Who out there has used tapes of pro matches to learn from?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Eric Matuszewski, Aug 20, 2004.

  1. Eric Matuszewski

    Eric Matuszewski Rookie

    Feb 19, 2004
    What did you learn?

    Did you try to copy techniques?

    Did you try to copy strategies?

    How successfull were you at getting something out of taped matches?

    Did watching pro match tapes ever mess you up? ie. you misunderstood something.

    Did you ever get a bad habit from trying a pro technique you thought you saw on tape?

    All responses greatly appreciated.
  2. vin

    vin Professional

    Feb 18, 2004
    I frequently use video clips for technique, but I don't usually try to develop my own strategies based on what the pros are doing because I always hear that the pro game is so much different.

    I think the ability to use frame by frame on the video is essential for learning any technique. I have learned plenty from doing this and even use it to back up things that I read or discover.

    Even pros have their share of bad habits, so it always helps to understand what you're copying.

    Trying to hit the ball hard all the time is probably the worst thing that I've tried copying from the pros.

    For a while, I was serving with Sampras' stance. I wouldn't call it a bad habit, but I think it was holding my serve back.

    Actually, I just thought of a tactic, or rather shot selection that I've picked up from pro matches. I see a lot of pros use a really sharp angle when responding to drop shots. Kind of like the shot Safin made before he pulled his pants down at the French Open :) , but not as extreme. The angle gives you more distance to work with while still keeping the ball short. This is helpful for me since a lot of 3.5ers like to hit drop shots, don't follow them to the net, and don't have the speed to get the drop shot I'm giving back to them.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Power Game

    Power Game Professional

    Jun 30, 2004
    I do it all the time. I use slow motion and replay lots of times to pick up strokes and strategy. So far I havn't been confused too much. But it has helped alot. More about this later, i'm in a hurry
  4. mattlikovich

    mattlikovich Rookie

    Feb 22, 2004
    I just watch some of the matches here on the comp over and over, and I think just seeing the strokes correctly from all views and aspects makes you improve. I think it has for me.
  5. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

    Feb 26, 2004
    I try to pick things up from watching televised matches, not taped, though. I have picked up a lot of little things from watching (and listening to) TV matches. A lot of the comments made help as well. One example is the hitched backswing vs. long continuous loop. Various things on serve too. I studied a lot, a lot of the Sampras serve video which I have posted here several times which is the only place I have learned how to hit from a platform stance coming from pinpoint. I think you have to know what you look like to compare it to what they look like, know what it is your looking for, go into it looking for specific things (i.e. ways to improve backhand, serve, etc.) and listen to commentary if there is any. These things will help you to get the most out of watching pro games.
  6. ferreira

    ferreira Rookie

    Feb 27, 2004
    I watch videos frequently. I developed my forehand having Agassi as a model. Watching Federer helped me a lot in my return to 1HBH, mostly concentrating on the simplicity of his approach (I used to have an exaggerated body motion). Being an S&V wannabe, I watch a lot of Sampras, Rafter and Edberg tapes. Gives a lot of perspective on how hard S&V is, since even the greatest have a damn hard time with seemingly "easy" shots. I reckon, though, that a rather thorough understanding is actually needed to profit from this approach.
  7. aahala

    aahala New User

    Apr 30, 2004
    I have taped and analysized quite a few TV matches over the years. Not to discover the strokes(I know what the strokes should be, actually developing them is entirely a different matter for me) but to learn the truth of the nature of the game.

    What I've looked at were the distrubtion of the number of strokes per point, length of time it took to complete each point etc. The "shortest" is pretty remarkable compared to my impressions just watching matches.

    Whether these findings have helped my game or not I don't really know but it certainly has changed the way I look at and think about matches as I play them.
  8. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    I use the Pros' pics and tapes all the time to learn from them and to devise a system to teach it to my students.

    I learn how they anticipate shots;

    How they react and move;

    How they execute;

    How they use tactics;

    How they train, etc.

    I am single-handed on my backhand side and use eastern forehand grip for my forehand ground strokes. I try to learn from those Pros who employ similar technique. However, for the benefit of my students, I try to examine all the available techniques, tactics, and conditioning methods so that they are applied to my students whenever feasible and possible.
  9. Eric Matuszewski

    Eric Matuszewski Rookie

    Feb 19, 2004
    were we in the same Tu-1 class in summer 94'?

    who do you remember from your class, I had alot of fun down there.
  10. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

    Feb 19, 2004
    I can't say exactly how much it has helped my game, but it is a lot. I basically tried to find the common denominators of the forehand and serve for the pros. I would suggest anyone starting out to do the same, because you want to learn what is really essesntial to a good stroke. For example, when I looked at the serve I used Sampras, Krajicek, Ivanisevic, Becker, Roddick, and Tanner. However, I would not just watch a tape and go out to try the new move without a camcorder or a trained eye, because what you think you are doing and what you are actually doing can be two different things.
  11. Chanchai

    Chanchai Semi-Pro

    Apr 28, 2004
    I certainly watch a lot of tennis when it's televised and also out of my own archive of taped matches. And many times, I do end up analyzing the strokes that are being used.

    However, I analyze first and foremost just to get an idea about a pro's technique. That is, yes, I'm analyzing their strokes... But my intentions aren't always to immitate them--some pros just have some crazy strokes that seem either just really matched up for their body type and what not, or just weird techniques period.

    I guess it's just to try to further my understanding of the game and its various approaches. But of course, I will end up imitating or experimenting with strokes that interest me.

    I even sit at various clubs and watch various recreational and serious players hit. It becomes clear then what ugly shots are and what nicer shots are like, and why some of the pro techniques are just way superior in general. I just hope I never accidentally talk out loud what my criticisms of the locals' techniques are though hehehe.

    Tennis One has been a good resource. It's not the only resource, but it's one pretty good resource that I've enjoyed. Don't agree with every article there, but don't have to, but many articles were quite insightful. I also sometimes go to the Japanese bookstore (Kinokuniya in my case) and occasionally pickup a Japanese tennis magazine if it interests me. I'm just surprised that some of those japanese magazines have such excellent isolated picture sets of various pro strokes, the isolated pic counts per set is usually 10-15 and sometimes 20. You get a good idea of not just the take back and follow through and the action of the limbs, but also just the workings of the body overall. Not perfect, but good stuff! Maybe I'll scan and post some sometime (*Chanchai ducks away from admin).

    Sidestory: I do think it is "humorous" to me that I originally tried modeling my one handed backhand after Tommy Haas, but ended up with a backhand that more resembles Federer's because I use a looser grip most of the time. That tiny difference between the loose and the true eastern backhands I guess. But obviously, I don't have a backhand that compares in any way to those players. Just thought it was cute that my intentions led to a different outcome (and both players use variations of backhand grips too, I do not think they only use one strictly defined grip all the time).

  12. mistapooh

    mistapooh Semi-Pro

    Aug 13, 2004
    i make notice of how they use their whole body to complete the kinetic chain and watching roddick serve so many time, i adopted the motion : /
  13. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    Yes, Eric, we were in the same class in 1994 at Hilton Head Island, S.C. The TU-I course was conducted by Dennis van der Meer himself. We had many good girls with us: Liz from Australia, and Raquel from Puerto Rico who was my doubles partner. I guess we all were in that group photograph which was taken at "Parade of Nations".

    I would like to hear more from you.
  14. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Feb 19, 2004
    I watch taped Federer during TV commercial breaks.... it somehow sinks in and I think my movement and the backhand slice has been influenced a lot this summer from watching him.

    btw, tried to copy his forehand..... just don't have the wiring in the brain to get anything close to it.
  15. Burt Turkoglu

    Burt Turkoglu Rookie

    Mar 10, 2004
    .......have used video tapes of pro doubles to improve my game....it has helped me as far as strategy, tactics, and positioning.....[/b]
  16. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

    Apr 13, 2004
    I only had two avenues ooen to me when i started, matches on TV and Vic Braden's Tennis For The Future. The book was amazing for me, and watching tennis on TV reinforced many of his key points and let me see perfection in action. Both helped me immensely.
  17. Mash1230

    Mash1230 New User

    Aug 17, 2004
    I learned how to serve using videos of dementieva, the backhand from fernando gonzalez, the volleys of agassi, and the forehand of mardy fish. lol - JK :lol:

    i think there's a lot of things on video that just aren't obvious to the recreational player. a pro or a very experienced player should be able to pick up on the things that pros do that are important. some of my past teachers do use videos effectively, but only because they know what to teach and what not to teach. They know what's an important element of the stroke and what's just a matter of style/preference. They know that it's not a good idea to teach one thing if another aspect of a player's game isn't fully developed yet.

    right now I'm in the habit of looking at pros in slow motion and trying to understand the "why" and "how" of everything. "Why" roddick gets so much spin on the second serve at high speeds? "How" does james blake get so much power on his forehand? still learning - but I don't really copy a technique (I might "try it out") that a pro uses unless I'm completely confident that I understand why and how it works.
  18. Rodzilla

    Rodzilla Semi-Pro

    May 2, 2005
    I modeled my game after watching Roddick, copying his techniques and strategies, and I can satisfyingly say that I do get success and enjoyment playing tennis tremendously. I do get messed up sometimes incorporating bad habits, but I usually get through it.
  19. joe sch

    joe sch Legend

    Feb 19, 2004
    Hotel CA
    One of the best ways to learn is by watching and trying to copy. With todays high resolution video and the slomo abilities of most players, it is much easier to learn the complete hitting and footwork sequences of your favorite players. I like to study many of the past champions for some of thier best strokes including federer, sampras, becker, edberg, mcenroe, lendl, connors, vilas, nastase, smith, ashe, laver, roche, newcombe, hoad. Wish I could find some of the earlier greats like kramer, budge, vines & tilden. I believe it much easier and simpler to copy many of these classic players then some of todays extreme grip and swing players.

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