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Interactive Forum March 2018: Steffi Graf Forehand

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  • Interactive Forum March 2018: Steffi Graf Forehand

    Steffi Graf Forehand

    One recurring request I get is for footage of Steffi Graf. I wish wed had the opportunity to film her but by the time we started she had faded from the scene. Until now Id never seen any sustained footage except from her matches. Then I found this. Its not high speed video and if you go frame by frame you can see from the blur that there is no high speed shutter either.

    You can see a lot of things though. Super high backswing for one but most striking those hyperactive feet. That looks like the tennis stadium in Vegas. Anyone got a guess as to when? And what else do you see?

    Last edited by johnyandell; 03-02-2018, 07:53 PM.

  • #2
    Steffi Graf Forehand


    Last edited by johnyandell; 03-29-2018, 08:48 PM.

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    • #3
      Great video! Best footwork ever...and like Roger Federer she, at the moment of contact with the ball, is turning her head and eyes sideways, what produces extra power and spin through tilting of the longitudinal body axis.

      Comment


      • #4
        Steffi was, is and forever will be the best. That footwork, that intensity, that drive. The will of a champion. Thank you for posting this. My all time favorite.

        Kyle LaCroix USPTA
        Boca Raton

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        • #5
          She's out on her own when it comes to footwork....no one to touch her....best ever. Everything is so late on her forehand compared to most players. No 1-2 rhythm here - the backswing and forward swing are about as quick as each other. The use of her left arm is perhaps less deliberate than most players these days. Indeed the left arm is quite folded at times. I never noticed that at the time but do now. I guess that's Tennisplayer for you.

          Yet it's still the best forehand for me. She is dangerous on it from anywhere in the court. And all backed up with terrific movement and athleticism.
          Stotty

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          • #6
            I really don't like her footwork bordering on saying it is horrendous. Way too many steps that are hard to time. No real base that makes sense because of her step quantity. Her phenomenal career was ended by foot problems I believe.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bobbyswift View Post
              I really don't like her footwork bordering on saying it is horrendous. Way too many steps that are hard to time. No real base that makes sense because of her step quantity. Her phenomenal career was ended by foot problems I believe.
              Now compare the clip of her footwork to when she is playing a match - big difference. In John's clip her 'hyperactive' feet is her way of tuning up.
              Stotty

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              • #8
                Originally posted by stotty View Post
                She's out on her own when it comes to footwork....no one to touch her....best ever. Everything is so late on her forehand compared to most players. No 1-2 rhythm here - the backswing and forward swing are about as quick as each other. The use of her left arm is perhaps less deliberate than most players these days. Indeed the left arm is quite folded at times. I never noticed that at the time but do now. I guess that's Tennisplayer for you.

                Yet it's still the best forehand for me. She is dangerous on it from anywhere in the court. And all backed up with terrific movement and athleticism.
                Great post!

                Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                Boca Raton

                Comment


                • #9
                  i think her core choice of footwork is the adjustment step. Her clip John posted is what i see when I watch her on video. I believe the court should be covered in stride not little adjustment movements. The basis of movement should be three steps to cover the court as often as possible not 5 or more.

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                  • #10
                    Funny that there are split opinions on her footwork or the back swing, etc. The main point is her timing for me. I mean her stroke actually looks compact to me. She takes it back and swings. Maybe its late, maybe it is too long. But the point is that it looks very rhythmic.

                    I am also struck by how well she uses her back hip to time the hit. This back hip is perfect every time and you can see weight transfer.

                    I feel like I am watching a human metronome.

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                    • #11
                      Absolutely fascinating piece of work -- must be 50 years old, and three kids. Obviously her shoulders are shot right now as we can see in the video. Not a whole heck of a lot of diastasis recti happening here which is kind of interesting. I wonder how Serena will overcome that one - anyways, she probably did a lot of work while she was pregnant and has a staff of trainers like Roger that knows how to handle an old athlete. Steffie is having a heck of a time with her rib cage stability right now -- as I am sure you can all see she's really overusing her shoulders to lift up that chest now, ribs aren't doing much of anything (they are in the wrong slot) and its putting the strain on the lower back. As you can see she can't get her feet far apart - but, her hip flexors save the day - wonderful ankle mobility that is for sure. She's making a million adaptions, and staying in the game. Talk about an athlete with some extreme focus. Her rhythm and hand eye is just extreme -- her timing is just spot on - guess on never loses GREAT instincts.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by stotty View Post
                        ]]Indeed the left arm is quite folded at times.]
                        That's because of where her tight ribcage - it locks the shoulder out. Old age. It changes the hip motion as well and she isn't able to get the bob of the racket to the ball quickly enough and get it lined up. Your controlled hip motion lines that up 100% of the time, and when you don't have that you miss lose control. When you get old you lose that hip speed and mobility - and, in tennis you need to take that hip from the sideline to the net to drive the bob of the racket to the ball without buckling the shoulder - so, you can have the right pace to do whatever it is you want to do and not be reactionary to the ball. The older you get, the more small work you need to do so the whole thing does not collapse on you. Right now she is reacting to the ball, and not controlling matters - but, that is what happens when the hips are not in the correct place. Its why tennis is a young mans game, unless you are Roger or a real pro and know these things and work on your setups non-stop to keep all activated. She's making a lot of adjustments and arming - paddling - pushing the ball a bit more than she wants to -- like most great athletes she makes brilliant adjustments with the racket head to compensate for whats not firing internally anymore behind the skin! Tennis is tough - you gotta control stuff for four hours - sprinting is better cause you only need to think about all this stuff for 10 seconds (-: -- Steffie's holding it all together here and being a real warrior even though she can't do it like she is used to doing it anymore! Most old hockey players don't want to play anymore cause they are so in-tune with their precision and control -- and when you lose that when you get older its a tough psychological barrier to overcome on a few levels. Gretzky hates playing, and he's pretty much hung up the skates because of it.
                        Last edited by hockeyscout; 03-06-2018, 09:37 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by haegliloo237 View Post
                          Great video! Best footwork ever...and like Roger Federer she, at the moment of contact with the ball, is turning her head and eyes sideways, what produces extra power and spin through tilting of the longitudinal body axis.
                          Astonishment at Stupefaction

                          Whenever somebody comes up with a truly different idea in tennis, all players and coaches, stupefied, don't react and end up saying nothing.

                          For years we have heard that staring back at contact may be the one feature of a Roger Federer forehand that a recreational player could profitably imitate.

                          But now haegililoo237 brings to our attention the thought that, not only does Steffi Graf do the exact same thing, but that both she and Roger lower their head a bit as they do so, thus staying on the ball for microseconds longer.

                          Could anyone do this thing? Sure. Is its premise true? One could conduct one's own experiments.

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                          • #14

                            What I miss in discussions like these - or descriptions of idiosyncrasies of players in general - that someone's technique can be functional, in other words good because the player is able to work with it. Steffi Graf hits a forehand with a continental grip. Therefore she has to have a kind of closed stance. Ok. Then she kinds of hits the ball late - also when she was still playing in the WTA - and 'solves' that with opening up during the hit, over the ball... Which makes her keep her head over the hit, as he hits. She has excellent hand-eye coordination, delicate balance and fantastic speed of feet... which makes the sum of the parts work.

                            Take McEnroe. He had fantastic feel and fantastic feet... so he could take the ball early and use the wrist during all his volleys. Lendl had less feel, sluggish footwork... so he had take the ball as every mortal (on the top of the bounce but not before) and had to use rather conventional technique for the rest of his shots.

                            Even Roger Federer is not perfect technique-wise, but he makes it work.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I find her FH follow-through interesting You'll notice her butt-cap tends to point downwards at the end of her stroke. Definitely no "windshield-wiper" movement. The side of the string-bed that makes contact with the ball is still facing the side fence on her left but the racquet-head tip is pointing up, not behind her. So it seems to me her approach to topspin is to simply brush up vertically and not breaking that vertical plane by not "turning the door knob" with her wrist.

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