Please critique groundstrokes

Hello again!
Decided to start where I picked off two years ago. Wow, time flies.
Not much changed for these last two years as we continued to practice two times a week taking it easy up until now when he said he wants to take up tennis seriously now as he seemed to enjoy it again.
Will be turning 15 in the spring and have grown quite a bit for the last two years he seems to be more mature now. I think he finally coming to a conclusion that skateboarding is just a hobby and Fortnite fever slowly dried out.
So here I’m debating how to go about it as he seems to want to give it a serious push and try to play competitively again.
He asked me to take a few videos to see his strokes and here a short one of him warming up from behind.
Would like to hear a brutally honest feedback on what you think we might want to pay attention to based on this short video.




Original post
Hello there,
Would love to get a picky and honest feedback on the groundstrokes.
Are they ATP pro-style?
Thanks in advance.

Part 2. After reading all of the feedback provided I talked to my son to see if he could hit a few forehands while concentrating on keeping the tip of the racquet above the wrist and give me his feedback as to how it feels.
He said it felt normal or how he likes to put it feels like a forehand :)
Nevertheless here is the short video and I'd love you guys to look it over to critique once again.
Thanks in advance
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUUm725l2RQ

Part 1.
Just for comparison old strokes from 2015
 
Last edited:

Dark_Angel85

Semi-Pro
Bravo!

IMHO, a lot potential in terms of generating power and footwork improvement.

Upper body looks sound enough. Working on the lower body posture, footwork, will vastly complement his upper body mechanics

5thsetinternational in YouTube has many great videos about these that might help your boy. Yann is his name I think
 
Good strokes. I'm going to start trying a more compact forehand like yours when I get back out on the courts this week.
 
Bravo!

IMHO, a lot potential in terms of generating power and footwork improvement.

Upper body looks sound enough. Working on the lower body posture, footwork, will vastly complement his upper body mechanics

5thsetinternational in YouTube has many great videos about these that might help your boy. Yann is his name I think
Thanks! These were easy warm up shots so he is somewhat straight up and inactive. Nevertheless trying to get his center of gravity lower and ended up buying AP belt featured at IMG. Didn't have time to use it much yet as with competitive travel soccer team tennis doesn't get any love for time being. However, will be turning twelve in a few months and need to make a decision on which sports to concentrate on as 3-4 hours a week of tennis isn't going to cut it. Glad to see we are getting stronger and it just took his ability to the next level across the sports.
With soccer being so inexpensive compared to tennis I saved up quite a bit, lol. Going to use those funds towards trying out one of the tennis academies for a short period of time. Debating between Sanchez-casal or Evert. IMG just too expensive.
Thanks again.


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Dark_Angel85

Semi-Pro
Thanks! These were easy warm up shots so he is somewhat straight up and inactive. Nevertheless trying to get his center of gravity lower and ended up buying AP belt featured at IMG. Didn't have time to use it much yet as with competitive travel soccer team tennis doesn't get any love for time being. However, will be turning twelve in a few months and need to make a decision on which sports to concentrate on as 3-4 hours a week of tennis isn't going to cut it. Glad to see we are getting stronger and it just took his ability to the next level across the sports.
With soccer being so inexpensive compared to tennis I saved up quite a bit, lol. Going to use those funds towards trying out one of the tennis academies for a short period of time. Debating between Sanchez-casal or Evert. IMG just too expensive.
Thanks again.


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Yes, so far you've mentioned very relevant things like lower COG and about this being a warm up meaning probably it was lower intensity as far as the objective of the hitting session was.

It'll be a shame if he takes the soccer route instead of tennis. I can understand the draw of a cheaper sport initially, but if he tends to take sports seriously, any sport could be quite costly. Just my thoughts...

At 12, he's definitely gonna need all the support as far as decision making and being disciplined and choosing one sport goes. Normally boys at this age have problems sticking to one and tend to follow their peers and 'what's cool at the moment' sport. Parents try to be involved, but we know eventually they'll choose what they like best.

It's great to hear good support from parents in supporting tennis. It's not easy I tell you
 

Daniel_K

Semi-Pro
My thought on tennis academies are if you can really devote a long time to them they are good, but for a short period its not worth it. it may be better to find a local coach that can really work a lot and is really interested in improving your kids game. From what I have heard/ seen from people i know that have done these tennis academies is that they don't focus as much on you unless you really commit to the academy, and that its not much different from hitting in a group or doing a lesson anywhere else with a competent teaching pro. Some of the best up and coming juniors i have seen locally don't do academies, they work with a private coach. The ones that think they are "very good" and have lots of money do the academies.

though everyone is different and it may be a good thing, at the very least it would a new experience, something hard to put a price on.
 

Lance L

Semi-Pro
I have a comment specifically on the forehand. I have a 1hbh so I don't feel knowledgable on that side.

I think your takeback goes too far. Your takeback starts well, and looks good, then at the very end it drops down, and then you start the swing.
It is that drop down part that could rob you of some racquet head speed.
The norm seems to be that the takeback ends with the racuet head still above your hand. Then when you pull the buttcap forward the head drops down and does its whip thing.

That drop down is important, and you may want to look at moving the head drop to the swing part instead of the backswing part.
 

Lance L

Semi-Pro
One more thought.
I know this is practice, but I would love to see you maintain a really good ready position at all times, and good athletic footwork. Treat this like a real point.
The thing is, if you don't do it all the time, even when using ball machine, it will be harder to remember to do it in a match, especially when you get tired.
(I see that this idea is already posted, but it really is important!)
 

Hansen

Semi-Pro
I think your takeback goes too far. Your takeback starts well, and looks good, then at the very end it drops down, and then you start the swing.
It is that drop down part that could rob you of some racquet head speed.
The norm seems to be that the takeback ends with the racuet head still above your hand. Then when you pull the buttcap forward the head drops down and does its whip thing.

That drop down is important, and you may want to look at moving the head drop to the swing part instead of the backswing part.
+1

your arm is fully extended before you initiate the forward motion. like lance l mentioned correctly, its then difficult to get the whip and racquet head speed.
since your forehand resembles the following player, you could try to mimic his forehand

 
Yes, so far you've mentioned very relevant things like lower COG and about this being a warm up meaning probably it was lower intensity as far as the objective of the hitting session was.

It'll be a shame if he takes the soccer route instead of tennis. I can understand the draw of a cheaper sport initially, but if he tends to take sports seriously, any sport could be quite costly. Just my thoughts...

At 12, he's definitely gonna need all the support as far as decision making and being disciplined and choosing one sport goes. Normally boys at this age have problems sticking to one and tend to follow their peers and 'what's cool at the moment' sport. Parents try to be involved, but we know eventually they'll choose what they like best.

It's great to hear good support from parents in supporting tennis. It's not easy I tell you
At this point there is no question in my mind he would be more successful in tennis vs soccer, provided he physically develops to tennis standards. It seems like it comes more natural to him and I am actually impressed with his ability to perform the way he does considering little time spent on the court. I can say first hand it is very hard to navigate my kid through as just like you mentioned it goes back and forth between a team sport vs individual.


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D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
looks solid given the difficulty of the feeds.
i might emphasize making sure to keep eyes on contact... the cue, is that their is a distinct head lift a split second after contact..

next i might increase the difficulty (from a ball machine) by:
* focus on the depth... starting hitting long, then bring it in from there, aim for 30% long, 70% in... just to get the feel for hitting deeper
* hitting on the rise (or even closer to the bounce), to help speed up his prep, and make the prep overall, smaller.
* starting from close to the sideline (ie. simulate a running fh, bh)

basically see where the stroke breaks down under pressure
 
Is there an intention there to model Agassi on the backhand?
I don't think there's an actual intention but certainly I've looked at many great bhs to see different things I can pick up and reflect on with his BH. I didn't play tennis growing up so I'm learning as we go. He is somewhat ambidextrous, write and eat with his left hand and does everything else with right, and maybe because of this I feel his BH is probably his best shot at this moment. He normally hits with less clearance over the net and change directions fairly easy at this age at least. It is a mean shot when he drives it both CC and DL for a winner, or a sharp wide angle off a short ball.


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I have a comment specifically on the forehand. I have a 1hbh so I don't feel knowledgable on that side.

I think your takeback goes too far. Your takeback starts well, and looks good, then at the very end it drops down, and then you start the swing.
It is that drop down part that could rob you of some racquet head speed.
The norm seems to be that the takeback ends with the racuet head still above your hand. Then when you pull the buttcap forward the head drops down and does its whip thing.

That drop down is important, and you may want to look at moving the head drop to the swing part instead of the backswing part.
Thanks a lot for the feedback. I'll check it out later on today when I get home.


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One more thought.
I know this is practice, but I would love to see you maintain a really good ready position at all times, and good athletic footwork. Treat this like a real point.
The thing is, if you don't do it all the time, even when using ball machine, it will be harder to remember to do it in a match, especially when you get tired.
(I see that this idea is already posted, but it really is important!)
Agreed!


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My thought on tennis academies are if you can really devote a long time to them they are good, but for a short period its not worth it. it may be better to find a local coach that can really work a lot and is really interested in improving your kids game. From what I have heard/ seen from people i know that have done these tennis academies is that they don't focus as much on you unless you really commit to the academy, and that its not much different from hitting in a group or doing a lesson anywhere else with a competent teaching pro. Some of the best up and coming juniors i have seen locally don't do academies, they work with a private coach. The ones that think they are "very good" and have lots of money do the academies.

though everyone is different and it may be a good thing, at the very least it would a new experience, something hard to put a price on.
I do agree with you on that as I think in either case there needs to be a commitment from all involved. I think going to an academy in our case is just a way to get an experience from the environment and see how kids train. And I also hope it will motivate him more towards pursuing a goal to improve. As far as private coach, It's not easy to find a knowledgeable coach who can develop a player to achieve his/her full potential.


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+1

your arm is fully extended before you initiate the forward motion. like lance l mentioned correctly, its then difficult to get the whip and racquet head speed.
since your forehand resembles the following player, you could try to mimic his forehand

Thanks a lot for the feedback!



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Last edited:

Dark_Angel85

Semi-Pro
At this point there is no question in my mind he would be more successful in tennis vs soccer, provided he physically develops to tennis standards. It seems like it comes more natural to him and I am actually impressed with his ability to perform the way he does considering little time spent on the court. I can say first hand it is very hard to navigate my kid through as just like you mentioned it goes back and forth between a team sport vs individual.


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The attraction of joining a team sport is surely alluring for a young boy. I would say, instead of telling him to choose between tennis vs team sports, I would then encourage him to take up basketball.

Footwork and a lot of movement in basketball is very complementary to tennis. Being a student of both, i highly recommend gearing your kid to basketball IF eventually we know as the supervising adult that the kid's main focus is tennis.
 

Postpre

Rookie
+1

your arm is fully extended before you initiate the forward motion. like lance l mentioned correctly, its then difficult to get the whip and racquet head speed.
since your forehand resembles the following player, you could try to mimic his forehand

What's wrong with fully extending the arm before initiating the forward motion? It's basically the hallmark of the straight arm forehand of Federer/Nadal.

Now in the case of this kid, the racquet head may get a bit too low (it's lower than his hand) in the drop. I've been noticing the same thing with my 12 yr old son. Murray often does this, and it was common for 2007 Nadal. On most balls, I prefer that the racquet head not drop below parallel (or table top position) to the court. It could very well be a strength issue for this kid as he's pretty straight arm, and a super compact stroke may not be feasible as yet.
 
I have a comment specifically on the forehand. I have a 1hbh so I don't feel knowledgable on that side.

I think your takeback goes too far. Your takeback starts well, and looks good, then at the very end it drops down, and then you start the swing.
It is that drop down part that could rob you of some racquet head speed.
The norm seems to be that the takeback ends with the racuet head still above your hand. Then when you pull the buttcap forward the head drops down and does its whip thing.

That drop down is important, and you may want to look at moving the head drop to the swing part instead of the backswing part.
Thanks for pointing this out! After watching the video again it is clear to me now. Will have to come up with some sort of drill to address that and open to any recommendations.
 
+1

your arm is fully extended before you initiate the forward motion. like lance l mentioned correctly, its then difficult to get the whip and racquet head speed.
since your forehand resembles the following player, you could try to mimic his forehand

Sorry, didn't get much time during the office hours check this video out up until now. As I look back at all of these years of his progression we had gone through all kind of takebacks from extremely huge early on due to more compact and at some point to extra compact when his elbow literally never crossed went behind the plane of the body when looking from the right side.
I think he developed the current one when he started hitting with bigger kids, he obviously also want to be able to hit winners on them. I think there should be a fine line between that being too big or too compact.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Good hitting. Much like a lot of the competitive stream juniors at our club.

I don't think you can have an ATP pro style groundstroke until you are an ATP pro. Thousands of hours of practice and coaching and you might get there. But they are certainly good quality competitive junior groundies.
 
What's wrong with fully extending the arm before initiating the forward motion? It's basicall
the hallmark of the straight arm forehand of Federer/Nadal.

Now in the case of this kid, the racquet head may get a bit too low (it's lower than his hand) in the drop. I've been noticing the same thing with my 12 yr old son. Murray often does this, and it was common for 2007 Nadal. On most balls, I prefer that the racquet head not drop below parallel (or table top position) to the court. It could very well be a strength issue for this kid as he's pretty straight arm, and a super compact stroke may not be feasible as yet.
Thanks! We certainly had some strength issues along the way on a few shots that kids tend to struggle with and I'm not sure if this the cause in this case. I asked him today about it and he said: I need to swing low to high and that is why I'm dropping the racquet head under the ball. I actually noticed that he pretty much has same takeback regardless of the height of the contact, I tend to think it explains why sometimes he frames balls hit at shoulder height.
 
Last edited:

zalive

Hall of Fame
I get the notion he initiates body turn on a FH a tiny fraction of a second too early, so he actually stops the body turn prior to contact with the ball...look at 1:16-1:21, it looks to me he stopped his body turn completely before the contact and hit the ball solely with his arm...he does generate a lot of RHS with his arm though...
 
Last edited:

Lance L

Semi-Pro
Thanks for pointing this out! After watching the video again it is clear to me now. Will have to come up with some sort of drill to address that and open to any recommendations.
The main thing I would try is shadow swinging. It can be very hard to even know what we are doing. Shadow swings can help gain that awareness of what is actually happening and what you want to happen.
Take it in stages.
1. Just hold the racquet in the place you want it for the end of the take back
2. Go from the ready position to the end of the take back, looking to make sure it is staying in the right place.
3. End of take back to forard swing
4. All together.
And keep repeating. 5 minutes a day, it wouldn't take long.

One last note. This is an experiment. It is not as if the current form is terrible or anything, just that analysis can be helpful. In the end you may decide you need to leave it where it is, but it would be a thought out decision, and you may also find something totally differnt to change because you were looking.
 

Hansen

Semi-Pro
What's wrong with fully extending the arm before initiating the forward motion? It's basically the hallmark of the straight arm forehand of Federer/Nadal.
federer for example doesn´t fully extend his arm before the forward motion. the fully extended arm is a consequence of the forward motion.


this guy on the other hand

 
The main thing I would try is shadow swinging. It can be very hard to even know what we are doing. Shadow swings can help gain that awareness of what is actually happening and what you want to happen.
Take it in stages.
1. Just hold the racquet in the place you want it for the end of the take back
2. Go from the ready position to the end of the take back, looking to make sure it is staying in the right place.
3. End of take back to forard swing
4. All together.
And keep repeating. 5 minutes a day, it wouldn't take long.

One last note. This is an experiment. It is not as if the current form is terrible or anything, just that analysis can be helpful. In the end you may decide you need to leave it where it is, but it would be a thought out decision, and you may also find something totally differnt to change because you were looking.
Thanks. Makes sense to break it down in steps. Would be a perfect activity to dust off tennis eye coach aid to try it out.
Thought about strength issue some more and considering his age it maybe a norm for now as the momentum generated during a takeback might be greater than his grip as his arm seems to be fairly loose. Just a thought though.


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Seems like most of the things are said about forehand which is great but I'd also love to hear a feedback on backhands.


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Postpre

Rookie
federer for example doesn´t fully extend his arm before the forward motion. the fully extended arm is a consequence of the forward motion.


this guy on the other hand

Watch the Federer video closer. He often has a straight arm at the bottom of his drop.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Seems like most of the things are said about forehand which is great but I'd also love to hear a feedback on backhands.


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Don't you know? TW forum posters all use 1HBHs for their beauty of form and awesome power. You will get no advice on a 2HBH here.;)
 
D

Deleted member 120290

Guest
Had no idea. Thought one hander was a thing of the past, lol.


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Whoa! You done did it now! The 1hbh powers that be on Talk Tennis will banish you from this forum for 50 years.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Was watching our new head pro hit this morning and he has a 1HBH. So it's not dead yet.
But I still think the versatility and ease of use of the 2Hander remains superior.

As far as tips? It's a better BH than 80% of the posters on this forums. Takeback seems a little stiff and not as fluid as a pro. I assume that will get better naturally.
 
Was watching our new head pro hit this morning and he has a 1HBH. So it's not dead yet.
But I still think the versatility and ease of use of the 2Hander remains superior.

As far as tips? It's a better BH than 80% of the posters on this forums. Takeback seems a little stiff and not as fluid as a pro. I assume that will get better naturally.
Thanks.
I was obviously joking about one hander being dead. Roger is probably my favorite player. However, I don't see that many juniors hitting one handers nova days.


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+1

your arm is fully extended before you initiate the forward motion. like lance l mentioned correctly, its then difficult to get the whip and racquet head speed.
since your forehand resembles the following player, you could try to mimic his forehand

I don't have a lot of videos and sorry for the quality but decided to compare what I had from when he was 10-years old and it does look like his take back was shorter.
Also, if I'm correct, his racquet head didn't drop as much as it is now which Lance L mentioned.
 
Was watching our new head pro hit this morning and he has a 1HBH. So it's not dead yet.
But I still think the versatility and ease of use of the 2Hander remains superior.

As far as tips? It's a better BH than 80% of the posters on this forums. Takeback seems a little stiff and not as fluid as a pro. I assume that will get better naturally.
Just looked back in 2015 and found his old back hand evolution when he went from very compact takeback style to extremely stiff and longer take back to get more power and you've seen what it is now when he keeps his elbows slightly bent.
 
I would also greatly appreciate a feedback/suggestions on his current serve. These are warm up serves as it was getting dark quick.
 
Last edited:

Hansen

Semi-Pro
I don't have a lot of videos and sorry for the quality but decided to compare what I had from when he was 10-years old and it does look like his take back was shorter.
Also, if I'm correct, his racquet head didn't drop as much as it is now which Lance L mentioned.
to me, this version of his forehand looks better. backhand looks good also, then and now.
serve looks good also. check out the following link for good advice https://www.youtube.com/user/servedoc
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
to me, this version of his forehand looks better. backhand looks good also, then and now.
serve looks good also. check out the following link for good advice https://www.youtube.com/user/servedoc
The older one? To me too...

I don't have a lot of videos and sorry for the quality but decided to compare what I had from when he was 10-years old and it does look like his take back was shorter.
Also, if I'm correct, his racquet head didn't drop as much as it is now which Lance L mentioned.
I get the notion he initiates body turn on a FH a tiny fraction of a second too early, so he actually stops the body turn prior to contact with the ball...look at 1:16-1:21, it looks to me he stopped his body turn completely before the contact and hit the ball solely with his arm...he does generate a lot of RHS with his arm though...
His FH technique from 10 yrs age looks better to me than current one, more fluid and natural, if I'm honest...you can see how he follows through with body rotation naturally when hitting a ball; as a result, he gets additional RHS from his core.
 
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