how to improve touch?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by nalbyvsfed, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. nalbyvsfed

    nalbyvsfed Rookie

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    i have many times federer has a great touch, but my question is: how do you improve it?? or is it all natural.
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Hit 200,000 tennis balls.
    Swing hard on 3/4 of them.
    Feel the impact and guide the direction on 1/4 of them.
     
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  3. mordecai

    mordecai Rookie

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    One of the best ways I've heard to improve touch is to just always have your racquet on you. Eat with it, sleep with it, basically have it whenever you wouldn't look like a freak for doing so. That's all.
     
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  4. nalbyvsfed

    nalbyvsfed Rookie

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    aren't there any drills??
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Volley 10,000 balls in 3 months. You will develop short angles, dropvolleys, and other soft, guided nuances.
    No substitute for hitting lotsa tennis balls.
     
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  6. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    No substitute for lots of practice, but there are a couple of drills I can think of that might help:

    1. Volley-volley practice: You and hitting partner volleying. Before volleying the ball back to your partner, hit the ball up gently in your immediate vicinity like you are setting it up like is done in volleyball. The idea is to set the ball up close to you (not way up in the air) and then volley it back to your partner.

    2. Volley-catch: Same as above, but catch the ball with your racquet before feeding it back to your partner. I've seen the Byran twins doing something like this. Increase separation and pace as you improve.

    These drills can help enhance your touch/feel.
     
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  7. shissncg

    shissncg Rookie

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    play more mini-tennis. you need some arm control to keep the ball within the shorter court, this will help you learn how a difference in swing speed translates to a difference in ball speed. As you advance at mini-tennis you start adding varying levels of spin, now you will learn how to move your arm fast, but hit the ball slow.
     
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  8. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    Have someone with a hopper of balls stand on the center service line with you on the same side of the court as him. Have him drop a ball to either his right or left and you have to hit a drop-shot off of it. You can also have him feed you regular groundstrokes (while he's on the other side of the net) and then you can practice your dropshot off of that.
     
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  9. nalbyvsfed

    nalbyvsfed Rookie

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    thanks all.
     
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  10. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

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    I don't know if this is correct or not, perhaps someone can enlighten me, but when you're trying to hit soft, like a drop shot, all you really have to do is allow the racquet to absorb more of the power but keeping your wrist a little less tight and allow it to move with the ball. **This is where i don't know if its right. Should the wrist stay firm and the hand relaxed, or the hand firm and the wrist relaxed. I think its the wrist relaxed, its what works for me but maybe i'm not sure what i'm doing.** Either way try both. One tip is don't try to put to much spin on the ball at first, just let the ball gently bounce off of the racquet and add spin later. Also, start closer to net and move further away to gain some knowledge as to how much power and spin you need in each stroke.
     
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  11. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    Hit a lot of balls and drop shots helps a lot.
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Remember one thing....
    Touch can be about drop shots, but in men's tennis, it's not something you do very often.
    Touch is also the short angled volleys, the short angled passing shots, the high backhand overhead/volley, the half volley angles, of course the baseline early prep sliced drops.
    You use touch anytime you don't stroke hard thru the ball. That would include volley returns of serve, overheads that you can't quite get to, even important point change of pace serves to your opponent.
    That's why, most important is to hit a zillion tennis balls.
     
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  13. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    Which is true but in order to gain touch, you need to get the feel of your racket.
     
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  14. a_2c+

    a_2c+ Rookie

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    play the touch-game.

    it is 1 v. 1

    use the 4 inner (service) boxes as the boundary lines/court.

    and etc...
     
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  15. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    Great game, I should add that to my website a little later when I'm not busy.
     
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  16. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    There are a number of what we call "rounding out" Drills that focus on touch, finesse, and angles.

    These can be found described with video clips at tennisone.com.

    We use sharp angle volley drills, "mini-me", let-it-drop-but-not-bounce volleys, drop-drop-clear-clear, catching drills, moving in to the point where you trap the ball between you and your partner's racquet, and a number of toss and block drills.

    Too many to explain here...but, worth a look at these rounding out drills I've featured on TennisOne.
     
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  17. oneguy21

    oneguy21 Banned

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    A great drill to improve your touch is to hit a very soft slice such as a dropshot into the service box and have it bounce at least three times in the service box.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
    #17
  18. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    We all pretty much have said that :(
     
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  19. nalbyvsfed

    nalbyvsfed Rookie

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    many thanks.
     
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  20. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    Just tell us how you like it.
     
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  21. nalbyvsfed

    nalbyvsfed Rookie

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    haven't tried it yet. but i will tell.
     
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  22. wishsong

    wishsong New User

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    LeeD since you live on this board, and know so much about tennis? Why don't you go and play some instead of being the first post in every topic? I'm not saying you aren't helpful......
     
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  23. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    Go out there now, I'm about to go to the tennis academy and train with some friends now for a few hours, hope I have time to look at it if I come back home.
     
    #23
  24. nalbyvsfed

    nalbyvsfed Rookie

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    i haven't got a cam but im going now...

    il be back in an hour and tell you.
     
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  25. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    Hurry it up hehe..
     
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  26. nalbyvsfed

    nalbyvsfed Rookie

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    results: my dropshots are the worst part of my game, after doing a dropshot mini-tennis game, we went back to the baseline and i tried someone dropshots, and i felt i could get more spin and i made little errors with dropshots.

    so it worked wel, thanks for all your advice.
     
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  27. mozzer

    mozzer Hall of Fame

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    LOL play this all the time, we call it drop ball. We serve by putting the ball ontop of the net and just letting it drop onto your opponents side.
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Wishsong....
    I play only Nov thru April.
    It's rainy and wet here in Berkeley for the last 3 days. 55 degree airs and wet courts.
    During the recent 2 week heat spell, I played every day at least 3 hours, sometimes as much as 5 sets of doubles and 2 sets of singles. But it's hard for this 59 year old to walk straight the next day :confused::confused:
     
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  29. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    So.. did what I say help?
     
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  30. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    Great advice, that was going to be my first suggestion, then one could evolve and place duct tape or some other non permanent line marker etc. 1/2 way between the baseline and the service line and play an expanded version of mini tennis............
     
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  31. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Mini tennis is great for this. I highly recommend it.
     
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  32. Tomek_tennis

    Tomek_tennis New User

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    min tennis for a warm up (so many drills)
     
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  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I know lots of coach's advocate that both players start out at the service line to warm up. Like touchyfeely stuff.....
    No me.
    Main reason. If the opponent blasts a passing shot at me, towards me, or away from me, the ball is moving fast, not slow.
    Another reason. If the opponent is dink angling me from the service line, the last shot I'd choose for reply is a dink angle back to them.
    We only angle and drop when the opposition is blasting away from the baseline.
    If the opposition is trying to dink angle from the service line, our answer should be a blast down the line or supersharp crosscourt or lob over the backhand side..... NONE of which are practiced in the service line warmup !
     
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  34. Okazaki Fragment

    Okazaki Fragment Semi-Pro

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    Load the Stan Bush song on your Ipod and set it on repeat. It will give you both touch and power....Yeah!
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
    #34
  35. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Ahhhhh, but the service line warm-up is just that, a warm-up. You should have practiced your "blast" shots in your practices.

    And your example above would fall into the " it depends" category. Sometimes if a person "dinks" the ball angling away from you, at times, angling a softer touch shot that bounces below the net is the ticket and many people possess this capability.

    Please dont tell me you have never been wrong footed, caught off guard, or out of position by your opponent who took your touch touch shot, and hitting one himself back to you, caused you to error.

    Again, you are heading down a path of what YOU do, vs considering the game of tennis has many different types of players that can possess different skills then you do.

    And this blasting bit? You dont want to blast on all balls.

    The service line warm-up is a perfectly fine way to warm-up. It warms-up the hands and your swing effort for a players touch shots.
     
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  36. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I think you've lost the whole reason for why someone would warm up with both players at the service line, which actually does play right into the OP's post.

    Warmups are for warming up, not for practice and OBVIOUSLY not for practicing real match situations, because obviously in a real match you are not going to be "nice" and hit it right at the other player.

    If players want to work on that they should take a competitive group drill.

    But if they find themselves in a real match, I think the ideal warmup where they just work on getting there arm warmed up and get into a rhythm is the best thing for them (especailly if they actually want to control the ball, versus just simply pound on it or push it).

    But the problem is I think too many players at 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 only think in terms of HITTING AWAY, or HITTING WITH TOUCH.

    In reality if you want to be good you need to be able to control the ball. You should have some feel for where the ball is going and what the appropriate speed is for it to get there. (and again Im talking about having a feel for it, not just some effort to make it 53.73% of your max speed or whatever)

    That's not always a matter of blasting away at everything, and it's not always a matter of just pushing it either.

    This is an issue I have with a lot of my opponents and teammates because some of them just cant warm up. They sit there and blast away at everything which is not "warming up" (it's the opposite).

    So I tend to have a better warmup with someone who gives me a good rhythm, sometimes it's a pusher, and sometimes it's one of our better players.(who can control the ball whether it's going fast or slow).

    Doing it with two players at the service line with these people always seems to be a great way to start out.

    The problem is for some players they cant really control the ball anyway from there so it's a waste of time doing that with them.

    And Im not getting this just from my own opinion, partially I hear this from my teaching pro friends (who apparently have a lot more experience at it then you), and also there is some awesome ideas related to it on the latest essentialtennis.com audio blog.

    It's fine to say what YOU like to do, but when you get into recommending that EVERYONE should do what you think is best that is when there maybe an issue. Just some food for thought.
     
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  37. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Try playing badminton. That's how I honed my touch, deception & reflexes.

    Someone mentioned catching the ball with your racket. This is a very good exercise. Toss the ball up a couple of feet and, with your racket, try to blend with the falling ball so that it does not bounce at all on the strings. As you master this, try it with a higher toss (a meter or more).

    I would not recommend hitting drop shots from the baseline unless you are a very accomplished player. These shots are very risky from that far back -- not that easy to execute and too much time in the air (enabling a lot of opponents to get to the ball if it is not extremely well disguised). Drop shots from the baseline work best on clay & other slow surfaces. Would not suggest it on a fast surface from that far back.
     
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  38. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    You can use the drills and advice listed above. However, one of the things you will need to get better with is hitting a ball with soft hands and sometimes a firm wrist or a slightly firmed up wrist while keeping the hands soft.
     
    #38
  39. jessey

    jessey Rookie

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    Yah, mini-tennis is an awesome game to develop touch and feel. First you can just slowly hit the ball over, but eventually, you'll want to hit the ball with top spin to keep it in the service box. It's also good to practice slices and drop shots.
     
    #39
  40. Tennisman912

    Tennisman912 Semi-Pro

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    Warming up and/or just practice by keeping it inside the service line is a great way to get some feel for the day. A lot of advanced players I know start out there and work their way back to full shots.

    One of the keys to drop shots is soft hands. Aside from lots of mini tennis, I recommend working on crosscourt drop shots first as very soft hands are less important if you can carve around the outside of the ball a little bit (on either side). If you can carve around the ball, you can hit it very precisely and your timing is less important (but still important). You can also hit it a bit harder as well.

    After you master the cross court, carved drop shots/volleys, you can work on a shot straight ahead. These are a bit harder to master and require better timing and technique.

    Good luck and lots of practice will get you there. Some people are naturally able to have touch much easier than others. The best ones seem to always have been good at it.

    TM
     
    #40
  41. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    if you want to improve a particular area of your game, you have to do relevent drills.

    For a few months when I only had few people to play tennis with, I volleyed a lot against the wall in different ways.

    I would begin with regular volleys on one side at a time and try to continue as much as I can. Then I tried to catch the ball bouncing off the wall. Then I tried to bounch the ball of my racket then hit it back to the wall.

    Also, I placed a ball on one side of the racket and tried to flip the ball onto the other side across the edge of the racket.

    If you have a partner, you can figure out a lot of drills that require soft touch.
     
    #41

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