General help improving consistency of ground strokes

Mesm

New User
Hey Fellas,

I am a badminton player converted to tennis for the time being for CoVid reasons. I found myself enjoying it a lot more than I expected. I used to play a handful of times every summer with pals but it never went further than that.
For lack of recurring partners and scheduling issues, I decided to invest in a ball machine which you can see in this video.

Over the last three weeks, because of the non-yielding qualities of my Silent Partner, I have been playing quite regularly (about 3-4 times a week). I had developed a growing pain in my left elbow, hence I decided to go one-handed on my backhand two weeks ago which is very liberating as I found it easier to generate power. I also have been experimenting with the array of different forehand grips without much success until recently with a modified eastern backhand grip (I don't know how else to describe it, it essentially is the same grip as my backhand but I turn the racket towards me one bevel which angles my knuckles across the grip if I can convey any sense to you with the previous sentence.)

In any case, I have been somewhat stable with the current setup for the last two weeks, but I struggle with consistency. My philosophical approach has been to hit as many balls as possible while varying heights, spins, placements, distance to hit, etc. For instance, the video provided is an example of me hitting high balls that carry a very respectable amount of spin my way, this is my first time hitting such high and spin-filled balls with my OHBH and new FH grip. I had trouble imparting any degree of great spin back on these balls because of the nature of their height, should I go back farther? I already feel quite far with this drill as it is. I also have been trying to hit balls on the rise to simulate an attack, hitting inside out forehands, etc.

As you can understand, I have been coaching myself by analyzing not only my own motion but the slow motions of pros and watching general position and drill videos to gather information about the sport. I have never played a game to date and my serve is dreadful at best. Which leads me to the main reason for seeking some competent and experienced help from the forum. I like to consider my ability to criticize as respectable when it comes to sports, but since I have limited knowledge and lesser experience, I would love to request your attention to help me improve my strokes.

Does anything jump out at you that I could be working on?
Any ideas of drills I could be doing that could greatly help? (Keep in mind I only have a ball machine as a stable partner for the time being)

In any case, thank you very much in advance for any interest and advice you will spin my way.

Keep on smashing balls or birdies,
Mesm.

P.S. Don't mind the music, it's a great motivational tool. Sorry for that =p.
P.S. The following video is a good average representation of my hits. My series often go much better or much worse which is why I chose a section which hopefully highlights my strengths and weaknesses.

 
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hurworld

Hall of Fame
Swing path. Your swing path is horizontal, and almost going form up to down. Definitely try to hit the ball at waist height first to get your swing path right, then do other variations.

Here's one video from Intuitive Tennis teaching a beginner. Watch the whole thing if you can. If not, just watch the forehand part. Notice how the racquet swings from low to high. That would at least get your ball over the net first, and the spin would bring the ball back into the court.

 
Your fh looks pretty mean and could do some good damage - looks like your body posture starts to lean back and open towards the sky before you hit which will launch the ball into the sky. Try to maintain a more consistent posture and you should see some better consistency.

Bh agree with above you are coming across it and could afford some more low to high movement to get you that consistency. Over time you can flatten the swing path out as your racket head speed goes up, but you still need a solid foundation to start the stroke on.

Check out Gaston rapposo on IG he has a super smooth a clean one hander, helps visualize prepping on that stroke and getting into it early.
 

Mesm

New User
Thanks so much for the replies.


@hurworld “Your swing path is horizontal, and almost going form up to down. Definitely try to hit the ball at waist height”

Could you mean to have a higher-finishing follow-through? Could you mean to move back away more from the baseline?

I fail to understand how one can swing low to high on shoulder-high balls though. My thoughts are that the higher the ball is the shorter the contact length will be, hence if I go low to high there (which is also almost mechanically impossible) I will have trouble timing my strokes even more? Please correct me if my logic is lacking there. I also have very lax shoulders; hence I am scared if I finish high on high balls on my backhand, I will dislocate it. It has happened many times before while blocking in volleyball for instance. Quite comical for the person spiking against me. “What was that pop?!” Oh, don’t worry just my shoulders dislocating slightly.


@VacationTennis

Here's an example of me hitting forehands with marked intention that are more in my strike zone i.e. lower, am I also too horizontal? I totally understand what you mean by “opening up” to the sky though, when I rotate, I tend to tilt my trunk backwards, that is a good observation thanks. I will work to keep that more level.
ALSO, I cannot seem to find your suggestion on IG. =(


Also, because of both your interventions, I noticed I barely bend the knees on backhand preparation no matter the height of the ball. That could potentially give me more “low to high” action I reckon? I shall work on bending the knees a lot in today’s practice session, I am excited to see what will happen. Thank you again!



Was analyzing more footage:
Is that low to high?? I see myself bending the knees a tad more.
 
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Dragy

Hall of Fame
Welcome!

Your forehand grip is Western.
On BH side, move yourself to hit the ball at hip to waist height (on the rise or on descent), shoulder height is not likely to be reliable for 1-handed BH.
Generally, as other pointed, get a mentality of hitting with arc when behind the baseline - make the ball rise and drop.

What racquet do you use? How heavy is it?
 

Mesm

New User
@Dragy
Thanks for the welcome!

Thank you for the clarification and advice!

As far as racquet goes: I currently use a

Yonex EZONE 98 G 305g Blue - L2 (1-4)


I have it strung at 52 with Wilson's Champion's choice with gut in mains. It has changed everything for me this racquet. It flows so well, super light and easy on the body.

The racquet I used before was a Aeropro Drive 300g 4 3/8. I bought it maybe 4-5 years ago because I needed a racquet to play with friends every now and again. Literally had it restrung once since I think. Racquet grip is too big for me, and the racquet although technically lighter, feels SUPER sluggish. I feel like I am wielding a maul of a racquet it's terrible. Though, I have a full bed of hybrids at a much higher tension, that might be why. It feels freaking STIFF.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
@Dragy
Thanks for the welcome!

Thank you for the clarification and advice!

As far as racquet goes: I currently use a

Yonex EZONE 98 G 305g Blue - L2 (1-4)


I have it strung at 52 with Wilson's Champion's choice with gut in mains. It has changed everything for me this racquet. It flows so well, super light and easy on the body.

The racquet I used before was a Aeropro Drive 300g 4 3/8. I bought it maybe 4-5 years ago because I needed a racquet to play with friends every now and again. Literally had it strung once since I think. Racquet grip is too big for me, and the racquet although technically lighter, feels SUPER sluggish. I feel like I am wielding a maul of a racquet it's terrible. Though, I have a full bed of hybrids at a much higher tension, that might be why. it feels freaking STIFF.
I get you come from badminton (y) with that grip preference... or maybe L2 is your true size. And that you like the light frame - absolutely corresponds as well. However, the way you swing it makes me think it’s too light for you. Alternatively, you might be just trying too hard. Try to slow and smoothen things down, at least for initial hits. Don’t try to pulverize the ball, but to strike solidly.

Don’t rush into hitting the pro-looking pace and depth. We’ve all made this mistake, and ball machine is so inviting... You should be using high racquet head speed and not slow it down until way after contact, but not just pull everything your arm can produce. Remember, you hit a somewhat heavy ball swinging with somewhat heavy stick, which is somewhat stressful for your joints and ligaments. And you need hundreds of those shots in practice and matchplay. Keep it smooth to stay healthy and able to play on and on.

Consistency will also come with smoothness. Using more big muscles and much less - arm and shoulder effort - is also crucial for consistent ability to deliver power.
 

Mesm

New User
I think I get where you are coming from with the aim to strike solidly. I am not putting to much effort in my very first 5-minute long video. Though the second one about forehands I certainly am. Normally I hit with like 50% intensity for 30-40 mins. Transition into 75% for another 30 minutes, which is the first video. Then end with like pretty close to 95% with the FH video for lengths depending on my remaining energy, can be 15 to 30 minutes normally. When I mention time, my ass picking up balls is included which is why I'll break it down as follows:

about 300-500 balls low intensity 50%
about 300-500 medium intensity 75%
about 150-200 balls high intensity 95%

That's about one practice session for me right now! =p

Also, I have fairly small hands so I had to strip everything down to frame and overgrip my aero in order for it to feel remotely handleable. With the Ezone, I have an overgrip on top of the base grip and it's totally fine as it is :).

What do you mean with my racquet being too light? How would I know if it is? I actually bought some lead tape because some reviews led me to believe (pun not intended) that I might need it. As of right now, I have never felt a need to add weight. Though I'm willing to tape a few lines of it to test it out if you have a suggestion.

Thank you once again for the pointers, much appreciated.
 
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Dragy

Hall of Fame
What do you mean with my racquet being too light? How would I know if it is? I actually bought some lead tape because some reviews led me to believe (pun not intended) that I might need it. As of right now, I have never felt a need to add weight. Though I'm willing to tape a few lines of it to test it out if you have a suggestion.
I just look at at how you execute your FH swing, both full-speed and at 0.25x speed on Youtube, and I see big difference from your racquet approaching the ball to your racquet slapping through. It just catches my eye as being too jerky. Looks to me the way it flips over it doesn't have enough mass in the hoop. You can make a test: do some drop feeds and hit the ball with moderate effort and pendulum swing from the baseline: if you manage to get the ball arc 2-3ft over the net and land past service line on the opposite side without musculing for extra power, the racquet is not too light.

(he's not at the baseline, just swing demonstrated)

Drop feeds would be a great changeup to your ball machine practice actually.
 

Mesm

New User
@Dragy

I will test your theory as soon as I'm back on court, didn't get to see your message before I left for practice today.

"Drop feeds would be a great changeup to your ball machine practice actually."

Nice, I'll try to implement a bit of that.

---

Nice picture montage, it puts into image exactly what I mean. The relative height of both Stan's and my ball is staggering. My ball is shoulder height about 2 feet above Stan's.

What I can't wrap my head around is: Generally, should I hit balls as high as mine is or should I adjust my feet in order for my "sweetspot" to be available to me?

Thanks to everyone's input I tried to implement more knee action into my stroke while really exaggerating the "low to high" motion. I'd say 60 to 80% power (with exception of one ball I think), I got a conservative 25-30 balls in a row to spin over the net. The power is much less however but it felt really satisfying. I think I'm starting to get what you meant by "solid". I would also do the windshield wiper on my backhand meaning that I would supinate as soon as I hit contact.

As soon as YouTube finishes processing the god forsaken thing, I'll put it up! I'm anxious to see your reaction. I filmed it from the side so it's fairly easy to see what's going on.

--

"Looks to me the way it flips over it doesn't have enough mass in the hoop."

On the forehand note, I am the one flipping the racket or supinating like mad over that way. As soon as I make contact I engage the windshield wiper motion as hard as possible to impart spin. It made me hit the net an absurd number of times today. It's fairly difficult to time, hence if I end up mistiming it, the ball has stupid spin but lands mid-net if I'm lucky. Other times it just goes to Narnia LOL. (2 - 4 courts out the court area)... Today was terrible, most of the time it's rather manageable. Though I started doing forehand reps at the end of my practice session, might not have been the wisest idea in hindsight.

Also, I have trouble with stance on my forehand, should I be closed or more open? On my backhand stroke it's hyper clear where I need to face. I feel this is a big problem as I tend to do best with a closed stance but I sometimes hit very easily with open stance it's just so spotty.

I've jumped into such a rabbit hole with tennis, sweeeet christmas.

Thanks again!



You'll see what I mean by homerun + the windshield wiping + the jerkiness, everything's there. =p
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Hey Fellas,

I am a badminton player converted to tennis for the time being for CoVid reasons. I found myself enjoying it a lot more than I expected. I used to play a handful of times every summer with pals but it never went further than that.
For lack of recurring partners and scheduling issues, I decided to invest in a ball machine which you can see in this video.

Over the last three weeks, because of the non-yielding qualities of my Silent Partner, I have been playing quite regularly (about 3-4 times a week). I had developed a growing pain in my left elbow, hence I decided to go one-handed on my backhand two weeks ago which is very liberating as I found it easier to generate power. I also have been experimenting with the array of different forehand grips without much success until recently with a modified eastern backhand grip (I don't know how else to describe it, it essentially is the same grip as my backhand but I turn the racket towards me one bevel which angles my knuckles across the grip if I can convey any sense to you with the previous sentence.)

In any case, I have been somewhat stable with the current setup for the last two weeks, but I struggle with consistency. My philosophical approach has been to hit as many balls as possible while varying heights, spins, placements, distance to hit, etc. For instance, the video provided is an example of me hitting high balls that carry a very respectable amount of spin my way, this is my first time hitting such high and spin-filled balls with my OHBH and new FH grip. I had trouble imparting any degree of great spin back on these balls because of the nature of their height, should I go back farther? I already feel quite far with this drill as it is. I also have been trying to hit balls on the rise to simulate an attack, hitting inside out forehands, etc.

As you can understand, I have been coaching myself by analyzing not only my own motion but the slow motions of pros and watching general position and drill videos to gather information about the sport. I have never played a game to date and my serve is dreadful at best. Which leads me to the main reason for seeking some competent and experienced help from the forum. I like to consider my ability to criticize as respectable when it comes to sports, but since I have limited knowledge and lesser experience, I would love to request your attention to help me improve my strokes.

Does anything jump out at you that I could be working on?
Any ideas of drills I could be doing that could greatly help? (Keep in mind I only have a ball machine as a stable partner for the time being)

In any case, thank you very much in advance for any interest and advice you will spin my way.

Keep on smashing balls or birdies,
Mesm.

P.S. Don't mind the music, it's a great motivational tool. Sorry for that =p.
P.S. The following video is a good average representation of my hits. My series often go much better or much worse which is why I chose a section which hopefully highlights my strengths and weaknesses.

For the serve you should have an advantage if your technique on the smash is good.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I have a thread on the backhand with some video observations. These observations are on several of the better backhands. There are some do's and don'ts. I did not invent these sub-motions.


To video the most important shoulder-upper arm area show the front of the body as many of the videos in the thread are examples.

The last characteristic is toward the later posts, scapular projection and retraction. Your scapula looks as if it does scapular protraction. Videos show the point.

For that motion, I can see that it might tend to dislocate the shoulder joint if very forcefully done with a chest press (as described).

Look at videos of Warrinka, Thiem and the others mentioned and shown as examples of scapular protraction and retraction.

Federer's backhand has a different technique and a post shows that.

Read posts #1, #51 and then all related posts.
 
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Dragy

Hall of Fame
@Dragy

I will test your theory as soon as I'm back on court, didn't get to see your message before I left for practice today.

"Drop feeds would be a great changeup to your ball machine practice actually."

Nice, I'll try to implement a bit of that.

---

Nice picture montage, it puts into image exactly what I mean. The relative height of both Stan's and my ball is staggering. My ball is shoulder height about 2 feet above Stan's.

What I can't wrap my head around is: Generally, should I hit balls as high as mine is or should I adjust my feet in order for my "sweetspot" to be available to me?

Thanks to everyone's input I tried to implement more knee action into my stroke while really exaggerating the "low to high" motion. I'd say 60 to 80% power (with exception of one ball I think), I got a conservative 25-30 balls in a row to spin over the net. The power is much less however but it felt really satisfying. I think I'm starting to get what you meant by "solid". I would also do the windshield wiper on my backhand meaning that I would supinate as soon as I hit contact.

As soon as YouTube finishes processing the god forsaken thing, I'll put it up! I'm anxious to see your reaction. I filmed it from the side so it's fairly easy to see what's going on.

--

"Looks to me the way it flips over it doesn't have enough mass in the hoop."

On the forehand note, I am the one flipping the racket or supinating like mad over that way. As soon as I make contact I engage the windshield wiper motion as hard as possible to impart spin. It made me hit the net an absurd number of times today. It's fairly difficult to time, hence if I end up mistiming it, the ball has stupid spin but lands mid-net if I'm lucky. Other times it just goes to Narnia LOL. (2 - 4 courts out the court area)... Today was terrible, most of the time it's rather manageable. Though I started doing forehand reps at the end of my practice session, might not have been the wisest idea in hindsight.

Also, I have trouble with stance on my forehand, should I be closed or more open? On my backhand stroke it's hyper clear where I need to face. I feel this is a big problem as I tend to do best with a closed stance but I sometimes hit very easily with open stance it's just so spotty.

I've jumped into such a rabbit hole with tennis, sweeeet christmas.

Thanks again!



You'll see what I mean by homerun + the windshield wiping + the jerkiness, everything's there. =p
The BH vid looks solid!

On the contact height:
- You should hit the ball within optimal height zone, and work hard to achieve it.
- Taking the ball above or below the strike zone is one of basic ways to disturb opponent to get control in points or elicit errors.
- FH usually has wider range of optimal heights, with your grip you can hit shoulder high balls as default, but may struggle with knee height.
- OHBH has much narrower range of good heights. Try to hit most shots at hip to waist height. Slice the shoulder and head high balls as a basic rule. Be very diligent with chest height balls.

On windshield wiper:
- Are you aware contact is 3-4ms, and the brain gets impact sensation only after the ball is just gone?
- You cannot reliably time any action “at” or “from” contact. It’s not semantics, it’s an actual trap leading for inconsistency.
- If you want something to happen at contact, initiate it before, approaching contact, and execute through and past contact. So for your WW - start it earlier and smoother.
- While executing WW try not to tighten your arm. Racquet head should still go forward into extension, not abruptly break over to the inside.
- WW on BH side is crucial, with all the same rules: drop RH below the ball to set up, initiate upward rotation before and into contact, do WW while still extending through.

On stances:
- Go with neutral to semi-open.
- Use more step-through/around footwork when you hit with power.
- Use semi-open an in-place pivot when pushed and for more loopy drives.

Generally - watch some Wawrinka videos. For his forehand. He does great job in timing and smooth transition between swing phases and extension - all with strong grip and bent arm.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
To compare videos single frame on Youtube use the period & comma keys. Always select the video with Alt Key + Left Mouse Click, otherwise the video starts playing. You can go full screen and back down and the video stays on the same frame. Select impacts to compare and work back frame by frame. For most accurate comparisons use similar camera angles for both video clips.


I only analyzed two backhands. 4 sec and 1:26 sec. If you have strokes different than described below, let me know.

1) * You bend your elbow. That is not the backhand technique that the larger number of 1HBH ATP players use. Federer has a high level backhand and uses a bent elbow technique.
2) * The uppermost body should accelerate and turn and initially accelerate the upper arm without using the shoulder joint. The chest will appear to touch the upper arm for considerable acceleration time. You have little uppermost body turn on the 1HBH at 4 sec and 120 sec.
3) Scapular protraction and retraction will appear with the best one hand backhand drives, Wawrinka, Thiem, Gasquet, Justine Henin and others. The biomechanics of this sub-motion is speculative but the videos show it.

Position of extreme scapular protraction ready to perform the motion of scapular retraction.


You don't initially power your backhand with uppermost body turn as most ATP 1HBHs do. See video checkpoints in my 1HBH thread for a description and videos of this technique.
 
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Mesm

New User
@Dragy @Chas Tennis

Wow guys that is some high quality feedback!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is seriously rad guys, this is everything I could hope for! Good god I'm excited to go back on court@!#!%!@%
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Dragy's post

On the contact height:
- You should hit the ball within optimal height zone, and work hard to achieve it.
- Taking the ball above or below the strike zone is one of basic ways to disturb opponent to get control in points or elicit errors.
- FH usually has wider range of optimal heights, with your grip you can hit shoulder high balls as default, but may struggle with knee height.
- OHBH has much narrower range of good heights. Try to hit most shots at hip to waist height. Slice the shoulder and head high balls as a basic rule. Be very diligent with chest height balls.
Understood, I'll strive to achieve correct footwork to have the ball in my sweet spot as often as possible! I even saw Wawrinka jump slightly in order to adjust his stroke when it was even a tad higher than his preferred height, that says a lot in itself.
You are right with the assumption that high balls are easy and low balls are very challenging on the FH. I try to go neutral stance whenever I have a really low ball to attack as it lowers my center to be able to still hit low to high and get the ball to spin back in the court.

On windshield wiper:
- Are you aware contact is 3-4ms, and the brain gets impact sensation only after the ball is just gone?
- You cannot reliably time any action “at” or “from” contact. It’s not semantics, it’s an actual trap leading for inconsistency.
- If you want something to happen at contact, initiate it before, approaching contact, and execute through and past contact. So for your WW - start it earlier and smoother.
- While executing WW try not to tighten your arm. Racquet head should still go forward into extension, not abruptly break over to the inside.
- WW on BH side is crucial, with all the same rules: drop RH below the ball to set up, initiate upward rotation before and into contact, do WW while still extending through.
I was not aware of the contact delay impact sensation thing but I guess I was trying to time that and screwing myself over sacrificing my smoothness for the spin, or so I thought. I guess spin is more so achieved with a full motion over a very rapid WW. For instance, my backhand most often, you would see the head flip over way before the rest of the racket would catch up. See video and the very last backhand, I don't know how else to describe it. I will try try to add some leg upwards motion as I was focusing on with to LTH last backhand video as well as adding my WW motion!

On stances:
- Go with neutral to semi-open.
- Use more step-through/around footwork when you hit with power.
- Use semi-open an in-place pivot when pushed and for more loopy drives.
I have a good front perspective video that I'll link which shows a few hits that I had a few days ago, some have me go forward with my right foot, see it that's what you are thinking when you mention step-through. I seem to be using closed/neutral in that video. That's the point, I never know how to position myself so it's super random when I hit consistently or not. I'll really try to focus on neutral and see where that gets me in tomorrow's practice.

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Chas's post

To compare videos single frame on Youtube use the period & comma keys. Always select the video with Alt Key + Left Mouse Click, otherwise the video starts playing. You can go full screen and back down and the video stays on the same frame. Select impacts to compare and work back frame by frame. For most accurate comparisons use similar camera angles for both video clips.
WOW, that is an awesome option I was unaware of. I will keep my videos in normal speed and simply use the function on YouTube afterwards, that's neat!

1) * You bend your elbow. That is not the backhand technique that the larger number of 1HBH ATP players use. Federer has a high level backhand and uses a bent elbow technique.
I am unaware if I bend my elbow that much to be honest. I feel it's pretty straight but I guess it could be a tad more. You might be able to see it better in the front point of view I just linked.

2) * The uppermost body should accelerate and turn and initially accelerate the upper arm without using the shoulder joint. The chest will appear to touch the upper arm for considerable acceleration time. You have little uppermost body turn on the 1HBH at 4 sec and 120 sec.
3) Scapular protraction and retraction will appear with the best one hand backhand drives, Wawrinka, Thiem, Gasquet, Justine Henin and others. The biomechanics of this sub-motion is speculative but the videos show it.
Seriously, this is great advice. I was not able to understand either uppermost body leading and scapular action before your very last post. This post alone made it crystal clear. I was just doing shadow swings to test it out and I think I can replicate it, it feels quite unnatural for me to be initiating the stroke with that movement but I guess it's power I wasn't using which could be beneficial in the long term without question. You are right also about my scapula during my current backhand swing, it pulls down and brings my shoulder backwards which stresses the socket. I find myself swinging my arms around sometimes mid session because the swing almost leads my shoulder out. That's scary in itself, it hurts like freaking hell to put it back. Not to mention three months of inflammation.... I will try my hardest to replicate the uppermost body leading as I feel it also implicates the correct scapular action as a byproduct which is fantastic as it's really two birds with one stone in my case. Power + Sustainability. Just when shadow swinging, I can see the whole entire stroke being "together as a whole" which is really nice. It feels as though it's the correct and natural power chain. I'm beaming and can't wait for Friday's practice session.

In any case, take a look at the front perspective video from my past sessions, that could clarify both arm being bent, uppermost body initiating the stroke, AND scapular action. From my own analysis, and like yours, I don't think I do much of either. Though I still tend to think my arm might be pretty straight though I also hit fairly flat now that I look at my past self with hindsight which could have my arm be a tad straighter. Let me know what you think!

------
Everything below are videos from past sessions that I feel might be useful to illustrate our observations.




I can't believe how flat that backhand is, good god. I hadn't realized.

-------

Many thanks for the advice again guys! I appreciate the hell out of both of you.
 
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Dragy

Hall of Fame
That's the point, I never know how to position myself so it's super random when I hit consistently or not.
Practice both. Set your mind to always get neutral and move forward in one series of shots. Get farther back behind the ball if you need to have room to move forward.
Next BM load, get closer in, coil more in place with semi-open and hit balls.

Find ways to hit either, compare your feelings and results. Then you'll be able to apply one you need for particular shot.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
@Dragy @Chas Tennis
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Chas's post

WOW, that is an awesome option I was unaware of. I will keep my videos in normal speed and simply use the function on YouTube afterwards, that's neat!
You should record at 240 fps. Your camera should process that into a 30 fps playback video, 'slow motion'. I don't understand what smartphone cameras do when they record in high speed like 240 fps.
?? If Youtube is creating frames that were never recorded never use that for analysis.

I am unaware if I bend my elbow that much to be honest. I feel it's pretty straight but I guess it could be a tad more. You might be able to see it better in the front point of view I just linked.
It was clear in the clips at the 2 times that I gave that your elbow was bent. 4 sec & 1:26 sec in post #15.

Seriously, this is great advice. I was not able to understand either uppermost body leading and scapular action before your very last post. This post alone made it crystal clear. I was just doing shadow swings to test it out and I think I can replicate it, it feels quite unnatural for me to be initiating the stroke with that movement but I guess it's power I wasn't using which could be beneficial in the long term without question. You are right also about my scapula during my current backhand swing, it pulls down and brings my shoulder backwards which stresses the socket. I find myself swinging my arms around sometimes mid session because the swing almost leads my shoulder out. That's scary in itself, it hurts like freaking hell to put it back. Not to mention three months of inflammation.... I will try my hardest to replicate the uppermost body leading as I feel it also implicates the correct scapular action as a byproduct which is fantastic as it's really two birds with one stone in my case. Power + Sustainability. Just when shadow swinging, I can see the whole entire stroke being "together as a whole" which is really nice. It feels as though it's the correct and natural power chain. I'm beaming and can't wait for Friday's practice session.
Stop the scapular experiments. I observed some sub-motions in the one hand ATP backhand based on high speed videos. You should not try things before you slowly study the videos. The scapular protraction and retraction is the last thing I recently identified. I speculated on its biomechanics. Use Justine Henin's comment 'You look over your shoulder' and leave out any possibly stressful motions involving the chest press and scapular motions.

Dragy and I do not agree on the backhand technique sub-motions that I identified and we have had some good discussions.

In any case, take a look at the front perspective video from my past sessions, that could clarify both arm being bent, uppermost body initiating the stroke, AND scapular action. From my own analysis, and like yours, I don't think I do much of either. Though I still tend to think my arm might be pretty straight though I also hit fairly flat now that I look at my past self with hindsight which could have my arm be a tad straighter. Let me know what you think!
If you can't see that your elbow is bent in the two clips I identified, we should resolve that now. Thiem has the straightest arm both going back and coming forward. Compare your elbow to Thiem's elbow in the forward motion. If you think that your elbow is straight, give me the time of the video. Say something like. "For the backhand with impact around 1:22 my elbow is straight for most of the forward motion through impact. " "Or my backhand at 3:25 is the best that I have done and has a straight elbow like Thiem's."

In the mean time, there are sub-motions that have been discussed and detailed in the long thread. (I have looked at videos recently and not took notice of something important and obvious, so you could be missing stuff.)
1) Chest Press that ATP players are using and video observations. Justine Henin has the same technique as the ATP players.
2) Racket bring down that ATP players are using and video observations. This involves internal shoulder rotation (ISR) & ESR. See Geca posts. The arm can then do ESR just before impact for top spin.
3) Scapular projection and retraction that ATP players are using and video observations.
4) ....forgetting something ........?

You should look through the one hand backhand compilation and look only at the turn back of the shoulders and then their turn forward. Estimate the angle back and forward. Compare that to yours.
 
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Mesm

New User
Hey fellas!

Thank you for helping me on my tennis journey! I haven't posted in a while since I have been grinding fairly regularly. I figured taking a break from filming and focusing would allow me to not only focus on my enjoyment but also on being present in the moment as I drill my way into enhancing my strokes.

I would consider the following videos to be what I achieved for this summer as it is getting cold ridiculously rapidly here in Quebec, hence, rendering it somewhat impossible to practice consistently. In any case, I hope you will enjoy/or not, the fruits of your coaching. Tell me what you think, the good, the bad, and the ugly. ALSO! I have added the two strips of lead tape that were suggested about a week ago and it has made a world of difference! Thanks for the tip! I am almost considering adding some to the sides now LOL.

I am still in need of consistency when it comes to my forehand, though I have gained a fair amount of confidence with the weapon which is great. I have changed my stance towards a semi-open/open as suggested which has given me rotation on another dimension which I hadn't naturally thought effective.

My backhand was incredibly constant today I would say, it has always been more constant than my forehand anyhow. I have implemented a lot of lunging/body lowering into the stroke which in turn, allows me to increase my oh so wanted low to high motion. I have attempted to straighten my dominant arm as much as possible which is what I believe yielded me more consistency. Furthermore, I have tried to implement the opening of my right shoulder as the initiating mechanism of my stroke. Although accentuating it would often lead to more power, it was not very reliable. The shoulder opening as a trigger yields a very, very rapid swing which might be useful to be mastered at very high levels of play where the swing speed is of crucial import to maximize one's power. However, for me, I have resorted to implementing a less aggressive version of it within my stroke nonetheless, but not to an extent that makes it extremely noticeable. Refer to the videos provided. All in all, while remaining modest, I think my backhand has gotten much better in the last month. Up to you to judge! ALSO! I have started to aim my backhand as I am practicing, it is exhilarating!

Thanks again for the kind help and analysis you have done to help me along on my tennis journey!

Cheers :)

Mesm.

Forehand

Backhand

Backhand Side View
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Hey fellas!

Thank you for helping me on my tennis journey! I haven't posted in a while since I have been grinding fairly regularly. I figured taking a break from filming and focusing would allow me to not only focus on my enjoyment but also on being present in the moment as I drill my way into enhancing my strokes.

I would consider the following videos to be what I achieved for this summer as it is getting cold ridiculously rapidly here in Quebec, hence, rendering it somewhat impossible to practice consistently. In any case, I hope you will enjoy/or not, the fruits of your coaching. Tell me what you think, the good, the bad, and the ugly. ALSO! I have added the two strips of lead tape that were suggested about a week ago and it has made a world of difference! Thanks for the tip! I am almost considering adding some to the sides now LOL.

I am still in need of consistency when it comes to my forehand, though I have gained a fair amount of confidence with the weapon which is great. I have changed my stance towards a semi-open/open as suggested which has given me rotation on another dimension which I hadn't naturally thought effective.

My backhand was incredibly constant today I would say, it has always been more constant than my forehand anyhow. I have implemented a lot of lunging/body lowering into the stroke which in turn, allows me to increase my oh so wanted low to high motion. I have attempted to straighten my dominant arm as much as possible which is what I believe yielded me more consistency. Furthermore, I have tried to implement the opening of my right shoulder as the initiating mechanism of my stroke. Although accentuating it would often lead to more power, it was not very reliable. The shoulder opening as a trigger yields a very, very rapid swing which might be useful to be mastered at very high levels of play where the swing speed is of crucial import to maximize one's power. However, for me, I have resorted to implementing a less aggressive version of it within my stroke nonetheless, but not to an extent that makes it extremely noticeable. Refer to the videos provided. All in all, while remaining modest, I think my backhand has gotten much better in the last month. Up to you to judge! ALSO! I have started to aim my backhand as I am practicing, it is exhilarating!

Thanks again for the kind help and analysis you have done to help me along on my tennis journey!

Cheers :)

Mesm.

Forehand

Backhand

Backhand Side View
This long thread has specific video observations on the one hand backhand. Read post #1, post #51 and then the posts about the observations.

A theme of the thread is that most of the best backhands have these motions in their strokes. One of the main points is that the shoulder joint at first remains on the side lines and the initial forward motion is initiated by the uppermost body turn.
One Hand Backhand - What Force to Start Forward Swing?

I have just been watching great one-hand backhands at the Madrid Open. Including excellent slow motion that can be replayed in even slower motion or single frame with my DVR.

Often when I try to swing forward for a one hand backhand the stroke is very weak in the initial acceleration, especially if I'm rushed. The ball contact is extremely late on heavy pace and often the ball goes off at an angle and into the ground.

On very rare occasions in the past, when I was hitting better pace 1HBHs, if I had a set up on the backhand side and ran forward for the ball I could hit a monster TP backhand with confidence. Not for some years now....... So I know that heavy pace backhands are possible. I am wondering where that stroke came from. ?

This question deals with only that time when the one hand backhand backswing is just completed and the the racket is starting to accelerate.

Biomechanical issues -

1) Shoulders orientation, back at about 45°(?) to the baseline, etc., and also the angle of the arm to the shoulder to start the forward swing- the upper arm is out from the body. Why are these angles used and their purpose in accelerating the upper arm?

2) Why does the racket go back to well above the head? Why is the first part of the stroke downward?

3) Does the lat work on the upper arm. How? Is that why the upper arm is always raised out from the body in high level backhands - so that it can shorten and move the upper arm?

4) Effect of body turning to initially propel the shoulder & arm forward. ?

5) Which muscles contribute to downward & forward arm & racket motion? Which contribute to racket head speed and in what degree: lat, rear delt, others? The racket and arm seem to accelerate strongly downward at first picking up speed and then swing to a more forward direction for impact.

6) How is the stretch-shortening cycle at work in the 1hbh? Especially for the initial upper arm motion.



For illustrations, see the one hand backhands at end of the take back and ready for the forward swing.

https://www.google.com/search?q=illustrations+tennis+one+hand+backhand&client=firefox-a&hs=sEp&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=to-KUe-8EJj54APhh4CgBQ&ved=0CEsQsAQ&biw=1334&bih=702

Some especially good illustrations of just before the forward swing are on tennis.about.com , strokes #5,6,7.
http://tennis.about.com/od/playersmale/ss/photo-tour-male-pro-one-handed-topspin-backhand-grips_6.htm

Slow motion videos on the 1HBH including frames showing the start of the one hand backhand. Racket high, player looking over shoulder, shoulders turned past perpendicular to the baseline, second hand still on racket - the initial position. What are the details of how the racket accelerates from there?

Roger Federer and Justine Henin Topspin backhands
.........................
Roger Federer backhands shot with slow motion
.........................................................
Roger Federer's topspin backhand 360 degree breakdown 2.0
...........................
Federer Wawrinka and more Top spin BH part I: The preparation
......................................
Federer, Wawrinka and more top spin BH part II: The Stroke phase
..................................
Richard Gasquet - Slow Motion Top Spin Backhands in HD
........................................
To compare videos on this post single frame and one above the other - for Youtube single frame use the period & comma keys. To select the YT video always use the Alt + Left Mouse Click, otherwise the video starts playing. To single frame on Vimeo, hold down the SHIFT KEY and use the ARROW KEYS.

To compare go to impacts and move back and forth single frame always comparing similar racket positions.

Backhand starts at 56 seconds, this video should start there.
See Stan Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet for technique described in the thread.

In the pro videos, look especially for
1) "Chest Press" to start forward motion as described in the thread vs using your shoulder joint and its muscles to start the forward motion.
2) Racket bring down by internal shoulder rotation ISR and using the off arm hand on the racket .
3) Thoracic Protraction & Retraction described in recent posts of the thread. (shows well on the Vimeo Gasquet video)

Thoracic Extension and Retraction may be stressful for your shoulder.
 
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