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View Full Version : Tennis, Lies and Videotape


Cindysphinx
05-08-2009, 01:24 PM
Or put differently, the Videotape has proven that I am Lying to myself about my Tennis. :(

Yup, I finally took my pro's advice and videotaped myself. He has been after me for over a year to do this. Last summer, TFM recommended a JVS camera, which I purchased from Costco. It has sat unused in my closet since.

This week, I dusted it off, got my husband's tripod, charged the camera, skimmed the manual, and fiddled with it to learn to use it. I took it to the courts today.

I set it up before the pro arrived and hit serves out of a hopper, just to make sure I was operating it correctly. I used my Everyday form, just hitting serves without trying to do anything special.

First observation: My butt doesn't look nearly as big as I thought it might. Woo-hoo!!! That's a relief; it means I don't have to get rid of all of my tennis skirts. That said, there is no denying that I look like an old lady hitting a tennis ball. That was kinda sad, really.

Second observation: I am not keeping my hitting arm up. I had *zero* leg drive. I was All Arm All The Time. I was chasing erratic tosses. I was rushing my toss preparation. I reviewed the first few minutes of footage and actually made some quick progress in fixing some of these things, and the serves I hit were much stronger.

Then my pro showed up, and we filmed forehand groundstrokes for a few minutes and then watched it together.

You never saw a bigger mess in your natural born life! He said that most everything going on above the waist is good. He wanted to see more shoulder rotation in my preparation, and we fixed this in short order.

Below the waist, it is a train wreck.

The first problem was that I had been told for years to put my racket back as soon as I knew it was a forehand. I was doing this by swinging my right foot backward, as though I were a door that someone was opening. This was an extra step that wasted time and energy and failed to achieve the shoulder turn I thought I was achieving anysay. All it did was have me starting off sideways.

The other big problem was a tendency to shuffle rather than run. From that ridiculous sideways position, I would kind of run sideways, taking off after the ball leading with the left leg, almost like I didn't want to use my right leg to reach the ball. The right leg never seems to be ahead of the left one. As a result, I tended to not reach the rights spot and was reaching, especially when moving forward. It is hard to describe. On account of how it is Indescribably Bad Footwork.

So we worked on these two things: Not opening like a door but actually turning my shoulders, and running to the ball with both legs instead of one. It made a big difference, and I could actually feel the difference in my legs. And boy howdy, if you turn your shoulders and then uncoil when you hit, you can really spank the ball!

My homework is to try to do these two things better when I practice on Monday.

Next lesson, we will film volleys, which hopefully will be a bit less humbling. I may bring the camera to every lesson for a while, as this is a much more effective way to get these bad old habit addressed.

Cindy -- whose pro filmed himself hitting some forehands as a demonstration and, upon viewing the footage, pronounced himself "fat"

psYcon
05-08-2009, 01:40 PM
Are you going to post the video here?

Cindysphinx
05-08-2009, 01:43 PM
No.

Flippin'.

Way!

J011yroger
05-08-2009, 02:05 PM
I think watching video of yourself is kind of like medicine. It tastes like crap but it makes you better.

J

larry10s
05-08-2009, 05:10 PM
if you have read my posts i have strongly been advocating video analysis for a long time . after the oh my god that cant be how i hit the ball you can start to work on proper technique. it is rewarding to see videos from years before and watch how your technique improves:) unless you want to stay at 3.5 queen

jayserinos99
05-08-2009, 05:44 PM
Cindy, if you want a good laugh, I suggest watching this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLPTxUtR9Qo

Nellie
05-08-2009, 06:10 PM
I think that the taping and training of juniors is the biggest change in tennis of the last 20 years (more than the gear!)

GS
05-09-2009, 09:50 AM
I think being videotaped is essential to improving your strokes.
I taped myself years ago, thinking I had a smooth service motion and decent groundstrokes. Boy, was I wrong. I was hurky-jerky all over the place and was constantly taking the ball late on my groundies. Thought I was bending my knees, but nope, I wasn't.
Ever since, whenever my 4.0-4.5 strokes go nutty, I think back to that videotape---I'll always remember those images, and then, I know what to correct, somewhat.
Yep, tape doesn't lie.

Cindysphinx
05-09-2009, 12:51 PM
That's the amazing thing. I thought I was bending my knees also. Nope. Didn't happen. If I'm not bending my knees, what on earth is making me so tired? :)

Nellie
05-09-2009, 05:38 PM
That's the amazing thing. I thought I was bending my knees also. Nope. Didn't happen. If I'm not bending my knees, what on earth is making me so tired? :)

it's all that lurching and leaning you are doing when you think that you are bending your knees! Welcome to my world (exhausted after a practice in which I never moved!)

120mphBodyServe
05-10-2009, 12:18 AM
No.

Flippin'.

Way!

Quit being such a chicken. We are all excited to watch you and give you all the help you need. I don't know why you're making such a big deal about this.
Remember, we love you! :-D

Cindysphinx
05-10-2009, 06:03 PM
Quit being such a chicken. We are all excited to watch you and give you all the help you need. I don't know why you're making such a big deal about this.
Remember, we love you! :-D

Aw, you're sweet!

And no way am I posting this video for you.

I am going to try to learn to edit it and send the worst of the worst to my tennis-playing sister. She will get quite a laugh out of it!

120mphBodyServe
05-10-2009, 06:41 PM
Come on, post the video. Or you could send it just to me.... :-D

J011yroger
05-10-2009, 06:43 PM
Come on, post the video. Or you could send it just to me.... :-D

Let's see yours champ.

J

120mphBodyServe
05-10-2009, 06:47 PM
Let's see yours champ.

J

Champ? I don't need anyone's help, therefore I dont need to post a video.
I've played this game long enough. But I'll say this much...
I certainly don't slap the forehand like you, and it's totally beyond me how you can hit a forehand like that. Must be all those fast indoor courts on the eastside.

maverick66
05-10-2009, 06:50 PM
i used to film practice sets all the time. i used to have one were i choked and smashed a racket. it was pretty funny to see from the outside. Video is great because you can see where you are screwing up. i used to have a tendency to watch the ball instead of recovering and once i saw this on video i fixed it very quickly.

J011yroger
05-10-2009, 06:59 PM
i used to film practice sets all the time. i used to have one were i choked and smashed a racket. it was pretty funny to see from the outside. Video is great because you can see where you are screwing up. i used to have a tendency to watch the ball instead of recovering and once i saw this on video i fixed it very quickly.

High speed video helped me see that my ball tracking was exemplary on groundies, but blew goats on volleys, once I saw that it helped a ton.

J

J011yroger
05-10-2009, 07:04 PM
Champ? I don't need anyone's help, therefore I dont need to post a video.
I've played this game long enough. But I'll say this much...
I certainly don't slap the forehand like you, and it's totally beyond me how you can hit a forehand like that. Must be all those fast indoor courts on the eastside.


I personally prefer to be shown rather than told.

If you don't want to post your video, and have the masses at TW tell you how much you suck, or be offered advice by people who couldn't sniff a game off of you, I certainly understand. (And yes, I have played people from TW who offered me advice, and came MIGHTY close to golden setting them)

Just saying, it was novel the first time, cute the second time, but you asking cindy to post her vid is getting old, especially since you have not.

J

120mphBodyServe
05-10-2009, 09:11 PM
I personally prefer to be shown rather than told.

If you don't want to post your video, and have the masses at TW tell you how much you suck, or be offered advice by people who couldn't sniff a game off of you, I certainly understand. (And yes, I have played people from TW who offered me advice, and came MIGHTY close to golden setting them).

J

I certainly don't suck and I certainly don't care for your attitude, mr 18 racquet man.
Oh, and my 1 hand backhand would eat your 2 hander for breakfast.

SonRK
05-10-2009, 09:15 PM
oh dear. things are getting a bit feisty.

Onto the topic, this has encouraged me to try to find my charger for my digital camcorder and video tape myself for tomorrows session.

J011yroger
05-11-2009, 03:12 AM
I certainly don't care for your attitude

If you don't care for my attitude, then I will stop talking to you.

All you had to do was ask.

J

J011yroger
05-11-2009, 03:14 AM
oh dear. things are getting a bit feisty.

Onto the topic, this has encouraged me to try to find my charger for my digital camcorder and video tape myself for tomorrows session.

Good stuff. You will love it.

J

120mphBodyServe
05-11-2009, 03:27 AM
If you don't care for my attitude, then I will stop talking to you.

All you had to do was ask.

J

Meh, it's all fun and games... How the hell did you learn to hit a forehand like that?? I mean it's a blaster and I'd probably avoid it to save my life or attack it with seriously heavy topspin... And slow heavy slice just to get you out of your flat blasting groove...
I saw a video of you that you posted in another thread of yours...

Cindysphinx
05-11-2009, 03:40 AM
oh dear. things are getting a bit feisty.

Onto the topic, this has encouraged me to try to find my charger for my digital camcorder and video tape myself for tomorrows session.

Oooh, I hope you'll give us a full report!

Try not to focus too much on the size of your butt. Trust me on this. It is distracting! :)

J011yroger
05-11-2009, 01:23 PM
Meh, it's all fun and games... How the hell did you learn to hit a forehand like that?? I mean it's a blaster and I'd probably avoid it to save my life or attack it with seriously heavy topspin... And slow heavy slice just to get you out of your flat blasting groove...
I saw a video of you that you posted in another thread of yours...

Actually just answered this question in another thread, lemme find it.

Hope Cindy isn't mad at me for going off topic.

Well I keep videoing so I can keep track of my progress for my own good.

Needless to say I was pretty surprised the first time I saw it on vid.

What happened was when I hurt my wrist very badly, I came back to playing too soon, and found a way to hit FHs that didn't hurt (as much). Because if I mistimed one I would literally fall to my knees with tears in my eyes. I couldn't hit a FH for 4 months, and for the first two weeks I couldn't turn the ignition key in cars, because it hurt too much. Couldn't turn a doorknob or drink coffee.

After a year or so, it was more or less healed, and I was hitting the crap out of the ball. But it looked like. . . that. Actually it was worse than that.

But you know, habits are hard to break, so I can hit properly in practice or easy drills if I concentrate, but if I get put under pressure, I go back to the old way.

But thanks to my partial German heritage I am too stubborn to stop working on it, and thanks to my partial Italian heritage I am too stupid to know that I am not any good at tennis.

And so little by little, with the help of my coach, and my video camera, and my friends, I get better and better, week by week.

Squaring it away is one of my 2 primary goals for 2009. Hopefully I will be somewhat content by the fall.

J

You get good pop on your hits. If it works for you, heck - doesn't matter what it looks like, eh? I say so long as you can produce good results, let the results stand. GL in your upcoming matches.

It isn't about hitting hard, I have clocked FHs at 100+mph.

When I hit it properly I get more pace and spin, so I have a more punishing basic rally ball, and not just the blistering kill shot. And hitting it properly gives more margin for error in timing, cutting down errors, and allows me to hit more angle, Inside out, inside in, and from the center/fh side of the court.

When I am hitting it properly, I can take a (sitter) ball by the center hash mark on the baseline, and whip it off the court half way between the service line and the net, and into the side wall. And I can also pummel high balls. Neither of which I can do when I am hitting it improperly.

J

J

J011yroger
05-11-2009, 01:25 PM
Oooh, I hope you'll give us a full report!

Try not to focus too much on the size of your butt. Trust me on this. It is distracting! :)

Gazing upon my firm and shapely butt is the counterbalance to watching me botch those easy volleys!

J

smoothtennis
05-11-2009, 01:56 PM
Cindy - I think it's the best thing a person that is working on improving can do for themselves. When you see it on vid - there is absolute communication right there. No wondering if the pro is crazy, maybe doesn't like you, etc, etc. You get instant feedback and better yet, you completely believe what you see.

After doing vid on me, I had to start to re-tool a LOT. I was more than shocked to see my takebacks- and my leaning over here and there, and my lazy footwork.

What I found out was that when I did video - and had a takeback that I considered what I wanted to SEE - it felt like I was only taking the racket back less than half way. I had to get used to that feeling, and convince myself it was far enough. I don't think a pro telling me this would have convinced me.

Good work on the vid.