Practice Video

WildVolley

Legend
Or like vid where Stan hit that shot in the other posts, where they are mostly hitting down the middle.
Yeah, it is simply wrong to suggest that play above 3.0 is only about movement and not strokes. Perhaps someone is exaggerating for effect, but it isn't at all true. Tennis is about both strokes, movement, fitness, and strategy.

If your practice is only hitting down the middle (an efficient way to warm up) you really need to also bring in movement, serve, return, approach, volley, overhead, put-away, defense, and game practice. Even the previous list isn't comprehensive.

If you only spend all your practices doing movement drills you're going to tire quickly and have a short practice session.
 

WildVolley

Legend
That's NOT practice to improve their game! That's WARMUP within a tournament. :oops:
The practice sessions tend to be shorter during a tournament, but they aren't only warmups.

Hitting down the middle is a standard warm-up for a practice session. I've watched practices at professional tournaments that involved specific drills and hitting down the middle is the standard warmup prior to the drill.

If all TLM ever does is hit down the middle then you have a point. If he goes on to do other things during a practice session, then you're simply wrong.
 
Yeah, it is simply wrong to suggest that play above 3.0 is only about movement and not strokes. Perhaps someone is exaggerating for effect, but it isn't at all true. Tennis is about both strokes, movement, fitness, and strategy.

If your practice is only hitting down the middle (an efficient way to warm up) you really need to also bring in movement, serve, return, approach, volley, overhead, put-away, defense, and game practice. Even the previous list isn't comprehensive.

If you only spend all your practices doing movement drills you're going to tire quickly and have a short practice session.
Basic strokes are not the weakness of any 3.0+ player. Movement and footwork are. Serve and return of serve are. Footwork on all the stuff you listed are. Any 3.0+ should be able to repetitively hit the ball down the middle even in bad hangover, so no need to practice that!
 
The practice sessions tend to be shorter during a tournament, but they aren't only warmups.

Hitting down the middle is a standard warm-up for a practice session. I've watched practices at professional tournaments that involved specific drills and hitting down the middle is the standard warmup prior to the drill.

If all TLM ever does is hit down the middle then you have a point. If he goes on to do other things during a practice session, then you're simply wrong.
Yes, all sessions start with hitting down the middle. But that's simply to build the concentration and warmup the muscles and the brain, NOT to improve the hitting itself.
 

WildVolley

Legend
Basic strokes are not the weakness of any 3.0+ player. Movement and footwork are. Serve and return of serve are. Footwork on all the stuff you listed are. Any 3.0+ should be able to repetitively hit the ball down the middle even in bad hangover, so no need to practice that!
Your experience is different than mine.

I've seen a lot of variation in rec players. Many have terrible movement and terrible strokes. Some have a good stroke say on the fh and a terrible stroke on the bh. Some have good fitness, move well, and can barely hit the ball (the classic "pusher" before the term was redefined). Some can bomb serves but have very weak rally skills (this is actually quite rare, but I've seen it).
 

WildVolley

Legend
Yes, all sessions start with hitting down the middle. But that's simply to build the concentration and warmup the muscles and the brain, NOT to improve the hitting itself.
I think you're underestimating the importance of cooperative rallying in stroke development.

However, I still stand by my claim that hitting down the middle is going to be seen as part of a lot of practices from the 2.5 level to the 7.0 level. You can't really rip TLM for doing that unless you think that's all he does.
 
Your experience is different than mine.

I've seen a lot of variation in rec players. Many have terrible movement and terrible strokes. Some have a good stroke say on the fh and a terrible stroke on the bh. Some have good fitness, move well, and can barely hit the ball (the classic "pusher" before the term was redefined). Some can bomb serves but have very weak rally skills (this is actually quite rare, but I've seen it).
So do you think a drill of "keeping the ball in the center" would improve the match play performance of 3.0+ players?
 
I think you're underestimating the importance of cooperative rallying in stroke development.

However, I still stand by my claim that hitting down the middle is going to be seen as part of a lot of practices from the 2.5 level to the 7.0 level. You can't really rip TLM for doing that unless you think that's all he does.
To get ideas for improvements, OR to try to improve, he should IMO either:
1) Try to change his basic FH technique while hitting down the middle like this, or
2) Challenge himself by asking the partner to move him around, and see how his footwork or technique collapses there.

What is the role of posting a video where a 4.0 player hits down the middle?
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Actually, if you re-watch the clip, TLM is moving side to side quite a bit and he's already stated he's working on getting his backhand to be more consistent. They'll be plenty of time for drills as this is just a two minute clip.

Also one of the things I like about TLM is he's honed his game by competing and some ball machine. I know a runner that trains by competing. It's an interesting approach to tennis in that, I guess, brings out the necessities of battle for his level.

He's not going to change his forehand if he's winning matches with it --a diff mindset than most of us have.
 
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tlm

G.O.A.T.
And not even that. They do have a focus here, and that is to hit the ball deep in the center.

BUT! Tennis is NOT a game of strokes, not above 3.0. It's a game of movement and footwork. Something like 90% of errors are due to you being hurried with your movement, or due to your bad footwork. This kind of a practice gives zero challenge for movement and footwork. Hence it's pretty much useless above 3.0.
As usual you are way off base. I have never watched any 3.0 level players that can maintain a 40 shot rally, most are lucky if they can keep 10 shots in a row in the court. Actually there are many 3.5 and even 4.0 level players that
Cannot hit that many shots in a row in the court.

I watch the local college guys practice and they will hit continuos rally shots and keep the ball in the middle of the court. I am willing to bet big money that these guys are light years ahead of you. But yet they practice like this often.

Just because my partner and I are hitting somewhat towards the middle does not mean that there is no movement. There is always some movement unless you are hitting off a tee or something. You say that tennis is not a game of strokes? Really I never knew that because I have been beaten by quite a few players that did not have near as good of movement as I have.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Actually, if you re-watch the clip, TLM is moving side to side quite a bit and he's already stated he's working on getting his backhand to be more consistent. They'll be plenty of time for drills as this is just a two minute clip.

Also one of the things I like about TLM is he's honed his game by competing and some ball machine. I know a runner that trains by competing. It's an interesting approach to tennis in that, I guess, brings out the necessities of battle for his level.

He's not going to change his forehand if he's winning matches with it --a diff mindset than most of us have.

Exactly I don't get how someone says that there is no movement when two players rally back and forth for multiple shots. As ugly and non fluid and technically incorrect as my forehand is it is my strongpoint. My opponents keep the ball to my backhand as much as possible so that must mean something.

I am not saying that my forehand does not need improvement because it could use a lot of improvement. But right now my backhand is weaker and that is where I need the most work.

My game is simple I hit looping topspin back and forth from side to side and also chip slices and throw in drop shots here and there and hit more attacking shots when it is high percentage. I will do this over and over for a full 3 sets if necessary with no problem.

It's not pretty but it works pretty well for me with my limited game. Plus I believe that it has been said before that especially at rec level tennis that most points are won because of unforced errors.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Tlm, do you have trouble hitting cross court? I notice when I hit late I always tend to hit inside out. And good, consistent hitting
I have worked on hitting better cross court forehands and have made some improvement but I naturally hit better inside out. Your probably right because I have a tendency to hit late it is more natural to not hit cross court.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
^^When I read Yandell's article and he referred to you as a "rec version of Nadal" it finally hit home that what you are doing is working for you. But like me, we continue to tweak our games & weak spots.
 

WildVolley

Legend
To make this thread more helpful, imagine that you're TLM's coach.

What drills would you want him to do? Explain why you think they'd help his game.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Basic strokes are not the weakness of any 3.0+ player. Movement and footwork are. Serve and return of serve are. Footwork on all the stuff you listed are. Any 3.0+ should be able to repetitively hit the ball down the middle even in bad hangover, so no need to practice that!
I don't think this is true that basic strokes are not a weakness of 3.0+level players. I see many of them that have a lot of flaws in their strokes. I have noticed that is one of the biggest problems with the lower level players they may have a good first serve or can rip a forehand here and there when they catch it just right but cannot maintain a long rally.

So what do they do keep working on mainly that first serve or that bomb forehand and they never move up in level because they are still not consistent enough to keep a lot of shots in a row in the court. There are 2 things you must do on every point and that is get the ball over the net and inside the lines.
 
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tlm

G.O.A.T.
^^When I read Yandell's article and he referred to you as a "rec version of Nadal" it finally hit home that what you are doing is working for you. But like me, we continue to tweak our games & weak spots.
Exactly I know that my skills are very limited but what I do have are fittness and consistency. So I use my limited strongpoints as much as possible because that is my only chance of winning points and matches.
 
To make this thread more helpful, imagine that you're TLM's coach.

What drills would you want him to do? Explain why you think they'd help his game.
Move back well behind the baseline after each and every shot. Get a goal of only moving sideways and/or forwards, NEVER backwards, after the opponent has hit the ball.
 
I don't think this is true that basic strokes are not a weakness of 3.0+level players. I see many of them that have a lot of flaws in their strokes. I have noticed that is one of the biggest problems with the lower level players they may have a good first serve or can rip a forehand here and there when they catch it just right but cannot maintain a long rally.

So what do they do keep working on mainly that first serve or that bomb forehand and they never move up in level because they are still not consistent enough to keep a lot of shots in a row in the court. There are 2 things you must do on every point and that is get the ball over the net and inside the lines.
Exactly. You said: "can rip a forehand here and there when they catch it just right". In other words, can rip a good forehand whenever they got the footwork right!
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Exactly. You said: "can rip a forehand here and there when they catch it just right". In other words, can rip a good forehand whenever they got the footwork right!
With these guys it is not just footwork, their strokes are just as inconsistent as their footwork is.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
And not even that. They do have a focus here, and that is to hit the ball deep in the center.

BUT! Tennis is NOT a game of strokes, not above 3.0. It's a game of movement and footwork. Something like 90% of errors are due to you being hurried with your movement, or due to your bad footwork. This kind of a practice gives zero challenge for movement and footwork. Hence it's pretty much useless above 3.0.
How is this for movement?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0etcK8SgSA
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
This board is so much more interesting when TLM posts. Based TLM for life.
Well I havent been posting in a while and have been told my video are the same old same old. But a few posters like sureshs said I should show another video so I went ahead even though I know there will be plenty of abuse LOL. But there are also a lot of good posters and good advise and some good comedy so why not.
 

Moz

Hall of Fame
I would have to agree, whilst there is movement there's not much footwork.

I definitely think there is benefit from rallying down the middle - it would help develop a split step for a start. In fact balls hit straight at you are one of the best ways of developing basic but essential footwork.
 

caugas

Semi-Pro
This kind of "practice" is essentially a waste of time. It does not simulate the type of shots you hit in a match, where you virtually never hit a ball from the middle of the court being hit right to you.
People practice hitting down the court all the time, to get timing down, footwork going and to most important set up points. Wta, atp don't start hitting corners on the first shots
 

Alien

Hall of Fame
I this it is useful. Most important it trains the mind to be patient and not start over hitting or get anxious because the point is getting long. Also he trains to aim high and consistent. Obviously to mix with cross court and then moving side by side but I am for it as well.
 
V

VexlanderPrime

Guest
This practice isn't useless at all. Don't listen to the armchair pros inhere. That said your strokes still need a lot of work. Way too much moonballing. You can't even get to the movement/footwork they're talking bout til u improve ur stroke technique and hitting practice like this is the time to do it.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
This practice isn't useless at all. Don't listen to the armchair pros inhere. That said your strokes still need a lot of work. Way too much moonballing. You can't even get to the movement/footwork they're talking bout til u improve ur stroke technique and hitting practice like this is the time to do it.
That's what I thought, this kind of practice is just what I need. I can make small adjustments as I go and gradually I can figure out what works. Then by repeated hitting like this I can fine tune it.
 

President

Legend
Basic strokes are not the weakness of any 3.0+ player. Movement and footwork are. Serve and return of serve are. Footwork on all the stuff you listed are. Any 3.0+ should be able to repetitively hit the ball down the middle even in bad hangover, so no need to practice that!
Totally incorrect, IMO. Most players below 4.0/4.5 probably couldn't even hit 15 balls in the court in a row with decent pace.
 

Rubens

Hall of Fame
I actually see some improvement on the forehand. Yes, it's hit late, but the average trajectory and pace seem to be better than in the past videos.
 

ARKustom93

Professional
This practice isn't useless at all. Don't listen to the armchair pros inhere. That said your strokes still need a lot of work. Way too much moonballing. You can't even get to the movement/footwork they're talking bout til u improve ur stroke technique and hitting practice like this is the time to do it.
Got your stuff upside down ... That right there is the foundation for stroke improvement.
 
Totally incorrect, IMO. Most players below 4.0/4.5 probably couldn't even hit 15 balls in the court in a row with decent pace.
It depends on what "decent pace" means. What I mean by basic stroke mechanics not being a weakness is that as long as you feed the balls EXACTLY straight into their hitting zone, they can consistently get the ball back. BUT: As soon as you get them to move, they are forced to get the feet properly setup and positioned for each stroke and incoming ball, and they start making errors. That's because their footwork and ball judgement are their real weaknesses, not the strokes themselves. I see this all the time. This is also the biggest reason for why so many people "play worse" in matches! The opponent forces them to move more on each ball, and their footwork collapses.

Footwork and ball judgement is 90% of getting the ball back IMO.

Got your stuff upside down ... That right there is the foundation for stroke improvement.
Agree 100%. It's pretty much impossible to use "proper strokes", if your feet are not properly positioned.
 
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tlm

G.O.A.T.
Agreed.. The forehand also looks somewhat smoother.
I am working on trying to drive through the ball more and hit more accross as opposed to just up the back. I have a long way to go must improve the prep time and get more distance from the ball.
 

maleyoyo

Professional
I am working on trying to drive through the ball more and hit more accross as opposed to just up the back. I have a long way to go must improve the prep time and get more distance from the ball.
If that is your intention then your current hitting partner is not ideal because he cannot provide you with any consistency. In that clip, the number of clean hits are far and few in between for your FH.
A ball machine is way more effective because it can eliminate the movement and footwork so that you can focus solely on your strokes. It’s not as fun but more productive for sure.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
If that is your intention then your current hitting partner is not ideal because he cannot provide you with any consistency. In that clip, the number of clean hits are far and few in between for your FH.
A ball machine is way more effective because it can eliminate the movement and footwork so that you can focus solely on your strokes. It’s not as fun but more productive for sure.
I have a ball machine that I practice with but I prefer hitting against another player" My partner can hit very consistent, but he is trying to adapt to a new racket so he is off some right now.

I need as much work on my footwork if not more than my strokes. I need to use more little steps and set up quicker which I think is better practiced against another player as opposed to a ball machine.
 

maleyoyo

Professional
I have a ball machine that I practice with but I prefer hitting against another player" My partner can hit very consistent, but he is trying to adapt to a new racket so he is off some right now.

I need as much work on my footwork if not more than my strokes. I need to use more little steps and set up quicker which I think is better practiced against another player as opposed to a ball machine.
With ball machine you can do both...separately.
A simple medium pace feed crosscourt drill hit and recover not worrying about where the ball goes as long as it goes crosscourt will work on your footwork.
Same feed with you waiting for the ball concentrate on your stroke hitting crosscourt with targets.
I do these simple drills and they work wonder for my consistency. The key is to isolate each area you want to work on.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
With ball machine you can do both...separately.
A simple medium pace feed crosscourt drill hit and recover not worrying about where the ball goes as long as it goes crosscourt will work on your footwork.
Same feed with you waiting for the ball concentrate on your stroke hitting crosscourt with targets.
I do these simple drills and they work wonder for my consistency. The key is to isolate each area you want to work on.

That is a good suggestion for working with the ball machine.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
I think you're underestimating the importance of cooperative rallying in stroke development.
Exactly. Anytime you are hitting, you are practicing whether you know it or not. Even in that WW vid where they are clearly just having a relaxed hit down the middle, they are practicing/working on something. In my warm-ups, I try to focus on "position on the ball" & "visual focus on the contact". I feel that if I work at those 2 things in the warm up, then they will come natural in the matches for the most part.

Funny or odd part is, that even though I'm working on position on the ball, in the early part of the warm-up, I'm not going to bust my butt getting it. 1st half the warm-up I'm taking it easy with the movement till the blood is flowing a bit and the muscles are ready for more effort. That said, I'm still working to recognize a good relationship to the ball when I can get it without too much effort, even during this lazy phase of the warm-up. For me it is important to "build" in this game.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
I didn't say it wasn't fun or enjoyable. If that is your goal, go for it. But it isn't going to help you hit effective shots in a match, if that is your goal. You need targeted focus practice.
Couldn't disagree anymore - TLM and his partner's rallying is clearly with a focus on 'Control' and 'Consistency'. Ingredients that are VITAL for match tennis.

Not sure if you have hit with an emphasis on control before but it surprising harder than its made to look. (Apologies if I appear patronising here, I don't mean to be).
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
TLM thanks for posting the video, always enjoy watching you hit.

All suggestions on helping you improve are completely valid. At the same time you have a unique style and there is nothing wrong with that, I would just embrace it and be the best I can be with the style I feel comfortable with.

But if you do ever feel like getting out of your comfort zone, then the advise here holds well...
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Couldn't disagree anymore - TLM and his partner's rallying is clearly with a focus on 'Control' and 'Consistency'. Ingredients that are VITAL for match tennis.

Not sure if you have hit with an emphasis on control before but it surprising harder than its made to look. (Apologies if I appear patronising here, I don't mean to be).
Well I am glad to hear that someone else can recognize the importance of hitting with control and consistency. It makes me think that many don't play real matches if they don't understand the importance of keeping the ball in the court.

In most league play that I have participated in consistency is usually number one. Most guys I have faced are very consistent and do not give away a lot of free points.
 
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