Video: Hitting with former D1 #1

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I assume the guy with the white bandana is the D1 player? Because the other person (OP I assume) is pretty good too.

If it is the white bandana guy, he sure has his racquet way back before the bounce on the FH many many times. He also has a huge backswing and sometimes even moves forward with his racket fully back.
 
Keep in mind that is a more of a indication of an imbalance in the competition than a key or indicator of success.
That's literally what I just said. I said that this was a key difference between players of different levels. That's the same thing as imbalance in competiton. Anyway, the point is that the OP is probably a very good player and he's playing a much better player. That's why the ball was landing short. If the D1 player from the video played any of the ATP top 100, he would be the one hitting short. I was in no way trying to put anybody down.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
That's literally what I just said. I said that this was a key difference between players of different levels. That's the same thing as imbalance in competiton. Anyway, the point is that the OP is probably a very good player and he's playing a much better player. That's why the ball was landing short. If the D1 player from the video played any of the ATP top 100, he would be the one hitting short. I was in no way trying to put anybody down.
No, not literally.
I don't think you were putting folks down, but here you again miss the subtle but important point, I'm trying to get across.

In this case, hitting shorter is a symtom, not a " key difference between players of different levels".
It is more of a "relative difference" generally than a key difference.

If it was a key difference, the weaker players will hit shorter and the stronger players on the USTA scale would hit longer, but if you watch 2 even 7.0 players in a match, they will not hit so deep as many would expect.
And two very even 4.0s would not hit correspondingly short in relation.
So shot depth of a player will tell us little except about how he was coached.

My son in the Jrs will often hit shorter than his opponent in the matches he is winning due to his training, even though he may be winning 6-1 or so.
Often his opponents are taught how great hitting deep near the baseline is and will try to play this way, because as you seem to, they think this is what better players do.
My point is that hitting very deep is something better players can get away with against weaker players, but really no other time,
unless against another misinformed player (which is very common too). It is not the great attribute it has been touted as.
When matches are tough (aren't these the ones that matter?) or close, players use a mixture of depth and often avoid going very deep due to the risks. If that is best for tough matches, don't you think it would be smart to make that the habit so you are ready more for tough matches?
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
Didn't you say no player trained as a jr did this anymore if they ever did such a thing?
No, I said most pros do it and those who teach taking the racket back after the bounce all the time and counting till 5 have no clue about what the pros are doing.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
The thing I noticed the most was when the D1 player was on the side closest to the camera. The OP's shots were mostly landing inside the service line and the D1 player was putting every ball back with pace and above all else, great depth. I think that's a big difference between players of different levels. They hit with so much more pace and action that the lesser player can't put it back beyond the service line and tends to overhit because of it.
Depth is another easily noticeable factor in his game.
 

willroc7

Rookie
Most of the short balls I hit in this video are a result of me being under extreme duress. I often have to go to the reverse finish because I'm not able to get out in front of the ball and hit my regular forehand.

My backhand has a tendency to give up short balls when I'm tight, but if you watch the rally at 1:10 my shots have pretty good depth. This is what I want to work towards all the time.

When we hit down the line (my forehand to his backhand) things are a little more on even terms, although his backhand is very strong, and you can see the depth I get that is more representative of my game.
 

PED

Legend
Most of the short balls I hit in this video are a result of me being under extreme duress. I often have to go to the reverse finish because I'm not able to get out in front of the ball and hit my regular forehand.

My backhand has a tendency to give up short balls when I'm tight, but if you watch the rally at 1:10 my shots have pretty good depth. This is what I want to work towards all the time.

When we hit down the line (my forehand to his backhand) things are a little more on even terms, although his backhand is very strong, and you can see the depth I get that is more representative of my game.
I like the extreme duress comment, we've all been there :)

He was really going after your bh early on but I noticed the down the line exchanges you mentioned, you really did well and pinned him down nicely in that corner.
 

TonLars

Professional
If it was a key difference, the weaker players will hit shorter and the stronger players on the USTA scale would hit longer, but if you watch 2 even 7.0 players in a match, they will not hit so deep as many would expect.
And two very even 4.0s would not hit correspondingly short in relation.
So shot depth of a player will tell us little except about how he was coached.

My son in the Jrs will often hit shorter than his opponent in the matches he is winning due to his training, even though he may be winning 6-1 or so.
Often his opponents are taught how great hitting deep near the baseline is and will try to play this way, because as you seem to, they think this is what better players do.
My point is that hitting very deep is something better players can get away with against weaker players, but really no other time,
unless against another misinformed player (which is very common too). It is not the great attribute it has been touted as.
When matches are tough (aren't these the ones that matter?) or close, players use a mixture of depth and often avoid going very deep due to the risks. If that is best for tough matches, don't you think it would be smart to make that the habit so you are ready more for tough matches?
Good post, many people dont realize this
 

PED

Legend
My son in the Jrs will often hit shorter than his opponent in the matches he is winning due to his training, even though he may be winning 6-1 or so.
This is a good point, could you elaborate a bit more on this.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
This is a good point, could you elaborate a bit more on this.
generally players are coached to hit for too much depth; to the point it impacts their consistency.

I coach to have better margins for the net, sideline AND the BL, with a focus on stronger shots with good biting spin.
This way players have a higher shot tolerance and can go deeper into every point, which allows them
to be aggressive with pace and spin without missing
and more selective about when they attack.
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
Woo, I liked this video so much... I went out and tried it.

Now don't get me wrong - I achieved my version of moving like this. I did my best but am sure it doesn't compare. I'm 45 but no slouch. It was a bit exhausting to move like this, just flowing and constantly on the move but let me say immediately - IT PRODUCED BETTER GROUNDSTROKES.

More steps, better positioning, earlier to react.

Thanks for the inspiring video.

OP I hope it inspires you yourself. There is no reason you cannot stay lighter on your feet and just put more in, not impossible, you look like you can do it.

Up thread the advice to you was he reacts quicker than you - to that I would add, he is already on the move, so it looks like he reacts quicker, but you evidently can achieve same.

Something that has been burbling away in my mind - half of good movement is getting our bodies out the way, freeing the hitting arm, giving ourselves room to hit.

His sort of footwork allows more space and accuracy. Sure we all have different degrees of compactness/looseness in our movement/strokes - yet this sort of footwork produces better results.
 

Ballinbob

Hall of Fame
Woo, I liked this video so much... I went out and tried it.

Now don't get me wrong - I achieved my version of moving like this. I did my best but am sure it doesn't compare. I'm 45 but no slouch. It was a bit exhausting to move like this, just flowing and constantly on the move but let me say immediately - IT PRODUCED BETTER GROUNDSTROKES.

More steps, better positioning, earlier to react.

Thanks for the inspiring video.

OP I hope it inspires you yourself. There is no reason you cannot stay lighter on your feet and just put more in, not impossible, you look like you can do it.

Up thread the advice to you was he reacts quicker than you - to that I would add, he is already on the move, so it looks like he reacts quicker, but you evidently can achieve same.

Something that has been burbling away in my mind - half of good movement is getting our bodies out the way, freeing the hitting arm, giving ourselves room to hit.

His sort of footwork allows more space and accuracy. Sure we all have different degrees of compactness/looseness in our movement/strokes - yet this sort of footwork produces better results.
Yup, I experienced the same thing. I always play best when my feet aren't lazy and get to the ball in time. People nowadays don't focus on movement/footwork as much as they should.

You can definitely learn alot from these DI players
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
You can definitely learn alot from these DI players
... I now just need their youthfulness and the giddyup, eh? :)

To be able to flow like this for the first 15 minutes wasn't so bad. The next half hour I noticed I did a bit of both. The last 15 minutes of the hour I stopped. During hitting prac for the hour.

To move like this over many hours may be difficult for me. There is an economy to it though that brings benefits. Staying in motion like this prevents fewer last minute jerks and strains and it's very satisfying to feel yourself on the hop to anything coming your way.

I note that when DI split steps it is within a kind-of rolling onward movement, he sort of rocks on his heels but immediately onwards. I'm pretty sure I split step onto my heels and stay there!

I guess the aim is something like this...
 
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No real comment, as Im far below that level of play.

Really enjoyable video of some nice hitting though, nice to watch some really solid play.
 

willroc7

Rookie
ballinbob and bert,

Glad you guys enjoyed the video! It's nice when you go out there with a goal in mind and actually see improvements in your own game. One of the best feelings as an avid tennis player, in my opinion. Today I warmed up with a jump rope for the first time, then focused on my footwork for forehands. I tried to have quick, explosive recovery steps and always be moving into as ideal a position as possible. Even if I wasn't going for winners, I would hit whatever shot I was going for as heavy and well positioned as possible. I also worked on integrating my left arm more into the initiation of my torso rotation. Results were pretty good. I was hitting a heavier, deeper ball and making less errors. I will have to work on my stamina and focus to do this all the time and in matches, though.

I am pretty blessed with the hitting partners I have. I hit often with the former #1 woman as well. She obviously doesn't have as much work on the ball, but she is a ball machine. Hammers it flat and deep consistently, which makes for fun and long rallies. She also won't just crush winners to end rallies which pretty much all guys do.

And bert, that guy you linked looks like trash compared to niko. Maybe I'd have to hit with him to really make a judgement but he is slap happy and looks heavy footed by comparison.
 

Yaz

Rookie
Great video, OP...as others have commented I love the guy's footwork and how he really stays down and uses his legs to drive through the stroke. The slo-mo sequences were a nice touch and revealing as well.

I sometimes try to emphasize that when I hit and do notice a difference in the quality of my movement and shot, but my 45 year old legs start to burn and I can't sustain it for very long.

As Apollo Creed once said, "Ya know Stallion, it's too bad we gotta get old, huh"...lol
 

max pl

Rookie
ballinbob and bert,

Glad you guys enjoyed the video! It's nice when you go out there with a goal in mind and actually see improvements in your own game. One of the best feelings as an avid tennis player, in my opinion. Today I warmed up with a jump rope for the first time, then focused on my footwork for forehands. I tried to have quick, explosive recovery steps and always be moving into as ideal a position as possible. Even if I wasn't going for winners, I would hit whatever shot I was going for as heavy and well positioned as possible. I also worked on integrating my left arm more into the initiation of my torso rotation. Results were pretty good. I was hitting a heavier, deeper ball and making less errors. I will have to work on my stamina and focus to do this all the time and in matches, though.

I am pretty blessed with the hitting partners I have. I hit often with the former #1 woman as well. She obviously doesn't have as much work on the ball, but she is a ball machine. Hammers it flat and deep consistently, which makes for fun and long rallies. She also won't just crush winners to end rallies which pretty much all guys do.

And bert, that guy you linked looks like trash compared to niko. Maybe I'd have to hit with him to really make a judgement but he is slap happy and looks heavy footed by comparison.
lol how on earth could you describe that dude as heavy footed?
 

gindyo

Semi-Pro
And bert, that guy you linked looks like trash compared to niko. Maybe I'd have to hit with him to really make a judgement but he is slap happy and looks heavy footed by comparison.
LOL and LOL again. Did we watch the same video? To me that guy's footwork and intensity in his video are light years better then what Niko shows in your video (not talking in general, but related to what they demonstrate in the respective videos) . And he is everything BUT heavy footed.
 

willroc7

Rookie
That's just how it appears to my untrained eye. Niko flows around the court and makes it look effortless, easy. As a result the other guy may appear more "intense". I'm sure he would absolutely crush me, but compared to the guy in my video, I'm not impressed and his strokes suck.

And I'm surprised it took 4 pages to get a shirtless comment :)
 

krz

Professional
I've always felt that having girls on the court next to me made me play above my level...
 

Avles

Hall of Fame
That's just how it appears to my untrained eye. Niko flows around the court and makes it look effortless, easy. As a result the other guy may appear more "intense". I'm sure he would absolutely crush me, but compared to the guy in my video, I'm not impressed and his strokes suck.

The other guy (his name is Matthieu Truong) is a very good player. Here's a blurb about him from his own website:

I have played as a high level tennis player from 1998 to 2010. I obtained some some titles such as regional champion of my age (1998, 99, 2000, 2001), vice-champion of France (1999), and champion of France with the University of Montpellier 1 team (2008, 2009). I reached my best ranking in 2009 when I was studying in Montpellier. My best ranking was -4/6 (Top-300 players in France).
According to the ITF rating conversion chart -4/6 equals the bottom end of 7.0 (hence the title of his video I guess). I'm not sure about that conversion, but it seems safe to say that at the time of that video, he was a solid 6.0 (and he was ranked in the top 300 in his country).

So no, his strokes don't suck.
 
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boramiNYC

Hall of Fame
From my brief search, Matt Truong played #6 for his D1 school. Very good player but I'd say Niko is stronger IMO.

don't know about recent improvements however.
 
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willroc7

Rookie
Cheetah, I just rewatched for the umpteenth time and watched only my feet. You were right, I have no split step. Goddamn.
 

Cheetah

Hall of Fame
Cheetah, I just rewatched for the umpteenth time and watched only my feet. You were right, I have no split step. Goddamn.
I know. I have watched your vid over 20 times now.
Anyway, yea... just work on it. you'll get it. a good split step will improve everything. you'll have more time, feel less rushed, hit better and more solid, will actually have to run less because you'll be scrambling less and you'll be in better position to hit a better ball so that the opponent won't be able to push you around as easily, you get more chances to dictate, have more confidence etc etc just from getting to the ball 1 or 2 steps earlier.

also, i was thinking of how to explain your 'hop' instead of a good push off. the only thing i could come up with is that with a 'hop' up, players use their feet and ankles to jump up and not their leg muscles. so try to work on that too. do the 'squat' or the other mental image i suggested. you'll hear a deeper pop on the ball when you get it right.
 
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bertrevert

Hall of Fame
Over and above the "he's better, no, he's better" comparisons what I see is some learnt tennis movement that I haven't had the opportunity to learn, and can benefit from watching and applying.

Don't know if you saw it or not but the luminaries are discussing your video from this post onwards.

You will have to wade through their arguments between themselves a little but you will see that they discuss shuffling steps, hip balance, locking etc with reference to your friend Niko.

I'm effectively enjoying their free lesson...
 

Sean-Topspin

New User
Just wanted to comment on two different subjects here from my POV.

I know some posters are saying that certain players at a higher level will hit longer rallies- or shorter rallies, but I'm not sure you can peg certain tennis players based purely on skill level. Watch Andy Roddick and Roger Federer play a match. They have both spent time at the the #1 spot, but Roddick rarely hits more than a few shots before the point is over while Federer will often have longer rallies. Both were at the same skill level (different styles) at different times in their careers, but had a vastly different rally length.

Second thing I wanted to mention was about the D1 players footwork. Maybe this comment will ruffle a few feathers or maybe it will get some tennis players to decide to use it as good advice. Footwork is required, no matter what sport you play. You may be born with slightly quicker feet, but for the most part footwork, being in the right place at the right time is 90% effort and 10% rehearsal from watching youtube vids on correct positioning with every moment in tennis. I have excellent footwork, probably why hitting the ball becomes easier, but most of it is a willingness to work your tail off and be in the right position, even if you assume you've just won the pt on your last shot. You just sprinted off to one side of the court in desperation to get a ball back... Do you stand there watching your ball go over the net or do you have your head down and sprinting back to centre court ready to chase anouther one down if you have to? To put it as blunt as possible, you want good footwork, get your butt in gear. This D1 guy looks good because yes he's got talent, but he's always moving his feet. That's work ethic on the court and he hits the next ball just as well because he had that extra moment to focus on the incoming ball because he isn't racing to get there at the last moment.

Lol, apologize if this sounds bluntly rude, but footwork is something every tennis player can do well! I have super fast feet, not even exaggerating, but to prove my point, if I'm being lazy on the court, my footwork just isn't the same. I don't have that extra half second and my shots are more hurried.
 

boojay

Hall of Fame
Haven't read through the thread so most likely I'm just repeating what everyone else has already said, but that dude is a beast! You did well to keep up with him!
 
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