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Old Oct 7th, 2013, 01:09 PM   #1
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How to be a better tennis player (THE WALL: step outside your comfort zone)

I just recently got a "tennis coach" certificate and figured out even more how tennis is such a deep sport.

So this thread is for everyone (coaches/players) that not only cherish the thrill of ATP and WTA tours, but the philosophy, art and science of tennis itself.

I will post tips on how to be a better coach/player and you can too. We can learn together. I am currently reading the 350+ ITF manual and the biomechanic part of it is very interesting. I feel like I will get a lot out of it for my game too, and will post my thoughts.

Also post tennis literature, if you're reading some.

Last edited by Keaka : Mar 10th, 2014 at 10:34 PM.
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Old Oct 7th, 2013, 02:44 PM   #2
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

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Old Oct 7th, 2013, 07:11 PM   #3
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

Currently I'm reading the basics of tennis biomechanics. I will try and make infographs for each of the 6 principles of tennis biomechanics. They will be short and will include the vital information, when I will read more about it, I will just update the image with the data. (my knowledge in photoshop is getting better as I speak)

Part 1: BALANCE



Exercises for your balance:

1. play your shot on one leg
2. knowingly hold your shoulders and head in vertical positions
3. OVERREACT on the width of your stance and never forget to do a splitstep
4. MORE TO COME

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Old Oct 7th, 2013, 08:26 PM   #4
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

thanks for that

I'll have to give it a shot!
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Old Oct 8th, 2013, 01:22 PM   #5
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

Part 2 of tennis biomechanics (for dummies :P) in infograph. I merged 3 of the principles (I, O, M) for easier understanding. This part is basically about energy and how to make use of it.

Biomechanics should be understood before technique or style because it is more about general principles. Once we know what they are, and what we are supposed to do to make the best use of energy in our body and our surroundings, we can start finding our OPTIMAL TECHNIQUE. That means technique, that is different for each one of us, cause we are motorically different, but it is important that we make no unnecessary movements that would stop our momentum, and that we connect all our body parts into coordination chain. More about that later.



EXAMPLES:

Bent arm: Basically any top player has bent arm, and the racquet head up high. Serena is an example of putting the racquet head high and starting to swing way before her opponent actually makes contact with the ball, so if you watch her carefully, sometimes she does 2 swings on her FH or BH. That's because she wouldn't get any power with only the first swing. It must be a connected movement. When you put your racquet head high, it creates good potential energy when it "falls down" afterwards.

Angular momentum: Elena Dementieva. She basically rotates her body for a full 90 degrees and that's where she generates so much power. Her legs help her a lot.

MORE TO COME...
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Old Oct 8th, 2013, 03:33 PM   #6
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

Any tips on ways to generate more racquet head speed?
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Old Oct 8th, 2013, 11:29 PM   #7
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

I can tell you first hand, cause I had huge problems trying to generate power on my FH. Is there any particular shot for you where you have the problems?

What I would keep in mind:

1. Don't try to change your technique. Sometimes we try to bring a shot into a different shape mechanically and we think it will help it, but it really won't. Sometimes it can even cost us injuries. I think it is more important for us to just understand easy physical principles.

2. Focus on your legs. If your hand movement in tennis has already become a natural thing for you (so, if you're not a total rookie) try to focus on your legs and torso:
- Bend your knees when playing a baseline shot or serve. Our thighs and our butt are two of the biggest muscles in our bodies and they can generate so much power. It translates into the shot.
- Use the angular momentum to your advantage. So, turn your upper part of the body (and at the same time bend your knees. I think Dementieva is such a good example, it just seems she overreacts. And you should too, until you settle for a medium, that becomes natural)



- Move into the ball. When you see the ball coming towards you, you already make the move and meet the ball instead of letting it come to you. The ball has so much energy at a certain point, that you won't even need to apply much of your own. Radwanska takes great use of that, or Tomic on the mens side. When you hit the ball when it's already on it's way down, you have to put 100% power into it, and even then you might not get the right depth on the shot.

- Hit the ball in front of you, time it correctly. I don't know about you, but I have great problems with that on my FH. A good exercise for that is if your tennis partner would be ready to toss you balls from behind. That way, you will improve your anticipation and your timing.

- Have your arm flexed fully in point of contact.

- Do a splitstep everytime. Bounce off the ground energetically, that way you will get a lot of energy from the court and it will build up to moments later when you play your shot. The energy basically builds up from the preparation part all the way to contact point. Your shot power builds up from your knees, to your hips, then to your trunk, arm, elbow and last but not least, the wrist. If any part is missing in that chain, your power is not optimal.

- Use the potential energy of the racquet falling. The first thing my coach noticed with my forehand was that I didn't put the racquet up. It should be pointed to the sky. That way, when it falls down and then goes forward to hit, it gets a lot of energy and you can use all the weight of the racquet.
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Old Oct 9th, 2013, 02:57 PM   #8
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

Wow they are so true! I love the point about Dementieva too
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Old Oct 12th, 2013, 02:44 AM   #9
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

I'll do some more tennis-improvement reading tomorrow.

I had a practice with a few rookie ladies yesterday and it was great how thrilled they were and how much they improved in those 90 minutes. They seemed like children unwrapping presents everytime I told them something new about tennis. And they all understood the basic principles and I figured out it's a good way to bring it closer to them by not telling them too much about technique, but rather focus on simple biomechanics.

I still can't figure out my forehand though...
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Old Oct 12th, 2013, 02:45 AM   #10
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

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Wow they are so true! I love the point about Dementieva too
How's it going?
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Old Oct 12th, 2013, 03:32 AM   #11
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

I find my single-handed forehand is a confidence shot. If I'm confident, it works, otherwise, I second guess myself and the technique falls apart. Timing it is much more difficult than the two-handed backhand which I like to hit open-stance. I also don't get enough shoulder rotation, your point is spot on. I find it also helps me to generate more power on the forehand if I hit semi closed-stance. It's definitely a stroke I need to work on.
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Old Oct 12th, 2013, 03:45 AM   #12
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

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How's it going?
Good thanks! Working on footwork lately

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Originally Posted by Sam L View Post
I find my single-handed forehand is a confidence shot. If I'm confident, it works, otherwise, I second guess myself and the technique falls apart. Timing it is much more difficult than the two-handed backhand which I like to hit open-stance. I also don't get enough shoulder rotation, your point is spot on. I find it also helps me to generate more power on the forehand if I hit semi closed-stance. It's definitely a stroke I need to work on.
OMG so true about the confidence thing! I know what you mean
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Old Oct 14th, 2013, 01:31 AM   #13
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

What I have noticed in the last couple of weeks (the USTA mixed doubles season just started then) is that my FH is a much more "prepared" shot where my frame is already back and ready to go when the opponents ball is just bouncing, while my BH is an instinctive shot where my preparation is a lot shorter (most last second) yet my swing speed is just as fast as the FH. The ultimate result is that my FH is a deep penetrating top-spin shot while my BH is a flatter stroke unless I increase my prep time to match my FH's.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2013, 12:20 AM   #14
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

Quote:
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OMG so true about the confidence thing! I know what you mean
I figured out it's the basic approach towards our game that matters the most. It's like that with me. If you are a more laid back individual or tend to overanalyze things, your tennis could get shaky. Sport, like music or arts, is not at all rational, at least not the match-playing.

When you're confident, you just trust your shots and don't need to think; your body feels free of your mind. And that's the whole point in sports, isn't it? Both cooperating, so that both can free themselves of one another

I started doing a Serena when I was late for the shots; not really her technique or path of the stroke, but her eagerness to get ready for the shot very early. Also, even when you're only warming up, try to open your eyes as much as you can (like Djokovic for example), like you really want to see the ball.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charmedRic View Post
What I have noticed in the last couple of weeks (the USTA mixed doubles season just started then) is that my FH is a much more "prepared" shot where my frame is already back and ready to go when the opponents ball is just bouncing, while my BH is an instinctive shot where my preparation is a lot shorter (most last second) yet my swing speed is just as fast as the FH. The ultimate result is that my FH is a deep penetrating top-spin shot while my BH is a flatter stroke unless I increase my prep time to match my FH's.
I'm pretty much the same. But I would really suggest you that you try and flatten your forehand/add spin your backhand. I know what you mean by instinctive; it seems like you're connected to it, for me it almost feels like my friend somehow. Natural. But don't get happy with it, just because you notice it's natural. I started adding spin on my backhand recently; it's amazing how quickly I started to use spin and flat very smartly. BECAUSE it's the go-to shot, go on and try to improve it, because you'll improve it much faster and in ways you might not even imagine.

Prepare early and hit early; and get the feel for the ball coming towards you. When the ball has the biggest speed, try to exaggerate the swing under the ball, and you don't need to add that much power because spin will absorb it and translate it into your shot. Do extra little steps with your feet.

It's amazing really what you can achieve when you get confidence on your go-to shot. When, for example, someone plays a slice onto your backhand, you can get tremendous pace if you play your backhand semi-spinny.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2013, 12:29 AM   #15
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Re: How to be a better tennis coach/player (biomec, psych, technique, tactic tips)

I've been working out a lot in fitness lately and at the same time learned some stuff about co-ordination chain in tennis. I think this info can be very useful to tennis players, just to get the logic of building up power on a shot right.

It's basically about how your shot builds up power from the biggest to smallest muscles. All these muscles are important.
So, if you really want to get rid of the too-many-times-broken-down shots, I think it is important to work non-tennis a lot. Dynamic exercises, a lot of jumping (practicing splitstep with fast reaction off the floor) and static exercises to, too evolve those small muscles that are not really playing a big role outside tennis, during our everyday lives.

So, I'll try to read some about that thematic, if anyone has any links, opinions, advice, please tell us!
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