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-   -   How to play "less stiff" and more relaxed? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=446090)

JackB1 11-18-2012 04:50 PM

How to play "less stiff" and more relaxed?
 
I recently posted a video (http://youtu.be/HQs5jHgWXWM) and the common theme among the critiques was that I was too "stiff" and "robotic" in my strokes. I agree, so now what? How do I play looser and more relaxed? I don't know how much of this is actually fixable? If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

I try and have a relaxed and loose grip, but when I do that, I am sometimes late with the hit. I try and breathe out on the hit and that helps me "feel" more relaxed, but I'm not sure I look more relaxed?

I really want to fix this issue, but am not sure on how? Is this something a teaching pro can help out with? Thanks.

Timbo's hopeless slice 11-18-2012 04:53 PM

just hit a million balls until one day you realise you just aren't even thinking about technique anymore..

2ManyAces 11-18-2012 05:10 PM

Get your shoulders into it.

Migelowsky 11-18-2012 05:18 PM

Maybe itīs something like people who canīt dance, they are just naturally stiff.
Just relax, be like a whip, or a cartoon character from the 30īs , rubber hose limps. Breathing and yoga exercises muss help with your flexibility.

I guess you already saw this video, but in case you didnīt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=Wwg9DB8S8a8

NLBwell 11-18-2012 05:23 PM

Do you have a whip around the house? If so, practice cracking the whip.
You could shadow practice your strokes with a section of thick rope.

Timbo's hopeless slice 11-18-2012 05:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NLBwell (Post 7023611)
Do you have a whip around the house? If so, practice cracking the whip.
You could shadow practice your strokes with a section of thick rope.

I really want to reply to this post, but I just can't.

JackB1 11-18-2012 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NLBwell (Post 7023611)
Do you have a whip around the house? If so, practice cracking the whip.
You could shadow practice your strokes with a section of thick rope.

Does everyone have a whip lying around the house? :)
I sure don't.

Mick3391 11-18-2012 06:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JackB1 (Post 7023563)
I recently posted a video (http://youtu.be/HQs5jHgWXWM) and the common theme among the critiques was that I was too "stiff" and "robotic" in my strokes. I agree, so now what? How do I play looser and more relaxed? I don't know how much of this is actually fixable? If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

I try and have a relaxed and loose grip, but when I do that, I am sometimes late with the hit. I try and breathe out on the hit and that helps me "feel" more relaxed, but I'm not sure I look more relaxed?

I really want to fix this issue, but am not sure on how? Is this something a teaching pro can help out with? Thanks.

Couldn't see your video, said "unavailable".

Anyways if I play relaxed I suck. I'm a nervous player, when I'm nervous I play much better, when there is something to lose.

It's like what Cus D'Mato said about fear. "Fear is like fire, it can either fuel you or burn you down".

I use fear to my advantage. When I played "King of the court" with the kids at school, I was very nervous, in my mind it was like "Lose to a kid", so I played my best. I played against Justin Bower, was scared, yet I was "Fueled", played great.

So I would say don't run from your fear, embrase it if you can. Even Fed gets nervous at this stage, sometimes he can't eat. Tyson would be afraid before he entered the ring, it's natural to be scared.

JackB1 11-18-2012 07:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick3391 (Post 7023694)
Couldn't see your video, said "unavailable".

Anyways if I play relaxed I suck. I'm a nervous player, when I'm nervous I play much better, when there is something to lose.

It's like what Cus D'Mato said about fear. "Fear is like fire, it can either fuel you or burn you down".

I use fear to my advantage. When I played "King of the court" with the kids at school, I was very nervous, in my mind it was like "Lose to a kid", so I played my best. I played against Justin Bower, was scared, yet I was "Fueled", played great.

So I would say don't run from your fear, embrase it if you can. Even Fed gets nervous at this stage, sometimes he can't eat. Tyson would be afraid before he entered the ring, it's natural to be scared.

It's not about nerves. It's about smoothing out my technique and not playing so stiff. I understand what u are saying, but that's not really the point.

Power Player 11-18-2012 07:15 PM

I think lock n roll tennis is a great website for showing you how to use your body and play more relaxed. Check it out. It looks like you are using your arm to generate power more then your hips and core and LnRs concepts can really help fix that issue.

boramiNYC 11-18-2012 08:17 PM

confidence will make you relax. knowing what to do with the ball (technique and strategy) and being able to execute that will give you confidence.

NLBwell 11-18-2012 08:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JackB1 (Post 7023679)
Does everyone have a whip lying around the house? :)
I sure don't.

Doesn't everyone have whips and ropes for daily use?

NLBwell 11-18-2012 08:54 PM

It was a serious tennis tip, though.

Red Sunset 11-19-2012 02:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick3391 (Post 7023694)
I played against Justin Bower, was scared, yet I was "Fueled", played great

Yet I see you've dropped yourself from a self proclaimed 6.0 to a lowly 5.5? I thought 5.5s were "cake" for you? Could it be reality is forcing itself upon you? Or are you going to blame injuries.

ace_pace 11-19-2012 02:38 AM

The simple trick to being more relaxed is: FEEL. When you do your strokes you should be able to do it without thinking about it, so you must develop your stroke not based on just words and facts, but on more of a physical sense. Kind of hard to explain but you should do a stroke that feels more natural to you but it doesn't mean you ignore helpful advice lol.

TimothyO 11-19-2012 04:31 AM

I've struggled with this too and here's what I've learned.

It all starts with confidence in your strokes. To be confident you need to trust that a relaxed, full stroke will achieve your intended shot result.

How do you learn to trust your strokes?

1. Hit lots of the same stroke over and over observing how your body FEELS in a relaxed state relative to the shot result. This is the muscle memory you're trying to achieve. Use a ball machine or, better yet, a hitting partner who can hit consistently. The hitting partner is better since he'll naturally throw in some realistic variety in shots.

2. Don't mess around with your racquet and strings. Find a set up that feels right for you and STICK WITH IT. Changing frames and strings and tensions constantly ruins your trust because each change will cause different shots given the same stroke. So you never develop a relationship between stroke feel and shot result.

3. Watch some higher level live play. The first thing you'll notice is the fearless way higher level players "strike the ball". We rec players often poke the ball or hit the ball. It may sound like semantics but it's an important distinction. Focusing intensely on the ball and striking it fearlessly in a specific manner with the explicit intention of achieving a given result is very different that merely hitting the ball with the abstract hope it will get somewhere over the net.

4. Visualize yourself as playing as a higher level player confident you can do it. When I'm playing confidently relaxed I sometimes visualize myself as a favorite player. I feel like my footwork is better and my strokes worthy of hitting winners. I become those other people emotionally in order to unleash my confidence and trust my strokes. We've all hit amazing shots at various points. The challenge is doing that consistently. Visualization can support that objective as it builds confidence.

Finally, as Obi Wan said, "Let go your conscience self and rely on instinct". If you play selfconciously, worried about what others will think, then you'll play stiff and play worse! Playing with instinct frees you from this social cage to play your best. It may be you don't play all that stiff and only did so aware that you were taping yourself for review on TT!

JackB1 11-19-2012 06:06 AM

^^^

great advice Tim! I guess there is no "quick fix" to my I-Robot issue :-) I have been in that "relaxed state" when I am not thinking and just "feeling", but it sure can be an elusive place! Its tough when I only have so many hours per week where I can devote time to repetition and developing that muscle memory needed. I'm not sure that will ever happen?

Power Player 11-19-2012 07:34 AM

Yes, the toughest part is staying with the exact same setup, but that does work wonders, especially when you cant play every day for 4-5 hours a day.

I learned tennis at an early age and had 1 prince racquet and the same string and tension for years. So that really helped me out back then.

One the best things that helped me put together a lot of the concepts on the LnR site I mention and relaxed play in general was watching pros practicing in person. If you ever can do that, it will make a huge difference. Being right next to them while they are warming up and not playing at full bore in a match really slows things down and helps you visualize it better.

maleyoyo 11-19-2012 07:39 AM

Try this: go out and hit with the ball machine setting it at an easy pace with the ball landing right at the middle so that you don’t have to move a lot. Hit one round with just FH then the next with BH.
Now hit the ball straight ahead with a relaxed swing and not to worry about where the balls are going, just making sure they clear the net with good margin.
The whole point is to isolate your swings and increase your racket head speed (to swing it out). You can’t have a relaxed swing without hitting it out and having a little fun with it.
You can’t feel your swing if your mind is pre-occupied with other stuff.
Free your swing! It works for me. And don’t forget a loose grip and complete follow through on every shot.

Power Player 11-19-2012 07:44 AM

I think the problem is more based on movement though. I think he should be moving more. Once I really focused on footwork and prep, and stopped thinking about my racquet arm, I smoothed out my strokes.

If the ball is coming at you easily and you dont have to move, it just reinforces low footwork activity.


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