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-   -   From NTRP-based 3.0 to 3.5 by January 2014 (video diary) (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=457165)

TomT 03-10-2013 01:58 PM

From NTRP-based 3.0 to 3.5 by January 2014 (video diary)
 
As the thread title says, my goal is to become a solid NTRP-based 3.5 level competitor by January 2014 -- ie., about a year to go from where I'm at now to competing more or less successfully at a NTRP .5 higher level.

I think it's a reasonable goal. I'll be posting mostly videos from seasonal match play in the Tennis League Network's Fort Lauderdale-Boca Raton affiliate (tennisftlauderdale.com) of which I'm a member.

Hopefully, knowledgeable Talk Tennis members will offer helpful critiques of my play. But any comments, videos, or whatever, are welcome.

I got the idea to do this from enjoying reading the diary or journal threads started by Stergios, Mick, Fuji, Greg G, etc.

So, here goes:

MOTIVATION
My primary motivation for starting this thread is to get as much feedback as possible, the root of which I would guess is the self-centered, self-absorbed need for attention that we all seem, to greater or lesser degree, to share. In other words, it's primarily some sort of ego trip. :)

However, at least peripherally, and certainly not insignificantly, I also hope that this thread will help me to stay motivated to work to improve, and will provide, via knowlegeable Talk Tennis members, helpful suggestions for improvement.

While I'm attracted to, and play, and want to get better at, tennis at least partly because of my own peculiar taste regarding the esthetics of the artistic expression of the raw physical exercise that is tennis, I'm nonetheless attracted to tennis as a game because of the competitive possibilities. That is, even though I want to develop an esthetically pleasing game, I also prefer to win, rather than lose, while doing this.

Plus, as I grow older and increasingly potentially less capable, I'm increasingly appreciating accurate and detailed historical documentation.
--------------------------------------------------------

BRIEF BACKGROUND
I started playing tennis in 1975 at the age of 27. Played every day for a little over a year, and then basically stopped playing until 2012. Played a couple of seasons in the Tennis League Network's Tennis Fort Lauderdale - Boca Raton flex leagues. Then in the beginning of 2013 had another Crohn's disease flair which sidelined me from Jan. 1, 2013 to ~ March 5, 2013. I'm still about 25-30 lbs. under my optimal weight and have virtually no explosive power or stamina. But am steadily, if very slowly, improving.
----------------------------------------------------------

AND NOW, LET THE VIDEOS, COMMENTS, ETC. BEGIN!!
I want to stress that any videos or comments by anybody at any level are welcome in this thread.

I'll start by posting some points from a game from a league match that I played today. My first league match since December 28, 2012. Against the same guy! :):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0lj2aJkVh8

I'm still editing the rest of today's video, and might also post some stuff from sets that I played on March 7 and 8 against a Talk Tennis member who was visiting Fort Lauderdale with his family and looked me up to hit with. I must say I'm glad he did. It was lots of fun, very competitive, and I really needed to get off my butt and get out and play.

Moz 03-10-2013 02:04 PM

Good luck - quite the forehand when it's in your wheelhouse!

TomT 03-10-2013 02:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moz (Post 7263226)
Good luck - quite the forehand when it's in your wheelhouse!

Thanks Moz.

rufus_smith 03-10-2013 02:12 PM

You are already a winner by getting out on the singles court as a super senior. Can't tell by this video but I'm thinking your backhand and return of serve are what needs work. gl

Moz 03-10-2013 02:13 PM

By the way, this was my effort at a similar thing.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=177107

TomT 03-10-2013 02:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rufus_smith (Post 7263250)
You are already a winner by getting out on the singles court as a super senior. Can't tell by this video but I'm thinking your backhand and return of serve are what needs work. gl

Backhand is actually pretty solid. Return of serve, volleys, and mental game need most work. Thanks for comments Rufus. Post a video of yourself.

TomT 03-10-2013 02:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moz (Post 7263253)
By the way, this was my effort at a similar thing.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=177107

Thanks for this Moz. I'm going to be reading it this evening. At first glance, looks like you are way beyond my level. So feel free to post any suggestions that come to mind. I hope there's some vids in your thread.

Mick3391 03-10-2013 03:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TomT (Post 7263209)
As the thread title says, my goal is to become a solid NTRP-based 3.5 level competitor by January 2014 -- ie., about a year to go from where I'm at now to competing more or less successfully at a NTRP .5 higher level.

I think it's a reasonable goal. I'll be posting mostly videos from seasonal match play in the Tennis League Network's Fort Lauderdale-Boca Raton affiliate (tennisftlauderdale.com) of which I'm a member.

Hopefully, knowledgeable Talk Tennis members will offer helpful critiques of my play. But any comments, videos, or whatever, are welcome.

I got the idea to do this from enjoying reading the diary or journal threads started by Stergios, Mick, Fuji, Greg G, etc.

So, here goes:

MOTIVATION
My primary motivation for starting this thread is to get as much feedback as possible, the root of which I would guess is the self-centered, self-absorbed need for attention that we all seem, to greater or lesser degree, to share. In other words, it's primarily some sort of ego trip. :)

However, at least peripherally, and certainly not insignificantly, I also hope that this thread will help me to stay motivated to work to improve, and will provide, via knowlegeable Talk Tennis members, helpful suggestions for improvement.

While I'm attracted to, and play, and want to get better at, tennis at least partly because of my own peculiar taste regarding the esthetics of the artistic expression of the raw physical exercise that is tennis, I'm nonetheless attracted to tennis as a game because of the competitive possibilities. That is, even though I want to develop an esthetically pleasing game, I also prefer to win, rather than lose, while doing this.

Plus, as I grow older and increasingly potentially less capable, I'm increasingly appreciating accurate and detailed historical documentation.
--------------------------------------------------------

BRIEF BACKGROUND
I started playing tennis in 1975 at the age of 27. Played every day for a little over a year, and then basically stopped playing until 2012. Played a couple of seasons in the Tennis League Network's Tennis Fort Lauderdale - Boca Raton flex leagues. Then in the beginning of 2013 had another Crohn's disease flair which sidelined me from Jan. 1, 2013 to ~ March 5, 2013. I'm still about 25-30 lbs. under my optimal weight and have virtually no explosive power or stamina. But am steadily, if very slowly, improving.
----------------------------------------------------------

AND NOW, LET THE VIDEOS, COMMENTS, ETC. BEGIN!!
I want to stress that any videos or comments by anybody at any level are welcome in this thread.

I'll start by posting some points from a game from a league match that I played today. My first league match since December 28, 2012. Against the same guy! :):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0lj2aJkVh8

I'm still editing the rest of today's video, and might also post some stuff from sets that I played on March 7 and 8 against a Talk Tennis member who was visiting Fort Lauderdale with his family and looked me up to hit with. I must say I'm glad he did. It was lots of fun, very competitive, and I really needed to get off my butt and get out and play.

Cool, finally get to see a video of Tom T play! You have a little serve and volley spirit in you? Looks like it.

Mick's video, mine and Junior will go up as soon as I get a little extra cash. I just don't want to put it up Tom, don't want to scare you to death:)

Stergios 03-10-2013 03:22 PM

Hi TomT,

Wow! I'm very glad you went forward with this thread. I hope it will help you improve and stay motivated through out the year.

As I'm improving my self I'll try to contribute to your goal with some feedback drawn from my own experiences. Although I have to say that was a nice point at the 42 sec of your video.

And I wish you get your weight and stamina back at optimal levels soon!

All the best,

Stergios

slowfox 03-10-2013 03:47 PM

I think you can handle the 3.5s at my local park already. :)

Greg G 03-11-2013 01:13 AM

Strokes looking good Tom! The forehand and the nasty backhand slice should be your main weapons... I like your aggressive mindset with regard to court positioning, but sometimes you get caught out in NML.

Keep 'em coming! :)

TomT 03-11-2013 10:10 AM

Some links to more video of yesterday's match. They're all really short, each one showing a few points.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRm1PO7Hzgg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPdetoEGUlg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sArJYKBVc8g

LeeD 03-11-2013 10:12 AM

As said, your strokes are plenty good for 3.5, and can actually beat a lot of 3.5's IF.......
If you had the movement, anticipation, not necessarily speed. You react to your opponent's shots, and don't drift into the bisect of possible returns.
You DO hit away from the opponent, but only when you are forced away from center. Hi percentage, yes, forceful, no.
And yes, you have all the shots needed to succeed in 3.5.

TomT 03-11-2013 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick3391 (Post 7263438)
Cool, finally get to see a video of Tom T play! You have a little serve and volley spirit in you? Looks like it.

I like to come in and finish points whenever possible. I think it's the only way that I can be successful against solid 3.5 to weak 4.0 level players.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick3391 (Post 7263438)
Mick's video, mine and Junior will go up as soon as I get a little extra cash. I just don't want to put it up Tom, don't want to scare you to death:)

I'm already scared by imaginings of your mercilessly dominating game. Nevertheless, looking forward to the vids.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stergios (Post 7263440)
Hi TomT,

Wow! I'm very glad you went forward with this thread. I hope it will help you improve and stay motivated through out the year.

As I'm improving my self I'll try to contribute to your goal with some feedback drawn from my own experiences. Although I have to say that was a nice point at the 42 sec of your video.

And I wish you get your weight and stamina back at optimal levels soon!

All the best,

Stergios

Thanks Stergios. Looks like it will be a mutually motivating experience.

Quote:

Originally Posted by slowfox (Post 7263489)
I think you can handle the 3.5s at my local park already. :)

You haven't seen me play an entire match. There are high points and there are low points ... lots and lots of low points. :) Solid 3.5s are just enough more consistent than me that I regularly, predictably, lose to them. Sure, I'll win lots of points, and some matches are really close. But I'm not beating them, and that's the goal, to regularly and predictably win against solid 3.5 players. If I ever get to that point, then I'll raise the bar.

Thanks for commenting. Post some vids of your play.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 7264616)
Strokes looking good Tom! The forehand and the nasty backhand slice should be your main weapons... I like your aggressive mindset with regard to court positioning, but sometimes you get caught out in NML.

Keep 'em coming! :)

Thanks Greg. I'll probably never hit the ball consistently as well as you do. Kudos on your persistence and the improvement that that has resulted in so far.

Yeah, getting caught in No Man's Land is a problem. Hopefully my court sense will improve with other things. One main problem which I hope to fix is that I blow lots of volleys that should be easy putaways.

Hopefully, better court positioning will come with increased fitness and focus.

TomT 03-11-2013 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7265324)
As said, your strokes are plenty good for 3.5, and can actually beat a lot of 3.5's IF.......
If you had the movement, anticipation, not necessarily speed. You react to your opponent's shots, and don't drift into the bisect of possible returns.
You DO hit away from the opponent, but only when you are forced away from center. Hi percentage, yes, forceful, no.
And yes, you have all the shots needed to succeed in 3.5.

Thanks for your input LeeD. Yes, I realize that increasing my quickness of anticipation and movement will probably be the most important factors in improving my results. To that end, improvements in fitness and focus are really the main sub-goals. Hopefully, an increase in production of forcing shots will follow.

LeeD 03-11-2013 10:46 AM

I know my thoughts are often counter to conventional wisdom.
I don't think fitness has anything to do with anticipation and first step quickness. Anticipation is a learned trait, thru years of tennis. First step also, knowing where the ball SHOULD go, and getting your body ready to move in that direction.
Fitness is the ability to run forever and to run fast. That is nice to have, but has nothing to do with anticipation and first step quickness.
There's a vid on here about some fat, out of shape middle European player who still probably plays at 5.5 levels.
And someone like me, who cannot ever hope to cover alley to alley in singles (meaning highest level 3.5), can still play solid 4.5 DOUBLES, if the partner can just hold his own side of the court.

Mick3391 03-11-2013 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TomT (Post 7265315)
Some links to more video of yesterday's match. They're all really short, each one showing a few points.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRm1PO7Hzgg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPdetoEGUlg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sArJYKBVc8g

Since you are asking; I would definitely work on catching the ball mid air at mid court and practice both slamming it over and touching it over. 3.5's can't consistantly pass you, so it will give you a huge advantage. In addition most are not trained to handle S&V so it may give you that advantage you are looking for. Same with the net.

People come in, get passed, then think "This doesn't work", but look at your percentages over the match when you do it. Don't do it everytime of course, but mix it up enough to confuse your opponent.

I HIGHLY recommend you get a toolbox of winning shots, shots that are game enders. Whatever they may be, 3-4 unique shots that end the game, and practice them over and over while working on your overall game. Maybe a soft flat shot to their BH side? Even if they get to it, they will be scooping it up and you got em.

On your serve, you are taking it too soon. Get a higher throw, and try to come over it, you'll get more power and consistancy.

Thanks Tom, cool watching you!

LeeD 03-11-2013 11:44 AM

Oh, and get a better practice partner. He's only holding you back.
He's at best, a 3.0 beginner level.

TomT 03-11-2013 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7265444)
I know my thoughts are often counter to conventional wisdom.

Your thoughts usually make sense to me. I'm not well-versed in or necessarily an aficionado of conventional wisdom.
Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7265444)
I don't think fitness has anything to do with anticipation and first step quickness.

I think it can. For example, when I get overheated and my heart and breathing rates are way way up, then everything is kind of a dull blurr for however long it takes me to recover. During these intervals, which often occur in the middle of points, I think that my anticipation and first step quickness is even worse than it usually is. It follows that an increased fitness level can make some difference, however small, in anticipation and first step quickness.

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7265444)
Anticipation is a learned trait, thru years of tennis. First step also, knowing where the ball SHOULD go, and getting your body ready to move in that direction.

Agree. Hopefully I'll learn and improve in these areas.

Again, thanks for your comments. They're always welcome.

Nellie 03-11-2013 12:07 PM

I thought you have pretty good hands and dug out some tough volleys, in that video. I bet you need to stop before you hit the volley (not run through the volley), and that small change would really help your net game.

I defintely think you could improve the serve with some tweeks (a higher contact point and more shoulder rotation) for some free points.


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