Any tips to help me stop sucking when I play indoors?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Engelworks, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Engelworks

    Engelworks Rookie

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    Every once in awhile I'll enter a tournament on indoor hard courts, and the result is always bad. I attributed it at first to just bad days for me or good days for my opponents. But since it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME, I've come to the conclusion that I just suck at playing indoors.

    I mainly struggle hitting the ball off the bounce. Returning serve is the worst, and it happens in groundstroke rallies too. It's like my timing goes out of whack and I can't hit the ball cleanly. I'm a counterpuncher with a full western forehand, so not being able to last in a groundstroke rally really hurts me. My volleys and my serves aren't really affected at all though.

    Are there any indoor gurus here that can offer advice on how I can improve?
     
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  2. drgchen

    drgchen Rookie

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    Indoor courts play different from outdoor courts. You need to practice indoors. Particularly if you are playing indoors somewhere it is cold outside.

    In the winter indoor courts play much faster. Your timing is probably off. Also racquet tension may be an issue. Counterpunchers do more poorly indoors because of the speed. Big hitters can often magnify their serve or end points quickly- you will need to increase your speed accordingly.
     
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  3. Engelworks

    Engelworks Rookie

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    Thanks for the reply. How is tension an issue? And by speed do you mean swinging speed?
     
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  4. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    Oh, somebody has the same problem as I do. I still haven't figured out why, but my balls are just flying long more often than outdoors. It feels like the topspin doesn't grab to the indoor air. Could it be temperature or moisture related? Lower moisture indoors possibly decreasing the friction that the spinning ball gets?
     
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  5. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    try a little flatter swingpath. it's better for catching the ball quicker after the bounce.
     
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  6. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    I played only once in a semi-indoor environment (sides were open with netting but there was a roof). My game SUCKED! It really felt like the court was smaller.
     
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  7. North

    North Professional

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    I love playing indoors and play MUCH better indoors. I find the ball moves faster so there is less time to prepare. Big loopy backswings result in hitting too late. I find that topspin is also less effective indoors (not sure why). I have a fairly abbreviated takeback and hit pretty flat indoors - much more effective. Indoor hard courts suit my game very well in contrast to outdoor clay, where I suck lol.
     
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  8. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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    I disagree with that last part. I am a counterpuncher and I definitely play best indoors. I am a counterpuncher who likes to take the ball early and use my opponents pace to redirect the ball to different corners. Hitting shots on the rise indoors is a joy. No wind to screw up your timing at all. I always play my best indoors.
    When I play outdoors and my timing is a bit off or its a bit windy I start shanking a lot of shots.
     
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  9. lightthestorm

    lightthestorm Rookie

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    I practice a lot indoors and have played a lot of matches inside... simple answer.

    Get a big serve.
     
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  10. Engelworks

    Engelworks Rookie

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    That's funny, it's exactly what happens to me but when I play indoors (minus the wind). Maybe I need to practice moving in and hitting the ball on the rise more like you.

    I like taking a huge wind-up on my forehand so that's probably a strike against me too. I can try shortening it up. Thanks for the tips everyone!
     
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  11. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    When I first go indoors in the fall it takes a little adjustment time, but after that it is actually easier to play inside.
     
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  12. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    A lot of it is just getting the different depth perception right with the different background and possibly lower light levels. If you play there enough, you will get used to it.
     
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  13. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    Actually I've already played indoors once this summer due to rain outside. I got no problems with the balls sailing long that time. But during the winter when it's cold outside the indoor air moisture can drop very low. This could explain why my quite loopy topspin strokes don't drop back in. And it'd be a better explanation why Nadal's strokes have lower bounce indoors. It's not maybe surface related but rather he has to alter the swingpath so that either the net clearance or the velocity of the ball is smaller because the topspin cannot keep the loopy balls inside the court when the air moisture is low.

    I think I'll start to work on developing flatter strokes when the indoor season starts. Flatter strokes are what pros use so there should be some truth to it. Maybe OP should do the same even though it's hard with the western grip?
     
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  14. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    I'm guessing, without having seen you play, your problem is related to being late due to the fact that the surface is faster. If you're a modern player you probably take huge cuts at the ball with long swings. Not so good for fast indoor courts.

    Also, low bounce. Western grips are problematic for low bounces. This is what it was like in the past. You had to specialize in either fast or slow courts because they required different playing styles. Outside the the pro world a lot of these fast carpets still exists.

    I don't think there's a quick fix, but try shorten up your swings and maybe dig low balls up with slice rather than topspin. If you have a net game, seek out the net and take your western topspin groundstrokes out of play.
     
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  15. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    I go from playing 100% on clay in the summer to 100% on fast indoors in the winter. You need to adjust:

    indoor speed doesn't allow for extra steps - check your footwork when on the run
    shorter racquet preparations when you're on the move - no time for big swings.
    always split step as early as possible (should be doin this anyway)
    always keep your eyes on the ball to adjust for timing (should be doing this anyway buy many don't)
    spin doesn't rule over power. Balls don't kick as high, spin is easier to deal with, and its easier to hit a driving return on the rise.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
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  16. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Lighting

    We had two block times at different indoor courts. One facility got new lighting and the other was not very serious about replacing bulbs.

    I started to look at the lighting on my side of the court at the indoor facility with the old lighting. I believe that I made more stroke errors where the lighting was poor.

    Florescent light bulbs lose light output as the bulb ages. If bulbs are only replaced after a percentage of them have completely failed what does that say about the bulbs that are left in?

    I started to complain about the lighting. They replaced bulbs and I noticed an improvement.

    Look at the bulbs especially those nearest your baseline-sideline. Measurements are the best way to access the lighting. Cheap lighting meters cost only about $30. The indoor facilities should be using light meters.

    Other than possible lighting issues indoors is better for stokes. Strokes get worse coming back outdoors after the winter.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
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  17. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    lower your COG, shorten your takeback and hit flatter. no time for a high loop and topspin won't be as effective either, you want hard and skidding shots. slice is very good too and slice serve is extremely effective.
     
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  18. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

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    Acoustic of indoor courts can take some time to get used to.
     
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  19. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    I think the biggest problem indoors is the level of lighting. Even on a well lit indoor court the level of light is nowhere near what it is outside on a normal day.

    It's similar to playing at night under the lights for me, I have to focus really hard on keeping my eyes locked on the ball during my whole stroke.
     
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  20. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
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  21. North

    North Professional

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    True - indoor lighting is definitely not sunlight! But I have come to prefer indoor court lighting because it is consistent. It doesn't really take much to adjust to it. Once I am adjusted to it, the light is eliminated as a variable in playing. No clouds for the sun to go in and out of, no shadows, no changing angles of the light, and no changes in depth perception due to all the aforementioned. It is part of the controlled conditions of indoor courts.
     
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  22. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    I agree and prefer it too if the indoor lighting is up to standard levels.

    The OP might be more sensitive to low lighting levels. ?

    Here's one possibility from my experience:

    I have astigmatism. It is corrected with my regular glasses. When I play tennis I use contacts. Contacts do not correct astigmatism. In high lighting levels, the iris of the eye closes down. With only the central part of the eye lens transmitting light, the astigmatism-lens defects will not affect focusing quality as strongly.

    Indoors, with less lighting, my iris opens up to some degree. This will cause more of the outer astigmatism-lens defects to affect the quality of focus.

    In general, we have all experienced the deterioration of the tennis when the sun is going down.

    Maybe the OP does not see as well as others in low lighting because of some vision issue. This issue makes a difference mostly when the lighting level is a small percentage of what it is outdoors.

    I had first noticed (barely) the affect of lighting level because one side of the indoor court had more bulbs burned out than the other side, especially the bulbs next to the sideline at my baseline. I felt that I played better on the side with the better lighting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
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  23. Engelworks

    Engelworks Rookie

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    That's really interesting. I also have astigmatism and wear contacts. I had just assumed my difficulty perceiving the ball speed/trajectory was due to faster playing conditions, but maybe lighting is the main root of my problem. Not sure how I can get around that except if I wear glasses instead, but that would be annoying.
     
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  24. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    If you see a number of bulbs that are burned out complain in a nice way to the management of the indoor courts.
     
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  25. Orange

    Orange Rookie

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    There have been advancements in toric contact lenses, which can correct astigmatism. I have astigmatism, have tried both soft and hard contact lenses, and find that I see much better with hard (RGP) lenses than with soft. If indoor lighting is a problem when you wear contacts, you might want to see whether a different type of lens would work better for you.
     
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  26. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    Indoors is the best tennis.
     
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  27. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Indoors is the easiest tennis, but tennis is meant to be played outdoors.
     
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  28. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I also should be wearing glasses ("were I to be a truck driver" -according to the optometrist, who wouldn't prescribe them for tennis, b/c I could get dizzy watching the tennis ball?!!?) and at times I'm affected by the poor lighting indoors.

    But, overall, my results and level of play are much higher indoors, due to the fact that I can move aggressively (as opposed to sliding on clay due to inertia of my 220 lbs) +my hard shots and serves/return are more penetrating etc. The true bounce also helps alleviate the need for small adjustments steps etc.
     
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  29. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Exactly. Funny thing is that even the hard hitters that were giving me problems on clay during the summer in "ladder" matches, were having lots of problems with my pace when the indoor season started...But then there are risks indoors (i.e. a minor injury has affected my endurance and level of play for the last couple of weeks and I'm only now recovering/climbing back in shape).
     
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