Consistency

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Heroesque, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Heroesque

    Heroesque New User

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    The rest of my game is pretty good, my technique is decent..
    the only glaring weakness; and the thing that could potentially turn me into a great player is consistency.

    How do you "work" on consistency, without playing like a pusher?
    Do you just have to practice more? are there any drills or anything?
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Hit lots, hit CORRECTLY, hit close to 80% of your potential, watch ball, move feet, don't walkabout.
     
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  3. CallOfBooty

    CallOfBooty Rookie

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    Honestly, hit more. That is all you can do. A short term solution is to hit everything cross court. You just need to develop feel and touch at the baseline. There is soft touch for drop shots and volleys, but there is also feel for the ball at the baseline. Just hit more and you will develop better consistency.
     
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  4. tyro

    tyro New User

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    I've struggled with consistency, but more precisely, shot tolerance. Once the rally goes three or four balls, I've tended to panic and go for something ill-advised.

    This winter, whenever I play one of my regular practice matches, I've been telling myself to forget about winning points. Instead, try to hit at least five balls before going for something. The shift in focus has been helpful.

    --Tyro

    http://tenniswire.wordpress.com
     
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  5. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    Couple of things to improve on to get more consistent.
    1. More topspin.
    2. Clean stroke technique.
    3. Solid contact.
    4. Timing.
    5. Hit at a decent speed, don't try to hit every ball hard.
    6. Setting up well.
    Which one do u think you're messing up at the most out of these 5, or is it something else that's causing you to be inconsistent? Usually its 4, for most players who haven't played a whole lot but know how to hit. Another thing is gaining bad habits while hitting.
     
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  6. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Aim for safer shots.

    3 feet over the net, always aim crosscourt. Now you're a solid counterpuncher. Throw in a few big ones as well as some changes of spins and you're now a junkballer. Add a few rifle shots down the line and you're "Roger Federer - the amateur version"! Add the ability to kill short balls and cleanly transition to the net and finish volleys and you're now "Roger Federer - the amateur version with complete repertoire"! Add in a precise serve that consistently sets up points and gets a few aces to boot and you're now "Roger Federer Lite". Add 20-30 mph to all of your shots as well as 2000 RPM and you'll become "The Next Roger Federer Original". XD

    Just aim for the safe shots (3 feet over the net crosscourt) then work and add from there.
     
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  7. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, one thing that many forget is that they believe every shot is different than the last one - so try and keep the shots very similar. You might be hitting from slightly different areas each time but the stroke basics should be the same - do this and consistency will increase.

    Keeping both hands on the racquet side until the bounce and watching (trying to anyway) the ball hit the racquet each time will really help also. If nothing else see if you can see what color the trademark is or if you have some practice balls put large dots on the balls - maybe few colors using permanent
    markers -- 3/4" -1" works well.
     
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  8. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    safer targets yes but try the drill can you hit 50 fh or bh crosscourt past the serveice line and into one half of the court???? at rallyball pace not pushing.thats a start to gaining confidence in consisitency
     
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  9. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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  10. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I've gone through the same struggles...people always say I'm overhitting or going for too many low-percentage shots, but I've proven thats not the main problem. I've experimented and purposely went for only high percentage shots in various situations whether they be practice or actual competitive rallies and my consistency is still poor. Errors occur seemingly randomly.

    I think the big key is learning shot tolerance, basically familiarizing yourself with all the variations of incoming balls, and being able to naturally adjust to them. The only way to improve this is to practice your strokes endlessly, and make sure your technique is solid to produce the most repeatable strokes possible.

    With all that said, I think the mental issues and the shot selection choices are secondary, and become increasingly more important as you become a more competent player and face opponents who can all rally with you all day long.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
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  11. SourStraws

    SourStraws Rookie

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    Learn how to hit the same boring shot over and over again...As my coach would say

    S.S.
     
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  12. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Yes, hugely more, incomprehensibly more. Do whatever drills you like, just do them right. Imagine being a 10 yo kid in the summer with no ride, no tv, no video games, nothing at all to do all day but walk over to the court and hit balls. Call everybody you know every day and ask them to come over and hit with you. Actively search out more hitting partners for your phone book and call them. Consistency is relative and you can never be too consistent.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
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  13. MNPlayer

    MNPlayer Semi-Pro

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    I agree with a lot of what been said so far. Just one thing to add:
    As a fairly consistent player myself (for my level), how consistent I am depends an awful lot on how much pressure I am under. Players that are consistent under severe pressure (like Davydenko for example) are very impressive - they have the ability to adjust their shots to compensate for being out of position, and hitting shots on the run repeatedly. But for most of us, we don't need to be nearly tha good.

    Under normal conditions, you should try to put yourself under as little pressure as possible. Do not create emergency situations. By which I mean, do not wait until the last second to move. Watch the ball intensely, split step and move immediately to get in position to hit the next shot. Then immediately recover to the right position for the next shot instead of staring at your shot. You will be amazed how much more "relaxed" and consistently you can play, unless you are playing against a much better player.

    This is all assuming your strokes are decent. If you cannot hit consistently the same stroke standing in one spot, with decent spin and height over the net, you have to fix that first. This part is the easy part though :)
     
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  14. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    If you have a practice partner, there are two games I like that work on consistency.

    1) 21. Either player starts with a dropped ball feed. Then, both players have to hit the ball past the service line (in bounds) three times - then the point starts for real. If either player fails to hit a ball past the service line and in bounds in his first three shots, the point simply starts over. Once the point starts "for real" (after each player has made 3 good shots), then anything goes. The first player to win 21 points wins the game.

    2) 100. The game of 100 starts like 21, with a dropped ball feed and 3 hits past the service line each. However, once the point starts "for real" you count the number of hits in the point. Whoever wins the point gets 1 point for each hit. (So, a 5 shot rally would be worth 5 points.) The first player to win 100 points wins the game.

    21 is a pretty simple game, and you may already even play it. Be sure to start out with "x" good hits, though, to force consistency. I actually like the game of 100 a bit more. The scoring is a bit harder, because you need to remember the number of points you have, count the number of shots in the rally, and then mentally add the two together if you win. But, what I like is that it tends to produce longer points that have more pressure. You're in a point that's gone maybe 20 strokes and there's really some pressure to win that point or you'll be a long way behind. It forces you to compete under pressure.
     
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  15. Maverick16

    Maverick16 New User

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    2 things that can really help you be more consistent.
    1)Watch the ball like a hawk
    2)proper footwork-it's very easy to be lazy with your footwork.
     
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  16. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

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    Something not mentioned yet ...
    It is true that more practice will refine your strokes from feel.
    But feel can go away for an amateur not playing every day like a pro.

    Another approach is the mental / rational / logical one.
    YOU MUST KNOW WHY A STROKE WORKS, NOT ONLY HOW.
    That is you must know details like where the contact point must be.
    Or what kind of balls require a change or modified swing or setup

    A reality for golfers is that their setup position drifts over time.
    Same is true for tennis but since the ball is moving, it is more complicated involving timing.

    Learn each shot with a detailed understanding, not just with a few successful outcomes.

    Example; On my suppination service motion which is perfect for hitting the T in the add court, I know what ball toss positions cause what kind of result. I also know I must put my wrist in a certain position. And I must remember to keep my back nearly facing the target.
    Of course if I play by feel I do not have to remember all of this. But I find feel goes away and I must return to the fundamentals of the particular shot.

    Hope this was not too long and helps you.
    I have the same problem myself every now and then.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
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  17. ayuname

    ayuname Semi-Pro

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    Don't be lazy!
     
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  18. shwetty[tennis]balls

    shwetty[tennis]balls Rookie

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    The answer is simple, as most everyone has said above- it's about hitting all he time. You literally need to hit everyday. Don't try to crank the ball, just set up cones at various spots and aim at them time and time again. You'll need either a ball machine or a great feeding partner. It's all about time to invest to running these drills.
     
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  19. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    there's a high school kid that i sometimes hit with. he has better stroke production than i do but whenever a rally goes longer than 4 hits, i know i will win. i think it is in his head: he gets excited and goes for broke to end the point and most of the time it would end with him making an unforced error.
     
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  20. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    In the words of Marcus Aurelius, "It loved to happen". :)

    In order to advance to the higher levels of tennis, it is CRITICAL to master the concept of 'shot tolerance'. It's particularly important to make certain you take note of this quality in your opponent as soon as possible (many reveal it in the warm up) If you start the match knowing your opponent's shot tolerance is three, you need only consistently place four balls back in play. ;)

    BHBH
     
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  21. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    I actually think that's a pretty nice summary. :)

    I would add: "Get stupid, crazy, ridiculously fit" to the prescription, because fitness is absolutely KEY in tennis. To play at higher levels you are going to be doing PLENTY of running, stretching, stopping and turning on a dime, squatting, jumping, etc. And you only have 30 secs to recover between points, and matche have no time limit. ;)

    BHBH
     
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  22. mozzer

    mozzer Hall of Fame

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    I play at a pretty high level but incosistency is my letdown. Its definately my technique, closing the racquet head too early and dumping the ball in the bottom of the net. But i have been playing for 5 years so its pretty hard to just change technique. I also have problems hitting it deep, due to this technique which puts lots of topspin on the ball :|
     
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  23. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    This is a great thing I forgot to mention. I've spent the past year or so focusing on improving my shot tolerance. But the instant I see an opening, I might occasionally overplay it because I get too excited. After a miss or two though, I won't miss for the rest of the day cause I'll calm down.

    I'd try to aim 3-5 balls over their limit though, because they might hit a few good forcing shots and put you on the run, and they might be able to keep at it for 2-3 shots before they miss. But I'd just try to focus on my own shot tolerance and raise it as high as i can... I'd also try to improve my fitness, which helps raise it even further and allows me to play better defense for longer periods of time, which raises it even further and supports it.

    Haha. Yeah, fitness becomes huge after you hit 5.0. If you aren't fit, you're stuck at 4.5 max unless you have some serious first strike tennis within you.

    If anything, that's the biggest thing keeping me from going up a level or two. I'm pretty quick and can hit pretty solid strokes, but after a long point or two, I'm done. Because for me, a long point is really deadly because I'm quick with poor stamina. This means I can, and will, cover a large amount of the court and if you keep me at it for long enough, then I'm done for the day.

    You're not playing at a high level... Unless a 3.0-3.5 tennis is high for you.
     
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  24. mozzer

    mozzer Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, division 1 mens double is pretty awful man! but of course, i forgot you had the power to assess my skill through the internet, silly me!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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  25. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Good.

    Consistency means that you are always able to make the shot:

    When you are serving you put the first serve 70 to 80%;
    when you are returning you are always able to return;
    when you rally you have good control over your ground strokes;
    when you attack, you attack well;
    when you defend, you defend well.

    Consistency means that you are not the first player to commit error.

    Consistency means that you keep the ball in play with good pace and placement until a winner presents itself.

    Consistency wins matches!

    Mahboob Khan
     
    #25
  26. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Great post Mahboob. I am very glad you are posting again.
     
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  27. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    yeah but sometimes you would face a player who is even more consistent than you are. it doesn't mean that you are not a consistent player.

    for example, vilas was a very consistent player but he met borg at roland garros and vilas became the one who made the most UE.
     
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  28. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    He is just giving good guidelines. Not a fact for every point or even every opponent.
    It's about how you play day in and day out.
     
    #28
  29. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    Can't agree more~ Practice till you have the correct technique and right muscle memory every time when you hit.

    Many recreational players think they are good except lack of consistency. They play consistently against lower level players and they play less consistently against higher level opponents.
     
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  30. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Yes, that's how the cycle of improvement starts. If someone is better than you, if someone is consistent than you, then you go back to drawing board to add stuff to your game, it may be conditioning, it may be adding some more topspin to your shots, it may be adding some more patience to your system, it may be that you hit more cross-courts and down the middles before you hit down the line (riskier shot), it may be you shed some weight. You add more consistency to your game by learning. And let's be realistic we cannot beat Roger Federer!
     
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  31. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

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    I disagree with the use of the word "only" here.
    Of course endless practice and putting in the time is essential.
    But it is not enough IMO.
    This will get you to own the particular shot you are practicing by feel alone. But you must ALSO UNDERSTAND what you are doing in detail and why it is working. If you do not add this dimension to your strokes, when the feel fades or you forget, you will not get it back very easily. But if you understand the shot, you can re-create it and then the feel will come back.

    Example; I was practicing DTL FH approach/transition shots yesterday. I found my "James Blake FH" was not working and was going long. So I increased the pre pronation on the backswing [looks like Flipper's / Phillipousis's backswing] and I began hitting them in like clockwork. This was because taking it out front allowed the face too much time to open up and the increased pronation solved the problem. I will not forget that.

    In summary, you need to practice and understand not only what works, but why.
    As Arthur Ashe said " practice does not make perfect, correct practice makes perfect"
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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  32. ebrainsoft

    ebrainsoft Rookie

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    Sounds like your issue is more mental than technical or physical.

    Try to relax and trust yourself on every shot. Practice this and bring it to your matches.
     
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