Shortening my backswing....

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by DavaiMarat, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    People have told me I have a huge back swing but I had a hard time believing it until I video taped myself and went frame by frame and a credible source told me so. Look at this shot...

    [​IMG]


    That back swing would make fernando gonzolez cringed. I'm in the process of shortening it but I'm sorta stumped. I use very long strokes and anything else seems a bit unnatural or forced.

    It's from this video...if your interested in the entire motion

    http://vimeo.com/72630635

    Any one has some ideas of how to make that shorten back swing feel natural? Thanks for any help.
     
    #1
  2. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    not a teaching pro but here are my ideas - take it or leave it. I have worked on keeping compact strokes for 35 years.

    1. When you prep your FH, keep the racket head up and it does not go back beyond your shoulder. Just turn to the side and keep the racket head up and between your shoulders. Some say to lead back with the R elbow if right handed as this keep the racket head from laying back. Pete Sampras had the most extreme case of leading the prep back with his R elbow that I have ever seen - see if you can find video of his forehand where the elbow pointed straight back and the racket head pointed forward. Pete may be too extreme for most of us to model but it makes a point.
    2. Stay in prep position with racket up and between shoulders until you go into your stroke. I hit on wall a lot and concentrate on keeping both hands on racket thru prep phase until I start the stroke/take back.
    3. when you go into the take back, and then transition into the forward stroke; your racket hand stays in front of your chest the entire time. The racket heat pretty much stays in front of your chest the entire time too.
    4. last bit of advice, don't point at the ball with your off hand. It is OK to take racket into prep with 2 hands on the racket. When you start your swing, the off (L hand for rightie) should go a bit out to side but not pointing out front like Chris Evertt used to do. If you point out front, it tends to cause you to take the racket hand back too far to maintain balance. Bad = L hand way out front and R hand way in back. Good = L hand more to side and R hand more to side.

    Video of Federer and/or Henin are good models on compact prep and stroke. Agassi too - in fact, Agassi is great for FH and compact 2 HBH too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Watch vids of JimCourier...and Agassi.
    Then can swing much longer, takeback much much farther, BUT THEY DON"T!
    The reason is, when playing your peers, you don't have time to finish your stroke against their good shots.
     
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  4. Lack

    Lack Rookie

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    From the ready position just turn your shoulders and drop the racquet.
     
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  5. tball

    tball Semi-Pro

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    If it does not bother you, you do not need to change. Some top ATP players use very long/high backswing and are pretty successful with it -- Kohlschreiber.

    This would only become a problem if you play someone who is very fast (ie. much faster than what you). You will feel jammed. You can compensate by playing further away from the baseline and hitting deeper, or ... you may have to change swing.

    The problem is: changing the swing will just create more problems. You will most likely have to change the grip as well. In the end, it's like developing an entirely new stroke.
    Or yeah, forgot to mention: you'll find that heavy, even balanced racquets are no good for compact strokes. You may have to change the racquet as well... It's going to be an adventure.
     
    #5
  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    If you force yourself to be closer to the baseline, you will be forced to shorten your swing. Quick way to change.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    OR, play against stronger MEN's players.
     
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  8. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Not an overly huge backswing for a South American or European clay-courter. Not very ideal for hard courts, though.
    When I want to change muscle memory, I will overdo the intended result. So, start with hitting the ball with almost no backswing at all (not trying to hit your normal speed and spin). Get yourself used to hitting this way in practice. Then, a more average length swing will not feel so foreshortened.
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Exactly.
    I envision my return of flat serve swing, which is very short, just a shoulder turn and the racket goes forward.
     
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  10. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    just a point, i notice (on the two feeds I saw) your take back was the same : )

    For a feed that is huge...
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    That long takeback works well to create power, against a weak hitting girl who's really just feeding you easy balls.
    Against a peer, a strong 3.5 or weak 4.0, you would encounter slices, loopy forehands, low and short balls, as well as deep groundies, where your excessively long backswing would create havoc with your timing and consistency.
    And take note, your long forehand, off a 200 lbs MAN, is barely strong than her pushy 2hbh short swing that she uses to push back to feed you.
     
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  12. cjs

    cjs Semi-Pro

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    Why do you want to change it? When is your forehand failing you?

    IMHO later in life its only worth modifying strokes if they are breaking down and failing regularly. For juniors though its a different story...
     
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  13. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    Well my wife played collegiate div2 but she's more a doubles player but not shabby at all. But thanks for the tips. I'll take it under consideration.
     
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  14. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    The former replies made an interesting point. Having developed my game on clay/har tru it's probably the reason for the big *** swing. I have trouble with hard hit flat balls mostly. Ones that skid thru.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    She is short swinging, FEEDING you easy balls. She's playing at 30% effort.
    YOU look like you're ready for 4.0 level tennis, or very shortly.
    But you'll NEVER get there hitting with her. Women are more consistent, hit more consistent speed and spin than men.
    Try playing sets with a LEFTY man! You will spray balls all over the courts.
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    OK, sorry. I take it back.
    You are almost ready for 3.5 men's tennis. Any 4.0 would bagel you right now.
     
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  17. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    Lol, true she's in rally mode. I do play lefties. Two of them. Both are A level and both have giant serves. My 2hbh return has gotten a lot better as a result.
    However I find heavy topspin to thier forehands really messes with them. They both have almost eastern grips.

    Lol sometimes I get too use too lefty slice and I find myself going the wrong way with a righty.n go figure.
     
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  18. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    Oh Lee,

    You're obsessed with numbers aren't you? I'm rallying with my 2 month ( at the time) pregnant wife. How hard do you want me to hit?

    It's ok. I could be a 1.5, I'm not phishing for approval just some ideas to improve my FH. Actually no one mentioned NTRP except you. It's ok Lee. Rate me I don't mind.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Do you really THINK you have a chance at playing competitively at the 4.0 level? NO CHANCE.
    I'm pretty sure you are a 3.5, but not anywhere near the top, which would be competitive LEAGUE level 3.5's.
     
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  20. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    it appears low to high swing in a near closed stance is too ingrained in you. sometimes it's better to catch the ball at a higher point and flatten out the swing more. to do that you should open up the stance more and don't drop the racquet head too much. getting used to this kinda swing can help dealing with harder and flatter balls as well. it doesn't mean change the whole thing but add to the variety of your fh. your backswing looks big because your stance is pretty closed. I don't think it's that bad.
     
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Dave, my old practice partners were College Div11 SINGLES players, top 3's, and MEN.
    I KNOW your wife can hit, that's why I said she is FEEDING you easy balls, and her short 2hbh swing creates the same power as your long loopy forehand stroke.
     
    #21
  22. PureAlph4

    PureAlph4 Semi-Pro

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    Lol - LeeD, you do realise that the guy is just asking for a little advice (which you are well placed to provide) on his strokes, rather than being eager for a ****ging match about whether he can bang or not at 4.0?

    Totally with you, OP, about how shortening the swing path feels totally unnatural; working on the same thing on both sides with my coach atm and it feels like it has totally neutered my game, but I am enjoying the feeling of not being so rushed against big hitters' deep shots. If I can get comfortable with the swing path, and be able to hit the same power and spin as before, then I'll be happy. Atm with the change I feel like all I can do is counter-punch.
     
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Poster, 22, read the whole thread.
    The latest threads are replies to specific questions presented to me.
    I told Dave he has a long backswing, that it works against his wife who's feeding him, and it will NOT work against his peers, who chop backhands, loop forehands, hit short and long, and mishit constantly.
     
    #23
  24. scraps234

    scraps234 Hall of Fame

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    i have seen waaaaaay bigger backswings than yours! your game looks fine and it will improve at a steady pace if you keep playing... changing could completely ruin your forehand and the only reason you would want to change if you were late which you arnt. also your coordination is why most frown upon the big backswing which your coordination looks fine
     
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  25. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    You strokes are fine. Your woman on the other side has good hands, but her strokes don't look as good. But who cares, she ain't the one asking for advice here. I like how you move your feet. Generally when we see videos here, people just have the bare minimal amount of footwork. But you, you make your shoes screech. I think your slice lacks bite and you hit a bit late though, but maybe it has something to do with the fact you're just "hacking" for leisure, so can't make too many assumptions.

    I laughed at how when you go at net at 0m36s or so, she finds the line on the passing shot while barely moving. :lol:
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
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  26. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    I was laughing too....if you listen carefully she ways 'BIG!'. She switched from an Instinct to an Extreme and we laughing how much bigger her ground strokes were.

    Yeah, I was laughing on the outside.....crying on the inside.
     
    #26
  27. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    As an initial matter, best wishes to you and your wife!

    About your strokes, I would shorten them. I don't like preparation at head level or behind the body because it makes timing hard, and playing better players almost impossible. Per a prior suggestion, try to hit like you are returning a serve - bring back the racket to the side with a shoulder turn, but don't bring the racket back any more (no arm swing back).

    I would add that players struggling to shorten strokes are often cutting the follow through, resulting in a choppy, incomplete swing. Even with a short take-back, you still want to fully follow-through completely over the shoulder and/or to the hip. A short stroke does not mean you are poking at the ball.
     
    #27
  28. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    Nice hitting. I'd be much more interested in shortening your volley backswing.
     
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  29. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    Volley? What's a volley? I think I read about those once when I was child.

    =).
     
    #29
  30. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    Really ::confused:his groundies look 4.0 to me.
     
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  31. JohnB

    JohnB Rookie

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    What I think happens is that use your arm more than your lower body as a power source. IOW your lower body follows your arm instead of using your legs, hips and core to generate the power for swingspeed.
     
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  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    LeeD's standards are very high
     
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  33. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    What counts as "later in life?" 17?

    Part of the fun (for me) is getting better, improving form. If you're still sucking air then go for it.
     
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  34. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    no way this is 5.0
     
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  35. Vlad_C

    Vlad_C Semi-Pro

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    I just don't see the problem there...
    That backswing looks a lot like mine, so pretty close to perfection, I would say.

    Seriously though, a big backswing is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. It's just that you have to be quick, to get to the ball early with plenty of time to execute your big loopy backswing.

    If you really want to shorten it, I just saw this tip the other day:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYuW8a09Yg8

    I couldn't do it, neither could Fernando Gonzales, but if you really want to, try and see if it works for you. :twisted:
     
    #35
  36. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    The more compact the stroke, the more you gotta get power from your legs and core. You're compensating with a bigger backswing because you're not using those 2 elements. Like Nick Bolettieri says, it all starts from the ground up.

    Shortening up a backswing, if you get it more compact and it feels like you're gonna be weak hitting the shot you're doing it right. Its just your mind still has that old mentality, big backswing big strokes. Doesn't work like that for modern stuff. Hitting across and all that other jazz is part of it. There's a video I posted in another thread on Nadal, just go on YT and watch some slo mo videos, notice how he coils, opens his hips to the point of squaring them up to the court, nothing more.
     
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  37. Tennisean

    Tennisean Rookie

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    LeeD's is obsessed alright.

    I find some people need to quantify there existence, prove their self-worth, raise their self-esteem, or however you might put it, and they use external circumstances in an attempt to do so.

    Being hyper-competitive is just one of the many. (no just hitting for enjoyment)

    Make sure you check Youtube for the many videos showing ways to improve your tennis. (searching for 'tennis, forehands' should do)
     
    #37
  38. Tennisean

    Tennisean Rookie

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    Everything's a competition, to those who that need to quantify there existence.
     
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  39. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    Made me think the old Swede Magnus Gustafsson. His forehand had an enormous back swing but he could hit his backhand inside a phone booth!

    What's a phone booth, you say? Just what it says. It's a booth with a land line phone inside. Used extensively in the pre-mobile phone era. :)
     
    #39
  40. Tennisean

    Tennisean Rookie

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    You hit a decent ball, but your focus and form are lacking.

    Changing your strokes won't help much with that.

    I'd suggest .... using a glove. (just kidding)

    There's no better way to develop those, (focus/form) then to hit against a backboard for an hour, several times a week.
     
    #40
  41. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    i like to think of it as 'firing from the hip'
     
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  42. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    Excellent advice!
     
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  43. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    Thank you Balla. I'll post a video soon. Hopefully you can tell me if I'm getting close or at least we can have a laugh!

    The funny thing is my 2HBH is compact. It's funny I can't apply one to the other.

    Cheers!
     
    #43
  44. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    2hander will always be more compact and a simpler stroke, its just the nature of the shot. Basically, the right and left side of your body work together because both hands are on the racket making this so much more natural to do. A lot of the times, the reason why people get into massive backswings is because they end up using only one side of their body to hit forehands, thus arming it. Your left hand and left side still has to play a critical role in the forehand for it to be an efficient stroke.
     
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  45. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    So, would hitting 2HFH for a while be one way to work on a smaller backswing?
     
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  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, it reinforces unit turn, early shoulder turn, the need to use the power base to get some RHS, quicker timing, but a little shorter reach.
    That last aspect might be the killer against the good points.
    Everyone learns differently, but for sure, hitting against soft rally balls is no measurement for how to hit a forehand.
     
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  47. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    No, but watch videos of pros especially slow motion on how their left hand and left side plays such a critical role. For example not letting go of the racket too early with the left hand on backswing, getting a nice coil/left shoulder rotation, left hand straight and across your body for counter balance and also having that left hand more or less at the same height as your right. So many players are off balance their, your hands should be close to even level in height on the backswing. Also, if your left arm is too bent it ends up being more back/closer to your body so there's a tendency to have your weight back after the shot. That arm should be in front and across. Your body will kinda follow that left arm, so if its too far down or too far back what will happen? Its the same result as dropping your tossing arm too early on the serve.
     
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  48. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    No, but yes? :):)
     
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  49. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    No to hitting 2 handed forehands.
     
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  50. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    How about using 2hfh technique until you let go when the racket goes parallel to your baseline? Left hand stops with elbow at straighter than 90 degrees, right hand continues back with the racket?
     
    #50

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