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justinyyang
12-26-2012, 06:57 AM
Here's a small clip of me rallying against my friend. It's my first time recording myself and I was using an iPhone 4S so this was the best angle that I could get. Please give me your thoughts about how you think I could improve my game based on this video. I know it may be a little vague, but I am open to trying anything except for switching my grips. Please be nice. :) Thank you.

The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXTP00TyG6U

Before you watch the video, please take a minute to read about my "tennis identity."

My Current Status
Age: 19
Height: 5'7"
Weight: Approximately 260lbs

How long have I been playing? I have been playing for about six years now. I started during my freshman year of high school (2007) and have been hooked ever since. My stature has been pretty consistent throughout my years of playing tennis. I have always been one of the "bigger" tennis players, but that hasn't stopped me from beating an array of opponents. It actually played to my favor because no one ever expected much from me especially when I was the 3rd and 2nd seeds on my high school team.

Have I taken any lessons? I took one week's worth of lessons. It was a group lesson though and the only thing I learned from it was how to hit a forehand with a short-swing. I haven't gone back ever since. Other than that, I am completely self-taught. I primarily taught myself by reading instructional books that had pictures. I never really watched any instructional videos. I only watched highlights of professional matches online, but that was mainly for my own enjoyment not self-instruction.

Am I right-handed or left-handed? I am left-handed, however, I play tennis with my right hand. I kind of wish that I had started playing with my left though.

Which grips do I use? I use an eastern forehand grip and an eastern backhand grip. I just recently switched back to a single-handed backhand (two months now). I was using the two-hander before (for about two years), but also incorporated a single-hander here and there depending on the situation.

Do I play regularly? Ever since I graduated from high school (class of 2011), I haven't been able to play regularly. I used to play every single day though before I graduated. Now I play about once a week or once every two weeks.

Current racquet of choice? I currently play with the Volk Power Bridge 10 Light in stock form. I'm not feeling quite as agile as I was in high school so I needed something that would still gave me an "old school" feel, but in a lighter form. I also have minute wrist problems, but they seem to have disappeared ever since I got the Volkl. I used to use older racquets such as the P.O.G. OS and MS and a Donnay Super Mid Touring.

*Please feel free to ask me any questions.*

luvforty
12-26-2012, 07:49 AM
not bad.. I'd suggest the following -

- technically the video didn't show much.. FH is decent, BH is flawed (armed)... perhaps next time you can show volleys (as important as groundies) and serves (most important)

- to improve, you really need to increase the intensity.. play games/sets, find tougher opponents.... the score is the ultimate judge where/how much you need improvement :)

justinyyang
12-26-2012, 08:01 AM
not bad.. I'd suggest the following -

- technically the video didn't show much.. FH is decent, BH is flawed (armed)... perhaps next time you can show volleys (as important as groundies) and serves (most important)

- to improve, you really need to increase the intensity.. play games/sets, find tougher opponents.... the score is the ultimate judge where/how much you need improvement :)

My backhand does need a lot of work. I will definitely show more in my next video.

I understand where you're coming from with your second statement. My "better" peers are away at college right now and I don't get to play with them much, only during the summer. I also only play tennis recreationally now. I don't really plan on playing any tournaments anytime soon, however, I don't want my game to deterioate either so I will definitely try to find more hitting partners that are equally as good or even better (preffered) and are willing to play games with me.

The guy that I was hitting with in the video doesn't give me much to work with. He's a powerhead and always go for the winning shot. That's not the point of "rallying" or "practicing" to me. I had to beg him to at least rally with me before I shot the video. He also doesn't like to play games that much either, but he's all I got so I have to deal with it.

slowfox
12-26-2012, 09:45 AM
The guy that I was hitting with in the video doesn't give me much to work with. He's a powerhead and always go for the winning shot. That's not the point of "rallying" or "practicing" to me. I had to beg him to at least rally with me before I shot the video. He also doesn't like to play games that much either, but he's all I got so I have to deal with it.

Perhaps consider a ball machine session to help groove your backhand. Guys that go for winners all the time during "practice" can be a waste. You spend more time picking up balls than actually hitting.

sunof tennis
12-26-2012, 09:50 AM
Here's a small clip of me rallying against my friend. It's my first time recording myself and I was using an iPhone 4S so this was the best angle that I could get. Please give me your thoughts about how you think I could improve my game based on this video. I know it may be a little vague, but I am open to trying anything except for switching my grips. Please be nice. :) Thank you.

The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXTP00TyG6U

Before you watch the video, please take a minute to read about my "tennis identity."

My Current Status
Age: 19
Height: 5'7"
Weight: Approximately 260lbs

How long have I been playing? I have been playing for about six years now. I started during my freshman year of high school (2007) and have been hooked ever since. My stature has been pretty consistent throughout my years of playing tennis. I have always been one of the "bigger" tennis players, but that hasn't stopped me from beating an array of opponents. It actually played to my favor because no one ever expected much from me especially when I was the 3rd and 2nd seeds on my high school team.

Have I taken any lessons? I took one week's worth of lessons. It was a group lesson though and the only thing I learned from it was how to hit a forehand with a short-swing. I haven't gone back ever since. Other than that, I am completely self-taught. I primarily taught myself by reading instructional books that had pictures. I never really watched any instructional videos. I only watched highlights of professional matches online, but that was mainly for my own enjoyment not self-instruction.

Am I right-handed or left-handed? I am left-handed, however, I play tennis with my right hand. I kind of wish that I had started playing with my left though.

Which grips do I use? I use an eastern forehand grip and an eastern backhand grip. I just recently switched back to a single-handed backhand (two months now). I was using the two-hander before (for about two years), but also incorporated a single-hander here and there depending on the situation.

Do I play regularly? Ever since I graduated from high school (class of 2011), I haven't been able to play regularly. I used to play every single day though before I graduated. Now I play about once a week or once every two weeks.

Current racquet of choice? I currently play with the Volk Power Bridge 10 Light in stock form. I'm not feeling quite as agile as I was in high school so I needed something that would still gave me an "old school" feel, but in a lighter form. I also have minute wrist problems, but they seem to have disappeared ever since I got the Volkl. I used to use older racquets such as the P.O.G. OS and MS and a Donnay Super Mid Touring.

*Please feel free to ask me any questions.*

I think your forehand is pretty good. One main problem with both your strokes (although it is more evident on the backhand) is that you are often late. Get prepared earlier. On both strokes you clearly need more unit turn (again, especially on the backhand). Thus, the arming comment from the other poster. Check out the Lock and Roll video for agood example of the forehand. On the backhand, your turn should be enough that your back can be seen by your opponent. Last, and maybe the most critical problem with your backahnad is the lack of racquethead spead. It actually looks like you are deccelerating as you are going forward with your swing.
I hate to mention this, but if you are serious about getting good, it will require you to become more physically fit.

luvforty
12-26-2012, 10:33 AM
very often a wall can provide better workout than a hitting partner who can't keep the ball in the court.

anubis
12-26-2012, 12:01 PM
To me, you're stopping all of your motions too quickly. Your BH and FH stop unnecessarily after you make contact with the ball. Since that appears to be a conscious effort, that means you're likely slowing down all of your strokes prematurely as well.

This means you don't have much access to power, spin and pace.

I'd concentrate on not stopping yourself, but follow through with your whole body.

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

In this video, see how Fed follows through all the way? His stroke only stops because his arm runs into his body. In your videos, you are stopping your motion in front of your face. You still have quite a distance to go, and that extra distance around your body/shoulder is needed for many things, such as balance, pace and spin.

The same can be said of the backhand, though a little less so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX7CcDIkMhE

In this video, the only reason his swinging arm stops is because it won't go much further than it is, but he's not necessarily stopping the whole motion.

Swinging through without pause and hesitation can lead to much greater control and consistency.

good luck!

treblings
12-26-2012, 12:56 PM
you´re frequently late with your strokes. try to prepare earlier, work on your split step and unit turn. you will find a lot of good posts that deal with these aspects.
i would also suggest a slice backhand, that really helps when your footwork isn´t that good.

corners
12-26-2012, 02:01 PM
Hi Justin, I mean this to be constructive: You're light on your feet for a big man. But this won't last long if you don't lose weight. I can tell that you inherited good foot structure from your parents, which is why you move better and with more grace than most 260 pounders. You're lucky. But pounding hardcourts carrying all that extra weight will permanently ruin your feet before long. I'm serious. Once your arches flatten out you can kiss your springy, smooth movement goodbye, forever. Just imagine how good you'd be minus 100 pounds! Do it!!

Nellie
12-26-2012, 02:58 PM
Some things I would change:

1) no shoulder rotation on the forehand - prepare earlier and with a good shoulder turn (left shoulder pointed at the ball) and swing with a full shoulder turn (finish with right shoulder pointed at your target). Otherwise, all your power is coming from your arm.

2) on the backhand, your shoulders are already rotated (chest pointed at the ball) when you start swinging, so again, you are arming the ball. As an initial improvement, prepare by rotating your shoulders (right shoulder at that ball). Delay that shoulder rotation, and swing straight and through the ball. Rotate the shoulders only after you are well extended. You should feel like you are throwing the racquet through the ball and will fall over if your don't rotate the shoulders.

justinyyang
12-26-2012, 07:07 PM
Perhaps consider a ball machine session to help groove your backhand. Guys that go for winners all the time during "practice" can be a waste. You spend more time picking up balls than actually hitting.

I definitely agree.

justinyyang
12-26-2012, 07:08 PM
I think your forehand is pretty good. One main problem with both your strokes (although it is more evident on the backhand) is that you are often late. Get prepared earlier. On both strokes you clearly need more unit turn (again, especially on the backhand). Thus, the arming comment from the other poster. Check out the Lock and Roll video for agood example of the forehand. On the backhand, your turn should be enough that your back can be seen by your opponent. Last, and maybe the most critical problem with your backahnad is the lack of racquethead spead. It actually looks like you are deccelerating as you are going forward with your swing.
I hate to mention this, but if you are serious about getting good, it will require you to become more physically fit.

Mhm. I noticed that a lot when I was recording this video. I am late a lot. It really depends on the day, but that's no excuse. Thanks for the input. :)

justinyyang
12-26-2012, 07:09 PM
very often a wall can provide better workout than a hitting partner who can't keep the ball in the court.

The best wall to hit against is a 40 minute drive away. If it was closer, I would definitely choose it over the guy. It is much more challenging.

justinyyang
12-26-2012, 07:10 PM
To me, you're stopping all of your motions too quickly. Your BH and FH stop unnecessarily after you make contact with the ball. Since that appears to be a conscious effort, that means you're likely slowing down all of your strokes prematurely as well.

This means you don't have much access to power, spin and pace.

I'd concentrate on not stopping yourself, but follow through with your whole body.

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

In this video, see how Fed follows through all the way? His stroke only stops because his arm runs into his body. In your videos, you are stopping your motion in front of your face. You still have quite a distance to go, and that extra distance around your body/shoulder is needed for many things, such as balance, pace and spin.

The same can be said of the backhand, though a little less so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX7CcDIkMhE

In this video, the only reason his swinging arm stops is because it won't go much further than it is, but he's not necessarily stopping the whole motion.

Swinging through without pause and hesitation can lead to much greater control and consistency.

good luck!

I did notice that I was not completing my strokes when I watched the video. I never realized that until I filmed myself for once. I will definitely check out the videos. Thank you. :)

justinyyang
12-26-2012, 07:11 PM
you´re frequently late with your strokes. try to prepare earlier, work on your split step and unit turn. you will find a lot of good posts that deal with these aspects.
i would also suggest a slice backhand, that really helps when your footwork isn´t that good.

My slice backhand is actually my best shot. I didn't use it in the video though. I've been trying to sustain a driving backhand. Thank you for the input though. :)

justinyyang
12-26-2012, 07:14 PM
Hi Justin, I mean this to be constructive: You're light on your feet for a big man. But this won't last long if you don't lose weight. I can tell that you inherited good foot structure from your parents, which is why you move better and with more grace than most 260 pounders. You're lucky. But pounding hardcourts carrying all that extra weight will permanently ruin your feet before long. I'm serious. Once your arches flatten out you can kiss your springy, smooth movement goodbye, forever. Just imagine how good you'd be minus 100 pounds! Do it!!

Thank you! I get this compliment a lot. People often say, "Man. It looks like your gliding out there." Haha. It is quite a gift that I am proud of. I have considered losing weight. Well I shouldn't consider it...I should do it. I have always thought about how much faster, agile, and better at tennis I would be if I were 100 pounds lighter. I definitely know that I'd be giving my friends a good run instead of then running me, haha. Thank you for the inspiration. I appreciate it. :D

luvforty
12-26-2012, 07:15 PM
The best wall to hit against is a 40 minute drive away. If it was closer, I would definitely choose it over the guy. It is much more challenging.

lol - I used to look for a wall during my road trips, until I figured out this -

strip malls, drug stores, schools.....typically are built with at least one window-less wall facing a big parking lot.

:idea:

TomT
12-26-2012, 07:35 PM
justinyyang, thanks for the vid and bio. Your movement and strokes seem pretty decent to me. I'm not qualified to critique or give advice, but you've gotten some tips already that might help you to improve. Importantly, you seem to have lots of potential.

What I will offer are two suggestions regarding camera angle and video:
1. Imo, it's better to position the camera centered behind you and high enough (eg., hang it on the fence behind you about shoulder height -- or higher and angled very slightly down) to take in the whole court and all the movement of both players.

Side shots, or like the angle in your video, can be used to augment the main, centered behind, camera viewpoint.

2. Edit out everything that isn't actual playing.

samarai
12-26-2012, 07:38 PM
For you to dramatically improve , you are gonna have to get lighter. Not 100 lbs lighter but maybe 40 60 lbs. my hitting partner now lost 160 lbs in 18 months of regular tennis and changing his eating Habits. You can do it. He went from 360 to 200 by I playing tennis 3-4 times per week and eating 6 smaller meals daily. Only snacks on fruit and granola and water.

justinyyang
12-26-2012, 09:25 PM
lol - I used to look for a wall during my road trips, until I figured out this -

strip malls, drug stores, schools.....typically are built with at least one window-less wall facing a big parking lot.

:idea:

Haha. That's a good idea, but I don't want to get caught and then possibly banned from some places, haha.

justinyyang
12-26-2012, 09:28 PM
For you to dramatically improve , you are gonna have to get lighter. Not 100 lbs lighter but maybe 40 60 lbs. my hitting partner now lost 160 lbs in 18 months of regular tennis and changing his eating Habits. You can do it. He went from 360 to 200 by I playing tennis 3-4 times per week and eating 6 smaller meals daily. Only snacks on fruit and granola and water.
Exercising is no problem. Finding time to do it is the problem. Eating healthier and smaller meals is also a problem too. I'm not going to deny that.

justinyyang
12-26-2012, 09:31 PM
justinyyang, thanks for the vid and bio. Your movement and strokes seem pretty decent to me. I'm not qualified to critique or give advice, but you've gotten some tips already that might help you to improve. Importantly, you seem to have lots of potential.

What I will offer are two suggestions regarding camera angle and video:
1. Imo, it's better to position the camera centered behind you and high enough (eg., hang it on the fence behind you about shoulder height -- or higher and angled very slightly down) to take in the whole court and all the movement of both players.

Side shots, or like the angle in your video, can be used to augment the main, centered behind, camera viewpoint.

2. Edit out everything that isn't actual playing.

Thanks for the input. I'm using my iPhone 4S so there aren't many angoes that I can get with it since it doesn't have a wide angle lense that can capture more space.

TomT
12-26-2012, 09:33 PM
Thanks for the input. I'm using my iPhone 4S so there aren't many angoes that I can get with it since it doesn't have a wide angle lense that can capture more space.Then spend a few bucks on a decent vid camera that you can mount in back of you. Just a suggestion. :)

NLBwell
12-26-2012, 10:11 PM
Much of the tennis advice above is good.
The most important thing in your life right now is to get healthy. You will have the onset of diabetes within the next few years and heart problems soon after that.
The weight will make you less and less active and so everything will get worse.
If you can use tennis as the motivation to get a healthy and strong body, that would be terriffic. If you can take the emotions out of it and analytically look at your food and exercise objectively as fuel and body strengthening, you will be on the right path.
Be strong.

TomT
12-26-2012, 10:24 PM
What NLBwell said.

JoeR
12-26-2012, 10:44 PM
Justin,

As a fellow big guy who just turned 40... the biggest advice I can give is to get healthier and lose some weight now, while you're younger.

You'll glide even easier with less weight on your frame.

Aim for small goals... say... 10lbs at a time.
I'm fairly certain you'll notice the difference.

Keep aiming for 10lb drops in your weight... and before you know it... you'll have 50-60lbs gone.

I'm about six foot myself, and was carrying about 240-250 in high school.
I got up to almost 300 a few years ago, and have dropped down to the 230 mark through healthier eating/more activity/etc.

Try not to make the same mistakes I did... I was "fine" until I killed my feet with the extra weight in my early 30s.

Now, I have to be cautious with them.

In fact, I just got back on my feet after a bad ankle sprain on the courts that laid me up for a good 5-6 weeks.

If you'd like any hints/tips/motivation/support, let me know?

NLBwell
12-26-2012, 10:53 PM
We all may act like jerks a lot on the tennis forums, but we do care about you. As I said in a different context, tennis is a cult. You are one of our tribe. We watch out for each other. Expect some rude remarks, but there is a lot of kindness and support for you and your tennis here as JoeR has shown. Whatever your goals are - whether just to play tennis, or bigger things, people here will help you.

user92626
12-27-2012, 12:15 AM
I find that dieting and becoming healthy is gazillion times harder than any tennis technique I came across.

I know plenty of mediocre technique players who have very good results by being skinny and running down all shots. It seems like recreational tennis is ruled by match experience and great fitness. Rarely about techniques and strokes.

justinyyang
12-27-2012, 05:50 AM
Justin,

As a fellow big guy who just turned 40... the biggest advice I can give is to get healthier and lose some weight now, while you're younger.

You'll glide even easier with less weight on your frame.

Aim for small goals... say... 10lbs at a time.
I'm fairly certain you'll notice the difference.

Keep aiming for 10lb drops in your weight... and before you know it... you'll have 50-60lbs gone.

I'm about six foot myself, and was carrying about 240-250 in high school.
I got up to almost 300 a few years ago, and have dropped down to the 230 mark through healthier eating/more activity/etc.

Try not to make the same mistakes I did... I was "fine" until I killed my feet with the extra weight in my early 30s.

Now, I have to be cautious with them.

In fact, I just got back on my feet after a bad ankle sprain on the courts that laid me up for a good 5-6 weeks.

If you'd like any hints/tips/motivation/support, let me know?

I just sent you a message via e-mail through the Talk Tennis server. Check your e-mail that you used to sign up with Talk Tennis and reply back. I'm assuming that you're reply will also be sent via e-mail.

justinyyang
12-27-2012, 05:51 AM
Thank you for the inspiration and drive guys. I won't be offended unless you really give a nasty reply, other than that, I know where you're all coming from.

Thank you. :D

justinyyang
12-27-2012, 05:52 AM
Then spend a few bucks on a decent vid camera that you can mount in back of you. Just a suggestion. :)

I could, but I am a poor college student so yeah, haha.

bhallic24
12-27-2012, 07:16 AM
I could, but I am a poor college student so yeah, haha.

Anyway, you're probably sick of hearing the weight thing. I can only imagine. So I'll comment in reply to something else: your camera.

Here's an idea. No money for a mount? Neither do I. Just follow these steps:

1: Put your Camera in a zip lock bag.
2: Cut a hole in that bag.
3. Make 'em open that bag. No J/K ... for some reason I got that song Dick in a Box stuck in my head now.

let's try again,
3. put a string through that hole. Now you can tie it up on that fence you got there.

justinyyang
12-27-2012, 08:11 AM
Anyway, you're probably sick of hearing the weight thing. I can only imagine. So I'll comment in reply to something else: your camera.

Here's an idea. No money for a mount? Neither do I. Just follow these steps:

1: Put your Camera in a zip lock bag.
2: Cut a hole in that bag.
3. Make 'em open that bag. No J/K ... for some reason I got that song Dick in a Box stuck in my head now.

let's try again,
3. put a string through that hole. Now you can tie it up on that fence you got there.

That's a pretty good idea, haha. My only concern is that the quality of the video will be obscurred by the material of the plastic bag since it's only an phone camera. Maybe I'll make a makeshift mount that will hold my phone without blocking the lense and can still also be sercurely mounted to the fence.

samarai
12-27-2012, 08:16 AM
Yea most of us probably are aware of the hardships of being a debt ridden college student. Try adding another 8 years of post graduate work. Back in the day, a couple of 99 cent wendy's value menu was the daily staple. How I miss those days. Keep at it.

sunof tennis
12-27-2012, 09:51 AM
Exercising is no problem. Finding time to do it is the problem. Eating healthier and smaller meals is also a problem too. I'm not going to deny that.

About a year or so ago, my son, who was just a little younger than you, lost 75 pounds. He did it mostly by eating smaller, healthier meals (and more frequently) along with some exercise. As side benefit to losing weight, his tennis game improved dramatically.

bhallic24
12-27-2012, 09:55 AM
That's a pretty good idea, haha. My only concern is that the quality of the video will be obscurred by the material of the plastic bag since it's only an phone camera. Maybe I'll make a makeshift mount that will hold my phone without blocking the lense and can still also be sercurely mounted to the fence.

just cut a small circular hole around where the iphone camera lens is.

NLBwell
12-27-2012, 10:19 AM
As for the camera, I tape my flip phone to whatever is handy.

ShoeShiner
12-27-2012, 11:13 AM
Strength training especially on legs.
More knees bend when hitting low ball.

andrehanderson
12-27-2012, 02:42 PM
Justin, Ill give you honest advice that might seem rude but I promise you I only intend it as helpful since Ive fluctuated in weight quite a bit throughout my 42 years--from being in great shape to being 60 pounds overweight, back to being in great shape, and to the point Im at now where I need to lose about 20.

Dont settle and dont make excuses. You´re too young to not be able to figure out a way to take a better video if what you want is feedback. You´re too young to settle for being a tennis player who loves the game but can´t reach his practical potential because the only wall is "too far" or you dont want to get kicked out of some strip mall or because your partner just likes to hit hard groundstrokes. There are plenty of sites to find tennis partners and plenty of walls everywhere that you can use.

And the weight will always be a struggle but you cant stop trying to get healthy. I know its easier to just improve your technique and beat who you can beat and never push yourself too far out of your comfort zone, but I promise you that if you manage to lose the weight and get healthy it will not only make you love the game even more, but youll see benefits throughout every aspect of your life.

Anyway, tennis is awesome and you´re awesome for loving the game and playing it well. Now be awesomer. :)

jkm07
12-28-2012, 01:07 PM
Sorry to beat a dead horse, but here's my two cents on the weight issue...

In June, I weighed nearly 240 lbs. but after playing singles against a maddeningly-consistent friend and making smart choices about what to eat, I'm now at 190 lbs. and looking to shed at least 15 more. I'm slightly taller than you at 5'8 in.

The biggest challenge is controlling what food AND how much food we put in our mouths. When first starting out, I think it's too much to ask a person to monitor both the 'what' and 'how much' components -- that's why most diets fail at the beginning.

What really worked for me is focusing on the 'how much' part. Eat what you want, but in portions. Basically it comes down to calorie counting -- 2000 cal per day and only drink water. Yes, it's okay to have chilli cheese fries for lunch, but have breakfast = a bowl of cereal and dinner = something really light (for me, a heavy lunch usually fills me for the rest of the day). Choosing what to eat became easier once I got the calorie counting part down.

I hope it helps and good luck!

badmice2
12-28-2012, 10:55 PM
Your movement is slightly flawed. I see your momentum going backward a lot. You should learn to try and stay even plain as much as possible. Think of this as a defensive player on a football team, you should learn to pick a line and defend again this line. This means that you will need to 1) learn to hit with more balance and/or 2) learn to hit the ball earlier and in front of you. However should you start hitting the ball late agin and again, move that line back further.

By doing so, you'll have to force yourself to move forward as the ball falls short, but have the discipline to move back to the plain. It also adds A LOT of extra foot work and movement that will make you burn more calories.