Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Matchplay - Me vs Aaron Round 2

Didn't play a match against Luis, I think he knew he was rusty and would of gotten bageled so we just rallied back and forth. Monday came and played another match against Aaron. Usually I get there early to warm up my serve but I spent some time giving some pointers to 2 newbies in the adjacent court. 

I came out blazing with a 3 - 0 lead but after some double faults (on both our parts) my groundstrokes got cold and Aaron's serves were acing me down the T. Luckily I closed that all and dared him to go wide and it paid off. Aaron also played with more poise and strategy, hitting deep and limiting my approach windshieldwiper forehands which I usually rip for winners. I ended up winning 6-4 but I was pretty dissappointed in the level of my play in the later games.

My serve was slow to warm up but nevertheless when it was on, it was big for aces. Due t my lack of warm ups my 2nd serve was horrendous. My returns for the most part were good but as i lost focus, my coverage down the T sucked (surprising from in the Ad side which is my forehand!). I think I was miss timing the split step and I also found a very bright streetlight in the back caused alot of glare.

I'm really happy with my groundstrokes when they were warm. My mental focus really lapsed when I should of really closed off the match sooner. Aaron resorted to hitting a more aggressive 2nd serve which led to double faults and ultimately interupting the flow of the match which threw me off a bit. I knew Aaron's FH was a bigger liability than his BH (excellent preperation, good wind up and follow through, its his best shot) and I kept my forehand cross court (except for a few inside out shots when I sent him too wide) and able to hit my BH down the line.

Net Game
Aaron added much more topspin to his shot this time and really drove me back, limiting my approach shots (my fav) and my net game (my least fav). When I was at the net though I botched a few easy volleys which was pretty dissappointing.

To Work on
  • Definitely need to stick to my pregame warm up and drills: serves, midcourt approach shots, and agility drills.
  • My BH is coming into its own but I still have a tendency to hit off the back foot especially on the run. Need to learn how to hit an effect on the run BH.
  • I need to work on my coverage on service returns. My split step timing needs to be perfect if I play against someone who can place their serves better.
  • Volleys, yes i know, i hate playing at the net, but I need to learn how to close the point.
  • Kick serve... omg I need it back...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Matchplay - Me vs Aaron

Man played a great match today vs Aaron. Aaron is a solid 3.5, excellent 2 hh backhand and a flat forehand. His court coverage and consistency are his main weapons. I managed the win 6-3, but it was pretty hard fought.

I managed to hold serve well, with a few aces here and there but the main point was I limited the double faults. I was serving around 50% for my 1st serve which to me is great. My service returns were on point. Aaron doesn't have a blistering serve but I managed to time everything right and whip it over to convert on some break points.

I didn't have much strategy other than to limit the unforced errors. My strokes on both wings didn't fail me and I managed to have control of the ball and hit into the open court. Most of my points were won off deep driving forehands with loads of topspin. My approach shot was almost always a put away, theres usually too much angle and too much topspin to catch it.

Net Game
I seldom approached the net but actually won a few good points with a putaway volley. I didn't get flustered when we were both at the net and my reflexes weren't too slow actually.

I think if Aaron works on his service, the game definitely would of been more interesting. I was happy with my performance though and I think playing with some more people is definitely helping my game. I've become much more adaptive and reacting better to the ball.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

Man, sunshine state my @ss... it literally rains right when I get off campus to screw up my evening games. Doesn't even matter anyways with everyone being injured with back injuries, capsizing boats... Finally got out to hit this week and only a little bit of rust, thank goodness...

Don't drink beer and play tennis... me and Luis decided to celebrate with some beers at the courts. My groundstrokes were ok, but I had to really focus on the points I wanted to improve on. I was playing pretty lazily, but Luis being out of practice had trouble dealing with anything with pace. To make up for it I decided to chip and charge to work on my nonexistent net game. Not bad actually, just closed the crosscourt alley he always used and I was in good position.

Finally got some real playing time today. Played against a new player, a solid 3.5. He had some good angles on me and kept me on my toes. I was worried I was going to get rained out again but the weather held (unlike me on service... haha).  Nah, for being a bit out of practice I was happy to be out and hitting. As usually I'm just so slow to warm up and start. The consistency issues were still prevalent but it was mostly alot of mental mistakes. My windshield wiper FH was just off and I just kept running around my backhand again. Happy with the footwork, I timed most of my split steps right but I'm still lazy on the backhand side. I find myself hitting off the back foot too much. Had a couple good serve holds when my serve was on, I need to work my serve consistency back up and get some semblance of a kick serve back. I think I tried too hard to beat him with big forehands but he was usually able to chip most of them back. I should of approached more, and use my approch forehand but after an embarassing missed overhead, I just stayed back. I think my best improvement was my service returns. I actually broke more than I held which is rare. I used to have so many problems with the return of serve bc of the angle but I think I'm doing better. Man once those serves start dropping in, I'll be really happy.

+ The power was ok, not too spinny, and I actually had a few good inside out FH which I usually don't hit well
+ Spin was definitely still there and pulled in some shots that would of definitely of sailed long.
- When on the run I need to get that timing down. I actually need to work on timing in general bc I got thrown off when I didn't anticipate the spin of the ball.

+ Surprisingly I wasn't picked on with my backhand. I hit 1 or 2 winners from that wing, which is more I can say for it usually.
- Hitting off that back foot. I need to step in to drive the power, I need to prep early, shoot I need to do alot of things.
- Too close to the body, unlike my FH where I use my left arm to gauge the ball, I'm shanking too many BH's

+ Tried dropping the shoulder more but it felt too awkward. I still can get some good pace so its just a matter of consistency.
- %'s too low on the 1st serve and WAYYY too many 2nd serves. 
- I kept forgetting to mix up some flat serves with some slices. Especially on the ad side.
- I need a more consistent toss, and I have to stop hitting serves with a bad toss. Just mental mistakes...
- Kick serve is like gone. I'm whipping up too much, then hitting to light, I just need practice.

Oh well, thats the fun of the game, getting better and working up a good sweat. Maybe I should go back to the wall and drill the backhand a bit, and maybe work on the serves and some wall volleying drills. Well should be another rematch in 2 weeks or so. Need to find someone to play M-F next week. Anyone for some Tennis?