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View Full Version : Time to adjust my game.


Tyrus
11-02-2009, 07:36 AM
"I notice that you really like it when i hit with pace...Therefore i give you off-speed stuff to throw your game/rhythm off"

Over the past month or so just about every opponent i face has told me this same exact thing.

I work with High school/College players a lot, of course they love to use pace and i can take that. However in the recreational level, players slow their tempo down to throw me off. When i try to punish it w/ hard shots i end up either hitting another looping topspin shot or my shots look very weak.

What does it take to get that James Blake-type punishing forehand that can put away off-speed hitters? Also other tips/advice to adjust a game for the slow balls would be appreciated.

Thanks. Forehand/backhand video to see if little tweaks can be made to help.

FH - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_zPECEV8dY
BH - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSotPoIFdSw

-Ty

Tyrus
11-02-2009, 07:39 AM
okay so linking them to FB is a bad idea, i'll upload them to YouTube to make them easier to see.

fuzz nation
11-02-2009, 08:22 AM
A good option for dealing with off-speed stuff is when you can take at least some of those balls on the rise off the court. That way you can often get more bite and control on your shot compared with a "stall ball" that can be too easy to spray if you go at it too hard. The thing with those off-speed shots is that you have to recognize them in a hurry and jump on top of them to hit on the rise.

It's reasonable to say that pushers send a whole lot of off-speed shots to their opponents, but they usually also have rather good defensive skills and can really tax an opponent's patience. If that patience runs out, it can be too easy to tee off on a slow ball and spray it into errorville. A great tip to keep in mind for maintaining control over off-speed balls can be to never try to add more than 5% pace to any ball.

Even though you may want to hit some softer stuff with authority to put an opponent in trouble, that can be a low percentage gamble. Hit with only a little extra pace and it's usually much easier to keep those balls in play. As soon as an opponent is out of position from one of these more dependable shots, you probably only need one more well placed ball into the open court to finish the point. The idea is to avoid that rock star attempt at a low percentage winner, since that can result in too many donations.

split-step
11-02-2009, 10:07 AM
Learn to generate your own pace. That is your condensed answer. No need to thank me.

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-02-2009, 04:23 PM
For one, your stroke isn't 100% consistent. Also, your stroke doesn't generate that much spin or pace. Also, you're using a light racket. Oh, and you don't really load up then unload into the ball. You really don't use your body that much.

Blake's racket is so heavy, that all he has to do is drive through the ball with heavy spin, and the ball will drop in with incredible pace. His technique also allows him to hit through the ball well while still generating plenty of spin. He uses his body very well (legs, trunk, shoulders) to get plenty of racket head speed, focusing all that energy into the ball.

J011yroger
11-02-2009, 05:23 PM
Practice hitting and putting them away.

Drop feed yourself a ball.

Then you will be able to practice putting away the deadest absolute meatball.

If your stroke is technically sound it should be basically the same no matter the incoming ball (yes, there are exceptions) so you just need to practice putting away the dead ones.

If all you practice is rallying, or hitting with pace, you will never learn to put away the weaker ball.

J

Nellie
11-02-2009, 05:31 PM
It looks to me that you stop tracking the ball with your eyes well before contact (instead you seem to be looking out at the opponent prior to contact). With a faster ball, this is usually not too bad since you can get into a rhythm, but with slow balls, you will mishit a lot.

nfor304
11-02-2009, 05:43 PM
When you have a problem like this and you dont have something obviously wrong with your strokes its probably just to do with the way you practice. If your like most people when you practice you hit alot of balls rallying from the baseline, some volley's and serves, and then maybe play points or something, but when you go out to a Atp event and watch the pro's practice you notice that they do hit alot from the baseline but they do many other things to.

Watch the pro's practice and you will see them with they're coaches dropping balls in front of them to put away, or you will see them getting fed easy balls up the middle that they purposely run around to hit a forehand, or they will get drilled side to side to practice running strokes, or they practice getting serves drilled at them from the service line to practice returning very powerful serves etc etc you get the idea. You have to practice ALL the strokes that you use in a match, even the ones you dont hit that often.

Like J011y said you need to practice taking balls with no pace and putting them away consistently. You can do it yourself on a court and you will be much better for it even after a couple of hoppers worth of balls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7CC2Vmefwk

boojay
11-02-2009, 05:45 PM
Learn to generate your own pace. That is your condensed answer. No need to thank me.

LOL, that was going to be my response! Classic.

J011yroger
11-02-2009, 05:49 PM
LOL, that was going to be my response! Classic.

Why?

When you play someone who hits slow, or who has less batspeed than you do it is extremely rare that pace is the answer.

J

boojay
11-02-2009, 05:56 PM
Why?

When you play someone who hits slow, or who has less batspeed than you do it is extremely rare that pace is the answer.

J

In order to generate pace off slow balls (and keep the ball in play obviously), your strokes have to be technically sound. There are many players who are capable of feeding off pace given to them, but can't generate pace themselves, which is why they struggle so much against pushers. Players who can generate their own pace consistently will crush pushers every time.

Azzurri
11-02-2009, 06:38 PM
I hear you Ty..does darn slow ball hitters. I love hitting with the 6.0 former pro at my club (when we have cardio tennis). The hits a clean ball with excellent pace. Once you get a bit of the timing (as long as he does not send you left to right like a yo-yo) the hitting sessions are terrific for me. I like to take a good cut at the ball and my pace is very nice when hitting with a good player that also gives nice pace. but in the real world I tend to play people that give lots of junk balls.

Tyrus
11-02-2009, 11:36 PM
Thanks for the responses. no thanks to split-step.

When i think of generating pace my mind forgets how to hit a proper forehand and errors almost always happen, hence why i started this thread.

Jolly, i would assume by drop feed yourself some balls you mean throw the ball a couple feet in front of you and go after it basically?

Now that i think about it, the worst drills for me have always been the one where the coach is next to me just drop feeding balls. Always feels awkward.

Fullcourt - does 12oz seem light to you? or is it just the way i swing it? Do i owe it to myself to lead it up to fore myself to put more body into that shot?

J011yroger
11-03-2009, 03:03 AM
Jolly, i would assume by drop feed yourself some balls you mean throw the ball a couple feet in front of you and go after it basically?


Yup, toss it up in the air just a bit in front of you, to give yourself the biggest high sitting meatball. And drop it from waist high to get the low dead ball (Which is the hardest ball to hit for a. players hurting for batspeed and b. players with extreme grips)

I take a big teaching cart and move all over the court hitting them to and from different locations.

Also practice my BH slice like this.

I practice drop shots against the wall too, but that is for another thread :)

J

J011yroger
11-03-2009, 03:09 AM
In order to generate pace off slow balls (and keep the ball in play obviously), your strokes have to be technically sound. There are many players who are capable of feeding off pace given to them, but can't generate pace themselves, which is why they struggle so much against pushers. Players who can generate their own pace consistently will crush pushers every time.

Ok, I understand what you are saying. I was talking about if one already has technically sound strokes that unless you have a high ball inside the court with nothing on it (which you can starch), trying to hit a slow ball with pace is usually a recipe for UE. The best shot in my experience is to employ heavy spin to peel the court open, and make it bigger on your opponent's side, and smaller on your side. Slice or topspin works fine.

My personal problem is getting bored and zoning out and just looping the ball back deep with loopy crap spin, instead of being aggressive and hitting nasty heavy topspin.

J

J011yroger
11-03-2009, 03:15 AM
Fullcourt - does 12oz seem light to you? or is it just the way i swing it? Do i owe it to myself to lead it up to fore myself to put more body into that shot?

You add lead to take arc out of your stroke, add depth to a shot that is too spinny and lands short, or add more hurt to your ground game in an even backcourt exchange.

Lead is of no value when dealing with meatballs. If anything it hurts because you will push the balls long because they will lack for spin.

Now, you may well decide to add lead to your frame, but it shouldn't be for this reason.

J

Tyrus
11-03-2009, 03:47 AM
Yup, toss it up in the air just a bit in front of you, to give yourself the biggest high sitting meatball. And drop it from waist high to get the low dead ball (Which is the hardest ball to hit for a. players hurting for batspeed and b. players with extreme grips)

I take a big teaching cart and move all over the court hitting them to and from different locations.

Also practice my BH slice like this.

I practice drop shots against the wall too, but that is for another thread :)

J

Thanks J. This sounds the most helpful.

jrod
11-03-2009, 04:13 AM
My sense after looking at the video is there are some fundamental stroke issues off both wings that might lead to some inconsistencies on sitters. It doesn't appear to me that either the FH or BH are what I would call grooved....in fact, they look different everytime you hit the ball:

1. The backswing is exaggerated, which, if you do this with sitters you are introducing additional uncertainties that can lead to UE's.

2. Your contact point seems inconsistent as well...sometimes high, sometimes low, sometimes out front and sometimes late. I can't tell from the camera angle but I would suspect the distance between you and the ball when you make contact is varying somewhat as well.

3. On the FH wing, if you extended your left arm as if you are trying to catch the ball it might help you "find the ball" better and lead to a more consistent contact point. As it appears your left arm isn't really engaged (dangling) and helping once you take the racquet back.

I like your FH feed though...much more relaxed and simpler mechanics. Also, core engagement isn't bad, and weight transfer is pretty good as well. I would suggest you post a link to this thread in Bungalo Bill's thread here:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=294413&highlight=Bungalo+Bill

That will solicit feedback from others who are trained to help and can lend excellent insight into strategies to help groove and correct the inconsistencies.

Tyrus
11-03-2009, 02:39 PM
Thanks Jrod, vids are posted there.

The left arm dangling is a common problem of mine, i try to be cognizant of that, but tend to forget it a lot.

I do also like to "stand my ground" and stay within a foot or 2 of the baseline to keep a more aggressive position, obviously not every ball i face is coming back at the same pace.

Should i swing more like i feed then? lol...but seriously though?

I don't even know why just posted, but it feels good to have quality feedback on here.

boojay
11-03-2009, 02:50 PM
Ok, I understand what you are saying. I was talking about if one already has technically sound strokes that unless you have a high ball inside the court with nothing on it (which you can starch), trying to hit a slow ball with pace is usually a recipe for UE. The best shot in my experience is to employ heavy spin to peel the court open, and make it bigger on your opponent's side, and smaller on your side. Slice or topspin works fine.

My personal problem is getting bored and zoning out and just looping the ball back deep with loopy crap spin, instead of being aggressive and hitting nasty heavy topspin.

J

I definitely would never advocate hitting flat unless the ball is a decent height above the net. Hitting with pace doesn't automatically mean one has to hit flat. I'm an angles player myself, but I've found when the strokes are working and I'm loose, it doesn't matter what kind of junk I'm given. I can generate pace off no pace, dictate play, and make my opponent pay for hitting soft balls.

Watching the OP's strokes again, I can definitely see it's a stroke best suited for using pace, but not generating it. To the OP, that remains my answer to your problem. You say you enjoy hitting with pace, well, that must mean your opponent is generating it and you're feeding off of it. If you can be the one who's generating the pace, you will eat soft hitters alive.

Tyrus
11-03-2009, 05:25 PM
Watching the OP's strokes again, I can definitely see it's a stroke best suited for using pace, but not generating it. To the OP, that remains my answer to your problem. You say you enjoy hitting with pace, well, that must mean your opponent is generating it and you're feeding off of it. If you can be the one who's generating the pace, you will eat soft hitters alive.

That's how my game works, and what everybody has figured out. The roadblock is generating pace w/o committing UE's.

J011yroger
11-03-2009, 08:22 PM
That's how my game works, and what everybody has figured out. The roadblock is generating pace w/o committing UE's.

Don't try to go through the road block, go over it.

Topspin.

J

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-03-2009, 10:23 PM
Why?

When you play someone who hits slow, or who has less batspeed than you do it is extremely rare that pace is the answer.

J

You'd be surprised... If they hit slow, and you can easily generate the pace, you're set. They can't hurt you and you're always in control.

In order to generate pace off slow balls (and keep the ball in play obviously), your strokes have to be technically sound. There are many players who are capable of feeding off pace given to them, but can't generate pace themselves, which is why they struggle so much against pushers. Players who can generate their own pace consistently will crush pushers every time.

So... 4.0s and lower can't generate their own pace? O.o Some probably can. Haha.

Thanks for the responses. no thanks to split-step.

When i think of generating pace my mind forgets how to hit a proper forehand and errors almost always happen, hence why i started this thread.

Jolly, i would assume by drop feed yourself some balls you mean throw the ball a couple feet in front of you and go after it basically?

Now that i think about it, the worst drills for me have always been the one where the coach is next to me just drop feeding balls. Always feels awkward.

Fullcourt - does 12oz seem light to you? or is it just the way i swing it? Do i owe it to myself to lead it up to fore myself to put more body into that shot?

Well... split-step's response is pretty legit.

And that drill is the easiest EVER! Granted it's not as nice as having a college player whack balls at you (even if they do come in with some heavy spin), but if you can pull it off you'll know you have relatively solid strokes. Though I've always been able to generate my own pace since pretty much when I started.

Also, a 12 ounce racket is VERY light to me. I use a 12.6-12.7 ounce racket as a main, and even that I consider light because the swingweight is only around 340. I'd say 360 minimum is good. For mass... 13.3 minimum is decent. But I like the feel of my racket as it is, so I see no need for excessive customization. I play well enough with it as it is. I can generate my own power and get plenty of control.

Leading up the racket will add easy pop to your shots, but first thing that should be fixed is technique. Learn to hit through the ball more and extend towards your target. That's pretty much the reason I've never had problems generating pace - I've always extended through the ball really well, but that's because my form just naturally came to me that way.

Tyrus
11-04-2009, 01:29 AM
Fullcourt - Is there anything specific or unique that you do to generate pace and minimize UE's? As i said my biggest issue is once i think "pace" i lose proper technique. Obviously it comes down to a lot of practice, but any tidbit of information helps. thanks.

Tyrus
11-04-2009, 03:04 AM
Learn to hit through the ball more and extend towards your target. That's pretty much the reason I've never had problems generating pace - I've always extended through the ball really well, but that's because my form just naturally came to me that way.

Nevermind...this seems pretty fair. If there's anything else, let me know.