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. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I wasn't sure what to do with that one. I think I felt that I didn't have time to take it on the rise, so I just shuffled back. Actually, it wasn't that shot, but the one after it that lost me that point. I hit a dinky soft blooper right to him while he's at the next, and he hits a drop volley. I should have just lobbed him again, or just stroked a nice passing shot to one side or the other ... but no, I hit a blooper right to him. Another example of the extreme laziness both mental and physical that characterizes my current playing.

    Yes, there's actually a few players who I should be able to beat just by hitting to their backhands.
    I was really lethargic during that match. I expect to win against that guy next time we play.

    We had several games that went multiple deuces. I remember one that had to be a couple of dozen deuces. Your typical 3.0 comedy of errors.

    Thanks for comments and suggestions corbind. I've got a match tomorrow against a 3.5 lady. Will post video. Actually, she's got pretty good strokes and is the sort of player, unlike the guy from the last match, who should be able to pass me a lot. We'll see. She's 30 years old, very fit, played some organized tennis in the Middle East somewhere, and beat me 10-3 in our only previous match.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  2. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    You my friend are far from "Misguided". Think how EVERYONE is trained these days in the "Modern Game", it's baseline! So you force them forward and they have no clue!

    I've had guys on this forum debate me to death that baseline is the modern game and no need for all court. My reply has always been "Why not learn ALL OF TENNIS"?

    Then they go back to their platitudes. Tom has a HUGE advantage over these drones by bringing back and perfecting what USED TO WORK, in addition his courts are probably fast, so......
     
  3. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    They are a joke! I beat pros, but since I'm not presently ranked I can't say I'm a 7.0? Fed stops being a "World class pro", what is he a 6.0? Mick can play at a level that shocks me, then can't hit the ball, what is his ranking?

    I'm 6.0 because I WAS ranked, but since I'm not ranked, what I have to say I'm 5.5? IT'S A JOKE!

    I realize many like to categorize things, but you can't in Tennis. What, am I 6.0 when in shape, then 6.0 for first set, then 3.5 for the second because I can't breath or my leg is killing me?
     
  4. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Good looking boy huh? Tall, long legs and arms. Hard to believe yesterday I was whipping his butt!
     
  5. TomT

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  6. mightyrick

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    I wanted to continue to hammer the reinforcement of importance of early preparation. Especially in players who are older or mobility-challenged.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fihT1qg451w&t=2m58s - Here, you are off to one side and you do an excellent job of anticipation and preparation of your opponent's shot. Even though you missed it, you had a great play on the ball.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Znq5EWZCME&t=1m32s - On the second shot, again, excellent preparation. You were moving to the ball the moment she started to make her move. You actually overran it just a tad, but since your feet were lively, you made a quick adjustment and got a good shot back. However, you didn't prepare early on her next shot, and she chipped it by you.

    I see you moving a lot better in these videos -- especially on net approaches. The only thing I'd say about your net approaches is to only rush to the inside of service line. This will give you more time to respond to your opponent and volley at a more comfortable height.
     
  7. TomT

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    In the latest match (Sunday, April 14) it became even more evident to me that currently the main obstacle to winning is my reduced fitness and strength level.

    After breaking my opponent's serve in the very first game of the match, I then dropped 4 straight games. But all was not yet lost as I got a sort of second wind in games 6 and 7. Won game 6, holding my serve for the first time, but then dropped game 7.

    Game 7 was the crucial game of the match. I must have had at least 6 break points in it. Just couldn't convert. So, instead of it being 4-3 and back on serve, it's 5-2 and I dropped the next 5 games.

    My positive take on this is that fitness and strength levels are improving, and that's something that will continue as long as I just do something every day to tax my system, eat good, drink lots of water and sleep and rest sufficiently.

    Will post the rest of the vids from Sunday's match later today.
     
  8. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    It's appreciated mightyrick. The hammer of early preparation! :)

    Actually, that lob/shot went in, hit the corner. (If it's the same one you're talking about, which I think it is. You can hear her say "no, it's in" after I asked her if it was out.)

    Yeah, that was my tiredness/weakness taking over, which was a factor in pretty much every exchange. But fitness level is improving, and as it does so will anticipation and early prep, I think.

    Good point. Yes, I think I might be coming too far in sometimes. When we were volleying during the warmup I was closer to the service line than the net and was hitting them well. So, this is another thing I have to keep in mind. I can see that staying a bit farther from the net will help me to deal with dippers as well as cut off the angles better ... and also be in a better position to deal with lobs.

    Thanks mightyrick. Very helpful.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  9. TomT

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  10. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Serving practice from Monday (April 15):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCXfNt1p2TM

    Note: After some progress in latter part of 2012, serve is now less than satisfactory and less consistent on returning from illness. Need more body torque. Not sure if there's a way to do it that won't put stress on my body that it can't handle. For now, this motion is easy and should be able to get back up to speed with it. But need something better to win or even just compete well against higher rated opponents.
     
  11. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    C'mon now. It doesn't look like you could beat even a 4.5 judging from your vids. Your strokes are 4.0 level, not even 4.5. Lacking fundamentals all over the place. Poor control, poor wrist usage and weight transfer, low spin potential, uncoordinated movements, over the shoulder finish on every fh, semi-pancake serve, etc etc etc. You couldn't even hit 3 in a row over the net and that was playing with your son. A 6.0 wouldn't get a forum and talk about what a 'joke' the ranking system is.
    6.0 pfffft! hahaha.

    What pros did you beat?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
  12. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Serving is just a way to start a point. No need for aces or double faults. The reality is your current serve suffices if you are not double faulting much and the opponent is not winning a disproportionate number of points on the return of serve or subsequent hit.

    You CAN win with your current skills. It's the point construction or mental (chess) match that can do it for you.

    A very skilled player can lose to one with "inferior" strokes as long as the weaker player compensates with a great understanding of point construction and mental stamina. I don't possess any of the aforementioned...
     
  13. TomT

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    Yes I agree corbind. Problem is that I don't have a topspin serve. I just don't know how to do it, and when I try to do it then my wrist and hand hurt. So I just do the basically flat serve (maybe it has a little slice on it).

    I can hit it slow enough to just get it in virtually every time. Maybe I should try playing some matches that way (?), because my double fault count is way up since coming back from being sick. I had progressed to the point where I was getting both 1st and 2nd serves in at > 70%, and winning what seemed like a fairly high percentage of my service points. Whatever it was, it's way down now, so I've just been working on the same serve to try to get the consistency back up.

    Agree, and in my current situation my mental stamina/abilities are greatly affected by my physical stamina. I can mentally override the physical limitations only to a certain extent.

    So, maybe I actually should try just develop a nice, much slower speed, slice serve that I can get in over, say, 90% of the time? I'm not really sure what to do. It took me months to get to where I was at around December of 2012 (with a relatively hard serve on both 1st and 2nd, which was a weapon against players at my level and slightly above). Now it seems that a significant bit of consistency, as well as some speed, was lost during the months of inactivity when I couldn't play. So now it's a liability rather than a weapon.

    I'm guessing that you probably have a very solid attacking game (incorporating a good understanding of point construction and a relatively high degree of mental stamina). At least that's what your comments indicate to me. Even if not, I appreciate the comments.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
  14. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    From my videos? Torn ligament in my left leg and I'm supposed to have surgery, do you see me move? Golfers Elbow, MOST wouldn't even walk onto the court, I'm hitting only arm shots without my body yet as you say still look 4.5. My serves are about 80%, yet where do you see me jump?

    Yea, injured I'd lose against a 3.0 player or anyone in shape.
     
  15. TomT

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    Mick, please don't reply to Cheetah in my thread. Thanks.
     
  16. Sup2Dresq

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    TomT,

    Keep up the hard work. You seem to have a good attitude.
     
  17. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Yes I know you're injured. Doesn't matter. We can still determine your form/level. Don't call yourself a 6.0 on a tennis forum and expect people to not call you out on it.
     
  18. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Sup2Dresq. I'm gettin' stronger slowly but steadily. I might be ready to hit with you guys in a couple of weeks. Any vids of your tennis? Sorry if I already asked you that. I saw that vid of Drakulie. He looks like he's a very formidable tennis player. If you're on his level then I'll need at least two weeks of steady improvement just to keep up with you in practice hitting.

    More serving practice this evening, and some hitting. Vids at 11. :)
     
  19. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Cheetah, what I said to Mick goes for you too. Take your argument somewhere else please. Thanks.
     
  20. Sup2Dresq

    Sup2Dresq Hall of Fame

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    I don't have any video of me hitting or demonstrating my tennis skills. Beer drinking skills..well that's a different matter.

    Old Drakulie may have taken me in drinking back in the day. Now he's a noob in the bar world. Sad how some people let themselves go in that deparment.. LOL (kidding).

    At no time could I have kept up with Moz with drinking. To this day he's my hero of yawn yack and 007 references. Just remember not to feed him hard boiled eggs before he passes out (Thanks Topaz).

    p.s. I'm losing my bar drinking skills though.. sad day for the south florida bar scene.
     
  21. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    OK Sup2Dresq. :) Good info. (especially the egg thing ... ewww) That reminds me I have to check out Moz's thread.

    You refer to "Old" Drakulie. He looks pretty young in the vid of him hitting groundstrokes (on the Har-Tru at the Tennis Club I presume). If you're younger than him I'm in real trouble. But then again, I'll probably learn a thing or two that will help my tennis game.

    As for the bar scene, having spent many tens of thousands of dollars in bars and clubs (both swanky and sleazy ... though I prefer sleazy, the seedier the better) from NYC to Miami over the years, I can happily report that I am no longer enamored of that part of my previous lifestyle. Mostly because my Golden Years budget doesn't allow it, but also because my system's ability to dissipate the wonderful, yet toxic, fine liquors and craft beers has greatly diminished. I have to suppose that there would be nothing quite so boring for the more stable, and mostly much younger, bar/club patrons than to hear some hammered old guy carrying on about stuff that happened before they were born. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
  22. Moz

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    I'd like to point out that the side effect of those eggs has become much exaggerated over the years!
     
  23. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    haha :) I think I'm experiencing some (a lot?) of that myself.

    Which reminds me, I need to get some eggs. Thanks Moz. :)
     
  24. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Some more vids.

    Rallying after match last week
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZXSXs0iQ8

    Match from yesterday
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYUwDiWhVIA

    Playing another match in about an hour. Will hopefully get some more vid. Not that it matters that much. I don't think I'm going to play a whole lot different than I did yesterday, and have been since the season started ... which is very lethargically. Yesterday was especially bad. I was going at about half speed it felt like. Everything hurt, I was blurry headed, overheated, and had a very uncomfortably bloated gut from about the second game on.

    I felt much better earlier in the day. I think I ate too close to match time. Some Jamaican meat patties. Maybe the wrong thing to eat an hour before playing. All I know is that I went from thinking how strong and good I felt at about 10am riding around on the bike to thinking how weak and bad I felt soon after the match started. Ok, enough whining. Just need LOTS more playing time and a bit more muscle regrowth.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
  25. Sup2Dresq

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  26. Sup2Dresq

    Sup2Dresq Hall of Fame

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    I still haven't regained my full sense of smell.

    I've even noticed Bailey (the dog) hasn't really smelled any other dogs butts . I think she gave up.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    Are you leaving a fog after your change over. Advantage Moz.
     
  27. corbind

    corbind Professional

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  28. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Some videos from my eighth match in the 2013 Spring Season league in the tennisftlauderdale.com affiliate of the Tennis League Network.

    I lost this one 6-4 7-6, but it was a pivotal match for me in that, for the first time this season, I felt good for pretty much the entire match. It wasn't until the last couple of games that I noticed that my legs were getting a bit weary.

    I think this means that I've sort of reached an important point in my physical rehabilitation and development. With the increased strength, my confidence is increased, and with it my serving consistency, general focus, desire to win, and other positive stuff.

    My rivalry with the opponent in these vids (a 40 year old 3.25 who is also a member of the rival Broward Tennis League, and who won that league's previous season's 3.0 playoffs recently) goes back to around March or April of last year (2012) when I was just returning to playing tennis after an almost 40 year absence.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaIZZG3_GQE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOFdk5wf21A
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMrDab87N4s
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  29. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    It's Florence C. Hardy Park in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. I don't think I have any actual fans yet, so any screaming spectators would be people yelling at us to get off the court so they can play. :)
     
  30. TomT

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    Neither I nor my opponent thought that shot was going in either. :)

    He did hit some nice lobs. He's got a real solid game from what I can tell. Much better than he needs to (or does) play to beat me. About a 4.0 I'd say.
    He's only 26, says he's primarily a baseliner when he's playing more or less equal competition, and I think he's one of those guys that never gets tired ... at least not in matches at this rec level.

    By the way, rather than the mobile url, use the regular url for the forums:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYUwDiWhVIA

    Thanks for comments corbind.
     
  31. Vilgan

    Vilgan New User

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    Seems like you are getting a lot more solid with your strokes. That serve is also looking a lot tougher :)

    Your opponent was doing some serious foot faulting though. It was fairly obvious from across the court and just absurd when he was close to the camera. Not sure how to tackle that though, I've noticed people tend to get a bit upset when you point out foot faults.
     
  32. Passion4Tennis

    Passion4Tennis Rookie

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    Tom, if your opponent took one more step before he served, he'd be hitting them from no man's land. lol
     
  33. TomT

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    Thanks for comments Vilgan. Things seem to be improving little by little. Not there yet though. Long way to go (physically and mentally), for me anyway, it seems, till I get to where I'm competing consistently with, and beating at least 50% of the time, the 3.5s in my league.

    Yeah, I just noticed that in this batch of videos. I have some vids of previous matches with him and I don't recall such obvious foot faulting. It won't be a problem though. He'll see the vids. What can he say? :) Anyway, he's a friend, and I'm pretty sure he's an honest competitor, and if I told him he was foot faulting without any video evidence to back it up, then he would pay attention to it and then correct it.

    Yes, it was rather excessive, wasn't it? Actually, he was hitting some of those from NML. In fact, I think we can safely say that it's actually beyond foot faulting. It's META foot faulting. :)

    Anyway, this isn't just rec tennis. It's 3.0 rec tennis. So ..... :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  34. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    A vid of some points from a couple of games from a match Wednesday evening. Some random rallying at the end.

    This was my ninth match in the tennisftlauderdale.com 2013 Spring Season league. I'm now 0-9.

    Had a sort of cavalier attitude the entire match. Lots of errors, but felt good and had a lot of fun. My opponent is a 40 year old 3.5 in this league.

    I need LOTS of practice. :)

    Will post some more video snippets of this match later tonight or tomorrow.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHFNxNDUXLY
     
  35. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Were you channeling pat rafter here? You changed your stance :)
     
  36. TomT

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    Hey Greg. haha ... for some reason I decided to, uh, experiment a bit during the match. Like I mentioned before, maybe too much of a cavalier attitude. But then even though these are league matches, from where I'm at it seems to me to be ok to use them to experiment a bit. Which of course results in lots of errors that I probably wouldn't make if I wasn't experimenting.

    In a lot of the other serving points, which I'll be posting later or tomorrow, I'm not spreading my legs as much at the beginning.

    What I'm eventually trying to get to is hitting the ball at a higher point than I normally do now. When I have, sort of accidentally via experimentation, done that, then the result is generally very good. It feels good. It feels like I can put more pace on it, and it feels like I can control the ball (ie., keep it in) to a greater extent.

    I want to start with a wider stance. Do the left toe-up thing like Sampras. And then slide gracefully into the point and knee bend and back arch ... culminating with an explosion into contact with the ball at a higher point than my normal, more casual, serves now contact it.

    Obviously, I'm not there yet, and might never be able to do it. One thing I've noticed is that hitting better serves (in sort of the way I described) requires LOTS more energy than I'm used to expending using my normal service motion

    Another thing I found when I did hit the ball at a higher point was that I was putting some spin on it that doesn't happen with my usual serve. Not sure how that happened, but it resulted in the ball bouncing to the right (as with a twist serve) rather than to the left (as with a slice serve) even though it wasn't bouncing very high.

    Interesting that you would mention Rafter as he is sort of my serving and S&V model. I would love to be able to emulate his serve but at this point doubt that I have the energy and strength to do it. Anyway, I've come to the conclusion that just trying to do it will be a good thing, as it will make all the stuff involved in serving a little bit stronger.

    An important point, however, is that to be successful at the 3.5 level I really don't need that. To win against 3.5s I don't need to hit good serves, but just get them in. I don't need to have good strokes, or to hit winners, but just keep balls in the court. Unfortunately this conflicts with my tennis-specific esthetic sensibilities. :)

    Then again, maybe that's not quite true for me because I'll never have the stamina and strength of my much younger (average about 30 years younger) opponents. So, maybe I do have to be able to hit really good serves, and have beautiful strokes and hit lots of winners in order to win.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  37. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I also noticed you changed your footwork. I thought your normal was to toss the ball then move the left foot slightly, plant it then move rhe right foot over also. Both your normal and experimental forms work

    Yet I saw a couple of serves you tried to put too much pace. Well prhaps not but pace is not needed really. Your normal serve pace is great.

    WAY too many guys think pace wins points more points than spin. That is NOT my experience. I can hit some hard flat serves I think are great but the get returned. I can hit slow kickers that should be crushed and guys shank them all over.

    Because my shoulder was hurting, I took 3 weeks off from serving. So I served my typical kicker but with less pace and less spin (and my first and second serves are slow to begin with). Results? Still won each service game. I was thinking, "why are these guys not pelting me with returns? Dunno.

    But I DO know by hitting slower, spinny serves you'll get more in and win more points.
     
  38. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    One thing I would suggest Tom, is to base your shot selection primarily on court positioning. Meaning, hit the shot that will make you move the least to get into the correct position for the next shot. Your crosscourt looping forehand would be a great shot for that. Just use it over and over. At your level that would be deadly.
     
  39. TomT

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    Agree corbind. Very important for me to learn a reliable topspin and kick serve. Currently, I don't know quite how to do it.
    Thanks for your comments.
     
  40. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Greg. I know what you're saying is correct. Right now I'm just missing sooo many shots that I should be making. I mean, I think I miss more shots in a match than I make. :) So, this is the main problem right now, ie. unforced errors, and I think this is primarily due to my physical condition. But it's improving, and with about, say, 2 to 3 weeks more court time I think I should be ready to actually implement the strategic and tactical suggestions. As my physical condition improves, then everything improves along with it. The focus is better, the confidence is better, and the shots are more consistently solid.

    This Spring Season is pretty much a sort of rehab season. I might not even win one match (and I intend to play over 30 of them by May 26). If I start winning sooner than expected, then that will be great. In the meantime I'm having fun just tracking the very slight improvements that I feel are happening.

    What I really need to do is drill like you do. I've taken some steps to try to arrange this with certain players. We'll see.

    Thanks for your comments, and keep up your great work and improvement on your game!
     
  41. TomT

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  42. TomT

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    Played another match today. My 10th of this season. Lost 10-0 in a 10 game pro set to the guy who beat me 6-0 6-2 in my first match of this season. He commented that despite the score he thought I played much better today than in our previous match.

    Will post some videos of today's match a bit later.

    I'm feeling stronger. Expect another sort of mini breakthrough in the next week or so. Ascending to a slightly higher plateau of average performance.
     
  43. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Tom, this is a cool thread and I need to watch more of the vids when I get a chance. I think you have the right attitude for improvement. So many guys let their ego control their tennis and live in denial about their skills, and I look at you doing the opposite. I think that in itself will help you get better more than anything.
     
  44. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I think we are all in admiration of you, Tom. And you are improving.

    I always hammer the early preparation nail. I'd love to see you really push to do it two points in a row. Then maybe next match... do it three points in a row. Then maybe next match... four points in a row... et cetera.

    Whatever you do, keep pushing yourself. And I mean push yourself to the limit. It is the only way that your stamina and physical abilities will improve.

    I think it's so awesome what you're doing. Keep it up.
     
  45. peakay

    peakay New User

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    Tom, I watched your first video and honestly, you look like a very strong 3.0 to me and should have no problem progressing to 3.5. I like the way you are picking up the ball off the short hop, which I almost see no 3-3.5 players do where I am.

    Good luck -- you are on your way!
     
  46. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks PP. I know I'll never get to your level (I've seen your vids), but I think that a solid 3.5 is a realistic goal. I think I do have a certain potential, and a certain flair for the game, but right now everything is quite weak.

    Oh, by the way, remember when I first joined TT and posted that I thought I was playing at about a 5.0 level (back in 75-76) after a couple of years of playing ... and you replied saying that you doubted that as 5.0 is a VERY proficient level of tennis competition. And, as I saw more players during my return to tennis (last year) I modified that down to 4.5, then down to maybe 4.0? :) I have to laugh at how ego-inflated my idea of my relative playing strength was then. Truth be told, though I did play every day for some hours each day back in 75-76, it was only for a bit over a year, and I'm pretty sure now that my level of play then, though much better than my level of play now, never actually reached even solid 4.0 (though I think if I had kept it up I could have maybe gotten to about 4.5 after a few years).

    Anyway, thanks for the straight comments, and also the kind and encouraging comments.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  47. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks mightyrick, but then I'm not doing anything that tens of thousands of other tennis nuts aren't doing. :) (Did I phrase that correctly? Well, I think you know what I mean.)

    Anyway, yeah, I believe that your mantra of early preparation needs to become my mantra, and hopefully eventually an on-court habit.

    One hurdle is that I've always been one of the poster boys for lazy. :)

    Thanks for your helpful comments.
     
  48. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for encouraging words peakay. Post some vids if you have them.
     
  49. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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  50. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Tom,

    I'm a 3.5-4.0 player and you're definitely not far from that level! Keep the positive attitude and you will be there in no time. :)
     

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