From NTRP-based 3.0 to 3.5 by January 2014 (video diary)

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TomT, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I think you got it Tom!

    Though I am not a huge fan of trying new things in a match even a practice match. If you can cope with the impact a change (even a positive one) will have on your performance and the frustration it WILL cause at first, and all in the midst of a match you are a rare person indeed. Usually I just resort to the bad habits that I am comfy with and neglect the change.

    But tennis shows me all the time that we are all different.

    Good luck and I cant wait to see the vid.
     
  2. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Holding the racquet more up and in front of my body and farther up on the racquet throat and touching the strings with my left index finger shouldn't be a problem. But I'll have to consciously think about doing that for a while I'm sure.

    Doing split step on every opponent shot, and bending knees, and being on balls of feet, etc. will be a little harder, but still doable as long as I keep my mind on doing it.

    Actually running to the optimal spot after hitting a shot (instead of hanging out at the location from where I hit the shot) will be the hardest, primarily because it will take the most energy. But it's definitely a necessary improvement if I'm going to win more matches and thereby increase my rating, so hopefully will find the strength to do it. Consciously at first, like the other stuff, but hopefully enough so that it becomes something I habitually do even when fatigued.

    Thanks for recent input from you, Shroud, and corbind, PRO STAFF, trader1499, et al.
     
  3. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Below is video from my match yesterday, which I lost 6-1 4-6 (2-7 in tiebreak instead of third set). I remember doing some of the stuff I was supposed to concentrate on a few times, but in general I think I basically reverted to my lazy way of playing. Difficult to teach an old dog new tricks. Oh well, will try again next match.
    First Set
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxTlem8dV64
    Second Set
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INOQT-fqUQs
     
  4. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    was this goran vs pete sampras?
     
  5. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    for your groundies.


    you miss in the net 2 much. you hit your back hand rather nicely. on the tougher shots make sure to swing threw it.

    one reason you are hitting it in the net so much is on the harder shots you are slowing down your racket head speed.

    just swing threw every shot, especially considering you want to get better. long misses are 100 percent better than slowing down your racket and hitting it in the net.
     
  6. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    :)

    Thanks for your observations, comments and suggestions josofo.
     
  7. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    1st Set
    1:15 -- I like your move hitting right to the net player as he could nothing with it


    2nd Set
    0:37 -- I’m amazed he came in on THAT ball. He looks pretty heavy so this may seem cruel but there is one very, very easy rule of thumb here. Lob him. If he cannot get it in the air he will never be able to catch up with it to hit it back. If a heavy guy comes in and hits to your corner hit a lob to the OPPOSITE corner (crosscourt lob). If he approaches like he did hitting directly to you then you have the option to lob anywhere.

    So I just paused the video. He is directly at the T service line in the middle of the court when you’re contacting your ball. If you lob him slightly to his BH side he’ll have a horrible time tapping the ball back to you while he’s reaching for the sky with his outstretched backhand.

    Notice you did try to pass him to his FH side. Oddly it looked like he had not much of a problem taking one step right to hit that volley. As such I’m certain going high to his backhand (lob) will prevail. Even if he touches the ball you’ll still win 7 of those 10.

    0:58 -- You force him in (nice way of saying you hit a short ball he should have clobbered) and he’s stuck again at the net. Now he’s well inside the T in the center of the court. He should be in control right? He has you back in the center of the court at the baseline and he’s all big and bad at the net. Well he did not choose to be there and I’ll bet 10-to-1 he’s uncomfortable up there as most are.

    So now you lob to his FH side which makes sense as you’re hitting a FH and lobbing to his FH is the most natural shot. Pause it at 1:02 while he’s off the ground he is about 3’ from the center hitting a FH.

    Imagine if you’d done the same lob but it were 3’ from the center line and he’d have to be up in the air stretching a BH overhead…would look uncomfortable eh? General rule of thumb – lob to the ad court in almost all situations except when playing lefties. I love the net. I can only play at the net. When guys lob to my BH I have to do so much more work and I cannot imagine it’s any easier for a 3.0 or 3.5.

    1:52 -- man he is so favoring his forehand he’s saying put it down the line – and you do! Two seconds later he’s stretched out trying to get back your deep shot. You showed him and you did not even need to hit it very wide.

    Go watch it again from 1:52 TO 1:58 many times. Watch from the time you hit your shot deep to his forehand you just stand over in your ad court literally watching what he’d do. Percentage tennis says that opponent on the run is going to hit it to the center of the court or hit crosscourt. That’s the natural shot. So you need to get moving IMMEDIATELY after hitting your shot. I know it sounds kinda rough but I want you to utilize your knowledge of the game to win points.

    So as soon as you hit that ball move smartly to the center of the court of even shad slightly to your deuce side and even come in about 6’ as normally guys on the run will hit weak balls (short) and you’ll be there to laugh at it and put it away.

    2:06 – He’s half way between the service line and the net. I think your choice there to lob to the FH corner was appropriate but too short. He was toast otherwise.

    3:04 -- Your opponent was smart to move back to the ad side as percentage tennis says you’re gonna hit that backhand CC so he’ll be ready. You had plenty of time to set up and hit a wonderful DTL shot. Not with pace or anything crazy – but I like you did not overhit and put it only as deep as the service line. Loved that shot.

    3:11 -- See his left hand go up in frustration? You hit a wide deuce serve ace. He’s ****ed that he can’t do a thing about it and is enraged. Like why me? How can this guy serve that up to me? This sucks. Yep Tom, your serve sucks for opponents. If you can hit T serves and wide many opponents will internalize that anger and can very often make them hit more erratic on successive points.

    3:24 -- Pause at 3:26. Notice where you are standing as he is hitting the ball? Odds are he’s gonna hit his ball crosscourt so you’d be smart to have already been running that way before he even hits it. You got to the ball but you were off the court when he hit his next shot (he dumped into the net on an open court he should be shot!).

    3:43 -- God I was laughing. He’s standing in the doubles alley to return your serve! You showed him with an ace that was not even close to the T. Serves him right for favoring his forehand…The following serve notice he’s now standing 3’ closer to the middle and was able to easily return the exact same serve.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  8. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Your mileage may vary but some things in general...

    ---If you’re at the baseline and you hit a nice ball with pace in either corner – come in 3’ or more. If you’re a net guy you’ll be running full speed toward the net intercepting their weak reply

    ---The opponent hits a ball from their baseline deep to your corners you need to hit it back crosscourt. Doesn’t have to be perfect but low would be nice. They may flub it or hit a ball you can get to and recover. If you go all macho and go DTL well you’re not playing percentage tennis and may as well swing wildly.

    ---If an opponent hits that deep ball with pace to one of your corners feel free to lob. You’ll have time to get back to the middle of the court and perhaps have another ball to hit. Or the opponent may just crush it. Yet I’ve found most guys suck at hitting overheads. They don’t practice it.

    ---Do not be impatient. When you’ve just hit your seventh ball in a row and the rally won’t end remember he’s just as anxious and angry the ball is still in play. Let him screw up. Keep the ball I play. Let him go for the gorilla shot/unforced error.

    ---Drop shots wear out opponents. They expend energy so much energy running to the net to get your shot. Reward them nicely by lobbing so they can can sprint yet another 30’. By set two they have must less gas to expend. EVERYTHING they do will be affected. That fatigue seeps into making worse serves, worse groundies, and even worse tactical decisions. If you don’t own a good drop shot or lob – go invest.

    ---If an opponent has a huge forehand and puny backhand – make them pay for their disequilibrium. They’ll constantly stand in the ad court goading your to hit to their FH. Do it but hit SHORT to their forehand so they’ll have to run diagonally up to get it. Now they return it and the whole BH side is open for your target practice.

    ---If the other player clearly outclasses you from the baseline likely it’s gonna be a bad day. In long rallies you’ll lose so the rallies will need to be short. Good luck finding an opening in their armor.

    ---Most guys suck at volleying and overheads so make them pay for not practicing them. They spend gobs of hours galloping along the baseline smiling and impressed with their wonderful form. But when they’re in that radioactive area (service line to the net) their mood changes to fear.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  9. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks corbind for taking the time to educate me. I do appreciate it. But I don't want to look at this or any of my previous videos too closely. They're history, and they're embarrassing.

    Fact is, most of the players at my level, including me, can't even sustain a several stroke casual rally. So, this is the primary problem. Not strategy. Not tactics. Not mental preparedness. Nothing but the fact that we simply can't hit the ball consistently well enough. We simply don't have the stroke mechanics to play decent tennis.

    There are, imho, two basic things that I need to focus on in order to raise my average competitive level. First, conditioning. It affects everything. Second, stroke mechanics/shotmaking. If I can get back to the way I used to be able to hit the ball consistently, off both sides, then strategic and tactical considerations will be relevant, but for low level opponents (say, 4.0 and below) mostly obviated.

    That is, I'm pretty sure that I need to hit at least a few thousand more balls, off both sides. I used to hit the ball well enough that I didn't need to be concerned much with conscious strategic or tactical considerations. It just happened intuitively. Hitting a few thousand balls was a matter of a week or so. But things are a bit different now. Not because I don't have the time, but because I don't have the physical ability that I had 38 years ago.

    I'm in my second year of playing tennis, and, somewhat interestingly but not surprisingly given the length of my layoff (38 years is a long time), I'm struggling to get back up to a level that I was once able to play at.

    Anyway, I very much enjoy and do take into consideration your observations, comments, and suggestions.

    I hope you visit south Florida some day so we can hit. Hopefully not too soon so as to give me some more time to get my strokes/shots more grooved. :)
     
  10. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I think these might be some great observations/tips and will return to address each one soon. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  11. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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  12. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Ok. What I do now, in my lazy way of playing, is just hang around from where I hit the ball. Not good. Moving in a bit immediately makes a lot more sense.

    Good point. Going crosscourt from the baseline seems a good general rule to follow. Especially at my level of play. I probably do the DTL approach thing much too often. It's just that I love hitting those low skidding sidespin slice backhands. They're really pretty, and quite effective when they clear the net and stay in the court. Believe it or not, I used to have that shot really grooved. :)

    This is a tactic I hadn't considered before, but will now. I mean, I suppose that many times I have hit lobs off hard hit balls to my corners, but just out of intuitive necessity and not having time to hit a regular stroke. Now I will consider doing it once in a while even if I do have time to hit a regular stroke.

    Yeah, I lose sooooo many points from impatience. At my level 14 stroke rallies are pretty infrequent, but the same advice applies to 4 or 8 or whatever stroke rallies also.

    Yes. This is something I need to do a LOT of work on. Drop shots and lobs.

    Sounds good. Hope I can remember all this stuff. :)

    :) Hmmmm. Ok, this doesn't really help much. But the good news is that, at my level, nobody outclasses me from the baseline. I lose for other reasons. :) But at higher levels they will, and do. So, I need to learn to hit better. Ie., groove the strokes, get more solid on the groundstrokes.

    Yeah, I think this is a really good suggestion, and something that I need to spend more time getting better at. Dropshots and lobs. Dropshots and lobs. Definitely a winning combo at my level.
     
  13. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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  14. RedBeard

    RedBeard New User

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    Your progress is inspiring! I think every part of your game is better than it was a few months ago. You are really close to getting your serve accurate and reliable enough where you'll be able to control points by consistently putting your opponents in uncomfortable positions. Keep up the good work.
     
  15. trader1499

    trader1499 New User

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    Whoa, That's hardy park now Tom?
     
  16. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the comments RedBeard. I don't know about "every part" of my game being improved, but I do feel that I'm hitting a bit better in general.
     
  17. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Yeah. Looks nice, eh!? It has a nice feel to it. Not too fast or slow for my taste. I hope they resurface Riverside Park the same way. It needs it just as much as Hardy Park did.
     
  18. trader1499

    trader1499 New User

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    It looks awesome. Just like George English. Except parking sucks lol. I am trying to get a match out there now.
     
  19. trader1499

    trader1499 New User

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    I played a match at Hardy this morning. Very nice, except for the lines on two of the end courts.
     
  20. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Congrats on your recent wins. Looks like you might just be the favorite in the playoffs. Harry G., who has been ill recently, indicated to me that he's probably not going to try to get the necessary wins to make the playoffs this season, but will be back next season. If he was in the playoffs, then he'd probably be the favorite to win it.

    Got any video of your recent matches?
     
  21. trader1499

    trader1499 New User

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    Thanks Tom. Even if I was the favorite, it doesn't matter when I play Dan because since we played on hard court last time, he will make me play clay and I can't control the match like on hard. It's stupid to me. I don't even want to play on that slippery crap. I was hoping you would play him and take him out. lol Looks like I will play you first round though because of the way they do the seeding with all the matches you played. Unless I purposely lose a couple more matches then I won't be the first seed. lol. I only have one more match scheduled and it's against Paul. Well I have a partner program and a match against a 3.5 next week, but that will just be for legacy scores.

    No video of matches since ours.
     
  22. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I think he's ok with hard courts if you insist. Especially since Hardy has been so nicely resurfaced.

    Please do some videos. If you don't have time to edit them, then I can do it. You can send the large source files via a new feature in gmail. No problemo.

    Good luck against Paul. Make him run. Don't get impatient. And hit out on your serves. Clear and calm mind. Relax. Relax. Nice relaxed grip. Deep breaths when stressed. In and out through the nose (assuming you don't have a deviated septum or some other sort of obstruction ... remember to blow your nose before the match). Absolutely no anger. Once a point is over, it's over. Be tenacious on EVERY point. Hit to good spots. Do not rush your shots. You can beat that guy.

    OMG, I think I've just outlined an approach that will lead to you crushing me when we play. Or maybe not, as, even with you doing all that, I plan to hit SO well and SO beautifully that no amount of calm tenacious...ness will be able to overcome the purity of my game, lazy though it be.
     
  23. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    watch the 10-0 match.

    you played good. you were a little 2 generous with your line calls.

    anyway here is what is going to be key for you.

    positioning while you are moving forward. and doing something with all the short balls while you are at net. because i can see you got some skills. but you are getting lobbed a bit to easily and you need to stand where you can cover these cheesy lobs, when you hit so-so approach shots. when you hit good approach shots sure go right up on the net like you are pat rafter.
     
  24. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I watched it on a small screen and just now on a big monitor. I laughed several times as I got so excited to see your nice shot selection on some winners or points that set up easy winners.

    Maybe this is an illusion but it seemed you were very relaxed out there and took your time hitting your shots. Or it could be this opponent hit the ball softer to you so you took advantage of it and really prepped for your shots. Either way you executed well on your shots and you were in total control.

    You know my penchant for drop shot / lob combo and you pulled that off a few times. Outstanding! I was mentally cheering at my screen when you did those -- you ran that guy ragged. Even when you just chipped balls short he had to come up and you put the pain on him and it brought a smile to my face. (I hope he's not reading this)

    Also, my God they did a great job cleaning up Hardy. It was a hole before now it looks pro. So easy to see the ball and just seems like a better place to play now. In half a year Google Maps will have a new aerial view of it so I'll see it then.
     
  25. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    No need. I was there. :)

    That's generous of you to say. Feels nice to hear it. (And my video editing is done with the intention of, if possible, evoking that impression. :) ) However, truth be told, we both played rather sloppily, even though there were some shots that were ok. The general feeling I take away from that particular encounter was that it was a lot of fun, but the tennis was pretty bad.

    If so, it wasn't intentional. My mind set is to call 'em like I see 'em. Always. And, if I'm not sure, then the call has to go to in favor of my opponent. That's an important, maybe the most important, rule of any match wherein the players are making the line calls. So far, in all my over 100 matches in this league with many differerent opponents, I think that we've all always pretty much followed that rule.

    I agree, and this is a problem I can, and need to, deal with successfully even while my conditioning and stamina remain at relatively low levels compared to my opponents.

    Good point. Yes, some skills, but not yet good enough to consistently win against even the very low level players that constitute most of my opponents. I've been doing far too many just mediocre or even really bad approaches. Especially recently since my Crohn's has been flaring a bit more than usual.

    Pat Rafter is a particular favorite of mine. I love watching that guy play his especially beautiful, but very physically demanding, style of S&V tennis.

    Not to make excuses, but my raw physical feeling, because of the Crohn's disease, just affects everything I do on court, as well as my ability to get more fit via intense practice. The 10-0 match, while lots of fun, is an example. The match following that one I felt even worse. As I write this my abdomen is bloated, distended with a persistent sort of pressure and low level pain, and I haven't even eaten anything in about 8 hours or so.

    Thanks for your comments josofo. Post some vids if you've got 'em.
     
  26. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    That's nice to hear corbind. Especially since my 'shot selection' is almost entirely intuitive or automatic, ie., not conciously done. It gives me hope for improvement as long as I can log sufficient court/practice time to improve my ball striking.

    Not an illusion, I think. The one thing I am able to do consistently, at least when not overheated or overly stressed, is r e l a x. :) I'm by nature a rather relaxed (read: laid back to the point of lazy), albeit occasionally hyperactive, sort of person.

    A factor in this particular match was that I was feeling especially not good (due to my Crohn's), and also my opponent was still recovering from a recent bout with streptococcal pharyngitis. But, no excuses. Both of our games severely suffer from the inability to hit consistently solidly off both sides. We both just need to hit a ton more balls.

    Well, yeah, this opponent hits a ball that's really easy to hit back. I do have the feeling with this opponent that I can win any/every point. However, he did win this particular match. So, I don't suppose that I was in total control.

    You came to mind as I viewed the video. I do very much think that I should be doing this sort of thing a lot more than I currently do. Extremely effective. Drop shot/lob, or deep shot/drop shot, etc. Anything to get the opponent running about frantically. :)

    Haha, well, it wasn't enough to win this particular match. But the playoffs are what matter. We're both in the playoffs, and if we meet there, then I will win.

    He's a naturally strong and fit late 40s type of guy. Pretty tenacious, but with some serious flaws in his game.

    Oh, I hope he is reading this. Part of the 'lubricating' process (in preparation for the 'shafting' :) ) to get him mentally prepared to lose if we meet in the playoffs. :) Doesn't matter if he knows that that's what's happening, because he also knows that my game is just better than his. No matter how tenacious he is, or how many shots he's able to bunt back, he's going to lose our next match.

    They really did do a great job. I like the color combo, and it plays nicely. An aerial view of it would be cool.

    Thanks for your comments corbind. I hope that my future matches will incorporate more of your suggested drop shot/lob combos, as well as many nicely placed volley drop shots.

    May the force be with you.
     
  27. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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  28. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Update on the 2013 Summer Season in the www.tennisftlauderdale.com affiliate of the Tennis League Network.
    The season ended on Aug 25. I finished with a 6-14 record. I made the playoffs for the lower B Division. I had the worst won/loss differential, -8, so no bye. Might play tomorrow evening for a place in the semifinals. I'm super psyched. haha
     
  29. trader1499

    trader1499 New User

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    Please win so I can have my revenge in the semifinal. lol
     
  30. Velvet Ga el

    Velvet Ga el Rookie

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    This video was awesome. Your opponent may be in the lead for "World's Most Disinterested Serve." :). Seriously, I'd like to think it was just smooth, but I'm not sure I've ever seen less body movement/rotation in a serve.

    When I get a chance, I'll post some substantive thoughts. Really like where your serve is at right now and some other parts as well.
     
  31. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold. But it will probably be really hot and humid when we play. Nevertheless, I anticipate an exciting and highly competitive match with virtually everything in it: forehands, backhands, serves, volleys, overheads, underheads, changes of end, water breaks, video, new balls, conversation, and, perhaps most importantly, conventional scoring.

    Of course, I must first beat Luis, but in order to do that I must first play Luis, and it just rained a little while ago. Hopefully the courts will be dry enough by 6PM. I'm having my lunchtime beer now, contemplating a nap. I actually carbed up last night in anticipation of increased energy needs. I will be carbing up for our match also trader, so you best bring your A game because I will be bringing my B game. (Whatever the heck that means.)

    I will NOT be goofing around. OK? I'm talking total semi-seriousness. Or vice versa? The only goofing around will be before and after the match, during warmup and breaks, and if I can work it into a game or two ... preferably while you're serving.

    Oh, by the way, it's my understanding that the league admin has instituted a speed limit on 3.0 serves, citing the observation that, "It's pretty obvious that it's just silly for a 3.0 rated player to be serving over 90 mph. After all, we're promoting tennis, not wiffleball." Or words to that effect, whatever the heck any of that is supposed to mean. Personally, I couldn't care less, but just FYI, so you might want to keep your serves down to around 85 mph or, preferably, lower, so as not to incur a fine or whatever. (I've heard rumors of fines, mandatory wind sprints, "drop and give me 50", presumably pushups, etc. I don't put any stock in the rumors of waterboarding, lashing, or organ removal without anesthesia, but just to be on the safe side you might want to limit your serves to around 75 mph or so. I think that's enough of a margin to keep you out of trouble.)

    But seriously, best of luck to you if we do happen to meet in the playoffs. Oh! Would ya look at that. hahahahaha I have my fingers crossed.

    Ok, just kidding, but really, do you want to be the sort of vengeful person who would hit disgustingly fast serves and difficult groundstrokes to a diseased old man who can barely catch his breath between points, and who is clinging to life by a thread of a hope that one day he might win a playoff?

    Or, would you rather be a good, kind and loving person who eschews cutthroat competition, values cooperation, and plays by the Golden Rule, ie., hit to your opponent (me) as you would have him (me) hit to you (you)? Or something approximating that?

    :)
     
  32. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Awesome? Hmmm. Anyway, yeah, Bob is in possession of a most casual service motion. Mostly arm and wrist I would say. Not a whole lot going on there. But, then again, I repeatedly come up with ways to screw up the return. :)

    Thanks for the comments as always Velvet (Ga el), or R. Substantive thoughts are always welcomed and considered, however I think it's pretty clear that I just need to hit a few thousand more of every kind of shot. :)

    I'm working on it. Hopefully will get a few guys interested in some really intense drilling during our short offseason period.
     
  33. trader1499

    trader1499 New User

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    You sure do have a way with words Tom. Hahahaha I can't tell if you are talking trash or asking for mercy... :twisted: Perhaps, both. :oops: I saw the result of your match. I'm sorry we won't be meeting next. The good thing for me in all this is that if I end up playing Dan, I am the higher seed and he will have to play on hard court. None of this clay court stuff. This is good for me as I am a blaze of confidence right now!!! :twisted:

    I'll look to play with you again soon. I saw the Dayton Woods guy signed up for next season and now he is a 4.5. I am really looking forward to playing him now that I have been playing longer than a month. I want to see if I can get some games off him next time.

    By the way.... No mercy. On anyone! lol :p
     
  34. trader1499

    trader1499 New User

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    By the way. I don't know what my harder serve speeds are. I would love to know because I am going to start working on my serve again and tweeking it to get it better. I'd like to compare our harder serves to see the differences. I do like that I have the ability to place it where I want for the most part. It's just a matter of making sure it's in the box of course.

    I know that nearly everytime I go for the service box on the outside of the court, it's pretty much a point for me everytime. I did this 3 times in a row in a practice match. I really need to work on this more, because many people I play now are standing towards the middle of the box as if they are going to stop the serve down the middle. This is the time to go for that outside box because it is an easy ace or unreturned shot. Also the body serve works well, though you have to turn up the speed or they just bunt it back.

    How can we find out how hard we are serving? Ask a cop with a radar gun? lol I want to know so I can see how much I have to turn it up.
     
  35. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    ^^
    Not sure how to break it to you, but, ummm, what will knowing that figure do for you? With a radar gun or fancy gizmos say if you were told your max serve speed for a serve that went in that day was 74.7. What would you do with that? You'd ask your cohorts how fast they serve and they'd say, "Ummm, no clue. How do you know your fastest serve speed?" You'd tell them but really that figure means nothing to them since they have no figure for comparision (like a shoes size or...).

    So you'd have to serve at one another to see who has the faster serve. Perhaps you could "win" the bragging rights if your serve seems a lot faster than his. I see a LOT of guys on here all amped up on how fast their serve is. Lotta things with that really make no difference as placement is pretty important. Getting that 74.7mph serve IN kinda matters! If you get it on 1 in 15 well that's not workin' too well. I'd rather have a 50mph kick serve to the corners any day of the week (and you're opponents would hate you).

    Also fast serves are actually easier to return! I suppose I should rephrase that. Given the choice of returning flat fireballs or someone's kick/slice I always have a harder time correctly judging speed/spin/angle of kick/slice. Flats just go one way and ya just block 'em back.

    Phew, too much typing here. I remember your serve from months back and you've done wonders to improve it. Worry about speed later. Learn to PLACE it in the box first, then placed deep, then a specific location in the box. Once you have the placement thing down you can ramp up your speed gradually. It's a lot easier to progress in that manner than just hitting gorilla serves hoping they'll go in. I've seen guys do that and I just laugh because I'm a percentage guy and know they're giving away points.
     
  36. trader1499

    trader1499 New User

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    Nah man. I just want to hit it hard and not get it in the box. Totally man! It's funny how the harder my serve gets the more I hold serve and win matches.... :confused:Must be lucky...
     
  37. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Yes, both. But it was all for naught. I was preparing you for the bomb I was going to drop on you by way of accurate and heavy hitting. Unfortunately, the bomb I attempted to drop on Luis exploded while still in the bay of my once proud and very briefly high flying playoff plane.

    That's good. You went, in a very short time, from being a player I knew I could beat to a player who presents a great competitive challenge to me. You're on the cusp (thay that with a lithp ... cuthp) of entering the 3.25 ranks and knocking on the door of the coveted 3.5 rating.

    As well you should, for I would still consider it a sort of personal victory if I were to win against you in offseason play.

    Right now, however, I have an intense desire to crush Luis with a dazzling display of accurate and heavy hitting (or maybe I'll try some other approach ... at least until I can hit good shots more consistently).

    He and several other 4+ players have signed up. Looks like it's shaping up to be another two (or maybe three) division season.

    That's the spirit! For what it's worth, I hope you win the B Division title this season. Not only because you've worked hard for it, but because when I beat you during the offseason it will be that much sweeter. :)
     
  38. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I'd guess that your hardest serve is a few mph faster than my hardest serve. I'm changing my approach a bit though. Going to seriously work on acquiring a dependable spin serve. The first step is for me to turn more sideways at the beginning of my serve motion. What that does is to make it more likely that I'll hit up and across the ball rather than head on, and it will require a pronation (which my current flat serve doesn't) to get some speed on the ball.

    In reviewing my serves from some vids, I noticed that against most players the flat serves, no matter how hard I hit them, are usually blocked back short, and that presents problems for me. The spin serves, especially the slice out wide to the deuce court are actually much more effective in producing mishits and off center hits that go a bit farther into my court usually and are easier for me to handle than the really short dinks.

    So, the idea will be to continually mess with the opponents timing (rather than just taking time away) via spin and placement, and at the same time having a much more reliable serve.

    Anyway, it's something to try. For sure what I'm doing now isn't working. But I have to also keep in mind that my difficulties are mainly due to the fact that my strokes, in general, are just not up to par yet.

    Being able to hit the fast one is a good weapon to have. I'm also glad that I can hit it hard when I want to. But keep in mind that the better players won't have any big problems with it no matter how hard you hit it. Unless you break into the 110 mph plus range with placement and consitency. I know that I would never be able to hit a serve that fast. I'm not sure about you. But hey, go for it. But also keep in mind that your achilles heel (as with me and most people) is that second serve. You can adopt the approach of hitting two first serves as I did for a while. When it's really grooved it works really well, at least against weaker players. But it's just so much harder to keep the fast flat one grooved than to just develop a good spin serve, in my current opinion.

    As far as I know, we will probably never have access to an accurate method of measuring the speed of our serves. But you know when you're serving hard (and harder) and when it's effective. That's really all that's necessary I think.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  39. TomT

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  40. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    I don't get broken much in my serve game and it's mostly because of the variety that I throw in serve. I mix up kick, top, slice on first serve and for second I do more kick, my attempt at twist, and slice. The fastest I hit a flat with a radar gun was 110. I would say I probably can hit about 80-90mph or so with some consistency for a flat serve but I do that only about 20% of the serves. The rest have some spin component in them to just make it hard for them to return. I'm not going for aces but the points are usually from their mis-hits off the serve.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  41. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the comments Dimcorner. I've seen your matchplay videos so I know you have a nice serve. Especially for 3.0 level. Are you rated higher yet?

    I spent some time today experimenting with various changes in my serving motion to facilitate spin serves. It's going to take a while to develop something that's effective that I can really groove. Interestingly, when I go back to my old, usual way of serving it just feels so much easier, though I'll never be able to hit kick or twist serves using that motion.

    Oh well, a work in progress, eh?
     
  42. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Imagine I can be a bearer of good news and a bearer of bad news. Which would you like me to be? I'm no expert and I'll likely get slammed by others for saying this but...I don't think you NEED to have any other type of serve. You have a very fine serve and it works well.

    I'm figuring you're 65 now so coming up with a few other serves, although nice, may not be kind to your arm or longevity in the sport. Still you could and maybe should experiment with different serves and see how the feel on your wrist, arm, elbow, shoulder, and back as well as how they're hitting the box.

    From your videos I think you serve is decidedly above the 3.0 level unless somehow I'm never seeing the second serve. Have you asked your opponents (like trader) what you could improve on your serve?
     
  43. TomT

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    Hey Corbind. Yeah, a good case could probably be made for just sticking with my current basic way of serving, and just practicing sufficiently to make it more consistent.

    Yes, 65, and adopting any changes in order to hit variations on topspin serves will definitely depend on them not causing any pain. Regarding what I'm experimenting with currently, it does cause some discomfort, but not any actual pain yet. Maybe the discomfort is just my body adjusting, or maybe it's my body telling me that those movements will eventually cause me chronic problems in the future if I persist in doing them. Right now, and considering your comments, I'm leaning toward erring on the side of caution and just sticking with the way I've been doing it because, although not technically optimal, it's really a stress-free way of serving, even hard serves.

    There are examples in the vids of me hitting both first and second serves. That is, where I don't edit out the first serves that I missed. More in some vids than in others.

    Actually, in quite a lot of the snippets of just one serve it's the second serve. My first and second serves are pretty much the same serve. Often the first is actually slower than the second, because I'm experimenting with something or other.

    When I was just concentrating on grooving my usual serve I was getting comments (from all my opponents) on how much it was improving. On the other hand, as I experimented more and more with slight variations in my serve, I got comments on how I seemed to be having problems with my serve. :)

    Ok then. As of now, I've decided to just stick with what's worked for me, but to make it as good and consistent as I possibly can. At least I won't have to worry about injury from trying to do more stressful motions that maybe my body just isn't able to recover from any more.

    The key is in leaning into and synchronizing a slightly farther away from me and slightly farther into the court toss with a fluid motion and swing, all consistent with my usual way of serving, in order to maximize the probability of making optimal contact on each and every serve, as well as sort of propelling me into the court.

    Thanks for your comments corbind. Very helpful. I'm excited about practicing during the offseason and about the upcoming Fall Season in the tennisftlauderdale.com affiliate of the Tennis League Network. A number of higher rated players who sat out the summer season have signed up for the fall season. Also, I'm itching for revenge against some of my 3.0 peers who beat me in league matches this past season. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  44. TomT

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    Some video from Monday morning (Labor Day) practice match. All the points are there. The only stuff I edited out was non-playing stuff. My opponent won this match, 10-game pro set, 10-2. He's a 4.0 in the tennisftlauderdale.com affiliate of the Tennis League Network. I'm a 3.0. I've played him a bunch of matches, both league and practice. Haven't won one yet. Closest I've gotten has been 6-4 6-2 if I recall correctly. He's capable of much better playing, because I've seen him play and do well against higher rated opponents. He doesn't like to admit it, but he takes it easy when he's playing me.

    Anyway, here's the YouTube links, and, to enhance your amusement, stats from the match.
    Games 1 to 7
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScJtA7T_yq4
    Games 8 to 12
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtNsj-YkKa8

    --------------------------------ME-------OPPONENT
    1st Serve % in----------------- 48%--------51%
    2nd Serve % in-----------------67%---------94%
    Total Serve % in----------------54%---------65%
    Double Faults--------------------7------------1
    Service Winners------------------5------------2
    Aces-----------------------------3------------1
    Unforced Errors------------------21-----------12
    Winners--------------------------4------------20
     
  45. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I know the last time I commented on a lot of the videos you said you don't go back to watch what I spoke of. But please go watch this one. I love the sequence at 3:51. He was a step or two behind the baseline and you sliced a ball to mid court. He begrudgingly came in (but made a nice first step to get movin'). Once he chipped the ball back to you he came in (which is perilous for he's a big man). You had time to set up in your BH corner to patiently measure out your lob and............winner. Perfect speed and placement and your opponent knew as soon as you hit it he was toast. He shuffled a tiny step but he knew.

    Certainly he had the goods when hitting from the baseline and you would not fare well winning sets trading groundies. His FH was evil enough. He chipped every BH but they were fairly accurate. He knows his limitations and just gets the BH shots back for the most part and waits for a FH to haul off on. But if he had to come in on say 5-8 balls you chip short he'd have some problems. Unless he could hit decent approach off your mid court (or shorter better) he'd face the dire consequence of you lobbing to either corner that's open. Even if he did not expend energy trying to run down your lobs he's be a psychological mess.

    "Damn that TOM! He keeps lobbing me. Why can't he just play a traditional baseline game? I'd kick his rear. God I hate his short ball/lob combo. I want to sock him in the head. Grrrrrrr!" Or something to the effect.

    Before I even watched the videos I was shocked at his 92% second serve in percentage. That's really good. The other figure that was shocking was his unforced error to winner ratio. Not sure what you've encountered (or the rest of the forum) but his UE were about half of his winners! That is OUTSTANDING for rec tennis.

    Seems most people don't really know or keep track of that stuff but would it be appalling if the majority of people hit TWO UE for ever winner? That's easily the case in what I see on my doubles courts. Dunno if the 2-to-1 UE/winner ratio is that in singles too. Generally speaking at the rec level you'll always have more UE than winners on a given day. We all go for more than we're capable of delivering because it's fun, we're not getting paid to win, and it's just more fun to hit out.

    A few odd questions. What time of day was it? Long shadows so 8am or 6pm? What's the name of the park? Saw the water spot on the right side of screen as well as the dirt sediment where the water pools collect.

    Oh, at the U.S. Open when it rained like mad yesterday they showed all 5 courts. I was SHOCKED that those courts were not almost perfectly flat. There seemed to be ripples and high/low spots. How can that be at such a grandiose joint?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  46. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    Nice vids.

    I played a 3.5 here that was about as big as that guy but with a cannon of a serve. I beat him by playing drop shots (well... my attempts at drop shots) to the sides then do a loopy return to the other. Sure he got some points from bad attempts by me to put it over him, but by the middle of the 1st set he was DONE, he could barely serve! I also hit to his backhand quite a bit since he only chipped it back. Finally I tried it keep it really low on forehand or really high since he did have a good flat forehand. Beat him 6-4 and 6-1 (by 2nd set he could not chase anything down).

    I think if you played him like this you will beat him just by making him run like mad! :) Loose the battle but win the war at the end!

    As for the ratio of UE to winners, it depends I think. I played this labor day weekend 1 set with 3 different 3.0 players at a club and I won them all at 6-0 (first time that has happened ever!). I would say I had a handful of winners only but they made quite a few errors. I don't know whether to consider them UE or not because I was pushing them around sideways and back hand forth so I guess I could call that forced errors?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  47. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I don't recall saying that. But then I don't recall a lot of stuff. However, if I recall correctly, I usually do look at what you reference in the video if I don't recall it from my memory of the match.

    OK.
    Yeah. I have fond memories of that shot. The point unfolded perfectly. I couldn't help but hit a winning lob.
    I agree that that's a way to beat him. The dropshot/lob combo. Actually, those are shots that I've never ever practiced, but I think that I would do well to start practicing them in earnest. It's definitely a key to beating lots of players in low level rec tennis, because they're relatively safe shots (ie., should produce much fewer unforced errors on my part as opposed to, say, attempts at down the line winners).
    It was 94%. He made 16 of 17 second serves. Which shouldn't be shocking considering how slow he hits his second serve. At the pace that he (and most people at lower rec levels) hits his second serve he should always have a 100% second serve in percentage. Don't you agree?

    That has mostly to do with my lack of mobility and laziness. Against better (and more mobile) players at least half of those shots that were 'winners' against me would just be good shots that would help him control rallies, but not winners.

    However, I've seen him play better players, and he's capable of a rather higher level of play than what I have on video from when he's played me. I would guess that in most matches against better players than me (but still rather low rec levels of between upper 3.5 to 4.0+) the UE/Winners ratio is somewhat closer, unless one player or the other is having an unusually good or bad day.
    I don't think so. In fact, the usual UE/Winner ratio at my level is probably more like 3/1 and maybe even higher. In Monday morning's match (the one you're referencing here) my UE/Winner ratio was 5/1. In yesterday evening's match (the video and stats from which I'll be posting after I finish this reply to you) my UE/Winner ratio is 2.8/1. In this evening's match (which have yet to do the video and stats for -- and which I won, 10-4) I suspect that my UE/Winner ratio is even less. In fact, in today's match, most of my UE's came in the last 4 games, as I was up 9-1 before that but then just made a bunch of UE's for no good reason.
    I agree.
    We started at 7:30 AM.
    Riverside Park near downtown Fort Lauderdale. Just a few blocks from my home courts, Hardy Park. They just resurfaced Hardy Park. It looks, and plays, fantastic now. I hope they resurface Riverside Park as well. It sort of needs it. One good thing about Riverside Park tennis courts is that they never lock it up. So you can play at daybreak. Hardy Park, on the other hand, is closer to a main street (Andrews Avenue) and downtown, and there is a problem with the massive homeless population in Fort Lauderdale. So, they lock it up at around 9 PM and unlock it at around 9 AM. Some people with money and political connections have keys to Hardy Park. I don't have either, but I'm working on it. :) Maybe I can shame them into giving me a key. haha
    Now that is surprising to me. I can only suppose that sunlight, rain, snow, and variations in temperature have, over time, done that, as I would also suppose that they have the technology to make almost perfectly flat courts.
     
  48. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Below is video and stats from yesterday evening's match. My opponent is a 3.5 in tennisftlauderdale.com . He won this match, a 10 game pro set, 10-1.

    Games 1 to 5
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M42BVhB_8M0
    Games 6 to 11
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouYgzB0LsZI

    --------------------TOM----------OPPONENT
    1st Serve in-----------55%--------------66%
    2nd Serve in-----------68%--------------85%
    Total Serve in----------59%--------------71%
    Double Faults-----------6------------------2
    Service Winners---------0------------------0
    Aces-------------------1-------------------0
    Unforced Errors---------28-----------------16
    Winners----------------10-----------------17
     
  49. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. Could be a lot better. I'm going to get one of those fence mounting poles sometime soon. Also, a camera with a wider field of view. That way the player on the far side will never be obscured by the player on the near side, and the corners of the near side will be in the field of view.
    Great strategy. Against lots of players. I really need to practice on those shots and develop them into weapons.
    Nice work. You said you were a 3.0 in a thread of yours. Has your rating increased at all?
    I think you're right. Actually, if I just cut down on my unforced errors on routine groundstrokes I might have a chance against him. But, yeah, the strategy of dropshot/lob would probably tire him out. I know it tires me out. :)
    Well, it's always a more or less subjective consideration. But there are also more or less objective criteria that contribute. Eg., common sense regarding what a player at a certain level should be able to do with a certain shot in a certain situation. It's usually easy enough to decide whether a player's missed shot was actually forced by the opponent's shot or whether he just missed because of bad preparation or bad stroking.
     
  50. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Vids and stats from Wednesday evening match. Opponent is a 3.0 in our league. I won this match, a 10 game pro set, 10-3.

    Games 1 to 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O51etO-OEZ4
    Games 4 to 8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvxoYpdFmoo
    Games 9 to 13
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yabZ1m3XQY

    --------------------------------TOM----------OPPONENT
    1st Serve in--------------------55%--------------48%
    2nd Serve in-------------------59%--------------96%
    Total Serve in------------------56%---------------66%
    Double Faults--------------------7------------------1
    Service Winners-----------------6-------------------0
    Aces----------------------------2-------------------0
    Unforced Errors-----------------21------------------25
    Winners------------------------14-------------------6
     

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