The insanity of the modern strokes.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by goeblack, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Vic was a pioneer. He started with actual movie film and did several famous studies--the one of Tanner's serve and also of Ken Rosewall's backhand. He told me it cost him $1000 everytime Ken missed one. The problem with film other than the expense is the difficulty of set up, the constant reloading of the magazines, etc.

    I know because that is how we shot McEnroe/Lendl--35mm film on a soundstage.

    There was a guy even before Vic, Stanley Plagenhoff who has been more or less forgotten. He did filming of Laver and many other I was told during an actual pro event. Again this was movie film.

    A few years ago I contacted his widow hoping to find out more about what had happened to his work. I also called his son. The story apparently was that after Stan died the family was cleaning out the house and, you guessed it, threw it away...
    tragic...

    I used to tape pro matches and then make frame by frame video prints of the stroke sequences in replays to try to see what was actually happening.

    Everything changed with the advent of high speed video, but more importantly, storage capacity.

    Remember the original Mac cams at the Open pre shot spot that showed replays of the line calls?
    Those only stored a few seconds. But in 1997 the same company brought out a system that could record at 250 frames/sec to tape.

    Working with USA Network, the USTA and some collaborating researchers from the aerospace industry, we were able to film there with that system in 1997.

    That was what set the whole data collection revolution in motion. The problem of course is that the eye sees only at about 20 frames a second. Any event that is shorter in duration--like the contact with the ball--is a blur.

    What high speed video did was allow us to see inside the invisible world for the first time and most importantly in live match play. So far I have yet to work with a coach who didn't learn something or revise a previous view based on the study of this footage.

    Of course now Brian Gordon's work is taking this even to the next level with quantification. The exciting thing though is that our understanding is progressing through the creation and discussion of these data bases.
     
  2. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Looking at the original post...

    ...looks like we've wandered off into "What is the definition of classical versus modern strokes?" It's kind of a pointless discussion to whit:

    - The SW loop forehand isn't new. "Little Bill" Johnston used it to good effect against "Big Bill" Tilden, who was more of a flat ball/some topspin Eastern grip player.

    - The Conti grip...more specifically, the Conti grip for all strokes, isn't a new invention. Fred Perry used to win Wimbledon 3 times, and a lot of the Aussies of the 50s and 60s used it because they were S&V players and using Conti meant they didn't have to change grips coming into the net. And, of course, there was and still is McEnroe...

    So you can come up with a bunch of reasons why Conti isn't a part of today's game, or today's loop forehand is different than yesterdays (They probably are, but so what? A ton of the differences have to do with subtle stroke variations to use today's racket and string technology). I'd also submit that the top players use whatever's necessary to get the job done. Ever seen Federer or Djokovich hit a "squash shot" forehand on defense when run out of court? If that isn't a Conti slice forehand, it's pretty close...
     
  3. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    not sure I get your point...don't all the great players use conti when slicing??
    You don't have to go to the squash shot to see that.
    Modern slice technique is taught with conti, so what are you saying?
     
  4. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    watching laver and watching nadal. something has definitely changed. it is not the same strokes at all.
     
  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    They don't, actually. And even if they did, they need to make arrangements to use it in tournaments, which needs a lot of clout and expense.
     
  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I think you are correct in a couple of perspectives, in that many things have
    become bigger and more exaggerated with the speed of the game and the new
    technology.

    I think you are also correct to some extent with the example you choose, at
    least based on this one Fh vid.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fUqzgm6PUEI#t=0s

    Frame by frame confirms a wristiness that was attributed to Laver by many,
    as he turns over his hand on contact, out towards the target (best I can see from
    this poor vid).

    So I agree this is not the Fh we see from Nadal or pros today, but I think Laver's Fh
    has always been considered a one off stroke to an extent.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  7. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    That's really what I am saying..

    ...IMHO, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to talk about "Classical" versus "Modern." For example, Conti slice forehand is something that's been around for some time, see my previous post, but it's still applicable and used today...does that make it "Post-Modern?"
     
  8. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, I can see why you don't make sense of it, given your perspective on the
    topics, but
    don't you think that is the purpose of the discussion? to clear up confusion like
    what you share here?
    Conti grip on slice has little to nothing to do with the topic of modern vs classic,
    but yet you use it as some type of evidence?

    Don't you think the discussion is good to help with misconceptions like yours and
    the OP's about what modern strokes are?
    How can the OP work on modern technique when they have little idea what they
    actually are?
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  9. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Okay, go ahead and inform me...

    ...and this is a real question, so what are modern strokes?
     
  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Old:

    [​IMG]


    New:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Great question, I like to know too. :)
     
  12. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    My 2 photos tell it all.

    Closed stance vs Open Stance
    Wood vs Graphite
    Small head vs large head (of racket)
    Gut vs poly
    Low bouncing surface vs high bouncing
    Conti/E grip vs SW/W
    Conservative dress vs casual dress
    Less physicality vs more physicality
    Flattish hit vs topspin
    American dominance vs globalization
     
  13. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Let's stick to modern strokes...

    ...and leave out the fashion notes. For example, for some time now, players have been hitting with open stance, some have been hitting with a closed stance. It's not "modern" or "classical", it's just a choice, and it's been there for a while.

    In that mode, here's a quote from the original post:

    "So, I give up on looking like a pro on the court. I decide just to do what I can do. To do what feel natural to me.

    Here are the results.

    Forehand with conti just as effective but more reliable.I found that all that jazzed up modern stuff had added nothing for me but unforced errors.

    Topspin backhand with conti. Not as much topspin but still enough to bring the ball down in the court. Sooo much more time that I can now use it on most of my backhand shots. (at least this benefit is from being forced to get quicker from my futile effrots mentioned above) Much more reliable now with conti.

    Backhand slice is better merely because I never get caught with the wrong grip.

    So now I do not have the beautiful TV shot but my game is much better."

    My answer to that is, "Fine, you just proved my point. Go right ahead and do what works for you. A guy I hit with, NLBWell, has a Conti forehand and he crushes the ball...a good advertisement for doing business that way."

    So we all have choices and doing something one way because it's most comfortable for you is fine...it's your game, and if it doesn't feel right, then don't do it. It doesn't really make sense to talk about one approach being better than another, each approach has its advantages and disadvantages.

    There's a misconception, for example, that you can't hit topspin with a Conti forehand grip. Baloney. Edberg did it, albeit he had to use what I'd consider to be a pretty labored swing path.

    And there's a general truism that a FW or SW grip on the forehand makes it easier to deal with high balls...but not so easy for low balls. And the reverse is the truism for Conti forehand grip: good for low balls, not so good for high balls. Once again, there are any number of players who have done real well with any ball using whatever grip was comfortable for them...McEnroe and his Conti forehand grip being a prime example.
     
  14. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Find out what grip McEnroe is teaching the juniors in his academy in New York
     
  15. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Worlds apart. Anyone should recognize this.
     
  16. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Modern strokes are what we we normally see with all ATP players thru history.
    It does vary quite a bit and should, because Modern strokes are very adaptable,
    with only a few basic aspects to be observed.
    That is one of the many reasons they dominate the top levels of play.
    Contrary to popular belief, modern strokes are not
    grip dependent, not
    stance dependent, not
    graphite dependent, not
    stepping into the ball dependent, not
    poly dependent, not
    shoulder turn dependent, not
    bounce, and not
    spin dependent.
    Those things tend to be situational (except the tech stuff) and adjusted to the situation.

    Good modern strokes simply drag the racket towards a point near contact,
    then thru pulling the hand up and across for topspin or down and across for
    slice, brings the string to meet the ball. Due to the hand position during the pull
    and the centrifugal force/momentum of the racket head, it will plow thru
    the ball aligned with the intentions of the player as it moves across the shot line.

    Classic instruction for classic strokes differs from this.
     
  17. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That does not make too much sense to me. If modern strokes are defined as what top players are doing, what about the players one level below? And one level below that? Was it that from a certain level and below, players said: we know what we should do, but we won't?

    No, recreational players like Breakpoint who honed their games in the days of Connors and Mac played differently. They did not set out to do the wrong thing. In fact, they copied everything about them, including the short shorts and the afros (well, not BP, but others).

    When Chris Evert says she does not teach the way she played, and demonstrates how she would add some spin but not much, it is very clear what she is talking about. The new technology allows her current students to do more of that and less of what she did. They can hit a bit like her and she can hit a bit like them. When the difference grows quantitatively large, people start using terms like modern - it is just a code to indicate what is present in a larger quantity today, instead of repeating a list every time. It is like that in every field which has experienced large changes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  18. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Can't really say much about what lower level players do...heck, most do one
    thing one shot to the next or match to match. Nobody spends a lot of time in
    study in what a level after next player is doing. Not a great place to learn how
    to get better for the most part. There infinite ways to hit poorly, lol.
    Generally imo that is a big part of what the lower
    levels do that keeps them there; which is not having a consistency of execution
    to build on.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Lower level player...
    I like playing most points with a strong SW forehand grip for heavy topspin and a conti with a eForehand twist for strong skidding slices...
    Then I go full conti moderate slice for no reason whatsoever....
    But don't analyse my game, it's below yours.
     
  20. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Lol. Lets all copy the 3.5 guy at the club. I'm copying federer and hoping some rubs off.
     
  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Chrissy is not a great example imo, but sure, why would she need to change
    much based on her game. She was a Pro at the highest levels. Small adjustments
    and go with the players personal strengths. This does not conflict with my post
    in the least.
     
  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Or should we just all copy the "world's geekiest serve guy" ?
     
  23. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    That's a great video. It was not geeky but more the other team thing.
     
  24. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    This is also a very legitimate description of what many mean with the term
    modern, but it is pretty close to useless for good discussion, because it lacks
    any objective definition...by definition.
    So while the the slang version above has it's place, the place is not here in
    discussion of the difference in Modern vs Classic because that use of the term
    is so loosely interpreted. For this discussion it is better to use the more defined
    version, referenced in several books and where the term was coined imho.
    Both modern and Classic have published references to compare.

    In fact, definitions like you suggest above are likely the reason the OP could focus
    on what he thought were modern strokes for a couple of yrs with no improvement!
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  25. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Last post..

    ...and then I think I'll return to the planet Earth:

    - Modern strokes are "what we see thru history?" Writing is my profession, but I guess I missed something, even though Webster's definition of modern is "characteristic of the present".

    - "Good modern strokes simply drag the racket towards a point near contact,
    then thru pulling the hand up and across for topspin or down and across for
    slice, brings the string to meet the ball. Due to the hand position during the pull
    and the centrifugal force/momentum of the racket head, it will plow thru
    the ball aligned with the intentions of the player as it moves across the shot line.

    Classic instruction for classic strokes differs from this".

    Okay...where did this description of "modern strokes" come from? And assuming it's the truth, how, in fact, does "classic instruction for classic strokes" differ from this?

     
  26. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    skiracer,

    you are asking logical, obvious questions.
     
  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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  28. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    According to you, since grips have nothing to with modern strokes, OP was not making any change at all. He said he was hitting topspin of both wings before and after. So he was already playing the modern game (from the information in his post), so there is no need for discussion!

    According to you, the experiment was just between two variants of modern tennis, so why would you be thinking that he has been hitting them for only 2 years?

    Obviously, that is not the case. He wanted more topspin and realized that today those who produce more topspin do not use conti grip. So he experimented and it did not work out well for him.

    Claiming that grips, stance and equipment are irrelevant and that there is some underlying truth out there which only few ever learnt over the history of the game seems too far-fetched to me.
     
  29. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I keep waiting for HSCoach to chime in on this as well.
     
  30. mr_fro2000

    mr_fro2000 Rookie

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    its funny how every other sport on earth has evolved in some way shape or form, and tennis is the only one where the term 'modern' is applied to stuff that's been happening for 40 years.:roll:

    Its going to be the year 2143 and you "modern" instructors are still going to be making a buck off teaching the "modern" game.

    Give me a break.
     
  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If you know sports....
    Surfing, modern short board tri fin style vs traditional tri fin style carving and off the lips. Modern is aerials, slides, and 360's.
    Surfing, long board. Modern is carving, off the lips, 180 cutbacks. Traditional is nose riding, trimming, quickstep walking with style points.
    Motocross. Modern is supercross. Lots of jumps, tight tracks. Old school is outdoor motocross, long fast tracks.
    Waterskiing. Traditional is slalom, single ski, carving with shortline. Modern is wakestyle, spin jumps.
    Basketball. Modern is jungle ball dunking and 3's. Traditional is lots of passing into the post and back out, driving inside, and looking for jump shots and layups.
    Football. Modern is short passes, read option, ball control ala PeytonManning. Old school is running off a triple set, LONG passes downfield for quick strikes.
    Kitesurfing...modern is tight multiple spin tricks. Old school is huge airs, going 30' high and 100' distances, killed when so many kiteboarders got hurt or died trying to land or launch with overpowered kites.
    Windsurfing....modern is flat water freestyle, spin tricks. Old school is slalom go fast, wave riding, or huge jumps.
     
  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    If you know table tennis:

    Old was balance of offense and defense, chops from far from the table, some backhand serves, penhold or shakehand grips. Modern is leaning towards topspin offense only, short jabbed defense from close to the table if needed, forehand pendulum serves 99% of the time, and predominantly shakehand grips.
     
  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    And SUP did not even exist back then
     
  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Just my point of view, after trying SUP maybe 10 times, once in waves.
    Waste of time! You might as well go out in 3mph breeze with a windsurf board, and get much more exercise.
    SUP's are mostly 10' to 12' long, weigh around 30 lbs., and are just a big stupid boat.
    Average windsurfer I use is 8' long, 6" narrower, and weighs around 15 lbs.
    Average surfboard I use is 6'8" x 19" tri fins.
    SUP paddles much slower than any kayak or canoe. SUP paddles slower with a paddle standing up than with your hands sitting down!
    SUP is popular because it's something the average Joe can do, and it's a new thing.
    And SUP in the waves is a total waste of time. Slow turning, hard to paddle thru the waves, like riding an expanded long board.
     
  35. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Reminds me of the Linsanity thread we had in the Odds forum a while ago
     
  36. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Is this your definition of "modern"? Doesn't this effectively boil down to the type of finish will be produced?


    In any case, if this is the definition you are using, it has its own practical problems. How does someone quantify the degree to which he does these things? Or how does he even know if he's doing these things at all? How does he communicate what he is doing, and how does someone communicate what he should do (especially with just words)?

    Things like grip, stance, slot and WW/reverse follow-through are objective "checkpoints" that can facilitate the stroke, as well as facilitate instruction.

    Sure they aren't all necessary (e.g., Federer uses a type of Eastern) But what's the alternative to using these concepts?
     
  37. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    C'mon man... turn off your brain. You really shouldn't think about any of this. Just accept what you've been told. Don't worry about any other mechanic you've seen, heard about, or learned.

    The only mechanic that matters is that you hit the ball, follow-through and then finish. But while you follow-through you must repeat the following incantation in your mind: "I am pulling across... I swear... I am pulling across... pulling across... pulling across...."

    If you do that, your strokes are Modern -- with a capital M. If you don't do that... well... you are one of the lost children of the universe.
     
  38. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How do you maintain balance on the board? I tried SUP this winter in Hawaii. I did it only in an artificial "lagoon" in the resort, not in the ocean. One day, I was able to stand up and paddle for a little while. The next day I kept falling off. It can't be due to my slim frame, because guys twice my size wearing tiny bathing suits with their tummy hanging out were merrily paddling along. Is it a case of micro adjustments being required all the time?
     
  39. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    the modern strokes are not more complicated, it is just that you grew up with the other strokes. I grew up with a SW WW Forehand and it Comes pretty easy to me. had I started with a Conti FH that probably would be easier.

    I agree that below 5.0 this all doesn't make a difference in Performance, it's mostly about what you feel more comfortable with.
     
  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Suresh, it's not really balance or practice, but a mindset.
    Typical SUP is 11' long and 30" wide. I can stand up and paddle a 8' board that is 24" wide. My g/f, who never ever surfed (she's never paddled into and stood up on a wave), can stand up and paddle the same board, and she weighs 150 lbs.
    Calm head, eyes steady on the horizon, trust your balance you've honed for 40 years, use the paddle to balance, NOT your body.
     
  41. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    No, not my definition. This is a "description" of modern elements that
    separate
    modern (per modern instruction references) from classic (again, based
    on instruction references).

    Now the idea of modern for some of the regular posters want to ascribe to
    what they feel is more "current" if fine. In fact it may be perfect for a forum that
    really just wants to go on endlessly in discussion of opinion and perspective
    about things...all very fine. I don't deny this as a viable use of modern in the
    general sense.


    But for the segment of readers (there are some) who actually want to work
    on adjustments that are actually based on referenced elements of Modern
    technique and want to know the actual elements of
    Classic/traditional instruction (as referenced) to contrast this against,
    using a decades old, established and tested set of ideas is way more helpful.

    As one poster sort of pointed out, the OP was likely working some mismash of grips,
    then declares "modern insanity" based on his sub par
    results even though he does not demonstrate a grasp of classic or modern
    instruction imo.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2013
  42. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Quote,"OP was not making any change at all. He said he was hitting topspin of both wings before and after. So he was already playing the modern game (from the information in his post), so there is no need for discussion!"

    Above is the kind of thought process you get with no clear idea of modern or classic instruction imo.
    The poster seems to think that because the OP was hitting TS on both wings, he was already playing
    modern and NO need for discussion.

    What is modern about hitting top spin??

    I'm not sure there is any info in the OP that tells us much about how classic or modern he played.
    All we have is this quote-
    "First I changed my forehand grip and Eastern. Then I changed my backhand grip to get get my wrist
    more behind the racket."

    Really, how much does that really tell you about what he is doing or was doing?
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2013
  43. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Nothing much, so one has to assume he was doing it right before. We have no reason to assume the opposite.
     
  44. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Does someone like Agassi have modern or old fashioned strokes? I think he is pretty decent model for alot of rec players out there.

    Fundamentally there isn't a ton different though about what he does compared to a very modern player like a Novak..IMHO. The things they have in common are bigger then the differences.
     
  45. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I agree and think modern strokes are a bit less complicated.
     
  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Modern strokes don't require the precision of old school E grip straight back, straight forward strokes.
    The margin for error allows the player to fudge some, and still get the ball IN with different techniques.
     
  47. ace_pace

    ace_pace Rookie

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    Its funny cause I always thought that modren strokes are more ergonomic/natural for the body. Sure its more complex to understand and it wears down the body much quicker, but it maximizes the use of the entire body.
     
  48. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure it's more ergonomic or natural. I recently made the transition from a straight-back, flat, eastern shot... to a more modern, topspin, stretch-shortening cycle, whole-body forehand.

    I'm not as accurate with it yet, but one thing I can tell you... it requires a lot more energy than the other forehand did. One advantage I've seen is that I can handle an incoming topspin ball at the shoulders (or higher) much easier. I can also hit much safer.

    But I do think it's a trade-off. I used to be able to hit much harder with far less energy expended. Not anymore.
     
  49. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    With time you should find it can do everything you could do the other way, but
    with more options and versatility. You don't feel that right now as you dial in
    this new way, but you can still swing quite flat with way less up, in the up and
    across,...more like Davenport.
     
  50. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,370
    I think modern strokes are more ergonomic and natural considering the greater racquet head speed that you're generating. As you get more used to it you should be able to slow it down and perform a lower speed stroke that still has the same form.

    The whole mini-tennis thing is actually a really good exercise. You should be able to create a lower speed swing that still has the correct form. The difference is that the mini-tennis stroke should be almost all up and produce a ball that has good spin but not a lot of pace. You won't be turning your shoulders into the ball very hard or driving your hips with your legs very much. You should be able to rally with another person or against a wall from around the service line.

    OTOH with that same form if you more aggressively turn your shoulders into the shot and get your legs into it you can hit the cover off the ball and still keep it in with all of the spin.

    As 5263 said, you can vary the amount of spin on your shot by the amount that you set-up below the ball and the amount of up and across action in your swing. I find that it's also good to shorten up your backswing if you're really trying for big spin and not so much pace.
     

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