Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TomT, Mar 10, 2013.
Your serves are looking good Tom, definitely better than your rating.
Thanks corbind, but I think I'm just going to get a decent tripod. More stable and no annoying noise when ball hits fence.
How did you do it? What was it like? How did you deal with the cravings?
I can't imagine being a nonsmoker. But I would love to be a nonsmoker. Not because I think it detracts significantly from my tennis, but just because it's the wiser choice in so many ways. If only because it would be one less unnecessary incidental consideration.
Help! I'm a fricking tobacco addict!
He's improved since last time we played, but I basically gave him the match. Not necessarily because I wanted to, but because of my physical state and how that affects my mental state. I don't think having his girlfriend there had anything to do with it. In fact, if anything I think it might have distracted me more than it inspired him. She's pretty cute.
He actually has nice stroke mechanics, imho. His serve needs lots of work, imho. But he has me beat 10 times over in terms of energy and desire. I'm glad he won this one, but hope to give him a much better contest, and win, in our next match.
You said you smoked a pack and a half a day. I was probably in that range too. I was smoking probably every 20 minutes or a half hour at the longest. So initially, for maybe 3 or 4 days I forced myself to wait 30 minutes between smokes. Eventually uped to 40, then an hour, then two hours. I got down to 3 or 4 a day and from there I quit. I had tried cold turkey a couple times and failed but this worked for me.
To this day I occasionally get a craving. Mostly when I see someone smoking but I'm able to pass.
Energy level is part of it. But also he played a bit better in the subsequent games, increasing the pace on his serve and making me run a bit on groundstrokes. Bottom line is that I just need to get a lot stronger to compete with people who are even just .25 NTRP above me. Getting to a solid 3.5 statistically will be difficult, but I think it's possible if I stay relatively symptom free and continue to get stronger.
Thanks for your comments psv255. Post some vids of your stuff.
Yes, I currently smoke about a pack and a half a day. Thanks VERY much for your input Mike. I'm going to try what worked for you. Maybe, hopefully, it will be the technique that does it for me too.
However, my situation (habit) might be a bit different. I often go hours and hours without smoking early in the day, only to inhale more than a pack between, say, 6pm and 11pm. Then on other days I'll start smoking, with coffee, immediately following breakfast.
But I'm going to try what you said. Thanks.
Also I didn't do it but I have a friend who did a few acupuncture sessions and quit. He claims he had no cravings at all.
Acupuncture. Very exotic. Probably outside my budget.
I'll try your way. It's just a matter of getting serious, as in emotionally, passionately invested, about it.
Anyway, I'm glad you don't have to smoke any more.
A reminder, and I'm saying this for myself mostly, keep the feet moving on the tennis court. It really does make a difference I think.
I finally quit by eliminating places I allowed myself to smoke.
A long time ago so rules have changed.
At work eliminated the work area.
Then cafeteria ( couldn't do that now anyways.)
Then in the car on the way home.
At home only in one chair.
Took awhile, but changed the areas I could smoke, until there were none.
Another point of view attack.
Thanks for that bukaeast. It makes sense. I'm going to combine yours and Mike's strategies. I'll post any progress here (if I remain calm enough to type ).
Most of my smoking is associated with sitting at the computer and drinking coffee or tea. The times when I've tried to do any sort of prolonged computer project without smoking and drinking coffee or tea have resulted in less than optimal focus. That is, without those stimulants I tend to sort of space out. Not that that isn't, in a sense, sort of pleasant, but I just don't seem to get nearly as much done.
Anyway, thanks again for the suggestions. Nice to hear from you.
Thanks for comment beernutz. I'm not really worried about the serve at this time. Some other things more urgently need work.
Tom, I used to smoke 2-3 packs a day. Once I got in the habit of Nicotene gum, I prefer that to smoking, can't even bring myself to smoke. Daily Nic gum but it's great.
Serves, good enough for 3.5-4.0. Not horrid for 4.5.
Movement....b a d ....
Anticipation...below average for 3.0.
Strategy and intent...excellent.
COMING FROM YOU LEED HAHAH JK man
There is a difference between being purely injured and lacking mobility from being slow, sluggish, heavy, and doesn't anticipate well.
My quickness hasn't diminished, which is why I can still play solid 4.5 doubles. I can't cover alley to alley is the problem, or get back for deep overheads once committed inside the service line (last step is bad, needing to plant my left foot).
But first two steps, day and night the difference.
I never saw a video of LeeD playing, does he move in a fashion described as slow?
Thanks Mick. I don't think I'm going to go the gum route though. Sorry to see your thread locked, but you might start another one with some vids of your playing after your injuries heal. I must emphasize that. After finding out yesterday (I forget the thread) that you have elbow problem in addition to leg problem I hope you will rest sufficiently to give those things a chance to heal. You're quite young. Take a couple of months off from hitting tennis balls. You can still coach and feed balls to Mick Jr. Also, just wondering if you can post vids of Mick Jr. playing matches as long as you don't actually identify the players. Check that out.
Video of the first two games of today's league match. More videos from today will follow. I'm in the process of editing.
My opponent today is 26 years old. He had no trouble beating me 6-2 6-1. Very solid stroke mechanics. Said he played lots of tennis when very young and is just getting back into it. He's the best player I've played so far this season.
Before and during our match, I had a few sort of mini-eureka moments. The first had to do with the serve grip. I was experimenting with the continental grip and having some success with it, and I think, with much practice, it will increase the consistency and effectiveness of my serve.
The second had to do with the realization of just how much the mental part of my game is lacking, and reminded me that this is the most important thing that I have to work on to improve.
The third had to do with my racquet. I'm currently using a rather heavy, leaded up granny racquet that's sort of made for power. But I've learned that I don't need that, and in fact it's having a negative effect on my game. My opponent let me use one of his racquets during some rallying after the match with a smaller (string sq. in.) racquet made for control. The difference was like night and day. I felt like I could hit out without overhitting. Balls that would have gone out with my racquet were staying in.
Thanks LeeD. I respect your observations. Yeah, BAD movement and anticipation pretty much nails why I lose so much I think. It's probably the main reason why I make so many unforced errors, or don't hit proper shots. Overrunning the ball, or not reacting quickly enough and just not getting to balls that I should get to, lazy footwork, lazy or rushed racquet prep, etc. etc. I think the physical and mental aspects of this are entangled. Need to remain mindful and focused on movement and footwork, while continuing to do enough each day to get stronger and more fit.
It might be that I'm just too old to develop the anticipation and quickness necessary to beat my younger (but mostly within, say, .5 rating range) opponents. But maybe not. I remain hopeful, because I think that my historically generally lazy and cavalier attitude is something that can be improved on at any age.
All but two of my opponents this season are going to be higher rated players. I'm going to try to play ~ 30 Spring Season league matches by May 26 (the deadline to have at least 4 wins to get into the Spring Season league playoffs).
Thanks for your input LeeD, I have the feeling that you were (are) a much more gifted natural athlete than me. Apparently quite accomplished before injuries and age took their toll. Hope you continue to comment.
Yes, and I'm not injured at all. Just currently still relatively (vs my normal strength) weak, and extremely lacking in anticipatory response and explosive power (eg., getting after balls that are more than a few feet away from me is extremely difficult. My leg muscles just feel really weak when I try to sprint all out.).
Regarding the smoking thing. Abstained from 7pm yesterday to noon today. Since noon have smoked 3 cigs. Will try to extend nonsmoking period this evening into tomorrow.
As soon as I sat down (after today's match and having something to eat) to edit today's videos I wanted (and had) a cup of coffee and a cigarette.
Thanks to Mike, Mick, bukaeast et al. for input on this.
More videos from Tuesday's (April 9) match:
Yea I was thinking that. I'll just do my own thread, and it will be me and a mysterious unnamed player (By the way I gave a false name for my son anyways).
You may want to re-think the Nic gum thing. You know how it is, coffee or beer and what? Cigs. Habits are habits often because they are enjoyable, as hard as it may seem to believe, one month of Nic gum and you'll love it. I've been on it for years!!!
In regards to resting, I know I'm stupid but it's just not in my vocabulary. Orthopedic Doc said "You need surgery", but wouldn't give me pain pills so I just threw the paper in his face, these guys get pressured by the "Do gooders" in our Government, so I have to suffer because some losers abuse pain pills. I worked through my plantaris, Achilles, I'll work through this.
I forgot, are you looking for feedback on those videos?
No one likes unsolicited comments. I will just comment on the first as you have seem to have improved, that is if you look at the first half, you are using a lot of cross court winners, real good Tom. Then in the second half you fall back into the habit of hitting right to your opponent.
First half was cool, keep that up and you'd whip that guy
Hey Mick, thanks for the comments. Will give everything some thought.
Looking forward to some vids of the unknown player. Hope you eventually see the wisdom in resting your injured areas so they can heal. You're young. There's plenty of time. Don't be in a rush.
And yeah, any and all comments, vids, whatever is welcome. I do realize that it makes more sense to hit the ball where the opponent isn't rather than right to him. I'm a 3.0 for chrissakes.
Yea but it's like this; You know it, you can do it, so do it! I'm telling you it's like night and day, win or lose whether you do cross court shots or go to your opponent. You will HAVE to master a more aggressive cross court game to whip these guys and move up the ladder.
It just seemed a huge improvement to what I saw before, good job
As far as I'm concerned the so called health care industry is overpopulated with profiteering liars whose primary concerns are maximizing profits and covering their butts.
I know you're right about this Mick. Sometimes, like yesterday, I just feel really lethargic. Not sure why. It might have something to do with the medicine I take. But I should be able to overcome it.
Thanks for your comments and encouragement.
In this video at 2:15 ...
... you're in a good position and the enemy far behind the baseline. I love you chose to hit the ball short and make him run in to get your drop shot. Smart play.
If you continue to use that short volley (or better yet a drop shot) opponents will get frustrated because they really will seldom have an answer for your shot. The added benefit is you tire them out if they go for it. If they conserve their energy they're still fuming they got beat. Even better than a groundstroke winner!
Thanks for this suggestion corbind. It's an effective tactic, and much easier and higher percentage than trying to hit groundstroke winners (regarding which I give away too many points trying to do). I will be practicing the drop volley and looking to use it in more and more points in matches.
Yea this guy has got it. They say serve and volley is dead, but at 3.5 ability you will shake the heck out of a lot of players, hitting those cross shots and going to the net, if you do that consistently, will give most fits, even if you lose it's a better strategy for you. In addition you not only mess with their minds but tire like this fellow says. I've been amazed how some how NO CLUE what to do mid court or at the net.
Got to love the one your with! Use what you have and exploit it, play from the baseline and you'll get wiped out, come in and you may lose, but if you get real consistent I think you'll have more wins than losses.
Yes, I think you're right about this. Thanks for comments Mick.
Videos from Spring Season league match on Wednesday April 10. My younger (35) opponent is also a 3.0. He won this match 6-3 6-1.
You should show the whole video without editing.
A little nit picking, when you hit, your guard goes down, racquet down, not ready for the return, you don't set up until the ball is almost at you. It's important anticipate and be ready for return immediately after you hit.
I disagree on this Mick. For me, it's very boring when somebody doesn't edit their video. What I'm trying to do is pack as much actual playing time into as short a video as possible. So, I'm not only editing out all of the walking between points and ball fetching, but lots missed serves, lots of shanks, etc. I figure that the stuff that is in the vids is enough for somebody to comment on, criticize, etc., and that they'll maybe watch a bit more than if all the stuff I edit out was left in.
Ok, thanks Mick. This is the sort of stuff I need to hear about so that I pay attention to it and hopefully eventually make doing the correct thing (or as close to that as I can get) a habit.
Regarding the last match (April 10), I can characterize my play with one word, lethargic. I don't know why. I had plenty of sleep. For the past 3 days I've been smoking much less (about .5 pack instead of 1.5 packs per day). No coffee. Not continually eating my beloved root beer barrel hard candy. Hmmm, maybe that's it. Maybe my body is just adjusting to those changes. Also, to gain weight a little faster, I've been eating lots of bread again for a while, and some sugar in lemonade and Pepsi Cola. I just don't know. Just don't seem to have any energy. Any ideas?
Have another league match tomorrow morning at 10:30am. Practiced some serves tonight. Again, just felt lethargic. Maybe the weather getting warmer and more humid is also a contributing factor.
One positive thing is that I can feel the muscles in my arms, legs, and core getting bigger and stronger. Up to 178 lbs now (from < 160 lbs, goal is to stabalize at ~ 190 lbs). Will cut out bread, sugar, all sweets, and soft drinks again in a couple of days.
Tired, awake, ate this, didn't eat that. The key is to get yourself into a CONSISTANT state, even if that means 3.0 or whatever. The greats don't generally do any one thing so much greater than others, but do most things just a little bit better and CONSISTANT than others.
Find a way to feel somewhat normal, you can't play tired or weak, it will kill your game and you'll blame yourself which you shouldn't. PREPERATION is of paramount importance, preparation to be consistent.
You know me, it's hard for me to keep my mouth shut, but watching your videos is like watching a book. When you are aggressive and hit those great cross court shots (Which you seem to be comfortable with), you eat up your opponent, I don't know if anyone else can see this, but when you stay back you are in trouble.
The thing is people say "S&V is dead". Fine, but NOT AT 3.5. So it's be passed many times to win, are you willing to do that? You have good reflexes and can work the net, mid court, if you WORK ON THAT, you may lose whatever, 25%, but that's 75% winning. Staying back, even if people say that's right, you will lose opposite percentage.
STUDY your videos yourself, you can see it's competitive and in your favor when you are aggressive, but you aren't in it when you stay back.
PS: Have some videos of me and my friend hitting. It takes about 9 hours to load onto YouTube, but I know how to do it now.
They are in the rain, and you'll see me not moving, but of course once in awhile you see flashes of my brilliance
Yes, I have to agree Mick. I have to be aggressive, consistent, consistently aggressive to win. It's a mental thing to not pay attention to the lethargy and just go after the point. Thanks for the reminder and pep talk. We'll see what happens tomorrow morning.
By the way, my current idol, that is who I would like to be able to pattern my game after, is Patrick Rafter. One huge hurdle to overcome is that that type of game requires an incredible amount of energy. But it's certainly a lot more fun than pitty pattying the ball back and forth from or beyond the baseline.
Oh great. So you're not only not resting your injuries, you're playing in the rain. Why? You have nothing to prove.
Also, just a suggestion, you might consider editing out the extraneous stuff and just showing the flashes of brilliance in the video. It will load in minutes rather than hours, and those of us who might watch it won't have to spend the entire evening doing it.
If you want to be playing tennis this summer like you're capable of playing, then you'd better rest your broke parts. Just sayin'.
By the way Mick, I also agree that S&V doesn't necessarily have to be dead in higher level tennis, even though it has been greatly minimized.
Not sure why that is. I suppose it has something to do with players' ability to hit faster-paced well-placed passing shots.
But it's still done by almost all world class players at least sporadically, and by a few players a lot. When it's done well it's very exciting to watch.
I don't think I expressed myself right. You can't help being drained or tired because of new circumstances. What I'm saying is to find your baseline of worse shape, best, and try to find a way to physically find something you are satisfied with. The key is CONSISTANCY, people wonder why they lost to someone their inferior, it's because they aren't being consistent, but if you can say to yourself "No matter how bad I feel tomorrow I can still play at X level", this doesn't include illness or extreme circumstances of course.
I know that with a bad leg and arm I can still rally and hit an occasional great shot, but would be creamed in a competition, so that right now that is my baseline. Find your baseline, then build upon it.
I'm going to nag you to death, get that S&V game down, you'll eat up 3.5's for breakfast, you have good skills.
Ok Mick. Gotcha. Tomorrow is the first day in the rest of my tennis life. I'm gonna S&V my opponent into 3.0 oblivion. I'm gonna eat that suckah for ... brunch!?
I'm not kidding about the S&V part. I haven't been doing it much, just the occasional chip and charge, and of course coming in on short balls, but not much actual S&V. Tomorrow will be a sort of test. I love tests. I eat them for, well, in this case, brunch (having probably already eaten breakfast at around 7am or so).
Oh, and to do some, apparently necessary, nagging myself, I really think that your baseline should be rest, as in extreme don't do stuff that stresses your injuries type of rest. OK!?
No one likes to be passed.
I made a big fuss about how Fed, when he is aggressive KILLS Djokavich, and it's true. On some surfaces he can't get away with it, but these "Experts" agree with me, made me feel smart......But they said "If Fed is aggressive on this surface Novak is done basically, and they were right.
Thing about Fed is he is so confident, overly, that he baselines baseliners, but watch him last year in Cincinnati, or Wimby, he's at the net, I mean it's no contest, that's why I maintain if courts were the same speed at 90's you wouldn't hear or Novak.
Thing is, most likely, your courts are like the 90's, SO WORK ON YOUR STRONG POINTS, S&V, these guys are mainly baseliners and will be clueless.
I promise you, you may play some 5.5 player whose young, baseliner, and you do your game and upset him, THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN TRAINED NET!
That was all the fuss I made about Mick KICKING THAT GUYS BUTT who was 28 and ONLY KNEW BASELINE AND STARTED BEFORE MICK'S AGE AND PLAYED THROUGH THE WINTER, over looking at me and his wife "This guy is aggressive".
Think of the courts you play like the 90's, only with powerful racquets. BE A SPECIALIST, you'll lose, but you'll shine and win more than lose, you can't baseline a baseliner.
I'm briefly back to say that I've enjoyed the evening's conversation Mick. I was a little depressed earlier (due to the lethargy?) but am in a good frame of mind for tomorrow's match. Will comment in more detail on this post tomorrow. Really signing off now.
Didn't see this. You shouldn't be joking about S&V, record yourself tomorrow.
Look for this; When you come forward and go cross court, how many winners do you do? When you stay back how many winners do you get?
Figure it out and you'll get your answer, and you'll probably find to "Love the one you're with", that is you can only advance serve and volley, PERFECT that to the best of your ability and we'll be talking to a 4.5 to 5.5 or whatever other nonsense they assign us.
The ratings really are a joke, has anyone ever really read all of their interne rations?
If I can beat a pro, but am not ranked, do I duck myself? Do I say, "Well I just beat a great pro, but since I'm not ranked, I must assign myself to 5.5"?
It's nuts, ratings system. On a good day I could whip Bower, most days, because I have a JOB, I can't. Anyways the ratings are a joke, according to the rankings my son was a 0, then a 5.5 in a amazing display that I can only called "Inspired", then back to 2.0, it's silly.
Bottom line is what we have been talking about on the "What are your values" thread. WINNING is what matters. Bring on the 5.5 and lose bad to a kid 3.0, then how do you think?
I can hit any shot, anytime I want, so what, I'm Fed? No way. There are many ingredients to tennis wins, least of all is ratings.............
Perhaps I'm misguided, but I believe players who can serve and volley at the 3 or 3.5 level can do well. I know an opponent will get angry some dude is now standing in the middle of the court essentially in the way. A player at that level wants to return serves back to the middle of the court.
If a guys is there he'll just put away a lot of those floaters. Sadly, a guy can't change his pattern. If he's played against baseliners almost always and then some guy comes in all day long...well, gonna be a long day.
Likely the grass is always greener on the other side. I'd LOVE to have a great ground game, hit passing shots like nothing, and enjoy cranking out high-mph baseline strokes. It's not me. I don't have it and never will. My only skill is mid court to the net. And if I come across a guy who can pass me easily...gonna be a quick loss cuz I can't change my game either!
Tom, I love watching your videos so keep 'em comin'. I hope you are SAVING some of these on your home computer so you can look back at them in half a year or a year. Still I like your service motion. Seems effortless.
Oh, was that guy's serve really spinny?
Eh, I gotta go look up the link as I was watching it last night on my iPod...
That kid's lob at 0:21...I was dying watching it. He was on the ropes and got it back. Great for him to neutralize the point. Customarily at your level people see a guy's lob like that and instinct says, "Run backward so it will bounce and I can hit it in my strikezone." Yet by the time you hit the ball you're maybe 5-10' behind the baseline?
I know it's a stretch...a FAR stretch. But you saw that lob and knew where it was gonna bounce. Instead of retreating go up and hit it on the rise! Let it bounce and hit on the rise. You have such better angles from up there. Can dropshot. Crosscourt angle wide (but that goes to the lefty's FH).
Or even take it in the air but that's not much easier really. Either way you want back to the baseline and got it back in play so all is good! I see that lefty hated his BH. If you really wanted to win just hit almost exclusively to his BH.
Yet that brings up another problem at your level. Hitting consistently to a guy's BH means you'll be hitting a lot of change-of-direction shots so you're on the losing end percentage-wise. It's just a big chess match really. It seems you played better than the scores you indicated for that match.
I don't think that the NTRP-based ratings are a joke. I think that they're pretty accurate predictors of relative performance and results. They should be since they're based on results.
This seems pretty much true in my experience also.
That's what I'm hoping. Was all set to S&V relentlessly today, but we got rained out. I was going to be playing one of the many 'blocking-back pushers' who populate my level. Problem is that he's about 30 years younger. But I think a relentless S&V attack would do him in.
I think this is pretty much where I'm at also. I'm going to live or die by developing a relentless netrushing game, as I'll never be able to outbaseline guys 30 and 40 years younger than me.
No problem there. This is after all a video diary thread. Thanks for watching and the interesting and helpful comments.
I'm glad you mentioned this. Yes the source files are on my hard drive and lots of edited stuff is on YouTube, but I need to back everything up to discs.
It's fairly effortless. Easy on my body. Effective at my level. But flawed. I've just begun hitting with a continental grip (on some but not all serves). Next I want to be always hitting the ball from a closed position which I don't think I'm doing now. I also need to learn and develop a topspin serve. Being able to count on a second serve that goes in ~98% of the time (that isn't a pitty patty serve, but actually presents some problems for the returner) will be necessary to be a solid, winning 3.5er I think. Big problem is that a better serve motion (ie. sufficient back arching and knee bending and explosion into the ball) will also require much greater expenditure of energy, and explosive power that I just don't have now.
But hopefully I can learn and develop an adequate topspin serve without having to get real archy and bendy and explosivey.
Yeah, he put some really heavy spin on a couple that I shanked very badly (so badly that I didn't put them in the edited vids ). I'm not really sure how good he'll turn out to be. He said he's 26, played a lot in South America from a young age, and is just returning to the game after years away from it. He's a 3.5 in the tennisftlauderdale.com league.
Separate names with a comma.