. This is paramount that you use this to train your body to do the big turn you seek, WITHOUT using the head to initiate or facilitate the movement.

A quiet or Still Head is key to clear ball contact!
:)

zic
04-15-2008, 05:55 AM
Thanks all for the encouragement. I'm going to pick up a ball and give it a go. Got a feeling it could be the missing link - one of them anyway!

maleyoyo, as I said, I think having both hands on the ball would be a good thing, as it'd force you to rotate your shoulders, i.e. get a full unit turn (~90 degrees).

I'm prone to leading my take back with my hitting arm and only getting a partial unit turn (~45 degrees) causing me to arm the ball.

As for the forward swing, obviously if you had a racket in your hand you'd separate your hands, but as I said, I think keeping both hands on the ball would prevent you from over-rotating at (imaginary) contact, i.e. get your weight into the shot rather than spilling off to the side.

But then, I'm no biomechanist! fuzz nation, does your book offer any further insight here?

maleyoyo
04-15-2008, 07:15 AM
Thanks all for the encouragement. I'm going to pick up a ball and give it a go. Got a feeling it could be the missing link - one of them anyway!

maleyoyo, as I said, I think having both hands on the ball would be a good thing, as it'd force you to rotate your shoulders, i.e. get a full unit turn (~90 degrees).

I'm prone to leading my take back with my hitting arm and only getting a partial unit turn (~45 degrees) causing me to arm the ball.

As for the forward swing, obviously if you had a racket in your hand you'd separate your hands, but as I said, I think keeping both hands on the ball would prevent you from over-rotating at (imaginary) contact, i.e. get your weight into the shot rather than spilling off to the side.

But then, I'm no biomechanist! fuzz nation, does your book offer any further insight here?

My tennis pro has me throwing the medicine ball with 2 hands on both wings to teach me the weight tranfering concept esp on the open stance to utilize the angular momentum for your shots. I'm slowly getting it but the problem I have is I tend to over rotate as I rotate the hips more than my shoulders. It's a lot more difficult than it looks, for me at least, so make sure you learn to do it right.