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5263
02-11-2012, 01:42 PM
There as been a lot of discussion on here about depth vs angles, along with many aspects on this topic. We all know that Depth Control is a huge Key to great tennis, but how deep? The discussions have been difficult due to various definitions each individual seems to hold on their idea of great depth (extreme depth), so for this thread, we will reference the definition found in a couple instructional books ....."the back 3 ft of the court" to the baseline, as well as often seen in instruction and diagrams. Hi Tech Tennis recommends to hit at least within 5ft of the baseline.

But more than 5ft away from the BL, then you will be in the group that agrees that Moderate depth can be useful and even more desirable when it comes to what is optimal for rally shots and mid ct ball attack attempts for this discussion.

Now please understand, I'm not agreeing with the idea of "Extreme depth" defined above, but just providing a definition for a frame of reference on how this has been taught thru the years. I think even most Touring Pros miss too much when going for the great or extreme depth within
4-5 feet of the BL But many rec players are shooting for the back foot of the court!

I'm in the camp that believes in hitting "well short of the BL" or for a more moderate depth.
The idea is that shots will land in or near the triangles of course, but more to the point, the deep cone marks your target line from where your shot is contacted, as well as the max depth we will hit for. We will often hit slightly deeper than the deep cone due to catching the ball strong and aggressive, but that is the purpose of the margins of error built into the triangle. The 2 short cones mark an area that we generally seek to pass....and form a gate if you will, to hit into the triangle or slightly beyond, and are on the shorter side of things to account for times when we are in position to go for sharper angles. As a general idea, we should hit more for the deep cone when looking to work the court more vertically as we do with RALLY Shots, and hit closer to the shorter cone section of the triangle when looking to work our shots for more width as we do with mid court attack shots.

Hey 5263: Based on your specs, this is a scale image I made. Look okay?

Blue = Smart Targets
Red = Avoid Area

http://i45.tinypic.com/2mmei5d.png

5263
02-11-2012, 02:11 PM
The basic idea of this using the proposed triangle target is to improve
consistency of shot making without giving up any ability to place a
challenge on our opponents. My charting has proved to me that even
in the pros, they rarely hit in the back 3ft or so of the court, and
when they do, it may quite well be unintended to an extent. Even
though they rarely hit this deep, they clearly find ways to put heavy
demands on their opponents.

What we have found using these targets was a small surprise for us.
I had expected that using more conservative depth and targets might
well let us hit stronger, but the extent of it was still surprising,
especially to some of the college players I shared this with. They found
this target system allowed them to swing much more freely, gaining
extra pace and spin. They also are surprised how quickly this style of
play tends to get them a short ball to attack. When attacking short balls,
they find they can execute aggressively at a much higher consistency,
which results in far few UEs and more attacks converted to points won. This was especially important as it was the goal of this project to begin with...and based on the idea that 2 well matched opponents will win or lose primarily based on how efficient and effective they are dealing with short balls and mid ct attack opportunities.

I refer to hitting less than extreme depth as "hitting shorter" or "ideal target depth" opposed to saying hit short.
But, to hit short would mean to hit shorter than our target or "ideal depth". Ideal depth would be to hit shorter than "extreme depth", which has also been considered great depth.
Writing this gives me even more insight how confusing these definitions can be and hard for readers to keep it all straight.

For Smart Targets in my instruction,
I like to use 3 cones on each side of the court, that form a triangle on each the deuce and ad side. The 1st cone about 11 ft past the svc line which is 2 ft past the half way pt of svc line to BL. That puts the cones about 7 ft from the BL and about 18 inches from the sideline. This is our deep cone.

For the short cone I also use 18 inches from sideline, with this one being 2 feet inside the svc line.

For the cross ct cone I use a line from the deep cone which goes across the net to the deepest doubles corner cross ct. On that imaginary line the xct cone goes approximately 3ft past the svc line.

These 3 cones form a triangle shaped target zone, one on the deuce then another on the ad side. These 2 triangle targets will work well for most all shots from dtl to well cross court. There will definitely be several exceptions we can use from using these targets, but these 2 targets will work well for a vast majority of rally and mid-short ball attacks. Defining smart exceptions will be great to discuss in this thread.

5263
02-11-2012, 02:30 PM
i've posted this before. This hitting close to the baseline thing is a myth.
http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-p3ufUzjcl_Y/Timl3QtFJoI/AAAAAAAAA40/9ZWTeJ4qI-8/s800/shotPlacement-Djokovic.jpg

Man, I need your skills. Not only does this make things clear that less than 10% are real deep, but you could move that line twice as far from the BL and still have a large majority of balls (80-85%) falling short of it.

But most will have you believe the pros hit so deep and you should too; and that
if you don't bang it deep the 4.0 and 4.5 will crush most of them for winners or the like.

Also realize this pic does not show the many misses long when they went for too much depth.

BU-Tennis
02-11-2012, 05:51 PM
Ok, redrew it, you can see the triangles
http://i43.tinypic.com/abkplf.jpg

I definitely understand more after the clarificaiton, and interesting enough, the vast majority of djokovics shots are in those two triangles. It definitely is more interesting to think about than the old adage of "hit deep"

I think a major problem i have struggled with myself is I haven't focused on hitting to zones, or smart targets as you refer to them (which I like). And the next time i'm on the court I will definitely be thinking about these and focusing on hitting into these zones when i am in an attacking position.

5263
02-11-2012, 06:21 PM
the green zones would be the optimum place to hit crosscourt shots.

Hopefully I understood the instructions correctly.

Man you did a bang up job and I sure wish I was better with these kinds of skills.

thanks

AND...

I would love to know why every single pro I have used has emphasized hitting deep as the primary objective with a rally ball, almost to the exclusion of anything else (ie. angles, spin etc.). Why do they keep setting up targets 2 feet from the baseline and expect me to hit it? Incompetent wankers!!

I so appreciate you posting this. You would not believe how many posters have denied this happens.

SFrazeur
02-11-2012, 06:50 PM
Myself I have always thought of a triangle over the court. So I agree with it through my experience. However there are two things:

1) The data window here is too narrow. It's needs to be tracked with more than one pro player over a longer period of time.

2) Does this information apply to recreational players?

Pros hit with a level of pace and spin that will certainly make a shorter ball penetrate more deeply in the court (Pseudo Deep) than recreational players can generate.

-SF

5263
02-11-2012, 07:17 PM
Myself I have always thought of a triangle over the court. So I agree with it through my experience. However there are two things:

1) The data window here is too narrow. It's needs to be tracked with more than one pro player over a longer period of time.

2) Does this information apply to recreational players?

Pros hit with a level of pace and spin that will certainly make a shorter ball penetrate more deeply in the court (Pseudo Deep) than recreational players can generate.

-SF

Still working on getting the right target triangles on the pic, but

#1) I've done charting with this over the last couple of years. That diagram is pretty typical for shot placements.

#2) Even more so with rec players IMO.

Yes, Pros hit with more pace, but they also cut off balls better and attack short balls unbelievably better, so this will favor rec players even more, so yes pros hits stronger but also attack better. Charting shows rec players tend to lose more points trying to attack shot balls than they make. Few rec players attack worth a darn and that is part of why pushers often beat all but the best players. Rec player hit weaker, but attack poorer too, so it washes out for the most part.

Several important points come up on this.
1. learning this target system will help you hit stronger since the margin of error is better. This more than makes up for hitting closer to the lines to win points.
2.Learning this will help you to be a better attacker in 2 major ways
a) learning this helps you to learn more about what balls are truly attackable vs what balls are just sort of short but still dangerous.
b)using smarter targets on truly attackable balls will give you more margin, but still keep things challenging for your opponents.

3rd point relates to a post I made in another thread about when you play someone far better than you. Many if not most rec matches have quite a disparity in skill, even if they are rated the same. Even if scores are sort of close, often one player is in control and can get the point on demand, especially if he falls behind. This better player can be aggressive and loose, but pull out points when he really needs to, keeping the score under control. We can't let these matches teach us the wrong lessons. Much more is learned about strategy and shot placement by looking at well matched sets where it's more of a coin toss. This is where we can learn what works under pressure.

There is little strategy that will help you or even a pro when solidly over matched. This strategy does give you the absolute best chance to win though, because making your shots is the only thing you can do to have a chance. Using targets that give you best chance to hit them, while still providing a challenge to the opponent are your only chance for success.

tlm
02-11-2012, 07:28 PM
Myself I have always thought of a triangle over the court. So I agree with it through my experience. However there are two things:

1) The data window here is too narrow. It's needs to be tracked with more than one pro player over a longer period of time.

2) Does this information apply to recreational players?

Pros hit with a level of pace and spin that will certainly make a shorter ball penetrate more deeply in the court (Pseudo Deep) than recreational players can generate.

-SF


If you pay attention when watching ATP matches that shot chart that is shown will be very consistent with most of the players on tour. Another chart was shown on Federer from the AO and it showed the same thing.

Yes i think that it apply's to rec players also, but you do need to have some decent pace and spin on the ball. You don't want to hit short weak balls consistently, that would be asking for trouble.

tlm
02-11-2012, 07:43 PM
The basic idea of this using the proposed triangle target is to improve
consistency of shot making without giving up any ability to place a
challenge on our opponents. My charting has proved to me that even
in the pros, they rarely hit in the back 3ft or so of the court, and
when they do, it may quite well be unintended to an extent. Even
though they rarely hit this deep, they clearly find ways to put heavy
demands on their opponents.

What we have found using these targets was a small surprise for us.
I had expected that using more conservative depth and targets might
well let us hit stronger, but the extent of it was still surprising,
especially to some of the college players I shared this with. They found
this target system allowed them to swing much more freely, gaining
extra pace and spin. They also are surprised how quickly this style of
play tends to get them a short ball to attack. When attacking short balls,
they find they can execute aggressively at a much higher consistency,
which results in far few UEs and more attacks converted to points won.


Excellent points here 5263, this is to me is the bread and butter of the matter. By not hitting so deep it actually lets you swing faster and more freely, which in turn gives you more spin and pace. When you are not so concerned with your shot going to deep you can let it rip.

Also like you mention when they do get the ball to attack they will convert a much higher % into winners. That is something a lot of people don't understand when you get the attackable ball it is usually not necessary to hit it deep. Many times it is the exact opposite were it is better to hit a sharper angle for the winner as opposed to going deep.

And by practicing the way you are describing will get this ingrained into the player and really improve their game. I don't know how many times i have gotten the sitter i wanted and then made a error because i hit the ball just a little long when there was no reason to have put anywhere near that depth on that shot. Then you look at all the open court you had and think why in the hell did i even hit that ball even close to the baseline.

5263
02-11-2012, 08:00 PM
Excellent points here 5263, this is to me is the bread and butter of the matter. By not hitting so deep it actually lets you swing faster and more freely, which in turn gives you more spin and pace. When you are not so concerned with your shot going to deep you can let it rip.


Thanks tlm,


I appreciate how you understand the important points on this and are able to help me put into words to share with others who might have an interest here.

SFrazeur
02-11-2012, 08:06 PM
If you pay attention when watching ATP matches that shot chart that is shown will be very consistent with most of the players on tour. Another chart was shown on Federer from the AO and it showed the same thing.

Yes i think that it apply's to rec players also, but you do need to have some decent pace and spin on the ball. You don't want to hit short weak balls consistently, that would be asking for trouble.

I do not disagree per say. However, a person's recollection is not scientific evidence. As well, taking one or two examples is not proof.

-SF

tlm
02-11-2012, 08:14 PM
Thanks tlm,
I've got a pic with the Smart Targets roughed in, but have not worked out how to get it inserted yet. I guess you have to have it stored to a url first?

But, I appreciate how you understand the important points on this and are able to help me put into words to share with others who might have an interest here.


Believe me i understand them, but i wish i could execute them as well as i understand them. I need to do some drilling with targets like you are doing, this seems like a great method of getting it to become second nature.

Sometimes i can get in the groove really well and other times i am either hitting to short or hitting to deep and making to many errors.

You mentioned that against many rec players that they don't attack even short weak balls very well, which can be true. But against some of my opponents they attack them pretty good and i will pay for those shots.

But some of these player are definitely above my level, so i guess it should be no surprise. I think because they are better than me that they force more weak short balls out of me because they take my time away with their shots.

Which in turn lets them take over the point and does not work out good for me. But you are right against many players i can get away with some weak short balls because they can't attack them very well anyway, but it can let a net rusher into the court to allow a good approach shot.

BU-Tennis
02-11-2012, 08:17 PM
I believe the OP was suggesting these targets for when you are in an attacking position. So he's not suggesting you hit a floater within the service line and expect it to be a forceful shot.

Nadal hits so many shots landing inside the service line but with the spin it still forces his opponents to stay back and doesn't allow them to attack. However, we cannot hit with that amount of spin, so our shots won't be as penetrating, and some people get scared and thinks that means they have to hit deeper, which isn't true. We can't hit like Nadal and neither can our opponents

tlm
02-11-2012, 08:21 PM
I do not disagree per say. However, a person's recollection is not scientific evidence. As well, taking one or two examples is not proof.

-SF

Okay then i am sure if you research this enough you will find what you are looking for. I just have noticed over the years of watching tennis that the pro men players do not hit near as deep as often as a lot of people think they do.

5263
02-11-2012, 09:49 PM
Okay then i am sure if you research this enough you will find what you are looking for. I just have noticed over the years of watching tennis that the pro men players do not hit near as deep as often as a lot of people think they do.

I've been studying this for a few years now and have never seen one of those diagrams showing many shots near the lines or consistently with that extreme depth. I actually think this one has more near the sidelines than most I've seen and DJ is one of the deeper hitters even though he has pulled back a bit from the lines over the last yr and a half.
We only collect evidence, but there is no proof because the game is a moving target in that respect. Always changing and evolving to an extent.

5263
02-11-2012, 09:55 PM
Ok, redrew it, you can see the triangles, but i still left the cross bars connecting the short and deep balls just to facilitate the viewer to help see the proper depths you described.
http://i42.tinypic.com/2m7aofk.jpg

I definitely understand more after the clarificaiton, and interesting enough, the vast majority of djokovics shots are in those two triangles. It definitely is more interesting to think about than the old adage of "hit deep"

I think a major problem i have struggled with myself is I haven't focused on hitting to zones, or smart targets as you refer to them (which I like). And the next time i'm on the court I will definitely be thinking about these and focusing on hitting into these zones when i am in an attacking position.

What a super job there BU! Thanks, I really appreciate the work.

I bet you can see while most shots do fall in the target zone, that most of the rest could be seen as the result of going for the targets and just missing. The idea with these targets is to give a reference more than to actually hit them. They provide a reference that helps to guide your intent in a way that allows you to be aggressive, but not reckless.

One question. How did you figure the scale? Do you think the side of the triangle by the doubles ally should be a bit closer? Not complaining, but just wondering cause that side margin on the target looks just a little to big, about like the line for the back 3ft. Really is not important due to explanation above about how to use the target though.

5263
02-11-2012, 10:04 PM
I believe the OP was suggesting these targets for when you are in an attacking position. So he's not suggesting you hit a floater within the service line and expect it to be a forceful shot.

Nadal hits so many shots landing inside the service line but with the spin it still forces his opponents to stay back and doesn't allow them to attack. However, we cannot hit with that amount of spin, so our shots won't be as penetrating, and some people get scared and thinks that means they have to hit deeper, which isn't true. We can't hit like Nadal and neither can our opponents

Excellent post here. I'm pretty sure tlm knows I was not suggesting to hit any short floaters, but you still did a nice job of making several points here, especially that last one.

Even though I don't recommend short floaters, I rather leave one of them than miss in most cases...especially from 2.5-4.0, since they are about as likely to miss the attack as to make it on avg. A ball in the court always gives us one more chance and that can't be underestimated in this game of errors.

One place I really hate to leave a floater though... and that is to the center T area. Allows them to use their better wing and go to the side or area they feel is their best option. Gives them lots of free confidence and tends to crush yours if you do that too much.

5263
02-11-2012, 10:10 PM
Myself I have always thought of a triangle over the court. So I agree with it through my experience. However there are two things:

-SF

Do the revised Smart Target triangles still work for you. They are quite different from when you first posted and may still get a slight revision yet.

5263
02-11-2012, 11:04 PM
Another reference on what is considered great depth. While they don't come out and define the depth they are emphasizing in the newest Tennis Magazine, they do mention how effective they feel it is when the serve is returned within inches of the baseline. That is well inside the 3ft definition we are using here as extreme depth. I say by all means try to hit for this kind of depth if you want to miss about half your returns long.

sureshs
02-12-2012, 08:36 AM
Deep means beyond the service line. It is clear that Djokovic hits deep.

5263
02-12-2012, 08:43 AM
Ok, redrew it, you can see the triangles, but i still left the cross bars connecting the short and deep balls just to facilitate the viewer to help see the proper depths you described.

Hey BU, I guess I'm getting to be high maintenance, but going over this with a college player this morning I realized the deep cone was set a little too deep.
The deep cone should be about 4ft short of the extreme depth line, which will improve the triangle and make it a bit fatter looking I expect,
especially if we move it and the short cone a bit closer to the wide line to enable us to be a little closer to the line when hitting the dtl.
If you can make these 2 changes it would be greatly appreciated.
Also would you want to try one without the 2 extra lines connecting the 2 cones to see how that would look in comparison?
thanks a ton,

5263
02-12-2012, 12:32 PM
Deep means beyond the service line. It is clear that Djokovic hits deep.

Looks like you missed the definitions in the OP!
That is incorrect for the purposes of this discussion.

I can add that no instructor would consider barely hitting past the svc line a deep shot,
but would instead be considered acceptable by some standards, but clearly not deep.
Dr Allen Fox refers to hitting AT Least half way between svc line & BL as a miniumum in "Think to Win", where in this discussion that is closer to "ideal depth".
Often the balls we see attacked for winners are well beyond the svc line though,
so you give further evidence that deep alone (by your definition) is not protection from getting attacked.
Your comment is also a good example of the confusions about depth and it's significance.
Deep is even often considered a correct callout for an "out" ball that is long, so yes, DJ does hit some deep as well by that standard. This is why I started with some definitions to start the discussion.

tlm
02-12-2012, 02:33 PM
Looks like you missed the definitions in the OP!
That is incorrect for the purposes of this discussion.

I can add that no instructor would consider barely hitting past the svc line a deep shot,
but would instead be considered acceptable by some standards, but clearly not deep.
Often the balls we see attacked for winners are well beyond the svc line though,
so you give further evidence that deep alone (by your definition) is not protection from getting attacked.
Your comment is also a good example of the confusions about depth and it's significance.
Deep is even often considered the correct call for an "out" ball that is long, so yes, DJ does hit some deep as well by that standard. This is why I started with some definitions to start the discussion.



You are right sureshs missed the definition, but what is new? He always misses the definition and has a uncanny ability to switch and swap things around and mostly miss the point.

For him to say now that deep means beyond the service line is one of the bigger piles of BS he has ever come up with, and believe me that is not easy to top.

Just a few weeks ago he would have argued to death that just beyond the serve line would have been a short shot. But i guess now after seeing the shot charts that were shown and with no way to dispute that, he now claims that joker hits deep because most shots are past the serve line.

Is this just to hilarious or what, a lot of these guys should have been politicians.

5263
02-12-2012, 08:11 PM
Ok, redrew it, you can see the triangles
http://i43.tinypic.com/abkplf.jpg

I definitely understand more after the clarificaiton, and interesting enough, the vast majority of djokovics shots are in those two triangles. It definitely is more interesting to think about than the old adage of "hit deep"

I think a major problem i have struggled with myself is I haven't focused on hitting to zones, or smart targets as you refer to them (which I like). And the next time i'm on the court I will definitely be thinking about these and focusing on hitting into these zones when i am in an attacking position.

I want to thank you again for the adjustments to the pic!
Very nice. It was subtle, but I think clears up the picture some.

5263
02-12-2012, 09:05 PM
Now that we have a good visual on the Smart Targets, we
can look at how they can help our game. In most instances
one of these targets will be an excellent choice. Sure there
are several exceptions like with any general rule, but for the
most part, these are a great starting point or default target.
You can see these are not about extreme angles or hitting
short on purpose. They are more about not hitting so long.
The shorter area of the target is there for when you do want
to increase the angle, and are something to hit past when going
for the deeper area of the the target on most normal shots.

By keeping the ball out of the center, you tend to limit your
opponents options. Sampras was known to speak of how the
one who controls the center of the court will control the points.
Using these targets, we can keep the opponent from controlling
the center.

These targets have a good safety margin built in, so it frees up
your swing. Because you are not targeting extreme depth, you
can really let your natural power flow. I'm not suggesting to over
swing, but more to let your shots go and not have to hold back.
I think modern TS strokes work best in this regard, but this will
help with traditional as well.

One note on this is -the idea on these triangles is to give a target
reference for the shots, and NOT so much to hit the target. That
may seem a little odd, but using them it begins to make more
sense. They serve as a great reference, but slightly flying the deep
cone a little is not a bad thing when you decide to rip into one hard.
There is a margin built in to accommodate that.

5263
02-12-2012, 09:38 PM
Is this just to hilarious or what, a lot of these guys should have been politicians.

Whats interesting to me is they kept telling us that the best players hit extremely
deep, and close to the lines; and when that doesn't happen, the other pro
would put that ball away immediately.
Now we provide charting and diagrams that show that is often not the
case, so you would think they would at least consider rethinking things.
They are curious, which is why they keep asking for more and more info,

Avles
02-12-2012, 09:48 PM
Ok, redrew it, you can see the triangles
http://i43.tinypic.com/abkplf.jpg

I definitely understand more after the clarificaiton, and interesting enough, the vast majority of djokovics shots are in those two triangles.


Are you sure about that? I tried counting the shots, and it looks to me like a large majority of the shots were outside the two triangles.

BU-Tennis
02-13-2012, 04:04 AM
^^^^Yeah the first picture I drew the triangles were a little larger which incorporated more shots. But the point isn't that shots necessarily land in the area, but that djokovic was probably aiming for a point within those triangles and missed by a few feet, which of course is usual when trying to hit with so much power.

I think people watch pros, see them hit a shot DTL which lands right on the line, and think they were aiming for that exact result, when in fact they were probably aiming a foot or so inside the line. If you watch pros at exhibition events and they try to hit targets you'll often see them missing by 2-4 feet on easily fed balls, so you can imagine the error margin when they're trying to run a tough shot down and then pass their opponent charging the net.

rosewall4ever
02-13-2012, 04:24 AM
i've always thought of targets during a rally as a form of attack and counter attack


http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/8927/shotplacementdjokovicco.jpg
attack

http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/8927/shotplacementdjokovicco.jpg
counter. a counter to counter scenario would follow the directionals. Hitting to either middle triangles would allow the op to take control of the centre and thus the rally.

It helps me to figure out where to hit during play. I also found this to be subconscious strategy amongst the pros in the matches i've watched.:)

bukaeast
02-13-2012, 05:06 AM
A minor request.

I admit that I am limited in my visualizing abilities.

These are wonderful illustrations, but they would be even better if they were filpped upside down, to see the other side of the net, where we see a view of where we are actually looking to hit.

:oops:

BU-Tennis
02-13-2012, 05:35 AM
http://i40.tinypic.com/14nlf7m.jpg

Rosewall I made a new image with your different target zones for attack and counter-attack. I also then highlighted the area in Green which is the zone which is shared by both attack and counter attack and highlighted the Smart Targets in Yellow.

The zones you speak of are the traditional type of thought which 5263 says are outdated, and not supported by actual play results. However, this is not meant to be accusery, since I thought the same as you before this thread started lol!

The biggest thing to take away from this diagram is to see that the shared zone is a triagnle, very similar in shape to the Smarter Targets. However, the big problem is that the zone leaves no margin for error. We are assuming you aim for a specific point within that one, so if you pick the line you can't miss that spot long at all without losing the point.

the Smart Zones provide an answer to this problem by providing a margin of error. If you aim for the deepest part of the zone then even if you miss it long by 3 feet, you're still one foot within the line!! (and Aim is improper when talking about tennis but no other word i can think of really captures the idea of trying to hit to a specific point...than aim?)

sureshs
02-13-2012, 05:47 AM
Looks like you missed the definitions in the OP!
That is incorrect for the purposes of this discussion.

I can add that no instructor would consider barely hitting past the svc line a deep shot,
but would instead be considered acceptable by some standards, but clearly not deep.
Often the balls we see attacked for winners are well beyond the svc line though,
so you give further evidence that deep alone (by your definition) is not protection from getting attacked.
Your comment is also a good example of the confusions about depth and it's significance.
Deep is even often considered the correct call for an "out" ball that is long, so yes, DJ does hit some deep as well by that standard. This is why I started with some definitions to start the discussion.

I don't know. Mary Jo Fernandez said once that her coach uses to do a 1000 ball drill when if you did not hit one deep, you would have to start all over again - and deep meant at least beyond the service line.

sureshs
02-13-2012, 05:50 AM
Too many triangles in too many colors.

Please give me the final answer in a fresh diagram.

sp1derman
02-13-2012, 06:01 AM
Varying your shots and keeping your opponent(s) off balance still trumps one or the other.

Power Player
02-13-2012, 06:19 AM
Too many triangles in too many colors.

Please give me the final answer in a fresh diagram.

Damn you never stop trolling do you?

Or are you that easily confused?

5263
02-13-2012, 06:49 AM
A minor request.

I admit that I am limited in my visualizing abilities.

These are wonderful illustrations, but they would be even better if they were filpped upside down, to see the other side of the net, where we see a view of where we are actually looking to hit.

:oops:

I love your suggestion here. It probably won't contain the shot spots that way, but we can still get a view from the other side. It might be best with cones that stick up though as the triangle might be hard to see. I guess it depends on the angle we see it at.
Maybe our talented friends can do something with your request?

We don't want to give up the current view though!

5263
02-13-2012, 06:50 AM
Damn you never stop trolling do you?

Or are you that easily confused?

Glad to see you made it over and very interested in how things go with
some practice using the Smart Targets. Let us know.

5263
02-13-2012, 07:01 AM
The zones you speak of are the traditional type of thought which 5263 says are outdated, and not supported by actual play results. However, this is not meant to be accusery, since I thought the same as you before this thread started lol!

The biggest thing to take away from this diagram is to see that the shared zone is a triagnle, very similar in shape to the Smarter Targets. However, the big problem is that the zone leaves no margin for error. We are assuming you aim for a specific point within that one, so if you pick the line you can't miss that spot long at all without losing the point.

the Smart Zones provide an answer to this problem by providing a margin of error. If you aim for the deepest part of the zone then even if you miss it long by 3 feet, you're still one foot within the line!! (and Aim is improper when talking about tennis but no other word i can think of really captures the idea of trying to hit to a specific point...than aim?)

BU, you really get it. Aim may not be the best word, and I try to remember to say target an area, but aim is fine I expect as well.

An important thing related to Aim or targeting. I've found for myself and working with many students that having a specific target is much more effective than going for a large area. An example with golf/putting. When I putt to make the hole, I make it or miss quite close, but when I just try to get close to lay up, I tend to miss by a far greater margin which makes the final putt tougher. I now putt to make the ball stop in the hole, but not past it. This gives a nice layup when I miss. Like you mention, those larger areas have no margin for area and also less specific target/aim points. The Smart Target Triangles give us more specific targets and have a nice margin for safety.

Power Player
02-13-2012, 07:02 AM
Glad to see you made it over and very interested in how things go with
some practice using the Smart Targets. Let us know.

I hit pretty deep with the Wilson 6.1., and that is with heavy top on the ball.

It's not easy to break that habit, but I also have a lighter Pro Open that should help a little with angles. Usually I can drop the ball in a little shorter and with more angle when I use a little bit of a lighter racquet.

5263
02-13-2012, 07:08 AM
^^^^Yeah the first picture I drew the triangles were a little larger which incorporated more shots. But the point isn't that shots necessarily land in the area, but that djokovic was probably aiming for a point within those triangles and missed by a few feet, which of course is usual when trying to hit with so much power.

I think people watch pros, see them hit a shot DTL which lands right on the line, and think they were aiming for that exact result, when in fact they were probably aiming a foot or so inside the line. If you watch pros at exhibition events and they try to hit targets you'll often see them missing by 2-4 feet on easily fed balls, so you can imagine the error margin when they're trying to run a tough shot down and then pass their opponent charging the net.

Again, Excellent points.
As you discuss, these targets are not about seeing how many hits from any one shot spot diagram that we can have in the target as much as being a smart reference. Also as you point out, many of the hits outside the targets could be seen as close misses. It is also important to note that the ones missing to the inside are not as well placed for the most part! Sure there are exceptions why they are not in the targets, but generally the central ones would be better if closer to the targets we have.

5263
02-13-2012, 07:12 AM
I hit pretty deep with the Wilson 6.1., and that is with heavy top on the ball.

It's not easy to break that habit, but I also have a lighter Pro Open that should help a little with angles. Usually I can drop the ball in a little shorter and with more angle when I use a little bit of a lighter racquet.

For a guy like you who hits well deep and pretty consistently already,
I would recommend more of a focus on the deeper cone, which is pretty
deep, but still provides some extra margin. When you catch one strong
and fly it, you will still have a great shot and some variety. Working the
shorter aspects of the target have more specific intents such as working
an angle off a nice short sitter from near the middle of the court (center T).

Power Player
02-13-2012, 07:14 AM
I definitely have been doing that. Especially pushed wide. I can get a lot of spin with the 6.1 to hit winners that bounce off the allay side near the T of the service line/alley.

I think the main thing is the ralley balls. Setting up those winners. That is what I have to work on a little. I will work on the deeper cone you are talking about.

5263
02-13-2012, 07:19 AM
Are you sure about that? I tried counting the shots, and it looks to me like a large majority of the shots were outside the two triangles.

Sure about what?

This diagram of hit placement shows that DJ does not hit as deep and close to lines as many would have you believe.
There is no intent to say he uses these targets or ends up in them the majority of the time. I think many will see a relevance between what his shots show and how these targets work.

It may be misleading to some for us to use this overlay, so I'm glad you asked this question. Thanks

5263
02-13-2012, 07:30 AM
i've always thought of targets during a rally as a form of attack and counter attack


http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/8927/shotplacementdjokovicco.jpg
attack

http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/8927/shotplacementdjokovicco.jpg
counter. a counter to counter scenario would follow the directionals. Hitting to either middle triangles would allow the op to take control of the centre and thus the rally.

It helps me to figure out where to hit during play. I also found this to be subconscious strategy amongst the pros in the matches i've watched.:)
Thanks for posting this and I'm familiar with this perspective, but see some flaws that need to be addressed. I think my Smart Targets address them.

1st is they are very broad and lack more specific guidance that helps shots to be more accurate.
2ond is the obvious lack of margin for error since the target is includes the lines and corners.
3rd is their use may be just backwards. Notice how the counter attack includes area near the center T. We have not posted it yet, but the next diagram I intend to get posted will show an "avoid zone" near the center T for singles play.
Also on the attack aspect it includes the middle area that is deep to BL. That would be better on the counter attack chart and why hit there when on the attack? (yes there are some reasons, but they would be exceptions to the rule, not in the rule)
Hitting a ball (even deep) gives the opponent a chance to reclaim center control and put you on the move to a weakness.
Make sense?

5263
02-13-2012, 07:41 AM
I don't know. Mary Jo Fernandez said once that her coach uses to do a 1000 ball drill when if you did not hit one deep, you would have to start all over again - and deep meant at least beyond the service line.

And you don't see how for that drill passing the svc line was just the min acceptable
in that drill? Not the ideal for her.
I expect if you were doing the drill with her on court it would be more clear for
you about that. Also that is just a drill. Sometimes they drill using only half the court including the doubles ally. That does not mean they want you to use the doubles all in singles play though.

BTW, the point of that drill is to have players learn to target within the boundaries consistently, NOT to hit at the boundaries -Svc line are. On court they make it very clear you are to greatly exceed that min acceptable svc line, often with comments like missing long is far more acceptable than being short of the svc line.

I ask you-In a match, had you rather hit a solid shot 1" into the svc box or monster shot 1" pasts the BL?

5263
02-13-2012, 07:51 AM
Too many triangles in too many colors.

Please give me the final answer in a fresh diagram.

Feel free to refer to post #24 for the final targets.

I hope that soon I can ask BU to add red box at the center T as an "Avoid Area" to the diagram shown in post #24. This square box should be about 7ft on the sides and centered on the center T (hint, hint BU)

beernutz
02-13-2012, 08:21 AM
Man, I need your skills. Not only does this make things clear that less than 10% are real deep, but you could move that line twice as far from the BL and still have a large majority of balls (80-85%) falling short of it.

But most will have you believe the pros hit so deep and you should too; and that
if you don't bang it deep the 4.0 and 4.5 will crush most of them for winners or the like.

Also realize this pic does not show the many misses long when they went for too much depth.
I think it is interesting how few of those balls actually hit a line.

5263
02-13-2012, 08:36 AM
I think it is interesting how few of those balls actually hit a line.

Exactly beer,
I wish it showed the misses as well.
Things like that are what jumped out at me in my study and charting.
Commentators and coaches often give such compliments for line shots and
those that catch both lines as the "Perfect Placement" and such.
Can really lead you to believe that they are good targets and pros hit there
often.

Tricky part here is that a lot of folks say a lot of things. It all goes into the
brain and leads to certain ideas about the game. No coach or commentator
has it all right or wrong, so we are being critical of certain ideas, not coaches.
Coaches do their best, and here we are looking at some tools that might help
us do better. My experience is broad having raised two D1 college players and coached about 20 yrs. We delt with the top Jr academies and several local ones. My kids were also picked for USTA high performance as top players, so we have seen a lot of what's out there. I just look to address some of these things that IMO could use improvement. Clearly the old stuff is not cutting it anymore for US players.

andry16
02-13-2012, 08:37 AM
pros of hitting your shots deep:

-gives less time for your opponent to react

-doesnt allow your opponent to step in to the court
-makes your opponent return short/without pace balls so you can easily step in and hit an approach

-as your opponent is far behind the court you can easily have the court open to hit an angle or a drop shot which will turn into a winner

-doesnt allow oponent to attack or dictate

-cons of hittinh your shots deep: NONE

seriously guys its better to hit soft but deep balls than hard but short balls thats the key to win, the deeper you hit the shorter your opponent will hit then you step inner to the court and do whatever you want

if you want an example watch federer play in those years where he played with absolute dominance, watch those guys running from side to side screaming those short return they hit while federer easily doesnt have to move to win the point

and if you dont want to spend hours looking for a federer video then just watch the 2011 us open semi against djokovic, i assure you the 90% of the time that any of them hit a short ball the other ended up winning the point with a winner

5263
02-13-2012, 09:08 AM
pros of hitting your shots deep:
-gives less time for your opponent to react
-doesnt allow your opponent to step in to the court
-makes your opponent return short/without pace balls so you can easily step in and hit an approach
-as your opponent is far behind the court you can easily have the court open to hit an angle or a drop shot which will turn into a winner
-if dropshot is so easy, why do we see so few and many missed?
-doesnt allow oponent to attack or dictate
-cons of hittinh your shots deep: NONE

if you want an example watch federer play in those years where he played with absolute dominance, watch those guys running from side to side screaming those short return they hit while federer easily doesnt have to move to win the point

and if you dont want to spend hours looking for a federer video then just watch the 2011 us open semi against djokovic, i assure you the 90% of the time that any of them hit a short ball the other ended up winning the point with a winner

-deep alone gives more reaction time, not less
-deep does not keep them from stepping into the court. they can step in and volley
-notice you had to add the "no pace" to try and make this true, not just depth and you forget the importance in shot line on this
-opponents can attack and dictate from deep balls
-cons of hitting very deep none?? guess you never missed long?
Con is lots of deep misses giving up free points

Fed didn't hit as deep back in the days of his best. He didn't hit as deep to beat Del Potro as he did in his AO loss. Joker didn't hit so deep to win the AO.
You can be assured they hit winners on far less than 20% of the shorter balls and probably less than 10%.
Sorry, but little of your comments holds water.

Playnice
02-13-2012, 09:13 AM
Interesting concept here.

I don't think the point is counting how many balls are in each given area - it is obvious from a cursory glance that balls are clustered in certain parts of the court - no need to count the balls in the triangles IMO...It would be interesting to compare diagrams of one player over several matches, and from one player to the next to see unique or mutual patterns of play.

I disagree that nobody can hit topspin like Nadal - not perhaps with his power and expertise, but even rec players can use heavy topspin to great advantage and that's being taught by some of us, with specific techniques and purpose.

I agree it is also interesting how few balls are right at or on the baseline. For those who believe that a high percentage of shots land deep when watching a match live or on TV they must be focusing more on where the player is standing and how far back from the bounce the contact point is, not where the ball actually touches the court (as this charting suggests), but the speed of the ball is so great that it's difficult to see that.

How would you suggest incorporating it into coaching at different levels? Tape, cones, line markers (as those used for quickstart?) Would you go for percentages (ie: practice 10 shots per area until you get a consistent percentage level)?

I would also like to see the opposite perspective - where the ball lands and what the targets look like from the hitter's POV.

My first reaction is to keep it simple, perhaps with larger triangles at first that could be reduced in size as the player reaches a certain percentage of consistency, on a gradient. I will try it out myself.

Good work, 5263.

Playnice
02-13-2012, 09:16 AM
Interesting how some posters just come on and start arguing rather than going out on the court and working with the concept, then coming back and discussing results and findings...Opinions hold less significance than results, IMHO (LOL)

5263
02-13-2012, 10:04 AM
Interesting concept here.

My first reaction is to keep it simple, perhaps with larger triangles at first that could be reduced in size as the player reaches a certain percentage of consistency, on a gradient. I will try it out myself.

Good work, 5263.

I get your point about bigger targets and that may be best for some ages and abilities.
On the other hand, the purpose of Smart Targets is to train to focus on a smaller area with your intent, but train our expectations to include a good result that is close enough to the target.
I think larger/expanded targets could be great for beginners and kids.

5263
02-13-2012, 11:30 AM
Interesting concept here.

How would you suggest incorporating it into coaching at different levels? Tape, cones, line markers (as those used for quickstart?) Would you go for percentages (ie: practice 10 shots per area until you get a consistent percentage level)?

Good work, 5263.

Thanks, I like using cones and some type of lines. I can use rope or tape for movable lines on the court. Cones stick up and can use color codes as well.

I like to feed to parts of the court and have them hit to the targets from the various areas using their TS, Slices, and volleys. I also have the set up the cones to make sure they a familiar with the areas.

bhupaes
02-13-2012, 12:55 PM
Great discussion, in this and other threads, which I have been silently following - thanks all.

I played a friendly set with a 4.5 USTA player and tried playing to smart targets. I lost 6-4. But this exposed some major weaknesses in my game that my opponent took advantage of, and pointed out areas where I need to do some work.

First of all, even though I landed my shots approximately right, I sent the balls straight into my opponent's power zone (he's 6'3"), and he was hitting them back DTL. The tactic was right, but I needed to hit with more zip, and I think that will come with practice - I was definitely being too mindful of the target and too cautious with my stroke as a result.

The second problem was my movement... I think I spent so much time looking at my handiwork that I didn't recover in time to respond to the DTL shots well, and couldn't take advantage of the open court. :( The lesson here for me is that good technique, including movement and recovery, is essential for implementing the smart targets tactic well. We take this for granted in pros, and almost never notice how quickly they recover to a good position - of course, it takes a lot of effort to do this like clockwork after every shot!

A third problem was that the court was very fast, and the ball kept lower than usual - I like higher bouncing courts where I can get more power and spin. This was taking some zip out of my shots, I am sure. And my opponent clearly realized this, and he was slicing many of his shots really low, making it hard for me to change direction even on inside balls. Perhaps I should have hit the difficult ones back to where they came from... oh well, live and learn, I suppose.

Anyway, I am quite excited since I have some new goals now... it's great to have something new to work on. :)

rosewall4ever
02-13-2012, 05:25 PM
http://i40.tinypic.com/14nlf7m.jpg

Rosewall I made a new image with your different target zones for attack and counter-attack. I also then highlighted the area in Green which is the zone which is shared by both attack and counter attack and highlighted the Smart Targets in Yellow.

The zones you speak of are the traditional type of thought which 5263 says are outdated, and not supported by actual play results. However, this is not meant to be accusery, since I thought the same as you before this thread started lol!

The biggest thing to take away from this diagram is to see that the shared zone is a triagnle, very similar in shape to the Smarter Targets. However, the big problem is that the zone leaves no margin for error. We are assuming you aim for a specific point within that one, so if you pick the line you can't miss that spot long at all without losing the point.

the Smart Zones provide an answer to this problem by providing a margin of error. If you aim for the deepest part of the zone then even if you miss it long by 3 feet, you're still one foot within the line!! (and Aim is improper when talking about tennis but no other word i can think of really captures the idea of trying to hit to a specific point...than aim?)

Sweet. You can see the similarities.Its horses for courses i guess. i also understand your main point for the margin for error, though i not sure whether its too rigid in a dynamic matchplay scenario. For myself the overlapping zones that you pointed depend on the court position of yourself relative to the incoming ball and position of the op.so if you have to move across then it would be incoming attacking ball.

i prob forgot to mention that the the two zones of attack and counter are reactionary to the incoming ball from the op. so the attack zone is an attacking ball coming to you and so a counter would be appropriate. Note they are only guidelines

it follows from the directionals but simply with zones so i know what to truly react at an instant. Given how the balls fly these days you don't have time to think whether a 'variable' depth is suitable for a certain type of play

i 'm in the belief in the axiom you can only deal with what you've been dealt with so what you do is always response to what the op has given you.

The dimension of space is accounted for in this thread but time isn't so much. A holistic scheme is the holy grail i guess, but that mystery is the reason for why the game is so fun :)

5263
02-13-2012, 07:04 PM
Sweet. You can see the similarities.Its horses for courses i guess. i also understand your main point for the margin for error, though i not sure whether its too rigid in a dynamic matchplay scenario.
This system is not rigid at all and has acknowledged early on that there are exceptions for any rules, including these. The targets are an there for a default on where to direct any ball where you don't have a better idea; like for example a drop shot or trying to jam a return right back at the server.

Maybe it would be more helpful for you to give a couple of examples of when hitting to one of your targets would be routinely better than to the smart targets and explain why?
I'd be interested in what you have, especially considering the triangles are within your targets, right?
thanks for your insights,

5263
02-13-2012, 07:09 PM
Great discussion, in this and other threads, which I have been silently following - thanks all.

I played a friendly set with a 4.5 USTA player and tried playing to smart targets. I lost 6-4. But this exposed some major weaknesses in my game that my opponent took advantage of, and pointed out areas where I need to do some work.

Anyway, I am quite excited since I have some new goals now... it's great to have something new to work on. :)

I know you are a pretty good player, but 6-4 to a solid 4.5 is not a bad score for you in that set is it?

Glad it exposed some areas for you to work on and that is definitely part of the plan here. Also remember that the margin of error on these targets is to help you to let loose the power and spin, so don't get carried away with hitting the targets. Tagging a ball well and flying the long cone target by inches is not a bad thing!

bhupaes
02-13-2012, 09:05 PM
I know you are a pretty good player, but 6-4 to a solid 4.5 is not a bad score for you in that set is it?

Definitely not bad at all, 5263! I can hit serves/ground strokes better than him, but his movement is superior, and he has excellent volleying abilities. We push each other quite a bit in our efforts to get better. :)

Glad it exposed some areas for you to work on and that is definitely part of the plan here. Also remember that the margin of error on these targets is to help you to let loose the power and spin, so don't get carried away with hitting the targets. Tagging a ball well and flying the long cone target by inches is not a bad thing!

Very good point. I will remember this next time, thanks.

5263
02-14-2012, 10:22 AM
one more, so it does not look like we are picking on Djokovic. here are Federer's shots.
http://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-iFA7Vs06U9k/TyyCtMStsDI/AAAAAAAAA_s/FmMJtY0Rg-8/s640/Federer-Nadal-AO2012%2520shot%2520placement%2520wMarkings2.PNG

Here is another diagram about shot placement that also includes the clean winners in red.
Notice how this also is evidence (not proof) against the assumption that a ball landing closer to the BL would be a better shot. Notice only 2 winners near the BL, but several much shorter. More evidence would be there if 3-4+ misses were shown going long that would off set the risk incurred to elicit those 2 winners, leaving us with a net winner for that error in the neg zone.

maybe BU or jmnk can draw in the smart target triangles on this one as well,
along with the 7ft square avoid zone centered on the center T?
I think we can see how most of the shots not landing in the targets, likely have
been hit on the shot lines created bythe triangles, some shots just longer and
some just short of the targets.
thanks

rosewall4ever
02-14-2012, 10:37 AM
This system is not rigid at all and has acknowledged early on that there are exceptions for any rules, including these. The targets are an there for a default on where to direct any ball where you don't have a better idea; like for example a drop shot or trying to jam a return right back at the server.

Maybe it would be more helpful for you to give a couple of examples of when hitting to one of your targets would be routinely better than to the smart targets and explain why?
I'd be interested in what you have, especially considering the triangles are within your targets, right?
thanks for your insights,

i never did say it was better. i' did say it's horses for courses. it all preference to achieve a desired affect, which in your case, i gather, stems from margins and the preference to hit angles than deep. No system is really better than another, all have pros and cons and mine certainly has them. forgive me if i lead you to think otherwise or misinterpreted your case, nor was i meant to discredit your system. having an alternative view is good no?

in my case my logic is from a reactionary standpoint. an incoming attacking ball is simply 'countered' with a shift in the zone/ ball placement (attack zone -> counter zone , simple as that) . Its purpose is to give the OP a different look at the ball than returning it to the same place. Based on the angle it neutralizes a chance for the OP to gain control. its the middle zone/ triangle or whatever does the OP have a better chance at gaining momentum in the rally--simple as that

i was concerned in your case and i think some others have pointed out is the zone sizes. i understand your idea to 'pull in' the sides from the boundary and max depth limits set by their lengths.I think you smart targets are extremely effective in practices but I hope you can give us insight of these zones in match pressure scenarios. Psychologically if it was me i would like to feel that i'm hitting into a zone rather than aiming for one but hitting it elsewhere.

I feel that these both of our methods are really similar and we are debating on trivial things. As i said its horses for courses and they are only guides any way. Everyone has slightly different perspectives.:)

5263
02-14-2012, 11:01 AM
Psychologically if it was me i would like to feel that i'm hitting into a zone rather than aiming for one but hitting it elsewhere.

I feel that these both of our methods are really similar and we are debating on trivial things. As i said its horses for courses and they are only guides any way. Everyone has slightly different perspectives.:)

I don't follow that first sentence above about what you would feel like hitting elsewhere.

Surely some systems are better than others though.
I agree that what we are discussing is quite similar, but different in the critical
things. I believe your targets include too much that is not valuable targeting
(close to lines and near center T),
and at the same time are too vague to give much meaningful direction for shot intentions.
Yes they give a broad general area, but in my experience the aim smaller, miss smaller mentality
comes into play here.

I greatly appreciate positive discussion/debate as you offer. I put this up
here to be tested and shared by any who have the interest.

It has also just come to my attention that this is very much like the strategy
employed by the Great Santana. It is not lost on me upon learning this that he possessed one of incredible Fhs used by Oscar when developing Modern Tennis Methods. This is good evidence that maybe this style is best for those who have the vision and strokes to use Modern Tennis strokes, and may be
quite tough to see and employ for those who prefer flatter, more classic strokes.

BU-Tennis
02-14-2012, 11:28 AM
^^^^I definitely agree with you about the style of stroke making a difference; more specfiically, the amount of topspin you place on the ball. A flat hitter will naturally hit deeper in the court because it takes longer for the ball to drop, while a topspin shot would cause the ball to drop must faster, but the resulting kick will still keep it out of the optimal strike zone (hopefully) of your opponent so they cannot step in and attack.

I myself haven't got to go on court to work with Smart Targets but will definitely update the thread when i have a chance.

5263
02-14-2012, 01:36 PM
^^^^I definitely agree with you about the style of stroke making a difference; more specfiically, the amount of topspin you place on the ball. A flat hitter will naturally hit deeper in the court because it takes longer for the ball to drop, while a topspin shot would cause the ball to drop must faster, but the resulting kick will still keep it out of the optimal strike zone (hopefully) of your opponent so they cannot step in and attack.

I myself haven't got to go on court to work with Smart Targets but will definitely update the thread when i have a chance.

here are Federer's shots.
http://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-iFA7Vs06U9k/TyyCtMStsDI/AAAAAAAAA_s/FmMJtY0Rg-8/s640/Federer-Nadal-AO2012%2520shot%2520placement%2520wMarkings2.PNG
Yes, modern strokes allow you to clear the net easily, then load up on power and spin without too much concern about the ball coming down too soon. Not only the kick, but using a shot line that makes them run will also protect against getting attacked since they cannot get there in time due your pace and direction.
Thanks for you diagram updates!

5263
02-16-2012, 08:55 AM
I was motivated to go back thru some of my tennis books and review some of my sources related to this issue of depth;
Total Tennis, Think to Win, Maximum Tennis, Pressure Tennis, Tennis Handbook, and several others. I have to give these guys a little credit here, as during this research over the things related to the topic, I did find where Dr Fox and Burwash each make some vague references to other factors as they relate to attacking short balls. There is mention of ball height and pace I believe. While I give credit here, and it also supports the idea I'm focused on; that a ball is not attackable just cause it's a little short. It takes short and other factors as well, and/or short may not always be one of the factors when a ball is attacked. A weak shot that sits up may get crushed, even if the depth is better than avg.

On the downside, I didn't find anywhere that they developed this idea much and it was mentioned in a way that would be easily missed. While some may not feel this target depth needs more discussion, imo it is part of why we see so few who attack mid court balls well at all levels and also leads to more balls missed long than is necessary. It goes with another idea that I focus on, which is efficiently attacking the mid ct ball is the key to taking your game to the next level.

5263
02-16-2012, 08:44 PM
Nice view of a drop point played out using these targets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkNJ110wbiI

5263
02-17-2012, 04:17 PM
Most of us have heard about the fantastic shots DJ made to save 2 break pts against Fed in the semis at the Us Open 2010. I believe this is the vid below and shows the placement of the shots that received so much praise. Notice on the first saved point, there is a good chance that each shot would have been in the targets depicted in this thread. Same story for the second point, while the winner was slightly deeper, it would be an example of a well hit shot that just barely flew the deeper corner of the target (maybe even hitting the cone if one was there to mark that corner). Clearly none of the shot really even flirted with the lines.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mLlIwmukh4&feature=related

Same shot lines for saves in 2011 as well.

5263
02-19-2012, 07:43 PM
Here are 5 points someone picked as the greatest they had seen.
If you care, you can notice what a large number of the rally and
attack shots are hit to the targets in this thread. Even the tweeners
are on the shot line for these targets. The one very deep shot near
a line is returned by Nadal, such that Nadal gets to hit one of the
Smart Targets for a clean winner on the very next shot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0_hzRy9mTA

BU-Tennis
02-19-2012, 10:01 PM
Something I saw of interest in the last video was the fact when a player had to hit a more defensive shot, they almost always played it right into the middle of the court and their opponent was unable to get a good attacking shot off of it because they were forced to generate their own power and the sharp angles were not available.

5263
02-20-2012, 06:36 PM
Something I saw of interest in the last video was the fact when a player had to hit a more defensive shot, they almost always played it right into the middle of the court and their opponent was unable to get a good attacking shot off of it because they were forced to generate their own power and the sharp angles were not available.

What do you mean by middle? Do you mean middle deep, because I can agree that is one of the best times to go different than the Smart Targets. When on defense, floating one back deep near center can buy you a chance to get back in the point.
If by middle you mean near the center T, I would be inclined to disagree.
The center T gives them a choice of hitting with their best side to their
favorite target, so I think leaving weak balls near the center T is bad.
That's the area I'm wanting you to add a box around as an avoid area for
singles play. I'm hoping you will be able to add that box to the diagram above
from Fed, along with adding the smart targets to that one too.
Think you will get a chance?

5263
02-24-2012, 07:31 AM
What do you mean by middle? Do you mean middle deep, because I can agree that is one of the best times to go different than the Smart Targets. When on defense, floating one back deep near center can buy you a chance to get back in the point.
If by middle you mean near the center T, I would be inclined to disagree.
The center T gives them a choice of hitting with their best side to their
favorite target, so I think leaving weak balls near the center T is bad.
That's the area I'm wanting you to add a box around as an avoid area for
singles play. I'm hoping you will be able to add that box to the diagram above
from Fed, along with adding the smart targets to that one too.
Think you will get a chance?

BU, I was hoping to get your explanation on part about middle along with a chance to add the boxes on the Fed diagram...

gindyo
02-24-2012, 07:36 AM
This is a great discussion, but I think we should not make conclusions from these one or two diagrams we have from a couple of matches. To make any definitive conclusions different thinks must be considered:
1. Different players like to hit different type of balls. For example players who like to use the pace of the opponent don't mind deep ball and they will struggle with balls where they have to create their own pace.
2. What kind of CONSISTENT results a certain pattern produces (yes djocovic won that particular match using that pattern, but does he CONSISTENTLY use it against DIFFERENT players)

All I am saying is we need a larger sample space to make a conclusion on this one.
And here comes the beauty of this forum - every one of us could try and find diagrams like this, post them here and discuss.

5263
02-24-2012, 07:51 AM
This is a great discussion, but I think we should not make conclusions from these one or two diagrams

All I am saying is we need a larger sample space to make a conclusion on this one.
And here comes the beauty of this forum - every one of us could try and find diagrams like this, post them here and discuss.

You will be glad to know I didn't. I've been developing the Smart Targets over the last several years using a customized charting I developed along with work with them for several Jr and college players.
These targets were already developed and in use well before these diagrams.

In fact, these diagrams were mainly just used as a random background (provided by some talented posters) on which to place the targets. It just worked out nicely that they are evidence (not proof) in favor of how the targets can be effective at even the highest levels of the game where folks seem to think all players can and do routinely hit within inches of the lines/corners.
These diagrams ALSO show how many more balls do not land quite so near the BL and even often off the line a bit for the dtl.

gindyo
02-24-2012, 08:09 AM
You will be glad to know I didn't. I've been developing the Smart Targets over the last several years using a customized charting I developed along with work with them for several Jr and college players.
In fact, these diagrams were mainly just used as a random background (provided by some talented posters) on which to place the targets. It just worked out nicely that they are evidence (not proof) in favor of how the targets can be effective at even the highest levels of the game where folks seem to think all players can and do routinely hit within inches of the lines/corners.
These diagrams show how many more balls do not land quite so near the BL and even often off the line a bit for the dtl.

If you have been using this to coach your players, I am interested to know what are the before and after results. Do they use these patterns all the time or they pick and choose which opponents to use them against? And do you discourage hitting deep (as in 1-2 feet from BL)?

5263
02-24-2012, 08:16 AM
If you have been using this to coach your players, I am interested to know what are the before and after results. Do they use these patterns all the time or they pick and choose which opponents to use them against?

One quick and good example was a skeptical gal who plays D1 tennis, but in one of the smaller conferences. She finally bought into the idea of how it works and started this year 7-1 so far and called after a couple of matches saying they were the key to the 2 tough wins she had to dig deep for. She said it also worked well in the one loss too, but the girl was too strong, so she could not get to the smart targets consistently enough and left too many in the "avoid zone" as well.
more later..

gindyo
02-24-2012, 08:36 AM
BU, I was hoping to get your explanation on part about middle along with a chance to add the boxes on the Fed diagram...

Here is a great free software you could use to do it yourself http://inkscape.org/download/?lang=en :wink:
let me know if you need help with it

Edit: I just realised that if you are on Windows you dont even need this, you could use "Paint" it comes with windows. just drag and drop the image into Paint and draw on it.

BU-Tennis
02-24-2012, 08:57 AM
BU, I was hoping to get your explanation on part about middle along with a chance to add the boxes on the Fed diagram...

By middle, I do mean of course a ball hit with a certain amount of depth, although many of them were bouncing just past the service line, and even a few a foot or so before the service line. The ones which were shorter and not deep, the opponent was recovering so they weren't able to step in and around to hit with their best side (forehand).

DavaiMarat
02-24-2012, 09:02 AM
whoops posted in the wrong place sorry.

5263
02-24-2012, 09:46 AM
By middle, I do mean of course a ball hit with a certain amount of depth, although many of them were bouncing just past the service line, and even a few a foot or so before the service line. The ones which were shorter and not deep, the opponent was recovering so they weren't able to step in and around to hit with their best side (forehand).

I went back and watched them before with your comments in mind and just didn't really see it. From my point of view, the soft ones that landed near the center T were the ones that gave the best opportunity to take control of the point if not the chance to just stroke a winner. I will look again, as maybe I had discounted situations where they were not able to recover fast enough to take advantage of the weak shots to the Avoid Area. My guess is that you are thinking of shots there which have been struck reasonably well, which goes to show that even to the Avoid Area, it is tough to attack a well hit ball.

The center T Avoid Area allows the attacker to get there from all but the worst positions and usually lets them use their stronger wing to attack. It also lets them choose which corner to assault. This huge advantage is often too much for the defender to overcome imo.

I will look again as I said though, thanks.

5263
02-24-2012, 10:10 AM
Here is a great free software you could use to do it yourself http://inkscape.org/download/?lang=en :wink:
let me know if you need help with it

Edit: I just realised that if you are on Windows you dont even need this, you could use "Paint" it comes with windows. just drag and drop the image into Paint and draw on it.

so once I get the pic set up, how do I import to here.
It won't cut and paste but
instead appears to need an internet site link??
thanks

5263
02-24-2012, 10:32 AM
By middle, I do mean of course a ball hit with a certain amount of depth, although many of them were bouncing just past the service line, and even a few a foot or so before the service line. The ones which were shorter and not deep, the opponent was recovering so they weren't able to step in and around to hit with their best side (forehand).

I looked at these again
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0_hzRy9mTA
and it seems to me anything weak near the center T gets
hammered pretty well and control of the points is taken.
There are quite a few well struck balls near the center T
that remain more neutral imo.

gindyo
02-24-2012, 10:48 AM
so once I get the pic set up, how do I import to here.
It won't cut and paste but
instead appears to need an internet site link??
thanks

Create an account on a site like http://photobucket.com/ upload the pic there and then just copy and paste the link in the popup that "Insert Image" icon opens.

You could actually use any account that you already have (Facebook, Google, etc.) where you can upload images. Upload the image and grab the url from your browser address bar.

Hope this helps


Edit: Or you could use BU-tennis's secret http://tinypic.com ;) you dont even need an account there

5263
02-27-2012, 05:27 PM
Create an account on a site like http://photobucket.com/ upload the pic there and then just copy and paste the link in the popup that "Insert Image" icon opens.

You could actually use any account that you already have (Facebook, Google, etc.) where you can upload images. Upload the image and grab the url from your browser address bar.

Hope this helps


Edit: Or you could use BU-tennis's secret http://tinypic.com ;) you dont even need an account there

No account even required there, eh?
Thanks for the tips!

spreed
02-29-2012, 11:50 AM
@ 5263

Here is my thoughts and experiences:

I worked with all of the three cones at a time at one court and made every student hit like 20 balls towards each cone. They adjusted smoothly and made only few mistakes and placed the ball better than normal.

On the other court were the players played alone I made the court about 3 feet shorter from baseline and sidelines towards the middle. Then they just played normal points and I asked them afterwards if they felt limited by the smaller court.

They all felt limited, but when I asked them on how the mistakes was made it became clear to me and them that it was almost only forced errors or balls inside of the normal court but outside of the "smaller" court. - So the "misses" was actually inside the normal court.

Then I made the adjustment that all court was playable like normal, but the lines was still there and in the normal point play they now got 3 points for a winner inside of the 3 feet line. It made it clear to them and to me, that almost all of the winners was inside of the "smaller" court. But maybe the most important thing was that they hit with higher pace and the players was making fewer mistakes.

To summarize I think you are leading us in the right direction 5263 and I would really like to know how you work with the smart targets in practice with talented juniors?

It's an awesome thread you have started and I will for sure follow it and write if I get any new experiences on using it in practice.

The best
Adam

5263
02-29-2012, 07:31 PM
@ 5263
But maybe the most important thing was that they hit with higher pace and the players was making fewer mistakes.

To summarize I think you are leading us in the right direction 5263 and I would really like to know how you work with the smart targets in practice with talented juniors?

It's an awesome thread you have started and I will for sure follow it and write if I get any new experiences on using it in practice.
Adam

Thanks Adam for your excellent post and the trials you ran relating to the Smart Targets. It seems your findings are very much in line with my experience and expectations with them.
Very good ideas in those drills and trials you are running.
Maybe you can try asking one player to focus on getting excellent depth and have his opponent focus on the Smart Targets and check those results without letting each know what the other is doing?

As for my findings-
I find my students also miss far less often; they especially miss fewer long and in the net, since the idea is to clear the net with very solid margin and employ biting spin to get the ball down as quick as possible. If you hit the shot strongly and well over the net, there will be very little chance of the ball coming down too soon. Your only concern in this case will be length, so having the intent to bring it down fast via TS should work well.
I find that they have much greater shot tolerance since they stay in points longer. This leads to them earning lots of free points due to this.
I also see them doing much better at being aggressive with shorter attackable balls, by using these targets, when the points go that long. Seems that often the opponents give up a UE before my players have to do much attacking though.

gindyo
03-01-2012, 05:50 AM
5263, a question just popped out for you. Where does a flatter ball comes in in your teaching. I believe in being able to vary one's shots and one should not be limited to only heavy TS. We have all heard how Nadal is trying to incorporate flatter shots in his game. What are the situations where you would advice a flat shot?

5263
03-02-2012, 06:19 AM
5263, a question just popped out for you. Where does a flatter ball comes in in your teaching. I believe in being able to vary one's shots and one should not be limited to only heavy TS. We have all heard how Nadal is trying to incorporate flatter shots in his game. What are the situations where you would advice a flat shot?

It's a good question, as you are correct in that there are times to hit:
1. Flat trajectory with spin
2. Flat shot- not seeking a particular spin (will still get some)

For Flat Trajectory, -that would mostly be for aggressive shots when you get a high bouncing, short ball that is in your skill zone to attack.
For attackable return of serves.
For these you still hit up and across the contact, but way more across for these.

For Flat shot not seeking spin- half volleys, return of 1st serves, and return of strong overhead smash. Just find the ball smoothly with more of a push out and slight pull across.
That what you are asking about?

5263
03-12-2012, 04:12 PM
http://www.sumopaint.com/files/images800/ahecbiczgjxemtea.jpgTM

Here is the diagram of the Smart Targets along with the square Avoid Area at the center T.

Important things about the Avoid Area that make it dangerous to hit into:
1. centrally located, which means that if it can be jumped for any weakness, it likely will be since it is so easy to get to from either corner or middle positions.
2. Returner can pick their best wing to attack it with
3. On a shot from this area, you can go anywhere you want and not have opened your court. No concerns about attacking and keeping the ball in front of you.
4. The returner of a ball from here can attack any weakness he perceives, such as limited coverage on a 2 hander.
5. And he can go with his favorite shot, like how Fed loves the IO attack.
* Don't forget the confidence he builds getting to work his attacks from here and the confidence you will lose.

Any one of the above is tough to defend, but in this case they can be stacked against you!
Ex..Returner caught in one of his corners, can get there to use his strong Fh, to go to your weak Bh and use his fav inside/out stroke, all the while not opening up his court for a counter attack.
Pretty hard to defend when it gets stacked against you like this.
On the other hand, if you can get it over to the better Smart Target, you have blocked him from stacking to near this extent, even with the same quality of shot.

gindyo
03-12-2012, 08:26 PM
This makes so much sense.

gindyo
03-12-2012, 08:37 PM
I had nothing better to do the other day so I decided to study the return patterns of both federer and murray during their final in dubai, dont know what value this could have accept to find out the the most used return is deep in the middle. I split the court in three areas deep middle ( anything that is past 4-5 feet from the service line), smart targets, and short middle, and then noted weather the returner won or lost the point. naturally when returning more points will be lost then won.
so here are the results
http://i44.tinypic.com/160vr7t.png

edit: the red sticks mean that the point really should have had the opposite outcome if it wasn't for a silly UE

5263
03-12-2012, 09:03 PM
edit: the red sticks mean that the point really should have had the opposite outcome if it wasn't for a silly UE

Those red ones really tend to clear up the story. Glad you thought to include
that aspect.

5263
03-14-2012, 07:12 PM
I had nothing better to do the other day so I decided to study the return patterns of both federer and murray during their final in dubai, dont know what value this could have accept to find out the the most used return is deep in the middle. I split the court in three areas deep middle ( anything that is past 4-5 feet from the service line), smart targets, and short middle, and then noted weather the returner won or lost the point. naturally when returning more points will be lost then won.
so here are the results
http://i44.tinypic.com/160vr7t.png

edit: the red sticks mean that the point really should have had the opposite outcome if it wasn't for a silly UE

I was looking at your work here a little more and found it very interesting and useful.

For all categories I counted the red marks for the opposing section
to account for how you said the outcome should have been according to your observations. Also we must remember that when returning in the pros, more points will be lost than won almost all the time.

Notice first- that returns to the Avoid Area in the Middle leads to where the player should be losing all but one point out of 19, confirming how much this area should be avoided. I don't think this is any big surprise and am pretty sure they don't want to hit there anyway, but it does show how poor that area can be.

Second and more surprising- notice how even though returning deep middle, back at the server is a pretty
good place to go, it only led to winning about 1/3 of those points.
Pros do hit here purposefully.

Thirdly- The big thing to notice is that with the returns to the Smart Target area,
the returner was in a position to win 11 of 19; over half the points and even about half the points if you took the actual results, not corrected for red marks! This is good evidence how much better this area is for a target, given that you would expect all targets to garner losing marks. Hitting to the target area probably didn't win too many outright, but at least put the returner in a position to fight for the point.

Nice info, thanks

gindyo
03-16-2012, 12:17 PM
a snapshot form Istomin-Del Potro match at indian-wells

http://i39.tinypic.com/2nl92xc.png

at this point of the match the score was 4-3 for Del Potro in he first set.

whenever I see one of these I will try to take a snapshot and post it here so we can collect a larger pool of data.

You can clearly see how Delpo was hitting his targets ( his balls are more concentrated in certain areas) and Istomin's shots are spread all over the place

5263
03-18-2012, 08:45 AM
Yes, these are excellent to see and how they look for different players.
I think there are certain predictions that could be made from looking at these.
Pretty clear Potro is not hitting for the back 3-4 feet.
I bet many are surprised how close the avg shot speed it between the two.

Power Player
03-18-2012, 09:04 AM
Florian meyer has a new site and one video on consistency shows a similar target area. 3-4 feet inside the baseline and 2-3 feet inside the alleys. He says if you aim to these spots every time, you will win more matches.

5263
03-18-2012, 09:25 AM
Florian meyer has a new site and one video on consistency shows a similar target area. 3-4 feet inside the baseline and 2-3 feet inside the alleys. He says if you aim to these spots every time, you will win more matches.

Thanks for the reference. Sounds alot like we are talking about here and
I'll ck it out.
Do you have the link?

Power Player
03-18-2012, 09:30 AM
Thanks for the reference. Sounds alot like we are talking about here and
I'll ck it out.
Do you have the link?

It's a hidden video..u have to register to see it, but the videos are great..I need to find the link but maybe someone reading knows the site name.

5263
03-18-2012, 09:35 AM
It's a hidden video..u have to register to see it, but the videos are great..I need to find the link but maybe someone reading knows the site name.


Pretty evident in his play below-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eZx-r7xXKc

odessa
03-19-2012, 12:56 AM
Pretty evident in his play below-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eZx-r7xXKc

That is Florian Meyer. A fun player to watch. A lot of variations and check out how close he gets to the net when he comes to the net. Great play against Nadal in Shanghai :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0Y0W5JA9MY"
The other Florian Meier is also german but he is an tennis teacher with an instructional website : http://www.onlinetennisinstruction.com/

5263
03-19-2012, 02:33 AM
That is Florian Meyer. A fun player to watch. A lot of variations and check out how close he gets to the net when he comes to the net. Great play against Nadal in Shanghai :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0Y0W5JA9MY"
The other Florian Meier is also german but he is an tennis teacher with an instructional website : http://www.onlinetennisinstruction.com/

thank you for the correction on the names here and the link as well.
Interesting that Meyer was such a fantastic example for this thread!
What are the odds?

This Meier has some good stuff on his site. Seems very organized and
thought out overall. I couldn't find anything too close to what we are
saying here, but did find where talked of not hitting so close to any line,
which is clearly in the same vein. Maybe his targets in drills are similar.

OnlineTennisInstruction
03-19-2012, 11:29 AM
Hey guys,

It's Florian from OnlineTennisInstruction.com

I came across this thread cause I saw that it linked to my website. Definitely an interesting discussion you have going here and I am glad to hear that some of you enjoy my website.

In regards to the video tip here is the direct link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJlzcrZZxKA

It is part of my Top5 video series and usually you have to sign up to receive the link.

I've talked to quite a few experts about this subject of not hitting to the lines and no one really knows of any significant study done on the subject. There have been studies done on the square avoid area around the center T and those showed that the pros rarely hit into that area, which is not surprising. Just cause they don't hit in there doesn't mean that they hit very close to the lines though as is obvious from the shot placement screenshots.

I would like to do a study myself sometime but I just don't have the time at the moment. Looking at the images of shot placement in this thread I guess it would be possible to take a bunch of those if they are available for entire matches and make a rough analysis from that. Maybe I'll get around to doing that sometime. Anybody know if those are available for entire matches ?

My guess is that the percentage of shots hit that are not within 3 feet of the singles sideline in pro tennis is extremely high!

What do you guys think ?

Regards

Florian

5263
03-19-2012, 03:11 PM
Hey guys,
It's Florian from OnlineTennisInstruction.com
I came across this thread cause I saw that it linked to my website. Definitely an interesting discussion you have going here and I am glad to hear that some of you enjoy my website.

In regards to the video tip here is the direct link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJlzcrZZxKA

I've talked to quite a few experts about this subject of not hitting to the lines and no one really knows of any significant study done on the subject. There have been studies done on the square avoid area around the center T and those showed that the pros rarely hit into that area, which is not surprising. Just cause they don't hit in there doesn't mean that they hit very close to the lines though as is obvious from the shot placement screenshots.

I would like to do a study myself sometime but I just don't have the time at the moment. Looking at the images of shot placement in this thread I guess it would be possible to take a bunch of those if they are available for entire matches and make a rough analysis from that. Maybe I'll get around to doing that sometime. Anybody know if those are available for entire matches ?

My guess is that the percentage of shots hit that are not within 3 feet of the singles sideline in pro tennis is extremely high!
What do you guys think ?

Regards
Florian
Glad you found our thread and shared your thoughts on this.
Very nice presentation!
I think we agree in general and on the overall, big picture approach of reducing
UEs, but...

we do have our divergence it seems.
While I agree that a low % of shots are within 3ft of the sideline, I also find
a corresponding low % within 3ft of the baseline in my charting and study;
especially if you subtract the misses that more than nullify the number that
are made there.
The idea in this post is to stay nearer to the sidelines while still giving yourself enough margin there to be highly consistent and avoid the
back 3-5ft at the baseline as targets as well.

Where we differ is that IMO the net and long misses are the worst and are closely related in many ways. Many errors in too much depth, with the ball
flying long, are the precursor to misses in the net. Hard hitters looking for extreme depth often find themselves hitting closer to the net to avoid hitting long,
which often leads to missing into net. Your target area includes the last few feet and the baseline, which make little sense to target IMO.

I guess you saw the triangle targets on each side, but well off the sideline as well. I feel that by hitting solid TS and power, you can hit to the opportunistic side and avoid most attacks by the opponent; while
at the same time, you can hit near these same targets with good power for your winners.

gindyo
03-19-2012, 07:46 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJlzcrZZxKA


While I agree that the errors in the net are the worst of them all, IMO missing it deep is just as bad as missing it wide and even worse. I think that a successful extremely wide shot will be less likely to come back then a successful extremely deep shot, some opponents who are used to taking the ball on the rise don't actually mind deep shot's, they even feed off of them. I don't know anybody who likes to be pulled way out of the court and out of position.

here is something to support my theory:

http://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-iFA7Vs06U9k/TyyCtMStsDI/AAAAAAAAA_s/FmMJtY0Rg-8/s640/Federer-Nadal-AO2012%2520shot%2520placement%2520wMarkings2.PNG

you can clearly see that the only winners from Federer are shots hit in the 3 feet range from the side line, only two of them are actually deep (just as many as the ones inside the service box).
But to get the full picture here we will need to also see where did the out-balls land

LeeD
03-19-2012, 07:52 PM
Actually, lots of tourney players at your level love to create extreme angles from well out of court. I found this to be the case as soon as I went the next step after C or 3.5 levels. Nobody I faced minded hitting passing shots from 7' outside the sidelines, and most create some pretty cool angles from there.

gindyo
03-19-2012, 07:57 PM
Actually, lots of tourney players at your level love to create extreme angles from well out of court. I found this to be the case as soon as I went the next step after C or 3.5 levels. Nobody I faced minded hitting passing shots from 7' outside the sidelines, and most create some pretty cool angles from there.
That is if they can get to it. Remember we are talking about extreme angles here.

gindyo
03-19-2012, 08:14 PM
And also, while hitting it deep in the middle as coach Meier suggests might take some time from your opponent to prepare, it also works the other way around, it shortens your time to recover from your own shot, and if your opponent doesn't mind the deep balls, you are in trouble. And the screen shots of the pro's shot placement really supports 5263's argument. the only time when the pros would consistently try to go deep in the middle is when they return serve which can be explained with the fact that the safest shot is to return the ball to where it came from and when they are returning they are really trying to simply get the rally going (most of the time).

OnlineTennisInstruction
03-20-2012, 02:08 AM
Glad you found our thread and shared your thoughts on this.
Very nice presentation!
I think we agree in general and on the overall, big picture approach of reducing
UEs, but...

we do have our divergence it seems.
While I agree that a low % of shots are within 3ft of the sideline, I also find
a corresponding low % within 3ft of the baseline in my charting and study;
especially if you subtract the misses that more than nullify the number that
are made there.
The idea in this post is to stay nearer to the sidelines while still giving yourself enough margin there to be highly consistent and avoid the
back 3-5ft at the baseline as targets as well.

Where we differ is that IMO the net and long misses are the worst and are closely related in many ways. Many errors in too much depth, with the ball
flying long, are the precursor to misses in the net. Hard hitters looking for extreme depth often find themselves hitting closer to the net to avoid hitting long,
which often leads to missing into net. Your target area includes the last few feet and the baseline, which make little sense to target IMO.

I guess you saw the triangle targets on each side, but well off the sideline as well. I feel that by hitting solid TS and power, you can hit to the opportunistic side and avoid most attacks by the opponent; while
at the same time, you can hit near these same targets with good power for your winners.

I believe we do disagree here to a certain extent.

In my opinion we need to differentiatione two things here:

#1: Pro Tennis vs. Rec Tennis
#2: Where The Balls Are Landing And Where Players Would Prefer To Hit

#1:

In pro tennis it appears that power or the combination of speed and spin have become the most important aspect. Whoever can hit the ball really hard and heavy without missing much is usually in good shape. Because of the high amount of spin that especially the men use, it is not so much of a problem anymore if you hit balls relatively short. Just think of Nadal with his forehand

The same holds true to a certain extent for sheer power. Think about the women's game: if they nail the ball and it lands maybe 1-2 feet behind the service line usually they will not get punished. Nevertheless, I believe in the women's game depth still plays a bigger role than in the men's game because they hit with less spin on average. So I would expect the shot placement images to reflect a little more depth on average as well

When you go to the recreational game though, where there is much less speed and spin involved depth is still a lot more important. Think of the days of Chris Evert for example...that was obviously Tennis at a much lower speed and depth was crucial.

#2

The fact that most balls do not land deep or near the sidelines in pro tennis does not mean that guys would not prefer to hit the ball deeper or closer to the sidelines. It just reflects the fact that at the given speed of the game they are not able to go closer more often without risking too many errors.

My advise for rec players is based on the fact that rec players on average hit way too many balls wide and short. It takes a lot to hit a ball long and most players don't hit long very often at all from my experience

5263
03-20-2012, 07:32 AM
It just reflects the fact that at the given speed of the game they are not able to go closer more often without risking too many errors.

This makes my point exactly.

Most of the negative comments about not going for extreme depth are centered around how at higher levels,
"any shorter balls get punished".
We have your comments and the diagrams to give strong evidence how this is not true.
Well struck balls with good spin and direction rarely get attacked and make solid rally balls.
This is my point.
I don't develop strategy for the lower pusher levels where you see few balls hit long.
We all know that at the lower levels, few balls get punished efficiently anyway.

Power Player
03-20-2012, 07:47 AM
My advise for rec players is based on the fact that rec players on average hit way too many balls wide and short. It takes a lot to hit a ball long and most players don't hit long very often at all from my experience

You haven't seen me play.

It's a freaking nightmare of long UEs..lol. And I hit with heavy spin..working on fixing it.

maggmaster
03-20-2012, 08:21 AM
I love this concept, these targets are way better than just deep in teh corners. However, last night I played a flat hitter and hit a nightmarish number of balls into the net. I may have just been off but it felt like I did not have enough margin to aim for more angles.

5263
03-20-2012, 08:33 AM
I love this concept, these targets are way better than just deep in teh corners. However, last night I played a flat hitter and hit a nightmarish number of balls into the net. I may have just been off but it felt like I did not have enough margin to aim for more angles.

Glad you appreciate the ideas here, but need a little more info on your situation.

Really there is nothing in this about hitting big angles. It does allow for big angles by using the shorter section of the target on crosscourt shots, but
when using the deeper areas of the target, the angles would be quite reasonable and should not encourage
any more balls in the net. Also remember that the
#1 objective in this approach is to clear the net. That is job one in this tactic, followed closely by using
good to great topspin to bring the ball down quik!
This alloy of ideas, (clear the net with good TS)
a "Dual Objective" if you will, is the basic Idea here with the assumption that one
will be hitting the ball hard relative to their skill level.
Then the "Smart Targets" provide the direction aspect to round out this approach.

For this method, we are not so much hitting shorter, but not looking to hit for extreme Depth.
By using good pace, spin and direction, we can control the rallys while not exposing our game
to heavy risks of depth and with the net, while also minimizing the wide mistakes with margin
and TS there as well. This concept should allow players to cut loose with all the power of their current
skills and not have to hold back trying to be so exact with their placements. Good topspin will
bring the ball down quicker, which is not a concern, but actually a benefit with good pace and
direction!

maggmaster
03-20-2012, 09:17 AM
I think I understand, so on a defensive shot against a flat hitter the concept would be to hit deeper into the target with more topspin?

5263
03-20-2012, 10:00 AM
I think I understand, so on a defensive shot against a flat hitter the concept would be to hit deeper into the target with more topspin?

That should work well and would be one of the top options.
This approach provides lots of options though.

5263
03-20-2012, 04:17 PM
That is if they can get to it. Remember we are talking about extreme angles here.

While extreme angles are covered with this, when in a BL Rally, it would mostly be moderate normal crosscourt shots that I wouldn't even refer to as angles.
It is mostly just hitting crosscourt away from your opponent mostly, with enough
pace to keep them on the move.
The more severe angles would come in for attackable ball and angles slices.
When you are attacking, the assumption is your attack is good enough that
you don't get attacked in return. If you do, then you miscalculated your ability
to hurt your opponent with that attack, right?

tlm
03-20-2012, 06:31 PM
You haven't seen me play.

It's a freaking nightmare of long UEs..lol. And I hit with heavy spin..working on fixing it.

I hear you PP, i use a 90 sq. inch racket with poly strung tight and a lot of spin but still hit a bunch of shots long at times.

5263
03-21-2012, 01:43 PM
I believe we do disagree here to a certain extent.

When you go to the recreational game though, where there is much less speed and spin involved depth is still a lot more important. Think of the days of Chris Evert for example...that was obviously Tennis at a much lower speed and depth was crucial.


While there may be less spin and pace on avg, many rec players hit very hard and
often hit harder than they should given their control. This thread is for the harder hitters, especially if they can produce good spin too.

The other thing to remember is that if 2 rec players of very equal level are playing, depth will work well, but produce many errors as well, so it is probably
not going to work any better to hit deep if you hit soft. If there is anywhere that a player can hit short and get away with it, beginner tennis is that place. It's why pushers tend to rule this level of tennis. Beginners can't effectively attack short balls and if they could, they would not be beginners.
Most of this confusion comes from developing ideas from matches where the players are not very equal in ability.

5263
03-23-2012, 07:10 AM
You haven't seen me play.

It's a freaking nightmare of long UEs..lol. And I hit with heavy spin..working on fixing it.

Just curious,
what kind of depth do you normally target?
How close to the BL would you ideally like to hit?
thanks,

gindyo
03-23-2012, 07:43 AM
hey guys,
this is great :http://dynamic.pulselive.com/dynamic/client/tennistv/tennis/index.html
check it out exactly the thing we need for this discussion!

5263
03-23-2012, 07:57 AM
hey guys,
this is great :http://dynamic.pulselive.com/dynamic/client/tennistv/tennis/index.html
check it out exactly the thing we need for this discussion!

Great find! Excellent tool.
I'm hooked already!
Did you use some of the many pages and options it has?

Swissv2
03-23-2012, 08:16 AM
hey guys,
this is great :http://dynamic.pulselive.com/dynamic/client/tennistv/tennis/index.html
check it out exactly the thing we need for this discussion!

Thanks for that link. Unfortunately, its very limited - but I think one of the biggest things that we are missing from this conversation is the angle of the balls that were hit. (pro vs. amateur)

gindyo
03-23-2012, 08:28 AM
Thanks for that link. Unfortunately, its very limited - but I think one of the biggest things that we are missing from this conversation is the angle of the balls that were hit. (pro vs. amateur)

if you click on play-by-play button you will be able to see every single point, click on any pint and you will see the actual rally WITH the angles, very cool

gindyo
03-23-2012, 08:28 AM
Great find! Excellent tool.
I'm hooked already!
Did you use some of the many pages and options it has?
yep I did them all :)

5263
03-23-2012, 10:31 AM
Thanks for that link. Unfortunately, its very limited - but I think one of the biggest things that we are missing from this conversation is the angle of the balls that were hit. (pro vs. amateur)

What is the premise that you would like to test if you have data for Pro vs Am?

gindyo
03-23-2012, 10:34 AM
hey 5263,
I sent you something to your email, did you check it out?

gindyo
03-23-2012, 10:52 AM
here is another snapshot of a completed match Tipsarevic - Nalbandian:
7/5 6/3

http://i40.tinypic.com/34gt3zm.png

gindyo
03-23-2012, 11:09 AM
if you circle out the concentrated areas and estimate the their center (asuming that is actually the target you will get this:

http://i42.tinypic.com/33x7sb5.png

5263
03-23-2012, 11:53 AM
hey 5263,
I sent you something to your email, did you check it out?

got it, thanks.
Great progress in that vid. You look so much more relaxed and balanced,
which will lead to super control of your shots.
replied to your email too.

5263
03-23-2012, 11:56 AM
if you circle out the concentrated areas and estimate the their center (asuming that is actually the target you will get this:

http://i42.tinypic.com/33x7sb5.png

I think my "Smart Target" triangles would work quite well to represent targets leading to those results, but the general areas are tough to deny IMO.

5263
03-23-2012, 12:16 PM
I wish the diagrams showed the out ball misses to show how the misses
offset the number of balls near and on the lines.
My charting usually show more misses long than there are balls landing in the
back 3-4' of the court.

jmnk
03-23-2012, 08:15 PM
there's an interesting quote in Vince Spadea book (Break Point). When he started working with Fisher, at the time former coach of Sampras, he stated:

"Fisher focuses on hitting the ball wide to a certain depth area. He says it's stupid to miss long, because even if the shot lands in, your opponent will probably be able to return it. You hit winners by taking people off the sides of the court, rather than hitting balls deep toward the baseline."
(page 36).

Not sure what else to add.....

gindyo
03-24-2012, 04:57 AM
there's an interesting quote in Vince Spadea book (Break Point). When he started working with Fisher, at the time former coach of Sampras, he stated:

"Fisher focuses on hitting the ball wide to a certain depth area. He says it's stupid to miss long, because even if the shot lands in, your opponent will probably be able to return it. You hit winners by taking people off the sides of the court, rather than hitting balls deep toward the baseline."
(page 36).

Not sure what else to add.....

you don't need to add much more. Whoever does not believe they just need to watch a professional match and take note where the ball lands most of the time ( and definitely turn the sound of the tv off because the commentators will keep insisting that the pros are hitting with great depth)

5263
03-25-2012, 01:18 PM
there's an interesting quote in Vince Spadea book (Break Point). When he started working with Fisher, at the time former coach of Sampras, he stated:

"Fisher focuses on hitting the ball wide to a certain depth area. He says it's stupid to miss long, because even if the shot lands in, your opponent will probably be able to return it. You hit winners by taking people off the sides of the court, rather than hitting balls deep toward the baseline."
(page 36).

.

This is totally in agreement with what I've found. My charting has proven to my
satisfaction, that winners are mostly related to the pace and direction of the shot.
Watching courtside at the Sony-Ericsson matches was also great evidence. Fisher
deserves way more credit for Pete's performances than he ever got IMO.

5263
03-25-2012, 07:55 PM
Pretty evident in his play below-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eZx-r7xXKc

This was the wrong guy, but he is looking good and using the Smart Targets well;
Especially in his highlights. Seems the greatest use of them tends to show in highlights.

Swissv2
03-26-2012, 08:32 AM
What is the premise that you would like to test if you have data for Pro vs Am?

What is interesting with the ball placement is; while it looks like they are hitting the ball in "high percentage areas" or "safe areas" of the court, the Pros hit the balls at more extreme angles (think Nadal doing cross court shots) and speed than the amateurs. Amateurs would hit the balls to those HPAs (High Percentage Areas), but they would have less angle, and much less speed, giving the opponent the ability to easily return the shot.

gindyo
03-26-2012, 09:11 AM
hey 5263,
I really think you will like this one. I charted the Dimitrov's shot placement in his match vs Berdich and included the shot that were long or in the net, which I consider uncontrolled depth, since the height over the net has very much to do with the potential depth of the shot. so here they are:

Disclimer: I estimated where the ball landed by watching recording of the match, so the exact point of where the shot landed is not 100% accurate some shots may be a foot or so off of the actual point they landed, but those are mainly in areas far from the lines (which I used as guides for estimation)
SET1 :
some error stats: 5 long, 5 in the net, 3 wide

http://i39.tinypic.com/2ns2xwz.png

SET2:
errors: 8 long, 9 in the net, 2 wide


http://i41.tinypic.com/65rjes.png

FYI the first set was won by Dimitrov 6:4 and the second he lost 2:6. the underlined dots are the last shot of the rally. In a case where he lost it that was where the ball landed so Birdich hit a winner, and in the cases where he won it that was where the wining shot landed ( it could either be a straight out winner or a shot that caused an error from Birdich)

5263
03-27-2012, 07:36 AM
Thanks! love the charting.
help me to understand the marking though.
Wouldn't any out ball be a straight line to show end of rally?

gindyo
03-27-2012, 07:43 AM
Thanks! love the charting.
help me to understand the marking though.
Wouldn't any out ball be a straight line to show end of rally?

haha, dhuu. I was coming with the methodology on the flight. I don't know why I underlined the ones that were out they are obviously the end of the point

5263
03-27-2012, 07:52 AM
haha, dhuu. I was coming with the methodology on the flight. I don't know why I underlined the ones that were out they are obviously the end of the point

thanks, I had misread it anyway, but will study it some now.

5263
03-27-2012, 08:13 AM
haha, dhuu. I was coming with the methodology on the flight. I don't know why I underlined the ones that were out they are obviously the end of the point

A couple things I notice with a quick look on rallys lost-
Seems that nearly all the out balls hit long were near the middle.
More balls were landing near the middle.

On rallys won-
More balls tended towards the sidelines, especially when compared to the
rallys lost pic, but not as much as you see from more experienced pros.

An in general-
Very little missed wide.
Missed more long than heavy depth ever helped him.

Limpinhitter
03-27-2012, 08:57 AM
* * *

The fact that most balls do not land deep or near the sidelines in pro tennis does not mean that guys would not prefer to hit the ball deeper or closer to the sidelines. It just reflects the fact that at the given speed of the game they are not able to go closer more often without risking too many errors. . . .

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! Thank you!

gindyo
03-27-2012, 09:01 AM
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! Thank you!

Well if you ask any pro player they will tell you that they will prefer every ball to land smack ON the back of the line... but that is not possible and too risky.

5263
03-27-2012, 09:06 AM
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! Thank you!

except you just highlighted the less useful aspect of that great post.

"Originally Posted by OnlineTennisInstruction
* * *
The fact that most balls do not land deep or near the sidelines in pro tennis does not mean that guys would not prefer to hit the ball deeper or closer to the sidelines. It just reflects the fact that at the given speed of the game they are not able to go closer more often without risking too many errors. . . ."

Of course everyone wants to paint the outside of a corner if they can count on getting the call correct from the caller, goes completely without saying and can't see why anyone would ever say it except as used above; but....

the bold above is what is important in the statement!

And now I see where gin made the same important point above in a post.

5263
03-30-2012, 01:05 PM
What is interesting with the ball placement is; while it looks like they are hitting the ball in "high percentage areas" or "safe areas" of the court, the Pros hit the balls at more extreme angles (think Nadal doing cross court shots) and speed than the amateurs. Amateurs would hit the balls to those HPAs (High Percentage Areas), but they would have less angle, and much less speed, giving the opponent the ability to easily return the shot.

I think if you take the time to chart this, you will see that not to be the case.
Also, even if Pros do use tighter angles, they cover them better and are more
dangerous with them. Rec players on the other hand, don't move as well and are less
dangerous with shorter balls once the get them, so it tends to equal out based on the
level; except everything is a little tougher the higher you go, so the lower you
are, the MORE you can get away with,
Not the other way around!

5263
04-02-2012, 06:29 AM
I played a local Jr player who does well in 14s this weekend who didn't think too much of the Smart Targets. He was happy to get on court and show his stuff with an older fellow like me. You never know how you will do with these young guns so I wanted to play well for sure and employ the targets well. I focused on hitting crisply and working the shot lines for my targets. The CrossFit workouts seem to be working well for court coverage and endurance!

I made sure I cleared the net well and brought the ball down hard with TS and also did all the slices to the targets. Without working too hard at all and with very few misses on my part, next thing I knew I was up 4-0. I stuck with my execution and closed it at 6-0 with only a couple of wide misses and fewer long for the set. I think I put one slice in the net.
Anyway in the end, he talked of how amazed he was on how much pressure I could get with those simple targets, along with how I never missed applying that pressure. No major result or anything, but a satisfying example that may have helped a young mans game.

5263
04-04-2012, 01:34 PM
Another interesting match today, especially since I don't get to play that much singles (but and trying to play more singles now to use the smart targets).

Today was a pro-set against a AA in his 30s. Good ball striker and surprised me in that he had added the drop shot to his arsenal, which works well with his depth and power. I must confess that this fella gave me some trouble in respect to the Smart Targets with his pace and court penetration. He plays sort of traditional and really drives thru the shots. I say the trouble was in relation to the targets because I found it tough to work the targets like I wanted when he drove it hard, flat and deep. It forced me to take the ball where I could, more than where I really wanted to at times; and yes, I know several have made comments about how this is a big part in how it goes in tough rallys. It reminded me that when a guy hits a heavy ball with pace that often you just need to take it back where it came from just like you might with a big 1st serve. Of course this still works within the context of how the Smart Targets are used, but bears mentioning just the same.

I was able the focus more on the targets anytime he wasn't hitting as strongly or deep; and using the targets helped me to aggressively control the rallys without missing once I got the right ball and also helped me to do damage when I got a shorter attackable ball to work with... again without missing. When working with the right balls, I was able to execute rallys and attacks at a relatively high level.

So in the end, even though he is quite a bit younger and out served me a little bit too, I won 8-2 fairly easily. I expect the difference IMO, was as much him not using the Smart Targets as it was that I was using them. Even though he did give me some amount of trouble with his deep power, he also donated quite a few points my way missing long and it cost him. If he had used these targets, he could have missed less IMO, although it may be tougher with his more traditional strokes.
It's worth noting that when the opponent unleashes a big shot, then taking back where it came from is still a great idea, but looking to start working the Smart Targets at the 1st Opportunity seems to be a great way to go.

5263
04-09-2012, 05:21 PM
To answer some questions I've received from emails-

due to looking at tennis as a game of where you need to make your shots consistently,
more specifically, "Make your shots to the right spots"
I began to look for ideas about where to place the ball that met certain criteria.

First the targets would need to be highly make-able with good margin for error, so we can be highly consistent while still using our power.
Second they need to provide some safety, so an avg shot hit to them would not likely get smoked by the opponent very often.
Third is that they needed to be able to do some damage when hit with authority! Not just a defensive shot.
and
Fourth, they needed to be sort of simple to make it easy to pick the target under
pressure.

Over time I was able to narrow things to 2 triangles for targets and a square to avoid at the center T.
One of these triangles is almost always a pretty good place to hit.

5263
05-01-2012, 06:56 PM
I'd like to expand on the idea of learning the wrong lessons from matches, where
the opponents are not well matched in skill level.

I'll use the example of a young jr (Sam) at drills last week. He was playing several of the kids in match play that were not quite his level, so he could focus on his power right thru the court and cause errors. His confidence was riding high. This kid can work the Top spin pretty well and could have moved them around more and constructed points, but didn't. Later when he played an opponent at his skill level, he continued to try to hit thru that opponent like he had the others. This better opponent didn't really have a problem with playing against power and mostly just redirected it
back, working the point. Sam became frustrated with the lack of results for his power and tried to hit bigger, but just made more errors in the process of losing.

After practice, Sam was heard to say, "I was playing so well, then just fell apart in the last match".

Now I'm not saying him working on his power game is a bad thing, as that is important in the growing process, but
My point is he was learning the wrong lessons from it. He was learning that this is how he needed to play to win, with too much riding on overpowering the opponent and too little on working the point. When you go against players around your level, it will be odd if you can overpower them. You will have to do more than just hit a bigger ball in these matches and if you think about it,
these are the only matches where winning is real Key.

Beating a far lesser player should be no problem and getting the win on a clearly superior player is quite a long shot really.
The Matches where you really prove your game and your skills, are the ones
where they are truly well contested and both players realize they must play well to win.
IMO, these are the matches we should be focused more on and trained for in our practices. When we learn to pay attention to what we can execute in these matches and build on that info, then we can make bigger strides as a player.

The same problem happens in wt lifting. WHen you start lifting, you can be on the worst program out there and still make gains. You are so far from your potential that any work is better that what you were doing before.
Often lifters will continue with poor programs because they worked in the beginning, but as they near their potential, the poor program doesn't cut it any more!
This happens with tennis in much the same way. Any practice is better than not playing, so you often improve in spite of your program instead of because of it. To me, hitting for the back few feet of the court is an example of learning the wrong lesson in mismatches and like Pete Fisher is quoted to say in this thread, missing deep is not good, because there is little reason to take on that risks.

1HBH Rocks
05-01-2012, 08:26 PM
"Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy."

Substitute Aristotle's anger for power hitting in tennis and you will have an idea of what it takes to do it. It's not easy to do it right: it takes the touch and refinement of a true master to measure risks precisely enough and cunningly enough to step on the gas just at the right instant. It sure feels good to hit a booming ground stroke, but when you miss too many of them, not only do you loose, you also make sure you don't get to learn anything -- or if anything, you learn bad habits.

In tennis, ball placement is really the corner stone of offensive: you can only hit so hard before missing, but with only mild efforts, you can place the ball one stride further away... in the end, you still robs time from your opponent and he'll be late on the play at some point if he doesn't respond, but it's a lot easier on the execution side of things to hit the right spot than to try and breach a hole through your opponent.

I always get back to Federer when explaining things, both because I love watching him and because he does exemplify things wonderfully well... Watch him hit the ball, work his point now that he's no longer the biggest gun on the tour. He still seems so deadly. That's ball placement and court positioning: you'll hardly ever see a player place the ball so well while being so far forward on the court compared to his mates. Slowly, ball after ball, he builds himself a lead like a race car driver... and once he's one full step ahead, there's space and he hits in the opening.

Want to make your opponent feel like they've been handed a tennis lesson from a master of the art? Place your shots and their effectiveness will duplicate.

5263
05-01-2012, 08:32 PM
Substitute Aristotle's anger for power hitting in tennis and you will have an idea of what it takes to do it. It's not easy to do it right: it takes the touch and refinement of a true master to measure risks precisely enough and cunningly enough to step on the gas just at the right instant. It sure feels good to hit a booming ground stroke, but when you miss too many of them, not only do you loose, you also make sure you don't get to learn anything -- or if anything, you learn bad habits.

In tennis, ball placement is really the corner stone of offensive: you can only hit so hard before missing, but with only mild efforts, you can place the ball one stride further away... in the end, you still robs time from your opponent and he'll be late on the play at some point if he doesn't respond, but it's a lot easier on the execution side of things to hit the right spot than to try and breach a hole through your opponent.

I always get back to Federer when explaining things, both because I love watching him and because he does exemplify things wonderfully well... Watch him hit the ball, work his point now that he's no longer the biggest gun on the tour. He still seems so deadly. That's ball placement and court positioning: you'll hardly ever see a player place the ball so well while being so far forward on the court compared to his mates. Slowly, ball after ball, he builds himself a lead like a race car driver... and once he's one full step ahead, there's space and he hits in the opening.

Want to make your opponent feel like they've been handed a tennis lesson from a master of the art? Place your shots and their effectiveness will duplicate.
very well stated.

5263
05-17-2012, 05:28 AM
5263, that thread, and I read all of it, was the most interesting discussion I've ever read here! I remember in 96, I was at the ATP in Cinn and Agassi was practicing on a side court. He was very jovial and talking with people. I asked him what is the best way to improve and win more matches in my 4.0 league. He smiles and said, " quit trying to hit near the lines!". Told me to imagine a court within the court I am hitting to. Except that court is shrunk 3 foot from all the lines. You play in that court and you will win.

Why do I never remember that during a match!!!

Glad you liked it and
train to use it!

5263
05-23-2012, 01:43 PM
I disagree with the bold contention... anyone who watched pro tennis or played in the last two decades know playing angles is a key to success and that the "pros always hit deep" is a total myth. Either this guy is brought back from the 70's or he's completely blind.

Here's Djokovic's shot placement, borrowed from a guy's thread on smart targets:
http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-p3ufUzjcl_Y/Timl3QtFJoI/AAAAAAAAA40/9ZWTeJ4qI-8/shotPlacement-Djokovic.jpg

Apparently, the world number one can get away with hitting angles against top players, but you, amateur, will get spanked if you don't hit deep... that's ridiculous. About 0.5% of Djokovic's balls are struck 3 feet from the baseline or deeper. The very vast majority of his strokes land in the 9 feet that follows the service line, going from the net toward the baseline and you'll notice as well that, among these, the very vast majority lands past the middle of each half court -- that is to say, there's about half a court worth of virtually untouched ground in the middle of the court. Djokovic aims at an angle... that's a fact.

So, apparently, that coach you listened is outdated.

As for the general note, yes: all errors aren't the same. Missing a shot when it was tactically the right decision isn't a bad mistake; missing a shot because you were lazy on your footwork, tried to hit a winner when you weren't balanced or went for too much when, really, it wasn't necessary... that's a bad mistake.

Nicely stated...

Roforot
05-25-2012, 06:18 PM
Hi 5263,

I like your this approach for playing/winning from the baseline. For recreational players, once you get a short ball or an approach shot, are you still using those triangles as targets or are you trying to hit to deeper and closer to the baseline?

I'd roughly define a short ball as one you can contact within a yard of the service line (presumably the ball doesn't have a lot of pace or spin). A putaway ball would have to be at least knee high otherwise for me it'd have to be an approach shot.

It'd be neat to see a chart/map of short balls/approaches that pros take to see if there's a difference?

Coach Chad
05-26-2012, 06:20 AM
5263, thanks for sharing this great post...when you explained about how a player can "over power" a player at a lower skill level...and then when facing a player of equal/greater skill level try to "over power" them, you described my situation perfectly! I faced an opponent last night, (equal to my level) and found myself getting frustrated and trying to hit harder and making many unforced errors....I took a deep breath when I was serving and he had me at break point, and decided to incorporate your "smart target" strategy...I had amazing results! I came back to win the set (I was down 4-2)...now I cannot wait to get back on the court! Thanks![/COLOR]

5263
05-26-2012, 11:07 AM
Hi 5263,

I like your this approach for playing/winning from the baseline. For recreational players, once you get a short ball or an approach shot, are you still using those triangles as targets or are you trying to hit to deeper and closer to the baseline?

I'd roughly define a short ball as one you can contact within a yard of the service line (presumably the ball doesn't have a lot of pace or spin). A putaway ball would have to be at least knee high otherwise for me it'd have to be an approach shot.

It'd be neat to see a chart/map of short balls/approaches that pros take to see if there's a difference?

Glad you found the Smart Targets helpful, and...

Yes, still using them for all phases of play, including short & mid court attacks, low & reg slices,
volleys, and overheads.

IMO it is really the beauty of this concept, that the triangles are designed to be
versatile enough for all phases of play. One reason is the concept accounts for exceptions
right off the bat. There are reasons to hit to other places at times, but the key is
knowing those exceptions and doing it for those reasons. If you don't know a reason
to hit somewhere else, then use these default targets, and you won't often go wrong,
especially if you choose the right one! I do believe that often one is a way better choice
than the other in given situations.

Another reason is that the targets are constructed to allow for sharper angles,
as well as deeper angles. If you want to take volley or high easy short ball and
break it off on a sharp angle, then work the corner of the triangle that is just inside the svc line, but
if you have a lower ball to handle, working the deeper angle often works better.
If you need to play it safer, then work the corner of the triangle that is farther
from the sides of the court.

I think that once you get the idea of how well the triangles can work, then the next
level is to figure how best to use the different corners with your game, along with
focusing on when you want to make exceptions and do something different, like looking
to jam your returns right back at the server.

Last point; Remember that these targets are for guidelines, meaning that actually hitting
the triangle itself is not so important as using the triangle to help you sort and
use the court without taking on too much depth risks.

5263
05-26-2012, 11:18 AM
5263, thanks for sharing this great post...when you explained about how a player can "over power" a player at a lower skill level...and then when facing a player of equal/greater skill level try to "over power" them, you described my situation perfectly! I faced an opponent last night, (equal to my level) and found myself getting frustrated and trying to hit harder and making many unforced errors....I took a deep breath when I was serving and he had me at break point, and decided to incorporate your "smart target" strategy...I had amazing results! I came back to win the set (I was down 4-2)...now I cannot wait to get back on the court! Thanks![/COLOR]

That is really cool to hear that!
Glad you had already read up on them.

It took a good bit of charting to notice this subtle piece of info about how matches
tend to be played differently, based on how closely matched the players are on that day.
I was probably as amazed as anybody, when I realized that better players use a
significantly different shot selection when they are in a challenging match with
another better type player. Helps you to understand that what we need to improve
and get better at, is not quite what you might expect based on what was done
to you by a vastly superior player in a 6-1 whipping.

Very glad you were able to use this info to improve your play.

5263
05-27-2012, 05:51 AM
Excellent points here 5263, this is to me is the bread and butter of the matter. By not hitting so deep it actually lets you swing faster and more freely, which in turn gives you more spin and pace. When you are not so concerned with your shot going to deep you can let it rip.

Also like you mention when they do get the ball to attack they will convert a much higher % into winners. That is something a lot of people don't understand when you get the attackable ball it is usually not necessary to hit it deep. Many times it is the exact opposite were it is better to hit a sharper angle for the winner as opposed to going deep.

And by practicing the way you are describing will get this ingrained into the player and really improve their game. I don't know how many times i have gotten the sitter i wanted and then made a error because i hit the ball just a little long when there was no reason to have put anywhere near that depth on that shot. Then you look at all the open court you had and think why in the hell did i even hit that ball even close to the baseline.

Really good post!

trenzterra
05-28-2012, 01:28 AM
Hmm how do you aim for these in practise anyway? I always tend to hit near the lines, going long or wide a little sometimes. But somehow I can't seem to dial it in without screwing up my mechanics or stroke. How do you guys revise your technique to fit the smart targets?

5263
05-28-2012, 05:25 AM
Hmm how do you aim for these in practise anyway? I always tend to hit near the lines, going long or wide a little sometimes. But somehow I can't seem to dial it in without screwing up my mechanics or stroke. How do you guys revise your technique to fit the smart targets?

I put the cones out to mark the triangles, then feed balls for students to work on hitting to those areas from receiving different balls to different parts of the court. I usually start with the I/O Fh rally, then move to a shorter I/O near the
T.

Roforot
05-29-2012, 02:56 PM
It was a different perspective to keep these targets in mind while watching FO on TV (mostly watched Sharapova and Young). I'd always assumed they were aiming for the lines and the shorter balls were misses, but I think at least statistically the smart targets are the "true" targets.

The other consideration is to factor where your opponent will hit your shot. It seemed as though the player hitting more shots inside the baseline was doing better. So if you're not painting the lines you have to either hit it with a lot of spin/kick or make sure you get a good angle and get them on the run.

I would have liked to have seen Nadal's match. I would expect a lefty-righty should still have the same distribution of shots?

jmnk
05-29-2012, 10:06 PM
here's from today's Nadal's match.
http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-323T19fVJTM/T8Wx6V2arOI/AAAAAAAABAk/AM2bxeG0czM/s800/NadalBolelli2.PNG

you can see that Nadal is actually hitting shorter than Bolelli. yet he had zero problems winning very comfortably.

5263
05-30-2012, 02:11 PM
Hope you can continue to post some of these diagrams, as they are great to see.
Pretty clear that the density of shots landing in the back 3-5' and side 1-2' is pretty thin, which
is in line with the theory of this thread.
Also notice how each player was targeting the others Bh to an extent,
even at this high level of play.

1HBH Rocks
05-30-2012, 04:48 PM
There are reasons to hit to other places at times, but the key is
knowing those exceptions and doing it for those reasons. If you don't know a reason
to hit somewhere else, then use these default targets, and you won't often go wrong,
especially if you choose the right one!

I'll give one example. Say your opponent has a very heavily spun forehand... you can rival him with pace and even outplay him, but he can pull much better angles. What do you do? Go for your shot, but choose a huge target: right in the center of no man's land and punish it real bad. Just make sure it's not too short.

By sending the ball down the middle, you're closing angles and by hitting a little deeper, you make his angle of possible response much narrower and a heavy top spin hitter in such cases is often striking short balls... that's how Soderling and Del Potro used to get through Nadal: aiming big at a big target. Of course, once you have the short ball, you move your target and use the angles, but if you're looking at neutralizing your opponent's weapon, aiming down the center can be a solution at times. You won't find too many instances wherein hitting there is a good idea, but that's one.

An other one is for those who have troubles with their running strokes. Some people will offset their hitting targets a bit toward the center, conceding some ground and some run-around occasions, to prevent themselves from being ran too wide, especially when hitting two handed strokes. Ever seen a guy who plays two handed off both sides? He'll center his strokes more than most players and, despite being able to hit winners or hard, his major weapon will be that he barely will ever miss a single shot. If you play this kind of opponent, your game is about increasing your angles to make his horizontal court coverage a lot bigger.

5263
05-30-2012, 04:54 PM
I'll give one example. Say your opponent has a very heavily spun forehand... you can rival him with pace and even outplay him, but he can pull much better angles. What do you do? Go for your shot, but choose a huge target: right in the center of no man's land and punish it real bad. Just make sure it's not too short.

By sending the ball down the middle, you're closing angles and by hitting a little deeper, you make his angle of possible response much narrower and a heavy top spin hitter in such cases is often striking short balls... that's how Soderling and Del Potro used to get through Nadal: aiming big at a big target. Of course, once you have the short ball, you move your target and use the angles, but if you're looking at neutralizing your opponent's weapon, aiming down the center can be a solution at times. You won't find too many instances wherein hitting there is a good idea, but that's one.

An other one is for those who have troubles with their running strokes. Some people will offset their hitting targets a bit toward the center, conceding some ground and some run-around occasions, to prevent themselves from being ran too wide, especially when hitting two handed strokes. Ever seen a guy who plays two handed off both sides? He'll center his strokes more than most players and, despite being able to hit winners or hard, his major weapon will be that he barely will ever miss a single shot. If you play this kind of opponent, your game is about increasing your angles to make his horizontal court coverage a lot bigger.
You give some good examples of exceptions, which this theory accommodates,
but while hitting down the middle cuts down big angles to one side, it concedes center court control, so as you mention,
you are in a great position to work them to both sides.

1HBH Rocks
05-30-2012, 05:12 PM
You give some good examples of exceptions, which this theory accommodates,
but while hitting down the middle cuts down big angles to one side, it concedes center court control, so as you mention,
you are in a great position to work them to both sides.

I said it had to be struck firmly... it's not a huge problem to concede the center court provided your shot is neutralizing enough. Besides, I'm talking about doing it with players who like to go at it Nadal style... a guy like that won't suddenly start striking winners because you're sending it to him; he'll need length, but that's what the big hitter is good at, not what the heavy topspin player is good at.

Going for more conservative targets has similar effects: it turns the play into a much more linear game and provided the right conditions and execution, it can be effective.

jmnk
05-30-2012, 07:08 PM
Hope you can continue to post some of these diagrams, as they are great to see.
Pretty clear that the density of shots landing in the back 3-5' and side 1-2' is pretty thin, which
is in line with the theory of this thread.
Also notice how each player was targeting the others Bh to an extent,
even at this high level of play.
absolutely agree. I actually have quite a few of them - but truth to be told they are all almost identical. The pattern is exactly as you say (I highlighted your quote). I just thought that Nadal vs. Bolelli chart is quite interesting since despite Nadal being vastly better, he still plays rather safe. Surely it is not due to his opponent forcing him into anything - Nadal just plays smart, winning tennis.

HunterST
05-30-2012, 07:32 PM
Okay, so, basically, I'm getting that instead of aiming super deep, players should aim a little shorter and go for more angle on the shot. Sounds reasonable to me. I can see how it would make things tougher on the opponent.

However, wouldn't going for more angle cancel out the margin that you gained from aiming shorter? I feel like this strategy will lead to me hitting wide quite a bit.

5263
05-30-2012, 08:13 PM
Okay, so, basically, I'm getting that instead of aiming super deep, players should aim a little shorter and go for more angle on the shot. Sounds reasonable to me. I can see how it would make things tougher on the opponent.

However, wouldn't going for more angle cancel out the margin that you gained from aiming shorter? I feel like this strategy will lead to me hitting wide quite a bit.

Very good points and questions here, but I'm not talking about going wider than you
are confident with, or pushing hard on the sideline. The targets are just guides.
Are the Smart Targets wider than you are used to hitting when you pick a side to hit to?

Also if you think about it,
you can see how getting in the habit of a shorter ball travel will help you greatly in
avoiding hitting wide. If you don't get that right off, just think about it and how a shorter
shot is less likely to travel far enough to go wide. This makes more of your groundstrokes
measured very similar in length. These shots will travel much more like your dipping passing shots as well.
It also helps with your mid court attacks, because you will already be grooved to work
with the shorter court you have for these. One of the problems for players who hit real deep
is trying to keep it shorter on these mid ct attacks, but you can see how this will help.

What I'm saying here is generally you want to hit to the triangle away from your opponent,
which puts him on the move. If he is in the middle of both, then he has to be concerned about
both Smart Targets and you get to choose where you want to take it based on what has worked.

5263
05-30-2012, 08:25 PM
I said it had to be struck firmly... it's not a huge problem to concede the center court provided your shot is neutralizing enough. Besides, I'm talking about doing it with players who like to go at it Nadal style... a guy like that won't suddenly start striking winners because you're sending it to him; he'll need length, but that's what the big hitter is good at, not what the heavy topspin player is good at.

Going for more conservative targets has similar effects: it turns the play into a much more linear game and provided the right conditions and execution, it can be effective.

Yes, and thats why I said you listed good exceptions!

But I just mention, that just like MMA or wrestling, there is always a counter action,
especially if you decide to allow your opponent to play from the middle of the court,
so you better be ready for them to try to use it if you are going to give it.
I'd say that in general, if you can hit strong enough to the middle to stop me
from using the middle to control play, then you can probably do pretty much
whatever you
want anyway. Not always true, but usually I expect.

5263
05-30-2012, 08:30 PM
I just thought that Nadal vs. Bolelli chart is quite interesting since despite Nadal being vastly better, he still plays rather safe. Surely it is not due to his opponent forcing him into anything - Nadal just plays smart, winning tennis.

I agree with your entire post as well! Very well stated.

I think Nadal likes the safety of hitting shorter and the points I made a couple
post back about how the shorter, strong rally shots tend to work more like passing shots,
angle shots and Mid court attack shots. The shorter length of shot will be very grooved and
on tap when you need it. For Good players, it's always easier to add a little juice and knock
it a little deeper if needed.
IMO, hitting a powerful, shorter ball may take more skill.

Larrysümmers
05-30-2012, 08:34 PM
i find myself being able to go DTL more because im no longer aiming for a dime sized target in the corner; this has opened up my game greatly.

5263
06-08-2012, 11:26 AM
i find myself being able to go DTL more because im no longer aiming for a dime sized target in the corner; this has opened up my game greatly.

I'm really happy to see how this topic has helped your game!

I figured I should ck on Errani since her starting to play so well would likely show her
working these targets extremely well.
Here is a nice clip showing it at work.
1st point is perfect, showing Errani hititng to Smart Targets and getting replies from
Sam to the Avoid zone near the center T.
The rest of the points follow this pretty closely with Sam trying to get out deeper and wider,
but going too far with it an missing some.
It forces Sam back to the Avoid Area where Errani contines to hit on the shot lines of the
Smart Targets and wins game- love.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3c_GsKnTec

odessa
06-08-2012, 02:53 PM
here's from today's Nadal's match.
http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-323T19fVJTM/T8Wx6V2arOI/AAAAAAAABAk/AM2bxeG0czM/s800/NadalBolelli2.PNG

you can see that Nadal is actually hitting shorter than Bolelli. yet he had zero problems winning very comfortably.

What you can see with both players that they hit their forehands shorter and nearer to the sidelines.
Nadal really can hook it short cross. It is not only the safer shot is it also the better shot in most situation :
cross passing shot the shorter the better
pulling the opponent out wide the shorter the better

It is also a good illustration of the interplay of technique and tactic. Nadal can go shorter and wider with his forehand because he can generate more spin easier than on his backhand.

I believe a diagramm of the missed shots would be even more interesting.

5263
06-12-2012, 01:18 PM
2 player drills allow you to get some very good practice drills in, while
still having a nice hit with your friend.

A normal example probably explains why the rally shot is most of our best shot.
we go out and rally with each other from the BL and both of get to work on
aggressive rally shots and responding to aggressive rally shots.
Great 2 person drill that helps you rally better and everyone does it some.

But to drill on something more tactical and less obvious-

1st one is I/O attack to the Bh against a player defending against this attack.
The attacker should work on strong I/O Fhs to the deeper part of the Smart Target when
being aggressive off a deep ball, And work on going I/O to the shorter part of the target when
getting a shorter ball to attack...using a greater angle.
While the attacker is doing his thing, the defender can work on defending that Bh corner
with crosscourt rtns. Using higher soft slices crosscourt to gain recovery time
when facing a tough shot, along with some more aggressive, low slices to turn defense
to a bit of offense when they can pull it off. Defender can get a good idea of what type
of rtns get punished and which ones tend to work better.

After 20-30 shots, you can switch who is attacking and who is defending
so that both get work on this very common aggressive tactic. Should help the
attacker improve on using this tactic to hurt opponents, while helping the
defender to improve their defense against effective assault.
Nice that both are getting good work, opposed to one having to be a feeder.

5263
06-13-2012, 01:47 PM
Another important drill for 2 out for a hit

Serve and return plus 2

On this one the server looks to work his very aggressive 2ond serves.
He should make 80%+ and be working lots of spin to different sections
of the svc box.
The returner should be working on different styles of returning....attacking,
consistent...etc

the plus 2
plus 2 relates to the server and returner hitting one more shot on this exchange
server is looking to likely hit a Fh and take control of the point after the 2ond serve
the returner is looking to defend or turn things to offense after dealing with a serve
and a aggressive GS.

Hit 4-7 second serves then switch over and work the other side of the drill.
repeat the process a few times.

Coach Chad
06-13-2012, 02:12 PM
i find myself being able to go DTL more because im no longer aiming for a dime sized target in the corner; this has opened up my game greatly.

This is exactly what I experienced when applying the smart target strategy...and to be honest, there have been many times where I should have gone down the line but just was not comfortable doing it...now, I let 'er rip! :):):)

vil
06-13-2012, 02:26 PM
This is a very good read. I only just bumped into it. Thanks for sharing.

5263
06-14-2012, 06:32 AM
This is a very good read. I only just bumped into it. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks vil,

Today I want to add the lob / Overhead 2 man drill

The one who will start with working overheads will give a feed to his partner.
This can be an easy or challenging feed based on how you want to practice, but
the receiver will execute a lob from this feed and the feeder will try to smash.
When the overhead is smashed, the lobber will try to defend the smash by
hitting his return to the Smart Target away from the Smasher.
A point is awarded to the player if his smash is too good to defend well or
a point for the lobber if he can defend the smash smartly to the right Smart Target.
Play 5, then switch roles.
Keep score or not...it's up to what you want to do.

This is a great drill for a few items that are rarely practiced.
Amazing what players will learn in this one about smashing and lobbing,
along with defending the smash.
I used it with a player who made top 5 in the Nation and he still likes it!

5263
06-14-2012, 06:49 AM
Here is a post on "Earning you Best Play" from another thread.

One of the aspects of Earning it is using the Smart Targets imo.
........
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5263
I'm big on the idea of having the attitude of earning good play...meaning-

That I try not to go on the court expecting to play well, but I think that if I
focus on the things (like hustle, position, eye on the ball, good prep) that
help me play solid, that I can work that solid play into very good play.

It's the idea of having to work up to good or better play and I call it
"Earning It". Earning my best play by working up to it each time I hit the
court.
.....................

comment by another poster^ "high quality post that."

and another one...
"Once again, 5263 nails it...hustle, position, eye-on-the ball. You know, I have learned ALOT from many great players who post here...and last night I expected to play well. However, I played terrible. Why? No hustle, my positioning could have been better, and even though I knew better, there were times that I didn't keep my eye on the ball!!! From now on, I will "earn my best play". I will work up to it. Great post 5263."

asked_answered
06-14-2012, 11:36 AM
A quick question regarding smarter targets: If a player (me, in this instance) hits with a traditional forehand and a modern two-handed backhand, what adjustments regarding the smarter targets, if any, should be made on the forehand side?

Thanks!

5263
06-14-2012, 12:02 PM
A quick question regarding smarter targets: If a player (me, in this instance) hits with a traditional forehand and a modern two-handed backhand, what adjustments regarding the smarter targets, if any, should be made on the forehand side?

Thanks!

The Smart Targets are big enough to handle variety and any personal limitations.
Find what parts of the triangles work best for your shots.
I expect the cross court target will be much easier to go to for you, but that
is generally the case. Your shots may tend a little deeper if your net clearance is
very good, but remember, the targets are guidelines around an idea.
Generally that Idea is to hit to the area away from your opponent with a good
margin of error. Be careful about hitting dtl even when away from them though as that
helps them hit away from you, and Remember it is pace and line of shot that determines most winners.

It's ok to hit a little deeper as long as you don't get caught up on pushing too hard for depth.
Also you may need to focus on the interior point of the triangle for greater margin on your Fh.
Very good question!

asked_answered
06-14-2012, 12:41 PM
The Smart Targets are big enough to handle variety and any personal limitations.
Find what parts of the triangles work best for your shots.
I expect the cross court target will be much easier to go to for you, but that
is generally the case. Your shots may tend a little deeper if your net clearance is
very good, but remember, the targets are guidelines around an idea.
Generally that Idea is to hit to the area away from your opponent with a good
margin of error. Be careful about hitting dtl even when away from them though as that
helps them hit away from you, and Remember it is pace and line of shot that determines most winners.

It's ok to hit a little deeper as long as you don't get caught up on pushing too hard for depth.
Also you may need to focus on the interior point of the triangle for greater margin on your Fh.
Very good question!

Thanks very much for your response! The next time I'm hitting with the ball machine, I will put out cones and see how the targeting works, in light of your suggestions and parameters. Then, hopefully, after some good practice sessions, I'll able to utilize the smarter targets effectively in a match setting.

monomer
06-14-2012, 01:27 PM
...The next time I'm hitting with the ball machine, I will put out cones and see how the targeting works, in light of your suggestions and parameters. Then, hopefully, after some good practice sessions, I'll able to utilize the smarter targets effectively in a match setting.

It works great.

If you are a 3.0-3.5 player like me, prepare to feel that you are hitting much sharper angles than you are used to. I have been trying this with the ball machine and it is a very helpful exercise. It quickly made me aware that I tend to hit thru the middle of the court much too often.

After just about a half dozen sessions with the cones I already feel more comfortable hitting to the triangles. I usually take some pace off and eventually will work on getting more power to these locations. It is a great illustration that placement is more important than hitting hard.

Coach Chad
06-14-2012, 02:02 PM
5263, gonna try the lob/smash drill..quick question: do you start at/around the service line or around the baseline? I would think somewhat close to the net, depending on skill level.

asked_answered
06-14-2012, 05:24 PM
It works great.

If you are a 3.0-3.5 player like me, prepare to feel that you are hitting much sharper angles than you are used to. I have been trying this with the ball machine and it is a very helpful exercise. It quickly made me aware that I tend to hit thru the middle of the court much too often.

After just about a half dozen sessions with the cones I already feel more comfortable hitting to the triangles. I usually take some pace off and eventually will work on getting more power to these locations. It is a great illustration that placement is more important than hitting hard.

That's great to hear, and way to go! :)

5263
06-25-2012, 12:11 PM
5263, gonna try the lob/smash drill..quick question: do you start at/around the service line or around the baseline? I would think somewhat close to the net, depending on skill level.
Just back from a cruise, Thanks for the good question!

Do both. Start from working deep so you do better and get less tired, but then as you get better, mix in some feeds from net area so he can lob you while at net.
Give him the option of hitting a soft passing shot on you if you cheat and leave too early, lol!

Roforot
06-26-2012, 06:35 AM
I'm practicing taking advantage of balls landing the avoid square using inside out or inside in fh. I'm finding I can reliably hit the deep targets but am missing wide when trying for the shorter ones. I can hit the inside in shot to the short target a bit more reliably. When watching federers vids it seems like he goes for the short targets on his inside out fh only when he's in the doubles alley!

I want to be able to keep my opponent honest by going in and out with the fh so I'm using a neutral fh stance which allows me to hit both sides. I can hook the inside in fh a bit more reliably to get that short target. I tried an open stance fh and didn't like the timing and also felt it had less disguise.

Any opinions or advice.

5263
06-26-2012, 02:06 PM
I'm practicing taking advantage of balls landing the avoid square using inside out or inside in fh. I'm finding I can reliably hit the deep targets but am missing wide when trying for the shorter ones. I can hit the inside in shot to the short target a bit more reliably. When watching federers vids it seems like he goes for the short targets on his inside out fh only when he's in the doubles alley!

I want to be able to keep my opponent honest by going in and out with the fh so I'm using a neutral fh stance which allows me to hit both sides. I can hook the inside in fh a bit more reliably to get that short target. I tried an open stance fh and didn't like the timing and also felt it had less disguise.

Any opinions or advice.

Looking good here! This is a big part of working on this....finding out what target works for you
and what does not.
Later on as your game grows, you will find different things work for you as well.

As for stance... if you use a neutral stance for the inside in, then you have a nice open stance for the inside out....so there is your disguise...right?

5263
06-26-2012, 06:49 PM
It works great.

If you are a 3.0-3.5 player like me, prepare to feel that you are hitting much sharper angles than you are used to. I have been trying this with the ball machine and it is a very helpful exercise. It quickly made me aware that I tend to hit thru the middle of the court much too often.

After just about a half dozen sessions with the cones I already feel more comfortable hitting to the triangles. I usually take some pace off and eventually will work on getting more power to these locations. It is a great illustration that placement is more important than hitting hard.

As a developing 3.5 player, make sure you keep working the deeper part of the targets,
so you continue to develop and hit stronger.
Hitting with some solid pace is an important aspect in using Smarter Targets unless you
are using the low skidding slice.
Probably not so good if you are having to ease up to get to the Targets. Using
more spin would be preferred.

Larrysümmers
06-26-2012, 06:52 PM
i tell my peers that they can hit just as hard, if not harder, just aim shallower and more towards the middle and a lot more of their shots will go in. they look at me like im on crack.

5263
06-26-2012, 06:57 PM
i tell my peers that they can hit just as hard, if not harder, just aim shallower and more towards the middle and a lot more of their shots will go in. they look at me like im on crack.

I like most of what you are saying here, but what do you mean by "more towards the middle"?

Are you talking about depth wise?

monsterkicker79
06-27-2012, 03:27 AM
This I have to try! No more thinking.. just hit the triangles! Any smart targets for doubles play?

J_R_B
06-27-2012, 05:20 AM
This I have to try! No more thinking.. just hit the triangles! Any smart targets for doubles play?

Long to long, short to short.

5263
06-27-2012, 06:13 AM
This I have to try! No more thinking.. just hit the triangles! Any smart targets for doubles play?

Pretty much the same targets for dubs, but now the Avoid Area becomes a 3rd target,
as it between them and maybe the best target in dubs.
For a general reference I use the 3 Ts.
You have the center one and the 2 side Ts.

Use them for line of shot more than actually hitting them;
sometimes hitting just past them, sometimes short of them or
even shading to one side or another of one of them.
Use them only as a references,
but excellent references!

5263
06-27-2012, 06:28 AM
Long to long, short to short.

Yes!
Your suggestion above it great standard advice used in conjunction with the
3Ts, especially working the long to long aspect.

For instance, if going cross court, deep to deep, then
you can use the center T by shading it to the side away from the net player and
slightly deeper than the center T.

Or use the side T by shading it towards the center and slightly deeper than that
side T.

Or use the side T going short to short by taking a poach to the side T...shading it
to the outside of the court and shorter in depth.
Just a few examples.

5263
06-28-2012, 06:54 AM
This I have to try! No more thinking.. just hit the triangles!

Well.... a little thinking, as it makes a difference which triangle you pick for each shot.

5263
06-28-2012, 08:47 PM
drill for hitting around and working the dtl Fh and I/O Bh

Dtl Fh hitter will give a feed to the area on the Bh side of the center hash
so the Bh hitter can take it I/O a bit, then the Feeder can take this I/O Bh
dtl. The Bh hitter can take this dtl one more time if you like before starting
over with another feed to center Bh side (near the Avoid Area) given from the Fh side.

This is better than just standing and hitting dtls because it starts with that I/O Bh
which can be a defining shot for players. I like getting some special reps in for that
shot in a drill.

5263
06-29-2012, 06:57 AM
Looks like Sharapova's rise in rankings and game are going much like I discussed on here last yr..
.with her working much better for position on the ball and making
more shots like we talk about in this thread.
Yes she still hits with excellent power and a little too much depth, but
all the commentators are talking about how much she has improved her movement and
footwork during this come back.
I couldn't help but think about someone who on here was arguing aggressively that movement was
never going to be good for her and that she had to focus on just hitting deeper,
harder and more outright winners.

I felt she was still young and athletic enough to work on moving better and making more shots. Seems it worked well enough to bring her right back up
to #1!
I don't see anyone being great in this game from here out, without the ability to
move well and focusing on shots they can make a high % of the time.

5263
07-02-2012, 03:17 PM
Slice volley drill

One partner works on slicing flat and pretty close to net, while
the hitting partner works on his volley technique and placement
back to the slicer. This drill should keep quite a long rally alive
due to the control of each of these shots. Each player should move
the ball back and forth to the other side of the other hitting partner.
After a few reps switch positions and let the other player do the
volleys.

I like pairing these 2 shots together because the help to prepare for
each other since the volley and slice are so much alike.

Greg G
07-21-2012, 03:13 PM
Played a few games yesterday, trying to practice implementing the smart targets. Had great success initially, then my friend picked up on it and started cheating towards his crosscourt side, particularly on forehands. Since i was treating it as practice, I didn't hit DTL to keep him honest. I noticed that he would cut off the angled forehand and kill me with the DTL shot. Did that perhaps 5 times, and I thought I was pretty well placed, slightly right of the center line. Which made me think- if the angle draws him out, should I also be cheating to the left, and leave him the extreme crosscourt angle?

NE1for10is?
07-22-2012, 06:34 AM
Pretty much the same targets for dubs, but now the Avoid Area becomes a 3rd target,
as it between them and maybe the best target in dubs.
For a general reference I use the 3 Ts.
You have the center one and the 2 side Ts.

Use them for line of shot more than actually hitting them;
sometimes hitting just past them, sometimes short of them or
even shading to one side or another of one of them.
Use them only as a references,
but excellent references!

I'm looking forward to drilling and applying this to singles as soon as I can. Being able to hit angles as well as hitting down the center too much has always been a thorn in my side.

I would be very interested in seeing this applied towards doubles. Unfortunately, the graphics that the OP posts don't show up for me on this thread, so I can't see the 'avoid zone' areas and I'm having difficulty visualizing this as applied for doubles.

Can someone post a graphic of the target areas for doubles?

5263
07-22-2012, 06:51 AM
I'm looking forward to drilling and applying this to singles as soon as I can. Being able to hit angles as well as hitting down the center too much has always been a thorn in my side.

I would be very interested in seeing this applied towards doubles. Unfortunately, the graphics that the OP posts don't show up for me on this thread, so I can't see the 'avoid zone' areas and I'm having difficulty visualizing this as applied for doubles.

Can someone post a graphic of the target areas for doubles?

For doubles-
It is pretty easy to just imagine targets near the center T and both side Ts.
Use the center T for hitting between the opponents
and the side T for heavy crosscourt and down the lines.

For singles, the center T is the avoid for about 6' in any direction, and
the both side Ts are ON the line, so we have to move in about 2' with
the target, right?

Remember these are mainly for creating shot paths or vectors and not so much
to actually hit the targets. My mindset is to clear the net and go hard at the
target. I usually end up flying or overshooting the target a bit (2-8'), but that
matters little cause it still will stay in due to the shorter nature of the targets.

The triangle aspect of the targets relates more to singles and using the botton
2 cones as gates or a funnel to the target area and/or shot vectors.

Also remember the big idea here is to focus on shot vectors that allow us to stay
clear of the lines, where you may miss, get cheated, or get a bad call.

NE1for10is?
07-22-2012, 12:28 PM
For doubles-
It is pretty easy to just imagine targets near the center T and both side Ts.
Use the center T for hitting between the opponents
and the side T for heavy crosscourt and down the lines.

For singles, the center T is the avoid for about 6' in any direction, and
the both side Ts are ON the line, so we have to move in about 2' with
the target, right?

Remember these are mainly for creating shot paths or vectors and not so much
to actually hit the targets. My mindset is to clear the net and go hard at the
target. I usually end up flying or overshooting the target a bit (2-8'), but that
matters little cause it still will stay in due to the shorter nature of the targets.

The triangle aspect of the targets relates more to singles and using the botton
2 cones as gates or a funnel to the target area and/or shot vectors.

Also remember the big idea here is to focus on shot vectors that allow us to stay
clear of the lines, where you may miss, get cheated, or get a bad call.

Thanks! I just applied that very effectively in a doubles match this morning. We won against a decent team, but more than that, I found that by having those simple targets to shoot for I was able to keep the opponent off balance more easily and limit my dumb errors I would have normally made due to poor shot selection, and hitting angles I never usually hit. I found myself forgetting to hit the targets on overheads and shooting up the middle, only to have the ball come back again and again. Once I realized this and started hitting the overheads for the targets they couldn't get them back. I'm looking forward to trying it out for singles.

5263
07-22-2012, 05:20 PM
Thanks! I just applied that very effectively in a doubles match this morning. We won against a decent team, but more than that, I found that by having those simple targets to shoot for I was able to keep the opponent off balance more easily and limit my dumb errors I would have normally made due to poor shot selection, and hitting angles I never usually hit. I found myself forgetting to hit the targets on overheads and shooting up the middle, only to have the ball come back again and again. Once I realized this and started hitting the overheads for the targets they couldn't get them back. I'm looking forward to trying it out for singles.

Sounds like it was a fun outing. I think you experienced how nice it is to have
good default targets to use when you aren't doing something else specific and even
when you are working something else, these targets can play a role at times.
Nice job!

Timbo's hopeless slice
07-22-2012, 05:22 PM
You seen the thread about rec layers having no plan at all?

hard to believe, yet at least a couple of posters have agreed!

5263
07-22-2012, 05:26 PM
You seen the thread about rec layers having no plan at all?

hard to believe, yet at least a couple of posters have agreed!

I am also going to post that I agree, as I think the extent of the ones who
do have a plan amounts to almost no plan.
I don't even think connico is right that tournament players all have plans, or
at least a decent one anyway.

90% of what I hear from rec players is something like who to hit to or looking for Bhs.
A few other things like be aggressive or be consistent. I don't think those are much of
a plan.

5263
07-26-2012, 08:12 PM
It works great.
It quickly made me aware that I tend to hit thru the middle of the court much too often.

After just about a half dozen sessions with the cones I already feel more comfortable hitting to the triangles. I usually take some pace off and eventually will work on getting more power to these locations. It is a great illustration that placement is more important than hitting hard.

I really like reading how this helped you to realize how often you were hitting
down the middle.

On the part I underlined above....I'd like to put that another way just a bit...
and say that your "line of shot" with reasonable power for your level, is more
important than just banging it hard OR hitting for placement near lines.
What do you thinK?

connico
07-26-2012, 08:33 PM
I am also going to post that I agree, as I think the extent of the ones who
do have a plan amounts to almost no plan.
I don't even think connico is right that tournament players all have plans, or
at least a decent one anyway.

90% of what I hear from rec players is something like who to hit to or looking for Bhs.
A few other things like be aggressive or be consistent. I don't think those are much of a plan.

They are still plans. No one walks blindly into a match... hitting smart targets.. that's a plan...

5263
07-26-2012, 08:43 PM
They are still plans. No one walks blindly into a match... hitting smart targets.. that's a plan...

Yes, hitting to Smart Targets is a basic plan and how to use them and work
with them is a higher level plan.
Are you still arguing the "straw man" about the literal meaning of "No plan".
I think most of the reasonable posters have excepted that the intent was
related to not having much of a plan and not tailoring play to the opponent.
A few of you seem stuck on a very literal interpretation of the statement.
Either way, posters like me made the allowance that players have very basic
plans, and then went on to discuss how they fell far short, so your comment
directed to me makes no sense.

connico
07-26-2012, 09:30 PM
Yes, hitting to Smart Targets is a basic plan and how to use them and work
with them is a higher level plan.
Are you still arguing the "straw man" about the literal meaning of "No plan".
I think most of the reasonable posters have excepted that the intent was
related to not having much of a plan and not tailoring play to the opponent.
A few of you seem stuck on a very literal interpretation of the statement.
Either way, posters like me made the allowance that players have very basic
plans, and then went on to discuss how they fell far short, so your comment
directed to me makes no sense.

lol, makes perfects sense to me. The majority of REC players have plans and don't win by luck. No matter how crap, insignificant, poor, shoddy, obvious etc.. the plan is its still a plan.

The op's quote in that particular thread is a sweeping statement that is incorrect and belittles every rec player there is. Labelling REC tennis plays as nothing by monkey's swinging blindly.

5263
07-28-2012, 07:01 PM
lol, makes perfects sense to me. The majority of REC players have plans and don't win by luck. No matter how crap, insignificant, poor, shoddy, obvious etc.. the plan is its still a plan.

The op's quote in that particular thread is a sweeping statement that is incorrect and belittles every rec player there is. Labelling REC tennis plays as nothing by monkey's swinging blindly.

Ok, your opinion was heard. I also agreed with you if we take the literal meaning, as anyone will.

5263
07-28-2012, 07:19 PM
Thanks very much for your response! The next time I'm hitting with the ball machine, I will put out cones and see how the targeting works, in light of your suggestions and parameters. Then, hopefully, after some good practice sessions, I'll able to utilize the smarter targets effectively in a match setting.

Hit that ball machine yet?

asked_answered
07-29-2012, 01:20 PM
Hit that ball machine yet?

Yes, I have, thanks! I've worked on hitting my forehand and backhand crosscourt into those triangles, while avoiding the central rectangle. It's been very helpful for my consistency.

5263
08-01-2012, 06:35 PM
Yes, I have, thanks! I've worked on hitting my forehand and backhand crosscourt into those triangles, while avoiding the central rectangle. It's been very helpful for my consistency.

Sounds good and look forward to hearing about you using it well in some
match play!

5263
08-17-2012, 08:05 AM
Yes, I have, thanks! I've worked on hitting my forehand and backhand crosscourt into those triangles, while avoiding the central rectangle. It's been very helpful for my consistency.

Maybe we can hear how some of your matchplay has gone with this.

If you can learn to use these targets with higher net clearance on rally shots, and flatter trajectory
on mid court attacks, it can help greatly, even if it mainly
just keeps your balls out of the avoid area.

Another important aspect is that Smart Targets will help you avoid the fatal step/hit pass
when you approach with a powerful approach shot.
Step/hit pass is when you get a mid ct ball and blast it within a step or 2 of the
opponent as you come to net. It may work fine against weak players, but good
ones will take a step and redirect your power into a pass that comes by you
before you can transition thru no-man's land. The combination of your power and
their short travel distance leaves you caught in no-mans land. Remember this
if someone uses a power approach on you where you can just take 1 step or so
to reach their shot. Your pass does not have to be the best due to their poor position.

By hitting to the Smart Target away from your opponent, you put them on the move,
and when they are moving you can too! You can use their moving time to execute a
successful transition to good net position...even when using a power approach shot
and avoiding being the victim of a step/hit passing shot.

bhupaes
08-17-2012, 01:30 PM
I am doing much better in matches using smart targets - so thanks again, 5263! I still tend to aim a little safer, but hit harder. Due to natural variation in shots, a lot of them hit just the right spot. It's amazing how this forces the opponent to move, and keeps them on the defense. I realized (the hard way, of course :) ) that it's important to hit to the target area that's further away from the opponent, whenever possible. Very few people hit well when they are forced to move, it seems...

Roforot
08-18-2012, 03:17 AM
One thing I would add is to practice hitting these targets from different depths. I usually stay at the baseline, but played a guy who's rally ball had so much spin, I had to play 6-7' behind the baseline. This actually makes the court look a lot different and I found especially on my BH side I had trouble keeping the ball out of the "avoid" box.

I've also started practicing hitting short balls; I typically aim for the deep target but because this guy was set up behind the baseline, those shots didn't really rush him and actually were in his strike zone. I realize I need to aim "short" and angle between the two up targets to take advantage of his court position.

asked_answered
08-18-2012, 06:23 AM
Maybe we can hear how some of your matchplay has gone with this.

If you can learn to use these targets with higher net clearance on rally shots, and flatter trajectory
on mid court attacks, it can help greatly, even if it mainly
just keeps your balls out of the avoid area.

Another important aspect is that Smart Targets will help you avoid the fatal step/hit pass
when you approach with a powerful approach shot.
Step/hit pass is when you get a mid ct ball and blast it within a step or 2 of the
opponent as you come to net. It may work fine against weak players, but good
ones will take a step and redirect your power into a pass that comes by you
before you can transition thru no-man's land. The combination of your power and
their short travel distance leaves you caught in no-mans land. Remember this
if someone uses a power approach on you where you can just take 1 step or so
to reach their shot. Your pass does not have to be the best due to their poor position.

By hitting to the Smart Target away from your opponent, you put them on the move,
and when they are moving you can too! You can use their moving time to execute a
successful transition to good net position...even when using a power approach shot
and avoiding being the victim of a step/hit passing shot.

The only competitive matches I've had this summer have been with my weekly practice match partner, a 4.0. (I'm a 3.5.) My practice partner hits really strong, well-placed shots with good consistency. So, I definitely have to hit to the smarter targets to stay in rallies (and occasionally win them). He's particularly adept at hitting winners off my weak replies that land in the middle of the court (what I call the Rectangle of Death). I have, therefore, lots of incentive to hit to the smarter targets, when I play someone like my practice partner.

As for approach shots, my practice partner is exactly the type of player who can smash a fast approach shot back at my feet or past me, if I don't make him run first. (He'll still pass me on an approach shot made into a smarter target zone because he's a good player, and my approach shot is a work in progress.)

Thanks for the tips!

5263
08-18-2012, 04:35 PM
I am doing much better in matches using smart targets - so thanks again, 5263! I still tend to aim a little safer, but hit harder. Due to natural variation in shots, a lot of them hit just the right spot. It's amazing how this forces the opponent to move, and keeps them on the defense. I realized (the hard way, of course :) ) that it's important to hit to the target area that's further away from the opponent, whenever possible. Very few people hit well when they are forced to move, it seems...

You make some good points. I think it is always good to put the opponent on the
move except when you need to put the ball back where it came from.

By the way, has anyone notice Li Na hitting more topspin and using the
smart targets more since she got her new coach Carlos?
Sure looks that way against Venus.

Ballinbob
08-18-2012, 05:27 PM
I've been practicing smart targets for ~1 month now and I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with the results. Beat a guy 6-3,6-3 today who I have never beaten before in my life. Every rally we had he was running much more than I was and was being pulled out wide much more than I was. Every time he tried to change the direction of the ball I just hit it back cross court to the other smart target. I wore him down by the end of the match and I was able to come through against a guy who has always gotten the best of me.

I'm not really hitting the ball any harder than I was before, just using more spin and making a conscious effort to hit my spots. I've been much more consistent using this strategy, and it feels pretty good.

Just one thing though guys- Be careful of hitting a really slow, really short looper cross court. Just because you are going for a bit more angle with these smart targets doesn't mean you have to take a ton of pace off your normal shot. Did that a lot when starting out until I figured out you can hit a pretty heavy topspin shot and still hit the angle- no need to push or anything. I feel like the topspin helps alot

Anyway just felt like I owed you a thank you. I had hit a plateau in my game before this, feels good to be improving again and seeing positive results in match play

5263
08-18-2012, 05:44 PM
I've been practicing smart targets for ~1 month now and I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with the results. Beat a guy 6-3,6-3 today who I have never beaten before in my life. Every rally we had he was running much more than I was and was being pulled out wide much more than I was. Every time he tried to change the direction of the ball I just hit it back cross court to the other smart target. I wore him down by the end of the match and I was able to come through against a guy who has always gotten the best of me.

I'm not really hitting the ball any harder than I was before, just using more spin and making a conscious effort to hit my spots. I've been much more consistent using this strategy, and it feels pretty good.

Just one thing though guys- Be careful of hitting a really slow, really short looper cross court. Just because you are going for a bit more angle with these smart targets doesn't mean you have to take a ton of pace off your normal shot. Did that a lot when starting out until I figured out you can hit a pretty heavy topspin shot and still hit the angle- no need to push or anything. I feel like the topspin helps alot

Anyway just felt like I owed you a thank you. I had hit a plateau in my game before this, feels good to be improving again and seeing positive results in match play

Excellent post and story! You make an excellent point about slow rollers; a slow roller must be a deeper ball.
These smart targets are for crisply or harder
hit balls. If anything, the safety of these targets being away from the lines
should lead to being able to cut lose and hit with more pace...not less.

I appreciate the thank you and glad to hear how it is helping you!
Thanks for the helpful comments on how to use these targets.

5263
08-19-2012, 06:36 AM
One thing I would add is to practice hitting these targets from different depths. I usually stay at the baseline, but played a guy who's rally ball had so much spin, I had to play 6-7' behind the baseline. This actually makes the court look a lot different and I found especially on my BH side I had trouble keeping the ball out of the "avoid" box.

I've also started practicing hitting short balls; I typically aim for the deep target but because this guy was set up behind the baseline, those shots didn't really rush him and actually were in his strike zone. I realize I need to aim "short" and angle between the two up targets to take advantage of his court position.

Another good post illustrating the versatility of using this approach.
By opting to go wider at times and working the deeper aspect at times, you can
really use these targets to give different looks to your opponent.
I also like your point about some practice to hit them from different parts of the court.
I would prioritize the mid ct looks first (including volleys and overheads), then BL rally area, then also
focus on how you would use them from deep behind the BL.
Very good point you bring up on this!

maleyoyo
08-20-2012, 08:01 AM
I too have been practicing smart targets with a ball machine for 3 months and find it particularly helpful for consistencies with my cross court shots. I do well with medium pace topspin shots. I find the up and across FH works well for me.
I’d do much better now against players at my level comparing to a couple of months ago.
Now I need to take it to the next level since I play more with stronger players now, and I need more spin and pace for those targets. Otherwise they will make me run all day.
The obvious would be to swing harder with more spin or angles, but it is not easy as it sounds.
Just played a tourney and lost badly 2-6, 2-6 to a mid 4.5 because he has better quality smart target shots. I was forced to hit deeper to stay in the points and hitting long as a result.
How should I practice to improve?

5263
08-20-2012, 08:34 AM
I too have been practicing smart targets with a ball machine for 3 months and find it particularly helpful for consistencies with my cross court shots. I do well with medium pace topspin shots. I find the up and across FH works well for me.
I’d do much better now against players at my level comparing to a couple of months ago.
Now I need to take it to the next level since I play more with stronger players now, and I need more spin and pace for those targets. Otherwise they will make me run all day.
The obvious would be to swing harder with more spin or angles, but it is not easy as it sounds.
Just played a tourney and lost badly 2-6, 2-6 to a mid 4.5 because he has better quality smart target shots. I was forced to hit deeper to stay in the points and hitting long as a result.
How should I practice to improve?

Sounds like you are on the right track and improving already, but
I would suggest that you don't have to use the part of the target near the
lines,
and by moving away from the lines, you should be able to cut loose with your
power more. If not, the strokes probably need more work.

A big aspect of the Smart Targets is to give a very general idea of where to
hit that is quite safe from missing near the lines...so you can hit strongly!

5263
08-20-2012, 12:44 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick3391

Should I just teach him to stand two feet behind the baseline and kill it? Hope the other guy makes an error? I don't mean to sound sarcastic, just a bit frustrated..
------
my answer
No good player plays in this fashion above.

A good player hits aggressively from the baseline for 2 main reasons.
a. gets errors from opponents
b. keeps the opponent on his heels a bit and from attacking him

the errors he gets from his opponent are some times UE's winning the point for him, but
more often they come more in the form of a shorter ball that is attackable.
That is level 2 of todays game...attacking these shorter, easy balls.
A whole extra layer of skills and decisions.
You are correct that most avg players never develop this layer ...or the next level 3 of
closing out the point after attacking the shorter easy ball...usually with overheads and volleys.
_____________

post in another thread about the 3 levels of todays tennis imo.

5263
08-22-2012, 12:05 PM
A big aspect of the Smart Targets is to give a very general idea of where to
hit that is quite safe from missing near the lines...so you can hit strongly!

Another big aspect is about knowing where to avoid hitting, so it makes it much
tougher for your opponent to take control over the point.

5263
08-23-2012, 06:44 AM
below is a post of a father whose daughter learned from the standard traditional type coaching and is now struggling with the change she needs
to compete.

To the OP, listen to this post. I am living this now as a tennis parent. I have a 16-yo daughter that plays on the HS team.

Her coach is as old-school as they get and she is a flat hitter with completely linear groundstrokes. What has become apparent after about 10 USTA tournaments is that her very consistent groundstrokes start to break down whenever she plays someone that hits with some spin and can move her around. At every tournament, the successful juniors are hitting a modern forehand, open stance, finish across the body, etc. Even the 10 & 12 year olds. They have good topspin and a huge margin for error. They are spinning the ball in within an 8-foot window and she is hitting hard trying stay within a 3' foot window over the net.

In addition, the opponents love her hard flat strokes. She is trying to learn to deal with the higher bouncing topspin shots of her opponents. I could go on about the situation but I think you get the picture.

Good example of why I think it is so important to start out with the strokes that
give you potential to be a tougher competitor; and they are easier to execute anyway!

5263
08-24-2012, 05:40 AM
A good example of where the smart targets would help.

In FYB, Grip it and Rip it, they work on attacking mid ct balls back to the deep middle. While I do like that target for returning 1st serves at times, it seems a
poor idea for mid ct balls. Even in the drill there were many missed deep and the drill done to the middle lacked the positioning on the ball required to get to better targets.

IMO it would be much better to move the feeder around some, but mainly work the
drill at one or both of the smart targets, incorporating a more useful and safer target goal.

Chillaxer
08-24-2012, 05:53 AM
Ok, redrew it, you can see the triangles
http://i43.tinypic.com/abkplf.jpg

I definitely understand more after the clarificaiton, and interesting enough, the vast majority of djokovics shots are in those two triangles. It definitely is more interesting to think about than the old adage of "hit deep"

I think a major problem i have struggled with myself is I haven't focused on hitting to zones, or smart targets as you refer to them (which I like). And the next time i'm on the court I will definitely be thinking about these and focusing on hitting into these zones when i am in an attacking position.

Have you got any comparisons with other players?

5263
08-24-2012, 06:27 AM
Have you got any comparisons with other players?

There are several sprinkled into this thread that were provided by posters.
I developed the targets thru charting lots of top matchups.

I was slightly surprised how many landed so near the targets, as these diagrams
are not screened at all. They include shots where the returner has little or no
control over placement, along with several other things to skew them. Even though
the pros tend to favor a bit more to the middle than the target at times,
I think the targets would stand out well when they have a ball they can really direct well.
These diagrams also show how often the pros hit shorter than most expect.

Roforot
08-24-2012, 07:29 AM
Any thoughts on smart targets for serving? I know for many rec players, just getting it in the box is the goal...

5263
08-24-2012, 08:35 AM
Any thoughts on smart targets for serving? I know for many rec players, just getting it in the box is the goal...

Works a little different for serving as you have 3 main targets, 2 avoid zones
and quite a few subtle options off those 3 good targets.

You always have wide, T and in the body.
1st serve with power you are forced pretty much to hit near the line, but OK
since you get another chance.:)
2ond serves use more spin to come down earlier to avoid being as near the lines.
Often you want to have found a weakness or two to target for the second serve,
like going to the Bh/body, with a kicker.

Subtle options for example- body serve has Fh/body, Bh/body, and straight at body, along with each of these have the option of being a kick, slice or flat.

Out wide can be kick, slice, or flat too, and also can vary in how wide.

2 Avoid zones are hitting into "step/hit" to Fh or Bh where they take one step and rtn it.
You can serve to either one if it is a major weakness though.
T serve can be kick, slice, or flat as well.
hope this helps? Did I get your question?

njboy
08-26-2012, 04:40 AM
Can not see it.

5263
08-26-2012, 09:19 AM
Can not see it.

sorry, don't know why.

slowfox
08-26-2012, 03:12 PM
Hey 5263: Based on your specs, this is a scale image I made. Look okay?

Blue = Smart Targets
Red = Avoid Area

http://i45.tinypic.com/2mmei5d.png

5263
08-26-2012, 04:04 PM
Yes, Really nice job!

Keep in mind the triangles are targets, but not so much to hit inside them,
but to work different areas in and near them...more of a Reference.
For example, hitting dtl, you would likely clear the first dtl cone and try bounce
on or just past the second dtl cone.

If you were looking to hit a short angled slice or volley, then should try to go
on a line for the shortest dtl cone and bounce right before it.
Or for a inside out, you would like to bounce it just past the more middle cone,
but before the deepest dtl cone; for more angle, more into the target, but
for more depth, then work the inside out just to the deeper side more in line with the corner.
Make sense?

Again, great diagram! thanks

njboy
08-26-2012, 04:56 PM
Hey 5263: Based on your specs, this is a scale image I made. Look okay?

Blue = Smart Targets
Red = Avoid Area

http://i45.tinypic.com/2mmei5d.png

Do you think so? Not easy to hit into the zone.

njboy
08-26-2012, 04:58 PM
Hey 5263: Based on your specs, this is a scale image I made. Look okay?

Blue = Smart Targets
Red = Avoid Area

http://i45.tinypic.com/2mmei5d.png
Not easy to hit into the zone

5263
08-26-2012, 06:36 PM
Not easy to hit into the zone

did you read post #235?
about how they are more of a reference.
and
also a method of staying out of the red avoid zone.

also makes more sense if you realize that the cones won't be on the
court during a real match, so clearly they will be just a reference,
and you are just judging if you are using the court zones right.

slowfox
08-26-2012, 06:42 PM
nj - Just stay outta the red, and hit past the service line. Like 5263 says, the targets are just reference. Get it into the general vicinity and you're good.

5263
08-28-2012, 12:25 PM
nj - Just stay outta the red, and hit past the service line. Like 5263 says, the targets are just reference. Get it into the general vicinity and you're good.

Yep, just a good reference, but hitting them is fine of course, while I might seek
to work a certain volley closer to net well inside the target for a sharper angle.etc...

I think using parts of the targets for a default target when you don't KNOW something better to do, works very well. Also staying away from the avoid zone
is super important, but really helps to have a suggestion where to go, than just
being told where not to go!

5263
08-29-2012, 09:47 PM
Murray put on a clinic with Smart Targets vs Dodig in their match.
Anybody catch a diagram for the bounce points?

Power Player
08-30-2012, 05:42 AM
No but I am finding that my shots are a lot easier to drop in the zone now. This is a technique that rewards the loopier, spin heavy stroke style. I was hitting too flat for a while due to my string setup.

Example..had my opponent on duece side, and he was only able to punch back shorter returns since I had him out of position. I hit the easiest shot from about 3 feet in the baseline, which was straight ahead and right at him. His returns were staying just low enough to where I did not feel 100% about going inside out to the ad side for the winner.

So I hit 4 straight balls in that zone right at him. probably landed 3 feet inside the baseline and were rather hard with a lot of top. Basically a shot I felt like I could hit 100 times in a row if I had to. After 4 of them he made the error. My logic was that by freezing him just enough to think I may go inside out, it would mess up his timing and he would cheat and give me a clean winner or make an error.

for me, this was smart tennis and before I probably would have gone for the inside out winner before and missed by a few inches. I could be wrong, but the way I apply all this logic is to now only go for winners when everything is perfect (feet are set up exactly how I want, spacing is good, ball is in my zone).

I find this helps a lot of approach shots, since I think a lot of players come at a short ball thinking about their stroke first. I think of my feet first now..are they setup, am I spaced properly, am i prepared? If any of those things are off, I play a safer shot and don't go for an off balance winner (which is usually going to be a UE).

To really embrace the shot placement described in this thread you need to have a lot of confidence in your strokes and not be afraid to play longer points.

5263
08-30-2012, 03:16 PM
No but I am finding that my shots are a lot easier to drop in the zone now. This is a technique that rewards the loopier, spin heavy stroke style. I was hitting too flat for a while due to my string setup.
Yes, works fine for loopy, but even better for more driven, but biting TS shots as well as low skidding slices,
especially when vectored away from the opponent.

I also really like your willingness to pin them to a side and go back there with several shots in a
row before busting out.


I could be wrong, but the way I apply all this logic is to now only go for winners when everything is perfect (feet are set up exactly how I want, spacing is good, ball is in my zone).


Pretty much got it here. I wouldn't say perfect, but set things up pretty nice before pulling the trigger and with things set up well, pulling the trigger does not
have to be as super aggressive to get results.

The other Major point is to be aggressive with Rally shots, but without missing due to Smarter Targeting! Good Pace and Biting TS will work well with these
conservative targets where you can hit quite hard without missing. I you can hit 4-5 hard shots with some pretty good TS...very likely you will force them
into error or get the attackable ball with a very nice set up!

Power Player
08-31-2012, 10:40 AM
I you can hit 4-5 hard shots with some pretty good TS...very likely you will force them
into error or get the attackable ball with a very nice set up!

Yes, this is what I am doing now. I do hit pretty driving shots as well. My opponent told me last time that he simply was overpowered and was just trying to get the ball back.

The key part about that is this guy is no slouch and will jump all over anything short. So what I am doing is making sure to push him back on balls that he hits to corners so I dont give up short balls. That is a key part to address. If I get pulled wide, I notice a huge change in success rate if I put the ball back deep. It keeps them from really attacking the shot, and instead can get me back to the center of the court, and then able to reset and hit the targets again.

NE1for10is?
08-31-2012, 12:19 PM
Murray put on a clinic with Smart Targets vs Dodig in their match.
Anybody catch a diagram for the bounce points?

I was there watching the match at Ashe with some friends who aren't as tennis literate and I pointed out that very same thing. They asked why Dodig was losing even though he was belting the ball pretty well. I told them Dodig was always hitting down the middle and always seemed off balance and Murray was always on balance, hitting angles and making Dodig run side to side, and it's always a lot harder to stay on balance when you have to hit the ball on the run. So, yes I was very aware of the smart targets in that match. It may partly explain why Dodig only gets to a certain level.

5263
08-31-2012, 01:23 PM
I was there watching the match at Ashe with some friends who aren't as tennis literate and I pointed out that very same thing. They asked why Dodig was losing even though he was belting the ball pretty well. I told them Dodig was always hitting down the middle and always seemed off balance and Murray was always on balance, hitting angles and making Dodig run side to side, and it's always a lot harder to stay on balance when you have to hit the ball on the run. So, yes I was very aware of the smart targets in that match. It may partly explain why Dodig only gets to a certain level.

I think it clearly is a part of why Dodig does not compete better. Did you also
notice he had occasional great points and how in most of those, he worked the
Smart Targets better, along with avoiding the Avoid zone.

5263
08-31-2012, 01:26 PM
I notice a huge change in success rate if I put the ball back deep. It keeps them from really attacking the shot, and instead can get me back to the center of the court, and then able to reset and hit the targets again.

Yes, imo this is when more depth can be important...when defending a tough shot
where you don't have the control to drive to a better target with authority.

5263
09-05-2012, 09:14 AM
Chris Evert just comment on how often the shorter shot works better, because
today's players are so comfortable behind the baseline area and the short shot
on an angle to one side causes them to move much further.

Watched several games of Sherapova where she was hitting shorter targets
consistently as well.

5263
09-06-2012, 06:08 AM
Anyone notice when Fed was playing poor against Berdych, how he was hitting
very near the lines,
then how his play was much better during the 3rd set as he hit more in the
Smart Target areas?
Also notice how each of them attacked so well when balls were hit to the center T avoid area?

I got several emails and calls from players who noticed this last nite.

Could say more but don't want to ruin the result for those who have recorded
the match for later.

Greg G
09-06-2012, 06:58 AM
You mean Berdych? :)