My Hitting Video-Advice Welcome Pt.2

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Ballinbob, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Mods. if you could change the title of this thread to "Bob's Tennis Blog" it would be greatly appreciated
    -------
    This thread is now a tennis blog. People are still welcome to add advice but I don't want that to be the only purpose of this thread. I enjoy videoing my play and think it would be pretty cool to have all my videos in one place

    Here is my original groundstroke video and which I'm using as a baseline (reference point) for my improvement.

    12/30/13: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIeFwry6Aaw
    From 2/11/14: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0gXB6PwiJ8
    From 2/12: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwlNJlNCcxc
    From 2/15: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5MYxlcfj2o

    First Serves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkpQJkPMXnw

    Second Serves:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZxKvWapr_E
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0OQCoGhycE
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Was hitting today for a few minutes, with a very good local 4.5, a baseliner.
    Neither of us allowed any balls that went long by less than a foot to simply slide by. HIT THOSE, they are the best shots from a superior player you will get to hit. The low volley from the baseline and the deep half volley from the baseline is the single most important stroke you need to learn, in order to face 5.0 and better players.
    This is practice, you have to practice against difficult balls.
    However, if you ONLY stay behind the baseline, you need not practice the low volley from the baseline, but you still need to defend the ball that lands on the line, so hit those OUT balls that are 9" long.
     
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  3. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    For sure Lee, I hear you. I need that type of practice. As you see in the first point my half volleys are garbage compared to my actual volleys. I need to stand closer to the baseline so I can practice those

    I play these guys again Fri/Sat so I'll get another video up then with me doing that. Will really focus on playing more aggressively with the forehand and moving my opponents around instead of them moving me and pushing me back

    By the way, how does one hit an inside out forehand with good width? All mine land deep but not wide enough to trouble anyone good. I would like to pull my opponents out wide more
     
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  4. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Backhand jam?

    I'm liking the early preparation on your forehand. Kind of like Tommy Haas' (I've always appreciated his early preparation).

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but is your backhand your weaker side? I don't know much about the 2hander, but it looks as if you're hitting it VERY close to your body, like you're jamming yourself?
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    1. Step well to your left, so you open up your target for your forehand.
    2. Aim should be around sideline intersect near the baseline, but wide angles will be hit over the higher part of the net, right of the vertical net tape.
    3. I am NOT saying I have a good inside out forehand. I'm lefty, and often hit my 1hbh backhand somewhat inside out, from center hash to ad sideline shorter than the baseline to create a wide angle to a right handed player.
    4. For some players, it's easier to aim direction by using the net for your target, not the baseline. Like in bowling, using the arrows instead of looking at the pins before you roll. Aim right of center tape on the net.
     
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  6. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    My backhand is much more consistent than my forehand. I wasn't myself today and I agree I was hitting it too close to my body. In my original video from January, I was hitting it better (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIeFwry6Aaw).

    It all depends on the day I guess. These guys hit a good ball and were able to jam me more than usual. We'll see how I do this weekend against them

    Thanks Lee. The aiming for the net tip is excellent, cant wait to try it out this weekend
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Good hitters tend to jam and stretch us, which is why we need to hit those incoming heaters that are long by 9" or less, or even a foot.
    Once we can hit those, we can handle a higher level of player.
     
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  8. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Nice to see you again! I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this question. In other words, are you having issues with getting the ball wider or keeping it in if you choose to go wider? To get the ball wider, just focus on the backpedaling footwork, and make contact with your strings angled wider. To keep the wide ball in with a margin for error, you have to pronate earlier. Heath Waters calls this "closing off the stroke," and he teaches his players to finish lower, maybe to the waist or even the hip if you really want a sharp angle.

    From looking at your forehand, it looks better (certainly sounds better). You may still be "patting the butt" a little too much, but there is a definite improvement. One thing I noticed is that you seem reluctant to step into the ball at times. If the ball is coming straight down the middle, you want to hit with a neutral stance so you can drive it through the court. Open stances are for when you're moving laterally or backward. Just stepping in on the centered balls will give you more power and take your opponent's time away. Note that this does not necessarily mean hitting flatter or with less margin for error. You can still pronate a lot to get a lot of wipe even when stepping into the ball.
     
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  9. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Topspin I mean how do you hit an inside out forehand that pulls the opponent off the court. Both you and Lee have answered my question, and I will try it this weekend. I am often in the position of hitting IO forehands and I would like to be more aggressive with it. One way of doing this is to hit my IO forehand wider to pull them off the court.

    And thank you for the neutral stance tip. I stay locked in an open stance for some reason, need to learn to step in and rip it.

    The "patting the butt" is because of my unit turn as you pointed out. Rick Macci says to keep both hands on the racket and pretend you are elbowing someone behind you as you turn...I forgot to try that today. I know what to do to fix my unit turn, it's just a matter of time
     
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  10. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    I don't want to talk about technical issues since you should focus on the items your pro mentioned to you.

    From a tactical POV, I notice in this video that when you are pulled out wide you seem to just waft the ball back to the middle of the court (0:57). Even worse, a few times you hit a shot back to the same side of the court (don't want to say DTL b/c it wasn't near the lines), see 1:20, 1:52, 2:46, 3:27. You can't do that -- that is a death sentence. That will kill the rally for you since you are then so out of position for an easy CC put away by your opponent. You HAVE to hit a defensive deep crosscourt shot, nice and high and loopy over the net. There is no other shot option when you are wide like that. I realize those were forcing shots by your opponent so maybe you couldn't do anything else. But this is a shot you should work on and I think will come naturally to you since you tend to hit a loftier spin shot. You just need to force that angle more to get it CC, hopefully deep.

    Hitting it CC:

    - gives you more time to recover back to position.

    - forces your opponent to go DTL if they want to put it away, much tougher for them than going CC.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Smart targets often work, until the opponent, who also knows smart targets, starts to cheat and bait you into hitting into them.
    Going DTL against a wide CC baseline shot, it's almost necessary to go for a winner when you go DTL, because you just allowed your court to be undefended....for the wide shot, and back behind your movement to center of intersect.
     
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  12. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    ^^^Bob's issue with crosscourt forehands may be related to footwork. He picks up his left leg as he hits, which should be done for balls that jam him, not for when he's running wide. Bob, check out this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVtbDdU5gnY
     
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  13. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    Yes I guess going for a DTL winner is another option in that situation but I don't know many rec players who can pull off a DTL winner when they are pulled out wide and deep. I don't think that's even a wise shot for a pro to make unless their name is Del Potro.
     
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  14. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Spin Doctor is right and I lose a lot of matches for that simple reason. My opponent can pull me out wide, I attempt a DTL shot, and make maybe 3-4/10 of them. It's a losing proposition

    I have a problem with cross court forehands though, I dont know what it is. I have to really force my cross court shots and put an unnecessary amount of spin on them.

    This is a big problem, and it's just jumped up on my list of things to work on. It's critical I get the CC forehand down, you cant advance without it
     
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  15. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Will do, thanks. That may be it, idk. It's really frustrating though. I can only hit DTL and IO comfortably
     
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  16. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Your opponents sense that you can't handle going wide to your fh.
     
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  17. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I play these guys again Friday and Saturday. If I get pulled wide, I will respond with a cross court shot. That will be my goal along with a better unit turn so I don't "pat the butt"
     
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  18. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    Re: not being able to hit CC -- is it possible that it may have to do with your contact point?

    This defensive looper is easy to work on if you have access to a ball machine.
     
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  19. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Footwork on the running fh.
     
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  20. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    #20
  21. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    The Nadal video shows the slalom footwork, or mogul step, from the Pat Dougherty video. The Federer videos show the open to closed stance footwork, also known as the power or lunge step footwork. The former is used on normal crosscourt forehands, the latter is used when you're pulled extra wide and can't stop your momentum.

    Mogul step (same as in Dougherty's video): http://jezgreen.com/the-mogul-step
    Power step (what Federer's doing): http://jezgreen.com/the-powerstep
     
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  22. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Good stuff guys. i will have to sit down and really study these later. To me, this proves that footwork to some extent must be taught.

    Not all of these seem natural to me but I have access to an agility ladder where I can practice . I love drilling this kind of stuff too
     
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  23. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Good advice. I can't stand it when, in practice, opponents stop and restart after any ball that is a few inches out. Deep shots are some of the exact ones which lower level players get crucified on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
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  24. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Related to this. This is what I see when I see Bob's forehands.

    Shot after shot of unbalanced hitting. There's nothing to be gained in propping and lifting like this on the forehand when all of these were basically down the middle of the court and none were remotely high. The right pic is the result of falling away because not in the right place to hit the ball.
    [​IMG]

    To me, this sort of action feels very much like an effort (partially subconscious) to mimic shots seen on TV - ditto for the buggy whip finish you do sometimes - which, for the average player achieve little more than making them worse players.

    Stability is key to hitting consistently in tennis. That's a key area you could improve your game massively. You only need to compare your backhand vs forehand to see how much stability improves things.

    Check this vid - focus on watching Federer when he hits his forehand. See how stable he is - rock solid almost every time. > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyj8r9bTB8M
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
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  25. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I beg to differ. The comedy you get from the courts is always priceless. Where do you think all the fun from recreation comes from? Working and playing like Nadal?
     
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  26. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Fair call. I do get plenty of enjoyment from playing people who try to hit their forehand like Nadal or where shots are clearly an attempt to copy someone.
     
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  27. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Bobby. I swear I'm not trying to copy Nadal or anything haha, I just have balance issues

    Is my bad balance related to my poor loading phase? Ash was saying that was the root of all my problems. I'm trying to tackle the very big problems hoping that things like balance will fall into place

    On the bright side...I'm currently analyzing my videos in slow mo on my iphone and I'm doing a better job of hitting on the same side of the body. It's like 60% there which is definitely better than before. The "pat the butt" will be gone soon. And my contact point is better as well thank God

    Now to tackle the hard stuff...
     
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  28. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Could be your loading phase. Could also be that you're not fully trusting the supination/pronation to get topspin. The racket should trace most of the arc, not the hand. If the hand goes too much up and across, you'll pull yourself up and to the left. Model your swing without your racket with full loading at 100% swing speed. If your hand arcs too much and pulls your body up, then that's the problem. Without the racket, your swing path should seem very flat. With the racket, the supination/pronation will transform the swing path into a topspin machine. Does this make sense?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
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  29. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I think that makes sense. I will try to rephrase in my own words to make sure...

    You are saying that I'm using way too steep of a racket drop on the forehand to create topspin while I should be using a more horizontal swingpath and just wave my hand at the very end to get topspin. The result will be that my swing doesn't jerk me into weird positions like it is now

    I can see how that makes sense. With such a steep racket drop my body will contort into awkward positions. I'll report back Thursday or Friday with a video of me doing this and we'll see how my balance holds up

    I guess it's hard for me to see how such a horizontal swing will create a lot of topspin but as you said I have to trust the technique
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
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  30. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    Hey bob, looks like you're getting some progress w/ a flatter ball

    Here's a thought you might want to try:

    Note angle of your elbow in the takeback here:
    [​IMG]
    and later in the same forehand, this is right before you start swinging forward:
    [​IMG]

    See if you can shadow swing a takeback where your elbow never opens up more than that first photo (as if you're elbowing someone to the side of you), and only starts unhinging from the first position as you start swinging forward - so you feel like as you start your swing forward, the elbow still wants to move back, but instead opens up and leads your approach to the ball, feeling the pull of the racket behind it. If you time it right you'll get a small stretch in the upper right chest/shoulder area.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
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  31. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Let me try to explain it this way. Topspin is generated when the strings go from low to high. Watch this Verdasco forehand. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aTgI4zmFXkE&desktop_uri=/watch?v=aTgI4zmFXkE His hand swings up from hip height to shoulder height. Flat hand path equals lots of driving power and a balanced body. Now look at the strings. They swing up from knee height all the way up to over his head. Therefore he gets heavy topspin. How does he get a steep racket path with a flat hand path? Supination and pronation.
     
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  32. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Bob, your stroke looks much better. The feet are way too bouncy and loose. Really bad. You get absolutely kill the kinetic chain and have incomplete weight transfer because of all the jumping during the stroke.

    Here is the best forehand of the entire video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0gXB6PwiJ8&t=3m3s

    None of that jumpy, bouncy, pogo-stick stuff. You measured the ball up, committed to it, smooth step into the shot, great weight transfer. No jerkiness at all.

    And the ball exploded perfectly. Strive to do that on every shot.
     
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  33. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    This is awesome, thanks psv. I can definitely do that, I'll start shadow swinging tonight. That will help with keeping my racket on the same side of the body too

    It's on now, I'll post a longer video Thursday against a ball machine. I'll do one round just forehands and one round on a harder setting where I have to run more. Can't wait to try some of this stuff out

    Here are three things I will focus on Thursday:
    1. Better unit turn
    2. Load my weight onto my right leg and point my toe 45 degrees towards the side fence
    3. What psv suggested with not letting the elbow open up too much

    ----------------
    And Topspin, the Verdasco video made sense, thanks. I see how the pronation/suppination generates topspin. I'll keep this in mind going forward
     
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  34. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, and you're right about the balance

    I am trying to find the root of this problem and then fix that. I have tried to remain still on my shots and it just doesnt work for me. I have a feeling if I set my feet and load properly, my balance will improve. That's what I do on my backhand and I hardly miss with that shot

    If that doesn't work Thursday, I'm not sure what to do. I might end up getting another lesson and fix it once and for all. I've had this problem since I was a kid
     
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  35. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Potential reasons for your balance issues that I can think of right now:

    Loading phase imbalances
    Overly arcing hand path and psv's point about the elbow
    Inefficient fotwork in the corners
    Not stepping into centered balls

    Note that you do none of these things on your backhand.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
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  36. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Denis Kudla starts his swing by going to the outside of his body. That is how he keeps his elbow from opening up

    I start my swing by going behind my body, and as a result my elbow does all sorts of things. After shadow swinging the proper way it seems like it would be easier to go cross court too. Going to the outside of my body is a key element I'm missing in my forehand it seems

    I watched the Rick Macci vid again and he said after your unit turn, go to the outside of your body and pretend you're pulling on a rope.

    Now the hard part is doing all of this:? My forehand is so...weird lol

    EDIT: Here is a short vid of me on the other side of the camera. Gives you a better feel for the type of ball I hit. I would ask for advice for my friend but I don't want him getting too good. He is a lot smoother than me

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEhCNxFac6k
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
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  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Someone in one of your other posts mentioned.... Your feet are too close together as you hit the ball. Every other moment is fine, from prep to step to going to the ball, but as you hit, your feet are inside your body.
    Tall guys need wide stances.
     
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  38. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I need to start drilling footwork as often as possible, as it's not coming naturally to me.

    My goal is in one month to fix a lot of these balance/footwork issues. You don't need a court to drill these so it should be achievable

    For tomorrow I just want to try and get the horizontal swing path down better while not opening up the elbow. I'll be hitting on a ball machine so I can focus on technique with no pressure
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
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  39. MeMyselfandI

    MeMyselfandI Guest

    The good thing is that you play at 4.5 level and you look very awkward and robotic on forehand, you also look like tennis is very hard for you, you are not a natural mover or ball striker on the court.

    This is good because you play at 4.5 which is a decent level and you have lots of problems that CAN be fixed.

    You are tall but you are not a ball striker like Berdych, Gulbis or Posipisil so who is tall and plays like a grinder?

    You are already playing a style that you probably shouldnt be but if it is natural for you to grind then do it. Watch Granollers, Djokovic and Troicki when he gets back and study their point construction.

    The number 1 key to higher level tennis is developing weapons. You have none at the moment.

    The serve forehand combination is the most important 2 shot combination in tennis.
     
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  40. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Hey Bob! This is all good advice and all, but let's not detract from the fact that you appear to have a great game. All these small improvements can leave you feeling overwhelmed. it's often not good to change too many things at once, as it may have a negative impact.

    You may be rated as a 3.5, but you're better than any 3.5 in my area, and I've played all the best ones. I'm fairly confident you 'd double bagel me. So keep it up! Keep playing your game, keep hitting deep and I'm sure you'll get bumped to 4.0 by next year.

    Usually when I'm feeling like I just can't perform as well as I'd like, I 100% blame it on my footwork. Sometimes, I spend entire weeks on end not even bothering working on form or technique: I just work on footwork. Most of the time, whatever tools you have are often good enough to get the job done. As long as your body is in the right place, then who cares what angle or trajectory your swing path is? Who cares how much top spin you put on the ball. Keep your feet moving at all times. Move yourself to the ball, never let the ball come to you. You'd be amazed at how much better you can perform when you're exactly where you need to be (on the court).

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
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  41. MeMyselfandI

    MeMyselfandI Guest

    He is 4.5.
     
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  42. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    He is a 4.5 wanting to play at 5.0 levels.
    He has been playing tennis seriously for 4 years.
     
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  43. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    MMI (coincidence?) I'm not looking to play at 6.0 levels or anything. I want to be able to make it to the main draw of Open Tournaments in 5 years or so. I know strong 5.0's who have done this, and if I could do this I would really feel like I have accomplished something in my tennis career

    And if I can fix my flawed serve technique, I think I'll have a weapon. That's my best shot at a weapon I think... I can hit it hard as is
     
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  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You can do it.
    I knew all my hitting buds, starting when I was a C player, all made it to top D-2-3, and A/Open tourneys by their 5th year of tennis. Don't think any of them WON an Open tourney, as there seems always to be D-1 singles players and former D-1's in Open.
     
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  45. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    No coincidence. Look at his first post. He called himself a "long time lurker." Textbook first post for MMI. EDIT: Banhammer after four posts.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
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  46. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I think this is a good goal. But I think having a real, live coach is almost imperative. TTW GOATs are probably not going to cut it.

    In any USTA tournament I've ever been in, the 4.5s I have talked to who are trying to get to NTRP 5.0 all have coaches. Whether they are college/high-school coaches or private coaches.
     
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  47. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The real challenge is CC topspin forehands. Those are the ones which are most tricky to get the timing right?
     
    #47
  48. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    He got banned quick this time. lol
     
    #48
  49. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I think that's what I'll have to do. I know a really good 5.0 who would probably coach me for cheap. He could for sure help me tactically

    Yeah I would agree with that
     
    #49
  50. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    #50

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