the middle gear

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by dominikk1985, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I think that is one important aspect of tennis that many rec players struggle at. I have that problem too sometimes. those players who lack that middle gear will often either swing as fast as they can or totally push the ball.

    being able to consistently swing at 70-80% and make clean contact will drastically improve performance.

    I'm currently experiencing that and it improves my game. my natural instinct is being a little bit of a power junkballer (think worse version of dolgopolov). I will hit a ton of short angles, drop shots and soft shots mixed with very hard winners (like 2/3rd of the shots being on the soft side and 1/3rd being hard).

    this is frustrating for opponents (especially in combination with my good lefty serve) but also causes me to make a lot of errors or losing rallies because I am too passive (or even worse being pushed by after playing passive and then try to rescue with a low percentage bomb out of position).

    the last sessions I have worked on eliminating my dinks. every time my nature wants me to dink I say to myself "swing fast". and when I want to totally kill the ball I try to tone myself down a little (does only work partially:)). I try to stay in that 70-80% range and the average quality of my shots goes up. I'm winning a lot more points like that but it is hard to fight my instinct.

    anyone else having to fight for that middle gear and having that "all or nothing" swing disease (push or bomb)? I feel that getting yourself to hit most of your shots in that 70-80% range and eliminating wild hacks but especially soft dinks will lead to a big improvement especially from 4.0 up when the basic shots are there and a lot of the improvement comes from eliminating the bad shots (errors are unavoidable but many times it is also pure lazyness of not setting up the feet right and then swing fast and instead just get there and push or slice it back which takes less energy).
     
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  2. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Hey that's my new year's resolution :)
     
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  3. spun_out

    spun_out Rookie

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    Try doing shadow swings with an unstrung racquet. The goal is to get a fluid swing. The unstrung racquet allows you to achieve higher racquet head speed with less energy and you should be better able to feel the whip even when swinging gently. Once you get the feel of this, then you can search for it on the courts. Having a big mirror to watch yourself doing this helps.
     
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  4. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I've worked with more than just one or two developing players, let's say in the age range of 10-18, and this issue comes along on a regular basis. Especially among the high school ranks, many players take a huge leap forward with their physical abilities somewhere between their freshman and junior seasons. This is typically the result of gaining stronger musculature and longer limbs over a relatively short span. When a kid grows into a stronger, bigger body, he/she needs to become more aware of that "top gear" and when NOT to use it.
     
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  5. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    This really is the hardest thing in the sport. But I think equipment can help here. With a lightweight racquet, the flight of the ball is very sensitive to small changes in the swing. It's also difficult to moderate the pace with the light racquets, as hitting too soft won't get the ball over the net. A heavier racquet OTOH has more inertia, giving the feeling that you have to work even when you hit a softer rally stroke. Then it's easier to add pace as the attempts for winner are just a continuum to the basic rally strokes.

    So IMO, it's easier to be forced to work "quite hard" all the time, and then add effort when you want to go full throttle. The modern racquets make the basic rally shot too easy, which then builds the confusion. :twisted:

    No wonder pros use heavy racquets. Search "SW2" if you want to learn more. I'm on my way towards wood racquet specs, goodbye modern racquets and all the confusion they bring!
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
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  6. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I am the exact opposite of you. i don't have "gears" in tennis. I never try to murder the ball. I have one goal every time I go out to play tennis: hit the ball past the service line.

    It takes varying levels of power and spin to accomplish this goal, depending on the type of ball that is coming to me. For instance, if it's a hard serve, I don't need to swing hard, I can just block it back. If it's a short ball, I can do a "lift and land" approach shot. If it's a generic forehand to forehand rally from the baseline, then I know I need to swing rather hard in order to get it deep.

    But the point is, none of those examples are necessarily 'gears' -- they are simply adjusting the "ingredients" of what I need to add to the party in order to accomplish my goal.

    So my goal is the same -- to hit it deep every single time. How I do that depends on what I'm given -- but none of that changes depending on how i'm feeling, or how long the match is, or how good or bad my opponent is, or whether I'm winning or losing. I hit every shot the way it needs to be hit, in order to accomplish my goal.

    I would suggest that you try to do the same. Don't think of it as "gears". Think of it as simply doing whatever it takes to get the ball deep. Not hard, not with a lot of pace. The minute you start thinking that in order to win, you must hit the ball over 75 mph, you're going to lose -- every time. All you'll do is draw out unforced errors.
     
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  7. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I get what you are saying and though I dont push I do hit out too much and have really been working on that 70-80% stroke.

    A heavy small headed control racket really helps for that....
     
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  8. JohnMartin

    JohnMartin Banned

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    F the middle gear.

    HIT it like a MAN!
     
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  9. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Out of bounds?:)
     
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  10. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Completely get that. Thats the prob. You can hit like a man and lose like crazy...at least i can.

    What is the point of blasting a few awesome strokes if you spray 3 others?
     
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  11. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Just matters how you hit. I love hitting with topspin so I am having a lot of consistency hitting with the newer open pattern sticks. I can swing out a little and the ball stays in and is deep.

    I'd suggest keeping your backswing shorter for consistency.
     
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  12. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Yes it does depend on your strokes, though I found that I could adjust to the racket.

    I hit with a 14x18 pattern for years and recently went to 14/10. I can see the draw and the increase of topspin, though FWIW I dont think there is any more spin really. Its the launch angle it creates a higher ball and you think it is more spin because it seems to drop more....which it will because it is higher.

    It was always a bit erratic especially with the 14/10. The power was hard to be consistent even with the spin, and yes i can hit lots of top or more top+side spin these days, though the backhand ALWAYS had a sidespin component. I could get even more with the western grip. Even then it was tough to be consistent. Sometimes if I hit full speed the shots would drop, other times not so much. So I get what you are saying about the topspin and control, but never seemed to pull that off consistently....unless I strung super tight,but that was touch on the arm and really just allowed me to hit comfy shots that were in, but mostly spin...

    Now with the 16/18 dense pattern its a different and more controlled shot, maybe a bit less spin, but more control for the middle gear the OP is talking about.
     
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