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Interactive Forum September 2016: Denis Shapovalov

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  • Interactive Forum September 2016: Denis Shapovalov

    Denis Shapovalov

    When we arrived Toronto for the ATP Masters in July the first player we filmed was Dominic Thiem, practicing with a young lefty player I didn’t recognize at the time, Canadian junior Wimbledon champion Denis Shapovalov. The next thing you know Denis beats Nick Krygios in the first round.

    So here is a look! One handed backhand with a strong grip, a somewhat loopy, explosive forehand, and a lefty serve motion that resembles Pete Sampras technically. How far can Denis go? (He lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the next round in Toronto and is out there on the challenger circuit as we speak.)

    Look at his game and tell us what you think!

    Last edited by johnyandell; 09-02-2016, 07:51 PM.

  • #2
    Denis Shapovalov

    Quicktime Version

    Last edited by johnyandell; 09-02-2016, 07:50 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Why take the eye off the court/opponent so early on the serve? He seems to be looking skyward earlier than most servers would? And he takes his eye off the ball so early.

      Stotty
      Last edited by stotty; 09-04-2016, 03:39 PM.
      Stotty

      Comment


      • #4
        Stotty,
        Yes! A good question and frankly an unresolved one....two great servers who did not look at the ball at contact were Rusedski and Andy Roddick. One of Rusedski's coaches tried to tell me that this was biomechanically preferable. It's true with the groundstrokes for many players as well.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have to disagree with you Slotty. What you are observing with the head and eyes is wrong. Can you expand on your theory some more? Tell me what you do not like about Dennis, and what you perceive he’s doing incorrectly?

          In my opinion, Dennis’ head - eye movement are just fine.

          As is Roddick’s, and Jimmy Connors head movement (watch that one, it breaks all the rules of what you are preaching).

          DENNIS'’ mother by the way is the best coach in the country in Canada, and she’s done a terrific setup job with the young man. Hope she does not turn the kid over to someone who will ruin his game. Especially when it comes to his eyes, how he see's the ball and his head movement. The setups to me look very specific.

          Now, to John, yes, I think the coach of Roddick is correct.

          What the coach is referring to is called "soft vision", and if you don’t possess it naturally or have coaches who know how to develop - enhance it you won't ever play professionally in any sport. Great soft vision balances a lot of glitches out!

          So, Dennis is seeing the ball. Don't worry. His soft vision is TREMENDOUS. It's like Gretzky, he is looking one way, but he is really looking the other way. Or, the guy who is a complete stud at a disco, he's looking one way, but checking out the hot blonde with big breasts figuring out how he's going to wheel her. Animals have it in spades. A bear or a beaver or a cat always knows the score. So, naturally, a highly refined athlete will have these similar traits, and the adaptability to pull things off that don't make scientific sense for mere mortals. It's a trait we're losing as a civilization living in the computer age.

          Expanding on this - I would bet you could set up the following scenario - Rafa and Roger in a match - rallying, and Rafa hits the ball. Just as Rafa makes contact and the lights get turned out. In all scenario's Roger will make contact with that next ball. The game is fast. And, the athlete who has the intelligence to understand human movement, and timing, will always have an extra second on any ball, in any sport which is an advantage. Ask any player who plays against Roger, they will say it's like Roger has got an extra half second on the ball. It's no accident, Roger makes the best reads, and isn’t struggling and flailing like everyone else. He see’s it, and gets what happening, maybe even before contact.

          By the way, this applies to any sport.

          Free-kick in soccer

          A top player only needs to see the kicking motion of a corner kick, and if the lights went out he'd still head the ball in perfectly (that one has been researched by the way with Rinaldo)

          Basketball dunk

          Ally-oop goes up, if lights went out Sean Kemp would find the ball and the bucket. Kobe Bryant knows if a net is 1 or 2 inches off.

          Hockey goalie

          Player shoots the puck - goalie will find the puck in the dark if the lights go out when the player is shooting the puck at contact.

          The life lesson of this story - don't change the eyes or head unless you really know what you are doing because the way top athletes do things that are biomechanically preferable to them. Everything is a very delicate slope, and getting to cause in the neurological chain and central nervous system pathway first, and patching that up is what is going to make the racket head do what it needs to do to get the job done.

          If you want to know why things are preferable to athletes, and why you can't get a certain girl into an ATP 3 you need to do a lot of functional movement screens to learn that athletes body, and why they do what they do. You can't just barge onto a court and start changing strokes. Some movements are not worth changing until you have a proper base of support in place.

          For instance, my oldest daughter throws her head just like Connors. Exact same deal. It was the quirk of Connors. I am sure there were a wide number of reasons why Jimmy does what he does, however, they are different from why my daughter does it. My daughter does it because she is 5'10, and ten years old, and her head is tough to support because it's so big, heavy. Right now I have put her into athletic scenarios where she has to have her hips in the right place, rib cage controlled, core engaged, collarbone placement where I want it, etc. And, the neck is now rounding into place. For her, it's one of the last pieces of the puzzle, and for me, it was always there from day one, so everyone is much different. Being big early has been a benefit to her as she's had to learn how to make smaller and simpler movements. And with each growth spurt has come a complete loss of motor coordination, so, when you are bigger you have to work ten times harder than the next guy on maintaining that coordination. The bigger you are, the harder you fall, so, that means you've got to be very precise in what you do.

          Athletes today are getting bigger and bigger, and thanks to functional training programs they are a lot more powerful, and it's really ended up putting a tremendous amount of strain on the spine, neck and jaw, and unfortunately trainers are scared shitless these to train these areas. So, you've got more concussions because the 10-year-old to 23-year-old bodies are not accustomed to handling this type of speed and force.

          You can tell a lot about an athlete by the dorsiflexion and mobility in their toes, grip strength and their neck, and to me, these are really undertrained assets. How many young kids today can give you a firm man's handshake and have a neck that just looks like a kid whose put in some real work cutting wood, shoveling snow and helping dad? The posture of the kids I see today kills me, especially how they sit. I rarely see an engaged kid sitting properly, or standing in good alignment.



          Last edited by hockeyscout; 09-05-2016, 04:35 PM.

          Comment


          • #6



            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hockeyscout View Post
              Expanding on this - I would bet you could set up the following scenario - Rafa and Roger in a match - rallying, and Rafa hits the ball. Just as Rafa makes contact and the lights get turned out. In all scenario's Roger will make contact with that next ball. The game is fast. And, the athlete who has the intelligence to understand human movement, and timing, will always have an extra second on any ball, in any sport which is an advantage. Ask any player who plays against Roger, they will say it's like Roger has got an extra half second on the ball. It's no accident, Roger makes the best reads, and isn’t struggling and flailing like everyone else. He see’s it, and gets what happening, maybe even before contact.
              I'm not sure about this, but open to persuasion. I personally think the eyes are of massive importance in tennis and all sports, and the longer and better an athelete can have clear vision of the object and/or target (depending on sport), the more successful they will be able to execute the next move.

              If Federer knows where the ball is going at the moment his opponent makes contact, then why does he not split step earlier in order to land on the ground when the opponent makes contact? We've seen on here that pro's are mid-air at the moment the opponent makes contact

              https://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...the-split-step

              and there is a small but significant amount of time after contact before the player lands. You can't move to the ball in mid-air, so if Federer and others are able to know where the ball is going at or before contact, how can they take advantage of that info when they time their split step normally and are still in mid-air?

              By the time they land, they will have seen enough of the ball flight to have clear info on where the ball is going. For me, this is where the exceptional skills lie with Federer and others, reading and seeing that ball from the opponents racket extremely early, which of course is developed through the experience of endless hours of training and matchplay.

              How much of a factor is reading body movements on groundstrokes to aid anticipation of where the next ball is going? If it is a big factor, how can players use this to give them more time without adjusting the timing of their split step?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by nickw View Post

                If Federer knows where the ball is going at the moment his opponent makes contact, then why does he not split step earlier in order to land on the ground when the opponent makes contact? We've seen on here that pro's are mid-air at the moment the opponent makes contact

                https://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...the-split-step


                and there is a small but significant amount of time after contact before the player lands. You can't move to the ball in mid-air, so if Federer and others are able to know where the ball is going at or before contact, how can they take advantage of that info when they time their split step normally and are still in mid-air?

                By the time they land, they will have seen enough of the ball flight to have clear info on where the ball is going. For me, this is where the exceptional skills lie with Federer and others, reading and seeing that ball from the opponents racket extremely early, which of course is developed through the experience of endless hours of training and match-play.

                How much of a factor is reading body movements on groundstrokes to aid anticipation of where the next ball is going? If it is a big factor, how can players use this to give them more time without adjusting the timing of their split step?
                You can move to a ball in mid-air. That is the way I want to develop a tennis player from a young age (3 to 5 range). I would never, ever, let a young tennis player hit a ball that bounces on the ground for the first year. I teach them to get there hip to the ball, move to it, as it is in the air. Hit everything you can in the air. Then teach them how to drop the hip down to the correct level of the ball. Once that is done, work on the rise. It self-corrects a lot of swing issues, and they develop no fear of the ball, as well as quickness. Balls in the air result in less time for the athlete, so, it kind of ends up auto-correcting a lot of bad habits kids get. I use two feet activations - and, I want them reading the body, hips, hands, feet, anything, and everything. No spin, just drive, drive, drive and move, move and move. Lots of jumping and athletic movement. And, getting there at the right time and pace. Different way, but, its fun and challenging and kids love doing something the others kids don't do. It might work okay for us, we will see in a few years.

                But, I think your question is very brilliant!

                Observation - this may be the way Roger was trained to play. Split step. It's part of tennis culture. So, that was just ingrained. Does he need to do, well, I am not sure. The game may change. What we see in those videos may not be the optimal way to play the game ten years from now.

                But, let's question the split steps. They are becoming smaller, and more compact with each decade. So, tell me, as the speed of the game increases will players use other methods of engagement? Of course.

                I do not ever teach the split step. Time in the air is ineffective, unless it's being used to hit a ball and use that momentum to lead into your next penetrating strike in motion (for instance serving, and coming into the net), and a few other things like getting your hip up to the level of the ball, or striking through a ball and driving to the net for a volley. I understand what you say about how players time things, and what the research and video show, but, I think it will be phased out. I want a player hitting a ball, and, as they hit the ball floating to their next without deactivation or disengagement in the chain. Thats a tall order. But, we will see if it can be done. If you have to reactive all the time in a short rally, to me, that just shows you may not be doing everything quite at an optimal level for the short time periods in which rallys are occuring (lots of good research on that in this site now).

                We should note … how much bad split stepping do we see in Junior’s and Pro’s? Tons. I see a lot of split steps that makes athletes slower. I am sure we all do. Its a complex movement. Its a rocket science type of movement, where a lot of things need to really go right.

                Activation - engagement - movement - it's tough to even teach the pro's.

                I have a MMA fighter I train who is a world champion, and it's an issue, he buckles, stops and doesn't always flow (like we want, MMA fight coaches think his movement is brilliant, but we know it's not good enough and a bit ugly). We're going to Jamaica in about four months to study for a couple months, as we're looking for more ideas.

                Deactivation is a challenge coaches need to solve, especially now where sports are so quick.

                In the old days I would have my athletes lifting a weight, locking out and deactivating like everyone else, and now, man, I am using chains, pullies, rubber bands, etc, to build a smarter chain that can continuously work without buckling through the full motion.

                Sports changes, and personally I believe the split step will die in ten years as the pace becomes quicker, the athletes become more powerful, functionally responsive, better central nervous systems, reaction times, and new activation techniques will need to be used.

                I am playing with this stuff, and figuring out stuff 24-7 because you just never know what surprises you are going to be facing from people like the Chinese, or your opponents in 1-2 months.

                Things evolve quick now.

                Anyways, I enjoyed watching the video on Dennis. I have followed his progress since he was a nine year old hitting mama’s moon balls. Great job on her part teaching the one handed backhand. Thats an important shot. That gal deserves a lot of credit. It ain’t easy, and everyone second guessed her along the way. I have nothing but positive things to say.

                None of us really know what will happen in the development process of a player, but, its fun playing around with things and seeing improvement each day (and a player who is more and more enthusiastic each day about winning, performing, showing up early and doing what no one else is willing to do) and as long as that happens throughout the progression of an athlete then that means you're probably doing great and are on the right track and luck will be on your side.


                Last edited by hockeyscout; 09-06-2016, 05:43 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I like this, you might be crazy or you might be a genius, but it's great to read some different ideas, and to see how you are clearly comfortable and determined with trying out different methods, new ideas, and anticipating how the game will evolve.

                  I think split steps might be around for longer, you just have to look at doubles, where the game is quicker in terms of time between shots, and these players are still getting their split steps done.

                  One thing I agree fully is that most people make a mess of split steps and don't even know it. I think it's the No.1 global problem for tennis players at all levels, thinking their split step is fine and well-timed, when it isn't as effective as it could be, and might well be slowing them down instead of speeding them up. For me, video analysis is just as valid a tool for working on split step timing, as it is any shot technique.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The Volley and Hitting the ball out of the air...Linear Algebra. Minimize to Maximize. Permutations and Combinations.

                    Originally posted by hockeyscout View Post

                    You can move to a ball in mid-air. That is the way I want to develop a tennis player from a young age (3 to 5 range). I would never, ever, let a young tennis player hit a ball that bounces on the ground for the first year. I teach them to get there hip to the ball, move to it, as it is in the air. Hit everything you can in the air. Then teach them how to drop the hip down to the correct level of the ball. Once that is done, work on the rise. It self-corrects a lot of swing issues, and they develop no fear of the ball, as well as quickness. Balls in the air result in less time for the athlete, so, it kind of ends up auto-correcting a lot of bad habits kids get. I use two feet activations - and, I want them reading the body, hips, hands, feet, anything, and everything. No spin, just drive, drive, drive and move, move and move. Lots of jumping and athletic movement. And, getting there at the right time and pace. Different way, but, its fun and challenging and kids love doing something the others kids don't do. It might work okay for us, we will see in a few years.

                    But, I think your question is very brilliant!

                    Observation - this may be the way Roger was trained to play. Split step. It's part of tennis culture. So, that was just ingrained. Does he need to do, well, I am not sure. The game may change. What we see in those videos may not be the optimal way to play the game ten years from now.

                    But, let's question the split steps. They are becoming smaller, and more compact with each decade. So, tell me, as the speed of the game increases will players use other methods of engagement? Of course.

                    I do not ever teach the split step. Time in the air is ineffective, unless it's being used to hit a ball and use that momentum to lead into your next penetrating strike in motion (for instance serving, and coming into the net), and a few other things like getting your hip up to the level of the ball, or striking through a ball and driving to the net for a volley. I understand what you say about how players time things, and what the research and video show, but, I think it will be phased out. I want a player hitting a ball, and, as they hit the ball floating to their next without deactivation or disengagement in the chain. Thats a tall order. But, we will see if it can be done. If you have to reactive all the time in a short rally, to me, that just shows you may not be doing everything quite at an optimal level for the short time periods in which rallys are occuring (lots of good research on that in this site now).

                    We should note … how much bad split stepping do we see in Junior’s and Pro’s? Tons. I see a lot of split steps that makes athletes slower. I am sure we all do. Its a complex movement. Its a rocket science type of movement, where a lot of things need to really go right.

                    Activation - engagement - movement - it's tough to even teach the pro's.

                    I have a MMA fighter I train who is a world champion, and it's an issue, he buckles, stops and doesn't always flow (like we want, MMA fight coaches think his movement is brilliant, but we know it's not good enough and a bit ugly). We're going to Jamaica in about four months to study for a couple months, as we're looking for more ideas.

                    Deactivation is a challenge coaches need to solve, especially now where sports are so quick.

                    In the old days I would have my athletes lifting a weight, locking out and deactivating like everyone else, and now, man, I am using chains, pullies, rubber bands, etc, to build a smarter chain that can continuously work without buckling through the full motion.

                    Sports changes, and personally I believe the split step will die in ten years as the pace becomes quicker, the athletes become more powerful, functionally responsive, better central nervous systems, reaction times, and new activation techniques will need to be used.

                    I am playing with this stuff, and figuring out stuff 24-7 because you just never know what surprises you are going to be facing from people like the Chinese, or your opponents in 1-2 months.

                    Things evolve quick now.

                    Anyways, I enjoyed watching the video on Dennis. I have followed his progress since he was a nine year old hitting mama’s moon balls. Great job on her part teaching the one handed backhand. Thats an important shot. That gal deserves a lot of credit. It ain’t easy, and everyone second guessed her along the way. I have nothing but positive things to say.

                    None of us really know what will happen in the development process of a player, but, its fun playing around with things and seeing improvement each day (and a player who is more and more enthusiastic each day about winning, performing, showing up early and doing what no one else is willing to do) and as long as that happens throughout the progression of an athlete then that means you're probably doing great and are on the right track and luck will be on your side.

                    My students learn how to volley. We spend lots and lots of time hitting balls in the air. When the ball bounces it loses half of its speed. Getting into position to swing at a ball in the air is twice as difficult and teaches the student to minimize their movement in order to maximize their efforts. Efficiency of motion.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nickw View Post
                      I like this, you might be crazy or you might be a genius, but it's great to read some different ideas, and to see how you are clearly comfortable and determined with trying out different methods, new ideas, and anticipating how the game will evolve.

                      I think split steps might be around for longer, you just have to look at doubles, where the game is quicker in terms of time between shots, and these players are still getting their split steps done.

                      One thing I agree fully is that most people make a mess of split steps and don't even know it. I think it's the No.1 global problem for tennis players at all levels, thinking their split step is fine and well-timed, when it isn't as effective as it could be, and might well be slowing them down instead of speeding them up. For me, video analysis is just as valid a tool for working on split step timing, as it is any shot technique.
                      I think both my two kids are okay players (and the select few clients I do take do pretty well).
                      Last edited by hockeyscout; 09-07-2016, 01:46 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by don_budge View Post
                        The Volley and Hitting the ball out of the air...Linear Algebra. Minimize to Maximize. Permutations and Combinations.


                        My students learn how to volley. We spend lots and lots of time hitting balls in the air. When the ball bounces it loses half of its speed. Getting into position to swing at a ball in the air is twice as difficult and teaches the student to minimize their movement in order to maximize their efforts. Efficiency of motion.
                        Perfect, you hit nailing it on the head don_budge.

                        But, you're a baseball guy at heart as well (and golf), so, you understand these things.

                        I always have to kick myself in the ass and remind myself to go back to that basic time and time again (balls in the air).

                        I set up a baseball hitting net (you know like MLB and pitcher have so they don't get cranked), and I stand 5-10-15 feet in front of both of my young girls and go to town feeding them hard balls. And, I hard balls, ground balls, balls at their feet, you name it.

                        Then I get up at 3' - 5' - 7' and 9', platforms and blow ball right into the court for them to try and return. It's all good fun. When all is done we have about gazillion balls on the court, and I make them pick up each one like it's a baseball player picking up a ground ball, staying balanced and getting it done with a throw to first without the dreaded double hop. I have them pretend its a forehand stroke (left and right hand). I gotta teach the older one soon how to scoop up the ball backhand side with right and left baseball gloves, and how to catch on the move a bit more. Guys like Ozzy Smith would have made terrific tennis players because they were so good in getting to the ball. The more I think about it, the more I suspect American tennis has gone done because so many of these kids have not swung a bat, or played stickball for hours in the street to develop real important skill sets to tennis. I remember as a kid I would play those types of games till it was dark, and still play under the street lights if I could. I am sure don-budge was the same growing up in Michigan.

                        Athletes generally hate picking up balls this way, or playing stick ball because its SOOOOO hard, and requires a lot of concentration. You gotta do it right, and know how to sequence muscles correctly, but after a while athletes learn to stop living off their quads (the major issue of tennis players in general), and engage other areas. A few sore days, and they sort out they are not using everything the way god intended them to use it.

                        Now back to picking up balls - I never use a ball bin or net to collect them anymore. I make the players pick them up properly. Go down to the tennis courts, and watch kids picking up balls. It's awful how they pick them up. And, it makes for bad habits. Why no one does drills to make picking up the balls an athletic event is just insane crazy to me, and a real waste of court time. As a kid Jaromir Jagr did 1000 squats a day. I like that, but, doing a squat now for me has no functional tie into learning the process of hitting a ball better. I think if a pro made kids do it the right way they would quit. No kid likes doing these squats and lunges. Mine do, but, I had a MMA fighter really take off and he'd be at the court ever day picking up ball after ball, and working on getting down low, and practicing his uppercuts. It was superb activation work for him. Everyone else around him was squatting heavy weight, and he was working on refining that technique, and getting a feel for using his hips in combinations.

                        http://www.stack.com/iris/jaromir-ja...per-day?iris=1

                        When you have kids who have a real passion for the game, you tend to figure a lot of interesting things out as a coach. I got three, a 24, 10 and child who are pretty immersed in the process, so, a lot of stuff just comes to you in the relaxed type of setting we have here where its all about learning, and seeing where we can go. The tough part is the success that happens, and not getting suckered into losing the roots of what you did in the past.




                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nickw View Post
                          I like this, you might be crazy or you might be a genius, but it's great to read some different ideas, and to see how you are clearly comfortable and determined with trying out different methods, new ideas, and anticipating how the game will evolve.

                          I think split steps might be around for longer, you just have to look at doubles, where the game is quicker in terms of time between shots, and these players are still getting their split steps done.

                          One thing I agree fully is that most people make a mess of split steps and don't even know it. I think it's the No.1 global problem for tennis players at all levels, thinking their split step is fine and well-timed, when it isn't as effective as it could be, and might well be slowing them down instead of speeding them up. For me, video analysis is just as valid a tool for working on split step timing, as it is any shot technique.
                          “If you are teaching your players to imitate the techniques of the top players in the game, you are teaching them to be a generation behind the next wave of champions.” - Nick Saviano

                          Hockeyscout may be crazy and may be right at the same time. It's the kind of "crazy" that makes wild, amazing things happen. Either way, he's firm in his convictions and what he says is interesting. Lots of great info. Tennis is constantly evolving. The more we understand about mechanics and what we foresee in the future will never hurt us.

                          Fascinating discussion and thread.

                          Hope to see more of Shapovalov. A lefty, a one-handed backhand and a penchant for moving towards the net. Should be fun to watch his growth.

                          Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                          Boca Raton

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Crazy like a fox.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by don_budge View Post
                              The Volley and Hitting the ball out of the air...Linear Algebra. Minimize to Maximize. Permutations and Combinations.



                              My students learn how to volley. We spend lots and lots of time hitting balls in the air. When the ball bounces it loses half of its speed. Getting into position to swing at a ball in the air is twice as difficult and teaches the student to minimize their movement in order to maximize their efforts. Efficiency of motion.
                              That's a great post. Classic. Every young coach should read. So simple, and it's a great base for building up and up.

                              Comment

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