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sn1974
10-15-2009, 04:26 AM
so, i've been taught over the past few years of tennis lessons that my groundstroke swing is a 2-step process. after my lower body is in the right position and i've turned my upper body back, i need to turn my shoulders forward first, then my lower body. shoulder turn should be up to just before contact, then lower body takes over after that.

basic stuff and in most situations i can execute it but really fast balls screw me up.

my instructor says when i return fast balls, i get into position properly but end up just hitting with my legs without first turning my shoulders. it drives him crazy.

i feel like i don't have time (lol, that's the excuse for everything, right?!) and for fast balls, i'm just happy to return them. but, how to fix this?

i know, shorter backswing.

any other tips to get my mind in the right place? when i learned it the first time i used to count 1 - 2 so i'd know when to switch from shoulders to legs and that helped ingrain it in my head. but for really fast balls i don't have time to count, let alone think. i'm just reacting.

i also don't quite get why it's so important. is it because i need to be hitting the ball in front? or because i need my arm out in front to generate the most power?

LeeD
10-15-2009, 09:52 AM
Seems you were taught the THEORY of a good forward swing groundie. Theory is all based on YOU having time, ample opportunity, and a consistent incoming ball.
Reality is....your opponent is TRYING to keep you OFF balance, will hit short and long, more spin and less spin, and run you around as well as hitting behind you and directly AT you, harder and softer.
So you can apply theory only on shots that are slow enough for you to get ready early and prep EARLY.
Meaning, during a hit with a friend, you're only applying "theory" maybe half the time, and during a real competitive match, you're applying "theory" maybe 1/4 of the time.
The better players have contingency plans when "theory" doesn't work.

fuzz nation
10-15-2009, 12:50 PM
I appreciate what you've written, but I'd also be interested to see you hitting some balls because the description of the sequence of events in your swing sound like they're sort of in reverse. Your teacher may have given you some sort of a verbal cue to help make an aspect of your swing more productive, but I'd expect a stroke to ideally happen from the ground up. The shoulder turn through contact comes after the legs initiate both forward drive and rotation as I see it.

LeeD
10-15-2009, 01:05 PM
For me, from really fast ball taking me by surprise thru slow easy shots....
Fast.... quick partial shoulder turn and little backswing to arm the ball thru...
Medium fast... more shoulder and full takeback, using upper body mainly...
In time.... shoulder and arm, feet moved into position, trying to employ kinetic chain...
Slow incoming...shoulder and arm, feet fully closed to desired stance (can be semi open depending on my shot), using the ankles, knee, thighs, hips, and up as if I might know what I'm doing, which I don't.....

sn1974
10-16-2009, 10:01 AM
i just uploaded a couple of minutes from a lesson this morning. all basic groundstrokes. the part with the dog is me hitting with a kid who is literally half my age, and a guy. he's not even hitting that hard but still it's not so pretty. ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia_DIOo5mn4

lots of issues to work on (why can't i keep my head down???) but right now i'm trying to figure out the whole shoulder thing...

would appreciate any insights or tips!

user92626
10-16-2009, 10:53 AM
i just uploaded a couple of minutes from a lesson this morning. all basic groundstrokes. the part with the dog is me hitting with a kid who is literally half my age, and a guy. he's not even hitting that hard but still it's not so pretty. ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia_DIOo5mn4

lots of issues to work on (why can't i keep my head down???) but right now i'm trying to figure out the whole shoulder thing...

would appreciate any insights or tips!

I really don't see anything blatantly wrong with your groundstroke form other than keep you nonhitting arm high longer, set up a "stronger" base (more feet apart) so you can swing faster.

fuzz nation
10-16-2009, 02:17 PM
Hooray for youtube!

Look at the forehand and backhand stroke that you hit at 1:12 and 1:17. Even though one of those is a short ball that's drawing you forward, you get a good push off your back foot on both shots. Compare those with a lot of the other strokes in your video and you can see how your back foot just about remains underneath you. No push off your back foot - no energy!

I like that you're trying to use a complete swing, but so many of your strokes have a long and very slow follow though after contact. I can only suspect that this exaggeration is making you decelerate through contact instead of accelerating that racquet through the ball. You can take that full swing, but your footwork needs to get you moving back to a neutral position right after you hit the ball.

Your slice backhand looks like a work in progress. Keep at it - this stroke is essential in my opinion. You're getting your weight onto your front foot before your swing and this is a good thing. The one flaw that's easiest for me to spot is the breakdown of the geometry between the racquet and your arm/wrist.

As you swing through the ball, your hand should lead the racquet without your wrist breaking open. The "L" that's formed between your forearm and the throat of your racquet shouldn't change through the shot. Take a full swing with a somewhat firm wrist to full extension (like you're an umpire calling a base-runner safe). At the finish, the tip of your racquet should be pointed in the general direction of your target at its finish instead of pointing over toward the right side fence like it does when your wrist turns over in the video. There's no "release" through contact for a bh slice like there is with a typical topspin stroke. The change will feel strange at first, but it should become more stable and controllable as you work on it.

sn1974
10-16-2009, 07:51 PM
thank you.

i hear you on all those points. there's so much to work on! i feel like i have to trust my instructor (who has taught me from the beginning) on which order to deal with things. but it is frustrating to think that i have been doing this for 3 (&#$(&!! years and this is what i have to show for it. lol.

we have a running battle about follow through. i want to swing faster, resulting in complete, natural follow through, but he keeps telling me when i do that i'm hitting with my arms and my lower body isn't powering my shots. he's probably right because of what you said about not using my back leg enough. right now we're working on this, the should turn issue, and keeping my arms up and out through my swing.

speaking of which, i'm still completely confused about how the shoulder turn forward (not the backswing/pivot, as they call it on FYB) initiates my swing and my legs take over from there.

am i supposed to be turning my shoulders more back towards the court again before contact?