How to counter a hard hitter

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by MarinaHighTennis, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,413
    While I don't disagree with everything you say, perhaps this assessment is a tad harsh? I think most people on this board could neither hit nor handle that "puff ball" fh.
     
    #51
  2. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    Yeah but his opponents are not old hacks. This guy he played was destroying him. On a fh to fh if they did nothing else he gets owned 9/10 times. Purely on technique.
    If he said I want to win over old hacks sure his fh is fine. But against the kid going to UCLA his fhs are basically puff balls. They spin right into the opponents best strike point. Chest to shoulder high.
     
    #52
  3. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,413
    Even against the guy he was playing his fh was not a “puff ball.” IMO that’s overstating it. Certainly more pace off his fh (but not less spin – spin is our friend especially when combined with pace) will make his shots harder to handle, but even with the fh he has there was enough pace and spin on it that he was doing OK for several shots into the rallies, and he was getting looks at balls that he could be more offensive with.

    I think you pointed out some technique issues that he might want to look into, like getting more extension. But again, his overall stroke looks like it has all of the right parts.

    And I guess just try to remember that each screen name has a real person attached to it.
     
    #53
  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Simple fact... MH, the OP, is not as good as the other guy, and little amount of strategy/tactics will make much of a difference.
    Like, put me up against a strong 4.5, I'm overmatched, and all the slicing, dropangles, or wide serves won't make much difference in a bagel set.
     
    #54
  5. MarinaHighTennis

    MarinaHighTennis Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    @rkelly: don't worry I take criticism well. I know I strike the ball well but there are NUMEROUS reasons why I can't beat these top players.

    1) I do lack coaching. I started tennis at 15 years and I basically taught myself how to play by playing good players and trying to copy what they do. Hence my form is off (tucked in elbow => flap). However, I make it up by footspeed, consistency, and footwork
    2) Whilest it is not a "puff" ball it is still a "rally" ball and I know this hurts me the most in my game. I don't have per say a "weapon" but I am developing it by a few drills Matt Lin showed me (right after that match).
    3) In matchplay, I usually win/play very good the first time when I play people. However, the more I play someone, the better they get used to my "rally" balls and then the matches become very close as I am now beatable and predictable. Aka Ferrer
    4) I am very skinny haha (5'10, 134lbs). I think working out would help a lot as my "rally" balls would be heavier. But the question lies in "How do I work out?"


    Yes sure I beat a lot people but I want to beat the top (i know it sounds arrogant but good to aim high, no? haha) But I hope that in 5 years I could play at 5.0-5.5 range or higher. I got to to high 4.5 in 4-5 years so hopefully thats an attainable goal?
     
    #55
  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    MHT.... 5'10" and 135 is just fine. I played all my Open level tennis a touch taller and the same weight. I could hit real mid 120 mph serves, volley as well as any B player (4.5), but groundies were a disadvantage to bigger guys when I couldn't set up with both feet and shoulder turn....stronger guys just can hit harder when off balance or late (Kriek).
    You just have to practice hitting harder shots, don't worry about missing, when you are out practicing. While NO ATP pros are your build, certainly lots of WTA pros wished they were as big, and as strong as you. However, they limit out at 5.5 mens, and unless you build up some more bodyweight and strength, so will you.
    Skinny as you are, you cannot compete hitting heavy topspin rally balls. You need to flatten out for more forcing shots, so you can then pummel the weak return.
    Heavy topspin works if you hit them rally heavy with tons of topspin, like Nadal. If you can't hit that hard, you need to flatten the ball out, go for depth and placement like Nalbandian.
     
    #56
  7. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,413
    I guess you need a thick skin here. Be nice if it wasn't so necessary.

    I think your goals are very achievable. I'm a lot older than you and I've improved a lot in the last couple of years just by hitting with better players, really analyzing my strokes, lots of wall time and shadow swinging, and some video. A good coach would make things go faster. I probably should do it, but I probably won't. I'm still just doing this for fun.

    It'd be nice to get to a solid 5.0 for me, but I'd need to start playing some tournaments, and I don't know that I care that much. I do enjoy working on form and trying to improve what I'm doing.
     
    #57
  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    MHT, you just need stronger shots, more pace, and a faster RHS. Your swing is MUCH slower than opponent's, on EVERY shot, but especially your second serve....and first serve.
    He can handle anything you throw at him, which is often high topspin loopers.
    HE can hit harder with better placement. His speed is equal to yours ,but he hits harder, more accurately, more consistently.
    Work on more ball speed, serves, forehands, and deeper backhands.
     
    #58
  9. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    680
    I think its really good to have a bit of coaching. I think it has the potential to help iron out some of the issues/ niggles referred to in the thread. Tennis is a very technical game and seemingly small differences can have a big difference to outcome. You definitely don't need much but sometimes finding out where your game needs tweaking and how to do so really helps.
     
    #59
  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    I thought MarinaHighT is a 4.5 who lacks match play experience.
    Can't beat a top 5.0 who has played tourney tennis all thru the juniors.
     
    #60
  11. cjs

    cjs Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    739
    OP - Thanks for posting.

    I watched the first 5 mins of your vid.

    My comments:
    1. You opponent hits with intent - you do not. Generally, he's hitting harder than you, deeper than you, and creating more angles than you. At the moment, he is a better player than you but you could improve and beat him.

    2. Your opponent does provide many opportunities to attack him though. He drops short from time to time, and when you make him move or hit very deep to him his next shot can be attacked.

    3. You do not seize the opportunities he provides. You seem content to play conservative rally balls when you do have these attacking opportunities rather trying to hit a riskier but more rewarding attacking shot.

    4. Hit some low nasty slice to him that is so low that it forces him to slice back, or he can risk shanking a topspin return of the slice. Its the first thing I always try when an opponent is hitting big and controlling the points. I don't know if you have the skill to keep the slice this low (because I didn't see you try it), but its a skill worth learning. If you can't keep it low enough and it gets too floaty, your opponent will tee off on it and this tactic won't work.

    5. He's teeing off on your serve. There is no penetration and its so loopy. Probably the worst aspect of your serve is there doesn't seem to be any variety. Every serve I saw was a slow loopy kicker. No slice. No fast flat. You are always going to struggle to hold serve against him with your current serve because he is taking control of the point with his return. Back to the practice court and buckets of balls. A good serve is the easiest way to get free points and the one thing you have complete control over in a game of tennis. Even if you can't serve huge, an accurate well placed serve with a variety of spins will still produce errors and returns you can attack.

    6. Your net play is pretty dodgy. You don't look comfortable up there. Your approach shots have nothing on them. If you are not comfortable volleying you need to try to end the point with your approach shot. So be more aggressive on the short ball. The important thing to note however is that you are doing enough to get a short ball from him - that means you have opportunities to win points.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
    #61
  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Most excellent analysis by CJS.
    It's practice that makes your improvement, not a change of strategy.
     
    #62
  13. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Messages:
    829
    Location:
    UK
    Just watched the first video, and the gap in skill isn't huge.

    One tactic that can play havoc with a hard hitter is to junk ball your opponent a little to ruin their rhythm and confidence. This doesn't necessarily mean hitting every shot with ridiculous sidespin like Dolgopolov, it is just a case of feeding a more awkward shot from time to time in neutral rallies.

    At the moment you feed a steady series of fairly deep, mid paced, moderate topspin shots. Mixing in some variety shots could damage his consistent big hitting. Short/low fast skidding slices, slower and deep sidespin slices, short angled topspin shots to get him off the court and deep loopy heavy topspin shots to kick over his shoulder all play havoc with control.

    The trick is to attempt to change the height and depth of the opponents contact point with a variety shot in neutral and defensive situations, without leaving easy to attack shots.

    Nadal, Federer and Murray are masters of this play, using their shot placement, spins and variety to break down the attacking games of much bigger hitters like Del Potro and Berdych.
     
    #63
  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    4.5 to top 5.0, lower 5.5, is a huge gap, which might take most players more than 3 years of competitive tennis to bridge.
    OP doesn't have low skidded slices, nor flat shots yet. Nor flat first serves, and especially not a good volley or well placed approach shots, which accounts for that gap alone.
     
    #64
  15. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    1,078
    Despite what has been written, OP actually has game - he'd beat 95% of the plebs hanging around here.

    And he's still young!

    And its great to see him get the courage to post a vid of being beaten by a very good player to try and better his game
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
    #65
  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    What are you saying, HughJars.
    We pegged OP at 4.5, but not much tourney experience.
    I claim highest 3.5 in singles, as high as 4.5 in doubles.
     
    #66
  17. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    1,078
    How is this relevant to helping him become a better player, which he came on here to ask for? Ratings and putting down others by telling them what they cant do is all you worry about. Youre obsessed with ratings, which means squat. He'd kick your butt. This is a tips and instruction forum. Not a "Im better than you forum".
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
    #67
  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    You're a fool, Hugh.
    You posted # 65, does that help OP in any way?
    I claim highest 3.5. Do you think I'd bagel OP? Are you stupid or blind?
    How did I "put down" MarinaHTennis? He knows he's a 4.5 hitter, possibly very little tournament experience.
     
    #68
  19. Dharmaboy

    Dharmaboy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Messages:
    225
    Location:
    Canada
    Well man you seem to need more power on that forehand, flatten her out. Seemed that you were hitting half court loopers for put away shots, have to make that guy fear a weapon. Unless you have Gasquet murder backhand, slice that backhand when in trouble. Atleast make him work to scoop up the ball. Your loopy back hands are like roast dinner for this Hound. Good use to keep him backed up. But lob more the biggest thing my old coach would shake his head at was the overly macho play of attempting passing shots. Macho plays gets you a one more in the L column.

    You have a good tennis skillset. Use it against him. Use all of it. If he falls for your antics he is not as strong minded as you thought.
     
    #69
  20. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    1,078
    LeeD, I apologise - I misread and thought you were putting forward he was only a 3.5 when its obvious he's better than that. My rant was over the top and stupid, and I was a fool.

    I guess sometimes I get a little jaded by people going to town in a Im-better-than-you argument on anyone who has the balls to post a video of themselves playing on here. Like that post where someone said "Have no idea who you are, cause UCLA>>Matt Lin>Person in white"...WTF is with that s*it?
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
    #70
  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    I am the only 3.5 here, not you, not MarinaHighT.
     
    #71
  22. MarinaHighTennis

    MarinaHighTennis Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Well actually i have a lot of tournament experience... but its all doubles haha
    i was invited to play the ojai tournament for doubles. I funny motto i tell myself "you may have beaten me in singles, but ill beat you in doubles" haha
     
    #72
  23. corbind

    corbind Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,308
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Dude in red is quite good. He can hit a mean ball.
     
    #73
  24. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    971
    Actually, it isn't that the OP is playing defensive.

    If I play against an NTRP 7.0 player I'm going to look very defensive because his regular ball will give me lots of trouble and I'll struggle to do anything meaningful with it.

    That's what better players do to you.

    The only solution is to improve your level and get used to handling that higher level ball.

    When you play against higher level players, it is a cumulative effect that causes you to become behind in every rally. Firstly they hit a better ball then you, secondly you can't handle their level of hitting and cant do anything meaningful with it and thirdly, the ball that you give them is even worse then your usual ball you give to players at your level or below and the better player is going to kill it even more.

    So if you want to counter them you need to raise your level by doing at least one of the following:

    1) Hit a better ball then them and get them under the pump.

    2) If you cant produce a better ball then them, or at least as good a ball, then learn how to handle their ball and learn to do something meaningful with it.

    3) If you cant hit a better ball then them or one that is on par and you can't do anything with their ball, then you need to at the very least be able to hit a ball that makes it difficult for them to attack.

    Learning how to do any of the above means you are raising your level of play.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
    #74
  25. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    Hi, I am Matt Lin, Marina's opponent in the first video. We've been friends for almost 2 years and we met at a tournament. I think with Marina, it is more of a mentality thing that is preventing him from really going after his shots. I think with more practice and a more aggressive mindset, he will be able to develop a little bit more power on his shots. He just has to try it out.
     
    #75
  26. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    Also, I will be attending UCLA in the Fall so I will be able to record more footage of the Men's Team during the NCAA season. I will put in on my Youtube channel so let me know if anyone is interested in seeing specific players.
     
    #76
  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Are you perhaps giving Marina tennis too much credit?
    Only you have seen him just hitting and practicing.
    Looks to us like he just doesn't have the pace, the penetration, and the consistency to handle your ball.
    Like you, a 5-5.5, against him, a low 4.5. Nothing he can do within the next 2 years to get even.
     
    #77
  28. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    That's probably true. If he refines his technique and gets used to the greater pace of the top players, he should be at that level in 2 years if he puts enough work into it and commits to engaging in a more offensive mindset.
     
    #78
  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Problem is, in those 2 years, YOU will get another 2 years better, stronger, wiser, and more experienced.
    Only when the top players quit the game can the next level more up to take their place.
    This happens every generation since tennis started.
     
    #79
  30. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Messages:
    1,455
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    The lower level you are, the faster you can improve. At Maxim's level, any improvements in his game will be slower and more subtle. Marina can improve fast, if he employs a more attacking approach to his game. Need to hit every ball with purpose, don't just wait for the opponent to take control of the point.
     
    #80
  31. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,174
    If you've got MCATS and have a lot of studying to do there is something you can do to help your sanity and your tennis: Go out and hit baskets of serves. You can take a 1/2 hour break to rest your brain and at the same time help yourself be in an offensive position at the start of all the points in your serve games. It makes the entire game easier. Right now, you are retrieving quite often after your opponent hits his serve return.
     
    #81
  32. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    3,614
    Defining the ability of a tennis play by things that arent tangible is crazy. Its every 34 year old club prob in the world that reminisces about how good he was at 18 and that match he played and won against a 5.0. If you cant win matches at a given level then youre not as good as you think you are. You learn this sport to compete at it, its a competitive game. SO many people kid themselves on about how good they are. its not about how pretty it looks either this guy wins matches at 4.5 or hes not a 4.5, a player is the package not the aesthetics of the strokes.
     
    #82
  33. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    I am 18 years old and I was ranked 56 in the 18's in So Cal and 324 on Tennis Recruiting.
     
    #83
  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Poster 83, you are rambling with no sense whatsover.
    Marina High IS a 4.5, the other guy easy 5-5.5. I said it, it's what they are.
     
    #84
  35. 10nisne1

    10nisne1 New User

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    Messages:
    47
    Poster 83 is the guy that MarinaHigh played in the video.

    10

     
    #85
  36. Rafa4Ever

    Rafa4Ever Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Messages:
    369
    no he's not Joe Diguilio is higher than 324 lol. He was #3 in the 18s for a while
     
    #86
  37. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    I'm Matthew Lin, Marina High is my friend. I played Joe at sectionals and I'm the guy who somehow beat Gui haha
     
    #87
  38. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    Rafa4Ever, have I ever seen you at a tournament?
     
    #88
  39. Rafa4Ever

    Rafa4Ever Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Messages:
    369
    I'm in San Diego now so probably not. Advantage Changed my forehand and serve when I went there so I wasn't in sectionals or anythign while I was there. I played Esme and the men's hard court championships in Balboa too.
     
    #89
  40. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    Ah okay, yeah probably not. I didn't play Esme. Well I guess if you are ever at UCLA, we can play if you want haha, or if I'm ever down in San Diego.
     
    #90
  41. Rafa4Ever

    Rafa4Ever Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Messages:
    369
    I'm gonna be at UCLA in two years. I was going there this year. but some family emergencies came up and some money things happened so now I'm getting my GED credits at a JC and transferring in. I will be up there playing with a few guys on the team in a few months and we could play while I'm there if you want. I'll just message you on here when I'm heading there
     
    #91
  42. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,174
    Cool, a connection made on the TT board.
     
    #92
  43. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,413
    Rafa4Ever - do you ever play up in the Ranch Bernardo area (North San Diego)? Cheetah and I are up there.

    Me and a hitting buddy saw a UC Irvine player hitting at the Westwood Club. My buddy knew the UCI player (I didn't).
     
    #93
  44. Rafa4Ever

    Rafa4Ever Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Messages:
    369
    The closest place I play is Rancho Valencia in Rancho Sante Fe.
     
    #94
  45. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    20,197
    Location:
    On my iPhone
    You are a great player. I thought you played a great match against Joe D and I enjoy watching it now and then before I go play.

    Your first serve was giving you some fits, but your second is rather awesome and you can slide it right into the corners. Any tips or advice that you can share on how you developed your serve?
     
    #95
  46. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    What I found that helps with the serve is to try to always move forward into the court on both first and second serves. This makes it easier to generate a little bit more pace on the ball, and spin serves tend to break away from your opponent even more. Some other little things are to always keep your head up on the serve and maintain good posture (rule #1) and also to have a slightly longer follow through at the end which can help with accuracy.
     
    #96
  47. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    My coach also told me that a quick way to add a little extra pace on the serve is to thrust your left hip (if you are a righty) out to get extra coil. The hip and shoulder rotation makes a big difference. This video explains it well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8q2cBx19ec
     
    #97
  48. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    My apologies.
    Poster 83 is the 5-5.5, Div 1 level player.
    Poster 82 is the reduntant fool.
     
    #98
  49. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    Can you get a few games off poster 83? :)
     
    #99
  50. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Sure, in tiddlywinks and table tennis.
     

Share This Page