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bharat
11-05-2009, 11:42 AM
hi all

I am writing in frustration today. I am a 3.5 player at our club. I know that I have better strokes than everyone else but end up loosing the match most of the time.

I realize that I loose most points because I rush into the point instead of waiting the ball to come to me.

I was wondering if there were any tips you guys can give me so that I will wait for the ball instead of rushing to it. I think about it but in the nick of the moment I try too hard.

Thanks

mista-k
11-05-2009, 11:46 AM
there are what we call intangibles...
you can have the most ugly stroked opponent but they have stronger intangibles...

LeeD
11-05-2009, 11:52 AM
Take some downers to slow yourself down. Could be a big hamburger before playing, or a huge meal of some sorts. That'll slow down your anticipation and movement.
But maybe more matches, get match tough, and know what you need to counter the unproductive urges everyone gets during matches.
One thing I like to do.... deliberately start out uncoordinated, hit shots I don't normally hit, then when I'm down 2-4, force myself to play my game and win the set. It's the repeated "forcing" myself to analysis my losing game and switch it to a winning game that keeps me on the bubble. Of course, that only works with players not quite my level, usually easy to find. The good guys don't want to play with me, I don't have a black book.

JRstriker12
11-05-2009, 11:52 AM
hi all

I am writing in frustration today. I am a 3.5 player at our club. I know that I have better strokes than everyone else but end up loosing the match most of the time.

I realize that I loose most points because I rush into the point instead of waiting the ball to come to me.

I was wondering if there were any tips you guys can give me so that I will wait for the ball instead of rushing to it. I think about it but in the nick of the moment I try too hard.

Thanks

If I had a dime for everytime someone creates a thread saying they have better strokes but lose, I'd be a very, very rich man. LOL!

Last time I checked, in most tennis matches you have to go to the ball, not wait for it to come to you as most opponents will not hit the ball directly to you.

SOOOOO...... are you saying that you lack patience? That you try to go for the winner to early? Is that your problem???

2ndServe
11-05-2009, 11:53 AM
Never wait for the ball to come to you. You are rushing something else. my guess is you're waiting for the ball but your racket preparation isn't there so you feel rushed. Especially true if you have a loopy shot like a forehand

jazzyfunkybluesy
11-05-2009, 12:12 PM
hi all

I am writing in frustration today. I am a 3.5 player at our club. I know that I have better strokes than everyone else but end up loosing the match most of the time.

I realize that I loose most points because I rush into the point instead of waiting the ball to come to me.

I was wondering if there were any tips you guys can give me so that I will wait for the ball instead of rushing to it. I think about it but in the nick of the moment I try too hard.

Thanks

Forget about your pretty strokes and stay loose on the basline, at the net and on big points.

Djokovicfan4life
11-05-2009, 12:16 PM
Take some downers to slow yourself down. Could be a big hamburger before playing, or a huge meal of some sorts. That'll slow down your anticipation and movement.


Wow. You've really outdone yourself this time, Lee.

5263
11-05-2009, 12:35 PM
hi all

I am writing in frustration today. I am a 3.5 player at our club. I know that I have better strokes than everyone else but end up loosing the match most of the time.

I realize that I loose most points because I rush into the point instead of waiting the ball to come to me.

I was wondering if there were any tips you guys can give me so that I will wait for the ball instead of rushing to it. I think about it but in the nick of the moment I try too hard.

Thanks

There are teaching methods that emphasize waiting. It is the idea of not getting too rushed like you mention. One of the techniques suggested is to count one as it bounces, then 2,3,4 and then 5 at your contact. The idea is to notice how much time you actually have after the bounce.
It works even against very fast strokes.

In D Zone
11-05-2009, 12:42 PM
Instead going for the big stride to get to the ball - causing you to over swing, uncontrol momentum due to inertia, over running the ball and predictable.
Try taking smaller steps (stationary jog) as you get to the ball, this help you keep balance, focus and ball anticipation. You'll achieve better control and power.

bharat
11-05-2009, 12:49 PM
well, im not talking about the ball coming to me when I stand there not moving.

What I mean is im in the path of the ball, i can see it coming toward me. At the last moment I kinda lunge towards it.

I do have a looping forehand which works really well when it works but it takes time to set in. In my league matches I start lousy because my timing will be off getting adjusted to that players shots. Once I get the timing set and get into the match it will be too late as we only play 1 set to 9. Usually the last 4 games take the longest and I will have won the last 3 out 4 games but eventually loose.

I will try to be loose and not get into any big shots in the beginning. Will also try the count technique.

I've only played tennis for a couple of years but being a younger guy in the league I would like to win more.

Bungalo Bill
11-05-2009, 01:18 PM
hi all

I am writing in frustration today. I am a 3.5 player at our club. I know that I have better strokes than everyone else but end up loosing the match most of the time.

I realize that I loose most points because I rush into the point instead of waiting the ball to come to me.

I was wondering if there were any tips you guys can give me so that I will wait for the ball instead of rushing to it. I think about it but in the nick of the moment I try too hard.

Thanks

bharat,

Some people do have difficulty moving to the ball and being in position to take a good swing at the ball.

There are a couple main parts to this problem:

1. Ball judgement: Maintaining continuous tracking on where the ball will bounce.

2. Movement: Knowing how to move your feet to start moving and stop moving to setup for your shot.

The moment you sense what direction the ball is heading towards, you need to calculate where that ball will bounce and also judge the speed, spin, and other characteristics of the ball at the same time.

Your mind should also be able to initiate movement to go to the spot where you need to be so that you can take a comfortable swing on-time through the ball.

The marriage of the two can be difficult for some people for various reasons. However, the goal is to make them as seamless and natural as possible.

Normally when you rush to the ball, for some reason you are not connecting the two to work together to help you swing effectively and efficiently. You could at first get the necessary information you need on ball direction, but then become preoccupied with your footwork, the opponent, the girl watching, or the sandwich you are looking forward to eat after the match. Whatever it is, your mind has interference in it that is causing your ability to stay on track calculating where that ball will bounce and whether you should speed up or slow down for your setup.

The overarching footwork you need is very basic and goes from large (or normal) steps to small steps. When you are further from the ball, you need larger steps to help you get going. When you are getting close to where you need to setup, adjustment steps are needed to help you with the stance of choice so you can setup a good foundation for your swing. Scott Williams in his book "Serious Tennis" has a system that is pretty easy to remember when you use it. It is called the SMARTS system:

1. S = Seeing

2. M = Movement

3. A = Adjustment

4. R = Rotate

5. T = Transfer

6. S = Swing

For practice, practice tips are normally without racquet. If you use the racquet you can choke up on the throat of the racquet and play "catch" with an incoming ball that is fed to you. The key is you want to be able to move and then adjust with your steps so you can catch the ball in the stance chosen.

Variations to this is using a baseball glove or just hitting the ball with your hand like in handball.

What can really help is if you use a cadence like HIT-BOUNCE-HIT. I have written information on this that goes deeper into seeing this just as a cadence mechanism. It is far more than that and goes into your very being and how your senses pick-up and stay in tune with the ball throughout the point played.

dozu
11-05-2009, 02:29 PM
practice makes perfect, since you are 3.5, you just need to hit more balls.

for me, after play this joyful game for 20+ years, as long as I focus on balance, the timing will take care of itself.

you should try this focus. just envision you make this smooth swing, in balance, so that you can hold the finish for 3 seconds if you wanted to..

see if the timing gets much better..... I have given this advice to some more mature players and usually they cut down errors immediately.

amx13
11-05-2009, 03:09 PM
Also, keep in mind the wardlaw directionals (you can search for them in the forum, plenty of info on that topic). If you play low percentage shots too often, you will end up losing a lot of points you "shouldnt" have. You can still be agressive, but be smart about it.

jmjmkim
11-05-2009, 03:54 PM
hi all

I am writing in frustration today. I am a 3.5 player at our club. I know that I have better strokes than everyone else but end up loosing the match most of the time.

I realize that I loose most points because I rush into the point instead of waiting the ball to come to me.

I was wondering if there were any tips you guys can give me so that I will wait for the ball instead of rushing to it. I think about it but in the nick of the moment I try too hard.

Thanks

Man, I feel your frustration. I go through the same thing.....

But you have to realize, a loss is a loss. Your strokes may be the best "text Book" style, and you may hit like Federer during warm up, but if you can't knock him off and put the other player in their place, that means that all your "pretty" strokes does not amount to a pile of beans.

I still remember this one match I had in a city tournament 10+ years ago where my opponent was this elderly guy with ugly topspin moonballs. I ended up losing the match because he outlasted me. I started to make mistakes, and I had a melt down. After the loss, I gave myself all the excuses in the world of how that guy didn't know how to play tennis , blah blah blah....... but in the end, I realized that if I was the better player, I should have won the match.

I now play with a guy who has "less" orthodox strokes than me, and gives me "junk" balls all the time. It throws my rhythm and I have a difficult time, but still, a win is a win, and a loss is a loss.

If your opponent give you junk balls, then those junk ball should be an inferior shot in which, if I was the superior player, should take advantage of and put away for a win. Until I can consistently put these away with ease, despite how highly I may feel about the quality of my strokes, it is nevertheless "not good enough".

Man, it is depressing to lose to inferior players (but if they beat me, they are not inferior, but only in my mind...) but the only way to make it right is to practice more and consistently beat them, and put the universe back in order.

If you are a honest 3.5, then you will have many losses due to your own unforced errors. The major reason that you lose to "inferior" player is probably due to lack of consistency. Also, you may only have one style of play. As you gain more experience and increase to 4.0 and 4.5, your losses become more tactical and forced errors, rather than lack of consistency.

So, in conclusion, the best thing to work on is your CONSISTENCY.

5263
11-05-2009, 04:05 PM
Man, I feel your frustration.

So, in conclusion, the best thing to work on is your CONSISTENCY.

If you can Consistently put the ball in the right sector of court,
against a variety of types of opponents,
You will almost never be out of a match, and
will win more than your share!

Bungalo Bill
11-05-2009, 05:07 PM
So, in conclusion, the best thing to work on is your CONSISTENCY.

Good post jm.

Mysteriously, footwork, conditioning and consistency can be linked together for players to work on.

GuyClinch
11-05-2009, 10:33 PM
So, in conclusion, the best thing to work on is your CONSISTENCY.

Yeah - I just don't know. I hit with dinkers who are plenty consistent if they can get to ball. I just don't think this is something to work on.

I think you should instead work on the correct form ideally under the guidance of a coach and the consistency will take care of itself.

The last lesson I had my coach was encouraging me to really hit the ball as hard as I could - and then add more spin to that powerful stroke to bring it into the court.

You can learn to tame power but if you don't have any power to tame I think your doomed. I have never met a 5.0 - 6.0 who can't hit the smack out of the ball..

Yeah some kids take random wild swings at the ball all the time and that's not ideal either. You need proper form - don't get me wrong. But TONS of players dink and dunk the ball (especially adults).. They will never get out of this rut if they don't learn to really swing out and accelerate through the ball.

The serve is the most perfect example of this phenomenon. There are basically TWO kinds of servers at the 2.5 - 3.5 level. There are consistent servers who dink the ball in. And then there are people who try to hit big flat serves and make some attempt at a spin serve (that's usually not that consistent). Its only the second class of folks who are ever going to have a good serve IMHO.

I have two friends that fall into these catergories. One - was a woman who double faulted ALL the time. But she went for it. She hit the ball about as hard as she can ever single time. My other buddy just dinked the serve in. Fast forward two years - the woman is not a budding 4.0 woman who has real steady topspin slice serve. The other guy who is actually a very good athlete still just dinks the ball in..


Pete

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-05-2009, 10:39 PM
Yeah - I just don't know. I hit with dinkers who are plenty consistent if they can get to ball. I just don't think this is something to work on.

I think you should instead work on the correct form ideally under the guidance of a coach and the consistency will take care of itself.

The last lesson I had my coach was encouraging me to really hit the ball as hard as I could - and then add more spin to that powerful stroke to bring it into the court.

You can learn to tame power but if you don't have any power to tame I think your doomed. I have never met a 5.0 - 6.0 who can't hit the smack out of the ball..

Yeah some kids take random wild swings at the ball all the time and that's not ideal either. You need proper form - don't get me wrong. But TONS of players dink and dunk the ball (especially adults).. They will never get out of this rut if they don't learn to really swing out and accelerate through the ball.

Pete

People trying to be like pros and whack balls all day long are the reasons why pushers dominate. Pushers are happy doing nothing but bunting the ball back because they win against their peers doing it. Good players in the developmental stages of their game do the exact same thing, but with a full stroke, using plenty of height and topspin, controlling the direction of the ball.

It's easier to add pace to a consistent shot (just swing faster), than it is to add consistency to a power shot. People who think otherwise end up having problems and being stuck at levels they feel are below them.

Oh, and to solve your problem, USE ADJUSTMENT STEPS! Get to the ball early, and use plenty of adjustment steps to be in perfect position, and swing. Your footwork is terrible - end of story.

I take anywhere from 3-8 very small adjustment steps when I get a sitter. You can hear constant my feet constantly moving that it sounds like a terrible stuttering slide on the court.

5263
11-06-2009, 05:28 AM
It's easier to add pace to a consistent shot (just swing faster), than it is to add consistency to a power shot. People who think otherwise end up having problems and being stuck at levels they feel are below them.


Hmmm... this should explain some things.

nice post xfull

VaBeachTennis
11-06-2009, 06:10 AM
Wow. You've really outdone yourself this time, Lee.

I think he was just joking, because it was very funny advice.

VaBeachTennis
11-06-2009, 06:18 AM
Why not have someone feed you random balls at a slow pace initially, and when you go to hit the ball don't smack it, just used smooth controlled strokes with placement in mind, then have the feeder gradually speed up the random feeds to the point where you aren't thinking so much and moving toward the ball (sometimes away if it's too close to you) and just reacting again using smooth controlled strokes and concentrating on the ball.

Jagman
11-06-2009, 08:46 AM
"Wait for the ball" sounds like a teaching pro's exhortation or lament. It can have many applications, I suppose, but I've seen it mostly in regard to two: the contact point for the WW FH, and early preparation for the "sitter".

Being older, and having a foundation of more classical strokes, the contact point on my forehand is further out in front than what would be advised for a more modern WW stroke hit from an open stance. In learning the WW FH, which is a lovely tool to have in the kit bag, it was necessary to remind myself to "wait on the ball" as the contact point is somewhat more to the back and side.

I few weeks or months ago, I recall seeing an interesting tip on TennisOne.com dealing with "sitters" and racquet preparation. The gist was that most players mistakenly take their raquet back too early and interrupt the flow of their swing. The author (unfortunately I don't recollect his/her name) advised keeping the support hand on the racquet longer, delaying the takeback slightly and ensuring a flowing motion on the groundstroke; in effect, "waiting on the ball".

Two points that are also deeply interwoven with timing and footwork.

FWIW, I also remembered that Wegner placed special emphasis on this as well. Nothing new here, as I have been hearing this advice from USPTA and PTR pros for decades. However, Wegner did attribute taking the ball early as one of the chief contributing factors in unforced errors experienced even in the ranks of touring pros. A very interesting and readable discussion of this in his book.

Since this timeless instruction can have so many applications, it would be interesting to know whether the OP received this advice from his pro or resulted from self-evaluation. His later post did make it sound like he was finding himself mostly out of position, which many have pointed out is principally a footwork issue.

Good discussion!

Ripper014
11-06-2009, 02:20 PM
You can take large steps getting to the ball but as you get close to where you need to be... take smaller steps and get in a balanced position to hit the ball. In order to hit a good shot you need to be balanced and in control.

For me that is moving forward through the ball. I noticed in some of the videos posted the players hit the ball very clean... but seem to be to be pretty upright and lack any real weight transfer forward, in some cases they are falling back on their backhands. It isn't very efficient but if you hit the ball clean you can get away with it. I like to hit through the ball with a little more extension in my strokes.

tlm
11-06-2009, 07:55 PM
Waiting for the ball to be in your hitting zone can be hard at times.I think that waiting+watching the ball are 2 very important factors in hitting the ball consistently. If you are off with either you will not be striking the ball very well.

In D Zone
11-06-2009, 08:07 PM
well, im not talking about the ball coming to me when I stand there not moving.

What I mean is im in the path of the ball, i can see it coming toward me. At the last moment I kinda lunge towards it.

I do have a looping forehand which works really well when it works but it takes time to set in. In my league matches I start lousy because my timing will be off getting adjusted to that players shots. Once I get the timing set and get into the match it will be too late as we only play 1 set to 9. Usually the last 4 games take the longest and I will have won the last 3 out 4 games but eventually loose.

I will try to be loose and not get into any big shots in the beginning. Will also try the count technique.

I've only played tennis for a couple of years but being a younger guy in the league I would like to win more.

What fh stance are your using?

check this video (courtesy from fuzzyyellowballs.com)
http://video.google.com/videosearch?sourceid=navclient&rlz=1T4RNWM_enUS317&q=tennis+forehand+stance&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=UPL0SvG5L4_IsAOlyonwCQ&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=5&ved=0CBoQqwQwBA#

Might be a good idea to change your FH stance to an Open stance!

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-06-2009, 11:42 PM
Hmmm... this should explain some things.

nice post xfull

Well it's true. And very few people recognize this (or they don't recognize it until a decade or so later).

How do you add pace to a consistent shot? Step into the shot and hit through the ball more with a faster swing. You'll still generate plenty of topspin for control and the ball will go through the court faster.

How do you add consistency to a power shot? Slow down the swing. Do they want to? No. They try to add more spin, and they don't like that the ball is traveling slower, so they crank it up even more. Now they just send the ball even farther out of the court. Now they try to aim lower, and net most of them. Then they've lost the match and haven't even found the range with their shots... Gee... Maybe they should've spent more time on the practice courts focusing on consistency. :shock:

And say they do find the range and can hit a few good ones in a row before missing one. Now they're hitting them without any care for placement, and all the balls are in the center of the court. The other player just blocks them back, and the big bomber will eventually miss one well before his opponent. Or say the other player was actually a solid player who focuses on placement as well as consistency. Now the big bomber has to deal with an opponent that uses his pace and moves him side to side. OH NO! The big bomber never learned how to hit on the move, let alone to be consistent. Now he misses even more shots. Now he leaves the court thinking, "I should've beat that damned pusher! My form is way better! I should've wrecked him with my massive, serve, forehand, and backhand!" His coach (let's assume he has one, and one that knows how to play the game) comes up to him and shows him the statistics.

-Big Bomber-
Winners - 10
Unforced Errors - 46
Forced Errors - 3
Aces - 0
Service Winners - 7
Double Faults - 15

Damn... He practically gift-wrapped the match for his opponent. All it's missing is a bow and a card. All his opponent pretty much has to do is show up.

What does the coach say? "You need to start learning to control your power and start playing with consistency and placement." The big bomber hates the coach for saying that and fires him and is forever stuck at the 3.0-3.5 level.

I'm not saying all big hitters are like this. Those who face their faults and take the advice to play with consistency and placement at the cost of some of their power (maybe 20-30% of it until they go for the winner) end up going to 4.5 or higher.

Sampras started out as a counterpuncher. Now he's known as one of the most aggressive and biggest hitters in the sport (in terms of forehands and serves).

tlm
11-07-2009, 09:51 AM
Very good post above.

dozu
11-07-2009, 10:48 AM
focusing on balanced finish solves all these timing problems.

bounce-hit-bounce-hit falls apart here, unless you keep feet so busy on every shot to keep the same rythm.

if you envision a balanced finish, it doesn't matter how fast / slow the ball comes, you will always have perfect timing.