Can stepping in be part of the modern revolution?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Alright, so we all know tennis technique is changing. Modern technique says to use core rotation (angular momentum) to get power. The idea is that stepping into the ball was used simply to create forward momentum and that this is not applicable to today's game.

    However, I think stepping into the ball plays a larger role than just creating linear momentum.

    It seems to me, that the forward step is used to initiate the kinetic chain. That is, it triggers the angular momentum that is important to modern strokes. There are other methods of starting the kinetic chain like simply rotating the torso and pushing straight up off the ground, but these strategies feel way less natural to me.

    If you look at baseball pitchers and hitters, they all begin their kinetic chains with a step. That seems like a good indication that it's a good way to create power.

    So, what do you guys think? Can the forward step be part of the modern stroke?
     
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  2. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Modern strokes are not stance dependent, so yes, you can step forward " to balance" and improve your contact point.
    IMO it would not be optimum for the chain, but may be optimum for a specific ball.
     
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  3. BaboFan

    BaboFan Rookie

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    You always have the most insightful and most useful threads.

    Anyways stepping into the ball increases control. Powerwise, its a mother form of effortless energy. While modern forehand uses rotational energy stepping in causes forward momentum into the ball. Its great for approach shots as you get pace, you're coming into the net, and you have more margin of error as you will frame less as you swing through the ball.
     
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  4. purge

    purge Hall of Fame

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    it is an offense thing only
    all its benefits only come into effect when youre already in an offensive position in a rally.
    stepping in lets you take the ball earlier, which takes time away from your opponent. it also puts your full weight into the shot and its obviously ideal if you want to come in after the shot as youre already moving forward into the court.
    but its not to be used in every shot. you only see people do it when theyre already close to the baseline and want to put extra pressure on.
     
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  5. corners

    corners Legend

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    Stepping in is optimal on shorter balls and when you'd like to transition forward. But it's not optimal if there isn't enough time to step in, or if the ball is too deep to step in on. Watch old film of Laver. The guy hit open stance, hit while jumping up, back and to the side, etc.

    Personally, I would love to be fast enough to get to every ball with enough time to step into it. I'm an aggressive player, so if I could step into everything I would constantly be taking time away from my opponent and/or moving forward. Sounds great! But even at my level that just isn't possible. We have to learn defensive shots and defensive footwork for a reason: we are not fast enough or good enough to attack every ball.
     
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  6. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    If you play at higher levels/or want to, stepping into balls (going mostly linear) on forehands isn't good advice these days. There are many times when its appropriate but its not a situation where bringing back a neutral or closed stance on a regular basis makes any sense. Racquets & strings have changed dramatically in the last 20 years.
     
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  7. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    Hunter, you are the official TT virtual theoretical tennis champion.... can anybody overthink more of this stuff than you do?

    Post a vid already, I promise I won't laugh.

    this thread is like a 30-handicap asking 'can Tiger Woods keep a steeper shoulder turn during the back swing so that his weight will be more centered on the left side to have a steeper angle of attack so that the smash factor can be increased from 1.45 to 1.5'
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
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  8. Logan71

    Logan71 Rookie

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    Ivan Lubijic is a player who always seems to prefer front foot conatcts,but the trouble is he seems to get caught out trying to get on it.

    He's playing in the wrong era,if he was in the early 80's he would have been a fearsome prospect,heck the guy was the second best player in the world at one point.

    Federer for me has the best balance.You watch him he gets onto that front foot a lot even when he winds up starting on the back foot.He employs a variety of stances but manages to get his weight forward.
    When he was at his best he transitioned from defense to offense better than anyone probably due to being able to transfer his weight into forward momentum.

    At recreational level or 3.5-4.0 level,I would guess you could get your weight forward quite a lot because who is going to push around enough to get you defensive.
     
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  9. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    IMO, if you have time to set up for your shot, optimally, the step is still there. The difference in the step between an old school Eastern drive and a modern SW WW stroke is that instead of stepping toward the target with a neutral stance, or across the target with a closed stance, you now step across the target with an open stance. This right to left step and weight transfer (for a rh fh), helps promote the rotation inherent in a modern stroke.
     
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  10. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Stop soliciting people for video already!!! LOL. What's with you and video?

    How would any video posted here different from the million ones of rec players that you find at Youtube? You're obsessed. Get over it, man. :)
     
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  11. Hewex

    Hewex Semi-Pro

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    These days Tiger could learn from a 30 handicap....
     
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  12. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    post a video? OP - this is for you...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dopneKcyNXU
     
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  13. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    So you're saying stepping in would be used as a way to get to optimum contact and not to begin the kinetic chain? I can see that being a plausible reason why pros step in on some shots and not on others. I still think it's a good way to begin the kinetic chain, though.
     
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  14. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Lol I'm not asking for advice, so why would I post a video?
     
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  15. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    So people can rip you! It is a full time (pre)occupation with some people here. ;-)
     
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  16. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Just to pick a nit, the grip (Eastern, SW, or even full Western) and the swing (traditional vs. WW) are independent. You can have a WW swing with an Eastern grip, and a old school drive with a SW grip.
     
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  17. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I think this is plausible. However, I'm always wary that a right to left step would make the torso pull off to the side during the swing and, thus, mess up the swing path.

    Haha yeah, I know.

    Fine, Dozu wins. Here ya go
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyN-X5qtlp4&feature=channel_video_title
     
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  18. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    You don't have to be wary. Just look at what the pros are doing. They are stepping right to left (or left to right in Ralph's case), and their swing paths aren't "messed up."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ImeQaAyFPc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk1eqm_vazU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojzfPud_mvo&feature=related
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
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  19. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Good point. They're in an open stance and transferring their weight from the back foot to front foot. Would you agree, though, that their weight is going forward and not to the side? They're not pulling away from the shot in other words.
     
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  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, the better modern stroke players use the steps necessary to have good position on the ball for their contact pt and to be stable/on balance for the stroke. Usually they are lifting from this balanced position, regardless of the foot placement. I actually prefer at times to be rt foot forward for my approach TS shots where I want to continue in quickly.

    One reason I like open or reversed feet for the TS is for the loading of the torso. It's much like winding up a spring, which makes the power created very effortless when you unwind into the ball.

    Yes you can start your Kchain anyway you want but the sideways stance has the shoulder back with no loading, so the power must all be created from neutral core which takes more effort and detracts from control. It can also lead to "arm city" as Dozo calls it.
     
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  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yep, but sometimes they do pull away and step back if that is what will improve their contact pt/ position on the ball. Pwr is not affected that much either.
     
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  22. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    2.5 at best. You need to swing the human racquet more, even if you don't know what that means. You're swinging too rigidly. Also, you need to boost your serve speed up. When I was your age, I was already serving into the 140s, hitting the back fence every serve 5' up, and acing everyone. How? Cause I used the human racquet on my serve

    --DozD ;)
     
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Does JoeJackson look like MatthewBroderick (FerrisBueller's Day Off)?
    Don't think stepping IN can work, but I think staying in place rather than retreating might work. Ball is coming in your direction at different speeds, spins, and angles, so for you to actively INTERCEPT it at your prearranged point in space is very implausible.
    What did I say? :shock:
     
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  24. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    #24
  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I would say they are stepping from about 4 O'Clock to 2 O'Clock. Their torsos are also moving about a foot from 4 O'Clock to 2 O'Clock and rotating at the same time. So, I would call it side to side, not back to front. But, I wouldn't call it pulling away from the shot either. They are rotating across the target line to create momentum. I don't think of it as pulling away because the racquet face is still moving toward the target while it is in the hitting zone.
     
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  26. 10sLifer

    10sLifer New User

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    It never left. Open stance came about as a result of not having time to step in and knowing you had to recover to the middle after a hit. If you teach your students to understand ground reaction force they will do the right thing. I teach as a fundamental to step in and always push off of the right[(for a forehand(righty)] foot. This should be evident as many people have pointed out that here are plenty of apparent old school people who have hit open stance. When my students hit open I do not not yell at them because they understand ground reaction force.

    Great thread by the way. Might actually make me want to come back to this forum more often.
     
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  27. 10sLifer

    10sLifer New User

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    I think it's a great thread and I would bagel you.
     
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  28. Playnice

    Playnice Guest

    I would say, NO if you mean teaching children and beginner level the modern game. Stepping in on the forehand impedes the player's ability to get the hand close to the ball and find the ball well. Try this experiment:
    stand at the net with a friend facing each other. Reach across the net and shake hands, as in an introduction. Now turn 90 degrees to your right (facing the side fence) and shake hands with your friend again. You will find it extremely awkward having to reach around and twist your torso to grasp his hand. Much more comfortable and efficienit to face him.

    Forcing children and beginners to step in and get sideways to the ball prevents them from finding the ball optimally. In the modern game power and control come from pulling up and across the ball from the contact point to the finish, not from stepping in and taking the racket back. On the 2hbh it is also more efficient to step with the outside foot to get the non-dominant hand close to the ball and pull up and across to the finish, driving the shot with the non-dominant hand. If the player drives the ball with the dominant hand then he will tend to step into the ball, which gets the hand closer to the ball.

    For many players the habit of stepping in was ingrained very early on in ther development and could be difficult to change. On the run, however, the player will resort to hitting open to get the hand closer to the ball for better contact and control. This is usually done intuitively. In my experience when a player is given the opportunity to hit open stance, either from the beginning or as an alternative to stepping forward, they perform better and prefer it once they get the hang of it. I see many, many coaches teaching to step forward exclusively, so their students don't get the chance to experiment.

    The concept of stepping in to impart more force and momentum to a shot is pervasive, but very often at the expense of the player's ability to control the ball.

    Stepping in on approach shots would, of course, be technically necessary to move forward; employing forward momentum strategically is popular in the current Spanish style, but this is more tactical than mechanical.

    On the 1hbh the player must step forward (or more accurately move toward the ball), to get his hand close to the ball, but key to a well-executed 1hbh is the release of the step to finish the stroke.

    On modern volleys forcing a forward step impedes the optimal stroke. Again, it is getting the hand close to the ball with proper alignment and moving the racket across in front of the body that produces the best stroke, not stepping or foot positioning.

    These references to "modern" tennis are specific to Modern Tennis Methodology, not generalized so-called modern technique. Although MTM does promote teaching all levels to "play like the pros" that does not mean that there is one singular way to hit the various strokes, as the wide varianices of the pros illustrate. On a lesser gradient, however, any player can utilize the basic principles that the pros most often employ in actual match play, regardless of their early training or habits. Like the rest of us, the pros may have certain comfort levels within their stroke production which may be difficult to alter. Even the pros could sometimes stand to modify some mechanical elements for better performance; certainly club level players could benefit from experimenting with different techniques.
     
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  29. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    It may have come about from this above, but it has now been discovered as the superior way to hit Fhs.
     
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  30. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    If you look at the top pros, they use both the stances: the stepping in or square stance, and the open stance. Generally, for cross court they may use open stance, and for down the line they may square stance (stepping in); also, when recovery is at stake i.e. when you have been pushed to one side and you are outside of the singles sideline, in this situation open stance allows you to recover. If you use square stance in such a situation you will be one step out of the court, and with the open stance you will be one step inside the court.

    Also, with semi western and western grips, open stance is the matching stance.

    For Eastern FH grip, the square stance is the preferred stance, but you can also use it for open stance.

    Thus, the hitting situation determines the stance:
    Normal balls: square
    Recovery: open
     
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  31. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I think that the history is just the opposite. Players began hitting with an open stance because they could hit better forehands that way as their grips started moving to SW.
     
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  32. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    could very well be that way, but now we know it is better than stepping in with momentum and really should only step into improve our position/contact point.
     
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  33. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I don't agree. Open stance is normal and also aids recovery and shot control.
    Square stance is really only needed for improving position and requires compenstation to make it work as well as open stance.
    Of course Pros have to step in at times to get the best position on the ball, but the more consistent ones don't use the step to get momentum into the shot, but instead lift from balance to open stance on the shot.

    I agree that eastern grip is more common for those to who have stuck with the square stance as the first option.
     
    #33
  34. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    So how do you recommend generating power from the ground? Exploding upward (as if to jump)?
     
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  35. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    #35
  36. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    You are correct, i watch were many times the pro players will purposely
    not step into the ball even when they have time to do it. I believe this
    is to maintain better control, instead they use the rotation and lift to get the power needed.
     
    #36
  37. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    That is exactly how to get power without stepping into the shot. Do you
    ever watch any of the pro clips in slow motion? There are many examples of this, when they have time to set up you will see them actually
    leave the ground. The power is coming from lift and rotation, not
    stepping into the ball. There are times they will step into the shot,
    but they do not have to do this to get power.

    I have even noticed
    that many times when they get a sitter they get there early to set up
    but they purposely do not step into the shot so they don't over hit.
    They can get all the power they need from the lift and rotation,
    without hitting the ball long.
     
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  38. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    The question wasn't rhetorical.
     
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  39. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Really what was the question then? Look do yourself
    a favor open your eyes and watch some pro clips in slow
    motion. Then maybe you can understand what 5263 is trying
    to explain to you.
     
    #39
  40. 10sLifer

    10sLifer New User

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    Now open your hand after shaking and put a racquet in it. You will find that the racquet is pointing towards the side fence much like your palm. Hey but who can can argue with solid scientific info like that!
     
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  41. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    #41
  42. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Lifting and uncoiling into the shot.
     
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  43. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, I took the time (its considerable when you follow all the links and I didn't follow all of them) to look at this and I would NOT just dismiss it with a brief response. There are some excellent points made and although I might initially disagree with the overall conclusions, I think I am more inclined to take a closer look.

    The hip injury issue has had me concerned for some time - not a personnel item but I've seen some of it and it bothers me. I've seen some instruction, and mentioned it in this forum, where players are loading and exploding of the back leg but landing on this same leg as well - this concerns me. Yes, you can generate quite a bit of power but at what cost? Does the player, especially the one not in top physical condition, risk hip and maybe back problems down the road?

    I've been a proponent of the open stance for a long time but I don't like the players power going sideways or even backwards into the shot. IMO, this produces shots that are inconsistent and lack power at all levels and with all age groups. For some reason, maybe I'm just looking for it more, it seems to be a bigger factor as everyone seems to be advocating hitting from the open stance. Any forward momentum into the ball seem to be disappearing as if normal shots are routinely being hit like defensive shots. Maybe were teaching the kids to hit too open these days - could that be possible?

    I've long been a fan of MK and value his opinion on this and other tennis subjects - type of grip, positioning and shot are the major factors in stance.
     
    #43
  44. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    All pros step into some shots (e.g., when moving forward), hit open stance on other shots.
     
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  45. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    But they don't usually step in to create forward momentum, but instead work to control and minimize it.
     
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  46. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    maybe - but they are still using the forward momentum from the stroke to power the shot. I guess it is a question of semantics and not right/wrong. My point is that players need to be well rounded with a variety of technical variations to handle a variety of shots and situations.
     
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  47. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Man, this thread is kind of a facepalm.

    Way too much thinking here.

    Open stance evolved because you simply do not have enough time to step into as many shots in modern pro tennis. They are all crushing the ball with hard angles and you have to use an open stance to hit a powerful reply.

    If a pro gets a short ball they still step into it many times to put it away. It's not like some kind of theory where they all decided to use open stance. It is part of the evolution of tennis to deal with the power and speed of the game.
     
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  48. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Thinking is useful to some. Some of us have found for ourselves and students that to teach them not to step into short balls with momentum will help them to be much more precise with their dealing with short ball attacks and that this precision leads to being able to unleash more power into these attacks as a result.

    All you have to do is look at the great number of post dealing with how many players on here struggle with attacking short balls or go to the courts and watch them struggle. Even the posters with advice often mention they too struggle with attacking short balls. I chart matches and see pros who have some amount of trouble attacking short balls consistently.
    In my charting so far, I've found that the pro and ams that handle the short balls most effectively, don't use forward momentum to power their attack shots. Of course, everyone gets to decide for themselves. Just sharing practice, observations, lessons, and charting experience.
     
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  49. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yes but my point remains that the open stance is a necessity in modern tennis due to the speed of the game.
     
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  50. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    That's funny because one of the article's main points was that not only was the forward step efficient for power, it also allowed greater control over that power due to less variables involved, essentially the timing of the rotation.
     
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