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View Full Version : Need advise to improve from 3.0 to 4.0 and beyond


chiruanna
01-26-2009, 12:00 PM
Hi all.

I've been playing seriously for about a year and am a very strong 3.0. I play doubles mostly. I have a good eye for the ball, good reflexes, good athleticism. I've pretty much built my game from ground up by reading, watching and experimenting. I haven't had any coaching at all so far but I do realize the importance of it.

I know I can be a much better player and would like to realize my true potential. So, I've set a goal to be a 4.0 (at least be able to play in the 4.0 league) in a year. (I am 31 yrs old, by the way)

I need your suggestions and a road map in getting there.

Here are some things I've thought of so far. More are welcome.

1. Play in 3.5 league (which I am doing already)
2. Get a coach
3. Practice only serve at least one day of the week.

If possible please suggest what exactly I need to work on in order to progress.

Thanks in advance.

Okazaki Fragment
01-26-2009, 01:39 PM
A ball machine helps a lot with your consistency, which at the 3.0/3.5 level is life or death.

raiden031
01-26-2009, 01:52 PM
I did pretty much what you are trying to do. (Went from 3.0 to 4.0 in about 2 years of league play). Here is my roadmap:

1) First admit that your game sucks in MANY ways, even the things you think are strengths are probably liabilities! (I swear this is the most important step)

2) Analyze how you move your feet, how you hit your strokes, and determine via instructor, video, pictures, etc. whether you are doing it right or wrong. If wrong, fix it and do it right in matches, even though you will lose more at first.

3) Practice strokes endlessly (must resist temptation to play matches every time). I had trouble finding hitting partners (who wanted to do drills) so I used a ball machine and hitting wall alot. Do every drill with a purpose.

4) Prioritize what you will work on. Always try to improve your weaknesses so that you are more well-rounded and can resort to plan B when against a superior opponent.

5) In match play, always hit with proper mechanics and choose the best shot given the opportunity (ie. know when to hit offensive and defensive). You may have temptations to push shots and such but resist at all costs. You can't legitimately go from 3.0 to 4.0 without a few embarrasing losses under your belt. The more you play to improve instead of to win, the less pressure you feel in matches and more dependable your shots get.

LeeD
01-26-2009, 05:04 PM
Practice serves at least twice a week, minimum. You don't need a partner, so go anytime.
Watch TV tennis of the pros. Make sure you hit similarly to them.
Find dedicated partners who also want to get good. Highschools or junior college the best and most players at your level.
Hit tons of balls, at least 6 hours a day, 6 days a week.
Practice service returns while your partner practices serves.
Ask better players how your game is progressing. Most will give tips, as will all of us nobody's on this forum.
Get fit. Hit more often and with direction. No mindless hitting, always have a target EVERY shot.

teppeiahn1
01-26-2009, 05:12 PM
It's not about how much you practice.
It's about the quality of practice.
Try to drill alot then finish the day with a match play.

wihamilton
01-26-2009, 05:17 PM
Hi all.

I've been playing seriously for about a year and am a very strong 3.0. I play doubles mostly. I have a good eye for the ball, good reflexes, good athleticism. I've pretty much built my game from ground up by reading, watching and experimenting. I haven't had any coaching at all so far but I do realize the importance of it.

I know I can be a much better player and would like to realize my true potential. So, I've set a goal to be a 4.0 (at least be able to play in the 4.0 league) in a year. (I am 31 yrs old, by the way)

I need your suggestions and a road map in getting there.

Here are some things I've thought of so far. More are welcome.

1. Play in 3.5 league (which I am doing already)
2. Get a coach
3. Practice only serve at least one day of the week.

If possible please suggest what exactly I need to work on in order to progress.

Thanks in advance.

Hi chiruanna. I think getting a coach is a good idea. He / she will help you work through the technical elements of each shot.

How is your footwork? If you improve that -- and it's something you can work on by yourself -- you'll improve immensely. Correct footwork is the foundation for correct groundstroke technique.

Steady Eddy
01-26-2009, 07:01 PM
3.0 to 4.0 is a huge jump. You're 31, so you're not trying to get a college scholarship or anything like that. You probably have a full-time job which consumes most of your time. It can be done, but it will take alot of work and I'm not sure what the payoff is if you're just playing social tennis. My experience wittnessing middle-aged player's tennis is that they seem to stay at the same level. The committments of modern life make it hard to form new habits. But you can still enjoy tennis and benefit from playing the game.

Tomek_tennis
01-27-2009, 01:56 AM
Play as much as you can with players at your and higher level + train with a coach. Make your fitness preparation and footwork a number one goal.

[osu]ilovecows
01-27-2009, 04:21 AM
Practice serves at least twice a week, minimum. You don't need a partner, so go anytime.
Watch TV tennis of the pros. Make sure you hit similarly to them.
Find dedicated partners who also want to get good. Highschools or junior college the best and most players at your level.
Hit tons of balls, at least 6 hours a day, 6 days a week.
Practice service returns while your partner practices serves.
Ask better players how your game is progressing. Most will give tips, as will all of us nobody's on this forum.
Get fit. Hit more often and with direction. No mindless hitting, always have a target EVERY shot.


Some of your advice is so ********, it's mind boggling. How many people do you know have the luxury/stamina/time/life/sanity/etc to hit tennis balls 6 hours a day, 6 days a week? PROS don't even do that. You're absolutely out of your mind.

Jim A
01-27-2009, 06:26 AM
+1 on footwork, getting to balls quicker and correctly will do more than anything else, its my biggest struggle on the same path

larry10s
01-27-2009, 06:57 AM
I did pretty much what you are trying to do. (Went from 3.0 to 4.0 in about 2 years of league play). Here is my roadmap:

1) First admit that your game sucks in MANY ways, even the things you think are strengths are probably liabilities! (I swear this is the most important step)

2) Analyze how you move your feet, how you hit your strokes, and determine via instructor, video, pictures, etc. whether you are doing it right or wrong. If wrong, fix it and do it right in matches, even though you will lose more at first.

3) Practice strokes endlessly (must resist temptation to play matches every time). I had trouble finding hitting partners (who wanted to do drills) so I used a ball machine and hitting wall alot. Do every drill with a purpose.

4) Prioritize what you will work on. Always try to improve your weaknesses so that you are more well-rounded and can resort to plan B when against a superior opponent.

5) In match play, always hit with proper mechanics and choose the best shot given the opportunity (ie. know when to hit offensive and defensive). You may have temptations to push shots and such but resist at all costs. You can't legitimately go from 3.0 to 4.0 without a few embarrasing losses under your belt. The more you play to improve instead of to win, the less pressure you feel in matches and more dependable your shots get.

excellent advice. learn proper tehnique from the beginning because from 4.0 up you wont find many players that "look bad". one year to 4.0 maybe alittle unrealistic but if you keep working you will get there.

LeeD
01-27-2009, 07:40 AM
Cowlover....
What is retarted is your thinking about the game....
There are no shortcuts to getting good in tennis, except hitting hundreds of thousands of tennis balls. No potions, no magic, no wishes, no bottled cures.
If you wanna get to 4.0 while your body is still intact, you have to follow my advice....hits tons of tennis balls hours and hours upon EACH day.
I did it, starting at 24..... easily got to Open level in 4 years...meaning qualifier tour 2-5 rounds, almost qualifying for first round of the main event.
If I can do it, I'd expect each and every one of YOU to be able.
All that crap about "no time", "got school", "got work", is just your WEAK excuse because you are afraid to fail at being good in tennis. You make up WEAK excuses so you don't have to say..... "I gave it my best shot, and it......." .... in my case, FAILED.

skiracer55
01-27-2009, 07:58 AM
...some pretty good advice here. Some other things you might think about:

- What style are you going to play? You can look at the thread about the 6 basic styles if you need more info. A lot of the style you pick is really the one that picks you, and a lot of this is what you like to do and are comfortable with. I can rally steady from the baseline...something I'll do if my basic game isn't working...but what I like and what works for me is all court, emphasis on the net and S&V, lots of variety.

- Lots of variety is a good thing, IMHO. I hear a lot of talk about "my forehand is flat" or "my forehand has heavy topspin." To get to and above 4.0, you've got to be able to do both...and more.

- As you've already figured out, the serve is the most important stroke, and the return is #2. It doesn't matter if you have a great forehand, if you have a helium ball for a serve, you'll never get to hit your forehand...and you'll probably lose serve a lot. If you can't return a big serve, guess what? You won't be able to break serve, so you can't win, except in a tie breaker...and if you can't return, you're not gonna win many tiebreakers, either.

- You have to cross train, and I recommend a mix, including one or two sports that are just plain hard. For me, it's Masters alpine ski racing (I'm 60, and just raced a downhill series where we were hitting speeds of 70 mph plus) and biking in the summer. I live in the Rockies, and just about every ride gives me the opportunity to do some serious climbing, which is a great thing for Chronologically Challenged athletes. Downhill racing and serious road biking are tough sports, and they help make me a tougher tennis player.

- Play to win, don't play to "not lose", and enjoy the on court struggle. Don't just play NTRP, play some age group tennis, and even some open events. I'm 60 and I play at least 3 open events a year.

Nobody's going to take you out and shoot you if you lose, and you probably aren't going to get a wild card into Wimbledon if you win. Play for yourself, play for the joy of playing and competing, and know that as you try to get better, you're going to lose some...but you'll win some, too.

One of the coolest matches I ever played was back a few years ago when I made the finals of a small tournament...and broke a string in my only racket during the warmup. Uh oh...now what? I did the only thing I could, which was tie off the damned string as best I could and play S&V, chip and charge because I figured there was no way I was going to win from the baseline. I won 6-2, 2-6, 6-2. Dedicate yourself to being a tennis player, not just somebody who plays tennis, and I guarantee you'll have at least one experience like that...

dakels
01-27-2009, 10:57 AM
Most important thing above all else:

Lessons
drilling
more lessons
drilling
even more lessons
even more drilling.

At your stage, I would be focusing on building form and a game to last a long time. No bandages and if a developmental coach says let's spend 3 months rebuilding your backhand, I'd be open to the idea. I sometimes cringe at the idea of teaching 3.0-3.5 adults because I know that bad habits, point minded play, and worst is stubbornness can be a tough obstacle to teach around building solid strokes. You have to coach the mind as well as the body. If you can accept the idea of rebuilding and drilling over and over and over, I'd go for it. If not, then focus on certain fundamental areas and try to dedicate most of your lesson and practice time to that. I really believe that focusing 60%+ of your time to one very specific area of focus is key at that stage to ingrain proper swing habits. Always believe in idea that you can and will get better and that every moment is a learning session. Do you go for the dink to try and win the point or do you nervously go for the proper technique to help your game in the long run?

To add: When looking for a coach, try to get someone who has good recommendations and credentials but also look for someone you get along with that pushes you hard. Get a coach, not a cheerleader.

chiruanna
01-27-2009, 12:24 PM
Wow, thats a lot of great advise. Thanks a lot guys.

I'll go through each one of the posts and reply.

chiruanna
01-27-2009, 01:07 PM
I did pretty much what you are trying to do. (Went from 3.0 to 4.0 in about 2 years of league play). Here is my roadmap:
.........

Thanks a lot. That's great detailed advise. I'll follow that.

Hi chiruanna. I think getting a coach is a good idea. He / she will help you work through the technical elements of each shot.
How is your footwork? If you improve that -- and it's something you can work on by yourself -- you'll improve immensely. Correct footwork is the foundation for correct groundstroke technique.

Footwork is one of my strong points, although I can improve a lot. I'm going to add a footwork drill to my schedule. Thanks.

3.0 to 4.0 is a huge jump. You're 31, so you're not trying to get a college scholarship or anything like that. You probably have a full-time job which consumes most of your time. It can be done, but it will take alot of work and I'm not sure what the payoff is if you're just playing social tennis. My experience wittnessing middle-aged player's tennis is that they seem to stay at the same level. The committments of modern life make it hard to form new habits. But you can still enjoy tennis and benefit from playing the game.

You are right, I have a full-time job and am not doing this for money or anything. If anything, its costing me a lot of time and money. Fortunately, I have some free time for tennis at this point in my life and I'd like to take full advantage of that.

I try to be the best I can be and I know for sure that I'm better than 3.0.


...some pretty good advice here. Some other things you might think about:
- What style are you going to play? You can look at the thread about the 6 basic styles if you need more info. A lot of the style you pick is really the one that picks you, and a lot of this is what you like to do and are comfortable with. I can rally steady from the baseline...something I'll do if my basic game isn't working...but what I like and what works for me is all court, emphasis on the net and S&V, lots of variety.
...

(I'm not trying to brag here)
One of my strong points is my flexibility and adaptability. I've changed grips, stances, etc in the past and had no trouble at all adapting.

I have been on high school and college teams before. So, I know I'm a good athlete.

I'm strong at the net and I do have good ground strokes, at least for the level I'm playing. So, I'd like to be an all court player. I do tend to rush to the net every chance I get. I have a good kick server that I tend to use for my second serve.

I think I have a good range of strokes but I lack consistency like most players at my level. That's what I need to improve on.

WildVolley
01-27-2009, 03:44 PM
I'd advise against practicing ONLY serve one day a week. Studies of learning show that breaking up practice into smaller units that occur more often encourages faster acquisition of skills and better retention of what is learned than trying to cram a lot at once.

If you can, practice serve a little every time you practice. Perhaps only work on it for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Then go and do something else and come back to it. At the 3.0 level, all parts of your game need work.

My other big piece of advice is to video yourself if you have a camera. You can use video to self-coach. The video will expose things you might not realize you are doing. Then you can develop drills to change your bad habits and strengthen the good ones.

Bagumbawalla
01-27-2009, 04:39 PM
Practice is the most important thing. Practice with a coach is even better.

Think of all the other sports- golf, football, baseball, track and so on- they all have some kind of coach. even professionals have coaches.

If you want to improve- that is the key.

I am 57years old. recently I have begun working out with a new coach who was once a professional player. In a mater of weeks (two months) I am up a level- though my body is paying for it with a hundred aches and pains.

Nellie
01-27-2009, 07:17 PM
I just wanted to add a couple of points:

1) have a purpose with any coaching and be very proactive with questions. Also, don't be adverse to seeing different coaches. I find that different coaches are better at teaching different skills (I see one guy for my volleys and another for my ground strokes). Don't pay to have someone feed you balls. Also, make sure you are working on your footwork and hitting balls on the run. I have seen too many people who take lessons for years and cannot play a lick.

2) In your matches, if you work on consistency and on your fitness, you will really improve fast. I am not suggesting that you push the ball. Instead, learn to play smart to hit with good form so that you can hit 20-30 shots in a row in a match with confidence.

chiruanna
01-28-2009, 08:26 AM
Just had my first coaching session last night. It was very exhausting.

I told him about my goal and said I wanted to first work on my FH & BH. He said to first work on getting the technique right and then move on to drilling.

So, he got me playing all sorts of shots, FH, BH, volley, serve, etc. to look at my technique.

I told him specifically to tell me what I was doing wrong and not just a terse comment like "good" or "low to high". And he did have quite a few suggestions. I was amazed how subtle those things are.

On the whole, I walked away happy with my first session and looking forward to the next.

Since I'm playing two league flights, I do have a busy schedule and have a day or two a week free for coaching.

How often do guys get coaching sessions? Once a week, twice? And how do I implement suggestions from the session so that I dont start from square 1 every session?

skiracer55
01-28-2009, 09:18 AM
Just had my first coaching session last night. It was very exhausting.

I told him about my goal and said I wanted to first work on my FH & BH. He said to first work on getting the technique right and then move on to drilling.

So, he got me playing all sorts of shots, FH, BH, volley, serve, etc. to look at my technique.

I told him specifically to tell me what I was doing wrong and not just a terse comment like "good" or "low to high". And he did have quite a few suggestions. I was amazed how subtle those things are.

On the whole, I walked away happy with my first session and looking forward to the next.

Since I'm playing two league flights, I do have a busy schedule and have a day or two a week free for coaching.

How often do guys get coaching sessions? Once a week, twice? And how do I implement suggestions from the session so that I dont start from square 1 every session?

...let's start with the facts. I'm 60, play at a 5.0 level or higher on my better days...but I play down in age class and also play Men's Open events. I kind of quit playing tennis for a bunch of years, then started up about 5 years ago. My coaches have been in this order:

- Dave Hodge, Men's Assistant at CU Boulder, went on to be Men's Assistant at Stanford, now is one of the National coaches for Tennis Australia, former #2 at Baylor, former ATP tour player.

- Chris Garner, Men's Assistant at CU, now head Men's Coach at Amherst, was about 120 in the world, with wins over Kafelnikov, Pat McEnroe, and Todd Martin, among others.

- Sam Winterbotham, Head Men's Coach at CU, now Head Men's Coach of the Tennessee Vols.

- Marcos Digliodo, former #2 player at CU, good buddies and hitting partner with David Nalbandian and the other Argentines.

With all of these guys, I had training with them 2 to 3 times a week, 2 to 3 hitting sessions with one of my regular hitting partners, maybe 4 to 6 tournaments in the course of a summer.

With Dave and Chris, we spent a lot of time modernizing my game. I had an Eastern/Continental forehand, which didn't cut it any more, especially in Colorado where the ball takes off like a helium balloon. I had a decent serve and volley game, but I made unforced errors at the wrong time because I...you guessed it...swung too much on my volley. I had an okay overhead...about 5 times out of 10, which ain't good enough if you plan on spending any time at the net. My serve needed help, as in more pace, more variety in terms of spin and placement, and more consistency. The only thing nobody wanted to change was my backhand slice, which everybody thinks is a world class shot that I should use a lot more than I was.

So...for the first two years, it was a lot of work on fundamentals...changing my strokes, and doing footwork drills so I could actually get to the ball on time and do something worthwhile with it. Also a lot of drills (as in the "grind" drill) just to get me more consistent and more able to attack and be a shotmaker without making stupid unforced errors. I also spent a ton of time lifting weights and doing miles on the road bike for aerobics. It took me forever to change to a semi-Western forehand...but I'm glad I did, and it's on auto pilot now.

Sam continued to work with my strokes, but also got me to spend a bunch of time on point construction drills. Sam is a really great, creative, insightful coach, and he also picked up on something I wasn't doing well. Which was putting too much thinking into a competitive match situation. He taught me to figure out how to best match my game against my opponent...but if my A game wasn't working, how to switch to a B, or even C game. But what he also taught me is that tennis is a "serial" exercise. Whatever happened on the last point, it's over...the score's in the book. Figure out what to do on the next point, and go do it. "Don't think your way through a match," he used to say. "Play your way through a match."

Last year was my second year with Marcos, and he took over right where Sam left off. Meaning, I still needed some fine tuning on my forehand, and I still needed to make my volley even more compact. We also worked a lot of overheads and return of serve (he can serve at 125 mph plus). And we played tons of points, and he'd stop after every point, and tell me what I did wrong or right. We played sets, and I finally started to win a game or two per set. Next summer, I plan to win a few more. He also had me and my hitting partner, whom he also coaches, play sets and he'd tell during the sessions and afterwords how well (or not) we competed.

So that's kind of a long way of saying you've got a good start...but be prepared to spend a bunch of time, focused time, over the next few years to get to where you want to go. It sounds like your coach is one of the good ones, so I think you've got a leg up there. So a few more pieces of advice:

- Your cross-training is important. Don't just play tennis, do some other stuff to improve your quickness, agility, explosive strength, and so forth. Andy Roddick is having a great Australian Open, and one of the reasons why is that his coach, Larry Stefanki, made him morph from a really good athlete to a super specimen.

- Don't get locked into NTRP, leagues or otherwise. I'm not a big fan of NTRP for a lot of different reasons, one of which is that it tends to be self limiting. If your goal is 4.0...maybe you'll make it, but what happens then? Just try to be the best player you can be, and the numbers will fall into place. I personally think playing in two leagues is way too much. Play some tournaments, play some Men's Open events. One Men's Open match will teach you more than 5 years of 3.5 league play.

- Find a hitting partner or two that you can go out and work on stuff, not just play endless sets. If you want to instill what your coach has you working on, you need practice time with a good hitting partner.

- Make sure your gear is right. Whatever you want to do with clothes is up to you; I spend so much time on the court and sweat like a pig, so tennis stuff that doesn't turn into a wet dishrag is the only game in town for me...but you can play in Champion Athletic wear, and win. Don't mess around with shoes. Get something that works for you, and have at least two pairs that you can rotate.

Rackets and strings...that's a whole other topic. All I can tell you about rackets is that you have to find what works with you, and have a minimum of two copies. As your game grows, you're probably going to change rackets. I started off with a kind of 4.0 "game improvement" racket, 112 sq. in head, when I started with Dave Hodge, just because I wanted more balls to go in the court than not...I know that sounds bizarre, but I didn't have the skills to hit with a "players" racket. Now I've evolved to a 102 sq. in head racket...a Head Metallix 2...which works great for me. Nobody else I know uses one, but I hit with a ton of different Wilson, Head, Prince, and so forth, rackets until I settled on the M2. I have 6 of them, because Head doesn't make 'em any more. I have the swing weight/balance customized with lead tape, and...note especially, use a fairly small grip (4 3/8), which is a trend these days, because the racket sits in your hand more comfortably and you can manipulate it easier for grip changes, to create spin, etc. Nadal and Federer both use tiny grips, like 4 1/4 or something like that.

Strings are totally important. I use 17 guage Technifibre X-1 BiPhase, strung tight (62 lbs.). I'm not a shill for Technifibre, there's lots of good strings out there, it's just that for me, of all the strings I've tried, X-1 gives me the best feel, and I'm a feel player. I always have 3 rackets strung the same, and I restring after every 8 to 10 hours, even if the strings don't break. After 3 to 4 sessions of hard hitting, a playability string like X-1, is, IMHO, pretty flat.

So that's it...any questions?

dakels
01-28-2009, 09:35 AM
Great post skiracer55! I wish I had more time to comment.

LeeD
01-28-2009, 09:36 AM
Sure...
Just how many overheads can you crush and put away IN A ROW, from between the service line to the baseline?
How consistent and deep is your backhand overhead?
Can your first and second serves bounce to the backwall on ONE bounce, when it goes in?
Can you cover alley to alley in the singles court and get into hitting position each time?
Are your second serves 95% or better, and can you direct it either side and into the body.
Can you move your first serves either side and up the middle?
Are your low volleys consistent?
Half volleys?
:):):)

jmjmkim
01-28-2009, 09:38 AM
In golf, breaking 100 is relatively easy, if you (1) put in the time, (2) have a decent athletic ability. Now, breaking 90 is exponentially harder than breaking 100, and breaking 80 is even more (exponentially)

To be honest, it's kind of like learning a new language. If you learn a new language, let's say at a late Jr. High, or High school, you will be proficient in terms of grammar and Vocabulary, but you will most likely always carry the "accent".

In most cases, starting tennis in late 20's or 30's, will always have that "awkward accent" which develops when teaching yourself tennis ( or golf)

The best thing to do is to take lessons, and build a solid form in all the strokes. Otherwise, you will always be a "recreational player" and will always look like one.

Also, your game will be inconsistent.

LeeD
01-28-2009, 09:43 AM
Possibly generally, it can be true, if you don't play other sports at a high level.
Personally, I take it as an offence to the human race.
We don't all need coaching. Many yes, most maybe. But not all.
You watch tennis on TV, the pros, not the duffers.
You ask better players how your game is evolving.
You watch the better players and their different techniques.
You practice with the better players, and play with your equals and below.
Your aspirations are pro level, so don't copy bad players.
Don't copy the pros, practice a conglomeration of all their techniques embodied into your mental and physical makeup.
If you can't conceive the above, you're probably still learning the basics.
And we're realistically talking about the aspiration up to and including 6.0, not necessarily better.

skiracer55
01-28-2009, 09:51 AM
Great post skiracer55! I wish I had more time to comment.

...just for that, you get autographed copies of the following (I know...it's not tennis, but it is tennis's Evil Twin, ski racing...):


http://www.rmmskiracing.org/snownews/SnowNews-2003Feb.pdf

http://www.rmmskiracing.org/articles/RMalm-2006-03-Goals.pdf

http://www.rmmskiracing.org/articles/RMalm-2006-03-Hotbox.pdf

http://www.rmmskiracing.org/articles/RMalm-2006-03-Hotbox-Part2.pdf

http://www.rmmskiracing.org/articles/RMalm-2001-10-DayJob.pdf

SourStraws
01-28-2009, 11:16 AM
Practice serves at least twice a week, minimum. You don't need a partner, so go anytime.
Watch TV tennis of the pros. Make sure you hit similarly to them.
Find dedicated partners who also want to get good. Highschools or junior college the best and most players at your level.
Hit tons of balls, at least 6 hours a day, 6 days a week.
Practice service returns while your partner practices serves.
Ask better players how your game is progressing. Most will give tips, as will all of us nobody's on this forum.
Get fit. Hit more often and with direction. No mindless hitting, always have a target EVERY shot.

This is probably the most realistic post (thats cut and dry and to the point.... And I dont feel like quoting Ski Lover).... If you wanna improe your game..... Put in the time..... 6 hours a day isnt really an option for most ppl.... But a good 2 or 3 hours a day and about 30 minutes of shadowing while watching TV isnt that bad for someone at the 3.0 level


S.S.

chiruanna
01-28-2009, 11:17 AM
Wow skiracer55. thanks a lot for the advise.

At what age did you first start playing tennis?

I'm using the NTRP 4.0 as a measurable goal. That's all. I'm not married to the NTRP system.

That was some great gear advise. I did spend a lot of time demo'ing racquets and trying out shoes, I'm glad I've settled down on my K-Swiss stabilors. They alone helped my game a lot.

As for the stick, I've settled with the Head Prestige Pro. Although its 12.2 Oz, I find it very maneuverable and I get great control on my volleys. I dont even know what string it has on it.

I still have a long way to go in experimenting with racquets and strings though.

skiracer55
01-28-2009, 11:35 AM
Wow skiracer55. thanks a lot for the advise.

At what age did you first start playing tennis?

I'm using the NTRP 4.0 as a measurable goal. That's all. I'm not married to the NTRP system.

That was some great gear advise. I did spend a lot of time demo'ing racquets and trying out shoes, I'm glad I've settled down on my K-Swiss stabilors. They alone helped my game a lot.

As for the stick, I've settled with the Head Prestige Pro. Although its 12.2 Oz, I find it very maneuverable and I get great control on my volleys. I dont even know what string it has on it.

I still have a long way to go in experimenting with racquets and strings though.

...I started playing when I was...eight years old, tournaments when I was 12...I think. Man, it's hell getting old. I played #2 on my high school team, didn't make my college team...then I dropped out and became a ski bum/ski instructor. When I was teaching skiing in the 70s and early 80s in Breckenridge, I played the Colorado circuit for a couple of years. One year I got to the last 16 in Intermountain Men's Open Singles and the last 8 in doubles. Then I got burned out on tennis and went road biking...for about 15 years. The story begins again with my last post.

I'd say your gear is looking good. A Head Prestige Pro is a great stick IMHO. Just try some other rackets when you get a chance. Most people who play a lot of tennis have their own stringing machines. If I get lazy, I can get Rocky Mountain Rackets to put in X-1 BiPhase...for about $40. I can buy coils from TW for $15 and restring a racket in 45 minutes while I'm watching the Tennis Channel.

4.0 as a measurable goal is great thinking, IMHO. As in, it's hard to know if you're getting any better if you don't use some kind of measurement system...good luck, and stay in touch...

Cnote
01-28-2009, 12:48 PM
Good post you started here. I am happy to see that you really enjoy the game. I started playing tennis about 1 1/2 yrs ago from scratch and now I am rated at a 3.5 level. The biggest help to me was feedback from instructors, playing with people one level above me, and doing strokes. I typically hit against a wall 2-3x/wk to remain consistent strokes and technique. Someone mentioned earlier that consistency is the difference in achieving your goal. I wholeheartedly agree. When I became a 3.0 I started playing some ladders and singles leagues, and initially I got knocked around b/c the good, solid 3.0 players were more consistent w/ their FH and BH than me. Once my consistency went up I was able to compete w/ them and eventually beat them on a regular basis. At the end of last year I began working more on advanced techniques like slice serve, topspin slice serve, improving BH slice, and consistent volleying to add variety to my game and to help change the pace of the game. Don't know if I will achieve a 4.0 level but the game is a lot more fun now b/c I am getting more variety to add to it. I got away from worrying about ratings b/c sometimes I would play a person ratde themselves as a 3.0 when they were really closer to 3.5-4.0. This was demoralizing at first b/c I did not think I was progressing as I had hoped, but of course I got over it when I learned they had "under-rated" themselves.

Tennisman912
01-28-2009, 01:15 PM
Chiruanna,

My best advice is get some instruction to make sure you have your technical skills down pat. Fix this first before spending hours and hours hitting and practicing what may be wrong technique. Very, very few can pick up the little things just watching others with no instruction. Poor technique and the inability physically or just laziness to change their technique is what limits most players to below 4.0. As you noticed in your recent lesson, there are many subtleties to the game, especially as you improve your level.

After your technique is good, then lots of practice and your willingness to put in the time are most important. And after you have good technique, you will realize how much your strategy matters as the best player doesn’t always win, especially in club tennis. And knowing what to do when only comes with match experience, lots of it. This is very important. There is a reason that advanced player you just hit with seems to know what you are going to do and are thinking all the time, because they do. They know what you are going to do before you do. When you become that player you are getting somewhere.

You’re goal is very doable if you are willing to take a step or two back in order to make many more steps forward over the long haul.

Good luck and enjoy the journey.

TM

mawashi
02-01-2009, 06:10 PM
Just had my first coaching session last night. It was very exhausting.

I told him about my goal and said I wanted to first work on my FH & BH. He said to first work on getting the technique right and then move on to drilling.

So, he got me playing all sorts of shots, FH, BH, volley, serve, etc. to look at my technique.

I told him specifically to tell me what I was doing wrong and not just a terse comment like "good" or "low to high". And he did have quite a few suggestions. I was amazed how subtle those things are.

On the whole, I walked away happy with my first session and looking forward to the next.

Since I'm playing two league flights, I do have a busy schedule and have a day or two a week free for coaching.

How often do guys get coaching sessions? Once a week, twice? And how do I implement suggestions from the session so that I dont start from square 1 every session?

I'm kidda in the same boat as you but I'm older n I just restarted my lessons after more than 10 yrs.

Basically I have to keep a log of what I've been going well n not so well and to remind my coach where I am in terms of my game.

My coach used to forget where I was in terms of my serve so he sometimes ask me to use a certain stance when I've already gone beyond that pt already.

I play 2x a week for 2 hrs each. I session being coaching the other just hitting around with my mates.

If you have a video camera, tape each session for reference n please for gawd's sake don't keep changing racquets LOL! (my mistake to learn from)

Keep willing to learn n never give up a rally.

Cheers n good luck.

mawashi

chiruanna
02-11-2009, 10:34 AM
So far things have been going well.
I've had two coaching sessions and I could see a slight improvement in my consistency. It is a lot of hard work though.
Now, I firmly believe if I continue this way, I can get much better.

Also, things have been good in the league. I've won all my games in both the flights although the tougher matches are ahead. But I feel more confident.

Again, thanks for all your advise so far.

paulfreda
02-12-2009, 07:30 AM
My opinion ...
If you can find a world class coach to take you on and have the money and time to make it effective, do that.
If that is not possible which is likely for most people, then find your biggest weakness and turn it in to your best shot. How to do this ?
Find a local player who you think has that shot down pat and get him to teach you what he thinks and does to be so effective.
Do that again with another player for that same shot. Soon this weakness will be an offensive weapon.

Now repeat this with the next biggest weakness in your game.

Write the ideas and key swing thoughts down because you will forget them with time.

Finally develop a weapon with the FH or Serve by again finding a local player whose FH or Serve you wish to have.

In 6 months to a year you will be a 4.5 assuming you have some athletic ability and determination to follow thru with the plan.

JMHO if I were doing it all over again myself.

LeeD
02-12-2009, 07:38 AM
Agree with PaulFreda...
I never had any coaching...that I paid for.
But better players always seem to gravitate towards me and offer good advice, often while we watched other good players in their matches or practices. Hearing and seeing at the same time is the best teacher for me.
First year, CeciMartinez (former Womens' top 10 Pro)
Second year, the entire Louie female clan, ArtLarsen, and the old farts at GoldenGateParkSanFrancisco.
Third year, mostly #1's at Div111 and 11 colleges, and USF's tennis coach.
You gotta hang around, LISTEN, be humble, but play the big game. Don't celebrate your winners, call the lines fair, and accept defeat, even if cheated, with a high chin and offer congrats.

Spokewench
02-12-2009, 07:47 AM
I think in your earliest post you said that you play mostly doubles. I would suggest that you get 3 other people who are about your level and take a 4-some lesson, i.e. the instructer teaches you in a 4-some. They will teach you doubles movement, strategy, etc. This will help your doubles game immensely.

spoke