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abrahams
09-21-2005, 11:12 AM
A friend and I were playing this weekend, and behind us on the set of courts were a husband and wife working with a ball machine. For nearly two hours they took turns hitting groundstrokes, with the husband being the type who gives non-stop advice to his wife. The funny thing about it is that they each had nearly identical strokes, with the wife evidently trying to copy her husband. But their strokes were terrible! Wristy, all arm, with no body rotation or legs in the shot. I think working with a ball machine can be valuable if you're trying to groove good strokes. But why would someone spend the money on a ball machine in order to create muscle memory of a terrible stroke? After all the balls they hit, that muscle memory would be incredibly hard to undo. I wanted to shake them by the neck and tell them to save their money on the ball machine, and take some lessons instead if they wanted to improve. I just don't understand why so many people who are willing to spend money and time on tennis don't do the sensible thing and get some instruction. It's not like tennis instruction is difficult to find in Atlanta.

cadfael_tex
09-21-2005, 11:22 AM
The strokes you describe sound like some of the ones I saw on the challenger event out here in Lubbock. I just figured that's how people do it now with the new whampem technology in all the racquets these days.

Marius_Hancu
09-21-2005, 11:38 AM
I just don't understand why so many people who are willing to spend money and time on tennis don't do the sensible thing and get some instruction.

yes, people are willing to spend years grooving bad strokes, but not get coaching ...

PM_
09-21-2005, 11:42 AM
Chill, maybe they're beginners and just started taking lessons too. You don't always get it right the first time............

donnyz89
09-21-2005, 11:50 AM
i wish i had a ball machine...

but yes frustrating, my dad have been playing tennis for a while with bad technique and no matter what i tell him, i cant change it. even the simplest thing such as followthrough low to high and both hand on the handle, he cant do it. i told him, just catch the racquet with your left hand after the followthrough, he cant do it, the racquet always end up in front of him, never behind. no followthrough whatsoever or rotation...

Geezer Guy
09-21-2005, 12:09 PM
I can't remember if it was this forum or another that I go to occasionally, but there was this big discusion on "pretty" strokes. Many of the poster's didn't care if their strokes were "pretty" or not, as long as the ball went where they were aiming.

I was a proponent FOR "pretty" strokes (defined as "technically correct") but most of the others were not.

cadfael_tex
09-21-2005, 12:20 PM
Give them both wood racquets and see how there stroke changes.
Gee, I guess I'm officially a kermudgeon now!!!

GuyClinch
09-21-2005, 03:55 PM
"I can't remember if it was this forum or another that I go to occasionally, but there was this big discusion on "pretty" strokes. Many of the poster's didn't care if their strokes were "pretty" or not, as long as the ball went where they were aiming. "

Bad strokes give you bad results though. Sure they may be somewhat effective but someone with good strokes IMHO seemingly effortlessly strikes the ball while hitting with great pace and spin. It's amazing how easy and natural tennis looks when you watch someone good play.

It's the same thing with walls - both walls and machines can lock in bad form, IMHO. FWIW the hardest thing to get rid of for me is the hard flat eastern grip serve.

Pete

takeuchi
09-21-2005, 04:55 PM
if your strokes are "pretty" then i think you have a lot more potential to improve.

i like cadfael_tex's idea. if they continued to use a demanding racquet, then their strokes would probably start to change. but chances are they are going to throw the racquet down after 5 shots and say "this racquet isn't very good" and continue with their ugmo strokes.

cadfael_tex
09-21-2005, 05:02 PM
Here's a question. Do the strokes - as a general rule - of those who learned with a wood racquet look different than the younger set who learned with big boats (Wilson Hammer etc)?

joe sch
09-21-2005, 08:01 PM
Consistent strokes are the diff between hackers and players !
The more proper and effective the consistent strokes, the better the player.
Strokes include groundies, serves, half-volleys, volleys and overheads.
Styles vary greatly; Federer and Nadal are extreme examples of the best current styles.

GuyClinch
09-23-2005, 10:27 AM
Consistent strokes are the diff between hackers and players !
The more proper and effective the consistent strokes, the better the player.
Strokes include groundies, serves, half-volleys, volleys and overheads.
Styles vary greatly; Federer and Nadal are extreme examples of the best current styles.

I think the big differences are footwork and anticipation. Like alot of mediocre players I can hit a good looking shot if I get into the right position. Problem is I am always hitting off-balance, going backwards, overrunning the ball, hitting the ball to late (contact point is close to the body) and more.

I am with Nick Bolleteri on this. Tennis is really all about the feet.

Pete

joe sch
09-23-2005, 11:17 AM
I think the big differences are footwork and anticipation. Like alot of mediocre players I can hit a good looking shot if I get into the right position. Problem is I am always hitting off-balance, going backwards, overrunning the ball, hitting the ball to late (contact point is close to the body) and more.

I am with Nick Bolleteri on this. Tennis is really all about the feet.

Pete
Agreed, footwork and anticipation are important factors for consistent strokes.
Footwork anchors and powers your strokes.

nickybol
09-23-2005, 01:32 PM
You shouldn`t go for "pretty" shots, but shots that have the biomechanical keypoints, that are biomechanical correct. Pretty is just relative.

dakels
09-23-2005, 03:01 PM
This is something you have to deal with everywhere. People will play the way they want to play. The bottom line is that if they don't feel that lessons and rebuilding strokes is too much for them, then they aren't going to do it and there isn't a whole lot you can say about it.

One thing I like to do is hit with a player who has bad strokes and think they can get away with it. With pace, depth, and spin I usually break down their stroke so badly that they can barely hit the ball back. This usually makes a player rethink their strokes and prep. Wether they want to make a serious effort to change that is up to them. I try not to be a jerk about it and chastise them or fault them or beat them up too badly on the court. Ultimately it's a game and recreation to them. If chopping shots back is fun for them, then who am I to judge.

When teaching juniors I take a more aggressive approach always look to break down their shots to help them improve.

I dont believe you have to have pretty shots either. Effective yes, but not pretty. It just happens that pretty form is usually pretty shots, and vice versa. It's like all these service videos people post up. You can have the prettiest service motion in the world, but ultimately if your pretty form only puts in a 80mph sitter when an "uglier" swing puts in a 100mph spinner then I question your judgement.

I have to admit though my patience runs out sometimes. I always have people asking to hit with me but sometimes people just over extend themselves a bit. Some people can barely hit my normal shots back at all and I have to basically feed them. So bad to the point where I have to use my teaching strokes of short swing no follow through punches which present a fairly flat shot consistently on the service line to their wheel house every time. This is incredibly boring and I get a bit annoyed when people ask to hit with me when it's this bad. I don't mean to sound arrogant, I am very patient but let's face it, you really are overstepping a bit when you are 2.0 asking a 5.0 to hit with you or play a set. One reason this happens more often then not is because my shots tend to break players strokes down. Just because you have a nice stroke on a 40mph flat shot off the service line does not mean you are immune to total meltdown on 70mph deep topspin groundies.

Overall, people with ingrained bad strokes will have a hard time changing it. You cannot expect a person who has played bad strokes for 5+ years to suddenly start playing with good form just because of a few tips here and there. It takes a serious commitment of fed lessons and swing reconstruction which many people either cannot afford or are not willing to put the effort into. I have to agree though that it's rather sad that people would be willing to spend $500+ on a ball machine when $500 worth of good lessons would be SOOO much more beneficial to those people. To each his own.

p.s. one thing that is very important about good swing mechanics is health/injury prevention. So many people I have corrected strokes for lost their wrist and elbow pain which was caused by improper strokes with bad racquets. A better swing will usually help prevent common injuries like wrist problems and of course tennis elbow. Let's face it, as hard as the pros hit, how many do you see with elbow and wrist braces on?

nickybol
09-24-2005, 11:58 AM
Good post Dakels! I have the same experiences sometimes I must admit.