The hazard of following my advice in How to Be Your Own Best Tennis Pro is that you have no one but yourself to come up with ideas on what to work on next, plus you really can’t effectively evaluate your own strokes because there is almost certain to be an enormous gap between what you intend to / what you think you are doing and what you are actually doing.
Video (a.k.a. the Wrath of God) is the cure for such delusions, but even then, unless you have some technical knowledge you won’t know what you are doing wrong even when you can see it.
But let’s assume that you do know and have a good idea of what you should be doing even though the lyin’ eyes of the camera say you’re not there yet.
For me I’m constantly tweaking my strokes, hoping to come with something I cam settle on as my actual preferred form for each stroke.
This or that online video may give me an idea of something to try out.
All of my strokes are more or less under construction, and subject to change.
The phrase “I’m working on…” can easily be applied to any of them at a given time.
I often have four or five variations on the serve to choose from, with one or two being in the front of the line in terms of actual match play selections. If the top choices aren’t working in the context of a competitive set I may regress to a previous more reliable one, just to get the ball in.
On the forehand I’ve experimented with multiple positions for preparing the racket on the take back: Straight up with the racket face to the side fence, straight back behind me – face toward the ground, et al. This is all just ideas and experimentation on my own, with mixed results.
So, it is a wonderful thing when I happen upon a video that addresses this very point. See this one, sent to me by Aron today:
(By the way – I listen to these guys a lot – I’ve bought some of their coursework.)
In any case I was thrilled with this stuff, and was out trying it out today. It really pulls together a lot of what I was seeing in Dominik Thiem and Novak Djokavic.
I even tried it on some returns on a slow serve.
At the end of the morning today I made a slight tweak to my serve and all of a sudden I was getting major pace and the balls were going in. I hope I can replicate the experience. If so I will be burning through more service games soon.
Photo by THERESE REYES, from Burst