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-   -   Overhitting: What I learned from watching the pros at the US Open (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=438284)

TimeToPlaySets 09-01-2012 03:25 PM

Overhitting: What I learned from watching the pros at the US Open
 
I just got back into tennis a few weeks ago. 3.5
When I am "on", I have a strong forehand and backhand.
I can look impressive.

The first week, I played a 25 year old and lost. 6-4 6-2
Why? B/c I was trying to kill it and made tons of unforced errors.
I was trying to crush winners all the time. One speed. 100%.
Like when you only rally for years on end, and never play sets.
Blasting return of serves sometimes into the fence!

He kept it in play, and let me make all the mistakes. Noted.

This week, I watched the pros.
They know when to NOT go for it.
I also forgot how useful the slice is.
This is another reason rallying ruins your game.
You never slice when rallying.
You will never win if you keep smashing the ball out, no matter how "pro" you look.

So, I dialed it back in a huge way today.
I popped the serves back. Or sliced them back.
I reduced my unforced errors by a factor of "shitload".
I sliced back many groundstrokes that were not in the sweet spot.
I waited to unload when the ball was in my sweet spot.

Result?
This time, I won.
6-1 6-4
He was ****ed.

This was a huge step forward in my game.
There is a balance in playing too aggressively and playing like a pusssy.
Today, I erred on the latter, and will find the right balance.
But, if you are keeping score and want to win, you need to keep it in play,
and not try to hit winners on low percentage shots.

Metalica 09-01-2012 04:10 PM

That sounds exactly like me so perhaps I should do as you say. I'm under the impression that if you play too timidly in sets, you would never improve. I suppose I'll still go for it in practice but be more patient in matches.

chrisberchris 09-01-2012 04:31 PM

Just be careful not to form habits that could harm you in the future.

TimeToPlaySets 09-01-2012 05:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Metalica (Post 6855540)
That sounds exactly like me so perhaps I should do as you say. I'm under the impression that if you play too timidly in sets, you would never improve. I suppose I'll still go for it in practice but be more patient in matches.

As a teen, I used to play too timidly.
Hit hard during warm up, then once we kept score, I backed off big time.
I'd start tapping it back, not wanting to make an error.

However, years later, I was on the other extreme. All I did was rally, so I learned to go for it all the time. I was also trying NOT to be too timid, b/c I wanted to get BETTER.

However, the moral here is, do not be on either extreme. Pros don't hit like wimps, yet they do not smash the crap out of the ball on every shot either. There is a middle road that will maximize your points.

Like I said, today I backed down, and I killed him.
The score speaks for itself.

Xizel 09-01-2012 07:09 PM

There are also certain shots that needs to be hit with conviction to be effective. Examples include a topspin response to a low slice, kick serves, and short CC groundstrokes. You have to have the will to swing at maximum RHS and generate sufficient topspin.

TimeToPlaySets 09-01-2012 08:24 PM

When rallying, I can hit hard with conviction but need to build up to a place I can do it consistently during play. The other big difference is that the ball is hit to you during rallying, and you're on the run while playing. This is another situation where I deferred to defensive shots today, and greatly reduced my unforced errors.

user92626 09-01-2012 09:08 PM

Let me try to understand this:

YOu need to watch pros to learn that you need to keep the ball in play in order to get some decent tennis? Learn that hitting out or making errors is no good tennis?

And you forgot that slice can be used/useful?

That's some revelation! :)

Long Face 09-01-2012 10:04 PM

The coin has two sides. The fine balance is controlled agression with fearless shots. But it takes a lot of practice and some lost matches to find that balance.

5263 09-02-2012 07:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Metalica (Post 6855540)
That sounds exactly like me so perhaps I should do as you say. I'm under the impression that if you play too timidly in sets, you would never improve. I suppose I'll still go for it in practice but be more patient in matches.

It's a subtle point you guys are covering here and likely one of the biggest things
holding pack players in their games.

Many and likely most newer players think in terms of being aggressive or careful.
Really neither of these extremes is going to help your game early on.
Their games are not developed enough to do both of these at the same time
or even conceive of how that can work.

The key is to work on current, executable shots in the early going. Win or lose,
work these shots that include reasonable form, where you can learn to repeat the
performances consistently. Once you have something learned as a base level,
(may take a week or 2 months) then you can learn to be consistent while you
are aggressive. I recommend an aggressive swing, BUT with more conservative targets.
IMO most players are way too aggressive with targets (and a bit aggressive with swings)
too near the lines due to the illusion that is critical to earning winners and forcing errors.

Bhagi Katbamna 09-02-2012 09:26 AM

At our level being able to consistently hit the ball beyond the service line will win you matches.

Cervantes 09-02-2012 09:32 AM

Sampras coach at the time, I forget who it was, was ****ed when Pete's old coach Robert Landsdorp call him to say that Pete's shots were sailing because he wasn't finishing high around his neck.

LeeD 09-02-2012 09:56 AM

Pushing wins, up to 4.0.

TimeToPlaySets 09-15-2012 11:20 AM

FunkyMonkey says:
Quote:

At the club level, consistency is key. No need to kill shots, or rip huge serves.
Just focus on starting the point, keeping balls deep and looking for opportunities for to move in (referencing short balls).
Sounds like you're a good student of the game. Keep it up.
I played doubles last night. Worthy of a short post-mortem.

It was a textbook 3.0 level “Island of misfit toys”.

Everyone had some sort of killer shot potential, but it was offset by huge unforced error rate and often a gaping Achilles' ...hole ...in their games. (incomplete game)
Recall the brilliant “Major League” (1989).
One guy crushes fastballs out of the park. But, he whiffs on a change up.
One guy can steal bases like the wind, but can only hit pop flys.
One guy can pitch 100mph fastballs, but has zero control.

It’s up to you to find that glaring undeveloped aspect of their game.
Last night, one guy could not toss the ball right. 50% of serves had a re-toss. But, then you’d frame the few serves that actually went in.
Most guys trying to KILL the serve. (Result = only 20% go in, but when it does goes in, guaranteed service winner)
Wild 2nd serves almost hitting the baseline. TONS of double faults. (Tennis: “You’re only as good as your 2nd serve”)
One guy had the wackiest serve I have ever seen. Remember the trick shot where you put so much slice on the ball that you can make it bounce back to your side of the net? One guy was serving like that.
I think I started laughing. First serve % was like 20%. Sometimes, the ball would not even reach HIS side of the net. It was comical. Yet, when it went in, it was difficult to hit.

Like in golf, this fleeting glimmer of perfection is what keeps them coming back.
This all is a great metaphor for the human condition. People anchor on the remote outlier possibility (homerun), not what is most likely (strikeout). Lottery ticket mentality vs. Gov’t worker mentality? Tortoise vs. Hare?
If you do not embrace and respect basic probability, or you will lose 19 out of 20 matches (and the 20th is merely Taleb’s randomness, not skill)
This is why golf and tennis are thinking mens’ games. The impulsive always lose, over the long haul.

Mindful of the above, I’ve made big steps forward in the last few weeks.
In contrast, my serves were kept at 75% pace, and therefore, were mostly going in.
With merely that pace, and inherent lefty spin, I had plenty of service winner, and even had an ace or two.
I really held back on the groundstrokes until the ball was in the sweet spot = Lower unforced errors.
Otherwise, slice or block back. Just wait to hit the winner. But, that “pusher” mindset won lots of unforced points anyway.

3.0 is fun. No one is a beginner, and people can hit hard, but it’s a circus of randomness. Anyone can get hot or cold. Pro caliber shots buttressed by tragic miscues.
By 3.5, I think skills and games start to become more stable, homogenized, and complete. I will be there soon.
Harking back to Tolstoy’s opening line in Anna Karenina, “Happy 4.0’s are all alike, but mediocre 3.0s are all mediocre in their own way” Ha.

In conclusion, FunkyMonkey's quote above is spot on 100%.

5263 09-15-2012 03:15 PM

Be careful or you will find yourself climbing the ranks, while they mutter how
you only win because you rarely miss!

RF20Lennon 09-15-2012 03:21 PM

I think you need to have a bit of both and understand which to use on which days and against whom

TimeToPlaySets 09-15-2012 09:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5263 (Post 6901551)
Be careful or you will find yourself climbing the ranks, while they mutter how
you only win because you rarely miss!

I still unload on plenty of shots. Just not every single one!

thejackal 09-16-2012 06:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cervantes (Post 6857294)
Sampras coach at the time, I forget who it was, was ****ed when Pete's old coach Robert Landsdorp call him to say that Pete's shots were sailing because he wasn't finishing high around his neck.

paul annacone

Limpinhitter 09-16-2012 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 6857389)
Pushing wins, up to 4.0.

That depends on what you mean by pushing.

5263 09-16-2012 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeToPlaySets (Post 6902023)
I still unload on plenty of shots. Just not every single one!

I was being sarcastic. You sound like you are the beginning of the path I traveled in ways.
Many matches I hit twice as many winners and unload quite often. But to a basher,
all they feel is the frustration of your moving them around and using variety to
disrupt THEIR rhythm. They forget when you hit hard and the winners that go
by in the end as they they to make sense of what happened to them.

Stay the course!

xFullCourtTenniSx 09-16-2012 06:06 PM

Watch Murray play when he's not wailing on the ball. He never looks like he's pushing himself to crush the ball, even on "kill shots". He just puts it away with control.

"control"


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