My last match.. prime example of imploding (vid)

1HBHFTW

Rookie
I've talked about my peaks and valleys and now have a great example in my last match. I'm in the 4.0 division and my opponent is in 3.5. Sometimes I struggle against nonconventional slice guys like this, but still normally win cross division matches fairly easily. I'm in the white headband.

I added my self-evaluation by set but would love any expert feedback or criticism (form or strategy). I know most people have no interest in watching the full match but I didn't cut out any points based on previous feedback.

1st set (6-1). Combination of me playing very aggressive and confident and my opponent starting really slow with a bunch of errors.

2nd set (3-6): I started off with a good aggressive mindset but was going for too many winners and hitting errors. Slowly seemed to lose confidence and fall into bad habits (way too conservative, no depth, leaning off back foot). At same time my opponent "woke up" and played much better.

3rd set (2-6): I went full play not to lose mode.. Was pretty much always on defense not trying to control the points. All bad habits very prominent.

TIA for feedback!
 
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1HBHFTW

Rookie
I hope he thanked you for hitting the ball back to the middle of the court, so he didn’t have to move/run.
Yeah that’s my horrible habit when I start getting tight. Slow, shallow, right up the middle hoping for an opponent error. Shameful on video..

I definitely noticed starting around halfway through 2nd second set after a few error-heavy games. Do you think I was doing it too much early in match too?
 
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ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Sometimes I struggle against nonconventional slice guys like this.
My opponent starting really slow with a bunch of errors.
I was going for too many winners and hitting errors.
My opponent "woke up" and played much better.
I went full play not to lose mode.
I dunno, you seem to understand what is going on with play in the match. You obviously cannot do anything about the other side of the net, but what you really need to do is figure out why you struggle.

Also obvious, stop going for so many winners (though to me you looked waaaaay more defensive that ever being very offensive. As mentioned above, I see a lot of opportunities to move the opponent that you just set back in the middle of the court. Might be something to review.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I like the way you set up for your BH. When you have the time and are in proper position, it's a nice stroke. Improving is going to be about the footwork needed to ensure that happens more often.

Against this type of opponent, it helps to remind yourself that he doesn't have the weapons to hurt you, apart from the occasional great shot. So you can be patient in your point construction.

Also, I don't know if you noticed but he tended to play several feet inside the BL, probably because of his mobility. This means you can hit deep and make him cough up errors and short replies [which you did several times; I just don't know if it was deliberate].
 

ballmachineguy

Professional
Yeah that’s my horrible habit when I start getting tight. Slow, shallow, right up the middle hoping for an opponent error. Shameful on video..

I definitely noticed starting around halfway through 2nd second set after a few error-heavy games. Do you think I was doing it too much early in match too?
Yeah. Too much all match. Needed to drop shot him more. He would have moved forward another step and been even more susceptible to the issue “s&v not dead yet” mentioned.
 

1HBHFTW

Rookie
I dunno, you seem to understand what is going on with play in the match. You obviously cannot do anything about the other side of the net, but what you really need to do is figure out why you struggle.

Also obvious, stop going for so many winners (though to me you looked waaaaay more defensive that ever being very offensive. As mentioned above, I see a lot of opportunities to move the opponent that you just set back in the middle of the court. Might be something to review.
great feedback. Definitely agree horrible lazy defense is my bigger problem, with an occasional reckless winner attempt sprinkled in. Thank you!
I like the way you set up for your BH. When you have the time and are in proper position, it's a nice stroke. Improving is going to be about the footwork needed to ensure that happens more often.

Against this type of opponent, it helps to remind yourself that he doesn't have the weapons to hurt you, apart from the occasional great shot. So you can be patient in your point construction.

Also, I don't know if you noticed but he tended to play several feet inside the BL, probably because of his mobility. This means you can hit deep and make him cough up errors and short replies [which you did several times; I just don't know if it was deliberate].
Awesome feedback! I’ll focus on my footwork with backhand. I also need to get better at adjusting to what my opponent is doing (or where he’s standing). Early my goal was to hit deep and stay aggressive but it wasn’t because I noticed his positioning. only because I know I have a tendency not to do that so I made it my goal before eventually losing that focus later in the match.

I’d call myself a pretty weak 4.0, but that’s the division I play in. Last season I was 9-12. When I’m playing well I can compete with very good players, but as you can see from above when I lose focus or get conservative I can easily lose to 3.5s.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Compare your strokes to pro's strokes, one above the other and single frame, in this post. To single frame on Youtube use the period & comma keys. Always select the video using the alt key + left mouse click, otherwise the video starts playing. You can go full screen and come back down and the video stays on the same frame. For most accurate comparisons, use very similar camera angles.

See backhand approach to the ball at 3:22 (video starts there). Compared to pros, I would say that your racket shaft is at an angle tilted more downward than the pros use. Find all your backhands where the backhand and racket tilt is visible, as for that return of serve, list the times for each video. Find pros for comparison and see if you agree that your racket shaft tilt is at a different angle. The height of the incoming ball is a factor, maybe you were hitting an especially low ball. ?
Video starts at 3:22, stop on backhand serve return at 2:23.
(to do this just find and post videos above one another)

A video that showed your backhand side and the racket tilt on every backhand would be helpful to answer this technique question. Video in bright direct sunlight to reduce motion blur.

If you have any questions, let me know.
 
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1HBHFTW

Rookie
Compare your strokes to pro's strokes, one above the other and single frame, in this post. To single frame on Youtube use the period & comma keys. Always select the video using the alt key + left mouse click, otherwise the video starts playing. You can go full screen and come back down and the video stays on the same frame. For most accurate comparisons, use very similar camera angles.

See backhand approach to the ball at 3:22 (video starts there). Compared to pros, I would say that your racket shaft is at an angle tilted more downward than the pros use. Find all your backhands where the backhand and racket tilt is visible, as for that return of serve, list the times for each video. Find pros for comparison and see if you agree that your racket shaft tilt is at a different angle. The height of the incoming ball is a factor, maybe you were hitting an especially low ball. ?
Video starts at 3:22, stop on backhand serve return at 2:23.
(to do this just find and post videos above one another)

A video that showed your backhand side and the racket tilt on every backhand would be helpful to answer this technique question. Video in bright direct sunlight to reduce motion blur.

If you have any questions, let me know.
Learning tips about my tennis AND about YouTube! Very helpful. I haven’t had a chance to compare yet but I’ll definitely be taking advantage of the frame by frame functionality and look at the BH specifics you mentioned later today.
 

1HBHFTW

Rookie
You're from the same era as Rod Laver?! Feet have to stay on the ground while serving. :)
Ha unfortunately I used to jump from a platform stance and had another 10 MPH on my serve, but after I hurt my knee it got too painful landing from that so I had to dial back to a softer serve out of a non-jumping pinpoint stance. Eventually I'd like to go back to the former but am too nervous for now.
 

1HBHFTW

Rookie
whether 3.5 or 4.0 both of u seem to be at the same level.
He was the better of us yesterday for sure. I just got promoted to the 4.0 league 2 seasons ago and win about 40% of my matches there. Before that I had made (and lost) the championship in the 3.5 division 3 out of 4 seasons. My problem is the range between my good and my bad is so huge. I'm hoping the feedback here is going to help me close that gap :)
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
You've got everything needed to beat him consistently. Basically he has no ball that can hurt you except the short side spin undercut, but it's a surprise shot rather than bread and butter.
The down side is your agressive play generally resulted in error. He's fast enough to counter your agression and spin it back. So being agressive wide won't work. I see nothing wrong playing deep down the middle. Mix depth and height up a little and wait for the mid court ball to work with.
More returns required, even Djok and Fed often just bunt back to start point. This guy can't hurt you, so need to get more returns back. Hit one harder every now and again for pressure but he seems content to hit within himself.
 

beepee1972

Semi-Pro
May I say I like your idea of posting you match vid's (and being open for criticism) and learning from it. But for a steeper learning curve, you may ask a higher level player (if available) to coach you on site during the match. He/she sees thing from a different perspective and may give you better and timelier tips, which you can follow up immediately. You may also think about a gameplan before the match, and some alternative routes if things start going wrong. Good luck!
 

JW89

New User
You've got everything needed to beat him consistently. Basically he has no ball that can hurt you except the short side spin undercut, but it's a surprise shot rather than bread and butter.
The down side is your agressive play generally resulted in error. He's fast enough to counter your agression and spin it back. So being agressive wide won't work. I see nothing wrong playing deep down the middle. Mix depth and height up a little and wait for the mid court ball to work with.
More returns required, even Djok and Fed often just bunt back to start point. This guy can't hurt you, so need to get more returns back. Hit one harder every now and again for pressure but he seems content to hit within himself.
You consider his opponent fast??

No offense to him, but he is objectively very slow and good player would have easily worn him out.

The problem is OP hardly made him move and lacked depth.
 

Fintft

Legend
I hope he thanked you for hitting the ball back to the middle of the court, so he didn’t have to move/run.
And if you hit DTM, can't you hit it harder?
Too bad that when you went for winners (b/c I felt that you should, as in the first set you were hitting too loopy.) you missed. More practice?
 

1HBHFTW

Rookie
And if you hit DTM, can't you hit it harder?
Too bad that when you went for winners (b/c I felt that you should, as in the first set you were hitting too loopy.) you missed. More practice?
Yes I could and should have. That tendency is my biggest problem. I had always thought I was just getting tight and waiting for opponent errors but now I wonder if another factor is that i regularly hit with my young son and weaker (like 3.0) friends in the neighborhood. on those days I try to just feed them the ball where they can get it back. I had always thought any hitting was good practice but I’m starting to wonder if I’m training my muscle memory to revert that when I’m not focused enough on staying aggressive.

One clarification, are you saying that I wasn’t aggressive enough in first set either? I know I had a couple of those poor defensive shots but I had thought my overall mentality was better and more aggressive.
 

Fintft

Legend
Yes I could and should have. That tendency is my biggest problem. I had always thought I was just getting tight and waiting for opponent errors but now I wonder if another factor is that i regularly hit with my young son and weaker (like 3.0) friends in the neighborhood. on those days I try to just feed them the ball where they can get it back. I had always thought any hitting was good practice but I’m starting to wonder if I’m training my muscle memory to revert that when I’m not focused enough on staying aggressive.

One clarification, are you saying that I wasn’t aggressive enough in first set either? I know I had a couple of those poor defensive shots but I had thought my overall mentality was better and more aggressive.
To the former: I have a similar problem and just switched to more power with my FH (and with my CC 1HBH) and pounding their BHs. I started with the coach, then moved to my friends. Mowed them. No more babing more then one shot with them.

To the later: Yes you were aggressive, but mainly with placement, not power in the first set.
 

1HBHFTW

Rookie
To the former: I have a similar problem and just switched to more power with my FH (and with my CC 1HBH) and pounding their BHs. I started with the coach, then moved to my friends. Mowed them. No more babing more then one shot with them.

To the later: Yes you were aggressive, but mainly with placement, not power in the first set.
I can start doing that with my friends because if they stop wanting to play I'll just find someone else. Don't really want to start crushing winners against my 7 year-old though lol.
As usual thanks for feedback! I'll try to play with more power consistently.
 

Fintft

Legend
I can start doing that with my friends because if they stop wanting to play I'll just find someone else. Don't really want to start crushing winners against my 7 year-old though lol.
As usual thanks for feedback! I'll try to play with more power consistently.
Yes, not against the child, maybe not even as a drill.
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
You consider his opponent fast??

No offense to him, but he is objectively very slow and good player would have easily worn him out.

The problem is OP hardly made him move and lacked depth.
I didn't say he was fast, I said he was fast enough to counter the posters agressive shots.

Your solution of hitting of hitting more to the sides and increase depth would result in more errors and faster loss. The error % was already too high.

His oppenent slices everything so mixing height will be more effective than depth. Force him to slice down at the back court and up and the for court.

Getting to net also good idea but better down the middle and sliced. Even short slice down middle when he's behind baseline. He isn't going to dip the ball so he won't get great angles and have to slice a slice up.
 

ubercat

Professional
How about the variety game. More moonballs and slice both safe shots. Then attack when he coughs a short ball.

Andre Agassi used to practice high rollers an hour a day. You hope the guy will try and bash those.
 

PJ78

New User
Watching the video against this specific opponent I might suggest two strategic things:

1) you seem to win a lot of the points (or at least are in a position to win) when you had a strategy to hit a ball with top spin that was higher in his strike zone, and then he usually hits back short because he is not comfortable with it, then you come in with a decent approach and set up for a volley. The approach isn't necessarily for a winner but it puts him out of position and the return you handle easily with a put away volley. This strategy worked well for you so perhaps focusing on this series of steps against the same opponent or type of opponent.

2) you were missing a fair amount of returns that didn't seem like overly fast serves. I suspect that the lack of pace (or perhaps some spin that we cannot appreciate) on his serve was causing you to take it out of your normal strike zone and you were frequently hitting the ball when it was too low. He probably is given you a lack of pace (or uncommon placement) that you aren't used to and your setting up too far back in the expectation of a harder serve. You may want to move in more or anticipate moving in more quickly to be able to catch the ball at a higher height for a more consistent return or potentially to control the point.
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
Your opponent has good "hands". I think he's an experienced player.

I think you could have out grinded him. Keep a lot of balls in play and see if he hits the wall.
 

1HBHFTW

Rookie
Watching the video against this specific opponent I might suggest two strategic things:

1) you seem to win a lot of the points (or at least are in a position to win) when you had a strategy to hit a ball with top spin that was higher in his strike zone, and then he usually hits back short because he is not comfortable with it, then you come in with a decent approach and set up for a volley. The approach isn't necessarily for a winner but it puts him out of position and the return you handle easily with a put away volley. This strategy worked well for you so perhaps focusing on this series of steps against the same opponent or type of opponent.

2) you were missing a fair amount of returns that didn't seem like overly fast serves. I suspect that the lack of pace (or perhaps some spin that we cannot appreciate) on his serve was causing you to take it out of your normal strike zone and you were frequently hitting the ball when it was too low. He probably is given you a lack of pace (or uncommon placement) that you aren't used to and your setting up too far back in the expectation of a harder serve. You may want to move in more or anticipate moving in more quickly to be able to catch the ball at a higher height for a more consistent return or potentially to control the point.
great points. I'll try to implement both of those strategies in my upcoming matches. thanks!
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
You give away too many points on return of serve. I know how tempting it is to take a full swing at a weak serve like he is giving you. I would focus on still using a more compact swing and placing the return in good spots. There really is no need to take a full swing on a serve return. This guy has no power or real technique so just take the ball out in front early with a compact swing and place it.

Don't give away free points on ROS. Make him hit aces.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I kept watching the match and calling out the shots I would have gone for and you almost never did what I would have done. Not sure if that's good or bad, but you had plenty of inside the court FH's that you could have driven into a corner and they just went DTM to the opponents FH.

maybe it's confidence but you really seem to have enough ball control to move this guy around (he plays like a fat GSG). Do that for half a set and you'd have him so tired, you'd win by forfeit.

Whenever I see a big guy like this without a scary weapon, I'm going to run them corner to corner until they drop (hopefully not dead). You were doing him too big a favor just getting the ball back to his "chop shot" wheelhouse.

And you can't miss returns so easily on crappy serves. Make the server earn his service games.
 

mucat

Hall of Fame
Your FHs in the 1st set were ok. But what happened after? They were way too shallow...they go into the service box more often than my serve :-D
Your BH might look more shaky but at least they went in with height and depth. Also, your FHs hitting the net a lot. You need to aim it higher to give it more safety.
In the 2nd/3rd sets, I think your opponent played better too and you had more unforced errors and less patient?
If you just play the percentage... cross court and deep, you will give him a lot more trouble.
 

Morch Us

Professional
We can pick out many nitty bitty details when comparing to a higher level match play. But I will skip all of that and will go straight to the easiest picking for you to improve.

1. Depth and power are not the same thing. Depth does not necessarily mean "aggressive swing".
You seem to understand the importance of depth for setup shots or neutral shots. But you never seem to understand or differentiate depth vs aggreiveness vs power. Everytime you seem like going for more depth, you seem to increase the aggresiveness of swing as well as power of shot. This did not cause much issues for you in first set, probably because you were more fresh, and also possibly because your opponent was still getting used to your shots or patterns or style. But as the match progressed it seemed to hurt you more.

Essentially you want to get depth on the rally without making errors first. So based on how the incoming ball is you may have to adjust the aggressiveness of swing to reduce the errors. Of course you are not really trying to trouble the opponent on the very first depth shot, let him hit it back. If you notice every single time you have a good depth, irrespective of the power or aggressiveness of the shot, you got rewarded with a shorter and relativeley easier ball. But you have to be able to get to this step with minimal errors.

2. Most of the time, when you got into the second stage (got rewarded by a short or weak ball), you were found off guard, especially towards the end of the match. This clearly indicates purposeless hitting. There was no purpose behind your good depth shot, than just hit as hard as you think you should. Have a purpose on the neutral shot (to gain depth) and once you see it getting depth, anticipate a reward, and be ready to utilize the opportunities. (of course mistakes will happen, even beyond this.... but that is OK).

If you clean up the above two steps, you will be winning a lot more points without any technical changes in your shots. So I think those are easy pickings.

More regarding the point 1. There is a saying that, you should be only as aggressive on your shots as your foot. So as your footwork improves, you will find that you can be consistently be more aggressive on your neutral shots.

I added my self-evaluation by set but would love any expert feedback or criticism (form or strategy).
 
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1HBHFTW

Rookie
We can pick out many nitty bitty details when comparing to a higher level match play. But I will skip all of that and will go straight to the easiest picking for you to improve.

1. Depth and power are not the same thing. Depth does not necessarily mean "aggressive swing".
You seem to understand the importance of depth for setup shots or neutral shots. But you never seem to understand or differentiate depth vs aggreiveness vs power. Everytime you seem like going for more depth, you seem to increase the aggresiveness of swing as well as power of shot. This did not cause much issues for you in first set, probably because you were more fresh, and also possibly because your opponent was still getting used to your shots or patterns or style. But as the match progressed it seemed to hurt you more.

Essentially you want to get depth on the rally without making errors first. So based on how the incoming ball is you may have to adjust the aggressiveness of swing to reduce the errors. Of course you are not really trying to trouble the opponent on the very first depth shot, let him hit it back. If you notice every single time you have a good depth, irrespective of the power or aggressiveness of the shot, you got rewarded with a shorter and relativeley easier ball. But you have to be able to get to this step with minimal errors.

2. Most of the time, when you got into the second stage (got rewarded by a short or weak ball), you were found off guard, especially towards the end of the match. This clearly indicates purposeless hitting. There was no purpose behind your good depth shot, than just hit as hard as you think you should. Have a purpose on the neutral shot (to gain depth) and once you see it getting depth, anticipate a reward, and be ready to utilize the opportunities. (of course mistakes will happen, even beyond this.... but that is OK).

If you clean up the above two steps, you will be winning a lot more points without any technical changes in your shots. So I think those are easy pickings.

More regarding the point 1. There is a saying that, you should be only as aggressive on your shots as your foot. So as your footwork improves, you will find that you can be consistently be more aggressive on your neutral shots.
Very insightful. I agree to get more depth I often try to hit harder, I’ll focus on the differentiation you described and point construction more. Thanks!
 
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