Getting More Depth on ground strokes.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by UW_Husky88, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. UW_Husky88

    UW_Husky88 Rookie

    Sep 11, 2006

    So recently I've been trying to change my game up a bit and play more like Nadal. I'm using a full western grip to try and get more spin on my ground strokes, and am sometimes able to get good depth on my forehand. My plan is to basically pin the opponent back while moving them around a little, or trying to break down a stroke with the spin and depth, get a weak reply, and start attacking from there, possibly finishing it off at the net (I think its like counterpunching with a spin doctor, all-court twist to it). There are a few problems:

    -My FH is very very streaky. There are stretches when I can hit it high and with depth and my strategy works perfectly, but other times, I mis-hit or hit very weak strokes that the opponent is then able to easily take advantage of. Sometimes I go through patches where I keep hitting it just deep.
    -My BH has no depth whatsoever, and when I hit it, I mis-hit it, again leaving me vulnerable for the opponent to put me on the run.

    My questions are:
    -What are some things I can do on the court to help me hit with depth consistantly? For example, should I aim higher, aim for the baseline, what can I do? Especially for my backhand, which I'm having trouble getting topspin on (btw, I hit a two hander).
    -Is there something nadal does so that he consistently is able to hit with such spin that the ball bounces about shoulder-high everytime? Thats about how high I want the ball to be when the opponent strikes it, so what can I do to get both depth and height?

    I know that since I'm doing a 180 degree turn from being a baseline basher to a grinder that its going to take a lot of practice and patience, but what are some tips I can use to get started, and what can I do in the meantime to play better? I'm not the fittest person and have a tough time keeping up in the sun especially, so what should I do to prevent those weak shots right now so that I can actually do decently in my matches?
  2. Azrael

    Azrael Rookie

    Aug 13, 2007
    First off, I admire the strategy, but I think that you should focus more on waiting for the error while giving him a difficult time with your intense spin. At the lower and intermediate levels, not many players can hit winners. Other than that, most people will mess up after 5 balls or so. No need to change your strategy on account of me, but this seems more Nadal-like to me.

    Also, I've heard that Nadal uses an "extreme-semi-western" grip. Who woulda thunk it? Of course I could have heard wrong, but it seems more sensible to me. It's incredibly hard to push forward as you brush up with a full western grip.

    Anyway. Regarding your lack of depth in your FH, perhaps you are not pushing the ball forward as you swing up? This is a common problem nowadays with all of these extreme grips prompting the windshield wiper motion (which many people I've seen do wrong btw). Where you should aim is up to you. If you aim higher, you probably will get a deeper ball, but very much like a moon baller. If you simply aim deeper at the baseline, you will have a flatter western FH. If i remember correctly, Jimmy Connors played western, but he played rather flatly.

    Also, you haven't mentioned stance, but have you tried an open/semi-open stance? If you haven't I suggest you try them, as I find many of my strongest shots coming from those stances. If you have and are, then are you turning the shoulders fully? Are you using your lower body as well as the upper body?

    Same problem regarding the backhand. You may not be extending the left arm enough. Instead, you may be going straight up. I don't have much else to add here as I have a one-hander...

    Tricky does a very good analysis on the "sling-shot" style takeback.'s+backswing
    He has noted that Nadal uses this sort of FH takeback, so maybe you should try it out. I tried it, and even if I'm not doing it exactly right (or right at all), I like the results that I've gotten.
  3. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2006
    To hit "like Nadal" takes a very strong, advanced and consistant player, so, it may not be the best style for you to emulate at this stage of you development.

    I would suggest (for a whole variety of reasons) you start out with an Eastern, or possibly, a semi-western grip and develop some consistancy and control before going for extreme topspin. First learn to master the concept of spin, in its various forms-- before taking it to a higher level.

    Having said that, the depth of every shot is basically determined by 3 factors-- the height you hit the ball above the net, the speed you hit the ball, and the amount and type of spin imparted to the ball.

    Many players start out thinking they want to hit agressive topspin like Nadal and end up hitting short balls or deep bloopy "moonballs".

    To avoid those problems you need to concentrate on hitting forward through the ball from low to high-- not just "whisking" the racket upward against the ball to create spin.

    To hit deep you need to hit:

    flatter and lower over the net or higher, but harder, and with topspin.

    Because you are attacking the ball at a greater angle to achieve topspin, there is less room for error and timing is essential.

    Prepare early- get to the ball and in position so you can use your full stroke. Go back to basics and WATCH the ball. As you stroke through it imagine the arc you are intending to create and compare that in your mind with the actual outcome. Keep adjusting height, speed, angle until you feel you can hit any variation of spin at will.

    The main thing that players like nadal do to acheive their results is PRACTICE AND DRILL.
  4. tbini87

    tbini87 Hall of Fame

    Jul 10, 2007
    Chico, CA
    sounds to me like you need to work on consistency on both fh and bh. playing with full western can be demanding, so you really have to work hard. make sure you get a little topspin with your backhand to keep it more consistent, and also try to develop a backhand slice. it comes in handy, especially if you want to be able to come to the net with a chip and charge or volley.
  5. Off The Wall

    Off The Wall Semi-Pro

    Jun 11, 2007
    Quality Time

    You are doing your best to hit severe topspins. Sometimes it works and often you mis-hit the ball. That's what happens when you say, "I think I'll change my swing from near flat to near vertical."

    You'll need quality time with your new stroke.

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