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  1. #1
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    Aug 2008
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    mishitting the ball

    Recently, i've developed the habit of mishitting the ball. I hit it from the side rather than the center of the racket and keep hitting the frame. This happens off groundstokes and the serve. Can someone give me tips to overcome this?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by athard View Post
    Recently, i've developed the habit of mishitting the ball. I hit it from the side rather than the center of the racket and keep hitting the frame. This happens off groundstokes and the serve. Can someone give me tips to overcome this?

    Thanks.
    3 Little Words - Watch the Ball

    To briefly elaborate, there is no way you can tell us that you are watching the ball if you are mishitting or framing the ball occasionally. Try watching the ball from the point of contact. A wise old friend of mine once told me, "When you are hitting your shot, never pay attention to where your opponent is standing or look at where you want the ball to go. All you need to concentrate on is the ball making contact with the racquet." Now I'll tell you that even the Pros watch the ball and you might think you've seen plenty of Pros not watch the ball but the fact is, they all learn to do that above all else. The more you do it the faster you get at it.

    So the next time you go out, make an effort to keep your eyes on the contact and let us know how that worked for you. One more thing I would ask. Do you have the ability to Video your practice sessions? Can you either set up a video camera on a tripod or have a friend tape you hitting? That is the very best way for you to see what it is you are doing while you play.

    Many people think they are hitting and following through like the Pros but if the ball isn't doing what you want it to do, then the truth is, you are not hitting the ball as you might believe you are.

    Another point of interest. Since you are framing the ball, is it going wide or is it going inward. In other words, if you are standing in the center of the court, does the ball travel off to your right side or left side? If it's traveling from your racquet to your RIGHT side, then you are making contact too late. If it is traveling to your LEFT side, you are making contact too early. Most times, it's too late and the player is hitting from the side of their body or behind them.
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  3. #3
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    One more point I need to make about your problem. How quickly are you bringing your racquet back. Some of my kids tend to watch the ball a little to long and then bring their stick back and by that time, the ball has gone by you.

    At the moment you can tell if your shot will be a backhand or forehand shot, your racquet needs to be ready for striking.
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2008
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    Coach,

    i used to bring my racket back early, but upon reading some wegner method tips, i wait for the bouce. is that wrong?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by athard View Post
    Coach,

    i used to bring my racket back early, but upon reading some wegner method tips, i wait for the bouce. is that wrong?
    **This Post has been amended by me due to being in a conversation while trying to respond, I did not reply in the manner that made sense to me**


    First off, I can not nor will not second guess any Coaches methods of training. Every Trainer has a different approach to the game. Some are better than others. I am not as familiar with Mr. Wegner's methods to be supportive or critical, however I will say this, If I am playing against an opponent who is parked waiting for the ball to bounce before they get their Stick in position to strike, I'm going to win that match without doubt. Unless there is more to his philosophy than simply waiting for the ball to make contact with the Court before you pull your racquet back, I'd say I wouldn't teach that method for my kids. If you can Copy & Paste that particular lesson so we can read it, maybe I can figure out what it is that he is trying to convey. But on the other hand, if you watch the Pros, how many of them are practicing that method? If you can point to one of the Top Pros who is waiting, let me know who it is and I'll take a look. My guess, you'll have a hard time finding one. Take Andre Agassi for example. Arguably the best ground stroker in the business, would have his racquet back before the ball even crossed the net. So Mr. Wegner's idea(s) must have been misunderstood or quite possibly some new approach I'm not familiar with and I'm all for learning new ideas but that would be the first thing I'd point at with mis-hit balls for sure.


    Actually when striking ground strokes, depending on what your style is, has much to do with how you approach your attack on the ball. I am a advocate of hitting on the rise. I can't speak enough of the benefits regarding that technique.

    If you don't wait for the bounce, you are hitting volleys all day long which is awesome if you can pull that off but the ball is going to bounce at some point or another. It's not about the bounce, it's about how long do you wait after that.

    When you hit on the rise, you are striking the ball at its' apex which tends to produce a flatter drive low margin of error but very difficult to deal with on the opponent's side because that shot will stay low with serious pace making them have to hit up and if you happen to follow it in, wham bam add another point in your column. If however you wait that extra second for the ball to start its' decline from the apex of its' rise, then you are attempting to hit a top spin shot were the majority of players tend to hang out. Top Spin is the King of Swing amongst Pros & Club Level Players.

    Sometimes we tend to watch the ball a little too long. Bringing your stick back early isn't a problem bcuz you will only bring it back once you've determined if it's a backhand or forehand response. What I've been discussing is the contact point (only). Watching the Ball is monumental in producing cleaner contact with the ball. It has no barring on whether you wait for it to bounce or hit a volley approach, keeping your eye on the ball is what will resolve the mis-hitting occurrence.
    Last edited by Coach; 09-03-2008 at 05:03 PM.
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2008
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    coach, i get what you're saying. but i wanted to make one thing clear. i think you understood me as saying that i hit the ball before the bounce. what i meant was that i pick my shot, the forehand or the backhand, but i don't start my backswing until the ball has bounced. however, it is a problem if my opponent is hitting hard shots, because i have less time. thanks for your tips. i can't wait to get on the courts on Sunday. i'll let you know how it goes.

  7. #7
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    Something very important to understand about the game of Tennis. I actually had a conversation with Rod Laver in 1995 when he was in New Haven, CT. at the last Volvo Tournament, formerly played at Stratton Mountain and now called the Pilot Pen Tournament. I found myself in a position where Rod Laver, Fred Stolle, Roy Emerson and Cliff Drysdale were my responsibility in how they got around the Town of New Haven and neighboring vicinity. Of course being in such remarkable company, I didn't hesitate to take as much advantage of the situation as I could without taking them hostage. I remember many things they talked about but the one thing Rod Laver mentioned that is pertinent to this conversation is, "Tennis is a series of emergencies and how one handles those emergencies directly relates to how good of a player you become"

    What he meant was, when a ball is struck by an opponent, you are facing a number of decisions within fractions of a second. Many of those decisions are reactionary physical adjustments one makes like foot movement and body trajectory getting to the ball, planting your feet to establish enough balance for a suitable reply. Those are the easiest to manage because they mainly relay upon instinct given one generally never makes a verbal command to your feet to move. However the other set of decisions one must make at the moment your opponent strikes the ball are the more serious which will determine whether you are going to find yourself in Defense or Offense.

    1. How fast is the ball coming?
    2. How hard was is it coming?
    3. How high or low?
    4. Is it directed to your strong side or weak side? (more on that later)
    5. Is your opponent at the net positioned for your reply?
    6. Can you control the pace?
    7. Is your racquet in position to strike it cleanly?


    Those are some examples of instant identifying attributes that you must calculate all within a matter of one or two seconds tops that qualify as a series of emergencies. If fast pace tend to rattle you and your opponent hits hard fast pace shots with ease, then you are hitting with the wrong person.
    I firmly believe one gets better when they play with partners at a higher level however it can work against you as well. Sometimes, one can find themselves going for more than they can handle.

    My advice is, if you are hitting at a consistent 3.5 level do not play with anyone higher than 4.0 for awhile until you get your ground strokes grooved.
    I have no idea what level you are when you say "Advanced" however my point is "Mis-Hitting" is directly related to.

    1. Late Preparation (such as when your racquet is ready for strike and/or making contact too late or off the back foot instead of your body moving forward)
    2. Inadequate Positioning (such as being opposite of where the ball is going)
    3. Inadequate Reactions (such as Pace)

    Lastly, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and every other top level Pro in the ATP & WTA have Coaches that are constantly working on their game. There NEVER comes a time when these Players are so good they don't need Coaching any more. So please do not feel insulted when I say, the very best way to get your game back to where you know it once was or better is hooking up with an instructor for a couple of weeks to fine tune your movements and then go out there and kick some butt.
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  8. #8
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    Oh no offence taken at all. your advice is good. I think part of my problem is that my movements are slower. my mishitting problem wasn't there a couple of years ago, but then i had a break from the game and put on some weight. although i am not fat by any means, i am more sluggish moving around the court. i have also been hitting the ball a bit too early. instead of letting it get to me, i hit the ball in front of my body and that affects the direction and power. whenever i try to hit the ball slow, i hit is well, but when i try for power, i get eager and hit early.

    I think i just need to get on the court with a good player and hit some balls for an hour or so to fine tune my game. the guy i play with currently is not very good so i get a lot of loopy balls falling to the center of the court. it's hard to get into rhythm.

    as far as my serve is concerend, i figured it out. it is partly my weight and partly because i wasn't bending my back enough. also, got over eager and started swinging early. my timing is totally off, i need to get a bucket of balls and hit the court.

    i'm 30 now, but when i was a junior, around 14, i had the chance to hit with Leander Paes. That wa a thrill. At that time, he still had a flicker of hope for a singles career. I love your comment about tenning being an emergency. that is a great way to look at things.

  9. #9

    Note From Oscar On Taking The Racquet Back

    I contacted Oscar and he says, "If you observe carefully all the top players, including Agassi and Federer, they stalk the ball with the racquet in front of their bodies, until AFTER the bounce, then they make their strokes continuously. Do not confuse the unit turn with taking the racquet back. Go to www.tennisteacher.com to see more tips in this regard and others."

    If you would like to continue this discussion please go to the thread entitled "On Taking The Racquet Back" on Oscar Wegner's TW Modern Tennis Methodology Forum.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by athard View Post
    I love your comment about tenning being an emergency. that is a great way to look at things.
    Well like I said, that actually came from the Man himself, Mr. Rod Laver and I sure hope he didn't patent it. But you understood the point I see and like you, it opened my eyes to a different philosophy as well. Even though I've been playing since .. well let's just say, a few years longer than you, I still learn from as many situations as possible.

    I learn from watching matches on TV
    I learn from watching my kids hit. Some of them are damn good and have the beginnings of a promising career if they stay with it. Many of my kids approach the game with no fear and I love to see that. They hit out on almost every ball. Interesting thing is, in the beginning when they were spraying balls all over the place, now most of those balls are going in.
    I learn from reading Post by other Members on what they do or have learned.
    I've always been a sponge with this game because as soon as you think you're hot, someone comes along that beats you.
    Shanda Lewis if you're still around and possibly a member here, you were one of the worse losses I ever had. I approached the match against this wonderful lady in Huntington Beach, Calif. some years back. I thought I'd hit clean and moderate pace so we could just rally back & forth but soon this young lady began hitting winners and I remember saying to myself, "Ok you want to play huh, well you messed with the wrong guy, time to teach you a thing about Tennis" 45mins later, I was down 2-6 3-6 2-3 when she had to stop because she broke her strings with no replacement and my sticks were too heavy for her. Although I didn't serve like I would normally against a guy (sorry no offense to the ladies here but I prefer to win by how I set up the point) her ground game was excellent. There was very little I could tell her about her overall game that needed fixing. We did play a few more times but that first day, I got a spanking and I enjoyed every moment of it

    Glad you told me you were 30. I thought you were an old fart who has no legs anymore and pretty much topped off were you're going to be from now on .. ha ha just joking. My God. you have all the time in the World to hone your game back to where it was and better. I had incredible court speed through most of my 40s'. So my suggestion to you is >

    Use the Treadmill to work your legs (BUT NOT BEFORE A MATCH) you might cramp up if you don't stretch them well enough.
    Roller Blade to increase your Calf muscles which is crucial to your maneuvering.
    Bike ride for your endurance or better yet,
    Swim if you have access to a pool or beach.
    Play Soccer for your lateral movement enhancement and footwork. You can do that by yourself actually. Just go out onto a field and control the ball as you move along.
    Have a friend hit alternate forehand & backhand shots to the corners so that you have to run, stop setup and hit, then run to the opposite side to do the same,over & over. It doesn't have to be fast pace. Actually, it would be better if your partner keep the pace very moderate to slow until you build your movement back up. All of these will increase your stamina and get your body into shape before you know it.

    Short Story: I met a young lady who had just come to the US and didn't speak English very well but liked to play Tennis. She was hitting against the wall when I met her and asked if she wanted to hit. So we did and she was very steady but she hit extremely slow pace balls. There was absolutely no meat on her shots and I had to adjust in order to keep the ball going back & forth. I knew she had good clearance over the net but seemed afraid to hit out, so I called her to the Net and this is what I said to her ....

    Caution - The following might not be suitable for anyone under 18 yrs old. If you are under 18 yrs old, I'd suggest you stop reading from this point. sure you will

    Anyway, I asked her if she ever had sex before. Of course I got a very strange look from her but before I allowed her to get nervous about my question, I went on to say, "What I mean is this, maybe when you have a sexual encounter, you might make a sound like, aah or oooo etc. What I want you to do when you hit the ball is make that sound upon contact. Push the air out from your mouth and make it audible. I don't care how loud it is but make that sound on every hit."
    She apparently understood because not only did she start making that aahhh sound but her shots instantly got harder to a point where I began to scramble for the return. I created a monster to my enjoyment and it all happened within moments. Funny thing about Tennis, sometimes you can make the most incredible adjustments to your game within seconds if someone is willing to tell you what you are doing wrong. Those are the partners you want to find because they should know, the better you are, the better game you both will have.

    Ok kids, you can start reading again
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

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