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MesQueUnClub 06-22-2013 01:36 PM

Teaching an old dog new tricks
 
I am on a mission to change the forehand of my 40+ year old wife. Currently she has an old school forehand with a closed stance but she ends up pushing the ball with an open racquet face at contact and is very inconsistent and she wants to change it and improve( I swear, I didn't talk her into it :) ). So I am trying to get her to hit a more open stance modern forehand. She is a good 3.5 player and in good shape

I am thinking of teaching her an SSC forehand. The reason why I am going for something different from what she's been doing is b'cos she has years of muscle memory on the bad form that both of us find frustrating to correct/change. I am planning to hand feed her balls a couple of times a week and then gradually move her on to the ball machine once her technique improves. I am expecting a 3 month project.

Is SSC forehand a good option for a woman of her age? I would like your opinions on if this is the right approach to take and if not what might be a better one ?

Lukhas 06-22-2013 02:51 PM

Please describe SSC forehand. Does it means open/semi-open stance with WW finish? Then yes, there's no age for this. I'd prefer semi-open or in-line stance at first though. More precise.

BlueB 06-22-2013 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MesQueUnClub (Post 7524391)
...pushing the ball with an open racquet face at contact and is very inconsistent

Inconsistent in what? Balls flying long, or directional?
Pushy technique is often more precise directionally... I guess balls flying long due to the open racquet face? Does she play Conti forhand?
Maybe simple solution is just to switch to slightly more closed forehand grip? It naturally induces more spin, forces slightly mre forward contact point, which in turn opens the stance a bit.
In other words, make a small change and let everything fall in place, rather then deconstructing her technique completely. Then a small change again, later, if required...

MesQueUnClub 06-22-2013 09:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlueB (Post 7524684)
Inconsistent in what? Balls flying long, or directional?
Pushy technique is often more precise directionally... I guess balls flying long due to the open racquet face? Does she play Conti forhand?
Maybe simple solution is just to switch to slightly more closed forehand grip? It naturally induces more spin, forces slightly mre forward contact point, which in turn opens the stance a bit.
In other words, make a small change and let everything fall in place, rather then deconstructing her technique completely. Then a small change again, later, if required...

Both directional and balls flying long. More of the latter. She tends to decelerate the racquet to contact with her very open racquet face to control the ball to keep it in, but this is very inconsistent and her shot going in is a crap shoot at this point. She does hit with a continental grip now.

I tried to switch her to a more eastern to SW grip, but with her current closed stance with the non-hitting hand straight in front of her like most WTA players and the non-hitting hand leaving the racquet early, she more often than not forgets to switch the grip. That lead to a lot of frustration. This is the main reason why I want to try to teach her a more modern forehand which is very different from her old style in a lot of ways. I figured by changing the technique entirely, the old muscle mem interference would be less.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukhas (Post 7524519)
Please describe SSC forehand. Does it means open/semi-open stance with WW finish? Then yes, there's no age for this. I'd prefer semi-open or in-line stance at first though. More precise.

I would like her to go more open/neutral stance. SSC stands for stretch shortening cycle - more of a Federer style forehand with the ulnar and radial deviation along with proper core rotation (legs->hips->shouler) propelling the relaxed arm resulting in faster racquet head speed and more spin. Here's a video of a girl hitting it I found on youtube :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE4IIl4HPe0 . I'm sure there are plenty of others around.



I figured there are lot of coaches here who have given instructions to older women and might have some insight. If you guys have any opinions please weigh in. Your feedback would be very helpful.

newpball 06-22-2013 09:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MesQueUnClub (Post 7525124)
I would like her to go more open/neutral stance. SSC stands for stretch shortening cycle - more of a Federer style forehand with the ulnar and radial deviation along with proper core rotation (legs->hips->shouler) propelling the relaxed arm resulting in faster racquet head speed and more spin. Here's a video of a girl hitting it I found on youtube :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE4IIl4HPe0 . I'm sure there are plenty of others around.

That does not look very open to me.

Lukhas 06-22-2013 09:14 PM

^It's already open enough IMO. Neutral stance is more than enough for precision hitting, even if I think more power can be drawn from more open stances.

Thanks for the explanation, we're talking about the same thing. Like I don't see anything wrong with a more modern forehand. And yeah, I understand why it tends to fly long with a conti grip. Just do it slowly, gradually to get rid of the old forehand.

MesQueUnClub 06-23-2013 07:35 AM

Any coaches out there want to weight in? Please...

Shroud 06-23-2013 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MesQueUnClub (Post 7525124)
Both directional and balls flying long. More of the latter. She tends to decelerate the racquet to contact with her very open racquet face to control the ball to keep it in, but this is very inconsistent and her shot going in is a crap shoot at this point. She does hit with a continental grip .

My 2 cents are that you need to fix this before ssc will ever be an option. She needs to hit through the ball especially with more modern shots.

There are some vids that show a drill that will fix this. She puts her racquet at the contact point and leaves it there you feed her a ball aimed where she has her racquet and to hit it she HAS to follow through the ball in order to get it across the net.

http://www.mindbites.com/series/20-t...-for-beginners

Not exactly the vid i wanted but close enough

And imo there is nothing wrong with a continental forehand at rec level. Said another way, a person hitting a conti for 20 years will be better than the same person making a transition. My grandma will always be better on a typewriter than an ipad....

Cheetah 06-23-2013 03:31 PM

I recommend shelving the ssc idea.
A more modern forehand is easy enough to learn and will give tons of improvement to her strokes. If she keeps at it and is motivated the ssc might develop naturally from that. Going from an old school forehand and trying to learn ssc is not going to be easy at all. in fact I'd say it would be quite difficult and frustrating.

Working on the semi open stance, swinging across with pronation while keeping the arm and wrist loose will be all you need.

MesQueUnClub 06-23-2013 06:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shroud (Post 7526588)
My 2 cents are that you need to fix this before ssc will ever be an option. She needs to hit through the ball especially with more modern shots.

There are some vids that show a drill that will fix this. She puts her racquet at the contact point and leaves it there you feed her a ball aimed where she has her racquet and to hit it she HAS to follow through the ball in order to get it across the net.

http://www.mindbites.com/series/20-t...-for-beginners

Not exactly the vid i wanted but close enough

And imo there is nothing wrong with a continental forehand at rec level. Said another way, a person hitting a conti for 20 years will be better than the same person making a transition. My grandma will always be better on a typewriter than an ipad....

Thanks for your input. I get what you are saying but her continental forehand is horrible. I certainly don't want her to go western or anything - just a good eastern to a modified eastern will be good for her. I have tried similar drills but tat doesn't stop her pushing the ball when she does the full stroke.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cheetah (Post 7526662)
I recommend shelving the ssc idea.
A more modern forehand is easy enough to learn and will give tons of improvement to her strokes. If she keeps at it and is motivated the ssc might develop naturally from that. Going from an old school forehand and trying to learn ssc is not going to be easy at all. in fact I'd say it would be quite difficult and frustrating.

Working on the semi open stance, swinging across with pronation while keeping the arm and wrist loose will be all you need.

After 6 one hour sessions I finally got her to keep her non-hitting arm on the racquet on take back and then keep it sideways instead of pointing at the net like she did before. I also got her to hit a more open stance consistently. That's as far a we got. So now she has a good take back loop leading the take back with the elbow and the basics of open stance footwork atleast when I am feeding her the ball.

The hard part has been to get her to drop that racquet head a bit and hit through. Instead what she keeps reverting back to is the pushing with her arm to the ball and finishing up about waist high pretty flat. I am at my wits end to get her to finish up at the shoulder and to get her to loosen the death grip on the racquet. Because of this cautious pushing, she is usually late hitting the ball with the contact point way behind where it should be.

So that's when I came up with may be trying the SSC since she has the take back and footwork down and thought may be it will get her swing to without caution and hit through the ball and I don't have to worry about teaching her to finish up high.

Based on your advice is there any videos or specific drills that might help me get her to loosen the grip and swing through instead of just pushing/guiding the racquet through the ball at contact point?

MesQueUnClub 06-23-2013 07:00 PM

I will try to describe this pushing thing I keep saying : What she does is after the racquet take back and a minimal drop is tuck that elbow into her body and once it sticks to her body, she just keeps it there and makes a flat semi-circle until the racquet goes parallel tot he ground and ends up on the other side. Even though she sets up well with good knee bend and loading of the right leg, she doesn't use much of it in the stroke. Looks like all arms in a weird Tyrannosaurus mini arm wave.

I just added this in case if this would provide some insight to you guys.

fuzz nation 06-24-2013 06:57 AM

Tough to provide proper guidance through the 'puter, just because all the magical tips and general guidance out there are rarely applicable to everyone. A good tip or swing thought for one player might be counterproductive for another. I'll offer a couple of ideas that will hopefully help with this.

First off, when making changes, do not get hung up on where the ball is landing right away. Changing swing timing, geometry, etc. means un-learning old habits and the first priority is to pay attention to making solid, consistent contact in the wake of some alteration. Once you establish that contact with the ball, then you can eventually begin to narrow down shot placement.

It sounds like there's too much arming of the ball after an okay setup. I like to promote the thought of a step-and-a-turn for a good move through contact. You could have your wife hold a ball in her racquet hand, take that forehand set position, and use that step-and-turn move with a loose arm to throw the ball and get more used to that feel of driving the move with her lower half.

Usually that grip change requires a leap of faith where a player needs to essentially change to that grip and make a mess of more than a few shots. I like to reassure students when they "feed the net" with a more closed racquet face so that they understand the change that's happening - those first shots should go down into the net. Typically the next step is to encourage them to begin lifting through contact to make that topspin. That need to lift through contact should get her to want to come up from under the ball.

If she's using a sort of "alligator arm" to swing at some forehands, I try to generally encourage players with that issue to simply get further away from the ball. I might also tell a righty to look at the ball like a clock face and try to hit around the outside of the ball at 3 o'clock (from the hitter's perspective) instead of right through the back of it. That thought can bring much better extension to a developing stroke in a big hurry.

Along with that improved extension, you want to encourage a swing through the ball instead of just to the ball. I love the cue of following through on the forehand side so that the elbow points in the general direction of where the hitter is trying to send the ball. Lots of good things happen with that move in terms of racquet acceleration (instead of deceleration) along with promoting a better shoulder turn through the stroke.

Consistent feeds help with developing these new habits and pace of these feeds isn't important right away, so I like to deliver hand feeds from the hitter's side of the net. Since I'm closer to the hitter, it's easier to see what's happening and offer cues when making fundamental changes. After the shot starts to fly a little better, I'll retreat to the other side of the net and feed more from over there.

Remember to limit the alterations so that you're focusing on one change at a time instead of five or six little things all at once. That should keep the potential frustration under control. Expect to be spraying the ball around at first - that's a sure sign that the forehand construction zone is open for business.

MesQueUnClub 06-24-2013 11:31 AM

Some very helpful info. Thank you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by fuzz nation (Post 7527908)

It sounds like there's too much arming of the ball after an okay setup. I like to promote the thought of a step-and-a-turn for a good move through contact. You could have your wife hold a ball in her racquet hand, take that forehand set position, and use that step-and-turn move with a loose arm to throw the ball and get more used to that feel of driving the move with her lower half.

I think this will help her get the concept and I will get her to do this drill.

Quote:

Originally Posted by fuzz nation (Post 7527908)
If she's using a sort of "alligator arm" to swing at some forehands, I try to generally encourage players with that issue to simply get further away from the ball. I might also tell a righty to look at the ball like a clock face and try to hit around the outside of the ball at 3 o'clock (from the hitter's perspective) instead of right through the back of it. That thought can bring much better extension to a developing stroke in a big hurry.

Along with that improved extension, you want to encourage a swing through the ball instead of just to the ball. I love the cue of following through on the forehand side so that the elbow points in the general direction of where the hitter is trying to send the ball. Lots of good things happen with that move in terms of racquet acceleration (instead of deceleration) along with promoting a better shoulder turn through the stroke.

Will try this as well.

I understand your other points and I do sometimes get a little hyper working on too many things at one time and is probably overwhelming her. I will try to keep my enthusiasm in check.


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