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5263 02-11-2012 01:42 PM

Practice for Smarter Targets
 
There as been a lot of discussion on here about depth vs angles, along with many aspects on this topic. We all know that Depth Control is a huge Key to great tennis, but how deep? The discussions have been difficult due to various definitions each individual seems to hold on their idea of great depth (extreme depth), so for this thread, we will reference the definition found in a couple instructional books ....."the back 3 ft of the court" to the baseline, as well as often seen in instruction and diagrams. Hi Tech Tennis recommends to hit at least within 5ft of the baseline.

But more than 5ft away from the BL, then you will be in the group that agrees that Moderate depth can be useful and even more desirable when it comes to what is optimal for rally shots and mid ct ball attack attempts for this discussion.

Now please understand, I'm not agreeing with the idea of "Extreme depth" defined above, but just providing a definition for a frame of reference on how this has been taught thru the years. I think even most Touring Pros miss too much when going for the great or extreme depth within
4-5 feet of the BL But many rec players are shooting for the back foot of the court!

I'm in the camp that believes in hitting "well short of the BL" or for a more moderate depth.
The idea is that shots will land in or near the triangles of course, but more to the point, the deep cone marks your target line from where your shot is contacted, as well as the max depth we will hit for. We will often hit slightly deeper than the deep cone due to catching the ball strong and aggressive, but that is the purpose of the margins of error built into the triangle. The 2 short cones mark an area that we generally seek to pass....and form a gate if you will, to hit into the triangle or slightly beyond, and are on the shorter side of things to account for times when we are in position to go for sharper angles. As a general idea, we should hit more for the deep cone when looking to work the court more vertically as we do with RALLY Shots, and hit closer to the shorter cone section of the triangle when looking to work our shots for more width as we do with mid court attack shots.

Quote:

Originally Posted by slowfox (Post 6835897)
Hey 5263: Based on your specs, this is a scale image I made. Look okay?

Blue = Smart Targets
Red = Avoid Area



5263 02-11-2012 02:11 PM

The basic idea of this using the proposed triangle target is to improve
consistency of shot making without giving up any ability to place a
challenge on our opponents. My charting has proved to me that even
in the pros, they rarely hit in the back 3ft or so of the court, and
when they do, it may quite well be unintended to an extent. Even
though they rarely hit this deep, they clearly find ways to put heavy
demands on their opponents.

What we have found using these targets was a small surprise for us.
I had expected that using more conservative depth and targets might
well let us hit stronger, but the extent of it was still surprising,
especially to some of the college players I shared this with. They found
this target system allowed them to swing much more freely, gaining
extra pace and spin
. They also are surprised how quickly this style of
play tends to get them a short ball to attack. When attacking short balls,
they find they can execute aggressively at a much higher consistency,
which results in far few UEs and more attacks converted to points won. This was especially important as it was the goal of this project to begin with...and based on the idea that 2 well matched opponents will win or lose primarily based on how efficient and effective they are dealing with short balls and mid ct attack opportunities.

I refer to hitting less than extreme depth as "hitting shorter" or "ideal target depth" opposed to saying hit short.
But, to hit short would mean to hit shorter than our target or "ideal depth". Ideal depth would be to hit shorter than "extreme depth", which has also been considered great depth.
Writing this gives me even more insight how confusing these definitions can be and hard for readers to keep it all straight.

For Smart Targets in my instruction,
I like to use 3 cones on each side of the court, that form a triangle on each the deuce and ad side. The 1st cone about 11 ft past the svc line which is 2 ft past the half way pt of svc line to BL. That puts the cones about 7 ft from the BL and about 18 inches from the sideline. This is our deep cone.

For the short cone I also use 18 inches from sideline, with this one being 2 feet inside the svc line.

For the cross ct cone I use a line from the deep cone which goes across the net to the deepest doubles corner cross ct. On that imaginary line the xct cone goes approximately 3ft past the svc line.

These 3 cones form a triangle shaped target zone, one on the deuce then another on the ad side. These 2 triangle targets will work well for most all shots from dtl to well cross court. There will definitely be several exceptions we can use from using these targets, but these 2 targets will work well for a vast majority of rally and mid-short ball attacks. Defining smart exceptions will be great to discuss in this thread.

5263 02-11-2012 02:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmnk (Post 6303689)
i've posted this before. This hitting close to the baseline thing is a myth.

Man, I need your skills. Not only does this make things clear that less than 10% are real deep, but you could move that line twice as far from the BL and still have a large majority of balls (80-85%) falling short of it.

But most will have you believe the pros hit so deep and you should too; and that
if you don't bang it deep the 4.0 and 4.5 will crush most of them for winners or the like.

Also realize this pic does not show the many misses long when they went for too much depth.

BU-Tennis 02-11-2012 05:51 PM

Ok, redrew it, you can see the triangles


I definitely understand more after the clarificaiton, and interesting enough, the vast majority of djokovics shots are in those two triangles. It definitely is more interesting to think about than the old adage of "hit deep"

I think a major problem i have struggled with myself is I haven't focused on hitting to zones, or smart targets as you refer to them (which I like). And the next time i'm on the court I will definitely be thinking about these and focusing on hitting into these zones when i am in an attacking position.

5263 02-11-2012 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BU-Tennis (Post 6320635)
the green zones would be the optimum place to hit crosscourt shots.

Hopefully I understood the instructions correctly.

Man you did a bang up job and I sure wish I was better with these kinds of skills.

thanks

AND...
Quote:

Originally Posted by Spin Doctor (Post 8101216)
I would love to know why every single pro I have used has emphasized hitting deep as the primary objective with a rally ball, almost to the exclusion of anything else (ie. angles, spin etc.). Why do they keep setting up targets 2 feet from the baseline and expect me to hit it? Incompetent wankers!!

I so appreciate you posting this. You would not believe how many posters have denied this happens.

SFrazeur 02-11-2012 06:50 PM

Myself I have always thought of a triangle over the court. So I agree with it through my experience. However there are two things:

1) The data window here is too narrow. It's needs to be tracked with more than one pro player over a longer period of time.

2) Does this information apply to recreational players?

Pros hit with a level of pace and spin that will certainly make a shorter ball penetrate more deeply in the court (Pseudo Deep) than recreational players can generate.

-SF

5263 02-11-2012 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SFrazeur (Post 6320710)
Myself I have always thought of a triangle over the court. So I agree with it through my experience. However there are two things:

1) The data window here is too narrow. It's needs to be tracked with more than one pro player over a longer period of time.

2) Does this information apply to recreational players?

Pros hit with a level of pace and spin that will certainly make a shorter ball penetrate more deeply in the court (Pseudo Deep) than recreational players can generate.

-SF

Still working on getting the right target triangles on the pic, but

#1) I've done charting with this over the last couple of years. That diagram is pretty typical for shot placements.

#2) Even more so with rec players IMO.

Yes, Pros hit with more pace, but they also cut off balls better and attack short balls unbelievably better, so this will favor rec players even more, so yes pros hits stronger but also attack better. Charting shows rec players tend to lose more points trying to attack shot balls than they make. Few rec players attack worth a darn and that is part of why pushers often beat all but the best players. Rec player hit weaker, but attack poorer too, so it washes out for the most part.

Several important points come up on this.
1. learning this target system will help you hit stronger since the margin of error is better. This more than makes up for hitting closer to the lines to win points.
2.Learning this will help you to be a better attacker in 2 major ways
a) learning this helps you to learn more about what balls are truly attackable vs what balls are just sort of short but still dangerous.
b)using smarter targets on truly attackable balls will give you more margin, but still keep things challenging for your opponents.

3rd point relates to a post I made in another thread about when you play someone far better than you. Many if not most rec matches have quite a disparity in skill, even if they are rated the same. Even if scores are sort of close, often one player is in control and can get the point on demand, especially if he falls behind. This better player can be aggressive and loose, but pull out points when he really needs to, keeping the score under control. We can't let these matches teach us the wrong lessons. Much more is learned about strategy and shot placement by looking at well matched sets where it's more of a coin toss. This is where we can learn what works under pressure.

There is little strategy that will help you or even a pro when solidly over matched. This strategy does give you the absolute best chance to win though, because making your shots is the only thing you can do to have a chance. Using targets that give you best chance to hit them, while still providing a challenge to the opponent are your only chance for success.

tlm 02-11-2012 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SFrazeur (Post 6320710)
Myself I have always thought of a triangle over the court. So I agree with it through my experience. However there are two things:

1) The data window here is too narrow. It's needs to be tracked with more than one pro player over a longer period of time.

2) Does this information apply to recreational players?

Pros hit with a level of pace and spin that will certainly make a shorter ball penetrate more deeply in the court (Pseudo Deep) than recreational players can generate.

-SF


If you pay attention when watching ATP matches that shot chart that is shown will be very consistent with most of the players on tour. Another chart was shown on Federer from the AO and it showed the same thing.

Yes i think that it apply's to rec players also, but you do need to have some decent pace and spin on the ball. You don't want to hit short weak balls consistently, that would be asking for trouble.

tlm 02-11-2012 07:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5263 (Post 6320266)
The basic idea of this using the proposed triangle target is to improve
consistency of shot making without giving up any ability to place a
challenge on our opponents. My charting has proved to me that even
in the pros, they rarely hit in the back 3ft or so of the court, and
when they do, it may quite well be unintended to an extent. Even
though they rarely hit this deep, they clearly find ways to put heavy
demands on their opponents.

What we have found using these targets was a small surprise for us.
I had expected that using more conservative depth and targets might
well let us hit stronger, but the extent of it was still surprising,
especially to some of the college players I shared this with. They found
this target system allowed them to swing much more freely, gaining
extra pace and spin. They also are surprised how quickly this style of
play tends to get them a short ball to attack. When attacking short balls,
they find they can execute aggressively at a much higher consistency,
which results in far few UEs and more attacks converted to points won.


Excellent points here 5263, this is to me is the bread and butter of the matter. By not hitting so deep it actually lets you swing faster and more freely, which in turn gives you more spin and pace. When you are not so concerned with your shot going to deep you can let it rip.

Also like you mention when they do get the ball to attack they will convert a much higher % into winners. That is something a lot of people don't understand when you get the attackable ball it is usually not necessary to hit it deep. Many times it is the exact opposite were it is better to hit a sharper angle for the winner as opposed to going deep.

And by practicing the way you are describing will get this ingrained into the player and really improve their game. I don't know how many times i have gotten the sitter i wanted and then made a error because i hit the ball just a little long when there was no reason to have put anywhere near that depth on that shot. Then you look at all the open court you had and think why in the hell did i even hit that ball even close to the baseline.

5263 02-11-2012 08:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tlm (Post 6320773)
Excellent points here 5263, this is to me is the bread and butter of the matter. By not hitting so deep it actually lets you swing faster and more freely, which in turn gives you more spin and pace. When you are not so concerned with your shot going to deep you can let it rip.

Thanks tlm,


I appreciate how you understand the important points on this and are able to help me put into words to share with others who might have an interest here.

SFrazeur 02-11-2012 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tlm (Post 6320749)
If you pay attention when watching ATP matches that shot chart that is shown will be very consistent with most of the players on tour. Another chart was shown on Federer from the AO and it showed the same thing.

Yes i think that it apply's to rec players also, but you do need to have some decent pace and spin on the ball. You don't want to hit short weak balls consistently, that would be asking for trouble.

I do not disagree per say. However, a person's recollection is not scientific evidence. As well, taking one or two examples is not proof.

-SF

tlm 02-11-2012 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5263 (Post 6320798)
Thanks tlm,
I've got a pic with the Smart Targets roughed in, but have not worked out how to get it inserted yet. I guess you have to have it stored to a url first?

But, I appreciate how you understand the important points on this and are able to help me put into words to share with others who might have an interest here.


Believe me i understand them, but i wish i could execute them as well as i understand them. I need to do some drilling with targets like you are doing, this seems like a great method of getting it to become second nature.

Sometimes i can get in the groove really well and other times i am either hitting to short or hitting to deep and making to many errors.

You mentioned that against many rec players that they don't attack even short weak balls very well, which can be true. But against some of my opponents they attack them pretty good and i will pay for those shots.

But some of these player are definitely above my level, so i guess it should be no surprise. I think because they are better than me that they force more weak short balls out of me because they take my time away with their shots.

Which in turn lets them take over the point and does not work out good for me. But you are right against many players i can get away with some weak short balls because they can't attack them very well anyway, but it can let a net rusher into the court to allow a good approach shot.

BU-Tennis 02-11-2012 08:17 PM

I believe the OP was suggesting these targets for when you are in an attacking position. So he's not suggesting you hit a floater within the service line and expect it to be a forceful shot.

Nadal hits so many shots landing inside the service line but with the spin it still forces his opponents to stay back and doesn't allow them to attack. However, we cannot hit with that amount of spin, so our shots won't be as penetrating, and some people get scared and thinks that means they have to hit deeper, which isn't true. We can't hit like Nadal and neither can our opponents

tlm 02-11-2012 08:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SFrazeur (Post 6320806)
I do not disagree per say. However, a person's recollection is not scientific evidence. As well, taking one or two examples is not proof.

-SF

Okay then i am sure if you research this enough you will find what you are looking for. I just have noticed over the years of watching tennis that the pro men players do not hit near as deep as often as a lot of people think they do.

5263 02-11-2012 09:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tlm (Post 6320825)
Okay then i am sure if you research this enough you will find what you are looking for. I just have noticed over the years of watching tennis that the pro men players do not hit near as deep as often as a lot of people think they do.

I've been studying this for a few years now and have never seen one of those diagrams showing many shots near the lines or consistently with that extreme depth. I actually think this one has more near the sidelines than most I've seen and DJ is one of the deeper hitters even though he has pulled back a bit from the lines over the last yr and a half.
We only collect evidence, but there is no proof because the game is a moving target in that respect. Always changing and evolving to an extent.

5263 02-11-2012 09:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BU-Tennis (Post 6320635)
Ok, redrew it, you can see the triangles, but i still left the cross bars connecting the short and deep balls just to facilitate the viewer to help see the proper depths you described.


I definitely understand more after the clarificaiton, and interesting enough, the vast majority of djokovics shots are in those two triangles. It definitely is more interesting to think about than the old adage of "hit deep"

I think a major problem i have struggled with myself is I haven't focused on hitting to zones, or smart targets as you refer to them (which I like). And the next time i'm on the court I will definitely be thinking about these and focusing on hitting into these zones when i am in an attacking position.

What a super job there BU! Thanks, I really appreciate the work.

I bet you can see while most shots do fall in the target zone, that most of the rest could be seen as the result of going for the targets and just missing. The idea with these targets is to give a reference more than to actually hit them. They provide a reference that helps to guide your intent in a way that allows you to be aggressive, but not reckless.

One question. How did you figure the scale? Do you think the side of the triangle by the doubles ally should be a bit closer? Not complaining, but just wondering cause that side margin on the target looks just a little to big, about like the line for the back 3ft. Really is not important due to explanation above about how to use the target though.

5263 02-11-2012 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BU-Tennis (Post 6320817)
I believe the OP was suggesting these targets for when you are in an attacking position. So he's not suggesting you hit a floater within the service line and expect it to be a forceful shot.

Nadal hits so many shots landing inside the service line but with the spin it still forces his opponents to stay back and doesn't allow them to attack. However, we cannot hit with that amount of spin, so our shots won't be as penetrating, and some people get scared and thinks that means they have to hit deeper, which isn't true. We can't hit like Nadal and neither can our opponents

Excellent post here. I'm pretty sure tlm knows I was not suggesting to hit any short floaters, but you still did a nice job of making several points here, especially that last one.

Even though I don't recommend short floaters, I rather leave one of them than miss in most cases...especially from 2.5-4.0, since they are about as likely to miss the attack as to make it on avg. A ball in the court always gives us one more chance and that can't be underestimated in this game of errors.

One place I really hate to leave a floater though... and that is to the center T area. Allows them to use their better wing and go to the side or area they feel is their best option. Gives them lots of free confidence and tends to crush yours if you do that too much.

5263 02-11-2012 10:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SFrazeur (Post 6320710)
Myself I have always thought of a triangle over the court. So I agree with it through my experience. However there are two things:

-SF

Do the revised Smart Target triangles still work for you. They are quite different from when you first posted and may still get a slight revision yet.

5263 02-11-2012 11:04 PM

Another reference on what is considered great depth. While they don't come out and define the depth they are emphasizing in the newest Tennis Magazine, they do mention how effective they feel it is when the serve is returned within inches of the baseline. That is well inside the 3ft definition we are using here as extreme depth. I say by all means try to hit for this kind of depth if you want to miss about half your returns long.

sureshs 02-12-2012 08:36 AM

Deep means beyond the service line. It is clear that Djokovic hits deep.


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