The Fall/Winter 2013 Modern Technique Thread

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Topspin Shot, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Sureshs got me thinking. What does this forum need now to fight the short day, cold weather tedium that approaches us more quickly than a Federer forehand? A renewed discussion on modern technique, that's what! All aspects; forehands, backhands, serves, volleys, and others; are fair game. To Wegner, Yandell, 5263, balla, Ash, and other coaches, welcome! To those who are not coaches but are interested in a lively debate, welcome as well! But please keep it civil. I don't want any bashing of others or to see anyone get banned. But enough with that: let the discussion commence!
     
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  2. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Maybe we should talk about both BH. I don't see this issue being as addressed as are the serve and FH on these boards. Especially the 1HBH who as that etiquette of being a "classic" stroke.
     
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  3. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    excellent suggestion above, but really not too much different from a modern take on the Fh.

    Some want to say the modern Fh is nothing but open stance with more topspin, but that is far from accurate. The fundamental issues are to approach and line up the ball from below, then the contact should be "up and across" as you hit through the ball on contact. These are the same issues for the Bh.

    Get into the ball strongly as you pull up and across on the diagonal. Both the Fh and Bh are independent of stance, but the open stance helps for coil release into the shot and does not block hips as you work strongly across the ball. Open (and semi open) help to accentuate the rotational force and recover back to middle if required.

    Another big issue for improving the Bh is to be very clear on a good Bh contact point. Most Bh problems I've seen are related to a poor Bh contact point, where they often try to use the one like the Fh...just on the other side. This does not work unless you have a compromise contact point on both sides that could match, but not be excellent for either.

    Hope this stimulates some discussion :)
     
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  4. cjs

    cjs Semi-Pro

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    You need to move to Australia.
     
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  5. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I know, right? :)
     
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  6. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I tend to put the contact point too far in front on my bh (2hbh) - more like the contact point on my fh. I have to make a conscious effort to let the ball come all the way in on my bh side. I try to do this when I warm up, but if I get grooved with the contact point too far out then I can be fighting it the rest of the day.

    As far as modern on the bh, like 5263 said it's like the fh. I try to get my hands out in front, allow the racquet to drag behind, and then let the racquet whip up and through the contact zone just like on the fh. I can't get the same amount of up and across on my 2hbh, but if I'm hitting well I can get decent spin on it.

    I don't personally like hitting from open on my bh, but I think it's a critical skill to own for hitting out wide to the bh side. I like hitting from neutral when I can because I feel like I can create a long contact zone and more effectively drive my hips into the ball. For an open stance 2hbh I feel like you have to let the ball come in even a bit more than even an normal 2hbh and that the contact zone is really short. On my fh, in contrast, I hit from open whenever I have the choice.

    Thoughts? Discuss.
     
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  7. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    For me, the keys to the 2hbh are:
    - slightly later contact point than the fh
    - take racquet back so right shoulder feels the stretch (for a righty)
    - use legs/hips to push off

    I also execute it like a left handed forehand, but definitely more closed than the forehand - pull the racquet into the ball, inside to outside, and whip it. IMO, it is inherently a flatter stroke than the forehand, and consequently, has lower spin in general. Agreed, being able to hit it from open stance is essential!
     
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  8. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I'm kind of the opposite; for me, the backhand contact point comes more naturally than the forehand contact point. The backhand is definitely a flatter stroke though. I've got a theory of my own about why forehands are spinnier than backhands and straight arm forehands are the spinniest. Topspin is generated by swinging from low to high; with two hands on the racket, the racket cannot drop as low. The tip of the racket only drops to about hip height rather than thigh height, or even knee height for a straight arm forehand.
     
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  9. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    A GOAT thread?
     
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  10. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    You have answered correctly, my friend!
     
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  11. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I'm going to bump this thread just this once; if it dies again, I'm done with it. I was hoping we could get a discussion going about modern technique elements we haven't covered before, with the various coaches here getting involved. Again, it doesn't just have to be about forehands; all strokes and even strategies and tactics are topics for discussion.
     
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  12. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    For the 1hbh, I find a variation of the "across" cue very helpful in generating a solid topspin shot. Instead of across, when beginning my forward swing, I think to press my hand-racquet unit down at the expected contact point and let the racquet recoil upwards and forward into the ball. It gives the shot a similar glancing feel, but it feels more like I am compressing the ball and better controlling its trajectory.
     
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  13. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Say, how do you aim serves? I have absolutely terrible directional control on serves TBH. The fact I don't play often also is a factor maybe, but I've yet to find a good way to aim serves.
     
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  14. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    First off, you have to get a repeatable motion. If you can't repeat the motion consistently, your balls will go all over the place and will not be precise enough to hit a target. To vary the placement, you normally rotate your hips more to hit the ball to the opponent's forehand and less to hit to his backhand, assuming you're both righties. In addition, you normally use more slice when serving to the forehand and more kick when serving to the backhand. For instance, a flat or topspin serve out wide to the deuce box will have to hit close to the sideline to get a free point whereas a heavy slice can land well inside the sideline and still curve away enough to get that free point. This article may also help. http://www.feeltennis.net/improve-the-accuracy-fast/
     
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  15. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ do you move your hips or do you change the angle of the racquet face at impact?
     
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  16. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Probably a combination of both. I like stressing the hips more because I feel that leading with the hips creates the change in racket face angle whereas trying to force the racket face requires too much conscious thought too close to impact. Of course, a player could take the hip rotation cue too literally and mess up his motion. The same I think goes with changing the racket face angle. What's your take on this?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
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  17. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ my take is that altering the racquet face angle only requires conscious thought in training! Essentially, you train it enough in practice, that in competition it becomes an autonomous response. I don't like altering the body angle as it is too much of a giveaway.
     
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  18. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    TBF, I'm not talking about the actual service motion. But just how to you aim. Where do you look before serving (in the box, over the netcord, ect.), how do you imagine the court when you're serving, ect. Technically speaking I know how to serve (at least according to the people I play with). I don't know how to aim, which is a different matter.
     
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  19. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Lukhas - my post was in response to TSShot
     
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  20. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    What helps me is currently being discussed in a parallel thread - visualization. Often in a match, I rush my service prep and motion, but every time I slow down and visualize the serve traveling in a particular trajectory over the net and pick a spot on the court, mentally focusing on solely the location of the serve in the box, I can get it surprisingly close.

    With the serve, many people overestimate the pace and spin they can control, so they lose the focus one requires to aim. Maybe your case isn't the overestimation but more so the focus. So try to imagine a tennis ball, or the head of someone you don't like, at the place where you want to hit it, and only think of that spot when going through your entire motion.
     
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  21. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    @Ash Smith: Whoops, sorry.

    @psv255: Thanks for the input.
     
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  22. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I definitely see what you're saying. I feel like the pros do alter body angle somewhat (not talking about in trophy position) though. Do you agree?
     
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  23. The drill of throwing the ball up and then hitting the ball whilst mid motion either wide tee or body depending on the coaches call is a drill many coaches do with players, pete smapras did it very often with his coach.
     
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  24. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I've done this drill before. It's actually not too bad, but sadly, it didn't quite manage to give me Sampras's powers of disguise. Maybe if I were to do it enough times....
     
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  25. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    All i can say about this is I truly think the differences between modern and old fashioned technique are overblown. Modern guys use MORE rotational power - but even Lendl used some of this as well. Old fashioned strokes use more linear power - but even Federer will hit from neutral stances on approach shots.

    Until people can clearly delineate modern technique from ancient technique I think its way exaggerated. Even the finishes - sometimes Federer will swing more across his body and finish across his shoulder. Sometimes he will swing more low to high and finish over his shoulder. Once in a while he will swing up and across and thus finish around his waist..

    But I don't think he worries about it at all. It all depends on the incoming ball and the kind of ball he wants to hit back.
     
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  26. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    A lot of modern technique isn't necessarily the stroke fundamentals but the type of ball the modern players are trying to hit. Modern tennis involves training for racket speed rather than a more moderate swing, hitting with much more topspin, and aiming for more angled targets to open up the court but with more net clearance than in years past. Hi-tech graphite rackets with massive sweet spots and lighter weights combined with co-poly strings make this new brand of hitting possible, along with focusing more on rotational and vertical power, more dynamic forms of movement that allow for swinging full out when not statically balanced, and, of course, racket speed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
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  27. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Not exactly technique related but anyway. I'd want to try counter-punching. Are there some good online free stuff, advices from people using the same style, anything? Thanks in advance.
     
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  28. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Absolutely no-one to discuss playstyles at all?
     
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  29. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I play a counterpunching style in singles play (in doubles I am much more of a net player). I can discuss my tactics and that sort of thing, just not right now since it's kind of late.
     
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  30. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Well I'll be waiting then. I like to induce what we call in French a "false rhythm". You know, when the match is freakishly slow and then you hit a bit harder to the surprise of your opponent who is left feet away from the ball. However in need a more consistent rally ball, at least higher bounce to avoid being attacked too often.
     
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  31. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    This is what I try to do. Like Ash said, rotating the whole body is too much of a give away. Good returners are looking for any clue you give them before contact to know where you're going and what kind of spin the ball will have. Generally, anything I can do to hide my intent is a good thing.
     
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  32. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Okay, here we go. My A game, the one I want to play when I step out there, is hitting heavy topspin groundstrokes basically to the smart targets that 5263 likes to mention. Robert Lansdorp sneeringly calls my shot type the "academy ball," but it works for me anyhow. I like getting a nice high first serve percentage, with the primary motive on the serve to push my opponent back and wide, and working the ball around until my opponent screws up either by making an error of giving me a sitter I can come in on. My balls will kick up and forward a lot, so even though they're not hit too fast, there's a lot of energy in them from my racket speed, and they force the other guy to make contact above his shoulders.

    Unless my opponent shows me an effective counter (and you'd be surprised how many of them don't and just go meekly), I'll do that all day long. If the other guy is a pusher, I can deal with 20 shot rallies, and as long as I win enough of them, I'm good to go. If the other guy starts teeing off on me, then I'll start changing the pace of my shots. I'm not the type who can match that kind of firepower and aggressiveness, so I'll start trying to throw off his rhythm with slices off forehands and backhands. If he gets more tentative, then I'll start coming in to net off those slices. If the other guy's a net rusher, I'll dip the ball at his feet, which works often enough that that's basically all I need to do to counter him.

    So if you play me, you'll notice that A) I'm not going to miss, so you'll have to beat me and B) my balls are going to kick a lot at you, and you're going to have to take some pretty high backhands. If you try different counters and fail, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, attacking the net just enough to make you uncomfortable, but if you succeed in hitting me off the court, I'll try to junkball you into errors. My net game is actually like Nadal's in that I win a high percentage of the points when I go up there, but I don't go up there a tremendous amount, at least in singles.
     
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  33. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Thanks for the answer; it gives me guidelines and food for though.
     
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  34. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I've changed my mind to agree with Ash. I was personally taught to control serve placement by leading with the hips, but I can see how leading with the racket face can lead to better results as far as disguising intentions goes.
     
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