3.5 to 4.0 Action Plan?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by asked_answered, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Cool.
    I haven't posted any vids of myself either. I don't have a camera, a computer, or a clue. I can only go my what my peers and better players say, and the coaches around who give tennis lessons.
    They all say I gotta learn to run, and water will find it's level.
     
  2. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    I like the "water will find it's level" comment. *grin*
     
  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Unfortunately, water seems to find it's lowest possible level, meaning you are judge not by your best days of tennis, not by your good days of tennis, not by your average days of tennis, not by your bad days of tennis, but you are judged by your worst days of tennis.
     
  4. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Good to see you're still working away bud! :D

    -Fuji
     
  5. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks, Fuji!
     
  6. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    You're welcome! If you want to see how my game is going, check out my most recent thread on how "I lost to a crafty older player" as it was the worst on court experience I have had in recent memory.

    -Fuji
     
  7. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    I just read that thread, Fuji. Ouch! It sounds like you got some good advice, though, for dealing with that type of player in the future.
     
  8. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    So, my match this weekend was a mess. I was up 5-2 on serve at 30-0 and lost track of the score, thinking that it was 40-0. When I won the next point, I called out, "Nice set!" and started jogging off the court. My opponent quite correctly (and nicely) let me know that I had the score wrong, and I was really embarrassed and upset at myself for losing my mental concentration like that. I had already lost one service game on pure double-faults for that same lack of concentration. So, that pretty much killed my mental focus for the rest of the match, despite repeated attempts to refocus. Everything was exacerbated by the fact that I thought my opponent was an average 3.0 player, rather than the 3.0 player who had already beaten a 3.5 and split sets with another 3.5 this season. (The other team's lineup got switched by accident.) So, with every point I lost and every game I dropped, I got more and more down on myself and hit more and more bad shots and serves. I ended up losing the match 5-7, 2-6. I didn't lose my temper, but I lost all of my confidence. On a regular day, I'd have won 6-2, 6-2. (The guy really is a decent 3.5 level player with lots of hustle and good passing shots.)

    This match was the suckiest tennis I've played in a long while and a wakeup call for me to really focus my game on the mental aspects, when I play. I have enough confidence now in my shots to get through misses and dips in performance, so long as I keep a strong rein on my emotional state.

    And, of course, it's just more evidence that I'm a long way from 4.0. Oh well. Onward!
     
  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    That very thing happens in 5.5 tennis, and sometimes higher.
    Lots of matches lost after winning two sets and a big lead in the 3rd.
    Both players are trying to win, you have to remember that. Tennis is not about how ONE of them feel and perform. Takes TWO to tango.
    Whether you are 3.0 or 7.0, you can lose focus and never regain it at that match.
     
  10. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    I totally agree on both counts, Lee. My opponent did play well, just not well enough to get many games off me in a match in which I retained my focus. (I made a LOT more unforced errors than I usually do.)
     
  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Funny thing, that....perception.
    I've run into a few peers and such from the mid '70's, who I played then, or who had the same opponent's.
    You'll be surprised the different POV's.
    We cannot percieve how badly an opponent truly is playing, because we're using all the energy looking within.
    We concentrate on how WE're performing, and forget the other guy is doing his best also.
    I can tell you, if you ever LISTEN to your recent opponent's story, you will think you are hearing things from another planet! Or another dimension.
    You won't believe what he thinks of his game and of yours.
     
  12. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    That's very possible! The reason I think the way I do about how the match went is because someone I know and trust who has seen me play many matches (and who plays tennis, too) confirmed my view of how the match went.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    That's still your point of view, from your side, by someone you know.
    Now talk to your opponent, or to his friend. You'll be surprised.
    I recently had the fortunate opportunity of running into one of my old BATL teammates, a #4 for NorthBeach. I was #6, my CCSF bud #1.
    I was amazed by his conceptions, of almost everything regarding our previous tennis careers. This being from the late '70's. From our #1's style of play to my big losses at #6, to his feelings of being #4, to almost everything from those days. I think I was 50/50 at #6.
    He rose to #ONE, Norcal 4.0 sometime around '02. I laughed at him when he told me this, saying....why are you playing so low?....
    He was proud of his rating. We played BATL B's, or 4.5. I won 5 Q matches, lost 2. He never entered any. We both went 4 rounds in ChineseNationals at least twice, a top level B tourney.
    Naturally, we had to play. I was playing maybe once a month, him twice a month, or everyday, as far as I know. He wouldn't say.
    After 12+ sets, I have never lost a set to him. I thought of myself as a 4.0, this before I couldn't run, of course.
    To this day, he still thinks he's better than me, and was better in the old days. I think it's inconcievable, since I won matches in pro Q's, while he only played BATL tennis at a higher rating than me.
    See, perception is a strange animal.
     
  14. ctromano

    ctromano Rookie

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    practice your return of serve, get a 4.0 and 4.5 to serve to you the way they would serve in a match, hit the return cross-court on a consistent basis and then try to take it down the line once you got cross court down pat. Next add height to your strokes, bomb it deep with depth... I've learned to do this with the old tennis magazine article, something about watering your lawn. And it will not take long for you to go from 3.5 to 4.0 if you win 80% of your matches, 40-4.5 is a different story, I think you have to win a lot in singles, 4.0 doubles seems to not carry as much weight, especially since a lot of 3.5 players play 4.0 doubles.
     
  15. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    As I said, you're quite likely right that my opponent views our match differently. Regardless, I know he's happy. He went from getting beaten soundly to beating me soundly. :)
     
  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yup, simply hit like a 5.5, act like a 5.5, think you're a 5.5.
     
  17. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks for the tips! Return of serve is a long-term project for me, and getting more height over the net is definitely important for me, as well.
     
  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Question is, did you guys hit more winners, or less losers?
     
  19. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    I hit a ton of unforced errors (emphasis on unforced), and he did a good job of getting the ball back into play (sometimes with pace, often with very little).
     
  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Unforced errors, but where you going for winners?
    Getting the ball back....pushing to stay in the point.
    Means you gotta hit bigger, and get it in more often.
    Once again, post vids. It appears you don't have the strength of shot to hit the way you've been trying to hit. You'e going for more than you can.
     
  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    OK, once again, since you would like to improve, post vid.
    If still no, then tell us your strokes, how they go, how hard? Tell us about your serve. Returns.
     
  22. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Sometimes, I was going for winners, but my usual strategy is (as it was during the match) to go for forcing, angled shots. I just missed a bunch (sometimes in the net, sometimes long, sometimes wide). Here's a vid of me hitting crosscourt on both wings off a ball machine back in June. My backhand was new, and it's improved since then. My forehand has also become a little stronger and more consistent.

    Drillwork
     
  23. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    I just posted some ball machine video of my basic groundstrokes. As far as the serve goes here's some even older serving practice video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXmIjcD2lj8

    I tend to hit aggressively on my returns, often with too big a swing, but I'm working on compacting the strokes on both wings to increase my consistency.
     
  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Watched 23 seconds.
    You hit really good.
    Now loosen up, relax, flow, but swing quicker with more RHS and more topspin. Basics are there, but you're too careful and reserved, keeping you at 3.5 and limiting your power.
    You hit REALLY good.
     
  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Oh serve.
    Use your legs to spring UP at the ball, so your feet leave the ground by 6".
    Use more backhand grip on your grip.
    Swing faster, but swing faster UP at the ball.
    Stop and set, before you toss.
     
  26. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks, Lee! I do tend to hit with more reserve than I should. I'm working on hitting harder while still keeping the ball in play. Since that video, my forehand's become more solid, but it's still a major work in progress. My backhand is strong enough now to use on return of serve, which it wasn't at the time of the video. (I just sliced all of my backhand returns.)
     
  27. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks for the tips, Lee!
     
  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You haven't played long enough to understand tennis.
    You do not need a topspin stroke to return serve at ANY level, up the modern 6.0, which none of us are going to, except Filip.
    A low sliced return into the corners is just as effective as a topspin return, and is easier for you to learn to hit. Gravity helps slice return swings, the backspin if hit hard is hard to volley, and depth/ball height control is always better.
    If any modern 5.5 were to serve to KenRosewall's backhand, a slice, it would come back low every time.
    What you need to do is let go. Spend one entire hitting session, 45 minutes, hitting the ball with as fast a swing as you can muster, using topspin or slice. Don't worry if the ball only goes in 50% of the time, you need to UP your pace, both your swing and the ballspeed.
    Basically, you're just pushing the ball in. You need to learn to stroke full and fast, through the ball, with some spin, and allow gravity, air resistance, and spin to keep your ball IN. Aim 3' above the netcord...everything you hit goes IN.
     
  29. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    I'll admit to not understanding tennis for purposes of my own game. :) As for your tips, I definitely appreciate them. I have increased my pace of groundstrokes since the video I posted, but I agree that I need to learn tohit even harder but appropriately. I'm working on it! As for return of serve, I still slice (and now do so on my forehand side now), but I am trying to learn to hit topspin returns, too. I want a varied and effective return game, which will take a lot of time and work. Again, thanks for the tips!
     
  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Hitting topspin returns is easy for anyone fit and not injured.
    All you do is prep lower than the projected height of the serve, swing low to high, and barely close the racketface at impact. Adjust after your first return.
    You already know which serve the server is attempting. You have seen his second serve bounce height, and know it's time of travel. You only need a quick shoulder turn, slight takeback, and swing.
    You should be practicing your serves. When you practice your serves, your partner practices his returns of your serves. TRY THINGS. In practice, percentage play is not needed. You need to push your limits, then reign back for match play.
    You can never tell how hard you can serve if you're always worried about getting the ball IN.
     
  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Another mental thing that will accelerate your progress.
    Seems right now, you spend all your energy just hitting the ball. That is noble, but there is no use hitting the ball without a specific, preconceived TARGET! When you hit, you specifically hit DTL or CC, against the ball machine. You get plenty of practice hitting up the middle when you hit with a live partner. Hitting to your partner is the worst practice you can have, as every player plays the way they practice!
    You can't help hitting BACK to your partner, so practice those wide shots against the machine, and against 2 other players.
    Remember, WHERE you hit the ball is just as important as HOW you hit the ball.
     
  32. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks, Lee!
     
  33. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    I totally agree! Thank you!
     
  34. Sakkijarvi

    Sakkijarvi Semi-Pro

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    I agree with LeeD on your serve. Your feet never leave the ground, so you'll never get enough torque, spin and pace serving that way. You have to go UP and attack the ball, think in terms of your max vertical leap and you begin to get the idea. That height, that energy ... separates the men from the boys in terms of serve. You look too young to be pinned to the earth.
     
  35. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks for the tips, Sakkijarvi!
     
  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    OTOH, BTJohnson has a pretty good game, 5-5.5, and his feet never leave the ground by more than one inch.
    Now if he actually rose 9" off the tarmac, to increase his target size and add some real power, he might be 5.5-6.5 levels.
     
  37. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Here's some forehand practice from this morning where I tried to hit with more power (and generally aimed crosscourt):

    Forehands
     
  38. TXdad

    TXdad New User

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    I would 1. Up the pace of the machine, decent 4.0s won't give you so much time, i.e. they will move you around and 2. Keep your head still as you make contact (something I am working on), it makes a big difference. Best of luck.
     
  39. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks for the tips!
     
  40. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Hey bud, nice hitting!

    I work on the ball machine lots myself, and I find here's a few things that might help you.

    1) The ball machine isn't a replicate for a practice partner, so I utilize it as such. What I do is up the pace by about 20% more then what you are doing now, and slow it down roughly 10%. I use the ball machine as something to groove stroke mechanics with, not wind myself. Give yourself enough time to really set up between shots hitting with proper mechanics. Nothing is worse IMO then rushing when you don't have to. (Even in matches I try and do the same thing. Give lots of time if possible!)

    2) You're hitting fairly closed stance on most of your forehands. Nothing wrong with that (Berdych is the same way) But I find it a lot easier to get loads more pace with a more open stance. Obviously you won't get to a full open stance all the time, but hitting a more semi-open stance would help on getting that inherit power. Not sure if it's something your comfortable working on but once I switched over to that, it REALLY upped my power potential from leg and core rotation. Plus, bending the knees up's it as well.

    Happy hitting! (Once I get a video done up, I'll send it your way! :) )

    -Fuji
     
  41. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks for the feedback and tips, Fuji! :) I'm looking forward to seeing your video!
     
  42. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I'll send you the video I got from my lesson yesterday! You might be interested in seeing the technique I'm using. :razz:

    That being said, it's only a side view and not one facing the court!

    http://v.coachseye.com/colr

    -Fuji
     
  43. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    That's an interesting service motion.
    Don't think ONE pro serves like that.
    Not sure about giving up 10" of distance by standing that far back.
    But nice strong swing.
     
  44. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Thanks LeeD.

    Definitely I've been standing waaaaaaay too far back lately. I'm not sure when it popped up, but we discussed it yesterday and it's something I'm planning to work on. It's pretty different with a really wide platform base so it does look a bit odd. :razz:

    -Fuji
     
  45. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Hey, if it works for you, your serve is strong, is consistent, and it is placed well, you can't argue with the results.
    I'm more of the KISS principle, keeping it simple for my simple mind.
     
  46. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Definitely! It's interesting we are the same level hey? :razz:

    -Fuji
     
  47. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, you have played recently near the 4.5-5 levels. I have'nt been there in 27 years....
    And in singles, as PowerPlayer mentioned, I'd be bagelled by u guys, with my "superior" movement and speed.
    One of the old fart I play with, a 67 year old, who beat me bagels last year (one of my peers in doubles, except I haven't lost to him in doubles yet, out of 6 sets now), says a senior, no matter what level he WAS, cannot be a real 4.5, just due to slowness.
    I know there's that recent example of a 63 year beating a partying Div1 player in a match, but that would never happen again.
     
  48. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Oh, and found out two year's ago NationalChamp 65's plays at SanPablo courts a couple times a year, while visiting a daughter here. Records are close to even, between Roger, my 67 year old bud, and him.
    He's the taller of the two slicers I've seen at SanPabloPark, a very consistent hitter.
     
  49. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    That's definitely a nontraditional serve style, Fuji, but it certainly looks like a powerful one from the angle filmed. (Obviously much better than mine!)
     
  50. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Hahaha better? Probably not! More powerful? Possibly! I had it clock in in the triple digits last week. :razz:

    I can't really pinpoint what makes it so different to be honest. I know my stance is reaaaaally wide, and that I'm quite a bit back from the baseline, but other then that it seems almost normal! Haha!

    -Fuji
     

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