Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Shroud, Nov 5, 2013.
^^^ As Al Capone allegedly said…
"If I want your opinion…I'll give it to you"
I think he took the "damning with feint praise" approach. He said the backhand was great and my groundstrokes were good. I read that as I have work to do on the forehand.
Anyhow there was one thing that has me concerned. He said that I changed my grip on the backhand side. This is not true. I dont change grips at all from forehand to backhand. When I explained that he was quick to realize that I hit the ball on the same side of the strings for both shots and even cited a pro who hit that way. But how could you miss a grip change or lack there of? i mean I would probably nod off if I had to watch me hit.
DO you suggest I just tell him not to sugar coat anything?
You say you are a coach and you behave like this???? You post about getting to the upper echelon of coaching and securing a coaching job, yet behave in such an immature fashion....and call me delusional???
I'd question his ability to see things as they actually do. Many pros can't see what is actually happening...only assume from past experience or ignorance. Yes, if you are using a semi-western forehand grip and an eastern backhand grip, you would indeed be hitting the ball on the same side of the strings, (assuming you don't spin your grip at some point!) Any good pro should know and recognize this.
I'd tell him to be succinct in his instruction and not subjectively evaluate your game or strokes.
I have more of a chance of coaching a top 100ATP player than you have of beating a 5.0 player.
Anyway, back on topic!
If this was your first session, then he was probably trying to figure you out, technically but also personally. You can speed up this process by being honest with him about what you want and how you like information presented (assuming you know).
That he missed your lack of grip change (or rather he suggested you did something you definitely did not), could be a concern, but i wouldn't worry about it unduly.
I'll be direct with goals and kind of feedback I like. Thanks for letting me know that is OK.
As for not changing grips I probably can give him a bit of a pass. He probably doesnt see many students who hit with a semi western forehand grip for the backhand too. And if I switched to western forehand on a shot or two then that means my backhand did change even though I wasnt changing grips between shots...I either start out with a sw or w forehand and only change if I go to slice.
THanks fellas for staying on point.
Thanks for putting real life stories to my hypotheticals. Your star is a star mostly because she possesses the interest and more importantly for the majority of posters on this Forum, the time to devote to her tennis.
How many of the adult posters on this thread can work on their forehand (going from Eastern to SW) with a coach for 2 hours a day, for a month? I know I can't/won't.
A coach is a person who motivates a player, who knows his weaknesses and blind spots and who knows how to convincing the player to avoid his weaknesses without ******* him off.
A teacher is a person who straight out tells a player where they are strong, average and where they basically suck. He will present a plan to improve the weak areas and work with the player to achieve this.
Two different roles!
A successful coach is both, a motivator and an instructor. A teacher, in the strict sense, conveys information necessary for understanding.
If a coach is only motivating and providing means to motivate without instructional input is basically a cheerleader.
Certainly there are degrees of interpretation of all these terms too.
That's awesome. (Assuming you're telling the truth ) At 53 she's going from 3.5 to 5.0 in what kinda time frame??
This is very doable. I too have had beginning women in their late 40's reach 5.0 levels within three to four years. Obviously, the examples being referred to here include women who were taught correctly, who could practice the patterns being taught, and who were willing to go through the processes of skill development without falling prey to playing within the limited rudimentary styles that so many develop because they want to "Play" tennis quickly.
OK, I'm finding this a bit hard to believe. You would be lucky to take an extremely athletic 20 year old and get them to 5.0 in three or four years. A beginner in their late 40's?
The USTA's ranking guide says a 5.0 player in the 56-60 age group was an ATP pro in their 20's.
Lots more plausable to take a female beginner from 2.5 to lowest 5.0 in 3 years than a GUY.
I know one female, 6' 2"tall and 180 lbs., who could make 5.5 in 3 years if she cared to try. She played WNBA for 5 years, quit to raise a kid up to 5 years old, and now free to have time for herself. She played small forward, could reach the rim with both hands, and obviously, somewhat athletic.
Not saying it is the norm, but is totally doable. People find it hard to believe because A) they are not teaching pros who understand the teaching modalities that allow a capable person to reach this level. (In some cases it takes longer than three years...I was just agreeing with skiracer that it is totally doable.) B) The situation while doable is rare because even players who have pros who teach them correctly are not always dedicated enough, have the time, don't have enough drive or discipline, etc. C) The hardest part is there are few players who are in their 40s who are not true beginners. D) they are not athletic enough to make it to this level. (This is the least important reason.)
The USTA ranking guide is a general book that is very different depending on the region. I taught a large portion of my time in So. Cal...where the levels of play are much higher as a general rule than those in some other parts of the country. A high 4.0 in So Cal would be 5.0 in some states.
Yes, I agree. The degree of competitive play at the 5.0 level is different for men than women. In fact, I can't say I've trained a 40 year old man to reach 5.0 in three years ever. (I've trained a ton of juniors to reach 5.0 in three to four years, however!)
Man I am doomed MMI might be right. I know getting from where I am to 5.0 is possible but probably not likely. Its a matter of time I think. If I had a trustfund then maybe it would work. But you have to have a goal and why not an audacious one to boot?
Can it be done in 5 years?? or is it just to late at 40??
Shroud, you can do it. You can realistically move up one .5 rating every year, so if you're 4.0 now you can go to 5.5 in three years. Not sure how much you can go past that if you'd be in your mid 40s be then. All the best.
But wait a second.
"Prince OG Mid 459g"
Your racquet weighs over a pound? (16.1oz)? What the.. Even Pete Sampras played with something like 14oz. Is that even possible?
I'm having doubts about going 5.0 now..
Shroud, what's up with that racket? You can't seriously believe leading your racket to over a pound, modifying the string pattern, and stringing with kevlar and zyex at badminton tensions is going to get you anywhere?
I don't think that's realistic at all. It's one thing for a beginner to go from 2.5 to 4.0 in three years, I could see that.
But you're talking about an adult rec player going from a solid intermediate level to borderline D1 quality in three years. Maybe if you're amazingly physically gifted and playing tennis full time... but even then I doubt it.
It is true, though because I am skipping the crosses these days it is a bit lighter at 16.2 oz:
Keep in mind it is SUPER head light so its not as heavy as it looks on paper. There are 2 TT posters who have seen me play with that racket, and well if you look at the heavy racquet lovers thread, there are some 19oz rackets being used by some former pros like brian teacher. Anyhow in this thread I was third heaviest AFAICT:
My other rackets are a bit lighter at 426g. I can play with both and the green meanie is fine. I dont feel slow or sluggish with it.
I did try the pog stock and some even lighter rackets and well I can't play with a light racket. It gets pushed around too much.
I'll see if I can record my lesson tommorrow and show you. Though man that will be embarrassing!!! And I dont know exactly how to get the vid up on the web but as a techie I can figure it out.
Just because you guys are playing with granny sticks doesnt mean it isnt possible. Remember kids used to play with 14oz rackets!!!:
Oh, and I remember in the 80s Tennis mag reviewing pros rackets and IIRC Lendl's and Wilander's were a lb or very close.
Well all I can say is that if you actually saw me play you would think otherwise. 1st off you wouldnt think it weighed that much...watching me play I dont think you can tell. from my shots it would be impossible to guess what was going on with the racket. The ONLY tell would be the sound. It just doesnt have that THWACK that I used to get in the 60s.
What it does get me is more spin and more comfort. And I still have some control. Remember poly and kevlar are still stiff even at low tensions. Its like a win win. Actually getting some ball pocketing for a change.
I'll give you the zyex thing. That is getting cut out tonight!! But I did play a whole set with it maybe two and still managed to only serve 2 doubles. ANd while my level of play went down it had more to do with the legs than the racket
I don't think it's out of the question, but full time work has to change, fitness has to come to play, and a dedicated tennis schedule.
I have hit and played some dubs with Shroud. He can hit a real ball, groundie, serve, volleys, and overheads. Those aren't problems.
Fitness and weight can be a real problem. Don't think a 6'er should weigh 200 lbs for tennis.
Tennis dedication also. If you need to work most daylight hours, it ain't gonna happen.
Embracing a low pro lifestyle might work for the young, but at 40, it get's harder to do. You don't want to live like a college student after 20 years of semi luxury and affording a meal any time you feel like it.
Keep in mind NTRP ratings are not a linear scale, it's a bell shaped curve. 5.5 puts you in some pretty exclusive company (not just top 1%, we're talking better than the top 0.1% of all registered players)
see this thread for a distribution of NTRPs from a few years ago
YES! This is the problem. I know I need to commit to fitness and dedication to practice and training. Job is somewhat flexible but not enough. Need to find an early morning partner so I can get tennis and training in . I have more time now than I have had for most of the adult life but barring the lottery, I think you hit the major challenges I face.
On a positive note I use to weigh 240 and got down to 203. I have shown dedication and discipline in the past. But now am back up to 210. LOTS of work to do. Considering I tore my miniscus 3 years back and my age and lack of fitness, I am lucky to just be playing tennis.
There is a guy named mark that hangs out at San Pablo but at night. I think he is there EVERY night with a hopper full of balls just hitting serve or ground strokes. He says he beats 5.0s. I hit with him and while I could hang just rallying and on occasion press matters, he would crush me in anykind of match. His serve is just such a weapon. Now if Shroud could hit the courts everyday well who knows. Its why I posted that thread about clubs with ball machines you can use at 5:30am....
Well, who am I to question what works for you? Just curious, have you tried a modern setup, such as a Babolat strung with a copoly? If so, why is your setup better for you?
Thanks. With all the talk of 5.0 and higher guys on this thread it appeared as though it was a more common rating. I'm looking to be a 4.5 by time I turn 40 (and over the hill lol) so I can enter at least one tournament and be able to hit all the shots with one weapon.
5.0 is a pretty high level and I don't think people here realize that. As someone said, it's borderline D1 college tennis.
I have a friend who's a computer rated 5.0 and it's unbelievable how how hard he makes you work for every point.
Kind of. Here are some rackets I demoed:
Dunlop bio 200
Babalot pure storm ltd
Dunlop areogel 300 (I think..whetever Lee D has)
Long story but I got my 1st ever case of tennis elbow. It was a perfect storm : playing 4 times in one week after not playing for years, a spray paint project during the whole week, 4 hours on sunday, 3 hours on tuesday all with kevlar/gut at 63/65. In my youth, no problem but now not so much.
So the weight and low tension has been a reaction to this because of my elbow. Lighter rackets get pushed around for me and the heavy rackets not as much. But i love stiff string beds and low power rackets. So kevlar/poly has helped let me hit the ball yet get some spin to bring it in.
In a way tennis elbow has been a blessing albeit one that is lingering. Today I realized I didnt have any pain! it will be gone soon I think and all I can say is that the current rackets arent making it worse and if I had these sticks earlier I wouldnt have had TE in the 1st place I think. Heavy racket, low tension, and there is less shock. And I am now getting some ball pocketing. I wondered where my slice and touch volleys went. I thought I just didnt practice them enough, but now they are back. So I am kind of happy I got TE.
So those demos all had low tension (30lbs) and were weighted to around 425g. FWIW my fave was the Pure storm LTD. It was controlled and not as "hollow" as the others. The Dunlop 300 was the next and to be fair, I never altered its weight, I can see me liking it if it was heavier. The Prince White racket was hopeless. Too much power and it had a vibration I couldnt tame.
Honestly I hear that the lighter racket with a tiny grip is the way to go, but I just dont see it happening for shroud. How can people not feel the ball pushing the racket around?
And I was hitting a guy once and we switched rackets and you could see right away that the heavy racket was just more solid and he hit a bunch better.
But yeah I cant see too many TTrs playing with my rackets even though I think most could with some time to adapt. Its not like they are head heavy like those Babalots you are talking about
IMO, tennis elbow is caused more by technique than equipment, but in some cases, heavier rackets can be more arm friendly. I'm assuming you have a more classic style game, which is why you like the heavier rackets. Players with modern strokes don't need/want heavy rackets because the hitting structures are more stable (double bend forehand, two handed backhand), and they are more interested in getting racket speed by whipping the racket up, across, and through the contact zone. The heavy topspin associated with the upward swing path and fast swing speed provides margin for error, and grooving the swing path (keeping the racket face on the same plane throughout the hitting zone) provides consistency.
Yeah I tend to agree and when I got te after 20 years of not getting it well I wondered. I think it was just over use and high kevlar tensions. At 44 I dont bounce back the way I use too. It could be me changing my forehand a bit to a more modern style but I still hit with the changes I made and well its OK.
Not sure I would say I have a classic game. Its sw and western forehands and the same grips for the backhand. Lots of spin. Though I do hit some slice and come to net. The sv is the most classic thing I think.
I would say that if you saw me play and didnt know about the heavy racket you would say it was a modern light weight frame . Said another way I think I AM swinging fast like most players with a 12oz racket. But could be wrong. Maybe Lee will comment. He saw me hit. Or papa Mango.
With a light racket, how are you countering a heavy ball and dealing with the racket getting pushed around?
Oh and today the coach made a comment about my grip which is about 5 1/4" and he said it was odd to have such a big grip and that I didnt have really big hands. But he said that it "worked for me" and was talking in terms of maneuverability.
I STILL think it is bunk that you get more spin with a smaller handle but I digress.
Weight allows the racket to push through the ball, with little deflection.
Big grip firmly attaches the wrist/forearm to the racket, little deflection. Also, it's very square in shape, while retaining some hex, so the racket FACE is easy to feel.
Small head size is easy to swing, albeit you have to start early.
Soft strings like to impart spin no matter how you swing, so you end up with a combi of top and side on forehands, and underspin with side on volleys, causing a skidded ball with very little swing. Shroud hits a lot of balls that curve like a twist serve. I find skidding volleys somewhat disconcerting, especially at the level we are playing at...4.0.
Only drawback can be the ability to hit real big flat first serves. Weight of racket and big grip does limit serve swing speeds.
And possibly, on second serves, if you overswing, the ball might mishit rather than get a boost from a faster than "normal" swing speed.
Possibly very good for someone using CONTROLLED aggression, not too much energy, and holding back just a touch.
A coaches job inherently isn't to limit you though, and keep in mind there are plenty USTA 4.0 league players with dirtball strokes that will make some 3.5's with 'pretty' strokes pull their hair out and drive home wondering how they lost. Some coaches are negative and some are positive. The positive coaches usually look for positives and start with the good so they are able to gain trust by helping you get better with what your strengths are then they have your trust to move on to what needs more work.
Nice post D.
Hopefully the boxes didnt kill you
You really sum things up pretty well. One day I will be able to actually hit flat first serves and see if you are right.
The coach today did comment on my slice and the sidespin that was on the ball. He also was still talking about the racket and the low tension and open pattern. It was more like wonder how I could hit with all that because its not a normal setup. I had put on an extra over grip so my handle was a bit bigger than what you felt (not sure why I judt added it and it felt great). He was showing me his racket and the small handle saying he went from 4 5/8 down to 4 1/4 because it gave more spin and maneuverability. Then he mentioned how I was able to maneuver just fine and that the handle size "works for you" (me).
Yes, controlled aggression. We were rallying and I guess I was missing some backhands. He then had me hit some service returns. It was pretty bad. We talked a bit and I realized I was trying to do too much and just decided to get the ball in play, and my returns were excellent. He even commented on how I was hitting the shots that I was missing in the rally. I think it is mental. When returning the serve I have that aggression you are talking about. It makes sense to me. Hit a good return and come in if you can. I always move forward and attack the ball, but when rallying, yikes. I am holding back and not being aggressive at all and it sucks. Controlled aggression indeed!!
Maybe next week I'll let him know how much the rackets weigh
Skidding volleys? Is there any other kind?
Great point. I think this guy is positive. He took the "your forehand is good" side against my "but its not a weapon like my backhand" argument.
I think too it is easy to get focused on the things we can't do well and lose site of what we CAN do effectively. Its a great point to be positive.
Only thing worse than a dirballer is a lefty dirtballer
Shroud, we fear your slice returns, off both sides, much more than your topspin returns. They are lower, they are better placed, they are more consistent.
But still, mixing it up is the way to go.
Ha. Its funny because I was playing doubles I hit more slices cause usually I just need to get the return in and move to the net. Slice is great for that in doubles. Thanks for making me see the value in singles too and for getting me to want to work on the topspin shots too.
And with that lefty spin of yours I think ALL i can do is slice. Just dont tell mmi I was slicing with my forehand...
- I know we're all busy folks, but there are ways to get more time on the court.
- It's not work, it's play...
I think that's accurate...
...Lisa and her partner won every 4.0 ladder match they played this year, so they should move up to 4.5. Also, we both had a chance to play singles against some D1 women (Colorado University) and we didn't win any sets, but we both won points and games. I also think because of Lisa's athleticism, ability to construct points, service return, and that there's more to come with her serve, she can be an honest 5.0 by the end of next summer...
OK straight from the mouth of someone who has been a USPTA Pro since 1980. Most players really don't want to get better...its a social thing. Most teaching pros are more interested in running mindless drills then actually improving someones game.
For the indoor clubs its all about maximizing the number of players on the court. It's about $$$$ generated per hour. Look at it this way...if I gave a private lesson and charge say $60 an hour its a good wage right? But if I put 6 people per court on 2 courts and charge $25 for the drill (1 1/2 hours) I would make..$300.00.....now if you were a tennis club or a teaching pro what are you going to promote.
If your interested in improving your game you have to find the rare teaching pro that will give you the straight scoop. You don't need everything "sugar coated" you need a coach that tells you what flaws you have and then works on them and improving your weaknesses.
Sometimes you have to go backward to move forward in tennis...
Today's tennis pro's really don't really promote skill development at the club level....
For what its worth
A new tennis pro has joined my club. I am planning to ask him if he will give a 1 hour lesson on serving. Only serving. No warm-up drills, nothing - I will do those by myself just before going into the lesson. Just serving for one full hour, no BS. I will not pick up the balls. Let us see what he says.
I'd tell you you'd better pick up the balls after the lesson's over! :twisted: Anyhow, good luck!
But, why would this be a problem? Any coach at my club would do it; they also usually ask you want do you want to do, etc.
Besides serving lessons are easier on the coach
First thing is that he may not get a repeat lesson from me. Secondly, I don't know how a coach will react if I tell him I won't pick up balls. I have never seen this request made. He may feel insulted. It is not like I will be laying on the bench watching him pick up balls. I will be shadow-swinging my serve instead of being distracted by stupid activities that ought to have been roboticised by now, like the vacuuming robots.
Wait a second. If you want to walk over to the other side and start serving the balls that are on the ground, your coach shouldn't have a problem walking over with you and continuing the lesson. But if you expect him to pick up the balls without your help, well, let's put it this way, I wouldn't be too willing to go along with that.
Yeah I would not really ask him to do that
Why wouldn't you want to pick up the balls together with your coach? Wouldn't that save you time so that you can serve more?
This is consistent with what I've observed at the club level. A lot of mindless drills. The pros rarely talk about the technicals. no mentions of serve pronation, don't muscle your groundstrokes, etc. The 4.0 lady across the net just did a pancake serve with an eastern grip. Why didn't he say something? I always wondered.
I gotta ask you though - I understand that money is important but wouldn't the pros get more satisfaction if they can also help people improve while making money? After all, they probably picked tennis teaching as their career for more reason than just money alone?? If they just picked it for the money, doesn't it become boring? I hope I haven't offended the pros here. I'm just curious. I've seen a few great pros teaching juniors and so that's great.
I'm not sure if you mean this literally, but there is a school of thought that says, especially at the elite level, that automatically working on "flaws" and corrections is a less effective way of achieving long term behaviour change than building on strengths and developing blind spots only if they are "mission critical". This is probably more important at an elite level, but instill think it has much validity at a recreational level.
Would be interested in your thoughts based on your earlier post.
The idea is to give the client wha they want. Some adults have a genuine interest in technique and are open to changes, but many are not.
For them it's about working with what they have, trying to develop tactics and consistency.
The 4.0 in your example may be in the common situation of playing maybe once a week and maybe having one lesson. She doesn't want to learn a new serve, she hasn't time and what she has probably works for her...
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