3 month update - with video

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by danno123, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    4 month update - with video

    It's been 4 months since I started my "comeback" to tennis. My first practice session was 7/29 when I boldly announced to the receptionist at my health club that I'd be using the ball machine for an hour. (Which was a big mistake - I wound up with lots of blisters). Here is a video of my strokes that I took this morning. My backhand needs help. Yes, that third backhand sailed way long.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qovXrmweF8

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Oh yeah, anything good about my strokes is attributable to Will and FYB. Anything bad is all me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
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  2. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    --------------------
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
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  3. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    how old were you when you started tennis?
    how long did you play for?
    high school or college tennis?
    when did you stop?
    how old are you now?

    reason for the questions if you can get this good in 4 months WOW
     
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  4. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    Here's the thread I started a couple of months ago:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=349743&highlight=danno123

    Cliff notes: I started playing when I was 12 and played some local tournaments and high school tennis until I graduated high school in 1981. I'm 47.
     
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  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Nice looking strokes. Although I can't see what the balls are actually doing, you hit like a player. The 3rd backhand that you said "sailed way long" (as well as a few others that had a similar high trajectory from the view you provided), was struck just a bit later than the others. Notice, from the view you provided, that the ball is past your upper body when you make contact. That's a preparation/settup issue. Your racquet face looks like it's just a bit more open at that part of the swing than it is when you make contact earlier (that is, later in the swing). That might explain why they are getting away from you. Another thing you could do is load up better on your forehand settup (aka get down to the ball better, full upper body rotation). It's a little too casual, IMHO. Other than that, it all looks good.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
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  6. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    Thanks. My backhand is my big problem. You can tell from the video that it's an inconsistent shot. When I don't execute it correctly, the ball sails high. I'll try to get hit the ball earlier and see if that solves the problem.

    I was taking it easy on the forehand today because I've got "golfer's elbow" and the forehand aggravates it. But after thinking about your comment, I realized that maybe if I generated more power with my lower body, I wouldn't have to put so much arm into the ball. My league tournament is this weekend and after that I'm going to take a few weeks off to let my elbow heal. When I start up again, I'll try working on loading up and rotating on the forehand.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You look like a relaxed Federer hitting for fun and giggles, except your grip is glaringly more towards continental both sides.
    Relaxed is GOOD!
    You have good shoulder turn.
    You have good posture.
    Maybe only a little more backhandy grip when you come over your backhands, which are kinda sidespin/flat right now, making control difficult.
    Your forehand of conti with efh twist is a blast from the past, as is your long one handed backswing ala AdrianoPannata.
    Classic look, great for a volley game, bad for a baseline bash with topspinning kids.
    Go for angles and short points. Avoid long baseline drag out endurance matches.
     
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  8. Djlpenguin

    Djlpenguin Rookie

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    how tall are you?!?!?! that racquet looks like a toy.
     
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  9. Djlpenguin

    Djlpenguin Rookie

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    also, with the high balls you caught some late, hitting around you shoulder and out. take it earlier to get it out in front of you.
     
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  10. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Very pretty classic strokes. I love how your head stays still on the backhand. Limpinhitter is right. You have the racket open on the backswing like you are hitting a slice and then rotating it during the swing to get it vertical at impact. Therefore, if you are late and hit it a bit behind you, your racket face is still open. You don't want to be rotating your wrist much during the forward swing since that is just one more thing that can go wrong. First thing I would try to fix it would be to try and have your racket face more perpendicular to the ground at the end of your backswing.
    Put your racket at the impact point and then slowly take it back (your swing in reverse) to the start of the forward swing without rotating your wrist. That would be the racket face angle you want on the backswing.
    (For slice, it should be easy to rotate the wrist quickly from that point to open the racket face.)
     
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  11. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    Thanks for the advice. I think you're right and the face of the racket is open at the start of my swing. I'll grab a racket and try taking the racket back from the impact point to check. If this fixes my backhand then you're a genius.

    Djlpenguin - I'm only 6'1". The racket is an old Wilson Sting. 12.6 ounces and 85 square inches of old school graphite goodness.

    LeeD - yep, my backhand grip is continental. I tried switching it to eastern but kept hitting balls into the net. Maybe once I sort out my wrist movement I can switch to eastern.
     
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  12. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    It's not just lower body. To me, most male players tend to have too little upper body rotation (back and forth), in their groundies, especially on forehand. Women seem to instinctively compensate for weaker arms with more upper body involvement. IMHO, a well executed forehand swing should be about 40% upper body rotation and 60% arm. Yours looks to be about 20/80.

    For the tennis elbow, ice for 15 minutes 3x day. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
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  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I wouldn't worry about your wrist. Just don't try to hit a topspin backhand when the ball gets behind you. IMHO, there's nothing wrong with having an open face in the windup and closing it before contact. Most of the great 1hb's are hit this way. But, if you're late and the ball gets behind you, if you try to hit a topspin with an open face, it's going to pop up. The solution (again, IMHO), if you get caught late, is to slice the ball. You already have the open face. Just come down on the ball instead of up on it. Remember, a slice involves a lot of upper body rotation back and forth, not just arm.

    As for an Eastern bh grip, I think that's a great idea. But, you'll have to learn to get your racquet further below the ball and swing more upward to contact to compensate for a more closed racquet face. If you use the same swing path with a more closed grip, the ball is naturally going to have a lower trajectory.
     
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  14. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    I played this morning and I think I figured out what's causing the golfer's elbow - I'm deliberately slapping my wrist at the ball during my serve. My forearm doesn't hurt when I relax my forearm and just let my wrist act as a hinge without forcing it. Eventually, I'll need to post a video of my service motion and get some advice on that.
     
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  15. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

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    Your strokes look good. A little bit old fashioned, but there's nothing wrong with that. I know a guy who can hit massive topspin with a continental grip. I don't know how he does it but it works. I obviously I can't see where the ball is landing but from the look of things, your strokes look fine...
     
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  16. mntlblok

    mntlblok Professional

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    Back swing

    I've seen plenty of very good backhands hit with the face open in the back swing. Your strokes on both sides make me drool. I'm thinking that there must be some serious athleticism to allow for that kind of timing - almost never needing any "little" muscles for last minute adjustments. If I had learned to play that way, maybe my wrist wouldn't be as ruint as it is now. . .

    However, with the high trajectory that you seem to consistently get with your backhand, it's hard to imagine that you couldn't move the grip over a bit towards eastern without hitting them into the net. Do you reckon you might be changing another variable (maybe unconsciously) when you use a different grip?

    Kevin
     
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  17. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    like others said, the switch doesn't have to be all or nothing..... I am experimenting also, and for me a true Eastern feels a tad extreme, so I cheat a bit to the conti side to get it just right.

    You can gradually rotate a little, to find the optimal.
     
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  18. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    I've been experimenting and found that I can hit a backhand with an Eastern grip or even semi-western grip. But to do so, I have to put the wrist more into extension (meant in the technical way, i.e., as opposed to flexion) when I hit the ball. The question is whether I want to do that.

    This article (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8027087) seems to indicate that more advanced tennis players hit the backhand with their wrists extended. "Collision of the ball and racket occurred with the wrist extended on average of 0.41 rad (about 23 degrees from neutral alignment) in the expert players; moreover, their wrists were moving further into extension at impact. In contrast, novice subjects struck the ball with the wrist flexed 0.22 rad (about 13 degrees) while moving their wrists further into flexion."

    Both Federer and Henin appear put the wrist into an extended position on their takeback. Maybe I should start doing that more.
     
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  19. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    There are a ton of tiny adjustments going on there because many of the balls in my club's ball machine are really old and dead while others are fairly new. I set up to hit and am often surprised how high/low the ball bounces.
     
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  20. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    2 points -

    1) regarding the wrist / forearm movement, I know what you are talking about... this is the element that I have put in my bh just a couple of days ago and it feels good (my hitting video from yesterday sees me hitting this way).

    2) I'd be curious to see how your experiment turns out... the more I observe, the more I believe that players (amateurs or pros) tend to have symmetrical swing shape/ball flight between the fh and bh..... e.g. Edberg's bh is flat as his fh, and Federer's bh is as curvy as his fh.... so is Henin, wawrinka etc.... they have a tendency to produce the same amount of curvature from both wings.. For me in the beginning I had to keep it simple, so I locked the wrist in the extended position, but after a while, the curvature instinct takes over (from the FH experience), and it's just natural for me to envision a curvy flight from my bh, and it's instinctive for me to drop the wrist a little during the racket drop, extend it into impact, followed by forearm supernation after the impact..... Since your FH has a flat path (you don't have that pronation move), I suspect it feels 'right' for you to have the wrist/forearm fairly locked thru the swing.

    so I think the wrist extension is a requirement to add spin, but not necessary one for a technically correct bh... Edberg would have to hit his bh with the wrist flat or bowed, so did McEnroe...

    Your BH is cool enough... I'd like to see how you do when you are moved around / stretched wide.
     
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  21. mntlblok

    mntlblok Professional

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    Pubmed

    Cool find. If I knew for sure what was meant by "eccentric contraction", I'd say that this part of the abstract doesn't seem to go with that which precedes it:

    "The wrist kinematic and EMG data together show that the novice subjects eccentrically contracted their wrist extensor muscles throughout the stroke. We argue that conditions exist for novice subjects that assist stretch of wrist extensor muscles upon collision of the ball and racket. The resulting eccentric contraction of wrist extensor muscles may contribute to lateral TE in novice players, given previous research indicating that eccentric muscle contraction facilitates muscle fiber injury".

    Wouldn't "extensor muscles" cause "extension" when they contracted?

    Anyway, very interesting stuff. Back when I hit my topspin backhand, my stroke looked a lot like Henin's in that, whilst I would get my weight on my front foot, my upper body would fall back. My theory was that both of us did it due to having extreme grips, that is, past eastern. I actually used the same face of the racket for both my forehand and backhand without changing my grip (at least not much), using a semi-western forehand.

    I *also* did a lot wrist snapping. My hope was that I was snapping into "radial extension", but as I look at it, it was really into extension. And, trying to now hit a topspin backhand is what brings the most pain to my wrist. . .

    Again, cool find. Odd that I've never seen that before.

    Kevin
     
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  22. mntlblok

    mntlblok Professional

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    You hide it *very* well. :mrgreen:

    Kevin
     
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  23. mntlblok

    mntlblok Professional

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    Symmetry

    Fascinating observation. Personal anecdote. Had a decent topspin backhand - lots of spin, but a reasonable trajectory that I could dip on a sharp angle. Topspin forehand was horrible for decades - and why I've put so much effort into figuring out what's going on with tennis shots. The forehand was consistently nothing but mishit, topspin lob-type abortions.

    The difference in the strokes, in hindsight, was that I dropped the racket head below my hand on the back swing with the backhand, but - cause Vic said not to - tried *not* to drop the racket head below the hand on the forehand. That caused me to have a ridiculously steep swing path on the forehand - even on high balls. Oh, what might have been. . . :mrgreen:

    But, then, I never would have learnt my new slice forehand. Hoping to get some video of that up soon. Bizarre looking, but sometimes effective. Always aggravating. . . :mrgreen:

    I now believe that it is a big deal to separate the "hand path" from the "racket head path" when talking about "swing path" - subject to revision. :)

    Kevin
     
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  24. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    Actually I believe the subtle adjustments all happen by instinct.

    For me, the biggest challenge in developing the 1hbh was not the footwork, the unit turn, the swing path, the grip etc.... it was actually the racket face feedback from the hand to the central nervous system (aka the brain). My swing motion was already perfect from my bh slice.

    let me explain - on the fh, with a Easter or SW grip, the palm (if you opened up the hand) is on a parallel plane as the racket face, so it's easy to perceive the racket face and control the angle.... but the bh grip does not give you that, and in the beginning I just felt completely confused, and the 'perfect motion' is often short-circuited in the middle of the swing when 'mission control' finally realize that the racket face is no good.... so in order not to send the ball into the satellite orbit, the hand takes over, decelleration happens, all that wonderfully ugly stuff.

    so thru a few months of practice, the 'face perception' got a lot better, I think I am getting the feedback from a combination of left hand holding the neck, and the right hand index knuckle on the bevel, and now I have a clear idea of where the face is looking... and the rest is easy.... just envision the ball flight and go..... and if the ball comes higher/lower/further/nearer than expected, subtle adjustments in right foot pressure, shoulder rotation, wrist angle all that happens by instinct to maintain that envisioned ball flight.
     
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  25. mntlblok

    mntlblok Professional

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    Swing motion

    Good stuff. But, when you say "My swing motion was already perfect from my bh slice", you're not saying that you use the same motion for topspin as for slice, are you??

    Kevin
     
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  26. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    ^^^

    same footwork, same shoulder turn.

    one is high to low, the other low to high... what difference does it make LOL
     
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  27. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Hi Dozu,

    Strokes look good, your on the right track. For a better reference point for an Eastern BH grip, try putting your thumb on the flat behind it for stability. This will help to keep it from slipping back towards continental, but it will still try to unless the thumb is positioned firmly and "flatly" there until it becomes automatic.

    Also on the BH bringing the racket head "back" as far as possible behind the head and loading or cocking the wrist for snap on ball contact. This will create "racket head speed". I think it was Almagro, I saw on the Tennis Channel who had a perfect topspin Eastern BH, the announcers were ooohing and aaahing about, it was pretty!


    Getting the racket head back above and behind your head will create more elbow bend, better preperation for better timing and more power with less bicep/tricep muscleing. Gravity will due most of the work for you instead of the arm.


    I don't know if this comes across in words. Watching anyone with a good BH loop, in slow motion on TV, over and over, will serve better than a thousand words to illustrate the "racket back", behind and above, the head, preparation reference point. Watch Alamgro, Fed, Wavrinka, Schiavone and Henin.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
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  28. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    ^^ bro are you addressing the right person? :)

    this is danno's thread :)
     
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  29. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    I think if you moved your grips more eastern, esp on the backhand you would have a much easier time and won't sky quite as many. It will also make it easier for you when you start hitting with people since most people use so much spin. This should be gradual as to not affect your stroke but I think it will help you.
     
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  30. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    Thanks for the advice. I've tried to move my backhand grip a little more eastern and I do hit with a little more topspin now. My general "swing thought" for my backhand is "finish high" because I notice when I finish high I tend to put more spin on the ball.

    I really need to take a new video so you guys can critique my current strokes. I'll try to post one next week.
     
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  31. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

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    Because it's hard to think about all of that and incorporate it into hitting, there may be a simpler adjustment you can make that will accomplish much of the same result. It looks like your contact point is a tiny bit late on your natural backhand, which is related to all of the above discussion. By moving your contact slightly further in front (i.e. sooner), you will be able to hit the ball without being played by it so much, and that may instinctively lead to the subtle grip change that's been discussed. A good first adjustment is to think about going to the ball and attacking it on backhands, rather than waiting for it to come to you. If you can get your contact a little further out, things will start to fall into place. And the increased racquet speed that may result will cause more topspin.

    Treat each backhand in practice or friendly matches as an "opportunity" rather than something you have to fight off or be defensive about until you get a forehand. Hope that helps.
     
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  32. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    nice backhand. hate that eastern grip forehand
     
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  33. weksa

    weksa Rookie

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    New video yet, danno123? It would be cool to see how your strokes have changed.
     
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  34. Sanavan

    Sanavan Rookie

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    Were you training with a ball machine? All the balls were coming at the same height...
    Can you hit some low balls and even some high ones so I can say anything more accurately?
     
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  35. Up&comer

    Up&comer Hall of Fame

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    You hit the ball solid. Only thing I would say is to bend your knees a little more.

    You also have classic strokes, so your forehand looks a little muscled. Everything else looks good though.
     
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