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pvaudio
07-26-2009, 07:25 PM
What do you consider to be the least practiced part of non-pro tennis? I don't mean most important, as the most important is the serve, and most do practice their serves. I mean, what is that one part of people's game that were they to devote time to it, their game would vastly improve? I'm saying footwork, because I know that at least for me, if I don't move my feet quickly, I will get passed like a prius in the right lane.

BU-Tennis
07-26-2009, 07:27 PM
Definitely footwork, and I disagree with the serve being most important.

pvaudio
07-26-2009, 07:27 PM
A forum is a thousand person debate forum, so with that in mind, what would you say is the most important? I cannot possibly see how anything else is more important. :)

3lowdown
07-26-2009, 07:30 PM
no brainer footwork

J011yroger
07-26-2009, 07:32 PM
Return of serve, or overhead.

J

BU-Tennis
07-26-2009, 07:34 PM
I think everything is equally important. You can debate that you have to have good footwork or a serve or a return but really unless you're proficient at every shot then you'll never reach the next level. When beginning, all you have to do is be able to get balls back into play, and as you begin to improve your serve then you can beat more players but there comes a point when everything else must be improved as well. To be honest, when determining who becomes the best tennis players it is a combination of pure, God-given ability and the resources, such as facilities, money, coaches, etc., to develop that talent.

pvaudio
07-26-2009, 07:36 PM
I like that viewpoint, however we'll have to agree to disagree my friend. :)

pvaudio
07-26-2009, 07:37 PM
Return of serve, or overhead.

J
Honestly, these shots only really fail because of improper footwork. People split-stepping when the ball hits the court or people shuffling their feet around improperly to set up for the overhead. The technique to actually hit the ball isn't difficult, it's just getting into position that's hard. Of course, this is also just my opinion.

BU-Tennis
07-26-2009, 07:38 PM
I agree with you there! :)

SethIMcClaine
07-26-2009, 07:46 PM
Serve... without a serve you will never have a chance of doing any better than a tie

J011yroger
07-26-2009, 07:51 PM
Honestly, these shots only really fail because of improper footwork. People split-stepping when the ball hits the court or people shuffling their feet around improperly to set up for the overhead. The technique to actually hit the ball isn't difficult, it's just getting into position that's hard. Of course, this is also just my opinion.

The dude asked what I thought the least practiced parts of amateur tennis were, and I replied "Return of Serve, and Overhead."

In my observation, these are the least practiced parts of the game at the amateur level.

I didn't say footwork was not important, I did not advocate hitting the aformentioned shots with improper footwork.

I just said that I thought they were the least practiced parts.

Generally, you practice certain shots, and the footwork that goes along with them, which goes without saying.

Just practicing footwork alone to me would imply etchebery drilles, recovery drills, ladder and cone work, 8 ball pickup, running lines.

J

BU-Tennis
07-26-2009, 07:52 PM
^^^^You can say the serve is at the top of the list of importance, but it is the one stroke that is practiced the most by recreational players.

WildVolley
07-26-2009, 08:16 PM
I find myself agreeing with Jolly. In my experience, few amateurs practice return of serve. Usually they'll just serve to each other to warm up without practicing the return. They'll just catch the serves and then serve themselves, as in a normal warmup. Also, I rarely ever see amateurs practicing overheads.

plowmanjoe
07-26-2009, 08:18 PM
This will beat all of the above options listed as least practiced.

Match play by far.

second being fitness/off-court training.

third is serve

J011yroger
07-26-2009, 08:22 PM
This will beat all of the above options listed as least practiced.

Match play by far.

second being fitness/off-court training.

third is serve

Really? Lots and lots of park/club players ONLY play matches, and don't practice at all around here.

They bat around 5 warmup balls, call "First one in" and start their match.

And then on the opposite end are the guys that only hit all day. But they are not players, they just use tennis for fitness and relaxation. So the question really doesn't apply to them.

J

plowmanjoe
07-26-2009, 08:32 PM
My perspective is more from the junior level player that is focused almost 100% on improvement. tons of lessons/classes, but no off-court physical training or match-play outside of tournaments.

I don't consider most park players as serious about improvement, just recreational players. so they play tennis matches for fun. they're not playing "practice matches."

ronalditop
07-26-2009, 08:41 PM
i say overheads, serves and return of serve are the least strokes practiced by beginners.

Ultra2HolyGrail
07-26-2009, 09:07 PM
Easily volleys at most levels.

aimr75
07-26-2009, 09:13 PM
footwork.. since most low level players probably never actually contemplate "practicing" footwork

Cindysphinx
07-27-2009, 03:41 AM
My sample size is somewhat limited, as I am most familiar with 3.5 women, aged 40-55 or so.

For that group, the thing that receives the least attention is fitness, IMHO. I know a significant number of women who do not run at all (and will loudly declare that running is bad for you). I don't see how anyone can hope to cover the court at that age if they don't do some sort of running/sprinting as training.

TnTBigman
07-27-2009, 03:51 AM
The SMASH.

Pet
07-27-2009, 04:22 AM
Return of serve, or overhead.

J

overhead LOL:)

GuyClinch
07-27-2009, 04:26 AM
For that group, the thing that receives the least attention is fitness, IMHO. I know a significant number of women who do not run at all (and will loudly declare that running is bad for you). I don't see how anyone can hope to cover the court at that age if they don't do some sort of running/sprinting as training.

I agree. Alot of older players play for fun and thus don't really try to improve their athleticism much. For many players tennis IS their workout. Whereas other people try to workout to play tennis.

Another key is doing tennis related exercises. Some of the older players that do work out don't do enough exercises related to tennis. Tennis requires a certain blend of athleticism that most gym workouts don't really address.. This is why a good coach could help a tennis player.

Pete

SystemicAnomaly
07-27-2009, 04:57 AM
Return of serve would have been a better poll option than groundstrokes.

bigfoot910
07-27-2009, 06:00 AM
Return of serve...

zebano
07-27-2009, 06:59 AM
Return of serve.

I think the reason is that when two people get together to practice (not play) they hit groundstrokes & some volleys. They figure anyone can get a hopper and practice serves on their own so they consider it a waste of time to use precious practice time on serving not realizing that return of service is also a critical skill. This is why I have developed a simple slice it back to the center of the court option which is starting to get crushed by better players.

When I do my conditioning, I also throw in shuffle, carioca steps, ghost play and really short intervals just for tennis specific work.

Shaolin
07-27-2009, 07:03 AM
Easily RETURN OF SERVE. LOL its not even a poll option...just proving how little its even considered.

Also footwork, agree with the poster who said most players cant even contemplate practicing footwork.

jrod
07-27-2009, 07:18 AM
My view of recreational tennis players is that the vast majority of them don't really practice at all....even in a practice session. Most simply want to play tennis and are not interested in something that requires intense focus or work. In other words, they are playing tennis for fun.

There is a small percentage of "recreational" players that do however practice with intent without the direction of a pro. From what I've seen of this select and motivated group, the return of serve is probably the single most neglected shot. I also believe that the transition game is regularly neglected as well. Also, footwork is generally not practiced directly or exclusively, but tends to be a by-product of the tennis practice sessions.

Bungalo Bill
07-27-2009, 07:31 AM
Least practiced is the return of serve probably followed by the serve. If you want to get into things like half-volleys, or speciality shots I guess we can.

The serve is the most important stroke in a players game for two important reasons with the return of serve closely behind it in importance.

1. It is the only shot you have complete control over. You dictate spin, placement, pace, etc.. and it is used to setup your play.

2. If you hold serve, you will not lose the match. Tennis point scoring system is setup that way.

Tim Tennis
07-27-2009, 08:03 AM
Interesting, in my case I would have to say the "transition game," you know those little short balls that you should be able to take control of or win the point outright. I guess next would come the return of serve. None of the recreational player that I know actually do footwork drills but when you work on your ground strokes, volleys don't you work on your footwork at the same time, at least to some extent?

Mental game, how do you practice that, stare at a tennis ball. LOL On the senior level some of us do memorization drills so we can keep score better. Yikes!

JROD "My view of recreational tennis players is that the vast majority of them don't really practice at all....even in a practice session." That is funny and unfortunately probably very true.

Ed
Tennis Geometrics

pvaudio
07-27-2009, 08:18 AM
My sample size is somewhat limited, as I am most familiar with 3.5 women, aged 40-55 or so.

For that group, the thing that receives the least attention is fitness, IMHO. I know a significant number of women who do not run at all (and will loudly declare that running is bad for you). I don't see how anyone can hope to cover the court at that age if they don't do some sort of running/sprinting as training.
My sister plays in a 4.0 women's league, and while I realize that men's 4.0 and women's 4.0 is vastly different, I can just stand on the service strip and put the ball in any corner and they will refuse to even move towards it. How it's even fun for them to play the sport is beyond me.

Kick_It
07-27-2009, 08:47 AM
IMO:
1) Return of serve - hard to practice by yourself.
2) Footwork / court coverage / fitness
3) Mental aspects relevant to succeeding @ matchplay

I am surprised by the number of people who say serve is the least practiced. It has to be the easiest for someone to practice by themselves.

jrod
07-27-2009, 09:03 AM
IMO:
1) Return of serve - hard to practice by yourself.
2) Footwork / court coverage / fitness
3) Mental aspects relevant to succeeding @ matchplay

I am surprised by the number of people who say serve is the least practiced. It has to be the easiest for someone to practice by themselves.


When I saw BB post that I initially thought, huh? But then I thought about the way they practice the serve and realized he is probably correct. There is a big difference between hitting serves for 10 minutes and actually practicing serving (i.e. targets, different spins, etc.). So, I tend to agree with BB in that most recreational players don't effectively practice serving.

SethIMcClaine
07-27-2009, 09:06 AM
Definitely footwork, and I disagree with the serve being most important.

I think everything is equally important. You can debate that you have to have good footwork or a serve or a return but really unless you're proficient at every shot then you'll never reach the next level. When beginning, all you have to do is be able to get balls back into play, and as you begin to improve your serve then you can beat more players but there comes a point when everything else must be improved as well. To be honest, when determining who becomes the best tennis players it is a combination of pure, God-given ability and the resources, such as facilities, money, coaches, etc., to develop that talent.

Again you contradict yourself!

MethodTennis
07-27-2009, 09:08 AM
i vote fitness and foot work as i beleive that both are equall in under practice

canadave
07-27-2009, 09:09 AM
I think the SECOND serve, as opposed to the first serve, is one of the most under-practiced shots (and one of the most underrated in terms of its importance) in tennis.

Case in point--there was just a province-wide junior tennis tournament held at my local club over the weekend. Just about every kid had a bomb of a 1st serve that they obviously had worked on very hard in terms of mechanics, timing, etc. If they missed, all they did on the 2nd serve was basically lob one in--they could've done just as well with it if they'd served it underhand. It's maddening to me how many players just don't care about the second serve and consider it nothing more than a shot that they use to simply get the ball in play.

Kick_It
07-27-2009, 09:32 AM
When I saw BB post that I initially thought, huh? But then I thought about the way they practice the serve and realized he is probably correct. There is a big difference between hitting serves for 10 minutes and actually practicing serving (i.e. targets, different spins, etc.). So, I tend to agree with BB in that most recreational players don't effectively practice serving.

I respect where you and BB are coming from; makes good sense. What surprises me is - to me the serve is the easiest tennis stroke to practice; very few barriers. Yes you need knowledge on how what to practice.

There are a couple levels of amateur tennis too:
1) hit & giggle / purely for fun / don't care much about results
2) competitive - leagues, tournament players who wouldn't make a living doing it.

In the later case, I see more work ethic. I certainly see the 'for fun' crowd not practicing serves - though see the 'competitive' crowd practicing them.

chess9
07-27-2009, 09:35 AM
My sample size is somewhat limited, as I am most familiar with 3.5 women, aged 40-55 or so.

For that group, the thing that receives the least attention is fitness, IMHO. I know a significant number of women who do not run at all (and will loudly declare that running is bad for you). I don't see how anyone can hope to cover the court at that age if they don't do some sort of running/sprinting as training.

As a bit of an aside to the thrust of this thread, I'd say lateral movement and lack of speed in older women is a serious handicap. Hip flexors are flabby, stomach muscles shot, quads and calves not strong. Squats, deads, plyometrics, some hill running, cycling, etc. would all help.

I play mixed doubles with some ladies in the over 35-60 age groups and I've noticed a lack of fitness, generally. We have one 40 year old who is a 5.0 and she is very fit, and very lean, yet the ladies don't take her lead. Most are too busy with family is my guess. On balance, I'm sure they are keeping things in the proper perspective. :)

See BB's posts in this thread: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=276910

-Robert

Bungalo Bill
07-27-2009, 09:43 AM
When I saw BB post that I initially thought, huh? But then I thought about the way they practice the serve and realized he is probably correct. There is a big difference between hitting serves for 10 minutes and actually practicing serving (i.e. targets, different spins, etc.). So, I tend to agree with BB in that most recreational players don't effectively practice serving.

That is correct!!! I am not talking about just throwing the ball up there and hitting some. I am talking about really practicing your serve. Then really practicing your second serve.

I am also not saying it is never practiced. To me it is the least or is less practiced than other strokes.

And someone above mentioned something very true as well. Serving is the easiest to practice because you don't need someone to help you practice hitting serves. I think it has to do with it being boring or something.

Once a week, players should spend time practicing their returns and their serves for their practice. Get your partner, get two basket of balls or share one big basket, and hit serves. Place cones out there and track your progress. If you notice something that can help your partner improve, mention it to him.

Next practice your returns. One player hits serves from the sevice line. Work on footwork, timing, a short backswing, and placement. Learn to use the pace of the incoming ball without overswinging.

Bungalo Bill
07-27-2009, 09:49 AM
I respect where you and BB are coming from; makes good sense. What surprises me is - to me the serve is the easiest tennis stroke to practice; very few barriers. Yes you need knowledge on how what to practice.

There are a couple levels of amateur tennis too:
1) hit & giggle / purely for fun / don't care much about results
2) competitive - leagues, tournament players who wouldn't make a living doing it.

In the later case, I see more work ethic. I certainly see the 'for fun' crowd not practicing serves - though see the 'competitive' crowd practicing them.

Yup, yup, and yup. However, within the competitive crowd, the serve is practiced less than the other strokes with the exception of the return of serve which is practiced by all the least. I am not saying it isn't practiced at all.

Cindysphinx
07-27-2009, 09:50 AM
As a bit of an aside to the thrust of this thread, I'd say lateral movement and lack of speed in older women is a serious handicap. Hip flexors are flabby, stomach muscles shot, quads and calves not strong. Squats, deads, plyometrics, some hill running, cycling, etc. would all help.

I play mixed doubles with some ladies in the over 35-60 age groups and I've noticed a lack of fitness, generally. We have one 40 year old who is a 5.0 and she is very fit, and very lean, yet the ladies don't take her lead. Most are too busy with family is my guess. On balance, I'm sure they are keeping things in the proper perspective. :)

-Robert


In fairness to my 40-50 year-old sisters . . . the men in this age range are also no Lance Armstrongs!

I can understand having limited time, but part of what I find curious is what people choose to do with their fitness time. Like, I have one teammate who raves about her spinning classes and says she doesn't need to run/sprint because she gets her legs in shape through spinning, and running is bad for you. I imagine spinning is a great work-out, but it is no substitute for running/sprinting. Same thing for a friend of mine who swears by swimming and balks at running.

Both of these women are of an appropriate weight and look great, but they are *really* slow and have very poor movement and reactions. I think this would change if they hit the track.

Bungalo Bill
07-27-2009, 10:01 AM
In fairness to my 40-50 year-old sisters . . . the men in this age range are also no Lance Armstrongs!

You got that right.

I can understand having limited time, but part of what I find curious is what people choose to do with their fitness time. Like, I have one teammate who raves about her spinning classes and says she doesn't need to run/sprint because she gets her legs in shape through spinning, and running is bad for you.

had those people. They are part of the group I call the aerobians. Love to run them and watch them grab their shorts as they desperately look for water. Right about then, they say "gee, I thought I was in shape." Not for tennis you are not!! :) I can be so darn mean!!

I imagine spinning is a great work-out, but it is no substitute for running/sprinting. Same thing for a friend of mine who swears by swimming and balks at running.

You got that right. Sprints help you work on those fast twitch muscles that you call on suddenly. Sprints and lateral movement is critical and you can not prepare yourself for them by spinning. Believe me, I know, because I used to train to compete in triathlons. And cycling, running, and swimming are each its own discipline.

Although cycling is good for general health, strength, etc...nothing replaced court drills, sprints, jump rope, etc.. for tennis. Also, I would rather see someone use the Stair Climber without holding on to the bars for tennis as that closely immitates the movement in tennis when you have to suddenly sprint forward to get that drop ball.

Both of these women are of an appropriate weight and look great, but they are *really* slow and have very poor movement and reactions. I think this would change if they hit the track.

Yup, excellent post.

pvaudio
07-27-2009, 10:29 AM
I've boxed for years and find that my footwork is tremendously better than most other people at my level because of it. Reason being, if your footwork in boxing is bad, you lose. Not as in you lose the point, but you lose your consciousness for a second since you get knocked out from not being able to weave the rear hook coming at your jaw. A simple jumprope would do wonders for 80% of recreational players.

J011yroger
07-27-2009, 10:36 AM
I've boxed for years and find that my footwork is tremendously better than most other people at my level because of it. Reason being, if your footwork in boxing is bad, you lose. Not as in you lose the point, but you lose your consciousness for a second since you get knocked out from not being able to weave the rear hook coming at your jaw. A simple jumprope would do wonders for 80% of recreational players.

I think the ladder drills, and mini hurdle drills do more for my game than the jumprope.

J

Double bagel
07-27-2009, 10:37 AM
Return of serve.

ttbrowne
07-27-2009, 10:45 AM
No question about it....the high backhand volley. I've never seen ANYONE working on it.

pvaudio
07-27-2009, 10:47 AM
No question about it....the high backhand volley. I've never seen ANYONE working on it.Well, what about the 3" from the ground hawaiian grip backhand approach shot? A high backhand volley is too specific a shot to devote an entire practice session to. Volleys, hell, high volleys are one thing, only working on one side is time not well spent.

pvaudio
07-27-2009, 10:48 AM
I think the ladder drills, and mini hurdle drills do more for my game than the jumprope.

JObviously. I'm saying for players who don't do anything for footwork and often lose because they can't get to balls simply due to their lack of preparedness. Staying on your toes is key, and jumping rope forces you to do that.

Bungalo Bill
07-27-2009, 11:01 AM
Obviously. I'm saying for players who don't do anything for footwork and often lose because they can't get to balls simply due to their lack of preparedness. Staying on your toes is key, and jumping rope forces you to do that.

Jump rope is a staple for tennis players.

pvaudio
07-27-2009, 12:31 PM
Jump rope is a staple for tennis players.
Yeah, for people who actually are serious. I'm talking about the women at the club in their cute skirts who won't possibly pick up a jump rope.

Cindysphinx
07-27-2009, 12:41 PM
Jump rope is a staple for tennis players.

Jumping rope gives me a monster headache. And I can also feel my insides sloshing around.

Sorry, no jumping rope for me. I might fall over dead.

Cindy -- who has what you might call a "credit card" vertical leap

pvaudio
07-27-2009, 12:48 PM
Jumping rope gives me a monster headache. And I can also feel my insides sloshing around.

Sorry, no jumping rope for me. I might fall over dead.

Cindy -- who has what you might call a "credit card" vertical leap
If it gives you a headache, you're jumping too high, and/or not on your toes. It should feel very easy to do when done properly. Anything about 5" or greateris too high off the ground. In boxing, it's unusual to see someone jumping higher than 2", and more likely that they'll only be coming 1" off the ground. The key is timing, which is why it's essential to tennis footwork. You could feasibly jump only as high as the rope is thick if your timing is perfect. People end up jumping high because they jump before the rope is underneath them and they need that margin of error.

Cindysphinx
07-27-2009, 01:19 PM
If it gives you a headache, you're jumping too high, and/or not on your toes. It should feel very easy to do when done properly. Anything about 5" or greateris too high off the ground. In boxing, it's unusual to see someone jumping higher than 2", and more likely that they'll only be coming 1" off the ground. The key is timing, which is why it's essential to tennis footwork. You could feasibly jump only as high as the rope is thick if your timing is perfect. People end up jumping high because they jump before the rope is underneath them and they need that margin of error.

I dunno. You're probably right that it is a technique thing, but it feels almost like a motion sickness thing. And an "insufficient sports bra" thing.

Can't I, like . . . do something else? :)

jmhs
07-27-2009, 03:27 PM
This is what I see in my high level juniors: handling the low, short slice is not practiced. Give a kid something low inside the service line and you are probably going to get an opportunity for a high percentage pass or an easy topspin lob. The kids go back to their pro and claim the problem was with their volleys or overhead. So they practice those things instead of practicing (improving/mastering) what to do with that low, short ball and getting an easier volley or OH.

There are a very rare few who seem to have a gift for handling the low, short ball. I'm not one of those...I have to practice dealing with those regularly.

jmhs
07-27-2009, 03:31 PM
This is what I see in my high level juniors: handling the low, short slice is not practiced. Give a kid something low inside the service line and you are probably going to get an opportunity for a high percentage pass or an easy topspin lob. The kids go back to their pro and claim the problem was with their volleys or overhead. So they practice those things instead of practicing (improving/mastering) what to do with that low, short ball and getting an easier volley or OH.

There are a very rare few who seem to have a gift for handling the low, short ball. I'm not one of those...I have to practice dealing with those regularly.

Oops. Meant to say simply "high level juniors," as in opponents. Look forward to the day when I have high level juniors to coach.

jrod
07-27-2009, 04:01 PM
This is what I see in my high level juniors: handling the low, short slice is not practiced. Give a kid something low inside the service line and you are probably going to get an opportunity for a high percentage pass or an easy topspin lob. The kids go back to their pro and claim the problem was with their volleys or overhead. So they practice those things instead of practicing (improving/mastering) what to do with that low, short ball and getting an easier volley or OH.

There are a very rare few who seem to have a gift for handling the low, short ball. I'm not one of those...I have to practice dealing with those regularly.


Agree. This falls into the "transition game" category I mentioned earlier. I've seen this with good junior players as well, including my son. Interestingly, he injured his off (left) hand and was forced into a 1HBH for the past 2 weeks.

While he has always had a decent slice BH, the past 2 weeks he has improved it substantially. I used to be able to hit the short angled slice and feast on the reply but not any more. The damn ball comes back with just as much slice, usually down the line skidding away from me. At my age, it's not a pretty site to see me trying to dig that shot out as I tumble into the net separating the courts looking like a tuna snared for the evening sushi bar.

I hate it when that happens...

chess9
07-27-2009, 04:22 PM
In fairness to my 40-50 year-old sisters . . . the men in this age range are also no Lance Armstrongs!

I can understand having limited time, but part of what I find curious is what people choose to do with their fitness time. Like, I have one teammate who raves about her spinning classes and says she doesn't need to run/sprint because she gets her legs in shape through spinning, and running is bad for you. I imagine spinning is a great work-out, but it is no substitute for running/sprinting. Same thing for a friend of mine who swears by swimming and balks at running.

Both of these women are of an appropriate weight and look great, but they are *really* slow and have very poor movement and reactions. I think this would change if they hit the track.

Oh, absolutely, but I didn't think telling you about all the male fat slobs who don't work out would be meaningful in this context. :) At my club I am constantly trying to get guys to do some fitness training. Most of them are fairly strong and active, but....they are also mostly about 20 lbs or more overweight. I don't talk to the women about these issues, mainly because part of the conversation could get me in hot water with them, just as I almost got in hot water with you. ;)

-Robert

J011yroger
07-27-2009, 06:07 PM
Yeah, for people who actually are serious. I'm talking about the women at the club in their cute skirts who won't possibly pick up a jump rope.

If they are wearing cute skirts, and bending over to pick up the balls they couldn't get to due to lack of footwork, who am I to tell them they need to jump rope.

Come to think of it, who am I to tell anyone what they should be doing, to get better, or otherwise. If someone wants to get better, they will, if they value my opinion, they will ask for it. I have enough trouble getting myself better that I can't be bothered to pontificate about how others don't do such and such.

J

GuyClinch
07-27-2009, 09:36 PM
In fairness to my 40-50 year-old sisters . . . the men in this age range are also no Lance Armstrongs!

Depends on the guy. A buddy of mine is 50 - he can track down any lob in 3.5 tennis and doesn't have an ounce of body fat. 50 is not really old if you keep yourself in shape..

GuyClinch
07-27-2009, 09:45 PM
Sorry, no jumping rope for me. I might fall over dead.

Cindy -- who has what you might call a "credit card" vertical leap

You do realize this is precisely why you should consider practicing it! This is what you see in the gym all the time. People work on their strengths and not their weaknesses. <g>

My weakness is footwork. I don't even WANT to do the ladder drills because I am not that great at them. But I know that's why I SHOULD do the drills. Its the same with jumping rope..

nousername
07-28-2009, 09:43 AM
Interesting, in my case I would have to say the "transition game," you know those little short balls that you should be able to take control of or win the point outright. I guess next would come the return of serve. None of the recreational player that I know actually do footwork drills but when you work on your ground strokes, volleys don't you work on your footwork at the same time, at least to some extent?

Mental game, how do you practice that, stare at a tennis ball. LOL On the senior level some of us do memorization drills so we can keep score better. Yikes!

JROD "My view of recreational tennis players is that the vast majority of them don't really practice at all....even in a practice session." That is funny and unfortunately probably very true.

Ed
Tennis Geometrics
yep, i'm gonna agree with Tim on this.

right now, i fit rather squarely as a solid 3.5 singles player, and my goal is improvement. the main thing i've realized about the ~3.5 level is an UTTER lack of a transition game. to me, that is the No. 1 thing that separates 3.5-ish players from the upper levels. no one can take control of a point when the OUGHT to take command.

you either have guys that win ALL their points waiting for an opponent error, or you have guys that go for too-much too-soon. the former are content to be 3.5s forever with no desire to improve, and the later are stupid tennis players ... neither has any transition game whatsoever.

this has become starkly obvious to me the last yr or so, and it's what i focus on improving the most.

Cindysphinx
07-28-2009, 10:03 AM
You do realize this is precisely why you should consider practicing it! This is what you see in the gym all the time. People work on their strengths and not their weaknesses. <g>

My weakness is footwork. I don't even WANT to do the ladder drills because I am not that great at them. But I know that's why I SHOULD do the drills. Its the same with jumping rope..

Oh yeah, sure. I'll start jumping rope, and I'll throw a huge blood clot. Are you going to be around to push my wheelchair over to the window?

Didn't think so.

:)

himynameisNIKE
07-28-2009, 10:07 AM
Returns!!!

Steady Eddy
07-28-2009, 10:08 AM
In the old day, (make that the "good old days" :) )the winner was expected to leap over the net to congratulate her opponnent. Maybe the reason people don't do that anymore is that they don't practice it?

JohnTN
07-28-2009, 12:30 PM
Return of serve.

GuyClinch
07-29-2009, 04:51 AM
right now, i fit rather squarely as a solid 3.5 singles player, and my goal is improvement. the main thing i've realized about the ~3.5 level is an UTTER lack of a transition game. to me, that is the No. 1 thing that separates 3.5-ish players from the upper levels. no one can take control of a point when the OUGHT to take command.

Sounds good in theory. But I haven't seen any players with ripping 4.5 - 5.0 ground strokes who can't also punish the short ball.

With good fundamentals it seems to all come together..

Pete

dennis10is
07-29-2009, 07:00 PM
Amateurs do not practice the post match interviews.

mlktennis
07-30-2009, 08:22 AM
Amateurs do not practice the post match interviews.

Yeah, I need to work on this.. also let's not forget the handshake with the umpire- my footwork is not that good when approaching the chair.:)

mlktennis
07-30-2009, 08:27 AM
seriously, it's the Return of serve, my greatest achille's heel. I have yet to find another partner that will practice this with me. Each taking turns serving and returning.

I can practice most everything else on my own since I have a ball machine but not this. And to get the ball machine high enough to simulate a serve means bringing too much stuff onto the court and looking like a freak. I have done this and it and the looks weren't pretty.

SlapShot
07-30-2009, 08:37 AM
I agree that the return of serve seems to lack practice at most amateur levels. We didn't really work on it in high school tennis, and now I finally have a hitting partner that enjoys working on returns. It's amazing what a half hour of practice weekly can do for something as simple as a return of serve.

firstblud
07-30-2009, 08:58 AM
i'm an amateur or below... and i know my least practiced parts are:

serve - the toss
footwork - i have a bad tendency to skip a lot instead of properly moving my feet around the court or to do a groundstroke

maddogz32
07-30-2009, 01:27 PM
a lot of people really need to work on their footwork

GuyClinch
07-30-2009, 07:41 PM
^^^ I think the problem is people don't have a real system to improve their footwork. Its just "man your footwork sucks." Few people outside of top coaches seem to know how to approach this problem..

Truth is I been taking lessons for years off and on and I only learned about things like stepping out and loading up on right leg (for a forehand) via the internet and videos. Footwork patterns are just not commonly taught to not so great adults. I am sure talented kids get that kind of treatment..

BounceHitBounceHit
07-30-2009, 07:53 PM
that it's not even MENTIONED in your poll!! The return, of course. :twisted: BHBH

aimr75
07-30-2009, 07:58 PM
Truth is I been taking lessons for years off and on and I only learned about things like stepping out and loading up on right leg (for a forehand) via the internet and videos. Footwork patterns are just not commonly taught to not so great adults. I am sure talented kids get that kind of treatment..

Ive experienced this as well.. im in the not so great adult category.. ive hit with 3 coaches and none have specifically addressed footwork, patterns etc.. like you, its only been via the internet

BullDogTennis
07-30-2009, 09:34 PM
i voted other: and think return of serve is the least bit practiced. if your at least rallying everyday with someone halfway decent your footwork is gonna get pretty good, most people (at least that i know) pride themself in a serve, so they practice it quite often. while people rally they get forehands and backhands. so that leaves volleying, overheads, and return of serve. a lot of people will take some volleys so that kinda wipes that out. and if they play the net a lot they get overheads, but a lot of time no one practices return of serve. actually i know a ton of people that NEVER practice return of serve, and what they do is they play sets, and there tentative on the return of serve, so they never get better.

user92626
07-30-2009, 10:12 PM
I like this poll.

I think the result or general consensus is probably right on.

But if I could change it would be

1) footwork, 2) fitness. and then 3) mental strength. There are so many veteran weekend players who never seem to get nervous. They get very crafty with the ball that can only be done when you're comfortable and confident.

I agree, everyone is likely lousy with footwork and fitness, regardless of background.

mlktennis
07-31-2009, 07:10 AM
Yes, mental strenth is very important and often neglected as a skill to be practiced- I have learned so much playing these crafty verterans- completely unshakable and most true gentlemen. I aspire to play so well when I get on in my years. Me thinks they thrive on teaching the young whipper snappers a thing or two about REAL tennis.

Bungalo Bill
07-31-2009, 07:23 AM
Yes, mental strenth is very important and often neglected as a skill to be practiced- I have learned so much playing these crafty verterans- completely unshakable and most true gentlemen. I aspire to play so well when I get on in my years. Me thinks they thrive on teaching the young whipper snappers a thing or two about REAL tennis.

What are you talking about? Completely unshakable?

The main reason why these "crafty veterans" get their way is because they are taking advantage of one main thing - your poor footwork and conditioning.

Mental strength comes from going through many tough practices that push you to your limits which generates the confidence you need for matches in knowing that your opponents "craftiness" will not get by your physical and mental training.

mlktennis
07-31-2009, 06:06 PM
If I had a no-nonsense tennis pro like you to kick my *** and put me thru my paces then yes the crafty veteran would have more trouble but alas I do not have this pleasure of your sevices. :cry:..I have a life and improving at tennis is just a part of my life not all encompassing. I aspire to be better but will never be a pro nor willing to train like one.

Most people I play with are like me (including these crafty veterans), generally play to win, get better, get some exercise, and above all have some fun. These vets are like me, just older, and for my level a more developed mental game. Another skill I will work on, like the many other things that are necessary (footwork and conditioning included)

mlktennis
07-31-2009, 06:12 PM
What are you talking about? Completely unshakable?
The main reason why these "crafty veterans" get their way is because they are taking advantage of one main thing - your poor footwork and conditioning.

Mental strength comes from going through many tough practices that push you to your limits which generates the confidence you need for matches in knowing that your opponents "craftiness" will not get by your physical and mental training.

ok, I admit they are not completely unshakable- I over-exaggerated to make a point. .My bad

user92626
07-31-2009, 11:24 PM
Most people I play with are like me (including these crafty veterans), generally play to win, get better, get some exercise, and above all have some fun. These vets are like me, just older, and for my level a more developed mental game. Another skill I will work on, like the many other things that are necessary (footwork and conditioning included)


mike,

No need to worry about these crafty veterans or put them on pedestals :)

Even if these guys who have played for decades do not train mentally, they get exposed enough not to care about what others think of them. Another thing is..expectation. Everyone sort of expects them to play that way and thus they'd feel more comfortable doing it. A youngster would get rediculed if he played like an old guy!!!

mlktennis
08-01-2009, 07:57 AM
mike,

No need to worry about these crafty veterans or put them on pedestals :)

Even if these guys who have played for decades do not train mentally, they get exposed enough not to care about what others think of them. Another thing is..expectation. Everyone sort of expects them to play that way and thus they'd feel more comfortable doing it. A youngster would get rediculed if he played like an old guy!!!

this is true, I def don't aspire to play old man tennis..but I do respect their games in that yrs of tennis have taught them how to persevere and sometimes even win against athletically superior opponents. Granted a well trained youngster with power AND control will wipe the court with these guys.

Speaking of expectation, when you see an old guy playing with a youngin' the pressure is on the young athletic one. And when things aren't going the young guy's way, pressure mounts and overhitting/ going for too much ensues.

mlktennis
08-01-2009, 07:59 AM
you see this also with guys and girls, the guy is SUPPOSED to win right? Seen many a guy lose his cool b/c his ego has been bruised. Mental game.

VaBeachTennis
08-01-2009, 09:03 AM
The dude asked what I thought the least practiced parts of amateur tennis were, and I replied "Return of Serve, and Overhead."

In my observation, these are the least practiced parts of the game at the amateur level.

I didn't say footwork was not important, I did not advocate hitting the aformentioned shots with improper footwork.

I just said that I thought they were the least practiced parts.

Generally, you practice certain shots, and the footwork that goes along with them, which goes without saying.

Just practicing footwork alone to me would imply etchebery drilles, recovery drills, ladder and cone work, 8 ball pickup, running lines.

J

Yep, that why two of my choices were footwork & fitness (supplemental). Those footwork drills of Etcheberry's would definitely increase fitness and better footwork.. The last choice I chose was mental focus, only because I feel that a fair amount of people's (including myself) problems are mental problems ranging from "over thinking", "choking", and in some cases "ego" (like getting mad when losing to a pusher or a person who you think is a "lesser" player) during match play.

VaBeachTennis
08-01-2009, 09:32 AM
Return of serve would have been a better poll option than groundstrokes.

I love practicing return of serve. If I see someone serving a bucket of balls, I'll politely ask them if I could practice returning their serves. Many times it evolves into playing out points. My hitting partner and I practice like this quite often a half a bucket and we switch roles.
A lot of times when people are practicing serves solo there are two missing elements; an opponent and the ball coming back at you. How many people do you see practicing the serve (solo) and then the "recovery" after the serve?

VaBeachTennis
08-01-2009, 09:56 AM
I've boxed for years and find that my footwork is tremendously better than most other people at my level because of it. Reason being, if your footwork in boxing is bad, you lose. Not as in you lose the point, but you lose your consciousness for a second since you get knocked out from not being able to weave the rear hook coming at your jaw. A simple jumprope would do wonders for 80% of recreational players.

Excellent points! That's why I have always like handball(singles) it's like boxing without punches being thrown at you. I used to box and practice Muay Thai as well, those sports have definitely helped my footwork (as long as I keep myself in that mindset in tennis/handball). Jumping rope is an excellent exercise in my opinion.

VaBeachTennis
08-01-2009, 10:06 AM
If it gives you a headache, you're jumping too high, and/or not on your toes. It should feel very easy to do when done properly. Anything about 5" or greateris too high off the ground. In boxing, it's unusual to see someone jumping higher than 2", and more likely that they'll only be coming 1" off the ground. The key is timing, which is why it's essential to tennis footwork. You could feasibly jump only as high as the rope is thick if your timing is perfect. People end up jumping high because they jump before the rope is underneath them and they need that margin of error.

Yep. Then there are different styles one can incorporate into the jump rope practice; feet together, one foot for a certain number of beats then alternate to the other foot, and alternating feet after every beat(like running in place), etc.

VaBeachTennis
08-01-2009, 10:15 AM
^^^ I think the problem is people don't have a real system to improve their footwork. Its just "man your footwork sucks." Few people outside of top coaches seem to know how to approach this problem..

Truth is I been taking lessons for years off and on and I only learned about things like stepping out and loading up on right leg (for a forehand) via the internet and videos. Footwork patterns are just not commonly taught to not so great adults. I am sure talented kids get that kind of treatment..

That's what's good about the cyber age, one can google " tennis footwork" and youtube "tennis footwork" or "Federer footwork" and find something that they use and work off of.

topher.juan
08-01-2009, 11:32 AM
Return of serve, no question about it; it wasn't even on the list. I hardly ever see anyone practice their return of serve, it is just ridiculous to ignore your return, everything in your return game suffers if you don't practice your return.

Bungalo Bill
08-01-2009, 04:45 PM
Return of serve, no question about it; it wasn't even on the list. I hardly ever see anyone practice their return of serve, it is just ridiculous to ignore your return, everything in your return game suffers if you don't practice your return.

I agree with this! We should all feel quilty for not practicing our returns.
:)

J011yroger
08-01-2009, 05:01 PM
I agree with this! We should all feel quilty for not practicing our returns.
:)

Speak for yourself white man ;)

I actually practice my return more than my serve.

But am just as guilty of mindlessly blasting groundstrokes as the next guy :oops:

It is just so much fun belting the cover off the ball, too bad it doesn't make you any better.

J

BU-Tennis
08-01-2009, 07:03 PM
Again you contradict yourself!

I don't see how that is contradiction! I said that footwork was the least practiced part of tennis, but that all aspects are equally important.

GuyClinch
08-02-2009, 08:31 AM
That's what's good about the cyber age, one can google " tennis footwork" and youtube "tennis footwork" or "Federer footwork" and find something that they use and work off of.

It's better then nothing - like I said that's why I started thinking about footwork. But a good pro can come up with an intergrated approach that will gradually introduce footwork skills in an intelligent pattern.

Jez Green might know a ton about footwork but alot of his stuff seems out of the range of not so great adults like me..

It's like an olympic powerlifting coach teaching someone a powersnatch. Sure you can watch video of it - but going from a novice to doing that correctly takes an intelligent plan..

Pete

10nistennis
08-02-2009, 03:36 PM
IMO, it is either footwork or fitness. Return of serve and half-volleys come a close second.