Help me improve ( short video of me playing )

#1
Hi,

I know this is a short video and you cant see every element in it ( this is because today I was recording a video until my phone's battery went down, and also added another video that I found in my phone from not so long ago ), but until I get more videos of me playing where you can see more so you can help me with tips/ advices ( like backhand, slice, volleys, smash, returning, running, sliding etc ) I would appreciate any tips which will help me improve, based on the video bellow.

I also apologize for the not so good camera angle, I didnt have anyone to record me so I had to leave my phone on the ground.

In the first clip, I am the one serving, in the rest of the clips I am the one with white shorts and red shirt.
 
#2
You have a weak waiter serve, look at fixing that. Your volleys appear to have no backspin at all, and it looks like you hit them with a forehand grip, which is a problem, obviously. No knee bend on groundstrokes, which is causing a lot of misses into the net.
 
#3
You have a weak waiter serve, look at fixing that. Your volleys appear to have no backspin at all, and it looks like you hit them with a forehand grip, which is a problem, obviously. No knee bend on groundstrokes, which is causing a lot of misses into the net.
Indeed my serve is definitely something that needs improving, especially the second one which I hit very slow just so I avoid losing the point ( fear and the serving skill dont let me hit it with more power ).
What would you suggest that I do to improve it ?

1. Shall I toss the ball higher ?
2. Do I need to bend my knees more when serving ?
3. Shall I also change my grip when serving ? I use something like a forehand grip, which is between continental and eastern or half-eastern I guess. Will I benefit from changing the grip ?

As for the forehand volley, if I try giving it backslice I have higher chance to send the ball into the net, so not so long ago I started just hitting the forehand volley without focusing much on the backspin, while my backhand volley ( I believe ) is my better volley comparing it to the forehand one, next time I play I'll try to get more footage and post it here.
So basically you cant hit a good forehand volley if you are holding the racquet with a forehand grip ?
Thing is, when Im playing and rush to the net to hit a volley, I dont really have the " I should change my grip to continental before hitting the volley " type of thoughts, and if nobody reminds me, I cant get to think of it.

About the knee bending on groundstrokes, I am short ( 169cm or 5.54 ft ) so most of the time I think that I dont have the need of bending much because of my height, unless it was a low slice hit by my opponent which automatically gets me to bend my knees.
Considering my height, do I still need to bend much before hitting a forehand/ backhand ?

Thanks !
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#4
Indeed my serve is definitely something that needs improving, especially the second one which I hit very slow just so I avoid losing the point ( fear and the serving skill dont let me hit it with more power ).
What would you suggest that I do to improve it ?

1. Shall I toss the ball higher ?
2. Do I need to bend my knees more when serving ?
3. Shall I also change my grip when serving ? I use something like a forehand grip, which is between continental and eastern or half-eastern I guess. Will I benefit from changing the grip ?

As for the forehand volley, if I try giving it backslice I have higher chance to send the ball into the net, so not so long ago I started just hitting the forehand volley without focusing much on the backspin, while my backhand volley ( I believe ) is my better volley comparing it to the forehand one, next time I play I'll try to get more footage and post it here.
So basically you cant hit a good forehand volley if you are holding the racquet with a forehand grip ?
Thing is, when Im playing and rush to the net to hit a volley, I dont really have the " I should change my grip to continental before hitting the volley " type of thoughts, and if nobody reminds me, I cant get to think of it.

About the knee bending on groundstrokes, I am short ( 169cm or 5.54 ft ) so most of the time I think that I dont have the need of bending much because of my height, unless it was a low slice hit by my opponent which automatically gets me to bend my knees.
Considering my height, do I still need to bend much before hitting a forehand/ backhand ?

Thanks !
Have you ever had any lessons, or played high school tennis where a coach helped you with your technique?
 

vex

Hall of Fame
#5
Indeed my serve is definitely something that needs improving, especially the second one which I hit very slow just so I avoid losing the point ( fear and the serving skill dont let me hit it with more power ).
What would you suggest that I do to improve it ?

1. Shall I toss the ball higher ?
2. Do I need to bend my knees more when serving ?
3. Shall I also change my grip when serving ? I use something like a forehand grip, which is between continental and eastern or half-eastern I guess. Will I benefit from changing the grip ?

As for the forehand volley, if I try giving it backslice I have higher chance to send the ball into the net, so not so long ago I started just hitting the forehand volley without focusing much on the backspin, while my backhand volley ( I believe ) is my better volley comparing it to the forehand one, next time I play I'll try to get more footage and post it here.
So basically you cant hit a good forehand volley if you are holding the racquet with a forehand grip ?
Thing is, when Im playing and rush to the net to hit a volley, I dont really have the " I should change my grip to continental before hitting the volley " type of thoughts, and if nobody reminds me, I cant get to think of it.

About the knee bending on groundstrokes, I am short ( 169cm or 5.54 ft ) so most of the time I think that I dont have the need of bending much because of my height, unless it was a low slice hit by my opponent which automatically gets me to bend my knees.
Considering my height, do I still need to bend much before hitting a forehand/ backhand ?

Thanks !
I don't think you understand what he's saying about your serve. Take your serve. Throw in the trash and act like it never happened. Thats not trying to be mean, thats being helpful. You aren't doing anything right on serve atm. To fix ur serve either (1) hire a coach or (2) spends HOURS upon HOURS studying pro serves on youtube.... followed by a year+ of at least every other day serve practice. Its important that you understand this: To improve your serve you will NEED to grind. 4x a week, 100+ balls (stop when ur body tells you to, dont injure ur shoulder/elbow) each session. You'll need to buy a ball hopper. Months of this until you perfect ur technique.

Problems with your serve:
- You don't have the right grip.
- You aren't pronating at all (not that u can with that grip)
- You have no topspin on the shot (again, grip).
- Your toss is straight out in front, need to move it to the side.
- Can't tell completely but kinda looks like u aren't tossing with your fingertips rather than your palm. Fingertips only, Imagine a flower opening up. Ball should have no spin on release.
- Your standing in a way that looks awkward to me but this could be the vantage point of the camera.

Positives:
- knee bend on serves. good lift on a couple serves (but be careful, consistency > inconsistent jumping)
- FH looks like it has a decent foundation. Focus less on power and more on directional control. Accuracy + Consistency wins. As you progress everyone is decent at absorbing power.
- Footwork: Your feet are very active and your making mirco adjustments preparing to hit FHs.This is AWESOME. This is something many players don't have and can't really fix. Part of it is youth. You have it and it will be a HUGE asset for you when you get better.

Sidenotes
- No you can't hit volleys with FH grip. Its not about whether u can hit a okayish FH volley, its that when u play a decent player you MUST be able to instantly volley FH or BH and you can't do that with any grip but Conti. You don't have time to adjust your grip when ur reacting to a BH volley coming at you. You need to already be in Conti at that point. Not thinking about it is normal. You just need practice, eventually the grip swaps will be completely automatic for you. You won't even have to think about it, you'll think "VOLLEY" and your hands will grip swap as you move into position.
- That partner isn't really going to help you improve your strokes much. He doesnt have any strokes, he's just a pusher.
- Since your starting out, consider swapping to a 2 hand BH. They're vastly more popular amongst good players for a reason.
 
Last edited:
#7
Hi,

I know this is a short video and you cant see every element in it ( this is because today I was recording a video until my phone's battery went down, and also added another video that I found in my phone from not so long ago ), but until I get more videos of me playing where you can see more so you can help me with tips/ advices ( like backhand, slice, volleys, smash, returning, running, sliding etc ) I would appreciate any tips which will help me improve, based on the video bellow.

I also apologize for the not so good camera angle, I didnt have anyone to record me so I had to leave my phone on the ground.

In the first clip, I am the one serving, in the rest of the clips I am the one with white shorts and red shirt.
I like that when you receive the slow 2nd serve I can hear you making small footwork adjustments to get into optimal position. Many players do a poor job of this and then wonder why they can't hit consistently.

I also like how you attack the ball with your FH: you've got confidence in the stroke and you go for it.

Rather than playing points, you might also want to consider doing drills with someone feeding you very controlled balls so you can groove a particular stroke. Volleys, for example, are easy to over-complicate but in a match situation, you do what you have to in order to get the ball over. A drill setting with repeatable feeds can help a lot.

Your serve is in the early stages. For one thing, what grip are you using? Looks like an Eastern FH. I suggest switching to Continental. The serve is the most important shot in tennis [along with the return of serve] but also the most complicated.

Plenty of good serve instruction on the internet:


 
#8
As for the forehand volley, if I try giving it backslice I have higher chance to send the ball into the net, so not so long ago I started just hitting the forehand volley without focusing much on the backspin, while my backhand volley ( I believe ) is my better volley comparing it to the forehand one, next time I play I'll try to get more footage and post it here.
Using backspin gives more feel to the shot. The higher your contact point is above the net and the closer you are to the net, the more you can get away with no spin and no feel. This will fail miserably if you have to volley from your shoelaces.

The problem is, you don't know what type of volley you're going to be hitting so you have to be prepared for anything, which typically means being ready to hit some backspin.

So basically you cant hit a good forehand volley if you are holding the racquet with a forehand grip?
It's not impossible. I've hit a few FH volley winners with a FH grip when I got my grip crossed. It's just not recommended for regular situations.

Thing is, when Im playing and rush to the net to hit a volley, I dont really have the " I should change my grip to continental before hitting the volley " type of thoughts, and if nobody reminds me, I cant get to think of it.
When I move towards the net, I automatically change to Continental because it's ingrained. You simply need to practice it until you no longer have to think about it.

About the knee bending on groundstrokes, I am short ( 169cm or 5.54 ft ) so most of the time I think that I dont have the need of bending much because of my height, unless it was a low slice hit by my opponent which automatically gets me to bend my knees.
Considering my height, do I still need to bend much before hitting a forehand/ backhand ?

Thanks !
Bending one's knees gives benefits that transcend height: it allows you to use your legs for power. If you hit with straight knees, how could you fully exploit your leg power?

Watch Diego Schwartzman [5' 6"] and Dominika Cibulkova [5' 3"] and see if they bend their knees.
 
#9
Have you ever had any lessons, or played high school tennis where a coach helped you with your technique?
Before I got my first tennis lesson ( individual lesson with a coach ), I was playing very amateur tennis for about 2-3 years and that was very inconsistently ( sometimes during the winter I would play very little or dont play at all ). In those 2-3 years of playing tennis that is when I got all of my habits in the game ( some being good and more of them bad ), and I've also spent some time checking out some lessons on youtube and implenting them when playing.

I started training last year, when I was 19, I was training for about 5-6 months with mostly 1 to 2 lessons per week ( 1 lesson = 1 hour ).
My coach did help me a lot, no doubt, he helped me erase most of the bad habits I had in the game and form some new good habits, but you cant expect miracles to happen to an amateur tennis player after a few months of training, and considering that I stopped training in September 2017 and started with university in another city, since then I am playing tennis much more rarely.

I don't think you understand what he's saying about your serve. Take your serve. Throw in the trash and act like it never happened. Thats not trying to be mean, thats being helpful. You aren't doing anything right on serve atm. To fix ur serve either (1) hire a coach or (2) spends HOURS upon HOURS studying pro serves on youtube.... followed by a year+ of at least every other day serve practice. Its important that you understand this: To improve your serve you will NEED to grind. 4x a week, 100+ balls (stop when ur body tells you to, dont injure ur shoulder/elbow) each session. You'll need to buy a ball hopper. Months of this until you perfect ur technique.

Problems with your serve:
- You don't have the right grip.
- You aren't pronating at all (not that u can with that grip)
- You have no topspin on the shot (again, grip).
- Your toss is straight out in front, need to move it to the side.
- Can't tell completely but kinda looks like u aren't tossing with your fingertips rather than your palm. Fingertips only, Imagine a flower opening up. Ball should have no spin on release.
- Your standing in a way that looks awkward to me but this could be the vantage point of the camera.

Positives:
- knee bend on serves. good lift on a couple serves (but be careful, consistency > inconsistent jumping)
- FH looks like it has a decent foundation. Focus less on power and more on directional control. Accuracy + Consistency wins. As you progress everyone is decent at absorbing power.
- Footwork: Your feet are very active and your making mirco adjustments preparing to hit FHs.This is AWESOME. This is something many players don't have and can't really fix. Part of it is youth. You have it and it will be a HUGE asset for you when you get better.

Sidenotes
- No you can't hit volleys with FH grip. Its not about whether u can hit a okayish FH volley, its that when u play a decent player you MUST be able to instantly volley FH or BH and you can't do that with any grip but Conti. You don't have time to adjust your grip when ur reacting to a BH volley coming at you. You need to already be in Conti at that point. Not thinking about it is normal. You just need practice, eventually the grip swaps will be completely automatic for you. You won't even have to think about it, you'll think "VOLLEY" and your hands will grip swap as you move into position.
- That partner isn't really going to help you improve your strokes much. He doesnt have any strokes, he's just a pusher.
- Since your starting out, consider swapping to a 2 hand BH. They're vastly more popular amongst good players for a reason.
That's a very detailed post, thank you very much.

You are right about my serve, I do toss it with the palm instead of the fingertips ( for some reason this feels more natural to me and I guess it's just another one of my bad habits that needs changing ).

For the volleys, from now on I'll try to switch to the continental grip and see how that goes.

My partner, yes, he is a pusher and I always tell him that, but I guess he is kind of a chance for me to improve my shots and erase mistakes that lead to balls short in the net/ long out. I get your point, playing against a better player would be much better, but I guess I'll need some time until I find a new one that is better than me but not so much better.

As for the backhand, I've tried a few times hitting a 2HBH but it just wouldnt work out, it doesnt seem natural to me and I think I'll just stick with the 1HBH ( this is not really a huge problem for now, unless Im playing against a much better opponent.

How long have you been serious about tennis?
Other than the few months I was training for, unfortunately there is no other time period I would consider as serious regarding tennis. This is because of not having enough people to play against, or the ones that I do have are just not good enough to help me improve.

I like that when you receive the slow 2nd serve I can hear you making small footwork adjustments to get into optimal position. Many players do a poor job of this and then wonder why they can't hit consistently.

I also like how you attack the ball with your FH: you've got confidence in the stroke and you go for it.

Rather than playing points, you might also want to consider doing drills with someone feeding you very controlled balls so you can groove a particular stroke. Volleys, for example, are easy to over-complicate but in a match situation, you do what you have to in order to get the ball over. A drill setting with repeatable feeds can help a lot.

Your serve is in the early stages. For one thing, what grip are you using? Looks like an Eastern FH. I suggest switching to Continental. The serve is the most important shot in tennis [along with the return of serve] but also the most complicated.

Plenty of good serve instruction on the internet:


Thanks for the good words.

My grip is between continental and eastern.
I'll check out the videos, thanks for sharing.

Using backspin gives more feel to the shot. The higher your contact point is above the net and the closer you are to the net, the more you can get away with no spin and no feel. This will fail miserably if you have to volley from your shoelaces.
The problem is, you don't know what type of volley you're going to be hitting so you have to be prepared for anything, which typically means being ready to hit some backspin.
It's not impossible. I've hit a few FH volley winners with a FH grip when I got my grip crossed. It's just not recommended for regular situations.
When I move towards the net, I automatically change to Continental because it's ingrained. You simply need to practice it until you no longer have to think about it.
Bending one's knees gives benefits that transcend height: it allows you to use your legs for power. If you hit with straight knees, how could you fully exploit your leg power?
Watch Diego Schwartzman [5' 6"] and Dominika Cibulkova [5' 3"] and see if they bend their knees.
Thanks for the tips, I'll try focusing on switching to continental grip before hitting volleys for some backspin and see how it goes.
I am the same height as Schwartzman so I guess I should watch more videos of him, should be helpful, thanks again.

Thank you everyone.
 
#10
Other than the few months I was training for, unfortunately there is no other time period I would consider as serious regarding tennis. This is because of not having enough people to play against, or the ones that I do have are just not good enough to help me improve.
Until that changes, there's no reason you cannot practice your serve, until it's consistent and deadly.
 
#11
I got beaten by a guy who had a waiters tray serve this week. It was low flat and fast and he was very good at getting it on to my back hand. I was hittng good solid returns but not enough for a winner.
 
#12
I got beaten by a guy who had a waiters tray serve this week. It was low flat and fast and he was very good at getting it on to my back hand. I was hittng good solid returns but not enough for a winner.
"Hitting good, solid returns" is about as much as one can hope for. If you were doing that, you weren't getting beat by his serve [waiter's tray or otherwise].

Also, how good was his 2nd serve? Many times, those with a WT serve have weak 2nds because they can't rely on spin so they have to hit slowly.
 
#13
I think your serve technique is ok for a beginner, assuming you don't have designs on being the club champion as there is a limit on how far you will get with it. You don't have to 'throw it in the bin', the first half of this video explains how to maximise that serve style:

 
#14
I think your serve technique is ok for a beginner, assuming you don't have designs on being the club champion as there is a limit on how far you will get with it. You don't have to 'throw it in the bin', the first half of this video explains how to maximise that serve style:

Hammer That Serve, by Pat Dougherty, is a lesson to keep and improve the Waiter's Tray Error. This WT technique is used by the majority of active tennis players.

There are many posts on the WT.
 
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