Jhreamer's Progress Thread

#51
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?
Thank you! That's very kind regarding my serve!

As for the forehand, both and more. Because I constantly record myself, I'm always thinking about things to try out, adjust, and keep in my entire game. I try to never stagnate on any technique unless I see it providing healthy results.

Most notably, I feel that's worked best on my serve. After a full year of tinkering, only two weeks ago did I discover that sliding my feet together "tricked" my body into squeezing my elbow into my best trophy position yet, and the serve itself has also gotten more consistent and controlled. This match made me feel VERY good about my serve as a low-level weapon, immediately after thinking I'd never win a match because of double faults. I finally have a reliable and (kinda) juicy kick 2nd!

So, for the forehand (AND backhand), basically I'm constantly trying to decide what I should implement week-by-week. When I started this thread, I'd just begun modeling the takeback after ATP players. Now, I'm making a deep effort to maintain a semi-Western grip and apply topspin to my shots, because I'm understanding how flat and margin-less (slappy, as Dart put it) my shots are. I mostly failed to try it out in this match, but the ones I did, I left them out because my opponent UE'd the next shot and it didn't seem right to highlight that.

Also, the motion of my non-hitting arm is an ENDLESS work in progress. It is SO DIFFICULT for me to reign in that arm the way I want it -- I basically never did so during this match; my arm's constantly flopping by my side. I know that James Blake did something similar, and his forehand wasn't all that shabby n' stuff, so it's probably not the end of the world.

So, uh, new things I'm really focusing on throughout my game:

  • Serve: drive hips fully into the court, especially on flat 1st serves (see 5:52...it REALLY adds some velocity)
  • Serve: Snap the wrist back after the trophy position; drive the wrist down through contact
  • Serve: develop my new kick serve!! Especially on 2nd serve to reliably get the ball in AND keep myself on offense for the first ball
  • Serve: Be able to simply make it when I need to -- exactly like I did three break points down at 5-3 in the second...was very proud of that
  • FH: On slow/floaty incoming balls, drop my arms to relieve tension and create a repeatable timing when I start the takeback (THIS HAS WORKED WONDERS)
  • FH: Keep my grip consistent and start swinging for more topspin
  • FH: Control my non-hitting arm on the thru-swing, like I'm blowing a bird out of my palm
  • FH: Angles, angles, angles. Dictate.
  • FH: Less UEs gosh darnit
  • BH: Back up on incoming balls headed for my feet, so I don't have to hit a crazy half-volley pickup
  • BH: Snappy and focused unit turn, modeled after Denis Shapovalov's snappy set (I LOVE the feeling of potential energy this creates)
  • BH: It's quite strong cross-court from the deuce side, so take that shot when it's available to set up a putaway (i.e. 2:38)
  • BH: LEARN HOW TO HIT OFF-BACKHANDS AND DIRECT IT DOWN THE LINE GOSH DARNIT
  • BH: Less UEs gosh darnit
  • BH slice: LOW AND DEEP. (I've improved this IMMENSELY in the last month and it's done wonders for my game)
  • Volleys: ABSOLUTELY FREAKING EVERYTHING UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
My most pressing issues are double faults, unforced errors on the FH and BH, BH down the line, controlling short balls, and VOLLEYS. GOD I want to attack more but I lose every single time because I never do it right. Hoping to attend more group drills, because I did so for the first time last week and was hitting some good volleys finally.
 
#52
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.
Nice serve at 1:53!
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
#53
Thank you! That's very kind regarding my serve!

As for the forehand, both and more. Because I constantly record myself, I'm always thinking about things to try out, adjust, and keep in my entire game. I try to never stagnate on any technique unless I see it providing healthy results.

Also, the motion of my non-hitting arm is an ENDLESS work in progress. It is SO DIFFICULT for me to reign in that arm the way I want it -- I basically never did so during this match; my arm's constantly flopping by my side. I know that James Blake did something similar, and his forehand wasn't all that shabby n' stuff, so it's probably not the end of the world.

  • FH: Control my non-hitting arm on the thru-swing, like I'm blowing a bird out of my palm
I do a similar thing with the non hitting arm on and off. Mostly, I do it on the serve and high forehand. Definitely, trying to change it. I want to be able to take the high balls clean and consistent
 
#54
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.
Money shot at 3:35. Do more of these DTL slices (not just on return of serve) and I guarantee your opponents will hate playing you
 
#55
Solid progress, Inspirational stuff indeed.

Your serve is obviusly a great asset, and at your forhand side you look like a natural. Regarding your other wing, perhaps this thread can help (it helped me immensely): link

There is a bit of noise in there, the poster ”geca” is the one to listen to. The leasons of that thread can be condenced to something very simple: ISR leading to ESR. To really get what that means, and start doing it, is a bit harder; but the discussion in that thread is good help. Highlight for me were the video linked in post #67 (K. Garlington) and the pictures of Henin in post #36.
 
#56
Solid progress, Inspirational stuff indeed.

Your serve is obviusly a great asset, and at your forhand side you look like a natural. Regarding your other wing, perhaps this thread can help (it helped me immensely): link

There is a bit of noise in there, the poster ”geca” is the one to listen to. The leasons of that thread can be condenced to something very simple: ISR leading to ESR. To really get what that means, and start doing it, is a bit harder; but the discussion in that thread is good help. Highlight for me were the video linked in post #67 (K. Garlington) and the pictures of Henin in post #36.
OH MY GOD..................

I always wondered how Thiem generates SO MUCH SPIN on his 1HBH with such a horizontal motion -- WOW that Garlington video really was an eye-opener. No wonder I was hitting more consistent BHs when I kept my wrist quiet and hit the shot with my shoulder and forearm.

BACK TO THE LAB. THANK YOU. And to everyone!

Also, another match tonight, it seems! Possibly more footage to come!
 
#57
Nice!! You definitely has improved a lot and that's awesome!

Let's see if you can do the spider drill in under 18 secs.... jk

Overeall, I say you have develop a good serving motion that get you some good positioning and you definitely start forming good consistency for your forehand. If I were you, I would start to look into developing fundamentals even further by by rallying with higher level players more, not matches. You need to work on your forehand and backhand as well, esp your backhand.

If not trying to be harsh, your forehand and backhand are good, but you are not hitting with confidence and a lot of times you are jammed due to bad footwork and arming the shots. To solve this, don't get lazy with footwork and position yourself well from the incoming ball and react earlier.

To develop a good placement and movement pattern for incoming ball, based on my experience the quickest way is to rally with high level players.
 
#58
Here's a little highlight video (score included) of a match between me (J. Franks) and the guy I play constantly. This after some classes with pros and rallying with players classically trained.

Hamstring strain slowed me a bit, but generally didn't affect me (though I'm a moron for playing through it). He served a bit harder than usual, and I missed returns more than usual, so I couldn't take advantage of his increased double faults and forehand errors. And it didn't help that I ALSO double-faulted about ten billion times. I've been reducing that number a fair amount of late...but NOT this day.


Points I'm proud of: 4:08, 6:54, 7:19 kicker, 7:31 (mostly the flick lob, not the lazy forehand that made it necessary)

I tend to be much more timid on the backhand side when N<->S wind affects my timing, but I didn't realize just how much until seeing all of this. Being aggressive on that wing tends to get me very good results, but when I play Shawn, I get NERVOUS and CAUTIOUS in general, afraid to risk losing points because I inadvertently feel "he's just going to make everything back anyway." This also why I hesitate to attack the net after clearly sufficient approach shots.

Watching this video causes me agitated disappointment overall. Though I can see improvement, I also see some annoying inadequacies that're taking quite some time to iron out. So Shawn keeps destroying me.

My big ol' three takeaways:
-Whip the arm back more when beginning the service swing...should allow for more power and spin, helping to bring those 2nd kick serves in
-More topspin backhands...trust it
-FOOTWORK, YOU SLOW INSUFFERABLE OAF
(-Learn how to actually drop shot)
 
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#59
Footwork is not about speed. It is about your positioning and core rotation.

Your speed is ok that is not the issue

Your backhand doesn’t have the consistent followthrough because your elbow gave up when you swing, you should’ve keep it straight and swing through

Topspin backhand is a bit counter intuitive, you don’t yank it up, you hook it back up after you swing through

Just some my 2 cents
 
#60
Here's a little highlight video (score included) of a match between me (J. Franks) and the guy I play constantly. This after some classes with pros and rallying with players classically trained.

Hamstring strain slowed me a bit, but generally didn't affect me (though I'm a moron for playing through it). He served a bit harder than usual, and I missed returns more than usual, so I couldn't take advantage of his increased double faults and forehand errors. And it didn't help that I ALSO double-faulted about ten billion times. I've been reducing that number a fair amount of late...but NOT this day.


Points I'm proud of: 4:08, 6:54, 7:19 kicker, 7:31 (mostly the flick lob, not the lazy forehand that made it necessary)

I tend to be much more timid on the backhand side when N<->S wind affects my timing, but I didn't realize just how much until seeing all of this. Being aggressive on that wing tends to get me very good results, but when I play Shawn, I get NERVOUS and CAUTIOUS in general, afraid to risk losing points because I inadvertently feel "he's just going to make everything back anyway." This also why I hesitate to attack the net after clearly sufficient approach shots.

Watching this video causes me agitated disappointment overall. Though I can see improvement, I also see some annoying inadequacies that're taking quite some time to iron out. So Shawn keeps destroying me.

My big ol' three takeaways:
-Whip the arm back more when beginning the service swing...should allow for more power and spin, helping to bring those 2nd kick serves in
-More topspin backhands...trust it
-FOOTWORK, YOU SLOW INSUFFERABLE OAF
(-Learn how to actually drop shot)
How did you put your camera/phone on the back fence?
 

Wise one

Professional
#61
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.

2.5 to 3.5
 
#62
Footwork is not about speed. It is about your positioning and core rotation.

Your speed is ok that is not the issue

Your backhand doesn’t have the consistent followthrough because your elbow gave up when you swing, you should’ve keep it straight and swing through

Topspin backhand is a bit counter intuitive, you don’t yank it up, you hook it back up after you swing through

Just some my 2 cents
When I mention my footwork, I mean my slowness in basically everything else but running. Reacting to (and ANTICIPATING) balls, retreating and approaching (positioning), lazy split-stepping during rallies, that goodness. And I'm so stiff.

Proper form on the drive backhand is a constant project and is improving slowly. Taking @Claes's recommendation to heart and understanding the motion much more.

I'll pay attention to my arm movement more on the slice. Its inconsistency has very much bothered me.

Thank you for your two cents.

How did you put your camera/phone on the back fence?
https://mytennistools.com/product/qm-1-portable-camera-mount/
 
#63
Proper form on the drive backhand is a constant project and is improving slowly. Taking @Claes's recommendation to heart and understanding the motion much more.
I’m glad I could help! I’m just a fellow dilettante.

Like most of us (including the pros), you seem to like to steep around and hitting more forehands; and if one is in the progress of regrooving a stroke, that’s very much to be expected (if one cares about the outcome of the match), so just keep at it.

Perhaps you have the mechanics all figured out by now, if so, please ignore the rest of the post.

As ”geca” says in that other thread a number of times, and with which I agree: The key is to get the racqetface-angel to be constant (a few degrees closed) for almost the whole forward stroke. From belly high (let’s say approximately two decimeters in front of the body), to even as far swung as above head high, the angle doesn’t change (the spin does however, from top to more side). This makes the stroke so very much more forgiving to timing-issues. The only way to get that constant angle is ISR->ESR. The picture of Henin in her ”slot/power”-position (frame two in post 36), and the way her elbow is pointing shows it all. If one get’s that right, the rest comes naturally. Try some shadowswinging at home.

Swing-thoughts are highly personal, I think. Myself being in a similar position as yourself I have in the last halfyear seen numerous videos, and read as many texts, on how certain strokes should be made. Some of the tips are a great help immediately, while other just seem stupid (not to mention that there is some really bad (as in plain wrong) advice to be found).

However…the number one mental image that resonated with me was: ”pull the buttcap towards the ball”, perhaps that can help you as well. This one could even be prolonged to ”the buttcap should always face the ball”, to help with the followthrough. To have the elbow of my second-arm, when gripping the throat of the racquet, at a high angle, also seems to help me keep proper form.
 
#64
I've been out with a hamstring injury...I'm in tennis withdrawal.

I've been on the mend, and felt the urge to record some service practice. I treated it like standard 1st and 2nd serve point-starting.


My slice and ad-wide was nowhere to be found, but I'm happy with the fact that I was making the grand majority of the kick 2nd serves, despite the camera adding match-like pressure. That's likely my biggest improvement as a player thus far.

Things to work on: increasing the whip-back after the trophy position, fixing the erratic toss, falling off-balance (usually into the court) after delivery.
 
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#66
I've been out with a hamstring injury...I'm in tennis withdrawal.

I've been on the mend, and felt the urge to record some service practice. I treated it like standard 1st and 2nd serve point-starting.


My slice and ad-wide was nowhere to be found, but I'm happy with the fact that I was making the grand majority of the kick 2nd serves, despite the camera adding match-like pressure. That's likely my biggest improvement as a player thus far.
Your serve seems much bigger now that what it looked like during you matches
 
#67
****, dude. Those are some extremely impressive serves given your experience level. Goes to show being in good shape helps you learn things faster. You're not far off from being able to hit 120ish if all your swingspeed goes into a flat ball. (Which 95% of the time it shouldn't)

I have a few nitpicks. Your backswing is close to your body and makes you miss the trophy position or rush through it sometimes. Play around with abbreviated backswings with the focus on finding the trophy position with your elbow at 90 degrees and cocked back.

Sometimes your slices have a different swingpath than your flat serves. Really the only difference should be your pronation and toss. (You won't actively pronate on a slice, just throw the leading edge at the ball). From here you can play with toss positioning.

Impressive as hell and keep it up! Let me know if my advice is unclear.
 
#68
****, dude. Those are some extremely impressive serves given your experience level. Goes to show being in good shape helps you learn things faster. You're not far off from being able to hit 120ish if all your swingspeed goes into a flat ball. (Which 95% of the time it shouldn't)

I have a few nitpicks. Your backswing is close to your body and makes you miss the trophy position or rush through it sometimes. Play around with abbreviated backswings with the focus on finding the trophy position with your elbow at 90 degrees and cocked back.

Sometimes your slices have a different swingpath than your flat serves. Really the only difference should be your pronation and toss. (You won't actively pronate on a slice, just throw the leading edge at the ball). From here you can play with toss positioning.

Impressive as hell and keep it up! Let me know if my advice is unclear.
It's all very nice; thank you.

The trophy position has been the biggest project regarding my serve ever since I've started. At the beginning of this year, my "trophy position" was down by my hip with a straight arm. I've made huge progress, but am always a little unsure of what my body is actually doing when I get to that pose. Eventually, I hope to get it right, so I can maybe start coiling my body a little more and be able to focus on getting a stronger rubber-band with my arm when I start the swing. The beginning of the swing looks a little meek as of yet.

I'll go back to the basics with the slice and ingrain that natural motion again.

Very kind stuff, many thanks.
 
#69
Saw your latest vid on the serve, it looks like you do have some good serves occasionally, and that's awesome! Usually what happens is that you serve really well but in real matches you serve like ****.

I would say that that is anyone's biggest headache and one for me too.

I noticed very inconsistent contact point and motion, you are forcing a lot of muscles that are not natural to your current body condition, I would urge you to start slower, find the place where you can consistently produce certain shot before moving on to serve fast.

Try different toss, try different angle, see which one clicks and stick to that one.
 
#70
I think the one you missed wide in the beginning hit 120, more or less. That is impressive as I watched a serve video you had earlier and your serves weren't nearly that fast. You indeed made progress very quickly.
 
#72
@Jhreamer ... how the heck did I miss this ... must watch TV.

You are way ahead of where you should be ... yada yada yada. I would have told you to find the closed stance and good unit turn on your 1hbh in your first post, but you found it. Good job. Now tell Shawn ... you can tell him an old guy on the internet said his bh will suck for the rest of his life unless he turns his shoulders. And he is young ... that is a long time to suck. He doesn't want his deathbed thought to be "my bh sucked my whole life". 8-B(y)

Oh ... before I forget, unfortunately late in my tennis career, I finally had a leg injury ... make that two leg injuries ... hamstring injuries on both legs within months of each other. Did you really slide (sort of :unsure:) on a hard court with a hamstring injury? You be crazy.

https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/how-soon-can-you-massage-hamstring-injury.611175/

Hard to pick three Jhreamer favorites ... but I am going with these:



WTF is that? Unless there is a hot ladies doubles being played on the court to your left ... stop this ... stop this right NOW!!!



Is that the biggest bucket you could find? I guess there is always a chance that is a normal sized bucket, and you are a tiny tiny guy ... but my guess is you have over shot your bucket needs.



Good stuff ... keep it up ... you have some natural tennis talent (yada yada yada), even if not so much with ros stances and bucket procurement.


Edit: hamstrings ... smooth foam roller ... back of calves and hamstrings before you go to the court. Nordic curls good for injury rehab ... I forget to do them now. I do body weight squats, and whatever you call the one where you look like you are teeing up a golf ball with your other leg straight out behind you. Romanian curl or something. The glute bridges with feet on a yoga ball is good also.
 
#73
@JhreamerGood stuff ... keep it up ... you have some natural tennis talent (yada yada yada), even if not so much with ros stances and bucket procurement..
I'll...uh, thank you.

Truthfully, the Nishikori return stance (pictured was an improper beta version) wears on my legs a little as matches progress, so I might change that.

Had a match yesterday, and it was pretty intense. Almost exactly two hours in an abbreviated format, and my entire (over the top) clothing set was drenched.


Many of my notes are included in the video. All in all, I played well for my level.
 
#74
I'll...uh, thank you.

Truthfully, the Nishikori return stance (pictured was an improper beta version) wears on my legs a little as matches progress, so I might change that.

Had a match yesterday, and it was pretty intense. Almost exactly two hours in an abbreviated format, and my entire (over the top) clothing set was drenched.


Many of my notes are included in the video. All in all, I played well for my level.
"I'll...uh, thank you."

Yeah ... I admit my post was dripping in sarcasm and ambiguous -nish. :rolleyes:

All meant as humor and encouragement. (y) Love your humor ... keep tennis fun.

It's is quite possible you two have the two best serves for your level in the history of the game. Big shoulder orange shirt guy brings some serious 1st serve heat, but than 2nd serve is 100 mph slower. o_O There is a lesson there about importance of 2nd serve.

You are looking good ... no glaring problem should keep you from quick improvement if you get to play enough. Your court positioning and instinct will come with more match hours. The one observation I would make is maybe you over-learned the shoulders bowing back on 1hbh. The 1hbh should be a relaxed enjoyable stroke ... not a visit to the rack (sorry ... can't help myself). Yes ... Fed and Fed-lite Dimitrov have Gumby flexibility, but you will find top level rec players winning without that extreme bowing.

Good playing (y)

Edit: I went back and found the two backhands that struck me as too much turning back of the shoulders (9:41, 9:43). Actually ... all of that is after contact in the follow through like the pros do, so I no longer think that affected the shot. Walking through frame by frame, both those BHs looked like pretty good form. It would be good to see you bh from the side. The pros get there hitting arm straight at different times before contact ... Fed by around front leg, Wawrinka earlier.
 
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#75
I'll...uh, thank you.

Truthfully, the Nishikori return stance (pictured was an improper beta version) wears on my legs a little as matches progress, so I might change that.

Had a match yesterday, and it was pretty intense. Almost exactly two hours in an abbreviated format, and my entire (over the top) clothing set was drenched.


Many of my notes are included in the video. All in all, I played well for my level.
How old are you? You have good wheels.
 
#76
I'll...uh, thank you.

Truthfully, the Nishikori return stance (pictured was an improper beta version) wears on my legs a little as matches progress, so I might change that.

Had a match yesterday, and it was pretty intense. Almost exactly two hours in an abbreviated format, and my entire (over the top) clothing set was drenched.


Many of my notes are included in the video. All in all, I played well for my level.
Holy crap your friend's serve is huge. Tall guy + explosive muscles = I don't need technique to serve big
 
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