Really Getting Started On Tennis.

sansaephanh

Professional
Hi guys!

My name is Nick. 22 Year old male born and raised in Oakland Ca. I've been half assing tennis for a while now, apart from when I first started. Tennis isn't the most popular sport in my upbringing, but I got into it from a cartoon (PoT for those anime saavy) and started playing with some rackets my mom picked up from helping someone move.

Flash forward to present. After living my life in which ever horrible way I chose to live it, I decided I want to fix my horrible tennis and join my friends in a 3.0 league. I might be playing a Combo league as warm up if I can find a partner.

With that in mind, I really want to start putting the work in. From conditioning to technique. being random rated between 3.0 and 4.0 by peers isn't amusing anymore. I want to be random rated at 4.5+:twisted:. Random rating is what I call when people see someone playing and say, "oh, you look like a 1.0." I don't know whether to be modest or insulted when I hear ratings, so I'm tossing it all away and will focus on the betterment of my game and health. Physical, mental, and spiritual strengthening will be worked in this process.

I am inherently clumsy and lazy. So I will be keeping myself in check with this thread. I'm always up for a conversation about tennis and how to improve.

First on my list: My serve. I know I still need to work on basic conditioning and fitness, but I've given myself every sort of arm/wrist/shoulder injury that I could get. This is mostly do excessive "arming" and lack of proper shoulder preparation.

I currently have a pinpoint serve and hit reaaaalllly open. Lack of knee bending and proper shoulder set up has been giving me major fatigue in my shoulders and has been pinching my rotator cuff. I've never thought much of it because I hit some nice serves with it and didn't play many matches. Now that I have a drive to better myself and matches to play, I want to create the most effective serve possible (for me). Before I could not do a platform stance for the life of me due to balance issues (which is something I will also work on, but lets stay on point), but have recently learned that my personal rhythm and toss were the main contributors to knocking my platform off balance.

I've been working on a toss similar to most pros.

Arm relatively aligned with the baseline, simple "down together up together" rhythm, and really follow through with the ball to the location I desired. It took me a few tries, but I got it!

It being 2 am in the morning I have no where to practice this toss. I believe a toss cannot be truly practiced unless you are making contact with the ball in a comfortable position. Due to living position I can't just go outside and wail on balls that will fly into the street or pound the walls, neighbors would literally shank me to death.

So I made some tennis balls :)

Paper + Duct tape = Perfect tossing material.

The noise is still a bit loud, but at least it not huge pounding sounds and balls flying everywhere. I have a 22x12 foot concrete backyard with 2 walls with windows on them and i can only serve along the 12 feet side. These practice balls are perfect for working on form and contact without having a tennis ball coming 50 mph back at my face. I use about 3 layers of printing/writing paper to create about the size of a tennis ball and layer of duct tape for durability and deformation purposes.

I highly recommend making a few if you're in a similar living situation with near zero safe areas to serve into.

Back to progress.

And progress it is indeed. I finally started to feel comfortable tossing it and contact never felt so easy! It really is better for my arm! Even with a less then light warm up I can feel the ease of swinging. The only thing I'm worried about now is getting to the same level of variety/power/control I had with my previous form. I don't think power and spin will be too difficult as I feel this form (similar to feds I suppose) gets both of these without much effort, but control and variety will take quite a bit of practice. Of course these are just what I'd like to see within a short period of time, but I need some major practice and experience under my belt!

I'm thinking of getting that tennis camera that hangs on the fence. The one on youtube ads, the volleycam? anyone have experience with that?

But either way, I want to get videos of myself for analytical purposes and public critiques.

Here we go fellas. Wish me luck!
 

sansaephanh

Professional
Getting out today to get a nice sweat up. Partner has a bit of trouble keeping up with my strokes sometimes so i'm going to work on footwork, contact, hustle, and overall fluidity.

Thinking about the season ahead of me gets me excited... Let's Go!
 

Alchemy-Z

Hall of Fame
Good luck-Wish i would have got into tennis when I was 22 but didn't really find the sport till I was 28 playing 4 years now.

3.0 to 4.0 is a pretty quick process if you dedicate some time to practice

I played one season as a 3.0 got bumped to 3.5 the next season.

played 3 seasons at 3.5 my last season going undefeated

and now I am on into my first 4.0 season.


I found tournament play really elevated my game since pulling a long weekend (3 to 4 matches a day) really test your fitness/mental ability to stay focused and puts you thru a gauntlet of playing styles to deal with.

finding a tough hitting partner that willing to work with you will help as well.

if you are 3.0 find a 3.5 hitting partner same if you are a 3.5 find a 4.0 hitting partner. (or find a local clinic that has multiple levels of players)
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Get yourself into DaviesCourts on weekends, and weekday afternoons. Or Alameda's CrownBeach courts.
There, you will find competitive 3.5-4.5 players.
 

sansaephanh

Professional
Thanks for the kind words guys.

LeeD I play at Washington park in Alameda most everyday. I play with plenty of solid 3.5+ seniors and peers. Most people rate me on 4.0, but I won't call myself so until I reach a point where it's an undeniable fact.

I'm actually joining the Davie's stadium 3.0 team to test the USTA waters. I'm actually a bit nervous, but others said that I'd have to sandbag pretty hardcore in the 3.0 league. But I don't mind. I won't be tossing any matches though. There are plenty of things I can work on when playing lower level players. Placement, defensive shots, footwork, etc. It might even drive me to develop a more consistent and solid second serve.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Good stuff....
I used to play a lot of 4PM tennis at WashPark (CrownBeach) back my kitesurfing year in 2000. Mainly pickup doubles, lots of bad 3.5's with big forehands and not much else. Started to get into the better crowd, not pickup anymore, but I guess they heard I had lost to Billie, the instructor who chopped everything, and that ended that. Yes, I lost to him in straight sets, after beating him maybe 10 sets in a row.
But reputation is everything, the summer went to fall, and the Alameda wind just died, while I discovered PtEmery, MarinaBay, and BuchananSt. for kitesurfing.
Davies is good. Lots of good players. Say hi to Damien, a 5'11" white dude with really structured strokes, about 4.5.
 

Z-Man

Professional
With enthusiasm, determination, and desire to improve, you will advance rapidly. At your age, conditioning will help, but the key thing is to get some lessons or play with some old guys who can teach you the game. You want to eliminate hitches and technique issues like using the wrong grip.

Next, learn to play within your game. Know yourself, what shots you can make, and which ones are a stretch. If you want to win, stick with the shots you can make. Work on your patience, reduce errors. Once you are consistent with your strokes, up the conditioning so you can use that as a weapon. Over time, your "safe" shots will become bigger and bigger. That's how you improve. Don't go too big thinking you will all of a sudden be able to land the big shots consistently. By the time you develop a reliable big game, you won't feel like you are going big. The big shots will feel safe because you know you will land them.

Find a team or a regular match. Learn to compete without fear. You're on the right track. It's a great sport. You can play it the rest of your life. I have a friend who is 80, and he still competes. You will meet some great people playing tennis. Ignore the jerks and have fun.
 

sansaephanh

Professional
I got out on the court sporting my new service form. It lacked quite a bit and just went back to my previous form. It was mostly because I was playing a tough opponent. I couldn't take any easy serves. we won one set 5-7 in a tiebreak.

About to head back out for a few hits and nice night tennis. Later!
 

mykoh

Rookie
LOL@the paper duct tape balls. gonna make myself some. :D
reminds me when i used to do the same and make golf balls instead. i was hitting them for hours at a time.

how was the feedback when you hit those balls? how would you know you hit it good? i'd imagine you wouldn't be able to differentiate between an off-centre or missed shot and a good one.
 

sansaephanh

Professional
LOL@the paper duct tape balls. gonna make myself some. :D
reminds me when i used to do the same and make golf balls instead. i was hitting them for hours at a time.

how was the feedback when you hit those balls? how would you know you hit it good? i'd imagine you wouldn't be able to differentiate between an off-centre or missed shot and a good one.
Haha very true. I had to take off the dampener and listen to a faint pinging sound. Though I don't usually take my eyes off until after contact, but It's true that a good number of times I can't tell.

But sometimes it quenches my tennis thirst for a few minutes.
 

sansaephanh

Professional
Played a few matches yesterday. Sore but mostly in a good way.

I really need to fix my serve form. I need to find a way to really drop my left shoulder to get right hitting more comfortable. I'm most definitely pinching my rotator cuff. It feels relatively painful kind of sore compared to the rest of my body.

I also might have tweaked my left knee...

I'm going to give myself a few days of rest and hope for the best.
 

mykoh

Rookie
woah take it easy there. i'd really recommend go seeing a physio if it still hurts after a day or two of rest.
in the meantime, to quench the tennis thirst, trawl TT and look at other racs and strings to buy. :)
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Watched 3.25 minutes.
Blue guy is probably the best player out there, and of course, the most big headed and self centered. Yes, he missed EVERY one of his shots, tried to hog the court, is a showboater.
BUT, he almost has real strokes, and he's just goofing around.
Now of course, you can say that about most lefties. Really talented, good strokes, plenty of stupid mistakes.
Naturally, I'm a lefty.
 

AnotherTennisProdigy

Professional
Great to hear you're getting into tennis. I was also a PoT fan, crazy **** they do there lol.

About the rotator cuff. If your serve is still damaging your body, make sure your right elbow (if you're a righty) is raised high enough. My elbow used to be too low on my serve which caused an awkward service motion. The result was a sharp pain in my upper back whenever I served.

I recommend video taping yourself and comparing to pros to see what you can change/improve on. Also, they sell quickstart foam balls that are great for practicing without noise.:wink:
 

sansaephanh

Professional
Great to hear you're getting into tennis. I was also a PoT fan, crazy **** they do there lol.

About the rotator cuff. If your serve is still damaging your body, make sure your right elbow (if you're a righty) is raised high enough. My elbow used to be too low on my serve which caused an awkward service motion. The result was a sharp pain in my upper back whenever I served.

I recommend video taping yourself and comparing to pros to see what you can change/improve on. Also, they sell quickstart foam balls that are great for practicing without noise.:wink:
haha. I'm a born and raised inner city kid! If I didn't think of duct tape balls I wouldn't have thought of purchasing anything! lol.
I'm getting my elbow pretty high. I actually saw someone on TW that serves really close to how I serve. Jose I believe. I've filmed myself before. I think I have a match against my 2.5 friends on you tube...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orUnBxYsJxY&feature=bf_prev&list=PL8B7D5475B8639AD7

I'm the kid in the black hoody.

All right here are my excuses:
1. No warm up. We like to jump into matches.
2. Uncomfortable Hoodie. Pulling at my sleeves the entire match
3. Cold. Hence the hoody. Overcast isn't normal in cali =P
4. Lazy. No knee bend via need nor want of trying, but I've notice I don't get much even when I try my best.
5. This is nowhere near my best. Probably hitting more around 50%-70% in this vid. But I always have fun playing these guys. They're my friends, love for the game is just there.

This video should be used as a reference to my form only =D
________________________________________

I was serving well tonight and won 2/3 sets against some pretty solid 3.5 players. More placement and variety then power. I felt like I could hit my spots and didn't double fault much at all! The other guys were serving well and my partner was broken in the second, but it was more of me going for big shots and them playing well.

We won 6-1 3-6 5-0. the five zero cause the lights turned off at 5-0 lol.
 
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