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Onehandedbackhand 01-13-2013 11:22 AM

Need a few pointers
 
Here's the lowdown.

I decided to join after lurking because I saw how people give some good technical advice, and I could use some. I've watched for years and years, but only got into playing it very recently. Played mostly basketball for years, and found that I like individual success, if you will.

Just started playing about a year ago. Started out just hitting the ball over the net and getting used to the motion. Got a little better and I've graduated to playing like ranked players. I'd think I'm about a low 3.0, which is reasonable. About to get a tennis teacher, or join one of those group settings.

Till I do that, do any of you have a few pointers on executing a good forehand, backhand, etc...? I know I'll be getting teaching soon, but I'd like to get a head start.

Thank you in advance.

gmatheis 01-13-2013 11:35 AM

#1 - Keep your eyes on the ball - I know that sounds simple but they first key to hitting well is making good contact, and if you take your eyes off the ball before you hit it, even if it's just an instant before, you will mishit more often. So don't worry about where your ball is going, keep your focus on the hit.

#2 try to hit the ball a little bit in front of you. This will also help with #1

#3 footwork - keep your feet moving. Nadal is a good example of this. Get to where you need to be to hit the ball as early as you can but dont just set your feet once there. Keep them moving so you can adjust for a funny bounce etc.

Get some lessons, I think a mix of private and group lessons is beneficial.

Try to play at least twice a week, more if you have the time.

Onehandedbackhand 01-13-2013 12:50 PM

What do you mean hit the ball in front of me?

tennis tom 01-13-2013 02:54 PM

Watch Fed and Pete and copy their form.

gmatheis 01-13-2013 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onehandedbackhand (Post 7116976)
What do you mean hit the ball in front of me?

This is a good video that explains what I mean about hitting in front of you.

I also like some of this guys other videos so you may want to watch them all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5EKrFPDM8Q

LeeD 01-14-2013 09:15 AM

Watch vids of top pros. Top 1,000 is good enough.
Try to copy.

beernutz 01-14-2013 09:54 AM

I've gotten a lot out of the videos and articles at tennisoxygen.com (disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the owner and I make no money by recommending the website). I've bought tennis videos/DVDs in the past including James Jensen's entire set but haven't gotten nearly as much benefit as I have from what I've seen at tennisoxygen which is available for only $35 year. There are quite a few free videos from the place on youtube so you can try before you buy which is what I did. I really like how Christophe takes videos of the pros, slows them down, and points out the common elements of their strokes which you can try to incorporate into your own strokes.

Here's an example of a free one, which is an older one but gives you a good idea about what he does, however, his newer videos are better quality (he must have upgraded his video camera).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Oc7U5oJ6ps

I like that you are getting some hands-on instruction. I took a couple of clinics with a 5.0+ former college singles player in the fall which helped me a great deal.

Big_Dangerous 01-14-2013 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gmatheis (Post 7116871)
#1 - Keep your eyes on the ball - I know that sounds simple but they first key to hitting well is making good contact, and if you take your eyes off the ball before you hit it, even if it's just an instant before, you will mishit more often. So don't worry about where your ball is going, keep your focus on the hit.

#2 try to hit the ball a little bit in front of you. This will also help with #1

#3 footwork - keep your feet moving. Nadal is a good example of this. Get to where you need to be to hit the ball as early as you can but dont just set your feet once there. Keep them moving so you can adjust for a funny bounce etc.Get some lessons, I think a mix of private and group lessons is beneficial.

Try to play at least twice a week, more if you have the time.

I agree with this one to a point, but sometimes I find that if you get a little overactive you can really run yourself right out of the point. I also am trying to employ the split step on a more consistent basis which definitely falls under the category of footwork, but I find that it's hard to consistently time it just right, especially when your opponent or partner takes different swings at the ball.

IA-SteveB 01-14-2013 10:07 AM

Following the above advice, play often. There are so many people that play once a week in my league. If you get paired with them starting off, say goodbye to the first set as they get back in the groove.

You will get great advice here but make time in your schedule to get on the court and use it. :)

Onehandedbackhand 01-14-2013 11:00 AM

Right now, it's a win some/lose some scenario. Did get this 71 year old man the other day who asked me if we could go a set since his doubles partner no showed.

I said sure, but bad mistake. Thought I would hurt him, being 71 and all. That was just inexperience on my part.

Took me 6-0. Might as well been McEnroe out there. He probably gave me 5 pity points.

I'm going to watch those videos and keep you up to date.

IA-SteveB 01-14-2013 12:11 PM

Heh. You've got to watch out for those guys. They always have a full bag of tricks that still work quite well. There is a guy at my club who was 2nd in the nation @ 3.0 at 70. He'll show a thing or three.

Onehandedbackhand 01-14-2013 12:44 PM

They don't even MOVE and they are right there. Know the whole court.

You are lucky you catch a 3.0. Try the ones that are 4.0 at 70.

NLBwell 01-14-2013 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gmatheis (Post 7116871)
#1 - Keep your eyes on the ball - I know that sounds simple but they first key to hitting well is making good contact, and if you take your eyes off the ball before you hit it, even if it's just an instant before, you will mishit more often. So don't worry about where your ball is going, keep your focus on the hit.

.

Most important part of this is to keep your head still. Even if you close your eyes just before impact you can still hit the ball cleanly (at least on a hard court without any wind). If you jerk your head up, you mess up your entire body position.

Cindysphinx 01-14-2013 06:45 PM

The most important thing is to practice what you are learning, and do everything correctly (especially grips) from the beginning.

chatt_town 01-15-2013 02:12 PM

Don't think you need to read any futher than this. :) well...I'd like to add this...play plenty of practice matches and don't get caught up in winning and losing. Learn to be able to hit your shots correctly. Personally, I think you can watch a number of Youtube videos and get the basics...when I say youtube. I mean you can watch slowmos of Fed hitting a one handed backhand and listen to the instructors...then go and practice and play practice matches. That will cut down on the lessons. I can't begin to tell you how many people's @$$ I've beaten that religiously take lessons. You also need to develop court awareness. Learn where the the next ball is probably coming back to before you hit your shot. That keeps you ahead of your opponent. Last but not least...learn that the match starts before the match. Meaning I pay attention to if the person is left handed...where is the sun and how can I use this to my advantage. Case in point...Before we even struck a ball in our mixed match last week...I told my wife the guy was left handed...she didn't hear me and half way through the first set I she asked me if I noticed.lol I told her that's why he's serving from the other side(Where the sun was in his eyes). He also didn't know you had 3 choices when he won the toss. He chose to serve...so I switched sides making him serve looking directly into the sun. Now if I hadn't paid attention to that he would have been kicking us off the court all evening. We played 3 sets and we won the first and the third sets....the match starts before match. Pay attention and use every advantage that you can.

Quote:

Originally Posted by gmatheis (Post 7116871)
#1 - Keep your eyes on the ball - I know that sounds simple but they first key to hitting well is making good contact, and if you take your eyes off the ball before you hit it, even if it's just an instant before, you will mishit more often. So don't worry about where your ball is going, keep your focus on the hit.

#2 try to hit the ball a little bit in front of you. This will also help with #1

#3 footwork - keep your feet moving. Nadal is a good example of this. Get to where you need to be to hit the ball as early as you can but dont just set your feet once there. Keep them moving so you can adjust for a funny bounce etc.

Get some lessons, I think a mix of private and group lessons is beneficial.

Try to play at least twice a week, more if you have the time.


SystemicAnomaly 01-16-2013 11:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7120921)
The most important thing is to practice what you are learning, and do everything correctly (especially grips) from the beginning.

True dat. For your FH you want a grip that is something between an Eastern FH grip and a semi-Western (inclusive). The continental grip is ok for sliced BHs or flat BHs. For topspin BHs you want something closer to an Eastern BH grip. Be sure to perform 1-handed BHs correctly. Improper mechanics on the 1-handed BH can eventually lead to painful tennis elbow.


Quote:

Originally Posted by NLBwell (Post 7120159)
Most important part of this is to keep your head still. Even if you close your eyes just before impact you can still hit the ball cleanly (at least on a hard court without any wind). If you jerk your head up, you mess up your entire body position.

This is worth repeating. Most novices have a hard time with this one. Take a close look at slow motion videos of Federer and Nadal. They keep their head very still and eyes on the contact point for nearly all of the forward swing of the racket. Lifting the head/eyes early will usually throw off the swing path of your racket and will often result in a mishit. Practice this often with shadow swings (no ball). Try to perform your shadow strokes with good form and practice keeping your head still with eyes on the contact point. Look up near the end of your follow-thru (to watch the imaginary ball bounce).

Federer is an excellent model for footwork and most aspects of the forehand and (1-handed) backhand strokes. (I personally also like the FH mechanics of Andre Agassi). However, I would not copy the straight-arm technique on the FH employed by Federer, Nadal and Verdasco. This is too advanced for many players. Most pros actually use a double-bend on most/many of their shots.

http://www.optimumtennis.net/straight-arm-forehand.htm
http://www.hi-techtennis.com/forehand/arm_bent.php
.


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