New DVD (2 Disk-Set) – "TennisOne's Stroke Secrets: Keys to Better Groundstrokes"
Here it is! – the secrets to better groundstrokes from some of TennisOne's top writers! We've extracted, re-organized, and re-mastered many of the best TennisOne articles, videos, and newsletters on groundstrokes over the past four years.
We've packed 4.5 hours of stunningly crisp video instruction (typically 4-5 DVDs) into this 2 DVD set you'll want to keep in your tennis library for years to come. When you want a tune-up on your groundstrokes, you'll always have the best minds in the game ready at hand.The topics in this 2-DVD set include:
- Quicktips: Grips & Swing Path
- Quicktips: Using the Body
- Quicktips: Tactics & Strategies
- Balance & Posture
- Rotational Drive
- Stop the Chop
- Orientation & Swing Path
- Compact Swing
- Controlled Power
- Effortless Swing
Members Receive a 20% discount
Public – $99.95; TennisOne Members – $79.95 (login first to access)
Tennis Warehouse – New Products – New Wilson Racquets: BLX Blade Tour; Blade 98; Blade Team (Serena's racquet); KSWISS Bigshot shoe; Babolat Pro Hurricane String.
Suspect Second Serves vs. the Best Returner in the Game
Australia is the home of so many of our tennis legends: Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Frank Sedgeman, Lew Hoad, and John Newcombe. And from a more recent era we have Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt. But to return to the "Rock" for the center court is aptly named the Rod Laver Arena – This years's final showed us a match that highlights a quote attributed to the Rocket (as well as many others who truly knew the game), "You are only as good as your second serve."
"You are only as good as your second serve." – Rod Laver
Players keep the ball deep to gain time and reduce the opponent’s angle of play. Said another way, when the opponent is deep and well behind the baseline the ball will take longer to cross the net, and the opponent's hitting angle is smaller than when he is inside the baseline, or inside the service court. But the second serve, by definition, cannot be hit as deep, such that the receiver has more options when returning the second serve than when rallying (often corner to corner) from the baseline.
And on paper, were Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray hitting groundstrokes from the baseline, their skills are comparable. Yes, Novak is now extremely confident from his Davis Cup victory, and his straight set drubbing of Federer in the semi-finals, but again all things being equal – the Australian open finalists both move well, both understand offense and defense, and both can keep the ball in play with error free tennis from the backcourt off both wings.
But (and this is a considerable but), there is a world of difference when it comes to their serves. Over the years in numerous articles I have questioned Murray’s delivery. Oft times the second serve was 80 mph or less (though that is now much better) and his disguise and confidence has been lacking to go for the corners. On this score the best second serve in the game at this point belongs to Roger (and unfortunately for Andy, the best return of serve in the game belongs to Novak).
And these stats are even more telling when broken
down by set.
Statistics always tell the story, and this match held true to form. Murray hit twice as many second serves in the course of the match than did Djokovic. Murray faced 18 break points. Their winning percentage on first serves points played was comparable.
But take a moment with the set-by-set breakdown of points won on second serves. The first set was close, and the score reflects just that. But the second and third sets were a beat down.
Cumlative Effect of Pressure
So to translate all this for either Andy, or for your game and mine – pressure has a cumulative and indelible effect on players. And pressure definitely ratchets up on second serves, and even more so when facing nearly a score of break points. The announcers remarked on Murray’s frame of mind, and even on some uncharacteristically poor footwork. But I chalk this all up to how the mental affects everything else, and how more than any other aspect of the game, the performance on the serve totally influences one’s frame of mind.
Andy’s post match comments totally missed the mark. He said he would continue working hard, trying to improve, training hard, and taking the game seriously. But to truly improve, he will have to make two major adjustments.
Murray Must Retool His Serve
Consider how the pitcher uses his back leg on the pitching rubber, keeping the weight back, and using this leg to initiate the unwinding. When it comes to the serve, Andy and many others use a pinpoint stance, so named because the server brings the back foot forward. Others use a platform stance where the feet do not appreciably move during the service motion (Nadal and Federer for sure). As you contrast the two videos, note the difference in the use of the feet. To my mind, if Pete and Roger and Rafa use a platform stance, and most of the poorly serving women use a pinpoint stance – there must be something to keeping one’s weight back longer and one’s feet still.
Further, Andy does not deliver the second serve with weight, placement, or confidence. Far too many serves landed in the middle of the service box. And this as much as anything else, stoked Novak’s confidence.
Finally there appears to be far too much difference between his first and second serves. Note that the difference in velocity between Novak’s first and second serve was 35 KMH, whereas the difference in velocity between Andy’s first and second serves was 50 KMH. This may sound like we are quibbling with details, but as much as anything else this goes a long way to explaining why he won only 14% and 29% of the points on his second serves in the second and third sets.
Sampras and Federer serve with more spin and speed combined, which occurs from more racquet speed at impact. Notice how much momentum Andy holds in his hand and racquet on the follow through (somehow pushing his hand forward) and contrast this with the whip like hit of a Pete or Roger. Fairly simply, if you want more racquet speed, snap or whip the racquet at the top of the swing. Pronounced follow-throughs like Andy’s actually decrease racquet speed for the service delivery.
Murray Must Play All and Only On His Own
Murray constantly talked to himself and to his box. He even made occasional eye contact with the opposing box. This phenomenon is not uncommon in the modern game, when players have an over-reliance on an entourage that includes coach, trainer, nutritionist, and so much more. But at the end of the day, this is a solitary game, head to head, no one in the corner like they have in boxing, no timeouts like in basketball. Federer provides the model; he is focused, he does not berate himself; and he is in control of his winning and losing and is responsible to himself.
Similarly, Pat Cash, winner of the 1987 Wimbledon final, described keeping his entire mind within the confines of the court. No dialogue, no looks to the crowd or his box. Just going about his business, quietly, confidently, without distraction. Perhaps it was the pressure of the moment and Novak’s peerless play – but as regards Andy, we did not see a demonstration of “mentally tough.” On the other hand, before occasional points I noticed Novak actually seemed to smile – enjoying the moment and the competition.
Take a few moments on your own to evaluate and compare the two service deliveries shown here. Darren Cahill remarked on the incredible improvement in Novak’s serve, where in 2010 his double faults outnumbered his aces (an incredible stat)! Andy can, if not must, make a similar improvement with his delivery. All his opponents comment on his talent, and how somehow someday he will capture a Grand Slam. It will all have to start with his serve, and his attitude.
Jim McLennan's DVD is in the TennisOne Writer’s Store:
- "Building Your Serve from the Ground Up," Jim McLennan Members – Public
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
Techniques for a Better Warm-Up
You enter a tournament or league play, rally with your opponent during the allotted warm-up period allowed, then proceed to play your worst. If this scenario sounds all too familiar, perhaps you're not sufficiently preparing yourself to start the match. Here, Jack Broudy takes you through a proper pre-match warm-up and shows you how to get connected to the racquet, the ball, and your opponent.
Improving Your Underspin Backhand
The underspin backhand is an important component of the game. It can get you out of a jam, you can use it as an approach shot or a change of pace, and you can keep the ball low and out of your opponent's strike zone. But if your slice tends to float and sit up, it can get you into trouble. Monty Basnyat has some ideas on how to get your slice to bite, just like the pros.
TennisOne Classic: Jelena Dokic and the Millennium Forehand
When studying the top players in the world it is important to understand that in almost every instance, you will find flaws in their technique. However, the big difference in top athletes is that, while under pressure, they can reproduce optimal technique more often than their opponents. Here, touring coach, Heat Waters, using former top four player, Jelena Dokic as his model, shows you the good, the bad, and the ugly of the modern forehand.
ProStrokes 2.0 – Richard Gasquet's Forehand
This flashy tour veteran is still looking for a breakthrough year – elegant one handed backhand, plays from all parts of the court, including the net – but perhaps his window is beginning to close. He plays a classic version of the modern game, especially on the backhand wing. And he numbers among a crop of extremely good Frenchmen, but lately Monfils, LLodra, and Tsonga have been more to the center of the stage.
TennisOne Writers Store
One of your many new benefits as a TennisOne membership is your ability to purchase selected instructional DVDs at 20% off ($7.50 off each) in our new TennisOne Writers Store (login in first to access members links):
- "Building Your Serve from the Ground Up," Jim McLennan Members Public
- "Building Your Ground Game," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Building a Kick Serve," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Underspin Backhand - Weapon," Jim McLennan Members Public
- "Achieving Peak Performance the Wholistic Way: The Mental Game," Happy Bhalla Members – Public
- "Building a World Class Serve," Phil Dent Members – Public
- "Building a World-class Volley," Dave Smith Members – Public
- "Keys to Modern Tennis Technique: One-Handed Topspin," Doug King Members Public
- "Best of Ken DeHart," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Corrective Techniques & Myths," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Defeating the Monsters in Your Mind," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Skills, Drills, and Games for Beginning Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
- "Drills for Intermediate Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Drills for Advanced Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
- Click here to see all the benefits of a TennisOne Membership.
- Click here to sign up for a risk-free, TennisOne 30 day free trial membership.
Copyright Notice: The contents of the TennisONE web site and contents forwarded to you by TennisONE are intended for your personal, noncommercial use. Republishing of TennisONE content in any way, including framing or posting of these materials on other Web sites, is strictly prohibited. See our full copyright statement
If you wish to be removed from our newsletter list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and leave the subject line blank. A confirmation email will be sent to you, and you will be removed from our newsletter list once you reply to that confirmation. If trouble unsubscribing, simply email us with a request to unsubscribe at: email@example.com