Originally Posted by Roforot
Editted to the aphorisms I didn't fully understand? How does one use the sidelines to guage contact point of serve?
Lull energy: It is felt internally as a “no miss” energy, a slower speed, low risk, lower speed of racquet and shot. It’s the, “put your opponent to sleep” shots with 2-5’ high net clearance and medium spin and your version of a medium mental attack. It feels as if you are projecting your thumb across the net onto the forehead of your opponent and managing him with that thumb. Is putting your opponent to sleep and moving him around just enough to allow him to beat himself without much pressure on your part. The French players are expert at this, Simon and Monfils, while Gasquet and Chardy are expert at finishing modes. The lull master keeps his shots out of the middle of the court, yet near the sidelines without taking risk.
Jam energy: It’s energy that jams your opponent’s timing. Heavy top spin, heavy pace, heavy slice, great drop shots, great kick serves, great flat shots that skid, any shot that changes the height, or depth, or pace radcially after the ball bounces, is jam energy. Even no pace slow balls are jammers. It’s a transition energy, that is higher risk and faster in nature. It is felt inside your body as a higher speed, higher risk application of spin and speed/depth/height change. Even drop shots have to be disguised quickly. This energy changes the speed of the ball radically or the direction or the height just after the ball bounces, and it’s this “radical change” which jams internal opponent rhythm. It’s as if you are jamming a spike into his body and causing his energy to jam. Psyches are also used to jam.
Finish energy: The riskiest type of energy. It’s low net clearance, high speed or high touch. It’s simply higher risk, put the ball away. Some of those bursts are finish based: they are clean winners. This applies to drop shots as well as flat or angled winners. This is lower net clearance, higher risk, higher stick speed shot. There are psychological components of each of these energies as well as the physical incoming shot.
Mastering the energies requires the ability to master both psych and body energy.
DEFEND THE BODY CLOCK INTERNAL SPEED Blazing fast Cheetah feet, and drunken monkey upper torso.
There are two internal body clock/engines running us at all times, an upper body engine and a lower body engine which are fueled by our energy types at all times. Our mental unit turn tells us to kill a shot, or push a shot, or jam a shot, or lull a shot, and the feet are on board if moving quickly in a martial arts, choppy way, and the upper body is on board if moving fluidly in a whip snapping relaxed way.
When the feet slow down, your clock/engine jams up. When the engine running your torso slows down and there is no fluid coil and no load to your shots.... If the incoming shot upsets your timing, it has succeeded. Most of the time when we make errors it’s due to a bad coil, or failure to maintain contact point. Both of these are caused by energy flow into our bodies.
The body clock is jammed when one or both of the bodies’ engines slows down . They have to be running at the same speed, a fast one, no matter what incoming shot! You have to defend your body clock speed just as you defend your contact point, regardless of incoming shots.
DEFEND THE CONTACT POINT, THE ARC YOUR ARM MAKES IN FRONT OF YOU.
Keep the engine speeds high and defend the contact point in front of you. Most errors are either coil errors, or contact point errors. Both are more commonly made in a transition from one mode to the next mode, lull to jam to finish. Most transition errors are made due to slow reactions and jammed engines. We are trained to hit the ball the same distance in front of us, no matter what the incoming shot. That causes a huge amount of mistakes. The correct contact point is not straight wall up/down in front of you. It varies according to the incoming shot’s height. It is shaped like an arced curve. This arc is determined by your own length of arm. Higher incoming shots have to be struck more out front, and lower shots are allowed into the body more before striking your own outgoing shot, due to the length of your own arm. If you place your arm straight out, eye level high, and let it drop, that is the arc you are defending on contact, both at net and on ground. If you use the same contact point on a low ball that you use on a medium high ball, you will net it. If you use the same contact point on a high ball that you use on a medium ball, you will hit it late and go out long. Our best contact point is when our arm is barred out front so the wrist can be locked at contact for maximum consistency, and that point is determined by the incoming shot’s height. Another facet of contact point is the spot in the string bed. It has to be in the right place in the bed. If too low, or too high, the strings are too short, their frequency level of rebound is too high, and there is not enough control. Some like to strike the ball high up, such as 3rd cross down from top. Some like it in the middle, 10th cross down. Most are inbetween.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE UNIT TURN AND THE SPLIT STEP
Edberg came into net almost sitting down in his split. That gave him quicker lateral movement. Murray will go 6”-9" up in the air on his split. So did Chang and Hewitt. Players with the biggest or widest most extreme splits, often have the best defense/better foot work/quicker feet, ie, Chang, Hewitt, Sanchez vicario, Nadal, Murray, etc.. The split step affects the unit turn so profoundly. Ever notice how wide Djokovic stands while returning serve? It’s a full shoulder width and a half. So do all top returners, wider than anyone else. The advanced split step will point one foot to the side fence (the same side the ball is heading towards) and plant the other foot pointing towards the net, perpendicular to each other. This advanced split step causes a faster unit turn, because the turned foot pivots the upper body when that pivoted foot lands. When the pointed foot lands, it forces a faster unit turn, a faster decision on which shot you are going to hit. Turning sideways faster is a strategy is all about removing time from the unit turn, deciding ahead of time which shots to hit, so you don’t have to waste time thinking about it during the point, and to at the same time to force your opponent to spend more time reacting and thinking! Your mental unit turn has to be just as practiced and polished as the physical, and your decision on which energy type to use has to be automatic: lull-jam-finish. That is the decision of which energy to use, lull, jam, or finish, and how deep and hard and high the shot will be.
Typical combinations are: two lull shots, two jam shots, and two finish shots.
The physical unit turn is the only thing all top pros have in common. It’s the mental unit turn and their mastery over the three energy types that separates the very top from the next tier down.
When returning, spot a sideline or the lines in the service box. Use those to time your contact point, ie, if going cc in ad, use doubles alley line to be just behind your contact pt. for a cc bh return.
One lunge step refers to the one step you should take during returns if forced to reach.