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Tennis Notes

June 15th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
Personal tennis notes for myself.  I am ambidextrous and play tennis with both hands (or two rackets), so I've had to come to my own conclusions on a lot of things.  I also trained initially under a coach who basically had me hit every shot with an extreme western(?) grip for top spin, even on serves both hands (which results in inside-out slice serve, I think - not sure what it's called), so most advice I get has often not been helpful (especially things like suggesting *not* to use such an extreme grip).  My grip is actually rotated to the point it is actually a continental grip, except I hit with the outside face instead which is the complete opposite and forces you to over-rotate to meet the ball and creates the kick in top-spin.  The hand motion without a racket looks like I am hitting the ball with the back of my hand instead of the palm.  I went through some phases in my life post-college where I was repeatedly told I was holding the racket wrong or hitting the wrong way by many coaches before getting all mixed up and having to unlearn everything to return to how I was originally hitting, which feels most natural and has most potency in my shots.

- Ground strokes: Overturn the racket to the point it's almost a continental grip, but you are hitting with the outside face instead to force maximum top-spin.  This requires you to step forward with the inside foot to generate enough power from unrestricted body rotation, which looks like the opposite of the closed position most people (and coaches) will tell you, but you have to do this because the amount of rotation in the grip will naturally angle the ball towards where you step forward with your inside foot instead of cutting across the body like a traditional shot (basically every ground stroke is an inside-out shot because of how overturned the grip is).  Hit as hard as you want without worrying about hitting out, as the top spin always keeps it in court.  Maximize arc of swing and follow-through under the shoulder of opposite arm until racket is upside-down; do not cut follow-through short, as that will kill the power in the shot.  Grip tightly for power, accuracy, and spin; focus on hand to generate whipping action and rotation via wrist and elbow, not the swing of the shoulder.  Keep racket out in front to avoid hitting from behind, losing power.  Catch ball on rise or in air when you can, minimize swing and just windshield-wipe action on these occasions.  Start in open stance and rise up into the ball when possible. When you do want to hit cross court or into the short corner, exaggerate your follow-through and fully rotate your body without holding back, as if you were going to hit out (which it would with any other grip).  When running forward, aim down or just only use windshield-wipe action, as you have enough momentum already but make sure to still follow-through all the way or it'll just hit the net.  When the ball is slow or easy (or too much in front of you to top-spin without clipping the frame), flatten out by directing your swing forward instead of doing a top-spin arc; finish the follow-through over the shoulder but racket facing down instead of twisted upside-down and out.  There is no grip change, just change in where you direct momentum of your swing (up for top-spin, forward/out for flat).

- Serve: Same over-turned near-continental grip as ground-stroke with the racket facing down if you were to hold it in front of you, but you are hitting with the side facing up towards you, which again is the opposite side of most people.  It forces you to rotate the side facing up towards you a full 180 degrees to cup the ball down as you serve, rather than chipping to the side like a traditional kick or slice serve.  Throw the ball in front of you, slightly out to the side, not directly above, and keep it lower than what most people will tell you.  Aim straight down and lean/jump into serve but with follow through out to the side to apply kick/spin (and also to avoid hitting your leg); don't hold back, always hit as hard as possible in order to keep it in the court.  Focus on hand/wrist action and whipping motion again, not swing of shoulder.  The spin will pretty much guarantee it over the net.  Follow-through with racket facing out behind you in almost a bowing action.  Finish with the racket facing up for slice and facing down (from pronating the wrist) for topspin/kick.  When done right with enough power, the ball does not have a second bounce (except into the fence), and it should still spin enough to angle out to the side.  If you mess up or frame the ball, check that your grip is really overturned, not less, and make sure the follow-through and swing is directed out to your opposite side, not more downward.  Make sure most the action is in the wrist/elbow with racket whipped downward to the side and not swinging the whole body or shoulder; overall shoulder movement should be minimal and not straining.  Because of the grip, the cupping/spin action is required to make proper contact or else you hit the ball with the edge or frame of the racket.  When not having played a long time, warm-up slowly with slower accurate serves.  If hurting shoulder or elbow, then need to focus on just using the wrist/elbow and not trying to use the shoulder.  The rest of the arm/body follows rather than you having to force the shoulder.

- Volleys/net: Still same grip (no matter what anyone else says), but when possible, catch the ball on side of racket facing you (or upwards) instead of the other side normally used.  This is the same side that hits the ball as when you are serving.  Basically becomes an extreme eastern/continental grip without needing to actually change grip.  Avoid swinging and just do an ever so slight downward chip to drop-shot the ball.

- Returning serves: Keep crouched down very low to be able to see the ball better, as at my height the top strip on the net completely blocks my view.  Jog in place to keep light on my feet and be able to move quickly; it's not enough just to stand at the balls of the feet, have to be jogging in place.  Watch and focus on the ball from toss to serving over the net to be able to track it and not react too late.  Follow through more on my swing even though I don't pull back as much in prep.  Grip tightly and as usual focus on wrist action; hitting with loose wrist or grip will make the ball go out more easily rather than keep it in with spin and direction.

- 2 rackets, 1 for each hand
- Head Protector Mid-plus, 4 1/8 in grip for main racket.
- NH Weight-Lifting Crossfit Workout Fitness Gloves
- Head Ultimate Grip (dry/leathery feel), second-choice Tourna Thin Grip 1.25mm
- Yonex Dry Overgrip
- Head Rip Control 17g strings at 57lb tension for comfort.  Also Solinco Tour Bite 18g + TNT16 hybrid at 57lb tension for more spin.
- Babolat RPM Blast 18g String at 52lb tension to play serious (but not for everyday due to easy tennis elbow injury, especially if strung too tight or strings go dead).
- Head smartsorb dampener.

I need to promise myself to never play indoors or at night anymore, since I have vision problems and people assume me to be an absolute beginner when that happens.
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