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luvforty
12-31-2012, 05:20 PM
I'd estimate it's about 15% of what decides winning/losing... yet you look at the first page, half the threads are FHs.

you look at the amateurs out there, adults or jr... in your local club or on youtube... pulling to the left or hitting forward is the last thing these amateurs should be worrying about... usually.

serves are much more important - if you get a sitting duck back, ain't gonna matter you do rotational or linear FH.

bh - glaring weakness of virtually every amateur video posted here.

volleys - techniques are so poor, lots of people don't even dare to show them.

do these people never play for score? if so, why are the elephants in the room ignored?

happy new year.

KayFactor
12-31-2012, 07:49 PM
I'd say for me, the forehand technique was really hard for me to figure out.

InspectorRacquet
12-31-2012, 08:29 PM
I'd estimate it's about 15% of what decides winning/losing... yet you look at the first page, half the threads are FHs.

you look at the amateurs out there, adults or jr... in your local club or on youtube... pulling to the left or hitting forward is the last thing these amateurs should be worrying about... usually.

serves are much more important - if you get a sitting duck back, ain't gonna matter you do rotational or linear FH.

bh - glaring weakness of virtually every amateur video posted here.

volleys - techniques are so poor, lots of people don't even dare to show them.

do these people never play for score? if so, why are the elephants in the room ignored?

happy new year.

Forehand: Everyone has a strength, and for most it's the forehand. They want to know how to make it a weapon, already knowing that they have the potential within their forehand and not another stroke. Without a weapon, you've really got nothing to lean back on or to think about in a match - thus its importance. Sitting-duck backhands can be ran around to be hit as a forehand in many cases because the forehand is a strength for many.

Serves: Yes, serves are important, but you can make it pretty far with a decent serve. The serve is perhaps the most important tool in the game, but as long as someone has a halfway decent serve, they can at least get into a rally to win the point. We don't need to bomb aces every point - we just need to get it started with our good foot forward (and not on the defensive). If you notice, the serve is one of the most critiqued and posted videos around these parts of the forum. No one is ignoring this stroke.

Volleys: Many people's techniques may be poor, but have you thought about the fact that not everyone is interested in the volley game? Many people are content with baseline rallies, and on the rare occasion they approach the net, their volleys are good enough to win them the point. No need to rework a stroke that they don't usually/don't want to use.

Playing for score is generally why people come here to post their strokes - they want to improve to win the matches that actually count. When they do play for score, there's no time to improve mid-match. They take the time during practices to address the elephant.

Back on the forehand discussion for one last moment - have you noticed why Federer and Nadal are considered some of the greatest players of all time? It's because they win and dominate so much. They win and dominate so much because they each have a devastating forehand that is their main weapon and go-to point-ender. We all want that weapon that will make our opponents tremble in fear, and for the people you see on these boards, it is the forehand.

fruitytennis1
12-31-2012, 08:37 PM
Forehand: Everyone has a strength, and for most it's the forehand. They want to know how to make it a weapon, already knowing that they have the potential within their forehand and not another stroke. Without a weapon, you've really got nothing to lean back on or to think about in a match - thus its importance. Sitting-duck backhands can be ran around to be hit as a forehand in many cases because the forehand is a strength for many.

Serves: Yes, serves are important, but you can make it pretty far with a decent serve. The serve is perhaps the most important tool in the game, but as long as someone has a halfway decent serve, they can at least get into a rally to win the point. We don't need to bomb aces every point - we just need to get it started with our good foot forward (and not on the defensive). If you notice, the serve is one of the most critiqued and posted videos around these parts of the forum. No one is ignoring this stroke.

Volleys: Many people's techniques may be poor, but have you thought about the fact that not everyone is interested in the volley game? Many people are content with baseline rallies, and on the rare occasion they approach the net, their volleys are good enough to win them the point. No need to rework a stroke that they don't usually/don't want to use.

Playing for score is generally why people come here to post their strokes - they want to improve to win the matches that actually count. When they do play for score, there's no time to improve mid-match. They take the time during practices to address the elephant.

Back on the forehand discussion for one last moment - have you noticed why Federer and Nadal are considered some of the greatest players of all time? It's because they win and dominate so much. They win and dominate so much because they each have a devastating forehand that is their main weapon and go-to point-ender. We all want that weapon that will make our opponents tremble in fear, and for the people you see on these boards, it is the forehand.

That's just what i was about to say :)

directionals
12-31-2012, 08:40 PM
Well said, InspectorRacquet.

luvforty
12-31-2012, 08:44 PM
well - the responses above explains why you don't need complicated strategy to beat rec players, just poke at the BH all day long.

user92626
12-31-2012, 11:41 PM
well - the responses above explains why you don't need complicated strategy to beat rec players, just poke at the BH all day long.

Yeah but what are you gonna use to poke at their BH all day long? Is it not your FH? :)

FH gets discussed alot because people figure that if they got it down, they'd get 95% of their game done. hehe

I'm content with just trading FH shots all day long. :)

Relinquis
01-01-2013, 12:16 AM
i agree with the OP. Backhand is way underrated at the rec level. Having a solid backhand means you can yank your opponent off the court pretty easily going cross-court backhand-to-backhand. You will have more opportunities to do this than an inside-out forehand.

My backhand is stronger than my forehand at the moment and is very useful in set-play. Having the ability to hit off of both wings is key to being able to construct points. A week backhand means that you cannot cover half/one-third of the court effectively; You are making your side of the court 50-100% bigger than your opponent's side!

Most people have horrible backhands so they should see dramatic improvement in their match results simply by developing and practising their backhands more.

Headshotterer
01-01-2013, 01:05 AM
In the pro game, forehands are what win matches. The higher the level of play, the more important it becomes.

treblings
01-01-2013, 04:43 AM
the most important strokes in tennis are service and return. yet they are seldom if at all trained at rec level. the reason people can get away with hitting mediocre serves is that their opponents hit only mediocre returns:)
most points are won by unforced errors not blazing winners
if you have a backhand that is at least consistent, it cuts down on the unforced. less bh errors and less pressure to hit winners with the fh

luvforty
01-01-2013, 05:00 AM
@92626 - poke with everything - serves, grounds, approaches, volleys... also... people have bad BH typically have worse volleys, therefore a short chip/drop shot to their BH does the double damage - either they miss right away, or they implode on the volley.

@headshot - no.. when you watch pros get interviewed on what they have to do to win, they always start with " I will have to serve better "...

agassi said (when comparing fed to pete) - against Pete you can find safe harbor in pete's bh, but against fed you have nowhere to go.

fed said (why rafa is so tough to beat) is because rafa has 2 FHs - meaning the bh is so strong.

in the pros - what is the one stat most relevant to win/loss? - 2nd serve points won. I am guessing the 2nd most relevant is 1st serve points won, or break point conversion, something like that.... FH winner/UE is probably among the least relevant stats to win/loss.

at the rec levels - just watch them tournaments - 4.0 thru 4.5 even some 5.0s, the 5.0s do hit their FH better, but the impression is that due to 'survival of the fittest', the better players don't have a weakness you can point out in 10 seconds.

Maui19
01-01-2013, 05:38 AM
When I am hitting my forehand well, I win. When I'm not, I lose (and this is playing doubles). That's why forehand technique is important to me. YMMV.

Clay lover
01-01-2013, 07:34 AM
Probably because the forehand is the most aesthetically pleasing shot which can be hit with the most power. (The serve and overhead can be hit harder, but these two shots are less popular than the forehand due to the trade-off in beauty)

We all love beauty and power, don't we? Sometimes it's better to die pretty than live ugly.

julian
01-01-2013, 08:04 AM
Some elements of forehands are used in double handed backhands
Please see
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPBM-hE1Dhw
Therefore analyzing forehands should help to analyze two handed backhands
Therefore forehand and backhand return of serve can be built around forehands and double handed backhands
Whether all coaches teach like that is ANOTHER issue.

Avles
01-01-2013, 08:09 AM
@92626 - poke with everything - serves, grounds, approaches, volleys... also... people have bad BH typically have worse volleys, therefore a short chip/drop shot to their BH does the double damage - either they miss right away, or they implode on the volley.


And then they come on TT to complain about losing to a pusher...

ATP100
01-01-2013, 08:53 AM
At the rec level, most peoples FH is there weakness.

Just for fun, the next time you play someone you can't beat, or barely
beat, hit to the forehand only, you will be surprised at what happens.

EP1998
01-01-2013, 09:31 AM
At the rec level, most peoples FH is there weakness.

Just for fun, the next time you play someone you can't beat, or barely
beat, hit to the forehand only, you will be surprised at what happens.

I agree completely. I dont think most players realize this though, about others or themselves.

luvforty
01-01-2013, 09:53 AM
have seen FH being the weaker wing in 2 scenarios

- old style player with conti grips... apparently stroke is easier on the bh side with better support from the body core

- young kids or women with weak arm , who prefer the 2 fisted bh.

but more often than not, BH is the weaker wing, not to mention all the other shots.

luvforty
01-01-2013, 12:38 PM
Some elements of forehands are used in double handed backhands
Please see
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPBM-hE1Dhw
Therefore analyzing forehands should help to analyze two handed backhands
Therefore forehand and backhand return of serve can be built around forehands and double handed backhands
Whether all coaches teach like that is ANOTHER issue.

that sounded a bit stretchy... but...ok :)

speaking of coaching, I buy into Dave Smith's concept of developing the continental grip part of the game first... i.e. serve, volleys, bh slice, and the 2hbh (with the dominant hand holding the conti grip)... the FH topspin is the last one to teach a student.

something to think about for the rec players.

InspectorRacquet
01-01-2013, 12:57 PM
What I'm getting from the OP is that all rec players need to fix everything in their games. Simple enough.

The reason the forehand is discussed so much is because we address the issues we have with our game (speaking as a slightly above average rec player) that we love first. Almost everyone would love to increase their forehand potential over the other strokes. Our most hated strokes are dealt with last.

Someone said here that we rec players have mediocre serves because of the mediocre returns we get back. If we all played up a level and tried to beat those higher-ups, we would immediately realize our serves are not that great and a thousand serving threads would be created here.

luvforty
01-01-2013, 01:12 PM
good confession Inspector - yeah it's the bias towards comfort.

about the 'higher up' part - it can be reactive (i.e. playing against better people), or proactive (i.e. you become better first and beat all your buddies).

I am not saying fix everything, I am saying balance... my estimation -

strokes alone - serve 25%, return 20%, FH 15%, bh 15%, volleys/overheads/approaches/dropshots 25% - give or take.. so FH taking up 50% of the threads is out of balance.

not to mention for the overall win/loss - you have psychology 30%, strategy 30%, shot execution 40%..... so that puts FH at 15% * 40% = 6%

that was my point.

dominikk1985
01-01-2013, 02:33 PM
the FH (and 2HBH) is basically the only thing that changed in the last 100 years.

the serve is exactly like it was 80 years ago (well almost since you were not allowed to jump back then). the 1HBH is also exactly the same.

the FH is the only thing that changed in modern tennis.

however I agree that the FH is over analyzed.

it is important to get some things down though. the kinematic, ground up chain, the centrifugal swing around the body, and internal rotation of arm and forearm have to be learned.

but too many guys here are overanalyzing stuff like whether the take back should be pronated, how much the wrist should lay back (it does automatically if you create enough acceleration and stay reaonably loose), what the other arm should do or other stuff.

the modern FH is an easy shot, so keep it simple and let each player have their own style.

Sequence is important, not style! yeah if you are top level some tweaking of style can help, but too many guys worry about irrelevant style points when they should worry about the basic of any hitting sport which is the ground up sequence (or hips lead the hands as ted williams said 70 years ago)

luvforty
01-01-2013, 04:12 PM
from historical stand point - the FH and the 2hbh perhaps have the more visible changes... but the bigger head, stiffer graphite and the spinnier strings have had effect on all shots... almost everything is done in more across-the-ball fashion.

1hbh drive - the way wawrinka, schiavone, dimitrov, gasquet open up their stance, and release their wrist to windshield wipe, is much different from the old school 'staying-sideways' method.

bh slice - the fed's knifing slice was unthinkable with the 65in wood head.

volleys - there are many still hit old school, but fed's have more knifing action .
serve - yes the motion looks similar, but new equipment produces more spin.

with all that said, for me, the purpose of these discussions is for winning, or helping others to win.

I now realize that the bias for comfort (of talking about the FH) originates from the skill distribution of the tennis crowd.. most people in the fat part of the distribution curve, don't know enough to even ask the right questions about the serve, the volley etc.

on the other hand - for the elite players and coaches here - how about some discussion on high performance tennis - the mental, strategic part of the game on top of shot execution.

I made a tournament winner golfer out of my daughter with 1 season of work, with the most common sense approach - we go straight to the low hanging fruits - where are the weaknesses, how to approach course conditions etc.

will try to make a tournament winner tennis player out of my son hopefully - have got lots of good info from this forum.... but I feel there is so much left on the table.

Bowtiesarecool
01-01-2013, 04:18 PM
I like this thread. Let's dissuade people from talking too much about forehands by starting another thread about forehands.

luvforty
01-01-2013, 04:26 PM
I like this thread. Let's dissuade people from talking too much about forehands by starting another thread about forehands.

yes, it's a controlled burn - use fire to fight fire.

5263
01-01-2013, 04:42 PM
yes, it's a controlled burn - use fire to fight fire.

Good reply...:)

TheCheese
01-01-2013, 04:48 PM
I'd say the FH is pretty important.

5263
01-01-2013, 04:53 PM
I'd say the FH is pretty important.

I agree.
The serve is harder to hit real well imo, so more rec players are satisfied with an
avg delivery.
Backhand mostly just needs to be solid, as do most other shots.

Fh is the primary weapon for most rec tactics as a weapon.
A likely place to separate yourself.

luvforty
01-01-2013, 05:08 PM
@ cheese and 5263 - substitute 'FH' with any of the following words - serve, volley, bh.... the statement will still be true.

and that was my point - what do the high performance players and coaches do, to separate themselves... I don't think a hunch of 'FH is probably it' is good enough.

during my work with my golfer daughter, we don't just say 'hm, driving (or wedge, or putting) is gonna win us tournaments'.... we record each practice rounds - fairways hit, greens in regulation, scramble percentage, length of first putt, total putts.... to identify where the low hanging fruits are.

i'd think tennis is even more complex, due to the variety of shots, different opponents and playing conditions.

we can do much better than talking about FHs.

5263
01-01-2013, 05:25 PM
@ cheese and 5263 - substitute 'FH' with any of the following words - serve, volley, bh.... the statement will still be true..

Good luck if you think you can focus on the Bh or volley and get the same
"bang for your buck" as you can with a Fh. At rec level you won't likely get as
much out of improving your serve as with the Fh either, as most rtn way better
than most serve....sort of like ladies game.

Not uncommon to see a rec player dominate with his Fh, but never seen that
from one with a Bh or volley really. Some can serve good enough for and edge,
but not usually as much as the FH on avg.
Even guys with unusually good Bhs don't usually have so much impact with it.

julian
01-01-2013, 05:32 PM
from historical stand point - the FH and the 2hbh perhaps have the more visible changes... but the bigger head, stiffer graphite and the spinnier strings have had effect on all shots... almost everything is done in more across-the-ball fashion.

1hbh drive - the way wawrinka, schiavone, dimitrov, gasquet open up their stance, and release their wrist to windshield wipe, is much different from the old school 'staying-sideways' method.

bh slice - the fed's knifing slice was unthinkable with the 65in wood head.

volleys - there are many still hit old school, but fed's have more knifing action .
serve - yes the motion looks similar, but new equipment produces more spin.

with all that said, for me, the purpose of these discussions is for winning, or helping others to win.

I now realize that the bias for comfort (of talking about the FH) originates from the skill distribution of the tennis crowd.. most people in the fat part of the distribution curve, don't know enough to even ask the right questions about the serve, the volley etc.

on the other hand - for the elite players and coaches here - how about some discussion on high performance tennis - the mental, strategic part of the game on top of shot execution.

I made a tournament winner golfer out of my daughter with 1 season of work, with the most common sense approach - we go straight to the low hanging fruits - where are the weaknesses, how to approach course conditions etc.

will try to make a tournament winner tennis player out of my son hopefully - have got lots of good info from this forum.... but I feel there is so much left on the table.
You can resolve your preparation of your son as follows:

1.establish number on hours you spend with him
say 20-30 hours BEFORE PLAYING A TOURNAMENT

2.you can go with the approach of forehand taught at the end

3.you will put some elements of play/game in these 20/30 hours.
you will see how many/little hours will be left for teaching tactics/strategy

4.you will see how far your son will go and you will get back to us


PS Bringing Dave Smith into this conversation is a mistake from multiple
reasons.
I believe your are going a wrong direction but it is going to be very hard
to convince you about it without letting you fail FIRST.

luvforty
01-01-2013, 05:52 PM
@julian - I am all ears.. no need and no desire to fail first.... and no need to start another p---ing contest.. see my gerbil story.

@5263 - you maybe right about the FH being a difference maker at rec level (simply based on the number of FH shots hit in a match), say the 3.5-4.0 crowd, but seems for that crowd the pulling left/hitting forward thing is still not high priority... not to mention that the BH wing seems to produce the biggest difference.... it's action and reaction... player A hits a FH to force a BH error from player B, is it due to A's FH or B's BH? chicken and egg... there is very little statistics available at rec level... nobody cares to collect.

at the elite level, ground strokes already take a back seat behind serves/returns.... statistics are pretty much established at that level... 2nd serve points won, first serve points won, break point conversion - these things decide matches, not fh winners/UEs.

julian
01-01-2013, 06:13 PM
@julian - I am all ears.. no need and no desire to fail first.... and no need to start another p---ing contest.. see my gerbil story.

@5263 - you maybe right about the FH being a difference maker at rec level (simply based on the number of FH shots hit in a match), say the 3.5-4.0 crowd, but seems for that crowd the pulling left/hitting forward thing is still not high priority... not to mention that the BH wing seems to produce the biggest difference.... it's action and reaction... player A hits a FH to force a BH error from player B, is it due to A's FH or B's BH? chicken and egg... there is very little statistics available at rec level... nobody cares to collect.

at the elite level, ground strokes already take a back seat behind serves/returns.... statistics are pretty much established at that level... 2nd serve points won, first serve points won, break point conversion - these things decide matches, not fh winners/UEs.
The game is played on diagonals (for singles)
Two basic drills are forehand diagonal drills and backhand diagonal drills (forgetting for a moment about serve and return of serve).
Think once more in terms of a curriculum and drills and simulated matches/points.
Read my previous post again.
Try to write down plans for 20 lessons.
Believe me or not I did this(plans) at a college level this spring.
If you want to get more specific feedback here try to specify the age of your son and his current level,say via NTRP
Your last sentence is very disputable but without knowing a bit about your son we will get defocused.

luvforty
01-01-2013, 06:34 PM
@julian - the intent for the thread was my general observation about the discussion here perhaps being removed from the reality of win/loss... sorry if i misled you (happens all the time on internet.. no big deal). son is 8 yr beginner, so no need for tournament prep yet.

care to share what you came up with in preparing your college players? I'd imagine at that level, serves/returns already taking front seat, no?

I have watched some college ball - seems most points are decided in the first 3 strokes.... serve, return, put-away.

I don't have any stats for college ball. ... do you? (in the way that pro matches are slice/diced... say in the order of 2nd serve points won, first serve points won, serving %, BP conversion, net points won, FH/BH winners/UEs)

5263
01-01-2013, 07:14 PM
at the elite level, ground strokes already take a back seat behind serves/returns.... statistics are pretty much established at that level... 2nd serve points won, first serve points won, break point conversion - these things decide matches, not fh winners/UEs.

Maybe this belief is what is leading you astray? I think the stats you feel are
established are just symtoms of the bigger picture, like saying who breaks more
wins, or who wins more points in each game wins...etc...
Winning pts on 2ond serve is a measurement of winning points thru attacking
without the big advantage provided by the 1st serve.

UEs still decide more than anything imo, with winners and FEs close in tow.
Most of this tends to stem from knowing when and how to rally, along with
when and how to attack.

luvforty
01-01-2013, 07:20 PM
Maybe this belief is what is leading you astray? I think the stats you feel are
established are just symtoms of the bigger picture, like saying who breaks more
wins, or who wins more points in each game wins...etc...
Winning pts on 2ond serve is a measurement of winning points thru attacking
without the big advantage provided by the 1st serve.

UEs still decide more than anything imo, with winners and FEs close in tow.
Most of this tends to stem from knowing when and how to rally, along with
when and how to attack.

no...

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/MatchFacts.aspx

please read the service page and return page carefully.... rafa, murray, joker, they dominate the return page, why? because the particular shot of the service return..... not the other stuff like how to rally and when to attack.... otherwise they'd have dominated the serving page... but they don't.

so you have to identify what is statistically relevant vs. what is not.

5263
01-01-2013, 07:32 PM
no...

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/MatchFacts.aspx

please read the service page and return page carefully.... rafa, murray, joker, they dominate the return page, why? because the particular shot of the service return..... not the other stuff like how to rally and when to attack.... otherwise they'd have dominated the serving page... but they don't.

so you have to identify what is statistically relevant vs. what is not.

I'll just refer you back to the other thread where this was addressed.

luvforty
01-01-2013, 07:43 PM
I'll just refer you back to the other thread where this was addressed.

ok - i replied there.... it wasn't much of an address without any hard facts.

10isfreak
01-01-2013, 08:01 PM
OP‘s thesis isn‘t dumb... given the margin available for improvement on the backhand side and people‘s tendency to focus on their forehand, any improvement on the backhand side has a greater impact on results than improvements on the forehand side.

Many rec players have decent forehands, but a lot fewer have decent backhands. You can capitalize on this by having a forehand just good enough to prevent easy winners and sustain a rally and rather use your backhand as an opening tool... it takes a very very good forehand to beat down a good forehand consistently, but just a barely decent backhand can get short balls from a bad backhand.

Similarly, improvement in footwork, volley or even serving could do miracles because it is much easier to dominate your opponents in these areas than on the forehand when you play at the rec level.

5263
01-01-2013, 08:21 PM
OP‘s thesis isn‘t dumb... given the margin available for improvement on the backhand side and people‘s tendency to focus on their forehand, any improvement on the backhand side has a greater impact on results than improvements on the forehand side..

Nobody said it was dumb or have a bad Bh... It's just that if you are going to be
just a solid amount better at any one shot, it should likely be the Fh, which is the
most versatile attacking weapon that is in nearly every point.

But to each his own...if you think you can focus on another stoke more and get more
out of your investment, good luck to you.
We are just explaining why it is done the way it is.

TheCheese
01-01-2013, 08:33 PM
I'd say groundstrokes are much more important than volleys or overheads, and the FH would be more important than the BH.

luvforty
01-01-2013, 08:43 PM
perhaps a context is needed.

5263 has a different interpretation than mine on the pro stats - for the top 4 guys, the most eye catching stat is 2nd serve points (both serving and receiving)... and what is a typical 2nd serve point - a kick to the backhand followed by the return.... this first exchange, especially the return, is the biggest factor.... on the 2nd serve return, we have rafa, murray, joker at #1,2,3... but on 2nd serve, they are at #2,5,11.... all the other stuff after the 1st exchange - the rallies, mid court balls etc, are virtually the same between a serving game 2nd serve point and a return game 2nd serve point... so the difference maker, is that first shot returning the 2nd serve... and for them 3, it's that 2hbh up high..... Roger didn't fare too well in the return department due to the 1hbh..... so among the top 4, you see significant ASYMMETRY in the 2nd serve points in the return vs. serving game, with the exception of rafa..... again, if the difference maker is the stuff after the first exchange, then the leader board should look similar between the return game and the serving game on 2nd serve points..... (gee that was a mouthful)

Fed, #1 at 2nd serving points, is down to #14 in returning 2nd serve points... again significant asymmetry.... which means the difference is in being the better server or the better receiver, not in being who is the better rallier (if that is a word


for the rec crowd - we have no stats to go with, so arguments from both sides sound like he says she says..... but i believe the saying that you are as good as your worst shot, not your best shot... and the experience of watching rec players and playing against them proves so....very rarely you see a rec player with such strong FH that he can hide the weakness in BH and volleys.... but I have seen recs with such strong serve who can hide other weaknesses.... and the reason is simple... the serve is the first shot... if the serve cannot hide the weakness (say the BH), then the weakness can be exposed immediately.

sandiegoman
01-01-2013, 10:15 PM
Well said, InspectorRacquet.


Well said InspectorGadget

5263
01-01-2013, 10:35 PM
perhaps a context is needed.

5263 has a different interpretation than mine on the pro stats - for the top 4 guys, the most eye catching stat is 2nd serve points (both serving and receiving)... and what is a typical 2nd serve point - a kick to the backhand followed by the return.... this first exchange, especially the return, is the biggest factor....

.. but i believe the saying that you are as good as your worst shot, not your best shot...

I suggest you chart some matches with respect to how long the points go
on 2ond serves. They tend to be the longer points and tend to test the strokes
more than the fairly routine 2ond serve rtn

So you really think a guy with an awful Fh slice is that bad, even when strong
in the rest of his game is outstanding??

smoledman
01-01-2013, 10:37 PM
fed said (why rafa is so tough to beat) is because rafa has 2 FHs - meaning the bh is so strong.

That was true circa spring 2007- early 2009. Since then Nadal's backhand has degraded very badly.

Relinquis
01-01-2013, 10:48 PM
I think the point is that there is a huge additional improvement in getting a strong backhand at the rec level. Low hanging fruit.

most rallies at the rec level are forehand to forehand, so you're setting up your rec level "weapon" against your opponents "weapon". Once you go into a backhand to backhand rally you aren't facing a "weapon" anymore, but you aren't using your best stroke. What matters is what is relatively stronger, not what is absolutely stronger.

Having a strong backhand will give you a natural easy target (opponents backhand) that should result in a short ball you can attack/putt-away with your forehand. Also, the better rec players will aim for your backhand thinking it to be a weakness, that sets you up well to start a backhand to backhand rally giving you all those lovely short balls.

I played a friendly match recently where most of my winners were in the manner above. My opponent said that my forehand was really good with all of those winners into the open court that he couldn't get to. In actual fact my forehand is pretty inconsistent. It only looked good because of all the easy short balls i got by going backhand to backhand!

You can't hide a weak backhand at the rec level no matter how strong your forehand is. Rec guys can't run around every shot to their backhand and will come up short. Not having a backhand you can attack with (cross court) is a major hole in your game. It is also an opportunity to make a lot of easy gains with just a bit of training.

5263
01-01-2013, 10:58 PM
My opponent said that my forehand was really good with all of those winners into the open court that he couldn't get to. In actual fact my forehand is pretty inconsistent. It only looked good because of all the easy short balls i got by going backhand to backhand!

You can't hide a weak backhand at the rec level no matter how strong your forehand is. Rec guys can't run around every shot to their backhand and will come up short. Not having a backhand you can attack with (cross court) is a major hole in your game. It is also an opportunity to make a lot of easy gains with just a bit of training.

Again! No one is saying have a crap Bh. You had a Fh that was good enough to
capitalize on short balls. You likely couldn't have done that with your Bh and
chose not to it seems.
I bet you could hit I/O Fhs to get short balls too, ..probably did,
much like you did with your
Bh. So you are still stronger with the Fh...right?

Sure any improvement is good for your game and provides good looks to help
out overall, but the Fh is the key weapon in most players game.

InspectorRacquet
01-01-2013, 11:05 PM
Well said InspectorGadget

That was the entire reason behind my screen name. :)

On topic with the thread - it is impossible to hide a bad backhand, but a good forehand will force the opponent to think twice about his moves and thus coaxing unforced errors and short balls just to try to get it to the backhand.

Relinquis
01-02-2013, 12:06 AM
Again! No one is saying have a crap Bh. You had a Fh that was good enough to
capitalize on short balls. You likely couldn't have done that with your Bh and
chose not to it seems.
I bet you could hit I/O Fhs to get short balls too, ..probably did,
much like you did with your
Bh. So you are still stronger with the Fh...right?

Sure any improvement is good for your game and provides good looks to help
out overall, but the Fh is the key weapon in most players game.

I probably did hit a few inside-in forehands to end the point, but most where cross court forehands as the short balls ended up on that side after trading backhands. But you are right, my forehand is stronger than my backhand but i tend to hit it long sometimes (separate issue, refer to my tweener thread).

my opponent's forehand was better than mine. same power, but more consistent & spin (fewer long ball errors). rallying forehand to forehand with him is tough, but i don't have to hit an awesome cross court backhand to get a juicy short ball.

I'm not a coach. I'm just focusing on developing a complete overall game, no glaring weaknesses, before relying on a "weapon" all the time. If there is an area i rely on too much it's my volley/overhead game, even though I'm a bit short (1.67m).

luvforty
01-02-2013, 05:10 AM
I suggest you chart some matches with respect to how long the points go
on 2ond serves. They tend to be the longer points and tend to test the strokes
more than the fairly routine 2ond serve rtn

So you really think a guy with an awful Fh slice is that bad, even when strong
in the rest of his game is outstanding??

5263 - a meaningful discussion doesn't work this way.. I presented the stats.. no need for myself to chart... the ATP computer already did for the pro matches for the entire year...

so like tennis, there is this ball called the 'burden of proof'.... right now it's in your court.

but to respond to the above - yes 2nd serve points are longer, but what stands out for the top 4 is their ability to make it shorter.... in the case of murray and joker.... hence their return game stronger than the serving game..... and Fed's lack of ability to make it shorter is what makes him #14 in the return game, compared to #1 in the serving game..... get the point?

rafa is the only symmetrical player.... #3 in return and #2 in serving.... so that stat doesn't support either yours or my view, it could be that the first exchange is insignificant, or rafa is really good at hitting the 2nd serve and returning the 2nd serve.

seems you are still missing the point of the asymmetry and the cause of it... and still arguing in the peripheral.

about the FH slice - no, that's a misunderstanding of the phrase 'you are only as good as your worst shot'.... if you truely don't understand what it means - it is saying that you are only good as your weakness that can be exposed..

the FH slice is not a exposeable weakness.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 06:10 AM
here is a wealth of information -

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/Top-Matchfacts.aspx?y=2012&s=0#

anybody know how to download into a spreadsheet? it will be very interesting to chart each column's correlation to the ranking column.

anyway - from spot-checking, e.g. the top 4, or the top 10.... the evidence shows that what decides the ranking is the first exchange, the serve and the return.... not the stuff after the first exchange..

most players in the top 100, are ASYMMETRICAL between his return game ranking and the serve game ranking on the 2nd serve points.

and for that matter, the ASYMMETRY exists on the 1st serve points as well.. it's a bit hard to see with just eye-balling as the board is filled with a bunch of big servers.

if there is ONE shot that is the most relevant to ranking, that is the return of serve..... that one seems to have the most correlation to the ranking position.

by the way, this supports the coaching idea that the return of serve is the practice that brings the most bang for the buck... it is most correlated to winning, and it is also a practice of other strokes (same motion as ground strokes for drive returns, same motion as volleys for the chip returns).

5263
01-02-2013, 08:38 AM
5

about the FH slice - no, that's a misunderstanding of the phrase 'you are only as good as your worst shot'.... if you truely don't understand what it means - it is saying that you are only good as your weakness that can be exposed..

the FH slice is not a exposeable weakness.

I stand corrected then, as I've never heard this used in 25+ yrs of tennis.
If that is what it means, good on you!

5263
01-02-2013, 08:46 AM
here is a wealth of information -

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/Top-Matchfacts.aspx?y=2012&s=0#

anybody know how to download into a spreadsheet? it will be very interesting to chart each column's correlation to the ranking column.

anyway - from spot-checking, e.g. the top 4, or the top 10.... the evidence shows that what decides the ranking is the first exchange, the serve and the return.... not the stuff after the first exchange..

Thanks for the link!

Seems to me those stats clearly show a slight edge for each player when he is
making a 2ond serve over when he is returning a second serve, unless--
A. He is a weak second server like Murray or
B. He is a super server like Isner.

So no, Not a drop in play when they are serving a second serve as you suggest.
Just a few really good servers who move up in the rankings above
them. :)

Basiclly just shows that with the second serve it is "game on" in most cases and the
better game from the ground will decide most of the points. The serve advantage
has been mostly eliminated.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 08:50 AM
I stand corrected then, as I've never heard this used in 25+ yrs of tennis.
If that is what it means, good on you!

well - the original version is 'you are only as good as your 2nd serve'... you haven't heard in 25 years of tennis?

there was actually a thread not too long ago about this, and eventually the consensus was that it actually means you are only as good as your weakness, which makes sense.

interestingly, based on the recent discussion around the top4, it turned out to be the 2nd serve after all LOL.

so 'you are only as good as your 2nd serve' still stands, although the meaning of it can be extended to both serving and receiving the 2nd serve, the ability to do well (rafa, murray, joker's return, fed/rafa's serve), or the lack of (fed's return, murray's serve)

but I do want to add that the above is confined to the context of top pros.... (I'd suspect that is extendable somewhat to elite college players).

what happens at the rec level could be a complete different story, and your mid-court ball theory may very well be true for the rec crowd..... there is just no stats to go with either way... and your observation from day-to-day coaching may very well be supporting your theory.

5263
01-02-2013, 09:04 AM
well - the original version is 'you are only as good as your 2nd serve'... you haven't heard in 25 years of tennis?


I didn't say I hadn't heard this one, but it's a misquote Imo as well.

It should be "your serve is only as good as your 2ond serve", but has evolved &
and degraded to what you are saying.


3) so you said it yourself - rafa, murray and joke don't rank as well in their own 2nd
serve points because 'other players play better'.... what exactly does that mean?
the other players serve better, or the other players handle mid court balls better?

Moved this to avoid sidetracking that other thread since you want to pursue this

What I said above that other's played better, meaning that did better with
their serve and moved up in the rankings, but Rafa, Dj and Andy's stats did
not fall on their second serve as you inferred. 2 or the 3 did even better when
hitting a second serve and Andy was very close to the same stat wise.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 09:07 AM
Thanks for the link!

Seems to me those stats clearly show a slight edge for each player when he is
making a 2ond serve over when he is returning a second serve, unless--
A. He is a weak second server like Murray or
B. He is a super server like Isner.

So no, Not a drop in play when they are serving a second serve as you suggest.
Just a few really good servers who move up in the rankings above
them. :)

Basiclly just shows that with the second serve it is "game on" in most cases and the
better game from the ground will decide most of the points. The serve advantage
has been mostly eliminated.

lol - this will be my last attempt to explain this and I will give up :)

exactly - there is no 'drop in play'.. and I was not suggesting that, I was giving an inference from your theory.

and do you notice the contradiction above.... your points A and B is related to the serve, yet at the end you said the 'serve advantage has been eliminated'.

and, for the last time, if the 'best game from the ground' is the decider, then a player ranking high in returning would also rank high in serving.... but the evidence is showing otherwise... what is the difference maker?

and before I give up - here is another stat - the reason that you cannot get a point across to another person, is because

55% - the other person is slow
45% - the internet sukks as a communication media

I have done extensive charting to prove the above :)

5263
01-02-2013, 09:14 AM
lol - this will be my last attempt to explain this and I will give up :)

and, for the last time, if the 'best game from the ground' is the decider, then a player ranking high in returning would also rank high in serving.... but the evidence is showing otherwise... what is the difference maker?


Fine if you want to give up. I see your evidence as faulty and highly misinterpreted.

1st serve advantage is lost due to weaker serving...not better rtns for the most part.

If you want to see the effect of great returning, look at the rtns of 1st serves imo.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 09:14 AM
What I said above that other's played better, meaning that did better with
their serve and moved up in the rankings, but Rafa, Dj and Andy's stats did
not fall on their second serve as you inferred. 2 or the 3 did even better when
hitting a second serve and Andy was very close to the same stat wise.

so you agree that serve made the difference to the other players... (not their mid court balls).

again, the stats are (serving/ receiving 2nd serve)

joker - 5/2
murray - 11/1
rafa - 2/3
fed - 1/14

that is not CLOSE with the exception of rafa.

and rafa's data can be explained by either - ground game is the difference maker, or rafa happens to be really good in both hitting and receiving 2nd serve.

the other 3 of the 4, the fact is clear.

arche3
01-02-2013, 09:17 AM
lol - this will be my last attempt to explain this and I will give up :)

exactly - there is no 'drop in play'.. and I was not suggesting that, I was giving an inference from your theory.

and do you notice the contradiction above.... your points A and B is related to the serve, yet at the end you said the 'serve advantage has been eliminated'.

and, for the last time, if the 'best game from the ground' is the decider, then a player ranking high in returning would also rank high in serving.... but the evidence is showing otherwise... what is the difference maker?

and before I give up - here is another stat - the reason that you cannot get a point across to another person, is because

55% - the other person is slow
45% - the internet sukks as a communication media

I have done extensive charting to prove the above :)

So for someone lazy like myself who will not read the stats.

For my 11year old son. I have been focusing on his serves. Should I add serve returns as a top priority as well? He already has very well developed fhs and bhs.

5263
01-02-2013, 09:22 AM
so you agree that serve made the difference to the other players... (not their mid court balls).

again, the stats are (serving/ receiving 2nd serve)

joker - 5/2
murray - 11/1
rafa - 2/3
fed - 1/14

that is not CLOSE with the exception of rafa.

and rafa's data can be explained by either - ground game is the difference maker, or rafa happens to be really good in both hitting and receiving 2nd serve.

the other 3 of the 4, the fact is clear.
You are really letting the rankings confuse you.
Stats are tricky to begin with, but ranking is a stat of a stat of a stat kind
of thing. Far removed from the players core performance with the ball.
Better to look at the actual rtn %, which is still really too far remove for best
use.

5263
01-02-2013, 09:23 AM
So for someone lazy like myself who will not read the stats.

For my 11year old son. I have been focusing on his serves. Should I add serve returns as a top priority as well? He already has very well developed fhs and bhs.

Sure, good returns are very important of course!
Dj is the best of all time in rtns and is #1 in the world over some of the best
ever players, with the rtn playing no small part.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 09:24 AM
So for someone lazy like myself who will not read the stats.

For my 11year old son. I have been focusing on his serves. Should I add serve returns as a top priority as well? He already has very well developed fhs and bhs.

it's cool to be lazy :)

I'd say it depends.... 5263 has such firm belief in his mid court ball ground game theory, he refuses to look at the pro stats.... however that maybe understandable if he deals with the rec crowd on a daily basis, and the difference maker in the rec game may very well be the mid court ball.

but the pro's game is entirely different.... the stats prove so, the nutshell version is that the first exchange (the serve and the return) determines rankings, not the stuff that happens afterwards (this is not to understating the importance of which).

now if your goal for the boy is to be an elite, then yes, that first exchange is the key..... and the return practice has double the benefit, as it also trains the ground strokes on the drive returns, and the volley strokes on the chip returns.

anecdotally speaking, what do the pros always say when they are interviewed about the next match? they always say 'I will have to serve better and return better'.... very rarely do you hear them say 'I have to hit my groundies better', 'or my mid court balls better' for that matter.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 09:27 AM
Sure, good returns are very important of course!
Dj is the best of all time in rtns and is #1 in the world over some of the best
ever players, with the rtn playing no small part.

right - nobody is saying any part is not important... and I am not saying ground game is not important.

the question is - what is the difference maker.

5263
01-02-2013, 09:30 AM
I'd say it depends.... 5263 has such firm belief in his mid court ball ground game theory, he refuses to look at the pro stats.... however that maybe understandable if he deals with the rec crowd on a daily basis, and the difference maker in the rec game may very well be the mid court ball.
.

Good example of your misinformed points.
I have not refused to look at any stats and thanked you for the link.
I mostly work with high level D1 and Top Jrs on a daily basis, along with a very few
adults.
85% + of my charting relates to the big 4 PROs and how their matches go.

So just as you have misinterpreted the above info, you are doing the same
with the stats.....IMO :)

5263
01-02-2013, 09:33 AM
the question is - what is the difference maker.

Exactly...in our discussion and it is the execution on the mid ct ball that will
determine how your stats end up,
along with determining who will win in a good matchup.

The exception to this rule would be Isner or Roddick in his prime, who may
serve enough winners to skew this.
Only thing is even with them it rarely skews it enough to get them a win
against the top mid ct finishers like Fed and Rafa.
Mainly works agains 2ond and 3rd tier players.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 09:33 AM
and - in the pro game, if you give up 1 short ball, the point is over, right? what is the first short ball? the 2nd serve !!

this is especially visible in the WTA, when you can have a string of break games, because neither player can protect the 2nd serve.

5263 - your mid court ball theory may actually have merit, as the 2nd serve is the first mid court ball you see ! no reason to limit it to the mid court ball in a rally.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 09:34 AM
Exactly...in our discussion and it is the execution on the mid ct ball that will
determine how your stats end up along with determining who will win in a
good matchup.

how so? please do not try to muddy the water..

you have not presented 1 piece of data, other than 'he says she says'.

5263
01-02-2013, 09:39 AM
how so? please do not try to muddy the water..

you have not presented 1 piece of data, other than 'he says she says'.

Again not true.
How many untrue statements from you is that now? How does that help your case?

I shared I have not charted one match yet where the winner was not the player with the
highest grade on the mid ct attacks. 100% in over 50 pro matches charted.

That is data. If you don't accept it, then that is up to you,...but it is data results.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 09:54 AM
Again not true.
How many untrue statements from you is that now? How does that help your case?

I shared I have not charted one match yet where the winner was not the player with the
highest grade on the mid ct attacks. 100% in over 50 pro matches charted.

That is data. If you don't accept it, then that is up to you,...but it is data results.

I'd assume your data is true.... no reason for me to doubt it.. I have a question and a comment.

question - how exactly do you grade on the mid ct attack? what is the sample size? how significant is the difference between the winner and the loser on the grades.

comment - the trick part is how to identify statistical significance from noise. from a big enough sample size. 50 matches maybe enough, maybe not. The ATP computer charted 1000's of matches.

also - what are the test done to ensure the direct cause-effect relationship between the mid ct ball grade vs. the win/loss? what are the serve%, serve/return points won, BP conversion for the winner/loser in those 50 matches?

you could be in the same trap as the environmentalists who say 'ha, the CO2 level rises, and the earth warms up'.... while in fact there is no cause - effect relationship.

I have presented the data, and the explanation of the data...

all you have is a claim of your data (and a much smaller set compared to ATP).... giving you the benefit of doubt..... but to continue the legitamacy of this discussion, you really need to present the raw data and the methodology behind it.

Relinquis
01-02-2013, 09:54 AM
I love how a thread about whether or not amateurs over-discuss/focus on forehands deteriorates into an argument about what single statistic we should reduce the pro-game to.

How is this relevant exactly?

5263
01-02-2013, 10:03 AM
I love how a thread about whether or not amateurs over-discuss/focus on forehands deteriorates into an argument about what single statistic we should reduce the pro-game to.

How is this relevant exactly?

Either way, it's th OPs thread and he wanted to discuss it.
Guess we could start another one if it really bothers you.
But it does relate, as the Fh is the primary weapon for attacking mid ct balls.
If attacking mid ct balls is as important as I believe, the with the Fh as the
main tool, ton's of work in this area is very justified.
How's that?

luvforty
01-02-2013, 10:11 AM
I love how a thread about whether or not amateurs over-discuss/focus on forehands deteriorates into an argument about what single statistic we should reduce the pro-game to.

How is this relevant exactly?

not necessarily a single statistic... but not looking at stats is like driving blind.

I made a tournament winner golfer out of my daughter in 1 season.... how? we go straight to the low hanging fruit.. stats on driving, greens hit, putts, scrambles... and focus our energy on what brings the most rewards.

why is this approach not used in tennis?

well, 5263 may very well be using this approach by charting pro matches and arriving at the mid court ball theory... and I am pointing out his stats maybe flawed.

to me, explaining the 'whys' of the importance of a certain stroke e.g. FH is keystrokes wasted... as similar whys can be laid out for a number of other things.

where is the most bang for the buck? that's where the stats come in.

too bad only 5263 and myself am engaged in slicing/dicing the numbers.... is this stuff too complicated to understand? I thought the tennis people are supposed to be smart.

5263
01-02-2013, 10:12 AM
I'd assume your data is true.... no reason for me to doubt it.. I have a question and a comment.


comment - the trick part is how to identify statistical significance from noise. from a big enough sample size. 50 matches maybe enough, maybe not. The ATP computer charted 1000's of matches.

also - what are the test done to ensure the direct cause-effect relationship between the mid ct ball grade vs. the win/loss? what are the serve%, serve/return points won, BP conversion for the winner/loser in those 50 matches?

you could be in the same trap as the environmentalists who say 'ha, the CO2 level rises, and the earth warms up'.... while in fact there is no cause - effect relationship.

I have presented the data, and the explanation of the data...

all you have is a claim of your data (and a much smaller set compared to ATP).... giving you the benefit of doubt..... but to continue the legitamacy of this discussion, you really need to present the raw data and the methodology behind it.

You make great points here that I repect, but I think my raw and targeted
data falls prey to this way less than these annual stats, padded by weak
opponents and filled with variations such as injury and tanking.

I do agree there is an element of art to charting and anyone should realize
this. I look at the ending of the point and how it came about. When it comes
to a mid ct ball attack- if the finish is initiated by one, I look at the sequence of shots. If you take a mid ct ball at the T and go I/O for a winner, that is clear and obvious, but if it comes back as a sitter to be overheaded away, then
it gets more murky of course. It takes a judgement call to decide if the mid ct shot was the key or not. If a player defends an attack with a pass, that can
get into judgement as well. I respect your point on this. All data is only as good
as the recorder. Even the ATP stats of matches often come into question related to UEs and should serves be in the winners column?
Good points you make.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 10:20 AM
ok - i think i get idea of what you are trying to do..

i'd ignore tanking and injuries, insignificant in this sample of 1000s of matches.

once 'judgement' is introduced, then the charting is subject to a confirmation bias - i.e. the charter conciously or subconciously collect data to confirm that idea he already has.... not saying your data has bias, but it is possible.

much easier, and reliable, just to look at points won/lost.

simpler is better.

by the way - I have been searching for WTA stats and no luck... I am suspecting that the ASYMMETRY is even more visible due to the girls lack of ability to protect 2nd serve, as you often see string of breaks in their matches.

5263
01-02-2013, 10:20 AM
. how? we go straight to the low hanging fruit.. stats on driving, greens hit, putts, scrambles... and focus our energy on what brings the most rewards.

why is this approach not used in tennis?

well, 5263 may very well be using this approach by charting pro matches and arriving at the mid court ball theory...

I like what you are doing in the context you use it.
I don't expect to convince you online, but it is a good chance to share and
put it out there what I've found and believe to be a big key that is very
achievable goal to improve.

In Jr and Pro matchs where the competition is close, the serves, rtns and BL
rallys tend to go sort of even except for rare big servers.
My charting shows the margin in these matches is mid ct execution.
Getting up to speed quickly for me is more about a good BL rally,
second serve, and returns, as you say!

So imo, getting up to speed quickly and the difference maker are 2 different
discussions that you seem to handle as one.

5263
01-02-2013, 10:26 AM
ok - i think i get idea of what you are trying to do..

i'd ignore tanking and injuries, insignificant in this sample of 1000s of matches.

once 'judgement' is introduced, then the charting is subject to a confirmation bias - i.e. the charter conciously or subconciously collect data to confirm that idea he already has.... not saying your data has bias, but it is possible.

much easier, and reliable, just to look at points won/lost.

simpler is better.

by the way - I have been searching for WTA stats and no luck... I am suspecting that the ASYMMETRY is even more visible due to the girls lack of ability to protect 2nd serve, as you often see string of breaks in their matches.

No problem for us to disagree. I have no doubt I introduce some bias to an
extent. It's not possible to do my charting without some aspect, so good pt.

I don't agree that simpler is better here, because it has been simplified to the
pt it's nearly useless except for the most basic use;
but then again, that seems to be your intent, so yes, for you basic approach, yes!

luvforty
01-02-2013, 10:28 AM
what do you mean by 'getting up to speed quickly' ?

5263
01-02-2013, 10:28 AM
and - in the pro game, if you give up 1 short ball, the point is over, right? what is the first short ball? the 2nd serve !!

this is especially visible in the WTA, when you can have a string of break games, because neither player can protect the 2nd serve.

5263 - your mid court ball theory may actually have merit, as the 2nd serve is the first mid court ball you see ! no reason to limit it to the mid court ball in a rally.

In this context, we do share some common ground...I agree.

5263
01-02-2013, 10:29 AM
what do you mean by 'getting up to speed quickly' ?

"I made a tournament winner golfer out of my daughter in 1 season.... how? we go straight to the low hanging fruit.. stats on driving, greens hit, putts, scrambles... and focus our energy on what brings the most rewards."

Relinquis
01-02-2013, 10:32 AM
5263, i get your point. thanks.

luvforty,

I recognise that statistical analysis is useful for analysing the pro-game (regression/correlation analysis, the tennis version of Sabermetrics/Moneyball, etc...). But I don't think it is very relevant when we're talking about amateurs who have issues with their main ground strokes. If they didn't, they wouldn't be discussing the forehand on an internet board in the first place. That's how amateur we're talking about.

I'd love to see how your progeny will fare with a strong return of serve, but a weak backhand. Let me know how that works out or if it even makes sense; don't strong returns require being strong on both wings?

luvforty
01-02-2013, 10:40 AM
"I made a tournament winner golfer out of my daughter in 1 season.... how? we go straight to the low hanging fruit.. stats on driving, greens hit, putts, scrambles... and focus our energy on what brings the most rewards."

oh... to me it's all about winning..

but, beneath the seeming universal low-fruit method, the fruit itself is not static.... next year she may hit the driver very well but have problem in putting, in which case the stats will tell and our focus will change.

in the case of arche3's son, the answer is not that clean cut.... the return of serve stat may not apply to the juniors at that age, and the FH may very well be the difference maker..... but how do we tell, there is no stats available.. it is the coach's judgement call... and IF the FH is the difference maker at age 12, but the serve/return game will be instead at age 18, do you sacrifice today's winning for tomorrow's big future? or do you go for the 'getting up to speed quickly' today, but risking limiting the boy's game when he grows up?... that is another judgement call.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 10:44 AM
5263, i get your point. thanks.

luvforty,

I recognise that statistical analysis is useful for analysing the pro-game (regression/correlation analysis, the tennis version of Sabermetrics/Moneyball, etc...). But I don't think it is very relevant when we're talking about amateurs who have issues with their main ground strokes. If they didn't, they wouldn't be discussing the forehand on an internet board in the first place. That's how amateur we're talking about.

I'd love to see how your progeny will fare with a strong return of serve, but a weak backhand. Let me know how that works out or if it even makes sense; don't strong returns require being strong on both wings?

I actually agree with you... and I have stated repeatedly that the top 100 stats apply to the top 100, and perhaps extendable to the college elites.... but may not be applicable to the rec crowd.... and 5263 may very well be correct in saying that the FH mid ct ball being the difference maker for the rec crowd.....

luvforty
01-02-2013, 10:49 AM
I'd love to see how your progeny will fare with a strong return of serve, but a weak backhand. Let me know how that works out or if it even makes sense; don't strong returns require being strong on both wings?

you are right.... a strong return with a weak bh is an oxymoron... how is a typical 2nd serve point started at the elite level - a kick to the bh.

again at the recs, entirely different story.. 1% of recs have a kick that can be called a kick, not to mention finding the bh wing of the receiver.

arche3
01-02-2013, 10:50 AM
so confused....... lol.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 11:13 AM
well - in terms of most bang for the buck... no doubt in my mind it's the practice of returns, against both 1st and 2nd.... and it does not really take time away from the other stuff, as you do use ground strokes and chips (same motion as volleys) to return serves.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 12:08 PM
You are really letting the rankings confuse you.
Stats are tricky to begin with, but ranking is a stat of a stat of a stat kind
of thing. Far removed from the players core performance with the ball.
Better to look at the actual rtn %, which is still really too far remove for best
use.

I have a problem with this one....

first, stats are not tricky if you know where to look... statistical theories are well established, no need to re-invent the wheel or pretend the wheel is too complicated.

2nd, ATP ranking is not stat of a stat kind of thing, it tell you who wins who loses.... and the entire exercise of drilling into individual technical stats such as 1st/2nd serve /return points won, was aimed at finding out, what made the difference, what made the top guys at the top.

5263
01-02-2013, 05:20 PM
2nd, ATP ranking is not stat of a stat kind of thing, it tell you who wins who loses.... .

So will the score, as it is another broad stat that is just about one level broader
than % of 2ond serve rtn pts won, but
neither tells so much about how the match was won or loss.
A player could just chip back a soft return to the mid ct each time, but if the
server is having a bad day with his mid ct attack, then sever will lose and
returner will have great rtn stats.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 05:31 PM
5263 - sorry to say this stuff is getting thru to you.... as you keep coming up with peripheral stuff that has no data behind it.. which is why most internet discussions go in circles, because the 2 sides are not on the same level of analyzing data.

it's a shame that so far nobody else is participating, as apparently this stuff, is way over people's head... everybody is still shadow swinging in their living room trying to figure out what it feels like to yank to the left.

5263
01-02-2013, 05:49 PM
5263 - sorry to say this stuff is getting thru to you.... as you keep coming up with peripheral stuff that has no data behind it.. which is why most internet discussions go in circles, because the 2 sides are not on the same level of analyzing data.

it's a shame that so far nobody else is participating, as apparently this stuff, is way over people's head... everybody is still shadow swinging in their living room trying to figure out what it feels like to yank to the left.

Not so sure how you mean this, but seems you are trying to say I'm not on your
level of analyzing data, and then
that this is so over everyone else's head, that they can't come in to comment.

I would tend to agree that we are not on the same level when it comes to looking
at the data, and try to leave it at that.
There are plenty of smart folks on here, but clearly this topic has not caught
their interest or either they believe to take a side here is just a waste of time.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 06:06 PM
right, I am saying that, most people pass out when they see the words statistical asymmetry... I am waiting for the smart people here to prove me wrong.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 06:12 PM
since google knows everything...

https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+the+most+important+shot+in+tennis&oq=what+is+the+most+important+shot+in+tennis&aqs=chrome.0.57j60j0j64j0l2.5832&sugexp=chrome,mod=5&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

the first couple of pages of search results are basically split between serves and returns as being the most important shot... FH was only mentioned once as the 2nd important.

this one i think accurately describes the current state of affairs in the ATP.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/tennis/2009-09-09-tennis-statistics_N.htm

luvforty
01-02-2013, 06:20 PM
so 5263 - now i have a question, you say you coach college, why are you going against the grain.... or do you know you are going against the grain... apparently the other tennis people in the know are saying what I am saying.

by the way - all the number crunching I did today, was BEFORE I searched google.

5263
01-02-2013, 06:21 PM
right, I am saying that, most people pass out when they see the words statistical asymmetry... I am waiting for the smart people here to prove me wrong.

LOL, :) you are cracking me up!

luvforty
01-02-2013, 06:22 PM
LOL, :) you are cracking me up!

hold on to that one.... read mines above first.

5263
01-02-2013, 06:31 PM
so 5263 - now i have a question, you say you coach college, why are you going against the grain.... or do you know you are going against the grain... apparently the other tennis people in the know are saying what I am saying.

by the way - all the number crunching I did today, was BEFORE I searched google.

I said I have and do work with quite a few D1 players, not that I coach in
college. On avg, college coaches leave much to be desired after you get past
a few top guys.

For me, going against the grain is mostly the things worth talking about. Something
new and innovative. If it is common mundane info that everyone repeats, then
anyone can share that like you have here on this second serve rtn issue.
That basic kind of stuff was interesting to me 15 yrs ago.
The things that interest me now are the items that break new ground and
provide a new perspective; especially when it is an improved perspective!

So what number crunching have you done today other than read off that
ATP stat chart? Did you develop that chart?

luvforty
01-02-2013, 06:41 PM
common mundane info?

so you are saying you know 15 years ago the serve/return was the most important shot, then somehow after charting 50 matches you decided that the mid ct ball is?

why did you not mention that earlier?

let me point out the obvious - you have been wrong for as long as you have been coaching, and you never knew the 'mundane info' until I pointed out...

you are long time member here, for many years, right? point out 1 post of yours in the past, with the 'common mundane info'.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 06:50 PM
coach kyril - widely accepted for providing good info.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Whats-the-Most-Important-Shot-in-Tennis?&id=986274

we can go 100 pages of google search..... so those are just mundane info, not worth a dime in front of your 50-match charting.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 06:52 PM
http://www.samasamtennis.com/index.php/about-us/

another in-the-know tennis guy, saying the return.

WildVolley
01-02-2013, 07:16 PM
One of the reasons that the fh is discussed more than the serve is because most players hit more fhs than serves. More people enjoy rallying than practicing serves and returns.

The forehand is also less damaging to the body than hitting serves. Serving tends to stress the shoulder joint and can lead to injury if too many serves or practiced or if they are hit with poor form.

5263
01-02-2013, 07:22 PM
http://www.samasamtennis.com/index.php/about-us/

another in-the-know tennis guy, saying the return.

I don't doubt that this common view is there somewhere, but the link
didn't get me to it. I'd be interested in seeing what he says.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 07:24 PM
I don't doubt that this common view is there somewhere, but the link
didn't get me to it. I'd be interested in seeing what he says.

sorry wrong link... he has 2 of them

http://www.samasamtennis.com/index.php/2011/05/the-most-important-stroke-in-tennis/

http://www.samasamtennis.com/index.php/2011/05/the-most-neglected-important-stroke-in-tennis/

serve and return.

5263
01-02-2013, 07:24 PM
coach kyril - widely accepted for providing good info.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Whats-the-Most-Important-Shot-in-Tennis?&id=986274

we can go 100 pages of google search..... so those are just mundane info, not worth a dime in front of your 50-match charting.

What did I miss here. He seems to be saying the serve is king,
not the second serve rtn.

5263
01-02-2013, 07:32 PM
you are long time member here, for many years, right? point out 1 post of yours in the past, with the 'common mundane info'.

Lol, you are serious aren't you. :???:

Does not the above you posted prove my point? I rarely post or discuss the
common knowledge items like this about the second serve.
Is this really new and exciting info for you? How long have you been playing?
I expect you can go back at least 10 years and find stuff on that topic and
I'm pretty sure it was on tennisone 15 yrs ago. I surely would not want to
be rude to a new player in discovery, but since you were so arrogant with
your comments.... I'm being more direct.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 07:36 PM
What did I miss here. He seems to be saying the serve is king,
not the second serve rtn.

you kidding? player doesn't serve into a vacuum... the serve and the return decides the outcome of the serves, and ultimately the match.

my 2nd serve return comment was targeted at the contest of the top pros, and the analysis is inline with the USATODAY article i quoted above, that article has a couple of charts showing the increasing correlation of the return.

bottom line is the serve and the return goes hand in hand, and the first exchange is the deciding factor.

luvforty
01-02-2013, 07:39 PM
Lol, you are serious aren't you. :???:

Does not the above you posted prove my point? I rarely post or discuss the
common knowledge items like this about the second serve.
Is this really new and exciting info for you? How long have you been playing?
I expect you can go back at least 10 years and find stuff on that topic and
I'm pretty sure it was on tennisone 15 yrs ago. I surely would not want to
be rude to a new player in discovery, but since you were so arrogant with
your comments.... I'm being more direct.

ok, so you knew that 15 years ago, and now you have reached the conclusion of the mid ct ball after charting 50 matches... so instead of questioning your knowledge, I am questioning your logical thinking ability...

which one do you prefer?

5263
01-02-2013, 08:02 PM
which one do you prefer?

I prefer you to sit and gloat that you have discovered a perspective that has
been around at least 15 yrs and likely more. It's probably in my Bill Tilden book.
Really, how long have you been playing?

I stated from the beginning that this was my theory/opinion, and
it was based on my charting results.

I don't expect that to compare to the Bible or something, but do enjoy
getting a chance to share the concept on here and also
to have you oppose it sooo strongly. Maybe if you stay around awhile, I'll
get to see what you say as the theory becomes more accepted.
Or maybe something will come along and show me I was wrong.
Your primitive use of stats didn't make a scratch. :)

luvforty
01-02-2013, 08:13 PM
so logical thinking ability it is then.

DoctorBackhand
01-02-2013, 08:46 PM
Must every thread degenerate into this?

For once can thread live for 1 week without this happening?

5263
01-02-2013, 08:50 PM
Must every thread degenerate into this?

For once can thread live for 1 week without this happening?

I agree and thought we were having a reasonable discussion till he made a
comment insulting the intelligence of the forum group, and how his use of
stats was beyond the posters.

it's a shame that so far nobody else is participating, as apparently this stuff, is way over people's head... everybody is still shadow swinging in their living room.....

Relinquis
01-02-2013, 11:32 PM
[...]

it's a shame that so far nobody else is participating, as apparently this stuff, is way over people's head... everybody is still shadow swinging in their living room trying to figure out what it feels like to yank to the left.

Yes. Your brain is SOOOOO BIG we don't want to talk with you!

Many of us work with stats in our day jobs, or used to and now have our analysts handle that work. We care more about playing tennis than what shot a pro needs to focus on to advance in his career. The pro-stats you're talking about are not relevant to our tennis at the amateur level, when we're still trying to get the strokes and basic tactics down, i.e. check this video of me hitting XYZ shot, what am i doing wrong? Or, how do I beat a baseline grinder who keeps attacking my backhand? type threads.

People here aren't participating because they don't care about what the pros need to move from no.35 to no. 3 in the world. Maybe if you had a differently titled thread in the pro player discussion board you'd get all the fanbois and celebrity coaches chiming in. Try it. It might get you the data driven arguments about fat tails, outliers and heteroscedasticity that you are yearning for.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 05:28 AM
@ Dr.BH - i thought we had a legit discussion too, until he started the BS by saying that 15 years ago he already knew serve/return was the most important, (he didn't mention that in the 2 days worth of posting on the subject, but only started saying this after I showed overwhelming results on google), yet after charting 50 pro matches (with his admittedly possibly biased method), he has reached the conclusion of the mid ct ball.

so is it a) BS or is it b) he that impaired in thinking? .... i am giving him the benefit of the doubt on the b) and therefore had no option but pointing out the a).

then he keeps defending the a), so that left me with option b).

@relinquis - no, the pro stats don't apply to recs... I already said it repeatedly.... you and most people don't care... that's cool.

my point was not on the pro stats alone.... if any player/coach has some methodology that improves their winning, I am all ears.... I know people using spreadsheets, but at this day and age, we can do much better than spreadsheets.

arche3
01-03-2013, 06:01 AM
I think the statistics are interesting actually. The pros all have very polished and efficient games. So it makes sense to look at them to see what the actual statistics are of how matches are won and lost. Assuming a player has a very well rounded game these insights can actually help for the non pro advanced player or developing juniors.

Relinquis
01-03-2013, 06:04 AM
luvforty, have you checked out the Babolot play & connect racquet? maybe with technological advances we'll be able to collect these stats at the amateur level.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=441461

5263
01-03-2013, 06:29 AM
I think the statistics are interesting actually. The pros all have very polished and efficient games. So it makes sense to look at them to see what the actual statistics are of how matches are won and lost. Assuming a player has a very well rounded game these insights can actually help for the non pro advanced player or developing juniors.

I agree, the stats are interesting. That is why I enjoyed the early part of the
discussion, but I just don't agree with the common interpretation that was offered
related to them.

5263
01-03-2013, 06:42 AM
by saying that 15 years ago he already knew serve/return was the most important,

Above is an excellent example of how the important subtle items are misinterpreted.
I didn't say I knew they were the most important. I said I knew it was
a common theory that the second serve rtn was important.
A very big difference, but if you can't get that, explains why you can't get the
stats.
Also I never said the serve was not important...Only that the second sever rtn
skills are overrated, and not as important as dealing with the mid ct ball.

I guess you are a new player since you won't tell your time in the game and it's
fine that you just realized this common notion about the game (which may be
correct). I just thought it was worth pointing out when you started insulting
everyone for not being smart enough to get this.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 06:43 AM
luvforty, have you checked out the Babolot play & connect racquet? maybe with technological advances we'll be able to collect these stats at the amateur level.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=441461

just checked.. thx...

i think - technologies always get better and cheaper.. smart rackets, smart shoes (miCoach), how about smart balls, or amateur version of shot-tracker.

now after the match, arche3 can go analyzing all this data with his son - serve%, 2nd serve risk level (see julian's thread), return points won/lost, average court position (hugging baseline or pushed back), net points... you name it.

how about equipment fitting, racket/string combo, measurement of ball speed, spin rate with different possibilities.

how about scouting reports, opponents tendencies.

unlimited possibilities.

isn't that much sweeter than just give a pad on the back and say 'well, maybe we need some more serve practice'.

some of the stuff is already available, but most are still in infancy or too expensive for the recs.

what are the industry trends, what are the high performance people using to squeeze every ounce of winning out of a player?

survival of the fittest.

arche3
01-03-2013, 06:49 AM
just checked.. thx...

i think - technologies always get better and cheaper.. smart rackets, smart shoes (miCoach), how about smart balls, or amateur version of shot-tracker.

now after the match, arche3 can go analyzing all this data with his son - serve%, 2nd serve risk level (see julian's thread), return points won/lost, average court position (hugging baseline or pushed back), net points... you name it.

how about equipment fitting, racket/string combo, measurement of ball speed, spin rate with different possibilities.

how about scouting reports, opponents tendencies.

unlimited possibilities.

isn't that much sweeter than just give a pad on the back and say 'well, maybe we need some more serve practice'.

some of the stuff is already available, but most are still in infancy or too expensive for the recs.

what are the industry trends, what are the high performance people using to squeeze every ounce of winning out of a player?

survival of the fittest.

Like " moneyball" for an individual player in tennis. The advanced stats tracking ultimately comes down to whom is interpreting the data though.

5263
01-03-2013, 06:54 AM
Like " moneyball" for an individual player in tennis. The advanced stats tracking ultimately comes down to whom is interpreting the data though.

Important to realize.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 06:54 AM
Above is an excellent example of how the important subtle items are misinterpreted.
I didn't say I knew they were the most important. I said I knew it was
a common theory that the second serve rtn was important.
A very big difference, but if you can't get that, explains why you can't get the
stats.
Also I never said the serve was not important...Only that the second sever rtn
skills are overrated, and not as important as dealing with the mid ct ball.

I guess you are a new player since you won't tell your time in the game and it's
fine that you just realized this common notion about the game (which may be
correct). I just thought it was worth pointing out when you started insulting
everyone for not being smart enough to get this.

well... mis-interpretation happens all the time on the internet.. that's a shame.

so instead of mid ct ball vs. serve/return.... it was mid ct ball vs. 2nd serve return.... wow, huge difference there... so in your mind serve and return are so far removed from each other.... the server hits a ball into the vacuum, and the receiver just has this random ball to hit back.

read all the posts again... you said the MOST IMPORTANT difference maker is the mid ct ball, and I am saying it's false.... doesn't matter it's the serve/return combo that defeats your theory, or it's specifically the 2nd serve return..... I am referring to the 2nd serve return because the serve/return stats happen to pointing to it, while 10 years ago the serving stats maybe more relevant.

I have played the game for 30 years, and have known the importance of serve/return for maybe 20 years.... but that does not matter, so stop putting yourself on the seniority high ground.

so did you or did you not know, 15 years ago, that the serve/return was the most important?

I still don't see your way out of either option a) or b)

luvforty
01-03-2013, 07:12 AM
Important to realize.

sure - but don't compare yourself to the moneyball wizkid yet.... that kid provided a concrete interpretation that is different from the old farts.

but so far, instead of providing anything concrete, all you have is your mid ct ball theory (with no details), and a claim that the direct cause-effect relationship between serve/return to winning/ranking needs to consider other factors of how the points play out.

how? where is the detail? what is the methodology to take other factors into consideration?

there is revolutionary analysis, like the moneyball kid, or there is analysis paralysis - where the straightforward facts are being ignored, and attention is misdirected to minutia.

5263
01-03-2013, 10:23 AM
sure - but don't compare yourself to the moneyball wizkid yet.... that kid provided a concrete interpretation that is different from the old farts.
.

I didn't compare myself to them at all, but seems you are trying to :)
I doubt you even got the premise of moneyball.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 10:40 AM
I didn't compare myself to them at all, but seems you are trying to :)
I doubt you even got the premise of moneyball.

the premise to me is 2 fold

1) thru data mining, and open minded thinking, you can find diamond in the rough, that is only if the method is scientific..... therefore the mid ct ball is not a diamond, but rather a fools gold :)

2) the establishment is the establishment - it was foolish for him not to take the Boston offer..... so, using a 50-match chart to topple the established cause effect relationship between serve/return and win/ranking, is, well.......

5263
01-03-2013, 10:45 AM
the premise to me is 2 fold

1) thru data mining, and open minded thinking, you can find diamond in the rough, that is only if the method is scientific.........

Yep, about what I expected. :)

luvforty
01-03-2013, 11:00 AM
Yep, about what I expected. :)

good, we are finally on the same page :)

5263
01-03-2013, 06:23 PM
1) thru data mining, and open minded thinking, you can find diamond in the rough, that is only if the method is scientific..... therefore the mid ct ball is not a diamond, but rather a fools gold :)
..

Lets just take a look at how this misses the mark, based on the movie anyway.

A diamond in the rough is something exceptional that just needs to be polished
up to show how exceptional it is....like a young draft choice that needs to spend
time in the minors. Baseball already found Diamonds in the rough, along with
the star diamonds, already polished.

The big key here is not finding a Rough Diamond. It's about recognizing
the impact of the economic disparity between the enormous costs of polished &
rough diamonds vs the Bargain basement prices of the broken and flawed rejects
that can still get the job done.

Thru the data mining they could find bargain rejects that could still serve the
purpose, but fit in the limited payroll they worked with.
So no, they didn't find diamonds in the rough that just need polishing, they
found cheap rejects that polish wouldn't help, but could still fit their needs.

And No, not only thru Scientific methods, but good common sense and some
perspective. Statistics do serve well to provide data, evidence, and support
for the conclusions, but....
Who out there didn't look at $150mil contracts and say they could get 5-7 rock
solid players for that and make a better team than putting that in one player
who can get hurt or go cold, sticking you with a big salary you can't move??
Good common sense would keep most of us from getting trapped in a bid war
to get the Prized Diamond. The team owner avoided that trap.

And as to the Establishment is the Establishment...that changed too.
Many of the teams started using some of these same methods to improve their
rosters after that season.
Yes, it's a huge challenge to turn that big ship, but this movie is about some
unlikely folks doing just that. You could say MoneyBall is not only about finding
undervalued assets thru data mining, but also about how people have some
great ideas out there and having the guts to see it through.
How sometimes they can see it through for Big Change
and how throwing money at things is often not the best approach.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 06:34 PM
^^ ok, lots of bells and whistles, but still zero pieces of data...so what is your methodology - flying by the seat of pants.

5263
01-03-2013, 06:41 PM
^^ ok, lots of bells and whistles, but still zero pieces of data...so what is your methodology - flying by the seat of pants.
Not aware I need a methodology to get the concept of a movie.

I looked back over the thread and think we may have gotten sidetracked.

Seems you were first saying the Bh was most more important to improve.
Then return of second serve,
then just return of serve in general, and
then Serve and any return of serve.
You are only as good as your worst shot, so whatever is worst.

Also, Are you saying the pick from above is the most important or the difference
maker? or both?

Just want to get it straight, what your point is, thanks.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 07:08 PM
the thread of the title is 'FH is over-discussed'.... I was just saying too much attention was put on the FH.

I did mention that recs usually have very weak bh and even worse volley so perhaps the low-fruits are in those areas but not the fh.... but I have no stats to go with.... nobody cares to collect data for the recs.

but data for the tour is available, therefore I tried to use the ATP data to illustrate the common notion that the serve is the most important shot, and I made another point that it's really the "first exchange", i.e. the serve and the return, because after that, both players have the same role - a "rallier".

fortunately ATP has both serving and returning data available, so it was convenient to see the correlation between the return stats and the player ranking.... and coincidentally dom had another thread about the top 4, so I put the scope on the top4.

to summarize the point - at the elite level, the "first exchange" is the most important shot(s), this does not conflict with the old saying of "serve is the most important", because the serve is not hit into a vacuum, its effectiveness depends on what the returner does..... and a few links from google - an usatoday article, an article from a tennis pro, expressed the same view so I quoted them.

so - in a tennis point, there is the "first exchange", where A is the server and B is the returner, after the first exchange, both A and B are ralliers..... so the question is, a) does the better server/returner win, or b) does the better rallier win? and the answer is -

if player has similar performance in their serving / returning stats in relation to their ATP ranking, e.g. rafa and ferrer, (whom I call the 'symmetrical players) then both answers a) and b) are possible. the explanation can be that either the 'first exchange' is not making the difference, or these 2 guys happen to do serving/returning equally well.

but if the player is asymmetrical, fed, murray, joke, and majority of the top guys, then the explanation can only be a), since we assume their 'rallier' performance being roughly the same during serving vs. receiving games, so the difference maker has to the 'first exchange' when they are in the 'server'/'returner' role.

however, i did acknowledge many times that these stats do not apply to recs, and your mid court ball theory may very well be valid for the recs.... if one 3.5 guy dinks a serve to another 3.5 guy who dinks back, then sure, whoever punishes the mid ct ball wins.

the thread started to de-emphasize on the FH, then took on quite a life of its own lol.

5263
01-03-2013, 07:09 PM
Back on the forehand discussion for one last moment - have you noticed why Federer and Nadal are considered some of the greatest players of all time? It's because they win and dominate so much. They win and dominate so much because they each have a devastating forehand that is their main weapon and go-to point-ender. We all want that weapon that will make our opponents tremble in fear, and for the people you see on these boards, it is the forehand.

I missed this excellent post earlier. Well stated point here. And just to note,
while both of them are excellent servers in their way, neither are legendary
like Goran, Pete, or Roddick. The Fh is their main and best weapon and each
have chinks in the armor of their Bhs.

That said, other than the seat of the pants stat of 15% factor on Fhs, I do agree that
most every player would benefit greatly from getting more balance in their
games by improving, serves, Rtn, and Bhs along with some Fh work.

5263
01-03-2013, 07:19 PM
however, i did acknowledge many times that these stats do not apply to recs, and your mid court ball theory may very well be valid for the recs.... if one 3.5 guy dinks a serve to another 3.5 guy who dinks back, then sure, whoever punishes the mid ct ball wins.

the thread started to de-emphasize on the FH, then took on quite a life of its own lol.

Looking back over the thread and this post, Imo you made quite a few good pts,
even though we don't agree on what the 2ond serve stats reflect.

Fh is likely way over scrutinized in general and players would benefit greatly from
developing better overall skills to go with their weapon of choice.
I do expect they try to an extent, but it's just not working out for them.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 07:23 PM
(referring to Inspector's post) with the risk of sounding arrogant, here is another example of different level of analyzing.

anecdotal arguments like the one from Inspector is exactly why internet debates go in circles to infinity.... because another party can provide equally if not more convincing arguments for the contrary.. e.g. Agassi saying fed is better than pete because of Fed's bh, and fed saying rafa so tough because of rafa's backhand.

stats is needed to reveal the true story... see my previous post, why the FH is not the difference maker...first of all, a definition... we are talking about THE MOST IMPORTANT, not ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT.

so fed's FH is one of the most important, no doubt, but what is THE MOST IMPORTANT, (not just for Fed, we are talking about the entire tour, which ATP collects stats for).

and if you follow my paragraph about symmetrical/asymmetrical player above, hopefully you can make sense out of it.

arche3
01-03-2013, 07:25 PM
But we all agree moneyball is an awesome movie and those ideas will at some point when tennis data is more complete help top players right?

luvforty
01-03-2013, 07:38 PM
moneyball is awesome.

I think for the top pros, the stats are already widely used, because so much is at steak, and so much data is available..... but we recs don't get to know what's going on.

I think coaches who live on teaching fees and those who live on % of player earnings have VERY different business models....

the former has to promote his methodology, to make as many people aware as possible.

the latter has to operate under the radar with trade secretes unrevealed..... too much $$$ at steak, any competitive edge is gold.

arche3
01-03-2013, 07:46 PM
moneyball is awesome.

I think for the top pros, the stats are already widely used, because so much is at steak, and so much data is available..... but we recs don't get to know what's going on.

I think coaches who live on teaching fees and those who live on % of player earnings have VERY different business models....

the former has to promote his methodology, to make as many people aware as possible.

the latter has to operate under the radar with trade secretes unrevealed..... too much $$$ at steak, any competitive edge is gold.

I'm actually not a numbers person at all...but I loved the story of moneyball and how it changed everything they thought.

Would it be weird if I showed up to rec tennis matches with some statistics college kid on a tablet inputing every ball i hit ? :D

WildVolley
01-03-2013, 07:48 PM
Until now, the difficulty in doing anything more than cursory statistical analysis of tennis has been gathering good data to work with. With the shot-tracker type technology that records every ball hit, the speed, and the trajectory, it should be possible to do some fairly sophisticated statistical analysis.

Well before moneyball, I had an economics professor who was trying to get a college to help him set-up a "sportametrics" department that would apply statistical analysis to sports. I guess he was tired of writing economics papers.

So the argument so far in this thread has been about having a good serve and a good return game. I think we can all agree on that.

However, what does a good return game look like? Does the Agassi high-risk strategy still work today?

5263
01-03-2013, 07:48 PM
But we all agree moneyball is an awesome movie and those ideas will at some point when tennis data is more complete help top players right?

Interesting question, but tennis is so different in how it's played and scored,
I'm not sure how much the stats help.
In tennis, stats are quite lacking to begin with, just glossing the surface of
what is happening, and really mostly just tell how things are currently going
in general.
I do know they buy the hawkeye data though and am in contact with a coach
using it.

Like if back in the heyday of S&V, stats likely showed coming to net was the way to win since the best players were doing it. Now S&V wouldn't fare as
well in stats. Doesn't really mean it is actually the key and may be just a fad
or trend that is self perpetuating. People come up with theories to support
their belief and stats show the current trend.
Main use now is for trends, like he will go cross ct in xyz situation.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 07:50 PM
them pros all have the play-books against each other, tendencies under all situations..where a guy serves to defend BP, shot patterns... it's the scout's job to figure all that out and make the player aware.

arche3 you will be so busy during them junior tournaments scouting on your son's next round opp while keeping an eye on his own match lol.... you have work cut out for ya.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 07:59 PM
Until now, the difficulty in doing anything more than cursory statistical analysis of tennis has been gathering good data to work with. With the shot-tracker type technology that records every ball hit, the speed, and the trajectory, it should be possible to do some fairly sophisticated statistical analysis.

Well before moneyball, I had an economics professor who was trying to get a college to help him set-up a "sportametrics" department that would apply statistical analysis to sports. I guess he was tired of writing economics papers.

So the argument so far in this thread has been about having a good serve and a good return game. I think we can all agree on that.

However, what does a good return game look like? Does the Agassi high-risk strategy still work today?

that's my thinking as well about the pros.... them pro coaches must have been crunching all the shot tracker data to figure out shot patterns, not for his own player, but for the opps.... tremendous advantage without having to 'feel out the other guy' during the first few games.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/MatchFacts.aspx

as for if Agassi will be successful... i don't know... look at the link above, rafa and joker tops the 'return games won' while they rank very high on returning both the first and 2nd serve.... murray has good success in return games won, he is on top returning 2nd serve, but only decent against 1st serve.... and Fed is dismal in the return department for his standards due to the 1hbh.

so I guess the story of the top4 says, you gotta be able to go after both the 1st and 2nd serves.... so perhaps Agassi will be successful.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 08:09 PM
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/Top-Matchfacts.aspx?y=1991&s=0#

the ATP stats go all the way back to 1991 when Edberg was #1 !

and if you highlight the stats area and copy paste into a spreadsheet, it lay out nicely into different columns :)

so anybody curious enough can slice dice the data easily just by using some basic Excel correlation formulas, and show which column is the most relevant for success.

luvforty
01-03-2013, 08:33 PM
1st Srv 1st Srv w 2nd srv w srv gm w bp won bp sv pts rtn 1 pts rtn 2 rtn gm wn
0.046853021 0.268923042 0.562500096 0.44739878 0.302596267 0.2950009 0.181784048 0.222073506 0.282499512

sorry, had formatting error....

for 1991, the top 3 are -

2nd Srv Won
Srv Game Won
BP Won.

arche3
01-03-2013, 08:48 PM
them pros all have the play-books against each other, tendencies under all situations..where a guy serves to defend BP, shot patterns... it's the scout's job to figure all that out and make the player aware.

arche3 you will be so busy during them junior tournaments scouting on your son's next round opp while keeping an eye on his own match lol.... you have work cut out for ya.

Lol. I'm one of the coaches for my sons football team. Last season (6th grade junior football league) I started tracking our play calling on 3rd down conversions. It basically told us to always pass. We were much more likely to get a 1st down passing than running. No matter how many yards were needed. We started passing only on 3rd downs on second half of season and we were much more consistent in converting.

Even though the other teams scouted us and knew we always passed on 3rd it didn't really matter. We ran a spread offence on 3rd and the qb always has the option to run. But the first option is to look for one of the receivers.

Sorry way off topic. I'm talking about football ....

luvforty
01-03-2013, 08:51 PM
for 2012

1st Srv 1st Srv w 2nd srv w srv gm w bp won bp sv pts rtn 1 pts rtn 2 rtn gm wn
0.06429448 0.522678196 0.614081536 0.650474016 0.248547356 0.536628334 0.349750106 0.288385001 0.38757496

the top 3 are

Srv Gm won
2nd Srv won
BP Save

the top 3 specific to a certain stroke are

2nd Srv won
1st Srv won
pts rtn 1st Srv.

the stats above are for the top 100, so beyond the top 4, the picture is a bit different....

what does this all mean?

luvforty
01-03-2013, 08:56 PM
so based on 2012 data - for the top 100 guys, it's still pointing to the serve, basically if you can save BP and hold serve, you can go far.

5263
01-03-2013, 09:27 PM
so based on 2012 data - for the top 100 guys, it's still pointing to the serve, basically if you can save BP and hold serve, you can go far.

but didn't we know that?
isn't it more important to know how they did that? other than serve 135 out wide ace.

martini1
01-04-2013, 02:30 AM
I still believe without a serve and a good bh there is just no way. People started learning the fh as their first shot, and naturally it is the shot that got the most hours logged, and the first one to become a weapon.

Somebody can have a 5.0 fh but with a 3.0 bh they will win very few points as long as the other guy can simply redirect the ball to the bh side.

luvforty
01-04-2013, 06:02 AM
but didn't we know that?
isn't it more important to know how they did that? other than serve 135 out wide ace.

Yes - here it is..

first of all the raw data in a cleaner format - year 2012

Stat / correlation
1st Srv% / 0.06429448
1st Srv pts won / 0.522678196
2nd srv pts won / 0.614081536
srv gm won / 0.650474016
bp won / 0.248547356
bp sv / 0.536628334
pts rtn 1st srv / 0.349750106
pts rtn 2nd srv / 0.288385001
rtn gm won / 0.38757496

so the goal is to figure out what is really happening from this set of data.

first of all, we can say that the 1st Srv% is almost irrelevant, which makes sense.... a short guy serving 70% and a tall guy serving 70% can bring vastly different results.

2ndly, we want to use only the stats related to a specific shot, so we use these 4 stats -

1st Srv pts won / 0.522678196
2nd srv pts won / 0.614081536
pts rtn 1st srv / 0.349750106
pts rtn 2nd srv / 0.288385001

the rest of them, games/breaks, bp won/sv, we don't know what exactly happened (point started with a 1st srv or 2nd srv), so we are gonna leave them alone.

so on surface, the above 4 stats says, winning is more correlated to the srv pts, less to the rtn pts.

question is, do higher ranked players, perform better in srv pts, because they serve better, or because they rally better (fh, bh, volleys, drop shots etc).

assuming their rally shot performance being roughly the same in their srv pts and rtn pts, then -

if the ranking has roughly the same correlation to srv pts and rtn pts (symmetry), then we can say that ranking is more dependent on the rally performance.

if the ranking has asymmetrical correlation to srv pts and rtn pts, then we can say that ranking is more dependent on the srv or the rtn, which ever with the higher correlation (stats above pointing to the srv).

therefore considering the asymmetrical nature of the above 4 stats, the conclusion is that the srv is the most correlated to winning.... and the 2nd serve slightly more important than the 1st.

hopefully this analysis makes sense.

by the way, the 1991 data tells a similar story, the corresponding 4 stats are

0.268923042
0.562500096
0.181784048
0.222073506

and interestingly in 1991, the 2nd srv is much more important than the other 3.

so the saying is valid after all -

YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR 2ND SERVE !!

5263
01-04-2013, 02:02 PM
Yes - here it is..


so the saying is valid after all -

YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR 2ND SERVE !!

If that is what you were saying all along, we really got sidetracked.
I thought you felt the key was rtn of second serve.

julian
01-04-2013, 02:05 PM
Yes - here it is..

first of all the raw data in a cleaner format - year 2012

Stat / correlation
1st Srv% / 0.06429448
1st Srv pts won / 0.522678196
2nd srv pts won / 0.614081536
srv gm won / 0.650474016
bp won / 0.248547356
bp sv / 0.536628334
pts rtn 1st srv / 0.349750106
pts rtn 2nd srv / 0.288385001
rtn gm won / 0.38757496

so the goal is to figure out what is really happening from this set of data.

first of all, we can say that the 1st Srv% is almost irrelevant, which makes sense.... a short guy serving 70% and a tall guy serving 70% can bring vastly different results.

2ndly, we want to use only the stats related to a specific shot, so we use these 4 stats -

1st Srv pts won / 0.522678196
2nd srv pts won / 0.614081536
pts rtn 1st srv / 0.349750106
pts rtn 2nd srv / 0.288385001

the rest of them, games/breaks, bp won/sv, we don't know what exactly happened (point started with a 1st srv or 2nd srv), so we are gonna leave them alone.

so on surface, the above 4 stats says, winning is more correlated to the srv pts, less to the rtn pts.

question is, do higher ranked players, perform better in srv pts, because they serve better, or because they rally better (fh, bh, volleys, drop shots etc).

assuming their rally shot performance being roughly the same in their srv pts and rtn pts, then -

if the ranking has roughly the same correlation to srv pts and rtn pts (symmetry), then we can say that ranking is more dependent on the rally performance.

if the ranking has asymmetrical correlation to srv pts and rtn pts, then we can say that ranking is more dependent on the srv or the rtn, which ever with the higher correlation (stats above pointing to the srv).

therefore considering the asymmetrical nature of the above 4 stats, the conclusion is that the srv is the most correlated to winning.... and the 2nd serve slightly more important than the 1st.

hopefully this analysis makes sense.

by the way, the 1991 data tells a similar story, the corresponding 4 stats are

0.268923042
0.562500096
0.181784048
0.222073506

and interestingly in 1991, the 2nd srv is much more important than the other 3.

so the saying is valid after all -

YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR 2ND SERVE !!
Is it
"Stat / correlation
1st Srv% / 0.06429448"

OR
"Stat / correlation
1st Srv% / 0.6429448"

Please see a difference-ONE LESS ZERO in the second case?

luvforty
01-04-2013, 03:14 PM
If that is what you were saying all along, we really got sidetracked.
I thought you felt the key was rtn of second serve.

initially only had the top 4 to look at...... the analysis today was on the top 100.

luvforty
01-04-2013, 03:17 PM
Is it
"Stat / correlation
1st Srv% / 0.06429448"

OR
"Stat / correlation
1st Srv% / 0.6429448"

Please see a difference-ONE LESS ZERO in the second case?

no... 0.06429448 is correct.... amazing huh.... 1st serve% is irrelevant....

well, in the sense that player A serving higher 1st srv% does not mean he is better than player B serving at lower 1st srv%.

5263
01-04-2013, 03:27 PM
initially only had the top 4 to look at...... the analysis today was on the top 100.

so with a larger sample size, you have adjusted your conclusion?

luvforty
01-04-2013, 03:34 PM
so with a larger sample size, you have adjusted your conclusion?

yeah I am just presenting what the data is saying.... why not.

haven't changed the view that the FH is over-discussed.... but top 4 vs. top 100 is telling different story on which one is THE MOST important.... in any case it's not rallies.

5263
01-04-2013, 04:04 PM
I'm not saying your are wrong, so hopefully we can just comment from our
perspectives, but

For me, while I believe the 2ond serve is very important for consistency, confidence,
and as a foundation for the 1st technique...I think the stats showing the importance
winning pts from second serves (each way), demonstrates more about how
the ground game is going. Imo most rec matches are decided by the ground game.

What is happening on 1st serve pt results tell me much more about how
dominant a persons serve can be or how good a great returner is.
If the returner is amazing like DJ, he will get a lot of 1st serves back in play and
make the server work much harder to hold and if the server is amazing like
Roddick, then he will serve many aces and svc winners for easy pts on 1st serve.

With rare exceptions like Sampras (even him to an extent too), on the second
serve pts the big svc advantage is dulled and most can rtn well enough to
get into the point. On Second serve pts we get a look at longer pts on a more
equal footing where the other strokes will decide things.

I don't think there is a person who knows tennis that does not realize that for
a pro to get to start the point with a massive overhead (1st serve) and a mulligan (2ond)
would be a huge advantage at their Serving level.
If someone didn't know or doesn't agree, please post on your opinion. I don't
see where stats did anything here but confirm what we all knew...not just me.

That said, only a vaulted few have really set themselves apart with the serve
in a major way vs their peers. Given you are already doing that if you have that
ability, I expect short of making amazing gains with your serve (rare), having a way
better than avg Fh is the next best & most attainable thing. It can be your
main rally shot and your main mid ct attack shot. Many can even cover their
Bh side extremely well with the Fh. I would never recommend a poor neglected Bh,
but I don't see any rec player getting the mileage out of their
Bh they will from the Fh or Fh improvements unless the Fh is already topped out. I've played with a few players with a much better Bh than Fh, and it was a big
problem for them. Way harder to hide your Fh than hiding your Bh.


Most rec play is dubbs, with serves coming only every 4th game and a net man
to help your efforts to hold. Watch a dubbs match and you will see 4+ Fhs for
every Bh groundstroke due to less ct to cover.

5263
01-04-2013, 04:09 PM
yeah I am just presenting what the data is saying.... why not.

haven't changed the view that the FH is over-discussed.... but top 4 vs. top 100 is telling different story on which one is THE MOST important.... in any case it's not rallies.

I agree, why not. Some on here won't change for anything.
Good on you.

Here is my initial comment I intended to support and I still think it was worded fine.

I agree.
The serve is harder to hit real well imo, so more rec players are satisfied with an
avg delivery.
Backhand mostly just needs to be solid, as do most other shots.

Fh is the primary weapon for most rec tactics as a weapon.
A likely place to separate yourself.

julian
01-04-2013, 04:20 PM
no... 0.06429448 is correct.... amazing huh.... 1st serve% is irrelevant....

well, in the sense that player A serving higher 1st srv% does not mean he is better than player B serving at lower 1st srv%.

Please desicribe in details how did you get 0.06429448
Otherwise I have to give up

luvforty
01-04-2013, 04:28 PM
not sure about the 'we all knew' part, otherwise i wouldn't have started this thread due to half the threads are on FHs...and what happened to the mid ct ball theory after charting 50 pro matches lol..

anyway, i am tired of beating that horse now... so we have reached consensus, in the pros, serve is the most important shot.

in the recs, no data.

doubles, different scope that will deserve a separate discussion

5263
01-04-2013, 05:37 PM
not sure about the 'we all knew' part, otherwise i wouldn't have started this thread due to half the threads are on FHs...and what happened to the mid ct ball theory after charting 50 pro matches lol..

anyway, i am tired of beating that horse now... so we have reached consensus, in the pros, serve is the most important shot.


You are welcome to drop it of course, but don't understand what you find funny
about charting the details of 50+ matches. How many have you charted?
You spend the hours to chart details of over 50 pro matches, including the 5 set +
Wimbledon victory by Rafa and get back with me. I don't know what you will
see...but you will see somethings that you never realized.

And No, not a consensus. I think good servers are going to be good servers.
Really good serve coaching...enough to make a difference is sooo rare, so
mostly they are going to get it or not. But the Fh mid ct attack is an area
where many never even train enough to know what they have. Most have
not scratched the surface enough to understand when to pull the trigger or
when to play a safe.

Also, if the serve were that clearly the most important shot, Roddick would
have done even better than he did in his excellent career.

luvforty
01-04-2013, 05:54 PM
now you are talking out of both sides of mouth... and you still have contributed ZERO pieces of data.

5263
01-04-2013, 06:00 PM
.. and you still have contributed ZERO pieces of data.

and you just contributed one above that is in error! :)

So I guess data isn't everything for most of us.

luvforty
01-04-2013, 06:14 PM
why not show your data, we'll take a crack at it.

5263
01-04-2013, 06:36 PM
why not show your data, we'll take a crack at it.

No need. We don't approach the data the same.

luvforty
01-04-2013, 06:40 PM
No need. We don't approach the data the same.

translation - that data aint worth a dime lol

5263
01-04-2013, 07:02 PM
translation - that data aint worth a dime lol

See...good example of how you make poor assumptions and mishandle the info :)