Finding my strokes after 20 years. Stroke video inside

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Greg G, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Hmmm is it like a chicken and egg thing? :confused:
     
    #51
  2. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Thanks! My tennis brain is the one that's really suffered from the 2 decade layoff! I am almost useless playing sets right now.Unforced errors all over :???:
     
    #52
  3. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    OK let's try some pictures. Maybe we can really dissect the issues here:
    From the back:
    [​IMG]

    Is my wrist not laid back enough? Arm not lagging?

    From the side:
    [​IMG]

    Wow. OK clearly a late contact.

    Please, have at it :)
     
    #53
  4. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Ouch. Just woke up. It's more than a touch of GE, I'm afraid. Guess I'll have to take a week off. :(

    This last hit, I tried a looser grip, holding the handle more with the ring and pinky. Was ha a bad idea?
     
    #54
  5. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    The problem is that you are getting way too much instruction from people you have never seen play and that are not on the court with you.

    All I can say is that my strokes have gotten very good from not thinking about the racquet hand at all and instead really focusing on my prep and using my offhand and hips to open up on time for the stroke. It is a lot less to think about and the result is that my strokes are a lot more reliable in match play.

    To help with this I would suggest visiting this site:

    http://lockandrolltennis.com/forehand/
     
    #55
  6. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Oh I watch his videos daily :)

    To be fair, I did ask for advice, and so far it has been pretty spot on! The guys helped (and are still helping) me understand the nuances of the modern forehand, which are only painted in broad strokes on the lock & roll video.

    Even before I stopped playing 20 years ago, my forehand was my weaker shot which frustrated me no end. I could place it, but really not rely on it in long rallies. I had reached the point where I would prefer the backhand on center hit balls. And I could not for the life of me hit a really good inside out forehand. The transition to angular momentum as a source of power has been quite an eye opener, and I am gaining confidence in it with each hitting session. I'm sure elements of my classic forehand will still be useful in certain situations- but it's nice to have a reliable forehand which I can use as a weapon.

    I agree that eventually I have to get back to the point where I don't think about the minute details. I'm sure I'll get there eventually. Util then, it's nice to get advice from all you guys. Rest assured I do evaluate everything here with an open yet critical mind. :)
     
    #56
  7. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Nice..yeah I think the LnR is awesome because once you get your forehand dialed you won't even think about how your wrist is, and things like that.

    For example, on your first vid youtube was being slow, so it froze right where you were actually pointing the buttcap at the ball and about to swing to contact on the forehand. It looked perfect in that aspect.

    Also my coach is pretty highly ranked and when I ask about all the nuances he tells me that those are there from my experience and not to worry about it. He fixed my backhand in one lesson..it was crazy. So I am just passing that perspective on to you as an alternative.

    I would suggest preparing earlier to fix that contact point. Its just footwork really..boils down to fitness and the dedication to split step right before your opponent makes contact.
     
    #57
  8. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Thanks! Yes I am working on regaining tennis fitness, as much as I can. It's definitely 100% better than a month ago! Shifted my gym routing to interval training. Worked on lunges and reaction time exercises today, since I had to rest the arm.

    Had the racquets restrung with a multi for now (Prince Premier LT 17), hopefully it'll help the arm when I can hit again.

    Well a short rest is probably good. In retrospect, I was probably ignoring the warnings my body was giving me. At least I can shadow swing at home with no pain. :)
     
    #58
  9. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Comparing my stills with the LnR ones, the racquet does not lag behind my hips. Explained there as:

     
    #59
  10. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    That is a huge part of it. What I do is make sure my offhand is pulled across my body before I make contact. That will put your swing back on time and you will hit clean. This motion is also connected to the hips opening up as well.

    That lag is the real secret to hitting your strokes, having good timing, and effortless power as well.
     
    #60
  11. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Great! Now I'm raring to get on court! Must...rest....arm.... ;)
     
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  12. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    #62
  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    No, it's really more of an elbow, wrist thing. To hit more out front, you have to lead with your elbow and lay your wrist back more. Federer and Nadal hit with straight elbows and lay their wrists WAAAAYYY back. It's also easier to hit more out front with a semi-western grip, but, I wouldn't make a grip change right now.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
    #63
  14. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Greg, at contact, compare your elbow and wrist position to Djokovic and the L&R guy. Notice how far they lead with the elbow, and how far their wrists are laid back, in the forward swing. They have the butt of the racquet pointing to the ball.

    Your finish in the last pic looks very good. It's impressive that you could even get there with such late contact. When you start making contact more out front, the free power and spin will be very rewarding.
     
    #64
  15. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    We got the start and finish down pat, just the middle part is left :D

    Will work on the contact point and elbow/wrist position when I get back on court.

    I think Power Player's suggestion regarding the off hand has merit. Sometimes it does get in the way of a full rotation..perhaps even if it doesn't get in the way, it slows it down somewhat. I'll try consciously moving it across, perhaps it'll help give me more angular momentum.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, it helps a lot. Along with the icepack on my elbow ;)
     
    #65
  16. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    In my evolution to modern strokes, learning not to "catch the racquet" with my left hand was part of the process. Now I just put my left hand on my chest with my elbow up to help promote turn.

    PS: Exactly where is the elbow pain?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
    #66
  17. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Medial epicondyle :p
     
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  18. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Mmm! Tennis elbow is on the other side. This may be what's inhibiting you from leading with your elbow in the forward swing as much as is optimal. You may be guarding against injury.
     
    #68
  19. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    I know. I got Golfer's elbow. Probably because in my attempt to loosen grip, I tried using just the ring and pinky fingers, and probably transmitted all vibrations down there! Before the last ht, I was fine, so no guarding vs physical pain. More a mental/muscle memory thing holding my swing back.
     
    #69
  20. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I would recommend that you hold the racquet evenly and loosely with the entire hand. I can tell you that I had terrible tennis elbow that put me out of commission for a while. Among the benefits of keeping a loose grip was a complete cure of my TE.
     
    #70
  21. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    #71
  22. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Perhaps the Golfer's elbow may be a blessing in disguise! Tok my son for his weekend lesson, and did some very light hitting. Kinesio tape and compression band on the forearm to mitigate the damage I was gonna do to myself :twisted:

    Anyway, I could not grip it hard, so I was forced to really grip very lightly. I concentrated on dragging the offhand earlier, which felt like it freed up the rotation of my shoulders! The feeling was sort of the offhand dragging the shoulders, and the shoulders dragging the hitting arm. Tried to contact in front. Surprisingly, I was hitting pretty good paced balls with a lot of top, with hardly any effort! And- pain free! Is this it?? :shock:

    http://youtu.be/W_LTkQ3r2hM

    [​IMG]

    Backed up to the baseline for a little more hitting. Not too much, didn't want to force the arm issue too much.

    http://youtu.be/o6ntIkhDYIU

    [​IMG]
     
    #72
  23. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Sorry I changed the angle from previous videos. It's more front/side view now.
     
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  24. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    looks better.

    your right shoulder usage is pretty good. don't change that. lots of ppl i see here don't know how to use the right shoulder.

    try to make your wrist looser. it's a little tight.

    contact point could still be a couple more inches more forward.

    you might want to start working on putting the racquet in more of a pat the dog slot position because currently you are meeting the ball with an open racquet face. ideally you should be trying to meet the ball w/ a slightly closed racquet face or at worst a neutral face. pat the dog at least slightly.

    eventually you are going to want to cut down on the severe low to high swing. i guess you are doing that to get a lot of ts but there are more efficient ways to do it. you should be finishing more across the body if you want the modern swing. patting the dog and meeting the ball with a closed face will give you more topspin and you wont have to swing at such a steep angle to get ts. Then you'll get rid of that *yuck* racquet catching thing you do. haha.

    also i think you are not pronating enough. but we can work on that later.

    images showing areas of concern:
    2nd image down on the left
    4th image down on the left
    large contact point image

    looks pretty good the way and getting better but still definitely could be better.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
    #74
  25. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Thanks! I thought it was way out in front, but the videos show otherwise! Will work on the swing angle/racquet face angle next time out.

    Lol @ the yuck comment :)
     
    #75
  26. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Elbow felt much better after a week off. Plus the new yy 89Ts arrived, so I had to take them out for a hit.

    Minimal progress. :(

    Perhaps I was distracted by the new racquets. Contact slightly better but I need it more in front. Stupid left hand is so ornery! Still doing what it wants :evil:

    Sorry about the slightly blurred video, was messing with the settings and screwed something up :p

    http://youtu.be/LxO29ikMaH0

    Backswing:
    [​IMG]

    Contact and follow through:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
    #76
  27. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Back view:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #77
  28. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    But, notice how much more your shoulders are turned at contact in the large picture than they are in the picture above with the green shirt on. That is a small difference that makes a big difference in the quality of your stroke production. You could make contact about another foot forward and be a little more turned than that. You're making great progress in a short period of time. It took me a long time to get to the point you're at in terms of getting that much rotation before contact, and understanding that that's what I needed to do. Keep up the good work.

    PS: You could set up a little wider and lower still.

    I came across this video of Kei Nishikori practicing. I like his forehand and backhand technique. I also think his technique is easy for amateurs to emulate. Nat all pro strokes are. When watching, try to stop the video at contact and look at how far out front he makes contact and how far his upper body has rotated at contact. Also look at how his racquet path moves in a WW motion parallel to the net.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4RT9pl5pI4&feature=relmfu
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
    #78
  29. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    nishikori uses a western though. but still op should contact further out.

    op's left arm is still opening up too soon.
     
    #79
  30. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Wait wait! I thought the point was to open up the left earlier! I found that this sort of unlocked the rotation, and lets the hitting arm lag behind the body. So I changed my mindset such that I don't think about the right arm swinging the racquet to the ball- rather I start the swing with the left hand coming across, with the resultant shoulder and hip rotation, and the right hand lagging behind. Kinda like a 'one-two' step in my head.

    I found that when the no dominant arm was a little less active, it would get in the way of a good rotation...

    Or do you mean I kinda drop it before I swing across?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
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  31. Cheetah

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    nvm my last statement. rewatched your latest vid. i think it's fine.

    my first impression was that it was too early but upon further analysis i think what originally had me fooled was your style of left arm use. most ppl that have good left arm usage pull their arm over while keep it at pretty much the same height as when they extended it out left. you kind of drop your arm down and then pull it over so it was a little deceptive but i can see that your arm pull is definitely having a positive effect on your rotation for sure. noticeable improvement over your first vids posted. i'm proud of you. good job.

    only thing i can say to improve it, maybe.. others might disagree.. is that you might want to have more of a pronounced left arm extension before you pull across. currently you extend your arm out and then pull it in immediately all in one quick motion. if you look at the top guys they extend their left arm out and it's sticking out there for a moment building muscle tension, waiting to uncoil and lining things up before the pull. kind of like the trophy position in a serve. you stick your arm out and then immediately pull it over and it's almost herky-jerky. not smooth.

    lockandroll fh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMNtq393tvo&feature=related

    fed fh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el_y4QqIpNY&feature=relmfu

    you can see they have a deliberate point, holding it for a moment and then the pull across.
     
    #81
  32. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Thanks for the clarification, and the words of encouragement! Much appreciated.

    Will try to work on the off hand, sometimes I get lazy with it. Along with my legs. Will work on smoothening out the left hand motion, I agree that sometimes to emphasize the motion, I almost feel like I'm jerking it across. Like I want to elbow someone behind me :shock:
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
    #82
  33. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
    #83
  34. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    That's barely a SW, not a W.
     
    #84
  35. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Keeping the left hand on the racquet promotes a full unit turn back. Once you have made a full unit turn and let go with the left hand, there isn't much more backswing with with the arm. Mostly, your grip and wrist are so loose and relaxed that racquet head automatically drops below the hand AS you begin to rotate your right hip forward. That may look like additional backswing, some people mistake that for a circular motion with the hand. The hand may drop slightly, but, it's mostly just suppination of a loose relaxed wrist and forearm. That suppination triggered by the forward rotation of the hip is what distinguished the men's forehands from most of the women's forehands.

    PS: Can you see the difference in your forehand now compared to what it looked like a month ago? It really looks a lot better. How does it feel? How does your ball flight compare to your previous forehand?
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
    #85
  36. Cheetah

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    no. it's the same grip as djokovic. extreme semi western. he has the same takeback and swingpath as djokovic 1.0 too. racquet facing back fence. and racquet in full ptd in slot.
     
    #86
  37. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I think..think being the key word that the left hand should be like you are saying and you want to pull it across almost like you are grabbing something. Same with the serve. I try and think of the left hand as a one handed pull up when I serve and that seems to get me off the ground and not using my arm in the stroke as much as my body.
     
    #87
  38. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    love this thread!

    Greg, you are a very good student!
     
    #88
  39. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Thanks for the kind words guys! Keeps me motivated during this transition.


    @Cheetah:
    Will work on the arm extension. The JY part of the "shootout" gave me more slow motion videos to model off of (not choosing sides over there).
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/public/your_strokes/tlm_forehand/

    Shadowing it, I understand it better. What I currently do is release then drop/drag across. I'll try release, extend/point, then drag across. That should get a bit more shoulder coil.

    @Limpinhitter:
    Thanks for the added clarification. The arc of the ball has dramatically changed. I used to have to hit low over the net, or not swing freely to keep it under control. Now the ball has a higher trajectory, and the added spin brings it down easily, allowing me to hit out. I hit the net waaaay less now. As I mentioned before, it also kind of opened up the court, since I can hit wider angles. Plus, I am a lot more confident going for it on both wings now, whereas before, I would prefer the backhand. Now I prefer running around it.

    @Power Player:
    thanks for the visual! it improved my serve as well!

    @5263:
    Thanks! For a while there, I thought you'd given up on me ;) I still think I need the body/shoulder to be more turned at contact, with the arm a bit further back/wrist layed back more. And contact further in front.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
    #89
  40. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I probably did before we even started to a degree. So few people really want to
    change and have their reasons for what they do. Usually they want to improve,
    but thru what they are already doing....which rarely works though.
    I think your willingness to experiment and listen is exceptional and rare!

    The other problem is actually getting quality advice. You have been able to
    sort thru and end up with some of the best on here....limpin, cheetah, and power player,
    so that was exceptional as well.
    nice process you have going!
     
    #90
  41. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I guess it depends on your definition of Western. By traditional definitions, I would call it a SW grip. But, by modern definitions a Western FH grip is an inverted Eastern backhand grip, with the heel of the palm and the first knuckle of the index finger on the bottom bevel. A SW grip has both on the next to the bottom bevel. To me, it looks like Nishakori's grip is close to, but not quite, a full modern SW grip. Definitely not a Western, though.
     
    #91
  42. Cheetah

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    sometimes i say western when i mean extreme semi western because it's easier to type.

    nishikori uses a thinner than normal grip and he also chokes up on the grip so it's deceptive.

    look at this vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yclUwfV9FiE&t=23s

    You can't swing like that with a semi western. look at the take back the way it comes down into the slot. you said 'barely sw' so i'm assuming you meant close to an eastern. you can't take the racquet back like that with anything near an eastern w/o pain. and with a 4/4 semi western the face will usually have an small angle in the pat the cat position. nishikori's racquet face is square w/ the ground. and sw / eastern the elbow is pronated more to get the ptd. nishikori's has more supination than pronation.

    imho
     
    #92
  43. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    While my elbow is healing...here's some (blurry) backhand love. Amazing how the low wide base, which is an issue with my forehand is naturally present here!

    This is a wide crosscourt angle, so yes I suppose I'm not as turned as I could be...anything catch your eyes?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #93
  44. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    That grip is definitely close to full Western. I notice that your video was posted over a year before mine was posted. I wonder if Nishikori made a little adjustement to his grip in that time? Sure looks like it to me.
     
    #94
  45. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I like your bh. Excellent form. However, I have two pet peeves with the "modern" 1hb. One is the lack of upper body rotation, in contrast with the modern fh and the 2hb. I'm a big fan of the 1hb's like those of Lew Hoad, Rod Laver and Stefan Edberg. (I also like Gustavo Kuerten's swing, but not his grip). They all hit great topspin and traditional drive-slice backhands, and they all had excellent upper body rotation. Of course, a 1hb does not require as much UBR as a forehand because you are hitting from the leading shoulder and the upper body does not obstruct the swing. That's also why it is hit with a closed or neutral stance - you are hitting from the opposite side of your upper body.

    Another pet peeve is the use of elbow straightening in the forward swing. This is a big no-no, IMO. I blame both of these issues to the widespread emulation of Federer's backhand, which I openly consider to be technically flawed, to widespread acrimonious criticism I might add. (I'm also not a big fan of his slice either). Federer compensates for his lack of sufficient UBR and short leverage (from his elbow more than from his shoulder), with excess wrist movement to generate racquet speed. IMO, that explains why his sometimes brilliant bh can become an irratic shankfest. Federer usually gets away with it, not because of his technique, but in spite of it - he has the talent to do it. The rest of us don't.

    Here's a pictogram of of Lew Hoad's topspin 1hb. Lew Hoad is considered by some Aussies (ie: Laver and Rosewall), to be the greatest player of all time, despite his relatively short, injury hampered career. The only thing I would change for a modern player is the grip, to accomodate the higher bounces of modern heavy topspin, and a more low to high swing path made practical by the much larger sweet spots of oversized modern racquets. Notice that he has almost 180 degrees of UBR, and that he straightens his elbow before he begins his foreward swing and swings from the shoulder, not from the elbow.

    [Runs for cover before the rocks and bottles start to fly]

    [​IMG]

    PS: I would also point out that from Hoad's position in pic #4 he could just as easily hit a drive-slice, and there's no way for the opponent to know that until the ball is hit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
    #95
  46. luisdepaula2001

    luisdepaula2001 New User

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    Video Recording

    Greg et all,
    Congrats on a great thread and for all the improvement.
    I want to video record my strokes and as you seen to do a great job, I was wondering what set up are you using?
    - camera?
    - tripod?

    Thanks,
    Luis
     
    #96
  47. Cheetah

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    idk. i could look. i have a lot of nishikori vids bookmarked because he's one of the guys i use for checkpoint reinforcement for my swing. i think he uses an extended racquet too.
     
    #97
  48. Cheetah

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    you need more shoulder turn. chest should face back fence on prep.
    posture could be better. you're hunched over a little and head is bent down too much. should be a straighter line with back and neck.
    not enough weight transfer into the ball. you're leaning back.
    leaning back and not enough shoulder turn means you're arming it.
     
    #98
  49. Avles

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    Pic #4 is the one that makes me wonder though. The wrist flip that Hoad uses, and the extremely open racquet face that accompanies it, seem like they would make this shot touchier and harder to time.

    Hoad's motion seems pretty idiosyncratic. Leaving Federer out of this, compare to some other nice 1hbh:

    Lendl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd2DbLjM3fU
    Almagro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siYXcoPdvx8
    Edberg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD-7VVfB6U8&t=0m44s
    McEnroe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTPbdOhv6dg&t=0m25s
    Henin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdDwMj3_WMA

    None of these players show anything close to Hoad's pic #4 position from what I see. So I'm dubious about recommending that as a model to emulate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
    #99
  50. Cheetah

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