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View Full Version : what mistakes do hackers make that pros don't


bjk
01-18-2009, 02:02 PM
Not technique, but tactics. Two that occur to me are a) hackers (and by this I mean beginners to 5.5, say) try to hit out too much on the ROS and b) they aim too much for the middle of the court. The pros tend to aim for the sidelines, not the baseline. Much better to miss wide than deep.

bjk
01-18-2009, 02:03 PM
Pete Fischer, Sampras coach, said that missing long is a waste of a shot. There is no strategic advantage to hitting deep . . . if you watch Federer or Nadal, plenty of their shots land around the service line, the topspin keeps it deep.

benasp
01-18-2009, 02:56 PM
Hum... it's true that it's safer to hit around the service line but hitting deep reward more

BravoRed691
01-18-2009, 04:11 PM
Pete Fischer, Sampras coach, said that missing long is a waste of a shot. There is no strategic advantage to hitting deep . . . if you watch Federer or Nadal, plenty of their shots land around the service line, the topspin keeps it deep.

It's interesting you say that b/c i've heard that somewhere before too (dunno from who or when) BUT every coach and player who i feel has a somewhat decent grasp on the game have said that missing into the net is UNACCEPTABLE. I know that hitting low over the net does not nec mean one cant hit it deep as well but usually we think of height over the net as depth into the court, no?

I guess im not disputing Pete Fisher's opinion about a hitting a shot long, but the alternative (what i feel is the alternative) of hitting it into the net was what i was taught as being a waste of a shot. We used to do drill where we would owe the coach a quarter or laps (whatever u want to make it) for every ball hit into the net. The rationale was that if you hit the ball into the net, that means you didn't even overcome the first obstacle. If we hit it out, long, at least we cleared that first obstacle.

When Fisher said that there was no strategic advantage to hitting it deep then says that their topspin keeps it deep...doesn't that sound a bit contradictory to you? Maybe he meant that strategically depth is desired but that one can still keep the ball deep (depth at which your opponent receives your ball) if you put enough topspin on it...?

Br

bjk
01-18-2009, 04:57 PM
Topspin shots can clear by five feet and still land at the service line. No contradiction there.

Here's Fischer, from Spadea's book, p. 36:

Fischer focuses on hitting the ball wide to a certain depth area. He says it's stupid to miss long, because even if the shot lands in, your opponent will probably be able to return it. You hit winners by taking people off the sides of the court, rather than hitting balls deep toward the baseline."

bjk
01-18-2009, 04:58 PM
Clear the NET by five feet.

BravoRed691
01-18-2009, 06:28 PM
Topspin shots can clear by five feet and still land at the service line. No contradiction there.

Here's Fischer, from Spadea's book, p. 36:

Fischer focuses on hitting the ball wide to a certain depth area. He says it's stupid to miss long, because even if the shot lands in, your opponent will probably be able to return it. You hit winners by taking people off the sides of the court, rather than hitting balls deep toward the baseline."

EVERYTHING you mentioned (Fischer mentioned) makes a lot of sense. Didn't mean to say that there was contradiction between net clearance and depth or lack thereof but that he mentioned hitting deep was not a strategic advantage but justifies it by saying that topspin (after the bounce) will put it deep... that wording just sounds to me like depth is important. Normally i would tie topspin with net clearance not nec depth although net clearance can sometimes be tied with depth.

Using short angles to hit the opponent off the court via topspin...now THAT makes sense to me ... thnx for adding the second part...

Spadea's book sounds like one i should get...i remember some other post saying it wasn't good...no? Either way, it'll be a good book to add to my collection!

Thnx for sharing

Br

Nanshiki
01-18-2009, 07:36 PM
I re-watched the whole 2K8 Wimbleton final, and I noticed them making the *same* kind of mistakes that all (intermediate and up) players make... just not nearly as often, and with far fewer 'epic fails.'

OTOH, Federer did manage to swing and miss the ball entirely at least one time. He didn't look too pleased afterwards.

BU-Tennis
01-18-2009, 08:05 PM
Pete Fischer, Sampras coach, said that missing long is a waste of a shot. There is no strategic advantage to hitting deep . . . if you watch Federer or Nadal, plenty of their shots land around the service line, the topspin keeps it deep.

I think the last part is key, "the topspin keeps it deep." If our strokes are flatter than nadal's or federer's which i would bet they are, then it is more important that you hit deep. Whenever you're on the defensive where to you try to hit the ball? You try to hit deeper so you're opponent can't move in on you. Ok that point has been talked about to death so to the original question.

My coach always says that the two sins in tennis are hitting wide and into the net. Not saying that aiming for a wider shot isn't wrong, but that you should give yourself enough clearance so that even if your shot lands a foot-and-a-half from where it was supposed to then it would still be good. He loves to see balls that are a little longer because the problem is "easier" to fix, in that you just don't hit as hard (accepting the fact that your stroke is technically sound and there was adequate racquet head speed to apply topspin).

I would say that tactically it is very difficult to learn much from the pro game as we don't have the capabilities to play with such precision and power. In today's amateur level the basics are very important; such as changing direction on short or inside balls only, and establishing crosscourt rallies. Also, coming into the net is a very powerful technique that many players can employ to boost their game. It is virtually impossible to serve and volley at the top levels of today's mens and womens game because of the pace of the ball. Now maybe with the slowing down of the courts, such as we're seeing with the Australian Open this year, will enable more net play in the pro game.

I think the biggest mistake that amateurs make is trying to emulate a pros game which relies too much on pure power which they do not possess.

Kevo
01-18-2009, 08:11 PM
The pros make all the same mistakes. It's just they don't tend to make them over and over again match after match. As for hitting deep, there is certainly a strategic advantage to it. It's no something you can live off of, but if you can push your opponent deep then you can get shorter replys, and that makes the angles more effective. I imagine his point was that missing deep because you're trying to get too close to the baseline is not strategic. A foot or two from the baseline is plenty close.

Mansewerz
01-18-2009, 08:21 PM
Honestly, depth is key. Especially at the lower levels.

fuzz nation
01-19-2009, 04:36 PM
Honestly, depth is key. Especially at the lower levels.

I agree with this a bunch, but I can see the point of hitting near sidelines, too. Sort of two different issues though, since the issue of hitting deep is about denying your opponents an aggressive posture where they can hit into bigger angles. One good example is a deep return of serve which can absolutely neutralize a strong serve, even if it doesn't have a ton of pace. I think that the issue of hitting over near the sidelines is more about taking the initiative than denying an opponent of it.

Hackers certainly don't have the power of the pros in general, but too often they try to power their way out of trouble instead of using reasonable defense. Pros who know how to sustain a point for a couple of extra shots, even when they're totally defensive, often create real opportunities to win points. Hackers love to swing big for a miracle when they're pressed.

I also think of that syndrome of wasting too many first serves by going for a huge bomb as a "hacker mistake". When coaching the high school kids, especially the boys, it's a constant process of reminding them to land first serves just to take pressure off their second ball.

Solat
01-19-2009, 05:05 PM
Not technique, but tactics. Two that occur to me are a) hackers (and by this I mean beginners to 5.5, say) try to hit out too much on the ROS and b) they aim too much for the middle of the court. The pros tend to aim for the sidelines, not the baseline. Much better to miss wide than deep.

i totally disagree with this, i think too many average joe players aim too much for the sidelines and dont play through the baseline enough. Tennis strategy is based on consistency first then attack / defense second. You need to play through the baseline to maximise the length of the court, as a bonus it pushes your op backwards and minimises their ability to attack with time or angle. By playing central balls you also neutralise your ops court position and force them to attempt to create angles that don't exist

and as for the hitting long is a waste, that is the first example i have ever heard of that, every other coach i have heard has a philosophy of hitting long is the "most acceptable" error to make. That is certainly what i teach my students

Steady Eddy
01-19-2009, 05:35 PM
Hackers have trouble with half-volleys and other times they have to hit the ball on the rise. This isn't a difficulty for more advanced players.

jmjmkim
01-20-2009, 04:09 PM
I think one of the mistakes that pros don't make, that many novice players make, is that they prepare early and that their racket is already waiting by the time the ball comes toward the contact zone. Most all beginners and novice players run to the ball, and then start the racket take back.

Also, the pros have a great "footwork" in that they anticipate where the shot will be going. Notice how much time they have, before they actually have to start their swing. Except for the wide running shots of course.

habib
01-20-2009, 04:26 PM
Pete Fischer, Sampras coach, said that missing long is a waste of a shot. There is no strategic advantage to hitting deep . . . if you watch Federer or Nadal, plenty of their shots land around the service line, the topspin keeps it deep.

There is PLENTY Of strategic advantage to hitting deep. Watch Federer and Nadal play each other, note who more typically hits the deeper shot, and note who has the better record. Hitting deep is far bigger at the 'hacker' level than the pro level, but it's still a big strategic contention even at the top. A Federer or Nadal hitting deep is significantly more effective than a Federer or Nadal landing shots at the service line, regardless of spin (assuming a spin of X, think of where your opponent will be forced to hit the ball from if (a) your shot lands at the service line and (b) your shot lands 2-3 feet inside the baseline).

TheOverlord
01-20-2009, 04:28 PM
There is PLENTY Of strategic advantage to hitting deep, just maybe not quite as much as hitting off the court. Watch Federer and Nadal play each other, note who more typically hits the deeper shot, and note who has the better record. Hitting deep is far bigger at the 'hacker' level than the pro level, but it's still a big boon. A Federer or Nadal hitting deep is significantly more effective than a Federer or Nadal landing shots at the service line.

hitting it deep could count if you need to hit a regular groundstroke past them if theyre at the net. its easier to get a flat ball to the baseline rather than close to the service

Nellie
01-21-2009, 10:03 AM
The biggest mistake that hackers make is that they try to change direction too much. They next time you watch a match, count how many balls go cross court and over the center line. The strategy is simple - stay crosscourt until you get a short ball and then drive it the other way. Likewise, if the ball is down the middle, keep the rally down the middle until you get a short ball to change direction.

As for the debate regarding depth, I beleive that it is a far bigger mistake to hit the net. As the old expression goes, two things can happen when you hit over the net, one of them bad. One thing happens when you hit the net, that one thing always being bad.

user92626
01-21-2009, 05:22 PM
Honestly, depth is key. Especially at the lower levels.

It seems that at the amateur level depth is the key, rewards the most! hehe.

I play a whole lot doubles, meaning extremely low running for everyone, and am constantly requested by my partner to hit deep. True enough when that happens we likely score. LOL

habib
01-21-2009, 05:26 PM
hitting it deep could count if you need to hit a regular groundstroke past them if theyre at the net. its easier to get a flat ball to the baseline rather than close to the service

Er...what?

RestockingTues
01-21-2009, 06:01 PM
hitting it deep could count if you need to hit a regular groundstroke past them if theyre at the net. its easier to get a flat ball to the baseline rather than close to the service
Why in the world would you hit a deep ball, and FLAT at that while there's a man waiting at the net?

LeeD
01-21-2009, 06:26 PM
Singles and doubles is different.
Doubs, hit a flat deep ball, and net man poachs, driving a volley into your netmans stomach.
If that netman falls asleep, on the next ball, your opposition crowds the net and makes your partner eat another ball.
In singles, flat deep ball bounces weird, causing a mishit and most likely a short return, so you approach shot deep and volley or overhead away the next shot.
I wish it were that simple.

Puma
01-22-2009, 08:33 AM
I agree with this a bunch, but I can see the point of hitting near sidelines, too. Sort of two different issues though, since the issue of hitting deep is about denying your opponents an aggressive posture where they can hit into bigger angles. One good example is a deep return of serve which can absolutely neutralize a strong serve, even if it doesn't have a ton of pace. I think that the issue of hitting over near the sidelines is more about taking the initiative than denying an opponent of it.

Hackers certainly don't have the power of the pros in general, but too often they try to power their way out of trouble instead of using reasonable defense. Pros who know how to sustain a point for a couple of extra shots, even when they're totally defensive, often create real opportunities to win points. Hackers love to swing big for a miracle when they're pressed.

I also think of that syndrome of wasting too many first serves by going for a huge bomb as a "hacker mistake". When coaching the high school kids, especially the boys, it's a constant process of reminding them to land first serves just to take pressure off their second ball.


I agree totally. I don't think it fair to include 5.0 and 5.5's as hackers. I think of hackers as beginners to say 4.0's, to be fair.

I think the biggest difference is a hacker does not know what he has as weapons and the extent of it or NOT! A pro knows what he has and how to use it and when. He plays to his strenght. A hacker really has no idea about this and how this applies to HIS game.

ttbrowne
01-22-2009, 09:23 AM
Hackers aren't very patient.
Hit the ball IN at medium pace til you get the shot you want. Then go for it.

Pros go for the open court.
Hackers try to over-power you more times than not. Pros don't care if you're over-powered...they want the point.

But just like NFL QB's and High School QB's....the Pros SEE the court differently. They see all the possibilities. We can't.

user92626
01-22-2009, 09:30 AM
Singles and doubles is different.
Doubs, hit a flat deep ball, and net man poachs, driving a volley into your netmans stomach.
If that netman falls asleep, on the next ball, your opposition crowds the net and makes your partner eat another ball.
In singles, flat deep ball bounces weird, causing a mishit and most likely a short return, so you approach shot deep and volley or overhead away the next shot.
I wish it were that simple.


Same thing, man.
If you hit a ball, flat or not, that's deep and crosscourt/away from opp. netman, your team is on the way to score.

habib
01-22-2009, 12:41 PM
Same thing, man.
If you hit a ball, flat or not, that's deep and crosscourt/away from opp. netman, your team is on the way to score.

This seems counter-intuitive - a deep ball reduces the angle of your shot and gives the netman more opportunity to reach it. If you're hitting cross-court with a man at net, don't you want to get the ball as far away from him as possible, ie: hit short with a really acute angle to take the ball off the court asap?

smoothtennis
01-22-2009, 12:48 PM
I think one of the mistakes that pros don't make, that many novice players make, is that they prepare early and that their racket is already waiting by the time the ball comes toward the contact zone. Most all beginners and novice players run to the ball, and then start the racket take back.



This is a huge thing I have noticed too. This late preperation is rampant among 4.0 and lower.

user92626
01-24-2009, 11:59 AM
This seems counter-intuitive - a deep ball reduces the angle of your shot and gives the netman more opportunity to reach it. If you're hitting cross-court with a man at net, don't you want to get the ball as far away from him as possible, ie: hit short with a really acute angle to take the ball off the court asap?

I agree with you about the angle thing, but we're talking about non-pro's here, and to me a few degree in angle different does not compare to depth in yielding benefit. Besides, I don't think it's easy to hit really acute angle (and pace) in a meaningful way for non-pros, but it looks like everyone can hit a fairly deep ball.

Steady Eddy
01-24-2009, 12:30 PM
This seems counter-intuitive - a deep ball reduces the angle of your shot and gives the netman more opportunity to reach it. If you're hitting cross-court with a man at net, don't you want to get the ball as far away from him as possible, ie: hit short with a really acute angle to take the ball off the court asap?

I agree with you about the angle thing, but we're talking about non-pro's here, and to me a few degree in angle different does not compare to depth in yielding benefit. Besides, I don't think it's easy to hit really acute angle (and pace) in a meaningful way for non-pros, but it looks like everyone can hit a fairly deep ball.Do you guys mean that if your opponent is near the baseline, then you want depth? But if your opponent is at the net, then depth doesn't matter, you need to hit it away (pass) from him.
(DTL, depth is permissable, but not necessary; CC, too much 'depth' will make your shot land wide.)

habib
01-26-2009, 01:07 PM
Do you guys mean that if your opponent is near the baseline, then you want depth? But if your opponent is at the net, then depth doesn't matter, you need to hit it away (pass) from him.
(DTL, depth is permissable, but not necessary; CC, too much 'depth' will make your shot land wide.)

Err..we were talking about having an opponent at the net, in which case, IMO, you want the opposite of depth, since depth reduces the angle you can generate. Sure, you're not going to hit a Nadal or Federer-esque passing shot, but you can still angle a short ball far better than a deep ball.