The concept of the windshield wiper is bogus

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by David L, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    I had never heard the idea of the windshield wiper forehand until I started visiting sites like this. Another notion which was new to me was the idea that a semi-western forehand was in some way modern, revolutionary or difficult to do; to me and most of the people I know who play, it has always been the norm and standard procedure. On top of this, you had people calling the semi-western grip an eastern grip, suggesting a player like Federer hits with an eastern or Agassi with some sort of mild semi-western, almost eastern grip. I think all of these ideas have created confusion and made it more difficult to learn the game properly. The sooner we get rid of the windshield wiper idea, plus the notion the semi-western grip is some sort of extreme complicated stroke, the better. It's a very easy stroke to hit and the most convenient, but consciously coming across the body, in an attempt to emulate a windshield wiper, is not the way to go about it, so here I am posting a couple of YouTube videos that I hope will help people trying to learn the game. The first is from tommyenglish1 and provides additional help, in the text to the right, how to go about executing the stroke. The second is from tennisomnia and shows another person learning the stroke and executing it pretty well. I hope people will be able to pick up a few tips from just observing these videos and reading the text in the first one.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=vK2JougB9sg&feature=channel_page

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=VpgFxobhilQ&NR=1
     
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  2. certifiedjatt

    certifiedjatt Banned

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    what you're trying to do is be reasonable, and examine old ideas under at least a more critical eye....
    ...this is NO place for that.
     
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  3. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    What is called an Eastern grip varies to something that is basically a semi western to a borderline continental (chopper grip), I bet this explains your confusion? The names are ****ty I have to agree. The so called windshield wiper is the natural effect of the hand rotation caused by using an extreme grip, it is the unguided finish.
     
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  4. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    .....:lol:
     
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  5. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    I don't have any confusion on this subject, I've been playing the game for over 25 years. However, I think a lot of the instruction out there for new players trying to learn the game is not helpful and is just wrong.
     
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  6. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Just to add, to my mind, the windshield wiper concept is a new and false idea, not an old one.:)
     
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  7. habib

    habib Professional

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    Why do you call it a false one? The windshield wiper concept is only new as far as being widespread and so termed. In reality, pros have used such a follow-through for decades, just not as often as you see it nowadays (in part because it's a more natural follow-through for the 'extreme' grips - SW and W).

    (And yes, I know you don't see the SW as an extreme, and you're right, but we're talking from the classical perspective here...)
     
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  8. ThA_Azn_DeViL

    ThA_Azn_DeViL Semi-Pro

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    So what your saying is,

    Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray, and EVERY single pro on the tour, is doing their motion wrong.

    hmm, this intrigues me, i know for sure you wouldnt have a chance of hell in beating a pro.

    You dont have to attack techniques that arent suited for you... Sorry if im harsh, its what my opinion is.
     
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  9. herosol

    herosol Professional

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    David L

    Are you trying to imply that Federer, Nadal, Murray, Djoker, Nalbandian, Del Potro, Gasquet, Monfils, Davydenko....

    That their techniques are all inferior to your own?

    I feel bad for ya....almost...
     
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  10. jasoncho92

    jasoncho92 Professional

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    Just another old guy who thinks tennis died after the S&V died i guess.
     
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  11. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    exactly .
     
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  12. certifiedjatt

    certifiedjatt Banned

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    by old, i meant ideas that are repeated w/o basis and accepted without scrutiny because "...my coach said so!" and "...because roger federer does it!"
     
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  13. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I'm not sure who you are really complaining about in this post. If you are calling people out, have the guts to call them out.

    Most of the people that post on this board, as I recall in past threads, use a semi-western grip. I believe it is usually the most promoted grip here too. So, I'm not sure why you think that this board is discouraging people from using the SW grip?

    I know that there have been posts in the past by enthusiasts about subtle differences in the way different players hit. The one that sticks in my mind was the discussion of "push" versus "pull" modern forehands. I ultimately never understood it, but I like the idea that people are trying to expand their knowledge about how to best hit.
     
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  14. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Look at the videos and read the description.
     
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  15. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    No, they all hit standard semi-western or western forehands. My point is their technique has nothing to do with emulating a windshield wiper.
     
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  16. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    No, their techniques are all fine and 'correct', but it has nothing to do with a windshield wiper. When you adopt a semi-western or western forehand, your follow-through occurs naturally. The physiology of my technique is just the same as theirs, but neither they or I try to come across the ball. We deal directly with it by hitting through and up the back of it, not coming across it. The racket ends up on the other side of our body after the stroke because this is the natural place for it to go. There is not a conscious effort to emulate a windshield wiper.
     
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  17. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    I'm not calling anyone out in particular, just coaches in general who use the windshield wiper concept. Also, where did I say this board was discouraging anyone using the semi-western grip? Did you have a look at the video links I posted?
     
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  18. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Yes I know, I was just being literal.:)
     
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  19. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    I'm not old and I was never a huge fan of serve and volley tennis, but I don't mind it.
     
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  20. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    You specifically said you got the notion from this site, or similar sites, that the SW was "difficult to do." Perhaps I was reading too much into what you meant by writing that.

    I don't think you are correct to disparage the term windshield wiper forehand, as it is possible to hit with a semi-western without using that technique. But I agree with you that the SW isn't hard to teach or learn.

    I've taught a number of beginners how to hit the standard SW forehand and it immediately gave them more topspin and power. I actually used tips from this forum to help teach it.
     
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  21. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Yes, this site and others. Basically all over the internet. I didn't say the semi-western forehand was difficult. I think it's a very straightforward and intuitive stroke, but reading some of the posts here over the years would suggest otherwise. I was saying I believe some people are over thinking it or over coaching it.

    Okay, this is an honest disagreement. I disparage the term because a windshield wiper motion is not involved in hitting a semi-western/western based forehand. If you were to do this you would come across the ball and not hit through it. No pro hits forehands like this, the only purpose of which would be to literally put side spin on the ball, which is going to create a less effective shot anyway, with less penetration and less topspin. I just think the windshield wiper term is a misnomer which has no benefit and can create misunderstanding about what is and should be happening with a sw/w based forehand.


    I'm not saying anything bad about the semi-western forehand. I use it myself and recommend it as the best type of forehand to learn. My only criticism is about understanding the stroke as a windshield wiper. I'm glad you have found helpful tips on this forum, but was one of those understanding sw/w based forehands as windshield wipers? The coach in the video I posted believes this is an incorrect way of understanding the stroke which creates problems in its execution and I agree with him, because you hit through the ball, not across it.
     
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  22. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, perhaps a misnomer if you take the idea of a windshield wiper action literally. The WW finish is really a 3-D action, not a 2-dimensional one. The WW term is used to distinguish it from other types of follow-thru motions.

    I will agree that the notion of a WW finish can be counterproductive if the terminology throws off the tennis student to the point where he/she is not hitting thru the ball. When using this terminology, it should be emphasized that it is not a 2-D action.

    The WW terminology did not have its roots in these forums. It is used by many coaches and respected tennis web sites. John Yandell (TennisPlayer.net) and others have adopted the terminology. Here is a sampling:

    www.Hi-TechTennis.com
    Fuzzy Yellow Balls

    Tennis magazine article - Federer FH
    Tennis magazine article - Nadal FH
     
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  23. Thud and blunder

    Thud and blunder Semi-Pro

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    I think David is making an important point, which is perhaps too subtle for some posters.
    I can relate exactly to what he's saying; when I modernised my forehand, I concentrated too much on emulating the WW follow-through, as a result of which I was hitting very spinny shots with little penetration. You see this a lot also with kids who have just been taught WW. They can only hit semi-moonballs with it.
    It's only when you realise that if you set up correctly, and concentrate on hitting through the ball, that the WW finish happens automatically and very naturally...that's when you can make progress.

    So I agree, coaches would do better to not even talk about WW, concentrate on the setup and contact phase, and then the WW will take care of itself, usually with better results than if the student is consciously focusing on WW.

    It's a bit like the advice to brush up on the ball. Concentrate too much on that, and you're just going to hit fluff.
     
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  24. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    What other follow-throughs (sic) are there apart from the normal and natural one where you finish on the other side of your body and the reverse forehand, which requires an unnatural intervention to prevent it from going to the other side of the body?

    Also, I disagree with much of what Yandell has to say, so he would be one of the people I am criticizing here.
     
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  25. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    This is precisely what I am talking about folks.
     
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  26. ThA_Azn_DeViL

    ThA_Azn_DeViL Semi-Pro

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    I can somewhat agree with that, you definitely need to be concious that your doing WW motion, but yes, dont force it. I did, paid the price with my wrist, and learned my lesson.
     
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  27. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    No, I disagree you need to be conscious of the windshield wiper at all, because it happens naturally after contact, whether you are conscious of it or not, and is not an essential part of the stroke, but a consequence of it. Your racket cannot help but go to the other side of your body if you don't try to resist. What you need to be conscious of is hitting through and/or up the back of the ball, the rest takes care of itself.
     
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  28. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    I can appreciate the fact you're trying to promote extension based swing patterns. I too, believe that many players short circuit the learning process by overdoing the right to left movement (wiper effect) of the swing. As a result, the player never learns to hit through the line of the shot properly, and it really hinders their development.

    Having said that, good players can, and do, regulate the hand and arm rotation in a situational context. This is where your argument falls short in my opinion. They can extend the hell out of the swing when trying to hit through the court, or amp up the wiper effect to open up the court via a short angle, for instance. In other words, they know how to convert more force to spin production. It's an aquired skill.

    Again, I agree that a good coach teaches students extension in the swing initially. This is the cornerstone to good stroke production. However, I also believe,that a student, once a certain level of proficiency is attained, should be taught to enhance spin production via increased hand and arm rotation. In other words, the understanding of "what causes what". They will be better equipped to deal with the dynamic nature of the game.
     
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  29. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Sure, it's not only about hitting through the ball. I mentioned also hitting up the back of it, but the purpose of my original post was to dispute the accuracy of the windshield wiper analogy. Obviously, when it comes to applying more or less topspin, a student will be taught, in addition to following through, that they can use their upper arm, forearm and wrist to accelerate up the back and through the ball from low to high, but the focus should always be on what you want to do to the ball, not about doing windshield wiper impersonations, which will most likely create the wrong action.
     
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  30. jules2

    jules2 New User

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  31. Sublime

    Sublime Semi-Pro

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    David,

    I think you misunderstand the WW forehand. The WW part of the forehand is a product of the increased angle you take at the ball. On a classic forehand, your hand ramps up to the ball at about a 30 degree angle. A WW forehand attacks the ball at about a 45 degree angle. The consequence of this angle is that your bicep starts heading straight towards your nose if you do a classic "over the shoulder" follow through. So instead up rotate at the shoulder and divert the momentum of the racket down... viola WW follow through.
     
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  32. jessey

    jessey Rookie

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    I don't think he's putting down the forehand that's been called the "windshield wiper forehand." He's saying the name of it and the way it is being taught in many places are actually misleading and distract people from learning that very technique itself.

    Am I right, David?
     
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  33. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Your whole argument is blown up here because you don't even understand the concept behind the WW motion. The WW motion is the result of clean contact, hitting through the ball forward and up. It is the EFFECT of a CAUSE.



    You can name the grips whatever you want, but Federer has his hand clearly closer to what most people call an Eastern FH grip than someone like Nalbandian or Safin does. Although Yandall's notion of multiple CLASSIFICATIONS of SW grips is disagreed upon by some notable names, none of them disagree that professional players DO have different grips within the SW grip.


    That is a disagreement over the names, rather than the disagreement of the existence of multiple grips. Most people agree that every professional player tweaks the SW grip to what they want to do. Nalbandian and Ferrero, both who use a very similar grip, have a drastically different grip than Agassi, who is much less extreme than those two.
     
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  34. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    He's putting down something that he has completely no idea what he is talking about. He's quite uninformed if you've ever talked to him before, as he's disagreed with Yandall and Jeff (of Hi-TechTennis) about Henman's grip (which is quite obvious to the naked eye that it is an Eastern Grip).



    The first mistake he makes is that he believes that coaches are teaching students to consciously do the WW motion in order to create the spin and power. No, that is not true. Good coaches know that the WW motion is the effect of rotational and linear forces driving through the ball. Not the other way around.


    Second is his ignorance about modern tennis. Instead of trying to understand the other person's point of view, he instead just puts it down without even attempting to see the other person's point of view.



    Any decent coach will realize the WW motion is nothing but an effect of hitting through the ball with proper technique. Everyone that actually has a decent coaching career realizes that. Nothing new. You are disagreeing with modern tennis in general, don't try to come in here and say that organizations such as the USTA, the French Tennis Federation, the Spanish Tennis Federation, German Tennis Federation, etc. are all wrong. Because they aren't.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
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  35. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Hi David. My belief is that the follow through is the product of how you're swinging up to and at contact. It should be the smoothest way to decelerate your tennis racket and body based on what you were doing prior to and at contact. I think we can agree that you don't always swing up to the tennis ball the same way on a forehand -- sometimes you have a relatively horizontal swing plane, other times it's more vertical. The follow throughs for these respective swing planes will be different. And the windshield wiper follow through is the product of a more vertical swing plane. We've made a video on the windshield wiper forehand, linked below. I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtuTHsFlfGg&fmt=22
     
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  36. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Well, I agree with David L and everyone else... :)

    Personally, I feel that the term "Windshield Wiper" is a cue. It makes one visualize a steep, circular motion, and the body and arm behave accordingly. Of course, it is a result of a cause, and one can start with the cause instead of the result, if that will work better. Different folks, different strokes...
     
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  37. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Thank you jessey, this is precisely what I am saying.

    To everyone else, the title of this thread is, 'The concept of the windshield wiper is bogus'. I have no problem with semi-western or western forehands in all their guises. My issue is with a windshield wiper analogy being used as a method of teaching. One poster has already said this analogy hindered his ability to hit a western based forehand properly before he figured it out for himself, so what I am saying is not pie in the sky. Furthermore, the coach in the first video I posted describes how he believes many coaches create difficulties for students by emphasizing the idea of a windshield wiper, when such an analogy is not necessary, useful or accurate in helping students learn to hit sw/w based forehands. All of this is what I am talking about.
     
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  38. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Not most people I know.

    Also, I agree that professional players, and everyone else for that matter, do not use identical semi-western or western grips. The emphasis of the grip will determine what it is called.
     
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  39. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    This is not true. The Eastern forehand was in the norm for a long time and so was the Continental. I can agree with you that it existed but it cetainly was not the norm and "standard" procedure.


    How has this made the game more difficult to learn? Have you toured the world asking the thousands upon thousands of tennis players if it was difficult? Further, very few people in practice teach inbetween grips and use the standard references for various grips.

    Also, who cares if people try to see what a pro player is using for a grip? Your conclusion that this has caused confusion and made it more difficult to learn tennis only happened in your little brain.

    And please tell me about learning the game "properly"? Do you have the proper way? I would love to hear it.

    Who said this? Why do we need to get rid of the windshield wiper motion? Because you said so? Please go on...

    And have you seen the countless of other posts that said learning to forehand is actually simple? Or did you selectively choose posts to support your little rant.

    Actually it is a way to go if a player choose to use a SW or a Western especially. The beauty of the SW is it gives the player versatility in swing paths, and emphasis in the swing motion. Where are you coming from?

    And again, the most important aspect of the swing is not the finish but the process that happen before and during contact.

    I will look at it and comment later, however, your dogmatic position is nonsense.
     
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  40. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Don't you find it peculiar that Henman, a player who came up through the LTA British system and would have had access to the best coaches in the country, on several occasions has emphasized he uses a semi-western grip, even correcting someone who described his grip as eastern? I think Henman understands his game better than Yandall or Jeff whoever. Maybe, as you say, it's just different terminology for the same grip, but Henman clearly refers to his as semi-western, so if I'm uniformed, he must be too.

    The coach in the first video I posted identifies the same problem I refer to in this thread, so I'm not the only one who has this view and this issue is clearly out there, as evidenced by the other poster here who shared his experience.

    Anyone can just reel of tennis federations and say they support one's own position, look: These federations support my position, not yours, so are you saying they are wrong? See, it's easy.
     
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  41. habib

    habib Professional

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    This response, and your subsequent ones about the follow-through being natural with such grips, make little sense. There are plenty of players who still follow through to the side of the head with an SW grip - while most of my forehands end with the WW-type finish, I will occasionally end by my head, depending on the type of ball I want to hit. Look at Nadal, whose follow-through is now being emulated by a variety of younger players. If most pros with W forehands end up using that reverse finish in another 15 years, would you argue that it was the "natural" follow-through?

    And, yes, Federer has been documented on video to use everything from a strong Eastern (which is the same thing a mild SW) to a nearly Western grip, depending on the incoming ball and what he was hitting in return.
     
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  42. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Bungalo Bill

    I address all of you points in this thread, so read it.
     
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  43. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Read the thread and my responses, you clearly have not understood what I am saying.
     
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  44. habib

    habib Professional

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    I've read your responses. You're right. I don't understand what you're saying in much the same way I don't understand the braying of a fallen cow.
     
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  45. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Don't worry about it then.
     
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  46. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    You did not address Namrangers response. You answered his response with a question.

    Further, I answered your response. You did not address my response.

    Please stop avoiding the inevitable which is putting this post and your claims to bed.

    And before we get into your nitpicking on grips, I also want to talk about what the WW really is and why it is okay for players with the western grips to execute.

    Did you see my response saying that you are not correct regarding the SW being the "norm" or the "standard?" What do you have to say to that? And please, I am not going to read pages and pages of your nonsense. Answer my post in response to yours.

    Now, if you want to humbly admit you went at this the wrong way. If you want us to explain the things you accused us of "not getting" then I am all ears. We can write and further explain what we meant so you can have a more rounded view and the right context regarding the informaiton you may not have agreed with. However, if you dont want to do this, and you want to continue to hold on to your pride and tone regarding a few posts you took way out of context - then I want to continue this debate.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
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  47. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I don't think anything in tennis happens "naturally," except perhaps for some extremely talented youngsters. What looks like natural play is the result of many years of lessons and observation. Every stroke and move in tennis, including the grip and the footwork, is counter-intuitive and has to be learned. As an adult who came late to this sport, I am painfully aware of this.
     
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  48. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Namranger and I have had this discussion many times, so I see no purpose in pursuing it again with him, aside from one or two comments.

    I'm not interested in putting my claims to bed because I know it's not possible. There will always be disagreements regardless of the topic. It's enough that some people understand what I am saying and benefit from it.

    I did not accuse you or anyone else of anything, I expressed a criticism of a teaching method that uses the term 'windshield wiper' or its analogy. The same criticism expressed by the coach in the video. It's not that I disagree with what you call the 'windshield wiper' technique itself. I disagree with using the word or analogy as a teaching method, because I think it is misleading. Not everyone has to agree. As I said, it's enough that some understand and find his or my comments useful. Some already have in this thread, so I suspect there will be lurkers who will too.

    Debating whether the SW is normal or not is not of particular significance in this thread, it was more of an aside on my part. Sure, if you go back to the origins of tennis and it's progression into the early 80s, the eastern was the prominent grip. I was referring to tennis more over the past 20 years.

    If you don't want to read my posts, that's perfectly okay, but I am not going to regurgitate what I have already expressed. There are only so many hours in the day. Thud and blunder and jessey have understood what I am saying, so I do not believe anything I have said is particularly esoteric or difficult to understand. Whether one agrees or not is a different matter, but then agreement is not important. I have no real interest in debating the issue because I'm not trying to change minds, just provide information. Those who read this thread can try what the coach and I suggest and may be able to resolve any problems they are experiencing with their stroke. This is my intention, not to debate.
     
    #48
  49. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

    Joined:
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    Yes, he hits it well.:)
     
    #49
  50. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
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    No, these tennis federations do not support your position. I've read countless of instructional tennis books from each tennis federation, and none of them say that the WW motion is an incorrect motion, or that it is an idea that is incorrect. Every major tennis organization to some extent recognizes the WW motion. They also all realize that it is the product of good form.
     
    #50

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