Arrrggghhhh... too fast :) getting jammed

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I'm pretty happy with how nearly every part of my game is progressing but one important fundamental just eludes me, foot work. I have trouble, finding/creating space between my body and the ball. I'm pretty fast for an old guy and can cover the court well but I have a tendency to overrun the ball and jam myself off both wings (open stance eastern grip forehand and 1HBH). My body gets in the way of my arm coming through freely and I end up striking the ball with bent arm. Not only does this result in balls launched or dumped into the net, I believe this could be an issue with arm discomfort as well.

This is the most aggravating when I get a short sitter that I can't put away because I've gotten there in plenty of time but have put myself in a bad position.

Any tips/advice short of spending dozens and dozens of hours (which I don't have) with a ball machine/hitting partner? Drills/exercises?
 

Captain Ron

Professional
Focus on your contact points out in front and to the side. Defend that spot when moving for the ball so you don't overrun and run through it.
I have the same challenge, the curse of good court coverage :)
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Focus on your contact points out in front and to the side. Defend that spot when moving for the ball so you don't overrun and run through it.
I have the same challenge, the curse of good court coverage :)
I agree I have the same problem I get to exited and want to get there quick to set up and end up to close to the ball and jam myself.
 

Long Face

Semi-Pro
I'm pretty happy with how nearly every part of my game is progressing but one important fundamental just eludes me, foot work. I have trouble, finding/creating space between my body and the ball. I'm pretty fast for an old guy and can cover the court well but I have a tendency to overrun the ball and jam myself off both wings (open stance eastern grip forehand and 1HBH). My body gets in the way of my arm coming through freely and I end up striking the ball with bent arm. Not only does this result in balls launched or dumped into the net, I believe this could be an issue with arm discomfort as well.

This is the most aggravating when I get a short sitter that I can't put away because I've gotten there in plenty of time but have put myself in a bad position.

Any tips/advice short of spending dozens and dozens of hours (which I don't have) with a ball machine/hitting partner? Drills/exercises?
I had a similar problem: getting too close to the ball, especially on the forehand side.

During some lessons, the instructor asked me to try staying far from the ball when I hit. "Stay away from the ball." If it turns out to be too far away, make a last-second step closer to the ball and hit.

This contradicts my other training of "get behind every ball", but it works. I guess it is actually "get to one step away from every ball"... :???:
 

GuyClinch

Legend
I have this problem.. Trying to hit out in front can help compensate a bit. Essential tennis has a drill too..which I am going to try one of these days..
 

spinovic

Hall of Fame
My biggest problem with footwork is getting caught "flat-footed". I have to constantly stay on myself to stay on my toes, stay light on my feet. I'm too prone to set my feet, then my feet are not "ready" for the minor adjustments I need and often that ends with me reaching or being jammed like my feet are in cement.:)

If I stay on my toes, it makes a huge difference.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
This contradicts my other training of "get behind every ball", but it works. I guess it is actually "get to one step away from every ball"... :???:
All those years of playing shortstop doesn't help me...
 
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On FH, extend the other arm sideways along the baseline. That way it's easier to measure the distance to the ball and you'll not get jammed. Also hit well out in front.
 

Devil_dog

Hall of Fame
I'm pretty happy with how nearly every part of my game is progressing but one important fundamental just eludes me, foot work. I have trouble, finding/creating space between my body and the ball. I'm pretty fast for an old guy and can cover the court well but I have a tendency to overrun the ball and jam myself off both wings (open stance eastern grip forehand and 1HBH). My body gets in the way of my arm coming through freely and I end up striking the ball with bent arm. Not only does this result in balls launched or dumped into the net, I believe this could be an issue with arm discomfort as well.

This is the most aggravating when I get a short sitter that I can't put away because I've gotten there in plenty of time but have put myself in a bad position.

Any tips/advice short of spending dozens and dozens of hours (which I don't have) with a ball machine/hitting partner? Drills/exercises?
This other thread provides a good video tutorial related to your post. Good luck.
 
I'm pretty happy with how nearly every part of my game is progressing but one important fundamental just eludes me, foot work. I have trouble, finding/creating space between my body and the ball. I'm pretty fast for an old guy and can cover the court well but I have a tendency to overrun the ball and jam myself off both wings (open stance eastern grip forehand and 1HBH). My body gets in the way of my arm coming through freely and I end up striking the ball with bent arm. Not only does this result in balls launched or dumped into the net, I believe this could be an issue with arm discomfort as well.
How old are you and what computer USTA rating are you?
 

Kalin

Legend
I'm pretty happy with how nearly every part of my game is progressing but one important fundamental just eludes me, foot work. I have trouble, finding/creating space between my body and the ball. I'm pretty fast for an old guy and can cover the court well but I have a tendency to overrun the ball and jam myself off both wings (open stance eastern grip forehand and 1HBH). My body gets in the way of my arm coming through freely and I end up striking the ball with bent arm. Not only does this result in balls launched or dumped into the net, I believe this could be an issue with arm discomfort as well.
...All those years of playing shortstop doesn't help me...
You've just described me... substitute 'goalkeeper' for 'shortstop'.

BH I usually end-up block-slicing or wristing a topspin shot (good I have strong wrists); FH I hit a painfully-looking reverse FH. None of them is the best long-term solution...

I have this problem.. Trying to hit out in front can help compensate a bit. Essential tennis has a drill too..which I am going to try one of these days..
Could you give us the link, please? I can't access Youtube from here right now...
 

GuyClinch

Legend
We can't know without video - but I have this problem too. I saw a great video which I think addresses this. The idea is that you should not turn and run to the ball.. You should instead face more towards the court (and ball) as you move.


I played a ton of hoops in HS and College - so I love this concept.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Er..... spatial judgement?
When someone throws a ball towards you do you miss the catch and hit the ball with your face? How's the eyesight? Hand eye coordination?
 

GuyClinch

Legend
^^^it's probably footwork related - if you run sideways towards the ball - aka turn and run its very easy to overrun the ball. If you crossover step and glide across the court - you can keep your eye on the ball and you will have better ball judgement.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Wow... thread resurrected...

Well my footwork is getting better but I still struggle with those sitters. If I remember to swing from the shoulder out I can put them away now but in a match situation,my other sports instincts from years past are constantly fighting this. Footwork is not talked about much but IMO it's the most important skill in Tennis. The ability to quickly read the opponent's shot, process what shot to play + where to be to play that shot while on the move moving towards that general vicinity is coming very slowly...
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Mental errors can account for a lot of our tennis problems. An error in calculating the intersection point of the incoming ball and your movment towards towards it, providing room for you to hit comfortably, is a mental lapse, not a physical lapse.
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
I have a big problem getting jammed by either overrunning the ball or by not moving my feet enough to create the space to find the proper contact point. When I first started playing tennis, my coach had me practice catching the ball with my left hand to get me to both move to the ball and to get my left arm across my body for the unit turn. But, I realized recently that this drill actually ingrains improper spacing because I'm catching the ball 27 inches from where my actual contact point is: it trains you to overrun the ball.

So now I am having to retrain myself to do two things A) find the right contact area B) develop the footwork to allow me to hit within that contact area

I would like to know if you guys have any drills for these two tasks.
 
Sounds like the problem might be in the footwork here. I am guessing you are probably taking steps that are too large, maybe not staying up on you toes enough. Big steps get you to the ball in a hurry but when you arrive you are carrying too much momentum to control your body. I would suggest smaller steps and staying on your toes so that when you arrive at the ball you are better balanced from the smaller steps and able to make the last second adjustments due to being on your toes. When a ball is hit directly at you are you still bouncing? If you get heavy on your feet, get flat you just can't adjust. Watch Graf match vid. She was the master of being on your toes and making the little adjustments to stay in perfect ball striking position. So I would be doing movement drills, no ball contact. Practice how you move around the court. Do the basic pattern movements drills and focus on keeping steps short and quick, keep an upright torso and all that. And skipping. Start skipping. As often as possible. Jumping rope will hammer home the whole being on your toes thing....my two cents...
 

kramer woodie

Professional
I'm pretty happy with how nearly every part of my game is progressing but one important fundamental just eludes me, foot work. I have trouble, finding/creating space between my body and the ball. I'm pretty fast for an old guy and can cover the court well but I have a tendency to overrun the ball and jam myself off both wings (open stance eastern grip forehand and 1HBH). My body gets in the way of my arm coming through freely and I end up striking the ball with bent arm. Not only does this result in balls launched or dumped into the net, I believe this could be an issue with arm discomfort as well.

This is the most aggravating when I get a short sitter that I can't put away because I've gotten there in plenty of time but have put myself in a bad position.

Any tips/advice short of spending dozens and dozens of hours (which I don't have) with a ball machine/hitting partner? Drills/exercises?
eelhc

I find this problem with a lot of young students. So, I took a left-over piece of white lattice, cut it making a piece 4 feet long by 2 foot 6 inches wide.
Laid lattice on court had student stand with feet alongside lattice and dropped balls on the far side. Students were not allowed to step on lattice, they
had to swing out from the shoulder. The lattice gave them a visual reference of how far to space themselves from the ball. Width of material can be
adjusted depended on your arm length plus racket in hand, to find and remember spacing from the ball. It worked with a lot of kids, might work for
you. Best of luck.

Aloha
 

Fintft

Legend
Wow... thread resurrected...

Well my footwork is getting better but I still struggle with those sitters. If I remember to swing from the shoulder out I can put them away now but in a match situation,my other sports instincts from years past are constantly fighting this. Footwork is not talked about much but IMO it's the most important skill in Tennis. The ability to quickly read the opponent's shot, process what shot to play + where to be to play that shot while on the move moving towards that general vicinity is coming very slowly...
Are you sure you are hitting relaxed? Also do you extend the other arm (parallel to the BL I think)?

But yeah improving the footwork would also give me maximum benefits, as oposed to trying to improve the technique of my shots.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Are you sure you are hitting relaxed? Also do you extend the other arm (parallel to the BL I think)?

But yeah improving the footwork would also give me maximum benefits, as oposed to trying to improve the technique of my shots.
You must know my game... With footwork improving, I am looking now to hit with a relaxed arm... Not possible when I'm jammed.
 

Fintft

Legend
You must know my game... With footwork improving, I am looking now to hit with a relaxed arm... Not possible when I'm jammed.
Not really, but I bet that many of us face similar struggles in our development stages. Hitting relaxed is one of the few things that I think at during a shot (after anticipating + getting in position to hit the ball in front of me and followed by “staying with the shot”/keeping my eyes at contact point, during contact – that in turn helps me also hit relaxed)
GL!
 
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