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Old Mar 4th, 2012, 09:01 AM   #31
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit the winners like Julia

Wow, this thread was a very good idea.
It`s here just for about 3 days and we already have enough stuff to write a book about some basics of this sport.
The descriptions overall are very vivid and clear. I`m looking forward to some more posts.
Probably from other German members who are usually playing in clubs and on clay ?

Last edited by joy division : Mar 4th, 2012 at 09:09 AM.
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Old Mar 4th, 2012, 10:40 AM   #32
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

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Originally Posted by HowardH View Post

Slipperiness varies depending on the amount of sand. Speed also varies, but in general it's reasonably fast. Bounce height varies considerably as well depending on what the underlying layer below the artificial grass is made of. They have it in Japan too and in Australia I think. I've played on courts where you can't slide, and on courts where you slide a mile and can't recover back into the court. Like very fast clay. If it's slippery and quick then it's very hard to defend if you get pulled off the side of the court, because the ball is moving fast but you are sliding. Kind of like playing on grass but moving on clay. Here is some footage of Kimiko and Tamarine playing a match on the stuff- their court seems only moderately slippery but you can still see some sliding:
totally agree with Howard... as I said we have a lot of red clay courts in the Czech Republic but hotels, schools, restaurants use many courts with artificial grass which you can play on... I really like playing on the artificial grass court because as Howard said itīs something like playing on grass but moving on clay.. I will repeat what Howard said all depends on how much sand is on the court so if there is a lot of sand you can slide pretty well and it helps you a lot sometimes but on the other hand itīs much more tougher to get back into the position you were before because that sliding is pretty long and when you want to get back it takes you a longer while than on clay court I guess and you can stumble because you want to come back as fast as you can and the surface is pretty slippery sometimes...

I canīt recommend you to go playing on an artificial grass court when it was raining a night before.... if the sun took all water out of the court then you can play without stress and fear to stumple and hurt you...
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Old Mar 4th, 2012, 02:37 PM   #33
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

i was 38 on junior list in croatia as girl (when i was about 14)
i started to train late, too late unfortunately.
now, i'm shadow of tennis that i used to play (when i play). i play 4 fun
i use WILSON, always my fave. but who cares now, out of form, sloopy
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 09:33 AM   #34
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

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Originally Posted by _inocencia_ View Post
i was 38 on junior list in croatia as girl (when i was about 14)
i started to train late, too late unfortunately.
now, i'm shadow of tennis that i used to play (when i play). i play 4 fun
i use WILSON, always my fave. but who cares now, out of form, sloopy
I'm sure you can still play tennis, but I understand, tennis is one of those sports that requires you to be really "in the groove". A layoff can really affect your level of play, there is a knack to playing competitively.

I myself am struggling to return to really serious competition. My highest was 6 in the NZ juniors in the 18s, (about 600 in the world ITF junior rankings). But because I didn't play seriously for several years while studying, only coaching, I find that my game is heavily affected by pressure.

After my last match, where I beat another young man who, like me, had just finished Saturday morning junior coaching (at a different club), I thought I was on the way to solving the main problems that had burdened me under pressure- struggling with the serve, which is a major weapon for me, and also struggling with attacking fhs, which is also a weapon for me.

However in my most recent match I struggled with these two things again. I got very few first serves in- although when I got them in they were often unreturned. I have a problem in the backswing of the fh which I unknowingly developed under pressure. After videoing myself I was able to correct this, but it tends to return under stress. In the last match I was able to do it correctly, but I could feel in this match my fh backswing was becoming "messy"- I wasn't getting quickly enough into the final position just before you swing forward.

My bh is in the process of converting a one hander into a two. Ideally I would like to be a hybrid player with both, but I'm small, so I believe that I need a two hander to help me with high spinning balls into the bh. However the newness of this bh- I've only been training it since December- means that I need a few more months before my game stabilises.

My bh return was bad in this latest match. Admittedly it didn't help that this guy was a lefty. And he has recently beaten, quite easily, a number of decent players who also coach juniors. One of the coaches I know managed to beat him, but it was a long three setter.

The annoying thing is that I play much better when I am not in matches. Everyone needs external input, you can't really see yourself clearly when playing although I video myself fairly often. My coach, who was in the top 200 of the ATP about 10 years ago, asked me the other day if I would like to play futures (the lowest level of pro tournaments). I said I'd love to if I can get my level high enough in the next 2 years or so. He thought I should go out sometimes in the next few years and enjoy myself- I'm sure he doesn't expect me to make it big or anything, but he'd think I'd do respectably.

He hasn't seen how nervous I get when playing seriously. For a while there was a time when my ball- I am not exaggerating- was travelling at only half the speed I hit in practice, due to nerves. Now I'm up to around 70-80% of my practice speed and power. I play well against him and he is still able to beat almost all of the top pros in the country (I'd estimate his current level as around 400 ATP, he's still in great shape), so he's actually quite surprised that I'm losing any matches. I play in the interclub division one level below the highest level. A lot of pros are playing in that highest division- guys whose rankings are about 300-900. In the division I play in there are a lot of coaches and good juniors.

I'm finding my inability to perform well under pressure very frustrating, but at the same time I suppose I should be encouraged that it seems that I have "potential" in my game. I know as much as anyone how difficult it can be to convert that into results though.

My goal for the end of this year is to, at least, be able to play consistently for the top division interclub teams, and then to push on to a higher level in the next year. It seems like really hard work right now though.

Last edited by HowardH : Mar 6th, 2012 at 11:14 AM.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 09:58 AM   #35
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

It`s interesting to hear that some here seem to struggle with their performance in competition in getting nervous and so on.
In other sports you can often hear sportsmen say that they need the competitive situation to push themselves to the best possible performance.
That might be the same at the top of men`s tennis.
But probably the difficult movement at nearly all strokes forces a permanent high level of concentration.
Pure enthusiasm might be contra-productive and expose missing practice and technical weakness even more.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 11:05 AM   #36
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

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Originally Posted by joy division View Post
It`s interesting to hear that some here seem to struggle with their performance in competition in getting nervous and so on.
In other sports you can often hear sportsmen say that they need the competitive situation to push themselves to the best possible performance.
That might be the same at the top of men`s tennis.
But probably the difficult movement at nearly all strokes forces a permanent high level of concentration.
Pure enthusiasm might be contra-productive and expose missing practice and technical weakness even more.
I think it's because tennis is a sport that requires so much accuracy, timing and balance. Silesia mentioned in the other thread that tennis players who are forced into a significant layoff due to injury always lose that "instinctive play", where the correct mechanics are automatic. Tennis is something of a rhythm sport, you need to be in the groove.

I do think that the desire to win can interfere with your play (the word is "counterproductive"), especially if you need more match practice. You need to stay in the "zone". Tennis is a sport where, above all, you have to remain in control- otherwise you will not land good serves, returns, passing shots, things like this. Unlike say, in badminton or squash, where I think control is easier at a high level, in tennis even good players will be late on a shot or mistime it, because control (at high speed) is difficult. That's why, when you compare, say, a pro badminton match to a tennis match, you will see that the badminton players have control almost all the time. They hit every shuttle near a line, and even if someone smashes they will probably be able to hit a good dropshot, which would be unthinkable in tennis. Squash is similar, or even worse. Almost impossible to hit a shot in squash which a good player cannot control well.

On the other hand in tennis players are constantly looking for and taking advantage of poorly placed shots- they force a central ball or a short ball and then attack it.

That's also why in tennis you can run around the backhand to hit a forehand. In many other sports this doesn't make sense, because you give up the central court position. But in tennis you can expect to hit a powerful shot which your opponent will not be able to control well. Tennis players at a high level are always on the verge of losing control due to a good shot from their opponent- or making their opponent lose control. That's why the average rallies in pro matches are often very short- someone was forced into an error by the serve or shortly after the serve.

Each player has their own emphasis in this control battle. Someone like Julia is a specialist in making the opponent lose control (or making them unable to reach the ball) by hitting very powerfully. Someone like Agnieszka is a specialist in remaining in control of her own shots, therefore making few errors, and also "testing" the opponent with naggingly well placed shots. At the top level of the men's game, players usually have an excellent mixture of these skills. They retain great control even when defending, and their attacks are very testing.

A very common strategy, employed by Federer during his very successful career, is to run around the bh and hit a big inside out fh into the opponent's bh. Even though the dtl bh is available, few players will be able to hit it off such a heavy shot with accuracy, and they will usually be a bit late if they try to go crosscourt off such a fast shot, so Federer can expect another fh in the middle of the court afterwards.

Federer himself has always struggled with Nadal because Rafa's heavy spin shot disrupts his control on the bh side. Last year Djokovic won a lot of matches because it seemed almost impossible to disrupt his control- only Federer was really able to do so, at the French Open. Whenever Novak needed to hit a cc bh, he could do it. When he needed to return a fast or spin serve, he could do it.

Tennis is all about remaining in control of the ball and disrupting the opponent's control as much as possible- either by hitting hard, with heavy spin, or by placing the ball to make them run and lunge for the ball.

Control in tennis is quite difficult. That's why beginners in tennis really struggle to rally or play points. If you play someone of a significantly higher level than you you may find you make a lot of errors on the very first or second shot, because you lose control of the ball due to the quality of their shots. That's probably also why it's hard to play well when you are "match rusty" and why you may find you have wonderful control of the ball when relaxed, but being just a little tense will cause a lot of your shots to go just out. Your control of the shots needs to be "instinctive".

At a pro level I think this is evident when a player is beginning to feel "down". If they get frustrated they can suddenly find their return of serve temporarily deserts them, or they suddenly start to miss the first serve. Their frustration or lack of focus causes them to temporarily lose that instinctive "touch" that usually makes every ball go in, even when swinging at full speed.

Last edited by HowardH : Mar 6th, 2012 at 11:13 AM.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 12:00 PM   #37
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

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The synchronisation between left and right side is one of the hardest things about serving, in my opinion.

The serve is a shoulder over shoulder action. You shouldn't drop the left arm and shoulder until you are just about to hit the ball. That's why good players always look like they are pausing with their tossing arm pointing towards the ball. They are waiting with the left shoulder up until the time comes to swing. It's a stable position. Once the left arm comes down the swing has to come immediately or you will lose your balance. Cricket is popular in the Caribbean right? The serve has some similarities to the bowling action of a pace bowler, the left arm and shoulder goes up, then it comes down and the right arm and shoulder comes up immediately. Except in tennis the throwing action is legal and encouraged, whereas in Cricket the bowler is not allowed to bend and then straighten the arm.
I've always thought that this comes from my core -- it's very hard to maintain good solid balance up there when you're not sufficiently strong enough or probably I'm wrong but this is how I felt aback but I was also much younger and less physically stronger. Also lack of utilization of your feet does put huge emphasis on the front core, right ? Well I can't say I was using my feet this efficiently too.

Quote:
You probably put your feet together on the serve like Sabine? And then you jump? As that picture sequence posted earlier shows, Sabine manages to keep her backfoot tucked slightly behind the front foot when she steps together, therefore preventing the tendency to open up too early. I serve using the platform stance used by Sampras, Federer and Roddick which generally has no issues with opening up too early.

You need to be side on until the last second. At first it will be really strange to you though, since you may be used to being front on very early, you will feel like you aren't in position to hit the ball when you wait side on.
Yes my case not being technically just on my serve made me rotate unconsciously to ease the rotation into the ball. TBH there are certain positions in tennis which are pretty complicated to maintain efficiently and the trophy pose is one.

The mechanic self of the swing isn't complicated, the synchronization comes with solid practice like you said I think standing close to the service line and just practicing the toss-swing with a basket of balls -- well these are things our so called 'teacher' didn't really show us at first. I know she wasn't forming pro's but nonetheless.

Also, there's an interesting practice I saw to master the 'hammer throw' (?) or whatever that is called to just before the racket contacts the ball using a wall -- I think I had seen that from a coach from the Bollitieri academy on Youtube. I'll search for it, that is really very helpful.

Quote:
]If you aren't advanced enough to do a jump serve, then you still wait side on with the left arm up. As you swing you turn your hips and shoulders onto the ball but instead of jumping you let your back foot walk into the court- after you have made contact.
This is the kind of serves I do to just get the ball into play -- the jump serve is really to have a more effective perforating shot since it engages much more multiple parts of the body and including the ground to create power, that's why it'd be really great to master it.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 12:19 PM   #38
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

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He hasn't seen how nervous I get when playing seriously. For a while there was a time when my ball- I am not exaggerating- was travelling at only half the speed I hit in practice, due to nerves. Now I'm up to around 70-80% of my practice speed and power. I play well against him and he is still able to beat almost all of the top pros in the country (I'd estimate his current level as around 400 ATP, he's still in great shape), so he's actually quite surprised that I'm losing any matches. I play in the interclub division one level below the highest level. A lot of pros are playing in that highest division- guys whose rankings are about 300-900. In the division I play in there are a lot of coaches and good juniors.

I'm finding my inability to perform well under pressure very frustrating, but at the same time I suppose I should be encouraged that it seems that I have "potential" in my game. I know as much as anyone how difficult it can be to convert that into results though.

My goal for the end of this year is to, at least, be able to play consistently for the top division interclub teams, and then to push on to a higher level in the next year. It seems like really hard work right now though.
No wonder you're a fan of Julia right ?

More seriously lol this is certainly, just my opinion anyways, despite all the technique(s) etc... the most complicated aspect of the game. Technique comes with practice, perseverance etc... but mental strength, abilities to transcend yourself, perform efficiently under complex situations, to analyze and resolve them efficiently etc... you have it or not, personally that's what I think.

We were having the same discussion about Julia's inefficiencies when confronted to specific aspects of the game for example how do I deal with a low slice ball etc... and often she dealt with them wrong then often turns back to her coach like, 'what the hell have I done !?' -- we translate that as a form of 'denial' on the moment (knows she has to go CC but forces herself to do otherwise) or simple just a lack of efficient analyzes in such short laps of time.

Is it that you have as issues ? That's what I understood. --

All this to say, TBH I don't know how you (not you specifically but a general you) train that but for my case, I've never been a nervous/emotional person. I'm pretty sure of myself, well I can say that because I guess by now I've passed sufficient determinant and very important exams (GCE, university etc...) and I've always very well reacted in these situations. My sister for example is my complete opposite. She sometimes just literally melts and I can remember when she had gone to pass her driving licence.

Eventually I do understand that tennis engages much more than just your brains -- he, he, we do not want to underestimate the 'intellect' though

Also I do understand that different situations brings different types of stress, one might be comfortable passing an exams of physics and be a complete melt-down when on a tennis court -- all are not totally related but I remember I used to play chess competitions in the past like I told Joy Division once because I was a chess fanatic and my reactions/performance under these pressure situations were really satisfying -- never underestimate the pressure of the clock in chess I mean it's something similar to what you'll find in tennis --

I think chess for example is good way of canalizing --

Last edited by Vikapower : Mar 6th, 2012 at 12:28 PM.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 12:34 PM   #39
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

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Originally Posted by Vikapower View Post
No wonder you're a fan of Julia right ?

More seriously lol this is certainly, just my opinion anyways, despite all the technique(s) etc... the most complicated aspect of the game. Technique comes with practice, perseverance etc... but mental strength, abilities to transcend yourself, perform efficiently under complex situations, to analyze and resolve them efficiently etc... you have it or not, personally that's what I think.

We were having the same discussion about Julia's inefficiencies when confronted to specific aspects of the game for example how do I deal with a low slice ball etc... and often she dealt with them wrong then often turns back to her coach like, 'what the hell have I done !?' -- we translate that as a form of 'denial' on the moment (knows she has to go CC but forces herself to do otherwise) or simple just a lack of efficient analyzes in such short laps of time.

All this to say, TBH I don't know how you (not you specifically but a general you) train that but for my case, I've never been a nervous/emotional person. I'm pretty sure of myself, well I can say that because I guess by now I've passed sufficient determinant and very important exams (GCE, university etc...) and I've always very well reacted in these situations. My sister for example is my complete opposite. She sometimes just literally melts and I can remember when she had gone to pass her driving licence.

Eventually I do understand that tennis engages much more than just your brains -- he, he, we do not want to underestimate the 'intellect'
There is something very specific about tennis pressure and performance. I always found that I handled important school or university exams well. I'm always confident in exam situations. Driving made me nervous at first, but I overcame that.

It's a skill, and perhaps is specific to the situation. I didn't use to get very nervous when I was a junior, so it was a shock to find out that after some years away from competition, I was nervous every time I played seriously. I talked to a player who had been in the top 300 or so, and he said he believed that when you have an extended break it takes time to rebuild matchplay experience. Remember that Sharapova said it took her 1.5 years after her injury to begin to feel instinctive again?

I have a huge amount of knowledge now that I didn't have as a junior. But the problem is this knowledge is not instinctively built into my body. I end up "explicitly monitoring" my body and game instead of just doing things automatically. I "know" what I need to do, and I can see what strategy I need to employ, but doing it is another story.

For some rare people matchplay experience stays with them for a long time. Serena used to be able to just walk on court after an extended break, and she would be fine- or at least she would regain form within a few short weeks. But for most people match fitness is almost like muscle memory. It has to be stimulated regularly for a longish period of time.

In my case the situation, I believe, was exacerbated by a number of things changing in my game and in my body after I stopped playing. I became much fitter, stronger, and lighter. I can run faster, hit harder, serve harder. I improved my technique on the serve, fh and bh. These are all good things, except that now my memories from the juniors don't apply to this body. My strategy and even my shots feel different. So I'm basically having to start matchplay from the beginning again.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 12:55 PM   #40
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

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You have to play with proper balls of course. The kind that are in pressurised cans and you have to remove the metal top (careful not to cut yourself). The others are worthless to serious players, aside from the special Tretorn balls which are designed to bounce without pressure- and which bounce insanely high- too high really for most courts.

Other people may have had different experiences with these balls. These are just my opinions.

I think Slazenger makes the best balls, but they are pricey. They bounce well, take spin well. Slazenger balls last well too.

Dunlop makes balls that are also nice, perhaps not as nice as Slazenger for matchplay but possibly even longer lasting for coaching.

Wilson balls can be nice or not. It varies depending on the type of ball. When new almost all pressurized balls are quite good.

I have had poor experiences with Head balls, even the Head ATP or Head Championship balls. They start out okay but seem to lose bounciness quite quickly, so okay for matches but not that great for coaching.

Penn, okay for coaching, I wouldn't like them for serious play. I never really liked Penn balls. They play kind of flat and don't take spin all that well. Maybe they will improve. I think Wilson improved their balls over the last decade.

I have not tried the tournament Tretorn balls, which are pressurised.
I haven't tested really all balls but there are some I used I just do not like or perhaps they were totally inappropriate for the type of court. On concrete the balls we used rebounded either pretty low, others kind of stayed hanging there, no really to my taste -- at the time I didn't really know about balls etc. and their characteristics it's when I started paying attention to this later I saw the teacher used a variety of different balls and each had a different reaction to the surface we played on.

I like to cut trajectories so I prefer the ball to come at me so that I can re-use the power -- this is why I think if I played on clay, I'd be really bad -- I hate being far back and don't like having too much time to think about my shots etc. I must be something similar to Petra when the ball comes fast or relatively fast things are really easier, I think I'd be a mess against any decent player with 'variances' etc. though myself I like to use these shots and like to see people using them but it's not a big component of my game at all.

I said I'm not a nervous person in the sense of emotional but I'm active/speed you see something like Agassi I can't stay long without doing something to occupy my time/spirit etc.

I haven't played tennis under competition but I feel I'd be something like Sorana Cirstea in terms of dealing with situations that are really annoying in tennis -- when I lose overall (in video games etc...) I have no patience at all, I don't even try to analyze the situation etc. I remember in Hobart Sorana against Angelique Kerber just literally threw her service games after having had so many opportunities in the third set, well, this would certainly look like me. I'm not someone who likes to stay there and think about annoying situations, I just want them to move asap and move on -- in tennis eventually one might consider this to be a big no, no --
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 01:43 PM   #41
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

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It's a skill, and perhaps is specific to the situation. I didn't use to get very nervous when I was a junior, so it was a shock to find out that after some years away from competition, I was nervous every time I played seriously.
I think you used two lexical terms which are very important : 'junior' and 'seriously'.

I think experience both builds and can be bad - you know you'll be nervous which creates an apprehension which gets you even more nervous than in the situation itself, coming back to my sister I observed/learnt that from her. When you do not have conscience of all these things, it happens that you deal with tight situations better I think.

That's why I believe it's important to not pummel young players/juniors with all these pressure/mental toughness etc. discourse, it's better to let them live their life until a certain stage -- eventually that doesn't prevent to practice fun pressure situations in tennis to construct them but it musn't be like a brain-storming. Just my 2 cent.

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I have a huge amount of knowledge now that I didn't have as a junior. But the problem is this knowledge is not instinctively built into my body. I end up "explicitly monitoring" my body and game instead of just doing things automatically. I "know" what I need to do, and I can see what strategy I need to employ, but doing it is another story.
Yes, knowing in tennis on it's own is not really sufficient and this is what makes the sport more complex.

Victoria to me has had the same problem like you --

I think, it's maturity (= better control of emotions...) that probably does the trick, tbh I don't really know but when I read her ITW's etc. she always says that ; disclaimer : eventually everyone is not her and the solution might not work for everybody.

It's confronting yourself to the situation(s) time and time, one day the door will open and voilā.

I think it's important to know but knowledge on it's own doesn't suffice -- this is the same problem we have in France in universities ; we get a lot of theory/knowledge but practically this serves pretty less in situations where only knowing is not enough --

Now, as a student, I know with perseverance into something I once didn't practically know to do because my knowledge wasn't enough then I've reached at some things masterful because now my in depth knowledge enhanced even more the practical -- well perseverance probably is the key.

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In my case the situation, I believe, was exacerbated by a number of things changing in my game and in my body after I stopped playing. I became much fitter, stronger, and lighter. I can run faster, hit harder, serve harder. I improved my technique on the serve, fh and bh. These are all good things, except that now my memories from the juniors don't apply to this body. My strategy and even my shots feel different. So I'm basically having to start matchplay from the beginning again.
Yes, drastic changes doesn't really help too. Doing certain things better arises new problems that needs to be resolved too. I think you need to build an experience with your 'new game' and this will help you surround it better -- I don't know if you're a fast learner but this can/might take time.

Sharapova for example changed motion on her serve so many times until she found a more 'stable one', in between she went through disparaging trips of double-faults etc. but she's confronted to her problems time every matches and by doing so she's re-mastering what she once knew to do in the past --

The same thing IMO goes with match play.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 02:17 PM   #42
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

Incidentally, here is my favourite website for tennis advice: The tennis warrior archive.

Overall philosophies embodied: Repetition is the basis for all skill and improvement.
The next shot is more important than the last mistake. This is the basis of mental toughness.
Focus on improving, not winning.
Training creates a tennis "matrix" or program in your subconscious. But accessing it under pressure is a separate skill that must be learnt- the matrix is "password protected" under pressure.
Handling failure is a key skill to becoming a good player.

http://www.tennisserver.com/tennis-w...r-archive.html

I discovered this website long after I started coaching, only just over a year ago, but I found that this experienced coach's philosophy was very similar and compatible with mine. Students need to be encouraged because before every breakthrough there are a lot of failures. As a coach you can already see the future level of their game even when they are making error after error- of course it's invisible to them, but you see the breakthrough long before it happens.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 03:16 PM   #43
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

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That's really cool well I live in the french Caribbean but my father/mother are from Dominica that's why I can speak/write etc. english in case you were wondering. My older sister lives in Trinidad and Tobago, I've been there unfortunately only once when I was like 13 or 14 I think. It's really a nice place but I should plan a trip around the isles with my mother one of these days.
Ah, so that explains your French flag! Well, your English is better than mine, so kudos to you--you learned well!

I left Trinidiad with my family when I was only six months old, but was able to go back to visit when I was eleven. That's the last time I returned there, and that was many years ago. I imagine it was changed a great deal since.


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Acrylic courts are very expensive and for a local club so I guess that's why they have you pay -- in the US I guess it's something common but as you know here it's not so well...
Yes, that would explain it. What is the rate, if I may ask?

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Wind is also a big factor in NZ- surely more so than in Florida. I had heard that Florida had perfect weather for tennis, like Spain? I guess nothing is perfect. Well, I know you get a lot of sun.
I haven't been to NZ, so I am not able to draw a comparison, but it's rare that we have a day that isn't "breezy" around here (I live right on the coast), and in the winter/spring, when a front comes through, we often get really high winds. As an example, this weekend, I was out hitting on Saturday before a cold front passed through when the temps were near 90F and the winds were probably gusting up to 30-35 mph, then on Sunday, it was 65F and the winds had changed direction but were still blowing at 25-35mph. It was almost impossible conditions. I hit a flat, hard ball but I was chasing shots coming back off the wall with sometimes several feet of "break" from the wind. I ended up smacking myself in the knee on an inside out forehand and that was the end of my day.




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You do need to practice the toss a lot. I recommend practising it with a racquet in your hand. It's ideal to do it on court but you can do it outside at home, or inside if you have very high ceilings. Make sure you are also making your usual racquet movements when you practice the toss. Have something visual and tall in front of you like a tree or a building so you can see more clearly how accurate you are with the toss. Even if you don't have space to really hit the serve, still try to make yourself think that you are really going to hit the ball until after you finish the toss- shape as if you will hit the ball and then just pull out at the final second. Then, when you are accurate with that, you have to practice it on court. You may find that when you really intend to hit the ball you make a slightly different movement, so ultimately you do need to do it on court, but home practice definitely helps too.

The most commonly recommended drill for tossing is to place a racquet in front of your feet and then attempt to toss the ball up and land it on the strings. However, I find that this makes students focus downwards instead of up, and they also tend to make the toss too small in an effort to get the ball to land on the strings. That's why I prefer having visual cues that are above people, so that they focus on the placement of the ball in the air. If the sky is totally clear and a student is working with me, I will tell them as they toss the ball whether a ball is going too far right, left, or back- or if it's perfect. Also, I will stand toe to toe with them and toss the ball a few times into the spot where is should be, so that they learn to memorise it.
That's really excellent advice, Howard. And I agree with you--I've heard the bit about trying to land the ball on the racquet strings before but I agree, I think trying to do that distracts from getting the mechanics of the toss consistently right. You're just focusing on the end result of getting the ball on the stringbed, like a lab animal trying to get a treat, and not doing the real work.

I think my mechanics are OK, but I struggle a lot with the wind, and getting consistency from toss to toss on a windy day. I will catch my toss a lot, especially after putting a few into the net and getting frustrated with that. Then I feel guilty about it and start chasing bad tosses.


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I've tried this string setup. Federer uses it. It's nice, but not really that different from having the poly on the mains. Just a wee bit softer- you can get a similar feel by just dropping tension a couple of pounds. I've considered switching to it, but some people say it makes the gut break faster.

My feeling is that the tension is not too high, although you might consider dropping into the mid or low 50s. I think try a different poly. Pro hurricane tour is seriously hard stuff. Hard when you play with it, hard when you try to string it. That's probably what's making it feel stiff or tight. It works for quite a lot of pros but I wouldn't recommend playing with that stuff unless you had serious power and didn't care about shock absorption. I'm using Kirschbaum poly, recently trying Kirschbaum spiky which gives more spin. Ashaway makes a cheaper version of this kind of poly- monofire. It's almost as nice. Looking online it seems that they might have replaced the monofire with monogut, which seems to be a similar thing- a softer feeling poly. Looks a bit strange to me though, I'm used to seeing the translucent orange colour of either the Kirschbaum polys or Ashaway monofire.

I know of but have not tried the big banger string. I hear it's a hard string, similar to pro hurricane tour. These tough strings are more or less designed to not break for pros playing claycourt tournaments in Europe. I think they are a bit too stiff for most amateurs, especially playing on hardcourts where durability is less of an issue. The others I am not really familiar with. It looks like Solinco tour bit is a softer poly, possibly similar to what I play with, and fairly arm friendly. Babolat revenge also claims to be a softer poly. The N Vy is a kind of synthetic gut with all purpose qualities. But without playing with these I can't be sure.

In general, I recommend a softer poly (of some description) and some kind of soft gut, either synthetic or natural (if you can afford it and the weather is good enough) in a hybrid.
Kind of as I suspected--Fed does it, so let's all do it, lol. As you said, with the gut breaking more easily I'm not sure there's really much of a benefit to putting it in the mains.

I'll let you know what I think of the Big Banger and Solinco Tour Bite after I've played with them awhile. I've adjusted fairly well to the PHT now, as the VS gut crosses softens it enough to where you get the durability of the poly but have the power and comfort of the gut as well. I like it pretty well. I just wanted to try a few different setups for comparison, to see if there was anything out there I might like even better. Thanks for the suggestion on the Kirschbaum--will give that one a try as well.


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In NZ asphalt courts are generally black, just like the road, with no paint except for the lines. Hot to play on, indeed. Bounce is usually consistent- the texture is a bit harder than tar-sealed road, so it doesn't break up, but it looks similar. Good for serving aces and kick serves, they also take spin well, but very hard on the body and the shoes, and if you accidentally let your racquet touch the ground it scratches it quite a bit. Do not fall on the stuff if you value your skin. Actually the same goes for astroturf- artificial grass with sand. Try not to fall. It's a bit like sandpaper.
Yes, I can imagine. I would hate to fall on either. The asphalt here, when it fades, looks like tar with pebbles and/or shells in it. That can't feel too good.

Has anyone played on wood courts? I did, in college. I took a semester of tennis and whenever it rained we played in the gym, on the basketball court. Talk about an unsual surface! That was more akin to racquetball or jai-alai, the ball was moving so fast. My serve was great then--when I could get it in the box....
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Old Mar 7th, 2012, 05:38 PM   #44
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

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Yes, that would explain it. What is the rate, if I may ask?
Of the surface ? The CPR you mean ?
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Old Mar 7th, 2012, 06:55 PM   #45
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Re: Our tennis: letīs hit winners like Julia

Rate is short for "hourly rate" and in this case Aravanecaravan is asking about the price of the hourly court hire. What is the rate= what is the hourly fee?
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