React to this article

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by jakeytennis, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    I want to hear your reactions to this article.

    Im sure it'll fire up all the Oscar Wegner haters lol (because it's similar to Oscar's beliefs)

    try arguing this. I wanna hear.

    I definitely agree with the article.

    http://www.feeltennis.net/tennis-technique-myth/
     
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  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Has been posted before and discussed
     
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  3. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    i wasnt sure. thanks sureshs
     
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  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Nadal discusses the minute adjustment required for every stroke in his autobiography. It is nothing new.

    It is also nothing new that both technique and instinct have a role to play in any activity. Once technique is learnt, it becomes internalized and people forget it. Do you remember how you learnt fractions? But yes you did. Then came instinct, and technique and instinct merged.

    But there is lot of opportunity for people to separate the two, make one into a myth, and argue about the second. Another topic like that is Nature vs Nurture, man is an island, there is no need for government, etc. It is good for wasting time as a college student arguing about these things by taking one side.
     
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  5. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I think the article is very good and stresses how tennis is truly a dynamic sport. You are reacting to different variables for each shot.

    But, I also think solid fundamentals are the building blocks for being able to play dynamically. Look at the last video in the article of Berdych and his practice partner. I don't know what they are feeling or thinking but in this controlled practice hitting their technique is solid and very repeatable - each stroke looks very, very similar.

    My view is if you can hit a topspin forehand off a basic medium paced rally ball consistently, then you can learn how to hit a running forehand much easier. If you can hit a basic slice backhand or forehand, then you are much more likely to adapt and hit squash shot FH slices from behind you body, or BH slices from a late contact position. Technique is the building block to learn the dynamic game in my view. Learn basic technique first and then learn to react under more stressful and game like situations.

    By the way, in general, I like Oscar's methods but don't agree with all of it. But, he does keep it simple and based more on feel rather than calculating the proper angle of the wrist to the arm which drives me crazy.
     
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  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    No one does it, so how can it drive you crazy? Have you actually come across a coach who asked you to calculate the proper angle, or are you confused with analysis of the situation by experts? Do you understand the difference between Rod Cross calculating power coefficients of a racket and a coach asking you to calculate it before you play, or are you driven crazy because Rod Cross did it?
     
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  7. Ducker

    Ducker Rookie

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    I agree but not entirely. Heres why. Technique is just as important if not more important. Technique will be ones foundation to apply everything contain in this article. You have to put the hours in there first before you can move on.

    Take Federer's teenage training video for example (all the video examples for that matter). Federer has already layed his foundation. Everyone in the videos has there foundation layed already.


    The article is very much right in my opinion, but the article is for someone who has already learned proper grip, swing, follow through ect for the simple shots.

    Unfortantly most people just dont have in them the talent, skill, or athletic abilty to take it to a level where they are thinking only about how hit every shot. Thats what makes guys like Federer so good, and why his playing so very much artistic.
     
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  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yup it is armchair analysis. Every pro today went through a junior phase in which technique was hammered into him by drill after drill. After 20 years of this, someone will just ignore all that and write a touchy-feely article about how pros play by instinct, move like a child, etc.
     
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  9. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    I think this article was spot-on in making the distinction between a competitive and training environment. In a match, a player cannot be focused on changing a technical aspect of his/her game and must make do with bare foundational abilities, however small. Correct me if I'm wrong: the only thing running through a player's mind during every shot of a point should be shot selection and visualization.

    Practice is an entirely different story. Focused practice is what enables the player to change technique to more efficiently and effortlessly control the ball; in his next match, his intuitive ability to receive and stroke the ball will have become marginally better.

    I don't think Tomaz is saying that technique is not important, but that one must not solely blame poor technique for errors during a match and actively try to correct it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
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  10. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    People (ttw rec experts) here do this all the time. Real coaches don't. You do lol.
     
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  11. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    I agree. I see a lot of people using eastern forehand grips to serve. They can practice dynamic type situations and timing etc.. forever but they have a fundamental flaw and they need to fix that before they can be good players.
     
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  12. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    There is no freaking way a player will instinctively adjust to each coming ball without proper fundamentals. A solid base of technique, movement (footwork, court positioning...), decision making skills, balance...list goes on. These must be developed, trained, repetition over and over again. Different drills are used for different situations, balls are fed differently, players doing live ball drills in order to learn this quicker but its not an overnight process. This is why it takes so long to develop players into real tournament tough competitors.

    The reasons why professionals can play with instinct, adjust to each ball on the fly are because they have the experience and developed strokes and footwork and stamina where they do not have any interfering thoughts such as stroke mechanics or other technical issues. Competitive juniors and other good players will play this way more and more the more they develop their games. The better you are the easier it is type of deal, obviously. Playing instinctively is part of and a step in the coaching process of developing a player into a real competitor. Nothing new.

    The article is half right, but it misses a huge point and jumps ahead or maybe I completely misread it. You cannot play on instinct without having experience. The body has to have something to fall back on, a database of past events in order to understand what is going on. For example, the reason why we can drive a car and not remember what happened the past 10miles back is because we were driving on auto-mode, just did it naturally. This happens to me all the time, and I'm sure everyone else. We've been driving so much that it becomes second nature. A new driver would not be able to do this, because everything is new and unwritten for them so they pay attention to everything in order to absorb the events unfolding in front of them and program your brain into learning how to drive.
    There are certain tricks and scenarios you can do when teaching beginners to distract the brain and make them focus on certain aspects to make learning easier. This is nothing new, and hardly revolutionary.
     
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  13. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    I will give one more example. A player I coach, who is in her mid-30's started playing tennis 1.5 years ago. She's been an athlete her whole life, Olympic medal athlete. Anyways, on her forehand she naturally sometimes finishes with with racket above and behind her head like Nadal. Usually when she's pushed back. I've never commented it, and never mentioned her doing a Nadal HOWEVER there is no way she would be able to hit that type of forehand without us working on her balance, feet, stroke mechanics etc in order to have a solid base of fundamentals. Modern fundamentals, since this is TT I'm not talking about C shape and closed stances.
    She gets good power when hitting her Nadal finish forehand but most importantly she's balanced on her upper and lower body. That's not instinct, thats hard dedicated work she put into her game!
     
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  14. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    As a relative newcomer and (very) latecomer to tennis I see elements of truth to this piece but can't buy the whole argument.

    Based on my personal experience I do see too much emphasis placed on form over "playing the ball". Perfect tennis form in the abstract is confusing and decidedly unnatural to we noobs. And too often I've seen teaching pros focused entirely on the mechanical aspects of strokes and movement without explaining the "whys" which can provide crucial insights to students.

    Two sources of information made tennis SOOOO much easier for me: Wegner's book and Wardlaw's directionals.

    By developing my anticipation skills using Wardlaw's directionals I feel like I have more time to flow/move to the ball calmly and hit naturally. I've tried to convey that information to my sons and last night my 11-year old noted that he rarely "runs" around the court anymore. He's moving as soon as he hits and no longer waits until the last moment to move or prepare. His stroke quality is amazing since he rushes far less.

    Using Oscar's methods I also feel like I understand WHY I'm trying to hit the ball in a certain way to achieve a desired effect. Once I understood the why the form became much easier since, as the article suggests, technique can flow from the particular needs of a given stroke to hit a particular shot regardless of theoretical form.

    OTOH, there is something to be said for learning good form from a qualified pro. The article seems to suggest that anybody can completely and independently reinvent a hundred years of tennis technique development simply by "playing the ball". Why reinvent the wheel?

    We know that "playing the ball" using a certain form will result in certain shots. We should exploit that knowledge developed over many years by the tennis community. There's nothing wrong with that as long as proper form in the abstract isn't the ONLY way one develops his or her tennis skills.

    The reality is that we rec players don't spend enough time on court to naturally rediscover all that has been learned about EFFECTIVE tennis form over the last 100 years. You really need both approaches: exploit the community's well developed knowledge of effective tennis form but also garner a deeper understanding as to why these forms work and focus on the mental aspect of the game too (not just pressure but the need to "play the ball" as the author suggests).

    This entire topic can be resolved with a trip to a tennis clinic of "advanced noobs".

    You'll see some folks with terrible form swatting the ball. It's unreasonable to expect that middle-aged rec player who hits the courts once a week to independently rediscover all that is known about "playing the ball". At the same time you'll see noobs mechanically and robotically trying to follow perfect form and yet failing to play effectively. They're so stiff and awkward they're incapable of playing effective tennis since the game positively demands a relaxed state of mind for effective match play as opposed to artificial drills for the simple reason that an opponent tries NOT to hit the ball to you.

    The effective tennis player needs both mechanical form and animating soul. There needs to be spirit in the tennis machine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
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  15. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I don't disagree with the advice of the article, though I will say that it sets the bar on problem solving pretty darn low. It covers some fairly obvious, low level issues repetitively.
     
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  16. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    Seems like this board is obsessed with technique. So many silly posts like.....which foot goes in front of the other, how much weight do I put on my front foot......ugh....mindless mechanics.

    Tennis is a game of feel first, just like the article says. I taught golf for years and had to break all the stupid mechanical habits people formed from the numerous golf 25 step instruction books they read. Wonder why the national handicap hasn't changed in 30 years even with all the major improvements in clubs, balls, and golf courses??????? It's because people are obsessed with perfect swing mechanics.

    I would take beginners, give them a basket of balls, show them the proper grip and then tell them with no more instruction, but to try to hit the ball to that first flag on the range. Within about 15 minutes......you would be shocked at how nice their swings were. The other instructor would be focusing on the traditional.....keep your head still, keep your left arm straight, pull with your left arm, rotate your hips, transfer your weight. Within 15 minutes...his pupils could not even make contact with the ball. They became mechanical nightmares with the most unnatural swings I've ever seen.
     
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  17. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Yep. Couldn't have said it better.
     
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