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Thanatos
06-07-2005, 05:19 AM
I played a match last night and realized my ball anticipation was very poor.
I use the Hit-Bounce-Hit mental cue to assist with tracking ball moement. For example, when my opponent hits the ball, I would say "hit", when the ball bounces on my side of the court, I would say "bounce", and when I'm ready to hit the ball, I would say "hit". This helps me track the the ball and keeps my head steady on the groundstrokes.

The problem is judging where the ball will land on my side of the court and the depth of the return from my opponent (sometimes short and sometimes close to the baseline). What usually happens is that I wait for the ball to come to me (bad), instead of meeting the ball and taking on the rise. Does anyone have any mental tips or drills that will help me move forward better?
If I can anticipate the ball better, I can adjust my footwork and resultantly hit a better return shot. Thanks all.

Kana Himezaki
06-07-2005, 07:34 AM
I posted a thread on ball anticipation, but the stuff in there takes a while to get used to.

Hit-bounce-hit is great, especially for establishing a rhythm. To get used to moving around, I recommend forcing yourself to take at least four steps for every ball.

http://revolutionarytennis.com/giff/s2c.gif

Even for balls coming close or at you, force yourself to do four quick shuffle steps to get fully in position. If you think the initial four steps can't get you to the ball (it will for most), sidestep/crossover step to the side before beginning the four step sequence.

That will also usually make you move forward into the ball, creating more momentum, pace, and whatever.

edit:: Keep in mind for these shots you probably won't be using an open stance. A neutral stance or forward stance (both feet slanted forward) is better for moving into these balls.

Also note that you shouldn't take EVERYTHING on the rise. It's great, and a good habit to get into. However, it is hard, and you'll be more consistent and comfortable hitting it normally. But for extremely deep balls, moonballs, high balls, whatever, hitting on the rise is an extremely effective choice. If you can do it as much as possible great. If you can't, don't get too worked up over it.

Thanatos
06-07-2005, 07:53 AM
I posted a thread on ball anticipation, but the stuff in there takes a while to get used to.

Hit-bounce-hit is great, especially for establishing a rhythm. To get used to moving around, I recommend forcing yourself to take at least four steps for every ball.

http://revolutionarytennis.com/giff/s2c.gif

Even for balls coming close or at you, force yourself to do four quick shuffle steps to get fully in position. If you think the initial four steps can't get you to the ball (it will for most), sidestep/crossover step to the side before beginning the four step sequence.

That will also usually make you move forward into the ball, creating more momentum, pace, and whatever.

edit:: Keep in mind for these shots you probably won't be using an open stance. A neutral stance or forward stance (both feet slanted forward) is better for moving into these balls.

Also note that you shouldn't take EVERYTHING on the rise. It's great, and a good habit to get into. However, it is hard, and you'll be more consistent and comfortable hitting it normally. But for extremely deep balls, moonballs, high balls, whatever, hitting on the rise is an extremely effective choice. If you can do it as much as possible great. If you can't, don't get too worked up over it.


Thanks KK, let me go out and give it a try. It will probably take me several days or even several weeks to get used to forcing myself to take 4 steps on every ball. I'll post an update.

Bungalo Bill
06-07-2005, 09:48 AM
I played a match last night and realized my ball anticipation was very poor.
I use the Hit-Bounce-Hit mental cue to assist with tracking ball moement. For example, when my opponent hits the ball, I would say "hit", when the ball bounces on my side of the court, I would say "bounce", and when I'm ready to hit the ball, I would say "hit". This helps me track the the ball and keeps my head steady on the groundstrokes.

The problem is judging where the ball will land on my side of the court and the depth of the return from my opponent (sometimes short and sometimes close to the baseline). What usually happens is that I wait for the ball to come to me (bad), instead of meeting the ball and taking on the rise. Does anyone have any mental tips or drills that will help me move forward better?
If I can anticipate the ball better, I can adjust my footwork and resultantly hit a better return shot. Thanks all.

It may be your footwork but I dont think that is the real issue.

If you say the first "HIT" to yourself something needs to happen and if it isn't happening - you're daydreaming out there. WAKE UP!

Your recovery and focus skills need to begin just after YOU HIT THE BALL. Chances are you are not thinking about this but instead watching your shot to long without executing the proper recovery steps and allowing your mind to gather information as much as possible about what your opponent is doing and making decisions BEFORE THE BALL FROM YOUR OPPONENT CROSSES THE NET.

Saying "HIT" is not about just saying it. It is a focus point. It is the FINAL moment you need to gather information on where you believe the ball is going. This means you are gathering additional information before you say HIT. During the time you say "hit", this is the time you need to be ready to change directions AND HAVE ALREADY RECOVERED TO THE PROPER POSITION.

If you dont have time to recover to the proper position before your opponent hits the ball, you might have hit the ball too hard or have chosen to hit to the wrong location.

Anticipation is about focus. Focus is about engagement. You have to engage your mind in the point. You need to be able to read the ball BEFORE it crosses the net. Thats quick! Which means you have to train your brain to do it before your opponent hits the ball and already be in position and ready to move.

Saying HIT BOUNCE HIT is exactly the type of cadence mechanism that helps this.

- THE FIRST HIT: You should be ready to go in any direction before the ball crosses the net. You should have disengaged your mind from your shot long ago and are gathering your final information about where the ball is going.

- AFTER YOU SAY HIT, YOU SAY BOUNCE: As the ball is in the air coming over to bounce on your side, you should be making your final preparations for your stroke and making your final adjustment steps to hit the ball soundly. Saying BOUNCE helps your timing between the first HIT and the BOUNCE. The faster you have to say the two, the faster you have to prepare.

- THE LAST HIT: When you say the last hit, it is contact time. This is the time you allow your body to relax and you take the stroke that you know how to take. Your sole purpose at this time is to make clean contact and have good timing. You followthrough and as your head finally comes up you are gathering information on how your opponent is going to handle your response BEFORE you say the next "HIT" again. And the cycle repeats itself until the point is over.

If your opponent has recovered properly, then the point mosty likely will still be neutralized. However, if you see him about to stretch for his shot, you should take two steps into the court to take control and be ready for the short ball.

This is how the HIT BOUNCE HIT works. HT BOUNCE HIT is incorporated with movement and engaging yourself mentally in the point.

Geezer Guy
06-07-2005, 10:41 AM
When YOU hit the ball you know where it's going, and you know where it'll be hit FROM. Based on where the ball is going to be hit FROM, you should have a good idea where it will be hit TO. As soon as you strike the ball you should begin moving to the location on the court that will give you the best chance of getting to the ball when it's returned. As your opponent is actually striking the ball, you should split-step.

EVERYTHING -BEFORE- this point in time is ANTICIPATION. You don't "know" where the ball is going to go - you're anticipating where it will go. Anticipation is all mental. Once the ball is hit, then you're REACTING to the ball. That's the physical aspect of timing your split-step and moving to the ball.

If you want to be better at anticipation, you need to have a good handle on where your opponent will hit the ball. This means you need to know where "most" people will hit TO, based on where they're hitting FROM, and you need to know what this particular opponent likes to do on any given ball. Anticipation is all about playing the percentages and the odds. It's also about picking up clues as to your opponents intentions. You can tell if he'll hit slice or topspin based on his grip. You can tell by his stroke if he's going to drive the ball or attempt a drop shot. You might be able to tell from his stance if he's going cross-court or down-the-line. Look for any que's as to how and where he's going to hit the ball. Some people will attempt to disguize their shots. Most don't.

Bungalo Bill
06-07-2005, 02:03 PM
When YOU hit the ball you know where it's going, and you know where it'll be hit FROM. Based on where the ball is going to be hit FROM, you should have a good idea where it will be hit TO. As soon as you strike the ball you should begin moving to the location on the court that will give you the best chance of getting to the ball when it's returned. As your opponent is actually striking the ball, you should split-step.

EVERYTHING -BEFORE- this point in time is ANTICIPATION. You don't "know" where the ball is going to go - you're anticipating where it will go. Anticipation is all mental. Once the ball is hit, then you're REACTING to the ball. That's the physical aspect of timing your split-step and moving to the ball.

If you want to be better at anticipation, you need to have a good handle on where your opponent will hit the ball. This means you need to know where "most" people will hit TO, based on where they're hitting FROM, and you need to know what this particular opponent likes to do on any given ball. Anticipation is all about playing the percentages and the odds. It's also about picking up clues as to your opponents intentions. You can tell if he'll hit slice or topspin based on his grip. You can tell by his stroke if he's going to drive the ball or attempt a drop shot. You might be able to tell from his stance if he's going cross-court or down-the-line. Look for any que's as to how and where he's going to hit the ball. Some people will attempt to disguize their shots. Most don't.

Very good post. Different forms of preparation happen while the ball is in the air. When the ball is in the air coming from you, you are preparing your position and gathering information on your opponents ability to reply.

While the ball is in the air after your opponent hits it, you are preparing your stroke (racquet, shoulder turn, footwork, adjustment steps)

The faster you can recover and the sooner you can recognize where the ball is going the better. But that takes practice and a determination to improve in this area.

A big portion of this area comes from your OFFCOURT training and yoru conditioning. Weight lifting, sprints, footwork drills and EATING RIGHT for mental alterness and clarity.

Jack the Hack
06-07-2005, 03:05 PM
I think it was Rod Laver who said something like "great anticipation is a result of great concentration."

If you are focused on the patterns that are developing in a match, and aware of the tendencies of your opponent, then you would seem to know better where you should be on the court to hit the next shot.

We have an older guy at our club that is really slow, but always seems to be in the right place to hit the next shot (especially at the net). After I watched him make some unbelievable gets one night, I was asking him how he does it. He said he just watches his opponents and tracks where they like to hit the ball... and when he's in a jam, he just goes to the most likely place they will hit based on past observations. Sometimes he gets burned, but often steals a point that seemed unexpected. Sounds simple doesn't it? :)

Bungalo Bill
06-07-2005, 05:19 PM
I think it was Rod Laver who said something like "great anticipation is a result of great concentration."

If you are focused on the patterns that are developing in a match, and aware of the tendencies of your opponent, then you would seem to know better where you should be on the court to hit the next shot.

We have an older guy at our club that is really slow, but always seems to be in the right place to hit the next shot (especially at the net). After I watched him make some unbelievable gets one night, I was asking him how he does it. He said he just watches his opponents and tracks where they like to hit the ball... and when he's in a jam, he just goes to the most likely place they will hit based on past observations. Sometimes he gets burned, but often steals a point that seemed unexpected. Sounds simple doesn't it? :)

Excellent point and very good post. There was a article by Brad Gilbert on positioning which I thought was very good. He mentioned that when the ball is in a certain part of the court you should not attempt to hit it hard or go for a winner even though the court seems to be open. You should loop the ball back and go for positioning rather then a winner and work the point.

fastdunn
06-07-2005, 06:19 PM
This thread title confused me a bit. "Anticipation" usually means what
Geezer_Guy and Jack_the_Hack mentioned. Then it looks like
the original poster asked different question. Something like
"ball trajectory prediction" ?? Just want to clarify terms and issues ....

papa
06-07-2005, 07:24 PM
I want to preface my remarks by saying that my experience is primarily with the "older" (50 +) group which hasn't been know to establish speed standards for the rest of the tennis population. I hear what several of you are saying but my experience is that teaching anyone to start watching their own shots, for any length of time, is basically asking for trouble and I mean trouble with a capital T. Before you know it "everyone" is admiring the "wonderful" flight of their shots while remaining firmly glued to the court - maybe its like chewing gum and walking at the same time, some can do it others can't.

My attitude is, once you hit the ball there is nothing you can do to effect the flight of the ball and your far better to react to the positioning/repositioning of the opponent(s) and watching his racquet preparation - in other words, you have a finite amount of time between when you hit the ball and the opponent gets their turn. I think you reap greater rewards spending this time getting into position based on where/what your opponent(s) are doing rather than wasting any time watching the ball. Even if your moving as your watching the flight of your own shot, as I assume the previous posters are assuming that players are doing this, I think its still better to concentrate on your opponent(s).

I think this is where the generation gap probably plays a major role in how different groups, all trying to do the same thing, might react differently. Maybe, just maybe, anticipation might be an even greater element in the older player. Lose a step and you've got to make it up somewhere.

Kana Himezaki
06-07-2005, 07:35 PM
If you want a more literal version of anticipation, I have:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=52487

Thanatos
06-08-2005, 05:08 AM
Thanks everyone. I do get into a "trance" state with the hit-bounce-hit which may result in what BB termed as "daydreaming".

I'm actually printing this post out and taking it to the court today to practice. Instead of saying hit-bounce-hit, should I try "hit-anticipate-hit"? The "bounce" part throws me off and causes delay in preparation. When I say bounce, my mind is expecting to see the ball bounce, which in a sense "freezes" my body from meeting the ball. I know it's all a mental and I need to re-program bad habits.

eagle
06-08-2005, 05:34 AM
Here's a good tip from Tennis.com that reinforces Geezer Guy's post.

http://www.tennis.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=news&mod=Training+News&mid=FBC00B14E46848008F3898B760953CBE&tier=3&nid=99BB75E5036E4003BC98C7A03A244746&AudID=363722EC1BBE450E80A504E7E77EAF52

thanks,
eagle

Thanatos
06-08-2005, 05:42 AM
We have a coach in the league that helps us with stroke technique and all the physical stuff. The league pays him like $75/hr. However, he seems to neglect the "mental and psyshological" aspects of the game. When questioned by the higher level players (few), he would provide some general comment like "just try to watch your opponent". Most of the league members are 3.5 or under so they treat him like a king. I'm very weak in the mental and psyshological domain. It may take me a couple of years to move from the 4.0 to the 4.5 level depending on how much I play, train, and how fast I acertain the mental aspects. In general, I think one of the reasons why most players don't improve as quickly as they should is bc they are not cognizant of the other "intangibles" and I'm guilty of that.

papa
06-08-2005, 10:39 AM
Here's a good tip from Tennis.com that reinforces Geezer Guy's post.

http://www.tennis.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=news&mod=Training+News&mid=FBC00B14E46848008F3898B760953CBE&tier=3&nid=99BB75E5036E4003BC98C7A03A244746&AudID=363722EC1BBE450E80A504E7E77EAF52

thanks,
eagle

Was this a general plug for Tennis magazine or a "specific" thing in the site you wanted to bring to everyone's attention.

Proud Pusher
06-08-2005, 10:43 AM
Like "Papa", I too speak from the 50+ perspective. The most beneficial
thing that works for me is to bend those knees (can be a chore!), and
stoop down there right before your opponent is ready to hit.

When I do this, instead of playing "upright" like many of us seniors do, I always pick up where the ball is coming a spit second faster.

I'm known among my tennis friends for getting everything back, but its
NOT because I'm that fast, I just get a faster jump on the ball when
I do this!

Ken

papa
06-08-2005, 10:44 AM
In general, I think one of the reasons why most players don't improve as quickly as they should is bc they are not cognizant of the other "intangibles" and I'm guilty of that.

Well to some extent but the primary reason is that they don't want to study the game along with spending the time on practice like hitting 1000 balls a day along with constantly practicing your serve. Hard to do if your glued to the TV or like to gather at the mall.

eagle
06-08-2005, 10:45 AM
Hi papa,

I don't copy/paste articles from other sites since that would be a copyright violation.

I was merely trying to help by mentioning an article that provides helpful tips in improving one's game. That particular webpage provides some answers pertinent to the help being requested by the originator of this thread.

Why has this board gotten so abrasive and cynical of late?

r,
eagle

papa
06-08-2005, 04:23 PM
Hi papa,

I don't copy/paste articles from other sites since that would be a copyright violation.

I was merely trying to help by mentioning an article that provides helpful tips in improving one's game. That particular webpage provides some answers pertinent to the help being requested by the originator of this thread.

Why has this board gotten so abrasive and cynical of late?

r,
eagle

Well, actually I looked up the site that was mentioned and didn't see the material relating to the post - prehaps I missed it but I did look. I know you were trying to help but as I said, I just didn't see the stuff - maybe other have missed it also.

I really don't think the board has gotten cynical or abrasive - if anything it seems to have calmed down a bit. Tennis is a game where most have strong feelings and opinions. There is a lot of very good stuff presented here and some of it isn't exactly candy coated. I think thats good myself but see where other might object.