The insanity of the modern strokes.

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

  1. Mike Bulgakov

    Mike Bulgakov Semi-Pro

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    OP, it is very difficult to unlearn muscle memory in sports. As a kid, my coach modeled my topspin forehand and backhand after Lendl, with the same grips. I now use my game to take time away from guys with extreme grips and big topspin; instead of deconstructing my game to the detriment of my muscle memory, I try to learn new ways of applying my shots effectively.

    I agree with the Spartak Tennis Club's approach to tennis regarding muscle memory. The New York Times had an interesting article regarding myelin several years ago.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/04/sports/playmagazine/04play-talent.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    John Yandell, is it possible to look at old footage and get topspin RPMs for guys like Borg, Lendl, and Becker?
     
  2. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Mike,

    I wish! We need 250 frames a second to calculate the spin. If those guys come to my court I will measure them...otherwise the historical window is the problem... From watching Ivan and filming him I would guess he was around Pete and Andre--approaching 2000rpm on average on the forehand--but that's a pure guess...
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2013
  3. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Don't you guys think for rec play unless the person has enough pace with the spin the emphasis on spin and spin strings and spin rackets actually makes most rec tennis players games worse? I'm talking up to most 4.0 (?) players. Guys that are older and don't have the physicality needed for spin and pace. So its all spin. And slow as hell. Sitting ducks of balls. I guess you don't miss much but its like hitting mini tennis full court with some guys.
     
  4. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    I don't disagree with you, but at the rec level, just
    being consistent and keeping the ball in and moving it
    around a little (and not aiming too close to the
    lines) will win you most matches. Just wait for your
    opponent to miss. Not exciting and you might even
    get labeled a pusher but you'll win a decent percent of
    matches.
     
  5. ace_pace

    ace_pace Rookie

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    The following is my thoughts on modern strokes:

    IMO, I believe modern strokes are the result of years and years of players creating different playing styles and newer players choosing to 'copy' various aspects of the older players strokes. This acts as a refining process, slowly improving and adapting to what is the 'modern' stroke of today. The thing is though, the 'modern' stroke is ALWAYS changing.

    For example in Borg era, everyone thought that the best or 'modern' stroke was flat, so they thought Borg himself was playing with a handicap or was his 'idiosyncrasy'. But nowadays the tour majority proves otherwise.

    What Im trying to say is, while there is a legitimate benefit into attempting to copy professional aka 'modern' strokes, thats only one half of the equation. In order to flourish at tennis, you must allow some creativity or 'idiosyncrasies'. Federer's straight arm forehand is another prime example of free creativity proving positive results. Theres a slight growth in players using the straight arm forehand (or at least attempting to). I wouldn't be surprised if there is an adapted version of andy roddick's serve that will become the norm/'modern' serve for pros in the future.
     
  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Good post and if you
    actually are working good technique in your strokes while doing this....not
    only will you not be a pusher, but you will improve as a player and ball striker
    in the process.
     
  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    2 cents, based on today's hit with the recent winning A/Open player around here...Berkeley Ca.
    I can hit with him easily. Actually beat him and his Dad (a 3.5) in doubles maybe 4 years ago with a average 4.0 partner. Dad was the weakness, of course.
    Josh hits with heavy spinny, shoulder high bouncing groundies, has reach most can't believe (he seems 6'4" now), but chooses, for some reason, to only hit with loopy topspin, or exxagerated slice.
    Slice I can handle, as I'm an old fart.
    Like any tall player, hard flattish shots into his body is his achilles, whether from the baseline or when he's at net. He can get it back deep, but can't put placement on it like a shorter A level player (5.5).
    Not saying I can get games or sets off him, but hitting for 45 minutes, pretty close.
    I don't cover alley shots, while he can.
     
  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Is A/Open the Australian Open?

    I am assuming the gist of your post is that you played a "classical" style and did well against a "modern" style player? Because I couldn't follow what I am supposed to conclude from your post.
     
  9. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Personally, my backhand has never felt better than with the slight adjustment I made recently. I simply moved the grip a tad more behind the handle... I feel a lot more confident that I can hit the ball and that I can vary trajectories doing it this way. High balls also became a lot easier to swing at. For my forehand, a very standard semi-western grip does a good job with a not-so-standard straight arm swing.

    These are pretty contemporary movements, nothing traditional about them... really. I couldn't for the life of me hit a continental grip on top spin ground strokes, no more can I perform a classical follow-through without doing something horrible with the ball. I just don't know how to set up for these shots. I have other movements to do the same things, but I can't do like you. Borg played better than I ever will and you probably do like look that when you play, but since we both set up so differently, it can't look even remotely similar once we starting pulling the racket forward.

    What "feels" natural, as you might realize one day, is something that you have internalized. Nobody is born with a racket in their hands, though they may have certain physical advantages upfront... yet, even if your stroke looks very idiosyncratic, it doesn't mean that you didn't learn it. It's what internalizing means: what is internalized is like a "second nature." I bet that, if you're man, you don't come up on a court with a skirt, you probably answer "hello" when someone tells you "hello" and you may even had "how are you" -- sometimes without even bothering to listen to the reply. You presumably don't yell in a library, you stand in line everywhere, etc.

    These are all things that people do without thinking too much about it. I am sure that some readers would be uncomfortable if they try to transgressed any of the above norms. As with language, habits and customs, as with tennis and sports: your comfort is a matter of "habit." I would personally use the more accurate term "internalization," but most people are more familiar with a figurative use of habits and it's not a bad approximation either.
     
  10. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Jackie Chan once talked about a sort of martial art that was similar to a dance. He said that as a beginner, you copy your master, but as you get better, you diverge from him.

    The process you describe is related to this and your insight is far from being off the mark... it's rather accurate, in fact. There are many ways to formalize this, but I think there is something interesting in the notion of idiosyncrasy. As you improve and that your mastery shifts the challenge away from elementary elements, your personal interpretation of the movement is enabled to shine through -- that's how, from hitting "a forehand," you get into hitting "your forehand."

    Interestingly, as player play with one another, they learn from one another and their strokes also evolve. Federer's forehand today isn't the same as that he used to play in 2004 or even 2008, though they look excessively similar. Nadal is a lot more telling regarding this as he literally transformed his game to make it more aggressive, but you see the point.

    As for the word "modern," I personally do not use it in that context. What's properly modern is associated with a certain geographical and temporal location -- we might even go further saying that it's also bound culturally. To avoid to problem of classifying strokes, I just say they're "contemporary" (i.e. in our times). Some would say that it's theoretical laziness and, well, it is.
     
  11. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    In sociology, there was a big debate -- it seems irrelevant, but it actually is relevant. Which is the correct diagram?

    Society --» Individuals
    Individuals --» Society

    Durkheim approached sociology with the former and got valid results; Weber used the later and produced also valid explanations. Both approaches are right, but they're contradicting one another. So, how do you solve this epistemological dilemma?

    Freitag did so:
    Society «--» Individuals

    He said that the link was dialectical (dialectics means "two voices"). To respond to your thought, it must be pursued with some warnings. The shots you play is the basis upon which your opponent will construct his own reply. The easier it is to hit, the likelier he is to send it back -- easy, of course, being relative to each player. So, it's fairly possible that the shots you can keep in with near certainty will enable the opponent to win more points -- because it may happen to be a shot he can reply easily to and in a way that reduces your good shots/error ratio.

    The exact thing you should be doing is selecting a shot whose execution odds favor you: that is, it must easier for you to perform it than for your opponent to answer it. And that shots may be just about any shot... not to mention that it's likely to be a different shot each time or that many different shots can fit this grid. That's how you apply dialectics to tennis game and strategy.

    Of course, I will side with you on a certain notion: it's not necessary to hit "hard" in order to win a rally. Some people feel like a winner must be 100mph or else it's not a winner... most of the time, just lengthening the shot (hitting a further target) is more than enough, namely because the ball doesn't loose nearly as much spin in the air than by bouncing the ground. However, taking the above critic into account, I'd advocate hitting winners, even for amateurs. When the shot is consequent to the situation, it's a waste if you don't hit it.
     
  12. Readers

    Readers Semi-Pro

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    I still think that's not a good way to define it, as Nadal finishes way higher than that.
     
  13. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Only because he's hitting a "reverse" forehand. It's still basically a windshield-wiper, but Nadal carries it over his head because otherwise he would hit himself in the head with his racket.
     
  14. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    The WW form does not refer so much to the hand or even arm movement as to the overall look of it... You don't miraculously pull a reverse finish out of your hat: you do something different prior impact that allows you to follow-through in that way.

    It's not a WW forehand, it's a reverse forehand. By the way, Nadal WW his forehands on hard courts most of the time. It's just plain easier to keep the ball low and get more depth on faster surfaces by not reversing your follow-through.
     
  15. Readers

    Readers Semi-Pro

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    This is so NOT the case, I was just watching AO 2012 final, where Nadal hits most of his forehand with the over the head follow though.

    Nadal either go for his over head finish for top spin or hit thought the ball. He almost never does a WW after he started his new over the head finish.
     
  16. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Imo it's more that a proper modern stroke is very adaptable and will look different in
    some respects (like finish) based on contact pt location and steepness of swing
    plane. None of the core fundamentals are actually changing though.
     

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