How to stop admiring my shot

Traffic

Hall of Fame
#1
One of the issues I need to work on is being late in prepping for my next shot. I tend to stare at my shot and admire it rather than getting back to ready position. Then when my opponent hits a return, I'm out of position or reacting late.

What are ways to improve this habit?
 
#2
One of the issues I need to work on is being late in prepping for my next shot. I tend to stare at my shot and admire it rather than getting back to ready position. Then when my opponent hits a return, I'm out of position or reacting late.

What are ways to improve this habit?
I think the only solution is to hit so many winners it becomes no big deal.
So Tomaz says one thing at a time. Just start concentrating on only it during rally practice.
 

Fintft

Hall of Fame
#3
Hit open stance like Djokovic (and an advanced friend of mine) and be more focused on recovering towards the center, rather then putting your body weight behind the shot?
 
#4
That's actually a common problem, and I've certainly done that. Or the close cousin of this is that you hit a great shot and assume there's no way the ball is coming back and bam it comes back and sails right past you as you'r standing there.

Maybe, the solution is to practice with a ball machine or against the wall and ramp the pace up so that you have little time to recover and you get in the habit of hitting and preparing. I assume that at some point this goes away, because I don't see this when I watch high level players. I don't see this on tour.

It's got to be drilled into you at some point.
 
#5
One of the issues I need to work on is being late in prepping for my next shot. I tend to stare at my shot and admire it rather than getting back to ready position. Then when my opponent hits a return, I'm out of position or reacting late.

What are ways to improve this habit?
Are you a skier?

To me, the mindset needed is just like you have while skiing. As soon as you finish one turn, you need to get ready for the next one. In fact, you get ready for the next one before this one is finished sometimes, at least in your mind (balance / counterbalance / playing with the forces). To me, it's a mindset you develop until it just becomes natural.

In tennis, you should be preparing for the next shot in the same way. You can probably get away with admiring your shot on the "groomed runs", but you're going to crash out in the moguls and steeps for sure.
 
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MisterP

Hall of Fame
#7
Immediately after contact switch your point of focus to the opponent's racquet. You should be able to get all the info you need about how to read the next shot and where you need to be.
 
#9
Seriously though, do you know where you're supposed to recover to? I.e. slightly crosscourt from where you hit your previous shot? If you don't know where you need to go, you'll sometimes freeze up.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
#10
Are you a skier?

To me, the mindset needed is just like you have while skiing. As soon as you finish one turn, you need to get ready for the next one. In fact, you get ready for the next one before this one is finished sometimes, at least in your mind (balance / counterbalance / playing with the forces). To me, it's a mindset you develop until it just becomes natural.

In tennis, you should be preparing for the next shot in the same way. You can probably get away with admiring your shot on the "groomed runs", but you're going to crash out in the moguls and steeps for sure.
I do mountain biking so the concept of setting up for 2-3 corners ahead is pretty natural for me. But maybe not so for tennis.

I do a better job when I play singles. But when I play doubles, I find myself unprepared for shots.
 

TagUrIt

Professional
#14
While playing literally say to yourself the point isn’t over until it’s over. Try to remember to spilt step on each shot and you should be automatically ready. It’s going to take muscle memory and mental focus to curb this habit.
 
#15
I'll still be giving a death stare and not moving my feet...
You have to do both simultaneously. Of course you need to see where your shot went but while you're doing that with your eyes, your feet need to be recovering.

Once you get down the feel for the game, you don't always have to recover to the center, sometimes you can stay put but it depends on your situation.

You're just gonna have to tell yourself to recover, points not over until its over.
 
#16
One of the issues I need to work on is being late in prepping for my next shot. I tend to stare at my shot and admire it rather than getting back to ready position. Then when my opponent hits a return, I'm out of position or reacting late.

What are ways to improve this habit?

Realize that your really are not that good and players at your level all hit exactly the same as you do, so what you send them you expect to get back and maybe with interest.

Yeah...expect every single ball to come back.
 
#17
Hit open stance like Djokovic (and an advanced friend of mine) and be more focused on recovering towards the center, rather then putting your body weight behind the shot?
You probably don't trust your shot. All you need to do is trust it, execute then recover to the middle as soon as possible.
Hitting most of your shots with an open stance, particularly a full (or near full) open stance, could eventually take its toll on your dominant hip. Apparently, cut short the career of Gustavo Kuerten. Lleyton Hewitt underwent 2 hip surgeries during his career. Both of those guys predominantly used a fully open stance on their forehands. Quite a few other pros and amateur players, who prolifically employed such an open stance, have had right hip issues (if right-handed). My advice is to use a mix of neutral stances (stepping in) and semi-open stances (sometimes stepping in) much as Federer does. He only occasionally employs an extreme closed stance or sometimes a fully open stance on his forehands.

Recovering to the middle is often not the optimal position. If your own shot goes to the middle (or middle third) of your opponents side, the the middle is where you should recover to. However, if you hit more to one corner or the other, you should not recover to the middle. You want to recover to a position that bisects the angle of your opponent's possible or likely returns.

 
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#19
I do mountain biking so the concept of setting up for 2-3 corners ahead is pretty natural for me. But maybe not so for tennis.

I do a better job when I play singles. But when I play doubles, I find myself unprepared for shots.
You understand exactly what you need to do then, it's just a matter of disciplining yourself to execute. Every single time.

If your normal tennis opponent is the equivalent of green level groomed runs, you can get by with admiring your shot (and lots of other bad habits). The hard part then is, to do what you know you ought to do, even when you don't really have to do it. Just to form the solid habit. And I don't think there is any trick to this. You just have to discipline yourself to do it.

You'll play like you practice is the oft quoted mantra. So if you are lazy against easy opponents, you'll never be able to just "turn it on" for high level opponents. So much easier to form the correct technique and habit against the green groomed level opponent because you have extra time and don't need to be ultra precise. When you move up to the double black diamond mogul opponent, there no room for error in execution and you'll have to rely on the good habits (or bad habits) you formed against the green groomed run opponents.
 
#20
You need to program this in your brain, its automatic, you don't think about recovering and staying focused on the ball, you just do it.. so you have to make it a habit and program your brain to do it.
 
#22
One of the issues I need to work on is being late in prepping for my next shot. I tend to stare at my shot and admire it rather than getting back to ready position. Then when my opponent hits a return, I'm out of position or reacting late.

What are ways to improve this habit?
Well ... count yourself lucky ... 99% of rec players stare at their shot and think WTF?
 
#33
Hitting a winner? What's that? My assumption is that the ball is always coming back. The guys I compete against can run down a lot of 'winners' and get them back. So if you assume that the ball is coming back, you get ready for the next shot. When the ball does not come back, that's when you stop getting ready for the next shot.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
#34
Hitting a winner? What's that? My assumption is that the ball is always coming back. The guys I compete against can run down a lot of 'winners' and get them back. So if you assume that the ball is coming back, you get ready for the next shot. When the ball does not come back, that's when you stop getting ready for the next shot.
So it's not admiring my shot as much as I'm watching to see where it lands and if it's a good ball. Probably look at it too long without getting back to ready position. Only when my opponent is about to hit the ball do I start to move. But I'm starting my move being out of position as I react to my opponent's ball.

When I practice singles with my son, after I hit the ball, I'm immediately moving back to position and thinking about split stepping as he is about to hit the ball. But when I play adult doubles, this process gets thrown out the window it seems.

You understand exactly what you need to do then, it's just a matter of disciplining yourself to execute. Every single time.

If your normal tennis opponent is the equivalent of green level groomed runs, you can get by with admiring your shot (and lots of other bad habits). The hard part then is, to do what you know you ought to do, even when you don't really have to do it. Just to form the solid habit. And I don't think there is any trick to this. You just have to discipline yourself to do it.

You'll play like you practice is the oft quoted mantra. So if you are lazy against easy opponents, you'll never be able to just "turn it on" for high level opponents. So much easier to form the correct technique and habit against the green groomed level opponent because you have extra time and don't need to be ultra precise. When you move up to the double black diamond mogul opponent, there no room for error in execution and you'll have to rely on the good habits (or bad habits) you formed against the green groomed run opponents.
Yeah this. I think I get back into bad habits as I play "green" opponents. Then when I play "blue" opponents, I'm not prepared.
 
#35
So it's not admiring my shot as much as I'm watching to see where it lands and if it's a good ball. Probably look at it too long without getting back to ready position. Only when my opponent is about to hit the ball do I start to move. But I'm starting my move being out of position as I react to my opponent's ball.

When I practice singles with my son, after I hit the ball, I'm immediately moving back to position and thinking about split stepping as he is about to hit the ball. But when I play adult doubles, this process gets thrown out the window it seems.


Yeah this. I think I get back into bad habits as I play "green" opponents. Then when I play "blue" opponents, I'm not prepared.
"So it's not admiring my shot as much as I'm watching to see where it lands"

Let me give you the response the engineer in you will like:

Every ball we hit is input data ... went longer, shorter, off line, less spin, or hit the shot you intended. Sometimes you have to dial back, hit with more spin, swing easier ... some days you are on (peak admiring days). Also ... opponent data ... sucks at net, doesn't deal with slice, couldn't hit a bh if dude's life depended on it ... or cr@p, dude is good, time to red line. Question: do you stare at your feet admiring those new tennis shoes when you run? The body is amazing ... we can move and run while staring at a distant object (say tennis ball hitting court on opponents side) ... and then on the fly in same movement from point A to point B look at other objects or areas.

I am thankful every time at my park courts that I don't have to stare down when I run. There are so many cracks and missing paint ... I would be paralyzed from fear of a fatal slip or trip.

So my NE Velocity brother from another mother ... run boldly and scan the horizon and take in all the beauty of this glorious game we call tennis.

Edit: Oops ... NW Velocity brother ... I accidentally moved @Traffic to opposite coast.
 
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#36
Yeah this. I think I get back into bad habits as I play "green" opponents. Then when I play "blue" opponents, I'm not prepared.
This is going to sound snobbish, but it’s not intended to be. You just need to start playing more “blue” opponents and minimize the play with “green” opponents. You are the company you keep. There’s a lot of truth to this saying.
 
#37
So it's not admiring my shot as much as I'm watching to see where it lands and if it's a good ball. Probably look at it too long without getting back to ready position. Only when my opponent is about to hit the ball do I start to move. But I'm starting my move being out of position as I react to my opponent's ball.

When I practice singles with my son, after I hit the ball, I'm immediately moving back to position and thinking about split stepping as he is about to hit the ball. But when I play adult doubles, this process gets thrown out the window it seems.

Yeah this. I think I get back into bad habits as I play "green" opponents. Then when I play "blue" opponents, I'm not prepared.
First, see if you can breathe and have your heart beating at the same time. Then master chewing gum and walking simultaneously. Once you've got those cognitive skills down, then you might be ready to watch your shot bounce while recovering at the same time.

If not, then try rubbing your tummy and patting your head simultaneously. Now reverse that.
:p
 

Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
#38
Wayback in the day sneaking a peak at the ball meant I did not keep my head down and still through the swing. If you hit a grocery cart full of balls out of your hand maybe you can break this admiration of a shot that you already know where it is going. Just chill and be still.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
#41
This is going to sound snobbish, but it’s not intended to be. You just need to start playing more “blue” opponents and minimize the play with “green” opponents. You are the company you keep. There’s a lot of truth to this saying.
Working on it. But if I don't get prep'd sooner, I'll keep sucking and won't get invited back.
 
#42
Working on it. But if I don't get prep'd sooner, I'll keep sucking and won't get invited back.
I know what you mean. I used to have the same issue. When I was playing with similar level players and hit a good shot, chances were pretty high that a return wasn’t coming back so I got used to it not coming back and would watch the ball and stop playing. Against better players, everything I hit was coming back. This led me to work on fitness, core strength and balance which allowed me to start hanging in with them.
 
#43
Get a video of yourself playing.

Once you eat some humble pie upon realising how **** you look IRL, you learn to treat every decent ball as a lucky shot and focus on the next.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
#44
Get a video of yourself playing.

Once you eat some humble pie upon realising how **** you look IRL, you learn to treat every decent ball as a lucky shot and focus on the next.
I've been trying to finish off my curtain mount for my gopro so I could take more recent videos of myself. I agree that does help a lot. Helps a lot to throw it up on the forum and have some of the exerts analyze some simple things for me to work on.
I know what you mean. I used to have the same issue. When I was playing with similar level players and hit a good shot, chances were pretty high that a return wasn’t coming back so I got used to it not coming back and would watch the ball and stop playing. Against better players, everything I hit was coming back. This led me to work on fitness, core strength and balance which allowed me to start hanging in with them.
Been pretty busy with work and some home improvement projects. So feel a bit like I'm burning the candle at both ends. Hopefully I can figure ways to be more efficient and work on some basic fitness.

I used to Mt Bike twice a week and hit the gym twice a week. Now I'm lucky to ride once a week and I don't remember what the gym looks like.

Going to try to fit the off court activities back into my routine.

After my last practice match with some team-mates, two of them said the same thing. I seem to be late to react to balls. Also, my ground strokes aren't as sharp and consistent as they used to be. Same with my volleys. My serves, on the other hand, were working very good.
 
#45
This is going to sound snobbish, but it’s not intended to be. You just need to start playing more “blue” opponents and minimize the play with “green” opponents. You are the company you keep. There’s a lot of truth to this saying.
I'm like Colbert ... I don't see color. I have been told some of my friends are green.
 
#48
@Traffic

Did you check out my posts on the optimal recovery location (post #18 & post #17)? Realistically, when you are near or on the baseline (not at the net or near the service line), you may not have enough time to recover to the optimal recovery location when you execute a DTL shot. When hitting at DTL shot from the baseline area, your ideal recovery position will be a bit past the center mark (on the other side of the center mark). Note that Federer (and Hewitt) sometimes only get to the center mark after a DTL shot before they need to execute a split step (SS) as their opponent is making contact with the ball.

Try the following (w/o a partner at first) with basket of balls. From various locations on the baseline, self-feed a ball and hit it to some area on the other side of the court. During (or immediately after) your follow-thru, move to the optimal recovery location as you are watching (admiring) your shot. Before the ball bounces a 2nd time or as the ball reaches the opposite baseline, execute a SS as part of your recovery. Repeat this sequence hundreds of times. If this is not sufficient for behavior modification, then repeat the sequence thousands of times.

Next step is to perform this same process in an informal (no pressure) hitting session with a partner. Again, repeat hundreds/thousands of times. Eventually, this behavior should become a habit. Once mastered, chew gum while performing this exercise. Good luck.
.
 

Fintft

Hall of Fame
#49
Hitting most of your shots with an open stance, particularly a full (or near full) open stance, could eventually take its toll in your dominant hip. Apparently, cut short the career of Gustavo Kuerten. Lleyton Hewitt underwent 2 hip surgeries during his career. Both of those guys predominantly used a fully open stance on their forehands. Quite a few other pros and amateur players, who prolifically employed such an open stance, have had right hip issues (if right-handed). My advice is to use a mix of neutral stances (stepping in) and semi-open stances (sometimes stepping in) much as Federer does. He only occasionally employs an extreme closed stance or a fully open stance on his forehands.

Recovering to the middle is often not the optimal position. If your own shot goes to the middle (or middle third) of your opponents side, the the middle is where you should recover to. However, if you hit more to one corner or the other, you should not recover to the middle. You want to recover to a position that bisects the angle of your opponent's possible or likely returns.

We knew that :) But we were just trying to help the OP.

And btw, hitting open stance also makes one more prone to tennis elbow issues, imho, even Djokovic (in Rogers cup, Montreal a couple of years ago) + my friend an intermediate club champion + the best player in town (Futurities and Challangers) that I take lessons from occasionally.
 
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#50
We knew that :) But we were just trying to help the OP.

And btw, hitting open stance also makes one more prone to tennis elbow issues, imho, even Djokovic (in Rogers cup, Montreal a couple of years ago) + my friend an intermediate club champion and the best player in town (Futurities and Challangers) that I take lessons from occasionally.
A couple of sources indicates that overuse of the (fully) open stance can also put added stress on the hitting shoulder. (One of these is a book on sports injuries). Proper mechanics can help to minimize this stress. Strength exercises for the shoulders/rotators and hip can also be employed to avoid injury.

https://www.tennisplayer.net/public.../hip_injuries_openstance_forehand_public.html
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