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View Full Version : Interesting observation on Dani's game...


joegerardi
May 19th, 2003, 02:39 PM
OK, this is just my observation, but it's based on what I learned at my coaching course:

There was a whole session devoted to adapting the player as their physiology changes. During things like growth spurts, the plates within the critical joints (knees, elbows, etc...) do not grow at the same rate. The direction was that we must adjust the game and the fitness regimen of the player to cope with this and develop them differently until the plates catch up. This also causes them to slow a little, it changes their center of gravity, stresses their body as more torque is applied to joints that are struggling to catch up, they lose coordination as the joints try to adapt to working differently, and generally get a little klutzy.

If Dani has indeed grown some, with all these complications, it could possibly account for what others see as diminished performance, and also her weight loss. The good news is that the plates generally catch up within 6 months or so, so we can start pushing players soon after that.

Thought everyone might like this information...

..Joe

moogle san
May 19th, 2003, 02:59 PM
Wow, really interesting Joe, thanks a lot :wavey:

So we only have to wait two or three more months and Dani will be back at her old level of performance? :bounce: :bounce: ;)

GrahamD
May 19th, 2003, 05:00 PM
Thanks for that Joe - I think we now understand that this is only a temporary blip in Dani's performance at the moment and that, given time, things will sort themselves out and we'll be seeing the Dani we saw last year, maybe in time for Wimbly. Although I do think that the process might be accelerated a little with some extra professional advice aside from that from Nigel, and that it wouldn't be such a bad idea if she employed a fitness expert and maybe a nutritionist. Asking Nigel to be a Jack of all trades (and possibly master of none) might be a bridge too far for him, so extra help and advice would go a long way IMHO.

joegerardi
May 19th, 2003, 05:14 PM
You're welcome, but I want you to remember that I'm not there, so I could just be blowing smoke about all this. It just seemed that a corollary exists, which is why I brought it up.

As to Nigel handling all this, well, that's what he's there for. If I was trained in this, then I gotta believe that Nigel was also, and with more intensity, because he's dealing with tournament-level players.

..Joe

GrahamD
May 19th, 2003, 05:29 PM
As to Nigel handling all this, well, that's what he's there for. If I was trained in this, then I gotta believe that Nigel was also, and with more intensity, because he's dealing with tournament-level players.

..Joe
I just wonder if he thinks getting in extra help would dent his pride (and maybe his reputation), but in reality, that is really what is needed. H emight be a decent tennis coach, but is he also an expert in fitness and nutrition? I'm not sure.

joegerardi
May 19th, 2003, 06:18 PM
H emight be a decent tennis coach, but is he also an expert in fitness and nutrition? I'm not sure.

Well, I can speak to the fitness side of it...
There are several tennis specific excersizes that the students at Van Der Meer's were working on. One great one was throwing different weight medicine balls to each other, catching them to one side of the body with both hands, letting it move the arms and shoulders back, and then throwing it back. It imitated tennis strokes amazingly well, and brought the students' arm strength up. They were very careful there to balance the aerobic and anaerobic training.

We dealt with a gazillion weight-training and strenghtening drills that were geared specifically to tennis. Trying to avoid building up certain muscles that actually hinder the tennis player. Neck muscles is one case, but that's kind of strange area, because we DO want to build up the shoulders...

Anyway, though, I'm willing to give Nigel more time here before I start sending Dani my resume. :D :p :D :p :D

..Joe

PS: The concensus there is that the all-court game - Dani's specialty - is going to go away, along with the serve-and-volley. The game has just become to fast and powerful for that style to continue.

beauty_is_pink
May 19th, 2003, 07:12 PM
i did not understand what you wrote.. but i think you meant that during a 'growth spurt' some of your other body parts dont catch up until the later stages so thats why Daniela might be playing 'not so good' lately.

i think we could wait until the fall and winter to see Daniela's power realli acting up!

joegerardi
May 19th, 2003, 07:40 PM
i did not understand what you wrote.. but i think you meant that during a 'growth spurt' some of your other body parts dont catch up until the later stages so thats why Daniela might be playing 'not so good' lately.

i think we could wait until the fall and winter to see Daniela's power realli acting up!

Maria:
Basically, you have it. I was specifically referring to the tennis-critical joints (elbows, knees) and the things inside them like cartilage that take a while to catch up. As a person grows, their center of gravity changes, and as women physiologically have a lower center of gravity to begin with, any changes screws up one's balance. Remaining centered over the body whilst playing tennis is incredibly important for proper stroke mechanics, recovery, etc., so this could all speak to the changes in Dani's game now.

Again, I'm not stating that this is a fact, it's just something I learned that I wanted to share with all of you as a possible response to all the nay-sayers out there claiming that Dani is losing her competitive edge.

..Joe

beauty_is_pink
May 19th, 2003, 07:49 PM
Maria:
Basically, you have it. I was specifically referring to the tennis-critical joints (elbows, knees) and the things inside them like cartilage that take a while to catch up. As a person grows, their center of gravity changes, and as women physiologically have a lower center of gravity to begin with, any changes screws up one's balance. Remaining centered over the body whilst playing tennis is incredibly important for proper stroke mechanics, recovery, etc., so this could all speak to the changes in Dani's game now.

Again, I'm not stating that this is a fact, it's just something I learned that I wanted to share with all of you as a possible response to all the nay-sayers out there claiming that Dani is losing her competitive edge.

..Joe


ah Thanks Joe! it makes perfect sense to me! and that may be it for Daniela!

gorecki
May 20th, 2003, 12:22 AM
Thanks for the info Joe - definitely sound like what Daniela might be going through lately.

Hopefully this *catching up* process will be complete b4 Wimbledon!!! :bounce:

Tarsius
May 20th, 2003, 02:30 AM
PS: The concensus there is that the all-court game - Dani's specialty - is going to go away, along with the serve-and-volley. The game has just become to fast and powerful for that style to continue.
I'm no expert, but it seems that the ones who are reeling it in these days are all-courters like Henin who like to mix it up and not just rely purely on power. Baseliners like Dokic are basically losing. Maybe its just in the clay season. I really wouldn't consider Dani an all courter. Yes she approaches the net every now and then but she's still basically a baseliner. I really still believe that the all-court approach is more dynamic and that it is still applicable. I believe that if Dani can become a truly efficient all-courter then she would rack up more wins.

That... and I still think serve-and-volley is a damn exciting style to watch.

joegerardi
May 20th, 2003, 03:02 AM
I'm no expert, but it seems that the ones who are reeling it in these days are all-courters like Henin who like to mix it up and not just rely purely on power. Baseliners like Dokic are basically losing. Maybe its just in the clay season. I really wouldn't consider Dani an all courter. Yes she approaches the net every now and then but she's still basically a baseliner. I really still believe that the all-court approach is more dynamic and that it is still applicable. I believe that if Dani can become a truly efficient all-courter then she would rack up more wins.

That... and I still think serve-and-volley is a damn exciting style to watch.

Actually, it's only been the last year or so that Dani has been more of a baseliner. Before that, she was all-court, all the way. I wish she would go back to it, it served her very well.

S&V is the most exhilarating to watch, but sadly, it's dying out. Sampras wasn't really an S&V'er. He was a true all-courter who could S&V because of his outstanding serve. Patrick Rafter was probably the last true S&V'er out there, and before him it was Stefan Edberg. Granted, a few of the clay specialists do it, but without much success.

..Joe

Tarsius
May 20th, 2003, 03:49 AM
I really do think that being an all-courter will be advantageous to Daniela (assuming she can practice it at a very efficient level). This is purely opinionated and by no means an expert opinion at that, but I think that all-courters have the advantage of a more diverse game. Baseliners rely on power and are very predictable. The trend these days is on overpowering the opponent, but still I believe that diversity is the way to curb that trend. Daniela has a strong baseline game. Actually, she has very excellent fundamentals, its all a matter of stringing them together into something she can consistently execute and use. And I believe an all-court approach is a really good way to use her skills. I think Nigel Sears has also been working on her net game... also maybe why she always plays doubles.

Hey Joe, I read a pretty good analysis of Daniela's game on the GM board which says that she really needs a better attitude when it comes to sticking to tactics within the game or in improvising against tricky opponents. I tend to believe that since I haven't seen her lately on TV and the writer of the comment did. According to that post she seems to be really easily frustrated with herself and her strategy whenever it gets foiled and it becomes her ultimate demise in her matches. What do you think of this?

gorecki
May 20th, 2003, 08:15 AM
I really do think that being an all-courter will be advantageous to Daniela (assuming she can practice it at a very efficient level). This is purely opinionated and by no means an expert opinion at that, but I think that all-courters have the advantage of a more diverse game. Baseliners rely on power and are very predictable. The trend these days is on overpowering the opponent, but still I believe that diversity is the way to curb that trend. Daniela has a strong baseline game. Actually, she has very excellent fundamentals, its all a matter of stringing them together into something she can consistently execute and use. And I believe an all-court approach is a really good way to use her skills. I think Nigel Sears has also been working on her net game... also maybe why she always plays doubles.

Hey Joe, I read a pretty good analysis of Daniela's game on the GM board which says that she really needs a better attitude when it comes to sticking to tactics within the game or in improvising against tricky opponents. I tend to believe that since I haven't seen her lately on TV and the writer of the comment did. According to that post she seems to be really easily frustrated with herself and her strategy whenever it gets foiled and it becomes her ultimate demise in her matches. What do you think of this?
have to agree on Daniela using her all-court capabilities once again - allows her to change strategies should a particular one's not working at that time.

With Eastbourne/Wimbledon around the corner, it'll be advantageous to pick up on her all court/net game.

and not just for the grass season but utilise her all-court skills for all surfaces.

gorecki
May 20th, 2003, 08:21 AM
saw a couple of doubles matches Daniela played with ASV last year

she was pretty confident at the net/all court.
perhaps it will be good if she had a doubles partner with a bit more experience.

Unfortunately Navratilova seems to have a fixed partnership with Kuznetsova this year, while veterans who were good doubles players [Zvereva/Novotna/Sukova] aren't playing...

Perhaps a partnership with Husarova [who has a good doubles game] will encourage Daniela to be more inventive and be opportunistic and come to the net a bit more in singles.


wouldn't it be fun if Nigel and Daniela actually come in to read The Cocktail Party forum? :)

joegerardi
May 20th, 2003, 11:00 AM
Hey Joe, I read a pretty good analysis of Daniela's game on the GM board which says that she really needs a better attitude when it comes to sticking to tactics within the game or in improvising against tricky opponents. I tend to believe that since I haven't seen her lately on TV and the writer of the comment did. According to that post she seems to be really easily frustrated with herself and her strategy whenever it gets foiled and it becomes her ultimate demise in her matches. What do you think of this?

Well, I wouldn't necessarily agree with that statement. Look at what it says: "...she really needs a better attitude when it comes to sticking to tactics within the game or in improvising against tricky opponents."

Stick with her tactics or improvise... Which is it? It can't be both, because they contradict each other. IMHO, she should use what has worked for her in the past. When she first hit the scene, there were a lot of positive comments on her serve, yet we have seen her struggle through service games lately. (Sometimes.) I think she's going for too much on her serves. Get 'em in, and play the point. Let her game speak for itself, rather than trying to adapt.

The biggest flaw I see in her game strategy is that she tends to adapt her tactics to the player she's facing. If she's facing a baseliner, she tries to baseline against them. If she has an all-courter, then she goes for the same. I would like to see her take one tactic, and STICK with it. Develop that, and then use it consistently. Don't change strategy because of the opponent has a different style. Does Sampras become a baseliner when facing Agassi? No. He sticks with his all-court game, and it seems to have worked for him... :D Find one style, and develop that into a weapon. That's what I'd like.

..Joe

gorecki
May 20th, 2003, 12:44 PM
The biggest flaw I see in her game strategy is that she tends to adapt her tactics to the player she's facing. If she's facing a baseliner, she tries to baseline against them.

:confused: i wouldn't call that adapting...

it'll be better to play the game her opponent is most uncomfortable with :devil:

but yeah - work on what her strengths are
and continue to rectify her weaknesses

joegerardi
May 20th, 2003, 01:26 PM
:confused: i wouldn't call that adapting...

it'll be better to play the game her opponent is most uncomfortable with :devil:

but yeah - work on what her strengths are
and continue to rectify her weaknesses

The reason I wrote that is again, when she first came up to the pros, she was all-courting, all the time, and she was winning well. It has only been the last year or so that when she faces a baseliner, she tends to camp out at the baseline and bang it out with them. That was a major tactical change in her game. And your statement "it'll be better to play the game her opponent is most uncomfortable with" is partially correct. If she's facing a baseliner, they like to play other baseliners. They feed of each other's power. But if that is not her strength, (and I don't believe it is) then she's playing to her opponent's strengths.

However, on the other hand, suppose she faces an opponent that can't play well against an S&V'er. Dani is not an S&V'er, so adopting that game would be detrimental, and she'd probably lose very badly.

Today's game is such that a player has to develop their style based on what they do well, develop that into a series of tools, with pre-determined adjustments - that is, if your opponent is killing you with this, do THAT - and go forward from there. That's how to win. Look at what Juju did to Serena on clay: She destroyed her with angles, and made Serena's power game irrevelant, and she did that by sticking to HER strengths.

..Joe

dhnet2
May 20th, 2003, 07:53 PM
Thanks for that Joe - I think we now understand that this is only a temporary blip in Dani's performance at the moment and that, given time, things will sort themselves out and we'll be seeing the Dani we saw last year, maybe in time for Wimbly. Although I do think that the process might be accelerated a little with some extra professional advice aside from that from Nigel, and that it wouldn't be such a bad idea if she employed a fitness expert and maybe a nutritionist. Asking Nigel to be a Jack of all trades (and possibly master of none) might be a bridge too far for him, so extra help and advice would go a long way IMHO.

She's got a nutritionist now - according to today's Sun anyway :) You seen that disgraceful article? Headline says: "Anorexia? I'm more worried about Anna Kournikova" which is tasteless enough, but the article doesn't quote Daniela saying a word about Anna - and why would she say a word about Annaa anyways :D

dhnet2
May 20th, 2003, 07:57 PM
If you didn't see it - there's nothing new in it, no quotes we haven't heard before, just a re-hash of Nigel's comments from the past few weeks, and no new pics

Tarsius
May 20th, 2003, 11:03 PM
Thanks for the analysis Joe. Here's one more question (for everybody as well):

Given that the likes of Justine Henin are winning by maximizing their strengths, which strengths do you think Daniela should maximize and which weaknesses do you think she should rectify. Add to that, which surface do you think she is most adapted to given her present state of play?

smarties
May 20th, 2003, 11:03 PM
Joe, about the S&V in men's game, you forgot that there's still Henman left.

As for Dani's game, I agree she should maybe be a all courter like before but she's verry powerfull and could rely on staying on the baseline and bashing the ball. If Momo and Clijsters (both baseline players) can beat the William sisters with this tactic, I don't see a reason why she couldn't

joegerardi
May 21st, 2003, 02:36 AM
Thanks for the analysis Joe. Here's one more question (for everybody as well):

Given that the likes of Justine Henin are winning by maximizing their strengths, which strengths do you think Daniela should maximize and which weaknesses do you think she should rectify. Add to that, which surface do you think she is most adapted to given her present state of play?

Well, as I said, she's an all-courter. That means she CAN come in behind a serve to volley a winner, but it's not something she'd want to do every time, and when she doesn't, she can stay at the baseline and bang some out, but with the intention of heading in to the net when she gets the proper approach shot. I think her best surface is hard courts, with grass second.

As to her weaknesses, well I must admit that I believe they're all mental at this time. (Remember: I'm not there, so this is just my opinion.) She hasn't learned to get into "the zone" when she's playing, and not let the momentum swings of the game affect her. She needs a thicker hide during her games, and learn to shrug off the bad things, learn what she was doing wrong when they happen, and adjust slightly - very slightly - to assure they don't continue to happen. For example: If Serena is banging away, Dani should soften her shots. Make Serena create her own power. It's a great way to make your opponent hit long. With Venus? Well, that woman runs everything down, sideline to sideline. But you know what? She's not really as adept at the forward-to-back game, so Dani should be hitting those wonderful drop shots she can disguise so well, and then hit a deep one. Wear Venus down with the forward to back. I actually saw her do this (I can't remember the match) with some success, but she didn't continue. Juju will always kill you with angles, so make her run. Make her run till she has nothing left. This is actually the one case where Dani's baseline game will serve her in good stead. When you're chasing everything down, you always go for the safe shot over the middle of the net. It's 6 inches lower than at the ends, so to assure the ball gets over, players running their hearts out always aim for the middle. Juju ain't gonna hit a lot of angles that way, then Dani can use her all-court skill to get to the net and put away a volley, away from where Justine is. That's enough examples for now...

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm sure Nigel has all these ideas too, There are people that do nothing but "chart" a match, list how every point is played, and where the problems occur. The thing is, I don't believe that Dani follows the game plan. Remember: She's a smart girl, and my guess is that she gets to thinking out there when things aren't going her way, and tries to make too many adjustments.

More than anything, I feel she needs to settle down and trust in her own abilitles.

Sorry for being so long-winded!

..Joe

joegerardi
May 21st, 2003, 02:50 AM
Joe, about the S&V in men's game, you forgot that there's still Henman left.

As for Dani's game, I agree she should maybe be a all courter like before but she's verry powerfull and could rely on staying on the baseline and bashing the ball. If Momo and Clijsters (both baseline players) can beat the William sisters with this tactic, I don't see a reason why she couldn't

Yeah, I DID forget about Tim, but he's been hurt for so long, that I think it's because his career is about over due to the injuries.

And yes, Dani IS very powerful, but she's not AS powerful as Serena, Venus, Kim, Momo, or Capriati. (Though I may be wrong about Capriati. She seems to be just holding on to her game by the skin of her teeth.) As such, she should play to her own strengths, and not try to bang it out shot-for-shot with those ladies. Let me give you an anology: Pete Sampras is also very good at the baseline, especially on his forehand side. If Hewitt can beat Agassi with a baseline game, why doesn't Pete all-court Andre to death? Because it's not his true strength. He knows his serve is going to cause agita for everyone, so why not come it behind it and put the point to bed with a volley? This is what Dani needs to do.

Now, after answering these 2 posts, don't think I'm negative on Dani's game. The closest I've been to her is 120 miles away (DAMN IT!) when she's playing here on the Southeast coast of the US. and everything I've written here is simply my opinion, not fact. If you also take into account her somewhat meteoric rise through the rankings, the heights she has risen to, the short time she's done it in, and the pressure to stay there, then add all THAT to everything else like her growing, everyone kvetching about her weight, the inevitable comparisons to Anna K, and then remember that we're talking about a 20-year old GIRL here, you can see how it can overwhelm a person. I'm sure as she matures, she'll learn to cope, use her abilities to their best, and before too long, there'll be a Slam trophy on her mantle.

..Joe

Tarsius
May 21st, 2003, 05:47 AM
I dont doubt that at all. I happen to have a 20-year old sister. They're as quirky as they come... well not as much when they're 16 but still...

On her getting slams: I believe that she has the materials to get it done. Hell, a lot of people on this board (even those who always pick on her weight) believe this. The general consensus on most of the boards here (including the GM board) is not a matter of if she can or cannot, but of how and when.

OK, so next question: What do you guys think about her schedule this year? She has been playing almost as many tournies as Dokic and she plays almost every week! Do you think this is a good idea or what?

gorecki
May 21st, 2003, 11:55 AM
like your analysis on the mental weaknesses Joe...

yeap - i like to see Daniela come in - not all the time but when there's a opening where she can put more pressure on her opponent or when there's a chance to put away a drive volley/easy volley winner to the open court.

about her change in her center of gravity thingy... should she now have to bend a little more at the knees as she's hitting through her groundstroke?

joegerardi
May 21st, 2003, 04:05 PM
about her change in her center of gravity thingy... should she now have to bend a little more at the knees as she's hitting through her groundstroke?

No! You never want to alter a player's game. It's just teaching them how to adjust temporarily until the player's natural agility re-learns the body's new balance points.

The same can be said if someone gains or loses weight, or like my case where I had to re-learn how to hit with a crippled left knee. My coach didn't change anything, he just worked me slowly, until I had my balance adjusted to the limited mobility, still using the same strokes.

..Joe

gorecki
May 21st, 2003, 04:17 PM
i meant maintaining the same preparation for the swing/stroke but bending at the knees to adjust to her change in balance/center of gravity.

but after reading your post - it makes sense not to make the knee bend adjustment.

smarties
May 22nd, 2003, 11:08 PM
And yes, Dani IS very powerful, but she's not AS powerful as Serena, Venus, Kim, Momo, or Capriati. (Though I may be wrong about Capriati

Maybe not Serena and Vee (they're in a different league) but she's certainly as powerfull as Capriati and more powerfull than Kim or Momo, but that's just my opinion.

GrahamD
May 25th, 2003, 01:31 PM
Maybe not Serena and Vee (they're in a different league) but she's certainly as powerfull as Capriati and more powerfull than Kim or Momo, but that's just my opinion.

Guess the game.....

Eurosport commentator....." ******* waves another one goodbye!"

What a classic quote! :D :cool: