Finding my court sense after 20 years (practice set)

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Greg G, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Hey Cheetah,

    When you get your camera, could you make a vid showing what you wanted to explain to me re the forehand SSC and what I do wrong? :)
     
    #51
  2. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    yes. maybe i'll send that to you private or make it unlisted :)

    can you throw a ball side-arm?
     
    #52
  3. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Cool. You can just email a private link. Sidearm throw? I think so, unless my sidearm throw has a flaw ;)
     
    #53
  4. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Oh hell yes, I figured out how to beat a pusher! Just hit 3/4 pace left and right, then either slice angle or drop shot. Did not back up on his high loopers- took them on the rise or half volleyed them back. Approached the net when he was on the run and volleyed the floaters away.

    Won 6-2, 6-1. Would have been better if I didn't give away 3 service games with a misfiring serve.

    Naturally, I didn't catch this match on video. Oh well, happy day! So satisfying to have figured it out :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
    #54
  5. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Hi Greg. Just video everything! :) Anyway, yeah, that sounds like a good formula. I'm either playing against a pusher type game or doing it myself, so this is helpful, and does seem to correspond to what works, both for and against me. Especially the drop shots and creating and exploiting chances to come to the net and put pressure on.
     
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  6. corners

    corners Legend

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    I didn't read all the replies and maybe somebody already mentioned this. But you've got to get your toss further into the court. Right now your center of mass is actually falling backwards. Not only does this rob you of easy power on your serve but it also forces your shoulder to do very unsafe things. Be careful!

    Check out this image of Fed's toss and impact location.

    [​IMG]

    Notice that when he makes contact with the ball that you could draw a line from his hip to his hitting hand. That line is angled well forward into the court. With you, that line is nearly vertical because the ball is right above your head!

    This image was taken from this video - kind of a weird video with strange music choice, but it illustrates very well how the toss is thrown up and into the court rather than straight up. Watching video from any angle but the side angle, it's really hard to see that the pros toss the ball at an angle into the court. It appears from most angles that they toss in-line with the baseline, but this is definitely not the case. Getting your toss in the right spot will hopefully be enough to coax your body to move your center of mass into the court during your service motion and save your shoulder.

    EDIT: Just saw that you already got coaching on this. Good on ya! But I'll leave the above in case it might help anyone else.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
    #56
  7. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Hey thanks corners! I know, it's a big problem of mine. Especially under pressure, I toss even less in front of me. :(

    Yes I already tweaked the shoulder because of this. It's kinda sore right now. It just went back to the top of my "things to work on" list. Thanks for the picture with the diagrams!
     
    #57
  8. corners

    corners Legend

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    My pleasure. I tore my surpraspinatus (one of the rotator cuffs) a few years ago precisely because of this tossing problem. I'm still working on it, but most days I'm getting nice weight transfer into the court and my shoulder is hanging in here. Good luck!
     
    #58
  9. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Ouch! I (literally) feel your pain. Any tips on how you fixed your toss issue? Serving baskets of balls have not really fixed it for me...
     
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  10. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Short update: Won my last 2 matches. Both interesting in different ways.

    The first was against a 65 year old guy who was an absolute dink master. He could drop shot from freakin anywhere on the court, and it would fall near the net. Uncanny. Plus, he knew how to follow it up with a lob, which almost always landed within a foot of the baseline (!). I knew I was gonna be in for a workout, I didn't know I'd be gutting out a 7-5 (ret) win. He gave me nothing to work on, so the battle was me chasing down his drops and lobs, alternating with me forcing the issue and coming to net. I felt like a bully making him (an old guy) run, but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. Lots of UE from me because he gave me absolutely no rhythm. His rally balls were lobs @_@

    The second I just finished, a straight set 6-0 6-0 against a guy my age. He didn't like low slice balls to his forehand, so it was a perfect opportunity to work on my backhand slice. Standard crosscourt rally balls mixed with slices was Plan A, and I didn't need to change it. Played better in the first set, then I started hitting shorter the more the prospect of the double bagel loomed. Plus I had to keep pumping myself up, so I could maintain my level of play. I was also wrestling with the idea of letting him win a game, but I eventually just went for it. Now I feel like a mean person :)

    I guess I am kinda enjoying all these situations and gaining some amount of mental toughness from it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    :)
    Now go out and play a peer, or someone better than you..:)
     
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  12. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Congrats on the wins Greg! I split my last two matches. No video though. Getting a tripod tomorrow I think. Will have better vids in the future I hope.
     
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  13. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    I know! Am waiting for the luck of the draw to catch up to me. :)

    I got killed today in doubles. The opponents were both heavy hitters but one hit heavy topspin and one hit flat. Would truly mess up my volley timing from one side to the other. Fun though :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
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  14. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Thanks Tom! Haven't been taking video myself lately, gotta get back to it...
     
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  15. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Filmed a practice set today. Played fairly well I think. Some things that stood out when I reviewed the video:

    1. My forehand prep is so late. Arrrg.
    2. Serve is coming along nicely, but when the pressure mounts, my toss starts creeping back.
    3. The topspin backhand was working well... the thread on putting the thumb behind the grip got me experimenting with it again. Feels good :)

    We were duking it out till 4-4 when my serve fell apart -_-

    http://youtu.be/g1Iu8rpI51g
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
    #65
  16. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Thought I'd share the feedback from my old coach, in case it helps anyone viewing.

    Translated/paraphrased into English:


     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
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  17. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    i mentioned this before when i said it's like your baseline is a glass wall that you are physically unable to penetrate. or maybe i said force field or something like that i said. lol
     
    #67
  18. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    It burns me haha :)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
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  19. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Hi Greg. Am enjoying the vid, but wondering if it would be possible for you to do more vids with the camera view centered and from the back. It gives me more of a feel for the action, and I can better appreciate the technical nuances of the playing. I liked much of what I saw in the latest vid but feel like I'm too far away, and am craving the "court level" view :) (just like I do when I watch tennis on ESPN or whatever ... they hardly ever do the court level view from the back, and when they do they usually cut away to the "bird's eye" far away view right when a guy is hitting his serve).

    You're strokin' pretty good in lots of points in the vid. It just hit me how quick you are. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
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  20. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Hi Tom, I haven't found a good place to mount the cam in that particular court, from that perspective. Will try to figure it out.
     
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  21. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Get a tripod. Very convenient. I just got one and it has changed my life. Ok, that was sort of an overstatement. :)
     
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  22. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    I do have a tripod, but I don't think I'm allowed to place it at that area for tournament play. Let me figure it out ;)
     
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  23. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    I had a rematch with the retriever I lost to. Met in the semi finals of the club a2 tournament. Came in determined not to let him push, and to move him around.

    Started out doing just that, rally balls on the rise left right, then would hit angles or drops. Went up 4-0. He clawed back to 4-2 but I closed it out 6-2.

    He started pushing like crazy in the second set, but I managed to get up a break to lead 4-3, and then played a nervous game to get broken. Immediately broke back to lead 5-4 then fluffed it away to lose 7-5.

    Super tiebreak starts. I go for my shots again, and go up 7-3. I serve and immediately my right calf seizes up on landing! Nooooooooooo. Flashback to a tough doubles match the night before (doubles tournament started). Try a Michael Chang underhand serve, no dice. He gets to 7-7. I just go for broke now, hitting a topspin backhand return winner down the line while screaming in pain. Both calves have cramped now. Stall like crazy. Win the next point with a good regular serve (and excruciating pain on landing). Get to 9-8 somehow-match point, but he gets me 11-9 in the end. Long rallies with me limping around and hopping to keep from totally cramping up.

    Strangely enough, I really enjoyed the battle tonight. Was fighting through the cramps with a smile like an injured gladiator lol. I know how to play him now. My fault for letting the second set slip from my grasp. Gotta work on those nerves when ahead. Anyway, at least I know I left it all out on the court tonight. Managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory....

    Will work on the video tomorrow, too tired after 2 1/2 hours. I hope the camera battery made it to the tiebreak...
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
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  24. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
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  25. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Greg, from your previous post it sounded like it was a well played and hard fought match. The video of the first set confirms that. You hit some nice shots off both sides. I like your shots and serve better than your opponent's. Generally more solid and aggressive in my view.

    You both get to a lot of stuff that I currently wouldn't, and hit it back effectively.

    Playing your vids in full screen is satisfactory (so it gets a thumbs up), but wish you could find some way to do a back-centered court level view. That would be the bomb! :)
     
    #75
  26. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

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    I think your play is coming along nicely. Overall, your strokes look pretty solid for a recreational player.
    Couple of thoughts. One, it still doesn't look like you toss the ball far enough into the court, at least to hit a proper first serve. Second, while you look like a much better player than your opponent, you didn't take sufficient advantage of his weaknesses. His serve was pretty weak (at least in comparision to yours). Therefore, I think you could have put more pressure on him with your returns. Usually I decide before the return what I am going to do. With a fairly slow serve like your opponent's I am generally going to run around and hit a forehand. I will have decided in advance if I am going to hit it down the line, cross-court or deep right at him. Pick a spot and go for it. 3 to 4 feet inside is your target (at our level) when you are not going right up the middle. Also, his backhand, while fairly consistent, was not a weapon at all. You hit too many balls to his forehands. Also, remember if you hit a good deeo shot to his backhand corner where he has to run, I would be moving in. At this level, his is either going to hit a short ball or a high, fairly slow ball in any effort to get it back deep. Either way, if you move in, you are prepared to take the offensive.
     
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  27. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Serve is coming along slowly, the toss has moved forwards a bit. I still have quite a bit of room to improve it though. I always feel it's way out there already, then I see the video >.< Next time I'll just really make myself feel like I'm falling into it.

    If you go back to the last match, I was spraying forehands all over, so I dialed it to 3/4 pace and was determined to cut down on UE. In this first set, everything was working well, so I didn't ramp it up too much. I got the consistency down, for the most part.I do feel that I am not turning very well on that wing, consequently not getting enough RHS. Will work on making it more of a weapon, or at least getting a heavier rally ball.

    I am more disappointed with the mental aspect I think. Up a break in the second, I think I reverted to a more defensive mindset, 'protecting the lead'. That just led to shorter balls from me and gave him the momentum. I got my head straight at the start of the super tiebreak, then the legs failed me. Arg. I guess I'm at the point where if I have 2 matches on consecutive days, I have to choose which is more important to me... :p
     
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  28. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Don't try to fall on your serve, just try to get the ball as high as possible. You know, all the "upward pitch" yadda-yadda. About your forehand... Keep your left arm in front so you can analyse the distance to the ball better. Your arm is a bit too close to your body.

    Clean hitting in that video. You seem to love dropshots. Just keep in mind that if your dropshot bounces high (clay), you're vulnerable to a counter-dropshot. So when you hit one, try to be on the baseline, legs flexed, so you're ready to go forward if it's necessary. Or backward if your opponent decides to chip, but that shouldn't happen too often...
     
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  29. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I've been working on doing that also. With some promising results so far. Did it on several serves in my last match. One thing it does for me is that I'm able to serve at the same pace with what seems like less effort. Anyway, your serve looks pretty effective, but there's always room for improvement, right? :)

    Your shots in that first set vid looked generally quite good to me. But then, I compete at a lower level so that has to be taken into account.

    I agree that the mental aspect is of utmost importance. For me, it improves as my fitness and technique improves.

    You definitely play a much better game when you're 'hitting out' with those nicely placed and deep groundstrokes, and not holding back.

    You're generally doing a lot more work in your matches than I am in mine. Just generally a higher level of play. So I can see how tough matches on consecutive days can be quite draining. I'm curious, do you have a problem with getting sufficient court time, both practice and match play, during any given week?
     
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  30. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Actually I just brought out the drop shot for this guy. If you look a the last match, I didn't move him forward/back. So this time I added a lot of short slices to 'invite' him to come to the net, along with some drop shots which worked well for a set and a half. When I tightened up, the touch was not as good, and I started cutting the drop shots too fine. The one counter drop shot he did on the video, his foot touched the net :)
     
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  31. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    I actually just get to play once or twice a week Tom! Perhaps all the video I take makes it look like I play more often than I actually do. Plus 2 days a the gym, but since the tournaments started, I cut down on the intensity and just do warmup and stretching, maybe a little plyometric work. I thought I was in for a relaxed doubles match the night before, but it turned out we played a couple of junior players. Was good fun, but I guess I exerted more effort than I should have ;).

    Too bad I didn't get video of the super tiebreak, would have been fun to watch :)
     
    #81
  32. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Some doubles footage. Sorry, the GoPro had a tough time with the lighting. I'm in white.

    Backhands were dialed in today. Everything else was meh. Comedy relief at 1:30 :D

    http://youtu.be/r_PZ9H374C8
     
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