Getting jammed

#1
It's a consistent problem that happens more as I get fatigued. Especially on my BH side, I overrun the ball and end up with an impact point way too close to my body. I know this and I try to read the ball better, but even when I think I'm perfectly positioned, the ball is still way too close to me. And it's now started to happen on my FH side as well.

I realize that recognizing a problem is the first step. Ok, so we're there. Check.

But how can I judge positioning better? Compensate by trying to hit too far away from the ball?

Or maybe this is the result of another common problem that I'm unaware of?
 
#2
Maybe this video will help, but this happens a lot. You have to take those little adjustment steps after the bounce since you never know exactly how the ball is going to react. I think the key is to stay on the balls of your feet so you are ready to move. If you are flat footed it takes too much time to get back into position to move.

In this video you can see Federer, who has great footwork, is moving his feet all the way until impact. So, even he has to make those adjustments.

 
#3
I'm comparing your posted video (thanks) to a video I shot of myself playing today. One stark difference is in arm extension. Though Fed plays almost continental while I'm nearly full Western, my elbow is tucked into my side when I hit a FH, while his arm is almost straight on impact.

So while footwork could always be improved (but looks pretty good in my video, I'll admit), I think I have a natural tendency to hit too close.
 
#6
Perhaps you aren't turning your shoulder early enough because you are tired (lazy split step and unit turn). If you track the ball with your body semi-open, and then turn the shoulder at the last minute, you will find that the ball will be inside your ideal contact point (i.e. closer to your body). The fact that you have more trouble with the backhand would then make sense since the backhand requires you to be more sideways than a forehand.
 
#7
I'm comparing your posted video (thanks) to a video I shot of myself playing today. One stark difference is in arm extension. Though Fed plays almost continental while I'm nearly full Western, my elbow is tucked into my side when I hit a FH, while his arm is almost straight on impact.

So while footwork could always be improved (but looks pretty good in my video, I'll admit), I think I have a natural tendency to hit too close.

I could never figure out how you guys hit with a bent elbow :giggle:.

Another thing that you might try related to Federer is that he more than most players doesn't move to a spot and then set up and wait for the ball. He likes to get there just in time and move through the shot. If you watch someone like Agassi he will move to the location of the shot, set his feet, and wait for the ball - he doesn't move as much after contact. Federer just sort of seems to pace himself to just get there at the moment of impact and then he keeps going for a step or two. You can see it in this video, he takes a step after he hits as @BallBag noted. It's very fluid and he's always in motion. I've tried to copy that some too.

Most players are more like Agassi.



 

TagUrIt

Professional
#8
When we get fatigued a lot of things start to go wrong.lol First thing that came to mind was how’s your split step. On the forehand side are you using your non-hitting arm as a guide?Use it to measure your distance to ball. There are lots of instructional videos on YouTube. On the backhand side, is it possible to have someone hit a variety of balls to your backhand? I’ve been taking a tennis drills class and it has helped my game tremendously. Repetition could be the best fix.
 
#9
It's a consistent problem that happens more as I get fatigued. Especially on my BH side, I overrun the ball and end up with an impact point way too close to my body. I know this and I try to read the ball better, but even when I think I'm perfectly positioned, the ball is still way too close to me. And it's now started to happen on my FH side as well.

I realize that recognizing a problem is the first step. Ok, so we're there. Check.

But how can I judge positioning better? Compensate by trying to hit too far away from the ball?

Or maybe this is the result of another common problem that I'm unaware of?
Fatigue causes problems for everyone. It affects the entire body.

How to combat? Get more fit so you don’t get fatigued.
 

TagUrIt

Professional
#12
I always admire when people have the courage to post videos on this board, so bravo for doing that. You seem to be very quick to the ball and have a good split step. What I saw in the video was your backhand is EXTREMELY tight and close to your body. You would have a much powerful backhand if you extended your arms and followed through with your shot. It’s not a bad 2hbh just gotta extend arms a bit more. Also bend your knees and maybe start that backhand a little lower so you generate power through the ball also. If you try to hit at waist height it won’t be as effective. I mentioned it before, but take a lot of backhand reps and work on your spacing.
 
#13
work on your spacing.
First, thank you.

Second, that's precisely the question. If I've developed a habit of having too little space as a rule, what's the best way to make more space more automatic? I keep telling myself "AWAY FROM THE BALL" and... nothing.

So back to my original question, maybe the best way to combat this is to say, "be really really far from the ball, so far that you might whiff it" and hope that does it?

BTW, did you not think I was jammed on my FH side? Or just worse on the BH?
 
#14
Try this:

Find a chain-link fence and stick a ball in the fence about hip-high. Put your racket against the ball as it would at the moment of contact on your forehand. Now, move yourself around until you find the position that seems strongest to you. Now, take a step away and then step and swing to the ball. Stop at the moment of contact and explore your body position. Did you make it back to where you feel strongest? Try again until you can put yourself in that relative position fairly regularly. Then have someone feed you easy forehands and focus on moving to that relative position to hit the ball.
 

TagUrIt

Professional
#15
I can tell your forehand is your more comfortable side, your footwork is there, you follow through on your shot. Maybe get that guide arm up and out a bit more. Look at 1:44 even your practice swing is close to you body. Try this: practice a split step, unit turn and extend your arms, and shadow swing at home. You keep your arms in so tight on your backhand, extend them and see how it feels. I watch a TON of WTA tennis and those ladies have gorgeous backhands. Look at their set up and swing path. Take notice of where their arms are in relation to the shot, feet position on the court, etc.
 
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#16
I worked out a solution for myself that is similar for forehand and (two handed) backhand. As I make a unit turn into the ball, I "align" the racket face with the incoming ball before completing my back swing. This is where the short steps come in to move into position correctly (if necessary). Everybody does this differently, with their own style, and it is not necessary for the racket fact to be exactly behind the ball at any time, although I see nothing wrong with that either. I have also made my back swing as compact as possible, as this helps me get cleaner hits - the hand(s) will stay close to the body, even as the racket head points towards the back fence.
 
#18
Here goes...

There's no fatigue yet since this is the first set, and yet I'm still looking pretty jammed up. I opted to show two return games so you wouldn't be distracted by my serve, which deserves its own troubleshooting thread all on its own!

When extending your left arm as you set up for your fh, try sticking it out straight and fully extended because you’ll use this as a painters thumb guide for your fh spacing.

Right now, the left arm is bent and that’s dictating your cramped spacing.
 
#19
So two things that helped me.
-reverse footwork, pushing off one or both feet to get back a couple feet so I can move in and up to hit the shot. You can feel it in your quads, abs if its not being done much
-contact lenses, I used to wear glasses and tried again once this summer, didn't work.
The contacts I've used- toric for the last couple decades have never once turned due to the weight at the bottom of the lens
 
#20
First, thank you.

Second, that's precisely the question. If I've developed a habit of having too little space as a rule, what's the best way to make more space more automatic? I keep telling myself "AWAY FROM THE BALL" and... nothing.

So back to my original question, maybe the best way to combat this is to say, "be really really far from the ball, so far that you might whiff it" and hope that does it?

BTW, did you not think I was jammed on my FH side? Or just worse on the BH?
I totally get your issue. For years I had a chicken wing fh and its refreshing to see someone with great movement struggle (I thought all these years it was just lousy footwork). Anyhow my answer at least for me is that nothing worked that was based on the contact point. I tried all kind of drills and focusing on where the contact SHOULD be and would find a way to be jammed. (Personally I think you are probably just a slow mental starter). Got lots of tips and vids but nothing worked for me.

Anyhow I fixed it. John Yandell gave me a lesson and never once did he have me focus on contact. To this day I still don't know what happens there, where it is, etc. But he DID have me focus on what happens before and after contact. So a proper setup in line with the ball (assuming from the vid you got that covered) was the 1st check point. The 2nd and the thing that changed everything was the 2nd check point. Basically get to this position with the hand out and infront of the face like in the 5th picture:



See how the hand is in front of the face and far out in front? He had me hit balls and stop at the 2nd checkpoint like in the picture. So now my FH is setting up and hitting that 2nd position. What happens at contact takes care of itself.

I will spare you the before and after vids but that tip really fixed the spacing issues. NOw when the fh is off or I am warming up I focus on that 2nd checkpoint and the fh gets better.

No idea on the bh as I hit a proper one handed bh and never had spacing issues there like the FH- primarily because I threw Frisbee for years before tennis and the release point is far away from the bod.

Kudos for identifying the issue and posting a vid to improve!
 
#22
what's the best way to make more space more automatic?
Isuggest in your training sessions dedicate 15 minures for hitting one handed backhands. Underspin or topspin, does not matter. This will improve your sence of spacing.
You need practicing slices anyway.
 
#24
I hope this helps because I had to hit keys on a keyboard and prove I wasn't a robot but check out your pict:




Sure the are some parallactic errors due to the angle but if you look at the bend in your elbow its pretty clear you are not as extended as the picts.
 
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#25
Here goes...

There's no fatigue yet since this is the first set, and yet I'm still looking pretty jammed up. I opted to show two return games so you wouldn't be distracted by my serve, which deserves its own troubleshooting thread all on its own!

You have really good footwork, but you do seem to get a little close to the ball at times. I found the shot at 53 seconds interesting. You're just causally hitting the ball back to your partner after the point, and you're timing and position was perfect. You just walked up to the ball and hit it. It's kind of a totally unconscious shot. That suggests that you do know the right spacing but you just need to let it happen, rather than thinking about.

Good hitting.
 
#26
Thank you, everyone, for your helpful insights. I'm playing again in an hour and will give your suggestions a shot. I'm also having a coach come out and watch my matchplay for live feedback, so we'll see what happens!

The contacts I've used- toric for the last couple decades have never once turned due to the weight at the bottom of the lens
Ok... pleeeeease tell me what types of contacts you're using, because I tried them 8 years ago and rotation was precisely the reason I couldn't wear them for tennis. Every time I blinked, they turned about 5 degrees and I had to wait for them to turn back.

I found the shot at 53 seconds interesting. You're just causally hitting the ball back to your partner after the point, and you're timing and position was perfect. You just walked up to the ball and hit it. It's kind of a totally unconscious shot. That suggests that you do know the right spacing but you just need to let it happen, rather than thinking about.
Yeah, that is interesting. I wonder whether my jamming problem is more a result of tension than anything else. Today I'll record my warmup as well and see if I look just as tucked in before points get started.
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
#27
You have really good footwork, but you do seem to get a little close to the ball at times. I found the shot at 53 seconds interesting. You're just causally hitting the ball back to your partner after the point, and you're timing and position was perfect. You just walked up to the ball and hit it. It's kind of a totally unconscious shot. That suggests that you do know the right spacing but you just need to let it happen, rather than thinking about.

Good hitting.
I don’t think it’s tension. She hits the same shot, even better, during a game at the 1:51 mark. It’s different than the other strokes because the contact point is much lower and the footwork pattern is more of a neutral stance than completely open. Spacing is better and it’s one of the only shots in the entire clip where at least one foot stays in contact with the ground during the shot. Looks more balanced to my eyes.

Kudos to you @aminadream for shooting a vid. It’s the only way that you can reconcile the differences between the internal reality and external reality that Gallwey talks about in the Inner Game of Tennis.
 
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#28
I don’t think it’s tension.
Agreed. I thought it might be but today's hitting session proved otherwise. Instead of a set, we just played baseline points. In fact, we didn't keep track of any scoring and even started out each rally pretty friendly, mostly hitting down the middle. So there was zero pressure, and I still had a tendency to be jammed if I wasn't actively thinking about my spacing.

But here's the good news: there's progress. As you'll see in the video below, it's hard to pinpoint just how much more space there is, but I felt a difference. I really focused on spacing myself better and I have to say it was one of my cleanest hitting sessions in a very long time. Maybe it's because I was keeping my eye on the ball better, but I'd like to think it had to do with better spacing as well. In fact, whenever I missed, it was often because I got jammed again.

What do you guys think? Do you see a difference? Or is it all in my head? :)

This was day one. We'll see how the rest of my efforts go in 2019!

 

TagUrIt

Professional
#29
Amina, you’re off to a good start! You were quick to the ball and set up your shots nicely. Also, it looked like you were a bit more relaxed with your swings. Nice follow through and recovery. I’d still like to see that guide arm track and swing on your forehand side :giggle:, but you do what works for you. Your backhand looked fine, still a just a tad close but I can certain see the difference in your strokes. Good job. (y)
 
#30
Agreed. I thought it might be but today's hitting session proved otherwise. Instead of a set, we just played baseline points. In fact, we didn't keep track of any scoring and even started out each rally pretty friendly, mostly hitting down the middle. So there was zero pressure, and I still had a tendency to be jammed if I wasn't actively thinking about my spacing.

But here's the good news: there's progress. As you'll see in the video below, it's hard to pinpoint just how much more space there is, but I felt a difference. I really focused on spacing myself better and I have to say it was one of my cleanest hitting sessions in a very long time. Maybe it's because I was keeping my eye on the ball better, but I'd like to think it had to do with better spacing as well. In fact, whenever I missed, it was often because I got jammed again.

What do you guys think? Do you see a difference? Or is it all in my head? :)

This was day one. We'll see how the rest of my efforts go in 2019!

You’re not pointing your left arm out straight to the side when you prep to hit your fh. The left arm is always very bent and that’s about how much space you are giving yourself and the ball. That’s why you’re jamming yourself. Now that you’ve gotten comfortable hitting this way, in order to break out of your comfort zone, you need to deliberately extend that left arm out straight and give yourself and the ball that much space to hit the fh. It will take practice because you will need to change your movement or may need to take an extra step to give yourself more room meaning your fh will get worse before getting better.
 
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#31
You’re off to a good start! I’d still like to see that guide arm track and swing on your forehand side :giggle:, but you do what works for you
Thanks! I tried the arm thing but realized something. I've been taught from when I was very young that keeping my left hand on the throat of my racquet as long as possible during the backswing maximizes shoulder rotation. It's not that I think I'd lack rotation if I changed my arm positioning, but I am afraid that if I change too many things at once, I'll lose the whole stroke.

What helped me most today was watching the ball and actively distancing myself from it. I know I still have a ways to go still, but I'm a bit worried that if I distance myself, straighten my arm, think about bending my legs and following through completely, and all the other things that can often clutter the mind, that it'll do more harm than good.

I'm an over-thinker! So I'm one of those people who can only change one thing about a stroke at a time, unfortunately.

That said, if you're saying all my problems will be solved by straightening my left arm, then yeah... I'll do it obviously. But it certainly seems like it wouldn't solve my backhand problem... so if I need to learn another mental trick for my BH, then maybe that same trick can be applied to my FH (as it was today).

Just thinking aloud.
 

TagUrIt

Professional
#33
But it certainly seems like it wouldn't solve my backhand problem... so if I need to learn another mental trick for my BH, then maybe that same trick can be applied to my FH (as it was

I’ve been attending a tennis clinic and all we do is drill baby drill. I also have a 2hbh, a few things the things the coach told me to do was make sure I get outside of the ball and then swing low to high. Your footwork is good enough where you can get to ball in time to set up your shot. Get to the outside of that ball quick, extend your arms and follow through.

Please try some shadow swings at home, (all you need is your racquet) just going through the motions will teach your body new muscle memory you can use in when you step on to the courts.
 
#34
Please try some shadow swings at home, (all you need is your racquet) just going through the motions will teach your body new muscle memory you can use in when you step on to the courts.
Totally. Even today, when I would shadow between points, the first ball I hit (whether I was feeding or receiving a feed) was in a much better position.

I'll try the left arm thing again tomorrow, and see how much it throws me off.
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
#35
Agreed. I thought it might be but today's hitting session proved otherwise. Instead of a set, we just played baseline points. In fact, we didn't keep track of any scoring and even started out each rally pretty friendly, mostly hitting down the middle. So there was zero pressure, and I still had a tendency to be jammed if I wasn't actively thinking about my spacing.

But here's the good news: there's progress. As you'll see in the video below, it's hard to pinpoint just how much more space there is, but I felt a difference. I really focused on spacing myself better and I have to say it was one of my cleanest hitting sessions in a very long time. Maybe it's because I was keeping my eye on the ball better, but I'd like to think it had to do with better spacing as well. In fact, whenever I missed, it was often because I got jammed again.

What do you guys think? Do you see a difference? Or is it all in my head? :)

This was day one. We'll see how the rest of my efforts go in 2019!

Yes. Everything is better: Spacing, balance (no jumping!), footwork.

Now, listen to your Dad and bend your knees. More! :cool:
 
#37
Ok... pleeeeease tell me what types of contacts you're using, because I tried them 8 years ago and rotation was precisely the reason I couldn't wear them for tennis. Every time I blinked, they turned about 5 degrees and I had to wait for them to turn back.
So I've had great luck with Air Optix for astigmatism.
I do want to try dailies at the nearest +/- degrees on either side of my prescription to test out and so I can toss them at the end of the day. Great hitting

Your really quick, seems jamming might be due to over running, your there before you expect it
 
#41
More active (and proactive) feet. The more active you are with your feet, the more adjustment steps you will take, and the easier it is to line up a shot. You might believe that this only applies right as you're about to reach the shot, but this even applies when on the full sprint for a shot. If you watch the professional players enough, you will notice that there are times where in the middle of a full sprint, they'll take some quick stutter steps to slow themselves down so they reach the wide ball at the perfect time.

Light and active feet.
 
#42
It's a consistent problem that happens more as I get fatigued. Especially on my BH side, I overrun the ball and end up with an impact point way too close to my body. I know this and I try to read the ball better, but even when I think I'm perfectly positioned, the ball is still way too close to me. And it's now started to happen on my FH side as well.

I realize that recognizing a problem is the first step. Ok, so we're there. Check.

But how can I judge positioning better? Compensate by trying to hit too far away from the ball?

Or maybe this is the result of another common problem that I'm unaware of?
Perhaps the reason it doesn't happen on my FH nearly as much is that I point sideways [not at the ball] with my off-hand which seems to prevent the ball from coming too closely.

If you have a 2HBH, one way to simulate this on the BH side is to hit an off-hand FH with your off-hand in the position on the handle as if you were hitting a regular 2HBH. Now you can use your on-hand to point just like when you hit a FH but the spacing will be the same as with a 2HBH. This might help calibrate the spacing.

I just thought of this as I was reading your post so I have to try it and see if there's anything to it.
 
#43
Well, as of today there's a new insight. I've been wondering why this has been happening in the first place. I haven't always hit like this, so I'd been thinking why this shift could have happened gradually, without my noticing.

And then it occurred to me. I have a chronic shoulder injury, one that causes things to sublux (partially dislocate) from time to time. It's why extension on my serve can't be 100%, reducing its power and consistency. Every once in a while, if I'm reaching for a wide forehand, my shoulder pops out mid swing.

So it stands to reason that my body would subconsciously "want" to make the impact point closer, if only to protect itself.

This hypothesis was somewhat supported in today's hitting session, as I noticed my shoulder getting sore from a greater spaced impact point. So I guess this will be a stepwise process where I may need to compromise due to my body's limitations. I'm going to push it a bit though and see how far I can take it.

I can already say for sure that my ball placement and consistency are way better, simply because my positioning is better. Today I played a set against a kid I lost 4-6 to a couple of days ago, but this time I made way fewer unforced errors and won 6-2. A step in the right direction.
 
#44
Well, as of today there's a new insight. I've been wondering why this has been happening in the first place. I haven't always hit like this, so I'd been thinking why this shift could have happened gradually, without my noticing.

And then it occurred to me. I have a chronic shoulder injury, one that causes things to sublux (partially dislocate) from time to time. It's why extension on my serve can't be 100%, reducing its power and consistency. Every once in a while, if I'm reaching for a wide forehand, my shoulder pops out mid swing.

So it stands to reason that my body would subconsciously "want" to make the impact point closer, if only to protect itself.

This hypothesis was somewhat supported in today's hitting session, as I noticed my shoulder getting sore from a greater spaced impact point. So I guess this will be a stepwise process where I may need to compromise due to my body's limitations. I'm going to push it a bit though and see how far I can take it.

I can already say for sure that my ball placement and consistency are way better, simply because my positioning is better. Today I played a set against a kid I lost 4-6 to a couple of days ago, but this time I made way fewer unforced errors and won 6-2. A step in the right direction.
Yep. A shoulder injury would make it harder and more painful to fully extend and your body will always go into self preservation mode and look to minimize pain.

Have you tried exercises to strengthen the soft tissue around your shoulder?
 
#45
Have you tried exercises to strengthen the soft tissue around your shoulder?
Yes, and they definitely help. I bet some new muscles will also start to get strengthened in different ways as I continue with these slight adjustments too.

I may add some new rubber band training as well, that mimics forehand and backhand motions with a straight-ish arm to see if supplementing helps.
 
#46
Yes, and they definitely help. I bet some new muscles will also start to get strengthened in different ways as I continue with these slight adjustments too.

I may add some new rubber band training as well, that mimics forehand and backhand motions with a straight-ish arm to see if supplementing helps.
Keep building up your shoulder strength! Good luck! :)
 
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