Significance of where stringbed is facing during forehand takeback

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Curious, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    With some forehands, the hitting side of the stringbed faces almost the backfence during or at the end of the take back( Sock being the extreme ). It's usually the semiwesterns, full westerns but there are exceptions like Murray and Ferrer where it mostly faces down the court.
    Even though I have been using Semiwestern lately mine never faces the backfence but rather looks like an eastern take back. After watching the video and comparing with others I noticed that I automatically supinate my forearm during the take back, almost like an instinct to keep the hitting face of the racket relatively towards the ball. Now the question is how significant is this? What comes to mind is when the forearm is in pronated position like Kachanov's, it flips/travels more at the beginning of the forward swing and adds to racket head speed. Thoughts?

     
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  2. bitcoinoperated

    bitcoinoperated Professional

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    What is most significant is the position from when the kinetic chain starts pulling the racquet, not where the stroke starts from which in this context is the racquet falling into 'tap the dog position'
     
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  3. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

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    The more extreme the grip the more the racquet will be rotated to the backfence.. also the higher the takeback (for high balls) the more the racquet will be rotated to the backfence... also if you have ur wrist neutral or pronated or supinated will also affect how the racquet is rotated.

    I don't think it makes much difference at this stage how the racquet faces, as @bitcoinoperated said, it matters what position it is after and during the swing.
     
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  4. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    It's a weird mental thing. Why should I point the hitting side to the backfence while I am supposed to hit a ball coming from the front? In my case at least I really think that is the reason.
     
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  5. ChaelAZ

    ChaelAZ Hall of Fame

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    You will see players with the racquet face every-which-way. There are methods that teach different ways, but that is more the coaches preference over the players, and not a proper way to develop the important mechanics. We were just talking about this at the high school tournament yesterday. Such a huge variety of ways to do a take-back and to load. My son is completely different than me, but gets a great amount of weight on his shot which is different than my ball which is more speed. What I look at is what the player naturally does and go from there to tick the position checkboxes.
     
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  6. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    Your takeback is mostly edge on if I recall correctly. Just try showing the hitting side of stringbed to backfence and see how you feel. But most players using SW grip do that. Is there a reason? That's why I was wondering if it means something rather than being just personal preference.
     
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  7. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    By the way I don't believe these players are specifically turning the stringbed towards the backfence. They just keep the forearm pronated during the takeback(knuckles facing up) and because of the extreme grip, it happens automatically.
     
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  8. ChaelAZ

    ChaelAZ Hall of Fame

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    It's changed except for high balls. the on-edge drop was more about how I rotate my arm/wrist to get lag, and that is a big thing I have improved. Mostly open to the side fence and down at the moment. I've played with a variety, but all fell forced and caused more issues than any good, so I am working what I got. I have tried back to the fence and down as well, and was 'ok' with that.
     
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  9. golden chicken

    golden chicken Semi-Pro

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    In my mind, if you leave the racket ahead of your hand when you start your forward swing, you have less mass to accelerate at the beginning of your forward stroke. You're only affected by the entire mass of the racket once you start to drag the whole thing forwards. The more time you have to accelerate your hand without the full mass of the racket, the faster it will be given the same force applied.
     
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  10. sredna42

    sredna42 Semi-Pro

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    LOL I have been where you are at. Still there in alot of ways.

    Going down this rabbit hole of hyper analysis over trivia is like getting trapped in quicksand, and the more you struggle the deeper you sink.

    You're in for a lot of pain, as it is like a disease that has to play itself out now. You'll be curled up in the foetal position in the shower crying like jim carey in pet detective, with an empty bottle of jack daniels and a tennis racquet covered in bite marks before too long, having analyzed yourself out of being able to hit a forehand at all.



    The forehand is the hardest f*&%*g shot in tennis.

    florian meier advocates a simple "locked wrist" forehand for adult rec tennis players, and I can see why now.
    keeps everything very simple and consistent.
     
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  11. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    This is a very interesting point. It's sort of weightless because of that isnt it? I think I see what you mean.
     
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  12. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    You sound like recovered from this disease:). I might give up one day but doesnt look like any time soon. F.Mayer has a point. One of my coaches tried to teach me that but I was too stubborn!
     
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  13. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You arent setting the frame on the takeback. If you do that you will hit more consistently. By that i mean, get the buttcap pointing down to the court on the takeback. Nadal is the best example of this.
     
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  14. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    Most players dont do that. Certainly not my role model for now, Khachanov.;)
     
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  15. navigator

    navigator Hall of Fame

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    It's a bizarre condition - I call sufferers "technique fetishists" - that I don't understand at all. I suspect that most sufferers are stuck at a certain level and desperate to find *some* way - any way - to improve. So instead of taking their sub-par technique and trying to improve it just a bit by ironing out the obvious deficiencies, they go "full r3tard" and try to adopt modern ATP technique - with all of its intricacies - which is a goal that will never be reached and, in many cases, just makes one's game worse. Sinjin agrees with Florian... successful rec tennis is about simple, repeatable stroke mechanics:
    At the rec level, hitting a decent FH is about good footwork, early preparation, watching the ball, hitting through the ball, and following through. All of the micro-issues that occur within those steps are just personal preferences.

    Ironically, most pros can't come close to explaining how they hit the ball in the same detail that folks here analyze their strokes. There's a certain degree of humour in that.
     
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  16. ptuanminh

    ptuanminh Professional

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    Wise man's words.Those technique fetishists will move from imitating one pro to another and their levels never improve.
    I think i hear many rec tennis players talking about trying to hit a Federer's or Nadal's forehand. But simple stuff like, bend your knee, move your feet, get your body into the shot, nope nope nope, too simple for rec players.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  17. Hmgraphite1

    Hmgraphite1 Professional

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    This should work well where you have less time I think, I started this as my take back was too far.

    I'm down rabbit hole but I figure with ball machine I'll get somewhere. But when I used to just arm the ball I swear I could hit forehand on the run better. Now it needs work.
     
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  18. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Legend

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    Timing is simpler when you’re arming the ball because there are fewer moving parts to synchronize while you are moving to the ball. However there’s a limit to how much power your armed stroke can generate. A running forehand powered by the core has more parts to synchronize and the different parts must be fired in sequence so it is harder to get right but once you figure it out, you have the ability to crush the ball or hit more extreme angles with more a lot more topspin.
     
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  19. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Ok. Well you made the thread asking about racquet face orientation.
     
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  20. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    If you are talking about what i said on nadal - the way he orients the racquet face is a quite simple way to make your technique repeatable so you can focus on the important stuff like footwork.
     
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  21. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Legend

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    No, he wasn’t talking about you. there are a number of posters who get all hung up about fed’s straight arm fh or wawrinka’s pause in his bh after his take back, etc that they miss the forest from the trees. That’s what he was referring to.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  22. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    But guys, don't forget that I never neglect the significance of practice, thousands of repetition, footwork, fitness, agility etc. So I am not just stuck with the technical details. Yes I am also a perfectionist, detailist which has always been a great way for me to enjoy life(on a cognitive level), very occasionally complained about being like that. So leave me alone!:p
     
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  23. FiReFTW

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    I see a lot of people and coaches trying to simplify rec player strokes and make them hit easy watered down shots that are easier to hit.
    Even in this thread you see people saying to just hit with a locked wrist since its easier.
    I agree with you that the more parts the more difficult technique, but i dont get why people advocate you should simplify it and hit an easier way because like you said, that shot will be far less effective in terms of pace and spin and you will be very limited in what level you can achieve.
    Unless a player wants to just play for fun and doesnt care about becoming the best tennis player he can i think this type of coaching is horrible.

    Something might be more difficult but it also has a higher potential, all it means is that you will need more hours of drilling and training to get the timing and muscle memory down to hit it consistently.
     
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  24. navigator

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    I make a distinction in this regard between juniors and beginners (who have a lot of upside), and "mature" rec players (that is, adults who have been playing regular tennis for a long time). The vast majority of the folks who post in this section of the forum fall into the latter category. In my view, they should be trying to develop simple, repeatable strokes. Efforts to the contrary will succeed in so few cases that they're statistically insignificant.

    Juniors and beginners should give more thought to technique - they don't have bad habits hopelessly ingrained into their strokes yet.

    I've rarely seen any mature adult rec player meaningfully improve their game (as measured by objective results, not subjective observations) by changing their strokes to more "modern" strokes. I'm sure these folks are out there (I can think of maybe one example) - I just think these instances are quite rare.

    Just my two cents, of course.
     
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  25. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    But how will that happen? Those same people never practice anything. They warm up for 3 minutes and say ' are we ready guys?'
     
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  26. Hmgraphite1

    Hmgraphite1 Professional

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    I am insignificant. Telling people to give up not exactly a motivational speaker. The numbers Might surprise you. It is a lot of work and the ones willing to do it don't listen anyway.
     
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  27. ptuanminh

    ptuanminh Professional

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    Did you just answer your own question???? Practice.
     
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  28. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    I know. @navigator also already answered it but the problem is they never practice. That's probably why they play the same level of tennis for the rest of their lives after their peak level at 3 years.
     
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  29. sredna42

    sredna42 Semi-Pro

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    I think there is now simply a negative connotation with locked wrist type strokes, or simpler pared back strokes, as they are viewed as unmanly, or not proper tennis.
    Andrew on the well known youtube vids has a simple looking forehand, and plays really strong 5.0 tennis with it, it is his weapon and he rarely misses with it.

    Point being, it doesn't have to be a weakness, even at 5.0 level. But as you say, if you have the time to put in the required hours and repetitions necessary in order to rewire your body&brain to hit it instinctively, then why not. The one sticking point is the older you are the less neuroplasticity you have, so you won't acquire it as naturally as someone younger.

    florian meier has a good vid of trying to help a female pro switch from her locked wrist WTA fh to a modern ATP type fh
     
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  30. Bender

    Bender G.O.A.T.

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    The obsession on these boards with the wrist involvement or lack thereof in the forehand is like trying to perfect cake decoration yet not knowing how to bake a cake.

    Get a generally sound fundamental forehand first, THEN worry about which side your hitting face is pointing at the apex of the forehand takeback, and whether you want to hit with a locked or loose wrist.

    For mature players picking up the sport at an age generally considered too late to become a high level player, a forehand that possesses the following traits should be enough:
    • sound footwork (most important)
    • a simple loop for the takeback
    • racquet pointing up or slightly backwards
    • a E to SW grip
    • semi-open to neutral stance
    • racquet finish over or around the shoulder (whichever seems to be the natural finish for the player)
    From there, you can start tinkering with the details:
    • wrist c*ck takeback? Straight takeback? Simple loop?
    • Racquet pointing forwards vs up vs backwards?
    • How low to hold the racquet (ie how many fingers on the handle)?
    • open stance?
    • proper WW finish? Reverse finish?
    • double bend? Straight arm?
    • Wrist flaccid or locked?
    Obviously some of these are conditional, while others require you to make a decision, which may take a while to reverse if you change your mind down the road. But the point is that if your stroke is dogsh*t and needs a revamp, then you should really go for something that has the fewest components so that it is easier to troubleshoot. THEN you should consider adding or removing features (sometimes as you go along) to further optimise it.

    Take me, for example:
    1. I initially started with a straight takeback on my forehand thinking it'd simplify things, but one side effect of it was that I found it more difficult to remember to do a full unit turn that way.
    2. So I adopted a simple loop quite quickly to address that issue.
    3. It worked for a few months, then I realised that I was taking back my racquet too early, so I'd be standing there waiting for the ball to come to me with my racquet already taken back, robbing me of power.
    4. So I added a wrist c*ck to slow down the takeback just a little and help with timing. That worked great for a while so that the racquet was always moving from takeback to followthrough.
    5. As I got better and played against better players however, that elaborate takeback was robbing me of time.
    6. So I ditched the wrist c*ck for the simple loop again, and by that point I no longer needed the physical prompt to time my shots anymore.
    Yesterday, I finally reached a milestone I was trying to get to for years. My forehand finally reached the point where I can say I'm somewhat satisfied with where it is. My serve toss finally became consistent, and my trusty backhand stayed trusty. Everything finally fell into place. I started beating or playing close the experienced players who used to kick my ass quite easily, and finally managed to hand out the breadsticks and bagels I always thought I could dish out to those grinder / pusher types that used to revel in watching me kick my own ass on the court with UEs. The next milestone for me is to get better with the volleys (still a huge weakness in my game relative to everything else, so needless to say I stink at doubles).

    And despite all that, if I could go back and change things, I'd have approached the bigger components--the footwork, the kinetic chain, the contact point--with the same level of intensity that I wasted on years of overanalysing petty BS like "best racquet takeback" and the direction the hitting face points at the end of the WW follow-through (I wanted it to face down because it's pretty), all under the guise of perfectionism and attention to detail. In hindsight it really wasn't; I just wanted to make my strokes look like Federer's or Rafa's at a superficial level, because on the non-superficial level I was not even close to having a functional forehand. It's basically the TTW / DIY tennis version of the all-gear-no-idea guy we all know and roll our eyes at.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
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  31. Curious

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    Lol. You have tried everything possible and yet don't recommend others to obsess about technical details.
     
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  32. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Legend

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    I recommend you obsess about all the fine technical details after you can hit the ball and move as well as an ATP player. :)
     
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  33. Bender

    Bender G.O.A.T.

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    And because I have tried everything possible, I am in the best position possible to tell others not to do what I did.

    By all means, get into the nitty-gritty...that is, get familiar enough with the technical details that you know what a generic proper forehand looks like, and what it is composed of.

    Don't faff around with petty BS under false pretenses and justification like I did and waste years of your tennis life you can't get back. Debating where your sringbed faces during the forehand takeback is not going to take you even one step forward then two steps back; it's one arguable and hypothetical step forwards then two actual steps back.
     
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  34. Dolgopolov85

    Dolgopolov85 Legend

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    I can see that and since I personally know some perfectionists obsessed with details, I can empathise. But perfection in stroke style is near unattainable. Look at the strokes of 90s players and they don't look as good as that of the ones who came up in the noughties. So if even pro technique is evolving, then perfection becomes a moving target. Additionally, things like the exact direction of stringbed at takeback only become vital at the higher levels of the game. I am not saying stick to locked wrist forehand but rather focus on the sensation. Your strokes look good enough that you would be experiencing it, it is only a question then of discerning which strokes feel better hit to you . A well struck ball that sails long still represents progress vis a vis a mishit or weakly struck one that happens to land in. Search for the stroke where you find that you are generating good pace and depth with zero effort and with very relaxed and loose body movement. Repeated drills by a coach can quickly fix this but I understand coaching isn't as cheap as it is where I live.
     
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  35. FiReFTW

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    I agree with this.

    However ive seen many times people posting advice to beginner players here and advising them very watered down techniques and bad tactical advice like letting a high arc ball bounce and let it fall down instead of hitting on the rise.

    Its this that will hurt them the most, engraining bad technique and habbits in their body now that their body is still not acustomed to the strokes and tactics, then later down the line these will be engrained and harder to change like you said.
     
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  36. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    i've experimented quite a bit with the different starting positions
    * rh pointing to back/side/front
    * face point down/behind
    to me, the starting position defines how "whippy" the stroke is gonna be.
    the whippiness defines how far the face has to move/contort from it's original position to the final contact
    the "whippier" the stroke, the more rhs, power, etc...
    BUT, be prepared to spend alot of time practicing the timing of it..
    (eg. if you're not hitting 2-4k balls daily, you're not investing enough time to own this type of shot)
    jack sock (&kyrgios) IMO is the most extreme version:

    for most rec folks, i think a simpler (less whippy) is ideal... while you sacrafice some rhs, you decrease chances to mishit
    to that, i think guys like ferrer or simon are an ideal model.
    which is easier to acquire if you're saying hitting only 200-400 balls a day..

    personally i like th OP's prep (in terms of the racquet face always facing the contact)... simple. i might even simplify the loop a bit more...
    side note: i think OP uses too much arm to take the racquet back... vs. a unit turn
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  37. morten

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    Very interresting..
     
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  38. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    This is what I was thinking, thank you.

    And because of that and the terribly awkward feeling when I point the racket face to the back I will probably work on improving consistency with my current stroke type.
     
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  39. Curious

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    Very common deficit in rec tennis and very hard to fix. I think I can still focus on that by not taking the elbow back so much and instead moving the arm as a single unit with the shoulders.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  40. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    not hard to fix.
    just glue your elbow to your belly/rib cage, and turn...
    the "hard" part is getting used to the timing of firing from the ground up (as you'll now be relying more on your kinectic chain for rhs - vs. on a larger arm loop)... but if you make the investment now, you'll eventually get easier power with less effort (and doesn't require 1000's of balls hit per day to acquire).
     
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  41. Curious

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    This is what I want to work on. Eliminating arm movement independent of torso as much as possible.

     
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  42. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    see, simple!
     
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  43. Hmgraphite1

    Hmgraphite1 Professional

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    This maybe 20 to 40 % too much torso twist I think so elbow still getting to far back. But good exercise to build muscle neurons. Add a back foot crossover with left foot, right foot out knee bend push off and drive forward and repeat 100 times a day while watching Indian wells matches. Make sure you have room so racquet doesn't impact stuff and ceiling.
     
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  44. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    when i'm hitting well, that's about how much i'm turning my torso...
    my mantra: chin to shoulder to shoulder
    * turn enough so my chin is on my shoulder
    * follow through enough so my chin is on my other shoulder.
    in general if my core is generating the forward component of the swing, my hand/arm is free to focus on aligning with the ball.
     
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  45. Hmgraphite1

    Hmgraphite1 Professional

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    Maybe I overstated but the hips look to be facing 90 degrees toward side fence seems a little far with open stance.
     
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  46. navigator

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    Excellent. You're one of the rare exceptions. By definition, there have to be some out there. Although I generally follow Carl Sagan's advice that, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

    So, I'd be interested to see your current results/rating and then we can compare them with your results/rating a couple of years out and objectively measure your improvement. Or, similarly, you could post prior results/rating and compare them with current results/rating. Either way, you could serve as an inspiration to those folks who are trying to travel a similar path.

    No, clearly I'm not in the business of motivational speaking - dreams, fantasies, etc. I prefer empiricism.
     
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  47. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    ok, so you have OCD. We understand and will leave you alone.
     
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  48. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I am working to ensure I get a full turn off both sides. I have a tendency to not get a full turn on the forehand but it is a better shot if I get the shoulders rotated. I've been watching atp lately and their shoulders are turned roughly 90 degrees to the net give or take a small bit on almost every shot.
     
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  49. navigator

    navigator Hall of Fame

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    Here's an idea. You've been playing for what... 6 or 7 years now (or something like that)?

    In addition to your practicing, play some tournaments this year. Whether it's Australian pennant tennis or age group or league... whatever, play some real competitive tennis. There are plenty of competitive tennis events in Melbourne.

    Then do the same thing next year - play the same tournaments and/or leagues. And then compare the results. It will be pretty obvious if you're materially improving. If you're improving then you'll know that your obsession with technique is actually paying off and you can continue with it with that knowledge. If it's not, then you'll know that it's not that important. Either way, you'll learn something valuable. But until you approach the "results" part of this exercise objectively, you're going to convince yourself that it's paying off (that's human nature) when it might not be the case. Then again, you might be an exception to the rule.
     
    Curious likes this.
    #49
  50. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    16,609
    I agree that it is rare. It takes more time and dedication than most adult rec players have to give it. But, for some, the joy is in the journey, not the destination (which evolves as the journey continues, anyway).
     
    Curious and Hmgraphite1 like this.
    #50

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