Defend the contact point/unit turns are the two most common causes of errors

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by kiteboard, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    DEFEND THE CONTACT POINT, THE ARC YOUR ARM MAKES IN FRONT OF YOU.


    Keep the engine speeds high and defend the contact point in front of you. Most errors are either coil errors, or contact point errors.


    Both are more commonly made in a transition from one mode to the next mode, lull to jam to finish. Most transition errors are made due to slow reactions and jammed engines. We are trained to hit the ball the same distance in front of us, no matter what the incoming shot. That causes a huge amount of mistakes. The correct contact point is not straight wall up/down in front of you. It varies according to the incoming shot’s height. It is shaped like an arced curve. This arc is determined by your own length of arm. Higher incoming shots have to be struck more out front, and lower shots are allowed into the body more before striking your own outgoing shot, due to the length of your own arm. If you place your arm straight out, eye level high, and let it drop, that is the arc you are defending on contact, both at net and on ground. If you use the same contact point on a low ball that you use on a medium high ball, you will net it. If you use the same contact point on a high ball that you use on a medium ball, you will hit it late and go out long. Our best contact point is when our arm is barred out front so the wrist can be locked at contact for maximum consistency, and that point is determined by the incoming shot’s height. Another facet of contact point is the spot in the string bed. It has to be in the right place in the bed. If too low, or too high, the strings are too short, their frequency level of rebound is too high, and there is not enough control. Some like to strike the ball high up, such as 3rd cross down from top. Some like it in the middle, 10th cross down. Most are inbetween.
     
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  2. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Honestly kb, while I understand what you're saying, you sure do have an odd way of putting things. Jammed engines? Frequency level of rebound?
     
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  3. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    so is this like in baseball were you want to hit an inside pitch more out front than an outside pitch?
     
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  4. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    Not sure if I fully understood KB's writing...

    The contact point for higher bouncing balls is more to the side vs. lower balls. I believe you should still meet the ball in front of your front foot. I don't believe you try to hit a higher ball further in front or earlier than a lower ball.
     
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  5. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    you would be the first:):):)
    actually this post is pretty clear for his standards, and i do agree with the point he makes
     
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  6. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    It is shockingly straight forward. I actually understand exactly what he said.
     
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  7. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    String frequency is too high in the lower and upper middle part of the frame, if not hit in the sweet spot, more in the center of where you like to hit. The strings are shorter there, and closer to the edges of the frame, causing higher frequency on rebound and no control. (Too low towards the bottom or too high towards the top edge of the racquet.) Jammed engines: lower and upper body is different in the way we gain coil and uncoil. Lower body depends on choppy fast martial arts like foot and leg work, while upper body depends on loose, relaxed, speed.

    Most ues are made due to either coil errrors, or contact point errors. High balls have to be hit way out in front towards the net. Low balls are best hit more close to your body, due to your length of arm at locked wrist contacts.
     
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  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Frankly, I have never understood this hitting out in front business. I see many pro shots being hit more on the side, or the pro standing back, which is quite different from taking the shot out in front when standing more forward.
     
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  9. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I promise you every single pro hits the ball in fron. All that means is that their arm, at contact (or the racquet face if you wish), is ahead of the plane of their chest.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    1. If they have moved back, or created more space by adopting the neutral stance, is it really hitting out in front???

    2. When on a run or stretched wide, pros do seem to compromise and hit more to the side.

    3. Once you are in a comfortable position, wouldn't anyone hit a little in front of them if they can?

    It seems to me that they do what is comfortable for them.
     
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  11. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Yes, they are still hitting out front, which means in front of the plane of the chest. And, yes, they'll sometimes have to back up in order to hit out front.


    This is also true, but you understand it is a compromise. The most extreme example of this is when pros hit the ball behind themselves with a squash shot. You'll notice that most will switch to a continental grip to hit the squash shot.

    Old school players who hit with a continental fh are not as comfortable taking the ball as far in front. And I'd say the same holds for eastern fh players who don't have the wrist flexibility of Federer.
     
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  12. Cheetah

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    Show us a picture or it didn't happen.
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I cannot imagine how someone can NOT hit out in front of the chest but on the side, except for some special case as mentioned above.

    Hitting on the side, whatever be the turned position, seems almost impossible or ridiculous - it will be like patting someone on the back when both of you are standing side by side facing forward. You can't even see his back properly and you can't generate any force.

    Does hitting out in front also have a relation to taking the ball early?

    I think for the same overall level of play, telling someone to hit out in front does not do anything. I have heard this being shouted out to so many adults in clinics, and they don't change anything, because the foundation for it is not there. They end up shortening their swing and trying to catch the ball earlier before their mind and body is prepared for it, and goofing up.
     
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  14. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    No, not necessarily - it is entirely possible (and very common) to hit the ball on the drop and still take it out in front of the plane of the body.

    As for Geoff's points - protecting your contact point is something i harp on about constantly (albeit in different terms!).

    Cheers
     
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  15. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    I don't understand what you are saying here.
     
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  16. rkelley

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    That concept of protecting the contact point has been very helpful to me, especially on my bh. I was doing it more or less before I heard the term, but that specific term really helped me be more aggressive about it.
     
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  17. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Can be a confusing term as some like suresh here will think it means hitting
    directly in front of the torso, vs closer to the net than the player.
     
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  18. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    When you study pro rallies, and see when they miss, it's always due to: late coil turn, or wrong contact point defense. No one misses when they coil early, unless it's a no pace jamming ball, and they miss due to their bodies slowing down, or hitting too far out in front on no pace shots.


    They miss high volleys, or high groundies, when they hit late, and they go long. Sometimes they hit too early, and go into net on high shots, but it's far more often a late contact. Talk to Roddick about that high bh volley that cost him a wimby. Too late, and missed wide/long.

    It's almost impossible to be on the right spot on every shot in a match. But if you know why you are missing, trying to maintain the same contact distance, on every shot, and not coiling early enough, you can be more aggressive in fixing those errors during a match.
     
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  19. Cheetah

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    Don't you mean the opposite?
     
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  20. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    The coil: Ues can come from uncoiling too early or too late. Most of the time it's too late. Many come from coiling too late. No one misses due to an early coil.

    Every match contains ues due to contact point timing mistakes: too far in front, and too far behind.

    The best players just make the fewest timing ues. They go out after high balls, and let low balls come to them. They coil early. They uncoil at the right time. Yet even the top players make so many ues due to the same reasons we all do.

    There's just a small part of the ball we can hit at high frame speed.
     
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  21. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    all balls are hit out front but kite is right that the high one should be hit out front a little more.

    that swing is basically a swing around the shoulder (actually a little more complicated because the spine is another fulcrum so it is going around the body too but lets ignore that for now).

    so the more up the ball is the more you have to hit out front to stay on the arc. the low ball is still hit out front but not as much as the high ball.

    [​IMG]
    upload pictures
     
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  22. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    I've always liked to picture all of my possible contact points as a 3-dimensional figure resembling a long, curved tube. It's as if my frame is a brush that paints in space the window in which I have to capture the ball when I time correctly.

    If imagined in this way (along with dominikk's figure above), it becomes clear that our contact point for lower balls is farther back, and for medium-height balls it is more out in front.
     
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  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think so. I think sureshs is reading it to mean more directly in front based
    on his post, like directly between you and the opponent, but
    ball closer to net than you is contact in a "plane" parallel BL that is
    closer to net than the "plane" of your body that is parallel to BL.
    (usually out on the 45 from your body position)
     
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  24. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Imo those are side effects of the real culprit causing misses... which
    is unstable or off balance to an extent.
    Imo this causes the timing errors you mention for
    good players.
     
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  25. Cheetah

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    Huh? i have no idea what you are saying here.

    When I said 'opposite' I was referring to the statement you made above.
    To me it sounds like you are saying that hitting out in front means hitting the ball while it is closer to the net that the body. Is that what you meant?
     
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  26. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    LOL :)

    How about this. Out front means the contact pt has less distance to the net
    than your body has to net.
    ??

    Hitting behind you means you are closer to the net than the contact point and
    hitting to the side means you and the contact pt are both about the same
    distance to the net.
    ??
     
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  27. Cheetah

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    Shouldn't it be defined by body w/o regard to the net? What about a running fh where your torso is pointed to the side fence on contact and the racquet and body are the same distance to the net but the racquet is in front of the body like on an open stance cc? You wouldn't say that was hit out in front?
     
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  28. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    I agree, the net seems to overcomplicate matters. All you really need is a comfortable distance for the arm between body and racquet to execute a proper swing, racquet face facing the target.

    I guess 5263 was thinking of the generic, easily returnable rally ball, where the contact point is in front and to the side.

    sureshs -- I had trouble with the phrase "hitting out in front" -- whenever I would voluntarily try to hit out in front, I would end up swinging early, overextending, and pretty much shanking or misfiring. When looking to your target when swinging, it may seem like you hit to the side (since the contact pt relative to your body is at the edge of your field of vision). Truth is, the reason that you see it at all is because it's in front.
     
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  29. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  30. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    Okay I did my best to find pictures/stop videos when Federer's hitting a lower ball to see if his contact point is less in front for those shots. I can't say I'm convinced but it could be more a reflection of my search skills. When I think about it on my BH side (I have a 1hBH) this intuitively seems correct.

    Besides being more in front is the contact point also a bit more to the side?

    Let me ask this another way, for higher balls do you straighten your elbow more? Is the elbow further away from your torso at contact on a high ball vs. a shorter ball. I use a "double bend" FH.

    Thanks.
     
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  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I am going by definition in post #9 (not posted by me).

    Whether turned more or turned less, hitting in front of plane of chest.

    Is that wrong?
     
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  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    EXACTLY!

    You see the ball and hit it because you hit out in front.

    So what is the point of the advice????? I had already mentioned exactly what you said, namely that players hearing the advice gird their loins and bravely adopt an extreme open stance and swing early and overextend and screw up their shot.

    That is called taking the ball early. Only a few can do it. It depends on your height too.

    But you can stand back, adopt a neutral stance, take the ball very late and yet hit out in front!!!

    Taking it early and hitting out in front are orthogonal issues.
     
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  33. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    Yep!

    I think the advice to "hit out in front" is most effectively directed at the player who uses a late "wrist flick"; rather than leading with the arm and "dragging" the racquet head, some tend to hit the ball literally to their side, in the plane of their body, on a regular rally ball! This is not only counterproductive but can easily lead to injury, so that would be the target audience for "hitting out in front."

    For those interested, this is a fun video to actually see how different "in front" and "to the side" are and why one would want to hit "in front."
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKUtZizLCM4&feature=player_detailpage&list=ULbKUtZizLCM4#t=158s
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  34. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I see. Sort of like a security guard squarely blocking the way of people, with hands outstretched, and flicking his wrist to say "go back."

    I have never seen any 3.5 and above hit it this way, which makes me wonder about the value of the advice.
     
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  35. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    There was actually a guy I hit with recently (admittedly, a pity favor more than anything :|) who somehow spun the ball with a continental grip by hitting the ball at his side, something resembling a topspin drive in table tennis. He used his shoulder as a fulcrum and wrist for a last-minute boost in power and spin. It was painful to watch, and probably not painless for him either.

    But I think there a good deal of starting players, many under 2.5/3.0 perhaps, who are in need of such instruction. Undoubtedly, as you move thru the NTRP system, you develop technique that makes some tips obsolete and others more relevant :)
     
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  36. Cheetah

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  37. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    If you don't hit out in front you are robbing yourself of a lot of easy power.
     
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  38. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
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  39. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    What do think taking the ball early means??

    All this is truly slang, but u seem to have different understanding of it than most
    instructors I've spoken with about it. I don't see how stance has anything to
    do with taking it early or how it is orthogonal to hitting out front.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
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  40. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^I think this is often where issues on the board occur. Those in the tennis teaching industry tend to use certain terminology to mean certain things and it's okay because all those on the inside understand them. When talking to those outside the industry we have to remember the terminology may not be so well agreed upon and understood.

    For example, Sureshs uses the term "late" to describe the contact in relation to the ball (where a coach would use on the rise or on the drop) as opposed to a coaches use of "late" to describe the contact in relation to the body (i.e. a contact behind the plane of the body).
     
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  41. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, that is the point I was going to make once he confirmed his version of it.
    But it is a common misconception & rec players often confuse these terms.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
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  42. Ash_Smith

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    Edited because it no longer makes any sense after 5263 revised the above :D
     
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  43. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Ash, can you share how you see "hitting out front"?
     
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  44. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I had already fixed that typo, lol.
    Man, you are right on it! :)
    thanks though
     
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  45. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Here is a proven coach who uses "later" as opposite to "on the rise." So your generalization of what terminology coaches use is wrong.

    "By hitting the ball on the rise you don't have to be as exacting with your placement as you are when you take it later because you are robbing your opponent of time," says Paul Annacone.

    Here is another link:

    http://tennis.about.com/b/2006/09/01/learn-agassis-signature-skill-taking-the-ball-early.htm

    As you watch Andre Agassi in this, his last professional tournament, observe his unsurpassed mastery of the skill that has been largely responsible for his success: taking the ball early, a.k.a. hitting on the rise.

    And finally, from the disciples of the great Oscar himself:

    http://www.playmoderntennis.com/Taking-The-Ball-On-The-Rise.html

    Taking the ball on the Rise Drill

    This is also known as ‘taking the ball early’
     
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  46. Ash_Smith

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    I'm with you, it's relative to the plane of the body and the net. If it was just the plane of the body you could argue (like Sureshs is [I think?]) that every ball is hit in front, whilst this may be literally true, it is not what coaches mean in general.

    When a coach references hitting out in front, he/she generally means that the contact is between the plane of the body and the net, as opposed to a late contact which would be behind the plane of the body.
     
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  47. Ash_Smith

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    Yes, but can you see than Annacone is using the term "later" in correlation with "taking on the rise"? The earlier statement quantifies the later.

    And yes, I am aware that "hitting on the rise" and "taking the ball early(in its flight)" are different ways of describing the same thing.


    P.S. In what way is Annacone proven in respect of player development?
     
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  48. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I gave you 3 examples to prove that your opinion about terminology is condescending and wrong, and things are not as black and white as you claim. Take it or leave it. I will go with the kind of usage that proven coaches use.
     
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  49. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I don't see where any of the statements above make sense with the proper
    understanding of the terms.
    What does height have to do with taking it early??
    What does stance have to do with taking it late or hitting out front?

    They also don't align well with Annacone's comment, where he used it correctly
    about "on the rise" or "taking it early".....which has little to do with "hitting out
    front."
     
    #49
  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Nick Bollitierri
    http://www.tennisnow.com/blogs/nick...ack-–-and-my-guy-must-be-bold-to-beat-hi.aspx

    In Japan, Kei, 20, is a superstar. On the court he is as quick as a cat, and superbly balanced. He is a shot maker with great footwork, able to jump off both feet to hammer his backhands. His strokes are so good because of his foundations. He has unorthodox grips and hits his forehand with spin. His serve is fine, he has got a solid basic volley, and he likes to hit the ball early, on the rise, from the baseline.
     
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