[video] 5.5 vs. 4.5 lesson

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Deleted member 23235

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#1
I thought some folks might find this entertaining/educational/etc...

i wanted to play 2 sets before starting the lesson (these are clips from the 2nd set)
lost 0,0 pretty quickly.
  • side note, related to another thread about how hard it is to keep focus when playing someone that can't hurt you... i had played a couple sets with him in a previous lesson, and lost 2,1... while the set score looks better, similarly i had no chance at winning, but his NTRP might have been penalized because it wasn't 0,0 - even in this clip, it's clear he's not really trying hard since i'm not a threat to him at all.
coach is a 5.5 in my neck of the woods... former 200 itf junior, div1, etc...


thx @TimeToPlaySets for recording/editing/posting!
  • side note, @TimeToPlaySets has gotten a million times better since the first time i played with him (and since he started posting on here in the beginning of the spring)... so while his posts are always controversial/entertaining/etc... he's putting his money (and practice time!) where his mouth is.

main points from the lesson:
  • conditioning conditioning conditioning
  • more brush on fh, bh
    • more brush allows me to hit much higher over the net (aim ~6ft)
    • need the brush to be able to hit fh cc, when pulled wide
    • brush will let me swing out fully, and get depth (ultimate goal), without fear of going long
  • focus on contact... stay low, eyes on contact (under offensive or defensive pressure, tendency to both: (a) lift my upper body up before finishing the stroke (b) look at my target before finishing the stroke
  • approach shots... stop and hit, then continue (tendency to rush through in my eagerness to get to net)
  • slice/kick serve ok.. need a flat serve to vary it
Did a bunch of drills to address these things.

Discuss!
 
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D

Deleted member 23235

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#3
@nytennisaddict, what is your weapon or how do you win points when playing against other 4.5s?
bh cc, until i can run around bh to hit a fh
mostly attack the bh (with my fh), change direction occasionally
wait for the short ball, then come in - finish with volley or overhead
rinse repeat.

[edit] this tactic breaks down when the coach in the vid can regularly hit dtl bh (because i'm hitting too short)... at 4.5 even short balls to the bh are not attacked (consistently) dtl
 
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#4
Seemed like a fun match, even if you got bageled. And you walked away with some good takeaways for future development. I think you already nailed down what you need to focus on going forward.

As you had mentioned, your coach wasn't giving 100% on certain strokes/tactics. He had a good look at a forehand at 0:56 and could've either blasted down the line (given he was inside the baseline I'd say a relatively high percentage shot) or put some heavy action on a deep forehand back to illicit a short ball. Instead he slows down his RHS and gives you a nice high shot inside the baseline with the expectation that you'll have to move to it but be able to go back on the offensive.

I do believe he was definitely hustling on the defensive side, which won him some points I'm sure you'd otherwise win against players your level. I believe this is a relatively common way for coaches to play their students. They're trying to apply those short ball, volley, overhead drills into game situations. "Give me 3 solid deep goundstrokes and I'll reward you with a low short ball". 2:38 is a good example of this, as well as the following point.
 
#5
Fun vid, thanks for posting. That 5.5 is pretty similar to one of my coaches who was also very wiry, fast, had monster groundstrokes and played with a Babolat (APD in his case). I am sure the one you were playing with could also hit a much harder serve and was pretty much using his warm up motion here. That's how my coach used to generally hit his serve when playing against me. Just once, he unleashed his full throttle serve and I would only get to see the ball bounce before it was right on my racquet (if that). Fast with plenty of spin, how to return! And he was far from the best player in my city so I would wonder what it would be like to play against an ATP ranked guy!
 
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Deleted member 23235

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#6
Seemed like a fun match, even if you got bageled. And you walked away with some good takeaways for future development. I think you already nailed down what you need to focus on going forward.

As you had mentioned, your coach wasn't giving 100% on certain strokes/tactics. He had a good look at a forehand at 0:56 and could've either blasted down the line (given he was inside the baseline I'd say a relatively high percentage shot) or put some heavy action on a deep forehand back to illicit a short ball. Instead he slows down his RHS and gives you a nice high shot inside the baseline with the expectation that you'll have to move to it but be able to go back on the offensive.

I do believe he was definitely hustling on the defensive side, which won him some points I'm sure you'd otherwise win against players your level. I believe this is a relatively common way for coaches to play their students. They're trying to apply those short ball, volley, overhead drills into game situations. "Give me 3 solid deep goundstrokes and I'll reward you with a low short ball". 2:38 is a good example of this, as well as the following point.
yeah, in the first set, the points looked more like 0:25, and 1:16
he let me get more balls in the 2nd set, to actually see where my games starts to break down. but occasionally he let one rip... just because :p
 
#7
Great video. Good way to expose your weaknesses playing against better players but not an indication of your real game.
From the video you appear rush, so your loading phase and balance are a little off when hitting the ball. You got to the ball in time but never really get to set up properly. As a result you hit short often.
Your net approach is good but you don't split step to regain your balance and your position for first volley is a little deep. Coupling that with your height I think people will tend to lob you.
Interesting about the brushing because I thought you brush plenty and your net clearance is good. If anything you should hit through and lean forward more.
You were caught ball watching a few times so the recovery was late, but I understand it was casual.
Man, it is so easy to find faults with other people and trust me I'm no coach.
 
#8
2:38 is a good example of this, as well as the following point.
In that following point, NYTA hit a nice high deep FH at 2:56. He must be given credit for that.
I think 5.5 was trying to get NYTA to run and tire him out, so maybe he drop shotted him.
But, I also think 5.5 didn't have tons of time to react, and had to move to the ball, so maybe NYTA forced that short ball reply.
 
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Deleted member 120290

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#10
Nice video. Reminds me of when I used to play my coach. After 1 set, I would feel like I played 5 sets since he ran me around so much with topspin and angles.
Yeah, I agree with flat serves. You have to get them in along with kickers and slices to have any chance of holding serve. Otherwise 5.5 will eat up 4.5 kickers.
My conclusion from this video is that your coach > Shroud.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

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#11
Great video. Good way to expose your weaknesses playing against better players but not an indication of your real game.
From the video you appear rush, so your loading phase and balance are a little off when hitting the ball. You got to the ball in time but never really get to set up properly. As a result you hit short often.
yup, you're right. by the time i got to the second set, i was already tired from him running me around like a rag doll...
Your net approach is good but you don't split step to regain your balance and your position for first volley is a little deep. Coupling that with your height I think people will tend to lob you.
Interesting about the brushing because I thought you brush plenty and your net clearance is good. If anything you should hit through and lean forward more.
in the second set, i was focusing on more brush, and high clearance (striving for zero net balls).
after this we spent ~30m where he just sliced the ball at me, and i had to brush, and hit heavy topspin with high clearance over the net.
this requires a heckuvallot more conditioning to do consistently :)
You were caught ball watching a few times so the recovery was late, but I understand it was casual.
fatigue, and honestly, there were some shots i didn't think he'd get back (silly me) - he's really fast, but more importantly he has really good shot anticipation.
shot anticipation is one that folks tend to overlook when rating folks either live/video... because it's hard to quantify, but it's there, and there's a real difference between low level and high level players... it's like the difference between a div1 baseball player reading a pitch vs. a pro baseball player reading a pitch
Man, it is so easy to find faults with other people and trust me I'm no coach.
absolutely.
but just because you're not a coach or maybe not a good player, you still have eyes, and often can point out good feedback (with a fresh new filter) - so thanks for your feedback :)
 
A

Attila_the_gorilla

Guest
#13
How tall are you? I think your serve could really use some pace.
Also, you seem to have a pretty aggressive court positioning, which is great against weaker players, but if you stand right on top of the baseline against a good player like this, a lot of your shots will be hit moving backwards, which will work against you. You need to give yourself a bit more room and time to counter their potential depth, accuracy and pace. Of course still look for the short one to hopefully attack.
The reason I mention this is because I often make the same mistake, I like to play aggressive and often don't give enough respect to quality opposition by giving up a little bit of court positioning. Even about 1 metre behind the baseline should be a good enough spot for your ready position against good players. It's easier to move forward and hit a good shot than backtrack and still hit a good shot. Of course standing further back requires more footwork and stamina.
 
#14
yup, you're right. by the time i got to the second set, i was already tired from him running me around like a rag doll...
Your net approach is good but you don't split step to regain your balance and your position for first volley is a little deep. Coupling that with your height I think people will tend to lob you.

in the second set, i was focusing on more brush, and high clearance (striving for zero net balls).
after this we spent ~30m where he just sliced the ball at me, and i had to brush, and hit heavy topspin with high clearance over the net.
this requires a heckuvallot more conditioning to do consistently :)

fatigue, and honestly, there were some shots i didn't think he'd get back (silly me) - he's really fast, but more importantly he has really good shot anticipation.
shot anticipation is one that folks tend to overlook when rating folks either live/video... because it's hard to quantify, but it's there, and there's a real difference between low level and high level players... it's like the difference between a div1 baseball player reading a pitch vs. a pro baseball player reading a pitch

absolutely.
but just because you're not a coach or maybe not a good player, you still have eyes, and often can point out good feedback (with a fresh new filter) - so thanks for your feedback :)
Anticipation makes the world of difference. My coach yells at me all the times " You know where that ball is going to be what the heck are you waiting for?"
It's not a super hard thing to do but most of the time I'm too busy ball watching admiring my own shot before making the recovery step. It's only a matter of a few split of seconds and a few steps away, but if you are late, boy, it's a world away.
When I play better players they always seem to be there where the ball is. If I watch them on video, they always move towards the target before I even hit the ball. Then they take it early to rob you time...then they get there early to hit the ball and watch me suffer.
Think about it, if you play someone not as good as you, you would read their shots before hand most of the time.
I think that's a major take-away from your video. People often talk about speed but I think it's overrated. You got speed...yet your coach just took a few nice strolls to run you ragged.
 
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Deleted member 23235

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#15
How tall are you? I think your serve could really use some pace.
Also, you seem to have a pretty aggressive court positioning, which is great against weaker players, but if you stand right on top of the baseline against a good player like this, a lot of your shots will be hit moving backwards, which will work against you. You need to give yourself a bit more room and time to counter their potential depth, accuracy and pace. Of course still look for the short one to hopefully attack.
The reason I mention this is because I often make the same mistake, I like to play aggressive and often don't give enough respect to quality opposition by giving up a little bit of court positioning. Even about 1 metre behind the baseline should be a good enough spot for your ready position against good players. It's easier to move forward and hit a good shot than backtrack and still hit a good shot. Of course standing further back requires more footwork and stamina.
5'4"
yeah, i do need more pace... (why we were working on flat serves) - other tips for how to get more pace?
standing back... typically stand back against "big hitters"... but coach is a counter puncher,... while he can hit big (in the first set he was), in the second set he was jerking me back and forth more than trying to hit through me... (so i adjusted my position accordingly - but yeah, +1, stand back against big hitters - to clarify it's not because he's a "good player" it's because a good player tends to hit harder and/or deeper, and i need to stand back to give myself more time.... side note, he was catching me with droppers in the first set because i was standing back)
 
#16
nice work. My coach is very similar to yours and as a 4.5, it is really interesting to see how much better these guys are at every single aspect of the tennis game. I have found that dropping some weight has helped with my court coverage, footwork, ground stroke prep, etc... you might want to look into losing some weight too. Not trying to be critical or anything just my thoughts. You've got a good game so keep up the good work and if you're ever in DFW let's hit!
 
#18
5'4"
yeah, i do need more pace... (why we were working on flat serves) - other tips for how to get more pace?
standing back... typically stand back against "big hitters"... but coach is a counter puncher,... while he can hit big (in the first set he was), in the second set he was jerking me back and forth more than trying to hit through me... (so i adjusted my position accordingly - but yeah, +1, stand back against big hitters - to clarify it's not because he's a "good player" it's because a good player tends to hit harder and/or deeper, and i need to stand back to give myself more time.... side note, he was catching me with droppers in the first set because i was standing back)
just to add that playing against good hitters you should stand back and give yourself more time but your main goal is at some point you must learn to step in and take it early. Otherwise they will put you on the defensive mode all the times.
 
#19
I thought some folks might find this entertaining/educational/etc...

i wanted to play 2 sets before starting the lesson (these are clips from the 2nd set)
lost 0,0 pretty quickly.
  • side note, related to another thread about how hard it is to keep focus when playing someone that can't hurt you... i had played a couple sets with him in a previous lesson, and lost 2,1... while the set score looks better, similarly i had no chance at winning, but his NTRP might have been penalized because it wasn't 0,0 - even in this clip, it's clear he's not really trying hard since i'm not a threat to him at all.
coach is a 5.5 in my neck of the woods... former 200 itf junior, div1, etc...


thx @TimeToPlaySets for recording/editing/posting!
  • side note, @TimeToPlaySets has gotten a million times better since the first time i played with him (and since he started posting on here in the beginning of the spring)... so while his posts are always controversial/entertaining/etc... he's putting his money (and practice time!) where his mouth is.

main points from the lesson:
  • conditioning conditioning conditioning
  • more brush on fh, bh
    • more brush allows me to hit much higher over the net (aim ~6ft)
    • need the brush to be able to hit fh cc, when pulled wide
    • brush will let me swing out fully, and get depth (ultimate goal), without fear of going long
  • focus on contact... stay low, eyes on contact (under offensive or defensive pressure, tendency to both: (a) lift my upper body up before finishing the stroke (b) look at my target before finishing the stroke
  • approach shots... stop and hit, then continue (tendency to rush through in my eagerness to get to net)
  • slice/kick serve ok.. need a flat serve to vary it
Did a bunch of drills to address these things.

Discuss!
That's some nice playing against a high level player.

I just want to say that your serve could be so much better than it is with a simple adjustment. You have practically no upper body rotation at all. Your upper body is virtually motionless during your entire service motion and are left trying to muscle the ball with your arm to generate power. At the peak of your toss, your shoulders are almost level with the ground, and there is no upper body turn at all.

Rather, your upper body should be turned and tilted at the peak of the toss as much as your flexibility allows, so that you can employ maximum upper body rotation in your service motion. It's very easy - as you toss the ball, turn your back to your opponent and slide your left hip toward the right net post. That's it! Here are some benchmarks you should look for. At the peak of your toss, your left arm should be pointing at the ball and in line with your shoulders, and your left shoulder should be almost directly above your right shoulder. From there, you rotate your right shoulder up to the ball dragging the arm and racquet behind it. At contact, your shoulders should reverse positions, with your right shoulder now being almost directly over your left shoulder, and your right arm now extended up to the ball should be in line with your shoulders. Check out the pics of Sampras below:

Sampras at the peak of his toss:



Sampras at contact:



PS: At 5'4", there is no place for a flat serve in your game, in my view.
 
A

Attila_the_gorilla

Guest
#20
5'4"
yeah, i do need more pace... (why we were working on flat serves) - other tips for how to get more pace?
standing back... typically stand back against "big hitters"... but coach is a counter puncher,... while he can hit big (in the first set he was), in the second set he was jerking me back and forth more than trying to hit through me... (so i adjusted my position accordingly - but yeah, +1, stand back against big hitters - to clarify it's not because he's a "good player" it's because a good player tends to hit harder and/or deeper, and i need to stand back to give myself more time.... side note, he was catching me with droppers in the first set because i was standing back)
You're back tracking every time he hits a deep ball. Not about big hitting but depth. But yeah I understand if you're worried about drop shots, it's a no-win situation, other than make it tougher for him to hit drop shots (and generally control the points) by hitting deep yourself.

With that height, I think your serve is actually pretty good, but hopefully you can add some juice to it by hitting through it more and less brushing. Try to imagine hitting the top of the ball, at 12 o'clock. You're probably so used to spinning your serves, you may never even have hit a flat one before, so it may take a while to get a feel for the different swingpath.
 
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Deleted member 23235

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#21
just to add that playing against good hitters you should stand back and give yourself more time but your main goal is at some point you must learn to step in and take it early. Otherwise they will put you on the defensive mode all the times.
+1
i the first set i was doing that... stepping in to take it early (if i could), but i was also making more errors.
need to find a happy medium
 
D

Deleted member 23235

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#23
That's some nice playing against a high level player.

I just want to say that your serve could be so much better than it is with a simple adjustment. You have practically no upper body rotation at all. Your upper body is virtually motionless during your entire service motion and are left trying to muscle the ball with your arm to generate power. At the peak of your toss, your shoulders are almost level with the ground, and there is no upper body turn at all.

Rather, your upper body should be turned and tilted at the peak of the toss as much as your flexibility allows, so that you can employ maximum upper body rotation in your service motion. It's very easy - as you toss the ball, turn your back to your opponent and slide your left hip toward the right net post. That's it! Here are some benchmarks you should look for. At the peak of your toss, your left arm should be pointing at the ball and in line with your shoulders, and your left shoulder should be almost directly above your right shoulder. From there, you rotate your right shoulder up to the ball dragging the arm and racquet behind it. At contact, your shoulders should reverse positions, with your right shoulder now being almost directly over your left shoulder, and your right arm now extended up to the ball should be in line with your shoulders. Check out the pics of Sampras below:

Sampras at the peak of his toss:



Sampras at contact:



PS: At 5'4", there is no place for a flat serve in your game, in my view.
thx for the feedback!

regarding more upper body rotation.. i agree.. but probably not as much as sampras (ie. i use pinpoint he uses platform - which naturally have more upper body rotation)
(see wawrinka:
)

regarding flat... interesting, i thought the same thing, no room for flat at 5'4"...
my coach (5'7") disagreed. while it should not be a staple... i'm gonna need it if i hope to get to 5.0.
but mainly into the body or T
we actually spent quite a bit of time drilling flat (breaking it down, etc...)
 
#24
thx for the feedback!

regarding more upper body rotation.. i agree.. but probably not as much as sampras (ie. i use pinpoint he uses platform - which naturally have more upper body rotation)
(see wawrinka:
)

regarding flat... interesting, i thought the same thing, no room for flat at 5'4"...
my coach (5'7") disagreed. while it should not be a staple... i'm gonna need it if i hope to get to 5.0.
but mainly into the body or T
we actually spent quite a bit of time drilling flat (breaking it down, etc...)
First, Wawrinka has a great serve, and it could be even greater in my view if he employed Sampras style upper body rotation. Second, FYI, I have been watching pro tennis for almost 50 years. I have seen almost every top player since Rosewall play live. I have never seen a world class player hit a flat serve, ever. And I don't recommend it for anyone, of any height, either. It is a very low percentage shot, and, unless you are going for an ace and actually hit the line, or close to it making the opponent reach, a flat serve is easier to return than a kick or slice serve.

In my view, you are much better served (no pun intended), learning to maximize your upper body rotation which will help you maximize racquet head speed, power and spin.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

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#25
You're back tracking every time he hits a deep ball. Not about big hitting but depth. But yeah I understand if you're worried about drop shots, it's a no-win situation, other than make it tougher for him to hit drop shots (and generally control the points) by hitting deep yourself.

With that height, I think your serve is actually pretty good, but hopefully you can add some juice to it by hitting through it more and less brushing. Try to imagine hitting the top of the ball, at 12 o'clock. You're probably so used to spinning your serves, you may never even have hit a flat one before, so it may take a while to get a feel for the different swingpath.
+1
and you're right, i never have hit a true flat serve.... (what i thought was a flat serve, was just a less spinny slice serve).
we spent quite a bit of time on flat serves... the pop sound is different, feel is different, contact is even more to the right (1p) than i thought (tend to hit "flat" at 12p)...
so yeah, more to practice :)
 
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Deleted member 23235

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#26
First, Wawrinka has a great serve, and it could be even greater in my view if he employed Sampras style upper body rotation. Second, FYI, I have been watching pro tennis for almost 50 years. I have seen almost every top player since Rosewall play live. I have never seen a world class player hit a flat serve, ever. And I don't recommend it for anyone, of any height, either. It is a very low percentage shot, and, unless you are going for an ace and actually hit the line, or close to it making the opponent reach, a flat serve is easier to return than a kick or slice serve.

In my view, you are much better served (no pun intended), learning to maximize your upper body rotation which will help you maximize racquet head speed, power and spin.
that's definitely the same mental model i had about flat serves...
but i have to say my coach was effective at throwing it in as a change up (ie. slice, kick... (which draws me in to cut off the angle) then when up 30-0 or 40-15, flat body or T was a free point)
regarding easy of hitting.. yeah, if all i hit was flat... it's definitely easier to return... but just like a baseball pitcher with a nasty curve... even he needs to throw some heat (even if it's not a 90mph+ fastball, it's still probably much faster than his curve).

for now i'm gonna explore the flat serve a bit more... it's not like i'm gonna abandon my normal topslice first serve.
 
A

Attila_the_gorilla

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#27
First, Wawrinka has a great serve, and it could be even greater in my view if he employed Sampras style upper body rotation. Second, FYI, I have been watching pro tennis for almost 50 years. I have seen almost every top player since Rosewall play live. I have never seen a world class player hit a flat serve, ever. And I don't recommend it for anyone, of any height, either. It is a very low percentage shot, and, unless you are going for an ace and actually hit the line, or close to it making the opponent reach, a flat serve is easier to return than a kick or slice serve.

In my view, you are much better served (no pun intended), learning to maximize your upper body rotation which will help you maximize racquet head speed, power and spin.
A high level flat serve has a decent amount of topspin and bounce, but minimal sidespin. Plenty of great flat servers among the pros.
 
#28
that's definitely the same mental model i had about flat serves...
but i have to say my coach was effective at throwing it in as a change up (ie. slice, kick... (which draws me in to cut off the angle) then when up 30-0 or 40-15, flat body or T was a free point)
regarding easy of hitting.. yeah, if all i hit was flat... it's definitely easier to return... but just like a baseball pitcher with a nasty curve... even he needs to throw some heat (even if it's not a 90mph+ fastball, it's still probably much faster than his curve).

for now i'm gonna explore the flat serve a bit more... it's not like i'm gonna abandon my normal topslice first serve.
No matter what kind of serve you hit, you won't see significant improvement until you increase your racquet head speed. UBR is the only way for you to do that at this point. Any UBR would be an improvement. Maximizing UBR would be optimal. Anyway, I won't beat a dead horse.
 
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Deleted member 23235

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#30
No matter what kind of serve you hit, you won't see significant improvement until you increase your racquet head speed. UBR is the only way for you to do that at this point. Any UBR would be an improvement. Maximizing UBR would be optimal. Anyway, I won't beat a dead horse.
i appreciate the feedback...

will definitely spend some time increasing UBR, which for me - IMO - is really about:
a) tossing slightly higher
b) sync'ing the timing of more UBR with the contact (ie. which is why i think i need to toss slightly higher)
 
#32
Watching the vid, I noticed your coach was constantly moving you side to side. There were very few balls hit to the middle, if at all. He also hit with good depth. The majority of balls were in the middle to back half of No Man's Land, which makes it difficult to attack off of.

A few people mentioned backing off the service line. I don't think that's necessarily the solution. With the way he was moving your around, I think you'd end up running more than anything. There's nothing wrong hugging the baseline if you can take the ball earlier at times to go on the offense.

Regarding your serve, I don't necessarily think a flat serve is the answer. It's good to have one, but us short guys (I'm 5'6") usually have to rely on mixing it up more than power serves. Greg Maddux is one of the best pitchers in baseball and never had a 90 mph fastball, but he had excellent control/placement and knew how to keep a batter guessing. I try and take a similar approach when serving. I will start off with primarily kickers to the backhand. However, I will vary the pace, height, and amount of spin/twist I put on them. So even though I'm using the same toss and service motion, my opponent is still getting different looks. Next, I'll start to weave in slices and flat serves from time to time. One thing I have learned is if I hit the same kicker all day long, good players start to time it and will smack it off the rise and put me on the defense from the start. By mixing it up, it keeps them guessing, and doesn't allow them to get grooved on my serve. Using the same toss for different serves helps as well, ala Sampras. The slice serves I hit can be hit off my kicker toss, I just turn on it earlier and make contact before the ball goes fully behind my head.
 
#33
i appreciate the feedback...

will definitely spend some time increasing UBR, which for me - IMO - is really about:
a) tossing slightly higher
b) sync'ing the timing of more UBR with the contact (ie. which is why i think i need to toss slightly higher)
Right now, you have "ZERO" UBR. Further, you CANNOT rotate forward unless you first rotate back. I would strongly urge you to review the tips in my original post - turn your back to the opponent, slide your left hip toward the right net post. Your toss is not relevant to the issue. You don't need to change your toss, or your abbreviated windup, or learn new timing or syncing. You could make a higher toss and take a full windup, and it might improve your RHS, but, that would be a major change that would take a lot more time and effort (and produce smaller results), than employing UBR with the toss and windup that you have.

Perhaps Dolgopolov might be a better model for you to get a good mental picture from:

Check out Dolgopolov's set up position at :26 seconds:

 
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#35
Flat serve does have pros and cons.
Worst thing about flat is low percentage and requires better technique. If you arm your flat serve you will see its percentage drops dramatically as the match progresses because it will affect you physically and mentally. You'd better have a very reliable second serve to save your bacon.
Best thing about flat is you can get a predictable response because the opponent would redirect or block it back. If you hit down the T or to the body you'd get a weaker ball back most of the time, so to take advantage your mid-court game better be good and remember the harder you serve, the faster it comes back. It works very well in doubles. It's a great tool to have to serve down the middle to compliment your kick serves out wide.
Last but not least, it's a special feeling when you hit an ace down the middle when you are up 40-Love.
Priceless!
Better than sex !!!
 
#36
Regardless of drop shots you can't play close to the baseline against a player of that level. You have to play higher, deeper with more topspin and be ready for short balls. The goal of depth with groundstrokes is to force the opponent into playing short anyways.
 
#37
It's a great tool to have to serve down the middle to compliment your kick serves out wide.
Last but not least, it's a special feeling when you hit an ace down the middle when you are up 40-Love.
If serving from the Ad side, that serve to the T should be a slice, not a flat serve...A flat serve will still move to the right to an extent, a slice will tail away from the returner.
 
#39
If serving from the Ad side, that serve to the T should be a slice, not a flat serve...A flat serve will still move to the right to an extent, a slice will tail away from the returner.
When I stand close to the middle on ad side and toss the ball about 1 o'clock into the court, with proper rotation and shoulder turn I can hit straight down the middle. It won't curl high and away to the left as with the slice but straight down (maybe a bit to the right). The key is not to aim for the lines unless it's 40-love:)
 
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#45
Right now, you have "ZERO" UBR. Further, you CANNOT rotate forward unless you first rotate back. I would strongly urge you to review the tips in my original post - turn your back to the opponent, slide your left hip toward the right net post. Your toss is not relevant to the issue. You don't need to change your toss, or your abbreviated windup, or learn new timing or syncing. You could make a higher toss and take a full windup, and it might improve your RHS, but, that would be a major change that would take a lot more time and effort (and produce smaller results), than employing UBR with the toss and windup that you have.

Perhaps Dolgopolov might be a better model for you to get a good mental picture from:

Check out Dolgopolov's set up position at :26 seconds:

yup, got it, thx for clarifying.. and for the link.
 
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#46
Watching the vid, I noticed your coach was constantly moving you side to side. There were very few balls hit to the middle, if at all. He also hit with good depth. The majority of balls were in the middle to back half of No Man's Land, which makes it difficult to attack off of.

A few people mentioned backing off the service line. I don't think that's necessarily the solution. With the way he was moving your around, I think you'd end up running more than anything. There's nothing wrong hugging the baseline if you can take the ball earlier at times to go on the offense.
yup that's why i was standing in more... partly to defend against dropper (which he did a handful of times in the first set), but to also try to cut the angle and reduce the running
Regarding your serve, I don't necessarily think a flat serve is the answer. It's good to have one, but us short guys (I'm 5'6") usually have to rely on mixing it up more than power serves. Greg Maddux is one of the best pitchers in baseball and never had a 90 mph fastball, but he had excellent control/placement and knew how to keep a batter guessing. I try and take a similar approach when serving. I will start off with primarily kickers to the backhand. However, I will vary the pace, height, and amount of spin/twist I put on them. So even though I'm using the same toss and service motion, my opponent is still getting different looks. Next, I'll start to weave in slices and flat serves from time to time. One thing I have learned is if I hit the same kicker all day long, good players start to time it and will smack it off the rise and put me on the defense from the start. By mixing it up, it keeps them guessing, and doesn't allow them to get grooved on my serve. Using the same toss for different serves helps as well, ala Sampras. The slice serves I hit can be hit off my kicker toss, I just turn on it earlier and make contact before the ball goes fully behind my head.
that's definitely how i currently think about the serve.. move it around the box... high %
but according to my also short coach (5'7"), he said you need a flat to get more free points (and mixed in with slice, kick, etc...)... but perhaps he was projecting out to the level he's used to playing
 
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#47
Regardless of drop shots you can't play close to the baseline against a player of that level. You have to play higher, deeper with more topspin and be ready for short balls. The goal of depth with groundstrokes is to force the opponent into playing short anyways.
+1
and that's what the coach worked on with me afterwards... high higher, deeper...
regarding, "close to baseline"... yeah, i don't have much experience playing 5.5's so next time i'll play deeper, but honestly i think it's just gonna give him more window to run me side to side :p
 
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#48
Hard to watch video was so shaky and your coach either wasn't trying or he is quite lazy for a 5.5.
that's what i mean by anticipation... you're right he doesn't look like he's moving much, but i think partly it's because he already knows where to go (where i have to do the full cycle of recover, split, react, move, adusting steps, etc...) - he's just doing it with less effort.

also i was his last lesson of the day, so that could have something to do with it too... (8hrs of hitting)
 
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#50
I'm surprised @TimeToPlaySets has not yet created a thread titled, "It is Useless for a 3.5 to Record a 4.5 Getting a Beatdown by a 5.5."
lol
forgot to mention that this coach is the same coach that @TimeToPlaySets has been taking lessons from.
based on my brief hitting with ttps (and given how much he's improved in a short time since last time we hit), i think he'll soon have the tools to compete at 4.0.

but to your point, a ttps thread is overdue :)
 
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