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Spacing: the Final Frontier: Part 1

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  • klacr
    replied
    Awesome article. Dave Hagler has some real gems in terms of articles on this site which I have learned quite a bit from. This is another one. The problem with spacing is something that all coaches have witnessed in many of their beginner to intermediate players. The problem is making that diagnosis and correction can lead to confusion and for a coach with an untrained eye can lead down a rabbit hole of technical paralysis by analysis. Dave shows some great drills that can not only help with spacing but also balance.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA, PTR
    Boca Raton
    SETS Consulting

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  • stotty
    replied
    I think these are great drills for practicing clearing steps, which are so essential in tennis. I would say the drills are more for advanced players, although they can be dumbed down for weaker players. I am not sure advanced players have too much trouble with spacing. Spacing tends to be more of a problem for beginners, from my experience. Most beginners cannot use the left arm like the pro's do to create space and balance. Players generally have to be of a certain level to use the left arm effectively. For beginners, it's experience of playing and subsequently learning to read the flight of the ball that ultimately helps them learn spacing. Not sure there are any shortcuts to that.

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  • jthb1021
    replied
    I find especially on the forehand side players that have spacing issues typically have either a combination of a late first move, weak opposite arm stretch, or pull out of that stretch position too quickly. I like your drills and will implement those, but I personally have them focus on enjoying a stronger left arm stretch until the start of the forward swing seems to fix this on its own. For some players I have them move to the ball and imagine the spacing you’d need to catch the ball with that left arm stretch. It gets them in the neighborhood spacing wise where they can extend. Thanks for sharing I look forward to your next article.

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  • doctorhl
    replied
    Great stuff John and David! It just seems that the athletic ability to use the feet and lower body for positioning in Tennis is just now getting the same amount of attention that the upper body has received over the last few decades. I would have self rated my upper body at a 4.5 recreational level and my lower body at a 4.0 level. But all my emphasis for improvement was put on upper body over the years.

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  • johnyandell
    replied
    I have a different take on all this. If a player truly understands and feels his hitting arm structure and his contact point, that will drive him to naturally space accordingly. What's great about Dave's drills is they force players to create that over and over by moving in unexpected ways.

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  • DavidLHagler
    replied
    doctorhl - this is a great question! I'm going to assume you meant "than for the functional forehand.and that the same ..." My question to you is, "Why would this be true?" Optimal spacing would be different, but I don't see why it would require greater efficiency. I have seen video of forehands where Federer, Verdasco and Nadal hit forehands with a contact point that is closer to the body than what is "normal" for them. In terms of backhands, it would seem a lot depends on stance, and in some ways (and for some balls) a one-handed player would be able to adjust / adapt more readily than a two handed player. One handed backhands are "front shoulder" shots, and one handers would seem to have an advantage when they are jammed. A guy like Shapovalov seems to be able to do a lot with his backhand even when he can't optomize stance / spacing, etc. But in terms of optimizing spacing, I'm not sure one technique requires more efficient footwork than another. Where there seems to be the most difference is the way players adapt when they have to.

    There are TennisPlayer readers who have seen tons of video. It would be great if some of you would weigh in on this.

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  • doctorhl
    replied
    David, Any thoughts on spacing for the positional straight arm Federer/ Nadal type forehand versus the functional double bend arm forehand? (see Brian Gordon's article for this month). It seems that the positional forehand might require more efficient footwork for proper distancing than for the functional backhand and that the same might go for a one hand backhand versus a two handed backhand.

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  • DavidLHagler
    replied
    Thank you very much Brian. I've learned and continue to learn so much from your articles. You and Tennisplayer have and will continue to help me become a better Coach.- Dave

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  • BrianGordon
    replied
    This is an excellent article - thanks for covering this VERY important concept Dave.

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  • johnyandell
    started a topic Spacing: the Final Frontier: Part 1

    Spacing: the Final Frontier: Part 1

    Let's get your thoughts on Dave Hagler's article, "Spacing: the Final Frontier: Part 1"

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