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Shroud 07-27-2013 12:00 PM

Baseline play and hitting out
 
So after posting a "basliners how do you play that way" thread http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=470993 and reading the replies which were great especially about the dreaded lob winner, I decided to play as a baseliner.

I lost 4-6 in one set and I should have won being up serving at 4-4.

Anyhow it was hell. The most frustrating of sets. At least when you are getting passed you are "doing something". I struggled to get my head around sitting back when I had so many chances to end the point. I tried to "play chess" and realized that I am much better at actual chess then tennis chess

Challenges:

1. Serve. I wasnt nearly effective with the serve. Mentally it wasnt the weapon it normally was because I was just trying to get it in and start the rally. Also I noticed that when I hit the serve I ALWAYS hit a slice shot on the next shot because I was in a slice grip. With SV that is what you want, but on the baseline it sucked.
How do you serve aggressively, and how do you get ready for the next shot? I guess I have to relearn what to do after the serve.

2. Groundies. Ironically the points were just as short when playing as a baseliner as they where when I played sv. That poster who said I need to get better groundstrokes might have been dead on. We played some practice tiebreakers after the set and I got so damn frustrated at losing the set, I just started crushing everything. Played a bunch better. Got more spin and while I was hitting harder the spin brought things down. Several balls were called long that miraculously dropped in.

It dawned on me that when I rally I rarely hit out, preferring to keep the rally going. This leads to a weak though consistent shot. Said another way, when I HIT the ball I get more spin and things are often more consistent.

But you cant hit out all the time when rallying. Can you??

So how do I get groundies that are good. It seems like it is an either or...Either develop consistent but weaker shots or hit out all the time. Personally I think I would be better off just hitting out. The strokes work better for me that way and I think with much practice I would be a better player, but who will want to put up with that. I have hit with that guy and it sucks.

I thought I had a "rally ball" but in that set at least it was just a weak tentative shot. I just "get it in"

Also the games I did win it felt more like I didnt win them, I just let the other guy lose them. I'd rather beat someone than just let them beat themselves.

Help.

10isfreak 07-27-2013 12:28 PM

It takes practice to hit wonderful volleys. Same for ground strokes... you can't hit big rally balls without practice.

As you get better, you'll hit harder without putting all that much effort in the ball and your comfortable shot will be of greater quality.

Shroud 07-27-2013 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10isfreak (Post 7618152)
It takes practice to hit wonderful volleys. Same for ground strokes... you can't hit big rally balls without practice.

As you get better, you'll hit harder without putting all that much effort in the ball and your comfortable shot will be of greater quality.

Its all true. But I have been playing for 20 years and well sure there were breaks there of 4-5 years, but how much practice do you mean.

Its funny. I hardly ever practice volleys. They are just natural and while sure it would help me to practice them I can do them great with little practice.

When I go out to hit the wall, I try to hit as many consecutive forehands in a row. Not dink shots to say I hit a bunch in a row, but normal rally balls that are a 1ft or so above the net. My record is 77 in a row. I consider these good quality rally balls.

Most days I get 30-40.

Yet in a match its just a passive shot for some reason. I think it is more a comfort level and not a stroke thing. But I will try to practice more.

On a somewhat related note. Are there any tips to get out of my head and just let my body hit the ball. If you give me more time to hit the results are worse...

10isfreak 07-28-2013 07:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shroud (Post 7618317)
On a somewhat related note. Are there any tips to get out of my head and just let my body hit the ball. If you give me more time to hit the results are worse...

Usually, this means your preparation (everything before your take back) is not as good as it should be, but I'll go through 3 typical mistakes which might cause you some troubles. Tennis is a game where you have to give yourself the space, time and solid posture to hit a good shot, but amateurs often privilege the lazy option and, consequently, they hit far worst shots than they could.

You probably play "just in time" tennis. When the game slows down, you also slow yourself down: instead of rushing to the area surrounding the ball to take it as early and as aggressively as possible, even giving yourself some time to make very fine adjustments, you wait... and end up playing it in a less than ideal position. Is that what happens? I would guess so. If your strokes are fine, but start to feel soft and inconsistent once the game slows down, that's likely your problem: you don't prepare early and properly.

Another thing might be your posture: some players bend at their waist, sideways or forward, to hit low balls. It's better to keep an athletic position and bend your knees, getting your whole upper body lower instead of only trying to lower your arm. Look at Federer here:

That's the sort of thing you WANT to do: you get your whole body down.

The third tip I can give you also regards your preparation. Some players think that preparing early means waiting with the racket already taken back, but it's a mistake. If you want to wait for a tennis ball, you wait for it sideways, both hands on the racket. Again, a picture of Federer doing this properly:

In that position, you can wait without this pause to affect the quality of your stroke, but some people wait in this second position, which DOES inhibit their ability to strike hard and consistently.

In this picture, Federer does what's the right thing: you begin your swing (take back included) only once you're ready to hit the ball. What I wanted to show wasn't so much the right thing to do as the wrong one and Federer's posture here resembles what you see amateurs doing when they wait for a ball... Well, he might still be in too good a position, but you get the point. If you have to wait, mimic the first picture.

Shroud 07-28-2013 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10isfreak (Post 7619468)
Usually, this means your preparation (everything before your take back) is not as good as it should be, but I'll go through 3 typical mistakes which might cause you some troubles. Tennis is a game where you have to give yourself the space, time and solid posture to hit a good shot, but amateurs often privilege the lazy option and, consequently, they hit far worst shots than they could.

You probably play "just in time" tennis. When the game slows down, you also slow yourself down: instead of rushing to the area surrounding the ball to take it as early and as aggressively as possible, even giving yourself some time to make very fine adjustments, you wait... and end up playing it in a less than ideal position. Is that what happens? I would guess so. If your strokes are fine, but start to feel soft and inconsistent once the game slows down, that's likely your problem: you don't prepare early and properly.

Another thing might be your posture: some players bend at their waist, sideways or forward, to hit low balls. It's better to keep an athletic position and bend your knees, getting your whole upper body lower instead of only trying to lower your arm. Look at Federer here:

That's the sort of thing you WANT to do: you get your whole body down.

The third tip I can give you also regards your preparation. Some players think that preparing early means waiting with the racket already taken back, but it's a mistake. If you want to wait for a tennis ball, you wait for it sideways, both hands on the racket. Again, a picture of Federer doing this properly:

In that position, you can wait without this pause to affect the quality of your stroke, but some people wait in this second position, which DOES inhibit their ability to strike hard and consistently.

In this picture, Federer does what's the right thing: you begin your swing (take back included) only once you're ready to hit the ball. What I wanted to show wasn't so much the right thing to do as the wrong one and Federer's posture here resembles what you see amateurs doing when they wait for a ball... Well, he might still be in too good a position, but you get the point. If you have to wait, mimic the first picture.

Thanks dude. Good stuff here.

Though honestly its much much more a mental thing. Seriously I am waiting and waiting and at some point I will find myself thinking I will miss. If I dont have that time, like on a service return for instance, it works much better.

Its only really on the forehand that this happens.

Fuji 07-29-2013 02:56 PM

Think about it this way:

How hard is it to volley? Not very, most people can volley the first time they ever play tennis. All you're doing is hitting a ball before it bounces.

How hard is it to hit a forehand? A little bit more tricky. You need proper positioning, stroke mechanics, timing, and confidence to round it all out. Along side a ton of other things. :) It just takes a bit of practice, and I would know! I started out as a S&V guy, now I am an aggressive baseliner. It took me about 2-3 years of quite hard work to get where I am now, and even then I'm not really an amazing baseliner. :razz:

-Fuji

user92626 07-29-2013 03:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fuji (Post 7622883)
Think about it this way:

How hard is it to volley? Not very, most people can volley the first time they ever play tennis. All you're doing is hitting a ball before it bounces.

How hard is it to hit a forehand? A little bit more tricky. You need proper positioning, stroke mechanics, timing, and confidence to round it all out. Along side a ton of other things. :) It just takes a bit of practice, and I would know! I started out as a S&V guy, now I am an aggressive baseliner. It took me about 2-3 years of quite hard work to get where I am now, and even then I'm not really an amazing baseliner. :razz:

-Fuji

I'm the opposite. It feels very very easy to hit groundstrokes but it's mind boggling difficult to volley. Go to city courts, there are about 10x more player at the baseline than at the net. LOL.

10isfreak 07-29-2013 04:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shroud (Post 7619789)
Thanks dude. Good stuff here.

Though honestly its much much more a mental thing. Seriously I am waiting and waiting and at some point I will find myself thinking I will miss. If I dont have that time, like on a service return for instance, it works much better.

Its only really on the forehand that this happens.

You can try to view baseline playing differently, which will maybe help you with your mental issues.

Think of it more like a football game: you're trying to move forward to score points. That's how you play aggressive baseline rallies without indulging into dumb mistakes. Many people think that a high quality shot is a big, flat and fast ball... just imagine what happens when you try to up the power level near your limit -- it's rarely of any use. Much better to put pressure on your opponent by playing back and forth with your court position.

You might be wondering why I again give a more technical than mental advice. It's that I don't want you to stay passive, both mentally and in practice. Every time your opponent leaves the ball sufficiently short for you to move forward, DO IT. Don't think about your stroke; think FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD... If you do that, instead of "finding yourself waiting and waiting", you'll be paying attention to moving forward to cut some time off of your opponent.

No need to use half-volleys to make this happen: your opponent is no touring pro and he'll surely leave some balls a little too short. Pick on him as soon as you can, bothering to give yourself the space to be comfortable to hit just a solid shot. Not a wonderful, just a solid one. He'll be overwhelmed way before he understands what is happening to him -- as a bonus, you won't have to feel so passive and anxious anymore because you have an intention in your mind: FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD.


The same trick works with pushers, by the way. You can pressure anyone doing exactly that and it's a safe play.

5263 07-29-2013 08:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shroud (Post 7618107)

because I was in a slice grip. With SV that is what you want, but on the baseline it sucked.
How do you serve aggressively, and how do you get ready for the next shot? I guess I have to relearn what to do after the serve.

2. Groundies. Ironically the points were just as short when playing as a baseliner as they where when I played sv. That poster who said I need to get better groundstrokes might have been dead on. We played some practice tiebreakers after the set and I got so damn frustrated at losing the set, I just started crushing everything. Played a bunch better. Got more spin and while I was hitting harder the spin brought things down. Several balls were called long that miraculously dropped in.

It dawned on me that when I rally I rarely hit out, preferring to keep the rally going. This leads to a weak though consistent shot. Said another way, when I HIT the ball I get more spin and things are often more consistent.

But you cant hit out all the time when rallying. Can you??

On serve, after the serve both hands should be on the racket, making it easy to
adjust the grip for the intended next shot.

Yes, you can hit out on rally shots very aggressive, but by putting much of
the effort into spin and choosing targets with a extra good margin....you can
stay very consistent and hit shots that are often like a pwr kick serve, but way
more effective since you are not confined to the svc box.

consider the thread on practicing for Smart Targets for more on this.

as you earn some shorter mid court balls, then you can attack or approach
on those balls to start forcing some errors or hitting some winners.

Shroud 07-29-2013 09:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fuji (Post 7622883)
Think about it this way:

How hard is it to volley? Not very, most people can volley the first time they ever play tennis. All you're doing is hitting a ball before it bounces.

How hard is it to hit a forehand? A little bit more tricky. You need proper positioning, stroke mechanics, timing, and confidence to round it all out. Along side a ton of other things. :) It just takes a bit of practice, and I would know! I started out as a S&V guy, now I am an aggressive baseliner. It took me about 2-3 years of quite hard work to get where I am now, and even then I'm not really an amazing baseliner. :razz:

-Fuji

Quote:

Originally Posted by user92626 (Post 7622923)
I'm the opposite. It feels very very easy to hit groundstrokes but it's mind boggling difficult to volley. Go to city courts, there are about 10x more player at the baseline than at the net. LOL.

Its interesting. I suppose everyone is different and for some people a backhand is hard, and for some volleys, etc.

Anyhow volleying is easier at least for me. But thanks man maybe i should just be a serve volleyer. Imagine how you would be if those two years were spent on improving the sv game you had.

Though i get it. Its like Palpatine talking about how to know the living force you need to embrace a larger view, not the narrow dogmatic view of the serve volleyer..

Shroud 07-29-2013 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10isfreak (Post 7623022)
You can try to view baseline playing differently, which will maybe help you with your mental issues.

Think of it more like a football game: you're trying to move forward to score points. That's how you play aggressive baseline rallies without indulging into dumb mistakes. Many people think that a high quality shot is a big, flat and fast ball... just imagine what happens when you try to up the power level near your limit -- it's rarely of any use. Much better to put pressure on your opponent by playing back and forth with your court position.

You might be wondering why I again give a more technical than mental advice. It's that I don't want you to stay passive, both mentally and in practice. Every time your opponent leaves the ball sufficiently short for you to move forward, DO IT. Don't think about your stroke; think FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD... If you do that, instead of "finding yourself waiting and waiting", you'll be paying attention to moving forward to cut some time off of your opponent.

No need to use half-volleys to make this happen: your opponent is no touring pro and he'll surely leave some balls a little too short. Pick on him as soon as you can, bothering to give yourself the space to be comfortable to hit just a solid shot. Not a wonderful, just a solid one. He'll be overwhelmed way before he understands what is happening to him -- as a bonus, you won't have to feel so passive and anxious anymore because you have an intention in your mind: FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD.


The same trick works with pushers, by the way. You can pressure anyone doing exactly that and it's a safe play.

Lol. Now you are telling me to be a serve volleyer with your FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD mantra.

This i get!

Maybe i should just ask how one can stop being so absolutistic?

johnchung907 07-29-2013 09:42 PM

Just stick with serve and volley. Great strategy, doesn't consume to much energy and it works. Even though I tend to stay back sometimes I serve and volley. My volleys are okay but I still can win a couple points off of it.

10isfreak 07-30-2013 01:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shroud (Post 7623406)
Lol. Now you are telling me to be a serve volleyer with your FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD mantra.

This i get!

Maybe i should just ask how one can stop being so absolutistic?

You don't need to move all the way to the net; I barely ever get to the net when I play, taking volleys only when I have a clear opening. The point is to make as many in-court contacts as you can comfortably take... hitting ground strokes from no-man's land is also taking the ball from within the court. If you ever get comfortable playing from the back court and can aggressively hit short balls, you can alternate between s&v and baseline rallies. It makes service returns very tricky for your opponent: if tries to go for a deep return of serve and you come in, he'll be giving you a high ball which will likely cost him the point; if he goes for a lower ball, expecting you come in, he'll be sending you a short ball you will be able to attack too easily... to solve this, he has to be very aggressive ... on his return and that's really hard to do properly.

Don't ditch your whole s&v approach; just add new abilities to your arsenal.


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