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-   -   Finding my strokes after 20 years. Stroke video inside (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=430395)

Greg G 07-01-2012 08:18 PM

Finding my strokes after 20 years. Stroke video inside
 
Getting back into tennis after about 20 years of inactivity. I used to play almost daily as a junior, and won the occasional club tournament. Stopped playing from college onwards (maybe once a year casual hitting, with a few months semi serious play in 2001 while I was in Hawaii for half a year)...fast forward 20 years, and enrolling my son in a summer tennis camp has reignited my desire to play.

Surprisingly, the groundstrokes are still there after all this time. The footwork...not so much, and the tennis brain needs a lot of work. Thinking too much in match play situations!

Anyway, I did take video. Please feel free to comment and point out any areas of improvement. Still using my old Yonex RQ1500 long. This is after 2 weeks and ~ 6 hour long hitting sessions. "Smart targets" placed in opposite court.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMZCIVDZTx4

5263 07-01-2012 08:32 PM

Looking pretty good out there and glad to see you using the "Smart Targets".
On that Fh it looks like you are muscling the racket head out there a bit instead
of pulling or dragging it more "up and across" and leaving it laid back longer.
give that a try and see how it feels.

Greg G 07-01-2012 09:41 PM

Thanks! The forehand side has been more of a problem for me, the backhand seems to have come back straight away. I find myself saying 'turn step hit' when hitting forehands, in contrast to the backhand where I don't think about it at all. I also find myself getting caught with a late contact on that side.

Will work on leaving it laid back longer, and report back. :)

Limpinhitter 07-02-2012 04:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6682515)
Getting back into tennis after about 20 years of inactivity. I used to play almost daily as a junior, and won the occasional club tournament. Stopped playing from college onwards (maybe once a year casual hitting, with a few months semi serious play in 2001 while I was in Hawaii for half a year)...fast forward 20 years, and enrolling my son in a summer tennis camp has reignited my desire to play.

Surprisingly, the groundstrokes are still there after all this time. The footwork...not so much, and the tennis brain needs a lot of work. Thinking too much in match play situations!

Anyway, I did take video. Please feel free to comment and point out any areas of improvement. Still using my old Yonex RQ1500 long. This is after 2 weeks and ~ 6 hour long hitting sessions. "Smart targets" placed in opposite court.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMZCIVDZTx4

Nice looking strokes. A wider, lower stance on both sides, and a consistent open stance on your forehand will help. Notice how sometimes your right foot kicks to the left on your forehand. You are, correctly, trying to transfer your weight from right to left, but, your stance doesn't allow it when it is either too high, narrow, not sufficiently open, or all of the above.

I would also suggest that you employ more unit turn (back and forth), on both sides and less independent arm swing. You are swinging too much with your arm independent of upper body rotation. A lower, wider stance will help facilitate that as well.

PS: This is an excellent short lesson on the modern forehand. He doesn't explain everything he's doing in such a short time, but, what he doesn't explain, he demonstrates very well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=EMNtq393tvo

mightyrick 07-02-2012 05:40 AM

OP, this looks really good. You are a pretty flat hitter and I can tell that you really know how to hit. One thing I noticed is that you (properly) alter your swing tempo depending on the height of the ball. One a few of those low ones, you CRUSH them in order to get the height necessary to clear the net. Excellent job. Backhand is excellent also.

Footwork is a little sloppy and slow, though. Sometimes you split step, sometimes not. Sometimes you walking step into the ball. Doesn't bother me too much... it happens when we get old and big. :-)

5263 07-02-2012 05:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6682686)
Thanks! The forehand side has been more of a problem for me, the backhand seems to have come back straight away. I find myself saying 'turn step hit' when hitting forehands, in contrast to the backhand where I don't think about it at all. I also find myself getting caught with a late contact on that side.

Will work on leaving it laid back longer, and report back. :)

Very interesting, because I almost commented on how you kept the racket laid back better on the Bh in my first post.
Also make sure you don't use your comfy Bh contact point for your Fh (i think
the mind likes the symmetry and tries to do this) as it will make your Fh
contact a bit too late and cramped.

Limpinhitter 07-02-2012 06:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5263 (Post 6683724)
Very interesting, because I almost commented on how you kept the racket laid back better on the Bh in my first post.
Also make sure you don't use your comfy Bh contact point for your Fh (i think
the mind likes the symmetry and tries to do this) as it will make your Fh
contact a bit too late and cramped.

The lack of symmetry in the groundstrokes is the major flaw in old school tennis instruction which presumes symmetry. The 2hb increases symmetry to a point. But, the bottom line is that if you set up on your forehand the way you do on your backhand you will be swinging from the back shoulder which impairs your angular momentum, follow through, finish, balance and recovery.

5263 07-02-2012 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Limpinhitter (Post 6683869)
The 2hb increases symmetry to a point. But, the bottom line is that if you set up on your forehand the way you do on your backhand you will be swinging from the back shoulder which impairs your angular momentum, follow through, finish, balance and recovery.

Yes, I think a big key is realizing how each stroke has it's own distinct contact point, and not just to use the same general area on each side.

Greg G 07-02-2012 04:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mightyrick (Post 6683632)
OP, this looks really good.

Thanks!

Quote:

Originally Posted by mightyrick (Post 6683632)
Footwork is a little sloppy and slow, though. Sometimes you split step, sometimes not. Sometimes you walking step into the ball. Doesn't bother me too much... it happens when we get old and big. :-)

I know! I thought it wasn't too bad when I was on the court. I was surprised my footwork looked so bad on video :oops: Already incorporated agility ladder drills in my gym routine. It's slowly improving-- the first time out, I was almost flatfooted, lumbering around the court. :|

@5263 and Limpinhitter:
Thanks! I'll have to pay attention to the forehand contact point.

Am still gathering serve videos, this is the stroke with the most rust. Kinetic chain is all messed up :P

LeeD 07-02-2012 05:02 PM

Good hitting, a hybrid between '80's more direct strokes and the more modern loopy stuff of today.
You should fit right in at the top of 3.5 thru 4.0 level tennis. Only fitness and speed keeps you out of 4.5 today.

Greg G 07-04-2012 06:37 PM

OK new video uploaded. I'm trying to keep a wider base and make contact with the forehand earlier. Getting mixed success- still getting caught late and I think I'm still muscling the ball at times. When I do go up and across the ball, I seem to be hitting at a lower trajectory over the net. Please do point out where I can improve, thanks! :)

Added some video of me at the net as well. Camera ran out of battery just when I was gonna take serve video..but the overheads may give you a preview of my issues with the serve kinetic chain. :-?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShC7gjH49BA

Limpinhitter 07-04-2012 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6693429)
OK new video uploaded. I'm trying to keep a wider base and make contact with the forehand earlier. Getting mixed success- still getting caught late and I think I'm still muscling the ball at times. When I do go up and across the ball, I seem to be hitting at a lower trajectory over the net. Please do point out where I can improve, thanks! :)

Added some video of me at the net as well. Camera ran out of battery just when I was gonna take serve video..but the overheads may give you a preview of my issues with the serve kinetic chain. :-?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShC7gjH49BA

One of the problems with giving advice is when the person who asked for it doesn't believe the advice is correct. Apparently, you didn't believe me the first time, because you haven't done anything I suggested. But, I'm a persistent fellow, so I'll try again.

- Consistently set up with a wide, low, OPEN STANCE. Not a neutral stance, not a closed stance.
- With the left hand on the throat of the racquet, right wrist laid back, and elbow IN and FORWARD (ie: against your body and in front of your pocket), turn your upper body until your chest is facing about 4:00 O'Clock from above. The racquet head should be straight up and the face of the racquet also pointing to about 4:00 O'Clock. Your stance is still wide, low and open, and your weight is primarily on your right foot with the toes of both feet facing the right fence.
- At this point you have completed your turn and your arm hasn't moved.
- Let go of the throat of the racquet with your left hand and begin rotating your right hip toward the target. The racquet head drops back. The hips pull the shoulders which pull the arm and racquet through the shot.
- As you rotate, lead with your elbow and butt of the racquet (VERY IMPORTANT). Swing up and make contact at least 2 feet in front of your right foot.
- Your weight begins to transfer from your right foot to your left foot, which is from right to left, not back to front, because you are still in a wide, low OPEN STANCE.
- At contact your left elbow moves up and away initiating the WW finish.
- As you continue turning, the racquet moves across the body and you turn until your chest is facing about 9:00 O'Clock and the racquet head is down near your left hip. Your feet have pivoted so that the toes of both feet are now facing the left side fence.

Did you check out this lesson? You could do worse than to immitate this guy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=EMNtq393tvo

Greg G 07-04-2012 07:31 PM

Sorry! I do believe you... I guess it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks! I did have the tips in my head, I guess my body vetoed them :shock: Do bear with me :)

I do watch that video quite a bit. Will shadow stroke this first, away from the court. I think once I'm on the court, old instincts take over. :|

Limpinhitter 07-04-2012 07:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6693555)
Sorry! I do believe you... I guess it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks! I did have the tips in my head, I guess my body vetoed them :shock: Do bear with me :)

I do watch that video quite a bit. Will shadow stroke this first, away from the court. I think once I'm on the court, old instincts take over. :|

To be fair, you can't consciously think about all these changes at once. I would suggest two things to start:

(1) wide, low, open stance every time,
(2) keep your elbow in and forward from the very beginning of your takeback (keeps you from swinging indepenently with your arm), and lead with your elbow on the forward swing.

If you focus on these changes, many of the other details will happen automatically.

One more thing, keep your grip loose throughout your swing, including contact. A loose grip increases power and clean ball striking because firming the grip at contact (old school), slows the racquet head down and alters the path of the racquet head.

Greg G 07-04-2012 07:49 PM

Thanks for the step by step description. Just shadow stroking in my room, it does feel very different! Will give this a try next time out.

Limpinhitter 07-04-2012 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6693593)
Thanks for the step by step description. Just shadow stroking in my room, it does feel very different! Will give this a try next time out.

Remember, swing with your body, not your arm.

Limpinhitter 07-05-2012 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6693593)
Thanks for the step by step description. Just shadow stroking in my room, it does feel very different! Will give this a try next time out.

I've been thinking about the most effective way for you to get your forehand working. I'm going to amend the 2 steps above with the following three steps. I think this will work well for you. Don't expect it to feel natural right away. You are forging new neural connections, which isn't so easy past the age of 15.

(1) Wide, low, open stance.
(2) Keep elbow in and forward on backswing and forward swing up to contact, and at contact move elbow up and out.
(3) Turn until your chest is facing (or past) the right side fence on the backswing, and facing the left side fence on the finish. That's a 180, or more, turn.

Check out Djokovic's forehand - open stance, elbow, 180+ degrees of rotation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK2oOyqLSUQ

Greg G 07-06-2012 01:39 AM

You're right, it does take a while to unlearn stuff you're so used to doing. It's easy to fall back into old habits. Anyway here's the video of my attempt at modernizing my forehand. Spent an hour working on it, and the first 10 minutes I was shanking it like crazy! You'll probably observe how unconfortable I am at the start. It did get better, as you (hopefully) will see in the video. I think I'm still using too much arm. And I think I need to be looser in general.

What surprised me was how bloody painful the quadriceps on my right leg got after an hour! I suppose that's good right? I also noticed that if I got lazy with the pushoff from the right leg, i would tend to net the ball.

When hit correctly though-- the ball had some action on it! Sometimes I stopped playing the point because I thought it was going out, only for the ball to dive down and hit the line! Looks promising. Again, do tell me what to focus on. Thanks!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqgjKu36gQY

Here I am trying to use it in a set:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6aT_bGnjYI

Now that this is turning into a forehand thread, should I start a separate thread for my serve? Something is wrong with how my right leg/hip comes through :oops:

Limpinhitter 07-06-2012 02:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6697035)
You're right, it does take a while to unlearn stuff you're so used to doing. It's easy to fall back into old habits. Anyway here's the video of my attempt at modernizing my forehand. Spent an hour working on it, and the first 10 minutes I was shanking it like crazy! You'll probably observe how unconfortable I am at the start. It did get better, as you (hopefully) will see in the video. I think I'm still using too much arm. And I think I need to be looser in general.

What surprised me was how bloody painful the quadriceps on my right leg got after an hour! I suppose that's good right? I also noticed that if I got lazy with the pushoff from the right leg, i would tend to net the ball.

When hit correctly though-- the ball had some action on it! Sometimes I stopped playing the point because I thought it was going out, only for the ball to dive down and hit the line! Looks promising. Again, do tell me what to focus on. Thanks!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqgjKu36gQY

Here I am trying to use it in a set:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6aT_bGnjYI

Now that this is turning into a forehand thread, should I start a separate thread for my serve? Something is wrong with how my right leg/hip comes through :oops:

Better! You are turning better both ways. Keep it up. I also noticed that your takeback with your left hand on the throat has had the beneficial effect of flattening out your backswing a bit. It was too high before. That hurts your timing, especially on deep balls. Yes, a modern forehand is based on push off from the right leg to the left leg, which is right to left with an open stance, and, it generates more topspin so you have to aim higher to get the ball deep into the court. (Do lunges for leg strenght).

Now, as you supsect, it seems that you still have a bit of a death grip on the racquet, especially at contact. You need to keep a LOOSE grip through the entire swing, including contact. Do not tighten up at contact. A loose grip increases power and clean ball striking because a tight grip slows racquet head speed and deviates your swing path causing mis-hits. A loose grip will also promote a more modern WW finish - with the hitting face of the racquet facing the target as your eblow moves up and out, until your chest turns past the target line, and then down to your left hip. I think your tight grip and arm is choking that off.

So, now you've got 4 things to think about:
- Open stance
- turn at least 180 degrees from right fence to left fence.
- elbow in and forward to contact, then up and out
- loose and relaxed arm and grip.

The feeling you get when you hit the ball with a leading elbow and a loose grip is going to be amazing.

Greg G 07-06-2012 02:56 AM

Yeah I saw the Djokovic video after the hit. Now that is LOOSE! I think my torso is a bit tight too. At least I'm going in the right direction now.

is the stance low enough? I find my legs on the follow through a bit weird- both straight sometimes. Can't be right..?

My footwork still gets a bit confused on wide/short balls, but I suppose I'll adjust over time. Thanks! :D


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