Practice for Smarter Targets

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 5263, Feb 11, 2012.

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  1. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    ooops, thanks
    I'll correct.
    You can see where my focus was...on Fed and how he was playing.
    Did you notice his targets?
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  2. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Courier just commented on how often the traditional coaching advice is to volley
    deep, but that look at these guys use the different sections of the court wisely.
     
  3. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  4. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I hope some watched those 2 very good videos above. Main difference in what
    Smart Targets do and what Brad Gilbert is saying is that we can go shorter and
    wider. Not wider due to hitting closer to the sideline, but by hitting a harder angle
    when it's there to take them wider and shorter for their reply.

    One other point to revisit after watching the windy US Open. A big objective of
    the Smart Target System is raise awareness of ways to attack mid ct and short balls
    efficiently. Using Top Spin or Slice, you can hit to appropriate parts of the
    triangles to effect some good standard attack shots for the attackable balls
    you earn thru your heavy BL rally shots.

    This US Open had a ton of UEs, but still the importance of being able to execute
    when a mid ct attack opportunity was presented was very key for match winners.
    The losers tended to have trouble with consistent execution .
    Murray did the best job of working the point patiently till he got a
    good look for an attack shot, then executed on a high enough level to win
    his matches!
     
  5. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Another good pt for these targets how when hitting for the classic deep corner
    on a crosscourt attempt, if the ball falls short, even with good pace, it ends up
    in the wheel house for a guy to step in and cut it off.
    BUT using our targets, this cross court shot line will be more angled off the
    court and with solid pace, this ball is still quite hard to handle and cannot be
    cut off like that. The returner has to move much farther and wider to handle
    this ball.
    Maybe some of the more skilled posters here can show this on a diagram?
    Noticed this when doing some charting.

    Leaving a crosscourt ball short when hit to classic targets is one of the bigger
    risks, even with good pace, but going to Smart Targets, this risk can even now
    be a strength as long as the pace is good.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, pulled wide is one of the more useful times to use both depth and height for
    your return, so you give them a challenge while giving yourself time to recover.
     
  7. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I originally misread the above post, but not see you were using middle for the
    amount of depth and that you were right on target as to how they often attacked
    to a middle depth opposed to greater depth.
    sorry I had missed your point.
     
  8. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    I have to give the OP credit. My game has changed due to smart targets, and I didn't even realize it until lately all my opponents have been complaining about running too much and being out of breath. Some of them are even half my age and complaining about it. This is some of what I've been hearing from my opponents the last few matches:

    "I'm huffing and puffing and you're not even out of breath."
    "Oh, my God, I've never done so much running from tennis in my life."
    "Are you even sweating...?"
    "Man, this is quite a workout."

    Granted I've been working on my conditioning, and that helps too, but I used to be one to hit down the middle all the time, and I used to be very annoyed by the fact that I couldn't do much with angles, but now I rarely hit down the middle, unless my time is taken away and have no other choice. I wasn't even aware lately that I had been going for the smart targets until they all started complaing, and now that I am aware of it, I have to say I really get a kick out of running them around, and listening to complaints has never been so enjoyable.
     
  9. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Glad to see this great post and thanks for the good words.
    We are seeing more and more success with this simple approach as we get
    better at putting it to work. My daughter won 2 matches she said the
    Smart Targets get all the credit for in her run to a D1 final recently.
    Of course staying out of the Avoid Zone is even more important.
     
  10. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    its weird how much i notice the pros from back in the day use smart targets. watched the Ashe Connors 75 W final and both men were going for the smart targets.
     
  11. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    also especially since most of them tend to hit a bit flatter back then.
    Shows the targets are still good even for more traditional strokes and maybe even more so!

    It also seems the current top players use them more, especially during their best performances,
    than the lower level pros.
    Do you notice this as well?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  12. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    2:04 into the new singles playbook Wil speaks of "how it's a Myth that you need to
    hit deep".
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Quote:
    In his US Open match against Djokovic this year he had dozens of points that he pounded ball after ball incredibly deep and back and forth to the corners until he hit one 2-inches long. It worked for him at the Olympics but overall I don't see that style consistently beating the top-5.



    Some good stuff here!
     
  14. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Tried out these targets with a Wheelie player this afternoon, very effective - not in the sense that they are new target areas, but more in the sense that the path through those areas is clearly defined and it helps take away some (or all) of the decision making process - thus simplifying the tactical pattern making.

    Good stuff!

    Cheers

    A
     
  15. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    thanks Ash, and you hit the nail on the head.
    They are not really new, in that nobody thought of this before,
    but more to better define the "why and where" of it, while
    as you mention....simplifying the decision process, especially when you are
    pushed a bit.

    Very glad it was helpful :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  16. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I really liked this post above and think it is common for players to plateau due
    to how they use "their targets".
     
  17. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    I think that because the players must stand at least on, and normally behind the baseline in order to defend against the extreme deep ball (within 2' of the baseline) that the highly topspun balls hit a bit shorter are effective because the relative shortness gives the topspun ball more time to gain height.

    In other words, if you hit a heavy topspin ball shorter, it will kick up higher before reaching the opponent who is behind the baseline, and be possibly more troubling to them than that same topspin ball hit very near the baseline which they would have no alternative than to short-hop.

    With the heavy spin/poly string, it is more difficult to read where the ball is going to drop, and so one must still stay back in case the ball lands very deep. By the time it is recognized that the ball has landed short, it is too late to close in and attack it, as the ball will rapidly rise.

    J
     
  18. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    One unrelated thought; I would like to see two depth charts from the same player/opponent. One on a fast hard court, (USO) and one on a very slow hard court (IW, Miami).

    My guess is that they hit deeper on the faster court.

    J
     
  19. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I agree, that would be interesting to see. I expect the faster court would tend
    to group deeper as well, but maybe not as deep as some would expect.
    Would love to see a few where the 2 players were well matched in a tight match.
     
  20. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Good thing you bumped this thread, I was just talking to my friend who is in my opinion a very good coach. He told me of an idea which he has been using with his kids (the kids in his program that is) who are anywhere from 10-18.

    It is a different way of portraying the goal, but ends up having the ball land in your target areas.

    J
     
  21. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    J., what is the idea your friend had?
     
  22. kc571

    kc571 New User

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    Very late to this game. Is there a link to where these targets are? Also, I've read here to avoid the center of the court. I've typically thought that if I hit up the middle, my opponent will have less angle to work with (and the higher net if he wants to kick it out wide). If I go cross court to his forehand, I help him by increasing his angle, allowing him to hit it even sharper back to me.
     
  23. InspectorRacquet

    InspectorRacquet Semi-Pro

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    Well, if you use the smart targets (shown in some pictures on the first couple pages), hitting up the middle is the worst thing you can do. The smart targets allow you to angle your opponent off the court and hit comfortably within the boundaries of the court. This is actually best achieved from the center of the court.

    If you hit a sharp cross court angle, it's easier just to hit it sharply back, instead of taking the risky down the line shot.
     
  24. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Here is one of the pics of the smart targets thanks to BU.
    you can see the triangles
    [​IMG]

    There are very good times to hit down the middle if you can keep it strong, deep,
    or both; like returning a very tough serve or even hard GS.
    Hitting down the middle weak and short is the best way to get in trouble in
    the point...allows them to use their strengths against your weakness immediately.

    These targets are designed to give you easy ideas on where to go and not to
    go, sort of as a default if there is no overriding issue. As the other poster just
    stated, they are designed to give you max safety margin while still being aggressive.
     
  25. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Here is another illustration of the targets with both the Avoid Area and the
    Smart Targets.
     
  26. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I really think you make some very good points in the post above, but just want
    to mention that hitting up the middle is not worst thing....unless you mean the
    center near the middle T area. If you have a reason and a plan, then hitting near
    the middle BL area for depth is fine. My suggestion is to hit with the Smart Targets
    as a reference when you can and also when you don't have a better idea. Better ideas
    can be like when hitting deep for defense, or jamming the server or using a drop shot.
    Does that make sense?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  27. TennisCoachIN

    TennisCoachIN Rookie

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    I have read a lot of this thread about smart targets and have been really paying attention to USTA, Rec League, Pro matches etc....

    It is amazing to see how using the smart targets these players no matter what level are doing very well in there matches.

    I have read a lot about hitting the ball deep and although I believe it has it's place, using smart targets seems like the way to train.

    Are there any specific dimenisions for smart targets or do you just train with diagram in these posts as close as possible. We have been going close to the diagram for training.

    In a recent match my 8 year old had I told her to try to hit to the smart targets we been working on and she breezed through her match. The other girl kept the ball down the middle and my daughter just ran her the whole match. It was great to watch.
     
  28. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I designed these targets as a reference, but did list some measurements in the 1st
    page of the thread. It's mainly a concept and general idea, more than hard
    spots on the court. Definitely room for you to adapt them to your strokes and
    style in minor ways.
     
  29. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Ok, so he said that when he put a V down on the court, and tried to get the kids to hit outside of it (Base of V at baseline service hash mark) the kids saw the inside of the V as the target, and still hit the ball in the middle of the court.

    When he marked off the areas he wanted them to hit into on the court similar to those mentioned in this thread, they aimed for them and ended up hitting the balls into the doubles alley.

    So what he ended up doing was marking off points on the sideline, and baseline outside of the middle of the court where he wanted the ball to exit the court.

    So he basically told the kids to do whatever, but make sure the ball crosses the baseline, or sideline through one of these designated 'Gates', and this seemed to work for them to get the mental picture.

    J
     
  30. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    Hey 5263 it would be much easier to visualize the smart targets if you flipped this image around, so that it can be visualized from the hitter's point of view, instead of the opponent's point of view. Thanks in advance!
     
  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Don't know how I would flip these pics that come from another source...sorry:(
     
  32. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I was down in South FL for the holidays and took my son & daughter to courts
    for some practice. Fate would have it that we ended up on the court next to
    a super nice Aussie Coach and his WTA player getting in a practice as well.

    Here they are getting a 1.5 hr work out with 4 cones on the court for targets.
    2 in one corner and 2 in the other, all about 14 inches from the BL and the outside
    cones about 6 inches from the sidelines, with it's partner 6 inches from it.

    Two targets, deep and wide into each corner and they never moved.
    They used them for rally and mid ct attacks.

    I share this to point out that many coaches still target this extreme depth.
     
  33. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Do WTA players on average hit for depth because they can't achieve sufficient topspin to make a shorter ball unattackable?

    Would be fun to look at the charts and see if ATP players hit shorter.

    J
     
  34. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    WTA hit deeper because the reward is greater. Women foot speed is still significantly slower than men... flat balls are risky, but worth the reward.

    guys get back everything, you don't use spin you lose.
     
  35. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    yes, would be an interesting diagram to see, although I must admit, I don't
    look at the women's game too much.

    I think there is merit in luvforty's comments, but don't think the best women, like
    Graf, Henin, Seles or even the Williams sisters played that way as much.
    It's a good way to get by the lower players, and accounts for why you see so
    many different winners in the WTA imo. No consistency in hitting that close to
    the lines imo, even at the top.
     
  36. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    typical example is davenport and a few fat chicks currently on tour that I can't remember names....

    blast deep flat balls down the middle, draw a short ball, finish point.

    player with slow foot speed getting into spin/angle battle = self destruction.
     
  37. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    bhupaes, how is your effort on Smart Targets going. Have you stayed with the
    work to make it a normal aspect of your tactics.
    What about the Avoid Zone in red? Seems that is a little tougher for some to get about
    how to work to keep balls out of that zone, while really looking to capitalize on
    the balls the opponent leaves there.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  38. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Hey 5263, I use the Smart Targets concept in pretty much every match I play. I try not to hit to the avoid zone, unless I put some real zip on the ball. It mostly works for me, unless I am outclassed by a better mover than me... unfortunately, I am a bit of a leadfoot in the 4.5 league compared to the better players, and I need to make up with anticipation and sheer animal cunning! :)

    I've discovered that there are two things to keep in mind: first, hit to the zone that's further away from the opponent whenever possible, even if it violates Wardlaw's principles; second, recover really quickly after hitting a wide shot, especially if your opponent is a speedy gonzalez who has a proclivity to go DTL!

    That said, I think using Smart Targets is really the only way to play high level tennis, so I am really happy you implanted this concept in my head!
     
  39. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Basically what a local coach wrote in a local USTA newsletter last year as a golden rule: don't hit up the middle (the "rally" tendency).
     
  40. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    For you, close enough. That would be one small aspect of this, but yes,
    that is a start.
     
  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Just remember two things:

    - What Sampras said: Hit where the other guy isn't.

    - Don't hit up the middle.

    You don't need any more fancy jargon like Wardlaw's directionals etc.

    Keep tennis simple.
     
  42. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    How's that working out for you?

    J
     
  43. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    a few thoughts -

    1) WTA may show a completely different picture.... big fat babes, if they leave 1 ball short, point is over.... strategy is completely different from the guys who can get to everything.... and it's arguable that rec tennis is more comparable to the WTA than to the ATP

    2) there is certainly benefit in target practice, but where the target should be depends very much on the opponent... some guys like to sit way back receiving deep balls, some others prefer hugging the baseline.... there is a live person standing on the other side.

    3) the landing pattern of fed / joker, does NOT mean they are aiming at the center of the pattern..... I don't have any stats on tennis rackets, but on a golf driver, missing the center by 1/4 inch means 20% loss in distance.... joker and fed may very well be aiming much deeper, but the contact pattern of where the ball is hit on the string bed produces their landing pattern..... if you watch super slow mo of these top guys, very rarely they hit dead center on the sweet spot, more often then not the shot is off center and the racket twists at impact... which means significant distance loss..... I suspect if you aim for those triangles, you will produce a landing pattern with lots balls short of service line.. also, being able to take a bigger cut at a shorter target, does not necessarily mean the ball is more effective.... we all have seen people take big cuts only to produce some short spinny sitter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  44. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I'm always here to back up what you say when you are on the right track.
    If we can set aside our differences, for a moment here, imo we are very much
    in agreement here. Much of what I've worked out here is based on comments
    from Sampras. As he said, don't hit up the middle and the guy who controls the
    middle, can control the rallys....along with hitting from the other guy. Yes very
    important stuff! But a lot of folks, even coaches, didn't know what he meant
    by control the middle.

    Now hopefully if you can appreciate anything that comes from me, (and maybe
    it helps you that this has nothing to do with MTM)
    you can agree that one can follow Pete's advice and but still target many
    unfortunate areas. There are many places to hit that are away from your opponent, while
    not in the middle, but also won't likely help your game. For example if you
    hit away from the opponent and middle as Pete says, you can target the
    lines too much or ill timed drop shot...etc..

    So what I've done here with my Smart Target system is to yes, keep it simple
    like Pete, but give some VERY simple direction on where to hit, while adding
    a few exceptions, like how it can be good to hit down the middle strongly
    on serve rtn or when on defense if you can keep it very deep.
     
  45. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    My posts had nothing to do with what you posted! Why do you assume that?

    I just recalled what I read in a newsletter, and how someone else said that Wardlaws directionals don't work. I also see how pros routinely hit winners DTL over the high part of the net.

    In fact, you gave me an idea for a new thread.
     
  46. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Sigh. 10char
     
  47. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    @5263: Just to make my position clear: I did not mean to say that Wardlaw's directionals don't work. I accept that it is sometimes risky to change the direction of outside balls, hence my use of the phrase "whenever possible".
     
  48. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, I know you realize there is advantage in following the directionals, along
    deviating at certain times. It is much easier to deviate imo with modern strokes,
    since we generally use more net clearance along with more spin than classic
    strokes.
    thanks
     
  49. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    ^^^ Agreed!
     
  50. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    To first pt.... I don't watch or concern myself too much with WTA. For the most
    part, I'll leave that to those more interested.

    To the one in #3-
    Not suggesting a short spinny ball to get to the targets. I know it is a long thread, but pretty sure it covers how the main intent is to use these targets
    to free you up to hit a stronger ball since you should not be crowding the lines.
    Experience says players working with this system as it is designed tend to hit
    towards the deeper aspect of the target or slightly over shoot. Hitting short of
    the target is no more likely to happen than normal play and maybe even less
    likely due to the extra steam going into the balls.
     
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