anyone tried the 11 to 5 "Rafter kicker"?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Rozroz, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    I'm going with the complete crap assessment here. There's too many Tolyisms. A tennis ball hit by a human on a court does not behave like a billiard ball collision in a vacuum performed in a clean room by clean suit wearing phd scientists.
     
  2. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    i practiced serves today for 20 minutes during my hitting session with a friend... my toss was erratic*, but i did manage to hit a few "Rafter kickers".. or that's what it felt like.

    i seem to go through the ball more than a normal kick serve. that's how it feels.

    messed around with a roddick style service motion... seemed to get that "sling-shot" feeling like i was coiling my body and then launching at the ball, but my timing wasn't consistent as i'm used to more of a wind up. the serves i did make had a lot of pace. Felt good to hit down the T like this.


    * Dropped the ball on my head once. embarrassing... i need to practice my toss again. haven't played/practiced much this month.
     
  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Just got back after 3 hours of social doubles. I will need to refocus on these matters tomorrow when I am playing singles in the morning and again in the afternoon.

    What bothers me is that I DF-ed twice in 3 hours, due to the body getting tensed up. However unimportant the occasion, there is something about doubles in a competitive environment that gets to my head. Our team won, and believe it or not, a guy from another team was trying to contest the score. I cannot understand why even the slightest competitive environment bothers my serve (in doubles - it is perfectly OK in singles). I want to be like a robot - but cannot.
     
  4. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    you should df more than that. ultra high % isn't good either.
     
  5. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    maybe it gets to you that you are playing for the team and not just accountable to yourself... you don't want to let your partner down.
     
  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Not taking enough risk to improve my serve? That is also part of it.
     
  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Exactly.

    But how do I get over that feeling?
     
  8. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    a- stop caring so much about being perfect, accept that there will be errors. you will relax and will end up making fewer ones.
    b- psych yourself and your teammate up for big points. be positive, be delusional.
     
  9. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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  10. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I love these Rafter videos and I love the 11-5 concept.

    I went and worked on it this weekend. What it does is helps you pronate properly. I think the 6 to 12 old school way of teaching can forge improper pronation.

    the reason this works is because to hit the ball this way, you need to have a good racquet drop. When people think 6 to 12, they can rush through the racquet drop in order to hit the ball. Thinking of hitting the ball at the top and finishing to the side is honestly a great way for me to get a full racquet drop without thinking much at all.

    This serve is also so easy to tweak..I can flatten it a little and hit with pace, I can add a little sidespin so it twists. I can see how practice could give you a ton of versatility with the same relative motion and ball toss.

    What a great teacher this guy is.I may have to go down there and pony up the $$$ one day for a 1 on 1 lesson.
     
  11. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    lessons from rafter then wilander. if i cant dominate at my club then ill give up tennis. lol. would be awesome to be on court with a guy like that.
     
  12. wihamilton

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    Marking you down as a vote for Wilander. I've got a line to him ;-)
     
  13. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    I would be interested in Mats insights as well especially his thoughts on the ground game and consistency.
    He was the Gilles Simon of his day but ultimately more successful. Mentally tough as a rock.
     
  14. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    wilander might be a better fit for the common rec player. rafter is an uber athlete. wilander is not the same athletic dna as rafter yet he achieved as much. perhaps he can be more helpfull for normal guys. ?
     
  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Wow.................
     
  16. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Any pro we work this closely with is going to be a good fit for rec players. Part of the process for me is to first think about what a pro brings to the table for rec players, and if I don't think there's much there I'll pass (which I've done in the past with some big names).
     
  17. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Your at a lost for words? Really?
     
  18. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I think Rafter is great for rec players. The vids are a blast to watch and he is all about simplicity and not overthinking it.
     
  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I knew you wouldn't get it, that is why I posted that, and sure enough you fell into the trap.

    WOW = Wilander on Wheels, his mobile coaching camp
     
  20. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Rafter was great. I think he makes a great coach. I like his feel based approach. Kinda like how oscar wegner and jeff salzenstein teaches on the web.
     
  21. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    That was a trap? Lol. I was invited to attend a wow clinic. Friend had it. But it was in california. So I didn't go.

    I'm still lmao about your trap... ha ha your too much.
     
  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    You are like Pavlov's dog. Always waiting for an opportunity to comment about my posts through a built-in reflex action. So I just tested it out to make sure you were functioning as expected.
     
  23. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I was just responding to your reply to me. Why is that wrong? If anything your the pavlog dog. You had no reason to reply to me if all your doing is your trolling me.
     
  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    "Wow............" was not a reply to you. But you thought it was and commented on it. And I knew you would do it and no one else would!
     
  25. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    So just because you were trolling me and replying right under my post. I think your replying to me. And you were pretending to not reply to me but was secretly hoping to trap me? I knew it was a reply to me. I just didn't know you were trolling. Does it give you a tingle when you secretly post things to trap me? Hoping I will reply?
     
  26. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Would you 2 girls STFU already? This is ridiculous to read in every stinking thread.
     
  27. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Maybe tell suresh to stop trolling. Or put us both on ignore. That way you won't see the trolling. I was having a perfectly fine conversation with will about wilander before the "trap"!
     
  28. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    Whatever happened to simplicity, like tennis mag doing a pic with the arrow going across the ball <eg 9:15 = SLICE, 7:10 = KICK - is that all bogus now ?
     
  29. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I also think it is easier for a taller guy like rafter to hit 11-7.
     
  30. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    ^^ This.

    Anyway, I would love to hear a pro discuss how to serve under pressure. I played today and was serving well until I started to get nervous. I was like Dimitrov at Indian Wells.

    I double faulted an entire game away at 4-4... I remember mixing in the "Rafter Kicker" as an occasional first and second serve in the earlier games with much success, but I was so tight at 4-4 as I knew it would be an important hold.

    I kept hitting short, tossing the ball too low to take a full swing, hitting off to the sidelines... It was ugly. I just wasn't loose enough to go for the "Rafter Kicker" or take a proper swing at the ball. Mentally, I didn't know what to focus on. There was no audience or other either, just the two of us surrounded by empty courts. I usually play better when people are watching, more aggressive, looser and more relaxed.

    I lost the set. For the rest of the match all i could serve was my short kicker out wide. It's a great serve and wins my lots of points, but not when it's the only one i can use!

    It's like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds6CZ4qCXD4

    I was killed the 2nd set 4-1 then my opponent had to leave*.


    * I really hate when that happens.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    What's been working lately for me is to embrace the idea the returner IS going to return my serve, so before serving, I mentally prepare to move for his return, to know where I"m going to hit it, THEN I start my serve, ready, willing, and hopefully able to extend the point another hit.
    And if they miss returning my serve, I consider myself lucky.
     
  32. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    do you guys actually practice serves? I always practice serves at least once per week. even if its the only practice I get.
    There is no reason to dbl fault 2 or 3 times in a row.
     
  33. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Usually pros start pronation much earlier than frame 25.
    See Rafter’s first & second serves pictures.

    [​IMG]

    Body positions are shown at the moment of contacts.

    In case of first serve Rafter uses arm pronation very hard and rotate/pronate the racket about 90°. Second serve shows less pronation, that’s why he loses significant amount of ball’s speed.

    I calculated Rafter’s serve speed by using Serve Speed Calculator - http://donthireddy.us/tennis/speed.html.

    First serve speed is 112.7mph.
    Second serve speed is 83.31mph.

    In case of second serve Rafter lost 26% of ball’s speed.

    So, intensity and amount of arm pronation is very important. For more detailed explanation see my article - http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=5274865#post5274865. :)
     
  34. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    asked daniel nestor about that during davis cup, right after he and pospisil won 15-13 in the fifth vs the italians.

    daniel had not served well at all in sets 3 and 4, but held the rest of the way and saved at least three break point w clutch first serves in the long fifth set

    essentially he said that at that point, you re se tired that mentally you re on autopilot, which is almost a good thing because you re not overthinking things. other than that dont remember him saying anything specific.

    Ive asked this question frequently and most of the elite level player I talk to dont have a silver bullet for it. just simplify things in your mind, focus on one thing, or think about nothing at all. getting the toss in a good place (not too low or too forward or too far.back) and letting.the arm go are.the only technical pointers I remember hearing
     
  35. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    It's interesting that Pat's 11-5 tip appears to have had a positive effect on people's serves that have tried it.
    Nice.
     
  36. Moz

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    I've watched all the videos and found them interesting. I find Rafter's style of play a strange choice to improve a rec player's game and I find his natural ability seems to hinder his ability to effectively deliver the information rather than enhance it. That’s just personal I suppose.

    There is an element of "the lady doth protest too much" about it being applicable to "rec" players. The bottom line is that serve and volleying is very rare in all circles of singles tennis because it's so difficult and not very effective. It's encouraging to be told that s & v can still work but it's always players like Rafter and Cash who are saying it. However, in my tournament experience, this is bollocks unless you're on grass.

    All the kick serve stuff is interesting and I doubt anyone would argue against its effectiveness generally. But to make dramatic strides with it in your game would usually mean pairing it with a distinct style (as Rafter did). A style that no longer seems to work.

    Another thing I have noticed in extensive tournament play at the 4.5 and 5.0 levels is that the effectiveness of serving decreases dramatically as the match goes on. This isn't because of some exquisite in-game adjustments on behalf of the players. It’s mainly because the balls are completely knackered and become less and less responsive. This is not something a professional is likely to appreciate but it has a huge influence on the rec player’s serve.
     
  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Kinda agree a S/V game is just too much physical work for most rec players...5.0 and under, because most are not in shape to sprint after shots, hit winning or forcing shots from weird positions, and do it over and over again.
    Basically, we're just not athletic 6'3" Rafter's, Cash's, or Edbergs.
    And playing doubles mostly, I find my twist serves around chin high (I lost the motion, or the direction) just solicits a low level lob over my netperson, who can't reach it, forcing me to hobble back to cover it, as my netperson just stand there agape at the mouth right in my line of fire....so what can I do, except lob over their netperson starting a push game.
    Even in singles, while the heart wants to attack, the lungs say no, to stay back and trade groundies.
    Get in better shape? Are you kidding? I'm 64, hobbled by injury, living out the last of my days.
     
  38. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    ^

    What a gloomy post right there...
     
  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, it beats the view from 6' under, I guess.
    I mean, how many players in their retirement years are looking to get stronger, better wind, and more endurance to hit a little yellow ball?
    Would I embrace the idea of 3 mile runs 4 days a week? How about lifting weights or working under the auspices of a personal trainer?
    And the idea of PRACTICE, tennis that is, just doesn't hit a chord in my list of desires. Play, yes, because there's a reason for some of that hard work. Practice? That is work.
    I left work to you guys a couple of years ago.
     
  40. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Thank Jackal, I think this is good advice. I think in match and under stress you can only rely on what your body already knows through instinct and practice.

    I practice serving a lot. Although I'm not a big server, my serves are usually very effective and i have enough different spins/pace to get free points and good starts, but it's just the match mentality when under pressure. If I'm in the lead, or there are people* watching then I generally don't have issues. It's when I'm down a few points mid-set, or down a break that i tense up.

    I think I need to put myself in that situation more often. Get match toughness.


    * I like a crowd, or even casual observers. Even a couple of people around the court makes me feel great. Don't know why.

    P.S. On the Net Game debate... Getting to the net works. Serve and Volley or coming in after an approach shot. Just because rec player can hit loopy topspin doesn't mean that they can thread passing shots between you and the lines. It puts a lot of pressure on people and is an aggressive stance.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  41. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    one thing I really liked about pat's teaching style, is that despite how accomplished of a player he is, he's *not* a perfectionist. one example is during the part about the toss, he said something like "if it's pretty close to where I want to put my toss, then it's all good" or something to that effect. basically, he has a really solid work ethic and good drills to do during practice, but once the match gets underway, "no worries, mate." from that point of view, I've definitely learned from him, because I tend to be a perfectionist even during matches, and will make a lot of UEs just by trying to hit the ball "properly" (or at least, as hard as I do in practice) even when my game is not at 100%.

    about serve and volleying, I think it's a way to get a lot of cheap points, maybe even especially in long matches when the balls are used up (like Moz alluded to). one of the most epic matches I've watched in my life was in a local A tournament (4.5-5.5) where an ex moroccan junior (who's now in his 30s and not that in shape) played against another solid player in his late 20s. since it was during ramadan, the moroccan dude was FASTING during the day and drank no water. the match lasted 3 hours and ended something like 6-4 4-6 6-4. both guys were exhausted in the end, but the guy who drank no water won because he threw in a lot of SV and chip/charge plays. even when he lost the points he managed to at least save some energy, because the A game for both of those guys was to stand back and trade groundies. also of note, it was 30 degrees C, sunny and humid that day. I don't know how the dude even made it through the match without passing out.

    today I was hitting with a nationally ranked U14 player. the kid's dad calls me to hit with him a few times a week, and recently his ground game has developed to a point where I'd need to play pretty much full-speed just to stay in the rally with him. but in practice sets, because I can set up plays with my serve and finish points at the net, it really takes him out of his comfort zone. if we play no serve, it'd be pretty even, but if I have the option to serve and volley or even chip/charge, then it becomes very hard for the kid to win games. usually he gets 1-2 games per set.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  42. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    While it's a good learning experience to easily dispatch this junior from the net, I think it's only applicable for playing against players NOT used to going up against a good net player.
    Play a guy who's used to net players, and the results might be very different. Even old farts in their '50's can effectively neutralize almost any net rusher close to their level by dipping passing shots, lobbing over the backhand side, and deliberately bring you into the net position when they want, only to lob over your head as you slow down to recover position.
    OTOH, maybe we're talking a skill level difference here.
    Around here, the first pass attempt after an approach is the low, CC dipper, forcing you to volley up, then it's full on groundie pass, or lob if you happen to make a great forcing volley off your shoetops.
     
  43. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Played with my buddy today and he said my serve is the best he has seen from me. He was very adamant about it.

    I think a lot of the stuff Jackyl posted is what fixed it. I stopped thinking about my right arm. I mean I just dont think about it at all anymore. I dont care about my tophy pose or anything..it all just flows naturally. The 11-5 thing automatically gets my racquet to drop so I dont have to think about that.

    The key (relinquis, for your under pressure question) is to always do the tap. On serve, drop your toss hand, tap your leg - toss. It fixes the toss and gets you in a rhythm. Dont think about the right hand at all, and just look at the ball and rip through that corner.

    I finally was able to easily hold serve against a solid player who has always been good at attacking with his returns. Hope it continues, but reading Jackyl's post, it all is in line with that same mentality.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I wish I had some kind of consistency, but I don't.
    Today, first two service games, zero first serves, broken at love, end of set.
    Second set, same thing, but not at love.
    Third set, against a couple of very good 4.0's, love both service games, but love for them. Actually got 3 first flats in, and wide slices too.
    I can't control when to make good serves and when to fault.
     
  45. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    thank nestor. he's old. guess the years weren't in vain :D

    (he's got kind of a dry sense of humor. if he ever reads this -dont think he will - he'd be a good sport about it)
     
  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The "key" is to always serve with a pre established serve routine, so you do everything the same. Whether it's the rocking of McEnroe/Connors, or the static pose of a Stich/Korda, the bent slouch of Nastase, or whatever, you need a routine to follow on each and every single one of your serves.
     
  47. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    But people with real control will be able to get in a half-decent serve without the routine.

    That is the litmus test of an expert. Like if you are asked to drive someone urgently to the hospital, you would not say: wait a minute, I need to perform a ritual. Or an expert Professor will not be floored if you ask him/her a question outside the classroom.

    Can you throw in a casual 60% serve on demand, in the sun and the wind and the cold? Mind you, it is not that casual - you are being tested here and you know it. Most rec players cannot. That is what we mean by real control.
     
  48. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Of course, you're correct.
    No reason to go thru the rocking motion, or bounce the ball a set # of times, or lean over forwards and lower the two hands.
    Just walk up, crush a winner, and walk to the net and shake hands.
    85% of pros are dead wrong for having a service routine ritual.
     
  49. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Why does Djoker bounce the ball a milion times then? Or Nadal pick his butt?

    You argue stuff for no reason. Learn to settle your mind and stop thinking so much about it.
     
  50. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    what some people here forget, is that the average poster on TT has a higher IQ and a better education than the average player on tour. definitely a better education than pat rafter.

    but no amount of theorizing and "discussion" can replace focused practice. you can't reason your way to a better serve, the same way that you won't be able to run faster just because you write a 10pg paper on perfect gait.

    next time, just shut up, go out and hit some serves. then post, if you still feel like it.
     

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