mindset? (opinions WANTED)

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Nefarious_Ly, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Nefarious_Ly

    Nefarious_Ly New User

    Jun 27, 2011
    this is psychological personal account that i'd want people to consider and give their own opinions. (ALL recommendations will be taken into thought.):

    i once argued with my private trainer about the issue of:
    (me) - being consistent VS. (what she calls) "controlled aggression"

    isn't being consistent in keeping all the balls in the court, what really matters? yes and no. yes, as in it's good to keep the ball in. no, as in you cant win with consistency alone?

    "controlled aggression":
    this is the idea and raw-core base fundamental of what i was taught in tennis. learning how to hit the ball at relative fast pace, but having the ability to control the ball. (and yes, this playing style will at first hit everything into the net or long/over the fence; when you first start this, you have to practice.. ALOT.)

    at the time i argued about this i was blinded by self ignorance.. (i have reformed myself quite a bit in one year. lol.) but these are completely different aspects now, aren't they? i beleive so now, even though i argued that consistency was more important at the time and the both was the same. it's clearly not. with the latter your able to be bolder and confident in taking what would seem a "winner" or "fast shot" from a opponents perspective.

    when i had emerged from my first two months of training and went back to school, my coach always complained to me that i was hitting the ball WAY too hard during practices. which if i recall, occasionaly i would. but wouldnt most people agree that, if you had too stoop down to another person(s) level, it would appear just as so if you were trying to hit winners all the time? it appeared that way to my team and coach, cause i had been playing with people who was twice/thrice and qaudruple as good as me when under my trainer. now isnt this arguable? to keep up with the way more experienced, you have to be more aggressive (most of the time playing at your hardest level to keep up).

    my coach beleived in plain "consistency" as in getting the ball in (hitting it soft if needed, which delivered our team no justice most of the time in matches) while my trainer beleived in "controlled aggression" which my coach literally denied me my training style; most of the time cause i was trying to hit the ball so hard, when i was practicing with people under my level. now wouldn't i have the right to be overpowering if i beleived in "controlled aggression"? because my playing style, it's mindset demands that i must play aggressive but be able to control it? my coach never really liked how i would normally throw away points (and matches) because of my reckless playing, but he hardly ever gave me the chance to try to perfect my flaws in practice. am i wrong or my coach? he was most of the time dissapointed in me for losing the majority of my season matches (in my senior year i lost all my singles, and was stuck with a VERY inexperienced doubles partner majority of the season. i also went from #1 at my school to #6 for my losing record, and i was psychologically depressed from a losing streak), and which my trainer dissapointedly saw me lose some and lectured me. but my trainer also knew i wasn't getting the same quality practices that i should be getting when wit her. one thing that bothered me though was that my coach was always marveled at when i made my winning shots (which he never let me practice) and aces cause compared to my team it was quite un-paralleled. why? simply because i was the aggressor, and had a different mindset than my team. to win in tennis, you have to be aggressive. right?

    Now, i need anyone's opinions on if they beleive in which is better?:

    "Consistency" or "Controlled Aggression"

    because i do plan on going back to my high school and help volunteer on improving and teaching basic fundamentals in tennis to students on the team; and need your people's opinions on how to approach the matter of which mindset may be better to start out with when freshly starting out tennis?
  2. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

    Feb 8, 2011
    Have you considered a third alternative? I wonder if your technique is hindering you in consistently applying your strategy of controlled aggression

    If you have modern techniques on your groundstrokes, your normal rally ball should be hit quite hard with sufficient topsin to celar the net by around 1 metre (3 - 4 ft) while still landing at least 1 metre inside the baseline, often somewhat more.

    If you are unable to do this, it may be that you need to re-examine your groundstroke technique.

    Power is nothing without control, and 'controlled aggression' by definition requires consistency.

    hope this helps
  3. Nefarious_Ly

    Nefarious_Ly New User

    Jun 27, 2011
    no, it's the same technique she's taught to many of her students in the past. she doesn't even consider teaching the Eastern FH grip to students anymore unless they're tall enough, cause she says the Eastern cant handle huge topspin if you're not the right height to be ontop the ball. thats why she primarily teaches a SW FH grip (what i use, and have adapted). she also has a large number of 2HBH users, with me being one of the few that still uses a 1HBH which she liked.

    i just had hard time coping with understanding "how to play" at the time. i mentally knew what i wanted to do, but didn't know how to do it. but the underlying factor was that I was swinging WAY too fast and wildly. my trainer, i qoute, said "Your'e swinging faster than Nadal.", clearly meaning i was so determined to crush the ball that i was swinging it as fast as i could. it took me a losing record to realize that, i was trying to play at a unprecedented level. so in the long run, by the end of my final season i started slowing down my strokes, and BOOM. had control of the ball. now i can play at different paces i choose.

    one way i tried resolving consistency was when my trainer said to me it was my own personal goal to clear the net at 2ft. no less and no higher. simply because i was hitting the ball long enough to the baseline already at 2ft high above the net. any higher, then i would need more dramatic topspin to bring the ball back down into the court. this training was helpful, but after learning how to really apply myself in tweaking my groundstrokes and closing my FH stance, it didnt really matter that much anymore. i just needed consistency in playing aggressive cause i was misisng the lines by mere inches to foot. very close to driving the ball in, which was want i was aiming for.

    now could this be a factor: does racquets vary your playing style? when i first started out playing i was using a Bab AERO Storm GT 2010 strung with a full bed of PHT. talk about overkill for a first racquet. lol. this racquet by far is quite forgiving (my opioion). i was able to get away with so many mis-hits and framers using this racquet, primarily becasue it produced so much topspin for me that i could bring the ball back down into the court. this really limited my playing style. if i recall i hardly hit flat shots. i soon realized though after a year and a half (and the desire/lust for a new racquet) that i felt i was getting nowhere with that racquet. sure i could hit decent shots with it, but playing with it felt too easy sometimes and it felt i wasnt progressing in tennis; which scared me. switched over to something that wasn't as forgiving.. like my Donnay's.. and yeah, went back to the drawing board to regroup myself and learn how to feel the racquet. but.... that helped me mature and learn in tennis. and i was able to dictate on really using a variety of shots, instead of relying on pure spin like when using my Bab. i'd personally rather earn the point, than knowing that my mis-hit was the winning shot or that my sloppy playing won my match. can people agree on that?


    the question remains though, that what is the better idea? "consistency" or "controlled aggression"?


    can racquets vary your playing style?
  4. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Mar 31, 2008
    Power and Pace are always "relative" terms.
    Hard for you is not hard for Murray.

    That said,
    much like Timbo said I think,
    good players have consistency with controlled aggression.
    If you are missing...then the aggression is not controlled imo.

    #1 thing in tennis is making shots to the right areas!

    Pace only relates to how you want to approach the placement.

    Maybe check this thread-
  5. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Jan 27, 2008

    Forget the concepts of "consistency" or "aggression controlled" etc. That's too one dimensional.

    Think that you just need to be hit one more shot than your opponent does.
    Sometimes that doesn't require you to hit too hard.
    Sometimes it does require you to take a little (or a lot) more risk.
    Sometimes it requires you to change up a bit. Or just need you to keep doing what you're doing.
    And so on...

    Use that underlined concept and think..do whatever it takes.
  6. Nefarious_Ly

    Nefarious_Ly New User

    Jun 27, 2011
    very true.
  7. Nefarious_Ly

    Nefarious_Ly New User

    Jun 27, 2011
    there's always more to it, other conceptual thinking involved when playing. i'm just considering those two as styles of playing cause they can differentiate.

    and yes, this way of thinking is quite productive. prolonged rallies for me.
  8. 1HBH Rocks

    1HBH Rocks Semi-Pro

    Apr 18, 2012
    Someone who doesn't acknowledge the effect of offensive is simply put an idiot. A good player will be aggressive when the situation allows and more conservative when the situation commands... that's as bold as it gets.

    Some are better at taking on the offensive than at outlasting their opponents in a marathon and vice-versa. Their abilities and tendencies dictate the level of their respective threshold when it comes to judging of situations. The more complicated version of this thought revolves around optimization -- for some, they're playing a loosing bet if the rally lasts more than x number of shots and the added risk of pressuring their opponents more quickly and more intensively is thus outmatched by the greater risk of keeping rallies lasting for too long. The same can be true in the opposite sense.

    But regardless of how specifically you elect to build your strategy, always remember that in tennis court positioning and ball placement are king. If you use them cunningly and properly, you will always have a great edge over your opponent, even when they are better ball strikers than you are.
  9. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Jan 27, 2008
    Then why do you even consider them while there's (alot) more going on? So much that at some point they'd become trivial.

    It is your topic that you want to talk about. Which (consistency or aggr control) is better? Neither, or either is important in certain scenerios.

    Because there's more to this, as you said, there's really no good answer to your specific topic. Hence, I wanna bring you another concept/topic that's more worthwhile. :)
  10. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW
    Obviously for the sake of brevity we often oversimplify to make a point, but since you asked, here goes:

    Consistancy- is NOT about getting every ball into the court. It is about hitting a low number (or percentage) of unforced errors, but not zero UEs, that would lead to pattycake tennis, which is not the goal. This is much much more important than aggression, controlled or otherwise. The reason is that an expert player who hits the ball aggressively and consistantly, didn't start by hitting aggressively and long then slowly brought the balls in at the same pace. Rather they hit most of their balls in at a lower pace and as they got better they were able to increase the pace with the same consistancy.
  11. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

    Aug 14, 2006
    How were you playing when you were #1?

    I'm no tennis expert, but I'd go back to that. It must have been working for you.
  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    You gotta take responsibility for your own game, ignore suggestions that might not work for you, and play your game the way you think you should.
    A conservative coach want's you to hit every ball IN, be a pusher, and make no mistakes.
    A wild YOU wants to hit winners, want's to force the action, and want's to play like an aggressive pro.
    Which to adopt?
    How about WINNING! Play either game until you obviously aren't prevailing, then change it.
    If you're winning, keep at it. If you're losing, change your game!
  13. Nefarious_Ly

    Nefarious_Ly New User

    Jun 27, 2011
    yeah, i've been replaying my last night out playing tennis in my mind quite a bit today. i need to tune up my game. haven't played but twice in two weeks! kinda rusty.

    i was at number one, simply because my form and that my strokes was the strongest. my coach probably didnt anticipate that i had not mentally matured in tennis yet, thats why i lost so badly. because i was too eager, and didnt think through my shots, basicly being patient and not being overswept by emotions when lsoing a point. although, i still have a long way to go in the future. i've toned down myself i ngames to not get too frustrated. XD

    i still need technical advice from superior players on my form. like, not lifting my feet off the ground too soon, body/shoulder rotation, balancing arms, footwork.. little stuff that adds up. i mean i can play fairly decent for being under two years, but no one's ever satisfied right? always pursue more than what your capable of, that's my motivation in trying to always get better.
  14. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

    Jun 10, 2010
    I'm going to re-phrase your question to say what I think you are really asking: "How hard should I hit the ball, and where should I hit the ball?" Put another way: "How long should I stay in a rally before I go for a winner?"

    IMO, there are 2 things you have to think about during a tennis match: (1) executing your shots, one shot at a time, and (2) executing your gameplan, one point at a time. Nothing else is relevant.

    A. Executing your shots, a forehand for example, means doing all of the little things that it takes to hit that shot properly, like footwork, shot preparation, set up, unit turn, knee bend, hip drive, upper body rotation, contact out front, windshield wiper finish and recovery, that you try to work on and ingrain in muscle memory during practice. It takes a lot of pressure off of you in terms of fear of error if you just commit to properly executing your shots. You'd be surprised how many players don't fully executed their shots during pressure situations. That lack of execution is what leads to errors. If you execute properly, move your feet and set up properly, you can swing hard, with heavy topspin, and keep the ball in play almost indefinitely.

    B. Tennis is a percentage game. Everyone's gameplan should start with HIGH PERCENTAGE TENNIS TACTICS. You'd be surprised how many players don't understand this simple concept. To be a consistent winner, you must play high percentage tennis. It involves hitting the shot most likely to go in, and keeping yourself in position.

    These are the basics of high percentage tennis:
    Hit groundstrokes cross court.
    Hit approach shots down the line, and cover a down the line pass attempt.
    Hit first serves out wide to open the court.
    Hit second serves to your opponents weakness.
    Hit returns of serve to the opposite corner.
    Hit passing shots from deep in your court cross court.
    Hit passing shots from in close down the line.

    Of these, the most important is to hit ground strokes cross court. Obviously, there are exceptions, but, they are specific and exist because there's a high percentage reason to do something other than hit cross court. So, why is this high percentage? Because if you hit from corner to corner there is very little your opponent can do to hurt you - on a high percentage basis, and you have the longest court and lowest net to work with. Let's say you are trading cross court forehands and your opponent tries to redirect the ball down the line. There are three possibilities: (1) He will hit the ball wide because of Wardlaw's directionals (ricochet of the ball off of his racquet), (2) He will leave himself out of position because his opposite court is wide open, or (3) He will hit a winner. The percentages are in your favor because it is much more likely that he will either hit an error or leave himself out of position than he will hit a winner from deep in his back court.

    If both of you are smart, high percentage players, you will continue a cross court rally until one of you hits an error or short/weak ball. That's the big exception. On a short/weak ball, if it bounces up well above net level, the high percentage play is to hit a winner into the open court. Standing in close with lots of net clearance makes going for winners a high percentage play.

    If the ball is below net level, the high percentage play is to hit an approach shot down the line and cover a down passing attempt by positioning yourself just enough to the side of your approach shot that you could get your racquet on the ball even if it would have hit the sideline. By taking away a down the line pass, you force your opponent to pass cross court (or lob). If you hit a deep approach, you have more time to get to the cross court ball and your opponent has about a 2-3 foot window to get the ball by you and keep it in the sideline. If you get your racquet on the ball, the point is basically over. That's a high percentage play.

    A cross court approach shot is a tactical error because you have put yourself impossibly out of position. Your opponent can pass you on either side because you have left a down the line pass wide open, and you have to run to that side to cover, making it easy to hit behind you.

    Why hit first serves out wide? Because it opens up the court on the other side. You hit second serves to your opponent's weakness because you don't want give him/her a chance to hammer a second serve with his strength, unless you have a really big second serve.

    Why hit returns to the opposing corner. The same reason you hit groundies cross court, longest court and court positioning.

    Why hit passing shots from deep in the court cross court? Court positioning. If you hit it down the line, your opponent has more time to get to the ball and your opposite corner is wide open.

    Why hit passing shots from closer in down the line? Because you don't have a big enough target cross court when you are close in. It's too easy for the opponent to get his racquet on the ball and hit it down the line for a winner.

    I hope all this helps.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012

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