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View Full Version : My first video - some ground strokes


Kostas
12-18-2009, 08:48 PM
Hey guys. Shot a video tonight and thought I'd share. Here some ground strokes.

I started playing tennis a little over two years ago and I've been working as hard as I can on my game. I take tennis very seriously and try to do my best to improve. I only get to play about once a week but sometimes I get multiple play days depending on my schedule.

I started USTA last summer in mixed as a 3.0 and I am a newly minted 3.5 going into 2010.

My hitting partner is a 5.5 woman (my sister-in-law) and she was varying her shots to me more like a 3.5 man would normally. When she bangs straight back to me I look much better ironically.

This was shot towards the end of the night so I was pretty wore out (I edited out the many frames of me bending over to catch my breath lol).

This is the first time I've seen myself on video in a while and overall I was happy with the progress I've made.

Things I already know:

My footwork on my forehand needs improvement. It's marginally better when I'm not so tired but my bad setup for my forehand causes me to constantly hit the ball in a jammed up position which doesn't allow me to hit through the ball. I need to get better at setting up my forehand so I'm not trying to muscle the ball with my elbow.

My backhand slice is without a doubt the worst shot I have. I've already made a commitment to improving this next year but it was bad all night (not just the one shot I hit).

My backhand looks and feels pretty good. When I have adequate time to setup it's my most reliable shot imo. I do struggle when someone puts pressure on my backhand and I don't have time to go through my whole swing motion.

Any other thoughts are more than welcome.

Thanks guys.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OP-dDPxnLX0

J011yroger
12-19-2009, 04:50 AM
Nice vid, thanks for sharing it.

Darned good progress for 2 years in playing. Who is coaching you?

Don't know if you were looking for critique or not, but on the FH it was not so much the footwork that stood out for me as much as the late preparation (Ask me how I know, I have the same problem) where you are spending too much time in the stalk position and taking the racquet back when the ball bounces. Ideally you should have the racquet back as far as it is ever going to go by the time the ball bounces. It is going to be a huge deal as you improve and start to hit with people who bring more pace and spin on a more consistent basis.

If you are working with a coach, and not looking for outside advice, feel free to tell me to **** off.

All told, you have the makings of a very aesthetically pleasing game, looks like you just need hours on court to get your balance, and ball recognition in order. Unfortunately there is no shortcut for that.

J

Rambler124
12-19-2009, 05:24 AM
Your comment about your forehand is key here. You know what you are doing wrong. Now to fix it yes?

You do a good job of hanging on to your racquet with the left hand as Jolly stated. Perhaps a little too long, but to some degree you gotta figure out your timing and what works for you there. However, basically as soon as you let go with the left hand you start to pull the arm/hand in front and tuck. You need to first extend that hand somewhat parallel to the baseline and more much more straight. The tucking of the arm/hand seems to be happening to early. A good tip I've done is to stand on the service line and go through the preperation and catch the ball in the extended left hand. Drop it from that static position and the ball should be right in your strike zone.

Honestly your strokes look pretty good. Keep up the good work. Your execution is solid. I think its time to work on reading the incoming ball spin/speed/direction and setting up your intent and start to vary what you do based on what is coming at you. Keep up the good work!

J011yroger
12-19-2009, 05:35 AM
^^^ Stupid game...so easy to see what you are doing wrong, so hard to change.

J

Kostas
12-19-2009, 05:43 AM
Thanks guys. No real coach honestly. Like I mentioned in my Old Dogs (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=302573) thread, I've had some different coaches but none that really actually taught me anything.

I pretty much taught myself by going over the progressions at FYB a thousand times each. That's why I like to give Wil credit whenever I get the chance.

Thanks so much for the critiques - that's the main reason I posted. I have an idea of things I need to fix but there are many, many smart posters here and I value any outside opinion so keep them coming.

aphex
12-19-2009, 05:49 AM
Thanks guys. No real coach honestly. Like I mentioned in my Old Dogs (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=302573) thread, I've had some different coaches but none that really actually taught me anything.

I pretty much taught myself by going over the progressions at FYB a thousand times each. That's why I like to give Wil credit whenever I get the chance.

Thanks so much for the critiques - that's the main reason I posted. I have an idea of things I need to fix but there are many, many smart posters here and I value any outside opinion so keep them coming.

do this simple thing and your game will vastly improve:

PUT YOUR WEIGHT ON THE LEFT LEG WHEN YOU ARE HITTING THE FOREHAND.
KEEP YOUR FEET TO THE GROUND WHEN HITTING THE FOREHAND.

and for god's sake don't jump backwards. this is why your backhand feels better-because you are putting your weight into the shot.

LeeD
12-19-2009, 06:59 AM
Depending on your grip and your preferences, move your feet to take the ball in your strikezone.
Turn your shoulders well and use a shorter than normal backswing.
Since the ball is moving upwards, it has more energy, so you don't need to swing as fast, but you have to swing THRU the whole strikezone. Confidence is key, as you always miss if you flinch or backoff, move back or lean back on this stroke.

LeeD
12-19-2009, 07:01 AM
Sorry, this got on the wrong thread. Should be about hitting on the rise.
But everything applies except the upward moving ball and the shorter swing.

Kostas
12-19-2009, 07:25 AM
lol!

Thanks anyhow Lee!

LeeD
12-19-2009, 07:31 AM
Biggest forehand problem is that you end up with your torso moving BACKWARDS on 90% of your forehands. Do not move back.
Instead, transfer weight onto your left foot, no matter where it is. Notice on your less consistent but better form backhand, you have your weight on the RIGHT foot almost every time. That is the forward foot.
On your forehands, you moving back as you hit the ball, you are jumping backwards to hit the ball 90% of the time. Get weight onto your left foot.

skyzoo
12-19-2009, 07:34 AM
i call shananigans to the women who walked in front of the camera!

5263
12-19-2009, 07:46 AM
the late preparation (Ask me how I know, I have the same problem) where you are spending too much time in the stalk position and taking the racquet back when the ball bounces. Ideally you should have the racquet back as far as it is ever going to go by the time the ball bounces.



I look at this a little different. Your stalk position is nearly spot on timing wise, but it does not go quite deep enough following the ball with both hands and the second hand could help more with the takeback, when it happens.

But the big point on this is that your takeback is so big AND has a hitch or a set point at the high and back position. This is where the swing gets rushed. If the the loop where more compact and continuous, your timing would be looking much more sharp and your power would be more natural. Maybe this would also help you not to open up as early as well.

amx13
12-19-2009, 08:26 AM
Nice vid Kostas... Ive also been playing for about 2 1/2 years, and I found our game to be kind of similar. Like other people have said, you need to get your body weight in to the shot.

Check out the forehand you made right after the slice backhand at 1:06 in to the video. In that particular shot, your weight is loaded and transfered in to the shot, with your left leg well placed in the ground, and not in the air like in most of your other forehands. Thats the way you should be hitting most of your forehands, and not the other way around.

dozu
12-19-2009, 08:31 AM
not stellar, but not bad either for 2 years into it.

I'd give you 1 simple thing to focus on.... making a balanced motion.

don't try to shift weight, don't try to rotate shoulder, don't try to look at the ball, don't try .............. all these things are byproducts of a good balanced swing.

athiker
12-19-2009, 08:31 AM
Two things stick out a bit to me and I thing Rambler124 is spot on to fix both.

You mentioned feeling jammed, and that is b/c you are not extending your left arm straight enough in preparation but keeping it bent...jammed...so when you stroke through you are also jammed.

I think this is also causing you to compactly whip around a bit too quick in your follow-thru with too little extension out towards the path of the ball. Your shoulder turn prep and follow through look pretty good though.

As a fellow FYB fan here are slow mo links to both Fed and Nadal hitting some warmup forehands. You can see the off arm prep arm extension in both of them. And even though Nadal has a whippier follow through than Fed, I think the vid still shows him extending his hitting arm out in the direction of the hit ball a bit more than it seems in your vids.

This might help you get more drive, pace and directional accuracy on your ball?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ImeQaAyFPc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soADAL_uGs8

Your topspin backhand follow through looks really nice.

Here are some vid links for backhand slice. The one of yours, I think about a minute in, it just looked like you kinda scooped/swirled under it a bit too much so it skied.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GzW401yri4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsIswgANjQk&NR=1&feature=fvwp

The last one is from Brent Abel...his site and emails have been helpful w/ some doubles strategy stuff, and some w/ stroke technique as well...but I like FYB better overall for stroke technique as well as singles strategy.

Ambivalent
12-19-2009, 04:08 PM
Was that Serena who walked by?

aimr75
12-20-2009, 12:41 AM
Was that Serena who walked by?

ouch

......

J011yroger
12-20-2009, 08:29 AM
I look at this a little different. Your stalk position is nearly spot on timing wise, but it does not go quite deep enough following the ball with both hands and the second hand could help more with the takeback, when it happens.

But the big point on this is that your takeback is so big AND has a hitch or a set point at the high and back position. This is where the swing gets rushed. If the the loop where more compact and continuous, your timing would be looking much more sharp and your power would be more natural. Maybe this would also help you not to open up as early as well.

I think, different solutions to the same problem? I am thinking you are looking for something like a Ginnepri stroke, and I am looking for a longer stroke.

In other news my own FH is looking less like someone chasing a moth around with a flyswatter, and more like someone trying to hit a tennis ball...baby steps.

Last night's video. http://vimeo.com/8293490

J

aimr75
12-20-2009, 01:19 PM
In other news my own FH is looking less like someone chasing a moth around with a flyswatter, and more like someone trying to hit a tennis ball...baby steps.

Last night's video. http://vimeo.com/8293490

J

yeah its looking more compact compared to your old stroke, the initial wind up isnt so big

aimr75
12-20-2009, 01:23 PM
OP, good job for the amount of time youve been playing.. interesting your backhand seems to be ahead of your forehand in terms of progress..

Solat
12-20-2009, 05:58 PM
No-one has mentioned it so I will, you lack elbow drive on your FH, this is probably a consequence of all the other stuff that everyone has already covered but it may be a simpler key point to consider.

If you can create more upward drive of the elbow and leave a bigger space between it and your R hip then you will have better extension, earlier contact etc.

You drive your elbow much better on the backhand as far as the space between it and your L hip on your finish. A really solid looking stroke.

forthegame
12-20-2009, 07:23 PM
IMHO, your backhand is good. Better than your forehand.

Kostas
12-21-2009, 07:36 AM
Thanks for the comments guys. It's generally accepted with my friends that my backhand is a much better shot than my forehand...

I can routinely hit winners from anywhere on the court with my BH so long as I have time to setup for it.

To LeeD, I didn't say it was less consistent...it's actually more consistent on low and medium paced shots. It's on tougher balls when I don't have time to fully go through my progression that I struggle with my backhand, but usually with the guys I play (3.5s) I don't typically have much trouble.

Most people I play against actually attack my forehand rather than the backhand.

I've been watching the video alot the past few days and looking at my forehands in slow motion and I have a question about my setup.

When I'm moving laterally with the baseline (side to side) and setting up for the shot I have good knee bend but my side-to-side momentum seems to make it difficult to drive FORWARD into the court and through the ball. My leg drive seems to push me more sideways or even BACK most of the time. Is there something that I can work on to try to redirect my kinetic chain?

Also another thing that I find odd. I mentioned my shadow swinging in my house and when I shadow my forehand in the house I ALWAYS have a shorter more abbreviated takeback than I do on the court. My racquet head never really goes higher than my head and it's much cleaner and shorter than my on court.

When I get on court it's this big-*** loopy monster that I can't seem to control, even on low pace balls.

Any thoughts?

LeeD
12-21-2009, 07:46 AM
Compact stroke is better used against FASTER incoming balls, so those slow loopers you get from the inlaw makes you use a longer loop to hit back faster.
I said your backhand looks better than your forehand, but in those vids, you miss a few backhands wildly right at the beginning.
When you're forced wide on the forehand, and you hit openstanced, you only have to transfer weight to your left foot. You don't need to move forwards towards your target. BUT, you shouldn't move BACK on the majority of those high bouncing slowmoving incoming balls.
You may move back when the ball comes in fast and hard, deep and penetrating, but not for those slow moving high balls.

Kostas
12-21-2009, 01:09 PM
I'm going to make another vid tonight. I'll start recording at the beginning of the session as opposed to the end so maybe it'll be a bit better.

I'm going to focus on the things we've discussed so far.

Thanks again guys.

86golf
12-21-2009, 04:53 PM
I'm going to make another vid tonight. I'll start recording at the beginning of the session as opposed to the end so maybe it'll be a bit better.

I'm going to focus on the things we've discussed so far.

Thanks again guys.

May I ask what camera you are using and the settings (fps etc.)? Also, how big was the file that you uploaded to make a 3 min video?

Kostas
12-21-2009, 06:34 PM
May I ask what camera you are using and the settings (fps etc.)? Also, how big was the file that you uploaded to make a 3 min video?

Sure I'm using the Sony HDR-XR520 with a basic UV filter lens shooting in HD|SP. Tonight's video I shot in HD|FH which is supposed to be higher quality.

I'm not sure what the video size was because I thought it was around 85-90meg but it's showing as 300mg on my HD on the Mac (I'm still learning the Mac).

Tonight's video says it's only 55meg and it's 2 minutes? Not sure either way heh.

It's a pretty nice camera.

Kostas
12-21-2009, 06:47 PM
Ok I just figured it out. The file on my HD on the Mac shows 300meg but that's because I "rendered" 3 versions of the video: HD, High and Medium. I only uploaded the "High" version which was 87meg. The HD and Medium made up the other 220meg.

I'm currently uploading tonight's videos and I'm adding a 21 second clip in HD of just backhands that is 26.5 meg.

The HD version of my new 2:00 video is 146meg. That should be up in the AM.

I will update this thread and post a new one when they are complete.

86golf
12-22-2009, 07:29 AM
Ok I just figured it out. The file on my HD on the Mac shows 300meg but that's because I "rendered" 3 versions of the video: HD, High and Medium. I only uploaded the "High" version which was 87meg. The HD and Medium made up the other 220meg.

I'm currently uploading tonight's videos and I'm adding a 21 second clip in HD of just backhands that is 26.5 meg.

The HD version of my new 2:00 video is 146meg. That should be up in the AM.

I will update this thread and post a new one when they are complete.

Sorry, but what are the specs for HD? My highest setting is 720 X 480 @ 8.5mbps. I'm trying to determine if that is the setting I should record in for uploading to the web or if a lower setting will be fine. Next setting is 5.5 mbps then 4.2 mbps.

Kostas
12-22-2009, 07:37 AM
I'm not sure exactly. When I uploaded the HD format YouTube said like "Uploaded 720p File" or something like that.

I'll check when I get home and see if I can find anything.