Does playing against the wall ruin your strokes?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Nooji, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. Nooji

    Nooji New User

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    I was researching this and saw mixed answers from a person asking the same question in yahoo.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080616122516AAcnHsU

    Really though, not a lot of people here like to play tennis or they are busy during the time I want to play. Therefore, I go to a wall a town over to play but now I am a bit cautious to play against a wall which may ruin my strokes.

    Im mainly using the wall to learn to use a 1HBH and BH slice. Yesterday, after transitioning from the wall to play against my friend, my 1HBH has improved but still very very inconsistent. But does playing against the wall really ruin your strokes?

    Also, is there a drill to work on volley without a person?
     
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  2. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    It can hurt you if you hit hard because you will not be able to tell how long the ball is going on a court.

    It really helps if you dial it down and just work on follow through and contact point..not much power. It's a great way to groove your strokes and get your hand eye going. Just resist the urge to crush the ball.

    One way to do this is to stand 15-20 feet away and just work on hitting the ball over the netline by 3 feet. Just work on footwork and movement. You will not hit too hard this way because you will be too close to the wall.
     
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  3. RedWeb

    RedWeb Semi-Pro

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    The wall is a wonderful tool. You said it yourself "after transitioning from the wall... my 1HBH has improved".
     
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  4. Ultra2HolyGrail

    Ultra2HolyGrail Hall of Fame

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    No. The goal of the wall is to work on technique. Repetitive technique. Kind of like a punching bag for a boxer.
     
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  5. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Absolutely not! There is nothing wrong with using a wall, there are only limitations to how it can help you.

    MYTH: The incoming ball from the wall is different than the incoming ball on a court, and therefore it is bad for you.

    FACT: The incoming ball from the wall is fairly uniform, so worst case it is limiting in that you only learn to deal with one type of incoming ball. That is why you must practice against partners as well, to learn to play against a variety of ball trajectories and spins. The wall is especially great for grooving a new stroke because you can focus more on isolating the stroke, and less on adapting to the incoming ball.

    MYTH: Playing against a wall is bad if you have bad technique because it reinforces bad technique.

    FACT: That is true, but its also true that practicing against another player while using bad technique also reinforces bad technqiue. Bottom line, play with good technique all the time and you won't reinforce bad technique!

    With all that being said, I always hit my strokes far better after warming up against a wall then if I immediately start hitting right on the court. That shows that the wall has only a positive effect on strokes, and not a negative one.
     
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  6. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    The issue is a wall doesn't provide visual evidence of the bad technique - unlike hitting against a real person. So it's even worse for cementing bad form.

    The people that seem to get the most out of a wall are - people that can play tennis fairly well - 4.0 and above. But the people you see hitting against a wall are often 2.5 - 3.0.

    That being said I going to hit on the wall a bit right now. :p I am playing my buddy later on today and I know he is plotting to crush me.

    Pete
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Hitting the wall is good practice for stroke technique.
    You cannot rate your tennis level if you only hit the wall.
    And if you don't have a solid stroke, hitting the wall CAN cause you to repeat mistakes over and over, ingraining it into your strokes.
     
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  8. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    I've noticed a lot of people tend to not follow through when hitting on the wall.
     
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  9. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Walls are available and free and allow you to hit a ton of balls quickly. They also don't whine at you. But they are not magic.
     
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  10. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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  11. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Nice point. I think a lot of people get in trouble w/the wall because their footwork goes out the window.
     
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  12. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    Well, I have probably hit against the wall more than anybody here and probably more than everybody here put together. Ok, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but I hit against the wall a majority of my time and I usually hit four or five times a week, two to four hours each time.

    Here are the benefits:

    You can really learn to hit well using the well because it helps develop all the essentials needed in order to hit a tennis ball well. That is, timing, contact point and footwork.

    The potential downsides:

    The wall will not ruin your strokes, your lack of knowledge about how to hit a particular shot will. Repetition will ingrain this, not the wall but the two are related naturally. I know this from first hand experience. However, you have to understand that at the same time you learn how to hit badly well. What? Well, your sense of timing and contact point all allow you to make adjustments, even if those adjustments aren't particularly pretty, on court and you play better than you should, given the bad technique. It also makes learning the right way somewhat easier to pick up because of all the other things you've worked on like footwork and movement. I can hit with Div. 1 college players and keep up just fine if everything is clicking for me. Again, probably 95% of my hitting is done on a wall and has been this way for the past four or five years when I first started playing tennis.

    The biggest downside that I have found so far is that I get used to my own timing and rhythm. Because I tend to hit a flat ball I'm not used to seeing topspin and I have trouble against players who can really kick it up about shoulder high on me. I also don't really have much court sense as I almost never play on a court. At the same time, because of how many balls I've hit, I can adapt fairly quickly thereby negating the effects somewhat of these downsides.

    Here's a short rally video that shows problems stemming from hitting against the wall as well as the benefits. I'm the one closest to the camera, in the red. The first FH I hit is long, which I tend to do and is directly a result of poor technique ingrained from hitting. At the same time, the last three FHs aren't that bad and show my efforts (which I was just beginning at the time) to improve weight shift from the back foot to the front foot. I'm able to counteract all my years of bad wall hitting (not that I don't have a tendency to fall back in to the bad patterns if I don't concentrate on not doing so) precisely because of all that hitting and having developed a comfortable strike zone. I guess the point is what a previous poster pointed out. The more you hit balls well the better you will hit a ball well. But the same isn't quite true of the reverse. It is but at the same time just by hitting you are improving your skills at hitting a moving target. The more you hit a bad ball you still learn how to hit. I hope that made sense.

    http://vimeo.com/5055944
     
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  13. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    MYTH: Hitting against walls is a good way to practice.

    FACT: Hitting against a wall is a poor way to practice unless you're a complete beginner.
     
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  14. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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  15. certifiedjatt

    certifiedjatt Banned

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    i spent an ENTIRE summer playing on the wall. 100s of hours. i had three tools to learn tennis: one tennis magazine (there was one that had all different ways to hold the racket), a sampras match, and the wall.

    that's it. no "coach", no lessons, no nawwthin'. and i'm pretty good/
    i also have pretty strokes, not unconventional ones.

    the best way to use the wall is not necessarily to work on your consistency, etc. first, learn to hit the ball with all different levels of pace but make sure you know how you feel when you hit during each level. how does your hand feel? your mind? your souuuuull? you have to do this deliberately. then, get to work on consistency.

    you'll be beating club players in no time.
     
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  16. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    MYTH: Hitting against a wall is a poor way to practice unless you're a complete beginner.

    FACT: If you don't have anyone to practice with, hitting against the wall is better than sitting at home and watching TV.
     
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  17. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    What if your TV has a wii with a tennis game?
     
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  18. LuxilonTimo

    LuxilonTimo Rookie

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    Sorry to say this but you are wrong about the first myth. Did not read rest of it but first myth is wrong. Ok think about it. You hit are hitting against the wall and the ball will be hit twice.One hitting off wall and second hitting off the ground, while on a court it will only bounce once off ground. So you see, the ball hitting against the wall will come slower at you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
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  19. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    On the court it will bounce twice, once off your opponent's racquet and once off the ground. I have had balls coming off the wall faster than an opponent's racquet on the court.

    But really, nobody would say its better to hit against a wall over hitting with another player, but its something you do to get practice in when either you can't find available courts, or can't find a hitting partner.

    But really results speak loudly. I probably developed 75% of my game by hitting against a wall, and have fared better than most self-taught players with the same amount of time spent playing tennis. Its just a tool, and if you use it in a good way, it will help you. If you use it poorly, it won't help you. Just the same as using the court to practice. There are people who play tennis 6 days a week and remain 3.5 for life.
     
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  20. v205

    v205 Semi-Pro

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    How about volleying against a wall??
     
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  21. Tim Tennis

    Tim Tennis Professional

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    Love The Wall

    I love to hit on the wall. Since I do it on the racquet ball court at the YMCA my foot work really does get lazy. I can hit more balls in an hour then I probably hit in a month of playing four times a week. It also gives me a chance to experiment with different hand positions on the handle, racquet head angles and swing paths. I also do it to condition my "tennis muscles." Sometimes I will do a series of hard shots almost to the point of failure. I can really feel it in my hand, wrist and forearm.

    I think "the wall" helps my game tremendously.

    Best regards,

    Ed
    Tennis Geometrics
     
    #21
  22. LuxilonTimo

    LuxilonTimo Rookie

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    Ok then if you play against the wall it will bounce 3 times, are you to stupid to realize this? I didnt mention the racquet in both the wall and the court. The wall will have the ball hit 3 times, the racquet, the wall, the floor. The court will only get hit with racquet and the court. I didnt mention the racquet in both so why did you add the racquet with the wall?
     
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  23. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    If I'm stupid, then you must be a complete moron.

    Wall: Wall, floor, my racquet
    Court: Opponent's racquet, floor, my racquet

    What is the problem? The ball is bouncing off 3 surfaces no matter how you look at it.
     
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  24. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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  25. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Hitting against a wall while video taping yourself is probably the best idea. That way you can reevaluate how well you hit, and if your form was correct.
     
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  26. Nooji

    Nooji New User

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    My forehands were just terrible today. I would shank them and they went over the wall a few times and I lost one of the balls. It was rather annoying. Ill also admit my footwork is rather lazy when hitting against the wall. Maybe it is because I am not in a game playing situation? I will work on that anyway.

    After playing against the wall today, I did transition to playing against my friend. I did not use my 1HBH considering it is still rather inconsistent even with the wall. However, my forehands are god awful and don't even have confidence to put speed into them. If they're going too high, am I not putting enough topspin into them?

    But on a good note, I was also working on my drop shots against the wall and the transitioning against a person helped me out really well. When playing against the wall, I would just hit the ball high enough to just pass the mark of the line which represents the top of the net (~ 3 feet?).
     
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  27. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    You can do that. I do it two different ways. I'll stand about a foot or two from the wall and back and forth at each hand (although at this distance it's more about developing quick reactions). It's quite a work out actually. You can do the same thing from volley distance. The other way that I will do sometimes is to hit the ground just before the wall thereby causing the ball to pop up. If you learn to get the ball close enough to the wall you can get waist to head high balls.
     
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  28. 150mph_

    150mph_ Semi-Pro

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    hitting against the wall does make your footwork lazy but so does hitting with a person... if you want to be lazy, hitting with a person will not prevent you.
    its your own self discipline and determination.
    i hit against the wall, because i'd rather do that than sit on my ass in front of a computer/television
     
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