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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I am not posting this just to get consolation from anyone whether "I have hope" or anything like that. I am fifteen years old, I started playing tennis this summer (I actually started when I was 10 but stopped for 5 years) with a personal trainer overseas on vacation (I did like 15 hours in like 10 days with around 3 different trainers).

I want to get the most I can from this sport because I love it. I am very competitive, and I am just eager to be playing against others in leagues and tournaments, heck, maybe even go pro - anything is possible, aslong as you are dedicated and willing to go an extra mile.

So I post this thread to learn every single thing you guys do on a daily to weekly basis that helps improve your game. What is everything you do that has to do with tennis. Also mention how long each day or week that you spend on each activity.

Do you watch tennis matches on tv? If so, how long?
Do you read tennis books or the tennis encyclopedia?
Do you find old tennis matches and watch them on tape/dvd?
Do you play against the wall when you dont have a partner?


Try and mention every activity you do that has to do with tennis that would help a person's game. I want to try everything. Unfortunately, I do not have the transportation to go to a tennis club every day (I go to a once a week clinic) so I have to utilize my time offcourt. I also plan on going with my cousin maybe twice a week to play, he is only a beginner though. And I will consider spending time each week just playing against a wall, if I find one.

Thanks Guys!
 

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First off, good luck with your tennis.

Do you watch tennis matches on tv? If so, how long? Whenever it's on TV and I'm interested in the match, or whenever I just feel like watching old matches (on dvds/on the internet.)
Do you read tennis books or the tennis encyclopedia? Magazines, yeah. But when I have more free time (when the high school tennis season's over) I'm going to try to read some tennis books.
Do you find old tennis matches and watch them on tape/dvd? Yup.
Do you play against the wall when you dont have a partner? If I had a wall and no partner I'd do that, but I always have someone to play with and I don't have a wall that isn't my garage.

I'd go into things that you can do off the court and how to improve your game with little time, but I'm sure someone could do a much better job than me.

Actually, here's an idea. I see you're from the US, so if you're not a USTA member already, become one. Start with level 3 tournaments (they're round robin) and gradually go onto level 2s (regular match, except super TBer in the 3rd) and then possibly level 1s (highest level) if you're a quick learner. Just set small goals for yourself because it's not smart to think about being pro when you've been playing for a few months unless you're like 5 years old.

I hope some of this made sense. I'm too exausted to read over what I wrote.
 

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Hey dude i'm 16 and kinda the same 'stage' as you are.

Do you watch tennis matches on tv? If so, how long? yes, whenever they are showing it. Also i recommend to read and watch everything you find, of course, internet is a good resource. go to google and look for tennis tips strategies, etc. Also register in USTA is very important (www.usta.com) is just like $20.
Do you read tennis books or the tennis encyclopedia?
Do you find old tennis matches and watch them on tape/dvd? yes, Also record any matches it doesn't matter if your two most hated players are playing, just record it and watch it again and again, of course just watching won't help you, you have to see how they move in court and their swing, service, volleys, strategies.
Do you play against the wall when you dont have a partner? YES! and that will help you a lot. Find a good coach that wants to help you and not take away your money and give 110% also find the racquet that fits your game not the one that your favourite player uses. Get a jumping rope and use it everyday that'll help your footwork, do a lot of push-ups, crunches, etc. good exercise for hand-eye coordination: get two balls and find somebody tell them to throw at you alternating sides and you return them. if nobody wants to help you do it against a wall but it's very hard to do it but oi have managed to do it! Get your racquet when you are around your house and practice your swing over, over and over. GOOD LUCK! Oh, and when you play tourneys don't get discouraged if you lose a lot, remember that most of the guys you play have a great advantage and that is that they have been playing for more time, but that's not a problem with dedication you can do it and im sturggilng to do that too. Start posting here and don't blieve everything they say here b/c must of them are idiots but it's cool anyways... see you around!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow, great advice guys!! aceit, I will definately join USTA. Not sure how many tournaments they have in Connecticut but I'll find out. :)

About working out, fenomeno, I am definately going to start doing that more often. I also need to find a wall to play against... lol.

What do you guys think of these two books I may be buying: 'Winning Ugly' and 'The Inner Game of Tennis'?
 

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i'm 25 and i've been playing for 11 yrs. so i kinda started almost like you, but younger. :)

no, i didn't go for pro because my country's sports program sucks. you can't make a living playing tennis here.

what i did was try to emulate one particular player. so choose wisely. picking that player puts into your mindset what kind of game you would like to play in approaching the match. this works if you can't afford a personal trainer that will help you develop your own style.

i fell into the trap of emulating agassi and not sampras bec hey, he was cooler, and he just won the '94 USO that time. so in turn, not to brag, i became a good returner and had punishing two fisted backhands, but didn't have a booming serve.

if you can emulate federer, then we'll see you in the ATP someday maybe :)
 

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Amirsan said:
Wow, great advice guys!! aceit, I will definately join USTA. Not sure how many tournaments they have in Connecticut but I'll find out. :)

About working out, fenomeno, I am definately going to start doing that more often. I also need to find a wall to play against... lol.

What do you guys think of these two books I may be buying: 'Winning Ugly' and 'The Inner Game of Tennis'?
"Winning Ugly" is great, it gives you practical tips in order to keep focused on what is important during a match, especially the dynamics of the match. Plus there is a rare inside point of view of a pro player against some of the greats of the 80's and 90's, the way they behaved, their tactics, etc., which is very precious. I read it straight away and I highly recommend it to you !
 

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Amirsan said:
Wow, great advice guys!! aceit, I will definately join USTA. Not sure how many tournaments they have in Connecticut but I'll find out. :)

About working out, fenomeno, I am definately going to start doing that more often. I also need to find a wall to play against... lol.

What do you guys think of these two books I may be buying: 'Winning Ugly' and 'The Inner Game of Tennis'?
I think the books are a good idea cause it gives you tactical tips. However, as far as improving your game goes, watching pros on TV is pretty much useless. It might even be a bad thing to try to do what they do cause you're far from their level. I would definitely not recommend emulating a pro which seems like a horrible idea. You're not them. None of the guys on ATP tried to be just like someone they saw on TV cause it don't work. Coaches are a lot more useful to help work out your own gameplan.

A wall is useful especially for volley practice. But try to find some other people to play against (not beginners), even if you don't know them personally.
 

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Peoples said:
I think the books are a good idea cause it gives you tactical tips. However, as far as improving your game goes, watching pros on TV is pretty much useless. It might even be a bad thing to try to do what they do cause you're far from their level. I would definitely not recommend emulating a pro which seems like a horrible idea. You're not them. None of the guys on ATP tried to be just like someone they saw on TV cause it don't work. Coaches are a lot more useful to help work out your own gameplan.
I think if you are intelligent about it, you can gain a lot from the pros. You just have to be sure you aren't blindly imitating motions... instead you should be thinking about the principles driving those motions.

I don't have a coach or take lessons, but I try to watch tennis closely on TV and learn from what I see. It's been kind of a slow process, but I notice things on TV and make a point to experiment with them on court. Try to ask yourself a lot of questions... rather than just imitating what players do, ask why they are doing certain motions or attempting certain strategies. Figure out what it accomplishes for them. Try to decipher exactly where their weight is, which foot is anchored, how the energy is flowing through their shots.

I also think watching a lot of matches can give you an improved court sense. After seeing some of the patterns that repeat themselves match after match, and where the players move to after hitting certain shots, you may subconsciously begin doing this yourself.

Of course, I'm not trying to be a pro or elite player. I'm just trying to be the best recreational player I can be. Obviously a coach and one-on-one attention are important to someone taking it more seriously. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the advice guys! Keep it coming. :)

megadeth, emulating a player sounds interesting. It sounds like a great way to improve technique, but to a certain extent I agree with Peoples... I would rather not just become a ditto of that player, I rather be my own player. However, the overall idea of observing the pros, and trying their techniques on the court is a great idea, something I will definately try. I think that if you take techniques from different players it makes you even more different and more powerful then just emulating one player, no? I definately agree with you MisterQ btw, I am considering to start a Tennis journal for myself, so I can reflect, and take notes while I watch other players.

"Winning Ugly" is great, it gives you practical tips in order to keep focused on what is important during a match, especially the dynamics of the match. Plus there is a rare inside point of view of a pro player against some of the greats of the 80's and 90's, the way they behaved, their tactics, etc., which is very precious. I read it straight away and I highly recommend it to you !
Great, I will enjoy the book better now that I know I got some appraisals for it. Thanks, going to take it out of the library tommorrow.

Coaches are a lot more useful to help work out your own gameplan.
Unfortunately, I dont know if Connecticut just has a weak tennis program or if I am just disadvantaged.. The only tennis club is around 20 minutes away. I go there every Saturday for a clinic, however I doubt it would be possible for me to get there more times a week, atleast until I get my own car. Plus, a personal trainer is expensive... they are charging $80 an hour! Believe me, if I can, I would spend over an hour a day practicing with a trainer, but again thats the reason why I made this thread, because I can't. So I am looking for ways I can improve my game with limited contact with a trainer (except ofcourse then on Saturdays, but thats a clinic).

A wall is useful especially for volley practice. But try to find some other people to play against (not beginners), even if you don't know them personally.
Yeah, I am going to do some research around and find some local tennis players to play with. I know one park for sure that has tennis courts.

Actually, here's an idea. I see you're from the US, so if you're not a USTA member already, become one. Start with level 3 tournaments (they're round robin) and gradually go onto level 2s (regular match, except super TBer in the 3rd) and then possibly level 1s (highest level) if you're a quick learner. Just set small goals for yourself because it's not smart to think about being pro when you've been playing for a few months unless you're like 5 years old.
aceit, I have registered, and about to register as a full member after paying dues... I have also checked the tournaments during this/next month in my state. There are three (the closest two are 45 minutes away) however they are like level 6 or 7. I am confused on how these levels work.. can you fill me in on how I should get started with tournaments? I am definately a fast learner and I would like to get a feel of the competition.

----

Anyone have any other ideas to improve your game? Besides getting a trainer ofcourse.
 

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Play alot, then after you play alot, you get a drink of water, then you go play more the before, then you sleep, then you play alot again. do that for a year and you will be great.
 

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hey im 20 and have been playing for 15 years.. joined the juniors tour for awhile..

Do you watch tennis matches on tv? If so, how long?

yeah everytime theres a chance, i watch the atp more than the wta though but i watch whatevers on tv..

Do you read tennis books or the tennis encyclopedia?

not really, i read articles in the internet though.. more on the rituals of the players..


Do you find old tennis matches and watch them on tape/dvd?

nope..

Do you play against the wall when you dont have a partner?

before i do that alot when i was around 7 or eight but not anymore. it helps alot specially in your preparation before you hit the ball it becomes a routine to you if you do it over and over..

the best way to improve is to have a good coach that you have a chemistry with. doesnt mean a great coach would do you good, chemistry is important. plus just play and play against players who are better than you..
 

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"The Mundanity of Excellence."

I always found this paper to be an excellent tool for any sport, but especially for tennis because of the merit of its argument. Basically, the amount of time you spend on court will not always equate to better results in tennis. Better conditioning, hitting 500 balls a day will basically get you higher in a specific Eschelon, but it wont take you to the next one. You need to practice the mundane little things people don't usually like to practice to improve parts of your strokes, not just the strokes in general.

For example, on the serve. What I do is get a towel and kneel down two feet behind the baseline so that my shoulders are parallel to the sidelines. I pick up my racquet, and hold it so that it is in what I call, the "cradle position" where basically it is the point right before you drop it behind your head. Then, I practice getting balls into the service box, taking care to drop my elbow entirely behind my neck, and fully extending up into the ball, and consciously pronating my wrist so that it ends up with my palm (and subsequent racquet face) face the fence behind me. Special attention is also taken to make sure my shoulders are in a line the whole time, and that my left shoulder never drops, and that while extending my shoulder up into the shot, and that I keep my core still.

These little things are what are most important. The annoying thing is that this is just the first step. I would do this for a couple of weeks, for thirty minutes at a time, then I cut that in half, and spent the next fifteen minutes Standing up on the baseline, and doing the same thing. I keep everything the same, keeping my legs and hips locked, and focus on isolating my upper body. Yatayatayata, this goes on until you have all of that packed down, and you learn weight transfer, bending of the knees, explosion into the ball, and recovery.

Then you have to learn how to control the shot consciously with different spins and power.

I did all that to get my serve where it is today, and I worked on lots of little things on my groundies and volleys to the same effect. There are a hell of a lot of mundane things you don't want to practice, but you do if you want to separate yourself.

The other annoying thing, is that once you've mastered strokes, you have to spend time on little timing and footwork tidbits in the middle of a point, which are infinitely harder to master than actual technique. However, for that last one, just going with random friends and hitting is perfect. Everybody hits differently, so you can see a lot of variety, and it is the best time to experiment with footwork, positioning, timing, and tactics. Try all sorts of odd things to figure out how to hit certain shots, and then implement them when playing out points with a partner, and then move on to using them in matches (The USTA is a great place to start).

Well that was a mouthful, but the main point I have, is that little things you often don't think about mean more in the long run then hitting 100 forehands everyday (Unless you have practiced those little things, in which case doing that will help condition you better). The contrapositive is true to though, not practicing the little things and just going out for the sake of practicing the same thing over and over again will NOT help you.
 

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Do you watch tennis matches on tv? If so, how long?
Whenever they are on.

Do you read tennis books or the tennis encyclopedia?
Ace Tennis Magazine

Do you find old tennis matches and watch them on tape/dvd?
Yes not all the time.

Do you play against the wall when you dont have a partner?
Yes sometimes.
 

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niko said:
For serves I would recomend Tom Avery, you will be amaised.
You can download his video on serves for just $3.99 that you can watch for one week and then if you like it you can purchase the DVD and in addition get the download for life. I think it's with TotalVid.com
 

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You've gotten some good suggestions here. Books, magazines (you'll get a free subscription to Tennis by being a USTA member) and instructional videos are a place to start with minimal investment. (And Tennis has a section every month on training techniques that don't involve a gym membership!). If you can afford coaching...go for it. But remember, coaches have specialities too: some emphasize strokes, others strategy.

But there's no substitution for playing. The game of tennis...rewards repetition. Find someone, anyone to hit with. If they're not up to your level, work on returning to the ball to them. It's just another spot on the court. And don't be afraid to ask someone better (even much better) than you to hit with. Everyone was a beginner somewhere along the way.

Good luck!
 

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From my own experience, the most straightforward way to improve your game for a recreational/non-professional player is focusing on your fitness.

Get the books on tennis-related fitness issues, hit the gym, work out those forearms, shoulders, do those exercises to improve your footspeed and flexibility, get rid of extra weight, and you won't even realise that you are already getting few more mph on your serve and groundies and are getting to more balls..

Improving your technique is important, but at some point I realised that my physical level becomes a major brake on my tennis progress, that my technique, reflexes and timing - that is my brain skills - allow me to hit better and harder than my body allows me..
 

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I dont think for tennis watching a ton of matches helps my game, maybe for curling
 

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Domino said:
"The Mundanity of Excellence."

I always found this paper to be an excellent tool for any sport, but especially for tennis because of the merit of its argument. Basically, the amount of time you spend on court will not always equate to better results in tennis. Better conditioning, hitting 500 balls a day will basically get you higher in a specific Eschelon, but it wont take you to the next one. You need to practice the mundane little things people don't usually like to practice to improve parts of your strokes, not just the strokes in general.
Where can you find this essay, i tried google but it doesnt give me the results im looking, it gives me just syllabus of sociology classes. BTW any more tips on mundane things!? they are really helpful i'll definetely try it!
 
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