Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Wegner, Dec 24, 2012.
I have found by myself this is true.:-?
If Oscar says so.I guarantee its true.Just try it.
Answer to question number 1:
I would say that there are 3 stages in tennis: one is geting to the ball, then focussing on finding it well, the next is how you hit it. The squaring of the shoulders is part of the third stage. To do it as part of stage #1 for a ball that you have to run to is a waste of time (the body usually turns to run to a distant ball anyway). Only when the ball is coming directly to you it is wise to address it, while you are making room for the stroke, with the shoulder turn.
Answer to question number 2:
There are a lot of players that operate as you say, mainly with the right hand. Others operate with the left hand. I prefer the second one as more natural and more efficient. You can easily hit it easily with an open stance.
Answer to question number 3:
Depending on your choice as per my answer to number 2, the 2 handed-backhand has more similarities to a one-handed backhand, or with a forehand with the left hand. Throughout my teachings, I work on making tennis simple and easy to learn. That is reflected in the two-handed backhand as well. I start the student with the left hand only, as if it was a forehand, then I have them add the right hand and I drill both back and forth. The power of simplicity!
Beautiful example. Thank you, Povl.
Just that I feel there is undue attention to footwork. I like foot movement to be more natural, more instinctive, that to pay so much attention to the feet.
I pull actively, and coach so as well. Why? Because I noticed that the results are spectacular in terms of accuracy, power, feel and ease. Spectacular, at times.
The change from conventional to modern is that you use more your major muscle groups in modern and you have a freer posture, while conventional is more elaborate and involves too much muscles that are smaller and therefore weaker (and that includes rotational forces on your hips and knees at the end of the stroke, making you more vulnerable to injury).
I think the great lesson to learn in watching this, is look how slow it seems his racquet moves to the ball, and then the rapid acceleration at the end. It almost seems like he is going to catch the ball on his strings. Talk about finding the ball.
Here is another, more extreme example of pulling across. There is no backswing here.
so if for example you have a new student who hits his fh only with a closed stance you wouldn´t draw his attention to his footwork and make him try more open stances?
Yes! I've been saying this for ages. Oscar was the first coach I heard say this. If you watch top juniors even the racket head looks slow to start then blam. Its jumps into the ball and you get the pop.
I encourage you to visit John Yandell's thread, Does Modern Tennis Exist? It is great to have several viewpoint exposed so you can make up your own mind as to was is true for you and what is not, or what works for you and what does not. My comments here are in red. The normal black type is John Yandell's comments on his thread
Obviously modern tennis exists, at least in so far as you believe this is the modern age and that in it some of the best tennis imaginable is being played by great, great champions. Agreed.
But the reality is that there is no hard distinction between modern and classical tennis. Disagreed. There is a big distinction between the two. Open stance vs. closed. Stalking the ball vs. early preparation. Hitting up and across the ball vs. hitting straight through. And more. Elements that are commonly labeled "modern" have always been a part of the game going back to the 19th century. This includes extreme grips, over the shoulder wraps, reverse and windshield wiper finishes, swinging volleys, as well as the whole spectrum of hitting stances. The top players used these characteristics you mention, I always remarked in my works that those needed to be studied and followed in coaching, but they were frowned upon and were not taught. People were discouraged by coaches on copying the top pros.
And many of the key elements of classical tennis are still critical in the modern game. These include immediate initiation of preparation through the unit turn, the full coiling of the torso through the left arm stretch, and the upward, outward and right to left components on the forward swing--all mixed in different degrees to create swing arcs that have different levels of extension, height of finish, hand and arm rotation, velocity and spin. And that's just on the forehand. I disagree. Immediate initiation of preparation introduces arbitrarily a time altering sequence to the nature of the game. You do the unit turn immediately and you cut your time to run for the ball. How about running first and then do the unit turn as you are geting to the ball?
The same false distinction is often made in teaching--classical versus so-called modern teaching. It isn't false, just a fact which can be observed. You saw it in the instruction of QuickStart. Kids learning to play tennis like baseball, closed stance and finish pointing to the target. I think QuickStart is finally changing the instructional manuals as we speak. The claim is that the majority of coaches teach "traditionally" and that this doesn't result in the benefits of a "modern" approach--and further that the lack of American players at the top of the game is expalined by this single factor. This so called failed traditional approach includes the huge majority of American coaches including, paradoxically, the coaches who have produced our greatest champions. None of that is true. Some coaches saw the truth and let players evolve naturally. Weren't Agassi, Courier, Sampras, Capriati, the Williams sisters, Michael Chang, Davenport, all the "modern" American champions the exceptions to the rule?
But the deepest irony here is that the so-called modern approach is not based on accurate descriptions of the strokes of the very players it purports to take as models to teach everyone in the world at all levels to "play like the pros." False. You description is not quite accurate. You have quite a few misconceptions tacked onto your "modern tennis" definition. There are complete misunderstandings of the fundamentals running from the classical thru the modern age, as well as the myriad variations, and in the shifts in emphasis and prevelance of important elements over time, something that has been largely the by product of the changes in rackets and especially string. Exactly, the modern racquet "exposed" the inefficiency of those myths, which I discovered before the 1970s and before these modern racquets appeared. Doesn't that tell you something is amiss?
When these criticisms are detailed the response is often that that the lack of correspondence between actual pro modern technique and "modern" teaching is "irrelevant" because teaching technique is all about producing the right result. Well, the details are here.
And that point at least is true. In my own work I have since the 1980's used what I call the concept of over compensation at times to exaggerate some physical component of the stroke in order to move the overall motion in the direction I felt correct. Bravo. An engineering modus operandi procedure, provided that you are on the right track.
There is no argument about that. But you can't have it both ways at the same time: lay out clear descriptions of what pros do and then say that those descriptions aren't in fact what they do, those descriptions are just teaching devices. If that were true how then would you even know those devices were working? You have now rejected your own reference points for what is "pro" technique. You are very likely commenting from a very superficial inspection, rather than having tested how these principles work in actual practice.
Let's face it, if tennis technique wasn't so dynamic and difficult to understand, there wouldn't be so much impassioned debate. And that debate will always go on and has the potential at least to be healthy. Tennis is not difficult to understand. It is actually a very simple game. I actually demonstrate it by playing with my bare hand. It's the complications that make it complicated, of course.
There are incredible resources available to any sincere student of the game--extensive high speed archives of the strokes of the top players, and now the further game changing emergence of 3D data bases and the potential to measure players in 3D in real time. If you look at the link that Povl pointed to in Post #50 of this thread, you'll see a vivid example of tenets I have been insisting on for years. One is that the stroke is up and across.
My belief is that the first step is a clear understanding of how players actually hit the ball and the incredible diversity of elements and stroke variations. This is a vast and at times daunting task. It is something I have spent 15 years working towards, in conjunction with dozens of elite coaches worldwide, starting with our groundbreaking first live pro high speed filmings in 1997. Yes, and I thanked you for those 1997 films because they truly validated what I have been coaching for decades, including in Spain's National School in 1973, Brazil in the 80s, on the New Tennis Magazine Channel and on ESPN International throughout the 90s. The top players have been playing like this, as you pointed out, for more than a century. Why wasn't tennis being coached like that?
This understanding provides the reference universe for creating and evaluating the potential range of teaching techniques and their application to players at all levels, to various appropriate extents. Couldn't agree more. Just don't make it difficult, it's a simpler, easier game that it is thought to be.
Actually, this reasoning is erroneous in a very specific sense... and you might understand what I mean if you try to think through this small post.
In science, we try to build things that we call "theories." We proceed to do this by devising tons of different experiments. When we begin, we overview a topic and, through readings, we specify a question which we will try to answer. As we get to know more about previous works, we may try to make a guess: what are we likely to find, what is the likeliest answer to our question? At that point, there is no distinction between philosophers and scientists: we speculate about reality, but we do so on the basis of a rigorous reasoning -- we try to logically infer the likeliest answer to our question and this likely answer we call it "hypothesis."
We choose a logical and reasonable hypothesis for purely methodological reasons: we get an easier way toward answering our questions if we aim closer to the actual target than if we make wild guesses out of nowhere. Of course, we could still take a very stupid guess and make it our hypothesis... it would just make our research a lot harder and a lot longer to perform.
Then, once we have this hypothesis, we devise a test... Every claim has factual implications: the hypothesis implies certain things about reality and the presence or absence of these things allow us to confirm or infirm it -- or to come to other, alternative, conclusions.
Once we get our claims tested, get results and bring forward factually justified conclusions, we have what we call scientific answers. If you have enough of them and each covers a given aspect of a common topic, you may wish to group all these answers together in a convenient way. That's this organization of scientific answers in a coherent scheme that we call "theory" in science. It doesn't have the same meaning as in common language, specifically because scientific theories aren't just wild guesses... they are a compilation of valid, verified and coherent answers.
And, do you know what is convenient about theories? They are general enough to be applied to a potentially infinite series of different situations, yet they are also precise enough to explain everyone of them properly.
In fact, you do not need a hundred answers for a hundred people... you just need one which is general enough to cover them all, yet precise enough to allow to cover each peculiar case properly. We call that a theory.
The two paragraphs above are not correct. I did not attend any of JY's talks. I met John Yandell in 1997, not in 1998, at Flushing Meadows. John was filming a practice between Pete Sampras and Patrick McEnroe. When he stopped, I said hello and I asked JY: John, have you noticed how much the ball slows down? And John responded: "if I wasn't filming it, I wouldn't".
Later on, mid 2000s, when John worked at Tennis One, I acknowledged him for his Advanced Tennis Research Project, thanking him for validating my theories, and I don't think he appreciated my comment.
Even the same thing happens on the serve. I think that last minute explosion on the strokes gives tons of pace, but also allows for lots of control.
Watch Lopez serving. Super slow to begin and then a fast snap at the ball.
They all do it. I think it allows you to execute the stroke with the most precision with power.
you are going to the other extreme. I am not saying 100 answers... I am saying for 100 people, there is a distribution curve, so for 68 of them you can apply 1 method, but need some others to cover the statistical tails.
by the way - I am a scientist.
It is difficult to tell in real-time.
It would be good to examine slow motion forehand video of two players, one "pulling across", and the other with the "hitting through 5 balls" method, and compare the differences... if any.
It is possible that the differences are so subtle that even high speed video cannot pick up the differences.
wow. he really accelerates there at the end. interesting. my serve definitely doesn't look like that haha.
Oh then you should be able to understand what I mean here. A theory may apply to all cases - I know dozens of theories who do apply to every single cases of a phenomenon. However, what the theory recommands will be context-dependant.
You do not teach an eight years old the same way you teach a 12 years old or an adult... however, I‘ll use only 2 theories to know exactly what to do for every single case. Piaget‘s model of cognitive development and Vygotski‘s three principles of psychological development. The same theory makes me act differently, but it‘s still only two theories, not hundreds of them.
Since you‘re knowledgeable, let‘s be more precise: the method is dictated by the theory and you do not need many theories... It‘s the point of having theories: you deduce the case-specific approach to solving your problems. You learn one theory instead of hundreds of solutions to specific cases.
What I was saying is that you should focus on theory, not practice because you infer proper practice from valid theories.
In terms of direction, the ball goes where Fed intends, but if you look closely, the degree and timing of the "across" in each shot corresponds to the way the ball bounces on the other side of the net. It's less noticeable from the camera's POV as opposed to first-person, but there are two predominant shot shapes Fed uses, and both are hit very much to his side (still in front):
One causes the ball to curve right-to-left (2:13), while the other causes the ball to curve left-to-right (two shots after 1:55).
Just a question. Excluding for now the talk of actively pulling across on the ball, before that all of what is taught here completely depends on proper implementation of the kinetic chain, does it not? i.e leading the turn with the body and having the arm passively pulled through and ending in a wrist snap (not active) to the ball. Without that, the RHS gets compromised and all of the things taught here become kinda useless don't they? What are Oscar's views on the kinetic chain? It seems to me most beginner and even intermediate players will have some component of actively arming the ball on the forehand swing, no?
I won't bother to restate my positions in response to Wegner's comments on my first post. He continues to restate his positions with bascially zero factual support other than his own grandiose assertions, and they are as inaccurate now as they were before. More on this will be obvious as the thread unfolds.
Why bother with facts when you can simply make claims about how easy everything is if you can just follow a couple of bogus ideas and maybe buy some dvds? Everyone reading will just have to make their own determinations about that.
As to his refusal to acknowledge the source of the research for changes in ball speed: that's shameful and unethical.
But par for the course. Really? With his own eyes he could predict the percentage of deceleration? Pure genius. He'd get barred from academic journals for that kind of misrepresention, but I understand this is the internet. And as for his reconstruction of our conversation at the Open: BS 100%.
I'm lost here. Doesn't modern also use rotational forces at the hips and knees?
The difference between a philosopher and a scientist is slim, though it is significant: the scientists bothers to verify his claims.
While Oscar might have a point in trying to bring results through visual cues or figurative speech, it is very uncertain whether he actually knows what he is talking about in the first place... I am ready to believe anything and am willing to let Oscard justify himself, but if JY is right and Oscar cannot back up his claims with scientific research or propose a meta-analysis of many researches as a justification, then anyone‘s words are as good as his.
With his reputation, I would expect that he‘d be thoughtful enough to answer this criticism properly... so, I‘ll let him reply to John. Leave your visual cues home and use a precise vocabulary to answer our doubts. Go through several of your key advices and demonstrate your points one by one.
That‘s how we should be proceeding every single time...
How would you teach someone who is trying to learn how to make their shots curve right-left or left-right?
Hah a brand new TT member joined just in time for the Oscar thread.
My suggestion to you is to just try any methods of tennis instruction on a tennis court and decide if it works for you or not. Tennis is not science. Nothing needs scientific research here. Tell your rant to any of the top coaches. They would laugh you off the court. Even when high speed video is used it simply allows you to see more precisely so you can form an opinion. It is just a tool to help a coach. They do not have advanced scientific labs setup court side to prove coaching theories.
There has been this thing called "practice" that good tennis players do which improves their tennis. Hard to believe I know but it really works.
Absolutely. A lot more than conventional. But in a more natural way. Think of it this way. Modern stroking is as if you compress a spring and then release it, all at its proper time. Conventional is as if you compress it, keep it compressed while you are running, all prepared, and then release it. A bit unnatural, wouldn't you say? The conventional teachings are based on the theory that there is no time or very little time in tennis, a misconception that leads to rushing, too early a preparation, etc., awkwardness.
Since early in my career, and going back to the late 1960s, I noticed that the ball slows down on its flight and after the bounce, and that on days when I was Zoned-in it seemed to slow down even more. Experimenting with it while coaching at the National Tennis School in Spain in the 1970s (with the top 18 and under, 16 and under and 14 and under from all over Spain) and Brazil in the 1980s with kids from 5 to 18 year olds, I came up with a slogan: "The More You Wait, The More Time You'll Have". Very unconventional, and to this day battled by the experts. You know who agreed with me? Bjorn Borg, who I coached in 1992 for his second comeback. Guga Kuerten, who learned this as a kid. Vincent Spadea, who beat Andre Agassi 4 or 5 times. And so many others.... It helped them understand the Zone. And the trick is to wait, rather than to rush, rather than prepare too early. You still act, but holding yourself from reacting too early, too soon.
Nike, who has done research in the area of the Zone, heard of my ideas and invited me to visit their headquarters in Portland. They had developed Vapor Strobe glasses that could be regulated to obstruct your eyesight anywhere from 10% to 80% and they were using them with football players, especially receivers. The end result had been quite amazing, with players focusing a lot better, increasing their ability to catch, and many times reporting they saw the football slower. Included in the group I met with was the inventor of the glasses, Dr. Alan Reichow. Knowing that I was a believer in the Zone, they asked me for my viewpoint on the matter. And my answer was: the mind makes mental image pictures. It copies what is happening at the rate of about 25 pictures per second. Who is making the pictures? The spirit, the soul, the being, whatever you want to call it. This is YOU, the operator, and you have the ability to direct your attention units to wherever you want, focus them, disperse them, etc. You also have the ability to make pictures based on imagination, dreams, etc. This is also your internal clock, the way you mesure time, against that sequence of 25 pictures per second. And this is how you operate: estimating future efforts by comparing it with past efforts, at incredible speeds and through paths that earth computers cannot even remotely approach. And those paths can become complicated. The more you think, the more you "prepare", the less time you seem to have. What top athletes can do is focus so much in the present time moment, observing the ball or object with the great majority of their attention units focussed in present time. To a greater or lesser extent they shut off that operation of continually estimating future efforts and they practically shut off what we call the mind. To different individual extent, of course, depending on their ability to get in the Zone, but experiencing a remarkable increase in their athletic ability. And the Nike Strobe glasses helped anyone get increase their awareness of staying in present time.
Since 1977 I have done studies that touched upon this phenomena and it quickly helped me understand the Zone, which I had experienced on and off in my tennis career. My friends on the tour in the 1960s had reported feeling sometimes the same, which confirmed that I was not hallucinating.
I have been using this awareness all throughout my coaching career because I noticed it produced great results. I even published materials such as my 1989 book, the one I gave to the Russian Tennis Federation, counseling to take your time, to observe the ball after the bounce, etc. I coached that in Spain in 1973, and, later on, when my studies starting in 1977 affirmed what I had been observing, I coached all my students on how to slow the perception of the flight of the ball. I found that a very high percentage benefitted from such. When Nike gave me a pair of Strobe glasses, I experimented and designed simple drills to Zone-in people, and Zone-in they did, some even saying what Andre Agassi said in an interview: "I hit the ball when it stops". Weird but truth.
Of course this is very controversial. It is going to be some time before I find much agreement. Tennis is the mix of sciences, physics, engineering, mechanics, biology, kinetics, the operating connection between body-mind-spirit, and you could add many other sciences to the mix. I know this is new data for many. But I won't hold back if I am criticized, because I think the public deserves an explanation, deserves to know this phenomena exists, deserves to know that if it happens they are not hallucinating, that this is a "normal" experience.
And to those who think I am hallucinating on what top players do with the hand at impact, who think my mechanics and engineering are wrong, and that my ideas that time can be expanded, that there is enough time in tennis to do things at the proper time, that tennis is an easier sport to learn and to play than it is thought to be, that tennis can be made simpler, uncomplicated, a beautiful, engaging sport to play where you are not fighting yourself, where you have complete understanding of the outer and inner forces and energies involved, I say: look, don't think so much. Awareness, not thinking, will help you and others discover a new world, more aligned, more perfect, more relaxing, more fun!!!
Oscar I think I have gone through this too
When I'm really concentrated when I am about to swing the ball seems to sit in place for a second. cool
Fantastic. Welcome to the Club (the Zone).
Happy New Year, Oscar
Maybe not by itself, but when added to calling folks who disagree with you
cults and calling Oscar a "Messiah" (yours I guess since you thought of it?),
along with direct attacks....yep..that hating, but thanks again for a demonstration
of how your logic is full of misinfo.
It's more in how it's done. You don't just call it footwork but you show how to
load the torso thru facing the net...then coiling thru turning your shoulders to
the side. This doesn't focus on dance steps, but more on how the body works
as a unit.
how do you show this specifically? the body working as a unit is something that isn´t limited to open stances, imo
That sounds a bit like a JY comment, :???:.
I didn't place any limitations. Just said that is how
we do it in place of teaching dance step with the feet.
that was a misunderstanding on my part. you were simply talking about how to show the student the open stance i would probably do it in a similar way
Agreed the scientific approach is really he way to have intelligent conversation/debate/resolution. People can talk until they exhaust themselves. I'll read it all since I'm not lazy and desire to learn.
For those who claim tennis is easy. Sure you can get a guy who has never left the farm, never watched tv, and still play well.
You can also have a guy who has never played on a court but has extensively studied books, videos and watched others who could play well in short order.
people are on forums for a plehora of reasons.
Bragging of wins
Sulking over beat-downs
Yet the vast majority here are here to LEARN! As such the method of addressing ideas/issues and grinding them down to small details if of great value if they are validated with research or some reasonable proof. Without the "proof" it becomes a, "I heard..." From maybe a kid who just picked up a racquet last month. We ALL were THAT GUY at one time and learned a ton since... May the wise bring us knowledge (with sources)!
i don't know why everyone is so sensitive on this thread. all of you coaching types criticise one another's approaches. even the "celebrity" coaches.
as someone who plays tennis for fun, i can make my own mind up when comparing the various approaches. It's actually useful to see different coaches disagreeing on specific points, or even teaching philosophies.
debate can be useful when people are knowledgeable of the topic. most people here have played a lot of tennis and/or received a lot of instruction/coaching. if we only posted on threads we agreed with this place would be a lot less useful.
I would agree. And the right to left is hit on a low bounce, while the left to right is hit on a higher ball. Which is very natural considering the natural curve of a swing. But by far the most are curling left to right (inside out one might say), while on the fewer low balls you get the opposite.
most players at the rec level hit the ball too late, not in front of them where they would find more power and control.
the main reason for this i find is that many players play at a faster speed than they can handle
their footwork and their stroke preparation isn´t good enough to handle the pace. but virtually everybody likes to hit hard
many players don´t do a very good unit turn as well. some don´t do it at all and just arm the ball.
doing a split step is also not widely known.
by teaching all these things, and in many cases more open stances as well i see big improvements
once people learn about stuff like that it leads to more confidence and competence and less rushing
This is true. I doubt that a lot of people I've played with over the years (3.5-4.5) would have any idea what a split step is. I didn't know what it was until I came to this forum.
Can we please keep it civil and keep this thread open? It's one of the more useful threads on TTW.
We realize JY and Oscar disagree, but it'd be great if they could stay out of each other's tip threads so they don't get deleted.
What JY is putting out in his thread -does modern tennis exist- is brilliant stuff for anyone to absorb...
The best coaches in every sport realises that players need to keep things simple and uncluttered in their minds. So they play without conscious thought and play in the moment. Which coincidentally is the reason drills and patterns of play are used by the top coaches of all sports. So the situation is familiar to the player. The players body just does what it knows. There is no overriding ego sitting ontop of the mind during the split second between hits.
You cannot get much better as a player watching videos. You can however get much better if you have a coach that watches videos of your technique and game play. The job of the player is to keep it simple in a complex dynamic situation of the point in a tennis match.
Have you guys seen the video of djokovic teaching how to serve? He says its all in the wrist snap. High speed video of top pros show its really not about snapping the wrist. But that is what djokos coach used to elicit a certain performance from him. So djoko thinks its because he snaps his wrists.
I will surprise you...
There are theories about friendship, communication, education, teaching, even love. Thepries have major advantages over your experience, namely that they are not context-dependant and that they reflect reality objectively... your experience is unfortunately a biased sample.
You then have two options:
You guess that your experience luckily happen to fit reality in this case and you solve your problems through trials and errors;
Or you use the existing theories and you solve your problems systematically.
Guess what works best? In any case, you have good reasons to believe the theories will work every time: they‘re tested, unlike your personal convictions.
*theories in the scientific sense
To further develop, trying out different approaches is very inefficient, long and tiring... We can compare both ways to solve this problem with a simplified example.
Maximize f(x,y)= 3xy^2 subject to y=4x+2
Try doing this by trial and error... it‘s nearly impossible and we‘re talking about three variables. Use appropriate method and you solve it in under 10min.
In reality, when we talk about things like human behavior, thought or simply hitting a forehand, we can have 40, 50 or even more distinct components interacting. Teaching asks you what will work best with all that stuff... Being presumably an adult, you have an edge over kids: you can use deductive logic and, therefore, theories to solve these problems in minutes instead of spending a life time, hoping to get it right.
I have no idea what you are talking about. I'm talking about playing tennis on a real court with tennis racket and tennis balls. What are you saying? Study physics of tennis more than practice? Tennis is not that hard to learn. There is no theory of trying to learn tennis. You just get a good coach and play tennis.
How did you learn to play tennis? I had a coach and he showed me as a kid how to play and we practiced. And coaches through high school and college, they all had different ideas about tennis but were all variations on how to win.
What I am telling you is that you cannot teach what you do not understand.
Separate names with a comma.