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A New Teaching System: Forehand: Body Rotation

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  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by seano View Post
    My understanding of elastic energy and the stretch-shortening cycle, along with Brian Gordon's research. The firing of the hips (or separation) is a more subtle movement, which initiates the lag effect. This subtle lag creates torque and everything that follows is set into motion and intensifies. Once the shoulders are square to the net, their job is done (for the most part). If you've done the Type 3 forehand correctly, the final 90% of rotation is caused by the independent movement of the arm (a key element in Brian's research). That finishes with the right shoulder pointing towards the target. If you watch some of Federer's forehand in super slow-mo, it's incredible how the body quiets once the shoulders are facing the net and the arm accelerates to complete the rotation, a thing of beauty.
    Great post, seano...eloquent stuff.

    I think John has a point when he says "how does this happen"?. As coaches how can we ensure our more talented students fire the hips correctly? What should a player focus on to make it happen? What should a coach say and do to make it happen?

    I think coaching these days is a three way road. You have people like Brian Gordon delivering the science, you have the coach, and you have the student. Brian Gordon's work is fruitless if coaches cannot convey and teach it in ways that can be interpreted accurately by students then put into practice. Coaches have to find ways to make pennies drop. I seem to remember Brian saying in one of his articles that ultimately it comes down to coaching intuition to deliver and find ways to make the science happen. There are few silver bullets for difficult problems in coaching. You need a big tool bag and an intuitive teaching brain if we are ever going to be any good at this lark.

    I once levelled with a girl who had a problematic serve. I threw time out of the window (as in my hourly rate) and told her we were (note I use "we") going to tackle her serve until we solved the problem and mapped a way forward. I told her I wasn't sure which means would work the best and I would be experimenting, and if she had patience and stamina we would succeed. By the end of the morning we had cracked it.

    I was lucky in that the girl was a free spirit and open-minded about coaching. Plus no one had been able to help her with her serve until the point. She had given up. Which is always a good point for coach to step in, oddly enough.

    Does she have a great serve now? No, but it works and doesn't let her down anymore? Sometimes player and coach must accept a shot isn't there. Insisting there is would be to imply every girl has the potential to serve like Serena.

    And, yes, Federer's forehand in slow motion is probably the most beautiful sight there is in tennis.

    Stotty
    Last edited by stotty; 10-07-2016, 05:42 AM.

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  • don_budge
    replied
    Golf on the Run...

    Originally posted by hockeyscout View Post
    I hear it. I see it. The old pros who have played hockey, baseball, old school wood racket tennis, ect, they get it. It's easy see and hear. Hopefully our athletes understand feel, as that is a position you try and put them into as players.

    Baseball did a good job of controlling the bat suppliers.

    Hockey did a bad job as well in preserving our heritage. Kids have these $400 sticks now, and can fire the puck a ton. But, these new sticks result in them not having great control like the old wood ones, and its real tough to take a hard pass. What I see in hockey now is not really human ability, but more good technology of the sticks. As a coach, you have to be careful to have the same old exacting standards as you did when they had wood and you had to earn a wrist shot and slap shot the old fashioned way - through a lot of trial and error till you got just the right feel for the sweet spot. Now the sweet spot on a stick is so much bigger, and you can get away with not exactly being exact.

    I've been watching a lot of the golf stuff lately, its really amazing what the players and coaches bring to the table in terms of technical expertise. You listen to the old golfers talk like Hogan, and its amazing how much they know about their sport in comparison to us hockey players who kind of do things without maybe clearly understanding why we do it.
    Baseball could not make the transition...they would have if they could have. But they would have to change the dimensions of the ballparks. The hockey stick is another change that sets up the game for changes that are not perceptible to the untrained eye. But those that know understand the difference.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeF6kvbKDeY

    Golf is the gold standard regards technique. The nature of the sport demands this sort of attention to detail. Ben Hogan wrote a book called "The Five Fundamentals of Golf". Every tennis coach should probably read it. Having "mastered" both sports I have come to the conclusion that tennis is golf on the run. The description of the body rotation on the golf swing is very useable with regards to the tennis swings. Brilliant stuff from Ben Hogan.


    Last edited by don_budge; 10-08-2016, 08:38 AM.

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    Guest replied
    Golf on the Run...

    Originally posted by hockeyscout View Post

    I hear it. I see it. The old pros who have played hockey, baseball, old school wood racket tennis, ect, they get it. It's easy see and hear. Hopefully our athletes understand feel, as that is a position you try and put them into as players.

    Baseball did a good job of controlling the bat suppliers.

    Hockey did a bad job as well in preserving our heritage. Kids have these $400 sticks now, and can fire the puck a ton. But, these new sticks result in them not having great control like the old wood ones, and its real tough to take a hard pass. What I see in hockey now is not really human ability, but more good technology of the sticks. As a coach, you have to be careful to have the same old exacting standards as you did when they had wood and you had to earn a wrist shot and slap shot the old fashioned way - through a lot of trial and error till you got just the right feel for the sweet spot. Now the sweet spot on a stick is so much bigger, and you can get away with not exactly being exact.

    I've been watching a lot of the golf stuff lately, its really amazing what the players and coaches bring to the table in terms of technical expertise. You listen to the old golfers talk like Hogan, and its amazing how much they know about their sport in comparison to us hockey players who kind of do things without maybe clearly understanding why we do it.
    Baseball could not make the transition...they would have if they could have. But they would have to change the dimensions of the ballparks. The hockey stick is another change that sets up the game for changes that are not perceptible to the untrained eye. But those that know understand the difference.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeF6kvbKDeY

    Golf is the gold standard regards technique. The nature of the sport demands this sort of attention to detail. Ben Hogan wrote a book called "The Five Fundamentals of Golf". Every tennis coach should probably read it. Having "mastered" both sports I have come to the conclusion that tennis is golf on the run. The description of the body rotation on the golf swing is very useable with regards to the tennis swings. Brilliant stuff from Ben Hogan.






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  • hockeyscout
    replied
    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    A Little Potpourri...of Good Vibrations

    I think a lot of people may be surprised at the number of shanks and more profoundly...complete misses. Keeping the racquet on edge exposes the maximum amount of racquet face to the ball...much more important when playing with 65 square inches than the zillion they play with these days.

    "Clean sounding work"...I certainly like the sound of that. Vibrations...good vibrations. That is coaches speak. Ben Hogan talked of each golf shot sending a vibration throughout the entire golfers body...every shot was a message...an analysis of work done. It used to be a game of feel. The wood was transmitting...the player receiving. But it's so much better now that the feel has been eliminated from the game. Much like feeling has been eliminated from life. Robots!

    Appreciate the feedback don_budge.

    I hear it. I see it. The old pros who have played hockey, baseball, old school wood racket tennis, ect, they get it. It's easy see and hear. Hopefully our athletes understand feel, as that is a position you try and put them into as players.

    Baseball did a good job of controlling the bat suppliers.

    Hockey did a bad job as well in preserving our heritage. Kids have these $400 sticks now, and can fire the puck a ton. But, these new sticks result in them not having great control like the old wood ones, and its real tough to take a hard pass. What I see in hockey now is not really human ability, but more good technology of the sticks. As a coach, you have to be careful to have the same old exacting standards as you did when they had wood and you had to earn a wrist shot and slap shot the old fashioned way - through a lot of trial and error till you got just the right feel for the sweet spot. Now the sweet spot on a stick is so much bigger, and you can get away with not exactly being exact.

    I worked with a kid who peaked out at the number two Junior U16 player in the country, and he could not believe I know where every shot of his would go before he even hit the ball. I understood in about five minutes how his body worked, and before he even hit the ball I would know the end result. And, he's taken a beating on the pro level because the older pro's can read him a mile away just like I did, and neutralize his game. As they say in hockey, a good player has the best fundamentals away from the puck. Same in tennis. What work is a player doing away from the ball? Just ignore the hitting, and see, how do they get to position? Thats all you need to know. The rest generally takes care of itself as most players in this sport have good hand - eye coordination, and solid rotator cuffs if they are at a world class standard.

    This Junior tennis player I am talking about loved to hit the ball (I told him all the time he was simply practicing catch, like in baseball), and he'd have to focus more on (a) getting to position on the ball and (b) properly using the momentum of his swing - finish to put himself in prime time position for the next ball instead of continually cancelling himself out.

    His rhythm count would always be 1-1-1-1 and I wanted it to flow 1-3-5-7. That's the issue with these endless rallies that the McEnroe led USTA believed in - and, its not tennis. You get guys who can slug a ball, but, when they have to flow, evade, move in, back off, transition, take it on the rise, ECT, that's tough. McEnroe, the former head of the tennis federation used to say good players need to rally 50 times in a row. That was just crazy to me. It is just playing meaningless catch back and forth.

    I think I was proven right when people really started to track stats in tennis - one guy did a nice article here about rally times in pro tennis (and, I knew that from day one when I started).

    Anyways, on the pro tour, he was always behind because he had no understanding of how to play the short points the game required to win at that level. And, that is the issue with all this baseline bashing. In the old days I imagine guys would practice hitting a ground stroke, moving in, volleying, and finishing the point. They'd have a great rhythm for the game. Now, that's flows not quite there, and its a habit I am really conscientious about building in an old school kind of way.

    Agassi was the best at transitioning from shot to shot in my opinion of any tennis player I have ever seen - his ability to flow out of a shot, stop and start was second to none (his dad was an Olympic boxer, so that is the one element they hit the nail on the head, in MMA it is all about combinations, and sequencing what you do from one thing, to the next, without buckling or losing your flow and rhythm).

    The guys who were five or six sport athletes (hockey, golf, track - field, boxing, MMA, soccer, basketball have a real advantage in tennis because so many elements of those games can be transitioned over.

    I've been watching a lot of the golf stuff lately, its really amazing what the players and coaches bring to the table in terms of technical expertise. You listen to the old golfers talk like Hogan, and its amazing how much they know about their sport in comparison to us hockey players who kind of do things without maybe clearly understanding why we do it.

    Last edited by hockeyscout; 10-07-2016, 02:19 AM.

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  • don_budge
    replied
    A Little Potpourri...of Good Vibrations

    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    Engineering versus Evolution...

    The video itself is great. It really captures the object of the lesson.
    In fact...the entire series of "A New Teaching System" has been an excellent lesson in the fundamentals of "Modern Tennis". The amazing thing that they haven't changed one iota...except for factoring in the size of the racquet and various and sundry engineering that the "Ministry of Tennis" has imposed on the tennis world. Not one Fundamentally Incorrect (FI) statement in the whole series. When taken in context with the writings of Bill Tilden and the teaching system of Welby Van Horn...it doesn't lose any of its luster or make any contradictions. There is nothing new under the sun. The series is true to its subject. The video analysis does give it another perspective...doesn't it?

    Originally posted by licensedcoach View Post

    I personally think equipment is responsible for many technical changes. My theory is that players used milder forehand grips back in the days of wood not just because grass court tennis with its lower bounce was more prevalent, but maybe also because keeping the racket on edge during the swing gave you a better chance of middling the ball. You would think hitting a forehand like Federer does with a wooden racket, even for Federer, might produce a lot of shanks...though I would love to see him try.

    Nice post, 10splayer. It's great to see you making a post again. We've missed you.

    Stotty
    I think a lot of people may be surprised at the number of shanks and more profoundly...complete misses. Keeping the racquet on edge exposes the maximum amount of racquet face to the ball...much more important when playing with 65 square inches than the zillion they play with these days.


    Originally posted by hockeyscout View Post
    Don_Budge is a golfer (and a baseball man), so he understands what I mean by clean sounding work.

    With these new rackets, it's hard for coaches - players to understand clean work, unless they have played - coached sports like hockey, MMA, baseball or golf.

    A hockey puck being shot is exact, a golf shot is ever more so, and in baseball the good players emit vibrations that tell you a lot.

    A blind man could walk into a boxing gym and pick out the best boxers.
    "Clean sounding work"...I certainly like the sound of that. Vibrations...good vibrations. That is coaches speak. Ben Hogan talked of each golf shot sending a vibration from the head of the club through the shaft straight to the heart of the golfer...every shot was a message...an analysis of work done. It used to be a game of feel. The wood was transmitting...the player receiving. But it's so much better now that the feel has been eliminated from the game. Much like feeling has been eliminated from life. Robots!

    Last edited by don_budge; 10-07-2016, 01:35 AM.

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  • seano
    replied
    On extremely wide balls, when you're on the dead run, squaring up probably won't be possible. At best, you may only be able to manipulate your hands.

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  • seano
    replied
    In my experience, squaring the shoulders at contact is especially true on high balls, make sure the opposite arm opens and allows for a longer lever. Too many people block the rotation with the opposite arm. On wide balls, the proper footwork pattern and recovery helps greatly with efficiency and explosiveness but still squared up and reverse finish can allow for tremendous shot making.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    So are we saying that it's good to 'square up' to the net (or to the direction of the shot) for contact on the forehand?
    And would that be true for high balls, low balls, wide balls, reverse finishes?

    Thanks for the thoughts on staying on the ground, Stotty!

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  • hockeyscout
    replied
    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    Engineering versus Evolution...



    I watched the video a couple of times. In the past I have made transcripts in order to draw as much meaning as I can from the audio. But here it isn't necessary except to highlight this quote by John Yandell which is either a slip of the tongue or a poor choice of words. It is Stotty's questions that necessitates pointing this out.

    Of course it is only the equipment that allows these "rodeo" swings of the racquet on the forehand. It is the equipment that has engineered finesse and the finery completely out of the game. It is only the equipment...human beings have not evolved at all in the past forty years or so. If anything...they have surely devolved.

    John says in the video..."this evolution has effectively doubled the (torso) rotation compared to the old classical forehands."

    This line I find offensive as well as misleading. When I say offensive I don't mean personally but perhaps in a common sense sense. First of all...the classical forehands of the past are not old. They have only been relegated to the dust bin and the object of our scorn because of brain washing and social engineering. The introduction of over-sized graphite racquet frames change everything including the physics of what is possible in swinging a tennis racquet at a moving tennis ball. Any arguments out there that the 100% plus area in the racquet face allows for more margin of error and therefore more contortion of the actual body movements? What a bad joke. These guys struggle to find the sweet spot and I would kill to see a high speed video study as to where these guys are meeting the racquet face with the ball on a statistical basis. You see in nearly all of these video shots that the balls are meeting the racquet face just about anywhere. Have you ever hit a topspin forehand near the frame of a Dunlop Maxply or a Jack Kramer Autograph? I have.

    There isn't any evolution going on here. It's engineering and only engineering. Plus the usual social programming. The answer to the question of "could players rotate as much, hurl themselves, and flip forehands?" is...can monkeys fly out of your butt?

    The video itself is great. It really captures the object of the lesson. There is an old golf rule of thumb that says..."don't try to make shots that you don't know you can make." It is only new equipment that gives the tennis player this new lease on how to swing a racquet. If anything the swings were better in the "old classical" way with respect to efficiency and effectiveness...given the difference in the size of the racquet. Novak was given a wooden racquet to play with and he couldn't find the face of the strings with his forehand. I would love to see him under attack by a John McEnroe in his prime trying to play his little game of mousey defense. McEnroe would eat him alive...with much less body rotation.

    Why kill to see the video don_budge?

    You're an old timer like me, just sit back, close your eyes and listen.

    I'd bet you could chart the whole match, and determine within a few percentage points where the ball was striking on the racket face.

    Don_Budge is a golfer (and a baseball man), so he understands what I mean by clean sounding work.

    With these new rackets, it's hard for coaches - players to understand clean work, unless they have played - coached sports like hockey, MMA, baseball or golf.

    A hockey puck being shot is exact, a golf shot is ever more so, and in baseball the good players emit vibrations that tell you a lot.

    A blind man could walk into a boxing gym and pick out the best boxers.

    The best thing that ever happened to me was watching this old 80-year-old man in Russia instruct and hit balls once. His balls were heavy, and he fed balls like George Foreman hit a punching bag. It was partly (a) great focus, (b) old man power and, (c) he grew up learning to hit the hard way with the heavy racket. But, the sound. Beautiful. And, the guy as I understood it was a hell of a player in the 1950's. I rarely hear the pop I like at tennis courts. That's a big goal of mine as a coach, that sound. You know you are onto something when you hear it, and you know you have a prospect with upside when you get it. In any sport.

    It's part of the brilliance of Robert Lansdorp - his kids get better because he hits them old man balls that are stronger than what players face in games. The guy is probably the best pure ball feeding coach every to coach. And, it made a difference. If you face crazy balls for years in practice, of course you are going to become good. It's not rocket science. Budge is right in a lot of cases, nothing new under the sun.

    Ed Weiss was sure a nice ball feeder - effortless, and consistently on the mark. That guy was a pleasure to watch feed. Put ten guys like him on the court at an academy and tell them to feed like bastards and you'd see terrific players develop if they were willing to put up with the onslaught for hour after hour. A lot of players don't want to deal with crazy feeds psychologically, and want to work in a comfort zone rallying the ball down the center of the court, and developing their "feel."

    Ed once did a piece here on ball feeding that should be a main article on the site I think. Be nice if someone found it, and sent it to John for publication as it was brilliant.

    The best article that could ever be posted to this site - Lansdorp feeding balls to a top ATP or WTA player. That would tell coaches so much about how to deliver a ball properly, and if he had a player who was mentally in tune enough to hit cleanly - improvement wouldn't be much of an issue.



    Last edited by hockeyscout; 10-06-2016, 06:47 AM.

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  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by pvchen View Post
    Hi Stotty,

    Interesting your comment about keeping your feet on the ground. I'm working with a coach who has encouraged me to keep my back foot on the ground when hitting a neutral stance forehand stepping in with the left foot, only lifting the heel of the right foot at the end of the forehand, which allows the hip freedom to rotate forward at the end of the stroke. This seems to help keep me upright, with contact in front, and more balanced.

    I've also noticed that when moving wide to hit a more semi-open forehand, it seems to help to keep my right foot on the ground and push off the toe.

    What do you teach for the 4.5 level forehand?

    Peter
    You won't go too far wrong following the advice of your coach, pvchen.

    Forgive me, but being a Brit, I have no idea what level a 4.5 is. We have an entirely different rating system over here.

    Getting back on thread with John's article about body rotation, John Yandell's comment that players are freer to rotate when in the air does make absolutely sense, doesn't it? Watching Federer do it in slow motion is quite beautiful to watch.

    But I cannot do it...

    Staying grounded and balanced was very much the thing in my day (I am now 53). I still think it remains the case today, actually. Roger doesn't try to leave the ground. He just does so as a by-product of a series of events that went before. And there are many cases where he doesn't leave the ground at all, but they don't make for good photos so you don't see them as much.

    I doubt I ever left the ground even when I was younger. In my time it was very much about control and balance and keeping form and posture. For me balance was absolutely everything.

    Balance is everything these days of course but leaving the ground is really only for top flight players...in my view.

    Players like you and me are better keeping our feet planted. It gives us a far greater chance of success.

    John Lloyd's father, when I was a kid, told me "keep your feet on the ground"..."that's what I always told my boys". Oddly enough no player ever left the ground as much as John Lloyd did back in the 70s. I swear he started it!

    http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/...5306?s=594x594

    Stotty
    Last edited by stotty; 10-06-2016, 06:16 AM.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Sometimes its useful to look over the fence and analyse the body rotation of a good discus thrower, which is quite similar to the tennis forehand rotation. As a former pretty good discus thrower I know what I am talking about. Let the kinetic chaine work and it is always foot,knee,hip,shoulder arm and in the end the racket. No question, the contact point will be different with different grips but you will see always hip first and then shoulder.

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  • don_budge
    replied
    Welby Van Horn...Balance Checkpoints

    Originally posted by pvchen View Post
    Hi Stotty,

    Interesting your comment about keeping your feet on the ground. I'm working with a coach who has encouraged me to keep my back foot on the ground when hitting a neutral stance forehand stepping in with the left foot, only lifting the heel of the right foot at the end of the forehand, which allows the hip freedom to rotate forward at the end of the stroke. This seems to help keep me upright, with contact in front, and more balanced.

    I've also noticed that when moving wide to hit a more semi-open forehand, it seems to help to keep my right foot on the ground and push off the toe.

    What do you teach for the 4.5 level forehand?

    Peter
    That's a great comment by Stotty and from what you say about your coach...great stuff. Something like this pvchen?

    https://www.tennisplayer.net/members...e_checkpoints/


    Leave a comment:


  • seano
    replied
    My understanding of elastic energy and the stretch-shortening cycle, along with Brian Gordon's research. The firing of the hips (or separation) is a more subtle movement, which initiates the lag effect. This subtle lag creates torque and everything that follows is set into motion and intensifies. Once the shoulders are square to the net, their job is done (for the most part). If you've done the Type 3 forehand correctly, the final 90% of rotation is caused by the independent movement of the arm (a key element in Brian's research). That finishes with the right shoulder pointing towards the target. If you watch some of Federer's forehand in super slow-mo, it's incredible how the body quiets once the shoulders are facing the net and the arm accelerates to complete the rotation, a thing of beauty.

    Leave a comment:


  • pvchen
    replied
    Hi Stotty,

    Interesting your comment about keeping your feet on the ground. I'm working with a coach who has encouraged me to keep my back foot on the ground when hitting a neutral stance forehand stepping in with the left foot, only lifting the heel of the right foot at the end of the forehand, which allows the hip freedom to rotate forward at the end of the stroke. This seems to help keep me upright, with contact in front, and more balanced.

    I've also noticed that when moving wide to hit a more semi-open forehand, it seems to help to keep my right foot on the ground and push off the toe.

    What do you teach for the 4.5 level forehand?

    Peter

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    Engineering versus Evolution...

    The introduction of over-sized graphite racquet frames change everything including the physics of what is possible in swinging a tennis racquet at a moving tennis ball. Any arguments out there that the 100% plus area in the racquet face allows for more margin of error and therefore more contortion of the actual body movements?
    I personally think equipment is responsible for many technical changes. My theory is that players used milder forehand grips back in the days of wood not just because grass court tennis with its lower bounce was more prevalent, but maybe also because keeping the racket on edge during the swing gave you a better chance of middling the ball. You would think hitting a forehand like Federer does with a wooden racket, even for Federer, might produce a lot of shanks...though I would love to see him try.

    Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
    Even as recently as Sampras you can see rotation of about 90 degrees in the forward swing with the shoulders finishing parallel more or less to the net--about half the pro forehands in the article. There is a confluence of factors that has led to the elevation of contact and increased rotation of current players.
    Yes there is a stark difference in rotation between eras but then once a player is hitting with velocity while in the air, rotation through contact cannot be stopped, can it?

    We can see Rod Laver leaving the ground in the archive. He leaves the ground as he is striking the ball while Federer leaves the ground sometimes well when striking higher balls. I would love to see more footage of Laver striking chest high balls to make a better comparison.

    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7240/7...02a878f5_b.jpg

    And who says a classic players cannot leave the ground, buddy!

    http://www.bizbash.com/content/edito..._tie-break.jpg

    Originally posted by 10splayer View Post
    Interesting article. I have rarely got my undies in a bunch about the overall amount of rotation a student exhibits, except in the sense of position of the hips and shoulders AT IMPACT. I have found very few examples (across grips, stance, etc) where great players DO NOT have their hips and shoulders more or less parallel (to the baseline/shot line) at contact. (its what I call "posting up") On the flip side, with club players, the hips are "closed", and/or "overrotated" at impact.
    Nice post, 10splayer. It's great to see you making a post again. We've missed you.


    Stotty
    Last edited by stotty; 10-06-2016, 12:29 AM.

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