improving your weaknesses: a good idea? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

improving your weaknesses: a good idea?

federer express
04-14-2005, 12:35 PM
am sure you are all thinking 'of course...wtf is he talking about?' but let me explain:

(1) LENDL desperate to improve his forecourt game in a bid to win wimbledon. had the 'right coach' to improve his volleys and was determined to do it. but he never did win wimbledon. whereas a lendl committed to playing his own game from the back of the court would in my opinion have won there.

(2) BECKER had his own phase of trying to outlast baseliners and beat them at their own game. how much success did he have at it? almost none!

(3) CHANG became preoccupied with the power of his serve, and even his groundstrokes. he sacrificed his strengths in the search of more power, changing to a longer racket. as a result of this mindset he became less solid and more easily beatable by his opponents

(4) FERRERO i am concerned may go the chang route. he changed his racket in search of more power, again sacrificing his strengths to an extent. he has always been able to hit the ball hard enough. his game is not about hitting through an opponent and i hope he reverts to his old style of play

(5) RODDICK when he first came along was all serve and forehand. he knew his limitations and was comfortable with them. he didn't worry about what he couldn't do but let his opponents worry about what he could do! now he is less certain on how to play. he runs around the backhand less and comes to the net more...both distinctively to his disadvantage. has his backhand improved? definitely! has his game improved? no!!

(6) HEWITT also went through a stage of trying to outhit his opponents. that will never be his game and he suffered massively as a result. he returns to being the annoying hard-working 'grinder' and once again becomes almost impossible for most players on the tour to beat

obviously if you can improve your weakness whilst maintaining or even improving your strengths that is ideal. but shifting your focus almost exclusively to your weakness just undermines a player's confidence and is usually to his detriment. thoughts?.....

TheMightyFed
04-14-2005, 12:48 PM
Yes that's true, look at Federer, he wanted to change euh, euh... nothing, and he kept kicking asses all over the world.
Actually he payed more volley in AO 05 under the influence of Tony, and thi is the only tournament he lost !!
You're right !!!

syd
04-14-2005, 12:51 PM
(5) RODDICK when he first came along was all serve and forehand. he knew his limitations and was comfortable with them. he didn't worry about what he couldn't do but let his opponents worry about what he could do! now he is less certain on how to play. he runs around the backhand less and comes to the net more...both distinctively to his disadvantage. has his backhand improved? definitely! has his game improved? no!! Completely agree about it !!

Puschkin
04-14-2005, 12:59 PM
obviously if you can improve your weakness whilst maintaining or even improving your strengths that is ideal. but shifting your focus almost exclusively to your weakness just undermines a player's confidence and is usually to his detriment. thoughts?.....

There is much wisdom in your analysis. It seems as if one's style of play is related to one's personality and therefore not easy to change, maybe because of an inner (even not consciuos) reluctance.

Yes that's true, look at Federer, ......Actually he payed more volley in AO 05 under the influence of Tony, and thi is the only tournament he lost !!
You're right !!!

But not because he played more volleys. Volleying is not "unnatural" for Roger in the way federer express gave his examples, so I don't think it will be detrimental for his game. On the contrary, it is another register he can pull if necessary, even on clay.

Billy Moonshine
04-14-2005, 01:02 PM
I hope that Ferrero and Roddick go back to their old styles, they are two of my faves.
I think that they will at some stage, once they get sick of their new games not working out for them, like Hewitt.
An interesting point indeed. Perhaps Ferrero and Roddick will also return to their old styles with the gusto and appetite that hewitt has.
Hooray, there is hope!!!:)

TheMightyFed
04-14-2005, 01:11 PM
But not because he played more volleys. Volleying is not "unnatural" for Roger in the way federer express gave his examples, so I don't think it will be detrimental for his game. On the contrary, it is another register he can pull if necessary, even on clay.
It's not unnatural but it's maybe the part he has to improve the most in absolute terms, especially tactically, even if he's far better than most of the players in this compartment...

Puschkin
04-14-2005, 02:22 PM
It's not unnatural but it's maybe the part he has to improve the most in absolute terms, especially tactically, even if he's far better than most of the players in this compartment...

I don't agree, but we don't want to turn this into a Roger thread, so I'll leave it at that :wavey:

TheMightyFed
04-14-2005, 02:32 PM
I don't agree, but we don't want to turn this into a Roger thread, so I'll leave it at that :wavey:
I think his forehand volley is the part to improve in his game to be precise...
The rest:
-Serve: not really
-FH: almost flawless
-BH: great angles, great variations including volley
-Workfoot: arguably the best ever

Angle Queen
04-14-2005, 02:51 PM
I think for the top pros, you make a good point. Weakness is indeed a relative term and most of them have risen through ranks with strengths that must have outweighed their weaknesses.

But for us weekend hackers, taking the time and energy to improve a weakness is probably more worthwhile, especially since we don't or rarely see the same opponents with the frequency the pros do. If I can pick out an obvious weakness in warm-ups or the first few games, I'll exploit it 'til the cows come home. In that vein, I'll like to have enough stuff so nothing's glaring in my own game, at least not til all is said and done (and hopefully I've walked away with the win).

Experimentee
04-14-2005, 03:08 PM
At RG Sampras used to try to stay back sometimes and grind it out with the clay players, when it would have been more effective for him to play his normal S&V game.

I think it is good to work on improving weaknesses though, as long as you dont get fooled into abandoning your strengths.

Maxpowers
04-14-2005, 05:56 PM
I think its a good idea to try and improve your weaknesses when you are practicing, but not while you are in the middle of a match that really counts. When you are in a match that has your reputation and a lot of money on the line, I don't think its a good idea for someone like becker to try and outlast a baseliner on the baseline, or for Roddick to start serving and volleying and running up to the net, or for someone like Chang to try and overpower his opponents.

If you are in a match with a friend or coach you can practice new shots in a competitive situation and try to learn from your mistakes. When you are in an important match its good to stick with your strengths. I guess the exeption to this would be if you are winning easily and want to try something new on a few points.

jacobhiggins
04-14-2005, 07:50 PM
In the short term the player might look great doing what he's comfotable at, but in the long run if you want to get better you have to improve you weakness. People forget it takes TIME! You are seeing the transition with those players! It will take a lot of time for them to get comfortable, I think what Roddick is doing is great. If he continues working on his techniques, volly's, trying new things, he will ultimately be a better player, saying that however, if he does continute to try to improve, I don't see him winning any major events for a while. You got to sacrifice the immediate glory for the long term Glory! Some players understand this, some players don't! Usually the greatest ahtletes are the ones CONSTANTLY trying to improve!

Fedex
04-14-2005, 07:57 PM
Its always a good idea to improve you weaknesses and to add more weapons to you tennis game, but you still should stick to what playing style is most comfortable for you. You can change and alter your game to an extent, but to change your whole playing style completly is ludicrous.

socaltennisguy
04-14-2005, 08:06 PM
If it works, why change it?

federer express
09-01-2005, 10:09 PM
(5) RODDICK when he first came along was all serve and forehand. he knew his limitations and was comfortable with them. he didn't worry about what he couldn't do but let his opponents worry about what he could do! now he is less certain on how to play. he runs around the backhand less and comes to the net more...both distinctively to his disadvantage. has his backhand improved? definitely! has his game improved? no!!


obviously if you can improve your weakness whilst maintaining or even improving your strengths that is ideal. but shifting your focus almost exclusively to your weakness just undermines a player's confidence and is usually to his detriment.

that's my view ad...

mandoura
09-02-2005, 12:01 AM
Fedex, that's an excellent analysis.

betterthanhenman
05-10-2006, 08:26 PM
(4) FERRERO i am concerned may go the chang route. he changed his racket in search of more power, again sacrificing his strengths to an extent. he has always been able to hit the ball hard enough. his game is not about hitting through an opponent and i hope he reverts to his old style of play

(5) RODDICK when he first came along was all serve and forehand. he knew his limitations and was comfortable with them. he didn't worry about what he couldn't do but let his opponents worry about what he could do! now he is less certain on how to play. he runs around the backhand less and comes to the net more...both distinctively to his disadvantage. has his backhand improved? definitely! has his game improved? no!!



Above account is an over-simplification, but is there a valid point here. People have been saying for some time that Roddick was improving his game and therefore in a transition-stage. Is that the case?

Have the Roddick and Ferrero games gone backwards? Or has the men's game moved on and left them behing to some extent. The 'left behind' comment is relative, as they are still two top players, particularly Roddick.

Jairus
05-10-2006, 09:01 PM
Nice analysis people, but everyone's only looking at one side of the coin. What about all the players who changed their games mid-career and succeded? I don't know of a ton of examples, but supposedly Sampras and Borg both developed S&V games specifically for Wimbledon...and, you know, that kinda worked out. My gut thinking is that for every player who changed their game and failed, there was probably another player who changed his game and got more successful. Also, even midmatch, there was Roger's crazy Wimbly 2004.

betterthanhenman
05-10-2006, 09:04 PM
Nice analysis people, but everyone's only looking at one side of the coin. What about all the players who changed their games mid-career and succeded? I don't know of a ton of examples, but supposedly Sampras and Borg both developed S&V games specifically for Wimbledon...and, you know, that kinda worked out. My gut thinking is that for every player who changed their game and failed, there was probably another player who changed his game and got more successful. Also, even midmatch, there was Roger's crazy Wimbly 2004.

Borg and Sampras developed S&V games for Wimbledon?

zicofirol
05-10-2006, 09:27 PM
Youre right, there is a difference in improving yorue weakness and changing youre game completelly to try and win on certain surfaces, in other word getting away from youre strenghts.

Jimnik
05-10-2006, 10:08 PM
Above account is an over-simplification, but is there a valid point here. People have been saying for some time that Roddick was improving his game and therefore in a transition-stage. Is that the case?

Have the Roddick and Ferrero games gone backwards? Or has the men's game moved on and left them behing to some extent. The 'left behind' comment is relative, as they are still two top players, particularly Roddick.
Both Roddick and Ferrero have gone dramtically backwards. In 2003, they both had the biggest and most effective forehands in the world. Three years later and their forehands have almost turned into weaknesses. In fact, JC's whole game has suffered as a result and his confidence couldn't be lower. Andy at least had his serve to rely on when the rest of his game wasn't working.

Yes, JC had his injuries but his change of racket and his attempt to adopt a better fast court game has really cost him badly. He also seems to be a bit lazier becasue he relies too much on his backhand instead of running around to his forehand. The arrivals of Nadal, Ferrer and Davydenko haven't helped either. He can no longer rely on the clay season to get good results.

After parting with Brad Gilbert, Andy tried to work more on his weaknesses. He's been trying to hit more backhands (instead of running round to his forehand) and he's been trying to hit more volleys. Because of this, his strengths (serve + forehand) have suffered.

Jairus
05-10-2006, 10:10 PM
Borg and Sampras developed S&V games for Wimbledon?

For Borg:
http://www.tennisfame.org/enshrinees/bjorn_borg.html
"Borg preferred to battle from the baseline, trading groundstrokes tirelessly in long rallies, retrieving and waiting patiently to outlast his opponent. Volleying, with his Western grip forehand and two-fisted backhand, was troublesome, and his serve was not impressive at first. He didn't do much on grass until 1976, when he was determined to win Wimbledon, and did so after devoting himself to two weeks of solid practice on serve-and-volley tactics."



Oops, my mistake on Sampras. I was referring to this:
http://espn.go.com/classic/biography/s/Sampras_Pete.html
New coach Tim Gullickson showed Sampras the value of playing percentage tennis - going for smart, makable shots rather than flashy, difficult ones. On April 12, 1993, Sampras reached the No. 1 ranking for the first time, and only occasionally did he fall from that perch until 1999. He became the first player in the history of ATP rankings (since 1973) to finish No. 1 for six consecutive years (1993-98), breaking Connors' mark of five.

Its not really clear what the change was, but I've read a few places that after his 1992 loss to Edberg, Sampras changed his game (and his mentality).

Jairus
05-10-2006, 10:12 PM
As an aside, how insane is it that Borg just decided to Wimbledon, practiced a new style of play for two weeks, then won 5 in a row!!!

betterthanhenman
05-10-2006, 10:14 PM
As an aside, how insane is it that Borg just decided to Wimbledon, practiced a new style of play for two weeks, then won 5 in a row!!!

John Lloyd says that Borg was awful on grass at the start of those 2 weeks, and by the end was ready to win Wimbledon each year.

That is impressive! :)

vogus
05-10-2006, 11:11 PM
If Lendl had played from the baseline against Cash in the '87 Wimby final, i am convinced he would have easily won the title. Instead Lendl had a lousy serving day and Cash ate him alive when he (Lendl) was at the net.

On the other hand, Lendl had tremendous success with his S&V game at Wimby, reaching 5 straight semifinals along with his two runner-ups. He just was unlucky at the wrong moments and it's a bit of a fluke that he couldn't win it.

MisterQ
05-11-2006, 12:26 AM
(2) BECKER had his own phase of trying to outlast baseliners and beat them at their own game. how much success did he have at it? almost none!


Nice post, federer express. I just read a quote by Andre about the way Becker chose to play him. Agassi ended up 10-4 against Becker. I'll copy it below (from Andre's essay at the end of Gilbert's Winning Ugly):

Agassi writes:

Boris Is Too Stubborn

"My plan against Boris (Becker) is really almost no plan at all because of his stubbornness. Boris just plays me very straight up. He's a very stubborn person and because of it stays at the baseline too much and tries to pound me. This plays right into my strength, groundstrokes.

It's almost like Boris is so stubborn about what he believes he can do that it prevents him from accepting the fact that he can't win doing it against me. It prevents him from trying something else. It's very surprising. It's kind of like Boris attacks my strength with his weakness. Against other guys you'll see him mixing it up a lot. Against me he gets a little bit rattled. He waits a little too long for a short ball, and allows me to exploit his movement, which isn't as good as Courier's. His backhand becomes more of a weakness because of his lack of good foot speed.

The other advantage I work is off his serve. I return serve well, which takes away Boris's natural game.

Nevertheless, he is a very dangerous player. In the semis at Wimbledon in '95 I was up 6-2, 4-1 and playing absolutely perfect tennis. In fact, Boris said later my play in the first set was the absolute best tennis he had ever faced anywhere.

But at Wimbledon Boris is never dead, and he came back to life in the sixth game of the second set after a fantastic point that he managed to win. That single point convinced him that he could win the match. At the same time I had gone on cruise control and had mentally started thinking about the finals against Pete. Boris won in four sets, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, 7-6. We met up again two months later at the U.S. Open with a better result for me."

nkhera1
05-11-2006, 12:37 AM
Well I think the biggest thing that happened is that when they tried to improve the other parts of their game they lost confidence. Because the only way to get better at something is to try it in critical situations, but it doesn't always work out well and as result while your winning its expected but the losses are taken a lot harder, and it doesn't help that other young players improved their game. I think it would be unfair to the rest of the field to say these players losing is due only to themselves. I mean players like Nadal have emerged. Players like Ljubicic have drastically improved their game, so I would say it is a combination of both.

federated
05-11-2006, 02:31 AM
obviously if you can improve your weakness whilst maintaining or even improving your strengths that is ideal. but shifting your focus almost exclusively to your weakness just undermines a player's confidence and is usually to his detriment. thoughts?.....

absolutely--it's just a matter of balance. Overkill in any direction is usually a bad idea. And one's strengths need minding/nurturing. The point should just be to neutralize one's weaknesses so opponents can't totally exploit them.

ugotlobbed
05-11-2006, 04:09 AM
am sure you are all thinking 'of course...wtf is he talking about?' but let me explain:

wtf are u talking about!

Action Jackson
01-31-2008, 12:08 AM
am sure you are all thinking 'of course...wtf is he talking about?' but let me explain:

wtf are u talking about!

Like you know what you are talking about most of the time.

Back to the thread question. In theory it is, but how successful the player is depends on some other factors.

It's like Corretja when he started out, he had no backhand only the dodgy Emilio Sanchez slice, but when he was at his best. That side became the stronger side and he could play that shot with heavy topspin, slice or hit through it.

Federerhingis
01-31-2008, 12:25 AM
I hope that Ferrero and Roddick go back to their old styles, they are two of my faves.
I think that they will at some stage, once they get sick of their new games not working out for them, like Hewitt.
An interesting point indeed. Perhaps Ferrero and Roddick will also return to their old styles with the gusto and appetite that hewitt has.
Hooray, there is hope!!!:)


I totally agree on the Ferrero part and the Hewitt as well, trying to overpower opponents was never a good strategy for Lleyton his game was simply never made to work that way, his body would not allow him and he can't overpower the likes of Novak, Nadal or even a Federer when it concerns the power department.

Now on the Roddick side of things I don't know if it's his strategy change or what it is that is causing him to actually digress on his success as a top player. I guess players just really figured out how to return his serve effectively, they've been taking advantage of this for about 3 seasons now, and he has not been able to improve his overall game enough to really show signs of having greater success than when his original game was at it's peak pre 2003 and 2003.

He really needs to improve his return of serve and sometimes his game plans and executions, he is too concerned about how to best beat players and at the same time sacrificing what works best from his own game. His serve will always be a weapon, but it can go southbound once they start rerturning it and he starts thinking about it and his confidence sinks and its all over. His game is a bit too mechanical I guess. :shrug:

RagingLamb
01-31-2008, 12:48 AM
did they really improve their weaknesses though?

I'm sure you can think of people who did improve weaknesses.

Action Jackson
01-31-2008, 12:51 AM
Ferrer's improved backhand is the reason he is in the top 10.

adee-gee
01-31-2008, 12:56 AM
Ferrer's improved backhand is the reason he is in the top 10.
Nah, it's because AbAdi inspired him ;)

Action Jackson
01-31-2008, 12:57 AM
Nah, it's because AbAdi inspired him ;)

That as well.

Fee
01-31-2008, 01:01 AM
I miss federer express... :sad:

sheeter
01-31-2008, 03:57 AM
Every player need to improve his weaknesses.
Roddick, however, is a special case. He makes you want to slap him, and scream "What the heck are you doing!" He charges the net at every inopportune time he can find, and his forehand looks like Nadal's underachieving older brother. He needs to flatten out his forehand again, and use it like the weapon it is. He can even use it to get to the net and pick off weak volleys, like Agassi. However, it is nice his backhand has improved, but at the cost of his whole game.

MissMelly2U
01-31-2008, 04:10 AM
if it ain't broke don't fix it. so simple, but so hard.

jcempire
01-31-2008, 04:11 AM
am sure you are all thinking 'of course...wtf is he talking about?' but let me explain:

(1) LENDL desperate to improve his forecourt game in a bid to win wimbledon. had the 'right coach' to improve his volleys and was determined to do it. but he never did win wimbledon. whereas a lendl committed to playing his own game from the back of the court would in my opinion have won there.

(2) BECKER had his own phase of trying to outlast baseliners and beat them at their own game. how much success did he have at it? almost none!

(3) CHANG became preoccupied with the power of his serve, and even his groundstrokes. he sacrificed his strengths in the search of more power, changing to a longer racket. as a result of this mindset he became less solid and more easily beatable by his opponents

(4) FERRERO i am concerned may go the chang route. he changed his racket in search of more power, again sacrificing his strengths to an extent. he has always been able to hit the ball hard enough. his game is not about hitting through an opponent and i hope he reverts to his old style of play

(5) RODDICK when he first came along was all serve and forehand. he knew his limitations and was comfortable with them. he didn't worry about what he couldn't do but let his opponents worry about what he could do! now he is less certain on how to play. he runs around the backhand less and comes to the net more...both distinctively to his disadvantage. has his backhand improved? definitely! has his game improved? no!!

(6) HEWITT also went through a stage of trying to outhit his opponents. that will never be his game and he suffered massively as a result. he returns to being the annoying hard-working 'grinder' and once again becomes almost impossible for most players on the tour to beat

obviously if you can improve your weakness whilst maintaining or even improving your strengths that is ideal. but shifting your focus almost exclusively to your weakness just undermines a player's confidence and is usually to his detriment. thoughts?.....

Great post. I agree

Bibberz
01-31-2008, 05:07 AM
I thought Feliciano Lopez was Nadal's underachieving older brother....

Every player need to improve his weaknesses.
Roddick, however, is a special case. He makes you want to slap him, and scream "What the heck are you doing!" He charges the net at every inopportune time he can find, and his forehand looks like Nadal's underachieving older brother. He needs to flatten out his forehand again, and use it like the weapon it is. He can even use it to get to the net and pick off weak volleys, like Agassi. However, it is nice his backhand has improved, but at the cost of his whole game.

Farenhajt
01-31-2008, 05:45 AM
He makes you want to slap him, and scream "What the heck are you doing!" He charges the net at every inopportune time he can find, and his forehand looks like Nadal's underachieving older brother.

Maybe he's just stoopid? :shrug: (Or not accustomed to use the brains when there's always good ol' serving bomb to set the matters straight.) And no amount of game improving could improve that one...

Follow-up question: How do you rate players based on the intelligence they show in their game?

Allure
01-31-2008, 05:52 AM
This thread is flawed. Roddick doesn't have any weaknesses.

JediFed
01-31-2008, 06:10 AM
All parts of his game are equally bad?:confused: