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Nod15
01-10-2010, 07:05 PM
I am an 18 Year Old soon to be playing DII College Tennis and I have a question for anyone who thinks they can help.

I have bounced between a 1h and 2h backhand for the last 4 years, which I know is not a good thing. I use an open stance most of the time, and like to play an all court game. I have a very wristy forehand, and play with a lot of topspin. My question for you is: How can I increase my consistency?

I have thought about reworking my forehand completely and removing so much wrist and flick, closing my stance a bit, and adding a more "Drive" oriented aspect to the shot.

As for a backhand, I'm still at a loss. I should decide and keep one, but for consistency's sake which one would you choose? I want to add a little more spin to this side, but keep the drive as well. I find myself with the one hander hitting slice entirely too often, and "popping" the ball up on the 3rd or 4th backhand in a rally. With the 2h I find that I hit the ball too flat at times causing the ball to really sail. But with the 2h I feel as thought I can absorb pace better, and in turn maybe hit a more consistent backhand.

With all of these aspects I'm roughly a 4.0 4.5 player. I'm lacking a lot of confidence right now coming off of a few hard losses to players I should beat. Any suggestions would be great.

Thanks,
Steven

Zachol82
01-10-2010, 07:19 PM
If you can perform both the 1hbh AND a 2hbh, I would say stick with the 2hbh while reserving 1hbh for slices.

I also had a problem between choosing a 1hbh or a 2hbh, I decided to stick with both. I do admit that my 2hbh is better overall, but it's just nice to have a topspin 1hbh as well, reason being that the 2 different backhands produce different shots, which can throw the opponent off a bit (and to be honest it's MUCH easier for me to hit a backhand down the line shot with a 2hbh). Oh, it also helps distract your opponent a little bit, since you usually don't see people with both topspin 1hbh and 2hbh.

It's really not that hard to practice both of them, especially if you can already do both to start out with. My drills consist of just simply hitting one shot with a 2hbh then the next with a 1hbh and just keep alternating in this manner. And of course, I also slice with 1hbh from time to time, but it's a given that everyone should be able to perform a 1hbh slice.

Nod15
01-10-2010, 07:24 PM
I believe I am leaning towards the 2h backhand, but definitely keeping the slice with 1h.

Consistency is the key though, I find myself shanking way to many balls these days.

blue12
01-10-2010, 07:26 PM
I would start with one stroke at a time. Maybe write down all of your weaknesses and then decide what you want to fix first.

I would suggest completely getting rid of the wrist action on the forehand and if you feel comfortable with a two hander i would go with that and keep the one handed slice. With a two hander i would get my weight up on the front foot and make sure you rotate your torso.

really i'd start by either hitting a zillion balls on the wall. Like maybe 500 per side a day if possible. Or get a partner that can just hit topspin with you over and over and work on getting rid of the wrist action and putting some top on the two hander. I totally agree with you about adding a good drive ball on your forehand as well. That's actually exactly what i did with my forehand. Closed my stance and flattened it out and now i have a really aggressive shot. It's become a weapon just within a matter of a few weeks.

Nod15
01-10-2010, 07:29 PM
Due to weather and the area I live in I get to play around 3 times a week. But thank you for the input, its nice to see that I have a general idea of what needs to be done

blue12
01-10-2010, 07:32 PM
Where are you at?
I'd suggest watching a lot of Youtube videos of guys with two handers as well, like jokovic, safin, anybody awesome. It helped me.

Nod15
01-10-2010, 07:35 PM
Southwest Virginia, home of the hicks and no indoor tennis courts less than an hour away haha.

Safin's backhand is one of my favorites, simple, but very effective

blue12
01-10-2010, 07:44 PM
Murray's is pretty sweet too! I'm in TN and i get indoors at the community college here a couple times a week for free which is good cause i wouldn't really be able to pay.

ManuGinobili
01-10-2010, 09:32 PM
I have thought about reworking my forehand completely and removing so much wrist and flick, closing my stance a bit, and adding a more "Drive" oriented aspect to the shot.

As for a backhand, I'm still at a loss. I should decide and keep one, but for consistency's sake which one would you choose? I want to add a little more spin to this side, but keep the drive as well. I find myself with the one hander hitting slice entirely too often, and "popping" the ball up on the 3rd or 4th backhand in a rally. With the 2h I find that I hit the ball too flat at times causing the ball to really sail. But with the 2h I feel as thought I can absorb pace better, and in turn maybe hit a more consistent backhand.


Your line of thinking is right for the pure sake of consistency. I have also just reworked my forehand for a similar purpose, and it's definitely better now, so keep in mind that the results will be positive. One thing to consider is starting out with your arms and wrists completely relax, and try to use them purely as "lever and hinge" and not draw any power from them. This will force you to use the body to generate power, which is one of the ultimate goals.

A couple suggestions for the backhand sides:
- Do drill where you hit forehands with your weakside arm (left if ur right-handed): this is a highly effective exercise that let you command your backhand much better, that includes the ability to switch between spin or drive shots.
- Practice an offensive slice: Look through the sticky's and you'll find some useful info. For generalization sake it's similar to a push volley. It's a highly effective shot that will make your game much more versatile.

Nod15
01-11-2010, 05:59 AM
Thank you, that was what I was looking for.

jrod
01-11-2010, 06:30 AM
My sense is you'd be better off with the 2HBH, but retain the slice 1HBH for both defensive and offensive purposes.

Geezer Guy
01-11-2010, 06:45 AM
If the main thing you're after is consistency, just pick a style, stick to it, and practice the hell out of it. Even the most ugly stroke can be hit consistently with enough repitition.

If you want to improve your stroke, fine - no problem with that. But you can have the most textbook pretty strokes on the court and if you don't practice them you won't be able to hit them consistently.

LeeD
01-11-2010, 07:24 AM
Forehand, maybe spread your fingers out really wide, so the forefinger is not touching the next finger. Use a loopier takeback, instead of a straight takeback with racketfacing downwards. Change takeback is what I meant.
Backhand, if you insist on semi open, use a two hander. When you use the one hander, you have to close your stance more than even. Keep the slice.

Nod15
01-11-2010, 07:55 AM
Thank you. I really would like to become a more serve and volley oriented player, but I'm not sure if that would be a good idea. I serve and volley all the time playing doubles, but in singles it seems I get passed more than I hit winners or force an error.

Thank you all for the tips, really appreciate it.

LeeD
01-11-2010, 08:04 AM
Oh, and if you want more topspin with the 2hbh, just switch your weakside grip more towards Western, not fully of course. Now you get lots of topspin, but your swing has to be faster.
As for all court or net game. YOU WILL GET PASSED one out of 5 shots!
Live with it. You'll also get a winning putaway first volley one out of 5.
You'll miss one.
He'll mis one.
So that all important last of 5 is the deciding factor.
Make sure all approaches, except the short angle CC or drops, are DEEP within a couple feet of the opponent's baseline.
Key to S/V is your ability to NOT DWELL on your opponent's great shots.

papa
01-11-2010, 10:29 AM
Forehand, maybe spread your fingers out really wide, so the forefinger is not touching the next finger. Use a loopier takeback, instead of a straight takeback with racketfacing downwards. Change takeback is what I meant.
Backhand, if you insist on semi open, use a two hander. When you use the one hander, you have to close your stance more than even. Keep the slice.

Yeah, I like this but would add to get your elbow in closer to your ribs on the FH side and making sure your not opening up too early by keeping both hands on the same side of the body until the ball bounces. Watching, or trying to watch the ball hit the racquet will certainly help your consistency also.

Division II has some good players too so practice up, its not going to be a cake walk.

xFullCourtTenniSx
01-11-2010, 11:41 AM
I am an 18 Year Old soon to be playing DII College Tennis and I have a question for anyone who thinks they can help.

I have bounced between a 1h and 2h backhand for the last 4 years, which I know is not a good thing. I use an open stance most of the time, and like to play an all court game. I have a very wristy forehand, and play with a lot of topspin. My question for you is: How can I increase my consistency?

I have thought about reworking my forehand completely and removing so much wrist and flick, closing my stance a bit, and adding a more "Drive" oriented aspect to the shot.

As for a backhand, I'm still at a loss. I should decide and keep one, but for consistency's sake which one would you choose? I want to add a little more spin to this side, but keep the drive as well. I find myself with the one hander hitting slice entirely too often, and "popping" the ball up on the 3rd or 4th backhand in a rally. With the 2h I find that I hit the ball too flat at times causing the ball to really sail. But with the 2h I feel as thought I can absorb pace better, and in turn maybe hit a more consistent backhand.

With all of these aspects I'm roughly a 4.0 4.5 player. I'm lacking a lot of confidence right now coming off of a few hard losses to players I should beat. Any suggestions would be great.

Thanks,
Steven

1) Relax your swing and take out all effort from it (except I guess during the loading phase).
2) Simplify your form to whatever you need/use with a relaxed swing. Basically, simplify your form to whatever feels 100% natural to you, nothing more and nothing less. That's going to be what breaks down the least for you. If you need more power, load up more and swing through the ball. If you need more spin, load up more and get more brush on the ball.
3) During practice, focus on not missing any shot. It'd be better if you had someone to drill you, but if not then too bad.
4) Pick a backhand. If you want an elaborate map out of your choices, then here:
-One Handed backhand: Can generate more topspin; requires far more time to fully develop; won't be fully developed until at least 24 years old; requires more athleticism; better on defense (on the run); generally better all court game; generally better slice; generally better tactician; generally better net/transition game; lots of losses now; long term path for success; the risky choice.
-Two Handed backhand: More pace; flatter shot/drive; easier to master and fully develop; more compact stroke, and as a result the better flat drive return; doesn't require much to make the most of it; encourages nonstop ball-bashing; requires less thinking because generally results in play style being whoever hits the ball harder for longer/more consistently wins; for sure the easiest path to quick success.
5) Learn to hit every ball with confidence.
6) Keep drilling/practicing with the focus on not missing a shot and using a 100% natural and relaxed form.

I suggest you hit a two hander. You don't own a topspin one handed backhand. If you want to win now, and I'm sure you do, pick the two hander. If you want to win during weekends at the club or at USTA adult tournaments while you have a job, then take the one hander. And since your backhand sounds more like a Murray-style backhand (absorb and redirect pace), you should probably stick to that. Not to mention the fact that you're taking some hard losses now. You won't have time to develop your one hander in time to record enough wins in college.

PS. I don't mean cut out a full stroke and follow through. Though yours might be a bit smaller than others, use a full swing.

Geezer Guy
01-11-2010, 02:57 PM
Thank you. I really would like to become a more serve and volley oriented player, but I'm not sure if that would be a good idea. I serve and volley all the time playing doubles, but in singles it seems I get passed more than I hit winners or force an error.

Thank you all for the tips, really appreciate it.

I don't know the quality of your S&V'ing, of course, and I don't know the quality of the returns you're facing. But, in most cases I think you can still S&V effectively at the recreational level. You need a big kick so you can get close to the net for your first volley. Serve down the middle and into their body a lot. Don't get discouraged with the occasional pass.

Nod15
01-11-2010, 06:55 PM
So after taking all advice into account, I went to have a hit tonight. While relaxing but still trying to maintain a firm wrist on my forehand side, I found myself dropping a lot of balls short, not missing long very often, but dumping many more than usual in the net. Is this a footwork issue or more of a "I haven't learned this yet" kind of thing?

Also, I pride myself in my serve. I would like to think it's one of my weapons. I consistently wrack up aces in situations with no pressure, and when I play recreationaly with team mates, or in practice. But I have no adequate kick serve to speak of. I have what I would like to think is a good topspin serve for a second or a slice usually around 90 mph or less depending on the way I feel I need to vary the next serve. But my kicker is really lacking. When I try the ball ends up with topspin, but absolutely no side spin. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong as I try to toss the ball behind my head as I have been instructed, and brush in the correct manner, but I'm still having issues. Any criticism here?

xFullCourtTenniSx
01-12-2010, 12:17 AM
So after taking all advice into account, I went to have a hit tonight. While relaxing but still trying to maintain a firm wrist on my forehand side, I found myself dropping a lot of balls short, not missing long very often, but dumping many more than usual in the net. Is this a footwork issue or more of a "I haven't learned this yet" kind of thing?

Also, I pride myself in my serve. I would like to think it's one of my weapons. I consistently wrack up aces in situations with no pressure, and when I play recreationaly with team mates, or in practice. But I have no adequate kick serve to speak of. I have what I would like to think is a good topspin serve for a second or a slice usually around 90 mph or less depending on the way I feel I need to vary the next serve. But my kicker is really lacking. When I try the ball ends up with topspin, but absolutely no side spin. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong as I try to toss the ball behind my head as I have been instructed, and brush in the correct manner, but I'm still having issues. Any criticism here?

1) Are you still accelerating the racket? Full shoulder turn? Also, aim for 3 feet of clearance over the net and make sure to get the racket through the ball. I use a racket with a little bit of heft, so it does the work for me in producing power.
2) Serving aces when you aren't under pressure isn't that big of a deal. I pride myself in coming up with the goods under pressure points. Big, solid first serves into corners either forcing errors or getting aces; and if not that, a solid second serve to set myself up for a good position in the point (or a free error). Recently, it was the only thing saving my *** during a set... Lowered the pace a bit and kept the percentages around 70-80 and placed them well. If I dropped my percentages that day, I'd lose simply because the forehand was still MIA. :(
3) A solid topspin serve is good enough. Getting the ball to twist isn't a big deal, people are used to it.
4) For the kick serve, try putting the ball at 11:30 (for a righty) and a foot into the court and slice upwards up the back of the ball (meaning straight up and somewhat to the side). You want to put a lot of height on it, but hit it somewhat like a slice serve (basically brushing across the back of the ball) and keep your chest facing the side during contact (and slightly upwards), not the net, but you'll finish the stroke with your chest facing the net.

LeeD
02-06-2010, 07:38 AM
Dude, you gots too much changes coming, forget the twist for 4 months.
Toss your topspin serves over your head, then try some behind your head. Try some wide out front. Different tosses equals different spins.
Forehand..... follow thru HIGHER if you're dumping it too low. Aim 7' higher than the ground when the ball travels over the net.
Backhand.... open stance needs 2hbh, swing fast, oft hand SW for lots of top.
Forehand... still too much wrist after widening grip? INCREASE grip size! I use 4 5/8 with one overgrip, and I'm 5'11" and 146 lbs. Locks out the wrist.

kiteboard
03-03-2010, 01:06 PM
Consistency is not just about stroke. Speed up your read, watch the stick of opp. Take a higher split step, and store more sprint energy as you watch the stick. Take a quicker first step, and be into the unit turn before the ball bounces. Now you are going to have a chance to be more consistent, due to the faster preparation. All the pusher has to do is hack the ball with a short slice stroke, and dump it in short, and that's what makes them consistent. Better players become consistent with longer strokes and harder swings, only with a great deal of confident practice and disciplined prep. The recovery after the shot must be fast as well.

ManuGinobili
03-03-2010, 11:15 PM
So after taking all advice into account, I went to have a hit tonight. While relaxing but still trying to maintain a firm wrist on my forehand side, I found myself dropping a lot of balls short, not missing long very often, but dumping many more than usual in the net. Is this a footwork issue or more of a "I haven't learned this yet" kind of thing?


Get under the ball?
A firm wrist throughout the swing is also one of the reasons for shots dumping into the net, because your body's energy is inefficiently transferred through that firm wrist. Don't force it to be firm, feel it being laid back up to contact, and don't care what it does after contact really.

naylor
03-04-2010, 01:22 PM
... I really would like to become a more serve and volley oriented player, but I'm not sure if that would be a good idea. I serve and volley all the time playing doubles, but in singles it seems I get passed more than I hit winners or force an error...

To play good doubles, you have to be very comfortable playing S&V, and come in even behind "weaker" serves, so the pressure is on your volleying (but you're only covering half the court). But to play S&V singles, you must have a very good serve, in terms of both pace and placement, to somehow "shrink" the court for your opponent's return - because you have the entire court to cover yourself. And if you're going to play S&V singles, then you'll also probably want to play an attacking game when receiving - and my personal view here is that you're better off playing SHBH for this kind of game. So - as well as needing to beef up your serve, this may also impact your choice of backhand, SHBH or DHBH.

As for dumping balls into the net on your forehand, my guess is that you're focusing too hard on keeping your wrist locked through the stroke, and to achieve that you're also shortening the forward travel of your rackethand and racket into contact. The shorter you make this, the less you're able to accelerate the rackethead in the forward swing through to contact. You'll find you're hitting the ball into the net, but also it'll feel you're hitting a weak, spinny ball, a lot less "hard" than your normal forehand.

To correct that, you have to concentrate on continuing to hit through the ball. Off memory, Agassi's forehand is the kind of swing you might want to look at, he keeps his wrist nicely locked, hits rackethead moves quite a distance forward - so he generates a lot of speed and momentum at contact - and his high followthrough over the shoulder means his wrist stays locked into and after contact naturally so it doesn't dissipate the momentum.

If you want to play more of a WW swing you have to work a lot harder at keeping your racket coming through with your wrist locked until after contact. The rotation of the forearm after impact creates the WW path, but if you start rotating before impact (and if you generate some of the rotation by rotating your wrist also) then your rackethead starts moving in a vertical plane, which results in more of a "toppy" ball with less horizontal momentum.