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-   -   Is Technique important? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=8674)

Camilio Pascual 07-14-2004 03:53 AM

Is Technique important?
 
The discussion of the Williams sisters' technique in Pro Player Talk really surprised me. Technique is important for several reasons:
1. Injury prevention: biomechanically sound practices such as , don't lead with elbow on 1H BH, don't hold arm straight on FH.
2. Duplication and consistency that comes from having technique: being able to hit shots that have a high predictability of pace, spin, and depth.
3. Footwork: Maintenance of balance when hitting, maintenance of court position without making it easy to hit behind you.
4. Biomechanical efficiency: hitting shots with maximum effect you want (power or spin) for the most minimal effort possible.
5. Unorthodox techniques to accomodate injuries and unusual capabilities. Such as Mac's serve or Bertasegui's hitting with the same face of the racquet.

I just did this off the top of my head. Additions, disagreements, corrections? What say ye?

kevhen 07-14-2004 06:33 AM

Yes technique is very good in injury prevention and developing a repetitive consistent shot but I see too much focus on technique at the club level with dismal results when it comes to putting those techniques into match play when balls aren't spoon fed.

Agent Smith 07-14-2004 06:41 AM

Technique is good for practicing but often times you have to improvise in matches.

Camilio Pascual 07-14-2004 07:17 AM

You guys are right, but I'd say the better you are, the more you will profit from proper techniques. Kevhen, I know what you are saying, I'm learning to play mixed doubles with many players not as good as me. When they blow a shot, they often kid each other and talk about how it is not like when the coach spoon feeds them.

kevhen 07-14-2004 08:05 AM

Yes, technique is probably my biggest weakness, but over time my strokes have improved on their own and my technique looks better and better, but it's more like evolution to me as I just go about trying to hit good shots and eventually I discover the correct technique and work on getting that ingrained into my muscle memory. I don't usually try to imitate what somebody else tells me to do, just what actually works on the court, unless I can see where it could be useful in the future with enough practice. Too many people try to imitate a pro's technique or what some instructor claims to be the 'right' technique but we are all unique and everyone hits the ball a little bit differently from every one else so there is alot of variance in what is the correct technique in the sport of tennis.

Feņa14 07-14-2004 11:21 AM

I think that technique shouldn't be taught.

I often see players become obsessed with getting their technique perfect, when all it does it hinder your brain.

Look at Tim Henman this year, he has just concentrated on being aggresive and don't think about anything, and let it come naturally. His groundies have improved loads and thats through his simple thinking.

I have never had a lesson in my life and have my own technique that I understand.

Technique is over-rated imo.

-Liam

kevhen 07-14-2004 11:40 AM

Yes agreed, I think experimentation is the key to finding a technique that works for you. Watching what others do and then trying it and seeing if it works for you is the way to go. I agree too many people get stuck trying to hit the way someone tells them they must hit. It does seem to hinder the brain. You go out and do what comes naturally and you usually perform much better when you are relaxed and comfortable and not trying to force something. I have never had a coach and am close to 4.5 now without ever taking lessons, just one winter drill class which was useless except for learning the continental grip for hard spin serves.

kevhen 07-14-2004 11:46 AM

Also if you technique is causing injury then you know you must do something different. But you should change your style before you do to much damage.

PhatAbbott 07-14-2004 12:03 PM

Almost all pros in the top 20 have key points in there stroke collection. Certain little aspects that a biomechanics coach can identify. Without these keys the players strokes would break down become erratic. Then they would be low level players suddenly.

Coaching does not have to be too analytical in that respect. Its use should be to try and let players develop there own natural styles and game.

The problem is that most people don't pick these key points up by them selves and usually need coaching to learn them. Coaching is just an aid to learning.

So of course you don't need coaching ... but its there if you want it.

kevhen 07-14-2004 12:16 PM

Technique is important but I see too many instructors focusing solely on hitting technique and forgetting about footwork and court strategy and hitting with various spins and the other things that make up the game of tennis. And too many people pay too much money to learn someone else's ideal technique in my opinion.

Bungalo Bill 07-14-2004 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Liam Curran
I think that technique shouldn't be taught.

I often see players become obsessed with getting their technique perfect, when all it does it hinder your brain.

Look at Tim Henman this year, he has just concentrated on being aggresive and don't think about anything, and let it come naturally. His groundies have improved loads and thats through his simple thinking.

I have never had a lesson in my life and have my own technique that I understand.

Technique is over-rated imo.
-Liam

I think your example of Henman is not an example of the "non-teaching" of technique. Henman has good technique. He just stopped thinking so much about what he needed to do against a player and just started doing what he did best. He didnt over think his strategy and tactics which is different then technique.

Technique falls in several departments:

1. Footwork and balance

2. Body position and movement

3. Racquet preparation

4. Swing

5. Recovery

Based on these areas of technique, I would say learning proper technique is pretty damn important. Especially since technique will cover learning how to:

1. Serve

2. Volley

3. Hit Overheads

4. Hit drop shots

5. Hit approach shots

6. Hit groundstrokes

7. Hit half volleys

Each of these areas are very different. Technique is about "how" to do something. Once good technique is learned a player should be free to develop their style.

jun 07-14-2004 06:30 PM

Technqiue is definately important. Proper technique lets players hit effectively and efficiently. And poor technique can hinder the stroke's progress.

But as long as people stay within the framework, there can be a lot of variations.

Rickson 07-14-2004 07:37 PM

Technique is extremely important. I know a guy who refuses to learn a forehand with followthrough, insisting that he will develop his own style of play. Needless to say, this guy has never beaten me, he hasn't even come close, and yes, I've bageled him many times.

Nosoupforyou 07-14-2004 09:44 PM

Technique is very important to me especially on my groundstrokes, i fear however i have taken it to the point where i ignore other parts of my game because i am so focused on the technique of my forehand, backhand, and serve. I think technique is great to a certain point but I think that you can have near perfect technique and still be killed because there are certain intangibles in tennis.

Feņa14 07-15-2004 10:12 AM

Ok the objective of tennis is to hit a ball over the net and in the court and make it bounce twice on there side.

I have learnt technique by just watching pro's on TV. That has helped me. Just keep it simple and that works for anyone.

I had loads of golf lessons after getting a handicap of 8 by myself, and they just made my brain go into over drive and I lost the simplicity of the game.

Technique: you ever have it or you don't, it can't be taught properly imo.

kevhen 07-15-2004 10:55 AM

All I know is that I have seen plenty of club players taking lessons on learning the proper technique, blah, blah, blah and spending twice as much time on the court as what I have and very few have moved up from 3.5 to 4.0 in the time it took me to. I wasn't concerned with technique, just in how to get the next ball back and eventually my technique improved and I was able to win matches as I progressed instead of playing like how someone else wanted me to play. Many people told me I could never win with a slice forehand but they were wrong. It does have it's limitations at the 4.5 level, but not many people get to that level anyway. So unless someone has a blatant hitch in their swing, I say leave them alone and let them hit the ball the way that it feels natural to them. Doesn't mean that you can't encourage them to try new grips or swingpaths, but way too much time is focused on cookie-cutter technique. Everyone ends up with the same topspin forehand and topspin backhand and it's pretty easy to defend against.

Feņa14 07-15-2004 11:03 AM

Exactly Kevhen, I couldn't agree with you more.

Tennis is an easy game, only the player makes it complicated!

Bungalo Bill 07-15-2004 11:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Liam Curran
Ok the objective of tennis is to hit a ball over the net and in the court and make it bounce twice on there side.

I have learnt technique by just watching pro's on TV. That has helped me. Just keep it simple and that works for anyone.

I had loads of golf lessons after getting a handicap of 8 by myself, and they just made my brain go into over drive and I lost the simplicity of the game.

Technique: you ever have it or you don't, it can't be taught properly imo.

Actually, Liam I have had the opposite experience. I had "poor" technique of the backhand when I was young and learning tennis until a coach came a long and helped me correctg certain flaws in my swing.

Also, usually people that have never taught tennis for a living usually say that players dont need to "learn" anything formally, that tennis is simple, and nobody needs lessons, so just go out and hit a ball and it will "happen".

The problem with that thinking is that everyone is different. I have had countless students thank me as a coach in helping them with certain flaws in their strokes because they were self taught. I think just because you can't learn a certain way does not mean that everyone cant learn that way.

Tennis is a complex sport. It is pretty simple minded of you to say it is an easy sport to learn and dismiss all the research that says otherwise. I would venture to say you dont know a whole lot about player development outside of your own playing ability and learning characteristics.

I think it is great for you to learn on your own by watching a video and then doing it. That is fantastic. But to say everyone can learn that way is forgetting that the world does not revolve around you!

Feņa14 07-15-2004 11:36 AM

I really respect teaching pro's as they not only have the knowledge, but also the way that they explain there knowledge.

In England the pro's that I have seen just want your money, they don't teach properly and rarely turn up until about half of your lesson time is over.

Sure people should have a couple of lessons to get them of on the right track, so they know the basics. Then they should try for themselves and if they don't get any further then they should fix what is wrong with them.

But to me, it's all mental.

Bungalo Bill 07-15-2004 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kevhen
All I know is that I have seen plenty of club players taking lessons on learning the proper technique, blah, blah, blah and spending twice as much time on the court as what I have and very few have moved up from 3.5 to 4.0 in the time it took me to. I wasn't concerned with technique, just in how to get the next ball back and eventually my technique improved and I was able to win matches as I progressed instead of playing like how someone else wanted me to play. Many people told me I could never win with a slice forehand but they were wrong. It does have it's limitations at the 4.5 level, but not many people get to that level anyway. So unless someone has a blatant hitch in their swing, I say leave them alone and let them hit the ball the way that it feels natural to them. Doesn't mean that you can't encourage them to try new grips or swingpaths, but way too much time is focused on cookie-cutter technique. Everyone ends up with the same topspin forehand and topspin backhand and it's pretty easy to defend against.

Now wait a second. Kevhen I actually thought you knew something about tennis. Now, I am thinking you only know what you have experienced and have no clue what others see tennis as.

A good coach would never get someone to play like they play. A good coach will make sure the player is doing the right things and to develop the players choice of style in their game.

The reason why people work on their swing more than anything is that people have the misconception that what is wrong with their game only has to do with the swing. They forget that footwork, conditioning, and other areas are more important to develop in order to support a good swing.

Bottom-line: I think your post is full of crap. You have no clue what your talking about nor know how player development actually works. You only know your little slice forehand game and your little world of 4.0 game.

The trouble with spouting your mouth off like you did, is that you
have no basis of saying anything. You have no track record in player development - nothing! Yet, you know so much! Maybe we ought to invite you to the next USPTA player development conference to speak on your own little views.


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