"You gotta protect the ball"...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 86golf, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    I heard this phrase about 10 times yesterday during a private from my pro. The context was hitting cross court returns from the deuce side. I guess I should have clarified what exactly was meant by this and since he used the phrase so many times, obviously I'm not protecting the ball well.

    Anyone heard this phrase before or know what it means? My guess is that he was trying to get me to increase my hitting window by keeping my racquet on line longer as I swing up to contact. I have another session this week and will ask for clarification.
     
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  2. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Nope, but coaches have their own sayings or quotes that they use during lessons. You should be asking for clarification right away when you don't fully understand what is being taught.
     
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  3. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    Based on that, alone, I would start looking for a coach who can communincate and make sense, and knows what he's talking about.
     
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  4. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Oh boy.....
     
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  5. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I expect he is using our term in football, where protecting the ball means to do things to make sure you retain control and possession. It will be interesting to see when he clarifies for you!

    If my guess is right, it would make sense that hitting a solid crosscourt ball helps to maintain control and possession (protect the ball)
    via minimizing risks and maintaining good court coverage.
    Hitting Dtl tends to open your court and invite certain coverage risk and risk of missing, with the higher net and shorter court.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
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  6. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    ...probably not a bad suggestion. We'll see how Friday goes. I take responsibility for not asking for clarity, but I kept thinking he was going to follow up with an explanation.
     
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  7. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

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  8. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    Could be, however he was okay with the occasionaly DTL rip. At first I was hitting hard cc and deep and he said that on the CC returns I should aim shorter and more angle. He set up a target at the service line and singles sideline. I had to almost roll it in to get that angle.
     
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  9. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Xct heavy shorter angles can still protect the ball the same or better,
    Notice I never said DEEP,
    so that is not a factor on this.
    Not sure why he didn't mind the dtl shots in a cross court drill,
    but maybe he liked your timing for mixing it up.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Modern tennis is lots of CC shots landing near the service/sideline intersect, and lots of DTL that clear the net with safety while landing short of the baseline, regardless of where it actually lands in depth.
    Can "protect" the ball be the way you set up your backswing just before hitting? Modern forehand also seems to be using both hands to "smother" the hitting area of the incoming ball.
     
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  11. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    Why would you pay a coach and not ask him questions? You should clarify this and any other questions you have with your coach, it will be faster than asking here.

    Although what i think he means, assuming I'm correct on deuce being your right side and your hitting to your left side. Is that you have to have the ball closer to your body when your hitting crosscourt from the deuce side. Assuming your a righty. On the other hand when you hit crosscourt on the ad side the ball is further away from your body, hence your not protecting the ball. (Idk if im correct but thats what my rugby coach always says)
     
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  12. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Good call waiting until you got to the internet to clarify this.
     
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  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Well I'm sure he was pretty busy during the lesson, and as he stated,
    he expected the guy to offer an explanation at any moment.
    He said he would lead with this question at the next lesson.
     
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  14. Tmano

    Tmano Professional

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    What I think he was trying to tell you is to cover more the ball with you body which could be translated not with a full open stance but more close/lateral stance so your opponent can't actually predict your shot.
     
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  15. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I sure hope not, lol.
     
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  16. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

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    I agree
    I like this explanation.
    Makes sense to me.

    Start with a square/closed stance so it looks like you
    are going DTL. You can then open up for the XCourt shot.
    Easy to go closed to open.
    But you almost never see someone going open to closed.

    If you give away your intention on the shot,
    your opponent is more likely to clobber the ball because he
    can anticipate and get to it more often.
    Without DISGUISE, you lose the opportunity to take
    time from your opponent.
    Hiding intention is a bit like protecting someone by hiding them.
    Think of the ball as your friend.

    Very good phrase when you think about it.

    JMHO
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    post 10, see Agassi forehands....
     
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  18. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    So according to posts 14 and 16, if you hit open stance you're being predictable and showing your opponent where you're going to hit the ball? (ie. crosscourt)

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    TBalla...
    Did you see the match where Bud and his bud kept harping on the fact that Verdasco hit his 2hbh groundies with an extremely closed stance, so he couldn't hit sharp CC angles?
    I couldn't believe the comments. But Verdasco, that match, seldom chose to hit short sharp angle CC's.
    Since, he could hit sharp angled CC winners of ANY stance.
    I wonder....
     
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  20. KoaUka

    KoaUka Rookie

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    Perhaps he was watching the niners giants game on his phone?
     
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  21. sabala

    sabala Semi-Pro

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    Busy? What about when they're picking up balls on the court? And why should he have to wait until the following lesson to understand what his coach should have made clear in the first place?

    OP is not gonna have very good practice sessions before his next lesson if he doesn't know what his coach was talking about,(technique, strategy, court coverage...??) - obviously none of us have a clue what he meant either! :confused:

    Sure, he should have asked for clarification but I would place the blame on the teacher in the first place.

    86vw - can you email/call your coach and ask what the heck he meant before you meet up again?
     
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  22. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    OK, fair enough, lol.
     
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  23. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    I posted here to see if this was a common phrase used in teaching. Obviously it isn't and I'll get clarity on the next session.

    ...ummm no. I don't think he was too concerned if I looked predictable. It was more about executing some specific situational shots ie. returning a wide serve, short and wide back or hitting it dtl.

    DING DING DING...we have a winner

    Actually, the more I think about this, 5263 is probably closest in that the context was being served off the court and he wanted me to create a severe angle back or rip DTL. Basically turning defense into offense. His mantra was to control the points and use my shot to predict what the opponent would give me and take control of the ball. He knew in advance that I had become passive returning serves.

    If it doesn't rain Friday, we can put this to bed.
     
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  24. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I was going to suggest the first half of the Saints/Niners game but the timing is wrong.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLd4zOxAguM What am I, some kind of summoner?

    Disclaimer: AT&T sucks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
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  25. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    I'm fairly certain he was instructing you to do this:

    [​IMG]

    -SF
     
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  26. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    ^^^^Shamon
     
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  27. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Was he trying to say "Punish the Ball?"

    Never heard of anyone using the term "protect the ball" as in tennis your "possession" of the ball is usually under a second or two.
     
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  28. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Wear protective undies
     
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  29. Tmano

    Tmano Professional

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    I don't know if it is totally correct but that's what it came to my mind right away. This protect the ball or cover the ball is mainly used when you don't hit FH cross court on the ran. But for example, if you anticipate the cross court shot coming form you opponent or you are already in position ready to hit it back protecting the ball gives you the advantage go down the line without having you opponent reading your shot
     
    #29
  30. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    If your shots lay up, and can be easily attacked, off your returns, the server always has an easier time of it. "You gotta protect the ball.", then means, hit a good enough return so that the server has a hard time dealing with it. When I practice a ton of returns against good opposition (4.5-6.0), they will destroy even a good return, so I am now looking at a winner. It takes an excellent return to "protect" the ball, so that they are on the defense, not you, against good players, but it's only going to come with a ton of returns. Look at pro doubles, and you will see great returns, man handled by the net men, and only truly great returns, go for winners. Truly great returns are what the coach wants to see him hit.

    Defending your contact point is also what he's talking about. Keeping it the same distance arced in front of you, no matter what the incoming shot. Wait for some shots and don't ever let any shot "play" you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
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