Just Discovered New Forehand at 48!

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by vitas77remembered, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. vitas77remembered

    vitas77remembered New User

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    Having grown up on the traditional closed stance, flat forehand, I just could not get my head around the new forehand. Well went out this weekend hitting with my boy and tried out that extreme western forehand grip and all I can say is WOW!! It was like what an idiot I've been for not looking at it (like I felt in the 80's staying with my Snauwaert/Vitas while everyone went Prince). It is so much easier to generate spin while still hitting out, ball just dives in. Great for hitting aggressively.
     
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  2. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Try a semi-western too. You can get about as much spin, though you'll have to pronate a bit more, and it's a bit easier to hit through the ball when you want to and to handle low balls.
     
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  3. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

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    I was 50 or so, when I completely changed my forehand from a continental grip to a semi-western or extreme eastern. Took me a while to get the hang of it, but now my forehand is a weapon.
    I would agree that semi-western should be a little easier to get use to and also will make it easier to hit the low balls.
     
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  4. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Traditionally, the most prestigious tournament in America is the U.S. Nationals at Forest Hills. The grass is fast, patchy, and yields low bounces. Because the grass is fast, you need a grip that will maximize your lateral reach. Because the bounces are low, you need a grip that makes it easy to open up the racket face and scoop up low balls. Because you get lots of bad bounces, you need to rush the net at every opportunity. Since you're going to be at the net at least 50% of the time, you can maximize your comfort and proficiency there by using your net grips when hitting ground strokes.

    There are other styles and techniques that make it easier to play on concrete, but these will hold you back if you ever get good and want to join the prestigious grass court amateur circuit and be given expense money. (Don Budge had a semi-western grip as a junior champion, but he didn't win the big grass court championships and become the greatest player of all time until he corrected his grip.)

    But those who limited their ambition to being good only on synthetic surfaces and clay could get _cheap_ topspin by using a "frying-pan grip" (instead of the proper "shake-hands" grip). With such a grip, it's almost impossible NOT to put topspin on the ball. Likewise with the baseball-style backhand. Tennis is a much more challenging game, however, if you play it correctly.

    But nowadays, everyone and his brother is taking these shortcuts -- including everyone on the pro tour -- now that we have rackets that compensate for bad technique (while allowing you to benefit from its advantages), so there's no reason for you to feel guilty about taking the easy way out.
     
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  5. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I'm dense, really. So I'll ask, with the greatest respect, is this a serious post or is it just for giggles? Seriously, I'm not trying to be a wise guy.
     
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  6. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    This guy has some weird idea that the modern game is "wrong" and should be curbed by restricting technology. Personally I think he is wrong but each man is entitled to an opinion.
     
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  7. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, he is a bit odd. The irony is it is perfectly possible to play a modern forehand with an old wooden racquet, works just fine...
     
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  8. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    what's up with these old guys finding extreme w grip FHs....

    better watch out for that old back ! :shock:
     
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  9. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I don't get it either.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, the strong SW, or weak Western is working out just great so far.
    For Dozu, no backproblems as of yet, but maybe it's because I avoid serious singles with my ankle so bad.
    I switched to weak Western at 61 years and 11 months. Good move so far.
     
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  11. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    That the modern techniques are incorrect cannot be so weird an idea, when you consider that this is the consensus of the overwhelming majority of tennis books that have been published, not to mention the instruction columns in some 30 years of "World Tennis" magazine (published from 1953 until 1980-something).
     
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  12. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    So you believe it's the court surfaces? It cannot be a coincidence that from WWI until recently the greatest players all used eastern or continental grips.
     
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  13. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    I just believe the game has evolved. I am curious, however, as to where you draw the line on 'correct technique'? I was thinking of someone like John Bromwich and his BH for example. You won't be finding THAT shot in any of your books. (well, except for 'Lawn Tennis the Australian Way' which features a chapter on precisely that)
     
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  14. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    More great stuff Frank,
    Thank you for confirming that the majority of tennis books are full of that classic tennis mis-info. Several on here like to state that there is nothing modern about modern tennis and don't believe that anyone still teaches the old classic methods. Even though I think you are quite lost into the past with your ideas about tennis strokes, I'm very glad to have you here to represent the old ways that some want to doubt are even taught anymore and to vouch for the very real differences that exist between classic and modern tennis. I also like that you are willing to testify that the new ways amount to shortcuts, allowing you to learn and play better faster than traditional!
    thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
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  15. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    This stuff is too good to make up. This is a guy who tells it like it is. The game is way more challenging if you want to stick with the traditional/classic instruction.
     
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  16. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Okay, Rip Van Winkle, time to wake up!
     
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  17. vitas77remembered

    vitas77remembered New User

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    I finally understand what Frank was pointing out. Great stuff. Ah, history repeats itself yet again.
     
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  18. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, the big problem with this is that your not correct. The very high majority of tennis instruction over the past twenty years has used the open stance and what some refer to as modern techniques. The racquets and strings have changed dramatically in the past twenty years and methods used with older equipment just doesn't cut it anymore. The game has gotten much faster and recovery time, among other things has really changed.
     
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  19. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, I don't think this is very accurate. I'm sure there are examples of people still teaching outdated methods but the vast majority of professional teachers aren't teaching things/methods used twenty or thirty years ago - at least as far as stroke/footwork techniques are concerned.

    The problem with some is that they believe everything should be hit from an open stance, as an example, and have convinced themselves that they have reinvented the wheel. Often, whats good enough to bring you to one level doesn't work at the next. Also, although its interesting and exciting to see pro shots, in many instances their methods aren't quite applicable at lower/recreational levels and can really be misleading to follow.

    There was a recent article on this board involving "Revolutionary Tennis" thoughts about using a more closed/neutral stance for some shots. That series of articles, which I believe you dismissed with a one sentence response, actually addresses this subject. I believe their premise was that "everyone" teaches and writes about the so called modern game so we have differing opinions which I believe healthy.
     
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  20. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    I think it's only in the last ten years; before that most coaches at the club level were still teaching the correct techniques. And there have really not been many tennis books published over the last ten or fifteen years, certainly not to compete with the dozens that were published in the 1970s, or the dozens that were published from 1907 through the 1960s. It doesn't even equal the number of books published since the 1970s before the incorrect methods gained prominence.
    Two-handed backhand is also not correct technique. I wouldn't say it was "incorrect" -- I believe the word used by the tennis books for that is "unorthodox." Although I was told forty years ago (never confirmed) that an Australian coach could lose his license to teach tennis if he taught a two-handed backhand. (The theory was that anyone could learn to hit it a proper one-handed slice if give a sufficiently light racket.) The long-term goal was to maximize your net play abilities so you could take advantage of most opponents' inability to do anything but slice their backhands.

    Yes, you can use incorrect modern technique with wood rackets, but you'd likely end up being a clay- or synthetic-court specialist. That's why most of the modern (i.e. post-WWI) champions (Bill Tilden, Henri Cochet, Elsworth Vines, Fred Perry, Don Budge, Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzales, etc.) used eastern and continental grips.
     
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  21. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    "Happy and I'm smiling,
    walk a mile to drink your water.
    You know I'd love to love you,
    and above you there's no other.
    We'll go walking out
    while others shout of war's disaster.
    Oh, we won't give in,
    let's go living in the past.

    "Once I used to join in
    every boy and girl was my friend.
    Now there's revolution, but they don't know
    what they're fighting.
    Let us close our eyes;
    outside their lives, go on much faster.
    Oh, we won't give in,
    we'll keep living in the past."

    Hahaha!
     
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  22. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, its true that the game in constantly evolving and the driving force for much change is the equipment technological improvements. Although other sports are similarly effected, tennis racquets have undergone huge changes. So, the game has changed regardless of what some might think- it will continue to change into the future also.

    As far as tennis books or publications regarding tennis, the information has magnified many times over compared to what was once available. For those that care to explore the tennis information available today, all one has to do is look at what's currently available on the web.

    There are currently hundreds of web sites and scores of books dealing with every aspect of the game.

    So, the bottom line is that I don't care if you or other don't care to change their methods. That's ok, its difficult to change methods that have worked and that doesn't, in itself, make them wrong or outdated.
     
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  23. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    To me this is like saying that it is more correct to walk than to drive a car. Sure walking requires far more effort and you may have to travel for many additional days but in the end it is clearly the way that we are intended to travel. There were many books written about proper travel techniques that are now invalid. Oh and let me tell you about the sun and how it rotates around the earth. Patently ridiculous.
     
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  24. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    A few months ago I drove my wife to a nearby town for CPR training, and I spent a few hours in the local public library. I went to the tennis book section and ALL of the tennis books demonstrated (using both traditional wood and also those new metal rackets) the "shake-hands" grip and the 180 degree back-fence-to-front-fence swing. We're talking about books that are in that library RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT -- not 35 years ago (when those books were printed). Not that 35 years was all that long ago; it's not as if we were talking about a time that was too early for me to remember.

    I am justified in resenting the direction the game has taken. Back in 1973 when I had trouble hitting two shots in a row against the backboard I discovered I could hit it six times in a row merely by holding the racket in a semi-western grip, facing the wall, and keeping the string-bed facing forward throughout the entire motion. I showed it to a guy a year older than me, contrasting it to the way the teacher and the books demonstrated, and he told me that the books were right and my way was wrong. He then demonstrated some (to me) overpowering topspin forehands in textbook fashion. So I went back and struggled with the correct technique until I could do it a little better.

    Years later, I wanted to hit topspin like Rod Laver, and every once in a while I found myself hitting unusually well, only to discover in horror that my grips were slipping around the handle. Certainly that would hold me back in the long run, as none of the pros (except for a few clay-court specialists) held the racket like that. No doubt a really good player would just keep the ball below my strike zone. (Especially on grass, if I ever got good enough to play on such a court.)

    Even though the books taught Eastern grips, the best players tended more towards Continental. Back then, I could tell how good a person was just by looking at a photo of them hitting a forehand: Western grip -- completely ignorant novice. Eastern grips -- advanced beginner to intermediate. Semi-continental -- advanced.

    If pros were going to use western grips, they should have done so back then so I would not have felt obligated to keep correcting my technique back to the more open-faced grips. Sure, the game changes, but I bet you would be disappointed if you get to my age people started saying that nowadays _MODERN_ tennis uses thin rackets and a birdie instead of a fuzzy ball (no matter how fine a game badminton might be in its own right).

    And the pros certainly don't have to use _exaggerated_ western grips -- just to rub it in our faces!

    Sure, this year I've also modified my forehands, after watching a Doug King DVD. (I think I justified that change in my initial post to this thread.) I now use a near-semiwestern grip and turn the racket over across my body in the follow-through instead of following the line of the shot, and I'm hitting better than ever. I just don't pretend that what I'm doing is correct form. It's just that, at my age, I've decided to say, "Who care if I never learn to play well with wooden rackets on grass? I'm probably never going to do that anyway!"

    And I'm not one of those egotistical people who think that right and wrong must be re-defined to justify what they themselves do. Such people call family-values politicians hypocrites for being caught having affairs or gay sex. That's a silly as calling a politician who takes a bribe a hypocrite for not having first taken an official political position in favor of government corruption, or calling a police chief who murders his wife a hypocrite for having arrested murderers over the course of his career. (As you might imagine, I also have little patience for people who defend the notion of moral relativism.)

    And effectiveness aside, I still think the continental style is better-looking.
     
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  25. Playnice

    Playnice Guest

    Unfortunately, in my experience this is very accurate. I witnessed a tennis instructor at a municipal facility (accessible only to certified tennis professionals) giving lessons last Saturday, directing the players to get sideways, take the racket back and finish the stroke in front toward the intended target. No open stance, no unit turn, no finish. The students obediently followed his instruction, shadowing his conventional example. I see this all too often, at private clubs, public parks, high schools, and even tennis teaching clinics.
     
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  26. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    So, Frank, Bjorn Borg?

    I await with interest your comments on his technique...
     
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  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, if anyone is still consulting the library for the most current anything, they'd be about as dated as the written material they're looking through!
    Did you know motocross suspension has gone from 3.75" in 1973 to 13" in 1985?
    Did you know the basic modern surfboard right now is about 6' tall, multi finned, concave bottomed, single layed 6 oz glass with only a small knee patch (for paddling and standing up)?
    Did you know that every golfer nowadaze uses a huge headed driver the size of a softball?
    Did you know a modern, competitive IPSC Combat Pistol, fully ready to compete, costs in the neighborhood of $4,000?
    Did you know nowadaze, we can use 10 meter windsurf sails in winds from 10-30mph?
    Things change, except what's at the library.
     
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  28. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Borg didn't start winning Wimbledon until most of the great serve-and-volley players had aged out of the game. And even so, his forehand deviations from orthodoxy were rather minor compared with today's players. Nowadays people describe his forehand grip as eastern.

    http://couturedecoates.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/borg.jpg

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_HJ8-8veOz...NBjf8pTqVw/s1600/BORG_Bjorn_19750626_EL_T.jpg

    I wouldn't complain if people today used Borg's grip. That's practically within the permitted range of variation.
     
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  29. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I don't know how old you are, but, I started playing tennis in earnest in 1969, with a Dunlop Fort, a continental grip and a closed stance forehand. When I got older, and switched to the larger Dunlop Max 200g, I also changed to an Eastern Drive. (Actually, since then, the definitions of the grips seem to have changed. The forehand grip that Don Budge hit with was an Eastern grip. But, by today's definitions, it would be considered to be about half way between a Continental and an Eastern forehand grip. But, that's another issue.). Now that I am using between 95-100 square inch racquets, I hit with something between the modern definiton of an Eastern and SW grip and an open stance.

    Having said that, I dispute the notion that the old school, close stance, forehand was in any way "correct" compared to a modern, open stance forehand. If you remember correctly, in the 60's and 70's most of the top players' backhands were their stronger side. Players such as: Hoad, Rosewall, Emerson, Stolle, Laver, Roche, Ashe, even as recently as Edberg, (and many more), all had better backhands than forehands.

    IMO, the cause of this was the mistaken believe that forehands and backhands were symmetrical mirror images of each other. They are not. When hitting a closed stance backhand, you are hitting with the leading shoulder and your arm is free to swing without hinderance from the upper body, and your upper body is free to rotate without interference from the lower body, therefore enabling you to better maintain your balance throughout the swing. But, when hitting with a closed stance forehand, you are hitting from the back shoulder - a wholly unnatural stroke in which the upper body interferes with and truncates the swing, and the lower body impairs rotation of the upper body which in turn impairs balance.

    IMO, it is the abandonement of that flawed convention, and the evolution of the modern, open stance, semiwestern forehand, in which the hitting shoulder is no longer behind the upper body at contact, and the swing is no longer inhibited by the upper body which in turn impairs balance, that has given rise to a game in which the forehand is now the major weapon of virtually every player on the pro tour, men and woman.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
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  30. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Hey, it's not their fault that changes in rackets and court surfaces have given people with incorrect technique the advantage. They cannot do much about it without the help of the governing bodies, except to continue to train people and hope that one day a player with correct technique somehow again reaches the top.

    Check out this video of two modern champions, both among the greatest players of all time (according to the video "Kings of the Court"), and I suspect these two were the very models of correctness upon which decades of tennis instruction was based:

    http://www.thoughtequity.com/video/clip/1617568_024.do
     
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  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I didn't know tennis was one design, that we all had to hit the same, use the same steps, the same swing, like ballroom dancing.'
    I guess I don't really know much.
     
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  32. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    Frank is a bit of a zealot, methinks. I started on grass with wood in the late 70s with an orthodox game, changed with the game and now play with a modern FH. My BH hasn't really changed a lot. I do have a 2HBH that I coach with and rally with a bit, but I generally use my one hander.

    I am now in my 40s and a teaching pro. Still play a few open tournaments with steadily diminishing success. Wouldn't be able to do that with my old game!

    I would never consider my original game as somehow 'correct', this is rank foolishness. I'm sorry Frank, but you're not talking sense. So much variation in technique among the greats over the last century, I really don't think you can pick a style and call it a standard. What about lefties? Is that 'incorrect' too?
     
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  33. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Unfortunately. some schools of tennis thought probably believe there is only one way and set about to preach the "one design" approach to everything.
     
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  34. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Well, apparently you didn't read a lot of tennis books and instructional articles thirty-five or more years ago. Tennis was a game of form and style, and many people thought it was almost as important to "look good" while playing as to win. (Otherwise, everyone would have become pushers.)

    The forehand and backhand are symmetrical ON PAPER, because the books back then all showed a flat-overspin backhand drive which players in real life were rarely (if ever) able to hit. (Even Arthur Ashe, who had one of the great backhands of his day, called the slice his "bread-and-butter backhand.")

    Also, I consider it a myth that these players had better backhands than forehands. Yes, they may have been steadier and more accurate, but that was only as long as they were slicing (which was almost all the time). They could have gotten more accuracy and steadiness on the forehand, too, by slicing, but they didn't. (Well, Arthur Ashe did do that towards the end of his career when the game moved to clay and the game was to out-steady your opponent. But he was the only one, IFAIK.)

    For example, I saw Ken Rosewall play, He was said to have a weak forehand and one of the all-time greatest backhands. And yet, it seemed to me he hit his forehand every bit as hard as he hit his backhand. What is more telling is that his opponents directed their serves to his backhand AT LEAST as often as they served to his forehand. If you want to claim this is because they were used to hitting to that corner, well, they did the same to Laver (who was a lefthander). I didn't see anyone struggling to keep the ball on Laver's forehand side, and given the choice with a ball down the middle Laver chose to use his forehand.

    Don Budge's backhand was so great, Jack Kramer said he was the only player he couldn't beat by serving to the backhand and following it in. He had a fine forehand, too, but no one raved about how great it was. And yet, Kramer mentioned that when he tried following in serves to Budge's forehand he was EVEN WORSE OFF. That would not have been the case if Budge's backhand really WAS better than his forehand.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
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  35. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, just because some think that every shot doesn't need to be hit with an open stance doesn't make them wrong. Papas, as an example, who's qualifications are significant, has his followers along with others that might think differently. However, I would hope that readers of this forum realize the financial incentives involved that drive this ongoing push and come to their own conclusions.

    Papas, for those that might not be familiar with his work thinks the "entire" tennis community teaches the so called "modern techniques". He makes good arguments on many issues and has been teaching tennis for years along with having his own web site. I know he's been very critical of my organization (USPTA - quite sure he's a member also) on several issues but that's ok. I would not consider Mark to be in the majority these days.

    Are there others that subscribe to these "older" methods - probably, but lets be honest, they (no more than Mark does) represent the majority of tennis professionals. If you don't believe me, ask him.
     
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  36. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Sorry, but, I disagree with every one of your premises! It seems that you haven't thought this issue through.

    - The forehand and backhand are asymmetrical in reality for the reasons I previously explained in minute detail. If they are depicted as symmetrical "ON PAPER," then the depiction is in error.

    - Sorry, but, if you considler it a myth that the pros of the 60's and 70's backhands were better than their forehand, then you are in error. It is indisputable for those who lived, played and followed pro tennis at that time, that most pros' backhands were their stronger side for the reasons I already explained in minute detail. Of the players I enumerated, only Rosewall did not hit a topspin backhand. The others all hit topspin and slice backhands.

    - I know of no reliable source that has ever said that Rosewall had a weak forehand. I've seen Rosewall play live several times, and his forehand was a great shot, but, not quite as great as his backhand.

    - Returns of serve are an exception to the general fact that the pros of the 60's and 70's backhands were better than their forehand. The reason for that is because, unlike most groundstrokes, returns of serve were generally hit with an open stance.

    - I attended Don Budge's tennis camp when I was in juniors, took instruction from Don Budge and saw him play many times. You seem to have overlooked the fact that I did not include Budge on my list. Budge's forehand was his stronger side, in part, because he hit with an Eastern forehand grip and a neutral, sometimes slightly open stance. Kramer's forehand was also his stronger shot for similar reasons.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
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  37. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Don Budge's backhand and forehand were about as symmetrical as those shown in the textbooks. (He was one of the very few who drove their backhands routinely.) Obviously, they're not symmetrical when using today's so-effective incorrect technique.

    What I said about serves was also true about approach shots. People did not try to avoid the backhand of any of the players you mention when hitting approach shots. I believe in all cases the majority of approach shots were also directed to the backhand -- even when the opponent was a left-hander.

    Furthermore, all these players tended to take balls hit straight to them or down-the-middle using their forehands.
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    As in any sport, the written rules are already outdated before you get a chance to read about them.
    The "rules" are suggestions, not laid down in stone, and we are to try their ideas first, get some experience, and if we find something better, it's up to us.
    You quoted "35 year old tennis instruction" books. Well, skis were 200 cms for 160 lbs riders, motocross bikes had 4" of suspension, and the .38 Special was considered the "ideal" house defence weapon.
    Things have changed.
    My main sport, windsurfing, would have your riding a 12' board with a daggerboard, weighing around 36 lbs, if you were advanced. Guess what? My main board is an 11lbs, 7'5" long, 22" wide all around slalom board for most of my windsurfing.
     
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  39. pyrokid

    pyrokid Hall of Fame

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    Frank has to be trolling. There's no way this isn't a joke. Ignore it.
     
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  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You're right of course, but it's fun to reminesce about how things were 40 years ago, compared to today.
    And if I was old enough, I"d add a few more years to the comparisons.
    Imagine a computer that took up a whole building, while your current IPod does much more and much faster.
    The times, they are a changing.
     
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  41. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    It's very simple. Professional athletes, by necessity, will use the method that gives the best results. There is no correct/incorrect - just what works. Try telling a high jumper or field goal kicker that they should be using the same technique as their counterparts from 1965.
     
    #41
  42. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, a good coach or instructor has to use and attempt to improve what any athlete brings to the table. Often that involves off court conditioning and strength training, on-court footwork, stroke adjustments, placement adjustments, attitude, and so forth.

    IMO, lower level teaches generally have a one-method approach. This helps the newer player get going but not the seasoned athlete who "might" need a few minor adjustments that most players would see as non-important.
     
    #42
  43. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Most coaches are the former rather than the later.
    You gotta get them started and playing, before they can try more advanced technique which THEY have to understand.
     
    #43
  44. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Not so. When Stan Smith was the greatest player in the world in 1973, his strokes were remarkably similar to those of Elsworth Vines forty years earlier. That's how we knew that tennis technique had attained its modern and final form by the early 1930s.

    Don Budge won the boys 18s using a semi-western grip, when he reached the men's division and played on grass he was vulnerable to low, fast, deep shots into his forehand corner. He had to switch to an eastern grip to become #1; that's how coaches thereafter knew that use of the western grip was a bad idea.

    Rackets, court surfaces, and rules (e.g. tie-breakers, permission to jump and cross over the baseline before contact while serving).

    Which means that the work all you guys are doing to master your strokes will soon, too, be wasted (as tennis again morphs into yet some other game).

    Look, I don't mind changes within reason, but I get disgusted by monstrosities such as this:

    http://www.secsportsfan.com/images/tennis-forehand.jpg

    While some may point out that she is hitting this forehand using a continental grip, I would note that SHE'S HOLDING THE RACKET UPSIDE DOWN!!! If people can play college tennis standing on their heads or holding the racket upside down, there is just SOMETHING wrong.
     
    #44
  45. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    OK, lets take a look.

    Stan Smith played in the 60's & 70's and used to be Bob Lutz's doubles partner played and won National NCAA titles - think with Lutz but not sure. He has been a Director of Tennis & coach at pretty high levels and has also authored articles and at least one book about doubles. Good guy, excellent player & coach - he knows his stuff.

    So, if he were to say "tennis has changed quite a bit over the years due to equipment" and that players are now "bigger and and more accurate" then I guess you'd have to agree. Well, he has said those things several times.

    Now if Stan were to acknowledge that most players (pros) use a semi-western or western grip for forehands today than his observations you would probably except to be true. I'm not aware that he has been critical of the SW grip although its use in doubles is rather limited and the more severe grips do in fact present difficulties on low balls.

    I happen to know a guy who played the first tie breaker in pro tennis so yes, rules have changed. Not having to keep one foot grounded on the serve is another change which has altered the game. However, unlike equipment, the high majority of rules haven't changed much although they change, to a small degree" yearly it seems.

    The bottom line is that as tennis professionals we are trying to help players with how the game is played today - not as it was played thirty years ago or thirty years from now. It will change and strokes will be modified as they have been in the past - we all realize that. All it would take is for the court dimensions, net or equipment to be altered/changed & we would have to modify our approach. Racquets and strings have become a tremendous variable under the current rules and could change the game overnight if some great new technology was unwrapped - and it will be.

    Some of this is like the guy who hangs onto his old PC because his reasoning is that the industry is going to change and why get the latest thing/device because its just going to be outdated soon after he buys it. If you were to take a computer class, would you be satisfied with how the technology was taught years ago or would you rather learn how its used today?

    Well, I know of some who feel their computers meet their needs just fine even though they are way outdated. That's ok with me but we can't pretend that there aren't are better ways or equipment today than there was twenty years ago. In many fields things don't change that much but in others there is constant change.
     
    #45
  46. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I would agree with this statement. However, sometimes its easy to get someone started using outdated equipment or methods that can become difficult obstaclea to change into the future. As a tennis teacher and coach, I can tell you that there is a huge difference between "advanced techniques" and outdated methods.

    You've been around this game for a long time and offer quality tips/suggestions so I know you know the difference but others probably don't follow/have the interest in sports like you do and might not recognize the difference.
     
    #46
  47. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    When I see beginners taking lessons, I see the pro with a basket of a hundred balls or so standing at the net and feeding them to the student one after another until, _eventually_, they could frequently hit the ball over the net into the opponent's side of the court.

    I learned to play on the free tennis courts at a local jr. college. Only the "rich" kids whose parents belonged to the country club had the luxury of private lessons. For most of us, you bought a can of three balls and went out with another beginner, and when those three balls were hit, you had to go and pick them up. So it was very important to learn as rapidly as possible by any means possible to hit the ball into the court. Otherwise, tennis would be mostly just picking up balls (i.e. no fun at all).

    Those of us who took Tennis 101 learned the proper eastern grips, and spent a lot of time chasing errant balls. Ironically, those who had no instruction whatsoever, however, tended to reach a reasonable level of performance much more quickly. Not knowing any better, they would: (1) pick the racket up in a frying-pan grip; (2) stand facing the net; (3) hold the racket vertically in front of them, and practically looking through the string bed they would (4) bop the ball over the net with a bit of unconscious backspin in semi-lobs back and forth to one another. The entire swing was about twelve inches long.

    If the ball was to the right, they'd tilt the racket somewhat to the right. If the ball was to the left, they'd tilt the racket somewhat to the left. (Internationally famed teacher Dennis Van Der Meer called it the "windshield wiper" style). If they got a low ball, they'd have to bend down low for it. (Sometimes they'd have no choice but to drop the racket head below the hand -- another huge technical no-no.) They could rally and play rather quickly, but they'd fall apart if someone could hit the ball hard, low and flat. So they'd stay at that advanced-beginner level until they grew tired of the game.

    That's why I was so shocked when, ten years ago, I began seeing photos of pros holding the racket just like those untutored beginners, in many cases also using the same side of the racket without changing grips for forehand and backhand, and hearing people talking about windshield-wiper follow-throughs. The bad tennis players had taken over!

    So I'm also kind of skeptical when someone tells me that "old school" tennis is easier to teach beginners. Yeah, I understand that you don't want to introduce a beginner to heavy topspin, but if that old frying pan grip is the way of the future then why not just toss the student semi-lobs and have him bop the ball back while facing the net with a vertical racket? Nothing could be easier! The pre-turn of the shoulders, the drop of the racket, and the brushing upwards could all be added later.
     
    #47
  48. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    No, Budge's fh and bh were not symmetrical at all. Not that it needs repeating, but, groundstrokes are inherently asymmetrical as I explained previously. Nevertheless, they were traditionally (and erroneously), taught as if they were symmetrical. Looking at my copy of "The Game of Singles in Tennis" by W. Talbert and B. Old, all of Budge's strokes are depicted frame by frame, and the distinction between his groundstrokes, including his set up, are apparent.
     
    #48
  49. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, I hear you Frank.

    Isn't it an old Amish saying "that more things change, the more they stay the same" - something like that anyway.
     
    #49
  50. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Frank,

    I grew up having been taught everything your talking about, and I have since come to learn that much of it was wrong, and much is no longer applicable to modern tennis. Further, much of the traditional technique taught from the 20's-80's was actually not the prevailing technique among the pros.

    Don Budge forehand:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bertmorganarchive/4417736026/
    http://www.amazon.com/Don-Budge-Tennis-Memoir-BUDGE/dp/B000J3WLHS

    Bill Tilden forehand:
    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=bill...3&tbnw=120&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
    #50

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