Fancy footwork

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by maxpotapov, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    I'm about to go 35 now and trying hard to get back in the game (I was in tennis school from age 9 to 17). After analyzing hours of current ATP pro's video footage I changed my technique quite a bit and recently went into "jumping department" to offload joints while turning my upper body. Too bad I can't endure even an hour of trying to hit every ball in mid-air, but still I feel like this is the way to go. What do you think about taking your feet off the ground on every shot?

    Here's some of my videos for this matter:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY-zuiN8XAY&feature=related
     
    #1
  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Only one foot is leaving the ground. Federer takes off on both feet for his forehands.
     
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  3. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    And this is exactly what I'm trying to accomplish!
     
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  4. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    The thing is I start with right foot if I hit forehand, so it looks like feet take off one at a time, but both feet are in the air the very moment of impact.
    I also discovered that jumping is the best way for me to properly balance and relax my body for the moment of impact.
     
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  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Good luck but I won't be able to help you with that. My issues are more basic at this point :)
     
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  6. plumcrazy

    plumcrazy Rookie

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    Can't agree with you more. I'm 37. I also feel more balanced and relaxed if I jump, controled of course, at impact. I probably want be able to do this on every forehand over a 2 or 3 set match because I need to get my legs in better shape. Strokes and footwork look good. I think you're going the right direction.
     
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  7. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I can analyze this later. However, I do want to point out something.

    Do not jump. Do not jump. Do not jump.

    Perhaps, you are using the wrong terminology and we need to soften it a little. The word normally used amongst tennis technicians is "rising" through the shot.

    When you rise through the shot, you decrease your chance of mishitting the ball and you end up using your legs to help with power, spin, consistency, depth, and placement.

    When you rise through the ball, you help keep your racquet path on track and there is no sudden upward rise that alters your racquet path. THis is especially important when you are nervous or are pressed into a tough situation. Here is an example of rising through your shot:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTyyITw-fyo

    The rise through the ball is subtle and purposeful. It emphasizes timing, clean contact, and power. It stays in rythym with your entire motion, it is not forced, jerky, or performed all of a sudden. It moves with your forward stroke and it is precise.

    The jumping you supposedly see is actually coming from a well-timed rise through the ball. It is timed along with the rest of their stroke and the "explosion" through the ball comes from many many years of practice.

    So, take it easy, you have a good stroke. Rise naturally, subtly through the ball. Don't overthink that you are not rising. If you are bending at the knees, and your racquet is a foot below the ball before you hit it, you will rise through the shot in your followthrough.

    Keep your feet on the ground. It is your foundation and rise natually through the ball.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
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  8. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Remember, it's not about jumping, but lifting and unweighting. By using the open stance, it would lessen the need to get fully in the air to protect the joints. IMO the open stance is superior anyway.
     
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  9. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Totally agree, "rising" is most accurate term here.
    Although, the term "jumping" helps me better to trick myself into actually doing it :)

    Beautifully described! But "many years of practice" - sounds kinda discouraging, is there any shortcut to trick your mind and body into performing the whole sequence in the fluid and professional manner?

    If I keep my feet on the ground in the open stance the torque produced by upper body is killing my knees! :(

    Hence the need to rise up during the stroke sequence but the only way for me to make sure I'm actually doing it is jump! :oops:
     
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  10. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Now, "backhand jumping" is the most tricky business here because there's nothing to counter-balance yourself with. But still I don't want to throw all my 200 lbs on right foot when hitting 2hbh...
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    As in everything else in tennis, you have to moderate everything based on your physical skills, conditioning, strength, explosiveness, age, eyes, and endurance.
    Certainly jumping on topspin forehands and topspin 2HB's is a current theme, but maybe better for the younger, fitter set than older, creaky kneed peeps.
    As in extreme grips, you need more energy, better joints, tendons, ligaments, and cushioning when you jump to hit every topspin, than the older style of keeping the feet planted but lifting some.
    So again, compromise is the key. What you have to give compared with how long you can give it.....:shock::shock:
    We'd all love to play like Nadal, but only ONE person in the world can expend that much energy playing like Nadal.
     
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  12. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I liked your vid by the way. You look to be hitting quite well overall.
    Didn't notice any open stance though.
     
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  13. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I understand. However, keep in mind, I would rather you think about getting your butt down from a good knee bend then thinking of jumping. :)

    Okay, how about just make sure you practice rising through the ball. ;) You will get better and better at it and will learn how much emphasis you need to have on the type of ball you are hitting and going to hit back. The fundamental is what you want to practice.

    That is not what I meant. You will rise as well in the open stance forehand and you need too. Otherwise, you will punish your back hip in the rotation.

    I have written several posts on how to plant, push, and rebalance through the open stance. What I mean by ground is use it to grab pwer from it and allow it to go through your body. Rise from the knees, make contact with the ball, and let your rising have a natural extension upward. If you can do it quickly, sometimes your feet rise off the ground a bit or at least one of them does. Remember, quickly still blends in with your motion. It is not jerky, performed out of rythym or out of sync. It blends. So, if a pro is moving fast and the ball is too, chances are we will see a fast rise through the ball that will probably lift him off the ground which resembles a jump.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
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  14. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Agreed. I'll try to think more about getting lazy butt down instead of lifting body up when I play next time.
    Though it does not seem very intuitive to "sit down" when balls fly high at you and you have to hit 'em on shoulder level.

    I understand that I can focus only on one thing at a time. But still I see there are crucial points to focus on and everything else just follows along.
    For example, when I started focusing on pushing my right foot when hitting forehand, the way I approach the ball radically changed. The same with follow through: when I focus on getting the elbow to point up and forward, shoulders turn naturally so the whole body including feet is dragged after elbow (or so it seems).

    This is what I call "tricking myself into it"

    So, I'll definitely try to "rise from the knees" and hey, sometimes I had this sensation of "grabbing power from ground" and I enjoyed it too :)
     
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  15. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    :)


    Yes, we all need cues to help us perform better in a stroke. Mine is focusing on the where the ball will bounce. I tend to like to flow through the shot rather than having certain things in the particular stroke to pay attention to like planting, etc...

    This is a preference area so there is not much I can help you with in this area so long as your strokes are incorporating good fundamentals, the rest is you and what you want to do.

    Yes, that is correct. you are absorbing power and transferring it through your stroke. Grab and flow through the ball, grab and flow through the ball.

    Your body should perform rising naturally and by the looks of your strokes I don't really think you have anything to worry about. I would simply work on having good fundamentals and helping yourself have good timing and clean contact with the ball.
     
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  16. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    That's what I learned today when suddenly my heel and ankle started hurting so bad I had to stop training session.

    It's kinda funny that when I started using open (or semi-open) stance and put my upper body into work, my knees started giving up on me. And then as I tried to offload them by trying to lift my body to the air my feet and ankles started taking 200 lbs pounding on repetitive take off and landing at various angles plus additional acceleration sideways.

    After all, seems like it's a bad idea to learn from the best ATP players. You kill yourself long before you start "playing like a pro" :confused:

    And still, there's nothing like hitting the ball with that special feeling when you just let yourself go and suddenly everything clicks without any strain... That's why I still believe I can fly :)
     
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  17. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I can't agree with this, but to each his own. My view is that the pros in general do things the easiest and most efficient ways and that to model on that makes good sense. I also suppose it matters how you approach your practice as well.
     
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  18. TheLama

    TheLama Banned

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    Just watched your 7-part video. What park is that?

    You can let people know that you are a solid 5.0-5.5 player.

    Keep your tossing arm up longer, so that you can swing faster on your serve.

    Work on a slice BH for sliced shots to your BH. Your two-hander is hit with a huge grip change, and indoor hardcourts in Queens, Brooklyn, and LI are really skiddy.
     
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  19. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Can't wait to practice some advices in this thread, my foot still hurts though.
    Skiddy - maybe it's even better for my game, I really want court surface to slide more, I guess it is better for my footwork. Although I understand I can get in trouble trying to go for hard-to-reach ball.

    I change grip only for BH slice shots, but sometimes hit flat/sliced 2hbh without grip change, which feels kinda cool.
     
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  20. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Yes I know what you mean, but the easier it gets (in terms of relaxing and exploding into the ball), the further I push myself. And then suddenly my ankle falls off - last week I did not even notice how! Or knees and wrist really hurt the next day, etc. etc.
     
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Of "somewhat" importance here.....
    You say the pros hit easiest and most efficient. I say, they are 17-35 years old (younger at the top end for most), totally in great condition, have played sports for 10+ years, take care of their bodies, have no extra fat or extra muscle (just as bad for knees as extra fat), and if over 30, are almost ready to modify their games into something less athletic.
    WE, on the other hand, OTOH, are NOT in that age group, not in that sports demographics, not in that condition, and CANNOT hit lifting topspins for 3 hours straight.
    So we look at what the FIFTY year old former pros do, on the court, at the strokes, and the movement, and we find WHAT??? CONSERVATION of energy on every shot, choosing to eliminate excess movement in favor of more balance and less stress on the joints!
    You might not want to admit it, but AGE takes over EVERYONE sometime.
     
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  22. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    Hey man, here's some videos that may help you out and put certain things into perspective:

    Here's one of Federer rallying, you will see him rallying with an open stance, semi open stance, and neutral stance, you will also see the ball traveling with nice speed, pace, and spin. He is hitting with what I call "relaxed power".
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_yWePjInF8&feature=channel

    Check out the almost subtle and integrated way he leaves the ground on this video. This video (courtesy of FYB) gives you a good view of his feet and what he's doing.
    Federer Forehands

    Good luck!
     
    #22
  23. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    do what works for your game AND your body. this comes from experience...and injuries.
     
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  24. rocket

    rocket Hall of Fame

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    If you want to try the open/neutral stance, consider the "sit & lift". The lift is upward & involves both legs. It should be the start of your swing.

    You don't have to be airborne to practice this technique.
     
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  25. maxpotapov

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    :) Yeah, I start (push) with one leg only (right for forehand for example), this way it is easier for me to coordinate and balance the body.
    And than i land basically on another foot first and then forward goes the one I pushed... I definitely need to learn starting/pushing with both legs, as I already missed 4 days of training because of my left ankle.
     
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