New player seeking some advice

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by SteveG, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. SteveG

    SteveG New User

    Oct 2, 2007

    I have just recently picked up tennis and I am looking for a little advice on some issues. I have been reading the forums along with some articles and tips online but I wanted to get some more opinions on how to progress quickly.

    I am a 24 year old graduate student and in very good physical condition. Over the last couple months I have really intensified my workout routine and normally have been going 4-5 days a week to the gym.... I've played sports my entire life (about a 2-3 year hiatus during my intensive school years) and would consider myself an exceptional athlete. I'm a very modest person, but for the sake of this post I feel this is an important point to make. I started playing golf 3 years ago and after the first year I reached a +2 handicap. Now I am pretty much bored with golf and I find Tennis intriguing... I just purchased a Head LiquidMetal Radical MP and have hit with it for about 3.5 hours. I like this a lot and was told it would allow me the forgiveness and workability I needed (kind of like a cavity back iron in golf, it helps you when you make mistakes, but it allows you some room to create shots and learn the game)...

    So, now I've played about 5 or 6 times and after reading the NTRP rating I would say I am around a 3.5. I have a good, strong forehand and can handle just about any ball on that side. I can hit huge shots, form is inconsistent at times, but I am developing that side nicely. My backhand is probably below average, but developing unbelievably fast. I started out trying to use a 2 handed backhand, but I just can't get it to work. So, the last couple times out I've focused on using only a 1-handed backhand and I'm really starting to figure it out. I am developing spin on that side nicely, but still am a bit defensive during play because I don't really trust it. Every once in awhile though I'll pull shots out of you-know-where and hit a topspin backhand that makes the other guy look like an idiot. Overall though this feels a lot more natural.. My serve is streaky. I can go 3 or so games and not double fault once, racking up Aces and other times it feels like I can't get a serve in at all. I can hit some huge flat serves and some really nice kick serves, but again it is off and on.....

    The things I seem to struggle with most are footwork and technique. I notice when I'm set up and in position I can hit just about any shot I want. But unfortunately that is not a regular occurrence lol. Technique on my serve is pretty poor I feel, and again every once in awhile I unload on one and it feels effortless. A lot of that is timing I feel and every time out I get better in that department. I've been told I'm falling too far to the left and better players are destroying shots down the line against me when I get out of position. I am getting away with just feeling like I'm pitching in baseball, but I think the tennis motion is supposed to be a lot different.... And, lastly the high ball to my backhand side is pretty much a guaranteed point for better players. I really don't have an answer for it and aside from hitting a jumping backhand (which is a tough shot for me) I don't feel I can do anything with it....

    Anyways, now that all the garbage is out of the way, the question is What can I do to improve most effectively? Aside from just picking up tidbits of information from guys I hit with or reading the forums here I really don't have any means of learning the game. I know I have the ability and coordination to improve rapidly, I just don't really know what to work on other than hitting a lot or playing with better players... I've looked at some instructional videos on serving and footwork, but what other information can I take in?? I've come to realize through golf that you can get away with just raw ability, but when you wanna take it to the next level everything is magnified to the thousandth degree..... I am trying to build a solid foundation here with terrific fundamentals so I can keep improving further and further down the line...

    If someone read all of this, thanks for your time and I am welcome to any response you might have.... Thanks again and I love to play tennis now :D
  2. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2005
    Big Canoe, GA
    24 year old grad student - so I'm guessing you don't have a ton of money to burn on a new hobby. However, they do say tennis is cheaper than golf. I'd suggest if at all possible that you get some private, semi-private, or group lessons from a good pro. You want solid fundamentals to build on. Once you have the proper technique, you can then work on your own or with friends to improve and groove those strokes. You really don't want to groove BAD strokes, though. It can take a LONG time to un-learn something you've been doing wrong for a long time. You might try and see if any tennis facilities near you offer free lessons to new players.

    Good luck - it's a great sport that you can enjoy for a lifetime.
  3. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

    May 12, 2006
    raw physical ability in golf????????????????????????????the short game scores, its touch finesse, how you hold up under pressure

    everyone who has picked up a racket have had the same hope and dreams as yours

    the reality is your game will hit a wall. you will get to 4.5-5.0. plateau. get bored. find another challenge. exactly what happend to you and golf.

    btw scatch golf is equivalent to a 5.0-5.5 player. imho
    good luck
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2007
  4. shwetty[tennis]balls

    shwetty[tennis]balls Rookie

    Aug 22, 2007
    I hope I might persuade you to stay w/ the game over the long haul. It is a tremendous game that has me always trying to improve. I doubt you'll get bored w/ tennis as you did w/ golf. To answer your question, I would say that you ought to use your golf money and join a tennis club/league. Take private and group lessons. These will help you to achieve good form. Try to hit with people who are generally a little better than you, with an occasional person that is at your level. You'll find that biy doing this, you are exposing yourself to new threats that you're able to see quicker than just playing someone that is at the same level as you. Unfortunately, there is no mytsical way or journey one takes to be a great tennis player- just a lot of practice, practice, practice. I hope you don't "hit a wall" with tennis, because even if you don't achieve ratings higher than 5.5 or 6.0, it will be a game that actually challenges you mentally as well as physically. In this sense, tennis is one of the healthiest sports I know. Just because you can't beat Federer, doesn't mean that you have to get bored playing the sport. It's actually real easy to see why you got bored w/ golf, I did to. I find that tennis offers me tremendously more than golf ever did in terms of satisfaction and gratification. I can never set my racquet down! Keep up your game and hope to see you on the court. I always say that the worst day on the tennis court is a million times better than your best day at the office, or even playing golf at that.
    Best of luck and play on!
  5. Seifersquall1

    Seifersquall1 Rookie

    Sep 7, 2007
    If you want to improve a lot, then get private lessons, play people that are challenging, get mentally tough, and play against a wall.

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