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View Full Version : Trying to decide hard or heavy?


OJ ROD
02-11-2009, 12:20 PM
First thing, if I'm asking for too much of an assesmant, ignore me, I'm just frustrated and can't seem to figure this out by myself, so I figured I'd post and maybe someone could offer advice.

Okay, when I started playing tennis, like most people, I was taught a Eastern forehand and semiwestern 2HB. I played like that for awhile. But when I stopped taking lessons, genius me decided to start messing with my strokes and trying different grips and swings without really knowing what I was doing. Later on I got with a coach who gave some much needed structure to my strokes and lent some insight about me and tennis.

Now I've definitely come a long way. All my strokes have developed nicely and I've come a long way in learning how to use them(though most of my learning I can safely say is still ahead of me). My coach told me when I started with him and was using my freakish strokes(one coach refused to acknowledge my backhand and call it a "thing"LOL:)) that I was a 1.5-2.0. When he left he said that most of the time I was a consistent 4.0. But that at my best I was a 4.5.

But my dilema comes here. I'm 5'9", about 150. Earth shattering power is not what I depend on to win matches. I am a straight up counter pucher. I try to use fitness and consistency to win matches. So using spin I understand is key. My coach had the philosophy of a heavy spun rather than hard. And that basically describes by forehand. A LOT of spin. Not over your head, just a lot. But as much as I respect him I have realized that maybe that's not the best thing for me. When I play players like 5.0 that can actually hit and aren't bothered with long rallies, they crush me because I can't take charge of the point with my forehand. A can hit flat with my backhand and that helps set up my forehand when I get a sitter on the ad side, but my forehand just doesn't have the juice behind it.

I hit with, what I would describe as an extreme semi-western. But due to my results against advanced players, Ive thought of maybe changing it to an eastern or "extreme eastern"(but now it won't be like before because I have a much better understanding of how my body works when it comes to tennis, and tennis strokes.) I feel like then my forehand can be a harder and though I may sacrifice some "heavyness" a could take charge of the point and put away balls with more authority.

I'm posting basically because I don't want to make an unnecessary change. There might be something that I have overlooked. I've been at this awhile and I'm stuck in a rut. My renaissance coach moved and so did I so we lost touch.

If anyone has any insight that would be helpful I would really appreciated.

P.S. I don't know if it's relevant but my reconstructive tennis surgery began a 2 months from my birthday and ended in a about a year. (I finished with him when I was 17.) I just turned 20 and just finished a 6 month break to nurse some injuries.

LeeD
02-11-2009, 01:07 PM
First of all, coach's always say you're better after they teach you and make some money off you.
You have to decide if you want to play defensive go chase them down tennis or first strike, dictate the point type of tennis.
Obviously, having both styles is the way to go.
Your normal topspin SW to W forehand can work, if you hit it deep every or most of the time. Deep as in landing closer than 3' from the baseline. If you can make it land deeper, you won't really need the topspin.... hence the idea of a Eastern forehand.
Whichever allows you to return most balls DEEP into the opponents court.
Fast moving hard balls are easy to return and rip if hit short.
So DEPTH is the key...whatever gives you the deep shots.
HIT higher over the net on your forehand?

OJ ROD
02-11-2009, 01:16 PM
First of all, coach's always say you're better after they teach you and make some money off you.
You have to decide if you want to play defensive go chase them down tennis or first strike, dictate the point type of tennis.
Obviously, having both styles is the way to go.
Your normal topspin SW to W forehand can work, if you hit it deep every or most of the time. Deep as in landing closer than 3' from the baseline. If you can make it land deeper, you won't really need the topspin.... hence the idea of a Eastern forehand.
Whichever allows you to return most balls DEEP into the opponents court.
Fast moving hard balls are easy to return and rip if hit short.
So DEPTH is the key...whatever gives you the deep shots.
HIT higher over the net on your forehand?

Depth is not a problem with me. That's actually one of my better traits. I almost always get it on the baseline. But I see what you're saying. As far as my coach...well...I knew him pretty well. And he was full of it most of the time anyway, other than things pertaining to tennis. He actually said at my best I was a 5.0. But I always know what he really means and I pretty realistic, I know 5.0 when I see one. I am NOT a 5.0. Want to get there but I still gotta a lot a work to do to earn that distinction.

My coach was a trip.

LeeD
02-11-2009, 01:24 PM
Remember, you don't always need blazing pace or oval topspin to achieve success, even against top professionals.
McEnroes flat shots, and Connor's sidespin deep balls worked perfectly well against players better than anyone in today's 5.0 to 6.0 levels. For sure, today's 7.0's would eat up those pansy balls.
But we don't play against TODAY's 7.0's.
LeytonHewitt is solid 5'9".
Chang was a real 5'7" with high shoes.
I suspect your opponents were eating up your forehands because they weren't placed really well, or didn't have the necessary depth.
Most 5.0 players have little trouble returning flat hit backhands, unless they're placed within 3' of the baseline.
And I seriously doubt your backhand was ever worse than 3.5, if you really were a 5.0 player on a good day.

Geezer Guy
02-11-2009, 01:25 PM
Before you try changing your physical game - which can take quite a bit of effort, you might try changing your mental game - which is somewhat easier. With heavy topspin you may be able to play more aggressively by jerking your opponents wide side to side instead of just hitting up the middle. Remember how Agassi would dictate play late in his career? And Nadal hits with heavy topspin, but only lately has started to flatten out some of his shots a bit. If you can angle your shots off the side of the court, instead of out the back of the court, you can control points and even get a few winners.