View Single Post
Old 12-28-2012, 05:59 PM   #48
Hall Of Fame
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,644
Default Preparation

So when we left Roger Federer the ball had left Rafa's racket traveling 80 mph with 3000rpm leaving him around a second to reach the contact point on his forehand.

This is why immediately after the split step--and sometimes even before landing--all top players have started to turn the body and the feet sideways.

This full body turn includes the feet and legs, the hips and the shoulders. No matter what anyone else including Wegner tries to tell you, it is universal.

How do I know this? By careful study of thousands of high speed video clips of dozens of the top players. The naked eye records at about 20 frames a second. Anyone who tells you they have seen the truth with their own eyes is mistaken.

This turning motion is continuous and includes, often, multiple steps to the ball when players are moving wide, or back, or around the ball to hit inside out.

This instantaneous, smooth and continuous preparation reaches a characteristic point that coincides roughly with the bounce on the court. The shoulders turn 90 degrees plus to the net. The left arm stretches across the body, pointing square or perpindicular to the sideline. If the ball allows, the player will also load on the outside foot in a stationary position, but often the full turn is reached while the player is still on the move or on the run.

The hands have separated and the racket hand has reached, roughly, the top of the backswing.

There is no delaying, there is no keeping your hands in front as long as possible, there is no stalking, there is no counting to five after the bounce--unless you can count to five in about 3/10s of a second. Watch Wegner's preparation in his "modern" forehand tips--he is no where near the pro position and neither are the MIT coaches in the video he touts as examples of his system.

This fully loaded position is what allows the players to deal with the incredible forces in the high velocity, heavy balls launched at them at one second intervals.

And guess what? You can find the great players of the past like Bill Tilden and Jack Kramer in that exact same position.
This is what I mean when I say the hard distinction between classical and modern tennis is artificial at best, and a marketing scam at worst. Early, strong preparation is an element than runs across a century of high level tennis.

This position, fully turned with the racket at the top of the backswing is sometimes described by coaches like Rick Macci as the position from which the forehand swing starts. Rick calls it "dropping into the hit." Remember that at this point the contact is only a couple or at most a few 1/10ths of a second away.

Imagine if the top players waited til the bounce to try to create this position, much less then complete the swing. Impossible.

Ironically the rare times you see the turn and preparation delayed proves the truth of the above analysis. You see it sometimes on short, slow, or high bouncing moonlike balls. You see it on lets.

So here is one of the funamental ironies of "modern" instruction and why it can be so detrimental to the games of so many players. Not only is it not modern, it is actually the antithesis of the way modern players really prepare. There are many others to come.

Last edited by JohnYandell; 12-28-2012 at 06:53 PM.
JohnYandell is offline