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View Full Version : I don't have any weapons....now what?


Mansewerz
02-13-2009, 07:07 PM
I've realized that I have no weapons. I can get serves in (flat) but they don't have much on them. I don't have extreme topspin, nor do I have a lot of pace. My footspeed sucks. Volleys need work. Serve needs major work. what needs the most work however are my service returns. Absolutely horrid.

I'm working on improving a lot of these things, but getting practice in at this time of year is difficult.


Where to go from here? Anyone else have no weapons?

Craig8592505
02-13-2009, 07:26 PM
Maybe you could elaborate on what you have been doing to improve your game and develop weapons, and then the forums gods will instruct you in the ways of the Jedi so you can hit winners from anywhere in the court.

But seriously, what are you currently doing to improve?

Mansewerz
02-13-2009, 07:30 PM
Maybe you could elaborate on what you have been doing to improve your game and develop weapons, and then the forums gods will instruct you in the ways of the Jedi so you can hit winners from anywhere in the court.

But seriously, what are you currently doing to improve?

I'm taking lessons with 3 other people. We do a lot of volleys. Unfortunately, I have little time to practice them because court time is expensive.

I know that I need to work on footwork. I try to hit the ball deep with adequate spin, but more often than not, it's a short ball with nothing on it but spin that sits up for my opponent to wail on.

My serve I've been trying to flatten out, and it's working, but I need more practice.

My biggest if is my return, especially the backhand side. I'm super uncomfortable with a body serve, and I have no idea how to counter the backhand or body serve...

zidane339
02-13-2009, 07:31 PM
Even with no weapons, you can still find ways to win with hard work and practice. I recommend you pick up Brad Gilbert's Winning Ugly. Brad was someone who didn't have that many weapons, but still found a way to win. It'll help you a lot.

BobFL
02-13-2009, 07:39 PM
Anyone else have no weapons?

Simon?:)

I am sure you will develop one if you work hard. If not real huge weapon then signature shot.

tennisdad65
02-13-2009, 07:48 PM
I've realized that I have no weapons. I can get serves in (flat) but they don't have much on them. I don't have extreme topspin, nor do I have a lot of pace. My footspeed sucks. Volleys need work. Serve needs major work. what needs the most work however are my service returns. Absolutely horrid.

what level are you?

At every level, each of us feels the same way about some or many aspects of our game :).

Fay
02-13-2009, 08:02 PM
I wanted to develop my game evenly and my coach insisted that I work on my strongest shot first to make it a weapon. We would work on my FH about 45 minutes out of every lesson for months, and honestly now I am very happy we did. I would go home and work on my volleys, BH, drop shot with my hubby as well as my FH, but back to my lesson it was "spank that ball, harder, you can put more on the ball than that ... " or something like that. In about 9 months big men actually started to comment "wow, that is some FH you have."

My suggestion is to work on your favorite shot until it gets solid. My BH finally came along after 2 years of hard work, but I am glad my coach had me running around my FH in lessons as I got a lot more comfortable hitting it.

Watch your favorite players on YouTube or wherever, and work against a backboard or wall ... memorize in your mind what they look like and visualize them when you play. that is free and will help a lot.

And, then be sure to work on your serve. You need two weapons ... something and your serve to feel confident. Then bring the rest of your game along.

Rickson
02-13-2009, 08:07 PM
I haven't had any weapons since I began so I started pushing.

maverick66
02-13-2009, 08:13 PM
I haven't had any weapons since I began so I started pushing.

i was gonna recomend this. dont miss a ball. go crosscourt 95% of the time. let them beat themselves. then they can come here and complain about you which is a good thing. get yourself in shape and be a grinder. make them earn every point they take off of you. you will win alot of matches just keeping the ball in play. there are guys ranked in the 600-1400 atp that have no weapons compared to that level and yet they still find ways to win through consistency and fitness.

Mansewerz
02-13-2009, 08:15 PM
My goal is to play serve and volley btw

WildVolley
02-13-2009, 08:17 PM
Don't worry about it. Think about technique at this stage and always look to improve. Seriously, if you can develop the technique and get in shape, your game might improve drastically.

I think the easiest weapon for most people to develop is the topspin forehand. Learn how to hit an aggressive topspin rally ball and then as your confidence builds, start being a bit more daring on short balls with you angles.

The serve is a shot you can practice on your own, and technique is very important. Start slowly, perfect your toss, and strengthen your shoulder, and you can develop it into a fearsome weapon.

BullDogTennis
02-13-2009, 08:30 PM
well if you cant get out and play get on and run, or do footwork drills. work on serves,work on getting a good kick serve(that will also help your flat serve.)

orangettecoleman
02-13-2009, 09:03 PM
practice keeping your groundstrokes deep and work on your footwork and speed so you can get everything back.

saram
02-13-2009, 09:22 PM
As mentioned above...watch Simon videos on youtube...:)

maverick66
02-14-2009, 12:53 AM
My goal is to play serve and volley btw

if your slow its gonna be really hard to do so. you cant force a style. you gotta take what you got and maximize that. i hit really big but didnt move that well so i had to go for more even though i enjoyed grinding out matches. it just wasnt smart for me to use a style that didnt give me the best chance to win.

Djokovicfan4life
02-14-2009, 02:22 AM
Simon?:)



Hahahahaha, yeah, if by no weapons you mean unbelievable footspeed and mental toughness!

OP, you sound like the kind of guy that is realistic with himself and knows that there is room for improvement in ANY aspect of tennis. This is great.

I'd love to see a video of your playing if you've got a video camera. If not, you can get one for a reasonable price. My biggest improvements have come from video analysis.

Matt

Djokovicfan4life
02-14-2009, 02:29 AM
if your slow its gonna be really hard to do so. you cant force a style. you gotta take what you got and maximize that. i hit really big but didnt move that well so i had to go for more even though i enjoyed grinding out matches. it just wasnt smart for me to use a style that didnt give me the best chance to win.

If you don't move well then you need to get in better shape and work on that footwork, sorry.

And you absolutely can "force" a style of play, as you put it. A player is only as good as the things he practices, so if Mansewerz wants to serve and volley then he can do so, provided that he works on: first and second serves, transition game, volleys, etc. Not to mention a solid ground game to get by on until gets a chance to come in.

And why would he be "forcing" a style if that's the way he wants to play?

Matt

AlphaCDjkr
02-14-2009, 11:56 AM
That reminds me a little of me right now.

When I learned how to play, I thought it would be SO COOL to be able to do every shot existing in tennis! Once I was able to do topspin FH/BHs, I asked my friend to show me how to slice. From that point on I did nothing but slices. Once I thought I was good at slices, I started looking up how to do spin serves... I learned the slice, then the topspin-slice, then the kick, and now the twist. Then I watch Prince of Tennis and that opens up a whole other slew of potential shots that I HAD to learn... Buggy whip shot. Tweener. Twist spin groundstrokes. ETC.

I felt so accomplished, until senior year started and I suddenly realized through experience, that I may have everything... but at the same time I have NOTHING. I would literally be able to pull off any shot you could ask me to do, and if I couldn't do it, I'd spend the next whatever long days researching on the internet, how to do it until I could. While I spent my time broadening my repertoire of shots, my friends spent their time sharpening the few they had... and as a result, they are much, much stronger than me. I may be able to win random points here and there due to trickery and flashy shots that are unexpected, they are able to win the majority of points with their skill. I'm just a weak 3.5-4.0ish player, and really I should be working on strengthening my basic shots rather than seeking out the complicated shots that I shouldn't even be using.

For you, maybe you could have somebody drill you. Let them just feed ball after ball to you at net, work on your volleys. They should start becoming comfortable and very fluid at a point, which is when you can say you're getting quite proficient. Work on everything piece by piece... That's my opinion, at least..

Mansewerz
02-14-2009, 12:03 PM
That reminds me a little of me right now.

When I learned how to play, I thought it would be SO COOL to be able to do every shot existing in tennis! Once I was able to do topspin FH/BHs, I asked my friend to show me how to slice. From that point on I did nothing but slices. Once I thought I was good at slices, I started looking up how to do spin serves... I learned the slice, then the topspin-slice, then the kick, and now the twist. Then I watch Prince of Tennis and that opens up a whole other slew of potential shots that I HAD to learn... Buggy whip shot. Tweener. Twist spin groundstrokes. ETC.

I felt so accomplished, until senior year started and I suddenly realized through experience, that I may have everything... but at the same time I have NOTHING. I would literally be able to pull off any shot you could ask me to do, and if I couldn't do it, I'd spend the next whatever long days researching on the internet, how to do it until I could. While I spent my time broadening my repertoire of shots, my friends spent their time sharpening the few they had... and as a result, they are much, much stronger than me. I may be able to win random points here and there due to trickery and flashy shots that are unexpected, they are able to win the majority of points with their skill. I'm just a weak 3.5-4.0ish player, and really I should be working on strengthening my basic shots rather than seeking out the complicated shots that I shouldn't even be using.

For you, maybe you could have somebody drill you. Let them just feed ball after ball to you at net, work on your volleys. They should start becoming comfortable and very fluid at a point, which is when you can say you're getting quite proficient. Work on everything piece by piece... That's my opinion, at least..

If you don't move well then you need to get in better shape and work on that footwork, sorry.

And you absolutely can "force" a style of play, as you put it. A player is only as good as the things he practices, so if Mansewerz wants to serve and volley then he can do so, provided that he works on: first and second serves, transition game, volleys, etc. Not to mention a solid ground game to get by on until gets a chance to come in.

And why would he be "forcing" a style if that's the way he wants to play?

Matt

Thanks for the tips everyone. I agree, I need to work on building strengths first. And it's good to know that I can play the style I want.

Another question. What tips do you guys have for the return of serve. Especially the two handed one?

LeeD
02-14-2009, 12:58 PM
Turn shoulders sideways, lean towards the opponent, stroke fully thru, but with shorter prep than regular groundie. Punish them for serving to your two hander.

LeeD
02-14-2009, 01:04 PM
Oh.. no weapons !
Just have to have all the strokes, no weakness, and you can mask your lack of one or two big shots.
But you have to react, run, and, retrieve more than guys with even ONE big weapon.
We all gotta make do with what we were given.

Mansewerz
02-14-2009, 01:26 PM
Oh.. no weapons !
Just have to have all the strokes, no weakness, and you can mask your lack of one or two big shots.
But you have to react, run, and, retrieve more than guys with even ONE big weapon.
We all gotta make do with what we were given.

The thing is that I can't counterpunch. I don't have the footspeed. I need to work on my footwork and fitness.

maverick66
02-14-2009, 01:31 PM
If you don't move well then you need to get in better shape and work on that footwork, sorry.

And you absolutely can "force" a style of play, as you put it. A player is only as good as the things he practices, so if Mansewerz wants to serve and volley then he can do so, provided that he works on: first and second serves, transition game, volleys, etc. Not to mention a solid ground game to get by on until gets a chance to come in.

And why would he be "forcing" a style if that's the way he wants to play?

Matt

if hes slow hes gonna have a really hard time s & v. that style requires more athleticism than any other style. hes forcing it because he wants to serve and volley but he doesnt have the ability to do so. you cant just say i want to play this style and then expect for it to work. its not gonna happen. if he has no weapons he needs to learn to grind out points and use that to win matches. thats the goal is to win matches.

LeeD
02-14-2009, 02:05 PM
Movement....
S/V, need only the initial move and two steps. Speed not necessary, but quickness and explosion IS the whole ball of wax.
Just be sure, if you don't have good movement, to be 6'4" or TALLER, for the reach, and learn how to defend yourself from incoming low balls.

Mansewerz
02-14-2009, 02:07 PM
Movement....
S/V, need only the initial move and two steps. Speed not necessary, but quickness and explosion IS the whole ball of wax.
Just be sure, if you don't have good movement, to be 6'4" or TALLER, for the reach, and learn how to defend yourself from incoming low balls.

My biggest goal is to improve footwork. And I love the feeling of a well hit low volley.

Mansewerz
02-14-2009, 02:52 PM
Speaking of fitness, I just got back from a 2 mile run. Had to wear 4 layers up top, glove, the whole shebang! Luckily got it in before dark. Feels good!

Ballinbob
02-14-2009, 02:55 PM
just curious, what's your mile time? do you know?

Moz
02-14-2009, 02:56 PM
We do a lot of volleys. Unfortunately, I have little time to practice them because court time is expensive.



Of all the things to practice when time is short I would have thought volleys is the last thing you'd want to do.

You can do a lot of footwork training without a court. Fitness and speed training too. Good luck.

Mansewerz
02-14-2009, 02:59 PM
Of all the things to practice when time is short I would have thought volleys is the last thing you'd want to do.

You can do a lot of footwork training without a court. Fitness and speed training too. Good luck.

Thanks. Fitness is a big part of what needs to get better. I'm not overweight or anything (though I have gained 5 or so lbs), but I'm not Michael Johnson either.

And are you saying it's a bad thing to worry about volleys right now?

just curious, what's your mile time? do you know?

Meh, i'm slow at distance. Not real fast with sprints either. I think my last mile time was 7:17 indoors. Something like that.

Ballinbob
02-14-2009, 03:05 PM
Meh, i'm slow at distance. Not real fast with sprints either. I think my last mile time was 7:17 indoors. Something like that.

I really think if you can get that mile time under 7 minutes that would help you alot. Having a 7- minute mile should really improve your stamina and endurance.

And I don't know what your 100m dash time is, but if you can get it around 13 seconds flat that will really help your speed.

So I think fitness wise, a 7- minute mile and a 13~13.5s 100m dash should be your fitness goals. I'm positive that achieving these times will help your speed/endurance, and I think with some work these times are achievable. Work on these sprints/runs off court and practice them everyday. The time will come when you'll feel yourself move faster on the court and be able to play longer without tiring

Good luck

Moz
02-14-2009, 03:05 PM
Thanks. Fitness is a big part of what needs to get better. I'm not overweight or anything (though I have gained 5 or so lbs), but I'm not Michael Johnson either.

And are you saying it's a bad thing to worry about volleys right now?



I would say that concentrating on volleys gives you the least bang for your buck as good volleys are pretty worthless until you first get either an effective serve or groundstrokes - preferably both. Approach the net without one of the other beforehand you won't get to try out your volley anyway!

I would make groundstrokes your priority - whether you like it or not you're going to be hitting those more than anything else.

Mansewerz
02-14-2009, 03:09 PM
I would say that concentrating on volleys gives you the least bang for your buck as good volleys are pretty worthless until you first get either an effective serve or groundstrokes - preferably both. Approach the net without one of the other beforehand you won't get to try out your volley anyway!

I would make groundstrokes your priority - whether you like it or not you're going to be hitting those more than anything else.

I see. I agree with you, but I will most likely play doubles, so I can't neglect them. But first and foremost, the serve and return are what I need work on the most. If I can't do those, I won't even be able to play :(

I really think if you can get that mile time under 7 minutes that would help you alot. Having a 7- minute mile should really improve your stamina and endurance.

And I don't know what your 100m dash time is, but if you can get it around 13 seconds flat that will really help your speed.

So I think fitness wise, a 7- minute mile and a 13~13.5s 100m dash should be your fitness goals. I'm positive that achieving these times will help your speed/endurance, and I think with some work these times are achievable. Work on these sprints/runs off court and practice them everyday. The time will come when you'll feel yourself move faster on the court and be able to play longer without tiring

Good luck

Thanks for the advice. I'm trying to run at least a mile or more most days of the week. I'm going to hopefully incorporate more sprints into my workouts, and get back to the gym (damn school, barely have time to workout. The school system is effed up if you can't get a workout in because of homework). All of my workouts have explosive work in them unless i'm running, so hopefully those should help.

Djokovicfan4life
02-14-2009, 07:12 PM
if hes slow hes gonna have a really hard time s & v. that style requires more athleticism than any other style. hes forcing it because he wants to serve and volley but he doesnt have the ability to do so. you cant just say i want to play this style and then expect for it to work. its not gonna happen. if he has no weapons he needs to learn to grind out points and use that to win matches. thats the goal is to win matches.

Respectfully disagree.

What you need to understand is that the agility and reflexes at net are LEARNED SKILLS rather than natural abilities. The burst, the split step, the anticipation of the incoming ball, the close into the net, etc. are things that are DEVELOPED, not inherited through natural talent.

Matt

maverick66
02-14-2009, 08:29 PM
Respectfully disagree.

What you need to understand is that the agility and reflexes at net are LEARNED SKILLS rather than natural abilities. The burst, the split step, the anticipation of the incoming ball, the close into the net, etc. are things that are DEVELOPED, not inherited through natural talent.

Matt

he doesnt have any natuaral ability. hes building up from nothing. so how is he gonna play the hardest style to play with nothing. he wont pressure with a serve cause he doesnt have one. hes slow so his first volley is gonna be hit behind the service line. then his lack of movement is gonna make the second volley really difficult unless they float it to him. S & V just doesnt make sense here. i have no issue if he wants to construct the point and move forward but hes gonna need to learn to construct a point very well if thats the plan.

Djokovicfan4life
02-14-2009, 08:35 PM
he doesnt have any natuaral ability. hes building up from nothing. so how is he gonna play the hardest style to play with nothing. he wont pressure with a serve cause he doesnt have one. hes slow so his first volley is gonna be hit behind the service line. then his lack of movement is gonna make the second volley really difficult unless they float it to him. S & V just doesnt make sense here. i have no issue if he wants to construct the point and move forward but hes gonna need to learn to construct a point very well if thats the plan.

I suspect that the OP is being humble, just FYI. I've read his posts before. He's a good guy who is realistic with himself and tries his best to improve.

Raw speed in tennis is overrated. Quickness and acceleration are the keys, and good footwork does wonders for these aspects. It's not about natural ability. Trust me, if it were, I would've quit years ago.

And just how would he be suited to a defensive baseline style without footspeed, anyway?

maverick66
02-14-2009, 08:39 PM
I suspect that the OP is being humble, just FYI. I've read his posts before. He's a good guy who is realistic with himself and tries his best to improve.

Raw speed in tennis is overrated. Quickness and acceleration are the keys, and good footwork does wonders for these aspects. It's not about natural ability. Trust me, if it were, I would've quit years ago.

And just how would he be suited to a defensive baseline style without footspeed, anyway?

im saying it would be better for him to be a consistent grinder. hes not playing top ten players that are ripping winners. hes playing guys at club level who tend to be very prone to unforced errors. just look at this board for how many times "how do you beat a pusher" comes up. if he remains consitent his results will come and this also will give him confidence to start stepping into some balls as he knows he can always have a back up plan. if he focuses on S & V he will have no strong base to go forward with.

Djokovicfan4life
02-14-2009, 08:44 PM
im saying it would be better for him to be a consistent grinder. hes not playing top ten players that are ripping winners. hes playing guys at club level who tend to be very prone to unforced errors. just look at this board for how many times "how do you beat a pusher" comes up. if he remains consitent his results will come and this also will give him confidence to start stepping into some balls as he knows he can always have a back up plan. if he focuses on S & V he will have no strong base to go forward with.

Why? You just said that club players are very error prone. What makes you think that they'll hit amazing passing shots and crush service returns that pressure him at net?

Also, bear in mind that tennis is supposed to be fun. If he wants to serve and volley, let him serve and volley!

I agree that players should always have a plan B in their arsenal. Sampras could rally from the baseline all day long. But in the end, he knew where he really wanted to go. :wink:

Matt

maverick66
02-14-2009, 08:52 PM
its much easier for him to stay back and be steady. if he starts gettting really steady from the baseline now he can start going for a little more and open up angles. then he can start moving forward behind his shots. then he can progress to mixing in a serve and volley game. if he goes straight to serve and volley hes gonna have a tough time getting going. if he starts with a solid baseline game he will get results and confidence which will lead to him expanding his game.

i think im looking at this as a long term game plan instead of a right now plan. he needs consistency before all other things. if he cant make the ball from the baseline he cant win.

Mansewerz
02-15-2009, 07:41 AM
its much easier for him to stay back and be steady. if he starts gettting really steady from the baseline now he can start going for a little more and open up angles. then he can start moving forward behind his shots. then he can progress to mixing in a serve and volley game. if he goes straight to serve and volley hes gonna have a tough time getting going. if he starts with a solid baseline game he will get results and confidence which will lead to him expanding his game.

i think im looking at this as a long term game plan instead of a right now plan. he needs consistency before all other things. if he cant make the ball from the baseline he cant win.

I do work on my baseline game as well. I may develop into more of an all courter especially for return games. Like Moz said, I need to have a baseline game to get to net.

Tsonga nDance
02-15-2009, 06:38 PM
uhh. There's not really much to play off of man. you could try to make consistency your weapon! So cliche but it might just work.

Julieta
02-16-2009, 04:24 AM
Maverick66 is giving a lot of great advice in this thread (so are others)

It's great to decide "I want to be all courter" but that is the most difficult style to play in tennis and takes the longest to develop.

I think anyone who wants to improve in tennis in the long term (and that never stops) has to be able to have that foundation of being able to stay out there all day and rally. Then you build on that. It's not that you don't work on all of your shots, but that has to be the base foundation of it all. Actually I just reread all of Mavericks posts and he has already said all of this better than I can, but just want to add another opinion that is the same.

Julieta
02-16-2009, 04:30 AM
I'm taking lessons with 3 other people. We do a lot of volleys. Unfortunately, I have little time to practice them because court time is expensive.

I know that I need to work on footwork. I try to hit the ball deep with adequate spin, but more often than not, it's a short ball with nothing on it but spin that sits up for my opponent to wail on.

My serve I've been trying to flatten out, and it's working, but I need more practice.

My biggest if is my return, especially the backhand side. I'm super uncomfortable with a body serve, and I have no idea how to counter the backhand or body serve...

Serves you want more action on, not less. I knew this serve and volley guy who hit the serve a lot in the exact same spot, but the returner was off the court hitting it so what could he do. He was top 100 so it worked pretty well for him.

Returns you have to practice a ton. Have the server serve to you from their service line - ball comes at your faster. You also have to kind of lean on the return and be low, and also be able to move at an angle. Another thing you can do is back close to the back fence and have someone hit you server or feed you balls - if you take a big swing, your racquet will hit the fence. Do a search here too on returns, there were some good drils posted awhile back.

makinao
02-16-2009, 06:12 AM
Wait a minute... how long have you been playing, and how many lessons have you taken? From what I've read, you don't seem to have any of the basic strokes or footwork down pat yet. If this is the case, just keep working on your basics, and don't worry too much about "weapons" yet. They will come.......

Once you gain consistency with your basics, you will notice that your "weapons" are the shots that are most natural to you. When I took up tennis in my teens, my teacher hardly had to teach me the serve. He just showed it to me once, and I got it immediately. Also, after struggling with a one handed backhand in my first playing year, I taught myself a two-hander in no time, and stuck to it. These have since become my major "weapons".

My point is that you can't threaten any opponent if you don't have the basics in your pocket yet. Some strokes develop faster and with less effort than others, and these are prime candidates for you to develop into "weapons".

GPB
02-16-2009, 06:16 AM
My point is that you can't threaten any opponent if you don't have the basics in your pocket yet. Some strokes develop faster and with less effort than others, and these are prime candidates for you to develop into "weapons".

Good point there.

Julieta
02-16-2009, 06:36 AM
Why? You just said that club players are very error prone. What makes you think that they'll hit amazing passing shots and crush service returns that pressure him at net?

Also, bear in mind that tennis is supposed to be fun. If he wants to serve and volley, let him serve and volley!

I agree that players should always have a plan B in their arsenal. Sampras could rally from the baseline all day long. But in the end, he knew where he really wanted to go. :wink:

Matt

I agree that tennis is supposed to be fun. But a lot of players get frustrated and give up if something is too difficult for them. Which is part of the reason coaches look to line up playing styles with physical and mental attributes. The players are happier and will have more success. But all players should look to develop a sound fundamental foundation from which playing styles evolve.

For example, a friend of mine who was a top junior (played in junior slams) pretty much moonballed up until 16 or so. Then he started developing other aspects of his game with more of an aggressive baseline style and more types of shots, such as being able to slice and come over his backhand, use one hand or two and that sort of thing (his ranking did go down during this period). Eventually he discovered that being a net rusher helped him mentally. He felt like he could control his nerves when he was on the move forward. So he stepped up his serve practices and very fortunately picked a college with a coach who understood the serve and volley game. He became quite accomplished at this style and was even better because he still had that consistency from the baseline. So when he had to, he could still grind it out. He never lost that even though he spent a lot of practice time on volleys. So in his case he had the physical skills to play this style but it also worked for him mentally.

The other point to this story is that the journey to net rusher or all courter can take quite awhile and this player had a lot of resources. So it is important to not give up easily either.

Rickson
02-16-2009, 06:41 AM
I'm not a fan of the all court label at all because any player who is not a serve and volleyer should be an "all court" player anyway. Being a strict baseliner is like being a basketball player who only shoots from the outside and is incapable of making a layup. You're supposed to know how to pass, dribble, shoot, and make the occasional layup. Why is being an "all court" player anything special? You're supposed to come to the net when the opportunity is there.

Julieta
02-16-2009, 08:12 AM
I'm not a fan of the all court label at all because any player who is not a serve and volleyer should be an "all court" player anyway. Being a strict baseliner is like being a basketball player who only shoots from the outside and is incapable of making a layup. You're supposed to know how to pass, dribble, shoot, and make the occasional layup. Why is being an "all court" player anything special? You're supposed to come to the net when the opportunity is there.

I think think the distinction here is that an all courter can counter any pattern. It is not as simple as being able to execute all of the shots, it is being able to change strategies and counter patterns. An aggressive baseliner for example can finish a point off at the net. Many red clay court players in Europe who stay back as their primary strategy can actually volley very well and in particular drop volleys, and they do not hesitate to do this when conditions permit. But this does not make them all courters.

Djokovicfan4life
02-16-2009, 08:51 AM
I'm not a fan of the all court label at all because any player who is not a serve and volleyer should be an "all court" player anyway. Being a strict baseliner is like being a basketball player who only shoots from the outside and is incapable of making a layup. You're supposed to know how to pass, dribble, shoot, and make the occasional layup. Why is being an "all court" player anything special? You're supposed to come to the net when the opportunity is there.

Good post. I'm not a big fan of labeling players either. Who gives a crap if you're supposed to be a "defensive baseliner" or whatever, you still need to put that short sitter away.

Fay
02-16-2009, 02:17 PM
I think think the distinction here is that an all courter can counter any pattern. It is not as simple as being able to execute all of the shots, it is being able to change strategies and counter patterns. An aggressive baseliner for example can finish a point off at the net. Many red clay court players in Europe who stay back as their primary strategy can actually volley very well and in particular drop volleys, and they do not hesitate to do this when conditions permit. But this does not make them all courters.

Since I am not totally clear on what everyone means by all of the definitions, even though I have been reading on this forum for a while ...

... Is this difference a personality preference for style and movement (like to hang back on baseline and hit big ground strokes vs. like to move forward and eager to volley, even tho both players might be able to do both) -- or -- does it have to do with skill level, abilities, and physical or mental limitations.

An example or two more of what you started to discussion in your comments would be helpful. ThnX

I heard John McEnroe in an interview talk about how he created his success around taking time away from his opponents. In contrast, Roger looks to me like someone who likes to be an artist and "paint" his strokes to perfection, whereas Rafa likes extreme physical exertion and likes to throw his body and soul into everything ...

I could easily stay back on the baseline and hit all day as I have a lot of stamina and love to hit ground strokes, but I also love to feel the forward movement, but I don't yet have a lot of good reflexes developed at the net. I am short so it is easier to lob or pass me, so even tho I like coming forward, because of my innate physical limitations, perhaps I should not develop my game around serve and volley, even tho I like it.

Not sure if my question make sense, but I am wondering whether a coach watches people to develop their style or if pro players eventually do what they like best and develop the skills to play the game they like.

Comments?

LeeD
02-16-2009, 02:47 PM
LOTS of short players have great overheads.
Most short players have great low volleys and half volleys.
Most short players have trouble generating pace from way back behind the baseline.
Most short players have less effective serves than taller players.
So you basically have to balance the haves with the havenots, and figure out a winning philosophy.

Mansewerz
02-16-2009, 05:02 PM
LOTS of short players have great overheads.
Most short players have great low volleys and half volleys.
Most short players have trouble generating pace from way back behind the baseline.
Most short players have less effective serves than taller players.
So you basically have to balance the haves with the havenots, and figure out a winning philosophy.

I see. I'm still working on building strengths. My forehand is my more comfortable shot, and i'm working on pace (depth first).

I flattened out my serve because I need to get by with something until my spin serves get better (i'm practicing those). I've recently started using the slice serve again because the kick serve is more difficult, and I need a more reliable second serve (and second first serve option).

Julieta
02-17-2009, 04:11 AM
Since I am not totally clear on what everyone means by all of the definitions, even though I have been reading on this forum for a while ...

... Is this difference a personality preference for style and movement (like to hang back on baseline and hit big ground strokes vs. like to move forward and eager to volley, even tho both players might be able to do both) -- or -- does it have to do with skill level, abilities, and physical or mental limitations.

An example or two more of what you started to discussion in your comments would be helpful. ThnX

I heard John McEnroe in an interview talk about how he created his success around taking time away from his opponents. In contrast, Roger looks to me like someone who likes to be an artist and "paint" his strokes to perfection, whereas Rafa likes extreme physical exertion and likes to throw his body and soul into everything ...

I could easily stay back on the baseline and hit all day as I have a lot of stamina and love to hit ground strokes, but I also love to feel the forward movement, but I don't yet have a lot of good reflexes developed at the net. I am short so it is easier to lob or pass me, so even tho I like coming forward, because of my innate physical limitations, perhaps I should not develop my game around serve and volley, even tho I like it.

Not sure if my question make sense, but I am wondering whether a coach watches people to develop their style or if pro players eventually do what they like best and develop the skills to play the game they like.

Comments?

I think everyone has a style, whether it is counterpunching, baseliner, net rusher, all-courter, etc.. The sticky post up there does a great job of describing all of the styles. Successful players look at their personality, physical attributes, mental skills, etc. and develop the style that works for them. Then there is that the game itself changes based on innovations in equipment, strings whatever. There are fundamentals that never change, such as footwork and movement, anticipation etc.. But this doesn't mean that you are stuck in that box and never do anything else, which seems to be what some of the other posters are suggesting. It is more what the players core game is but doesnt mean that they wont use another style here and there in a match.

From the junior who wants to go pro, play college or whatever, most coaches are going to teach them everything and see what emerges. But they will also look at natural talent, size, personality, etc.. A friend of mine had a student that she knew immediately was going to be special. But her own daughter she thinks would actually be better off in another sport, even though she has the best resources to be good at tennis. Some coaches look at the parents and if they are small, they dont even want the player. Others droll over children whose parents were athletes. Then you have that the coaches and other handlers/influences dont always read the players correctly, they force a style that doesn't work, fail to keep up with trends, or something unexpected happens and a big issue - the emphasis on winning. Also the player's self-motivation and self-understanding. All of this lining up properly is the reason so few aspiring pros actually make it and why some that do come as a bit of a surprise.

Adults have it much easier because while they want to get better and win, they aren't going to make a living at it so they have a lot more freedom to have fun and experiment. That said, I do think players are happiest when they know themselves and they have a primary plan for how they are going to win points. Of course this gets adjusted based on what happens in the match, but the player arrives to the court trying to impose their game on the other person. There is also the constraint of limited practice time. But the cool thing about playing for fun is you can keep trying stuff and who knows, if you are a retreiver at 20 you might be a net rusher at 50, who knows.

Getting back to the all court style, I have always thought of that as someone who literally can do it all, and will pull out whatever plan is needed to be successful in that match. These players immediately seize on ways to gain advantage on their opponent and can actually execute on what they need to do. So this person will play player X and think, hmm, this person cant do anything when I approach the net, so I'm going to do that as often as possible. Or they notice that the person hates slices, so they start doing that. Their next opponent needs extra time to set up, so they step into the court and take the ball early to take time away from them. As you can imagine, being able to see and do this is very difficult which is why there are so few of them. I think this style gets in trouble when they get too creative but also when they get overpowered. If they play someone who is on, who can counter anything they throw at them and still hit them off the court, there are problems. Think Hingis, she can dismantle so many players but some can send her packing. So a player with this style would need mental skills to think and analyze during a match, and the physical skills to execute.

In your situation, if you like coming forward then you should practice it and make it part of your game. Even if you chose to stay back as your primary strategy - meaning that this is how you feel you could win a lot of points - being able to throw in the odd serve and volley is a great way to keep your opponents off balance. And of course you will want to approach on short balls so you want to develop a comfort level with that anyway. But if you really struggle coming in despite practicing it, maybe it is difficult because of your height, speed or whatever (physical), or you panic up there (mental) you would probably not want to go to the well on it and use it as your primary strategy, something you do on most points. But it is still good to throw in (even if you panic, because your opponent might panic too!) and over time, you might do it more and more and compensate for physical limitations and learn to control your nerves. Not saying you panic by the way, just an example of how something mental can influence what someone does. For example, a friend of mine can physically play the net extremely well, but mentally, she flips out up there (in singles, doubles you would never know it was the same person!).

This is a big topic, and most likely my longest post ever, so I might not be making sense! The reason tennis can be played your whole life is because there is always something to learn.

Nellie
02-17-2009, 05:54 AM
There are always things you improve to use as a weapon - touch, consistency, endurance, footwork. I know that each one of us wants to be Becker and blast aces, but most of use are really much more like Chang and need to grind out points because we cannot simply blast the ball past people.