What is your story?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by JPW, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. JPW

    JPW Rookie

    Dec 15, 2007
    I've been playing tennis for years. I consider myself a solid 3.5 player and have won some matches at 4.0, however, I still consider myself a pretty poor player. An understanding of basic ground strokes just escapes me. I have to employ sort of what I consider to be gimmicks in my strokes to gain consistency, and although I can do it to win, I'm not seeing any improvement and I know I'm not hitting the ball the way so many others I can.

    I get incredibly jealous watching two players just go out and leisurely hit ground strokes who can seemingly hit it to each other all day long. They aren't trying winners. It is just like what you might see before a Pro match where they are warming up. If I ever felt like I could get to that level I would be thrilled, forget volleys, forget serves, if I could just have that I would feel like I accomplished something.

    So for you guys and gals out there who feel like they are already at this level or perhaps moved well beyond it, what is your story? Where do you feel like you gained the bulk of your talent just to be able to rally at a very solid level with a partner? I know it might seem like an odd question, but I've got to believe this comes from learning solid fundamentals, but then again who knows (I certainly don't). Maybe it simply comes from years of practice. Maybe it was a Pro or a Coach that helped you move from just wacking at the ball to actually a level where leisurely ground strokes just come natural. Maybe some might say all the above.

    The reason I'm asking is because I feel like I've tried everything to get to a point where I can just leisurely hit ground strokes, but now I feel like I'm as far away as ever. I'm curious to hear what path others might have taken to reach this level. I'm sure it varies, but I'm wondering whether there are any common threads. Thanks for any input.
  2. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2006
    I think your question is a good one, but the answer(s) to why people find themselves playing in one particular (less then elegant) style, rather than another, is complex and may vary with every individual, and may be difficult to explain. What follows are only a few possible (random) explainations.

    Tennis is a complicated sport that requires movement, skill, practice, endurance, and attitude. Many people simply never take lessons and "learn" haphazardly. They go out and "hit the ball" for fun or competition, but not for improvement or for honing their strokes or skills. People find a certain level of success and are satisfied with that-and feel no need to change their game. To hit the ball well, one needs to be moderately fit and move well to get in proper position. The weekend player often does not have the time, inclination or access to a practice partner that might be required to improve their game/skills/strokes.

    One other explaination is that modern rackets and strings allow an "athletic" type to get positive feedback right away- even with a fairly poor game.

    One suggestion/experiment that might force a player to concentrate more on stroke production would be to find an old (but good) wooden racket. A player wih good strokes/habits would not have much problem adapting-- but tha lazy player with poor movement and awkward strokes will find their weaknesses highlighted and forced to concentrate on movement, positioning, stroke production.
  3. directionals

    directionals Rookie

    Jun 20, 2012
    You've got to practice. Playing sets only helps so much. Find a partner who is willing to hit cooperatively with you. Start with something simple, like forehand cross court 5 hits in a roll. Then 10 hits in a roll, then 15... This may not be easy at the beginning. The key is for you and your partner to find a rally pace for you two to sustain many shots in a roll.
  4. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

    Feb 26, 2012
    Leisurely at 30 mph or 70?
  5. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

    Mar 18, 2012
    It takes a bit of effort from both players to hit at each other in a nice medium pace. Having said that, ideally if your partner is a bit better player who can neutralize your misjudged, shanked or mistimed balls and is able to feed them back to you with consistent pace regardless of your slight spraying, providing it's not too far out of his/her reach. This is the best possible practice and soon you will start feeling the ball similar way, by finding the right rhythm. In higher levels it's all about consistency.
    Good thing about practicing this way is, you can experiment with shots, angles, swings and see what works for you.
  6. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

    Feb 26, 2010
    Fastest way to get there is to find a good coach and take some lessons. Otherwise it can be a long/confusing/frustrating road.
  7. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    Watch this video of Tommy Haas hitting.
    (His hitting has a rythmn to it of seamlessly moving to the ball, coiling/uncoiling, recovering into a balanced split step, retreating to a neutral position, and doing it over and over.)
    Tommy Haas hitting in High Definition http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8wwXxPxzmA

    Does he always come out of split step so that he is moving forward into the court totally balanced?

    Does he always turn his shoulders to the appropriate side (forehand or backhand) as the first thing he is doing out of his split step?

    Does he always finish balanced into a split step?

    Does he always retreat to a neutral position ready to hit the next ball?

    Do his feet ever stop "hopping" around?

    Where does the power come from in a car? Does it come from the wheels and tires?

    Where does the power come from in a tennis player? Does it com from the arm and racquet?

    Or does the power come from the full shoulder and hip turn and leg push off, with the arm and raquet only the end of the kinetic chain?

    Do our shoulder and wrist and racquet mainly serve as the transmission and differential to channel the force from our body engine into the ball?


    Roger Federer Forehand on the APAS System http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPLmCqGIotM

    Does this APAS system video give the sense of understanding a stroke in a three dimensional fashion, especially appreciating the rotational quality of a stroke from the overhead projection?


    Are you in good enough shape to keep hopping (split stepping into each shot), balance as you bend your knees going into your coil, have the leg and core strength to push off and uncoil, finish the stroke into a balanced split step, and get back into a neutral position again and again and again?

    Or do you need to work on doing squats, lunges, sprints, jumping rope, agility drills and medicine ball throws to have the physical ability to maintain the type of rally you want to do?

    Are you willing to work on the sequence of spit step, coil/uncoil hit, recover into split step, retreat to neutral position over and over and over until you develop the muscle memory where it is automatic?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  8. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    Duplicate post edited out. Sorry.
  9. zultekmilennia

    zultekmilennia New User

    Nov 12, 2011
    Simply put? the drive and perseverance to get better. I started out a year ago, and I've already beaten players who played competitively since school (college level here).

    it was hard, that's for sure. For staters, they won't even play with me. I spent the first few months of my tennis life just hitting the wall over and over again.

    Guess I caught the eye of a senior player (our lecturer) and he became my on-and-off sparring partner. He had a very offensive style of tennis, ala Fed (with the K90 ofc, at around 5.0 level >_<), and I was merciless beaten every time we had a match. Then he'd told me what I did wrong and just slowly ease me into the game, one stroke at a time.

    Getting beaten by such a strong player made me toughen up a bit, and helped me improve my game. Off court I'd do some image and form training, to the point that even when working, all I could think about was tennis.

    So, even if you start out late, you can always get better if you go at it. And the most important thing is to enjoy it. Never stress out on how slow you are improving. Find the joy in each shot you hit well, and never dwell on the ones you don't. "I'll get the next one", always say that.

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