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View Full Version : Getting used to a More High Paced game


Roy125
12-12-2009, 06:45 PM
I want to advance my game to get used to playing higher levels of people. I however, don't know many people with that amount of skill in tennis. I have a wall however to practice on so I don't know if it helps or not.

Does anyone have any tips to get adjusted to a more high paced game?

Blake0
12-12-2009, 07:15 PM
Heres what you need to develop to be able to hit against people who have better pace.

1.)Footwork- faster feet, you have less time to react, you have to train your feet to get to position as quickly and in the most efficient way possible.
2.)Anticipation-You need to know where the ball is coming as soon as possible and what kind of shot your opponent is going to or might hit. This will help you react faster and you'll be able to control or get back into points easier.
3.)Preparation- You need to set up as early as possible so you don't hit the ball late or miss the ball or make up some funky stuff to get the ball in.
4.) Technique- This is especially important in higher levels of tennis. You don't have time to think (okay..racket back..bend knees..hit the ball...oh no i forgot to follow through) you have to have all of this ingrained in your mind and body so its like second nature to you. You also need to have good form or else you'll start spraying the ball everywhere, especially in higher levels because the ball comes faster so its harder to control, you won't be able to get away with bad form as much as before.
5.)Mind- you have to stay focused in tennis. If you start thinking of something else or get worried about your form or something else, you'll start missing the ball. I think about moving my feet when i play against harder hitting opponents, and make sure i set up properly, or better yet just think bounce - hit, bounce - hit..as i've read on TW before.

Nadal and federer are both great players because these they're exceptionally good at these things and more. Just make sure you're moving your feet all the time and setting up really early. Pro's ideal way of hitting is to get to a good position and set up before the ball bounces on your side. (Note: setting up and taking the racket back are different things..either ask or look it up on TW if you're not sure).

Basically try to improve on these 5 things as a whole to be able to hit against people who hit faster. Ofcourse there are other areas to work on too like consistency and mentality.

Roy125
12-12-2009, 07:54 PM
Thanks for the post, Blake.

I have the most trouble with the second and fifth point that you mentioned. It's like everytime I try to hit a ball that I'm not used to, I just freeze up in my mind and the stroke just fails.

mtommer
12-12-2009, 08:28 PM
If you hit hard against the wall it will help against players who also hit hard. It won't teach you everything but it does help.

To make things even more difficult, if you can, try to hit in a racquetball court. The floors are super slick and really forces you to work on reaction speed, especially if you hit hard.

5263
12-13-2009, 07:15 AM
A fast ball machine can pose a good challenge. Not seeing a windup can really make fast feeds from a machine tough.

Golden Retriever
12-13-2009, 07:20 AM
Take the racquet back as soon as possible.

fruitytennis1
12-13-2009, 11:16 AM
Anticipation. Big time. It can help quote help fix some slow foot work. Anticipation also increases your moral, you know where its going.

fuzz nation
12-14-2009, 08:38 AM
Thanks for the post, Blake.

I have the most trouble with the second and fifth point that you mentioned. It's like everytime I try to hit a ball that I'm not used to, I just freeze up in my mind and the stroke just fails.

Don't think to hard. If you fixate on an early move to the hitting zone so that you're set up to hit more shots with a reasonable tempo instead of scrambling to catch up with the ball, you'll be able to handle more of those heavier shots. More often than not, you can take a hard ball and simply send it back in the direction it came from... easy day.

If your mind freezes up for some shots, I get the impression that you just need to get some more experience and also a bit more work on the practice courts. Tennis demands a degree of ingrained habit so that when you go out to compete with someone, you can manage your points instead of having to analyze your stroke mechanics throughout the match.

If you have a stronger forehand than backhand, you need to run around a few more forehands on the practice courts to get more confident with that weaker wing. You can also practice using a simple plan, too. Revisit the same fundamental thought or two over and over, even on the practice courts so that each time the ball starts into play, you've already decided what to do with it. Much of the issue of dealing with more pace is only about earlier, more efficient movement to the ball like some of our pals have already pointed out, but it requires a more persistent urgency in your footwork. It can take some work to refine those habits.

sureshs
12-14-2009, 08:44 AM
React as late as possible and don't take the racquet back. Track the ball and try to find it, and then react only when you have panicked that there is no more time.

Power Player
12-14-2009, 09:03 AM
Split step as soon as they make contact and get into position when the ball is coming across the net and you have an angle.

Turn your shoulders next and load up your weight on your back foot. I would practice these things at a slower sped until you do them without thinking about it.

GuyClinch
12-14-2009, 10:49 AM
Just beat all the lower level players you can - until you find someone better. Repeat this process and you will be playing higher level players in no time.

I don't think you can 'shortcut' the system by practicing against a ball machine and then go handle guys who can generate mad pace off the ground. it might help a little but its not worth worrying about..

Your first concern from what you describe should be to go out and find a better tennis player to hit against. If you have the money you can go hit with a coach..

UnforcedError
12-14-2009, 12:24 PM
Just beat all the lower level players you can - until you find someone better. Repeat this process and you will be playing higher level players in no time.

I don't think you can 'shortcut' the system by practicing against a ball machine and then go handle guys who can generate mad pace off the ground. it might help a little but its not worth worrying about..

Your first concern from what you describe should be to go out and find a better tennis player to hit against. If you have the money you can go hit with a coach..

I agree. Also if you are beating the crap out of all the lower level players available and hanging out at tennis courts, the better players will find you.

xFullCourtTenniSx
12-14-2009, 12:57 PM
If you hit hard against the wall it will help against players who also hit hard. It won't teach you everything but it does help.

To make things even more difficult, if you can, try to hit in a racquetball court. The floors are super slick and really forces you to work on reaction speed, especially if you hit hard.

Reaction speed is one thing, but hitting with a wall doesn't return the heavy shots that you face from big hitters. It'll come in fast but it'll be light.

Thanks for the post, Blake.

I have the most trouble with the second and fifth point that you mentioned. It's like everytime I try to hit a ball that I'm not used to, I just freeze up in my mind and the stroke just fails.

Really now? My feet and stroke naturally adjusts. If I have less time, I shorten up the stroke. If I'm dealing with low balls, I get more knee bend. If I'm dealing with high balls... I try to take them on the rise... My mind will always focus on the few things I need to do to hit a solid shot to stay in the rally. I stick to all the fundamentals though. Shoulder turn, shoulder rotation, full follow through, etc. It's probably a result of the adrenaline pumping. When you play really good players, you can feel something about them, and it just makes you play better because you focus on what you need to do to play a solid game. Once you lose that focus though, you're done.

ilikephobo
12-29-2009, 11:15 AM
from what i've seen, you need to work on quicker footwork and you cant have a higher paced game if you cant provide the pace as well.

Mick
12-29-2009, 11:54 AM
for me, the key for improvement is not having the most or the best racquets but having several regular hitting partners.
you can become an expert in hitting against the wall but people don't hit the ball like the wall does.

Blake0
12-29-2009, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the post, Blake.

I have the most trouble with the second and fifth point that you mentioned. It's like everytime I try to hit a ball that I'm not used to, I just freeze up in my mind and the stroke just fails.

That's what holds a lot of good players back, the "feel" part of tennis. Really try to work on it, the better you get at it the more options you'll have in rallies. The feel part of tennis is really underrated in a lot of club level players, atleast the one's i've seen/played against. They usually work on technique, consistency, timing, footwork, etc. All of this is important, but they don't work on anticipating and seeing how players move/hit and how it affects the shot your opponents hit, or try to limit your opponents options, develop certain plays, or work on constructing points. Improving the feel part of tennis is highly beneficial, because you can see the ball coming earlier, you'll have more time to get to the ball, more time to prepare and hit the ball, and also have more options opened up to you. This will make it easier to be consistent and have better timing (theoretically), and you'll achieve what you were looking for in improving your footwork (getting to good position, and getting to balls you couldn't normally get).

Improving the feel part of tennis is harder then improving footwork, consistency, timing, technique, etc for most players. The others are basically learning different sequences/strokes/ where to hit, a lot of repetition, and making them "usable" in matchplay(they by no means are easy, and get harder as you move up the tennis rankings, and the advanced strokes/movement/shots make it harder). But the feel part of tennis is hard in a different way, because it's more a learn by your self thing. There are certain guidelines, like basic ways to tell where your opponent could hit, but overall it's something you have to learn yourself, by experiencing and paying attention and learning what you see. There are also different ways to use anticipation and reading to your advantages.

Federer and Nadal are great examples. Federer usually uses his amazing reading/anticipation abilities to get to the ball as soon as possible to attack. Sometimes he's already in position to hit the ball before the ball lands. Nadal on the otherhand usually uses his amazing reading/anticipation abilities to get to every ball. Although they both can use anticipation for attacking and defending, that's what they're usually known for, and in my opinion the best at.

Roy125
12-29-2009, 09:05 PM
So just plain old experience and hitting with more people is the only way to improve the "feel" part of tennis? No shortcuts at all?

Zachol82
12-29-2009, 10:13 PM
I want to advance my game to get used to playing higher levels of people. I however, don't know many people with that amount of skill in tennis. I have a wall however to practice on so I don't know if it helps or not.

Does anyone have any tips to get adjusted to a more high paced game?

Try volleying against a backboard or wall. It is pretty damn fast-paced if you ask me, and you also get to work on your footwork, anticipation, and decision making process at the same time. By footwork, I don't mean running around, since you shouldn't much while hitting against a wall, but footwork as in stepping in to your shots and bending your knees etc.

Just be patient, it's pretty hard to volley against a wall at your normal volleying pace. I'm sure not even the top 10 ranked players can volley against a wall at full force. This is not to say that they suck, it's just that when you volley, you're actually trying to put the point away, no one in hell tries to rally with volleys during a match. Therefore, you're pretty much trying to get back winners while volleying against a wall.

Oh, and stand fairly close to the wall, as if you're actually volleying at the net during a match.

Edit: Also, you're practicing your volleying skills as well! Can you believe that?! It's seriously crazy how much your game will evolve once you're used to volleying. Seriously, it's crazy, I can't even begin to tell you how much more arrogant you'll become afterward.

Blake0
12-29-2009, 11:01 PM
So just plain old experience and hitting with more people is the only way to improve the "feel" part of tennis? No shortcuts at all?

Well there are ways to help you learn anticipation, but it's just the basics. It's up to you to learn how to read your opponent earlier.

Here's a basic understanding.
http://ezinearticles.com/?Tennis---Anticipation---Early-Warning-Systems,-what-is-it?&id=119234

This video/slide show (below)show's you where you should look to anticipate serves and groundstrokes, and what things are factored in, but overall it's something that you'll have to be able to develop yourself.

http://www.itfcoaching.com/anticipation/player.html

Ultimatum
12-29-2009, 11:13 PM
Thanks for the post, Blake.

I have the most trouble with the second and fifth point that you mentioned. It's like everytime I try to hit a ball that I'm not used to, I just freeze up in my mind and the stroke just fails.

You freeze because you do not know what to do with the ball as you are not used to hitting it. This may be caused by technical insecurity. In this case, research more on how to deal with those shots as there would always be different ways to hit shots and practice doing them. Techniques and skills become more crucial as you advance further. There are no elite players who are insecure in any shots.

xFullCourtTenniSx
12-30-2009, 12:31 AM
So just plain old experience and hitting with more people is the only way to improve the "feel" part of tennis? No shortcuts at all?

Some people have it, some don't. It's instinct. If you don't have it naturally, then you have to work on it, which sucks and takes a long *** time.

Once you've developed full confidence in your strokes and footwork to the point that you don't have to think about it, you'll get there. The instinct comes when you aren't thinking out there about what you're doing, but you're looking to attack and hurt your opponent. Your instinct will only take you as far as your strokes can.

For example, I'm a relatively solid classical volleyer, and have a pretty damn solid forehand that I can use to hurt people. I'll look for opportunities to come in, put away short balls, and so on. I'll slice and come in randomly if I sense that I can do it without taking too much added risk. I'll sneak into the net if I see certain things going on like my opponent stretching to get a flat drive I hit into a corner.

However, I'm still working on mastering a drive volley. As such, I won't instinctively run up to the service line to hit one everytime I see a high sitter. Instead, I'll naturally let it bounce and whack it at shoulder height for a winner or a forcing shot I can follow up to the net or with another big forehand. I have to force myself to move up and take these shots, but I'll end up coming a bit late because of my natural inclination to hit it after the bounce which will cause a costly moment's hesitation.

The biggest things you need to master in tennis (technically), is great footwork and preparation as well as no excess movements in your stroke. Excess movements lead to a higher chance of messing up the stroke, as well as robbing yourself of precious time. High level players drill for years to remove excess movements from their stroke as well as improve their footwork. These aren't too hard to master with some dedication and several years of practice.

The intangibles are those that are more difficult to develop. The best and probably quickest way to develop those is through a LOT of matchplay.

larry10s
12-30-2009, 06:02 AM
I want to advance my game to get used to playing higher levels of people. I however, don't know many people with that amount of skill in tennis. I have a wall however to practice on so I don't know if it helps or not.

Does anyone have any tips to get adjusted to a more high paced game?

unfortunately the more you enter the kitchen the more comfortable is the heat. you could try standing closer to the wall so the ball comes back faster and your prep reaction time has to increase.

Mick
12-30-2009, 09:08 AM
i'm pretty sure even the great federer would not be the player he is today if he didn't play against other players :)

Tennisman912
12-30-2009, 11:33 AM
You must improve your foot work and anticipation to be competitive at higher levels. Great anticipation can over come a lot of bad foot speed up to a very high level. Hitting against a wall, IMHO, will do nothing to help you in your goal. You just need to find the better players to hit with. They are around you just have to find them (and get them to play with you, depending on your level). There is no substitute. You just have to get used to having less time to prepare and speeding up the mind a bit so you don’t feel rushed all the time as I am sure you do at the present.

Getting used to better players and speeding up your thought processes is important to your development as a player. The truth is you just don’t have time to think against the better players (especially in doubles). If you do think, the point is over or you are so out of position it doesn’t matter what you do. Over time, you will develop on a sub conscious level what to do and why and it just happens. What do I mean by this? For example, say I hit a passing shot that I know is too high or not going to get past the net man. I know this at right past contact or before I finish my stroke and without thinking, am moving to cover the open court or percentage shot where they will probably hit the ball. This all happens in the blink of an eye with no thought process, it just happens. It takes time to develop this feel but every advanced player does this on some level.

You know what is worse than that? Even though you know your shot was substandard and you were moving to the open court immediately, you still won’t get to a good shot the majority of the time from your opponent (hey, they are advanced players for a reason). You either have to be very fast or hope they are bit lazy and not put it away as they will most of the time.

This process described here is why that advanced player you hit with occasionally seems to always move to the right place to counter your shot when you hit with them. This is because they know at contact if they hit a good shot and also know without thinking the most likely place you will hit it and thus are moving there before you even hit it. Also, because you won’t have the mustard on the shot that someone of their level will have, they are already there and can keep in play or end the point the ball if you don’t put it away.

Unfortunately, there is now way to speed up this thought process (or unconscious thought process) without a lot of court experience and the ability to pay attention to what is going on out there and why. I know this is not what you want to hear but it is the truth nonetheless. I hope this makes sense but I am sure you see this scenario play out on a court.

Good tennis

TM