3 Reasons Why You Need To Be Doing Shadow Swings.

thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
You have to understand that...

Since tennis is a motor skill.

You need to be looking for ways to leapfrog the learning curve, so you can start developing your tennis strokes and game at a faster pace.

And the best way to do that is by getting in more shadow swings daily.

Here are the reasons why you need to be doing this...

1). It will allow you to leapfrog the learning curve.

By doing the shadow swings slowly and at the same time mentally picturing yourself hitting the perfect stroke in your mind while you are doing them.

Will help you be able to imprint the stroke that you are working on in your subconscious mind.

Then all you have to do is get out of your own way and allow IT to do all the work through you.

I call this Mushin Tennis Training.

2). You will start to develop faster.

Your goal should be to develop all your strokes as fast as you can and then start competing in tournaments and try to reach your full potential as a player.

Many club players do just the opposite.

They start competing too soon.

When they should first develop their strokes and discover their authentic style of play.

Then start playing in real matches.

3). It will allow you to maintain your timing and rhythm.

As my first coach told me years ago.

"You must stay on top of your timing and rhythm for your strokes as much as you can daily".

Which is what the shadow swings will do for you.

If you keep doing them every day, your feel and timing for your strokes will become automatic in matches.

This will allow you to be able to flow with your game and the match at your own tempo and pace.

So, those are 3 reasons why you need to be getting in shadow swings more.

Another thing I would say to you is...

Try to do them right before you sleep.

That way.

Your subconscious mind can be working on the stroke while you sleep and also do them when you wake up for a good 10 minutes.

And make sure you are doing them VERY slowly.

This will help you to break down every aspect of the stroke while doing them.

The one thing that you will discover when you start doing this creative mental tennis training is that...

"When you can execute a smooth fluid and effortless stroke without the ball, you will then be able to execute it with the ball"!!
 

Pandora Mikado

Semi-Pro
You have to understand that...

Since tennis is a motor skill.

You need to be looking for ways to leapfrog the learning curve, so you can start developing your tennis strokes and game at a faster pace.

And the best way to do that is by getting in more shadow swings daily.

Here are the reasons why you need to be doing this...

1). It will allow you to leapfrog the learning curve.

By doing the shadow swings slowly and at the same time mentally picturing yourself hitting the perfect stroke in your mind while you are doing them.

Will help you be able to imprint the stroke that you are working on in your subconscious mind.

Then all you have to do is get out of your own way and allow IT to do all the work through you.

I call this Mushin Tennis Training.

2). You will start to develop faster.

Your goal should be to develop all your strokes as fast as you can and then start competing in tournaments and try to reach your full potential as a player.

Many club players do just the opposite.

They start competing too soon.

When they should first develop their strokes and discover their authentic style of play.

Then start playing in real matches.

3). It will allow you to maintain your timing and rhythm.

As my first coach told me years ago.

"You must stay on top of your timing and rhythm for your strokes as much as you can daily".

Which is what the shadow swings will do for you.

If you keep doing them every day, your feel and timing for your strokes will become automatic in matches.

This will allow you to be able to flow with your game and the match at your own tempo and pace.

So, those are 3 reasons why you need to be getting in shadow swings more.

Another thing I would say to you is...

Try to do them right before you sleep.

That way.

Your subconscious mind can be working on the stroke while you sleep and also do them when you wake up for a good 10 minutes.

And make sure you are doing them VERY slowly.

This will help you to break down every aspect of the stroke while doing them.

The one thing that you will discover when you start doing this creative mental tennis training is that...

"When you can execute a smooth fluid and effortless stroke without the ball, you will then be able to execute it with the ball"!!

(y)(y)(y)

I too am a big proponent of shadow swings.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Im working on extending the left arm on backhand and also extending the left arm fully on forehand and staying lower on both, il try slow shadow swings every day before sleep and see if it improves my learning rate :D
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
Have you ever had an original coaching idea? Or do you always just wrap an age old concept in paragraphs of text and explanation and mushin it?

Most coaches just say shadow swings will help you should do it. Better yet. Practice hitting real balls more.

When you need to take a sip of water while explaining a tennis concept perhaps you like to hear yourself talk way more than actually helping the player.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
1). It will allow you to leapfrog the learning curve.

By doing the shadow swings slowly and at the same time mentally picturing yourself hitting the perfect stroke in your mind while you are doing them.

Will help you be able to imprint the stroke that you are working on in your subconscious mind.

Then all you have to do is get out of your own way and allow IT to do all the work through you.

I call this Mushin Tennis Training.


I call it common sense but I agree that it's an important part of training.

Whether this qualifies as a "leapfrog" is another matter: I'm not bypassing anything; maybe it would be more accurate to think about accelerating the process.

2). You will start to develop faster.

Your goal should be to develop all your strokes as fast as you can and then start competing in tournaments and try to reach your full potential as a player.

Many club players do just the opposite.

They start competing too soon.

When they should first develop their strokes and discover their authentic style of play.

Then start playing in real matches.

The problem with this approach is A) it's already too late for most people as they've already started competing; and B) how does one judge whether one has developed all strokes? That's a pretty slippery definition and some may end up developing forever and never compete.

And make sure you are doing them VERY slowly.

This will help you to break down every aspect of the stroke while doing them.

Some things are more difficult to do slowly: trying to achieve racquet lag on the FH by being loose is much easier when executing a full-speed swing. Doing a shadow serve is impossible to do slowly after a certain point of the process because of gravity.

Just make sure to have a balance.

The one thing that you will discover when you start doing this creative mental tennis training is that...

"When you can execute a smooth fluid and effortless stroke without the ball, you will then be able to execute it with the ball"!!

Absolutely not true. The reasons are varied:
- When people see the ball, their focus changes from executing the correct stroke to hitting the ball by whatever means possible. Just because I know how to do something in a vacuum doesn't mean I'll be able to execute in real-life.

- People brace for impact, even for something as trivial as a tennis ball. This, for example, is how a lot of players develop tennis/golfer's elbow: because they are super tense prior to contact. Tension kills RHS and form.

- In a match, that ball is being directed by someone who is trying to make things difficult for me.

Now, I'm not arguing that developing the fluid shadow stroke is pointless but rather it's but a step on the road to mastery.
 

BadBoy666

Rookie
Right, that is why I said you must keep adjusting your swing after every rep, until you discover the stroke.

But how can you discover a stroke only from shadow swinging. You mean shadow swing, go out and hit a ball and then adjust in the next bout of shadow swinging?
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
Its not magic most of the time. There is a leap at every level that has to be made.

Shadow swing in a mirror.
Shadow swing without direct feedback from reflection.
Shadow swing to the same swing off of drop feed is one step up.
Taking that technique from drop feed to live soft balls is another.
Keep that same technique at faster incoming balls and more rushed footwork is much harder.

Don't be surprised when your shadow swing technique breaks down under the complexities of footwork and judging incoming balls.
 
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thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
Its not magic most of the time. There is a leap at every level that has to be made.

Shadow swing to the same swing off of drop feed is one step up.
Taking that technique from drop feed to live soft balls is another.
Keep that same technique at faster incoming balls and more rushed footwork is much harder.

Don't be surprised when your shadow swing technique breaks down under the complexities of footwork and judging incoming balls.
Before you even go to the drop feed, you need to discover the stroke with shadow swings my friend, then you can move on to that..
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
Before you even go to the drop feed, you need to discover the stroke with shadow swings my friend, then you can move on to that..
Of course, I don't disagree with what you wrote, but that isn't what I am saying. You can do the shadow swings, and the foot work correctly, but once a ball is in play it can break down fast. It has happened to me (with serve and forehand), I have seen it with reputable coaches who employ shadow swing warmups, and even with posters here who try and take their shadow swings to the court.

People need to keep their expectations in line with reality, and work through trouble spots. You can get lucky and shadow swing can turn your game around overnight, but that might be 25% or less of students. The rest have to troubleshoot further.

New shadow swing + old bad habits on the court = frustrated player
 
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Stretchy Man

Professional
But how can you discover a stroke only from shadow swinging. You mean shadow swing, go out and hit a ball and then adjust in the next bout of shadow swinging?

Makes no sense to me and Thomas is not giving any details. Hitting a real ball gives you immediate feedback on your stroke. Shadow swings has no feedback at all so you will probably be reinforcing bad technique.

Can you learn guitar by playing air guitar? :confused:
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Makes no sense to me and Thomas is not giving any details. Hitting a real ball gives you immediate feedback on your stroke. Shadow swings has no feedback at all so you will probably be reinforcing bad technique.

Can you learn guitar by playing air guitar? :confused:

To be fair, the guitar analogy is inaccurate in that what one does playing air guitar has no relationship to producing music, just looking cool.

OTOH, you can compare your shadow swing with an actual swing to see how you're progressing. If you can nail down the shadow swing [the easiest], you can progress to adding progressively more difficult feeds and finally point play. The feedback is on video. Of course, you have to be experienced enough to recognize what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong and that's problematic.
 

Stretchy Man

Professional
To be fair, the guitar analogy is inaccurate in that what one does playing air guitar has no relationship to producing music, just looking cool.

Shadow swinging is not playing tennis either.

OTOH, you can compare your shadow swing with an actual swing to see how you're progressing. If you can nail down the shadow swing [the easiest], you can progress to adding progressively more difficult feeds and finally point play. The feedback is on video. Of course, you have to be experienced enough to recognize what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong and that's problematic.

Ok so you need to video yourself and have the ability to pick up flaws. An important detail the Mushin Master left out. Isn't it easier and better to simply hit a bucket of balls down at the club?
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Shadow swinging is not playing tennis either.

Shadow swinging is more closely related to tennis than air guitar is to guitar: the former is at least somewhat related; the latter, not at all.

Ok so you need to video yourself and have the ability to pick up flaws. An important detail the Mushin Master left out. Isn't it easier and better to simply hit a bucket of balls down at the club?

Yes, that's a problematic detail: if you're not good enough to see the discrepancies, you'll just have bad shadow swing technique.

I still think it can be a useful tool in the overall improvement process rather than an "either/or" tradeoff.

And one could shadow swing, then go out and hit some balls, and then come back and shadow swing some more; no one said you had to only progress from shadow swinging to something more advanced and that you couldn't continue shadow swinging.
 

ubercat

Hall of Fame
@Kobble nailed it. I think there is one extra step however before hitting soft live balls. The problem is replicating the rally intensity.

with drop feeds you can do it by throwing the ball away from yourself. I do that for short and sideways balls. And then when I am warmed up I throw them behind myself. To some extent replicates having to run back for a good topspin shot.
 

ubercat

Hall of Fame
On the wall if you angle serve you can replicate getting a fast ball into the corner to practice your desperate defensive slice.

the other thing you can do is by standing close and hit the ball down at the foot of the wall so it bounces back fast and high past you. that one is good for practicing your backwards crossover step.

I'm pretty sure this one is from essential tennis. Ian put Target squares on the wall with painters tape. if you combine what I said with trying to hit to a Target that is going to be pretty close to a rally.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Have you ever had an original coaching idea? Or do you always just wrap an age old concept in paragraphs of text and explanation and mushin it?

Most coaches just say shadow swings will help you should do it. Better yet. Practice hitting real balls more.

When you need to take a sip of water while explaining a tennis concept perhaps you like to hear yourself talk way more than actually helping the player.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

"perhaps you like to hear yourself talk way more than actually helping... ". So, what is the actual purpose for your response? Ironic posting?
 
F

FRV

Guest
I don't find shadow swings as being necessary, but helpful if you can't hit the courts.
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
"perhaps you like to hear yourself talk way more than actually helping... ". So, what is the actual purpose for your response? Ironic posting?
Seems self explanatory. If he is on a court with a player or giving instruction does it really take 3 paragraphs to say practice shadow swings? Here is how I would say it. Notice the use of short phrases without the use of bushido samurai Japanese pseudo buzzwords.

"I think shadow swinging this stroke after our time on court will be an easy way to get more reps in"

Also if you really want to help a player the less you have to explain the better it is. This is basics of learning a sport. Improving in a sport. Maybe some people equate a lot of words to actually helping. It doesn't.



Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 
F

FRV

Guest
Seems self explanatory. If he is on a court with a player or giving instruction does it really take 3 paragraphs to say practice shadow swings? Here is how I would say it. Notice the use of short phrases without the use of bushido samurai Japanese pseudo buzzwords.

"I think shadow swinging this stroke after our time on court will be an easy way to get more reps in"

Also if you really want to help a player the less you have to explain the better it is. This is basics of learning a sport. Improving in a sport. Maybe some people equate a lot of words to actually helping. It doesn't.



Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
Why'd you stop responding to my PMs? We are friends, no?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Seems self explanatory. If he is on a court with a player or giving instruction does it really take 3 paragraphs to say practice shadow swings? Here is how I would say it. Notice the use of short phrases without the use of bushido samurai Japanese pseudo buzzwords.

"I think shadow swinging this stroke after our time on court will be an easy way to get more reps in"

Also if you really want to help a player the less you have to explain the better it is. This is basics of learning a sport. Improving in a sport. Maybe some people equate a lot of words to actually helping. It doesn't...

I encourage most of my students to practice shadow swings at home (or away from the courts). I also suggest that they perform a set of swings anytime they go out to hit outside of class. We spend several minutes of shadows swinging during each class to make sure that they are performing them correctly... quite often, they are not. I also have them perform some of those shadow swings with eyes closed and ask them to feel the proper shape and mechanics.

I also suggest that they perform some of their shadow swings in front of a mirror or in front of a large window where they can see their reflection. I will recommend that they alternate this with some eyes-closed shadow swings to feel the proper form.

From what I've seen, less than 20% of my students actually practice their shadow swings at home or outside of class. It shows. It would appear that simply telling students to practice their shadow swings at home (and elsewhere) is rather ineffective for most since more than 80% don't do it.
 
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rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
I encourage most of my students to practice shadow swings at home (or away from the courts). I also suggest that they perform a set of swings anytime they go out to hit outside of class. We spend several minutes of shadows swinging during each class to make sure that they are performing them correctly... quite often, they are not. I also have them perform some of those shadow swings with eyes closed and ask them to feel the proper shape and mechanics.

I also suggest that they perform some of their shadow swings in front of a mirror or in front of a large window where they can see their reflection. I will recommend that they alternate this with some eyes-closed shadow swings to feel the proper form.

From what I've seen, less than 20% of my students actually practice their shadow swings at home or outside of class. It shows. It would appear that simply telling students to practice their shadow swings at home (and elsewhere) is rather ineffective for most since more than 80% don't do it.
You need better students. The kids I know are dedicated and they do this. They also don't need to know mushin methods to feel special. In fact they even shadow swing on the court as you describe. But nobody wants a huge long explanation about bushido and mushin. But I am not a coach. I just know my son and the kids he trains with.

If in your experience 80% of your student won't do this. Do you really think this long explanation will encourage them to? Or is it more reasonably they will tune it out after 10 seconds and not even hear you?

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
@Kobble nailed it. I think there is one extra step however before hitting soft live balls. The problem is replicating the rally intensity.

with drop feeds you can do it by throwing the ball away from yourself. I do that for short and sideways balls. And then when I am warmed up I throw them behind myself. To some extent replicates having to run back for a good topspin shot.
Right. If you are rebuilding a stroke you will probably sense a slightly higher difficulty even going from hitting the ball out of the air feed style to hitting it after the drop. The adjustments you need to make with your feet get brought into the picture. The problem is, the foot work for your old stroke is your first inclination, and that can force you to use old technique to compensate. I think making a tee out of pool noodle and ball might help with adjusting to the spacing and visual adjustments necessary for a new stroke.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
You need better students. The kids I know are dedicated and they do this. They also don't need to know mushin methods to feel special. In fact they even shadow swing on the court as you describe. But nobody wants a huge long explanation about bushido and mushin. But I am not a coach. I just know my son and the kids he trains with.

If in your experience 80% of your student won't do this. Do you really think this long explanation will encourage them to? Or is it more reasonably they will tune it out after 10 seconds and not even hear you?

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
Semi-retired these days. For more than a decade now, I've been working primarily with students who wish to get on their middle school team or a high school team. Some of them are self-motivated, conscientious students. Many are not. Or many of them have too much too much on their plate. Unfortunately, their attention and efforts are spread too thin. Extremely high academic standards in the Silicon Valley area.

Back when I was working with serious tournament players (junior development), a majority of them would engage in shadow swinging. But outside of those Jr development programs, I'm not getting the same level of commitment.

Yes, well aware that very lengthy explanations do not work for many students on the court. But I do see value in presenting the OP ideas here for TW forum members who do not understand or fully appreciate the value of shadow swinging.
 
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r2473

G.O.A.T.
You have to understand that...

Since tennis is a motor skill.

You need to be looking for ways to leapfrog the learning curve, so you can start developing your tennis strokes and game at a faster pace.

And the best way to do that is by getting in more shadow swings daily.

Here are the reasons why you need to be doing this...

1). It will allow you to leapfrog the learning curve.

By doing the shadow swings slowly and at the same time mentally picturing yourself hitting the perfect stroke in your mind while you are doing them.

Will help you be able to imprint the stroke that you are working on in your subconscious mind.

Then all you have to do is get out of your own way and allow IT to do all the work through you.

I call this Mushin Tennis Training.

2). You will start to develop faster.

Your goal should be to develop all your strokes as fast as you can and then start competing in tournaments and try to reach your full potential as a player.

Many club players do just the opposite.

They start competing too soon.

When they should first develop their strokes and discover their authentic style of play.

Then start playing in real matches.

3). It will allow you to maintain your timing and rhythm.

As my first coach told me years ago.

"You must stay on top of your timing and rhythm for your strokes as much as you can daily".

Which is what the shadow swings will do for you.

If you keep doing them every day, your feel and timing for your strokes will become automatic in matches.

This will allow you to be able to flow with your game and the match at your own tempo and pace.

So, those are 3 reasons why you need to be getting in shadow swings more.

Another thing I would say to you is...

Try to do them right before you sleep.

That way.

Your subconscious mind can be working on the stroke while you sleep and also do them when you wake up for a good 10 minutes.

And make sure you are doing them VERY slowly.

This will help you to break down every aspect of the stroke while doing them.

The one thing that you will discover when you start doing this creative mental tennis training is that...

"When you can execute a smooth fluid and effortless stroke without the ball, you will then be able to execute it with the ball"!!
I prefer the wall.
 
C

Chadalina

Guest
Ive never seen the point in shadow swinging. We make the little kids do it so their parents (who dont play) think they are doing something while standing in line.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
@travlerajm
Ive never seen the point in shadow swinging. We make the little kids do it so their parents (who dont play) think they are doing something while standing in line.

How about visualization? No point there either?

Don't know if you're really serious or just trying to be funny. But something is very wrong there if you really don't see the value in shadow swing. While there is little value in mindless, unfocused shadow swinging, there should be significant value if approached and executed mindfully and properly.

I've seen countless number of kids in large group classes who hit the ball with atrocious stroke mechanics time after time with very little improvement in sight. As soon as the ball is fed to them they go into autopilot and resort to their old bad habits. Without correction, they often just reinforce those bad habits. Shadow swings are supposed to be part of a larger effort to replace old, defective habits with new and improved habits.

Shadow swings should help with proprioception, developing proper swing patterns and mechanics and with developing proper muscle memory.
 
C

Chadalina

Guest
@travlerajm


How about visualization? No point there either?

Don't know if you're really serious or just trying to be funny. But something is very wrong there if you really don't see the value in shadow swing. While there is little value in mindless, unfocused shadow swinging, there should be significant value if approached and executed mindfully and properly.

I've seen countless number of kids in large group classes who hit the ball with atrocious stroke mechanics time after time with very little improvement in sight. As soon as the ball is fed to them they go into autopilot and resort to their old bad habits. Without correction, they often just reinforce those bad habits. Shadow swings are supposed to be part of a larger effort to replace old, defective habits with new and improved habits.

Shadow swings should help with proprioception, developing proper swing patterns and mechanics and with developing proper muscle memory.

I disagree, swing path is easy to teach when you let them miss a few and explain variables.

I also dislike trying to teach "the proper form" the shadow swing entails. Has ball machine effect.

I do tend to shadow occasionally, most the upward angle of the snap when thinking about a certain shot. But doing it like situps in sets seems silly.

Your not getting muscle memory because your not actually hitting a ball. Resitance and expected contact, many other variables you need you understand to play.

But you do have to admit have the 6 kids in line (overbooked the court) looks pretty good, like a ballet :)

 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
I recall seeing Federer, Safin and numerous other ATP players perform shadow swings. Many pro players perform shadow swings before the coin toss at the start of their match. Marion Bartoli was a chronic/prolific shadow swinger -- often did them before and after points during her matches.

The most recent match I watched was Dayana Yastremska's victorious final against Caroline Garcia at Strasbourg. Dayana was shadow swinging at the coin toss (and later during the match). Very recently witnessed Amanda Anisimova performing shadow swings during her run to the SFs at RG. Mark my words... both of these young U19 players will likely be top 5 in the next few years.

 

thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
I encourage most of my students to practice shadow swings at home (or away from the courts). I also suggest that they perform a set of swings anytime they go out to hit outside of class. We spend several minutes of shadows swinging during each class to make sure that they are performing them correctly... quite often, they are not. I also have them perform some of those shadow swings with eyes closed and ask them to feel the proper shape and mechanics.

I also suggest that they perform some of their shadow swings in front of a mirror or in front of a large window where they can see their reflection. I will recommend that they alternate this with some eyes-closed shadow swings to feel the proper form.

From what I've seen, less than 20% of my students actually practice their shadow swings at home or outside of class. It shows. It would appear that simply telling students to practice their shadow swings at home (and elsewhere) is rather ineffective for most since more than 80% don't do it.
All my players do, so maybe you should find some more serious ones...
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
But I do see value in presenting the OP ideas here for TW forum members who do not understand or fully appreciate the value of shadow swinging.

Many times the form falls apart when a ball is introduced. That has been my experience with shadow swinging on serves. That said, I think shadow swings slowly carry over after thousands of shadow reps. In other words, my shadow swing was correct (confirmed by coach) but real serve had issues. I then proceeded to only practicing the real serve with no extensive shadow swing practice. Maybe 90-10 ratio of serve practice to shadow swing. But not getting results despite much practice. Then switched over to a 60-40 ratio and started to notice results.

Have not yet tried extensive shadow swinging on other strokes like forehand. I sort of lean towards the idea of practicing self drop feed, so that you get immediate feedback with the ball and makes it more interesting. Perhaps one reason less than 20% students practice shadow swings. Too boring?

Some players have a very flat (horizontal) swing that seriously limits their ability to hit with topspin. It is often not too difficult to teach them a good low-to-high swingpath. But as soon as they start playing or rallying, they slip right back into their old ingrained habits.

In many cases, it can take hundreds and hundreds of hours to replace an old ingrained habit with a new and improved one. A lot of repetition is required for this. Shadow swings can be an important PART of that program of repetition program.

Yes, that is my problem too. I can perform a perfectly low-to-high shadow swing, but for whatever reason, when there is a live ball I revert to a flat swing and do not swing low to high... The question is then deciding how much practice time should be devoted to shadow swings vs real swings with actual contact.

Interesting that the Jeff video looks to be shadowing without a racquet...

Amanda video: Is that basically what her shot and footwork looks like on court? She makes it look easy and relaxed... It looks like pretty much anyone in average shape should be able to copy her shadow swing. Of course translating it to a real ball, even an easy rally ball, is another issue.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
@travlerajm
I disagree, swing path is easy to teach when you let them miss a few and explain variables.

I also dislike trying to teach "the proper form" the shadow swing entails. Has ball machine effect.

I do tend to shadow occasionally, most the upward angle of the snap when thinking about a certain shot. But doing it like situps in sets seems silly.

Your not getting muscle memory because your not actually hitting a ball. Resitance and expected contact, many other variables you need you understand to play...
Swingpath is only 1 of a # of facets that shadow swings can address.

And, while developing a proper swing is relatively simple for many, this is not so for all. Some players have a very flat (horizontal) swing that seriously limits their ability to hit with topspin. It is often not too difficult to teach them a good low-to-high swingpath. But as soon as they start playing or rallying, they slip right back into their old ingrained habits.

In many cases, it can take hundreds and hundreds of hours to replace an old ingrained habit with a new and improved one. A lot of repetition is required for this. Shadow swings can be an important PART of that program of repetition program.

Note that shadow swing training is often more about correcting certain flaws rather than "teaching proper form". But it also can be employed for the latter... check out the videos I posted above (esp the one from Jeff Salzenstein). I do not know what you mean by "ball machine affect" but there are very good ways to use ball machines and some rather inferior ways.

You are absolutely incorrect about shadow swinging not helping to develop muscle memory. I've used it in that capacity very successfully for well over 2 decades of teaching. We execute these shadow swings with a variety of swing speeds as well as a variety of contact heights.

Footwork patterns (and stances) can also be learned in conjunction with shadow swings. I can't think of a better way to accomplish this. Jeff Salzenstein uses this idea in his video above. I frequently use this for teaching mogul moves, split steps, flow steps, gravity and drop steps, approach shot footwork, recovery footwork, lift and land footwork, etc.

Other aspects of stroke mechanics can also be learned with a combination of shadow swings and easy hand feeds. A decent/robust unit turn is one of these aspects. Many players have a dead arm -- they hardly use their nondominant arm for their Fh groundstrokes.

Many players "arm" their shots. They do not employ a full kinetic chain sequence. Shadow swings can go along way to help to develop this. I come across a lot of players with a humongous loop or an excessive takeback on their groundstrokes. Shadow swings can be used to help correct this. Some players have rhythm problems in their strokes. They might prepare late and rush all aspects of their stroke. OTOH some prepare early with a decent unit turn but then drop the racket too early and wait in a low position for a while on most of their shots before starting their forward swing. These issues are easier to correct when we start with shadow swings.

Too many players move their head and eyes during the contact phase of of their groundstrokes, volleys, and serves. This and a number of other aspects of strokes are other things that make shadow swings a useful tool for learning.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
All my players do, so maybe you should find some more serious ones...

Why should I? In my late 60s now. As I said, I am semi-retired and I'm now only working with a handful of students -- private lessons only. I no longer actively go out and recruit new students. I have worked with high-level juniors in the past. A number of them have gone on to play Division I or Division II tennis. Not really interested in doing that on a full-time basis anymore. It's much too hard on my body.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
@Chadalina

In post #39, notice how Anisimova extends her left arm across her body (perpendicular to an imaginary incoming ball) right after her unit turn. I find it much easier to teach this with shadow swings first. Then go on to easy hand feeds and eventually more challenging feeds. If this or any other part of the mechanics breaks down, we go back to shadow swings and easy feeds.
 

Badmrfrosty

Rookie
I recall seeing Federer, Safin and numerous other ATP players perform shadow swings. Many pro players perform shadow swings before the coin toss at the start of their match. Marion Bartoli was a chronic/prolific shadow swinger -- often did them before and after points during her matches.

The most recent match I watched was Dayana Yastremska's victorious final against Caroline Garcia at Strasbourg. Dayana was shadow swinging at the coin toss (and later during the match). Very recently witnessed Amanda Anisimova performing shadow swings during her run to the SFs at RG. Mark my words... both of these young U19 players will likely be top 5 in the next few years.

Good post. I wouldn't have believed in shadow swinging after beginner. What a dime.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Many times the form falls apart when a ball is introduced. That has been my experience with shadow swinging on serves. That said, I think shadow swings slowly carry over after thousands of shadow reps. In other words, my shadow swing was correct (confirmed by coach) but real serve had issues. I then proceeded to only practicing the real serve with no extensive shadow swing practice. Maybe 90-10 ratio of serve practice to shadow swing. But not getting results despite much practice. Then switched over to a 60-40 ratio and started to notice results.

Have not yet tried extensive shadow swinging on other strokes like forehand. I sort of lean towards the idea of practicing self drop feed, so that you get immediate feedback with the ball and makes it more interesting. Perhaps one reason less than 20% students practice shadow swings. Too boring?



Yes, that is my problem too. I can perform a perfectly low-to-high shadow swing, but for whatever reason, when there is a live ball I revert to a flat swing and do not swing low to high... The question is then deciding how much practice time should be devoted to shadow swings vs real swings with actual contact.

Interesting that the Jeff video looks to be shadowing without a racquet...

Amanda video: Is that basically what her shot and footwork looks like on court? She makes it look easy and relaxed... It looks like pretty much anyone in average shape should be able to copy her shadow swing. Of course translating it to a real ball, even an easy rally ball, is another issue.
True. Many players do find shadow swings to be tedious or boring. Not always easy to change peoples mindset on this. I like to eat treat shadow swings like a type of meditation. A moving meditation, not unlike Tai Chi or Aikido.

Yes, many of Amanda's shots and footwork look very much like the shadow swings. She appears to be executing something of a mogul move footwork pattern in that video. If you get a chance, check out her French open QF match against Simona Halep or her 2 win over Sabalenka this year (1st one at AO).

With shadow swings it easier to figure out what various body parts are doing. It seems that the proprioception sometimes fails us when the ball is introduced. On the serve, for instance, players lose track of what their (serving arm) elbow is doing. The elbow is often way too high, way too low, or comes forward way too early. With a live ball, players believe that the elbow is doing exactly what it should be doing. They seem to lose track of it even when I ask them to focus on it during their service.
 
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travlerajm

Talk Tennis Guru
I recall seeing Federer, Safin and numerous other ATP players perform shadow swings. Many pro players perform shadow swings before the coin toss at the start of their match. Marion Bartoli was a chronic/prolific shadow swinger -- often did them before and after points during her matches.

The most recent match I watched was Dayana Yastremska's victorious final against Caroline Garcia at Strasbourg. Dayana was shadow swinging at the coin toss (and later during the match). Very recently witnessed Amanda Anisimova performing shadow swings during her run to the SFs at RG. Mark my words... both of these young U19 players will likely be top 5 in the next few years.

Nice try, Amanda. But the highlight of this video is not the guy.
 
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