Articles

Glueless - Player Analysis

Greg,

Here are a couple of 2 minute clips of me doing my morning drills. It is my daily
exercise and I do each one for 20 minutes with a 5 minute break in between. Each of these is minutes 15-17 so that I am fully warmed up but not exhausted yet. (hopefully!)

The first thing you'll probably notice is the fact that I use a windshield wiper grip.
For pictures of my exact grip check out this forum post here:

http://forum.oneofakindtrading.com.au/viewtopic.php?t=5171

One of the many great things about this grip, aside from having no crossover point, is the fact that I use the same rubber for forehand as well as backhand. This means that I can use the backside of my racket by simply rolling my wrist over. This is how I am doing my chopping and also how I return no spin and underspin balls if I so choose. Alternatively, I can loop with the inverted. This is also how I will be chopping -- with the pimples on the backside of my blade. Those pimples are Gambler Peace Keeper which are medium pips made out of an anti-spin material.

A couple of things that I noticed immediately upon watching these videos is that I'm not getting quite enough shoulder rotation on my forehands (I think at least) and that my balance is often leaning on the left leg. One of the things that I am constantly focusing on during this exercise is trying to keep my weight balanced on both feet. I still have some work to do on that.

Anyway, here they are:

FH-FH drill - 7MB, 2min

FH-BH drill - 7MB, 2min

Video - Greg's Demo and Thoughts

856x480 pixels - 69MB, 424x240 pixels - 39MB. (17 min 30 sec)


Written Analysis

Hi Glueless,

Here's what I picked up on after a couple of viewings of your videos. Bear in mind that this will seem pretty critical, since I'm focusing mainly on where you could improve, not what you are already doing right.

  1. Stance - this is much too narrow. You need to get those feet out to at least shoulder width and a bit. Preferable 1 1/2 times shoulder width or more. You want a good bend in your knees as well. You'll feel it immediately in your thighs when you do this, and you might not be able to do it for long to start with, but a wide base is very important if we want to maximise our power, as we'll see later.
  2. Upright torso - much too upright. Your upper body remains near vertical throughout the stroke. A slight forward lean is preferred to allow better balance and better weight transfer through the stroke, which will give you more power.
  3. Shoulder turn - you are correct, there isn't enough shoulder turn. This is more evident on your BH-FH video, where you have virtually no shoulder turn on the FH whatsoever, instead you are just using an arm loop. Check out the video in slow motion, and it's clear that you have no shoulder turn when going from your backhand to your forehand. This also ties in with a wide stance and forward lean. With your current stance and upright body, it's very difficult for you to get a good shoulder turn, because you would spin yourself off balance. Wide legs and a forward lean help you stay balanced throughout the shoulder rotation.
  4. Hip rotation - this is virtually non-existent, and this will definitely cut down the amount of power you can get when attacking. Watch the position of your hips in slow-motion, and you'll notice that they hardly move at all. The legs and hips are where good loopers and drivers generate most of their power from. It's like a golf swing - watch Tiger turn those hips around and back. Your hips should start the rotation forward into the ball when looping and smashing, but in order to do that, what do you need? A wider stance and forward lean so you can stay balanced while rotating.
  5. Weight on left leg - this is a symptom of your narrow stance etc. Widen out your legs and lean forward a bit and you'll find that your weight will shift from the left leg, to the right, and then back to neutral as you perform the stroke.
  6. Follow through - I don't much like the turning over of your bat on the FH follow through. Watch in slow motion and you'll see you turn your wrist and forearm over. This is an unnecessary movement, and can cause problems if you are hitting more powerful strokes and your timing is a bit off, since you might start turning your arm over before actually hitting the ball, thus changing your bat angle before contact. So if you have a tendency to spray the ball to your right when hitting hard or under pressure, you now know what is causing it. Not to mention that when hitting harder, the turning of your arm to the side will cause your follow through to drag across your body, throwing your off balance and increasing your recovery time. I'd recommend following through in a salute type motion instead, with your bat finishing just to the left side of your centre line. This will give you better balance and stand up better under pressure, and when you are playing bigger strokes.
  7. No free arm use - some players (such as Jorgen Persson) can get away with not using their free arm throughout the forehand stroke. Jorgen leaves it dangling by his side where it can at least help out with balancing him a bit, while you have yours tucked up and across your body. I can't help but imagine that you must just about spin like an ice-skater when you try to bring on the power. If you can get your free arm pointing out in front of your body more (as if you were walking, and had your arm half raised), then you can allow it to turn with your shoulders, and it will help your balance much more.
  8. Your BH technique is quite solid, even though your grip is unorthodox. You are in a fairly good position to hit the ball, and your stroke itself looks pretty good - smooth and balanced. Notice also that you do lean forward a little when hitting your backhand, which is a good thing. Your feet could be wider and knees bent a bit more, of course. But on the whole I quite like your BH. Notice also where you put your free arm for hitting backhands - this should be where it goes for hitting forehands as well - and then it turns automatically when your shoulders turn for the forehand.
  9. Because your stance is narrow, when you straighten your knees during your forehand, you end up virtually standing up straight at the end of the stroke. Some straightening of the knees is recommended to help lift the ball, but from a much lower starting position, so that the knees are still a bit bent at the finish of the stroke.

OK - that's probably enough for now. As you can see, I think you could improve your FH stroke in leaps and bounds simply by getting down lower, and widening out your stance. It's tougher on the legs but it will have great results in terms of power, consistency and recovery to the next stroke. Add a forward lean, and you will now be able to get your hip rotation starting your forward motion, which will naturally lead into waist rotation and shoulder rotation. Try it and you'll be amazed at the results.

More minor issues involved your FH follow through, which is unnecessarily complicated, and the lack of use of your free arm. Making improvements here will give you slightly better results when under pressure or hitting hard, since your balance should be better.

Hope this helps,

Greg

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