Clarification on Smart Targets Question from Ventura County coaches

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by teachestennis, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    5263, Why do you feel Smart Targets have to be triangles. As you know several coaches, I included, are late to the game in really testing your theories which is why I was silent on that long thread on Smart Targets which is closed so I have to ask you here. You already sold me on the importance of the mid court ball and my students love your theories which I learned to teach better with, given they had better results. I was not convinced that these smart targets were worth taking a good look at for a while but I'm late to the party meaning I did not really test it until recently even though we are friends on opposite coasts. The question that coaches here in Ojai and Ventura are asking me is why are they triangles and not semi-circles? Why did you decide to go with triangles instead of circles or semicircles. I normally throw hula hoops or rubber 12" circles on the court but now I have to admit I like the spacing but it took a while for me to figure it out. Would semi circles work better? We are curious to hear your response given I used to put circles down in each corner 12 inches in from service box and 18 inches inside the service tee to have the player hit at their feet and try to never given them a chance to swing from their heels.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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  2. TCF

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    We have been using semi circles designed around the same area as his smart targets for at least 10 years now. Saw it before then at various coaching seminars.

    Semicircles, triangles, whatever shape works for you is just fine....chalk, cones, whatever. The specific area does not have to be exact either. All you need is for the kids to get the idea of where they should hit when presented with the opportunity.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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  3. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    They really don't have to be triangles.
    Mainly it is about keeping it simple, but there are several good reasons to use the triangle. One simple reason is it is the smallest number of cones you can use to make a shape. I like to use cones because they are highly visible and stack well for transport. Even so, I don't want to carry 50 of them to every lesson and this way I only need 6.

    3.... ^


    ................. ^ 2

    1.... ^

    Above is a diagram of the 3 cones numbered. Please ignore the periods, as they are just there to space the cones. I hope it is clear how hitting on a shot line from #1 to #3 cones will give you a dtl rally reference just as hitting on a shot line from #2 to #3 cones will give you a reference for a cross court rally shots. I like to think of the space between #2 & #3 as the gate. The gate or entrance serves as a reference for every shot between dtl and cross court.

    Cone #3 is general reference for the intended depth of shots, and being well beyond the svc line, it should satisfy what most of us realize is reasonable depth for our shots. It is also well short of the BL to provide a good margin for error in that direction. Intending to hit your dtl over the #1 cone to land on or just past the #3 cone should be a good reference for the shot with margins. The triangle can be moved to adjust if you need to increase your margins. Same Idea works for cross court and everything else inside the gate.

    While that is the basic idea above, you can get more precise as you work with the targets more. As stated above, #3 cone is the general reference for rally shots, but the #1 cone just inside the svc line may be a better reference for tighter angle shot selection like putaway volleys. Sometimes in practice I might even throw a hulu hoop over the cone that is the primary reference for the drill, to highlight it or even just use the hoop by itself.

    I really like the #2 cone for a reference when attacking short balls. Being just past the svc line and well off the sideline makes it very useful for working any angle on that attack (topspin or slice). I especially like the #2 cone for putting away shorter overheads. If attacking dtl, then the #1 & #3 cones still work great.

    So in the end we have a very simple target, using very few cones, that can cover a wide variety of tactics and strategies. There are other good places on the court to go for particular reasons, but these tend to cover the bulk of what you do on rally, mid ct attacks, as well as finishing shots near the net imo.
     
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  4. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I agree, the shape is not that important, but do have some reasons I think the triangles are a good fit stated above. I've also seen all manner of general targeting used in drills from Macci to Nick B, but find there is a great benefit to being more precise with the idea of where they are placed. Several coaches have commented on how they are seeing the court geometry more clearly due to working with these specific targets, placed with several objectives in mind. By all means though, if you have something working for you, don't waste your time. This is for those who are looking for an idea like this.

    http://i45.tinypic.com/2mmei5d.png
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
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  5. TCF

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    I hear you. I liked your thread on the topic and I get the triangle concept.

    And I found that my semi circles the past few weeks have started looking a little more triangular!
     
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  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I asked before why not semicircles
     
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  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    If idea is not to for the painted lines then these triangles have lines so it is contradictory
     
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  8. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Hey TCF, thanks for mentioning that. I appreciate the feedback and actually am getting more feedback much like that. I could likely improve the accuracy of it by adding another cone in the back to widen it a bit, but then it just gets more involved and would play into the misconception that ball need to be inside the shape vs using the shape as a reference.
     
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  9. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    5263, by any chance are you from the northeast?
     
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  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Nope, southern section. :)
     
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  11. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Ever come up to the northeast?
     
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  12. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Not much, but now and then...what was your area again?
     
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  13. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Rockland County, NY. It's the suburbs north of NYC, directly west of Westchester County.
     
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  14. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Probably only get back up to NYC for the US Open or doing something with MTM/Oscar. I used to fly 757s in there every month, but You never know though and I get surprised every day :)
     
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  15. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    If you get up here, let me know. I'd like to hit some around.
     
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  16. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    Yes, any shape will work and this is a concept that has been used by coaches for many years.

    The main limitation of "smart targets" is that they aren't particularly useful on their own. They only become useful coupled with an understanding of the Wardlaw Directionals. Once are led to this, you realize that "smart targets" has already been covered, just not by that name. I posted this in another thread-



    "Smart targets" are useful but have been around for years as part of the much more comprehensive Wardlaw Directionals.

    The best discussion of this I have found is in Chuck Kriese's "Coaching Tennis" book. There is a full chapter written by Paul Wardlaw. A quote from this chapter regarding the 'smart targets' theme-

    "Location and depth are the essential areas when hitting outside ground strokes. Outside ground stroke rallies need to be diagonal rather than vertical with shots landing out of the middle third of the court. The concept of changing the rally from a vertical rally to diagonal rally is called Shifting the Court. Tennis is a diagonal game, not a vertical one. Typically, less advanced play involves vertical rallies - rallies that take place in the middle third of the court. Effective high level tennis requires diagonal rallies, those which take place outside the middle third of the court..... Most importantly, the Wardlaw Directionals are more effective when the court has been shifted diagonally."
     
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  17. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    And as I responded last time you made this claim, while the directionals are easily accommodated by these targets, it is not true they are limited to use with an understanding of the directionals as you claim, as well as this is much simpler to grasp than Wardlaw's system. Have fun getting 6-12 yr olds understanding what an inside or outside shot is...I know many adults that can never keep that straight. Also with good modern strokes, a player is not nearly as restricted about changing the direction of the ball, as the WDs prescribe. I'll double check, but I'm pretty sure these targets are much more specific about margins for error etc... than what I remember from the WDs.

    BUt again since you missed it, this is not to displace your current ways if you are satisfied with your results, but more for those looking for a different perspective on shot selection. But thanks for bringing up those points so they could be addressed :)
     
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  18. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    that above and this...
    --- Going for too much on inside ground strokes
    ---- You go for too much and hit the shot wide. Inside ground strokes give you control of
    the point and should be thought of as part of a sequence and rarely a point-ender.
    Having your inside ground stroke cross the baseline before the sideline will aid in resisting this temptation. Again, emphasis should be on penetration through the baseline, not on width.

    are about all that is offered about targeting and some of it is close to opposite! Emphasis on Smart Targets is to look for more width and to go off the side before the BL on cross courts. WD's offer very little in the aspect of targets unless you think a whole side of the court is the target...which means you have missed the entire pt of these targets. You do make a good example though, of those who see things with should a broad brush, but miss the critical elements that can make a very big difference.

    and here is a good link for anyone interested in how similar the WDs are...

    http://saratogaspringstennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Wardlaw-Directionals1.pdf
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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  19. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    I've been chalking them out on the one court I teach on and plan to for my Saturday lessons. I always taught the Wardlaw Directionals and we pushed them for MTM coaches but of course, at 6.0 and 7.0, the Directionals don't have to be followed as much, that is why they are at that level. I do teach the Wardlaw Directionals to players who can really rally well and my experience is girls really like them more than the boys and appreciate the margin of error provided and discipline of the WDs, but boys like to go for winners more. I've coached a lot of high school girls and the error rate really does go up when they don't follow the WDs. So I will try to incorporate the Wardlaws using the Smart Targets more. I agree that tennis is really about angles and 5263 might be right that the WDs are a subset but I have to test it more before I report back to him that I totally agree given I work with so many coaches and have to be careful what I endorse. I saw where Oscar Wegner finally posted somewhere on here he liked them after he started testing them recently and that really got me taking a second look. Anyone else been teaching these with the Wardlaws?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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  20. Topspin Shot

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    IMO there are certain situations where violating the directionals outright is the smart play. With the huge sweet spots and poly strings, you can put enough spin on the ball and generate enough racket speed where it isn't all that risky to change directions and hit outside balls down the line. Of course, the risk is still greater when you do this, but you really have to do it at times to dictate play because the other guy will. And unlike in previous eras, he will beat you doing it.
     
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  21. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    I don't think sweet spot size and strings affect the ability to change direction. Changing direction is about changing direction which means racquet face angle, swing path, weight transfer etc. The level of difficulty for direction changing hasn't changed with new tech.
     
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  22. Topspin Shot

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    I was thinking of angle of deflection, that is hitting an incoming crosscourt ball down the line and putting it in the alley because of the deflection angle. The best way to avoid the deflection error is by increasing racket speed (it's a physics thing). New racket and string tech allows you to swing faster without losing control. Therefore, new technology helps you avoid change of direction errors.
     
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  23. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    The best way is not increasing the racquet speed. The best way is face angle. (it's a physics thing). The next influence is weight transfer / momentum and then rhs. Increasing racquet speed decreases the deflection angle. It doesn't eliminate it.

    If you can find just one video or article that states new string/racquet tech has made changing direction and going down the line easier I'll concede.
     
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  24. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Did I ever say increasing racket speed eliminates the deflction angle? But it does decrease it, and that can be the difference between making and missing the shot. I read that it is important to swing fast when changing direction in The Physics and Technology of Tennis. Since the new tech lets you swing faster, it follows that it makes changing direction easier.
     
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  25. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    You said "The best way to avoid the deflection error is by increasing racket speed".

    Avoid = eliminate I think.
    Avoid an accident = Eliminate the occurrence of an accident.

    Yes it's important to swing fast to decrease the refection. But it's more important to have the racquet facing the right direction.
    New tech has made faster rhs possible. That's true. Therefore balls are travelling faster than previously. Logic follows that before the new tech in question balls were travelling slower than they do now therefore, although still important, less rhs was necessary on changing direction. Which implies the rhs/incoming ball speed ratio for redirecting shots has not changed.
    So that negates your point. :twisted:
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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  26. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I'm signing off for the night, so we'll resume this debate tomorrow. Your logic is sound, but there may be more to it, that is, converting racket speed to spin rather than pace and having the ability to add an extra boost of racket speed specifically for the situation. Remember, few shots are hit with maxmal rhs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
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  27. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    ok.
    +10redirectingDownTheLineIsStillLow%s
     
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  28. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    There is a reason that going off the side of the court before the BL isn't recommended as part of the Wardlaw Directionals. It's because it is generally bad advice. It is a low margin strategy that is rarely recommended by coaches. Don't take my word for it - just look at any tennis strategy book written in the past 30-years.

    The Directionals are all about high percentage tennis. Of course, if you are hitting cross court shots to the outside of the court, the ball will obviously being crossing the sideline prior to the baseline at times. There are also many times you might purposely go for more. The point is to understand the risk involved.

    Telling a 10-yo to simply to aim for one of the triangles is not very helpful. It is why you are by default led to the Directionals.

    As mentioned earlier in the thread, people have been using a 'smart targets' concept for many years. Nearly every coach I have ever seen has laid out cone targets in some variation. The shape will vary but "avoid the middle third of the court and leave a safe margin of error" summarizes all of them.
     
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  29. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Seems you struggle to make up your mind. Have they been using them for years, or is it a bad Idea to focus on using wider targets related to consistency to a general standard? :)
    You have to love how some want to tell you that you are wrong; then in the next line tell you everybody is already doing it. I guess for some it's like seeing a vette, a civic and a Land Rover; Some folks still just see a car.

    Cheetah and Topspin...interesting conversation about changing directions...
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
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  30. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    People have been hitting those spots since tennis was invented. It's nothing new. It is basic strategy once you get to 4.0+.
     
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  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Good, so you agree with the targets and their location, thanks!
    Maybe you can share a book or link where you have seen them. I couldn't find anything like this as a reference, so that is why I developed this approach for my students. I'd love to have it in a book by some Instructor of note, as that would make it even easier to share with players who don't get it. I don't think there is hardly anything new in tennis, as if it can be done before, it likely has. Did someone claim this was the first ever? The idea of the thread is to share with those who could use it and to generate the discussion on when to use them or when to do something else. Nothing here about being the first to do something.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
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  32. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Why are you thanking me? It's like thanking me for saying that serving wide is a good idea sometimes. Or thanking me for saying that you should keep your head still during a stroke. These are basic things.

    You couldn't find anything that says sometimes you should hit shallow angles at the line or deep angles at the corner? That sometimes it strategically makes sense to do this? I don't really read tennis books, but I find this very difficult to believe.

    Given that I see college and professional players do it all the time... and those players are trained by coaches... it is obvious that it is being taught. If it is being taught, then it is highly likely that such tactics are published somewhere.

    Yeah, OP implied it. Teachestennis, one of your co-minions, said the following:

    So basically, teachestennis did you a favor and started the thread again since the other thread was closed. He's justified it in the first sentence, hoping to throw off the mods. (You guys must think the mods are morons). But he specifically states that this is "your theory". This implies that you are the source of this great discovery.

    I simply do not understand why you can't just open a blog (they are free -- you know). Instead of using a TTW thread as a mechanism to generate traffic for you.

    I'm anxiously awaiting your next theory -- Smart Life Preservation -- where you assert that drinking water will possibly sustain our lives.
     
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  33. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Nobody hits with 100% racket speed all the time for a huge number of reasons. So let's say my opponent hits one crosscourt to my forehand, and I want to redirect it down the line. I don't want to put it in the alley, so I add a little boost of racket speed to reduce the deflection angle. I am using old school racket technology (say ProStaff 85 with gut--not knocking the ProStaff or gut; they work great for some people). Now I am in a bit of trouble because what I added in racket speed, I gained in ball speed. So by reducing the risk of putting the ball in the alley, I increased the risk of putting the ball over the baseline. The gut doesn't help me generate topspin, and swinging on an excessively upward angle of attack may result in a shank. Now let's imagine I'm using a Babolat strung with poly (though I don't actually use a Babolat). I add that same boost of racket speed to reduce the deflection angle, but this time, the poly strings grip the ball and add topspin. I swing on a sharper angle because I am confident I will not shank. As a result, I have now reduced the risk of netting the ball (increased net clearance), putting the ball long (topspin brings it in), and putting the ball wide (reduced deflection angle). With the old school racket tech, reducing the risk of putting it wide increases the risk of putting it in the net or long and vise versa.

    Conclusion: In a world where all shots are hit at 100% racket speed, and all shots are hit with the same level of spin, you are correct that technology will not make a difference. But tennis isn't played in that world.

    +10redirectingDownTheLineIsStillLow%ButNotAsLow%s
     
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  34. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Swinging faster also increases your chance of error. Also you will be going over the high part of the net so there's that too. And increasing rhs is the last/lowest factor in influencing a redirected ball. What they really should be saying is 'swing earlier'.

    Redirecting shots dtl from a cc shot always was and always will be low %. This is why every tennis book ever written, pre-modern to modern, every online strategy article, every online instructor, match commentators on tv recommend against it.
    I have never seen anyone say tech has reduced the error % on this shot. Still waiting for you to provide one source.

    Conclusion: In a world where 99.999999% of all shots are hit by people not in ranked ATP 100 or higher, tech has not decreased the margin of error of redirecting a cc ball dtl.
     
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  35. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Strings and rackets

    Two parameters are important.
    Dwell time for strings-
    Three cases-gut,babolat origin,polys
    Twistweight of rackets-
    You may compare pre-graphene and graphene head racket
    Numbers in corresponding TW reviews
    Regards,
    Julian
     
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  36. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I am not sure about that. Most good tennis stuff I have found is here or on Youtube videos. Tennis books are pretty bad.

    I am also not sure they are being taught. There are many things young players learn by looking at others.
     
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  37. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I am referring to tournament level tennis, not rec or club level. The OP is a high performance coach; if a rec player had started this thread, I would not have made this comment. I am with you that rec players should not think the technology means they should go down the line more often.

    Sources: "Often, in a match, when you find yourself well ahead of your opponent, you may ease up a bit, and not hit your shots quite so hard. You do this to reduce the number of errors you are likely to make. This can lead to a problem. If you continue to aim the ball the same way, only not swing as hard, balls that previously went down-the-line will now end in the alley" (PTT 230-1).

    "The extra frame clearance allowed players to start swinging upwards at the ball to get even more spin, and they rotated the racquet in their hand to a Western grip in order to swing at even steeper angles to the ball. That grip gave them problems with their backhand, so they had to grip the handle with the both hands to tilt the frame back into a vertical position. The faster they hit the ball, the faster it spun, and the faster it spun, the harder they could hit it" (Inch That Changed Tennis Forever).

    Numerous pros have stated that polyester strings increase control at higher racket speeds. The faster they swing, the more control they get.
     
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  38. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    This advice is geared towards rec and club players and it's advice that has been around forever, specifically 'don't decelerate'. I doubt this was geared towards the advancements made from modern racquets.
    But maybe it was. Do you have a link for this source?

    True. But not related to changing the direction of the ball.

    Yes, everyone knows you get more spin etc with poly.
    You could say control is more than just spin. There's also accuracy. With the spin rates today you can move the ball in the air more, hit harder while keeping the ball in the court. However, imo accuracy has decreased.
    I would bet that if you placed a small target on a court and held a contest between prime Connors, Laver, Agassi, Ashe, McEnroe, Nadal, Djokovic and Wawrinka and everyone had to use their standard strokes I would bet that Nadal, Djoko and Stan would finish in the bottom 3. Also in the previous generations there were much more dtl shots than there are today because of the flatter strokes, less spin, less pace and more accurate on a dime shots. Therefore you could even make a case that the new technology has actually made redirecting dtl shots even more dangerous and support that with the fact that there are less dtl shots today.
     
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  39. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I think you're right about the accuracy contest. I know a guy who used to play on tour (maxed out at about Filip Peliwo level), and his accuracy to this day is uncanny. But you don't need pinpoint accuracy to go down the line. As long the benefits exceed the costs, it's worth it. Are you sure there are more down the line balls in previous eras? Maybe if you include approach shots, since there was a lot more net play then, but in baseline to baseline rallies? I think players are more likely to go down the line as part of baseline play now than before.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
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  40. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    agreed. i'm just debating now for the sake of debating.

    Yes, pretty sure. Not including approach shots. Regular rallies.
     
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  41. Topspin Shot

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    Is there any way to find out whether pros go down the line more or less today than they used to?
     
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  42. T-Vex

    T-Vex Rookie

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    Fortunately, tennis isn't that simple :)

    There are times when going DTL on outside shots is prob more % than going CC. Avoiding to play into better forhend pops up to mind almost instantly.

    Say the guy has a crushing FH and, strangely, goes CC with a moderately paced and places shot, to my FH. I have the time and the position to securely redirect the ball to his WEAKER side, but it's an outside stroke and I am standing out of the baseline, so by Wardlaw I am bound to go back CC and hope my opponent doesn't rip this one and put me on big pressure.

    If a guy really has big FH that is able to do damage to me with high probability of success, wouldn't it then be more effective to TAKE A RISK MYSELF and change the direction and go for his weaker side + make him run (to his BH court)?

    If I got a moderate shot from him, and don't want to go for winner, but aim 50 cms away from sideline and about 50 cm from the baseline with about 60% of pace.... and if that is the shot I can produce succesfully in 80% or more cases...


    ...then why the hell wouldn't I be doing that?


    My point here is this - changing direction doesnt always have to be a low pct play on a outside shot while standing out of the court. Maybe you have a really solid FH DTL with a moderate pace?! Maybe its about 80-90% safe while with 80% pace it downgrades to 40-50%...


    No one knows the exact percentages in his game, but I guess most of us have a very rough, but correct estimate of our safe and less safe directions.


    Tennis is a complex sport. Applying Wardlaws depends on many factors, such as level of play, opponents capability of putting pressure on my low paced (and maybe shorter) shots, etc, etc...


    Recently I was playing a very important match which developed into a big battle. I lost in three, although I was blindly following the directionals' rules - don't change the direction if the conditions for it aren't fullfilled.

    After the game, I was analyzing the match in my head. I concluded I was playing most of the match into opp's big strenght - his FH! While I had the power to run, I was winning most of those CC exchanges. But as soon as I ran out of fuel (at the end of the 2nd set), he started to take over those exchanges, I couldnt put pressure and was always only basically retrievieng to his FH. He was pulling me of the court and winning a lot of those rallies.

    And I was affraid to go for his BH, just to change the direction, only because it was supposed to be a low % play. And in fact it wasn't!!

    It turned out that going CC on all of his FH shots to my FH was proven to be very low % late in the match, and I tried NOTHING tactically to change that!!!
    And the sadest part is I actually have a pretty decent FH DTL, especially since most of his forehands weren't so fast or devastating, but they had great placement and had been runing me down gradually.


    I guess I would be able to redirect his moderate attacks (FH to FH) to his BH side in at least 60-70% in a way he would not be able to attack me straight away with moderate-high percentage. Not to mention I have a better BH than his and this would be an exchange I would be accepting to have all day long with him!!

    Instead of going for those 60-70%, I was choosing to go back to FH and keep going it and wait to prob lose yet another point, since I was losing about 3 out of 4 in that way, at that part of the match...



    A very long post, sorry for that and bad english.
    But I guess you got my point.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
    #42
  43. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    ^^^Cheetah and I were debating solely whether racket and string technology shifts the balance in favor of going down the line more often. Cheetah was not saying you should never go down the line, and I was not saying you should go down the line more often than crosscourt. The directionals are a guideline, not a set of hard rules. You have to decide what to do based on what is and isn't working in a particular match. BTW, 50 cm is very close to the lines. I don't think 50 cm is a percentage play anywhere on the court.
     
    #43
  44. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I'm thinking the combination of the right set up with current rackets and string, combined with good modern strokes, clearly make it easier to go dtl when you need to. I don't know if you "need" to do it more often or not though. Depends on the match up.
     
    #44
  45. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Darn, I wanted to join this debate early this morning but had to teach from 8am onward. This is very true in my experience. I think the windshield wiper with the topspin allows for more down the line shots than in the past. When I came up, the down the line shot tended to be a slice (plus I just reviewed 140 years worth of tennis books in ten years). Tomas Mencinger http://www.feeltennis.net/one-degree-error/ just did a great article showing the calculations of a one degree change in racket angle causing the tip of the racket tip to move ahead of the handle 1.2 cm. I don’t doubt that older pros could steer the ball to the baseline hitting 20 miles per hour slower in many cases without nearly as much topspin. I just watched Winning Edge with Mac and Lendl the other night for probably the 250th time amazed at how Mac would place his approach deep and Lendl would just as Brad Gilbert stated just try to “terminate” the point by grip and rip from the baseline. I can say that I’ve watched some pretty good players hit the ball every close to the baseline consistently by just adjusting the height of the shot over the net so I’m not so sure Rafa and Nole couldn’t hit a target at least in front or back where as I think with a linear swing it’s a little easier to steer the ball without todays force so maybe it would depend on the size of the target. I do know that the heavier wood rackets 15 oz had more mass so maybe less acceleration was made up for by the heaver mass (Force equal mass times acceleration…simplified) and I read studies showing that Sampras didn’t serve that much differently with wood with cat gut versus his current racket. That old Dunlop Maxply with cat gut goes all the way back to Laver which is why JMac used it. Gonzales used 78 lb strung rackets with cat gut and he is reported to have hit a 121 mph forehand (keep in mind this is a contest) I think in 1951 (Kramer and Welby Van Horn finished second and third but Pancho Segura, the best FH of that day was absent from that test that day). I think the angle of the hand maintained by hitting up and across the ball allows more consistency in placement.
     
    #45
  46. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    We were discussing technology, not ww vs non-ww.

    What do you mean by angle of the hand when hitting up and across?
     
    #46
  47. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Teachestennis, please don't put F=ma in your book. The correct equation is p=mv. What counts is the racket speed at contact, not how much or even whether the racket is accelerating.
     
    #47
  48. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    I mentioned that I'm not sure the rackets of old versus the rackets of today really mean that great a difference on groundstrokes. I think today the angle of the hand is the primary determinant where the balls goes. If you haven't seen Christophe Delavaut's analysis of Robin Soderling hitting an inside in and an inside out FH on back to back shots, where he superimposes Soderlling on both shots and you see the only difference it Soderling's hand. This is an amazing video, particularly when you realize it was on back to back shots in a match and Christophe lines up the ball at contact exactly over the other ball and then you see the balls go in different directions even though Soderling is set up exactly the same way, you can't tell what shot he is going to hit unless you can read the angle of his hand. I think this video is simply amazing.
     
    #48
  49. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    I discuss both in the book. I was a certified calculus teacher, not physics, but I think the force equation applies better to the windshield wiper swing and particulary to the school of thought that tennis is played naturally using feel and instinct. I'm for more "angular momentum" though I prefer to teach tennis using acceleration of the the racket head across after touching the ball.
     
    #49
  50. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Teaching acceleration rather than speed is okay, if it gets the desired results. But the equation F=ma does not apply to racket ball collisions. How's the book coming along?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
    #50

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