Modern Tennis Tips by Oscar Wegner

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Wegner, Dec 24, 2012.

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  1. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

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    I will be posting here some tips about modern tennis, as an alternative to conventional teaching. Please keep your comments civil.
     
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  2. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

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    A few tips

    Look, Don’t Think
    Be a natural, a tennis whisperer. Observe.
    The human mind needs to be calmed down.
    This mind is too fast, thinks too many non-efficient things.
    If you operate looking, rather than thinking, you’ll be calmer, more efficient.
    Just move your head and your upper body to start in one direction.
    The outside foot will slide underneath the body, which now, unbalanced, will move on its own.
    There will be no need to push hard.
    Then find the ball in your favorite hitting spot, feel it, and finish your stroke all the way.

    The Edge
    Conventional tennis had been thought to be played with the strings meeting squarely the ball.
    Modern tennis power emphasis is led mostly with the racquet’s edge.
    Think of it in terms of Martial Arts. The edge of the hand is your powerful weapon, and also your defense.
    Today’s high power game is more of deflection than straight power. You want spin on nearly every ball.
    Lead with your racquet’s edges, top edge for topspin, bottom edge for slice, and you’ll have more control.

    Transference
    I have tested, for decades, an interesting experiment that has proven helpful to a lot of players, from amateurs to pros.
    Rather than trying to position your body at a certain distance from the ball, track the ball with your playing hand or hands as if you were trying to catch it.
    Now comes something that is instinctive, dictated by your intention of driving the hand to your favorite end of the stroke. For example, you track the ball with your hand, you see it right where you want it, with a bit of back and forth hand movement you then accelerate your racquet diagonally, that is, up for topspin and across your body for control. You finish the stroke pointing the butt of the racquet to where you sent the ball.
    It is an easy transfer of focus where you transition from catch to hit with no doubts or reservations in the blink of an eye.
    You may even have your racquet quite loose.
    It may seem too simplistic, too left to chance. But by keeping both hands on the racquet while tracking the ball, your playing hand will determine the timing necessary and the details of your stroke. Just make sure you finish the stroke all the way.
    Focusing initially on the hand, rather than on the racquet, can develop several abilities. One is something that you most likely learned at a very young age: the skill to catch a moving object while YOU are on the move as well and then throw it away.
    Another resulting advantage is the simplification of the thought process. There is a hand and there is a ball you want to catch. Nothing else matters. I’d like to venture that there is no thought necessary at all. You are free to go about it as you please.
    It is nothing complicated, nothing rushed. Your lower body may be in an emergency, running fast. It will tend to look for efficiency to help you execute your primary intention, which is your stroke. Let your body teach you. Feel it and don’t force it in authoritarian ways.
    The details on how to maximize your control and power are in other sections of my work.
    Give it your best try and let me know the results.
     
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  3. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    This is SO true. Playing with a quiet mind optimizes performance in any sport.
     
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  4. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Cool, I keep saying and others disagree that Tennis is in the brain, we all have the same equipment, the difference is the mind. I do disagree big time with point 2, that's what these guys do teach, but not all shots should be topspin, we need flat shots, slice, sidespin, the whole gallery, but yea cool:)
     
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  5. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    You use the edge on those shots in point 2 as well, except maybe the flat, lack of spin that is
    not too common really with better players.

    Biggest part for many who have some info, is to know what to leave out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
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  6. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Can people please be civilized and can TT not delete these types of threads?
    Let the discussion grow, let people debate. The more different types of coaching philosophies we have on here the better, even if you don't agree with anything mentioned. This is getting beyond ridiculous.
     
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  7. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the tips Wegner.
     
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  8. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    couldn´t agree more with the points you made
     
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  9. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    If they leave out flat shots they are not "better players", they may think they are though.
     
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  10. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    I agree 100%, who are the complainers that keep getting these threads deleted. This is supposed to be a tennis site for tennis discussion, it amazes me that on a tennis site a long time tennis instructor is giving free advise and the threads keep getting nuked.

    It makes you wonder if some of the haters are worried that the same instruction that they claim is so wrong could be found to be helpful and ruin their non stop Oscar bashing.

    I think most players looking for help take a little something from many different teaching methods, some they will like and some they will think are no good. But it would be nice if we would at least get to make that choice.

    And if Oscar is so wrong I do not understand why the same few haters have to jump in and start the trouble. If they know it is wrong just stay out of these threads and stay with what they think is the right way. Isn't that what most normal people would do?
     
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  11. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    There's no good guy/bad guy here.
     
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  12. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    Why are these threads being deleted???

    There was a good discussion yesterday and now that thread is gone

    It is good to hear all approaches.
     
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  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    You must mean flatter trajectory then, because I don't see the big 4 hitting
    without spin but on the most rare occasions. Do you?

    If you mean trajectory, then using the edge still applies then too.
     
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  14. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Thanks for trying to simplify tennis.
     
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  15. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Best advice ever, applies to every stroke, even the serve. Truly the foundation for playing well.

    Also, thanks for contributing here. You and Daniel from Babolat are standup guys for engaging in the rough and tumble of an internet forum. Hopefully others will remain civil...
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
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  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    These are more or less correct.

    Only things to add are that for many beginners, the outside foot does not automatically slide out towards the ball, as the natural tendency is to crossover with the inside foot (in real life, you usually want to turn and step across if something interesting is on one side). So this might have to be encouraged a little by a coach if it does not happen automatically.

    For the second point, the terminology "lead" is indeed correct. Perhaps it is simpler to say "keep the face a little closed for top spin, a little open for slice," which is the same as the above. Important thing is that leading with one edge does not mean that contact will necessarily be towards that edge of the strings or the opposite edge, or in the center, but will depend on other things. A steeper lead will favor contact with the lower edge of the strings, a shallower lead more with the center.

    Related to that, there is a subtlety that for topspin, the actual contact position is often not closed. The racket face is often vertical at contact. This is seen in Fed and Nadal forehands. It is difficult to see how this can be reconciled with a closed face or leading with the top edge. It seems that there is supination or opening of the arm on the forward swing till impact, followed by pronation during the dwell time and after. Otherwise, it is impossible to reconcile vertical face at impact with supposed closed face or leading with the top edge. I think the vertical to closed transition is what gives the solidity at impact. Instead of the swing path being a single arc over the ball, it is more like an arc coming up from under the ball and then closing over it at the end of the dwell time.
     
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  17. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    hey mr wegner. great to have a Coach of your credentials here.

    First let me say that I think you are a great Coach. you teach modern aspects of the game but still don't make it overally complicated. I think analyzing it too much is not going to help.

    but I still do have a a couple of issues with your Videos based my studies of biomechanics literature. note that this is not a criticism as many great coaches Keep it simple and still get the results. cues and reality are not always the same and in Coaching it is not about what the Coach means but what the Student does on court:

    1. you don't seem to mention the ground up kinematic chain (sequential acceleration of Body parts from the ground up starting at the legs and ending in the racket. instead you Videos seem to Focus more on the arm and racket.

    2. you mention hitting "across". I do of course agree that pros do finish across but isn't that more because the circular centrifugal swing of the racket around the Body and the pronation pull the racket around?

    those shots of federer seem to indicate that he does "extend" through a Little and the across happens after the ball has left the strings (which would mean that the across has absolutely Zero effect on the hit ball).

    http://s1.directupload.net/file/d/3115/ukj4f4jo_jpg.htm

    or am I interpreting this Image wrong? don't get me wrong-I still like the across (or better around! which would be a better term IMO) finish because it allows for a more free acceleration of the rackethead (the modern swing does allow for higher RHS) but I don't see a "to the ball and then across" but instead I see a constant arc around the Body which of course later turns left. or do you see the radius of the arc changing around contact?

    3. the slow to contact and then accelerating Thing:

    again I understand why you teach that: you want a smooth and gradual acceleration to contact and no "jerking" of the racket. but biomechanically the contact time is so short that the swing is basically over the Moment the ball touches the strings. the ball will leave the racket before the shock waves in the racket reach the Hand. there is a study about the Baseball swing that suggests that theoretically a Player could release the bat before contact and still hit the ball the same distance.

    that would mean all acceleration must happen before contact (but you don't want to slow down either so your cue might be a good Thing).

    Again I admire your results as a Coach and I'm certainly in no Position to criticise you but I want to understand why you teach some things. are you intentionally keeping stuff simple? of am I missinterpreting your stuff? could you please Elaborate on my 3 Points? It is probably not necessary to know all this and it would sometimes be better to just perform and athletic Task without thinking but I'm a quite analytical guy (sometimes too much:)).
     
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  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Across, up, and extension happen together as the arc is 3D. You cannot artificially separate them.
     
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  19. Cheetah

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    yes they can be separated. if your torso is rotating and your arm is acting independently or disengaged from the rotation (arming it etc)then you can go straight through with no across. or if let/make your hand move away at an increasing distance from the side of your body while your torso/shoulders are rotating then you can nullify/short circuit the across.

    you can see the pros do the latter a lot. i do this when i want pure top w/ no side action.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
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  20. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    that's what I was saying. there is no "across" in a Tennis shot. it is just a natural continuation of the arc around the Body. of course you could actually fight against the arc by extending. and you could also cut the off by actively pulling the arm in (active pull across).

    but to me it Looks like neither is Happening- there is just one arc around the Body.
     
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  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    It's fine if you decide not to take advantage of pulling across, but for those
    who have learned to add it, there is quite a gain to be realized. For you to tell
    those who know how to use it that it doesn't work is like telling someone with
    a 6 speed, that they only have 5....It won't fly. You can continue to sell it to
    those who also think there are only 5 speeds in some cases though...at least
    till the give it a fair chance and see that the 6th gear is actually there.
    I realize if you are satisfied with your Fh, there is little reason to push for more.
     
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  22. CCH4TENNIS

    CCH4TENNIS New User

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    Agreed :)
     
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  23. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    The cue to pull across (and to a certain extent to also actively pull back at impact) works. But does it actually go across only? No of course not. As the swing is circular the swing can be manipulated with a lot of nuance. If you see how djokovic hits when he finishes his fh over his shoulder there seems to be active use of his bicep to pull back the stroke as well as the across aspect. Does the racket pull back and slow down? No. The racket seems to accelerate faster in the arc across. One advantage I've found in focusing on the across aspect of a fh stroke is your shoulders are always centered over your hips. I've tried numerous cues when coaching my 11 year old son and focusing on the across aspect of the stroke and with an emphasis on starting the swing slower then accelerating through impact really helps with pace and spin. One thing I add that Oscar does not really touch on much is the use of the legs. I found that by using the knee bend and lifting into the stroke it adds more racket head speed with out the need to swing any faster.

    I am still not certain the active pull back advice by Oscar is right for every occasion. As I taught my son a straight arm forehand when he hits with a normal wiper motion he hits harder than when he actively pulls back. The finish is different as well as spin. My son gets more top spin if he uses the cue to pull back. But the ball is heavier with a normal wiper motion using the straight arm. And the ball has enough clearance over the net regardless. And on wide balls on the run to the fh he is hitting a reverse fh. Perhaps the active pull back cue can be used more effectively to affect the wide fhs on the run? To add more height and spin without resorting to a reverse fh?

    Regardless my son prefers to not use the pull back cue as he hits well with a normal wiper straight arm fh. The ball is moving fast and with a lot of spin. And I'm not about to change things at this point after 6 years of working on his fh.
     
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  24. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I'm not even sure if I disagree with you.

    I certainly do hit "across". I just don't know if across means active use of the arm to pull across or letting the rotational nature of the stroke carry the racket across.

    I'm also against trying to extend the arm through the ball as this means disconnection from Rotation.
     
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  25. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Tracking input here...
     
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  26. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

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    Dominikk, try it both ways, pushing away for disconnection (as you explain) at or near the impact and through it, more linear towards the other player's court, and other times pulling in, across and towards the fence behind you, accelerating through the impact in a major change of direction, and tell us which one works best for you in terms of power, control, spin, amount of effort, etc.

    I'd love to hear from your experience with such.
     
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  27. Wegner

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    Arche, you are right in present time. But, let's say your son grows to be a tall, powerful hitter, and hits forehands close to or above 100 MPH (normal in today's tour, even in college). Would he be able to pound the ball without any rotation and get it consistently in the court? Would he be able, at those speeds, to have a safe net clearance and not restrain his power in a tight situation? Would he be confident on pounding and attacking the ball no matter what?

    The modern racquets, with so much available response and power, have changed the equation quite a bit.

    Those are the considerations that make me teach topspin from a young age. It is always easier, as a variation, to resort to hit flatter, forward and harder. Your swing is quite coincidental with the flight of your ball. What is more difficult is to tell the usual flat player TO POUND the ball with topspin and hitting across. It takes new training and countless hours of practice to instill in a player with a forward tendency to exert his effort in a completely new direction than that of the ball trajectory he intends.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
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  28. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    Oscar,
    in the video interview you posted you were critical of fyb´s modern footwork videos.
    i actually liked them a lot and feel like they helped me in my game
    what is it you don´t like about them?
     
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  29. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    thanks mr wegner. I will try that and Report back.

    I'm definitely against Extension of the arm but do you actually mean active pulling in by bending the arm (biceps). or do you mean just follow the natural arc around the Body?
     
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  30. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I actually used your across approach to teach his fh. Along with leading with the hip rotation in the modern style. I just question the pull back part of your instruction. As that does not seem to add more pace to a straight arm fh.
    I found the cue to pull across the ball worked wonders for my son. He is a big and strong 11 year olds. Almost 5 ft 6i nches tall now. He has enough spin to keep the ball in at this point.
     
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  31. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    TCF,

    In an earlier thread, that has since been deleted, you mentioned that your students improved when presented with the "pulling across" image.

    Congratulations on this.

    But what do you believe is physically changing with their stroke?
     
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  32. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Looks like we are connecting some dots here on this.
    If you add the pull across right prior to contact, that will accel the racket
    out into the ball with a controlled power that also enhances your ability to
    control net clearance better.
    It does incorporate your rotational nature of the stroke prior to the pull, with
    the pull across enhancing the arc.
     
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  33. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    So if you disagree you are labeled a "Hater"?

    Aren't others entitled to opinions, or do we just sit back like mindless robots and say "Yes teacher"?

    I agree many get very nasty, but a difference of opinion helps people grow. I do a thread and I don't care if others disagree.
     
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  34. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Well you must have missed most of these Oscar threads obviously. There have been a few posters that have to jump in every thread that involves Oscar and start useless bickering that leads to the the thread being deleted.

    The difference of opinion is fine with me, I agree that it helps to hear different sides and opinions. Even though a lot of it was just obnoxious trouble making that didn't bother me that much, but what did is the thread would just be getting going and becoming interesting and it would be nuked because of the haters starting so much crap.
     
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  35. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    Instruction threads get very heated in golf forums too. A lot of personal insults and flame wars among the same group of posters leading to locked or deleted threads. I'm not sure why instruction discussions bring out the worst in people, but it seems to do so.
     
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  36. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Yea hear you, it's amazing some of these threads, guy posts "Here's why I think X is better than Y", and dudes are vicious! "This shows why you are such a ..............." It's like "Cool it it's just tennis".

    I've fallen for this myself, but yea we should all be friendly, we say something stupid, so what. I mean I have a stalker on this forum, some guy can't stand me, I just ignore it because I really enjoy this forum.
     
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  37. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a6WWX5AWUA

    notice that in this video EA just talks about options, not valid/invalid options.. also check out his work titled 'power of 3', which is a masterpiece on open-minded golf instruction suited to individual players.

    why can't tennis coaches be more open minded.

    seems these debates about individual ques are quite pointless.... they are all valid, to the extent that they work for somebody.... they are all invalid, to the extent that they don't work for everybody !
     
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  38. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    i agree with dominikk1985.... it's just a rotation.. whatever que used to achieve that doesn't matter, pulling to the left, backwards etc.... this may work for some people, but maybe an overkill for others.

    rotation thru impact... that's all the que the brain needs.
     
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  39. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    I don't know if tennis coaches are necessarily closed minded, but what I don't like is that it seems almost universal they want to teach the "New way", like I said before people out on the courts LOVE to give unsolicited advice, "Well your son needs to get behind the baseline and.......". Maybe I'm just old school, but I can't find one flaw in teaching baseline, net play, all court. I'm telling you these kids are taught one thing, and that is how to dictate from the baseline.

    I tell my son to once in awhile to do a shot just over the net to make them nervous, and to take the ball mid court in the air and finish it, and of course the net. I mean even Sampras said if he played today he'd still serve and volley, and while I'm not teaching him pure S&V, he needs to know how to do it all, what if they speed courts back up? What's wrong with knowing how to play all court? He's only 12, I want him to be able to do it all.
     
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  40. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Disagreement is not "hating." Calling people out on their credibility problems by citing evidence is not "hating."

    Expalining why certain claims are falacious when presented as monolithic truth is not "hating." Suggesting how these claims may be detrimental to the tennis of players here is not "hating."

    But there is a reaction pattern we have seen here over and over again when these criticisms are raised that leads to thread oblivion. It's self inflicted.

    On with the love fest!
     
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  41. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    everybody is built differently, therefore by definition there can NOT be monolithic truth.

    whoever claims so is basically self-labeling as a one trick pony.
     
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  42. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I have an idea. If you started a JY tennis ideas thread I am sure people would enjoy it just as much as this one. I know I would.
     
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  43. Mulach

    Mulach New User

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    John, why are you so critical of this approach?

    Have you ever bothered to try it? As a scientist, which you are, you would test this notion of feel vs real. And if feel results in the "right" real, then a scientist would just acknowledge it.

    I've heard your criticism but can you explain how following OW advice can results in problems? You've said it is dangerous but I would like to hear details of how so.

    I'm just learning about this accelerate across and it makes a lot of sense. I see the pro's doing it, now that I'm looking for it. I also see then extend through. So the two things coexist. Is it a chicken before egg debate?

    It's quite simple. Throw a ball at a target. The first way - chase the ball with your hand straight in line with your throw and target. Second way, throw it at target and as you release, accelerate your arm across your body. After playing with this, which method results in a faster throw? After a bit of practice, direction control is just as accurate with both methods.

    So what gives? Why so much resistance if this coaching works? What are the pitfalls? What are the signs we should look for that indicate backfire?

    Lets have some data.
     
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  44. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Mulach,

    All reasonable questions you ask. You're late to this debate though by about 2 years. I lost count of how many threads in which I posted video clips, hard data, interviews with other authorities who challenged various points as well as myself, not to mention a ton of very precise reasoning, all that have been vaporized in a haze of denial and...well, let's just stop there before the vapor trial is all that is left.

    I am going to duck out here and leave the love fest to the lovers.

    Arche had an interesting suggestion.
     
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  45. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for sharing
     
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  46. Mulach

    Mulach New User

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    John, thank you for your reply. I will try search for it. If you can point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Private message would work if that helps keeps the mods from having to take action.

    I'm in this forum to learn and this seems like an extremely important topic.
     
    #46
  47. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Ditto. I think I can learn from both Oscar Wegner and John Yandell ... and a lot of other people for that matter. :) If something (after sufficient work on my part in applying a principle or technical adjustment) helps my game, then, for me at least, it was sage advice.
     
    #47
  48. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    OK Gentleman I won't promise anything less than rigorous analysis, however. I made a start in a thread titled "Does Modern Tennis Exist?"
     
    #48
  49. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Joined:
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    3 questions for Oscar - first, in general, I like your simply way of teaching the game and it has helped me in the past.

    Question 1: you don't seem to stress what other call the "prep" phase where you pivot the shoulders to the side. I have studied many pros and a shoulder pivot where the shoulder turn to the side and the hands stay in front of the chest seems to be almost universally used. Why do you not teach this as part of your method?

    Question 2: you don't teach to change grips for a 2HBH in your book, but again almost all pros and better players use a continental on the dominant side (r hand conti for right handed player) and an eastern or semi-western grip on the non-dominant side (l hand for right handed player). Shouldn't advanced players use a conti R hand/E or SW L hand grip?

    Question 3: you and many others teach the 2 HBH is a a L handed forehand for a right handed player. But, many pros use the dominant hand, arm and shoulder quite a bit. Djoko hits 90% of his 2 HBH with a square/neutral or slightly closed stance, his right shoulder closes a bit to the incoming ball, he does not have the racket head as high up on the backswing as a normal pro forehand, and the L hand seems to take over on the follow-thru. He does rotate the hips, shoulders to fully open and wraps the follow-thru like a WW forehand, but there seem to be a vast difference in his 2 HBH and his forehand. Isn't the 2 HBH really quite different from a normal forehand?
     
    #49
  50. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    #50
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