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Re: Video - What is talent: Rafa Fed Gasquet Robredo

The knock on Nadal is that a lot of his game is engineered through sheer strength rather than technique. Try and and teach anyone else how to play his style and they will fail dismally unless they have a comparable physically stature. The perfect example of Nadal's numerous "impossible" passing shots. They're achieved purely through speed, reach and ridiculous brute strength rather than superior tennis technique.
The bold is laughable: There is no knock. It's artificial by those who want to knock Nadal's game.

Ballbashers = sheer strength at hitting at the ball as hard as you can i.e Gulbis. (Bash(hit hard) the Ball = ballbasher). That you can define as sheer strengh actually impacting tennis in its most basic form. Nadal being fit allows prolonged stamina and improved movement - that's different and not exclusive to Nadal - as Novak and Murray have shown, among others. It's universal in sports.

Nadal is obviously not a ballbahser. If we talk sheer strength Fed on his peak days hit the ball "harder", producing shots with more pace (from both the BH and FH) than Nadal has ever done. This was one of the factors (of many) that allowed him till this day to move players around - to open up the court for his shotmaking, by acting on short ball returns etc. And that is just Federer, not to mention Novak and others.

Thus, you're simply using strength loosely and wrongly to fit an agenda. In short a lot of players games are based more on strength than Nadal's is. Tsonga, Berdych, Novaks, Federer, Soderling.......go on and on and on. So that's a big misconception about Nadal's game. You would think Nadal was a ballbasher by the use of his "sheer strength" as his haters claim when in fact it's otherwise - his game is very finesse. I don't however blame people for biting what the media has tried to market them - this sort of construct, for all these years. This just shows how easily marketing can shape people's opinions and perceptions. It doesn't take much however to look for the truth and use one's brain a bit and engage in some logical/objective thinking.

Nadal's passing shots are helped by athleticism but technique in the way you use the racket to make those passing shots is the key. The grip must be firm, the form, the footwork. The hand to eye coordination, the reflexes, the awareness to hit that shot and the decision to hit that kind of shot. So in short, you need both, fitness(athleticism) and skill to do what Nadal does - which is not something exclusive to Nadal anyway.

There is more finesse to Nadal's game than meets the eye. There are those people who are simply close minded and deny it. A lot of them are ignorant more often than not. Then again someone can say it's my opinion vs.....insert here.....I really don't bother at times with subjectivity vs. objectivity - the fact, or "truth" will always exist despite someones opinion. People have a hard time understanding this concept for "unknown" reasons...not that I should dwell on it - it's usually a case of denial or a wrong thought process.

The way Nadal produces topspin is not something you can learn by dedicating 2 years to the trade. How do you control that much spin? We all know how erratic Nadal's BHDTL can be with spin. Thus why he seldom goes for that shot. Spin is hard to control with margin. It's easier for him to control the FH playing as a lefty, spin complements the shot. By complementing I mean in the sense that it gives him margin whereas when it comes to his backhand, the spin instead of pulling the ball in (FH), spin pushes the ball out. The effect on the ball is not exclusive to when the ball bounces but also in mid air; where the ball is changing direction, either inwards (FH) or outwards(BH). There are many advantages once you master spin the way Nadal has done, with some drawbacks too.

Producing that much spin is a technique, helped by customizing the racket in a certain way. This is no different than choosing a racket with a bigger frame size, different combination of strings etc. Novak uses a racket that helps him hit flat shots. Federer has played around with different rackets lately in his career. He also used spin, more so than his early peers. It's a question of a racket fitting your technique, the result you want to achieve on the court. I.e more spin, more power, flatter shots....etc

Nadal's game is built on countless years of practice and dedication to a strategy. Some players chose to invest their time in other techniques and strategies. Some of these techniques are more eye-candy than others. A lot of this has to do with the players upbringing and coaches. A player has to chose early: One-handed BH, vs Two-hander BH. Grip on serve etc etc etc. It's just a matter of techniques. Lets say Federer was Toni Nadal's nephew. In this hypothetical Federer would have developed a game centric on spin, defense, long rallies and controlled agression. Federer however grew up learning other techniques, investing his time in those and that's what Federer produces on the court. Same for all the other players that exist.

For example, Federer has a hard time beating Nadal with a one-handed BH. It's proven a two-hander BH is better at handling topspin. However, Federer simply can't change his technique from one day to another for lots of reasons. This despite the fact that a 2-hander is the superior technique to handle heavy topspin Forehands. Even if Federer was able to change his technique, shot-making with a two-handed BH is not the same as with a one-handed BH. Thus there are trade-offs and Federer simply changing BH techniques would not guarantee success against Nadal. Or, improve chances of success against Nadal but diminish success against others.

The question is how effective are the techniques? Nadal has shown his technique is just as effective as Federer's or Novak's. Technique is not talent. You can copy a technique. Winning as much as these guys do using those techniques = talent.

No better example than Federer and Dimitrov. There is a clear difference in the players talent despite both using the same technique, one copying the other.
 

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Re: Video - What is talent: Rafa Fed Gasquet Robredo

There are NO Pro-tennis players without some kind of talent.
Fixed, correct. Pro being a standard that basically implies the player in question plays the game in a more proficient way than your average person with a racket. I.e by say entering the Top 100 or 200 or what have you.
 

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Re: Video - What is talent: Rafa Fed Gasquet Robredo

Stamina can be a talent in the sense that some people retain it easier than others, and some people keep their high level of conditioning during a long layoff for longer and better than others. I know this because me and my friends get together every now and then to play social sport, and do no exercise in between, and I seem to be fitter than them..also some people can come back from being fit in the past a lot easier, you never totally lose it, Nadal for example after a long layoff (last year discounted) usually took a while to get back to peak form, where as you got the impression Federer could litterally not play for a month and probably come back and be pretty good right away, to me thats talent too.

With Fed for example, I always got the impression that he was incredibly aerobically fit but I don't know that he worked that hard at it..I can't really picture him riding the stationary bike and what not. Probably why he never had abs and looked fat some of the time.

Nadal definately had to train harder than Fed for the same or similar level of fitness methinks.

Finally, age also plays a factor. Some people get fitter into their 30's and have a higher threshold, others lose a lot of fitness in their 30's. Aggassi for example. Most players would recover terribly.

Also, recovery is a talent too. Some people recover from cramps and fatigue faster than others.

Djokovic can be fresh as a daisy after a 5 setter, Simon would be toast 2 days later. That is talent!

Some people lose a step at 24 and take longer to recover, others don't lose the step till 32 and recover fine into their 30's.
 

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Re: Video - What is talent: Rafa Fed Gasquet Robredo

Marathon running and cycling proves that stamina is a talent just like everything else, everyone has a different upper limit.

For example, the top elite runners are all training mostly the same way, as hard as each other (100 mile + weeks), in an endurance sport, and yet they all have wildly different times. A 2 hour 30 marathoner could train just as hard as a 2.05 marathoner.

I'm sure with tour de pharmacy it's the same. And stamina is also mental, being able to get every last drop out, going to the point of exhaustion over and over. Not everyone has the bottle for that.

Example, a player might not be that fit, like Murray, but they never give up, chase every ball even when they are exhausted. Some people throw in the towel and stop running for balls when they get tired, so seem less fit.
 

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Re: Video - What is talent: Rafa Fed Gasquet Robredo

One handed backhand = talent.

Anyway, I don't think the mental aspect gets enough of a mention. Instincts on the court such as shot selection under pressure, anticipation and point construction can all be worked on just like any stroke, but when you already have them as a junior, that's talent. That's the major reason Dolgopolov and Bellucci aren't consistent top 30 players in my opinion.

You can have all of the shots in the game, but if you don't have those mental qualities to tie it all together, you'll never be a great player.
 

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Re: Video - What is talent: Rafa Fed Gasquet Robredo

Fixed, correct. Pro being a standard that basically implies the player in question plays the game in a more proficient way than your average person with a racket. I.e by say entering the Top 100 or 200 or what have you.
i agree with this fix. And i'd go even further - there could be tennis pros without almost any "tennis talent" as i put the notion in my previous post (tennis talent being the feeling one has of the ball through the racquet with his hand).

I believe an example is Alexander Volkov who switched hands in his junior years i think, because of some injury on the playing arm.

I'm pretty sure that even biologically one couldn't have the same feeling and precision with his second best hand compared to the main one.

But when you have the rest - positioning, swing, hard work, mental strenght, etc. the tennis talent could be unimportant.

Volkov went up to 14th in the world in an era when talent meant much more than today i believe.

So it easily a part of the package that one could move on without. And we have a few examples even in today's game, where everything is just heavily worked over and automatized, without much talent in the hand being present, nor necessary as it seems.
 

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Re: Video - What is talent: Rafa Fed Gasquet Robredo

i may be biased but just look at Federer he is talent personified, he looks as if he was born to play tennis more so than any other player in history imo. his strokes are beautiful and he has power, accuracy and touch. then you have nadal who is a naturally talented athlete who could be world class in a number of sports, but nadal is still up there in terms of talent I mean everything Federer can do nadal can i.e round the post shots, half volleys tweeners etc. but I would say nadal is slightly less talented than fed but is blessed with greater physical abilities and mental strength which arguably makes him the better player.
so by definition nadal probably is the best of all time and Federer is the most talented.
 

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Re: Video - What is talent: Rafa Fed Gasquet Robredo

One handed backhand = talent.

Anyway, I don't think the mental aspect gets enough of a mention. Instincts on the court such as shot selection under pressure, anticipation and point construction can all be worked on just like any stroke, but when you already have them as a junior, that's talent. That's the major reason Dolgopolov and Bellucci aren't consistent top 30 players in my opinion.

You can have all of the shots in the game, but if you don't have those mental qualities to tie it all together, you'll never be a great player.
Instincts cannot be worked on. They're called instincts for a reason - they're natural, that's what makes us unique. I wish this myth would stop that one can overcome anything with hard work. Not only is it a lie, but it's damaging to those who naively believe it.
 

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Re: Video - What is talent: Rafa Fed Gasquet Robredo

You take 10 5yo kids, you train them for 6 month and ask them to do a FH drop shot - the most talented one will pull a great one, the others might not reach the net, or hit the roof. That's where talent is, specifically for tennis in my personal perception of the thing.
I really like this analogy Latso.

I agree with you 100%.
 

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There are 4 stages of competence when it comes to learning a skill:

1. Unconscious incomptence: You're shit + you're too stupid to recognise how shit you are
2. Conscious incompetence: You're still shit but you're aware of it
3. Conscious competence: You can do it but it takes extra concentration + effort to achieve what you want
4. Unconscious competence: You can do it without even having to think about it. It's 2nd nature

Everyone starts at the bottom, some may have certain attributes which are advantageous to becoming a tennis player, genetically, physically, mentally e.t.c. and can help them progress quicker than others, it's not necessarily about how hard you work, it's about how hard you work in the right areas which will determine how good you can become, to go along with all the other external factors like money, luck, good coaching, Flying Spaghetti Monster e.t.c. which can also determine how far you're allowed to go with your training.

I think talent is how quickly you can absorb information and translate it into ability.
 

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There are 4 stages of competence when it comes to learning a skill:

1. Unconscious incomptence: You're shit + you're too stupid to recognise how shit you are
2. Conscious incompetence: You're still shit but you're aware of it
3. Conscious competence: You can do it but it takes extra concentration + effort to achieve what you want
4. Unconscious competence: You can do it without even having to think about it. It's 2nd nature

Everyone starts at the bottom, some may have certain attributes which are advantageous to becoming a tennis player, genetically, physically, mentally e.t.c. and can help them progress quicker than others, it's not necessarily about how hard you work, it's about how hard you work in the right areas which will determine how good you can become, to go along with all the other external factors like money, luck, good coaching, Flying Spaghetti Monster e.t.c. which can also determine how far you're allowed to go with your training.

I think talent is how quickly you can absorb information and translate it into ability.

Yet another big myth right here. "You can surpass people more talented than you with time". This is BS. Talent is NOT the ability to learn something fast but rather the excellence you attain in your field of interest. Some people just can't reach the top. IDC how long it takes if you're talented you'll reach the top even if it's for a fleeting moment. Ofcourse that doesn't mean that you just sit on your butt and hope things fall into place. Look at Roger, he's so talented it's crazy. Who can say they've surpassed his talent? But he's also worked hard which gets overlooked because he makes everything look so easy.

Face it, if you lack talent you're never gonna be a world beater, you could carve yourself a life if you work hard though and fulfill whatever little potential you have. But it stops there. You will never truly be wealthy, you'll just have to be happy with what you have and accept small increments. IDC how hard you work or how much time you give yourself, you'll always be someone's bitch if someone else is more talented than you. Talent can't be measured, it's an intangible that's why people have trouble accepting that they're just not good enough.

Ferrer is a classic example of lacking talent. He tries so hard but he's always the big 4's lapdog for the most part.

I actually think that if there was a device to quantify talent and give a person an accurate indication of where he would excel and to what extent he would excel, the world would be a better place and people would do what they're good at rather than psychobabble themselves into believing they can achieve anything and everything if they just put in the effort. :facepalm:
 

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Now we are getting into the argument of "Talent", being Nature or Nurture :lol:
 

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Talent is NOT the ability to learn something fast but rather the excellence you attain in your field of interest
I was speaking about it more in the context of learning something quickly, not as a measure of how good they are in their field.

I don't believe people are born to play the guitar, paint masterpieces, win Wimbledon e.t.c. I think they're born with certain attributes, which can enable them to excel in certain fields.
They have to nurture those attributes, and a million other things have to go right for them to make it to the top. How much of it is down to nature and how much is nurture? I couldn't give an exact number, though I think it does lean a little more towards nature.

There's a book called "The Sports gene", there's one anecdote in there about Donald Thomas, a basketball player from the Bahamas who was excellent at slam-dunking. His team-mates challenged him to jump 6 feet 6 inches, he cleared 7 feet despite never having done the high jump before. He was switched to Athletics.
A year later, despite having lousy technique, he was crowned World Champion, beating guys who had dedicated their lives to perfecting the High Jump.
The book suggests it was his abnormally long + stiff Achilles tendon which helped his jumping ability.
 

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If you're extremely talented at something, you make it look effortless. Prime Federer in full flight had a wand like forehand and feather light movement. Del Potro on the other hand looks like he is trying to belt the cover off the ball with sheer strength.
 

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Instincts cannot be worked on. They're called instincts for a reason - they're natural, that's what makes us unique. I wish this myth would stop that one can overcome anything with hard work. Not only is it a lie, but it's damaging to those who naively believe it.
but instinct on a tennis court doesn't exist, no human being know how to play tennis without learning
animals know how to swim without learning, here is the difference
 
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