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View Full Version : What does it take to be #1 High School Player?


Amirsan
05-24-2006, 04:06 PM
Hey,

what does it take to be a very good high school tennis player? What strategies work for high school matches (varsity level) and how can I improve my game so to possibly become the #1 in my county and be very well in states.

Ofcourse you can't see how I play to make a good judgement on how I can personally improve, but I would like to hear some general suggestions and comments from people who were there and experienced being a high school player. What does it take to win matches? How should you be practicing over the year in off-season? What things help you and didn't? How did you watch the pros? ETC.

I am looking to learn as much as I can to plan this year in the off-season and come back in next year's season playing better then ever.

Any ideas?

Juggurnaut
05-24-2006, 04:24 PM
I'm a junior in high school and i'm moving up to varsity second singles next year, so we're kind of in the same boat. In the off season i'm going to do my best to play most days, or at least get out and practice serves and groundstrokes by myself. About watching the pros, what I do is try to find one or two with the same style of gameplay as you then study how they use that gameplay to its fullest. For example, if you use a Western grip, watch Rafael Nadal and see how he utilizes it, or if you have a one-handed backhand, watch Federer.

Good luck next year man, I hope you have a great season!

thinkfacility
05-24-2006, 05:01 PM
I think that at the high school level, the most important thing to have is a powerful and consistant serve. That includes both first and second serves, if you can get your first serve up around 90~100 mph with a 70% consistancy and your second serve to around 80 mph with near 100% consistancy, you'll probably do extremely well. That is, if you're mostly consistant with your groundstrokes and aren't extremely out of shape.

looseswing
05-24-2006, 05:38 PM
Not many players in high school can hit that kind of speed, especially on the second serve. The number ones in our area usually keep the ball in play for at least five shots, so consistency is a priority.
Also they have decent shots for every shot, so make sure you are well rounded.

LowProfile
05-24-2006, 06:25 PM
It really depends on the high school. In our district alone, there are vast differences between the number ones. One of them is en route to three-peating as state champion. The worst ones are 3.5 baseliners who make tons of errors.

Roddick The Beast
05-24-2006, 06:32 PM
Hey,

what does it take to be a very good high school tennis player? What strategies work for high school matches (varsity level) and how can I improve my game so to possibly become the #1 in my county and be very well in states.

Ofcourse you can't see how I play to make a good judgement on how I can personally improve, but I would like to hear some general suggestions and comments from people who were there and experienced being a high school player. What does it take to win matches? How should you be practicing over the year in off-season? What things help you and didn't? How did you watch the pros? ETC.

I am looking to learn as much as I can to plan this year in the off-season and come back in next year's season playing better then ever.

Any ideas?To start off: Hunger, desire, dedication, committment, and understanding! Trust me! I know what I am talking about! :mrgreen:

Roddick The Beast
05-24-2006, 06:42 PM
To get technical, "one" thing that I'll advise is to develop a good . . . no wait . . . an EXCELLENT, reliable 2nd serve. Don't just do what all too many high schoolers do -- that is, go nuts on the 1st, then dinking that 2nd one in!

You need a kick serve! Trust me on this. If you have plenty of time during the summer, practice this. Set aside time specifically for practicing serves! Besides having time dedicated for serve training, also divide up THAT time so that you will be spending lots of time drilling 2nd serves, not just reckless flat bombs serves!

There you have it, from the master himself! :mrgreen:

MTChong
05-24-2006, 08:16 PM
Two words: Consistency, Fitness.

serveitup911
05-24-2006, 08:32 PM
I agree with Roddick about the kick serve.

For groundies, keep the ball deep and be able to move it around. Work on put-aways alot; hit them with good pace and to a safe spot without getting wild.

Develop a good slice backhand for defense and change of pace.

Learn when to play offense and when to play defense or neutral and be disciplined with it.
Defense - out of position
Offense - short balls
Neutral - rally balls

Be able to come in and put a volley away when you have set up the point well.

Work a lot on returning serves. Find a good server who wants to practice his serve and ask if you can practice returning. For flat serves, work on blocking them back with a short backswing.

Mentally, stay positive, calm, and patient. Against some players, you might have to make 10 or more shots to win a point. Against pushers, hit safer with more spin, but keep moving the ball around; they will eventually give you a ball that you can attack. Play smart, not flashy.

Try to practice with as many better players as you can and learn from them.

Hope this helps.

Kabob190
05-24-2006, 08:36 PM
I am no where near a top varsity high school player but plan to be one by my senior year, sophomore this year. In fact i got cut so i have a lot of ground to make up but plan to do so. Definitely consistency. Most high schoolers love banging the ball and dont worry about getting it in as much as they should. If you can get almost all your groundstrokes in a match without much difficulty your in good shape. Thats the main thing i am working on. I already have enough pace without swinging too hard i think. Also serves, have a reliable non dinking serve. Huge plus. I dont think high school matches really get intense with three setters that all go to tiebreak so you should be in good shape but i dont think you need to be able to run a marathon. Speed is important though, not top speed but take off speed. These are the things i am working on.

jackson vile
05-24-2006, 08:43 PM
Honestly it take a bit of luck, the kick serve is a great idea to keeping you serve percentage high while still making it difficult for you opponent to return the serve.

Really though you need to take a look at your errors and how capable you are to finish a rally. If you don't have the percentages you will just error yourself right out, and if you are not capable of ending the point when you have the chance you will end up being forced into an error.

It is all percentages, other than that a variety of the first serve in various possitions and spin ie flat, top. and kick.

You will win a lot of first serves by just mixing it up like that even if you speed is not as high as usual, and if anything will put you in a good spot to volley or drive the return from the mid to base court.


With in time you will add to this a strategy as well.

Bungalo Bill
05-24-2006, 08:46 PM
Honestly it take a bit of luck, the kick serve is a great idea to keeping you serve percentage high while still making it difficult for you opponent to return the serve.

Really though you need to take a look at your errors and how capable you are to finish a rally. If you don't have the percentages you will just error yourself right out, and if you are not capable of ending the point when you have the chance you will end up being forced into an error.

It is all percentages, other than that a variety of the first serve in various possitions and spin ie flat, top. and kick.

You will win a lot of first serves by just mixing it up like that even if you speed is not as high as usual, and if anything will put you in a good spot to volley or drive the return from the mid to base court.


With in time you will add to this a strategy as well.

So after all of this how should he practice and what should he do?

thinkfacility
05-24-2006, 08:56 PM
Quote: "So after all of this how should he practice and what should he do?"

Answer: Trust himself and let fate decide? o.O

But yeah, some of the best kids I've played against use kick serves for both first and second serves, except they're quite fast, and one hits a twist. I think the main difference is that on the first serve they aim for bigger angles, otherwise both 1st and 2nd serves are equally nasty.

One more thing, which basically ties into the serve, but includes groundstrokes as well. Topspin. Some say it's overrated, but definitely not in high school level, use as much topspin as possible without exerting yourself too much or -constantly- moonballing.

Roddick The Beast
05-24-2006, 08:56 PM
Honestly it take a bit of luck, the kick serve is a great idea to keeping you serve percentage high while still making it difficult for you opponent to return the serve.

Really though you need to take a look at your errors and how capable you are to finish a rally. If you don't have the percentages you will just error yourself right out, and if you are not capable of ending the point when you have the chance you will end up being forced into an error.

It is all percentages, other than that a variety of the first serve in various possitions and spin ie flat, top. and kick.

You will win a lot of first serves by just mixing it up like that even if you speed is not as high as usual, and if anything will put you in a good spot to volley or drive the return from the mid to base court.


With in time you will add to this a strategy as well.Your advice IS lousy. You're basically just saying: "In order to be a #1 high school tennis player, you need to hone in ALL skills"!

It's like, geez, we are pointing out "specific" things that we notice that are typical high schooler's weak points! Anyone can just say: "Be a complete player. Be consistent. Cut down on your error. Etc."

I am starting to see how BB "views" your answers, Jack! :mrgreen:

serveitup911
05-24-2006, 08:59 PM
I just don't get you, Roddick. You are the most sarcastic poster ever!

AngeloDS
05-24-2006, 08:59 PM
Can't be done overnight.

Basically you just need some basic tennis skills and then a lot of match experience. Strokes can easily be learned, but winning cannot be learned. It just comes with experience. Consistency is the most important thing -- keeping the ball in play.

Also, it depends on the school too. Some schools are very strong and some are very weak. So it depends really.

jackson vile
05-24-2006, 09:06 PM
So after all of this how should he practice and what should he do?


IMO there really is nothing better than real game experience, I have seen so so many people that look amazing practicing and then when it comes game time everything falls seems to fall apart.


That may be the hardest part of tennis, translating all of your practice into winning games, and that is where experience and the mental part of the game really come to focus.


In the end it will just plain come down to desire and luck , you can be the best but that does not entitle you to a win if you don't want it enough or if you are unlucky at the wrong times ie break points ect.


But if you are asking about leveling up, nothing beats hitting around with a higher level player/succesful players.

jackson vile
05-24-2006, 09:11 PM
Your advice IS lousy. You're basically just saying: "In order to be a #1 high school tennis player, you need to hone in ALL skills"!

It's like, geez, we are pointing out "specific" things that we notice that are typical high schooler's weak points! Anyone can just say: "Be a complete player. Be consistent. Cut down on your error. Etc."

I am starting to see how BB "views" your answers, Jack! :mrgreen:


You are very young, I can tell.

He asked what it took to be number one, not what it took to play like you.


Re-read, I said percentage tennis, but with out ability to finish you are just a pusher and depending on your county or even school, one thing alone will not take you to number one.

That is something that you obviously do not understand, and is the reason why you will have no titles this year or any other year until you grow up.

Life is very hard with a mind like that, Good Luck..... You're going to need it;)

Roddick The Beast
05-24-2006, 09:14 PM
You are very young, I can tell.

He asked what it took to be number one, not what it took to play like you.


Re-read, I said percentage tennis, but with out ability to finish you are just a pusher and depending on your county or even school, one thing alone will not take you to number one.

That is something that you obviously do not understand, and is the reason why you will have no titles this year or any other year until you grow up.

Life is very hard with a mind like that, Good Luck..... You're going to need it;)At least I don't "try" to compete with Bungalo Bill, and "try" to sound intelligent like you, JACKO! :mrgreen:

And about "saying" that i will have no titles, hmmm . . . how "mature" of you to "try" to shatter someone's hopes and dreams ("if" that even were a goal of mine!). Very mature of you to try to discourage someone, JACKO! <= :mrgreen:

jackson vile
05-24-2006, 09:21 PM
At least I don't "try" to compete with Bungalo Bill, and "try" to sound intelligent like you, JACKO! :mrgreen:



I'm not sure how many 5.0+ players there are on this board, so compete with BB in that reguard is moot.

As for giving advise, that is what this forum is for, and when someone leaves an open questions asking for all opinion I hope that people chip in.

There are different perspectives to things, and people that once advocated modern tennis were called fools ect, those people don't laugh any more.


But the point is that no one with a brain need to fly off the handle.

And no one with any self respect needs to make negative coments.

People that talk like that are either people with no achievments in life, or people that are washed up and are bitter at life, perhaps of goals that failed at ect


I hope that this could be a place where people come to enjoy themselves and when someone says something you don't like you just move on, because you have a life.

I have nothing more to say, because I have a life, enjoy yours

Roddick The Beast
05-24-2006, 09:24 PM
I'm not sure how many 5.0+ players there are on this board, so compete with BB in that reguard is moot.

As for giving advise, that is what this forum is for, and when someone leaves an open questions asking for all opinion I hope that people chip in.

There are different perspectives to things, and people that once advocated modern tennis were called fools ect, those people don't laugh any more.


But the point is that no one with a brain need to fly off the handle.

And no one with any self respect needs to make negative coments.

People that talk like that are either people with no achievments in life, or people that are washed up and are bitter at life, perhaps of goals that failed at ect


I hope that this could be a place where people come to enjoy themselves and when someone says something you don't like you just move on, because you have a life.

I have nothing more to say, because I have a life, enjoy yoursOkay, Yoda. :mrgreen:

baros
05-25-2006, 08:59 AM
have a **** team.
________
NB50 (http://www.cyclechaos.com/wiki/Honda_NB50)

Roddick The Beast
05-25-2006, 11:45 AM
have a **** team.Please translate that.

brucie
05-25-2006, 11:59 AM
Get some private lessons I had my firt today iv always had group lessons im probly about 4.5 player in singles however i play most doubles enjoy both andyway in half and hour my double hander backhand topspin was going well and i was worn down a bit after 15 mins hard hitting an hour would av killed me keep practising and having fun mate! Dont get obsessed with rankings play the game as well as you can and be commited if you want results i play 6 days a week and help coaching other juniors with my coach around 6 hrs a week it makes you see the game in a different perspective and you pick up really basic tips you forgot that really work!

tonysk83
05-25-2006, 02:01 PM
Consistency, consistency, consistency. That is what you need to be good. Most guys you play won't have any big shots, they will just be able to keep up long ball rallies. If you stick with them and keep hitting it deep you will do fine. Once they hit a short ball go for a more attacking shot and put it away with a volley.

I also use a kick/big topsin serve for both my first and second serve. I realize my flat serve just isn't accurate enough and isn't fast enough to be a weapon. I would rather just use a kick serve high into their backhand. I really just use a second serve for both serves, but my first serve percentage is very high. Getting your first serve in is very important. In general, people will believe on the first serve they are on defense. So if you get it in with good topspin and hit it deep they will only block it back. If you hit that same serve 2nd, they will probably go for a bigger shot, just because it is a second serve.

Amirsan
06-10-2006, 09:49 AM
Thanks guys for the great replies! Sorry for the delayed response, just been busy lately.

But I'd like to ask, if consistancy is a major theme in becoming a very good junior player, how do you actually improve consistancy? What drills, activities etc do you recommend?

shindemac
06-10-2006, 11:25 AM
Here are a few things you can do to improve consistency just in case you don't know about them: use topspin, hit crosscourt, have 1-2 feet net clearance, and use as much power as you can control. Let me explain the last one. This means you don't try to hit with full power if most of your balls are out. Trying to hit with full power and hoping to improve consistency is not the way to go. Instead, reduce your power until it is a level you can handle, meaning you are getting most of them in. Then when you improve, you can increase the power by a notch, and keep repeating this.

People say improve consistency and reduce errors, and that is really good advice. I explained one way to do this by improving your skill and practicing. Another way are the strategy and tactics you employ on the courts. In the high school level, this simply means giving your opponent another ball or two to hit. This may not sound like much, but over the course of an entire match, this can drastically improve the odds in your favor. So what does this actually mean? Well, it means instead of going for that winner after 2-3 hits, wait until 4-5 hits. Just try to get the ball back, and don't go for anything fancy. But this doesn't mean you necessarily have to push; Try to get a nice, solid, and deep shot back to the middle of the court. You are basically playing defense, and counting on your opponent to make the errors. Yes, you can still go for winners, but instead of attempting them from anywhere in the court, be more selective. Don't attempt winners from behind the baseline or when you are out of position. Ideally, you should pounce on the ball when he gives you a weak and short ball in the middle of the court. Other things to help include giving yourself a larger margin for error. When you do go for that winner on the line, instead of hitting it within 1-2 feet, give yourself maybe 3-5 feet or maybe even more depending on how good/bad you are.

Lastly, you will need to play a lot to get better. At least 4 times a week, and preferably more. Join a tennis club, and take lessons if you can. Play in leagues or tournaments. You just can't hit against the same person all summer and expect to be as good as you can be. You will improve faster if you are exposed to different playing styles. I think you will improve much faster if you are also part of some structured program. Work on all parts of your game esp. your weaknesses. I don't know what year you are, but varsity requires you to have a much better serve and return of serve. If you still have time, start working on your serve, and try to get a topspin or twist serve. I've been working on my topspin serve for 3 summers now, and finally this year it's starting to click and may even become a weapon by next year. But you can prob. shorten it down to 1 year if you work a little bit each time.

donnyz89
06-10-2006, 12:09 PM
well... depend on the school. some schools in my conference are extremely good and i might be able to play 4 singles or 1 doubs. but then some schools are extremely bad that our top 4 players can all be #1 there. so we are in the middle... but i can tell you this, take lessons, play tournaments, at least 2-3 hours every day over the summer, play over the winter. and gotta take private lessons. 1 a week is great, 2 is awesome... but at least 1 every once in a while to get a some feedback. mindless hitting in the park is not useful at all.

300Gkid
06-11-2006, 01:41 PM
Ok, the main thing in HS tennis is CONSISTENCY. Lots of players get impatient and create unforced errors. Work on a consistent "rally ball" a topspin drive that lands past the service line that you can hit almost every time. Also, having a good 2nd serve is important, lots of players double fault and give away games. A kick serve would do you wonders.

c_zimma
06-11-2006, 04:14 PM
Don't mean to flame, but Roddick, you are being a jerk. The sad thing is, you seem to get off on this. If you would like to continue being extremely sarcastic and negative, I am sure you can find others like you in other forums. Please don't bring it in here, let alone the Tips/Instruction section. This is the section to give "Tips and Intructions" hence the title. So with that being said, Jackson Vile isn't trying to compete with anyone, nobody enjoys your negative comments, and you are free to leave.

JCo872
06-11-2006, 05:04 PM
To get technical, "one" thing that I'll advise is to develop a good . . . no wait . . . an EXCELLENT, reliable 2nd serve. Don't just do what all too many high schoolers do -- that is, go nuts on the 1st, then dinking that 2nd one in!

You need a kick serve! Trust me on this. If you have plenty of time during the summer, practice this. Set aside time specifically for practicing serves! Besides having time dedicated for serve training, also divide up THAT time so that you will be spending lots of time drilling 2nd serves, not just reckless flat bombs serves!

There you have it, from the master himself! :mrgreen:

Great advice. Couldn't agree more. A good kicker will screw up more high school players than you can imagine.

Amirsan
06-11-2006, 05:10 PM
Great tips guys, very valuable info.

I'd also ask, what books would you recommend if any that I should read? Should I view any crucial videos of any past matches which might be particularly useful? What should I pay attention when I am watching the pros in the grand slams?

Also, just to mention, I plan on going to Israel for 60 or so days, so I plan to play every day while I'm there with a trainer and at a league to play matches. Most likely for an hour a day, I might try to squeeze in 2 hours though.

But I also want this 60 days to be useful and try to accomplish very finite goals and objectives. As some has mentioned, I will work on my first/second serve, and on a kick serve. As well as consistancy which seems to be very important.

c_zimma
06-11-2006, 06:04 PM
I would pick a pro that has strokes most like yours, and try to pick up little things that he/she does that makes him/her so effective. Inner Tennis is a great book for the mental part of the game. Also, ask your trainer a lot of questions. It can't hurt. Most importantly, have a good time. Sounds like you will be spending a lot of time playing. Have fun.

c_zimma
06-11-2006, 06:05 PM
Also, sorry for my comment about Beast above. Didn't mean to stray away from your topic.

topspin kid
06-11-2006, 08:04 PM
kick serves really hurt because a lot of players arent that tall and a proper kick just goes over your head.

thats how i lost to my co captain. he would twist serve to backhand side and id have to hit it above my head. which had no pace so it set up an attack.
(thats not what killed me but its really effective)

Shinichi
06-12-2006, 01:06 PM
it depends on which district ur talking about.
my district is pretty easy, i'd say you can be number 1 in my district if you have good serves, and consistency. you need a lot of experience tho.

however, for some other districts that's close to us .. they're like ... PRO!
even if I make it to the regional .. i wouldn't stay a chance against them.

luckily we didn't play school like Bolliteri (sp?) , cuz it's like a famous tennis academy. but tennis in FL is like ... ridiculously scary.
i got smoked 6-0,6-0 lol and compare to other ppl in my district ... im like good already

Big Fed
07-23-2006, 09:05 PM
Practice Practice Practice................
O yea and some fitness too....