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Mercury Rob 08-06-2012 04:39 PM

Information overload
 
Hi everyone, been a while since I last posted but I've been playing loads. I do however have a problem that is really bugging and frustrating me.

On court of late I've found myself hitting and playing but not improving at all, if anything I've gone backwards. I feel like I have too much information in my head as to how I should hit the ball, what my strokes should look like and how the ball should come off of my racket, which racket to use (switching between two constantly) what style of game to play. I feel like I understand a lot about technically how to play the shots move my feet, time the split step, counter an opponents plan etc because ive spent so much time on essential tennis and fyb, looking at their videos and break downs, I could probably recite them if I wanted to!

Has anyone else gone through a similar feeling of just a sort of "identity crisis" on court? Any suggestions? I feel like im just out hitting tennis balls now with no real structure to anything im doing in practice or matches.


Cheers,
Rob

TennisDawg 08-06-2012 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mercury Rob (Post 6787801)
Hi everyone, been a while since I last posted but I've been playing loads. I do however have a problem that is really bugging and frustrating me.

On court of late I've found myself hitting and playing but not improving at all, if anything I've gone backwards. I feel like I have too much information in my head as to how I should hit the ball, what my strokes should look like and how the ball should come off of my racket, which racket to use (switching between two constantly) what style of game to play. I feel like I understand a lot about technically how to play the shots move my feet, time the split step, counter an opponents plan etc because ive spent so much time on essential tennis and fyb, looking at their videos and break downs, I could probably recite them if I wanted to!

Has anyone else gone through a similar feeling of just a sort of "identity crisis" on court? Any suggestions? I feel like im just out hitting tennis balls now with no real structure to anything im doing in practice or matches.


Cheers,
Rob

Sounds like you may want to look at 1 stroke at a time. It's very very tough to learn or re-learn a stroke. If you try and do the whole package it's just too much. I know what you're talkin about. I keep notes on certain ideas or stroke techniques and when I go play a match or practice, I just take one area and tweak a little bit. It's just too hard to focus on everything you should be doing all at once.

Migelowsky 08-06-2012 05:25 PM

Clean up your head, just leave the very basic.

Shoulder turn, Relaxed arm, hit on front, complete follow through
as result of your rotation.

Forget the details, the wrist, buttcap, non dominant arm, all that,
just go to the court and hit targets, without noticing you'll be doing
all that stuff just by instinct. I think we all have this embedded
knowledge on us, if you want to hit harder is natural to make
your swing more horizontal and to put your weight on it, no one
hast to teach you that.

I'm not against all the details and tips on how
to improve technical aspects, but if you are getting
saturated is better to keep things simple.

You say you watch FYB, do the most basic progressions.
Good luck, I think we all have been on this situation.

sportsfan1 08-06-2012 05:40 PM

You may be a little burnt out watching too many instructional videos. But grooved strokes are a result of instructions + practice.

If you try to take everything you watched into a stroke all at the same time, it's gonna slow you down and not work. Even a little bit off in technique can produce deleterious results. It has to be incorporated through practice, repetitions etc. Just my 2 cents..

Mercury Rob 08-07-2012 01:09 AM

Cheers for the advice regarding the strokes. How do I also looking being more settled regarding the way that I want to play the game, my style of play.

I suppose my questions is this, can a playing style be decided on and then working to improve some strokes to suit this playing style, or is it a case of looking at what you are currently comfortable with and playing a style that suits that. And what happens if you dont enjoy the way you currently play?!

user92626 08-07-2012 09:31 PM

OP,

You keep mentioning "styles" but how many different styles do you know/understand? What's your idea of "style"?

LuckyR 08-08-2012 07:20 AM

Not very many details in your post but reading between the lines it sounds like you are at the stage where your stroke mechanics aren't yet automatic. Forget all about style and strategy and get your strokes honed. Add the rest later.

shojun25 08-08-2012 07:57 AM

Read the Inner Game of Tennis by Gallwey. He explains how overthinking about your strokes will stiffen your muscles, which will keep you from playing your best. Also, he discusses on detail about how instead of critically analyzing yourself to improve in whatever you are doing, you should make neutral acknowledgements of strokes in order to keep an unbiased insight of the problem. Anyways, some of his insights might help you out with your problem of over analyzing yourself when you play.

boramiNYC 08-08-2012 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mercury Rob (Post 6787801)
I feel like im just out hitting tennis balls now with no real structure to anything im doing in practice or matches.

Your feeling that there must be some structure is correct. In learning any skill there are structures, organization, and hierarchies that must be understood to really able to learn anything and progress toward mastery. Without this structure it's just merry go round at some point and conclusion of lack of talent. Actually it's lack of know how in learning a skill. It's not just good info and practice and practice. If it were that simple those internet sites would be all you need to become a pro. Not that those sites have really relevant and accurate info in the first place. Either you find out how to really learn a skill or find someone who can guide you. former is difficult but cheap and latter is easier but costly. Up to you how badly you want to get better.

Mercury Rob 08-08-2012 10:34 AM

Thanks again for the suggestions. I'll try to provide a bit more detail as to what I mean

When I'm talking about style and how I would like to play I'm meaning that I am unsure as to what strategy I am trying to use, I keep changing my goals.

In practice on day 1 I'll be hitting higher topspin shots to keep my opponent deep and to get a shorter ball to put away. day 2 and for some reason I'm deciding that I should play first strike tennis and anything remotely short I'm trying to put away or force an error on. Day 3 I've decided that my serve should be flat on all first serves and kick second serves but on day 4 I'm going for a really big kick first serve.

It's preventing me from really settling down on a comfortable strategy and trying to improve within it as I am constantly chopping and changing not only how I'm trying to hit the ball but also how I'm trying to play. I accept that whenever I change something I'm likely to regress before I improve and I'm happy with that but for now I'm stuck in change mode and I'm not allowing my self to settle down with something new and it's affecting my whole game.

Rather than a purely technical thing it feels more mental confusion.

I have the inner game of tennis on audio book and listen to it which is helping but I'm only slowly getting through it. (for anyone thinking about it I would recommend the paper copy as I think the way it is read is like a condescending self help manual and detracts from useful content)


Does this provide more detail?

LuckyR 08-08-2012 11:11 AM

Yes, thanks. I totally wasn't getting what is going on.

You need to make a decision what you are trying to accomplish right now.

1) Either you continue to practice various styles with the goal of developing an all court game and feeling comfortable winning against lots of player types because you are able to change to Plan B and C if things go south with Plan A.

2) Or you decide you want to become a specialist in your Plan A and figure that your excellence with it will overwhelm all opposition regardless of their style.

Naturally this is a gross oversimplification but you do need to decide since you are doing one but worrying about the other.

Mercury Rob 08-08-2012 11:16 AM

So what is the best process for selecting the style? Is it more suitable to choose how you would like to play and aspire to it by working on your strokes or should someone look at their game very objectively and aim to choose a style that suits them for now and look to slowly change it as they improve by further objective analysis?

boramiNYC 08-08-2012 11:25 AM

style is not something one can arbitrarily pick and choose. once technical foundation is strong enough for competition at your level then your understanding of your own physical and mental weaknesses and strengths will reveal what kind of style will maximize your strength against general competition you face. style is more fundamental than a tactic you vary against different opponents. You generally don't have much options in choosing style. You should focus on strengthening your technical foundations on which you can build your day to day game. Knowing what to do in the minutest detail and making them your own and be able to use them reliably are two very different things. the latter part is the real process of learning a skill.

LuckyR 08-08-2012 11:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mercury Rob (Post 6791726)
So what is the best process for selecting the style? Is it more suitable to choose how you would like to play and aspire to it by working on your strokes or should someone look at their game very objectively and aim to choose a style that suits them for now and look to slowly change it as they improve by further objective analysis?

There are as many answers as there are people. In my experience since none of us are doing tennis full time (as a profession) I would go with what suits your personality. I don't know you , but you seem like someone who enjoys analyzing situations and problem solving. If true, I would recommend #1 in my previous post (which is what you are already prepping for).

If you can wrap your mind around the idea that you are going to have various options to play a match, then you can focus on analyzing the other guy and less about your own strokes. This will free you from this "paralysis by overanalysis".

Mercury Rob 08-08-2012 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boramiNYC (Post 6791743)
style is not something one can arbitrarily pick and choose. once technical foundation is strong enough for competition at your level then your understanding of your own physical and mental weaknesses and strengths will reveal what kind of style will maximize your strength against general competition you face. style is more fundamental than a tactic you vary against different opponents. You generally don't have much options in choosing style. You should focus on strengthening your technical foundations on which you can build your day to day game. Knowing what to do in the minutest detail and making them your own and be able to use them reliably are two very different things. the latter part is the real process of learning a skill.

I understand what you mean however I can still improve and look towards playing a style and strategy that perhaps I cannot quite do yet. For instance I struggle to put away volleys that are not very straight forward and I do not enjoy playing a serve and volley style so I do not want to aim for that.

However I do enjoy moving my opponent side to side from the baseline to open up a short ball. I can get very good angles from my forehand but my less so from my backhand. So as my game stands today this is perhaps not the best way for me to try and play. But it would still be possible to play this way whilst focusing on improving my backhand to allow me to full fill this strategy.

Or I could play to what I can currently do, look at ways of forcing the ball to come to my forehand side as often as possible and minimise the backhand shots to primarily defensive shots. Once I am proficient in this I could then look to improve my backhand to open up more possibilities.

Does that make my question clearer?

(it is amazing how much clearer the problem is in my own head simple from trying to write it down!)

Mercury Rob 08-08-2012 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LuckyR (Post 6791795)
There are as many answers as there are people. In my experience since none of us are doing tennis full time (as a profession) I would go with what suits your personality. I don't know you , but you seem like someone who enjoys analyzing situations and problem solving. If true, I would recommend #1 in my previous post (which is what you are already prepping for).

If you can wrap your mind around the idea that you are going to have various options to play a match, then you can focus on analyzing the other guy and less about your own strokes. This will free you from this "paralysis by overanalysis".

This makes a lot of sense to me, thanks.

I would agree with your rather freakishly close analysis of me, but Im actually thinking i towards number 2 of that list. Perhaps I'm over analysing too much and this is why I'm chopping and changing and getting frustrated.

sureshs 08-08-2012 12:21 PM

Interesting thread. During the Olympics women's diving, a US diver was asked what the coach told her between two dives. He told her one thing she could do better and just that. Focus on improving one thing only at a time.

LuckyR 08-08-2012 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mercury Rob (Post 6791862)
This makes a lot of sense to me, thanks.

I would agree with your rather freakishly close analysis of me, but Im actually thinking i towards number 2 of that list. Perhaps I'm over analysing too much and this is why I'm chopping and changing and getting frustrated.

If you want to do #2, that is develop your Plan A, what is your preferred style (of the many you practice)?

Mercury Rob 08-08-2012 03:51 PM

This is where I think I need to spend time off court and nail it down. The game I would like to play that I also feel is achievable for me is to be using my strong flat body serve to open up short balls early and work on my kick serve as just now it kicks, but not high enough and so can be gobbled up.

In other points I open up loads of court with my forehand but fail to convert the opportunities on my backhand side when the ball comes to me with no pace so I need to improve my backhand technique to allow me to run players around from the back of the court and not leave this big neutralise target on my backhand wing.

My simplified game plan should be to do anything to get a shorter or slow chest high ball from my opponent that I can put it away with my forehand. I suppose the next step is to work how for me how to get those replies!

LuckyR 08-08-2012 04:54 PM

Sounds like the standard Power Baseliner game that everyone under age 35 is doing nowadays. Makes a lot of sense. Sounds like you will do well.

Good luck.


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