Some changes my teaching Pro wants me to make - What do u think?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by JackB1, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    So I tried this new Pro last night and he suggested a few tweaks and I wanted to know what you guys thought about them. Some have me a little confused.....

    1) F/H Grip - I used to play with my pinky right at the bottom of the grip. He wants me to move it up, so that my pinky is about 1/4" above the very bottom. This change I liked...and it gave me better control. Just feels weird right now.

    2) On the 1HBH, he wants me to move from Eastern BH grip (index knuckle on top) to a slightly more towards Continental grip for my one hander. Just maybe a half a bevel turn clockwise. He thinks this will make the grip change from slices to topspins easier. I am worried that this may flatten out my shot more, but he wants me to counter this by rotating the arm earlier in the stroke and hit more out in front. My main issue with my 1 hander is I dont go from hight to low enough and finnish accross the body too much. I am afraid this change will make matters worse, but we'll see?

    3) On hitting the one hander, he doesn't want me to step into it so deeply with my lead (right) foot. He wants me to keep my feet close together. This one had me really confused, since everyone else has been telling me to really get low and bend the right knee down low as you step into the shot.
    This was the one I was most unsure about.

    4) Also on the 1 hander, he wants me to open up my feet a little instead of hitting it so closed stance. He claims its too hard to hit cross court with a closed stance. This one also went against what I have been taught so far. He also wants me to use my hips and open them up a little while swinhing. I was always taught to keep closed through impact on the 1 hander???

    SO what do you guys think of these suggestions? Are any of them totally wrong? Do they make sense? Thanks
     
    #1
  2. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    My frank opinion: don't muddy the waters with your coaching with advice from this forum.

    Give your coach a fair shot, and you'll either like it and improve, or reject it and move on.
     
    #2
  3. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, but I don't want to invest time and $$$ in someone that's just way off base with their ideas also.

    Also, there are many very knowledgable people on this forum that really know their stuff. You just have to know how to weed through the muddy waters :)
     
    #3
  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Modern pros are adopting a more open stance and not bending their knees so much. Unless the ball is totally in the strike zone, the 1 handed BH needs on-the-fly adjustments which can make or break the stroke. When I see a guy like Coolschreiber hit the 1 hander, half the time he seems to be improvising and his finish is not over the right forehead or whatever, but is often straight ahead and abbreviated. I actually was thinking about making a thread on the 1 handed BH as being the stroke with the greatest departure from theory in practice.
     
    #4
  5. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    maybe pick 1 thing for you and the pro to work on then go from there. agreed no need to spend alot on coaching lessons that won't benefit.
     
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  6. tennixpl

    tennixpl Rookie

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    Agreed. You tried a new pro for a reason so give it a few times and wait to see improvement in your next competitive match. He is there watching you, we are reading your statements with no idea of how you currently play and no way to pontificate reasonably intelligently on the advice he is giving you.
     
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  7. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    this was just our initial lesson, so he wanted to look at all my strokes first, so he could see where I needed work the most.

    I just wanted to get some opinions on this guy's ideas is all.
     
    #7
  8. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    This may sound unfair and no doubt it is, but I would move on and find another coach.

    I agree with your comments on each item. Some of them, like the footwork issue, really require eyes on to confirm, since what is "close" or "far apart" is a bit subjective.

    The main problem I have is this is way too many things for a 3.5 to be addressing in one lesson. I actually don't agree with him on the BH grip issue, but even if I did, that is a big change to make. He shouldn't be mudding it up with footwork changes as well.

    You obviously lack confidence in him after one lesson, and in my opinion, for legitimate reasons. I can tell you life is a lot easier when you and your coach are on the same page. The things he raised are more in the nature of personal preferences anyway, rather than technical faults.
     
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  9. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    1) F/H Grip - I used to play with my pinky right at the bottom of the grip. He wants me to move it up, so that my pinky is about 1/4" above the very bottom. This change I liked...and it gave me better control. Just feels weird right now.

    Did he recommend this for better control or some other reason?


    2) On the 1HBH, he wants me to move from Eastern BH grip (index knuckle on top) to a slightly more towards Continental grip for my one hander. Just maybe a half a bevel turn clockwise. He thinks this will make the grip change from slices to topspins easier. I am worried that this may flatten out my shot more, but he wants me to counter this by rotating the arm earlier in the stroke and hit more out in front. My main issue with my 1 hander is I dont go from hight to low enough and finnish accross the body too much. I am afraid this change will make matters worse, but we'll see?

    I'm not a fan of the continental grip on the 1 hander when hitting topspin. This is a change I would resist.


    3) On hitting the one hander, he doesn't want me to step into it so deeply with my lead (right) foot. He wants me to keep my feet close together. This one had me really confused, since everyone else has been telling me to really get low and bend the right knee down low as you step into the shot.
    This was the one I was most unsure about.

    I don't get this either. Go to Google Images and type in 1 handed backhand.


    4) Also on the 1 hander, he wants me to open up my feet a little instead of hitting it so closed stance. He claims its too hard to hit cross court with a closed stance. This one also went against what I have been taught so far. He also wants me to use my hips and open them up a little while swinhing. I was always taught to keep closed through impact on the 1 hander???

    If you have enough strength, you don't have to turn all the way but if you have the time I would recommend it. I'm not real sure about this guy based on your description. What are his credentials?
     
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  10. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Hang on a sec. I asked him to evaluate everything he saw. That was his observations and comments. This was an initial "overview"....not what we would be "working on" all at the same time.

    I just want to know if his ideas are on target or off base. That's it.
     
    #10
  11. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    Change is difficult... we all know that.

    I guess the question I would ask you... (putting his suggestions to the side for the moment since three of the suggestions you posted were about your backhand)... do you think your backhand needs work?

    If you are generally happy with your backhand, considering your level, than I would ask him to focus on working with something else instead- volleys, serves, footwork... whatever.

    If you are generally not happy with your backhand- you run around it, or do not feel confident with it, or make too many unforced errors with your backhand.... then it might be worth it to roll with his suggestions for a while.

    If you go with the suggestions, I think you need to commit... commit multiple lessons to reinforce his teachings, commit to using what you were taught in game situations- even if it feels awkward or you make errors, and to practice on the side what he wants you to try.

    Otherwise... why get lessons?
     
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  12. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    F/H Grip - I used to play with my pinky right at the bottom of the grip. He wants me to move it up, so that my pinky is about 1/4" above the very bottom. This change I liked...and it gave me better control. Just feels weird right now.

    Did he recommend this for better control or some other reason?

    just all around better. Better control and consistency. This seemed to work.


    2) On the 1HBH, he wants me to move from Eastern BH grip (index knuckle on top) to a slightly more towards Continental grip for my one hander. Just maybe a half a bevel turn clockwise. He thinks this will make the grip change from slices to topspins easier. I am worried that this may flatten out my shot more, but he wants me to counter this by rotating the arm earlier in the stroke and hit more out in front. My main issue with my 1 hander is I dont go from hight to low enough and finnish accross the body too much. I am afraid this change will make matters worse, but we'll see?

    I'm not a fan of the continental grip on the 1 hander when hitting topspin. This is a change I would resist.

    He felt the grip change would assist me finnishing high and not accross my body.


    3) On hitting the one hander, he doesn't want me to step into it so deeply with my lead (right) foot. He wants me to keep my feet close together. This one had me really confused, since everyone else has been telling me to really get low and bend the right knee down low as you step into the shot.
    This was the one I was most unsure about.

    I don't get this either. Go to Google Images and type in 1 handed backhand.

    I agree. This one had me most confused.

    4) Also on the 1 hander, he wants me to open up my feet a little instead of hitting it so closed stance. He claims its too hard to hit cross court with a closed stance. This one also went against what I have been taught so far. He also wants me to use my hips and open them up a little while swinhing. I was always taught to keep closed through impact on the 1 hander???

    If you have enough strength, you don't have to turn all the way but if you have the time I would recommend it. I'm not real sure about this guy based on your description. What are his credentials?

    Not sure of his creditials other than he is a USTA Pro
     
    #12
  13. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, my backhand needs work. I made the switch to a 1 hander recently and it's still developing and a work in progress.

    My point is, there are many teaching Pros out there, but like anything else in life, some are good and some are not so good. When someone makes suggestions that go against what is commonly accepted, it makes me question them. I am not going to "blindly" follow anyone with anything.
     
    #13
  14. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Ok, I see. As I said before, I don't really agree with most of his suggestions and in any event, they are more in the nature of personal preferences than technical flaws.

    If those are the major flaws he identified in your BH, you must be closer to a 5.0 than a 3.5, so I apologize for insulting you.
     
    #14
  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is true that a full Eastern BH grip can be great for stability and power, but a slight shift towards the continental provides more flexibility and control. I think I might be switching between the two unconsciously.
     
    #15
  16. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    1) Bevel is there for support, stabillity and power. I never back off from it. It allows looser grip, too.

    2) Before I played Conti 1HBH. I noticed that my hand wanted to go to E naturally, so I didn't fight it. It seems that recently I went just slightly towards Conti, again without trying. Feels good.

    3) I play 1HBH better when I step in and bend my knees.

    4) It's easier for me to hit the CC BH with slightly open stance. I use a bit of hips and upper body rotation for my 1HBH. Seems to provide a lot more power and relieves the arm. Just like FH...

    These are just my personal observations. I'm by no means qualified to argue with your coach.
     
    #16
  17. Dave M

    Dave M Hall of Fame

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    Realistically to get any sort of sense you need to ask him what he thinks these changes will do for your strokes. Maybe he thinks from some of the things your mechanics do that you see that the outcome isn't great so he thinks that you're almost expecting these tweaks. (Hopefully that makes sense to you).
    If you aren't sure of the result of the changes i'm sure he would be pleased to set out goals and break it all down for you.
    You say a couple of times above that you are not sure about a couple of the changes because it's not how you were taught originally, for that to hold 2 things I think are relevant, the first is that the game has altered a lot in the last few years certainly since a lot of us were taught it, some shots don't need to be taught the way they were with full swings, as said, on the fly adjustments should be made whenever possible and planting your front foot down with a deep knee bend won't help your cross court backhand.(Though it makes a great trophy pose for a DTL winner). The second is most of us (not just you don't feel picked on) do not play with strokes that look as our coaches envisioned! We pick up nasty little hitches, breaks and kinks in strokes so they bear little to what we think they do. If you follow the steps listed for the backhand I think it would give more consistency, I remember seeing one of your videos and some of the launch angles (side on so couldn't see where they were landing) coming off your stringbed were flying.
    Remember some tweaks work, some work straight away others for a particular player don't but can allow a coach to slide a new idea in there to improve things. Give it a go, if by shortening the length of the racquet (by holding it higher up) you gain a small increase on accuracy overall what's not to like? In time you could get a shorter frame if you don't like holding up the grip as it were.
    Good luck give the pro a chance, too many people on here too willing to put the boot in or blow sunshine where it doesn't belong for us to matter!
     
    #17
  18. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    it's possible the coach feels these things can help the OP given his particular mechanics. after all, the OP does not what most people would agree to be textbook strokes (and this is not a dig at the OP since fewer folks rather than more on this forum have what coaches would consider textbook strokes). the coach has probably realized that it's going to be impossible to do a complete overhaul and is recommending tweaks to help within the confines of OP's flawed mechanics. unless we understand where the coach is coming from, it's really unfair to 2nd guess his recommendations.

    for example, maybe he's recommending the conti bh grip for the OP because he is consistently late on contact. the contact point for the conti bh grip isn't as far out in front with an eastern bh grip. so if coach doesn't think OP is going to be able to prep and have the footwork to get in position in time to hit a good 1hbh w/ an eastern grip, he feels the conti might be more beneficial. the only person that would know is the coach.

    but one thing i do know for sure...it's time for OP to switch racquets. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
    #18
  19. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    That's a great point! His reasoning though was because it makes for a quicker and easier grip change from a slice grip and would make for quicker prep.
     
    #19
  20. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    well, he's right about that then. the bh slice is hit using the conti grip. so he's basically saying use the same grip for both bh strokes which will allow you to focus on your footwork and concentrate on spacing to the ball. if this is his purpose, i can see it. who knows, but maybe once he feels that you got these 2 things down and you're hitting cleanly and consistently, he'll change your bh topspin grip to eastern.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
    #20
  21. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Want a super easy grip change from slice to topspin? It's called a 2HBH :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
     
    #21
  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Coach did the right thing, giving you an overall analysis of your game as he sees it.
    But as with any coach/student relationship, it's up to YOU to take the parts he suggested, and DIScard the points he suggested that you don't want to use.
    Just hit those shots solid, hard, and with good direction, and your coach will focus on the points you wish to adopt.
    TWO different peoples seldom agree on everything.
     
    #22
  23. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    If that's what he's recommended after 1 lesson and nothing else, I'd strongly suggest that you find another coach because he's completely missed what the fundamental error is with your 1HB and what needs to be done to correct it.
     
    #23
  24. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    question is does your coach have a good 1hbh. if he does I'd give him the benefit of doubt. if he himself doesn't have a solid 1hbh his interpretations are pretty strange.
     
    #24
  25. President

    President Legend

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    You can hit good topspin on a 1HBH with a Continental Grip, especially if you follow your coaches advice. Hitting out in front is important IMO, it's not emphasized enough when teaching the one hander. Look at Almagro and Dimitrov for players who hit great topspin 1HBH with a continental grip.
     
    #25
  26. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    almagro and dimitrov use E bh grip not continental. dimi used something close to conti in the past but not any more.
     
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  27. PureAlph4

    PureAlph4 Semi-Pro

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    I've worked on some of these aspects on the insistence of my coach in the last year.

    Without seeing your game it's impossible to comment, but have you been inconsistent hitting 1h backhands on the run, or out wide, as opposed to being solid around the centre of the court? And are you more heavy footed on the bh side than the fh side, replacing quick, light steps and adjustments with a huge stride, committing your feet to a position very early?

    If so, and again I have no idea what level you are, maybe this is a solution the coach sees to make things easier and more reliable for you. I suffered from the problems above, and adopting a more open stance 1hbh when out wide, in conjunction with a shorter swing and lighter steps, has made hitting solid, consistent balls cross court, as well as neutralising against players going after your 1hbh, much easier.

    I'd definitely not work on more than one big technical change at once; it really is frustrating when a coach doesn't understand that you play tennis, and pay the guy money, to enjoy yourself while improving your game, and don't ever want to be in a position where the guy has insisted on completely breaking down your technique (to the point where you don't even enjoy playing) before rebuilding it.
     
    #27
  28. mad dog1

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    #28
  29. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    #29
  30. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Any replies to this thread are pointless without a video to accompany your original post. Get a short video up and I'll see if I can help you out.
     
    #30
  31. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I'm working on it :)
     
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  32. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Truth, he speaks.
     
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  33. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    What is the best angle for a video to view someone's backhand?
     
    #33
  34. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Side view works best if you're only gonna do one view. Otherwise side and then behind
     
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  35. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

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    I like your backhand in the first video, except for one thing.
    Watch your left foot when you hit the ball, instead of anchoring your foot,
    move it to the left, (step left ). That will give your ball a lot more weight.

    If you like Stan's backhand, watch his left foot only, most of the time it is moving left, or forward, mostly left.
     
    #35
  36. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Like I said...that video was made a while back, after I first tried a one hander and isn't applicable now. I don't hit like that anymore. I don't hit accross my body like that. I try and hit more low to high now.
     
    #36
  37. directionals

    directionals Rookie

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    You mean after contact for balance like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k80w0HKyKs0&t=0m28s
     
    #37
  38. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    No. Stan's left foot or no other pro for that matter is not moving to the left as they hit unless they are severely off balance or are pretty wide. On a standard shot when they don't have to move too far to hit their backhand (like op in vid) their left foot is either planted, moving forward behind the right foot or actually moving to the right as they hit.
    The left leg, depending on the shot and situation, will move to the left after contact is made for balance/recovery after the shot and usually this happens on receiving wider shots where they need to recover quicker and also might be using a little extra torso rotation into the shot. In either case left foot is not moving left until after contact (unless situation dictates as described above). 'After contact' being the key words therefore no extra weight or pace is given to the ball with this move.

    The stan vid posted above illustrates this. He was initially moving right, then had to change direction and then had to take 4 large steps to get in position. He's obviously behind in the point at this point and needs to recover quickly therefore he has left leg moving through the shot so that he can plant and push off in the opposite direction as soon as possible.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
    #38
  39. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks for the clarification. I was also confused by ATP's comments about the foot moving left.
     
    #39
  40. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    After seeing Jack's BH video, I agree with this.

    Perhaps the pro made other suggestions, and Jack only asked us about the ones he found troubling. Still, he has so many fundamental issues with his BH, these strike me as almost irrelevant.
     
    #40

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