Grrr.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by krizzle, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. krizzle

    krizzle Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    I'm not satisfied where I am in my tennis game. I started playing tennis about 15 months ago (as a freshman in HS). I participate in a doubles mixer on fridays. It's a 3.5 level. We play a set, and then switch the people up. Last time, I won two sets with different people 6-0, 6-0. Still, I don't feel like i'm a 4.0- someplace that I hoped to be coming into the HS season. I'm looking to play #4 singles, and I think I have the spot down.
    Still, I'm not satisfied where I am. My game's got a wedge in it. I'm improving on my strokes, but for a time, they break down completely— nuisance when playing competitively.
    I'm hitting my forehand at maybe 40-50% effort. When I hit it at 80%, it goes in just as much. I don't know why I can't put more effort into it.
    My backhand has been always been weak and inconsistent. I swtiched racquets, and now it's working better, but I feel like I moonball it too much. And it goes sailing long too often.
    My serve is my weakest point. Sometimes, it's brilliant, and I can hit all of my spots (and even ace opponents) but in general it's a struggle to place the serve into the box, without being destroyed by the return. I've found a new service motion that is a lot better, but I misinterpreted my pro's example, and I ended up arching my back too much. I'm taking almost a week off because it's too sore. Grr.
    It's interesting, though, that the confidence that i'm missing in my game is similar to the confidence that i'm lacking in person.
    I've worked really hard for the last 8 months on my tennis game and my fitness and such. I've taken appropriate breaks from training. I've taken classes, 3x per week for 2 hours, plus a doubles mixer (and singles afterwards, if I can) for 2.5 hours. In addition, i've been hitting against the wall when I can.
    I feel like i've improved, but also that I really haven't. My strokes are better, my confidence is better, but my bad days are a lot more common than my ok or good days. When that happens, I shank almost every serve, and have on occasion hit one first serve in during a whole game- and double-faulting twice. Grr. I've gotten better, but I can't win- I can't put it all together.
    I guess i'm trying to be perfect in tennis. I can't get the 'perfect' in anything, really—i've been satisfied with "good enough" but no more. Actually, I don't think i'm trying to be perfect- i'm trying to be good. I think my coach sees this in me, and one day after a frustrating practice, he has a chat with me: his HS career wasn't good, but it didn't stop him, and now he's a teaching pro. He also had moments like me, and his words of advice are, "stop being so da.mn hard on yourself."
    I mean, I guess i'm unrealistic in my goal of being a 4.0 so early. I've only been playing tennis for a year (as a teen. I took a few classes in first grade). But I feel like I could do it- I work really hard when I'm dedicated to something (physics, par example). I feel like I can. And when I see that I can't, it makes me dissapointed in myself- something that definitely doesn't help. My expectations may have been high, but I typically achieve them. Failing in something like this is really frustrating.
    Anyways, I'd love to be like Tony here. I'd love to play tennis as a career. But if that doesn't happen, I'm not too worried because I haven't left my academics behind.
    Anyways, I think i've finished my rant. Here's a short clip of me warming up with a friend. I'm on the far side
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08zK-KY90Hs
    A few more:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xOpbQcQg7s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3CepR-lTbE
    Anyways, we were hoping that the people here could give us some advice/criticism and say what they think that our ranking would be. The two of us played hlaf a practice set. I won 4-2. Unfortunately, the battery ran out during warmup.
    Anyways, I doubt that the previous paragraphs are going to make much sense. I just wrote them out as I thought them up. Just ask if you need any clarification.
    Anyways, enjoy the clips, criticize my strokes, my game, everything. Just be sure to add some inspiring words after the beatdown. :)
     
    #1
  2. DevilsChildXD

    DevilsChildXD Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    209
    Location:
    The Base Line
    By the looks of things you seem to be around a 3.0 area... You would be more satisfied with your game if you had more consistent strokes that is dependable which helps with off days and I'm guessing on some days you feel like a god then the next you shank balls after balls. Some huge flaws I see are your net clearance, strokes aren't consistent, lack of control, timing, setting up, footwork for both backhands and forehands, lazy feet, and both of you guys lack pace. I'm sleepy and to lazy to type I'll leave the details and such to the pros... Both of you have ALOT more to work on and you should try playing with better players around 4.0-5.0 to see what and how they hit. You may be thinking that you hit fast and all that but to 4.0's-5.0's your balls are probably very slow to them. I'm sleepy and don't remember anything I just typed lol I'm just saying all this in a random order ahaha but yeah good night... Oh and just have fun with tennis don't be so harsh on yourself!!
     
    #2
  3. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,263
    You don’t anticipate, you don’t move and you don’t recover. You hit a shot and sit there until your friend hits back to you and only then do you react and move to the shot.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4A5xX_vn1I

    Watch this clip of Federer and see how he recovers after every ball hit. He doesn’t just hit and stay in one place and wait for the next ball. Don’t just watch how he recovers though, watch where he recovers to.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Def7iMP8G0M


    PS: 15 months is nothing. Focus on improving your game more and a little less on your competitive results. Rushing too early into competition before you’ve developed enough can lead to permanent stagnation and I know you don’t want that. Your strokes are fine. Just keep working the basics. Good luck and have fun most importantly !
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
    #3
  4. Rorsach

    Rorsach Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,572
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Basically everything DevilsChild said. Try working at consistency first, i didn't spot 2 strokes that were the same.

    But you've only been playing for 15 months and it's a bit much hoping for a level that most people never reach. Just enjoy the game and keep working at it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
    #4
  5. enishi1357

    enishi1357 Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2009
    Messages:
    195
    its much easier if you don't over think it too much. I used to record myself and got frustrated. But now I dont record but i improved alot as a result. And dont worry about the rating. If you build a good foundation, even if you are a 3.0, you can have a potential to be a 5.0 or better. Im no pro but this is my analysis.
    I felt your slice is covering for the weakness of your backhand. You should work on getting a rally going when practicing.
    I look forward to seeing you improve since I am the type to get my foundation down first before playing matches.
     
    #5
  6. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    11,053
    Location:
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    A true 4.0 level after playing for only 15 months is not a reasonable expectation for most people -- unless you've previously played some others sports at a very high level. Even a 3.5 level after such a short time is not realized by most people. Keep working on your footwork and stroke consistency and you should improve your chances for a decent level on your HS team next year.
     
    #6
  7. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    5,484
    Location:
    Stillwater, OK
    Krizzle, you're doing way more than most people ever will in terms of training. Most players never practice their serve, rally for 2 hours or play a couple sets and then call it quits. When they get home, they may look up volley in the dictionary, but probably not. You're ahead of the game.

    If I was you I would focus on the depth of your shots. The feed should not be the deepest ball you hit in a rally. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
    #7
  8. krizzle

    krizzle Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    Ok, thanks guys. If you want to hear excuses, here they are: I spent my whole winter playing on inside courts, and that was the first practice outdoors in about half a year. Also, i've changed racquets, and i'm still getting used to it.
    About my strokes being fundamentally flawed—my coach disagrees.
    Also, we were just warming up. I can hit deeper if I try, but my friend can't really return those shots.
    Pshh, now I feel like i'm a sack of excuses :)
    You are talking about the person on the far court in video one, and the person in the near court in subsequent videos? The last two show the depth of our shots.
     
    #8
  9. canuckfan

    canuckfan Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    Messages:
    750
    Two things I'd really suggest focusing on: early preparation and footwork. You are late preparing on almost every ball. Yes, it's true! By committing to early preparation (you should be fully prepared before the bounce) you will anticipate more efficiently and hit a much better ball. Also try to really get your feet working so that your body weight is transferring into the shot. Often you arm the ball and it pops up or lands short. Great footwork will help you generate a deep, reliable rally ball.

    Your committment and attitude are very good. Keep it up and you will do just fine.
     
    #9
  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,324
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    You already hit fantastically well for someone with less than 3 years of tennis experience. Take that as a compliment.
    Of course, anticipation, when and where to move to, reading the ball, would take some time to acquire. Give it the time.
    Really, you're ahead of the curve even for especially good athletes.
    As usual, I like to inject MY :)twisted:) experience so other posters who are sick of me can inject...) I had played basketball for 3 years in high school, had played football for two (varsity, one JV), surfed at almost pro level, fenced at women's Olympic level, and it took me more than 3 years to hit the ball as well as you do currently. But I had movement, anticipation, could read opponent's shot's really well, and knew WHERE to hit my shots and when, because of 3 years pure tennis experience.
    Oh, I played baseball in LittleLeague and 8th grade.
    You are well ahead of me....so you're doing really well.
     
    #10
  11. krizzle

    krizzle Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    I kind of feel like i'm being a bit misunderestimated :) by you guys. I do feel, however, that what all of you are saying is an accurate assesment to the footage I've shown. It's a fair point that my split-step and overall preparation are lacking here (but are much more visible in higher level/more intense play). What kind of clips would best prove (what I think) is a better level? Match-play, king of the court, more intense rallying?
    @DevilsChildXD, my high school team is really good. Our #1 singles player won a 4.5 tournament three years ago, when he was in 8th grade. He's one of the best in the state. Our #2 player is at a lower level, but probably a 4.5. I practice with them, and they do hit a lot harder, deeper, and with more spin. I have yet to get a point off our #1 player, but i've gotten a number of points against our #2.
    One of my coaches spent basically all of the summer/fall junkballing me so that I could get past that level. Just recently, he started hitting it harder/deeper. His work paid off, as we have a moonballer in the class, and I can decisively beat him, wheras in August I could not.
    Edit: I've heard that 3.0s can't beat moonballers :)
     
    #11
  12. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,504
    Location:
    The Peak of Good Living
    Why do you need to prove your level? You're fortunate enough to have a coach and some strong players to hit with, and those are more reliable gauges of your level than comments on a video. Listen to the advice you get, if it seems worthwhile to you, but don't worry about whether a random person rates your video a 3.0 or a 3.5-- that doesn't matter.
     
    #12
  13. krizzle

    krizzle Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    That's a good point, and I agree with what you're saying, but i'd like to have some sort of a benchmark so that I can track my progress.
     
    #13
  14. Rorsach

    Rorsach Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,572
    Location:
    Netherlands
    There's no exact benchmark, at least not one that you can make from a video. Just play some tournaments and see where you end up.
     
    #14
  15. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    5,484
    Location:
    Stillwater, OK
    Why would you want an empty number to shoot for? Just be a good as you can be.

    Example: If you make it your life's goal to become a 4.5, then what happens when you reach it? You just stagnate at a comfortable level? On the other end, let's say you shoot for 6.0 and fall shockingly short (like most people)--- then what? Suicide?

    Just reach your potential within the limits of the amount of time you spend playing.
     
    #15
  16. krizzle

    krizzle Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    It's not a magic number that i'm shooting for, it's more like "okay, I feel like i've improved over (some timeframe), but have I really?"
     
    #16
  17. MNPlayer

    MNPlayer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    420
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Most people improve pretty slowly so it won't be obvious day to day, at least above beginner level.

    I've been playing for over 10 years now and I never really notice my game changing even though I practice pretty heavily for a rec player. But every once in a while, I run into a guy I lost to badly a couple years ago and beat him easily. Then I know I must have improved (or they got worse, but usually I don't think that's the case). Also people that haven't seen me play in a while will comment on it.

    The NTRP ratings are useful only if you play a lot of USTA league/tournaments. I'll admit I was happy when I got moved from 3.5 to 4.0 but actually now I gauge more by how I feel in individual matches against players I know are good. I beat a newly minted 4.5 in straight sets recently so I know I'm close to that threshold (on a good day) but I figure I'll just keep practicing hard (and smart) and the rating will take care of itself.
     
    #17
  18. krizzle

    krizzle Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    So how do I get to the next level?
    My strokes don't go deep enough. I need to hit through the ball more, instead of just glancing it. I feel like I can hit a lot harder, so that'll help as well.
    I need to find the right balance on my shots—I play a set sometimes after lessons with a 4.0. He always beats me by a break. I noticed that he deals very well with the short balls I hit, frequently hitting winners from them. I end up hitting balls down the center, hoping for a mistake. I guess I just need more confidence in my ability to hit angles and winners. How do I do that?
    I think my largest problem in my game is that i'm inconsistently consistent—when i'm on, i'm on, but when i'm not, my game falls apart. How do I adress such an issue?
    Oh, and find good people to play with.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
    #18

Share This Page