Getting back into tennis......trying to get to the next level.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by jaspert, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Having turned 40 a few months ago and not done any regular active sports for more than 15 years ( golf did not count :p), i tried to get back into some sport for health reason. I tried swimming initially but i got bored doing laps soon after. After watching Australian Open on TV a few months ago, it helped to rekindle an old interest in tennis, something i did casually but enjoyed as an university student. So tennis it is over the last 3 months for fitness and enjoyment.

    But I'm taking it more seriously this time round, making an effort to actually learn new skills and try to improve on my weakness. Hence i found this place. :)

    I used to play with a one handed backhand but i could only slice, not very good at that and the top spin backhand was always pathetic and inconsitent so i decided to learn 2 handed backhand this time round. 2hbh still feels very unnatural to me and i'm having problem with footwork getting into position especially when i play games. Under pressure, i still revert back to slice instinctively and my regular playing partner dined on my backhand side during games as he knows he will get more free points.:oops:
    To help improve my games, i'd decided to invest in a ball machine recently to help me drill my 2hbh and strokes.

    Also joined up a local club and signed up for their doubles competition, something i have not done in the past. Doubles match play feels kind of foreign but i hope to learn as i go along and get some more games experience under some pressure.


    But my immediate goal is to just win a set against my regular playing partner. He is my brother in law who is around my age and used to play for the his high school teams so he has more sound fundamentals and a lot of match experience behind him. I keep losing the clutch points and came up empty despite getting close a few times ( rare). Grrrrrr.....:evil:


    I took a short video hitting with my ball machine tonight. Any tips to help my game?

    http://youtu.be/TflmlggpmYw

    Also trying to learn a top spin second serve here, another glaring fault in my games.

    http://youtu.be/SY9bK_TDXRI

    I will try to record some games against my BIL and if i do take a set off him in the future, i will be happy.....
     
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You hit OK. Turn you shoulders sideways more to get some power in your shots.
    Your serve is fine for the amount of effort you put in. Notice you don't jump forwards or upwards, so you get what you put in.
    Nice 3.5 level shots. You lose because most high school players are 4.0+, so he's just better than you.
    When you hit a ball machine, don't just hit the ball back over the net, aim for specific spots and don't hit up the middle.
     
    #2
  3. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Appreciate the suggestions. I will keep them in mind when I next play/practise. More dependable 2 handed backhand and a top spin second serve are my main focus at the moment. Need to get more confident with the mechanics during games as they tend to breakdown after a few errors. Lets see if I can take it furrther with more efforts in the coming months. Enjoying it though....
     
    #3
  4. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    I would have said better than 3.5. He's athletic and has nice strokes. He opens up a little early at times on his FH causing a power loss.

    I would guess he maybe tries to be too aggressive in game play and makes too many errors. Find your brother in law's weak shot and force him to hit it in crucial situations, like break point against him.
     
    #4
  5. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Opening up early in the stroke. Are you referring to the shoulder position in relationship to the hip turn?

    Yes, I think I need to be more aggressive in my approach to beat him eventually. Learning to cut down the errors and choosing the right moment to be aggressive is much harder.

    Talking about serve, here is a short clip practising a flat serve. The feet barely left the ground in terms of height but I think I lean forward a bit more here.

    http://youtu.be/m1ArKSw3v0w
     
    #5
  6. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Your shoulders shouldn't be opening up until you start the forward swing. In a modern FH, you first turn sideways with your off hand on the racquet, then as the ball bounces, the racquet goes back , then is acclerated by the hips and shoulders turning. If you turn too soon, before you are ready to start the forward swing, all your power is lost and you have to "arm" it. Your arm should be very relaxed throughout the stroke and the feeling should be more or less effortless. Of course, Nadal is straining but he is playing a different game than you or I do.
     
    #6
  7. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Thanks for your explaination. I get a good mental picture of your description using body to generate torque. Will try to be more mindful of this when I practice next.
     
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  8. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    As others have said, you already have a firm foundation in your strokes and clearly look athletic enough to continue making progress by getting more of big body movements into your strokes.

    Watching the following two videos may give you some more ideas of how to add more to your forehand and serve.

    Modern Tennis Forehand Concept ( Hit Like a Pro ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wwg9DB8S8a8
    How to hit a Modern Tennis Forehand in HD / Instructional
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMNtq393tvo



    Nick Bollettieri-Sonic Serve.wmv http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajoZ0f7hw-A
     
    #8
  9. Stergios

    Stergios Rookie

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    Hi Jaspert,

    It's nice to hear that you got back into Tennis.

    I like yours strokes and very nice videos too.

    Thanks for sharing and keep them coming.

    Stergios
     
    #9
  10. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Thanks for the links on the modern FH. Good to see some video of what Retrospin was talking about. Had a short practice with my ball machine a few hours ago. Made a conscious effort to turn the shoulder more tonight and drive the stroke with my hip/body turn but the timing was a bit off and still has the tendency to use the " arm" the stroke a lot. Missed hit quite a few but a few connected.

    I will try again tomorrow.

    Thanks Stergios. Good to enjoy tennis again after a long break and good luck with your project. I subscribe to your YouTube channel. :)
     
    #10
  11. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Played my first double competition today. The level was not that high. 3 matches, won 2, lost 1. Need to work on put away volley and overhead smash. Missed quite a few sitters due to rush of blood .:oops:
     
    #11
  12. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Tips for top spin second serve

    Hi guys,

    Trying to learn a top spin second serve which is a real struggle.
    Often ending up with short waist height balls for good players to smack.

    I took a slow mo video of my second serves with phone last night.
    Any pointers to improve this?

    It was quite cold ( after 10pm in winter here ) when I took it.

    http://youtu.be/SVCAi7elhFc

    Thanks in advance.
     
    #12
  13. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    Hey Jaspert, you look good. I'm also in Melbourne and just bought a ball machine today to practice, having picked up the game about a year ago at 37. Whereabouts do you play?

    With regards to the topspin serve, I'm no expert but you can probably afford to have your contact point a little bit higher and the ball toss a little bit more inside the baseline, though hard to tell from this angle. You probably don't even need to use a pure top spin serve, can get away with some combination of top spin and slice (the kick serve), which allows for more angular momentum into the ball and will be trickier to return.
     
    #13
  14. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    Of course that also means you adjust your toss to the right a little bit.
     
    #14
  15. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Hi,
    I mostly play and practice at a small club near home, Balwyn Park TC.
    Sometimes at Tally Ho TC at Mount Waverley with a friend's invite with the occasional weekend double comp.

    Very keen to play.Happy to travel to have a hit/game if you are up for it sometimes. :)

    And thanks for the suggestion. Ball toss and contact is a little erratic.
     
    #15
  16. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    Huhh what do you know, I'm in Surrey Hills and play at Canterbury Tennis Club. Hilarious!
     
    #16
  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Such low net clearnance leads to short second serves, middle of box or closer to net. Clear the net by more distance!
    Form is fine, but slow mo doesn't show swingspeed. You should swing faster on second serves than first serves, but of course, more spin.
     
    #17
  18. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    A stone throw away.....
    If you keen for a hit after work in the evening or some sunday afternoon, pm me.
    Would love to get more practice.

    Thanks the tips. Swing speed is not fast as I think I'm trying to guide the ball in instead ripping at it.
     
    #18
  19. Velvet Ga el

    Velvet Ga el Rookie

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    I'm curious as to where your usual miss is with the backhand.
     
    #19
  20. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    Don't know how to pm you...
     
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  21. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    During games, I tend to slice to my opponent's backhand. My slice is not very penetrating in general and does not skid much. My regular playing partner will often hit a deep shot to my backhand and charge to the net for the put away volley or smash. Under pressure, I net quite a few or hit a few lob out.
     
    #21
  22. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Hmm...you are right. May be there is forum restriction for newbie until certain post counts is reached.

    My email is jasnev@yah..dotcom

    Regards,
    Jasper
     
    #22
  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    When your opponent comes in after an approach to your weak backhand, just low lob CC, but over his racket. Do this 5 times in a row, and he will back off. You only have to clear his racket, CC so the distance is greater allowing a sliced lob to land in.
    As for skidding backhand slices...... it only works against weaker players. A really good player will set up and pummel the ball. Against good players, you need both a topspin backhand AND a sliced backhand, to vary the speed, bounce, skid, timing, and height.
     
    #23
  24. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    looks pretty good for a long hiatus. Not as interesting or fun but I wish I had spent more working on my footwork when I started playing again. My serve bailed me out and let me get away with really poor footwork but once you have the habit of bad footwork it's really impossible to break and it'll prevent you from advancing levels.

    If I had to do it over it again I'd develop a wider split step and a posture that lets my head stay more quiet and centered over the body. Once the head goes too much one way the balance is thrown too far off and court coverage is compromised.
     
    #24
  25. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Thanks for the tips, especially about only needing to clear the racket. I have tried the sliced lob bh with the odd success but I need to reign in my tendency to hit those more risky sky high variety. My 2hbh has improved slowly over the last 2 weeks during drill/practice. More comfortable to hit top spin cross court during games now but still pretty defensive minded. Working on it.



    How true. The more I play, the more I realize the importance of footwork and how little attention I have given to this. Lost count of how many sitters I'd missed and the other errors due to sloppy footwork and being off balance when I got there. Appreciate your thought.

    Just had a look and found fuzzy yellow ball's YouTube clip about tennis footwork tonight.

    http://youtu.be/R5CWAwtijVI
     
    #25
  26. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    what kind of ball machine did u get?

    On your forehand, you seem to be cutting off your follow through.
    Let it go until the butt of your racquet is facing the net. Also, turn
    your shoulders and use your core and lower body more...especially
    on your forehand. Your chest almost stays facing the net the whole time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
    #26
  27. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I would learn a solid slice 2nd serve before attempting a topspin one.
    Much easier to pick and and learn and once that's solid you can add the topspin.
     
    #27
  28. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    I bought a Spinshot pro ball machine off **** here in Australia.
    Pretty flexible. Only question mark is longevity.

    Yeah, you are right about the forehand. A few guys have mentioned it.
    I'm more conscious of that since I posted the video and try to use the core more instead of
    "arming " the shots but it takes time to unlearn the old habit.

    Valid point. Cheers.
     
    #28
  29. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Short clip from this week, 4 weeks since I posted the first video and took some of the advice given here on board. Trying to remember to turn more and use the body more.

    http://youtu.be/1FLXqVynM1k
     
    #29
  30. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    Practice video

    Had to take a short enforced break recently as I developed mild tennis elbow and sore shoulder playing with some Luxilon string. :mad: And my regular hitting partner was away too.

    Good to be back hitting again after a short break. Recorded a incomplete practice set ( the phone stopped the recording with low battery) video a few nights ago on a cold and blustery night. I don't have a video trimming software so the clip is long.

    Lost the set after hanging in there for a few games early on. Got quite a few soft points on my serve ( more than usual) but that was balanced out by my UEs.
    Some glaring errors when I was in strong position to finish the points costed me dearly.

    A few comical overheads and volley/ net play from me. :oops:

    http://youtu.be/oIYAW7ddg5o
     
    #30
  31. jaspert

    jaspert Rookie

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    #31

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