Thursday, November 29, 2012

Working out with Nikesh on 30th November 2012

After working out with Nikesh a few weeks ago where I finally got to split-step regularly, learning to put-away short balls and well as a down-the-line and backhand volley combination, I decided that it was time to finally to learn to move back efficiently while being lobbed by pushers :-)

We started off by warning up with FH and BH on a mini-tennis basis.

Subsequently, it was FH time and I was able to easily return Nikesh FH :-) but in the process, discovered that on a fast and deep ball, I was hugging myself on the return and not following through completely :-(

BH hitting was a revelation as Nikesh exposed the fact that I was returning more continental rather than Eastern BH. Need to consciously change grip :-( In addition, I was not stepping forward to utilise my legs and body weight and was basically arming the BH. Later I realised that I was not turning my shoulder enough ie 'shoulder under the chin' and when I did did, the topspin was more pronounced :-)

Next was the drive volley. I have a pretty effective overhead (that came with hitting 50 overhead a day) but there are many occasions where the ball is high but yet not high enough for an overhead. I had tried doing it but it was an unmitigated disaster. With Nikesh guidance, I was able to do it with emphasis on holding the stick high, step forward and follow through over the shoulder. Hmmm... the makings of a new weapon :-D

A couple of years ago, I was back peddling furiously to retrieve a lob and could not stop my backward momentum , fell down backwards and hit the back of my head :-( Fortunately, I was not badly injured.
Since then, I had a fear of moving back to try to return a drop. As I occassionaly serve and volley, being lobbed when at net is a common occurrance. Nikesh started testing my static overhead and was satisfied with it. He then asked me to hit a FH volley and then a BH volley followed by a lob. On hitting the BH volley down the line, I quickly drop-stepped and move diagonally by using cross-over steps. Guess what, I was able to make most of the overheads ! Another new weapon that is screaming to be tried out tomorrow at our weekend double matches :-)

Footnote, a relevant video by Jeff Salzenstein


Thursday, November 8, 2012

4D Kick Serve

Training Tip: The Drop Step

Solo Practice Diary : 8th Nov 2012

Started warm up with the Prepping like a Pro videos Part I & Part II

Practiced with my customised Biomimetic 100 (customised to be somewhat similar specs like the Wilson BLX ProStaff 90 ) this morning :-
a) Strung Wt=363g
b) Balance=30.96 mm (10.5 pts HL)
c) Swing Wt= 341.1 g/cm2 was previously 327.3
d) 6g lead tape at 10 N 2 (as recommended by Chris Edwards of Tennis Warehouse), was previously 2.2g
e) 6g stuck underneath the butt cap
f) 15g stuff inside the butt trapdoor
g) Solinco overgrip (5g)
h) Dunlop damper (2g)

I had previously had 2.2g @ 10 N 2 but decided to make it 6g to make it play like the Bio 200 as the strung weight of the BIO 200 was 330 as compared to the Bio 200's 336.

Serves, topspin/slices/flat serves pretty crisp using the same alignment to the net post. Concentrated on finding the ball well. Drop smashes also satisfactory and concentrated on OW tip about catching the ball before smashing.

Loaded up the Tennis Cube machine and practiced about 360 balls. FH OK but slices and topspin backhands not so satisfactory :-(

Also drop hit near the service line to simulate short balls and used windshield wiper to get it over but not long.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Prepping like a Pro: Stretching for Tennis, Part II

Prepping Like a Pro

Solo Practice Diary : 1st Nov 2012

Started warm up with the Prepping like a Pro videos Part I & II and discovered that it alleviated my left heel problem... particularly the side-way stretch in Part II

Practiced with my customised Biomimetic 200 Lite stick this morning with the following specs :-
a) Strung Wt=351.5g
b) Balance=30.47mm (12pts HL)
c) Swing Wt= 313.3 g/cm2
d) 1.5g lead tape at 3 N 9
e) 6g stuck underneath the butt cap
f) 12g stuff inside the butt trapdoor
g) Solinco overgrip (5g)
h) Babolat damper (1g)

Drop hit 65 balls laterally with both semi-open and open-stance forehands. Was hitting long.

Remedy: removed (d) 1.5g lead tape at 3 N 9

Result : No more long balls :-)

BTW, in the drop hit, I was also practising lagging the racquet head as recommended by Christopher from Tennis Oxygen in this video 

 Moved to the other side of the net and picked up the balls where they landed earlier and with a hammer-grip, bounced the ball high and smashed... all when it and I like the feel of the smash.
Also toss the ball behind me to simulate lobs and smashed.  All OK but discovered that about 1 foot from the baseline, most of these smashes went to the net.  Recalling a tip from the '300 tips by a Sebian Coach', I allowed the ball to bounce first before smashing... yes that worked :-) Also learnt to smash low by bending knees.

Practiced 130 serves... flat, slices to the T, topspin. Also tried speeding up topspin serves. Found the serves to the T from the Ad court effective. Also decide to learn to serve deceptively all 3 types of serves by tossing the ball in the same direction ie in line with the net post... Able to execute with the customised Bio200Lite stick :-)