Modern Tennis Tips by Oscar Wegner

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

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Please don't derail the thread by useless posts about golf and arguing about it.

    You guys are not letting Oscar post his tips.

    Keep it focused on tennis, not golf, and don't argue with each other. Direct your posts to Oscar, and analyze his posts only.
     
  2. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Different tennis tips, food for thought

    Balance and Position
    Most coaches emphasize body positioning and balance to execute a stroke.
    Unfortunately, in my opinion, it is this emphasis that traps the attention of the individual and detracts from the stroke.
    Furthermore, tennis is a game of emergencies, so you are forced to hit on the move, on the run, your opponent sometimes jams you, etc.
    An accomplished player would focus on his hand executing the stroke, and let his instinct help to accommodate the rest.

    Push vs. Hitting
    In modern tennis groundstrokes, the idea of pushing is more adequate as you approach the ball than that of hitting through it.
    In a hit you have fully accelerated by the time you make contact.
    In a push, you feel as if you touch the object first and then exert your power.
    To clarify this concept of pushing, restrain yourself by deliberately having your racquet approach the ball slowly, and then, as you are about to touch it, accelerate fully and forcefully to the finish, UP AND ACROSS.
    Rather than a forward impact, work on brushing the ball as if ripping the cover off of it.
    This gives you a longer contact and much more spin and control.
    On the forehand and two handed backhands, most top pros pull across and backwards where the racquet head, at the finish, has described a full windshield-wiper and is pointing back, with the butt of the racquet as if taking a picture of where the ball is now going, and/or beyond that point.
    Exaggeration? That may be the answer to improvement in your own game.
    Have you noticed this finish in the best pros?

    A Painful Time
    In the early 1990s the Tennis Industry Association, together with the USTA, commissioned a survey on tennis participation.
    One of the findings of this survey was that an easier way to start the game needed to be put in place.
    That finding was not taken care of properly in the USA.
    Making tennis easier includes open stance, hitting up and across the ball, stalking rather than preparing early, and other obvious developments which make tennis a much more natural (and much easier) sport to play.
    I had done that earlier for Spain and Brazil, and in 1989 with the publication of my first book, Tennis in Two Hours.
    Russians and Eastern Europeans, including coaches in Belgrade, in possession of that book, followed suit immediately.
    I followed that with a 1992 book sequel, of similar content, and with work on ESPN International that affected tennis worldwide.
    The quantity of quality players developed thereafter overseas from that methodology has been, as I predicted in the 1989 and 1992 books, phenomenal.
    If people wonder which is the “why” the USA has fallen behind in many aspects in tennis, there is your main answer.
    For those interested, here is the 1992 book for free:
    www.tennisteacher.com/ebook.html

    It’s Feel
    One of the most accomplished abilities is to focus on the feel of the grip of the racquet on the hand.
    On the forehand, the index finger is key, leading the action with an upward pull.
    On the two-handed backhand, the index of the left hand.
    On the one-handed backhand drive the base of the thumb.
    These are generalities: you need to find what works best for you. Don’t press the grip tightly, where you feel equal pressure on all of your hand. Relax the grip.

    A Balancing Time
    Balance is a thing you actually learned at the young stages of life. The goal early in life is not to fall. Balance is a natural thing to adopt.
    If you teach balance and position at the conscious level as a must, balance and position may be perfect but the ball may hit the player on the head (a humorous idea) because his attention is on enforcing the wrong thing.
    High level tennis, in my opinion, is played with the hand. As a beginner you can learn the basic stroke just standing there facing the net with someone feeding you an easy ball. Gradually the body will adjust by itself.
    Eventually, learning to lose your balance develops speed around the court.
    There is no need to consciously teach “footwork”.
    Just do drills that will develop speed and naturality.
    The tennis court is small, a few steps to the right, a few steps to the left, and a few more forward and you cover the whole court.
    Focus on your hand and the ball and results will speak for themselves.

    Focus On Your Hands
    The ball stays on the racquet a few milliseconds if you hit flat, longer if you brush across.
    To optimize your focus on feel it is better to maximize your sensations on a longer time span.
    I recommend to focus on the feel of the hand at the ball contact and at the finish, when the racquet is already pointing behind you, getting the sensation of acceleration between one and the other.
    This way you become aware of the connection between the feel of the ball, the finish, and the resulting placement of the ball.
    Racquet head speed at the top level is greatest closer to the end than at the impact, which tells the intention of the player to go towards the stroke’s end.
    Tracking the ball as if going to catch with your hand, not your racquet, is another simple way to facilitate your strike.
    Rather than preparing early, track the ball with the racquet on both hands as long as possible, then go back and forth with your dominant hand alone for your swing.
    You don’t need to swat at the ball.
    Find it easily in front, while accelerating up and across. You’ll see it speed up with great control.
     
  3. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    Thanks Oscar. I'll have a look at the book.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  4. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    Thank you for today's tips Oscar! A good read and very much appreciated.
     
  5. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,865
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    Some interesting points Oscar, thanks for sharing your ideas.

    Just on the points above, I have heard many times the phrase "tennis is a game of emergencies", but I have always thought that makes it sound like a passive game for the player it refers to - in other words you have to just deal with what the opponent sends you. Personally I prefer players to think about what they can create rather than what they cope with.

    When you refer to "footwork" do you in fact mean "movement"? I feel there is a difference between the two. From what I have read of your work and the stuff I have done with Andy and John over here, I think you mean movement to the ball should come naturally. There are a couple of specific footwork patterns which can be anything but natural which are essential skills for high level tennis, which need to be taught in my opinion.

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

    Cheers
     
  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    You are right, Ash. A lowly player like myself (unlike the skilled players here) did not find it natural to put the outside foot out first, or to turn sideways on overheads and shuffle step backward, instead of just moving backwards. It is surprising that in the tennis hotbed where I live, most club players have not learnt it naturally either. Just the other day, there was a Tennis Channel clip which emphasized the coaching of getting the dominant foot forward for a close to the net forehand pick up shot, and how that made a huge difference in the strength of the shot. This was an advanced junior, and he still needed to be taught. I have also seen coaches drill juniors over and over again about the first big step followed by small adjustment steps.

    Also, tennis being a game of emergencies seems to contradict the claim of there being too much time available on ground strokes as the ball slows down on approach. One thing you notice about high level players is how they anticipate and appear to be always there without going into emergency mode. You are right that treating tennis as a series of emergencies creates a passive and reactive outlook, and is unfortunately too common among club players.
     
  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Please don't derail the thread by going after me when footwork and other stuff is being discussed.
     
  8. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    19,766
    Location:
    On my iPhone
    I agree about footwork. It is not natural to start with the outside foot, but that is what works best for me. It changed my strokes dramatically to focus on my feet.
     
  9. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,865
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    "There is no need to consciously teach “footwork”." Oscars own words in this thread and my reason for asking for clarification from him, as i disagree (assuming he means "footwork" rather than "movement").
     
  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,398
    LoL, Yes, :)....but in this context-

    "As a beginner you can learn the basic stroke just standing there facing the net with someone feeding you an easy ball. Gradually the body will adjust by itself.
    Eventually, learning to lose your balance develops speed around the court.
    There is no need to consciously teach “footwork”."

    That makes a big difference to me.
     
  11. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,865
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    ^^^maybe. Let's see what Oscar says! :D
     
  12. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    19,766
    Location:
    On my iPhone
    Thank you. That is what I was addressing as well.
     
  13. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,294
    i also don't buy the 'no need to teach balance' part.

    yes people learn balance when they are 1 year old... but they may not consciously pay enough attention to it during tennis, because there is a BIG gap between making a UE and falling on ones face due to loss of balance.

    kids I have helped, told me they play better when reminded of staying in balance.

    i think murray is a better model for recs to copy as his head is always so quiet...

    joker on the other hand, looks like a bobble head doll out there.
     
  14. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    One of my earlier coaches taught me to step out always with the outside foot. So on a fh always the right foot first. Then its either shuffle or cross over step depending on the distance needed to end up hitting open stance. I found I can cover the whole right side within 3 steps this way. Is this still the current thinking?
    I do this on both sides of the court.

    His thinking was 1 big step with the outside foot and your halfway to the singles line. Another 2 and your beyond the doubles alley.
     
  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Good point and I was researching the same. Let us go to Oscar directly and learn from him. For the case of the cross over, Oscar believes in starting the body lean first, and let the inside leg come over naturally. I read it as NOT doing the step out with the outside foot first for a crossover step.

    From the page, it is not clear what is required for a shuffle step according to him.

    http://www.tennisteacher.com/Tennis-Footwork-Instruction.htm
     
  16. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Messages:
    957
    I've learned that in Oscar's world, when he says not to focus on the feet, he doesn't mean that it's not important. Rather, the cues he provides will lead to the feet and body doing the right thing.

    For example, I struggled with volley footwork for a long time. I finally tried Oscar's cues, which take the focus back to the hand, and his cue that one leads with the head - yes, I mean the head with two eyes in it, not the racquet head. :) When I did this, presto, the feet did the right thing, and now I just don't think about it. The physical reason I think is that when one leads with the head, the body goes out of balance, and one is forced to take a step - and there you have it, the volley footwork!

    Similarly for the forehand, being in open stance forces one to line up with the ball using the outside foot.

    All this said, I still believe for tennis beyond the club level - where most of us will probably never go - coaching and fine tuning of all aspects, including footwork, is essential. But it's probably going too far to treat footwork like a dance that needs to be choreographed.
     
  17. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    From my personal experience learning footwork (11 years old i think at the time) I was told to start with a cross over step with a fall to the side you want to go only if you had to go further and faster than using the first outside step can take you. So yes it is situational in my instruction as ideally you wanted to stay centered and balanced when you moved to the ball. The cross over start would really be the begining of a Sprint to the ball. Not the controlled glide of stepping out with the ourside foot. Two different situations. But to be honest I never think about any of that. I did the practices as a kid and never thought about it again.
     
  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Several points here.

    The Oscar point is the situation you are describing if the Federer photo is an indication. It seems to be what the pros do when there is distance to be covered.

    I assume that for the shuffle step, Oscar would have to go with outside foot out first also, as I cannot imagine it being done with a lean.

    Most shots do not require the extreme sprint you described. They are either shuffle step or a not so extreme cross step. In that case, NOT putting the outside foot first in cross step means learning two footwork patterns for the common cases - outside foot out for shuffle, but not for cross step.

    In that case, your strategy of almost always putting the outside foot out first for every step, cross or shuffle, except the extreme sprint case, is more uniform.

    (Note to others: if you disagree, post technical arguments only and do not throw insults and derail the thread.)
     
  19. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Suresh, for someone who is so judgmental about my techniques in so many aspects, you most likely have seen all my videos (DVDs), right? But then you are wrong, because the first move with the outside foot is clearly explained there. Or is it that you have limited information from what you pick up here and there? If this is the case, how can you intelligently pass on judgement?
     
  20. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    From Wikipedia:

    "As a young player, Kuerten first learned from Carlos Alves. Alves would continue to coach Kuerten for the next 8 years. When he was 14 years old, Kuerten met Larri Passos who would be his coach for the following 15 years. Passos convinced Kuerten and his family that the youth was talented enough to make a living out of playing tennis. The two started traveling all over the world to participate in junior tournaments. Kuerten turned professional in 1995."

    Carlos Alves first invited me to Brazil in 1982, and I worked with him and his 60 kid student body both in in his Brazil academy in ASTEL, Florianopolis, through the 1980s, and in the South Florida tournament circuit until December 1991, when Guga got to the quarters of the Orange Bowl 14s. Carlos Alves has given me several acknowledgements in writing as to the work we did, which included Guga until December 1991. Some are posted in my website.

    Suresh, did you notice that the Wikipedia article says that Passos started with Guga when he was 14? What about the story that Passos was with Guga since he was 8? No mention of it anymore? That Guga's father had asked Passos to coach his kid? Guga's father died from a heart attack when Guga was 8 (mid 80s), while umpiring a junior match at a tournament in Itajai. I doubt that Guga's father knew him. Passos was from Novo Hamburgo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, the very south of Brazil, and did not appear around Florianapolis until the late 80s.
     
  21. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,865
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    ^^^Oscar, Just in case you missed it amongst all the stuff that has been filling up the thread, I have reposted my questions here...

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2013
  22. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,406
    Oscar, i can understand your reluctance to get into debates here. still, i would be very interested in hearing your thoughts as well, thanks:)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2013
  23. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    Guga thanks Oscar in the flap of one of his books. As well as on the cover of the "play better tennis in 2 hours" book by Oscar wegner BORG is quoted thanking Oscar for coaching him. Let's absorb this a bit. Borg one of the best ever hired oscar as a coach.

    This simple fact should show the extent of Oscars influence. The same oscar that posts free tennis tips here. Gives away his book here. And some Hack posters have to gal to harass the man over trivial things. We should do all we can to keep tennis teaching pros engaged and posting in this forum. Unless we rather have self proclaimed internet guru hacks run this place.

    Thanks you Oscar for coming here despite a harsh welcome by some ill informed people,
     
  24. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    I am amazed and grateful that Oscar continues to provide such great content considering the atmosphere here. He has much thicker skin than I do!
     
  25. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,294
    +1 .... am grateful for Mr. Wegner's presence here.
     
  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Thanks for the clarification. I would like to see a verified source other than on your web page.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Thanks for staying focused and keeping the thread about Oscar's tips, in spite of people's attempts to derail it.

    Just to add, my follow up question was (along with more illustrations of non-natural footwork) how tennis being a game of emergencies can be reconciled with previous claims of there being too much time after the bounce to hit the ball. I suppose there is room for word play here, but I would like Oscar to reflect upon his two comments made in different contexts and try to reconcile them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2013
  28. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Just to clear up something, I want to make sure that Oscar understands where exactly Guga came into this thread, otherwise the usual suspects will distort everything. A poster insulted me and asked me if Guga learnt strokes by himself or somebody coached him. Why he bought up Guga all of a sudden is up to him. I referred him to Wikipedia which names his coaches. That is all. I am not responsible for the well-researched and moderated contents of Wiki pages.
     
  29. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,294
    biggest problem with internet, is the contrast of audience compared to our daily lives.

    in our work and personal life, we tend to be with those who are more or less on the same wave length... on the internet, anything goes.

    so the expectation has to be adjusted... and the way to handle opinion differences has to be adjusted too.
     
  30. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,848
    Location:
    San Diego
    The event actually did happen. I was there and a few other TT members including RKelly and TheJackal from KickServeTennis.com (philip peliwo's friend). The best part was the TheJackal brought one of peliwo's new racquets so I got to hit with a pro stick from a 4 time grand slam finalist. woohoo!
     
  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    I need to find out why jackal short-changed me. He gave me some Donnay racket to demo. Probably he felt that I was not deserving of Filip's frame.
     
  32. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,249
    Location:
    Bedford,Massachusetts,US
    TW Message Board Policies

    Just to be clear:
    I assume you know
    TW Message Board Policies
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=3
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  33. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Quote:
    Some interesting points Oscar, thanks for sharing your ideas.

    Just on the points above, I have heard many times the phrase "tennis is a game of emergencies", but I have always thought that makes it sound like a passive game for the player it refers to - in other words you have to just deal with what the opponent sends you. Personally I prefer players to think about what they can create rather than what they cope with.

    When you refer to "footwork" do you in fact mean "movement"? I feel there is a difference between the two. From what I have read of your work and the stuff I have done with Andy and John over here, I think you mean movement to the ball should come naturally. There are a couple of specific footwork patterns which can be anything but natural which are essential skills for high level tennis, which need to be taught in my opinion.

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

    Cheers
    [/QUOTE]

    Ash, sorry for the delay. I consider footwork and foot movement synonymous. But I do know some patterns are very beneficial. And yes, they are essential at high level. I do coach them through drills, so the person can adjust them to be in tune with their own physique and very efficient as well.

    Actually, it is the desire to be efficient that drives the player to look for simplicity and for the best way to use the forces in nature. For example, a child does not cross over the foot first to go to one side, or they would fall backwards, unless they lean into the new direction. What the child does is which is very efficient, they take the weight off the foot closest to the direction they want to move to, resulting in the center of gravity of the body "pulling" them in that direction. What many kids have but needs to be taught if not present, is an extra move to accelerate the start in that direction: sliding the leading foot outwards, together with some turn in the new direction, then the crossover as necessary. I state this simply for more clarity. No big words.

    There are other situations, as in the volley, where this outside sliding foot aids net coverage. If you cross over as first reaction, you cover considerably less than if you slide the outside foot first, then step across or cross over. I usually teach the "footwork" or "movement" with drills, so I am guiding the player to select from his actions those which are more efficient and beneficial. It is a very interesting subject which I feel needs to be addressed intelligently, otherwise, if it is not aligned with nature, it makes the player slower (I have tested this extensively). Furthermore, if the player's mind gets clogged with thought about the feet, it traps attention units which should be used to focus on the ball, not the feet.

    The point about emergencies. Preparing early can be misleading. Many players practice to react (prepare) fast all the time, even on a slower ball. If you react in this fashion to a slow ball, how would you react to a ball 4 or 5 times faster than the previous one? This does not promote coordination. The best technique is: slow for a slow ball, faster for a faster one, all coordinated. Since human beings tend to overreact, a player is better off with restraint than attempting to prepare as quickly as possible. The player learns a lot faster and is more efficient by waiting with the hands in front of the chest until the ball is near (tracking), finding the ball as if going to catch it, then taking a good swing, than by taking the racquet back early and swinging from all the way back.

    Thank you for your questions and your patience.

    Oscar
    Oscar Wegner
    TennisTeacher.com
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  34. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Oscar, good points. Thanks for responding in spite of all the childish distractions and name-calling on this thread.

    Re: responding slower to a slower ball. When pros see a slow short ball, they seem to react very fast and attack, moving forward and trying to take away time for the opponent to prevent him from adjusting. If the ball is not short, they seem to seize the opportunity to immediately position themselves for an aggressive reply, sometimes readying a big swing. Club players react slowly to slow balls taking comfort in the extra time. Don't you think a slow ball should also elicit a fast and early response in order to dominate the game?

    Isn't it the case that both slow and fast balls should be responded to equally fast and with early preparation and movement, only that the slow balls allow more opportunities for seizing the point in a proactive way, while the faster balls may allow only reactive responses?
     
  35. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Correct in many points. A top player will cut time in many ways. Except that the top ten or one hundred are not our audience and looking at this thread, so we are talking about amateur tennis. I sometimes do a drill where a groundstroke is hit at one baseline, the receiving player at the other baseline does a 360 and returns the ball. This drill has a different purpose than teaching to attack a slower ball. It teaches the player to track the ball after the bounce, and in the final stages prior to the hit.

    Would you believe that many times they hit the ball even better? Of course, in MTM parlance, we always reinforce stalking and hitting across with the finish in mind.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  36. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,746
    I think the discussion here is not so much about reacting fast and attacking, which is all good, but about the shot itself. Do you prepare (pull the racket back) in advance, or do you do it in the rythm of the ball. I totally accept that there are different views on this, and certainly differences among players, pros as well, as to how and how early they pull back (prepare). Great to be back on topic, btw.
     
  37. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,406


    thanks for that post, it helps me to understand your viewpoint.
    i´ve seen lots of rec players with less than good movement over the years, so i have always strongly sympathized with your calling for natural movement.
    usually the problem is either that players use inefficient steps to move, like only doing sidesteps on the baseline for example , or it is players taking the racquet back first and then starting any movement towards the ball. i´ve seen players trying to run down a drop shot with their racquet back wagging like the tail of a dog.
    what i like about your post is, that you acknowledge the need for some drills and guiding players into certain movements that are beneficial.
    i also like what you say about preparation, and that it depends on the speed on the incoming ball.
    once you realize how much time you have to prepare, you can then take away time from your opponent by taking the ball early.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  38. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,865
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    Oscar, thanks for your response. I have made some further points in red below if you have the time/opportunity to address them...



    Cheers
     
  39. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    Ash, as Oscar said, the target for his '2 hour tennis' and most of his tips are rec players and beginners. He teaches top juniors and pros differently of course. Like you said, elements of footwork must be taught at a certain level of tennis.
     
  40. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,865
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    ^^^Appreciate that TCF, what I am interested in is how "scaleable" his "system" is - in other words how applicable is it at higher levels and what needs to change or have a different approach accordingly. Plus, Oscar still seems to take a more "holistic" approach than others, hence my comparison to Jez and his style of approach. The talk is often around his work for beginners ("Tennis in 2 Hours" etc), but I am interested in the work he does with, as you say, top juniors and pro's.

    That's why I would be interested to hear Oscars thoughts on my points above.

    Cheers
     
  41. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,406
    that is a point that is often misunderstood in this forum and worth clarifying.
     
  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Yes. I saw Oscar's response too. It seems to be a teaching aid to not rush the shot early by showing how the shot can be hit with a wait period also.

    Re: your comment, on a ball which is much slower than a regular ball, some pros will have their racket fully back much before they are close to attack the ball, while others might come closer to the ball and then do a quicker deceptive back and forth swing. In either case, the slow ball was also reacted to as fast as a fast ball. Another example is Federer might hardly get a chance to budge on a first serve, but as soon as he sees a weak second serve heading over the net, he starts moving around his backhand at once, preparing to crush the ball with his forehand as early as possible.
     
  43. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Ash, your points are very well taken. They are true, and the only challenge is how do you teach them? I have been working, since I started coaching in 1968, to teach as little as possible and obtain maximum results. You can say I rely on instinct for the player, at any level (including with Borg in 1992, helping him recuperate his game), to discover which is the most effective pattern, and I just guide them so they realize this discovery. Why? Because there are, in the main, two realms that sometimes conflict with each other: instinct and thought. You could call instinct pure thought, of which we are aware of by feel, and regular thought, the processing of mental image pictures and conclusions thereof.

    in the main, instinct has billions of computations per second of which we are unaware of, while mental image pictures computation of which we are aware of is much slower. Human beings tend to get partially stuck in mental image pictures, while the few that escape that trap, in tennis, for example, achieve a different plateau.

    I have worked on bypassing mental image pictures of positions, or of operating, as much as possible, and observe the results of the learning experience in the student to understand what is his viewpoint and feel. Or you could say that I assume the viewpoint of the student as if I was in his point of view. From there, and this is what is interesting, without thinking in mental image pictures the solution to any outstanding problem in fluidity or efficiency or comfort or feel appears to me and that is what I transmit to the student, usually as a suggestion to try something to see if it works. Since this way of instructing is non-intrusive, the student feels free to chose for himself what works best. I tend to induce changes by drills in which I exaggerate a situation, so a middle ground is easily achieved.

    It's kind of difficult to transmit this type teaching philosophy in words, or books, so I rely on video or personal coaching and always resorted to insist on playing like the pros and explained what the pros do. Of course each pro plays differently from each other, but there are principles or you could call it commonalities that tend to lead to a remarkable success. There is where my experience as a player on the tour in the 1960s and the problems to excel within it, and my 45 years of coaching have permitted to ascertain what is important and what is not. On groundstrokes, for example, tracking is a dynamic computation and the only static mental image picture I teach is the finish of the stroke. That permits the rest to be fluid, and perhaps copying your favorite pro gives you a guide as what you are doing with the ball.

    That is why I teach footwork with drills, and I just explain to the student, as a guide, what the top pros do. Which leads to our present conflict, in this and other threads, as many think the pros do one thing, and others other things. In written form this is a challenge. And I think (I perceive) you explained your viewpoint very accurately and very easily, where I can assume your viewpoint.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  44. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,865
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    Thanks Oscar - now we are getting into some interesting discussion! I totally agree with your viewpoint on helping the student discover the "correct" solution for themselves - "guided discovery" is how I teach too. However, I am a little confused by your principal of bypassing mental images? Do you mean you bypass mental images, as in you don't have a mental image of how you would like the student to look? Or do you mean that you don't use imagery to help inform your teaching? I would be surprised if it is the second as the vast majority of people are either primarily visual or kinaesthetic learners or a combination of the 2 (with audial way behind)?

    Cheers
     
  45. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,746
    Yes that is what I was saying also.
     
  46. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,746
    Exactly.

    That is not possible to see exactly when filmed from behind.

    No, you can impart momentum, thrust, power without being perpendicular. On the other hand being unperpendicular is a major factor in generating spin, both vertical and horisontal. Imo. And unperpendicularity to the target direction is nescessary to compensate for the incomming balls direction.

    Edit: Sorry, I see this has since been discussed in http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=450567.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  47. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,398
    Racket face will rarely if ever be exactly square with the target line due to angle
    of reflection of the strings. It will vary to some to degree on nearly every shot, right?
     
  48. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Ash, two things, you can look at a static picture, or you could be looking at streams of pictures, like in a movie. If you are talking of recalling a movie, I do recall how Laver hit, Federer, Emerson, etc., in stream form, perceiving in aesthetic waves (you could call it light viewing), without looking at pictures themselves. Otherwise it is too interiorizing, meaning it traps too much attention and it takes the person out of present time.

    Experience and memory is very useful, unless someone is paying too much attention to the pictures in the mind and is not looking out and in present time.

    What is a human being greatest asset? Control of attention. Ability to focus where one wants. That is why I point to the distinction between stuck pictures and flowing motion of pictures. That is also why I promote waiting: to stay in present time, to observe every details and compute the composite, dynamically, as a whole.
     
  49. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Yes it seems to benearly vertical to slightly closed just before contact. The reflection from the strings happens only from contact.

    The consensus from the other thread is that if the ball is contacted in the lower half of the strings (lower as in racket horizontal), then the recoil will cause a slight closing of the face even on vertical (or what you call square) impact BUT it is also the case that the face is often deliberately closed around 10 degrees to control a ball taken on the rise.
     
  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,767
    Yes we discussed the square vs slightly closed face in depth already
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page