Jhreamer's Progress Thread

#1
I've recorded frightening tumults of footage of my practice and matches, but I wanted to provide something short n' sweet. Yesterday gave a decent summary of my tennis in just three games, so I wanted to share.

I'd be interested to hear what people would rate us at.


Notes:

-The John Franks one is me.
-Both of us are self-taught. I began playing this April, and Shawn has been playing for a few years.
-Though I've played 2-5 matches per week since starting up, 99% of those have been against Shawn -- the only recreational player I know who is as obsessed as I am. He's likely the highest skill that I have faced.
-We almost always play three sets during our sessions. So, In the almost 200 sets we've played...I've won one. This was ten days ago.
-Shawn's back was acting up during this session. Which is why he'd occasionally yelp, and didn't even try to go for my second return. Aside from that, he represented himself quite routinely here.
-It was ~42 degrees Fahrenheit. This is...one of the warmest days we've played in this month. I'd just opened up a couple cans of balls, but y'know.
-Most of my practice is alone, on serving. There's a TINY (read: 40" TV-sized) wall at this court that I use sometimes. VERY occasionally, I'm able to hit with Shawn's Lobster ball machine. The majority of my progress comes from matches with Shawn.
-I'm using a Wal-Mart racquet. I had a Head Radical Microgel OS (what he's using) for a while, but it broke, along with two other racquets unfortunate enough to be used by me. Seemingly just from hitting. I'll have a Dunlop Force 98 soon.

If I had perceive my biggest faults so far:

1) ...Faults. Some days I 1st serve around 55% and rarely double fault, but most other days are...like this. My double fault count can CLIMB.
2) Footwork.
3) My balls tend to land quite short in the court, opening me up to be attacked.
4) Atrocious net skills (this was one of my best days at the net).
5) Due to that, I hesitate deeply when attacking the net after a "good" shot. You can see that at 6:25. Also, I never split-step.
6) I have very poor control of groundstrokes, and even when I try to take an aggressive angle, it often goes directly to the middle. Either that, or it goes way out or plunks into the net. So it's very easy to bully me in a rally.
7) On that note: I have some aim on both wings when pulling cross-court. But I couldn't hit a ball the other direction if my freaking life depended on it, again on both wings. Unless it's a return. Then I can hit both angles...just fine??
8) Very little rally patience. I go for big shots when they don't exist in my game.
9) My backhand is weak on rising balls. For a few months, I would take these with two hands.
10) Unforced errors everywhere, of course.

But, as I am new blood, I'm very interested to get insight from everyone.

Things I should focus on? Things that aren't abhorrent? Cutting my hair?
How do my serves and groundstrokes look? Where's my rating at?

Have at me.
 
#4
I've recorded frightening tumults of footage of my practice and matches, but I wanted to provide something short n' sweet. Yesterday gave a decent summary of my tennis in just three games, so I wanted to share.

I'd be interested to hear what people would rate us at.


Notes:

-The John Franks one is me.
-Both of us are self-taught. I began playing this April, and Shawn has been playing for a few years.
-Though I've played 2-5 matches per week since starting up, 99% of those have been against Shawn -- the only recreational player I know who is as obsessed as I am. He's likely the highest skill that I have faced.
-We almost always play three sets during our sessions. So, In the almost 200 sets we've played...I've won one. This was ten days ago.
-Shawn's back was acting up during this session. Which is why he'd occasionally yelp, and didn't even try to go for my second return. Aside from that, he represented himself quite routinely here.
-It was ~42 degrees Fahrenheit. This is...one of the warmest days we've played in this month. I'd just opened up a couple cans of balls, but y'know.
-Most of my practice is alone, on serving. There's a TINY (read: 40" TV-sized) wall at this court that I use sometimes. VERY occasionally, I'm able to hit with Shawn's Lobster ball machine. The majority of my progress comes from matches with Shawn.
-I'm using a Wal-Mart racquet. I had a Head Radical Microgel OS (what he's using) for a while, but it broke, along with two other racquets unfortunate enough to be used by me. Seemingly just from hitting. I'll have a Dunlop Force 98 soon.

If I had perceive my biggest faults so far:

1) ...Faults. Some days I 1st serve around 55% and rarely double fault, but most other days are...like this. My double fault count can CLIMB.
2) Footwork.
3) My balls tend to land quite short in the court, opening me up to be attacked.
4) Atrocious net skills (this was one of my best days at the net).
5) Due to that, I hesitate deeply when attacking the net after a "good" shot. You can see that at 6:25. Also, I never split-step.
6) I have very poor control of groundstrokes, and even when I try to take an aggressive angle, it often goes directly to the middle. Either that, or it goes way out or plunks into the net. So it's very easy to bully me in a rally.
7) On that note: I have some aim on both wings when pulling cross-court. But I couldn't hit a ball the other direction if my freaking life depended on it, again on both wings. Unless it's a return. Then I can hit both angles...just fine??
8) Very little rally patience. I go for big shots when they don't exist in my game.
9) My backhand is weak on rising balls. For a few months, I would take these with two hands.
10) Unforced errors everywhere, of course.

But, as I am new blood, I'm very interested to get insight from everyone.

Things I should focus on? Things that aren't abhorrent? Cutting my hair?
How do my serves and groundstrokes look? Where's my rating at?

Have at me.

Good video and thanks for posting. Actually better than what I would expect when you say 2.5 tennis. You have more than enough consistency and game play to play 3.0 leagues, which I would recommend to get match play experiences.

As far as improvements, everything you mention in your list are a product of inexperience and much of it just comes over time with 1000's of repetitions. Things I can recommend that will help:

  • Find some local cardio tennis or drills & skills group classes. Most are cheap to attend and you get stroke development with a fun atmosphere.
  • Watch online YouTube videos, but be critical of what is being taught. You will start to find common improvements they all recommend though and those can really help.
  • The ball machine is excellent, but don't over do it. And mix up ball machine practice with non-moving stroke development and moving setup and placements drills. Still make sure to get live ball rally hitting and drop points in with other players.
  • Stay warm! lol
For match play you move well and do a good job of constructing points, so keep playing matches and self-analyzing like you did above and you'll see improvements if you make corrections.

All good things John. Cheers.
 
#5
Just some things I noticed in all seriousness.
1) Need more elbow bend when serving
2) Need less swinging when volleying
3) Too "slappy" with the groundstrokes leading to inconsistency
4) Hit more out front
5) decide what kind of topspin backhand you want to learn and work on it. Right now its a nothing BH.
 
#6
Wait im confused? Is OP the green guy or black guy?

From what he said I assume black guy, but hes playing for 6months and his friend for years yet his friend has much worse technique so im confused.
 
#7
Not bad, you both seem to have grasped the idea of steadiness and keep the ball in play. Things I would mention:

1)The serve, I would rather have the guy in black over the guy in greens serve. There is something there with all that spin, though the ball toss is too erratic. Green guy serve needs more work, it just a prod into the court.

2)I like the steadiness but I would try to cut down on the prodding. Yes it gets the ball back in play but those kind of shots sit up. Against a better opponent you're asking for trouble.

3)Concentration, there are points in that video were both of you get caught out. Almost like you weren't expecting the ball to come back.

Still not bad.
 
#9
For six month, doing great! Nice first serve when it is in and second is good too. Forehand is the killer shot for you and backhand is the “ guarded” stroke. Consistance needs to be improved but for 6 month it is very good! I think you are definitely taking giant steps in your game for only 6 months! Playing higher ranking players will improve your game much faster. Your opponent is a good match for you to play to work on consistency - serve, rally and return of serve! I think you are better the a 2.5, maybe between a 3 and 3.5? Serve is 3.5 for sure! Forehand is 3.5 too.
 
#10
Thank you, @Dartagnan64 and @ChaelAZ.

Wait im confused? Is OP the green guy or black guy?

From what he said I assume black guy, but hes playing for 6months and his friend for years yet his friend has much worse technique so im confused.
I'm in the black, yeah.

It's likely a product of our different ways of entering the sport. Shawn played friends from the very beginning, and simply learned how to win.
I spent a long while obsessing over pro tennis and imagining what it would be like to play. So before I ever bought my first adult racquet in April, or stepped on court with someone, I'd already spent countless hours doing shadow swings and studying the technique of ATP (and WTA) players.

In the end, he still knows how to win better than I do.

All of the feedback so far is amazing.
The backhand and serve are definitely the strokes I want to really focus on right now (along with volley practice).
One-handed backhand is possibly my favorite stroke in tennis, and I really want to have a strong backhand wing that can be offensive (I LOVE approaching the net off of a crosscourt backhand, and I get tons of openings to rope one down the line...just haven't pulled it off yet [see 1:55 and 5:30 in the video for attempts]). I've had success with two hands, but one hand is where my heart is. Shapovalov might possess my favorite, but Thiem's form seems a better fit for me to study. Of course, Wawrinka, Federer, Kohlschreiber, Gasquet, Haas...so many good study references. Oddly enough, James Blake has one of my favorite backhands, especially in terms of how it complemented his absurd running game.
If forehand is to be my stronger wing overall, I won't fight it.
And my serve has adequate heat sometimes, along with the leftiness, so it seems natural to try to develop it into a "weapon".

@zaph, @jm1980, and @Harry_Wild, thank you. Wonderful insights.


3)Concentration, there are points in that video were both of you get caught out. Almost like you weren't expecting the ball to come back.
YES, I forgot to mention this. It pains me to see how slowly I react to many balls. It's something I can mention to him as well.
 
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#12
I started playing in March, so take my advice with a grain of salt....

You addressed it with issue #1: Too many double faults. Can't give them that many free points. Also, it seems to me that your unit turn is very slow (late to start). If you get a solid unit turn and then run to the ball, I think you'd be better off. I also hit way to many shots shallow and in the middle of the court and I don't know why. I'm hoping that it's just because of being newer, that I haven't hit enough strokes to truly feel confident with my shots.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#13
I started playing in March, so take my advice with a grain of salt....

You addressed it with issue #1: Too many double faults. Can't give them that many free points. Also, it seems to me that your unit turn is very slow (late to start). If you get a solid unit turn and then run to the ball, I think you'd be better off. I also hit way to many shots shallow and in the middle of the court and I don't know why. I'm hoping that it's just because of being newer, that I haven't hit enough strokes to truly feel confident with my shots.
Short balls are the result of lack of extension, patchwork fix is to aim higher over the net, long term fix is to throw the hand at the target.

J
 
#14
Short balls are the result of lack of extension, patchwork fix is to aim higher over the net, long term fix is to throw the hand at the target.
I've been trying to find a post of yours I recall seeing, where I recall you mentioned throwing your hand. I couldn't remember if it concerned location (i.e going cross court), or for other mechanics. I didn't (and still don't) understand exactly what you mean. Please help me. Sorry to hijack this thread.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#15
I've been trying to find a post of yours I recall seeing, where I recall you mentioned throwing your hand. I couldn't remember if it concerned location (i.e going cross court), or for other mechanics. I didn't (and still don't) understand exactly what you mean. Please help me. Sorry to hijack this thread.
Imagine you are Ironman and you have that flashlight beam in the middle of your chest.

You split step just before your opponent hits the ball and unit turn as you land and see if it's coming to your forehand or backhand.

The beam is now shining at the side fence more or less.

You move into position and uncoil, you stop your chest as soon as the beam is facing the target. This is the point of maximum racquet lag.

Then your hand and the racquet it's holding come through, hit the ball, and point at your target like a Hitler salute.

Then your arm wraps around and your chest continues around.

This is throwing your hand at the target.

For a drive the tip of your racquet will be pointing at the target in the Hitler salute position, for topspin it will be pointing at the sky.

J
 
#16
Nice FH winner at 1:15! And the fist pump.

Your serve motion is unusual for someone that new to the game. One usually sees that kind of exaggerated motion among much higher level players, notably the trophy position. You must have a lot of shoulder flexibility.

Having said that, you might want to tone down the range of motion a bit until you get better at the toss location: the bigger the arc you're swinging through, the more accurate your toss has to be.

You've got a reasonable start for someone who has been playing only 8 months and self-taught. I'd look into coaching so you can get good fundamentals before too many bad habits can take root. And take a look at the resources on the Internet. Some of my favorites:

- Top Tennis Training
- Tennis Evolution [Salzenstein]
- Essential Tennis
- Fuzzy Yellow Balls
- Feel Tennis
- Brent Abel
- Tom Avery
 
#20
The backhand and serve are definitely the strokes I want to really focus on right now (along with volley practice).
One-handed backhand is possibly my favorite stroke in tennis, and I really want to have a strong backhand wing that can be offensive (I LOVE approaching the net off of a crosscourt backhand, and I get tons of openings to rope one down the line...just haven't pulled it off yet [see 1:55 and 5:30 in the video for attempts]).
Great playing. You have to be like wet noodle when you hit big serves and one handed backhands, not a dry one. Just loosen up and let it snap.

I think your serve is actually really nice, needs some work but your swinging through it.

Best of luck
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
#21
Your serve motion is very nice for your level. Really good shoulder turn and knee bend. A couple of tweaks and it would be awesome.

I've recorded frightening tumults of footage of my practice and matches, but I wanted to provide something short n' sweet. Yesterday gave a decent summary of my tennis in just three games, so I wanted to share.

I'd be interested to hear what people would rate us at.
 
#22
@J011yroger , @BulldogLouisiana , @S&V-not_dead_yet , @Chadalina , @heninfan99 . Major gratitude.

Sorry to hijack this thread.
Not at all. J0lly's input is fantastic. And good luck to you, fellow greenhorn! My service games go quite well whenever I don't double fault -- your contribution is sound.

Wonderful recommendations, S&V. Thanks.

I like the analogy, Chadalina! Stiffness is an issue in basically every activity I do. I'll remember to be more like Melee Roy.

HENINFAN! You remind me...of a prime backhand to study. Justine is such an inspiration.

We played again today, and I recorded from a different angle than usual. So, more to come!
 
#23
Some good shots for self-thought in only 6 months. Good footwork on this one.

Not sure what you're doing here, I'd drop it in favour of a standard split step stance and work on footwork in preparation for topspin forehand and backhand for now.

Great stuff mate
 
#24
Your serve has a natural lefty spin and is really good. I can see that serve by itself carrying you close to a 4.0 in a year's time, once you are more consistent with it.
 
#25
looks like u are having fun which is all that really matters. I would focus on ground strokes. Forhand and two handed backhand. Start with the right grip and build from there.
 
#27
Not sure what you're doing here, I'd drop it in favour of a standard split step stance and work on footwork in preparation for topspin forehand and backhand for now.

Great stuff mate
Thank you. I studied Nishikori's staggered return stance and liked the feel of it. I can probably keep that, but I need to learn how to split-step. I do it totally incorrectly, both there and during net attacks.

looks like u are having fun which is all that really matters. I would focus on ground strokes. Forhand and two handed backhand. Start with the right grip and build from there.
I probably already have a better two-hander than a one-hander, but I'm just so attached to the 1HBH. I will continue to experiment. Also, I do want to figure out grips. I'm attempting Western, but I never know if I'm maintaining it during points (or if I was ever gripping it correctly in the first place).

Really impressive after only 6 months. Can I recommend you get lessons? My biggest regret is I played for 4 years before I took any lessons. So hard to fix your bad technique after that amount of time - especially the serve. :(
Absolutely. I want this badly, along with league play. Money is an issue currently. Got a new job; working on that.
 
#28
Highlights from yesterday, new angle.


This adequately shows how horrible my BH is on rising balls. But I also tried to use it to attack more, with mostly rough results, sometimes promising. Net play -- again -- was much more effective than usual, which makes me hopeful.

Also, it looks like I made two abhorrent OUT calls on the baseline. It didn't seem that way at the time. Made worse by the fact that I would've lost both.

3:02 is a dopey reminder that I hardly ever pull off a shot down the line...

Is it possible to tell what grips I use from this video? I'll have to provide close-up views sometimes. I don't know if I'm doing Western correctly, and I genuinely have no idea what my BH grip is. I do want it to be a flatter, more piercing stroke than the forehand eventually.
 
#29
Just some things I noticed in all seriousness.
1) Need more elbow bend when serving ...
I want to second this point. You should shoot to have your elbow bent to 90 degrees at trophy position. It is far too straight (obtuse) at the moment. Watch some videos of Shapovalov serving and copy his motion. If you get that lefty slice going, your serve can be quite a weapon.

You're not a 2.5. You could play at either 3.0 or 3.5 depending on how consistent you can become. Work on form and I could see you moving up quickly.
 
#30
Highlights from yesterday, new angle.


This adequately shows how horrible my BH is on rising balls. But I also tried to use it to attack more, with mostly rough results, sometimes promising. Net play -- again -- was much more effective than usual, which makes me hopeful.

Also, it looks like I made two abhorrent OUT calls on the baseline. It didn't seem that way at the time. Made worse by the fact that I would've lost both.

3:02 is a dopey reminder that I hardly ever pull off a shot down the line...

Is it possible to tell what grips I use from this video? I'll have to provide close-up views sometimes. I don't know if I'm doing Western correctly, and I genuinely have no idea what my BH grip is. I do want it to be a flatter, more piercing stroke than the forehand eventually.
Amazing angle, I LOVE watching tennis matches from this angle, really shows the whole court so well and you can see point construction well.

Also the 6:58 miss was atrocious.
 
#32
That's a really helpful post. I'm glad to see @Jhreamer gave it the like that it deserved.
Why would he need it to be helpful? The ball jumped up from barely almost no distance from the net way above the net level and he was there, OP will make 99 out of 100 shots like that, he doesn't need any helpful advice for that kind of shot, it was just a horrible miss, but it happens.
 
#33
Sad that you seem locked into that 1HBH. You look like you'd be far better off with a 2HBH looking at your takeback and setup. Oh well, who am I to diminish someone's sense of aesthetics.

Need to work on being able to swing on short balls rather than dink them back. As you improve, putting away short balls is important to winning unless you plan on purely winning by fitness and defense. Which is a strategy called pushing. But if you want to embrace the aesthetics of a 1HBH I can't imagine you want to be labelled a pusher. So you need to approach those midcourt balls aggressively learning how to flatten the swing for for the high balls and accentuate the low to high swing for the low bouncers.

Like the power on your first serve. A bit more work on getting the elbow bent into trophy will likely help yield even more power and spin.

And tell your opponent that fist pumping while playing 3.0 tennis with a Walmart racket is a no-no.
 
#34
Why would he need it to be helpful? The ball jumped up from barely almost no distance from the net way above the net level and he was there, OP will make 99 out of 100 shots like that, he doesn't need any helpful advice for that kind of shot, it was just a horrible miss, but it happens.
Maybe pointing out that he needs to volley side on by leading with his left foot, and that he needs to slice the ball more when volleying would be more helpful?
 
#35
I recommend finding some additional opponents to play against. If you play 99% of the time with Shawn you will get too grooved to playing to his shots. If you can find someone better than you, that's even better, but even someone at the same level will add variety to your opposition and help you develop more quickly.
 
#36
I studied Nishikori's staggered return stance and liked the feel of it.
Cool, have you tried starting with the front foot facing forward and the back foot in an angle?


Only pointing this out as it's an easy fix. Much easier to fix the front foot than the backhand grip, and since you only started 6 months ago and your serve and forehand are pretty good, there's no reason why your backhand shouldn't catch up, there are a few things you can do to speed things up and increase backhand stroke frequency.

For the backhand grip, you mention you want it to be flatter but for now why not develop a good topspin? Eventually you will have both, but with a flatter stroke you'll be defaulting to a lot of slicing which will slowdown progress. Hope this helps.
 
#37
Sad that you seem locked into that 1HBH. You look like you'd be far better off with a 2HBH looking at your takeback and setup. Oh well, who am I to diminish someone's sense of aesthetics.

Need to work on being able to swing on short balls rather than dink them back. As you improve, putting away short balls is important to winning unless you plan on purely winning by fitness and defense. Which is a strategy called pushing. But if you want to embrace the aesthetics of a 1HBH I can't imagine you want to be labelled a pusher. So you need to approach those midcourt balls aggressively learning how to flatten the swing for for the high balls and accentuate the low to high swing for the low bouncers.

Like the power on your first serve. A bit more work on getting the elbow bent into trophy will likely help yield even more power and spin.
All agreed.

Looks like my next video will be a session where I use only 2HBH. I should at least develop that shot a bit and actually be able to compare the two instead of the "ride or die". From experience so far, when I use two hands, I definitely have way more power from that wing in neutral. I had thought the difficulties from 1HBH were more due to inexperience than anything else, so I was just grinding away.

I do love 1HBH on returning Shawn's serves. Obviously I have time to get rooted on those, though.

Cool, have you tried starting with the front foot facing forward and the back foot in an angle?


Only pointing this out as it's an easy fix.
Will do. Thank you.
 
#38
SO MUCH POTENTIAL. I wish you'd started as a kid, you look like a natural out there.

Aside from the athleticism (not everyone who plays tennis has the coordination to get your racket moving moving that fast on the serve), it's pretty clear that you're both good at playing tennis.

I'd like to make the distinction that hitting a good ball and being a good tennis player aren't mutually inclusive of each other, some people are fixated on hitting the ball hard and having nice strokes(this is me) and can't play points for ****, some people will refuse to lose points on their own (think pushers) or just aren't afraid to play the game they want to play, and some people can do both.

My tip to you would be to slow everything down and don't worry about hitting the ball hard. Practice getting the technique right, being smooth, and never missing, and then slowly reintroduce pace once your foundation is great.
 
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#39
I had thought the difficulties from 1HBH were more due to inexperience than anything else, so I was just grinding away.
And you are right. If you love one hand then keep the one hand. Everyone starting out will have more power with two hands as it's easier to estabilize the racket, but I don't see anything wrong with your one handed backhand and it's too early to give up, specially when you love the stroke, go for it man, figure out a grip that works for you and keep grinding, you're on the way.

Agree with Reopening above, time to get the technique right, deal is, your technique is already ahead of Zullo's so you both would benefit from drills otherwise you'll be beating him consistently pretty soon. Great times ahead mate.
 
#40
SO MUCH POTENTIAL. I wish you'd started as a kid, you look like a natural out there.

Aside from the athleticism (not everyone who plays tennis has the coordination to get your racket moving moving that fast on the serve), it's pretty clear that you're both good at playing tennis.

I'd like to make the distinction that hitting a good ball and being a good tennis player aren't mutually inclusive of each other, some people are fixated on hitting the ball hard and having nice strokes(this is me) and can't play points for ****, some people will refuse to lose points on their own (think pushers) or just aren't afraid to play the game they want to play, and some people can do both.

My tip to you would be to slow everything down and don't worry about hitting the ball hard. Practice getting the technique right, being smooth, and never missing, and then slowly reintroduce pace.
I agree, OP is very talented plus he has little mileage so he can change his technique fairly easy still and improve it.

If OP is dedicated he will become a very good player, but yea too bad he didnt start as a kid, but there are many ppl like that.
 
#41
The only thing I would add is if you forsee getting lessons at some point you are much more pliable now. Even just 4 lessons will set you on the right path you can then pursue by yourself. If you wait for a few years then get lessons you will need 5x the amount of lessons while you 'unlearn' all your bad habits, and you will have many as you can get away with a lot while you play other beginners. So if you have $100 you can throw at tennis spend it on lessons over anything else would be my advice.
 
#43
join a team, play some doubles as well as singles, try to learn to hit volleys and overheads, a few private lessons, a few group clinics, keep practicing the serve a lot, and have fun. There are not short cuts to becoming a decent player.
 
#44
I started in tennis about one year and ten months ago, I've been fairly good so far I can beat easily people around the club that has been playing for more than 10 years and I can tell for sure that the most important thing that can be learned early on is technique, I've played with some guys that just now are taking lessons but have been playing for over 15 years, they learned to win no matter how and it was a good plan until they started to play with more complete players, I can beat them all the time and I have been playing less than two years.

The best advice to take from this is that is necessary to take lessons and polish techniques before it's too late and bad habits are ingrained.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
#45
@Jhreamer , kudos on video-ing yourself and putting it out there for all to watch and criticize.
I always have to add 0.5 NTRP to what the players look like. I think video tends to slow things down and I can't believe how ugly my strokes are when I see myself.

When I saw the first vid, I thought Frank is a 3.5. Very good top slice serve, very good FH, BH is a bit weak but it goes in regularly enough, good footwork.
Shawn is 3.0. Keeps the ball in play, moves quickly, a number of DFs, weak but serviceable BH.

But if you say this is the first time you've beaten Shawn as he played injured, then it must be your personal highlight video. That can also explain why Shawn's serves had low net clearance in 1st vid compared to 2nd vid.

The 2nd video seems more like your self description. A lot more errors.

Still, you keep your feet moving. Shawn is in ready position but more static and typically has a slower first step. Both of you guys can run.

Since most of your practice matches have been with Shawn, I would drop your NTRP rating 0.5 for actual USTA competition. I'd put you as a 3.0 as well as Shawn. If he is able to keep the ball in play a few more times than you, then he'll tend to win most matches even though your preparation is better, your strokes look nicer and seem to have more pace and you've got the lefty spin serve advantage. Low UE wins at this level.

But excellent progress for such a short duration of play.

*edit* sorry. I saw that it's John Franks and Shawn Zullo...sorry about missing first name.
 
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Fintft

Hall of Fame
#46
Great playing. You have to be like wet noodle when you hit big serves and one handed backhands, not a dry one. Just loosen up and let it snap.

I think your serve is actually really nice, needs some work but your swinging through it.

Best of luck

I wanted to say similar things about your serve and backhand, so I second Chadalina: You want to slap your backhand/need more racquet head speed.
 
#48
The support here has been extraordinary. I thank you all.

I'm going to turn this into an extended progress/documenting thread. Many thanks to the staff person who changed the title for me.

Here's a session from yesterday. It was quite windy, but it was predictable wind. However, my friend REALLY lets wind get to him and didn't play very well (and left early). It was a pretty good highlight day for me, nonetheless.


I've changed my service motion abut ten billion times (and if you saw my recent thread, you'll see I've adjusted it AGAIN). But it seems I at least have a much better elbow angle in the trophy position than I used to. Still double faulting like that crustacean pictured above might, but I now have a repeatable kick 2nd serve. It goes in just as often as when I try to poop in a 30 mph "get me over", so I may just keep pluggin' at it.

My impoverished ass will be getting lessons as a birthday gift, so looking forward to that. Also, I put a hole in my Dunlop Force 98 strings after two months of use, so this is ONCE AGAIN a Wal-Mart stick. Ugh.

Didn't get too many looks at a topspin backhand today (except for the, uh...winners), but I've been really working on that shot.

Feel free to guffaw at the "slide".
 
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#49
Played my first match for a club ranking! Wonderful experience; I hope to do it way more.

I have highlights. It's mostly just my opponent having trouble getting my serves and returns in play, but there are things for me to learn from this nonetheless.

Such as...I leave myself way too deep in the court often against 3.0 players. It's tough for me to figure out where to position myself when my opponents hit weak faux-drop shots and baseline-kissers back to back.


I was even worse than usual at approaching and attacking, but luckily it didn't matter.

Also, this was my first lefty! I didn't really get a look at any sort of spin, though. But still, good to have the experience. I was also his first lefty, so he got fooled by the spin often.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
#50
Played my first match for a club ranking! Wonderful experience; I hope to do it way more.

I have highlights. It's mostly just my opponent having trouble getting my serves and returns in play, but there are things for me to learn from this nonetheless.

Such as...I leave myself way too deep in the court often against 3.0 players. It's tough for me to figure out where to position myself when my opponents hit weak faux-drop shots and baseline-kissers back to back.


I was even worse than usual at approaching and attacking, but luckily it didn't matter.

Also, this was my first lefty! I didn't really get a look at any sort of spin, though. But still, good to have the experience. I was also his first lefty, so he got fooled by the spin often.
Looks like you made solid progress. Forehand is smoother and more consistent, and the 1st serve is looking strong. Not surprised you beat a 3.0 3 and 1. Your 1st serve comes off more like 4.0-4.5 level. Progress is always a sweet feeling.

What helped the forehand? Just practice? Technique change? Both?
 
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