Improving timing

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by markzolotoy, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    I have been playing with a guy who has good understanding about how a tennis player needs to prepare for ground strokes: both forehand and backhand. What he has identified that I have a severe timing problem preparing for a forehand ground stroke. Even he is placing balls very well I am still having issues positioning myself properly: the biggest problem is that I am not opening up in time. I am waiting too long for the ball to bounce. As a result I dont have enough time to get the racket behind me and rotate my body. To compensate for that I often use some jerky movement to get into position. One would say it is all in your head and I totally agree, the only sad thing is that I have absolutely no such problem with backhand stroke, so, there is a hope :) I am looking for some tips to improve my timing. What would experienced players recommend?

    Thanks
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Search the vids of Federer just warming up for a casual practice.
    Notice he doesn't need to move his feet whatsover. His shoulder turn allow him to hit a clean ball early every time.
    Start the shoulder turn as soon as you recognize the balls travel to forehand or backhand, and well BEFORE the ball passes the net.
     
    #2
  3. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    Aha, you are saying turn the shoulder as soon as I see what direction the ball is going to but do not move feet just yet, correct?
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I"m saying the shoulder matters, the feet only to give you a ready position in response of the next ball.
    Now when you start to hit for real, correct feet becomes increasingly more important.
     
    #4
  5. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    go to the other extreme by preparing too early on purpose, turn back as if you are gonna hit a ball in the air without bounce... that's obvious too early... then find the mid ground where feel comfortable.
     
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  6. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Have you tried practicing?
     
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  7. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    Yes, I am practicing. But I need to find something that would help me to get into a proper preparation routine. Another question. At what point am I taking my other hand of the racket? When a ball is bouncing?
     
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  8. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    are you actually practicing where someone is feeding you forehands over and over or hitting against a wall or a ball machine?
     
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  9. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    try keeping both hand on the racket longer and keep the racket in front of you longer. this helps you track the ball better
    dont take the racket back completely until around the bounce
    trust me, you will have enough time.
    taking the racket back too early hurts your timing and footwork a lot
     
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  10. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    Yes, he is mostly feeding forehands and backhands. I must say that practicing with a ball machine feels much better and my timing is much better. In a couple of minutes I am getting into routine and have no problem preparing for a shot. It's just when a ball is flying randomly I m not preparing myself correctly for forehands. More specifically, it would take much more time before it starts feeling that I am getting into a proper routine. While playing with the machine I feel it almost right away.
     
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  11. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    Yeah, that what is messing up my head. My hitting partner is saying that I have to be prepared by having the racket behind. But sometimes it feels when a ball is flying slower or shorter I am too early with that. Is there a good video that would show a proper preparation for a forehand?
     
    #11
  12. morandi

    morandi Rookie

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    Just focus on what is in front of you, the ball. Do not worry about what is behind you, the racquet take back. That will help your timing the best. Just focus on thinking about what you want the strings to do to the ball.
     
    #12
  13. Zolar

    Zolar New User

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    Start slow

    I think that if you start your swing slow and then accelerate the racquet head just before you hit the ball, it will help your timing. Takes a little more core strength but by starting your swing slow, you have more time to judge the ball and your timing should improve.
     
    #13
  14. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Hard to see without video, but I don't agree you need the racket actually behind
    early like your friend is saying
    . That will adversely affect your timing.
    Below is vid showing where the racket with both hands is in front of the back
    shoulder right prior to the ball hitting for the bounce, so that the hands can
    separate, with the off hand getting full stretch across and racket FULL back
    at the bounce.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=WOFRQQ1e4Ig#t=53s

    Some of the guys in the vid don't keep the off hand on the racket as long
    and I realize you can't see the bounce in most, but I liked Murray's position
    at 54 secs, which is just prior to the ball hitting the ground for the bounce.
    This is good vid per your request.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
    #14
  15. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    prep early (shoulder turn) and hit a lot of balls. this is the best advice I can give although it is quite primitive:).

    A former coach also did some drill where you had to count numbers loud (1 opponent contact, 2 bounce and 3 own contact). this can help to develope some rhythm and get a feel for the time dimensions but in the end you need to collect data by seeing and hitting a lot of balls, preferably close to match pace (collecting data of soft pushed balls is not going to help against hard hitting opponents in a match).
     
    #15
  16. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    eye on the ball

    are you looking at the ball the entire time until impact? this focus will help you gauge the pace of the ball and you will adjust automatically.
     
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  17. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    here you go markzolotoy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M17mTLoNaE
     
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  18. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    I am reading all your comments and I am very thankful for them. I guess, my biggest problem is that while awaiting for a forehand to hit, I am basically doing nothing. Seems to me, I am worried too much about the result - hit the ball that a partner cannot respond to, and because of that I am waiting too long staring at the ball approaching me.
     
    #18
  19. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    If you post a video of yourself hitting you'd get more targeted advice.
     
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  20. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Ball bounce and timing

    Let’s assume that ball travels from opponent’s racquet to your point of contact Ttr seconds and your back and forward swing takes Tsw (can be about 0.5sec). Thus you should start backward swing after Ttr-Tsw when the ball lives the opponent racket. That’s why there is practically no correlation between timing of your swing and ball’s bounce.

    To illustrate this idea there is Safin difficult FH from baseline http://youtu.be/PvkLy7vZyy4. He almost finishes his forward swing before ball’s bounce. :shock:
     
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  21. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    Somewhat confusing ...
     
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  22. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Maybe, but that is obviously true. What part of my post is confusing? :)
     
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  23. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    That it is not relevant to ball’s bounce. I think if we would hit from the air then your statement would be correct, but because bouncing significantly changes ball's flying speed and time I think it's a good idea using bouncing to start swinging a racket.
     
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  24. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Safin starts swinging the racquet long before ball’s bounce. So, according to you he does something wrong. How should he correct technique of this particular FH? :confused::shock::(
     
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  25. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    Then I dont understand that video. What time do I need to look it at?
     
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  26. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    [​IMG]

    In pic.1 Safin starts backswing long before ball’s bounce. Pic.2 shows he starts forward swing. Pic.3 is ball’s bounce. Pic.4 is contact point.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
    #26
  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Ball machine good for your timing
     
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  28. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    Well, as I said, practicing with machine feels much, much better.
     
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  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Waiting too long for the bounce is a bad thing. As early preparation as possible is the key. You can become complacent if you play the same people over and over again, and will experience discomfort if a higher-level player shows up. So even in rallies and casual matches, it is good to notice the direction of the ball from as early as possible and start preparing. Waiting till the bounce and then reacting slowly is a no-no.
     
    #29
  30. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    As I understood other postings an early preparation starts with turning my shoulders. That seems to me needs to start asap. Then keeping a racket with both hands in a front of me and tracking the ball is the next phase. Right before the ball is bouncing start taking a racket behind and dropping the other hand. Does that sound more or less correct?
     
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  31. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Returning hard dip ball is mostly about prediction of the ball trajectory around contact point. To learn that you better use ball machine with random throw. You also should use brand new balls and good courts. :confused::shock:
     
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  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Sounds OK. Do not believe in the counting till 5 from bounce before impact as preached by some, and stuff like that.

    I find that a "proportional" strategy works very well. Instead of any abrupt panicky motion, take back and swing forward timing in proportion to the distance from the ball and its speed so that the forward swing meets it at the desired location is the key.
     
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  33. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    if your strokes and timing are good with a ball machine, but not when practicing with someone or in matches it means that you might not be adjusting your timing to balls of varying speed. this is a skill you need to develop. how to adjust your timing depending on the incoming ball and on what you want to do to it.

    there are many ways of adjusting to the incoming ball.
    - you can wait for it to come into your hitting zone (delay dropping the racquet on slow balls), or
    - you can attack it early by taking a step or two forward before going into your stroke motion, or
    - you can step back and then hit it (useful for high balls on clay) or
    - you can run around where the ball is going to be and hit it with the other stroke (i.e. change backhand to forehand and hit inside-out), or
    - you can hit it out of your normal strike zone (higher or lower) and adjust the height of your take-back and stroke accordingly.
     
    #33
  34. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    Have you changed anything with your stroke recently? I had a similar problem when I improved my OHBH by turning more shoulders more. At first I was constantly hitting the ball late because my timing was based on turning much less. I literally had to exaggerate it and try to force myself to swing really early, just to find the new sweet spot.
     
    #34
  35. markzolotoy

    markzolotoy New User

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    Yep, that is a part of a problem. Before I wasn't turning my shoulders as an early preparation step. But my partner wants me to change that. Before I was doing everything wrong but it "worked". Now I am much better, but still cannot completely get into this smooth forehand routine. Especially in the begging of a game/practicing. It takes usually around 30 - 40 min. for me to get into slow, smooth, and accurate movement. I even think about something that I could use off court to work on the whole forehand routine.
     
    #35
  36. morandi

    morandi Rookie

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    Timing too I believe has a lot to do with balance. Focus on remaining centered and erect, keeping your head upright, helps a lot with ones position on the court and stroke execution. Djokovic is a master at this.
     
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  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Better to be early and too early than late and too late.
    So turn your shoulder's ASAP.
     
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