Technique or Skill

sureshs

Bionic Poster
The gist is:

Now this where for me technique and skill differ. The technique is a way or an approach of carrying out or attempting a task. A skill is an ability to achieve a successful task outcome. It infers competence or proficiency. An athlete could have "abnormal" or "poor" technique but could be skilful in achieving a successful task outcome and an athlete could have "normal" or "good" technique but not be skilful and not achieve the desired task outcome.


The question of practical interest that comes up often is: If a person has poor technique but is successful,

a) should he continue using the same technique?
b) should others emulate him?
c) is it time to revise the definition and declare his technique to be good?

This issue came up with the Nadal forehand with respect to the combination of lighter racket, poly strings, more extreme grip, extremely high RHS, use of reverse finish, and standing way back. The whole package was considered injury-prone bad technique at first, then claimed to be the correct technique for the modern era when he started winning a lot, and now again criticized as poor technique as he dwindles.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
skill is the ability to do something well. having a different or unpopular technique doesn't matter if you can execute the task without injury.

for example Seles was every bit as good as Graf with a different technique(s).

we focus too much on technique because it is a lot easier than putting in the time to develop skill. alas, any schmuck can look at slo-mo video and note the technique of federer and other greats

technique is not the mother of skill, repetition is the mother of skill.

unfortunately for older adults we cannot withstand hours of practice nor do we have the time.
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
In knowing things there is always uncertainty.

Video Accuracy & Checkpoints. In viewing high speed videos for analysis, you get absolute truth as to object position - if you can somehow interpret it correctly and also understand the uncertainty in location from what the video shows - object position vs time. Checkpoints greatly simplify object position vs time but are very incomplete, they are just a few recognizable positions during the stroke. If you simply go to exact checkpoints but your motion does not have the correct sequencing, velocities, muscle lengths, muscle states of stretch, etc. for your body, checkpoints will not work.

Muscular Forces Skill or Technique? Muscular forces are probably the most important thing for describing tennis strokes, not positions. But videos don't directly show muscular forces vs time. How muscular forces are applied can vary for individuals. Some might see the most successful performance as a 'skill'. I don't, my vote is that muscular forces vs time are part of the 'technique'. It is easy to identify a few of the main muscles and say 'stretch shorten cycle' (as I often do). But muscle forces vs time is an unknown part of technique that is much more difficult to observe in videos and analyze - there is very significant uncertainty as to what is actually happening with muscles. This involves understanding the degree of uncertainty in your measurements and analysis.

(Estimate the amount of uncertainty expressed in the posts on the forum as you read them.)

I believe the usage of the term 'skill' often involves the uncertainty in how individuals use their muscles. Not knowing or observing the muscle forces vs time technique, the term 'skill' is used in describing successful stroke performance. Instead, I consider technique to cover both knowledge of the technique and timing the muscle forces vs time for that technique.

But the OP link involves term usage and semantics since we can't pin down 'skill' in high speed videos....... Simply using checkpoints, videos show that the majority of amateur tennis player do not use current high level techniques - knowledge of the technique is first priority in my opinion. How they are using their muscles is a moot point with most amateur techniques.

Does using the word 'skill' hide finer parts of technique that we don't recognize?

Note- individuals also have basic limitations in size, timing, strength, technique knowledge, etc. So individuals said to be 'skilled' on one stroke are more likely to be skilled in another. How the word 'skill' is being used considering those limitations.... ???
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
Technique and skill should go together as far as possible, with small variations for individual needs. In sports, it is highly unlikely that someone will find a newer way to do something which is also efficient, injury-free, and successful. That is why most athletes have almost the same technique in the core elements of the game.
 

mntlblok

Hall of Fame
Tons of variation in technique in amateur tennis that "works". If you can hit yer target with the trajectory, spin, and pace that you want (and need), then yer skillful.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Tons of variation in technique in amateur tennis that "works". If you can hit yer target with the trajectory, spin, and pace that you want (and need), then yer skillful.
That was my point - there is tons of variation in amateur tennis, the key word here being amateur. But that is hardly something to emulate. Well, maybe observe and learn some practical tips to defeat the pusher, the lobber, or the crafty old man, but nothing to take into a higher level.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
If you wish to discuss superior performance and are not interested in the biomechanical details then the term 'skill' often fits the purpose. We know skill when we see it but the term carries little information other than associating skilled players. A conversational term. See loose definition of 'skill'.

If you are interested in understanding the biomechanical details of tennis strokes and study high speed videos, tennis research, etc. then the term 'technique' has a tighter definition. Using the term 'technique' implies that there are specific details available.
 

mntlblok

Hall of Fame
That was my point - there is tons of variation in amateur tennis, the key word here being amateur. But that is hardly something to emulate. Well, maybe observe and learn some practical tips to defeat the pusher, the lobber, or the crafty old man, but nothing to take into a higher level.
Hey, I think I just saw a video of yer play. What is this "higher level" of which you speak?? :)

I've seen a lot of the best senior amateurs in the country play, and have witnessed a wide variety of skills and styles used in national level tournaments. No, they wouldn't do anything versus tour players (though some have *been* tour players way back when), but they'd beat the snot out of most every player at yer (collective) club. I'd be most honored to emulate *any* these guys.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Hey, I think I just saw a video of yer play. What is this "higher level" of which you speak?? :)

I've seen a lot of the best senior amateurs in the country play, and have witnessed a wide variety of skills and styles used in national level tournaments. No, they wouldn't do anything versus tour players (though some have *been* tour players way back when), but they'd beat the snot out of most every player at yer (collective) club. I'd be most honored to emulate *any* these guys.
Many of the guys you think are amateurs played high school and college back in the day. Don't count them. Skills learned early, like cycling, stay for life. Some of them are teaching pros too.

BTW, what exactly do you find good in them to emulate which you cannot see in a pro player on TV or Internet video? Personally, I have modeled my game after Federer.
 

mntlblok

Hall of Fame
Many of the guys you think are amateurs played high school and college back in the day. Don't count them. Skills learned early, like cycling, stay for life. Some of them are teaching pros too.

BTW, what exactly do you find good in them to emulate which you cannot see in a pro player on TV or Internet video?
Yeah, I guess a lot of them are teaching pros and most played college tennis. But, few of them play the "modern" game of heavy topspin forehands and two handed backhand. But, most all of the top players - even the ones that aren't teaching pros and didn't play college tennis - find ways to consistently put the ball where they want it with whatever technique they have chosen to master. For example, one Florida player in the 70's hits two forehands most of the time. A lot of the top older guys hit very flat shots. To me, that is a major sign of talent, as the margin for error is just tiny. And, all of the singles players are in great physical condition.

kb
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Many of the guys you think are amateurs played high school and college back in the day. Don't count them. Skills learned early, like cycling, stay for life. Some of them are teaching pros too.

BTW, what exactly do you find good in them to emulate which you cannot see in a pro player on TV or Internet video? Personally, I have modeled my game after Federer.
The Sureshs rhino charge to the net and half volley finish GIF have been watched on repeat by millions now. The Spray has been felt on the faces of millions throughout the globe. Sureshian Skin Tight pants have sold out, and there have been fistfights for the last precious pairs.

While many times I get asked if the Sureshs video is in slow motion, I have to explain that Sureshs prefers to recreate the slower, more thoughtful pace of the wood era in his matches.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Yeah, I guess a lot of them are teaching pros and most played college tennis. But, few of them play the "modern" game of heavy topspin forehands and two handed backhand. But, most all of the top players - even the ones that aren't teaching pros and didn't play college tennis - find ways to consistently put the ball where they want it with whatever technique they have chosen to master. For example, one Florida player in the 70's hits two forehands most of the time. A lot of the top older guys hit very flat shots. To me, that is a major sign of talent, as the margin for error is just tiny. And, all of the singles players are in great physical condition.

kb
That actually proves my other thread that old-school tennis required more skills and precision, while new tennis masks defects with top spin.
 

tennis_balla

Hall of Fame
Seriously? The reason why topspin is so important in today's game has nothing to do with less skill. It is because at the speed the game is played now you cannot hit as hard as the current players do and hit it flat and be consistent.
Spin = control

The speed of the game in the 70's and today is night and day. Besides top players (Borg, Vilas etc) in the 70's were already hitting with topspin, a fair bit or rather as much as the equipment allowed so there goes your flat and skillfull, tennis was so much tougher back then theory out the window.
 

onehandbh

Legend
Cannot be!

Tennis is like the NBA. No way the 2016 Golden State Warriors or Michael Jordan Bulls could beat the old school white guys teams from the 1940s. Their standing set shots and ground game would destroy! They could have dunked from the free throw line, too, but the shoes they had back then weren't as good.


Seriously? The reason why topspin is so important in today's game has nothing to do with less skill. It is because at the speed the game is played now you cannot hit as hard as the current players do and hit it flat and be consistent.
Spin = control

The speed of the game in the 70's and today is night and day. Besides top players (Borg, Vilas etc) in the 70's were already hitting with topspin, a fair bit or rather as much as the equipment allowed so there goes your flat and skillfull, tennis was so much tougher back then theory out the window.
 

mntlblok

Hall of Fame
Cannot be!

Tennis is like the NBA. No way the 2016 Golden State Warriors or Michael Jordan Bulls could beat the old school white guys teams from the 1940s. Their standing set shots and ground game would destroy! They could have dunked from the free throw line, too, but the shoes they had back then weren't as good.

Wow. :)
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Seriously? The reason why topspin is so important in today's game has nothing to do with less skill. It is because at the speed the game is played now you cannot hit as hard as the current players do and hit it flat and be consistent.
Spin = control

The speed of the game in the 70's and today is night and day. Besides top players (Borg, Vilas etc) in the 70's were already hitting with topspin, a fair bit or rather as much as the equipment allowed so there goes your flat and skillfull, tennis was so much tougher back then theory out the window.
The Head Vilas had graphite inlay and was not a full woodie.

Regarding the Borg Donnay, experts have reached the opposite conclusion and tend to agree with me:

Looking at the frame you gain a greater appreciation for how skilled Borg was to hit such heavy topspin strokes off unpredictable bounces from an unruly, worn out grass court with such a small-headed racket.

Laver also tends to agree with me:

“Yes I hit with heavy top-spin but when you look at the little rackets I played with, the Maxply Dunlop, you had to hit the very centre all the time. I had my share of miss-hits. I was accused of hitting them off the wood, winners over their head, drop shots, whatever, and I’d say ‘Well that’s the way it is, guys!’

Admit it or not, classic tennis required more technique and skill than today. Today, you have coaches advising falling back and pulling backwards. In those days, proper weight transfer forward into the ball and impeccable timing and aim were required.
 
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mntlblok

Hall of Fame
As I pondered the modern game and senior tennis, this fellow came to mind. He definitely plays something much closer to the modern game than all the guys he's beaten in tournaments in the last 7 or 8 years. And, I note the one player who has beaten him in singles *also* plays more like the modern pros. https://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/rankings/rankinghome.aspx#&&s=5\Page_PlayerRecordInTournament\Start_1900-1-1\End_1900-1-1\FirstName_Mark\MiddleName_\LastName_Meyers\Usta_evwWZZUbzwk5ZVWajx3ZTg==

kb
 
technique is a means to reach a certain biomechanical Goal. you want to move the rackethead with the sweetspot at the right angle (must be stable), direction and Speed against the ball.

certain techniques are more effective in achieving that than other and that is why most pros use them. the control of the racket face angle, direction and Speed is the most important Thing though. you can have great General technique but if you don't control the racket face the results will be bad. and if you have great control of the racket face you likely won't have ideal RHS if your technique is not ideal but you can still hit a precise and firm shot.

so the two are related but command over the racket head is the first skill needed. if you don't bring the sweetspot of the racket to the ball at the right racket face angle and direction the results will be bad.
 
No, it required different technique, not more.
I think it is easier to hit a Topspin with modern technique and Rackets than with 60 Inch Wood racket but the game happens at a higher pace so that Offsets for that. high Level sports is always challenging the borders of human ability.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
No, it required different technique, not more.
And that different technique required more skill and precision, for one thing.

And the margin of forgiveness for deviation from good technique was much smaller, which means that the different technique was ,essentially, more technique.

Two techniques can be different, but one can be harder than the other. Simply being different does not put them at the same level, a point that is often missed.

Again, players who actually know what it takes to play at a high level agree with me, so I will not bother to comment on this issue any more. This is Bob Bryan after a session with wood rackets sponsored by the IHOF saying exactly what I said about sweeping defects under the rug:

"Technology can hide flaws in your game," Bob Bryan said.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I think it is easier to hit a Topspin with modern technique and Rackets than with 60 Inch Wood racket but the game happens at a higher pace so that Offsets for that. high Level sports is always challenging the borders of human ability.
The biggest difference has been at the club level, where technology has enabled players to reach a certain level much more easily. This has happened due to more power and more margin for error and more comfort, which all put together enable playing decently in spite of hitting off-center with no weight transfer or knee bend or precision in directional control. It has led to democratization of tennis to embrace less-skilled players.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
No, your comment "more technique" doesn't make any sense in this context. If you had said "more skill" well that would be a different issue.
Yes I think it should be more skill.

So you don't think one technique can inherently be tougher than another? I personally find topspin very easy but playing the linear game much more difficult.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
skill is the ability to do something well. having a different or unpopular technique doesn't matter if you can execute the task without injury.

for example Seles was every bit as good as Graf with a different technique(s).

we focus too much on technique because it is a lot easier than putting in the time to develop skill. alas, any schmuck can look at slo-mo video and note the technique of federer and other greats

technique is not the mother of skill, repetition is the mother of skill.

unfortunately for older adults we cannot withstand hours of practice nor do we have the time.
exactly why pushers get such a bad rap!
on one hand you get a tennis club weeny that has spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on perfect technique... but hasn't put in the work to master their shiny new "pro technique".
on the other hand, you get the public court hacker than knows that the goal of tennis is to: not make more mistakes than the other guy... so they "drill" the heck out of their bunt style/pusher technique, and runs... alot.
we all know who wins (at 4.0 and below).
and we all know who ends up complaining.
 

barnes1172

New User
Hey, I think I just saw a video of yer play. What is this "higher level" of which you speak?? :)

I've seen a lot of the best senior amateurs in the country play, and have witnessed a wide variety of skills and styles used in national level tournaments. No, they wouldn't do anything versus tour players (though some have *been* tour players way back when), but they'd beat the snot out of most every player at yer (collective) club. I'd be most honored to emulate *any* these guys.
Is there a reason why you have to post in this pseudo country/Southern vernacular? ("yer," "I'd be most honored," etc.) Also, perhaps you should avoid personal attacks on the poster.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Is there a reason why you have to post in this pseudo country/Southern vernacular? ("yer," "I'd be most honored," etc.) Also, perhaps you should avoid personal attacks on the poster.
I'm guessing he used a southern vernacular to blunt the bitter sting of his insult/joke.
 

mntlblok

Hall of Fame
Well, now, maybe I've misread the situation here on the forum. If so, I apologize. I don't spend as much time here as some, so maybe Sureshs and LeeD and *not* considered free game for teasing, eh?? "Fair game"? Struggling with the language tonight. Getting a bit older. . .
 
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maleyoyo

Professional
exactly why pushers get such a bad rap!
on one hand you get a tennis club weeny that has spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on perfect technique... but hasn't put in the work to master their shiny new "pro technique".
on the other hand, you get the public court hacker than knows that the goal of tennis is to: not make more mistakes than the other guy... so they "drill" the heck out of their bunt style/pusher technique, and runs... alot.
we all know who wins (at 4.0 and below).
and we all know who ends up complaining.
One of the worst myth of tennis is the most talked about and overrated “pushers”

When a pusher wins a match against a non-pusher, it’s either he is a better player overall or having a better game plan.

Pushers are very good defensive players no more no less, and they just exploit the very one fact of players 4.0 and below: consistency.

Technique is just raw skill. Good technique takes time and has a much steeper learning curve to convert it into skill, and once it does there will be considerable improvement.

On the other hand, a 4.0 pusher will forever be a 4.0 one trick pony, just happy to be picking on lesser skilled players.
 
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