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anchorage
02-13-2009, 01:52 PM
So, I was playing this evening as normal; playing OK.

Normally, on my groundstrokes, I have some trigger thoughts, usually something like 'get sideways, turn shoulders', etc, etc.

I then decided to do something different - focus solely upon the intended direction of the shot (really visualising the intended shot). I played two sets like that and it made a noticeable difference. My accuracy improved signficantly.

I also made subtle grip changes automatically. For example, I had to retrieve a drop shot and decided right away to hit an acute angle across the net. That decision triggered an instant grip change. Before, I would have been far more focussed on the grip change itself and then the shot positioning.

How many of you guys do the same thing?

skiracer55
02-13-2009, 02:18 PM
So, I was playing this evening as normal; playing OK.

Normally, on my groundstrokes, I have some trigger thoughts, usually something like 'get sideways, turn shoulders', etc, etc.

I then decided to do something different - focus solely upon the intended direction of the shot (really visualising the intended shot). I played two sets like that and it made a noticeable difference. My accuracy improved signficantly.

I also made subtle grip changes automatically. For example, I had to retrieve a drop shot and decided right away to hit an acute angle across the net. That decision triggered an instant grip change. Before, I would have been far more focussed on the grip change itself and then the shot positioning.

How many of you guys do the same thing?

...if all you're thinking about, essentially, is "have to get prepared for the shot", then maybe you will, but inevitably, once you do, you'll say "Okay, been there, done that...now what?" If, on the other hand, you see the point at a larger level, as you're describing, you'll pick the right shot, then get prepared, and what follows next will be automatic. There's a subtle variation of this, which John Newcombe called "preacting."

Against a big server, the points are usually short and fast. Kind of like a knife fight in a phone booth. Use the first few games of the match to start reading your opponent's serving patterns, especially on big points, like 30-30. At 30-30, a wide slice serve is one move, but so is a heavy flat ball or kick down the T. Which does your opponent go to as a bread and butter serve? Can you spot what he's doing from variations in the serve toss and motion? If, for example, I think my opponent is going to serve heavy down the middle, I have this little script in the back of my head that says "backhand chip down the middle, make him volley up, look for the forehand pass, dip it low where he ain't." That's a very probable scenario, so if I've got that little tape in the back of my head, and the point unfolds that way, presto, I just run the tape. That's preacting. What if things don't happen that way? Well, I just improvise and do the best I can, and maybe I win the point and maybe I lose it. But against a big server, you've got to load the dice in your favor, which means you have to take some calculated risks. Ergo, preacting...

LeeD
02-13-2009, 02:21 PM
With more experience comes more possible replys.
You store it all in your upstairs, and can recall when needed.
No experience, you have little to recall.
Art vs learned technique. Which is better? How about BOTH !

fuzz nation
02-15-2009, 08:20 AM
Believe it or not, you already know how to prepare to hit your shots. You saw some evidence of that when you "got your head out of the way" and focussed more on what you wanted to do with the ball. You just recalled what you've already learned in your practice sessions. That's why we need to practice with conviction and purpose - to load those mechanics into the software that's our brains.

This doesn't mean that you already know how to hit a Federer forehand or that what you've learned won't sometimes abandon you. Keeping up with the practicing though, will connect the feel and tempo in your preparation with the good shots that you hit. As you learn better habits, your head will connect that feel with the good strokes that you repeat and as soon as you recognize how to play an incoming ball, you'll just use the grip and set up that you've already rehearsed. Good training sessions make the difference.