I'm playing on clay for the first time tomorrow, advice?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by guitarplayer, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    What do I need to know? Do I need different shoes? Tips?
     
    #1
  2. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    Make sure the tread on your shoes is in good shape. Worn down shoes can still get grip on a hard court, but they'll cause you major problems on clay.
     
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  3. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Make sure you split step on time.
     
    #3
  4. tennis_pr0

    tennis_pr0 Semi-Pro

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    It is just a different bounce, the ball will slow down a little when it hits, so jus adjust with your timing during the warmup and you will get the hang of it. Spin also takes tot he court more. Topspin kicks up a bit more and under spin looses pace more. Just make a few adjustments when warming up and you will be fine.
     
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  5. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    dont try to slide, yet
     
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  6. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    This and be prepared for bad bounces especially when the balls hit near or on the lines. Otherwise, just play your game and have fun. Clay is a treat to play on once you get used to it.
     
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  7. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    Play exactly as you would on any slower court, and be sure you have herringbone sole shoes. Regular duty balls.
     
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  8. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    No need for new shoes unless your tread is worn bare, but you also don't want a really aggressive tread because (1) clay will collect and fill up the spaces in between the tread and it has the same effect as having a smooth sole, and (2) if you have a really agressive tread (like on a running shoe) the club may tell you you are not allowed to play because it will chew up the courts.

    As for style of play, just be ready to work out there. You might end up hitting an extra 2-3 shots every point and over the course of a set/match that can add up. Also, you won't be able to hit through your opponent as easily as on a fast surface so you really have to concentrate on moving your opponent around to expose weaknesses and/or open up the court.
     
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  9. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Clay really makes you pay for bad footwork, so make sure your footwork is solid and from there just play your game.
     
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  10. syc23

    syc23 Professional

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    I'm used to hard courts but love playing on clay whenever I get the chance because of the extra rallying.

    Play lots of Nadal reverse FH and you'll be fine :)
     
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  11. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    One thing that's tougher to do on clay than on hard courts is to change direction in a hurry. Yep, master of the obvious strikes again. Any-who, whenever I play on clay, which is only here and there, I'm always reminded of how I can't get away with anticipating where I think my opponent will send the ball. Even if I'm slowly drifting in one direction before my opponent hits a shot, I'm dead if they decide to hit behind me.

    I think the general idea on clay is to commit to the ball only after you know where it's going. Compared with the bounce on hard courts, the clay will typically slow the ball down when it bounces and sort of "tee it up". Many balls that would get past you on hard courts due to that slightly delayed first move to the ball will be retrievable on clay, but you'll be less susceptible to getting wrong footed. Take care to split-step deliberately, but make your move after the ball is on its way.

    Very much agree with the advice on using sneaks with some tread as well.

    Got spin? It's gonna go crazy-bananas on this surface!!!
     
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  12. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Oh yeah, one other idea. I'm more of a first strike player with a heavy inclination to move forward whenever I can, but clay rewards extra patience. Even if you're a happy baseliner, it can be important to keep aware of the need to play longer rallies and wait for opportunities. You may need to regularly hit at least twice as many shots to earn a point on clay as you would on a hard court. Retrievers can rule on the clay simply because you can't get a ball past them.
     
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  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Bounces on clay can be a bit unpredictable. You have to play back from the bounce and give yourself a little more time to adjust to any variation that you wouldn't get on a perfectly flat hard court.

    Also, clay requires more patience and "shot tolerance" (the ability to stay in a point and rally without getting too anxious). Power hitting is not rewarded on clay the way it is on hard. It slows the ball down and gives your opponent more time to defend. So, you have to be patient and work the point longer before you try to finish. Otherwise, UE's will far exceed winners or forced errors from your opponent.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
    #13
  14. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    Hit with as much spin (slice and top spin) as you can because the clay really takes the spin and exaggerates the effect (slice just dies/ topsin jumps up).
     
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  15. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    Go crazy with topspin to your opponents backhand, especially if it is a 1HBH. They'll love you for it. If you are used to fast courts, note that you will have much more time after the bounce and have to adjust your timing. It's OK to play a little deeper and not hug the baseline. Also, I wouldn't be so risky going for winners because they are somewhat easier to run down, so the chance of you screwing up the winner is often greater than the chance of them not hitting it back. Usually on clay you can play a little more conservatively and use wise court positioning to gain the edge in a point. Fast courts encourage play like a boxing match, while clay courts encourage a chess match.
     
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  16. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    Clay court clubs must vary their shoe policy. When I lived in southern Ontario, the only clay club in the region, would not let me play unless I explicitly wore clay club tennis shoes. Needless to day, I wasn't going to spend $100+ for shoes for both my partner and I to pay another $30/hour in court fees.

    I'd call the club and get the exact details for shoe requirements before booking.
     
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  17. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Don't fall
     
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  18. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    don't change your game. I know there are clay specialists but edberg and mcenroe played serve and volley on clay and still beat a lot of world class players on clay.

    that game is not perfect for clay of course but before 5.0 styles don't really matter it is about who EXECUTES his style better (this means if a ballbasher meets a grinder the one who is doing it better will win-style makes fights comes above that level).

    so make sure you execute your normal game as always.
     
    #18
  19. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    Guys....thanks so much. My biggest asset is quickness which I expect to be neutralized on clay. I'll let you know how I do. Not to confident right now.
     
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  20. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    No. Quickness isn't bad on clay. If you get to the ball faster = more time to set up = more winners. Just watch nadal, every time he gets a crapload of time to setup on clay it usually leads to winners.
     
    #20
  21. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Some advice:

    1) Don't wear an all white outfit.
    2) Don't dive. The clay isn't as soft as you'd think.
    3) If you soil your underpants, don't panic, your opponent might think it's
    clay.

    Actually clay rewards people who can run down lots of shots.
     
    #21
  22. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Yep, faster players can be very difficult to beat on clay.
     
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  23. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    Almost soiled Myself reading this. Too funny.
     
    #23
  24. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    On clay, consistency is the key if your fast.
     
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  25. coolblue123

    coolblue123 Hall of Fame

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    slice alot. that is the most under utilized shot on clay.
    clay play is based more on strategy than blasting ur opponents.
     
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  26. USERNAME

    USERNAME Professional

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    Be sure to use your legs to get well under the ball, bring more water than usual because believe me your gonna run more, oh and one really big thing: DO NOT FORGET you can also move forward.
     
    #26
  27. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    You're the guy who posted an old pic with the mustache, high sox and Pontiac Firebird, right? And you live in Florida and you've never played on clay before? Hahaha! It takes some getting used to, but, believe me, when you do, you'll love it.
     
    #27
  28. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    Yes, that's me. I live in Ohio but we have a condo down here. Come 2 or 3 times a year a week or so each time.
     
    #28
  29. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    This!!!!!!!

    Ok, I lost 3-6, 3-6, 4-4 out of time.

    My game is a baseliner standing well behind the baseline bashing the ball, letting my opponent get bored and make the error. Well, I found out rather quickly.....this **** doesn't work on clay!

    I was all over the court! I won points when I sliced the ball, brought him up then lobbed, or placed the ball behind him. Every time I tried my baseline bashing game....I lost points....lots of them.

    I had no issue with footing or chasing balls down. Realized its much easier to chase down a cross court ball than when I was cross footed...ie..ball hit behind me...reversing direction.

    Took me a while to get my timing. I hit a lot of forehands long because the ball isn't coming at you like on hard courts as it bounces, loses pace and just hangs in the air. You seem to have to generate your own momentom.

    It truly is about placement, stragety, slicing, and thinking. I would do much better next time now that I understand the dynamics. Also, I was at the net a lot! A foreign land for a baseliner like me.

    I enjoyed it much more than I thought.
     
    #29
  30. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Was sliding on my first time on clay -- had a lot of fun. If you do slide, try to slide into the shot, not after.
     
    #30
  31. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    And slide with your right leg assuming you play right handed.
     
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