Rate my game please (edited match video inside)

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by stephan_58, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    This was only a practice match. My opponent is a hot and cold kind of player who goes for his shots. I'm more defensive minded so our matches are often quite fun. There were some exciting ralies in this one (but also tons of errors as usual). I think the play gets better as the match goes on.

    I'd like to know what you'd think I should focus on most for improving my game. I think I know but I'd like to hear your thoughts first. :)

    I'm the one who's first on the far side with the black cap on.

     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
    #1
  2. zaph

    zaph Semi-Pro

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    Had a quick look, so here goes:

    What I like: You seem to understand the importance of steadiness, when out of position you don't go for too much and get the ball back. You also move back to the centre when pushed out wide returning, you will be amazed how many people do that too late and get caught out.

    Your serve is steady and you seem to have a reliable second serve. I also noticed that you went to the net as the match progressed and you volley looks solid. All over you look like a solid player who understands the importance of staying in the point.

    What I didn't like: You can be a bit passive, often just hitting the ball back down the centre, which is fine, but if you're going to do that, you have to cut out the unforced errors. There are a few too many shots were you in position and for some reason it goes in the bottom of the net.

    You also lack weapons, if I was playing you, I wouldn't really be afraid of any of your ground strokes, they all look very gettable. Your serve is basically a shot to start the rally, but you don't double fault, so that will put pressure on people by itself

    You're pretty much my level, about 3.5 and I think you would be absolute pain to play. Need a few more weapons to get above that, but you have a solid foundation. I wish I had your service toss.
     
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  3. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hall of Fame

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    If I were playing you I would relentlessly attack your BH. Your slice is a little floaty, and your BH topspin looks out of control/off balance. You might think about taking a lesson or two to improve your BH technique, I think it's your biggest weakness...
     
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  4. NuBas

    NuBas Hall of Fame

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    Your footwork is quite nice however I'd suggest playing less upright. If you put in more effort into your footwork, being constantly active and getting into position quicker for you to load up then you should see improvement in your game. You were a bit late on some shots even on this slow court so I am not sure how you'd fare on faster surfaces.

    You are steady and consistent which is a great foundation but I think you have lapses in concentration cause for some regular shots you make errors when you really should not. If you want to improve, you should cut the forehand and backhand slicing, keep it to minimal and develop your topspin strokes.

    I don't think you need to develop a weapon in your game immediately, I think you should focus on putting more effort into your footwork and concentration. Also when you receive a short or neutral shot from your opponent, make sure to take advantage and win the point.
     
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  5. Keendog

    Keendog New User

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    Looks pretty good man. Just a bit of consistency which comes from match practice. You seem to fatigue towards the end and make a lot of mistakes, if you're gonna play the retrieving game style then you need to be fit
     
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  6. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    Thanks so much guys for taking the time to look at my game.

    I think you described my game very accurately. My volley is actually one of my strongest shots, however against the opponent in the video I don't go to the net that often. Against a steady baseliner I play at the net much more and also do some serve and volley occasionally.

    You're also right that I'm too passive most of the time. The unforced errors that seem to come out of nowhere usually happen when I try to go for too much on the forehand side. My technique breaks down pretty easily unfortunately (as can be seen in many situations in the video). I think my forehand used to be more of a weapon, I kind of regressed a bit the last few years. I guess a few lessons with a pro would be best.

    Haha you're the first to compliment me about my service toss! I used to have all kinds of problems with it a few years back, it kind of fixed itself and is very steady now, I don't even know why but I'm glad of course. I actually do double fault at least five times in the video but I guess that's to be expected. I'd love it to be more of a weapon but at least it's no liability at my level. 3.5 sounds about right, we have a different kind of ranking system here in Switzerland though.

    My backhand is definitely an shot that I have to improve. For some reason I've never really worked on my slice that much even though I use it almost exclusively on my backhand side in matches. I guess I've always thought of it as "solid enough" and less important to develop than the serve/forehand.

    I see what you mean by playing less upright. I went practicing with the ball machine today and tried to use my legs more, especially on my forehand side. Didn't see immediate improvement but I'm sure it's something that would be good for my groundstrokes. On carpet I do about the same as on clay, I think I go to the net more indoors which helps me.

    I've been trying to get better at converting short balls for some time now but I can't seem to get better at it. My approach shot is too attackable most of the time which is a problem. I'll try and work on it more soon.

    Thanks man. Usually fitness is not one of my weaknesses (except when it's hot, don't like that). We had some long rallies towards the end of the match so that might be the reason I was a bit more tired than usual. But you're absolutely right that you should be fit when playing the way I do haha.
     
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  7. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hall of Fame

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    That works until you run into a good player who can exploit your BH :)
     
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  8. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    Yup, it has happened many times unfortunately. :)
     
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  9. ChaelAZ

    ChaelAZ Hall of Fame

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    Good stuff, thanks for posting. Nothing terrible stands out that won't improve naturally over time with more practice and match play. What you are doing you do well at your level. Overall things that will move you up will be better consistency in shots, less neutral ball balls shots and better shot selection between attack balls and rally balls, and footwork/positioning. If I were coaching you the first thing I would identify as the biggest bang for the buck would be serve percentage. Increase that and you will astly improve right there.
     
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  10. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    Thank you man, appreciate the kind words. Watching the footage back I really noticed for the first time how many neutral/no pace balls I hit in a match, even when I have time. When I just hit without point pressure I am far more relaxed (as probably everyone is) and hit with much greater depth, pace and spin. Interesting observation about the first serve percentage. That is indeed too low in most matches. I’ll try and work on that as well.
     
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  11. ByeByePoly

    ByeByePoly Legend

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    I agree with all of that. :D

    @stephan_58 ... good hitting, thanks for posting. I agree with @ChaelAZ ... some serve reps (baskets) probably would be worth the time. I might put bh drills ahead of that, because I don't think it would take to long to see improvement. On slice ... add some shoulder turn, hit closed stance, get rh behind you ... hit with continental grip if you are not. @00:46 is an example ... looks like going for drop shot, but same slice technique for slice drive or dropper. You would be surprised how much a good slice vs functional slice matters in rec tennis. A good slice hit to targets causes road work for opponent.
     
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  12. coupergear

    coupergear Semi-Pro

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    Agree with all the tips, great stuff. In ntrp, 3.5. In general I'd like to see more aggression. Your game may be set back briefly (UEs) as as you work on going bigger, but with your skills you'll soon dominate.
     
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  13. ChaelAZ

    ChaelAZ Hall of Fame

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    Good observation. It is interesting. I noticed that many time when you should be hitting an offensive shot you tend to hit more nuetral, but when in positions where you should be hitting a neutral ball you go for something more offensive. Cheers.
     
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  14. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    Thanks for the advice, especially the one about the slice. I can imagine how much more damage I could do with a better technique. What I noticed about this stroke (besides the things you mentioned) is how I drop and open the racket head before hitting the ball. I don't know why I do that but it can't be good. It's definitely the next thing I'll be working on.

    That's been a problem for me I guess, I'm quite competitive so I want to win even the practice matches. But who cares if I lose more matches at first? If I want to improve I have to start hitting more aggressive as you said. That was quite motivational, so thanks for that!

    You're absolutely right. I think when I'm drawn out of position sometimes my mindset is that I'm probably going to lose the point anyway so I might as well go for the winner (which will almost never happen :) ), instead of hitting a neutral or defensive shot and get back in the point. On the other hand, when I get a neutral ball I'm thinking more along the lines of "can't lose the point if I don't make an error". Changing that attitude will probably require some work but I'm ready to do it.
     
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  15. ByeByePoly

    ByeByePoly Legend

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    "What I noticed about this stroke (besides the things you mentioned) is how I drop and open the racket head before hitting the ball. I don't know why I do that but it can't be good."

    Actually ... a little open at contact is good. :D The swing path his high to low with some open face at contact.

    There is more than one way to hit a good slice, but Fed is always a good choice to see the basics 1) show opponent some back 2) racquet behind you (high and racquet head behind head gold standard) 3) closed stance (except ros ... watch fed hit 1hbh block/slice returns open, but still good shoulder turn) 4) high to low to contact.

    Slice gets fun with good shoulder turn ... effortless.

     
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  16. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    Great video, what I noticed most is how Fed stays perfectly sideway at contact, I'm way more open. Time to practice I guess!

    Today I played the quarters in our club championship and I beat the number one seed 6:4 6:4. It's my best win by far. I tried to play more aggressively with both the forehand and the slice and I'm sure that helped a lot in this win. So I have to thank you guys for your great tips! :)
     
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  17. ByeByePoly

    ByeByePoly Legend

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    If you beat the #1 seed it's time you give us tips. ;) Good job ... congrats.
     
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  18. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    Thanks! Haha It‘s quite a small club with not that many good male players so it might sound more impressive than it was. ;) But he’s by far the highest ranked player I’ve ever beaten.
     
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  19. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    @stephan_58

    Your BH at 5:52 was great! If you can maintain this form and drive it deep, you'll beat many players.

    In general, you won a lot of points by being steady and not going for hero shots.

    You could be more active with your footwork but I like that you split step on the return. Also, you are quite adept at stretching wide on your BH and returning a difficult ball.

    Do you have a game plan? How are you deciding what shot to hit and where? You are past the stage where you have to focus solely on getting the ball over and have the luxury of thinking about placement and shot selection.
     
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  20. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    The problem with my TS backhand is that I don't trust it. When I'm not rushed and playing without point pressure it's quite decent. However in a match situation I only really use it when I have to play a half volley or when I have a lot of time. That's why it tends to break down quite easily, I'm just not used to playing it regularly. I think if I had the guts to use it more often (and make tons of errors at first) it would be a half way decent shot.

    Thanks. I noticed Andy Murray makes this sort of exaggerated split step when returning and found it works nicely for me too so since then I do it as well (I wish I could return as well as him though ;)). You're right, for some reason I'm more comfortable when I'm stretched on my BH side. I feel that I can get back a slice with decent depth from wide out far more easily compared to the FH side where my response tends to always be way short.

    What is a "game plan"? :D No actually, in this match I didn't really have one and it shows. When I play a less aggressive player I try to play to his weaker side (which is the BH 90% of the time) until I get a shorter reply which I then attack by going to the net (which is probably my biggest strength) to end the point. I often use the slice to attack the opponents weak side which usually works really well because people at this level are not comfortable playing a passing shot off a deep slice.

    Thanks for your input.
     
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  21. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    You realize you've answered your own dilemma, right?

    - Practice it under match-like conditions
    - Force yourself to use it in matches and forget about winning or losing; focus on the process. In the short-run, you'll likely lose a lot more. In the medium- and long-term, you will be a much improved player.

    Well, that's a start; it's more than a lot of players do.

    Look up "Wardlaw's Directionals" and try to incoroporate them into your game gradually over time.
     
    #21
  22. 2good4U

    2good4U Semi-Pro

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    You are a first-rate racket twirler, that's for sure!
























    But the rest of your game kind of sucks donkey balls.
    (might want to give baton twirling a try instead)
     
    #22
  23. Keendog

    Keendog New User

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    **** off flog
     
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  24. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    Yeah I know I answered it myself. ;) Thanks for the tip about Wardlaw's Directionals! Very simple yet effective. It's similar to this video series which I find very interesting too and is quite in depth.
     
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