Least practiced part of amateur tennis?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by pvaudio, Jul 26, 2009.

?

Least practiced part of tennis?

  1. Groundstrokes

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Serve

    23 vote(s)
    14.9%
  3. Volleys

    17 vote(s)
    11.0%
  4. Footwork

    72 vote(s)
    46.8%
  5. Fitness

    32 vote(s)
    20.8%
  6. Mental focus

    43 vote(s)
    27.9%
  7. Other

    23 vote(s)
    14.9%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    What do you consider to be the least practiced part of non-pro tennis? I don't mean most important, as the most important is the serve, and most do practice their serves. I mean, what is that one part of people's game that were they to devote time to it, their game would vastly improve? I'm saying footwork, because I know that at least for me, if I don't move my feet quickly, I will get passed like a prius in the right lane.
     
    #1
  2. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    488
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Definitely footwork, and I disagree with the serve being most important.
     
    #2
  3. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    A forum is a thousand person debate forum, so with that in mind, what would you say is the most important? I cannot possibly see how anything else is more important. :)
     
    #3
  4. 3lowdown

    3lowdown Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    Messages:
    275
    no brainer footwork
     
    #4
  5. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    12,334
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Return of serve, or overhead.

    J
     
    #5
  6. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    488
    Location:
    West Virginia
    I think everything is equally important. You can debate that you have to have good footwork or a serve or a return but really unless you're proficient at every shot then you'll never reach the next level. When beginning, all you have to do is be able to get balls back into play, and as you begin to improve your serve then you can beat more players but there comes a point when everything else must be improved as well. To be honest, when determining who becomes the best tennis players it is a combination of pure, God-given ability and the resources, such as facilities, money, coaches, etc., to develop that talent.
     
    #6
  7. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    I like that viewpoint, however we'll have to agree to disagree my friend. :)
     
    #7
  8. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    Honestly, these shots only really fail because of improper footwork. People split-stepping when the ball hits the court or people shuffling their feet around improperly to set up for the overhead. The technique to actually hit the ball isn't difficult, it's just getting into position that's hard. Of course, this is also just my opinion.
     
    #8
  9. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    488
    Location:
    West Virginia
    I agree with you there! :)
     
    #9
  10. SethIMcClaine

    SethIMcClaine Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Messages:
    304
    Location:
    Harrisonburg VA
    Serve... without a serve you will never have a chance of doing any better than a tie
     
    #10
  11. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    12,334
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    The dude asked what I thought the least practiced parts of amateur tennis were, and I replied "Return of Serve, and Overhead."

    In my observation, these are the least practiced parts of the game at the amateur level.

    I didn't say footwork was not important, I did not advocate hitting the aformentioned shots with improper footwork.

    I just said that I thought they were the least practiced parts.

    Generally, you practice certain shots, and the footwork that goes along with them, which goes without saying.

    Just practicing footwork alone to me would imply etchebery drilles, recovery drills, ladder and cone work, 8 ball pickup, running lines.

    J
     
    #11
  12. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    488
    Location:
    West Virginia
    ^^^^You can say the serve is at the top of the list of importance, but it is the one stroke that is practiced the most by recreational players.
     
    #12
  13. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,793
    I find myself agreeing with Jolly. In my experience, few amateurs practice return of serve. Usually they'll just serve to each other to warm up without practicing the return. They'll just catch the serves and then serve themselves, as in a normal warmup. Also, I rarely ever see amateurs practicing overheads.
     
    #13
  14. plowmanjoe

    plowmanjoe Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Messages:
    343
    This will beat all of the above options listed as least practiced.

    Match play by far.

    second being fitness/off-court training.

    third is serve
     
    #14
  15. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    12,334
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Really? Lots and lots of park/club players ONLY play matches, and don't practice at all around here.

    They bat around 5 warmup balls, call "First one in" and start their match.

    And then on the opposite end are the guys that only hit all day. But they are not players, they just use tennis for fitness and relaxation. So the question really doesn't apply to them.

    J
     
    #15
  16. plowmanjoe

    plowmanjoe Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Messages:
    343
    My perspective is more from the junior level player that is focused almost 100% on improvement. tons of lessons/classes, but no off-court physical training or match-play outside of tournaments.

    I don't consider most park players as serious about improvement, just recreational players. so they play tennis matches for fun. they're not playing "practice matches."
     
    #16
  17. ronalditop

    ronalditop Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Messages:
    2,745
    Location:
    in my room
    i say overheads, serves and return of serve are the least strokes practiced by beginners.
     
    #17
  18. Ultra2HolyGrail

    Ultra2HolyGrail Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,519
    Easily volleys at most levels.
     
    #18
  19. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Messages:
    3,330
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    footwork.. since most low level players probably never actually contemplate "practicing" footwork
     
    #19
  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    My sample size is somewhat limited, as I am most familiar with 3.5 women, aged 40-55 or so.

    For that group, the thing that receives the least attention is fitness, IMHO. I know a significant number of women who do not run at all (and will loudly declare that running is bad for you). I don't see how anyone can hope to cover the court at that age if they don't do some sort of running/sprinting as training.
     
    #20
  21. TnTBigman

    TnTBigman Professional

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Messages:
    863
    Location:
    South Florida
    The SMASH.
     
    #21
  22. Pet

    Pet Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2007
    Messages:
    487
    overhead LOL:)
     
    #22
  23. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    4,821
    I agree. Alot of older players play for fun and thus don't really try to improve their athleticism much. For many players tennis IS their workout. Whereas other people try to workout to play tennis.

    Another key is doing tennis related exercises. Some of the older players that do work out don't do enough exercises related to tennis. Tennis requires a certain blend of athleticism that most gym workouts don't really address.. This is why a good coach could help a tennis player.

    Pete
     
    #23
  24. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    11,055
    Location:
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    Return of serve would have been a better poll option than groundstrokes.
     
    #24
  25. bigfoot910

    bigfoot910 Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Messages:
    329
    Location:
    Southeast NM
    Return of serve...
     
    #25
  26. zebano

    zebano Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    414
    Location:
    Iowa
    Return of serve.

    I think the reason is that when two people get together to practice (not play) they hit groundstrokes & some volleys. They figure anyone can get a hopper and practice serves on their own so they consider it a waste of time to use precious practice time on serving not realizing that return of service is also a critical skill. This is why I have developed a simple slice it back to the center of the court option which is starting to get crushed by better players.

    When I do my conditioning, I also throw in shuffle, carioca steps, ghost play and really short intervals just for tennis specific work.
     
    #26
  27. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    4,107
    Location:
    Kansas
    Easily RETURN OF SERVE. LOL its not even a poll option...just proving how little its even considered.

    Also footwork, agree with the poster who said most players cant even contemplate practicing footwork.
     
    #27
  28. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,566
    My view of recreational tennis players is that the vast majority of them don't really practice at all....even in a practice session. Most simply want to play tennis and are not interested in something that requires intense focus or work. In other words, they are playing tennis for fun.

    There is a small percentage of "recreational" players that do however practice with intent without the direction of a pro. From what I've seen of this select and motivated group, the return of serve is probably the single most neglected shot. I also believe that the transition game is regularly neglected as well. Also, footwork is generally not practiced directly or exclusively, but tends to be a by-product of the tennis practice sessions.
     
    #28
  29. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,885
    Least practiced is the return of serve probably followed by the serve. If you want to get into things like half-volleys, or speciality shots I guess we can.

    The serve is the most important stroke in a players game for two important reasons with the return of serve closely behind it in importance.

    1. It is the only shot you have complete control over. You dictate spin, placement, pace, etc.. and it is used to setup your play.

    2. If you hold serve, you will not lose the match. Tennis point scoring system is setup that way.
     
    #29
  30. Tim Tennis

    Tim Tennis Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,073
    Location:
    Charleston, TN
    Practice! What's that?

    Interesting, in my case I would have to say the "transition game," you know those little short balls that you should be able to take control of or win the point outright. I guess next would come the return of serve. None of the recreational player that I know actually do footwork drills but when you work on your ground strokes, volleys don't you work on your footwork at the same time, at least to some extent?

    Mental game, how do you practice that, stare at a tennis ball. LOL On the senior level some of us do memorization drills so we can keep score better. Yikes!

    JROD "My view of recreational tennis players is that the vast majority of them don't really practice at all....even in a practice session." That is funny and unfortunately probably very true.

    Ed
    Tennis Geometrics
     
    #30
  31. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    My sister plays in a 4.0 women's league, and while I realize that men's 4.0 and women's 4.0 is vastly different, I can just stand on the service strip and put the ball in any corner and they will refuse to even move towards it. How it's even fun for them to play the sport is beyond me.
     
    #31
  32. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    442
    IMO:
    1) Return of serve - hard to practice by yourself.
    2) Footwork / court coverage / fitness
    3) Mental aspects relevant to succeeding @ matchplay

    I am surprised by the number of people who say serve is the least practiced. It has to be the easiest for someone to practice by themselves.
     
    #32
  33. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,566

    When I saw BB post that I initially thought, huh? But then I thought about the way they practice the serve and realized he is probably correct. There is a big difference between hitting serves for 10 minutes and actually practicing serving (i.e. targets, different spins, etc.). So, I tend to agree with BB in that most recreational players don't effectively practice serving.
     
    #33
  34. SethIMcClaine

    SethIMcClaine Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Messages:
    304
    Location:
    Harrisonburg VA
    Again you contradict yourself!
     
    #34
  35. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    3,617
    i vote fitness and foot work as i beleive that both are equall in under practice
     
    #35
  36. canadave

    canadave Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    930
    Location:
    Beach Meadows, Nova Scotia, Canada
    I think the SECOND serve, as opposed to the first serve, is one of the most under-practiced shots (and one of the most underrated in terms of its importance) in tennis.

    Case in point--there was just a province-wide junior tennis tournament held at my local club over the weekend. Just about every kid had a bomb of a 1st serve that they obviously had worked on very hard in terms of mechanics, timing, etc. If they missed, all they did on the 2nd serve was basically lob one in--they could've done just as well with it if they'd served it underhand. It's maddening to me how many players just don't care about the second serve and consider it nothing more than a shot that they use to simply get the ball in play.
     
    #36
  37. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    442
    I respect where you and BB are coming from; makes good sense. What surprises me is - to me the serve is the easiest tennis stroke to practice; very few barriers. Yes you need knowledge on how what to practice.

    There are a couple levels of amateur tennis too:
    1) hit & giggle / purely for fun / don't care much about results
    2) competitive - leagues, tournament players who wouldn't make a living doing it.

    In the later case, I see more work ethic. I certainly see the 'for fun' crowd not practicing serves - though see the 'competitive' crowd practicing them.
     
    #37
  38. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Messages:
    4,274
    Location:
    1.d4
    As a bit of an aside to the thrust of this thread, I'd say lateral movement and lack of speed in older women is a serious handicap. Hip flexors are flabby, stomach muscles shot, quads and calves not strong. Squats, deads, plyometrics, some hill running, cycling, etc. would all help.

    I play mixed doubles with some ladies in the over 35-60 age groups and I've noticed a lack of fitness, generally. We have one 40 year old who is a 5.0 and she is very fit, and very lean, yet the ladies don't take her lead. Most are too busy with family is my guess. On balance, I'm sure they are keeping things in the proper perspective. :)

    See BB's posts in this thread: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=276910

    -Robert
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
    #38
  39. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,885
    That is correct!!! I am not talking about just throwing the ball up there and hitting some. I am talking about really practicing your serve. Then really practicing your second serve.

    I am also not saying it is never practiced. To me it is the least or is less practiced than other strokes.

    And someone above mentioned something very true as well. Serving is the easiest to practice because you don't need someone to help you practice hitting serves. I think it has to do with it being boring or something.

    Once a week, players should spend time practicing their returns and their serves for their practice. Get your partner, get two basket of balls or share one big basket, and hit serves. Place cones out there and track your progress. If you notice something that can help your partner improve, mention it to him.

    Next practice your returns. One player hits serves from the sevice line. Work on footwork, timing, a short backswing, and placement. Learn to use the pace of the incoming ball without overswinging.
     
    #39
  40. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,885
    Yup, yup, and yup. However, within the competitive crowd, the serve is practiced less than the other strokes with the exception of the return of serve which is practiced by all the least. I am not saying it isn't practiced at all.
     
    #40
  41. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070

    In fairness to my 40-50 year-old sisters . . . the men in this age range are also no Lance Armstrongs!

    I can understand having limited time, but part of what I find curious is what people choose to do with their fitness time. Like, I have one teammate who raves about her spinning classes and says she doesn't need to run/sprint because she gets her legs in shape through spinning, and running is bad for you. I imagine spinning is a great work-out, but it is no substitute for running/sprinting. Same thing for a friend of mine who swears by swimming and balks at running.

    Both of these women are of an appropriate weight and look great, but they are *really* slow and have very poor movement and reactions. I think this would change if they hit the track.
     
    #41
  42. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,885
    You got that right.

    had those people. They are part of the group I call the aerobians. Love to run them and watch them grab their shorts as they desperately look for water. Right about then, they say "gee, I thought I was in shape." Not for tennis you are not!! :) I can be so darn mean!!

    You got that right. Sprints help you work on those fast twitch muscles that you call on suddenly. Sprints and lateral movement is critical and you can not prepare yourself for them by spinning. Believe me, I know, because I used to train to compete in triathlons. And cycling, running, and swimming are each its own discipline.

    Although cycling is good for general health, strength, etc...nothing replaced court drills, sprints, jump rope, etc.. for tennis. Also, I would rather see someone use the Stair Climber without holding on to the bars for tennis as that closely immitates the movement in tennis when you have to suddenly sprint forward to get that drop ball.

    Yup, excellent post.
     
    #42
  43. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    I've boxed for years and find that my footwork is tremendously better than most other people at my level because of it. Reason being, if your footwork in boxing is bad, you lose. Not as in you lose the point, but you lose your consciousness for a second since you get knocked out from not being able to weave the rear hook coming at your jaw. A simple jumprope would do wonders for 80% of recreational players.
     
    #43
  44. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    12,334
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I think the ladder drills, and mini hurdle drills do more for my game than the jumprope.

    J
     
    #44
  45. Double bagel

    Double bagel Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Messages:
    85
    Return of serve.
     
    #45
  46. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,620
    No question about it....the high backhand volley. I've never seen ANYONE working on it.
     
    #46
  47. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    Well, what about the 3" from the ground hawaiian grip backhand approach shot? A high backhand volley is too specific a shot to devote an entire practice session to. Volleys, hell, high volleys are one thing, only working on one side is time not well spent.
     
    #47
  48. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    Obviously. I'm saying for players who don't do anything for footwork and often lose because they can't get to balls simply due to their lack of preparedness. Staying on your toes is key, and jumping rope forces you to do that.
     
    #48
  49. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,885
    Jump rope is a staple for tennis players.
     
    #49
  50. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    Yeah, for people who actually are serious. I'm talking about the women at the club in their cute skirts who won't possibly pick up a jump rope.
     
    #50

Share This Page