Shadow Swing to improve your technique

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by boramiNYC, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    when you are about to hit a ball your mind should be focused only on the ball. not your body. shadow swing is when you can really focus on your body while swinging. so any player who are serious about improving the technique should be regularly shadow swinging for tweaking and refining.

    one of the things that you can work on is the balance. doing on a slippery surface is even better. like on a wood floor in a pair of slippery socks. a well balanced swing won't have much problem with slippery surface. I found this to be esp effective in finding a more balanced serving motion.

    if you use shadow swing, do you have any special method?
     
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  2. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    The Russians call it "imitatsiya" - shadow swinging in order to properly reinforce a neuro-musuclar pathway. They use it a lot!

    I love shadow swings and frequently ask my players to shadow (especially with their eyes closed, so they have to concentrate on the feel of the swing). I tend to use it most when correcting issues with swings, the moment the skill breaks down, they shadow the correct swing to reinforce the circuit.

    cheers
     
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  3. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I'm a huge believer in shadow swinging. I can't always get to the court, but I can always put in some practice in the front yard. True, the neighbors think I'm insane, but it is worth it. They say it takes 2,000 repetitions to ingrain a habit, and you can speed up the process by doing shadow swinging every day when you're not on the court.

    I also suggest you do some of your shadow swinging with the aid of a mirror or a camera. I'll set up the camera when working on form and make sure that I'm doing things properly when doing a full power shadow swing. Feedback is good.
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I also shadow swing quite often, about twice a often as I actually play tennis.
    For me, best to do it at night, looking out a drapeless window. You shadow swing into your reflection.
    Also, late afternoons, looking at your shadow.
    Usually 5 minutes completely tires me out.
     
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  5. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    LOL at the 5 minutes part.:twisted: But I'm in such bad shape that I understand.

    If you have the room, you can make it into good exercise as Lee says. Do a split step move to the side, swing, and then recover back for another split step. It's combining off court aerobics with off court tennis training.
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, in 30 seconds, I shadow maybe 16 complete strokes.
    And yes, I'm in bad shape.
    And hitting too many leads to bad, tired form.
     
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  7. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    I shadow swing at least 500 times every single day.
    Can't agree with the 'on a slippery surface' though.
    I've slipped numerous times doing this on a slippery hardwood floor. now I only shadow swing on a rug.
     
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  8. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    of course I wouldn't advocate for falling but trick is to not fall despite the slipperiness and trying to increase the rhs. always be mindful of the limits.
     
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  9. blastforehand

    blastforehand Rookie

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    Given a choice I would never or very rarely shadow swing on anything but grass and dirt, which the body seems to have evolved perfectly for. It is much more fun, much easier on the body.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    So, u play on "grass or dirt" ?
    I believe in practice as you play.
     
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  11. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Coaches and shadow swingers--

    Do you recommend swinging full speed? Slow motion? Somewhere in between?
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You are what you practice.
    If you swing faster than full speed, that's how you'll swing when the pressure is on.
    If you practice slower than full speed, that's how you're gonna swing when the pressure is on.
    Now tell me, how should you practice?
     
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  13. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    what I like to do is isolate some parts from the kinetic chain and get good feel of how that part coordinate on their own and how the part contribute to the whole chain. also slowing down the whole chain examining any weak links is interesting as well. try focusing the rhs right around the contact point instead wasting the energy far away from the contact point.
     
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  14. watungga

    watungga Semi-Pro

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    I started shadow swinging to shorten my take back habit. I was taking it back far in a mindset of hitting hard on contact. I had ups and down doing the said take back and started loosing focus on ball at tournament play.

    Now, with a shorten swing I had developed the correct and long follow through -- complete to the fore/around and above shoulder. I always hit the ball on sweet spot which is nice to the grip and arm, but it will be weak without followthrough.

    Shadow swinging helps me remember as tp when to stop take back early.
     
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  15. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    None of us are qualified to talk about this topic.

    Can someone please get Marion Bartoli to comment on the art of shadow swinging?
     
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  16. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    She is a good role model. I took classes with Patrick Kuckelsberg to adopt the Bartoli service motion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GP3BdXg43k
     
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  17. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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  18. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    The point of a shadow swing (for me anyway) is to help the player develop the feeling of firing the muscles in the correct sequence (in other words to myelinate [or insulate] nerve fibres to speed up the impulse from brain to muscle). As the level of myelin builds up, the impulses can travel faster and so the ability to fire becomes more efficient and therefore can happen faster whilst maintaining control.

    So, shadow swing slowly to develop the abilty to fire faster (whilst maintaining control).
     
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  19. blastforehand

    blastforehand Rookie

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    I have a backyard service court and wall court. It is grass and dirt. It is so much fun, I absolutely love it. Otherwise I practice once a week on clay, against a weaker (though improving) practice partner. Most of my tournaments are on hard. Quite a shock for me if I draw a big hitter first round, who hits a lot of top, uses rpm, doesn't miss much, wind behind him, etc. No way my body could hold up for serious practice on hard and hard court tournaments. There would be nothing left.
     
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  20. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I agree. I always advise starting by basing the swing on a model (usually a touring pro) and doing the swing in slow motion. Once the player gets an understanding of the swing, then have them slowly speed it up.

    My goal is to be able to swing with correct form at the pace best for the shot. Using video, I've found that the danger of swinging too hard when I'm grooving a technique is I tend to revert back to bad habits. That's why feedback, say from video, is very important. But eventually, I try to swing at a realistic rally ball pace with realistic footwork.

    Some people advise swinging full speed with a racket without strings to actually up swing speed. I think there's something to this, but the reps should be kept low and you need to be warmed up to avoid injury. I don't know how important the change in balance of the racket is, but it is something to consider.
     
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