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bhupaes
10-30-2009, 03:11 PM
This is a question for the MTM experts (5263, teachestennis)... but others please feel free to comment.

How exactly does one hit across the ball? For a righty forehand, would the racquet head be moving left to right, or right to left, at the moment of contact?

Even before I had heard of MTM, I was swinging my racquet in a circular motion from the inside to the outside, and I was imparting a slight hooking kind of side spin on my topspin forehand stroke - a result of the racquet head moving across the ball, but from left to right at contact. Is this in line with MTM?

Thanks.

5263
10-30-2009, 05:17 PM
The normal righty Fh per MTM would go from right to left, as you accelerate up and pull across (usually stepping out to the left with left foot) to an over the shoulder finish. I say normal, as it would be the standard you build on.
MTM would also definitely allow for working around the outside of the ball, as in hooking a DTL Fh back inside the court or off a very low ball. This sounds like what you are doing.

What we wouldn't normally do is swing in a way that extended thru 3 balls in the direction of our intended target before beginning the follow thru.
Does this help?

tricky
10-30-2009, 05:39 PM
I'm not a MTM person, so I'm just going to go on a topic that may involve yours.

With the FH, your takeback can be (what I call) loop-based or it can be turn-based. This in turn reinforces two general types of forward swings: one with a strong down-to-up, outside-to-in motion (loop), or one with a flatter swing plane and where your arm accelerates in a line to the ball while the forearm wipes right to left (turn.) Both styles can create WW-style swings. The former creates a stronger double-bend and the wiping action involves the elbow drawing a small arc into and through the contact point. The latter still has a double-bend, but much straighter and the wiping action involves the forearm pivoting around the elbow. I sometimes call this type of WW FH the "Spanish FH" (no real good reason, just common with guys like Safin, Nadal, or Verdasco who played at Spanish academies), and I *think* that's what Wegner is trying to promote with the right-to-left concept.

The difference in technique primarily lays in how you separate the racquet. When you lift the racquet with your non-hitting hand in order to separate the racquet, you'll get a "loop-based" takeback. In fact, even if you try a very straight-looking takeback, you will still have a loop-based takeback. The reason is that how you separate the racquet sets up the sequence of your kinetic chain. You're basically sequencing the kinetic chain, so that the shoulder girdle should elevate before rotating internally in the forward swing.

Now, imagine stroking part of the neck of the racquet as your left hand separates from the racquet. This will cause your non-hitting arm to separate "forward" rather than "up", and it will create a turn-based takeback. In fact, even if you try to force a big loop, the takeback will look a lot straighter than you were doing before. You're now sequencing the kinetic chain, so that the shoulder rotates internally before it elevates in the forward swing. Your forward swing will be significantly different now. Now, you're swinging at the ball and your racquet head is radically moving counterclockwise into the contact point.

Again, both are valid ways to approach the WW FH, but the turn-based style, in terms of mechanics, matches more better with the demands of a WW FH. When your shoulder is allowed to rotate internally before it elevates, this enables the wrist (i.e. stronger horizontal component from wrist-racquet torque) to work more effectively as a hinge, which produces a strong ballistic response from the forearm pronators. So, no matter your swing plane, you get a stronger WW effect. In addition, because your shoulder rotates internally before it elevates, your swing plane is naturally flatter. You're simply swinging into the ball rather than up on it. And therefore, you can concentrate on driving through the ball. It's almost impossible NOT to have strong WW action. In fact, all you have to do is concentrate on hitting through the ball and striking cleanly. In addition, the overall swing speed is better. So you get more pace, more spin, and therefore a much heavier shot, Finally, it's a spring-board for really advanced variations of the FH, such as a straight-arm forward swing. The main disadvantage with this style is that you will probably shank more shots. If you get a bad bounce or misjudge a ball, you may end up spraying the ball. Also, if your footwork is not in order, then your overall number of errors will go way up. As a result, to actually make this style work for you, you gotta have your fundamentals down pat.

5263
10-30-2009, 07:09 PM
tricky, very astute noticing about Oscar and the Spanish Fh.

teachestennis
10-30-2009, 07:27 PM
I'm not a MTM person, so I'm just going to go on a topic that may involve yours.

With the FH, your takeback can be (what I call) loop-based or it can be turn-based. This in turn reinforces two general types of forward swings: one with a strong down-to-up, outside-to-in motion (loop), or one with a flatter swing plane and where your arm accelerates in a line to the ball while the forearm wipes right to left (turn.) Both styles can create WW-style swings. The former creates a stronger double-bend and the wiping action involves the elbow drawing a small arc into and through the contact point. The latter still has a double-bend, but much straighter and the wiping action involves the forearm pivoting around the elbow. I sometimes call this type of WW FH the "Spanish FH" (no real good reason, just common with guys like Safin, Nadal, or Verdasco who played at Spanish academies), and I *think* that's what Wegner is trying to promote with the right-to-left concept.

The difference in technique primarily lays in how you separate the racquet. When you lift the racquet with your non-hitting hand in order to separate the racquet, you'll get a "loop-based" takeback. In fact, even if you try a very straight-looking takeback, you will still have a loop-based takeback. The reason is that how you separate the racquet sets up the sequence of your kinetic chain. You're basically sequencing the kinetic chain, so that the shoulder girdle should elevate before rotating internally in the forward swing.

Now, imagine stroking part of the neck of the racquet as your left hand separates from the racquet. This will cause your non-hitting arm to separate "forward" rather than "up", and it will create a turn-based takeback. In fact, even if you try to force a big loop, the takeback will look a lot straighter than you were doing before. You're now sequencing the kinetic chain, so that the shoulder rotates internally before it elevates in the forward swing. Your forward swing will be significantly different now. Now, you're swinging at the ball and your racquet head is radically moving counterclockwise into the contact point.
In fact, all you have to do is concentrate on hitting through the ball and striking cleanly. .

Tricky, you make a lot of good points here but maybe I can clarify why MTM does not teach to hit through the target line and focuses on hitting up and across and from right to left on the forehand, focusing on clearing the mind by accelerating the racket head to the finish with the butt traveling through the target line. I have corresponded and talked with Kelly Jones extensively about this misconception of going through the target line. FYI, Kelly Jones took over coaching James Blake Oct 1st and has a coaching resume that is paralled by very few except the likes of Larry Stefanki,Jose Higueras, and Darren Cahill.

Overrated Teaching Method #5 by Kelly Jones: Extend through contact. This method was popular years ago and remains a common teaching method. The idea is that after contact you can keep the ball on the strings longer by extending your follow-through towards the target. On film it is easy to see how the better players extend their racquet after impact. The arm does NOT control this. The arm is a passenger along for the ride. As the body unwinds or uncoils, the arm will naturally extend depending on the situation. This is a huge misconception. To physically move your arm forward trying to extend is an arm movement and independent of the body and will eventually cause all kinds of injuries.

Me (not Kelly): The reason you don't have to hit through the ball is because the ball is coming at you, especiallly at the pro level, and it is providing the "through" energy needed to "redirect" the ball back at the opponent. This is why coaches teach to "catch the ball" and "hold it on your racket" especially at the higher levels. As proof, lets' listen to Kelly Jones again, who teaches very much how MTM teaches and if it wasn't for recent politics of certain tennis hierarchies, believe me, would be coming out very much in support of MTM as the best foundation to start your tennis game. I don't think he would mind my saying that.

Overrated Teaching Method #4) DON’T WAIT FOR THE BALL

Kelly Jones: "Here in America we are taught to never let your opponent back into the court and always take time away from them. Learning to wait for the ball changed my career. Much of this philosophy is a result of playing on faster surfaces. The problem with this method is that players get in a panic mode. They will tend to rush easy put-a-way balls and often miss because of rushing. All the great players today know how to do what is called “hold” the ball. What does holding the ball mean? Well, they have essentially learned to wait for the ball. By waiting or holding the ball the players take the time to hit the right shot or take time to let their opponent make a move and then play the appropriate shot. The concept of “holding the ball” often can leave many of your opponents literally incapable of making a move for your shot. Sometimes you’ll take away your opponents’ time and other times you will deliberately hold the ball until your opponents made a move before you hit the shot." end

Those of you who are familiar with MTM's core tenets know that "waiting" for the ball is one of the real fundamentals. The key to staying in the zone is the harder the ball is hit, the longer you must wait and restrain from starting your kinetic chain too early. That is why MTM teaches to count from the bounce at 1 and don't blast it until five and of course, you blast up and across, never emphasizing to hit through the target line on groundstrokes. I know Oscar's "feel" terminolgoy is hard for some coaches who like technicality (like me) to understand. I wonder if the hard part for non MTM coaches to understand is that if you can't wait for the ball at slow speeds, how can you have the discipline to wait for it at faster speeds. So in MTM, we want them to find the ball and feel a natural kinetic chain by bending the arm to find the ball well and then to pull up and across from right to left with the butt of the racket at the finish associated with where the ball is to go. MTM teaches a WW using a biomechanically efficient swing from the first strokes, whether 4 of 54.

I taught hit through the ball for years and had some success but even when I coach 5.0s or 3.5s now, I never have to tell them to hit through the ball because the power is provided by the hand moving from right to left regardless of what the body does. I might tell them to hit the ball harder and let them feel the difference, but I am looking for that torque and the massaging of the ball as they whip the racket across it. The racket moves as Kelly Jones states above, passively as the hand shapes the shot and drives the ball using forces of torque or change of direction....shot comes toward you, you change the direction of the force by pulling across it instead of trying to reverse using momentum, which is why linear momentum swings are not the best way to teach tennis groundstrokes per MTM.

It's interesting that you noted the connection between Wegner and what you term as the Spanish forehand (right to left style). This is very astute as it was Wegner who was hired by Spain after not getting anyone to listen to his theories except the Spanish in 1971 who were intrigued by his theories, after all, Oscar had modeled MTM after the only great Spaniard back then, Manuel Santana. By 1973 (Oscar was 33) was made one of three national Spanish coaches after he first caught world attention as the Spanish Junior Davis Cup Captain. Spain's coaches then did not advocate teaching the open stance western grip right to left forehand, but the players had such success with MTM, that in the 1973 Monte Carlo 18 and unders, Oscar had four of his personal students in the semifinals in what then was a world class junior tournament. Oscar's players hitting with the new topspin style that startled spectators in the 1973 Orange Bowl has been documented by tennis historian Bud Collins, who made it a point to meet the Argentinean who was making a mark in Spain. This marked the time frame when the Spanish Tennis Federation finally listened to him and within a few years, Spain became known for producing the Spanish Armada. When you see players like Moya listed on Oscar's site, it's because though Moya never did take lessons from Oscar, he had a primary developmental coach that was a student of Oscar's as Oscar would focus on coaching coaches instead of players for much of the rest of his life as his Spanish experience convinced him he was correct about the direction of the game. Many of the young Spanish players Oscar coached during those early 1970s in Spain later would become prominent at the Spanish Academies. Jose Higueras at one point then stepped in when the Spanish were thinking of changing their style and helped restore them to the formula that made them a world power. FYI, Higueras was a 19 year old pro when Oscar was making his mark in Spain. Oscar and Higueras go way back but that story is for another day.

aimr75
10-30-2009, 07:31 PM
I'm not a MTM person, so I'm just going to go on a topic that may involve yours.

With the FH, your takeback can be (what I call) loop-based or it can be turn-based. This in turn reinforces two general types of forward swings: one with a strong down-to-up, outside-to-in motion (loop), or one with a flatter swing plane and where your arm accelerates in a line to the ball while the forearm wipes right to left (turn.) Both styles can create WW-style swings. The former creates a stronger double-bend and the wiping action involves the elbow drawing a small arc into and through the contact point. The latter still has a double-bend, but much straighter and the wiping action involves the forearm pivoting around the elbow. I sometimes call this type of WW FH the "Spanish FH" (no real good reason, just common with guys like Safin, Nadal, or Verdasco who played at Spanish academies), and I *think* that's what Wegner is trying to promote with the right-to-left concept.

The difference in technique primarily lays in how you separate the racquet. When you lift the racquet with your non-hitting hand in order to separate the racquet, you'll get a "loop-based" takeback. In fact, even if you try a very straight-looking takeback, you will still have a loop-based takeback. The reason is that how you separate the racquet sets up the sequence of your kinetic chain. You're basically sequencing the kinetic chain, so that the shoulder girdle should elevate before rotating internally in the forward swing.

Now, imagine stroking part of the neck of the racquet as your left hand separates from the racquet. This will cause your non-hitting arm to separate "forward" rather than "up", and it will create a turn-based takeback. In fact, even if you try to force a big loop, the takeback will look a lot straighter than you were doing before. You're now sequencing the kinetic chain, so that the shoulder rotates internally before it elevates in the forward swing. Your forward swing will be significantly different now. Now, you're swinging at the ball and your racquet head is radically moving counterclockwise into the contact point.

Again, both are valid ways to approach the WW FH, but the turn-based style, in terms of mechanics, matches more better with the demands of a WW FH. When your shoulder is allowed to rotate internally before it elevates, this enables the wrist (i.e. stronger horizontal component from wrist-racquet torque) to work more effectively as a hinge, which produces a strong ballistic response from the forearm pronators. So, no matter your swing plane, you get a stronger WW effect. In addition, because your shoulder rotates internally before it elevates, your swing plane is naturally flatter. You're simply swinging into the ball rather than up on it. And therefore, you can concentrate on driving through the ball. It's almost impossible NOT to have strong WW action. In fact, all you have to do is concentrate on hitting through the ball and striking cleanly. In addition, the overall swing speed is better. So you get more pace, more spin, and therefore a much heavier shot, Finally, it's a spring-board for really advanced variations of the FH, such as a straight-arm forward swing. The main disadvantage with this style is that you will probably shank more shots. If you get a bad bounce or misjudge a ball, you may end up spraying the ball. Also, if your footwork is not in order, then your overall number of errors will go way up. As a result, to actually make this style work for you, you gotta have your fundamentals down pat.

tricky, thanks again for your insight.. You've provided advice on my forehand in the past.. i have a vid of me air swinging some forehands.. rather then posting here, can i email this for some further insight from you? I have been working on implementing aspects youve mentioned

teachestennis
10-30-2009, 08:04 PM
I decided to let Oscar's writings speak for himself so as to clarify this thread topic. Here is from an article written by Oscar Wegner titled the Modern Topspin Article, in 2000 which explains the reference to Sampras' erratic last three years on tour. The real story of Borg's 2nd comeback is documented with press reports (not a personal slanted version) in the 1992 entry of The Real History Of USA Tennis Instruction at www.moderntenniscoaches.com, I think in Part III. It explains why Borg became such an advocate of Oscar's MTM.

Oscar Wegner: Tennis is a beautiful visual sport and most analysis has been done from a visual viewpoint. It is easy to get the illusion that the force and effort should go in the direction of the ball. This has misled students and teachers alike, without the realization that the top pros use their force and energy in a completely different way.

Visually, it seems that to exert maximum power, you need to hit forward. But physics and also a simple test will tell you that moving the racquet horizontally through the hitting zone, with the racquet face strictly vertical, will send the ball to the bottom of the net.
Picture yourself with an unopened half-gallon carton of milk in your hand, standing at one baseline, and wanting to throw it underhand over the net. Would you throw it forward only or also upwards?
Next, intend to throw it with a bit of forward rotation (topspin). Would your arm and effort go up even more?
Now, imagine trying to throw the milk carton over the net at 1700 RPM, like an average Agassi topspin forehand rotation. Where would most of your effort go?
The following may seem an oversimplification, but this is how simple and powerful the top pros forehands really are.

Timing On your forehand, as you run or wait for the ball, follow and stalk the ball with the racquet out front. By stalking I mean follow the ball as if you were going to catch it, rather than as if you were going to strike it.
This is especially important after the bounce. Keep the racquet in front as long as you can. Follow the ball without making any decisions. Try to keep your mind blank. Just look at the ball intensely and follow it with your racquet.
You may have an intended target, but hold this thought until you are about to discharge your stroke. When the ball is near, take your best swing and let your instincts fly. Most players tend to panic when waiting so long, but trust your instincts and your feel and allow them to guide your stroke.
In 1992 I coached Bjorn Borg for his second comeback. He was preparing too early for his forehand and had lost his timing and feel. I told him to wait longer, that the longer he waited for the ball the more time he would have. He said "that is not logical." But soon he recalled how long he tracked the ball in his famous 1980 Wimbledon final against John McEnroe. He started applying the concept, and quickly regained his strokes. After 20 days of practice he tested this against Pete Sampras, then number three in the world, and lost a very close match, 7-5, 7-6, with two set points in the second set tiebreaker.

I recommend this mental waiting, even if you are attacking the ball. You'll see a huge change in your efficiency and enormous increase in feel, which will allow you to maximize power and still retain control.
The longer you hold your racquet out front, before discharging your full swing, the more time you will seem to have. Rather than preparing early, work the other way around. At first, you may hit a few balls late, but soon you’ll find your “personal” timing - your comfort zone. Some players learn this mental “waiting” from the beginning and instinctively become top players. These players never realize most people operate the opposite way.
Timing is the most important factor at the top level of the game. Executing a bit too early will cause you to lose the feel. A prime example of this is Pete Sampras, who in the last three years has been in and out of the Zone, accounting for some beautiful performances, but having many others he'd rather not think about.

Low to High and Across Your racquet should approach the ball from below, and then pull up and across the body. A closed racquet face through the swing, with the palm facing down, is preferable for topspin players. The racquet may turn closer to a vertical position near the hit, but keeping it closed as long as possible through your upward swing will prevent the ball from flying too high.
Try to make contact towards the bottom of the strings, as if you were stroking it with the end of your fingers, not your palm. The main thing is to focus on finding the ball well, and then to finish across your body or over the opposite shoulder. Reinforce this finish by keeping your racquet there for a short time, even while you are turning back to cover the court.

Make this finish the only mental picture you'll ever have.

When to Discharge the Power
The modern forehand is not a hit but a push, meaning that the brutal acceleration starts near the impact, not from way back. The ball speed that results from the forehand stroke is more influenced by the acceleration you apply at contact time than by your racquet speed. This solves the mystery of John McEnroe, for example, who could generate great ball velocity with practically no backswing at all.
To this equation you can add the factor that in a push your muscles tighten up and this connects more body mass to the impact as well.
This is true for many other champions. Even though their swing is sometimes pretty big, they approach the ball slowly and only make the racquet go faster as they close to it.
Summing it Up
When striking the ball, the hand has to come up and across the ball with the arm bending forcefully, not extending. The forward component of the hit is the natural inclination of the aggressive nature of the tennis player and it has to be tamed with the habit to come up and across.
Notice how your favorite pro follows the ball with the racquet, how he strokes it, how he finishes, and copy that. Find and study high speed videos of the pros strokes on the internet. Fix your eyes on the player, slow down the speed and you’ll see his stroke from a new perspective and you’ll learn a lot more.
End of Article

Me again: Here is a video showing how Federer, despite often using a straight arm hitting structure, still pulls from right to left so fast even while his body if moving in opposite directions. I.

Oscar Wegner in a debate with a prominent coach:
I too looked at TennisOne videos of Roger Federer, and saw, as you say, the elbow coming out away from the body as well. But if you observe the hand, it is coming in a higher ratio than the elbow going out. This is achieved by contraction of the biceps, and this contraction actually connects the body weight to the impact, while in your model, there is a separation, and therefore a disconnection.

With the large ball you have in your article, I could show you the Bruce Lee theory of power, and most likely propel that ball over the net and into the opposite fence.

And also, out of physics, force equals mass times acceleration. Any lessening of the weight connected with the impact would mean less ball speed, while the opposite, connection of more body weight would mean more ball speed.

Everyone is amazed at how much acceleration Federer gets and how much ball speed he generates with apparently lesser effort, especially on his lethal forehand side. Here is the answer, biceps contraction, which, regardless of the elbow going out, is in essence a shortening of the radius. And this starts occurring just prior to the impact.

You can go to an experimental page I made http://www.tennisteacher.com/exp.htm with a movie from TennisOne, and measure Federer's head movement and hand movement against the background. You'll see that while the body is still moving to the right before and after the impact, the hand is coming across his body so severely that it is seen doing so against the background. Take the frame prior to the impact and his hand is below the P of PACIFIC LIFE, and the forehead below the F. In the next frame his forehead is almost below the I, and the hand is clearly below the A. The easy math is that the distance between the hand and the body has been reduced from P to F to A to I, a dramatic shortening.

You can verify this happening at higher ratios of frames per second, if you have access to them. And by the way, this has been at the roots of my coaching system for decades, and the reason for the success of those who follow these teachings, even if they are not too clear of the importance of this aspect (Spain, Russians, South Americans). Federer has taken this to the next level, and that is very surprising for the tennis world at large who were never told of this fact. Oscar Wegner

tricky
10-30-2009, 08:36 PM
The idea is that after contact you can keep the ball on the strings longer by extending your follow-through towards the target.

I actually agree with this in terms of what actually happens . . . but the truth is, I use it primarily for visualization purposes.

For my purposes, "line of shot" accomplishes two mechanical principles. First, it enables the person to understand the role of transverse adduction in regards to the swing without having to explain what that is. Transverse adduction, not internal shoulder rotation, is for me the major variable for pace in a person's swing. It's why somebody with a closed-stance FH can still hit the ball pretty hard even though they get less from the trunk and shoulder. They better understand that a rotation-based swing is not merely a slap onto the ball.

Second, provided that their footwork is in order, I use to explain how linear momentum created from hip rotation ("real" hip rotation facilitates weight transfer, which sets up your linear momentum, what people presume as "hip rotation" is really torso or trunk rotation), helps to get your trunk to rotate into the line of shot.

The extension that you see is due to that transverse adduction. The upper arm tries to move laterally toward the midline of the body. Now, because the trunk is rotating as well, the midline is also moving too. As a result, the upper arm ends up moving "forward" (rather than "around", which would be the case if there was only rotation -- you can verify this by flexing the pec muscle through the groundstroke, that represses transverse adduction and robs you of a line of shot no matter what else you do) into presumably the line of shot. (I say presumably because this is also dependent on your footwork and torso alignment.) Now, as long as the trunk is rotating, the elbow preserves its original angle of bend. However, once the trunk stops rotating (ideally, the trunk is square to your line of shot -- that is, the trunk has rotated into the line of shot due to successful weight transfer and counterbalance provided by the guide foot), the upper arm now accelerates toward the midline or sternum . Now, transverse adduction also necessitates that the underside of the upper arm remains pointed toward the ground. Once the midline stops moving (due to the trunk no longer rotating), the transverse adduction prevents the upper arm from turning inwards, which is what the shoulder rotation wants the arm to do. To mediate these competing elements, a motion dependent effect is created the elbow extends passively, and the hand path of the swing is "guided" in a line toward the ball. As long as the shoulder rotates internally, the hand path continues to accelerate into that path, which we see as extension. However, even with a small shoulder turn, you can still hit the ball pretty hard due to that "line of shot."

Finally, the above is the underlying model that I use to explain how to eventually evolve into a straight-arm forward swing. Basically, I have a person include their chest in the kinetic chain to load up on transverse adduction and get a ballistic response from that. To do that, THEN I use the "3 balls in a line" visualization, because pretty much that's what the visualization actually accomplishes. Visually, I just say that it creates a very long "line of shot", which enables their arm to fully straighten out before their arm comes around.

Now, most people I speak with don't really want to listen to all the above. Hell, it makes some people angry. So, I just say hit in a line through the ball, and step out with the load foot. That seems to work! :D

Now, that ties into my model of the swing. Which is, 80% emphasis on step pattern and unit turn. 20% on everything else. My assumption is that Wegner inverts that ratio. Of course, I don't know because I haven't read MTM literature.

But, as you can see, I don't actually talk a lot about what happens as the racquet goes through the ball or the finish. That's not really my focus. MTM (and really anything else on TT) seems interesting since it covers the other parts that I don't.

tricky
10-30-2009, 08:36 PM
can i email this for some further insight from you?

Aimr -- trickykid123@gmail.com

ahile02
10-30-2009, 09:03 PM
I'm not a MTM person, so I'm just going to go on a topic that may involve yours.

With the FH, your takeback can be (what I call) loop-based or it can be turn-based. This in turn reinforces two general types of forward swings: one with a strong down-to-up, outside-to-in motion (loop), or one with a flatter swing plane and where your arm accelerates in a line to the ball while the forearm wipes right to left (turn.) Both styles can create WW-style swings. The former creates a stronger double-bend and the wiping action involves the elbow drawing a small arc into and through the contact point. The latter still has a double-bend, but much straighter and the wiping action involves the forearm pivoting around the elbow. I sometimes call this type of WW FH the "Spanish FH" (no real good reason, just common with guys like Safin, Nadal, or Verdasco who played at Spanish academies), and I *think* that's what Wegner is trying to promote with the right-to-left concept.

The difference in technique primarily lays in how you separate the racquet. When you lift the racquet with your non-hitting hand in order to separate the racquet, you'll get a "loop-based" takeback. In fact, even if you try a very straight-looking takeback, you will still have a loop-based takeback. The reason is that how you separate the racquet sets up the sequence of your kinetic chain. You're basically sequencing the kinetic chain, so that the shoulder girdle should elevate before rotating internally in the forward swing.

Now, imagine stroking part of the neck of the racquet as your left hand separates from the racquet. This will cause your non-hitting arm to separate "forward" rather than "up", and it will create a turn-based takeback. In fact, even if you try to force a big loop, the takeback will look a lot straighter than you were doing before. You're now sequencing the kinetic chain, so that the shoulder rotates internally before it elevates in the forward swing. Your forward swing will be significantly different now. Now, you're swinging at the ball and your racquet head is radically moving counterclockwise into the contact point.

Again, both are valid ways to approach the WW FH, but the turn-based style, in terms of mechanics, matches more better with the demands of a WW FH. When your shoulder is allowed to rotate internally before it elevates, this enables the wrist (i.e. stronger horizontal component from wrist-racquet torque) to work more effectively as a hinge, which produces a strong ballistic response from the forearm pronators. So, no matter your swing plane, you get a stronger WW effect. In addition, because your shoulder rotates internally before it elevates, your swing plane is naturally flatter. You're simply swinging into the ball rather than up on it. And therefore, you can concentrate on driving through the ball. It's almost impossible NOT to have strong WW action. In fact, all you have to do is concentrate on hitting through the ball and striking cleanly. In addition, the overall swing speed is better. So you get more pace, more spin, and therefore a much heavier shot, Finally, it's a spring-board for really advanced variations of the FH, such as a straight-arm forward swing. The main disadvantage with this style is that you will probably shank more shots. If you get a bad bounce or misjudge a ball, you may end up spraying the ball. Also, if your footwork is not in order, then your overall number of errors will go way up. As a result, to actually make this style work for you, you gotta have your fundamentals down pat.

When you mean internal shoulder rotation, do you mean upper arm pronation?

So, basically, along with proper footwork, using this form of takeback (which we have discussed many times :) ) will automatically cause this internal shoulder rotation, and therefore allow a more horizontal swing plane, yet produce adequate WW action?

aimr75
10-30-2009, 09:12 PM
Aimr -- trickykid123@gmail.com

thanks tricky, email sent

tricky
10-30-2009, 09:22 PM
therefore allow a more horizontal swing plane, yet produce adequate WW action?

That's the idea . . . if other stuff is coming along. :D Yeah, but basically, allow the left hand to partially stroke the neck of the racquet as you separate the left hand from it. It sounds a little uhh . . . but you'll notice a different takeback. It's just a way to prevent you from lifting it up.

However, in your case, your unit turn was kinda screwy because you try setting it up by extending your non-hitting hand, rather than through the step pattern and hips. And that's a no-no.

bhupaes
10-30-2009, 09:58 PM
The normal righty Fh per MTM would go from right to left, as you accelerate up and pull across (usually stepping out to the left with left foot) to an over the shoulder finish. I say normal, as it would be the standard you build on.
MTM would also definitely allow for working around the outside of the ball, as in hooking a DTL Fh back inside the court or off a very low ball. This sounds like what you are doing.

What we wouldn't normally do is swing in a way that extended thru 3 balls in the direction of our intended target before beginning the follow thru.
Does this help?

Yes, I see what you mean - thanks! You are right, I definitely hook lower balls, and I think I pull across for higher balls from right to left naturally with the same stroke. I'll have to experiment tomorrow to see what I'm actually doing.

bhupaes
10-30-2009, 10:11 PM
I'm not a MTM person, so I'm just going to go on a topic that may involve yours.

[...]



Great post, tricky! I tried both ways, and I see exactly what you are saying - I had to read your post a few times, though! :) I think my natural forehand is more turn based, since my non-hitting arm starts separating well before I am fully turned. I do have to say, your understanding of body kinetics is incredible! Thanks.

Tilden
10-30-2009, 11:14 PM
I watched Borg's comeback. I think he actually got worse, not better. To me, it seems like he was trying to incorporate too much of the "Modern Game" into what were already his naturally fluid strokes. One of his first games back he played extremely well, but then he tried to "modernize" his strokes and lost to some nobody at UCLA. He was catching the ball late and shanking shots left and right. Personally, I would not tout Borg getting better as the comeback went on, I think he got worse.

5263
10-31-2009, 02:49 AM
I watched Borg's comeback. I think he actually got worse, not better. To me, it seems like he was trying to incorporate too much of the "Modern Game" into what were already his naturally fluid strokes. One of his first games back he played extremely well, but then he tried to "modernize" his strokes and lost to some nobody at UCLA. He was catching the ball late and shanking shots left and right. Personally, I would not tout Borg getting better as the comeback went on, I think he got worse.

Of course he was worse than in his prime, but what is discussed on this is that he was struggling greatly, practicing to comeback,
then the comeback was facilitated by Oscar's help.
There was a period where he made dramatic progress from where he currently was. That shouldn't be too hard to understand.

5263
10-31-2009, 03:04 AM
I actually agree with this in terms of what actually happens . . . but the truth is, I use it primarily for visualization purposes.



tricky,
just to be sure, are you saying you agree that follow thru out towards the target (vs across the ball) actually keeps the ball on the strings longer?

I enjoyed reading your post and will probably re read a couple of times, but want to be sure; do you advocate hitting across the ball or hitting out towards the target?

teachestennis
10-31-2009, 06:02 AM
I watched Borg's comeback. I think he actually got worse, not better. To me, it seems like he was trying to incorporate too much of the "Modern Game" into what were already his naturally fluid strokes. One of his first games back he played extremely well, but then he tried to "modernize" his strokes and lost to some nobody at UCLA. He was catching the ball late and shanking shots left and right. Personally, I would not tout Borg getting better as the comeback went on, I think he got worse.

You are likely talking about his first comeback, in which he hired several coaches, one from England, some weird Asian guy, and you are right, he was losing to juniors when he was training at Bollettieri's in 1991 and then started working with Oscar in January of 1992. After three weeks, he regained his fluidity and strokes and went back on a farewell tour, playing world ranked players fairly even and doing well enough. Most people don't know that Oscar stepped in and Borg regained his strokes enough that after only playing one match in ten years, trying at least five coaches, he got good enough to actually win some ATP matches and thus Jimmy Connors came with an incredible monetary offer to start the senior tour. Borg is the one that credits Oscar and calls him an amazing coach because Oscar helped him regain his strokes and his feel for the ball. That's a quote from Borg, and he might know his game better than you and I. Besides, the press reports I cited in my History of Tennis Instruction on my site show his second comeback was pretty successful compared to the previous year when you likely saw him. Have to run to the court now to teach.

tricky
10-31-2009, 02:10 PM
do you advocate hitting across the ball or hitting out towards the target?

So that's the thing. When you guys talk about hitting across the ball, I perceive that as a visualization pattern. I would have to see what "hitting across the ball" vs. "hitting out toward the target" look like from Wegnerian perspective. Then I'd be able to properly answer that.

Personally, I see two different ways to execute a WW FH. In addition, there's "in-out-in" swing that produces an over-the-shoulder finish (i.e. Agassi), which some people can interpret as having wiping movement.

just to be sure, are you saying you agree that follow thru out towards the target (vs across the ball) actually keeps the ball on the strings longer?

Personally don't believe you can keep the ball on the strings longer. But I value them as visualization patterns. I like using the "3-balls-in-a-row" trick when the base stroke is all there.

teachestennis
10-31-2009, 05:29 PM
So that's the thing. When you guys talk about hitting across the ball, I perceive that as a visualization pattern. I would have to see what "hitting across the ball" vs. "hitting out toward the target" look like from Wegnerian perspective. Then I'd be able to properly answer that.

Personally, I see two different ways to execute a WW FH. In addition, there's "in-out-in" swing that produces an over-the-shoulder finish (i.e. Agassi), which some people can interpret as having wiping movement.



Personally don't believe you can keep the ball on the strings longer. But I value them as visualization patterns. I like using the "3-balls-in-a-row" trick when the base stroke is all there.

Tricky, I sent you Oscar's first book via ebook, so you can look at it from Wegner's perspective. I give the book out free to anyone who wants help. I still consider it the best tennis instruction book ever written, even better than his new "black" book. Wegner is a technique guy, claiming that optimal strategy comes from optimal technique. When I quoted Kelly Jones above about hitting through the target line, Kelly his criticizing trying to teach extending through the target line. He's essentially saying that that way of teaching is outdated and has no real application. In MTM, rather than teach to hit through any number of balls, we teach to hit the first ball and then miss the next number of balls because our hand is moving from right to left, whether with a bent arm or with a straight arm hitting structure like Verdasco, Nadal, and some Federer FHs but all three players bend their arms as they shorten the radius and wrap the racquet around their body.

Would love to hear what you think of Oscar's ideas now that you have the book. He teaches natural footwork but that does not mean you don't teach the split step, nor do you not teach to bend down low after certain kinds of shots, but we teach split steps and balance through a progression of drills and putting the student under stress. After all, a dance step such as the carioke step is not natural in most cases until it is practiced and learned under pressure and then it becomes natural feeling.

bhupaes
11-01-2009, 11:25 AM
I only had to make a few minor adjustments to my strokes (FH, 2HBH) to exaggerate the hitting across aspect a la MTM. It worked very well - I was getting a lot more accuracy without losing any pace. I still prefer to hook lower balls, since it's hard to get under low balls enough to pull from right to left. So thanks, teachestennis and 5263, I have a whole new path for improvement to look forward to!

It seems that this principle should apply very well to serve returns, since the ball comes in pretty high after the bounce... done with little or no backswing, of course. I will try this out next week when I play with a high level player who has a stinging serve. If you have any tips, they will be highly appreciated!

5263
11-01-2009, 12:57 PM
I only had to make a few minor adjustments to my strokes (FH, 2HBH) to exaggerate the hitting across aspect a la MTM. It worked very well - I was getting a lot more accuracy without losing any pace. I still prefer to hook lower balls, since it's hard to get under low balls enough to pull from right to left. So thanks, teachestennis and 5263, I have a whole new path for improvement to look forward to!

It seems that this principle should apply very well to serve returns, since the ball comes in pretty high after the bounce... done with little or no backswing, of course. I will try this out next week when I play with a high level player who has a stinging serve. If you have any tips, they will be highly appreciated!

You are very welcome of course. It is always exciting to see someone make the connections they way you have here. I think you will find this hitting approach very helpful against big hitters, as controlling their heavy ball is really the challenge normally. With this style, finding it and controlling it is not that tough. Just remember the importance of "waiting". When the ball is coming quicker, it is easy to rush the way the fast ball comes at you. If you can just pause, or wait, the ball will slow and present itself to hit the way you have learned now. Some would say don't rush, some called it holding the ball longer, but in MTM it is call waiting.
See how it works,
good luck.