Roman Prokes on string

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
I thought the article had a few good points but overall had a lot of inaccuracies.

1. Open stances are good: you can still hit with your body weight going forward to the front foot with an open stance and it lends itself to quick recover and hitting more topspin.
2. A WW follow-thru is certainly not bad if you learn the wrist is passive thru contact and the WW is just the natural finish if you rotate your body and finish with the racket near your opposite stroke. Yes, if you think pros are using wrist manipulations at contact to execute WW finish, you will have an inconsistent stroke and likely hurt your wrist.
3. Roddick, Federer and many others still use arms up together technique on the serve which is good. Modern pros may get the front shoulder higher with the back shoulder down a bit which makes it look like the front shoulder went up first. But, the arms work together in most serves with the front shoulder tilting up and back shoulder down.
4. Even rec players want to eventually learn to use some upward motion on their serves to generate a bit of topspin. Yes, you can hit effective serves with mostly shoulder rotation but you will hit more spin with a bit of push upward into contact. Get the front shoulder up and a bit of leg push up should be the goal of 4.0 and above levels.

I was disappointed in the article. I think the pros hit the way they hit because it is "optimal" technique and is better for the body and provides more effective results. I for one will still use open stances, WW finishes with a passive wrist, and continue to work on hitting up on my serve. I think this saves my body a lot of pain and provides a better way of hitting.

I think even beginners can learn some of these principles if they have a good coach. A good forehand stroke pattern can be learned quite early.
Pretty much sums up my feelings. I know for a fact that the opinions expressed in the article are not shared by plenty of older, ex-Tour pros. They try to teach their competitve students the modern game. Like Tim posted, not all older rec players are uncoordinated physical wrecks either.

The article was full of misleading assertions as well. For example, he said that all pros hit their forehands with an extended arm. Actually, only two top pros, Fed and Nadal do. The rest have a bent arm at contact.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
I need to watch you again to make sure you dropped that habit on your backhand. :)
I think I have..you'd have to tell me next time, but it's a lazy habit that sneaks out some days. And that is the thing, it is tough to have that footwork over and over each day you are out there..basically ties into what I am saying.
 

Fusker

Rookie
I don't agree or disagree with NickB, Roman, Mats, etc. All I can tell you is what I've noticed and experienced at the REAL rec level. A few years ago I played in a 4.5 league. Many of the players were closer to 4.0, a few were legit 4.5 and 1 guy was a 5.0 who blew away everyone else in the league.

Fast forward to 2012... 1/2 the guys are still hitting 1hbh, closed stance flat FH and using players frames (Prestige, K90, etc.) strung with non-poly. The other 1/2 are hitting 2hbh, open stance topspin FH and using tweeners (APDGT, PDGT, Radical, etc.) strung with full poly or gut/poly.

There is SIGNIFICANT difference in results. 1.The old style guys who used to beat the guys who now play with the new style either lose to them or don't win nearly as easily. 2.The old style guys who used to play competitively with some of the guys with new style now have NO chance against them. It's like new style opened a bakery to serve the old style guys bagels and breadsticks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The new style guys can keep the ball in 5-10 shots in a row with topspin but the old style guys can barely get 3-4 shots in the court.

I don't have a personal preference for one style over another. Actually I do. I wish you could play as well or even better with the old style because it's easier on your body and your wallet. But the scoreboard speaks for itself. And that's what I'm interested in. To be honest NickB, Roman, Mats don't REALLY know what it means to play in a rec level league. We, as avid hackers, have a better understanding of what's going on at the 3.0-5.0 level.
This was a terrific post. I had a moment of clarity when I got whooped several times 18 months ago playing my serve and volley game by a couple guys that had been playing tennis for about 5 years (compared to my 22 years minus 5-6 years off after college). Here is my experience at the 4.5 level (still very much in weekend hacker range) in direct contradiction to the article that led me to changing my forehand entirely, and focusing more on being an aggressive all-courter:

They don't have time to turn completely sideways and step into the ball with their front feet, so they hit most of their shots with an open stance, with their feet almost facing the net. Me neither. Am I to concede that I'll be leaving a weak sitter every time I couldn't get the footwork closed? I actually like having an option now to do something with those shots like loop it back crosscourt forcing him to dig it from below the net.

They can't afford to hit serves with their feet on the ground, as Evert did, so they propel themselves into the air. What the what? I don't think most rec players I play can afford this idea either.

Recreational players have more modest needs, ones that haven't changed in decades: Consistent strokes that hit the ball deep in the court, patience, reliable footwork, well-placed serves and strategic acumen. Agree, but the ability to finish a point is nice. Also, some of us have learned that a windshield wiper forehand does result in more consistent strokes as the topspin leads to higher margins over the net. My "old school" approach was a pain to keep in play, particularly here at 5280 feet above sea level.

The swinging volley, where the ball is hit out of the air with a full swing: This is another Sharapova specialty that's too difficult to time for regular players, and almost always unnecessary. Note to recreational players: Your hands are not unbelievable. A simple punch volley will suffice. Until the guy on the other side ropes that ball right by you because your punched volley didn't do enough. Here's a concept - practice a swinging volley and have it as an option.

The article seems to have a target audience that needs to be more specific than just "rec players." I think the real intent of the article could have just been summarized into the following:

If you stink now, trying to copy the pros equipment and style will just make you stink worse. And maybe get hurt.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
I think if you have been playing that long, as many of us have, it is definitely feasible to implement technique. But look at all the people who have no footwork or balance and are talking about hitting with a WW forehand on here. That is who the article is directed to. Whenever my balance is out of whack on the court, I go back to stepping into the shots just to get the feel of that weight transfer..i also focus on setting up my feet better as well.
 

Kevo

Legend
I teach all my students modern everything. I have yet to have a student that can't perform a modern stroke. The trouble for most people is consistency in thought and action.

Most of my students will revert instantly to their old ways if left alone for 15 minutes. I feel I would be a much better tennis instructor if I was good at psychology or hypnosis. :)
 

treblings

Hall of Fame
I teach all my students modern everything. I have yet to have a student that can't perform a modern stroke. The trouble for most people is consistency in thought and action.

Most of my students will revert instantly to their old ways if left alone for 15 minutes. I feel I would be a much better tennis instructor if I was good at psychology or hypnosis. :)
Unlearning old strokes and habits is as tough as it gets. be very careful before you suggest something like that to a seasoned player
 

Sander001

Hall of Fame
At the risk of exposing broad, sweeping generalizations, what rating is the "rec player" which the article endears itself to?
 

Fusker

Rookie
At the risk of exposing broad, sweeping generalizations, what rating is the "rec player" which the article endears itself to?
Based on their recommendation that players keep their feet firmly affixed to the ground while serving, I'm guessing a 70 year old NTRP 2.5 doubles player.

(No offense to either septuagenarians or 2.5 players)
 

mctennis

Legend
Really open stance is bad now? All pros hit open?
I'm just reporting what I saw him say on one his instructional videos. I bought it from "Tennis Week" magazine (I think). Makes sense to us normal folks, pros can hit from just about any position and still make the shot.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Unlearning old strokes and habits is as tough as it gets. be very careful before you suggest something like that to a seasoned player
From Vic Braden book. I'm paraphrasing.

Guy goes to Vic and says I lose 6-4, 6-4 to my rival every time, can you teach me to beat him? Vic analyses his stroke and makes a change to his forehand to get more topspin and consistency. Guy likes the change and practices while at Vic's academy for a week and then goes home. Guy returns to the academy 6 months later and Vic says how is it going against your rival? Guy says I was losing 6-2, 6-2 with my new forehand so I went back to my old forehand so I could be more competitive losing 6-4, 6-4.

Moral of the story - people will not tolerate the discomfort that change brings and they will resort to what feels good to them. You have to be patient and give any change time to become ingrained and you actually may take a step back followed by 2 forward.
 

treblings

Hall of Fame
From Vic Braden book. I'm paraphrasing.

Guy goes to Vic and says I lose 6-4, 6-4 to my rival every time, can you teach me to beat him? Vic analyses his stroke and makes a change to his forehand to get more topspin and consistency. Guy likes the change and practices while at Vic's academy for a week and then goes home. Guy returns to the academy 6 months later and Vic says how is it going against your rival? Guy says I was losing 6-2, 6-2 with my new forehand so I went back to my old forehand so I could be more competitive losing 6-4, 6-4.

Moral of the story - people will not tolerate the discomfort that change brings and they will resort to what feels good to them. You have to be patient and give any change time to become ingrained and you actually may take a step back followed by 2 forward.
interesting. i agree with you on the discomfort.
there is another moral of the story as far as i´m concerned.
don´t go to a camp to let them change your technique. it can´t be done in a week or so, you need a good coach who´s with you for the duration.
 

bugeyed

Semi-Pro
Courier never used gut on the ATP tour, saying he found it inferior in all respects to his Gosen JC synthetic, on the senior tour he now crosses poly with plain synthetic gut. Simon and Malisse among current ATP pros use multifilaments. I wouldn't use gut if it were $3 a set, can't stand the way it feels. One size fits all just doesn't work with tennis equipment.
I would not choose to copy anything that Courier did on the court, much less take stringing advice from him!

Cheers,
kev
 

ricki

Hall of Fame
It becomes more powerful and allows you to hit with even more spin. THe more topspin you put on the ball the lower you can tension your stick if you choose. It sure feels a lot better. Just really tests how relaxed you can hit and how much head speed you are using. I can't use anything else now, but I have been hitting with heavy top and a SW grip since I was 10.

It's also a good test to see if you arm the ball, because if you are, you will not be able to use it.
Try eastern grip with your low tension and I guarantee that you will hit everything long.

What about "deflected shots" when you cant get to the ball in time? Your low tension stringbed will be like machinegun and ball will fly high and long if you wont use extreme slice.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Whats your point? I clearly said that it is a setup for topspin players who use a SW/W grip.

As for deflected shots..you are right, the ball does fly but you adjust and learn who to control it just like any other setup.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Try eastern grip with your low tension and I guarantee that you will hit everything long.

What about "deflected shots" when you cant get to the ball in time? Your low tension stringbed will be like machinegun and ball will fly high and long if you wont use extreme slice.
I agree that is why I don't like low tension.
 
Gut Poly is perfect combo if you can afford it. Gut with low powered poly would be Awsome. Proline X, RPM blast, that new Luxilon string, would be perfect for your game. You will be thinking why didn't i do this sooner. and No, power won't be too much, string about 4-5 lbs higher if you are worried.
Yet, again this power vs tension debate arises.
Are you saying higher tension gives MORE power?
I thought the lower tension "trampoline effect" gives more power ....
 

Up&comer

Hall of Fame
Try eastern grip with your low tension and I guarantee that you will hit everything long.

What about "deflected shots" when you cant get to the ball in time? Your low tension stringbed will be like machinegun and ball will fly high and long if you wont use extreme slice.
I use what I like to call a quarter western (somewhere between a semi western and eastern) and I love low tensions. I don't seem to hit long too often either.

As for your deflected shots, I could very easily turn it around and say with your higher tension I wouldn't be able to get that ball back over the net. It's just about adjusting. And no, I'm not saying it is best for everyone, I am simply saying that to make a sweeping generalization that low tensions=spraying balls and hitting way long is quite simply not true.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
So well said u&c. I know if im hitting long with low tension that my footwork and prep is to blame. Everything else is something you just adjust to.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Yet, again this power vs tension debate arises.
Are you saying higher tension gives MORE power?
I thought the lower tension "trampoline effect" gives more power ....
Thats what everyone I know that plays tennis thinks, but many here claim the opposite.
 

fortun8son

Hall of Fame
Is there really a power vs. tension debate?
I don't think I've run across anyone who thinks higher tension has more power.
 

zapvor

G.O.A.T.
Whats your point? I clearly said that it is a setup for topspin players who use a SW/W grip.

As for deflected shots..you are right, the ball does fly but you adjust and learn who to control it just like any other setup.
i use low tension and i hit pretty flat
 

Fed Kennedy

Legend
I don't agree or disagree with NickB, Roman, Mats, etc. All I can tell you is what I've noticed and experienced at the REAL rec level. A few years ago I played in a 4.5 league. Many of the players were closer to 4.0, a few were legit 4.5 and 1 guy was a 5.0 who blew away everyone else in the league.

Fast forward to 2012... 1/2 the guys are still hitting 1hbh, closed stance flat FH and using players frames (Prestige, K90, etc.) strung with non-poly. The other 1/2 are hitting 2hbh, open stance topspin FH and using tweeners (APDGT, PDGT, Radical, etc.) strung with full poly or gut/poly.I

There is SIGNIFICANT difference in results. 1.The old style guys who used to beat the guys who now play with the new style either lose to them or don't win nearly as easily. 2.The old style guys who used to play competitively with some of the guys with new style now have NO chance against them. It's like new style opened a bakery to serve the old style guys bagels and breadsticks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The new style guys can keep the ball in 5-10 shots in a row with topspin but the old style guys can barely get 3-4 shots in the court.

I don't have a personal preference for one style over another. Actually I do. I wish you could play as well or even better with the old style because it's easier on your body and your wallet. But the scoreboard speaks for itself. And that's what I'm interested in. To be honest NickB, Roman, Mats don't REALLY know what it means to play in a rec level league. We, as avid hackers, have a better understanding of what's going on at the 3.0-5.0 level.
Really good post. Definite food for thought.
 
There is SIGNIFICANT difference in results. 1.The old style guys who used to beat the guys who now play with the new style either lose to them or don't win nearly as easily. 2.The old style guys who used to play competitively with some of the guys with new style now have NO chance against them. It's like new style opened a bakery to serve the old style guys bagels and breadsticks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The new style guys can keep the ball in 5-10 shots in a row with topspin but the old style guys can barely get 3-4 shots in the court..
I am a newbie with regards to tennis theory. What about the new style is better? The stiffer lighter rackets that allow more power and spin, but at a cost of not being arm friendly? I was never taught how to play, and I hit forehands "open". I never learned to step into it and turn my whole body closed like a baseball swing. I always found that to be terribly unnatural. For decades, people told me I need to close my swing. I always felt I hit plenty hard with my forehand so I never bothered. I noticed this time back into the game, people are now saying my open forehand is "current". Meanwhile, I thought this time I would finally learn a proper closed forehand. The motivation is to counteract the tennis elbow I am experiencing for the first time in my life.
 

brucie

Professional
Lower tension giving more power is sort of a myth. Studies have been shown to conclude they don't necessarily provide the power one thinks they are getting in terms of "pace equating power".

For example, if you strung your frame at 60lbs and hit a 100 mph serve, then if we followed the myth, surely stringing it at 50 or 40 lbs one would be able to hit 110, or 120 mph serve for example.

Fact is, you would hit about a 101 mph serve. So yes, the drop in tension gave you one more mph, but human beings aren't sensitive enough to detect a 1 mph increase.

What actually happens when dropping tension, and where this myth began is that when you drop tension, using the same swing path, the ball defelcting off the string bed leaves at a higher trajectory, resulting in the ball landing deeper. The ball landing deeper is perceived as hitting with more "power".
What a great comment.... Never heard that analysis before, I suppose the other thing you would add if that due to a now increased sweet spot there is easy access to power from more areas of the racket enhancing the sensation of greater power.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
I'm approaching 50 you and thinking about a 2012 Pure Drive. After reading the comments by Roman, was thinking of going gut/poly. How do you think this would work out. In another thread, someone thought it might be too powerful. Also wondering how you like your current setup.

Any suggestions from others are appreciated.
Gut /poly is a great combination. this is one combination that works even for amateurs
 

brucie

Professional
But why? I don't see any reason to.

I still go to the bathroom the same way I did in the '70's so why should I change the way I play tennis? :wink:

BTW, Roberta Vinci is into the quarterfinals of the US Open playing old school all-court tennis with lots of slicing and volleying. Schiavone won the French Open two years ago by serving and volleying on red clay and beating all the baseline bashers along the way. :)
Realize this is a joke but...

The games evolving the same way we have en-suites off every bedroom, no more low water pressure, or outside toilets!
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Realize this is a joke but...

The games evolving the same way we have en-suites off every bedroom, no more low water pressure, or outside toilets!
Yeah, but I had en-suite bathrooms in the bedroom, good water pressure, and indoor toilets even in the 1970's. It's not like it was 500 years ago. :wink:
 

Moz

Hall of Fame
A generalised article, with generalisations about a generalised, but unspecified, playing population.

Needless to say everyone will find something they can agree with and something they can't but most will find little that changes anything - unless it's printed off and used to clean off any remaining winnets.
 

nyc

Hall of Fame
A generalised article, with generalisations about a generalised, but unspecified, playing population.

Needless to say everyone will find something they can agree with and something they can't but most will find little that changes anything - unless it's printed off and used to clean off any remaining winnets.
Isn't that the fuel that keeps online forums going?
 
Top