Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by PrimeChoice, Nov 6, 2012.
Has anybody read Brad Gilberts, "Winning Ugly"?
What advice does he give?
I did great with the chapters on ugly, but I'm having all sorts of problems with the chapters on winning.......
Did you read the appendix titled "Losing Pretty"?
New here, eh?
The only thing I learned from this book: Always ask your opponent to serve first (and try to break him right away to establish an early lead).
But sometimes I play against somebody who insists (very firmly) that I serve first. I then realize that he read the book, too. Damn.....
Nah, I always serve first. Most of my matches are very few breaks so I want my opponent serving to hold at 4-5 and 5-6 just to stay in the set.
Here were my take aways:
Always try and make my opponent serve first.
-Most people 3.0-4.5 don't properly warm up, hence having them serve will give an opportunity to get a break point.
Dance with who you brought to the dance.
-If you are winning then all of a sudden start losing, ask yourself what you are doing differently. I often find myself up in a set and I start playing differently because I am winning. Keep playing your game if it works, don't change until you need to.
Keep track of score (winners your opponent hits)
-I think this was made a huge difference. Keeping track of my opponents individual shot skill is key. I challenge my opponents to hit shots under pressure, give them down the line backhand while on the move, see if they can hit it. If they can't then i'll let them have it all day, if 1 make out of 10 it is still in my favor. This works in doubles as well, if one of your opponents can't put away volleys then why not just hit it back at them with pace and have them chip or block it back?
There are others but i forget =(
Yeah, I'd never do that because my serve is a "weapon" that I need to use and abuse. If I can get a quick game on serve then that's always good, and I feel like returns are always slow on the draw the first few games.
And also, there's that serving to stay in the game scenario, which I like to avoid.
His point in the book is that the easiest time to sneak a break from someone is during the first game. That would leave them serving at 3-5 rather than 4-5. Of course, if you never end up breaking your opponents serve in the first game then letting them serve first is not an advantage.
The point is well taken. Your body and arm are not fully warm at the very beginning of a match so it can work.
Good book and he has a lot of tactical views and preparation tips and really focuses on what he considers important points in a match.
As for the "who should serve first"... I like my serve as a weapon too... so I'm not only ok if the opponent defers serve to me, I look at it as he is not confident in his serve. I mean seriously... he's got to serve eventually... and yes, playing one game first will get your body warmed up some, but its not like he can practice serves during MY first service game. Eventually he has got to hit his very first un-warmed up serve in the match.
Also, serving first gets me more opportunities to serve during the set... which I feel is to my advantage.
And one other thing I NEVER do is first ball in. I don't care if the other guy steps to the line with no warm-ups, or if he likes FBI... I take warm-ups. In a social match I'll take 6-8 increasingly harder first serves, and 2-3 second serves. In league when both players are warming up before the match begins, I'll do 12-15 first serves... but I try to hit everything in the middle of the box since I don't want him seeing my wide or down the T aiming points.
Guys! You have no sense of humor.
My last post of insisting that my opponent serve first was actually a joke. Sometimes it makes sense but it really depends on with whom you are playing.
Now, seriously, the most important tip (for me) in Brad Gilbert's book is realizing that the point after 15/30 or 30/15 is actually the most important point of the game. Since I realized this, I performed much better in matches.
And his suggestions on warming up also helped a lot.
It is a great book; I have read it a while ago but still remember one good tip:
Ease yourself into the match; don't try to hit your best shots with full power immediately. He gives an example of Lendl (the one guy Gilbert never managed to beat) starting their first ever encounter at a very unimpressive moderate pace and smoothly moving to overpowering blistering pace towards the end of the set with Gilbert unable to adjust to the constantly increasing speed of the game.
He also gives a great example of Lendl being totally unfased by all attempts at throwing him off his game by simply sticking to his preferred pace of play including time taken between points etc.
Gilbert doesn't seem to be a big fan of Ivan but surely has a grudging respect for him
I liked the happy camper/wounded bear discussion. The winner of the first set is the happy camper and cannot be too content with their win since the wounded bear is now forced to win set #2 just to bring it to a draw and will be laser focused to start the 2nd set.
And this is why we warm up before matches.
Yes, but if you are in a rush like me then you stretch a little bit and go right to a 10-15 warm up. Then hit maybe 12 serves. That is just not enough for my arm to be fully "awake" some matches.
I overkill my warm up... 5-10 minutes hitting then a quick set. Not the most efficient use of my energy, but it gets my strokes going.
Im stuck on that chapter as well...
This actually threw me off my game... I found when I treat some points as "important" I tend to tense up. Sometimes it's unavoidable that I know the point is important, but adding a bunch of other "hidden" break/game points just confounds the issue.
The best tip I saw about this was in Braden's book about mental tennis where he describes a tight match b/w a former #1 and the current top pro. This went to a tie breaker, and this was sort of the last gasp of breath for the career of the older pro. I think back in the day, it was a sudden death tie break as well and not win by 2. But on match point, the older pro runs around his BH and nails a FH DTL. His opponent just barely gets to it and somehow dinks a ball that dribbles over the net for a unplayable winner. Everyone was stunned and at a loss for words, but the older pro left feeling great. He knew he hit the right shot and that 99 out of 100 times, he'd win the point.
Anyway, I try to do the same thing and hit the right shot regardless of the score.
Yeah, but as you know, attempting the right shot in a tense/important moment and executing that shot well is the crux if you are the type that gets tight.
Having the the technique or ability to pull off the shot, muscle memory from having practiced and done that shot before, knowledge that occasionally you will plain miss that shot and that doesn't mean you are tight, and confidence that you can hit the shot without swinging max swing.... those are some of the factors to beat the butterflies.
Kind of like its your serve for match point, and you have an average serve... but because it is match point you decide to try to rip a flat serve out wide (because the opponent won't be expecting that!). Problem is, that isn't a serve in your repetoire, you don't really practice it much, and you haven't tried it all match. Chances are you will miss it, now you put pressure on yourself to not double fault and not set up a powder puff 2nd serve to go back to deuce.
This is why I feel that match experience is 10x more valuable than actual strokes. Strokes are tools, and match experience is the knowledge of what to do with what you have. If you have only your hands, you can beat up someone with a gun if they don't know how to use it (damn near impossible, but still).
Attempting the first shot requires first the knowledge of what is the right shot, then the courage to hit the shot, and finally the courage to hit the shot with everything you have (or at least a good chunk of it).
I feel like going for it for several matches, but going for the right targets, will help in the long run even if it costs you every single one of those matches. You need to be comfortable with your swing under pressure, and that means going for it. Back when I was scared of my serve, I always went for it, double fault or not. Eventually, the double faults lessened, and damn near disappeared. Right now, I'm working on doing the same for groundstrokes. You will miss some shots eventually, even if you "should never miss" them. We're human, we're imperfect. Even if we practiced as much as professionals, we will occasionally miss easy, routine shots. Even if we WERE professionals, we will occasionally miss easy, routine shots. Otherwise, nobody would double fault. Unforced errors wouldn't exist. Ideally, yes, we should eliminate these errors entirely. But if we did that, we would not be hitting the stroke as well as we could and should, which gives an opportunity to our opponents to take the SMALL risk that we couldn't bear to take, and rip that winner past us. I remember reading once that if you never double faulted, you're not going for enough on your second serve, though you still wanted to keep the number low (which is assisted by having a high first serve percentage). The same could be said for your groundstrokes. Yes, we want to always make it in, but if we want to take advantage of an opening, we can't be afraid to swing for it. Trust your mechanics, and take a full cut, every time. You're better off attacking the ball than giving it to your opponent and praying. Full swing, lots of height, lots of spin, lots of racket head speed. If you're not getting the ball to drop fast enough, get some good poly strings.
Why not read the book?
This is a good point. In the past I'd often go for a shot hoping for an ace or hoping my opponent'd miss.
I think there are perhaps two general strategies to point management. Brad's 7 hidden key points or whatever make a lot of sense. I've seen matches where players like Sampras would be returning serve 3-5. He'd go for quick winner returns but he didn't spend a lot of energy b/c he planned to serve it out. He was great at turning it on when he needed it but also turning it down to conserve energy at times.
On the other hand, there are players like Nadal and Ferer who tries for everything. I can't tell what the point or set score is based on their demeanor or effort. Nadal says in his book, he plays that way not for his nerves but to convey a message to his opponent that there'll be no free points.
For me, I find I prefer the 2nd strategy b/c it helps me to manage my nerves to treat every point like a big point. So even if I'm up 5-1 40-love, I scramble and play for the point the same as if the score is reversed.
Intellectually, I agree w/ Brad and if I were a more Emotionally smart player I'd adjust my play according to the score.
Well said Roforit!
Brad has his own philosophy.
Andre Agassi has his as well.
What I need is to hate tennis for now.
it cost me 1$ at the bay, now reading it.
very enjoyable, some very useful practices, Gilbert's triumphs matches analyzed, interesting matches preparations, etc..
worth every penny
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