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Old 10-24-2010, 02:04 PM   #1
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Default Player's technique - please help!

Hi everyone,

I am helping out an aspiring female tennis player. A video showing her technique can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU1-36rXbfY

We would love some analysis, comment, feedback to assist in improving her game. To give a brief overview; the forehand is the strength but a bit inconsistent, backhand needs work but is fairly sound, and the serve is extremely good. She is a short player - only 164cm - and very inexperienced so her game needs tightening up in general.

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Player's technique - please help!

She needs to step in and follow through on both sides as well as the serve. She has pretty good technique on all shots, but hitting into the shot more will do her wonders.

Also, her backhand is very snappy and probably flat. Get her to brush up on the ball as much as she can while still remaining comfortable with the shot.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Player's technique - please help!

Thanks for your comments @blaze-2004, can you explain further the stepping into the ball on all shots? If we look at federer and nalbandian as the models for FH and BH respectively, isn't one of the keys for both strokes to stay stable and rotate around a central axis as opposed to the linear type shot of a sharapova or most women players (henin an exception for example) where they step through using weight transference to power the shot? I may be missing an element of the federer/nalbandian strokes, would love to hear some thoughts on this...
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Player's technique - please help!

Nice forehand, but both backhands are a bit off. The stroke direction on the slice is very top to bottom. She needs to flatten out the slice and swing through the ball while cutting down. Right now it is all cutting down and no direction. Check out Martina's slice on youtube and you will see the difference. On her topspin bh, she is off balance and falls to her right as she swings. You might experiment with a partially closed stance on this stroke to see of that grounds her more. If she could improve these two strokes, she could be a really strong player. Good luck.
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: Player's technique - please help!

Okay this is what I got from watching the video.

1. Forehand technique is solid, however, her footwork is the problem. She doesn't "meet the ball" as many coaches tell their players. It appears she is pretty flat footed prior to hitting the ball which loses momentum and racket head speed. By meeting the ball, she increases the weight transfer into the shot, takes away time from her opponent and in my opinion, makes her more alert to bad bounces or whatever. But yeah, in some of her forehand shots, you can even see her whole body leaning forward while her feet are planted on the ground. This is not good for balance, and she needs to learn to really move her feet so that she doesn't plant too early. Federer is obviously a top choice to learn from in terms of footwork. Here is an example video - notice how Federer always tries to lean into his shots. Yes, he is sometimes on his backfoot, but they are professionals afterall and you can't expect balls fed to your liking



2. Backhand needs a revamp. I don't know where she would have picked up that habit of finishing the backhand sideways. Backhand has to almost be a golf swing in a way - start low and finish high. In a way, it almost appears she is trying to hit a "windshield-wiper forehand" as a backhand. I mean technically I suppose it could end up working, but really it is best to stick with the basics, plus honestly the shot looks really unnatural and forced, not to mention it seems like it could lead to a lot of mis-hits. Watching David Nalbandian videos is always great, as he is nearly perfect technique on that stroke. In the video I include, notice that "low to high" shot that is like swinging a golf club.



3. The serve is getting there. There aren't many clips for the shot, so I can't say too much, but it looks like it is almost solid. Maybe the biggest issue is that your tossing arm appears to come down way too fast, but it could be just that particular clip (the last one I believe). Aside from that, serving arm and the feet look fine.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Player's technique - please help!

[quote=HKz;10466153]Okay this is what I got from watching the video.

1. Forehand technique is solid, however, her footwork is the problem. She doesn't "meet the ball" as many coaches tell their players. It appears she is pretty flat footed prior to hitting the ball which loses momentum and racket head speed. By meeting the ball, she increases the weight transfer into the shot, takes away time from her opponent and in my opinion, makes her more alert to bad bounces or whatever. But yeah, in some of her forehand shots, you can even see her whole body leaning forward while her feet are planted on the ground. This is not good for balance, and she needs to learn to really move her feet so that she doesn't plant too early. Federer is obviously a top choice to learn from in terms of footwork. Here is an example video - notice how Federer always tries to lean into his shots. Yes, he is sometimes on his backfoot, but they are professionals afterall and you can't expect balls fed to your liking



Thanks @hkz, really interesting. When you say meet the ball you mean move forward when given the chance? In the federer video he seems to be very stable and rotates around a central axis on FHs behind the baseline without meeting the ball but when he moves inside baseline his momentum is going forward at contact.
I agree that flat footedness in the rallying shown in vid stopped her from fully rotating and looks funny - she needs to move better when practicing.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Player's technique - please help!

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Originally Posted by benlance View Post
Thanks @hkz, really interesting. When you say meet the ball you mean move forward when given the chance? In the federer video he seems to be very stable and rotates around a central axis on FHs behind the baseline without meeting the ball but when he moves inside baseline his momentum is going forward at contact.
I agree that flat footedness in the rallying shown in vid stopped her from fully rotating and looks funny - she needs to move better when practicing.
When I say "meet the ball" I do not mean come forward and approach the net. I am saying instead of sitting back on her feet waiting for the ball to come to her, she should take one or two steps and meet the ball, then go back to her comfort spot in the middle of a court. If you watch Federer, he constantly takes a few steps towards and away from the net when rallying. This allows enough room to approach the ball and gives time to react if necessary. Moving into the ball is very important as it will allow her to stay more alert and increase the weight of her shots since she is deliberately moving into the ball.

Yes, as I said in the video, you won't notice it 100% of the time with Federer, but if you really watch closely, what Federer does really well is keeping his upper body and lower body in-sync with each other. You don't really see him leaning over and leaning backwards to hit a ball. In your tennis player's video, she sometimes appears to lean forward to meet a ball.

It is also important to note that when a baseliner is dominating a point, he/she should start creeping forward to take away court from their opponent and to open up their own possibilities which is a particular important aspect of Federer's game since he has the ability to take balls very early. I mean many times he almost stands in "no-man's land" and rallies from there. You won't see this with many other baseliners, such as Nadal, however. It just happens to be Federer's groundstrokes allow him to take balls much earlier than someone like Nadal.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Player's technique - please help!

Good points @HKz, what drills/training would help with this form of movement and to train a player to move forward/back to hit ball at optimal height/position?
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Player's technique - please help!

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Originally Posted by benlance View Post
Good points @HKz, what drills/training would help with this form of movement and to train a player to move forward/back to hit ball at optimal height/position?
Hmm, well my private coach used to set up 2 cones. He placed one where I liked to hang back during a rally and one a few feet in front of me. He would then feed me some balls and the goal was to hit the ball then move to the cone in front of me. Once I reached the cone, I would have to run around it while keeping my whole body facing the net, and then backpedal back to the first cone. This works on your sidestepping skills and moving backwards/forwards. After a while, the player should feel more comfortable moving their weight into the shot.

The only issue I've seen with this drill, is that some players try to run and hit at the same time which is more of an approach shot scenario. You want the player to be moving forward, but learn to plant at the correct moment.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Player's technique - please help!

Great drill @HKz she is good at running to the ball and moving across the baseline but bad at moving forwards and backwards and also taking lots of little adjusting steps. Also time for lots of ladder and skipping!
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