How to increase racket speed?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by user92626, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Guys and gals,

    How would one train to increase racket speed? Is there a limit to one's strength and he should be happy with it? Or the more you train the better you get?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    It's more about technique than strength. There are some skinny little teenagers who can really knock the cover off the ball.
     
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  3. drummerdan

    drummerdan Semi-Pro

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    Swing faster. ;)

    Seriously, technique is more important. Develop that and the rest will come.
     
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  4. [d]ragon

    [d]ragon Hall of Fame

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    Weight training to develop strong muscles, mainly fast twitch, would help . This would also help in injury prevention. My philosophy when working out is to do the reps quickly instead of slowly to build up these muscles. I'm not an expert of course but I think it makes sense

    More importantly however are technique and flexibility. Technique plays a major role but I believe flexibility is a bit more important when trying to generate RHS (racquet head speed). While technique allows you to set up properly and utilize your body mechanics efficiently (providing a strong base, applying weight transfer), the flexibility of your body is abit more important for generation the most power. It creates elasticity in which allows the arm can whip through the shot. I think while skinny people don't have that a lot muscle mass, this increases the flexibility of their bodies and allows for a more slingshot/rubberband force on shots. I think doing dynamic stretches before playing and static stretches after really help improving the flexibility of your body
    Don't get me wrong. Technique is very important and should be focused on just as importantly. Both complement each other.

    Compare Federer's forehand with Murray's. No question both have tremendous technique. But it seems to me like Federer whips his racquet a lot faster through his shots than Murray does. I attribute this to the elasticity of his body.
     
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  5. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Thanks, guy, especially [d]ragon for a more thoughtful reply.

    Surely technique is important and often cited, but does anyone have a checklist to verify whether you're on the right track? Interestingly I have this anecdote that some guy at a court was telling me that he'd been playing for over 10 years and his FH was still not correct. I asked him what was wrong with it and he said that all he knew was that his fh was weak so it must be wrong!

    At this point I think I've figured out enough to be able to hit at near the top of my strength. (It feels quite exhilarating as you feel you're playing a real sport and also got a good workout :)).
    However, from where I look, my shot doesn't zip thru the air like I see with some guys and my opponent still stands closely behind the baseline. lol. I think it's a good measure of power when your oppon has to consistently stand 5+ ft behind their baseline. That's what I see in ATP matches. Correct?
     
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  6. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    Make sure your transfer your body weight into the shot. It helps tremendously once it is automatic.

    Relax your arm and your wrist. Hit a few balls against a wall as if you don't care. Imagine that you cannot feel or control the arm, that it is dead/paralyzed and just flies helplessly as a rope. Generate all momentum from the leg drive through the core muscles to the shoulder turn, let the arm be dragged and wrap over your body. See if the ball picks up any additional pop. The idea is not to exclude the arm muscles from your real strokes, but to "switch your arm off" temporarily to verify that the muscles come into play in the right order, the power originates in your feet first and channels further down the kinetic chain.

    When you bring the arm back into play, make sure you are not muscling the ball, not punching/poking it with the racket but rather flexibly pulling your arm with the racket through the contact point.

    Increase the length of your backswing loop. Know that it hurts timing and consistency, but try.

    Make sure you line your non-hitting arm parallel to the baseline before starting to swing forward. It helps achieve better upper shoulder rotation.

    Check your grip and spin. If all your steam goes into topspin, fix it by going through the ball more.

    Check the weight of your racket and the tension of your strings. Demo a few and see if your gear slows you down.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
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  7. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    Relaxation and trust in your technique... onceyou have the fundamentals of wich you will find a lot ofthreads here, what you should focus on is doing them as efficiently as possible, and wasting as little energy as possible.

    its more important the direction of all the forces generated from the ground up in your kinetic chain than to try and generate more power... its surprising the first times that you make a clean completely relaxed swing and contact how the ball accelerates without much apparent effort.

    knowledge is more important than brute power...

    concentrate on the flying path ofthe ball and try to judge the ball as soon as it leaves the opponent's raquet, because the height, effect and pace will determine wich is the most efficient swing path.

    balance is more important than raw strength

    get to your position as fast as you can, WITHOUT loosing your balance, if you loose your balance, you loose efficiency, you loose power. keep your compusture, keep your verticalilty inside the base of your stance, that means to achieve awareness of how much you can lean into the shot, wich is not too much, and how low or high you must bend your knees.

    hit in the "center of thestring bed"... the best place to hit it is not in the center itself but where the vibrations are distributed evenly at contact. to simplify, its the place on the strigbed in wich you feel the ball as being the less heavy and the less it distorts the raquetface.

    if i think of anything else, ill write it right away... you have a lot of practice ahead :) and that shouldnt be scary, it can be exciting.... the journey is long
     
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  8. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    You want to know how I train it????????

    Okay, this is my way of training it.

    You will line up at center mark, then you will hit groundies crosscourt. Targets will be placed deep in the court.

    You will use a control racquet and have to hit over a four foot rope across the net and land the ball deep - with topspin.

    I will feed you balls and if you didnt hit hard enough or with enough spin I will tell you to hit it harder and faster.

    You will hit many off balance at first and you will truly think you suck. You do, but you won't for long. You will learn to swing the racquet faster, keep the ball deep, stay in balance, and develop your conditioning all at the same time. Most important, you will be working on your technique at the same time. Little discoveries happen when you are pushed to do something. Trust me.

    Of course, I would be looking to squeeze every bit of efficiency and effectiveness in your stroke as well.

    In this case? I am definetly old school. The lighter the racquet and more "springy" it is, in general, the slower you swing to keep the ball in play. Or it doesn't promote a fast swing speed.

    If you took my swing speed and gave me a tweener racquet? lol, the balls would go over the fence!
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
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  9. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Great post.

    Most players who have not had the opportunity to watch higher ended matches just don't realize how high over the net most hit. I believe Nadal (probably an extreme) hits about six feet over the net on the average but the racquet head speed is very fast. The margin of error certainly is increased when the ball clears the net by a few feet as compared to trying to have every shot skim the net cord. If your shot goes into the net, the point is over - period. However, if you shot "might" go a little long, you still have a chance - especially in doubles. When your up, as you know, its difficult to make those "in" or "out" decisions and you end up hitting some out balls out of necessity - can't run the risk of letting it fall in.

    Stringing a line a few feet over the net can be a challenge to most players - they should try it and see thats its not that easy at first.
     
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  10. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    You never mention if you use an open or closed stance.

    A couple of weeks ago I saw too very good late teen players hitting and then playing on the end court. One was about 6'3", obviously much stronger, and the other about 5'9" and average build. The second had tremendous body rotation on all his groundstrokes and was blistering the ball. The other, "stronger" player used almost no body rotation. I could tell he was shocked his smaller, less muscular opponent hit the bigger ball.

    The bigger the takeback, the more muscles you use, the harder you hit. (Better have pretty good timing, though, with that big stroke.)
     
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  11. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I use a more complete s-w grip and a APDC strung at 53lbs. The sweetspot of this puppy, I discovered, is the top-center part, ie an inch or two up from the crosshair.

    BB's post as usual is great. What he describes is what I've been unawarely doing for months. I go to the courts a lot lately and there are always a few people there willing to drill-rally extensively. Since there's not much going on, it's a good time to swing all out, build FH/BH strength, and like BB said, you can discover a lot by doing. One of my focus is to get the ball zip thru the air as fast as possible and eventually push the guy in the other court back a few feet behind the baseline. Your opponent's position tells you a lot about your shot, right? (In game everyone struggles to hit a shot from way back.)
     
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  12. [d]ragon

    [d]ragon Hall of Fame

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    Ah, I forgot to mention relaxing the arm and hand as part of increasing flexibility/elasticity.

    These are some nice posts.
     
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  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Re BB's post:

    Why would you have the student hitting over the 4-foot rope?
     
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  14. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    The net + another 4 ft is an awful lot of "clearance". Can you pull a full swing with that clearance and still keep the ball in?
     
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  15. Rambler124

    Rambler124 Rookie

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    Conditioning the mind to understand you don't need low clearance. You need high clearance over the net (in most cases).

    Its possible to hit 4 ft over the net with a "full swing". Its a bit misleading to say that in my opinion. Remember that spin plays a tremendous role here. I could ask a student to hit a ball 4 inches over the net but then they will begin to make more mistakes - by asking them to clear a larger target they will hit higher instinctually and have to figure out how to get the ball in play inside the lines. Now, you have trained the mind to clear the first obstacle and begin to work on the other (Depth and Direction) and depth can be handled by adding more spin, yes?
     
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  16. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    learning to hit over a 4' rope was something Todd Martin mentioned as a turning point in his game.
     
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  17. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Work on building Biceps and shoulder muscles. and do some Yoga like Cobra Pose. that really hot girl in TCC was doing it with skimpy cloth on and it looks like it really works.....
     
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  18. tennis angel

    tennis angel Guest

    It is so true that a clean completely relaxed swing and contact produces acceleration without much apparent effort when you use the large muscles (biceps and pectorals, not the shoulder girdle).

    Wait as long as possible to judge the ball; deciding too early will force you to commit then have to adjust to what the ball actually does and this cuts your efficiency and timing.

    Don't hit in the center of the string bed, hit below the sweet spot.

    Tennis is about losing your balance not maintaining it; trying to maintain balance will stiffen your muscles and prevent you from responding naturally to the ball. You will find your balance naturally, not by thinking about it.

    Knee bend to find the ball and load the legs but be sure to lift up and don't stay down. Lifting up generates a great deal of power which will add to the speed of your stroke.

    Hitting over a rope strung 3 feet over the net will help you develop the ability to hit heavy topspin with depth, which will challenge your opponent.
     
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  19. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    Increasing racket speed.
    1.)technique. Use kenetic chain and develop in to it's highest potential for you. Modern technique gives you more racket head speed then the old closed stance linear technique (but its a more injury prone technique).
    2.) Lift weights. Lift using both a little reps and a lot. More often work out with higher reps, you just need the (i'm losing my vocabulary today..) little reps to get some muscle (mainly to prevent injury), but the fast twitching muscles will need to be developed more. So basically train both, but fast twiching muscles more. Whole body workout for tennis specifically though.
     
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  20. tennis angel

    tennis angel Guest

    Modern is not a more injury-prone technique if executed properly. This is a basic misconception about the modern game.
     
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  21. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    I wasn't sure, but i've heard about people getting injured (especially hip injury) from all the hip and shoulder rotation used so frequently. I've read it in some places too, i can't really say mine is right, because i really don't know, but i know i've been told by my coaches and read it somewhere.
     
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  22. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    There are a bunch of things you can work on to increase racket speed. As mentioned before, technique is very important. Especially on the forehand, but also on the backhand, make certain to load up with a full shoulder turn - get that off-hand shoulder under your chin during the unit turn. Try to start the kinetic chain with your feet on most shots but make certain to reach out with the off hand and then pull it in as though you were doing a pirouette.

    As the racket comes forward, make certain that you are lagging it, or pulling it butt first toward the ball. Let your arm accelerate hard toward the ball and let the racket spring up into it.

    Some people will shadow swing with a racket without strings to practice swinging very fast. Again, relax but move quickly into the contact zone. Remember to always warm up well before trying to push your speed limit. You want to be fast but smooth. So work on smooth first and then gradually increase the speed until you are moving as fast as you can.

    During speed work, quality is more important than quantity.
     
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  23. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    It's all about equipment limitations/technique. The first thing you can do is stop using a frame that has such a high swingweight. Secondly, loosen up your grip and trust the weight of the frame to do the work. Keep in mind that a faster racket speed doesn't mean wins/better shot making.
     
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  24. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    I hear you and you make some interesting observation. However, stay away from the temptation of trying to swing so hard and with so much top that a good percentage of balls go out/into the net. If your getting 70 - 80% of these to fall in, go for it but many players beat themselves trying to make macho hits. Should you keep practicing it, absolutely but tone down a few pegs when you play -- I know some who can't. For some reason the "thrill" of one good ball completely outweighs the reality of a high percentage of bad balls. If you can control it fine, if not back away a bit until you can.
     
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  25. phoenicks

    phoenicks Professional

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    what my coach said to me was, relax your shoulder, and swing as quick as u can.
     
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  26. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Strength training (gym), and medicine ball throws will definitely help you to impart more racket-head speed. You also want to try the following:

    Drill:

    -- Remove strings from your racket. Yes, that's correct, you need a strings-less frame.
    -- Have a partner to feed you balls from a ball basket.
    -- Time it correctly, and swing faster with proper technique. If done correctly, the ball will go through your racket-head without hitting the frame. Obviously, with bad timing the ball will hit the frame.
    -- Hit a basket of balls like this.

    A basket like this once a week, will improve your racket-head speed.
     
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  27. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    OK, there's a new one.
     
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  28. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    That drill is to help you relax so you don't tense up from anticipating the impact on your strings.
     
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  29. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Many excellent points, gents.

    "Keep in mind that a faster racket speed doesn't mean wins/better shot making. "


    This point and that about placement, footwork, whatever else is well taken, but let me ask you folks about this scenerio:

    There are some ladies who just started playing in our group and being women they are of course physically weaker than the guys. They rally quite consistently, in fact sometimes even more consistently than the guys if we start that route. It makes sense since I think they enjoy the mental edge of being underdogs, ladies, whatever, and its doubles which requires little or no running. However, their net game is a little better than most people. As a result sometimes it's more challenging for me and my partner to beat them than the guys (and I just realize that women are more patient than guys). My partner likes to tell me to keep the points short, and I like to think that our only "edge" is that we can overwhelm them with power if we can.

    So, if I play the good footwork, placement, smart-shot game, I am basically playing their games and since they go to the court and specially train/drill those aspects, I don't see how I can have a clear winning strategy that I can develop! :)
     
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  30. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    It's mostly a technique issue, but really it's a footwork issue. If they don't have a concept of the step-out, then their kinetic chain may be all wrong.

    Usually I try to see whether a person is swiveling around their hips in order to produce the groundstroke. The test is easy. Shadow your normal swing and note the location of your optimal contact point. Then execute that same thing with virtually no takeback. That contact point should be the same. If it's not, then you're swiveling. And that is the case for the majority of people.
     
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  31. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    If you only have 1 hour of time per week to workout with weights and machines, what would you do ?:confused:
     
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  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If I had one hour a week to work on racket speed, I'd spend 15 minutes a day, after warming up, 4 days a week on shadow swinging in front of a mirror, in a room big enough to accomodate me and my racketfriend.
    Like any performer, you need room to practice. You need mirrors so you know what you're doing! And just for you coaches out there, you need a coach around to tell you what to do.
    But.... there are limits. Skinny weaklings like myself cannot hit like Nadal or serve like Roddick!
    But tons of repetitive practice might allow us to get close to the best of our abilities, which is better than a kick in the butt.
     
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  33. sir_shanks_alot

    sir_shanks_alot Rookie

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    Think of your racquet like a whip and it will get faster. There's a fine line of control though. The more "whip" you get, the less consistent the result usually.

    I'm not a coach but I think a good drill to increase racquet speed would be to try to hit balls inside your opponents service line, from inside your own baseline. This is fairly hard to do. It takes a good bit of topspin and encourages the lifting motion required to produce it.
     
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  34. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    but i want to work with WEights,,,, it works better than the racket shadow swinging...
     
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  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If you already know what you want to do, why ask in an internet site?
    Go get stronger, bigger, and you'll play tennis like ArnoldSwartz......
     
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  36. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    The same contact point? So you basically just let the ball hit your optimal contact point just to see if you arm the ball or don't use your hips? That doesn't make any sense!
     
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  37. jazzyfunkybluesy

    jazzyfunkybluesy Banned

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    Lift weights. This helps your weight of shot. More damaging imo.
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sure, Hewitt's shots don't have weight, neither do Gonzalez's (thos he's more like 170), or Federer's, or DJ's.... they need to bulk up to WWE Wresteling specs.
    Bigger guys, like the BIG SHOW (490lbs) and that sumo guy are great tennis players, because they can put weight on their shots ....:confused::confused:
    Little tykes, you'd tear apart, like Oudin, Henin, Austin, Coetzer, hitting puff balls you would just eat up.
     
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  39. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    I only get an hour every friday at school to work out. At school we switch our routine up every week. first week its benches, squats, rdl's, pull overs, abs and some other stuff i cant think of, but they're all at 5 sets of 10 reps. The next week we do 5 sets of 6 with increased weight. 3/5 times we'll do 5 sets of 10, and 2/5 times we'll do 5 sets of 6. A couple areas we always cover are abs, thighs, shoulder, basically the main muscle groups.
     
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  40. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Funny post
     
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  41. jazzyfunkybluesy

    jazzyfunkybluesy Banned

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    Carrect sir.
     
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  42. Rambler124

    Rambler124 Rookie

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    Grip Tension. Make sure you don't deathgrip the thing. This can really add to some serious pop.
     
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  43. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    No no. What I mean is to shadow your swing and observe what would be your contact point with a full takeback and with almost no takeback. If they are significantly different, then there's a significant issue with your overall technique and probably your feet. Also means that your kinetic chain is not set up correctly, which means that you're not correctly generating power.

    The other alternative is to go through a practice rally and see if you can play with almost no backswing. Most people can't, and that's usually a sign that there's significant issues with footwork and torso alignment into the shot. That's usually the #1 ceiling why people can't go further with their power.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
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  44. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    No longer tricky to understand. Thanks.
     
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  45. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    The rope alone helps with hitting with clearance and topspin. Normally you would loop the ball over the net for your rally stroke and I would set the rope height higher at times if we were working on that.

    However, in this particular case we are working on swing speed. Therefore, I want the student to find the balance between spin and depth.

    Hitting a ball four feet above the net is not that high. You can swing fast and learn to keep the ball in the court, deep, and with good spin. I want to work on pace, spin, and swing speed. The supporting areas you need and will be working on is your conditioning, balance, ball recognition skills, your movement, setup, and everything else that goes into executing a fast swing speed and consistency.

    I also dont want you to hit line drives which does not necessarily support hitting a heavier ball.
     
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  46. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Players shouldn't also wait as long as possible because that varies between players as to what that means. Players simply need to know their contact point and time the ball to that spot. Players should not "wait" because that promoted late swings, poor ball judgement, lazy movement, and a lack of early preparation.

    Again, this is much too detail for players to think about when hitting a ball. They simply need to hit the ball on time and cleanly. Worrying about where on the racquet to hit is needless as players will automatically adjust based on the number of balls they hit and know what a clean hit is. The should just worry about hitting the ball cleanly and on time.

    Tennis is not about losing your balance but maintaining it. Too many players at the club are losing their balance, waiting till the last moment to do something, and do not have time to setup often losing their balance.

    Maintaining a low center of gravity promotes good balance while moving. Footwork and footspeed go a long way at helping a player arrive to the place they need to be to hit the ball on time and in balance.

    Responding naturally to the ball does not mean anything also. PLayers need to learn to anticipate, read, and move toward where they need to setup. The footwork that a player brings is often foreign to good tennis movement that is appropriate for the sport. Many times, coordination issues are present which need to be strengthed and trained.

    Footwork and movement in tennis and for tennis is about skill building and that takes practice and normally undos what is "natural" to a student.

    Lifting was coined and prmoted by Vic Braden. It what was known as his "million dollar" lesson. He often had a student sit in a armless chair and feed slow balls using a very short swing so that the player could feel his legs in the shot. My coach in 1978 said "today's tennis hits balls with the legs." Nothing new. Further, lifting does not generate a great deal of power. It helps but is not the main show nor generate a great deal.

    Lifting, especially at the baseline helps get the ball over the net. It is an optical illusion to think the net is lower. In reality, it is higher and a player needs to hit up on the ball. Hitting up includes the swing and the legs.

    Well, you at least got that right.
     
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  47. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    BB, if you were anywhere in SoCal, I would definitely drive my way to find you. Thanks.
     
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  48. sir_shanks_alot

    sir_shanks_alot Rookie

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    I'm going to play devil's advocate here:

    What's wrong with using a racquet with a 250 swingweight? You can swing it much faster than one with a 300+ swingweight.

    Good or bad?
     
    #48
  49. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    539
    Since you felt so obliged to copy my username: wait nevermind forget it.
     
    #49
  50. jazzyfunkybluesy

    jazzyfunkybluesy Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,707
    If you are dinking shots its fine. When up against hard hitters a low swingweighted racquet is not stable, can jump around in your hand, reducing control.
     
    #50

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