Critique my game - calling Seattle area experts

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sgrv, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. sgrv

    sgrv New User

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    I really want to improve my game. I feel I have decent groundstrokes when I have time to execute them. My rating should be ~3.5.

    I wonder if there are people in Seattle area, 4.0 and above that will hit with me, push/challenge my game and provide tips for improvement. It would probably take an hour or less to recognize my game and identify major areas for improvement.

    I would really appreciate it very much.
     
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Post vid.
    Takes less than 10 seconds, or 3 strokes, to assess your game, if you've been playing less than 3 years.
     
    #2
  3. sgrv

    sgrv New User

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    First Video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHitj_3Y5nQ

    I just uploaded a video, I am on the near side. It's from a practice session. We did make more errors than usual.

    Please note that this is my first tennis video, I am not too savvy about choosing the correct angles/editing. It's an HD version, but for some reason youtube is rendering in 'slow' motion.

    Will appreciate feedback. Specifically, what rating do I play like, any strengths, important areas for improvement. Thanks in advance!
     
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  4. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    first, very nice court. 2nd, camera is jarring a little.

    but you arent 3.5 sorry. 3.0 at best. every shot you hit is off balance. not consistent (every shot looks different) follow through is akward/not there. you have no footwork. no backhand (hitting way too close/arming it) and you are stepping back on your groundstokres instead of moving forward. like way behind the basline. you cant take the ball on the rise at all. i dont see much placement either. my 2 cents
     
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  5. ser_renely

    ser_renely Rookie

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    no idea with rating but every hit seems like a big effort and backing up. agree with the above. :)
     
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  6. zacinnc78

    zacinnc78 Professional

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    a lefty with a APDC and 2HBH ,maybe the next nadal

    the most galaring thing i saw was how u wait till after the incoming ball bounces on your court before you start taking your racquet back (which is making you have to back up and swing awkwardly at the ball)

    i think the general consensus here is to start taking it back when you see the ball off the opponants racquet ,and can tell which side its coming to ,to start taking it back then
     
    #6
  7. Really nice courts. It rains often in Seattle right? Are there indoor facilities or is tennis only a seasonal game?

    There are a couple of things you can work that will instantly improve your groundstrokes. Try to relax and focus on hitting a clean shot. You are throwing your body around when you hit, which also throws you off-balanced. Get your feet set for each shot and swing smoothly for each shot.

    Your backhand at 2:23 sec is the best example.

    You were all set for the forehand at 41 sec but you misjudged the distance between the ball and your body. You might have a tendency to let the ball come in too close, causing you to hit late. For western grips and a two-hander, you should hit the ball a little more in front of you.
     
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  8. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    If I were you I would for now concentrate on getting into the proper position and setting up before you hit your groundstrokes.

    Focus on contacting the ball sufficiently in front of you and with proper balance.

    Have Fun! K_I
     
    #8
  9. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    The slow mo is annoying. I feel like it's wasting my time so I didn't watch the whole thing. I know you said youtube caused it, not you. But you should figure out why and fix it if possible.

    I don't have anything new to say that other posters haven't said already. The most obvious thing is that you're off balance on most of your shots. This is because you don't use footwork, but instead just wait for the ball to come at you and then scramble to try to hit it however you can. So you end up falling backward off balance when you hit, instead of plowing forward like you're supposed to when you hit.
     
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  10. boxerrumble

    boxerrumble New User

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    Also, as you are waiting for the ball, you have your forehand ready. The racket should be in the middle so you can go back or forehand quickly. Get in the ready position with the racket in front of you. Might help with your stroke too as you will develop a consistent swing by starting at the same place each time, instead of somewhere between a forehand.
     
    #10
  11. boxerrumble

    boxerrumble New User

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    Yeah, don't hold the racket on your side as you wait for the ball.
     
    #11
  12. sgrv

    sgrv New User

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    Appreciate the feedback. The video was taken on a public court about a month ago when it was warm. Yes, it does get wet a lot in Seattle. Blue sky days are special :) July-Aug are pretty dry. At the same time, outdoor tennis season is fairly long, Feb-Nov, I play twice a week during non-summer time and am flexible in playing under relatively colder weather at times, mid 40s

    I have been playing with a motivation to improve for an year now, it also coincides with when the joined this forum, bought Babolat APDC and changed to Western grip. Usually, my game is more consistent than what is evident in the video, I will try to shoot again and post. I do agree with the feedback though.

    Here’s how I think about certain parts of my game, please provide your comments.

    1. String – I use Poly (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageACTFUSA-TPRC17.html) @ 52 lbs for Mains and Prince Synthetic Gut @ 54 lbs for crosses. The string breaks in ~ 6 weeks, with about 5 hrs of play/week. I do use lot of power in my forehand and generate good spin when I get time. I know it’s all relative. How do you feel about it based on this and the video? What other indication does it provide about my game? When I used to play for fun only, I would play with less durable gut strings and even they would last 6 months or so.
    2. I do have trouble in reacting early to the ball. By the time I can react, it has already dropped in my court. How can I improve my reaction time?
    3. In my FH, I can generate topspin which has added some amount of consistency. However, 90% of the time I just hit the ball where it came from or crosscourt. I can change direction only when I have lot of time to react, when ball is slow or short. How can I get better at placement?
    4. Is it recommended to hit the ball as far away from the body as one can get comfortable with?
    5. Hitting on the rise is very difficult for me. I have tried at times with poor consistency. Given that, when ball drops close to my body, I need to move back and hit, there are couple of examples in the video. What strategy should I adopt in this scenario?
    6. Split step - I have tried to split step when opponent hits the ball. But it makes my mind preoccupied that when the ball comes to me, I am off-balance, at times attain momentum in wrong direction and less focused on the shot
     
    #12
  13. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    Be in the ready position right after each shot to split step on the next incoming ball instead of just standing there watching the ball coming back at you. That way, you're more ready for the next ball and have more reaction time.

    I think you can get better ball placement back if you position yourself at the right place to strike the ball the way you want. So again, it's all about being ready, split step and footwork, taking small step to fine tune your position for the incoming ball.

    Not so far that you'd have to overreach, but I think far enough to optimize your swing and keep balance, if not plowing forward a little bit for pace.

    I think that's part of your problem keeping the balance. If you have an incoming high ball and you have not enough time to react, you need to learn to hit on the rise and decide early enough to hit on the rise to shave off the reaction time you need or else you run into the situation you have of being off balance trying to back off from the ball. I think the strategy is simply keep learning to hit on the rise with better consistency instead of trying to adopt some other strategy to avoid hitting on the rise.

    If you have to think about split-stepping then it is a problem. It should be natural and subconscious as part of the whole sequence of getting back into the ready position after a shot, split-stepping as soon as your opponent strike the ball, then footwork to position yourself. I think because you never get into a ready position, split-stepping is not natural because it's part of this process that you don't execute.
     
    #13
  14. actionflies

    actionflies New User

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    Go take a tennis lesson(s) and stop playing tennis until you get proper technique. All you are doing is practicing your mistakes.
     
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  15. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    well he shouldnt really stop playing tennis.. he still needs to put into practice what he learns from a coach, assuming he gets lessons..
     
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  16. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

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    Agree! Don't learn this game by yourself. Get help so you can advance up the ladder.
     
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  17. fattsoo

    fattsoo Semi-Pro

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    I'm from seattle but I can't/don't have time to play as often...a great place to get help or practice is Greenlake...lots of people there all the time and lots of them are looking for pickup games too...most of them are very nice and willing to give pointers...some people I see there play EVERYDAY
     
    #17
  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sorta agree with Actionflies....
    Your game is waaay off, you're backing up, barely swinging with the W grip, just blocking and playing "not to miss" on your shots.
    You're late, you have no balance, you constantly move back, and you don't really swing when you finally get a chance to swing.
    Now of course, playing for such a short time, you're still learning and improving, so it will happen.
    Unfortunately, lots of tennis players, after 6 months, will hit much better and look better on vids. So maybe your "2 years" is really 2 years worth of tennis playing 3 days a month.
    Not to be mean to you, your hitting partners are just as bad or worse.
    Watch vids of pros. Notice balance, stroke, recovery, and movement.
     
    #18
  19. sgrv

    sgrv New User

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    Plan for improvement

    This thread has been a relevation, appreciate your feedback.

    I am serious about advancing my game. Here's some other relevant information that will determine the path I can take

    Time: 6 hrs/week, mostly during weekend
    Partners: 2-3, most of them are 3.0 or below. I am the better of the lot
    Age: Early 30s.
    Experience: ~ 1 year with focus on improvement
    Coach: Hard to find (my quick impression). I haven't researched much though
    Rate of progress: In 1 year if I can advance 0.5-1 level to a 4.0, would be very happy
    Home drills/exercises: should not be a problem
    $ Investment: Can spend 1k/year
    Tournament: Lot of amateur tennis tournaments take place in my area. I can enlist into some of those if that will help

    I have played other racquet games like squash and racquetball, where I was decently fast on the court. However, in tennis my movement seems to be sluggish. Often I reach the ball late. I notice that I need to be still to focus on the next stroke, split step distracts my mind and I lose co-ordination.

    How should I proceed about improving the game? Please provide specific tips.
     
    #19
  20. First thing is to keep your goals realistic. Most tennis players never advance beyond 3.5. I'm not saying you can't get to 4.0 in one year, but don't think you've failed if you can't progress as fast.

    The latest issue of Tennis Magazine gave some tips specific to skill levels (pages 36-40).

    At the 3.0 level you must get comfortable with your grips. The main focus is to keep your hands loose for groundstrokes. Tense muscles and firm hands will actually decrease racquet head speed.

    At the 3.5 level, you need a reliable second serve. The magazine suggests using a slice serve over the low part of the net, but I think you can use a kick serve at this level. You need to be able to aim at either half of the service box and swing quickly to create spin.

    At the 4.0 level, you have to hit on the rise. This means getting to the ball and hitting it at your ideal contact zone rather than waiting for the ball to come to you. This cuts down the time for your opponent to react and keeps you in a dominant position.

    The above tips are not benchmarks but rather specific areas that are critical for the skill level.

    $1000 is a lot of money. Spend it on technique rather than equipment. $60 for a tennis lesson is worth more than $60 in strings. I found some excellent hitting partners by networking. In various clubs and tournaments, I would ask good players where they often play and see if we can get together. At some point, athleticism will give you a leg up over other players of the same level.
     
    #20
  21. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    work on your footwork!!

    you are out of postion on every stroke...

    i agree--get an instructor...

    at this point, a 4.0 would bagel you every single time...
     
    #21
  22. lwto

    lwto Professional

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    I live in Seattle, play at lower woodland often.. ok one of those that play there EVERY day. I can help you. kmjameson1@comcast.net
     
    #22
  23. samad_83

    samad_83 New User

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    For me, work on your balance, footwork and also early preparation. Your forehand swing looks awkward because your constantly hit the ball late. i think there's a thread by dozu about how to swing the unit/racket n how it feels like.
    But again, u need to work on the footwork first and foremost, u need to have a good foundation. No point having a good swing when u cant get to the position to hit. if you can improve this, other aspects will come easilyy. Hope this help.
     
    #23
  24. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, this is a 2.5. Someone just starting out and trying to get the ball over the net.

    I'm not going to critique since it's already been done. There's no point in hitting around with your friends because you'll spend a majority of your time picking up balls. Have one person feed balls, and the returner tries to set up and hit a good shot. Focus on ball height and placement. Try to get the ball into the middle of the court. If one of your friends is feeding, have him stand at the net and toss the ball using his hands. If the returner is having trouble, have him move up a little.
     
    #24
  25. workhurts

    workhurts New User

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    Agree with the rest of the posts. Definitely a 3.0 and nowhere near either a 3.5 or a 2.5. As someone else suggested spend your money on instruction and not equipment. If you break strings every 6 weeks then I'm guessing your spending about $200 per year on stringing. Buy an electric stringer for $150 and a reel of Gosen for 50 bucks and next year you can spend your stringing money on instruction.

    Not that I'm good or anything but the one suggestion that's always helped me is to stay aggressive. Meaning seek the ball. Don't wait for it. Everything is relative but at the speeds those guys are hitting the ball there is no way you should be stepping back. Step into that ball and crush it (well even if u don't crush it thar should be your mindset).
     
    #25
  26. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Pretty much still a beginner. You can hit around for fun, but if you want to improve you need to get some lessons, you aren't getting it on your own. If you are the best of your group, hitting with them won't help you improve at all.
     
    #26
  27. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    This thread is super old. I wonder if the OP is still around.

    The courts are indeed nice, they are in the Perrigo park if I recognize the surroundings correctly.

    For folks living around Seattle (especially the Eastside) I can recommend Zach (pronouced "Zak", zachtennis.com). He runs a stringing shop, but he is a wonderful part-time coach too. You can schedule a lesson with him at the AV performance tennis club (avtennis.com) - just call the receptionist and ask to have a private or semi-private lesson with him.

    I am not affiliated with Zach or AVTennis in any way. I do string my rackets there from time to time (when I get lazy to do it myself).
     
    #27
  28. StanW

    StanW Rookie

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    I'm pretty much going to bandwagon with the rest of the posts. If you really want to improve your game, learn the basics and mechanics of tennis. Observation, practice, dedication is the key to tennis. Playing like this with your friends won't help either.

    Try looking for a tennis club near you. Usually they'll have lessons for the spring to fall for around $600 depending on where you look.

    Good luck!
     
    #28

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