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Help with student

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  • Help with student

    Below are videos of a long time student of mine, Seiji, who is now a senior in college (he plays no. 1 for the team). His UTR is something like a 12. The videos consist of both sets in a match against a player from Yale who plays around no. 5 for Yale - the wait time between points is mostly eliminated in the videos so they go relatively fast. Seiji won the match 6-4, 6-4. Typical match in that he hit a bunch of winners but plenty of unforced errors. Those in the Forum have been very generous in the past providing their analysis/suggestions. Seiji is willing to listen and still wants to improve. Thanks for your help!

    First set: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK8b...ature=youtu.be

    Second set: https://youtu.be/XtIRltQnNtw


  • #2
    Sorry, left out something very important: Seiji is in the red shirt! Thanks.


    • #3
      I know I should resist commenting, because I'm no coach, and Seiji would almost certainly whup me (I like his backhand, a lot), but I've been obsessing about my own serve recently, and did notice one thing which might be worth considering. I think there might be a lack of rear leg drive in the serve action, which contributes to the rear (right) hip coming round early instead of driving up and transmitting the leg drive power to the right shoulder? I apologise if this appears to be nonsense.


      • #4
        Seiji seems like a quality player capable of hitting some outstanding shots, there're many positive aspects to his game. I haven't seen any previous videos to compare his progress. The areas that I would look to improve would be -

        1) Defensive play - More patience in the rallies when he's uncomfortable or feels he's behind in the point. Tries too many low percentage shots needlessly.

        2) Serve -
        a) Upper and lower body are out of sync. His racquet drop is way before the legs fire up to contact.
        b) Has too much twist rotation in his hips instead of hip over hip/shoulder over shoulder. Awkward body position at impact.

        3) Forehand -
        a) Less confidence on lower/shorter balls. Needs same racquet head speed just more spin or shaping of the ball. Footwork to ball is questionable.
        b) On wider balls, has a tendency to block his body rotation with his left leg by rotating it to the right. Saw it several times on wide returns.

        4) Backhand -
        a) Little use of the left hand side of his body. Left arm often just hanging by his side on forward swing.
        b) More spin/margin for error on topspin shots.
        c) Tentative swing compared to his forehand. If I were playing him, I would definitely make him hit a lot of backhands, then stress him by making him hit his forehand on the run (again, lack of patience).

        Not trying to be overly critical, just making some observations.

        Last edited by seano; 11-13-2019, 01:53 PM.


        • #5
          Thanks very much Glacierguy for your observation on Seiji's serve. We will follow-up on it.

          Seano - some excellent observations. We will go to work on them.

          If I have any follow-up questions I will let you know.

          Thanks again for taking the time to respond. Seiji and I appreciate it!


          • #6
            I agree with what others have said. A couple of comments:

            1) He seems to rush on his serve right before contact. Rather than building momentum slowly and accelerating he kind of rushes the contact which makes it seem like he is arming the ball. It is very common and so I think it comes from the idea of dumpling the ball in the box and starting the point.

            2) Ironic that a one handed backhand is such a solid shot. It is without a doubt much more difficult to hit than a forehand. So somehow the mind focuses more.

            3) He seems to kind of pull out of his forehand. Rather than really hitting it he uses his hands to massage it back. I suspect he has very good hands and has gotten away with using them. But if he could use his body on both his serve and forehand and both would be better.

            As an aside, I wonder if it is an eye dominance/body dominance thing. I have often asked people why my one handed backhand is so much more explosive even though I basically learned it at 16. My forehand and serve which in principle had ample practice through playing sports in the schoolyard and throwing rocks doesn't always take full advantage of all my body's power.

            My sense would be to try exercises with really heavy rackets or something that obligates him to use his body on the forehand and serve. Once he realizes that using his body is better than using his hands he might develop a better ability to do so. Rackets are so light that it is easy to forget that we are basically propelling a ball really far. You could even try having him throw footballs and alternate serving. Or alternate forehand and medicine ball throws (real ones where he has to release the ball). I think creating a feel and then transferring it over to his stroke will work better when he has to alternate between the stroke and the more natural throw which it is based on.

            Also, agree with the footwork comment. He gets away with scampering around and using his athleticism.

            He doesn't appear to be mechanical in his play. So I would work on mechanical types of drills where he has to repeatedly move his feet with rhythm and get in position. This would help make these little movements more automatic and so he would not have to rely so much on making up for being in a bad position.
            Last edited by arturohernandez; 11-14-2019, 11:04 AM.


            • #7
              Very comprehensive technical analysis by seano. All excellent points.

              I have followed Seiji for a numbers of years on the forum. It has been great to see him improve and progress. I hope he is still really enjoying his tennis.

              Let me look at in a slightly different way to seano...from another perspective.

              Seiji has a fine backhand. Stylistically it's his best shot. I would like to see him knife his sliced backhand more. Most of his sliced backhands are delicately struck as oppose to having any venom. He is very capable of knifing a sliced backhand and I would get on to that right away.

              Across the two sets, I would say Seiji was leaking too many forehand errors and very often off easy balls. If he could tighten up in that department it would make all the difference in the world. It's strange because he can hit some corkers when he gets energised. He did a beautiful 1:2 combination in the first set; a great thumping return followed up by a powerful crosscourt winner. Roger would have happy with that! The forehand is perhaps the most critical shot in tennis and it is so important for it be reliable. I could see Seiji really being able to tighten up this shot because a fair bit of it is about footwork and positioning.

              He volleys soundly and I don't recall him losing a point at the net. His backhand volley looks sound.

              I think at this stage in his tennis career Seiji might want to look at the two videos and be mentored through his decision making. I counted over a dozen points where better decision making might have changed the outcome of the point. This is an area where most young people could improve not just Seiji. In recent times I have introduced decision-making earlier with my players than I used to. Actually, a player is never too young. I have a 9-year-old making good basic decisions most of the time.

              seano's points about Seiji's serve are spot on and I would definitely try to make a couple of adjustments there. He had one service game where he placed each serve very accurately and it made all the difference. With a few technical adjustments he would be able to do that more often. I would love to see a high-speed clip from the side and rear to prescribe the way forward better for you. I would need to be more sure on a couple of my observations.

              I said earlier about the great forehands Seiji hit when he was energised. I think if he played with that kind of intensity all the time we would be looking at a really good player here. I always point players to Nadal when it comes to intensity because he's the best role model out there.

              It's been great to see Seiji stick at his tennis over the years and improve as he has. Thanks for sharing.


              • #8
                Stotty -

                I agree with all of your comments about Seiji's match play (although I feel his forehand has much more potential), we are on the same page. I would love to see any previous videos of Seiji to see the progress he has made, i'll search a bit to see if I can find any. If anyone has an idea where they might be, that would be helpful.

                Last edited by seano; 11-15-2019, 05:28 PM.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by seano View Post
                  Stotty -

                  I agree with all of your comments about Seiji's match play, we are on the same page. I would love to see any previous videos of Seiji to see the progress he has made, i'll search a bit to see if I can find any. If anyone has an idea where they might be, that would be helpful.

                  I have some amazing clips of Seiji's serve when Don Brousseau was working with him back in 2012. I would love to share the 'roots of Seiji's serve' with you but need the approval of Ed and Seiji to do that. If they agree, I will trim a couple of clips of his serve and send them to you. You will be amazed at what you see.


                  • #10
                    Thank you, I would really appreciate that.


                    • #11
                      Stotty -

                      I was able to watch some of Don Brousseau's videos on youtube that featured Seiji. Interesting his emphasis on Jack Broudy's figure 8 concept (figure 8 board) on Seiji's serve. I've used swivel discs to teach, particularly, groundstrokes (angular momentum) and some on the serve for rhythm and fluidity. Explains the early hip rotation on Seiji's serve. I would get lost some on Jack Broudy's explanation of the angle of 45. Brian Gordon's video series on the serve has really made me look at the serve in a new way.



                      • #12
                        Thanks so very much SeanO, arturohernandez and Stotty for your excellent points. There is really nothing like this Forum and the help and expertise that it offers. Folks are so generous with their expertise. A special shout out to Stotty for all of his responses through the years on Seiji (in fact Stotty once watched a Seiji match on line!). I will respond in more detail tomorrow as I am running a bunch of errands today. Stotty - fine to release any other videos of Seiji. Thanks so much again!!


                        • #13
                          Seano, let me know if you can view this clip



                          • #14
                            Stotty -

                            No luck yet with the video, it says "Publishing in Progress" but nothing comes from it.


                            • #15
                              Here guys...hope this helps.



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