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  • stotty
    started a topic Let's take a look at a backhand....

    Let's take a look at a backhand....

    Meet Faye, now in her early twenties. Faye is the highest achiever I have ever had for a girl player. She fell just shy of tour standard. She was funded by the LTA to small degree, but in her final year of a junior she didn't quite make the matrix so funding stopped. Faye only ever had a 30 minute lesson until the age of 12...from then on until she was 18 she had one 45 minute lesson a week. Naturally, I always made those lessons longer. But like I often tell less well off students, it's not how many lessons you have but how much you take away from them that counts. Players don't have to be coached to death to become accomplished.

    Faye now has a regular job in the city but still manages to play. She has decided to switch from a two hander to a one handed backhand. Here are the results of our first attempt.

    https://vimeo.com/122630930

    https://vimeo.com/122633004

    https://vimeo.com/122630440

    As you can see she is a great athlete with a lovely physique for tennis. I think her one hander looks nice. Her contact point is all over the place yet and she sprays balls around a little, but to me the shot looks like a winner.

    Faye is a consummate player in both attitude and work rate. You will spot this right away. She was like this at 8 years old too. I wish I had been a better coach back then because if I had been she would have made the matrix.

    Let me know your thoughts or if you spot anything untoward.
    Last edited by stotty; 03-19-2015, 06:46 AM.

  • bottle
    replied
    Progress

    A betting man's hunch is that full tennis will be restored in June. No medical appointment for left knee until Feb. 13 of next year, one year from the replacement. Have already done self-feed, once. Which is the reason for present swelling. Cold water (ice and water in a circulating tank) from now to June. First was ice, then heat, now back to ice after exercises, walks, self-feed, etc. The natural progression, judging from testimonials on the internet, is bike rides then golf and last but not least, tennis. Have been enjoying walks for the first time in ten years. Still do an inch-worm up and down steps though. There were x-rays today, immediately analyzed. Short angles over serves during the first carefully spaced self-feed sessions should be a good idea. This is bottle speaking, not bottle's doctor. We never mentioned tennis once. I may use a pressure stocking once in a while or maybe milk fluids up the leg with both palms. Everybody agrees (the physician's assistants, etc.), it's all in the head from here on and about finding the cusp (my word not theirs) between exercises that challenge enough and those that swell knee too much.
    Last edited by bottle; 03-23-2015, 09:46 AM.

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  • bottle
    replied
    Now my knee replacement just HAS to quit changing colors and start feeling better (there is a medical appointment this morning). I don't want this new understanding to remain intellectual only.

    Leave a comment:


  • tennis_chiro
    replied
    Originally posted by bottle View Post
    "Flying Grip Change" is my expression-- I have never heard it used by another human being. The first description I ever heard or read of it however was in the writings of John M. Barnaby. And when I read the first of several essays in this forum on the same subject by Don I felt I was sure I was reading about the exact same phenomenon.

    What really has amazed me is that not many persons other than Barnaby and Brosseau have bothered to write or talk in detail about this incredible phenomenon in a game that is supposed to value economy and speed.

    Me, I decided on first reading Barnaby that flying grip change (pulling back with left hand while relaxing fingers of hitting hand) made startling good sense, so I did it-- for decades.

    Actually, I have received some rather nice compliments from teaching pros on my one-hander over the years. Well, whatever continued to be wrong with it, I have now decided, was not due to its flying grip change.

    FGC is quick! It buys time to do other things, such as ease the racket from close behind you toward the rear fence as you step out. I can see that if you wanted to burn time the place to do it would be a pause with racket close behind you. Then you would begin the full loop and followthrough that is all one piece with arm straightening so graduated that it continues right up to contact or just before or just after-- think Roger Federer in that particular aspect: later arm straightening compared to Geoffrey Williams or Stan Wawrinka who get their arm "barred" early to use Geoff's word.

    Stotty, have you ever seen good video of Tony Roche's topspin backhand? It is just a single handsome continuous loop that only looks like work at the end of the followthrough.

    For a while, in my over-studies, I got entranced with the way Philip Kohlschreiber changes grip before he even takes the racket back. Or the way Justine Henin and Stanislas seem to stop to the side almost out front while performing a roll of the racket into the hitting hand. I saw the same thing in other players and found a great temptation to imitate, maybe because I admire everything Oscar has ever said about feeling for ball and siting ball and "finding ball" and always thought that was exactly what Monica Seles did on both sides.

    Trade-off however could be that on a one hander you lose time. Don saying that he used to hit the ball on the rise for service returns was the clincher for me. Make the whole stroke quicker but smoother and maybe you can do that too, I said to myself.

    Whatever you do you don't want to re-accelerate whether two or three times.
    For timing you might want to start the loop from close behind you but best of all would be to start it with the flying grip change itself as if everything was return of a very fast serve. I am an idealist, I admit.

    So, how to do it, and with what questions to remain? Find the best video among the many provided by Don in his disquisition starting from Faye's nice backhand. By "best" I mean the level that you or the player personally would like to use. The loop must not then go up, Don wisely tells us. Back some and down and around seems just fine to me. I remember some unknown aesthete writing that he preferred all backhands in which racket goes back to counter foot going out. Makes sense from the standpoint of cantilevering, no?

    So, if left hand does all the work to put racket close behind you, which hand or hands goes to work next? Left? Right? Both? All good options but the player himself or herself must decide. I want one piece so it's (note spelling of "it's") going to be left hand to pull and change grip and right to take over with left hand along for very light guidance until the two hands separate once and for all.

    One clear possibility in all of this is that some of the greatest one handers of this age could be even greater with a FGC (flying grip change).

    Note: Another temptation I succumbed to, with my FGC this time, was to use it to take racket all the way back close to the rear fence immediately-- not tragic; but, maybe when you have bought a bunch of milliseconds through FGC you can put something back. That would be arms and racket flowing smoothly backward to balance the right foot smoothly stepping out in my view (I leave the open version for ten years later when I am 85).
    Can't tell you how great it is to see Bottle understood exactly what I was trying to say. I would say one more thing about the quick return of serve.

    With the Flying Grip Change, you can almost start pulling forward with the right hand before the left hand has finished pulling back; this makes the return seem almost spring loaded. But the habit has to be really strong to be able to do that returning first serves effectively. But if the habit is put in early enough that it is instinctive, even a lower level player can return serve with a grip change. It doesn't take more time to change the grip if it happens while the left hand is pulling the racket back. On top of that, the pull of the left side on the right shoulder creates a minor SSC on the muscles of that right shoulder that makes you a little stronger in the backhand swing. It's not really an SSC, but it has a similar effect.

    don

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  • bottle
    replied
    Flying Grip Change

    Originally posted by licensedcoach View Post
    (To Don Brosseau):
    I am curious about your suggestion her left should play a bigger part in taking the racket back. Can you explain this more...the benefits. The left hand/arm on my one-handed backhand is merely a prop. It seems to contribute very little to the pulling back so I am struggling to grasp this concept. I don't quite get this bit.
    "Flying Grip Change" is my expression-- I have never heard it used by another human being. The first description I ever heard or read of it however was in the writings of John M. Barnaby. And when I read the first of several essays in this forum on the same subject by Don I felt I was sure I was reading about the exact same phenomenon.

    What really has amazed me is that not many persons other than Barnaby and Brosseau have bothered to write or talk in detail about this incredible phenomenon in a game that is supposed to value economy and speed.

    Me, I decided on first reading Barnaby that flying grip change (pulling back with left hand while relaxing fingers of hitting hand) made startling good sense, so I did it-- for decades.

    Actually, I have received some rather nice compliments from teaching pros on my one-hander over the years. Well, whatever continued to be wrong with it, I have now decided, was not due to its flying grip change.

    FGC is quick! It buys time to do other things, such as ease the racket from close behind you toward the rear fence as you step out. I can see that if you wanted to burn time the place to do it would be a pause with racket close behind you. Then you would begin the full loop and followthrough that is all one piece with arm straightening so graduated that it continues right up to contact or just before or just after-- think Roger Federer in that particular aspect: later arm straightening compared to Geoffrey Williams or Stan Wawrinka who get their arm "barred" early to use Geoff's word.

    Stotty, have you ever seen good video of Tony Roche's topspin backhand? It is just a single handsome continuous loop that only looks like work at the end of the followthrough.

    For a while, in my over-studies, I got entranced with the way Philip Kohlschreiber changes grip before he even takes the racket back. Or the way Justine Henin and Stanislas seem to stop to the side almost out front while performing a roll of the racket into the hitting hand. I saw the same thing in other players and found a great temptation to imitate, maybe because I admire everything Oscar has ever said about feeling for ball and siting ball and "finding ball" and always thought that was exactly what Monica Seles did on both sides.

    Trade-off however could be that on a one hander you lose time. Don saying that he used to hit the ball on the rise for service returns was the clincher for me. Make the whole stroke quicker but smoother and maybe you can do that too, I said to myself.

    Whatever you do you don't want to re-accelerate whether two or three times.
    For timing you might want to start the loop from close behind you but best of all would be to start it with the flying grip change itself as if everything was return of a very fast serve. I am an idealist, I admit.

    So, how to do it, and with what questions to remain? Find the best video among the many provided by Don in his disquisition starting from Faye's nice backhand. By "best" I mean the level that you or the player personally would like to use. The loop must not then go up, Don wisely tells us. Back some and down and around seems just fine to me. I remember some unknown aesthete writing that he preferred all backhands in which racket goes back to counter foot going out. Makes sense from the standpoint of cantilevering, no?

    So, if left hand does all the work to put racket close behind you, which hand or hands goes to work next? Left? Right? Both? All good options but the player himself or herself must decide. I want one piece so it's (note spelling of "it's") going to be left hand to pull and change grip and right to take over with left hand along for very light guidance until the two hands separate once and for all.

    One clear possibility in all of this is that some of the greatest one handers of this age could be even greater with a FGC (flying grip change).

    Note: Another temptation I succumbed to, with my FGC this time, was to use it to take racket all the way back close to the rear fence immediately-- not tragic; but, maybe when you have bought a bunch of milliseconds through FGC you can put something back. That would be arms and racket flowing smoothly backward to balance the right foot smoothly stepping out in my view (I leave the open version for ten years later when I am 85).
    Last edited by bottle; 03-22-2015, 01:04 PM.

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  • don_budge
    replied
    Super…super…super!!! Congrats Coach Stotty…!!!

    Originally posted by licensedcoach View Post
    You are so right. It is just the beginning. I have an accomplished student who wants to start over. She has nothing to prove anymore. Tennis now occupies a less important seat for Faye than it once did yet she loves the game no less. Faye knows exactly how to get from A to B in tennis...knows what it takes to progress and improve...that one thing can make a big difference. She's been through the mill.

    She may not realise the wider implications of switching to a one-hander...what it gives and what it takes away...the wider tactical implications it may give her. But she'll soon catch on. She enjoys that side of it.

    She likes having her technique analysed, and I think one of the great benefits of dealing with such an accomplished player is she can make changes quite easily, in front of your eyes. Cementing them is another task of course, but she can do it, she is one determined person. She has a cabinet full of trophies to prove it.

    I would like to post her whole game for you if the chance presents itself. She has a good serve and a decent sliced backhand. She volleys well also. I will hopefully see her again soon to work on her backhand and will take some additional clips if I get the chance.
    Thanks for a great exchange Coach Stotty. You're such an interesting man.

    I really enjoyed your response because you listen very attentively…take your time…and then measure your reply. A bit like Dr. Watson.

    Technique is one thing…but it is only a means to the end. Changing from two-handed backhand to a one-handed backhand is a real metamorphosis. It's a huge change. Faye is becoming her own person…step by step. She is making her life decisions now and one very interesting decision that she has made is to change. To make a rather radical change in her life. She is choosing the path less traveled as well.

    It makes me wonder. I always introduce kids to tennis with a two hand backhand. But inevitably they are experimenting with one-handed backhand. They see me…they imitate. I offer them an option…as many as I can. Then I tell them to make a decision as the game of tennis is all about making decisions.

    The one-handed route is the path less chosen because of one or two simple reasons. Number one…the coaching paradigm of the modern game is so narrow minded and in the here and now. Coaches are educated to believe that there is a modern game and it is played with strong gripped forehands and two-handed backhands. It hasn't evolved to this point…it has been engineered to this point. Number two…most people have something in common with common criminals and water…they seek the path of least resistance. It's the easier way out to go along with the flow instead of taking the high road as your wonderful student Faye is doing here.

    She is making a decision for God knows what reason and it doesn't matter at this point. This is what you have taught her to do. She will find her way here with the technique and your job is to give the food for thought and lead her to something that is fundamentally correct in the end.

    You will do good to read my analysis about the "The Federer Mistake...Roger Federer BH vs. Stan Wawrinka BH" to help her to decide now in which way forward with regard to the backhand. I think you know which way I would go.

    The big physical difference between hitting the one-handed and the two-handed is one of space and time…not to mention weight transfer. She can work a lot of these issues out by simply hitting against the wall. An underestimated training method if you ask me. As you said you are trying to buy her some time. Work her hard on those two Bob Brett drills. Work her as hard as she can go. Here is the fast track. To learn this concept of space and time it is in the process of going forwards and backwards that will impress the urgency of the space and time issues. Equally as important…the weight transfer issues. The one-hand backhand is the most natural swing in tennis. Don Budge told me so.

    I have a post coming up for EdWeiss in response to bowt. This is the way I would go forwards with Faye. This is exactly how I would go forwards with an already accomplished player. I find myself being very excited and happy for you to have such a reward in life as this tennis student. You have a chance to make a difference in somebodies life. What more can one ask for?

    You have successfully taught someone how to connect the dots…in tennis. In life.
    Last edited by don_budge; 03-22-2015, 01:18 AM. Reason: for clarity's sake...

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  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by klacr View Post
    stotty,


    Our pal Ed Weiss spotted one issue quite well. She has a tendency to swing across the ball. An inside to outside swing is one way to go about it. But I think a bigger issue is in her focus on the outcome, when it should be on the execution.
    If you take notice, she lifts her head pretty quickly at her target and tries to rush through the follow through in hopes of catching a look at a great shot. As she rushes, her shoulders accelerate prematurely upwards,across her contact point and intended target. She needs to exaggerate keeping her head down, chin touching her chest, well after contact until she feels the shoulders stay with the line of the ball. Let that racquet go upwards and outwards. That left arm can stay closer to the body a bit longer as well. Her left arm flails out a bit early as well. Try to keep it tighter to body until she can no longer hold it in. She lets go early in the motion.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton
    I had clocked the hitting across the ball both you and Ed mentioned, and that she was coming out of the shot too early. I hadn't clocked the flailing left arm so that was a big help to me. I don't thing I was going to spot it either...thank you, Klacr.

    Originally posted by tennis_chiro View Post

    You may have already spotted this problem and addressed it as the third video(440) shows a marked improvement from the first two. In the first two videos, Faye comes to the completion of the "unit turn/grip change/initial backswing" and we can see the racket head is still in front of her body. Actually, she has two parts to her initial unit turn: first she changes the grip out in front and then she moves the racket just off her left ear. She'll never have time for all of that when she has to return a good first serve or dig out a tough ball for a passing shot. But, perhaps even more important than that, when she does start the real hitting action of her backhand, she commences with a "hitch"; that is, she lifts the racket head up before she starts down to the ball and the result is she gets a bit of a u-shaped stroke, not quite really getting to the low point of her swing before the racket head starts its path forward towards impact. You see a lot of good two-handed backhands with that kind of stroke, but not many one-handers.

    So I would like to see you have her try bringing the racket face back past her eyes (basically at eye level for the top of the racket head) in just one motion. She does not have time to change the grip in front of her and then take the racket back; that has to be an integral part of the backswing if she is to return first serves and attack second serves early and on the rise. And the left hand has to play a bigger role in the backswing for it to be a really effective stroke. Pull with the left and then all the right has to do is fire forward when the time comes and it is easier to overcome the momentum of the racket and right arm and swing forward. If the right arm is doing most of the work on the backswing, there seems to be additional momentum of the right arm that has to be overcome before she can swing forward. At least that's the way I like to think about it. And I loved moving into second serves in doubles and taking the ball on the rise with that integral grip change; especially since I had no forehand!
    This was a very considered post and I was grateful for it. I had twigged the hitch in the backswing and as you could see from the third clip we had lowered the backswing quite a bit. I didn't get her to do a circular route to the ball but that would certainly be the next stage of progression. I showed her this clip of Roger Federer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beqx_677AXI

    It's a good clip because it shows Federer repeating your prescribed backswing through to forward swing over and over again in a multitude of situations. She gets it now. It's in hand, we can do it.

    I hadn't twigged her non integral grip change. Most grip changes she is making in the clips are more micro resettling than full grip changes. She makes one full grip change integrally in the third clip. I will monitor her grip changes closely when we do baskets switching from backhand to forehand. This is well spotted from you because I may well have missed it.

    I am curious about your suggestion her left should play a bigger part in taking the racket back. Can you explain this more...the benefits. The left hand/arm on my one-handed backhand is merely a prop. It seems to contribute very little to the pulling back so I am struggling to grasp this concept. I don't quite get this bit
    additional momentum of the right arm that has to be overcome before she can swing forward
    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    I got that Stotty. That's why I asked when she made the conversion. The backhand swing looks great…it is just the beginning as you say. To talk about this and that…little perfectionist adjustments is a bit premature because at this stage of its development it's all about the student. You have introduced the concept to an already accomplished player and if she has learned anything from her experience in tennis…it is her responsibility to see this thing through. It's all about hard work…and following through.

    I think it is a bit premature to start to over analyze the technique here on this shot but the emphasis should be on overall play of the game.
    It wouldn't surprise me that this young lady will take her game to a whole different level in a year or two by thinking philosophically about the big picture. To get too caught up now in minute minutia of details is sort of counter productive. She needs to hit a million balls from all different positions. Some spoon fed balls are probably necessary but she can do this hitting against the wall. What she really needs is to relearn how to play the game tactically and the best way to that is how? Play…or simulated play. (Go back and reread Tilden's "The Value of Intensive Practice" in "Match Play and the Spin of the Ball.)

    Very interesting project. Leave it to you. Thanks for sharing. You have really come up with some really good stuff over the years. Great coaches are like fine wines. They get better as they get more older…more mature. You are becoming a real wise guy…if you know what I mean.
    You are so right. It is just the beginning. I have an accomplished student who wants to start over. She has nothing to prove anymore. Tennis now occupies a less important seat for Faye than it once did yet she loves the game no less. Faye knows exactly how to get from A to B in tennis...knows what it takes to progress and improve...that one thing can make a big difference. She's been through the mill.

    She may not realise the wider implications of switching to a one-hander...what it gives and what it takes away...the wider tactical implications it may give her. But she'll soon catch on. She enjoys that side of it.

    She likes having her technique analysed, and I think one of the great benefits of dealing with such an accomplished player is she can make changes quite easily, in front of your eyes. Cementing them is another task of course, but she can do it, she is one determined person. She has a cabinet full of trophies to prove it.

    I would like to post her whole game for you if the chance presents itself. She has a good serve and a decent sliced backhand. She volleys well also. I will hopefully see her again soon to work on her backhand and will take some additional clips if I get the chance.
    Last edited by stotty; 03-21-2015, 03:08 PM.

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  • don_budge
    replied
    Great Coaches and Fine Wines…the One Hand Backhand

    Originally posted by licensedcoach View Post
    https://vimeo.com/122630930
    https://vimeo.com/122633004
    https://vimeo.com/122630440

    As you can see she is a great athlete with a lovely physique for tennis. I think her one hander looks nice. Her contact point is all over the place yet and she sprays balls around a little, but to me the shot looks like a winner.

    Let me know your thoughts or if you spot anything untoward.

    Originally posted by licensedcoach View Post
    The key thing for all of you to be aware of is that Faye can only hit a decent one hander off fed balls, on quicker balls everything comes undone. She simply cannot get the shot out in time on quick or even more medium balls. I need to buy her more time...that seems to be the bottom line, not physical strength.
    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    …and the backhand isn't bad either. There is nothing untoward about Faye's backhand…except the thoughts that this sublime young lady provokes in wise and experienced tennis coaches. But there is something much deeper than physical attractiveness. There is a daring and brave spirit in the breast of this young woman…to go against conventional wisdom. She has opened a door and it has a host of possibilities awaiting her discovery. The door to all court tennis…and all court tactics. This conversation should not be all about technique. We are talking something on a higher level…at least I am. It is, dare I say, philosophical or even metaphysical in nature.

    Well that is stating the obvious and perhaps the not so obvious…and I just wanted to get it out of the way.

    A couple of things Stotty…before I would say anything about this particular shot I would need to see a couple of other things with regards to this student.

    1 the slice backhand
    2 the forehand
    3 the serve
    4 a couple of volleys

    If I could just see a representative shot of each of these shots I could write something very meaningful. At least a chapter perhaps.

    Other than that I will only be restating the obvious. When did she convert to the one hander? I truly believe that more women should play one handed…in fact I would go so far as to say that I think that a majority of the women should convert to the one hander. The most elegant shot in tennis. I truly miss this in the women. Oh I know…conventional wisdom and all of that. Nonsense.
    I got that Stotty. That's why I asked when she made the conversion. The backhand swing looks great…it is just the beginning as you say. To talk about this and that…little perfectionist adjustments is a bit premature because at this stage of its development it's all about the student. You have introduced the concept to an already accomplished player and if she has learned anything from her experience in tennis…it is her responsibility to see this thing through. It's all about hard work…and following through.

    You made a comment about the student maximizing what they take away from a lesson. That brought to mind what a great English teacher once told me…you have to go and practice five hours for every hour of a lesson. You have given her the proper start forwards as she has a good, sound fundamentally correct grip and an idea about the contact point. Now she is going to have to take a couple of thousand or upwards to tens of thousands of swings to get to a level of comfort of finding that contact point. That one point in time and space where everything is perfect…where everything comes together seamlessly. Repeatedly.

    But playing the one handed game is more than hitting top spin technically perfect backhands. It is a whole change in tactics and philosophy. She is not going to find that point to drive that ball early on in her endeavour to play the more classic all court game. She is going to have to "evolve" in her tactics and this is going to probably include a rather large spectrum of adjustments. Once she begins to grasp this evolution her drive backhand will evolve into a stroke where she can play more aggressively. Until then…a good place to start is good sound defence on the backhand side and be aggressive at every opportunity on the forehand side. Because she has weakened her backhand…she should endeavour to strengthen her forehand. In fact…she should endeavour to strengthen every other aspect of her game. That's why I was inquiring about the video of the other parts of her game.

    First of all…she is going to have to learn how to play good sound defence with a slice backhand. This is what is going to buy her the time that you mention. This is a godsend though. In the process she will learn how to neutralize the two handed backhand and strong gripped forehand with a variety of spin and placement.

    As she gets to become more comfortable with this she will learn the art of subtle offence as well. By moving the opponent with the laser precision that the one handed slice offers she ups her tactical acumen to the next level. At the same time she should be working a lot on approaching the net and volleying. Now those short balls that she has been passing up as invitations to the net should be seen as gifts and invitations to get her opponent off balance in order to advance and conclude the point at the net. Her overhead will probably need to be reexamined.

    I think it is a bit premature to start to over analyze the technique here on this shot but the emphasis should be on overall play of the game. The up and back drills and the Bob Brett drills are going to enable her to make this transition to the all court game if that is indeed the goal…and it should be.

    It wouldn't surprise me that this young lady will take her game to a whole different level in a year or two by thinking philosophically about the big picture. To get too caught up now in minute minutia of details is sort of counter productive. She needs to hit a million balls from all different positions. Some spoon fed balls are probably necessary but she can do this hitting against the wall. What she really needs is to relearn how to play the game tactically and the best way to that is how? Play…or simulated play. (Go back and reread Tilden's "The Value of Intensive Practice" in "Match Play and the Spin of the Ball.)

    Very interesting project. Leave it to you. Thanks for sharing. You have really come up with some really good stuff over the years. Great coaches are like fine wines. They get better as they get more older…more mature. You are becoming a real wise guy…if you know what I mean.
    Last edited by don_budge; 03-21-2015, 12:41 AM. Reason: for clarity's sake...

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  • stotty
    replied
    Thanks so much everyone. There are things here I hadn't spotted myself, which is why I do it. I am not finished yet. I am snowed under right now but will reply to the key points just as soon as I get the chance...even if I have to do it at 2am in the morning.

    To answer one key point to tennis_chiro: The third clip is where I emphasised lowering the backswing which in my view was too high and a time-stealer. In doing so it resolved a couple of other things also. I was also pumping those feeds in much quicker to make her aware of time constraints.

    The key thing for all of you to be aware of is that Faye can only hit a decent one hander off fed balls, on quicker balls everything comes undone. She simply cannot get the shot out in time on quick or even more medium balls. I need to buy her more time...that seems to be the bottom line, not physical strength.

    If I see her again soon I will position the camera behind her so you can see the feeds and the outcome, which is probably more revealing.

    Phil, how's the wide angle on the TG3? If I position the camera 15 feet back from the baseline will it fit the whole court in?

    Leave a comment:


  • don_budge
    replied
    My thoughts…? Nice form...

    Originally posted by licensedcoach View Post
    Let me know your thoughts or if you spot anything untoward.
    …and the backhand isn't bad either. There is nothing untoward about Faye's backhand…except the thoughts that this sublime young lady provokes in wise and experienced tennis coaches. But there is something much deeper than physical attractiveness. There is a daring and brave spirit in the breast of this young woman…to go against conventional wisdom. She has opened a door and it has a host of possibilities awaiting her discovery. The door to all court tennis…and all court tactics. This conversation should not be all about technique. We are talking something on a higher level…at least I am. It is, dare I say, philosophical or even metaphysical in nature.

    Well that is stating the obvious and perhaps the not so obvious…and I just wanted to get it out of the way.

    A couple of things Stotty…before I would say anything about this particular shot I would need to see a couple of other things with regards to this student.

    1 the slice backhand
    2 the forehand
    3 the serve
    4 a couple of volleys

    If I could just see a representative shot of each of these shots I could write something very meaningful. At least a chapter perhaps.

    Other than that I will only be restating the obvious. When did she convert to the one hander? I truly believe that more women should play one handed…in fact I would go so far as to say that I think that a majority of the women should convert to the one hander. The most elegant shot in tennis. I truly miss this in the women. Oh I know…conventional wisdom and all of that. Nonsense.
    Last edited by don_budge; 03-20-2015, 02:48 AM. Reason: for clarity's sake...

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  • tennis_chiro
    replied
    Stotty, all I can say with your recent postings, drills and buddy system, is I really wish I'd have grown up in your program. But as for Faye, I have a little different emphasis. Ed and Kyle's comments are excellent, but I'm going to go a little earlier in the swing path to point out what I think is an important element in Faye's swing. Let me preface it with saying I really love the one-handed backhand and I don't see why it can't be a real weapon, even on return of serve. But to do that you have to have a grip change that is an integral part of the initial unit turn or initial move on the backhand. If the left hand controls the backswing by pulling and orientating the racket while the dominant hand (right for righties) makes the grip change, there is no reason why you can't attack returns of serves with a one handed backhand. But if there is any hesitation or separate move to change the grip before the racket is pulled or taken back, you will be too slow to return big serves effectively with anything other than a slice or a chop. If there is a change of direction and reversal of momentum, as in a u shaped stroke back and forth as opposed to a circular swing, you will need too much time to hit fast serves. You will also have trouble getting under deep drives and low balls because the racket will be swinging down at the ball.

    You may have already spotted this problem and addressed it as the third video(440) shows a marked improvement from the first two. In the first two videos, Faye comes to the completion of the "unit turn/grip change/initial backswing" and we can see the racket head is still in front of her body. Actually, she has two parts to her initial unit turn: first she changes the grip out in front and then she moves the racket just off her left ear. She'll never have time for all of that when she has to return a good first serve or dig out a tough ball for a passing shot. But, perhaps even more important than that, when she does start the real hitting action of her backhand, she commences with a "hitch"; that is, she lifts the racket head up before she starts down to the ball and the result is she gets a bit of a u-shaped stroke, not quite really getting to the low point of her swing before the racket head starts its path forward towards impact. You see a lot of good two-handed backhands with that kind of stroke, but not many one-handers.

    Take a look at the clips I've pulled out down below. Most of the good one-handed backhands make that first move to the left ear and then once they start the second part of the motion, the racket moves in a circular motion down below the ball and forward and up in a long, smooth glide path. Sadly, we don't have any clips in the tennisplayer archives of Edberg or Korda. But I've pulled a lot of great one-handers here. Those that are able to attack the 1hbh return of serve almost all have the kind of motion I am talking about.

    Then there are those that seem to have a more upward backswing which almost seems like the hitch I am talking about. But notice that even for those players, once the racket head moves away from the left ear, it only goes back and down and not up so that the hitting action part of the stroke looks like the classic "C" or "candy cane". Even someone like Gasquet, who has a notably high backswing with an upward element to it, once the racket leaves his left ear (in the side view), it moves back and down and does not "hitch" any higher. Take Becker, for example, he lifts the racket head up in his backswing, but there is a clear separation from his forward swing and once that action starts, he is only going down and then forward. Once the racket head gets a little bit away from that left ear, it is not going up any more.

    It simply makes sense to me that you can be faster with a loop where the inherent pause can be minimized or even eliminated as needed in a return of serve. On the other hand, if you have that u-shaped stroke, you have to employ three accelerations: 1-starting the racket back and up, 2-decelerating it before stopping it and reversing its direction, and 3-accelerating it forward one more time; three seems to me to be more than one.

    So I would like to see you have her try bringing the racket face back past her eyes (basically at eye level for the top of the racket head) in just one motion. She does not have time to change the grip in front of her and then take the racket back; that has to be an integral part of the backswing if she is to return first serves and attack second serves early and on the rise. And the left hand has to play a bigger role in the backswing for it to be a really effective stroke. Pull with the left and then all the right has to do is fire forward when the time comes and it is easier to overcome the momentum of the racket and right arm and swing forward. If the right arm is doing most of the work on the backswing, there seems to be additional momentum of the right arm that has to be overcome before she can swing forward. At least that's the way I like to think about it. And I loved moving into second serves in doubles and taking the ball on the rise with that integral grip change; especially since I had no forehand!

    As I said, you may have already made this correction as evidenced by the change in the third video clip; if so, I want the readers here to recognize what a good change that is. It will enable Faye to get below and drive up through the ball. Without that change, she'll never be successful trying to adopt a Wawrinka-like roll. Like Ed and Kyle, I'd like to see more emphasis on driving directly through the ball before she worries about adding more topspin, but it will be very difficult if she sticks with that "hitch". Once you lift the racket like that at the last minute, it wants to retrace its path back down and you develop too much downward momentum of the racket head to be able to brush up the back of the ball effectively.

    I hope you will take a look at these points in the clips below. Be especially aware of the pathway of the racket head as it moves past the left ear or away from the left ear (in the side view).

    Faye's videos:
    https://vimeo.com/122630930
    https://vimeo.com/122633004
    https://vimeo.com/122630440

    Henman backhand, side view
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...CenterSide.mov
    Henman again, this time Open Stance, side view
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...StanceSide.mov

    Wawrinka, side view
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...tanceSide4.mov

    Roger Federer, Court Level HS, Rear view
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...1%20500fps.mp4
    Roger, side view:
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...1%20250fps.mp4

    Guga, Front HS, admittedly a different grip structure
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...50806-0001.mov
    Gasquet, opposite side view, HS:
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...14514-0001.mov

    Youhzny, side view:
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...splayer440.mov

    Tommy Haas, side view:
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...enterSide2.mov

    Gaston Gaudio, court level, side view:
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...LevelSide2.mov

    Don Budge, rear view:
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...l?DBBHRear.mov



    An argument for something closer to what she already does:
    James Blake, side view
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...LevelSide2.mov

    Tommy Robredo: side view
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...tanceSide3.mov

    Mark Phillipousis: side view;
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...tanceSide3.mov
    Boris Becker, side view:
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...enterSide1.mov

    Ivan Lendl, side view:
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...endlBHSide.mov

    Looking forward to seeing some responses to my hypothesis!

    don
    Rod Laver, not great video, front, but shows the backswing:
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/...evelFront1.mov

    Leave a comment:


  • EdWeiss
    replied
    Great point Kyle. Our good friend Don Brosseau likes to use the concept that a good one-handed gracefully "unfolds" - thinking about this concept helps me on my one-hander,

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  • klacr
    replied
    stotty,

    thanks for posting. Props to you for getting a student to this level. She seems like a lovely belle.

    Before we discuss her issues, let's discuss the positives. I like her shoulder turn. She is looking over that right shoulder with her chin resting on it. I love how alert she is and how she's not afraid to move her feet. She has a nice intensity about her but is not tense. Her exhales can be seen after impact is a great sign.

    Our pal Ed Weiss spotted one issue quite well. She has a tendency to swing across the ball. An inside to outside swing is one way to go about it. But I think a bigger issue is in her focus on the outcome, when it should be on the execution.
    If you take notice, she lifts her head pretty quickly at her target and tries to rush through the follow through in hopes of catching a look at a great shot. As she rushes, her shoulders accelerate prematurely upwards,across her contact point and intended target. She needs to exaggerate keeping her head down, chin touching her chest, well after contact until she feels the shoulders stay with the line of the ball. Let that racquet go upwards and outwards. That left arm can stay closer to the body a bit longer as well. Her left arm flails out a bit early as well. Try to keep it tighter to body until she can no longer hold it in. She lets go early in the motion. https://youtu.be/7ogJSEawCAE

    Stotty, you may have wished you were a better coach back then as you are now, but then you wouldn't be as good of a coach you are now not having gone through those "younger years". You developed and gained experience through trials, tribulations and hours on court. And you needed that at the time. You see, the thing about experience is...you just get it just after you needed it.

    Faye will have a great one hander. I know it.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton
    Attached Files
    Last edited by klacr; 03-19-2015, 09:09 PM.

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  • EdWeiss
    replied
    She is obviously a very good player. My one thought is that she seems to be cutting across the ball a little too much. I would say a little more inside to outside on the the forward swing.
    Re your statement about wishing you had been a better coach: (1) I am sure that back then you were still better than 99% of the coaches on sheer passion and effort alone and (2) the statement shows a humility and lack of being satisfied which will keep on making you a better coach.

    Leave a comment:

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