Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Racquet History - Babolat Pure Drive Team Plus

Babolat Pure Drive Team Plus
I had picked this racquet up after I bought the more response (when I first got back to playing), but kept it in my bag bc one my 1st hit, I just didn't like it. Once my form improved I whipped it out...
Wow. I mean I called this racquet "the boomstick" . I had replaced the original syntec grip with leather and restrung it around 54#s (it originally had pro hurricanes at 61# which was wayy too much for me at the time). The PD was like a cannon. I was blasting shots left and right with recklass abandon. I also found something else out too. I liked the hollow feel of the frame. I liked the thick beam. It felt great at impact. In the end though, it was a bit too "clunky" for me. I don't play with much control, but I do like to play with some. I relagated the pure drive to be my "hail mary" racquet. If i was behind, I'd pull it out and literally swing for the fences.

Racquet History - Donnay Pro1 International

Donnay Pro1 International
The pro1 was a sweet stick. I had tried out an nBlade recently and absolutely hated it. Too much of an even balance, too thin beamed. just didn't do it for me.
I traded it for the Donnay. I probably should have opted for the oversize (ala Agassi) but I went with the midplus. This stick was great. Really solid feel, great balance, I got some nice spin and definite power on my serve. I just kept coming up a bit short on my groundstrokes. The handle is also a bit short. I'm a 2 hander so my left hand was resting on the frame rather than the grip. I think had I gone oversize, I would of loved this racquet. It can be described with one word: butter. It was flexy but not too flexy. Had I been a control game type of a player, I would of thought this to be my holy grail. Unfortunately insane amounts of topspin and pace was what I play with and it didn't last. Luckily it found a good home with my friend John and I get to see it often (on the other side of the court). Weight - 12 ozString Pattern - 16 x 18Headsize - 95 sq inFlex - 58

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hitting with Franco, Ari and Jorge

Man, i am slow. My footwork is getting worse and it must be the extra lbs i'm carrying on me. Got more vids but still cutting them up. My groundstrokes feel ok, not too much rust, especially with Franco's shots spinning every which way. My shoulder doesn't hurt anymore so the backhand is coming back. Need to work on the legs, not getting enough bend, especially on low forehands.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hitting with John

It feels great to be back on the court. Had a nice rally session with John. We both has some rust, but really the only major issues with my game was the footwork. I was a bit lazy, and had trouble moving quickly on the court. My forehand was a bit underpowered but consistent and my when needed, I didn't have trouble turning up the power for winners. I did though have issues with high forehands, just had timing issues. Backhand wise I'm pretty happy, shoulder feels great and I can get some pace on it now. Slice is floating up a bit too much but I need to step in more instead of chop the ball.

Service wise... well my 2nd serve is getting better, but I'm having issues with my timing on my 1st serve. Need to put in alot of work on it this weekend. All in all, not bad for such a long layoff!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Racquet History - Prince Precision 730

Prince Precision 730

In my haste to find more copies of the Precision Response, I stumbled across the Precision 730. Basically it looked like a POG but in longbody form and lighter in weight. It served great, but then again all I've always served well with longbody frames. I just couldn't get much pop off my strokes with it. My shots would be either way too big, or way too soft. It must of been the strings strung too low. Regardless it was a nice frame to have and I kind of felt like my idol Michael Chang out on the court with it (crossbar stabilizer). I should of given it more of a chance but it just didn't feel right to me.

Racquet History - Prince More Control

Prince More Control

When I realized the More Response wasn't really the sucessor to the Precision Response line, I found out about the More Control. Definitely more of a players racquet than the More Response, it was only 11.5 oz but felt much heavier. It also had a slightly smaller headsize at 97. Generally I was ok with the frame except for its stiffness. It made impact like a rock, almost pure driverish... Still it was a decent racquet but around this time, I was wary of the "More" line and wanted something with grommets and still in production. I will note that the color scheme was pretty sweet, with the white and black halfs.

Weight - 11.5 oz
String Pattern - 16 x 20
Headsize - 97 sq in
Flex - 71

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Racquet History - Prince More Precision

Prince More Precision

I hated this racquet. After not being able to find another More Response, I picked this up. Thinner beam, felt even stiffer than the Response, and more heft. At this point I was taking huge cuts on the ball and it was definitely underpowered. Everything went over as powder puff shots. This didn't last long. I think if I would of dropped the tension it would of been ok, but it felt way too stiff for my liking despite the fact it had a thinner beam. It came with a leather grip too so that just threw everything even more off for me.

Weight - 11.5
String Pattern - 16 x 19
Headsize - 95 sq in
Balance - 7 pts HL
Flex - 66

Racquet History - Prince More Response

Prince More Response

Sadly though, after giving up tennis in college, I lost my precision response. after about a 5-6 year absense I set out to look for a new racquet. Sticking to what I knew, I found the next iteration of the Response. What I got was the More Response. I honestly took a huge liking to this racquet. It was light, but not too light (11 oz). HL but not too HL (4 pts). It had a nice open string pattern and although it had a thin beam, it had a 70 stiffness rating. I have to say it was the best racquet for me coming back. Not exactly a players racquet, but light enough and easy enough to play to get my strokes back (and I was basically starting from scratch...).

I actually will go on to say I loved this frame and I went through many loops to secure and hunt down backups for it. Ultimately though the grommetless design worked against the racquet. My many off center shots (more specifically, on the serve, hitting close to the upper hoop) would cause the strings to press against the edge of the holes. Since I was stringing polys on the mains at 61 lbs, this led to frequent breaks (sometimes days apart).

Since I couldn't find more backups (at a fair price) I was forced to really ramp up my quest for my next racquet. I still have fond memories of this racquet, and credit it for being there for me while I got back into the game I love, but I'll be the 1st to say it... it's a tweener stick and big departure from the Precision Response tradition.

Weight - 11.1 oz
String Pattern - 16 x 20
Headsize - 100 sq in
Balance - 4 pts HL
Flex - 70

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Racquet History - Prince Precision Response

Prince Precision Response

For a long time, this was my holy grail. I loved this racquet. It took some initial getting used to b/c it was my 1st players racquet and with my skinny arms swinging around an 11+ oz frame. Plus it was my 1st headlight balanced racquet. It was also around this time ironically I transitioned my game from playing at the net to your basic counter puncher. My forehand was pretty much all spin, but my backhand was flat and hit most of the winners; this racquet was able to play both styles perfectly. This racquet gave me a ton of spin, and a decent pop on my strokes. I can't explain it, but it just felt right. The balance (headlight, but not too headlight), the spin (open 16x20 string pattern), the power (heavier but not too heavy), the flex (not too flexy, not too stiff), just everything. From here on out every racquet that I've liked has had specs that almost mirror the Precision Response.

Weight - 11.6 oz
String Pattern - 16 x 20
Headsize - 97 sq
Balance - 8 pts HL
Flex - 65

Racquet History - Prince Thunder 820

Prince Thunder 820

After messing around with aluminum frames, my parents finally decided I was worthy of upgrading to graphite. I knew I wanted a longbody (shorties like me and Michael Chang had them) and the thunder was within my parent's price point. I had some fond memories of this stick, but too bad it didn't last. What I do remember was I hitting blasts from the baseline. It was nice and light, and the extended length gave me something to really hold onto on my 2 hander.

My fondest memory of the racquet was a night time match I had against my dad. There was a thunderstorm brewing and I was on serve. It was Ad out, and I had to hold serve to force a tiebreaker. I remember tossing the ball up and about to strike, when my dad yelled out as loud as he could "BOOOOM!!!". Thinking I had been struck by lightning b/c of my longbody racquet, I let go and dropped to the floor. Then I heard the laughter, followed by "fault". I went on to double fault in anger and lose the match... good times.

The love affair didn't last long as I kept breaking the strings on this sucker every couple of days. Now I know I have always hit with alot of topspin, but I was only 14 years old... Alas, and luckily enough I ended up moving onto a frame that would influence my game in so many ways...

Length - 28"
String Pattern - ? ~ open
Weight - 10 oz

Racquet History - Wilson Air Kannon

Well being that it won't stop raining, I decided to go on a journey through memory lane. As you can probably tell I'm a huge gear head. I've played with a ton of frames and I thought I'd give my opinion on them.

Wilson Air Kannon

Yes, I had one of Wilson's aluminum knockoffs of their own Sledgehammer line. I remember it being really light (relatively), lots of vibration, and huge! I think while learning the game, I really can't provide much insight into the frame. Nevertheless you have to start somewhere and I started here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hitting at UM

Not able to hit during the week, I manage to find time in between work and class to work on my serve for about an hour. I've been making unbelievable progress. My 2nd serve is really coming along. I still play it safe and spin them in, but I've been using my kick serve as a 1st serve as well by tossing more in front. I need to be more consistant on my ball toss though, b/c if I'm off a little the ball noticeably doesn't kick up as much. Ironically my serve on the Ad side of the court (particularly the 1st) is way more consistant. I think its the more closed stance I use on the Ad side. I might  go back to serving close stance on both sides to disguise my serve a little better but I find myself consistantly hitting up the middle too much and not being able to go out wide (unless I slice). Whatever, I'll take it, my service as been such a crutch with my game, I'm happy its finally working.

Funny thing, I saw someone waiting for their partner so I asked him to hit for a bit. I saw him warming up these silly looking chop shots so after I fed a shot to him, I was almost knocked out of my shoes by an extremely hard, extremely flat ballistic tennis ball. I think he's the flattest and one of the hardest hitting guy's I've played with. It was awesome, I was feeding off his pace and just ripping some really heavy forehands back and forth. Of course, my backhand was a bit lacking in umph but it held on. I wish I would of gotten his name, bc it's the first time I got to play with someone where I could comfortably stand way back on the baseline and just crush the ball. 

Hoping to find someone to hit some pick up tennis this sunday at 7 am... otherwise its just more serve practice.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kick Serve! and rallying with John

While waiting for John to show up I finally had a break through with my kick serve. My issues were that I was trying to impart the spin with the pronation of my wrist at contact. I went out yesterday and just tried to hit up and over the ball and viola! I nailed 11 out of 12! I'm hoping to build off this... if I can develop a reliable 2nd serve, I can finally just open up on my 1st serve.

Despite not playing for a while me and John had one of our best hitting sessions today. Rallies were easily 7 balls and more and we had a lot of fun just chasing shots all over the court. Suprisingly enough was the appearance of a Net game for me. I wasn't flubbing up vollies but at times me and John had several net to net exchanges. I felt really good on the court today. I was really seeing the ball well and I've come to realize which forehands to hit in which situations. My backhand was also consistant. I flubbed up only when trying to rip one. My 2 hander on the run really lacks any depth though but I can hit my slice deep now to give myself time to recover. I hope this keeps up!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hitting with John

Had a decent hitting session with John. We were both showing some signs of rust but fought it off rather quickly. I'm getting more impressed with my backhand side now. I can really rip some winners now. The problem lies in consistency, just like my forehand. If I remember to focus, step, contact point, etc... my shots are great, but sometimes i just mental lapse and its downhill from there. I think if i focus on my footwork some more I'll be ok. I think for both of us being a bit out of it, we were able to manage about 5 ball rallies back and forth.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tim v Puerta

Had a decent hitting session with Puerta again. My backhand is getting its power back as I was able to rip a few nice winners from that wing. I still need work on my timing but that will come with practice. My footwork was attrocious though. I was really sluggish on the court and just not feeling it. Maybe it has something to do with playing at 7 am in the morning, i dunno... I will say we were much more consistant than last time and I was able to gradually warm up, instead of going balls to the wall on the 1st hit like usual.

We even played a set. I lost of course... 6-2 (both points off breaks). My serve wasn't bad, just inconsistant (didn't do any serve warm ups). I even managed to rip a couple aces, and after adjusting my grip to an eastern backhand, my kicks were falling in a bit. I'm still slicing on the Ad side though... I'm finding I'm doing better dealing with the return of serve, but i'm still succeptible on down the line.

I think if I warm up my serve I would hold a few times and our games might get more competitive.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Drakulie, Panterka and Puerta... Oh My

Finally got a chance to play some real tennis after the big move. Hit with Drakulie and Panterka from the TWSFC. Both of them are insane, and while being all round great people, are really good players (Panterka being a former #15 in Poland). I'm surprised they put up with me as long as they did.

Them rallying after having their rhythm interrupted by me

Drak's 1HD Backhand (this is how its done)

Panterka would bagel me in flip flops

The bright spot of the day (other than meeting them) was Drak actually said I have a very heavy forehand in terms of topspin and pace. Coming from a guy who can blast 120 mph serves and is swinging a kps88, I'll take that as a real compliment. I always knew I hit with an excessive amount of spin, I never though it had enough pace to garner praise from anyone 3.5 and higher. On a whole though, my movement wasn't so great bc I'm terrified of messing up my knee again on clay. My backhand wing was deplorable... and I was actually hitting long on my FH. I got lots to work on, but its nice to know, I have a decent weapon on my FH.

Also got to play with Puerta and we're making it a weekly thing. The rallies were good once we got warmed up. We were kind of all over the place at 1st since the balsl were a mix of clay balls and hardcourt balls. I also realized I forgot to pack my tripod so I had to afroengineer a stand using my tennis bag and the water sweeper. Needless to say it wasn't stable. I felt good about our hitting session though. My feet were a bit lazy but my backhand, though horrible, wasn't as bad as its been in the last month. Its getting there. My set up was correct, good follow through, just need to get the timing issue down.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Hate the Sun

I got to play a little bit of tennis this weekend. Actually played some matches with my friend Dave. It was about 2 pm in the afternoon and the heat was blistering. Dave hasn't picked up a racquet in quite some time but he has some excellent reflexes and motor skills and was able to block back about everything I gave him. We played a quick 10 pt tie breaker which I took 10 - 8 (after blowing a 6-1 lead). He insisted on some match play and thats about where I unraveled. I've been pretty bad with practicing my serve and coupled with serving with the sun in my eye. I was about 5% on my 1st serve. Just like my issues with Luis, when my opponent doesn't give me some pace to work with, I either overhit or hit into the net. And of course that led to frustration, swearing and just a loss both physically and mentally.

The left shoulder feels fine though, and I'm going to be bringing it back into the mix. This week I'm working on my serve, and next time we play, I'll practice some drop balls to calibrate myself on hitting balls with little or no pace.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hitting Session with John

I must say, this is probably the best I've hit in quite a long time. I just wish I would of brought the camera. Hit with John today and boy was it exhausting. Why? We hit tons of 10+ ball rallies. No more unforced areas keeping the hitting sessions short. I finally noticed more speed and quickness on my movement... p90x to thank?

My forehand was a machine. I fired off multiple blasts from that wing. Ample power, ample spin. The only issue was on my approach shot I wasn't getting low enough and in effect, I hit a few FH approaches into the net.

My backhand was another story... My shoulder is about 80% right now, still can't push it too hard, but for tennis its ok. I've actually improved my slice BH as a result. I don't have power anymore on the BH wing. The timings just been off, but I can slap a few back with little spin. I just need to get the timing back to make contact in front of me, and get a little earlier on my preparation.

My movement like I said was great. John sent me running more than a few times and I was able to streak up, down, left and right on the court to get to it. I was caught flat footed a few times but less often than usually. I actually won a few points at the net... while John was at the net already. Volley to volley is something I never win points off of.

Though my shoulder hasn't healed, I'm going to be returning to the p90x routine. I'll just skip the push up exercises, but I feel ok doing pull ups and overhead presses. If I feel I didn't get a good enough workout, I'll just tack on a run at the end.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shoulder Issues

Well I pushed it a bit too hard and hurt my shoulder pretty badly during my p90x workout. Luckily its supposed to be my recovery week anyways, so I'm safe for now. Not too happy but I can still run a little bit. Took about a week but I have almost full range of motion and almost no pain. Not sure when its safe to start working out again, but I'm anxious to get back on the routine.

Tennis wise last week as a funk, but this week with only 1 arm, I was hitting much better. Its funny, with the plyo, I've yet to see an improvement with my quickness but I guess I'm being a little over anxious. With the week off from p90x, I power was definitely there. I'm having issues hitting into the net, need to work on my footwork, maybe some footspeed drills will get me on track. I hilariously tried to hit a 1 handed backhand but that was pathetic. I didn't have ability to really hit my 2 hander thanks to my shoulder, so I basically hit the slice on my backhand wing. The rallies with John was alot of fun. He was hitting well and with a lot of confidence. Let me tell you, the bastard is FAST. He chipped and charged and just put everything away at the net. We had some nice rallies going back and forth today.

Going to be a crazy few weeks coming up so hopefully I manage to get SOME tennis in. Oh well I guess my shoulder could use the break though...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hitting with John, p90x effects

Hit with John today, we were both a bit rusty with the weeklong layoff. Compared to last time I wasn't as sore as before, but my muscles felt lazy. I wasn't able to get maximum power from my strokes as I'm used to. I would of thought I'd be faster on the court, but I felt lazier than usual. I'm going to give it a few more weeks, and definitely on the recovery week I'll really gauge if I see any noticeable improvement.

Fitness wise I'm down 8 lbs, and p90x is going well. I feel myself getting a little lazy and have to keep motivated to keep with the routine. Today I do chest and back with maybe some running afterwards. Hope I can get a little more court time though.

Monday, March 16, 2009

P90x Week 2

Just a quick update. So last week was rather uneventful. Lots of cancellations, didn't get to hit. Not happy about that but oh well. This week should be good, hoping to hit at least 3 times.

Fitness wise, I got week 2 in the bag. I'm suprisingly NOT sored up and can't believe I upped my reps and weight on the program. Down 7 lbs too. Get to play with John today, I'll find out if the plyo routine make me faster. I'm more limber thanks to the yoga though and I do feel stronger... we'll see if that translates to the court.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hitting with Franco and more p90x...

I'm so sore. 2nd day soreness is usually the worst and the plyo i did on Tuesday is really flaring up. But since my upperbody soreness had gone away, I was ok to go.

Its really interesting not being able to use my power in tennis. My game revolves so much around racquet headspeed for pace and topspin, I was a bit offput to adjust. Luckily I was able to deal with most of Franco's spins (I think he was going easy on me) and not misshit too much. Actually aside from having no juice and therefore a weak backhand, I was pretty consistent (relative term). My legs though were shot. Every run, sprint or split step caused intense burning sensations on my qauds, hips and glutes. My right calf is still very tender and it made change of direction almost impossible. When I did try and focus though, I felt fluid and even ran down a ball or two; albeit, i gave up coming back the other way on the follow up.

I've decided to also post about my fitness instead of creating a 2nd blog. I'm not bothering to ask my readers their opinion b/c well... I don't exactly have a fanbase... haha.

Onto the workouts, the shoulder and arms routine was pretty easy. Easy being that it didn't involve murderous amounts of push ups and pull ups. I'm very very adept at lifting dumbells and I actually have extremely strong triceps (8 dips with 135 lbs hanging on my belt). I wish I would of done the yoga routine earlier. It was about an hour and a half of being completely uncomfortable and actually breaking a sweat!

I have no flexibility and hopefully this will change that. What it did do was alleviate about 50% of all the soreness. In fact post yoga, I was pretty pain free, with exception to my right calf. I've always been pretty down on yoga, but I guess it does have its place. Today is the back and legs which I heard is pretty hellacious, and instead of the kempo, I'll be running on saturday.

I hope for week 2 to be less sore, and see some athletic gains soon enough. But for right now I'll be happy with being less sore.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Workout and Tennis?

I spent the last several months, focusing mainly on tennis and neglecting my strength training and running routines. I didn't want my soreness and fatigue to interfere with my tennis game. I've come to a point where I think, regaining some of my strength and stamina will do me some good. Don't get me wrong, I think I'm still plenty strong (200+ bench, 20+ consecutive pull ups).

Ok to be honest, I'm doing the p90x routine.

Its pretty intense. In fact I'm pretty sored up right now. But its combination of strength training, yoga (flexibility), and plyometrics (explosiveness) will pay dividends to my tennis game. I'm currently in week 1 and its kicking my butt pretty badly actually. The routine is relentless and bc of my ego I'm trying my best to keep pace with the DVD.

I played today with John. My shots definitely had no pop, especially my backhand wing. After warming up a bit, I decided some match play would be a good idea. I've always played very aggressively, but in terms of power and spin. Without my strength I wanted to see if I could win points with my control and placement. Me and John played a 10 point tie breaker and after surging to a 7-3 lead. John just broke back and too it 8 - 10.

For the most part, I could see the ball ok, but I really had to try to end points quickly (legs were dead from the previous nights plyometric routine). This lead to more unforced errors, but on a whole I guess it wasn't so bad of a result.

Definitely going to do some research to see if theres anything I can do to reduce the muscle soreness. I think I just need to get back into the swing of things. I'm really hoping the yoga will increase my range of motion and the plyometrics will make me more explosive and agile on the court.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rallies with Alex

Alex is an ace. He's probably better than me at every aspect of tennis except with maybe putting massive amounts of topspin on the ball. I've played with players around Alex's level and much better than him, but I've always found Alex particularly difficult for me to rally with. He has an exceptional degree of control with the ball laterally, angles and especially with depth. He's very deliberate, I know he knows which shots I can't hit and he knows exactly how to hit them. With most players I can adjust and adapt to their game to a degree. Alex can change it up and keep me guessing at will.

Why do I like playing against Alex? Rather than most 4.5's and 5.0's, he makes me play my best. My footwork has to be on point, I can't loft a shot, and I have to focus on every ball. Most importantly Alex wants to see me get better. If he sees me flub up a backhand, he will deliberately hit consecutive shots to my backhand wing and won't stop until I consistently return them back.

During our hitting session I focused alot on making sure I was hitting the slice properly. Coming home and watching the videos of my strokes, I realized the majority of all my errors were bc I was not making contact with the ball in front of my body. I got to be more conscious of that. I think I flubbed up wayyy to many forehands into the net bc of that simple error. Also got to really bend the knees when loading up on my forehand. I can't be using a golf swing on low balls.

I played alot of tennis the past 4 days, in fact i played everyday. Going to take a day off, get some rest bc I felt some tennis elbow coming on during our hitting session. I hit with Franco the spin doctor on Thursday. I definitely need my footwork to be on point.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Matchplay with John

I'm glad I won (6-4) but I know John can play better. I'm dissappointed that I managed to blow a 4-1 lead. My serve was the best its been, I was ripping winners and aces on a consistent basis. My groundstrokes became a little cold, but while hold serve, I was able to take more risks on my return game. I think me and John will have more interesting matches in the future. He usually dictates play in our hitting sessions. I should take the opportunity to work on my confidence with the groundstrokes and improving my 2nd serve.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rallies and Match Play with Julio

I was with the ball machine, but got a great rally and match with Julio. Julio is a strong 4.0-4.5 who plays a Western FH and a one handed BH. He actually flattens out his forehand, and has great control. He plays pretty similar to Alex, in which he possess great control and can open up with some pace and hit some real winners. Oh and he plays varsity tennis at Felix Varela High school.

We had some really good rallies while I was playing with the APDC with the PHT at 54#. I'm really beginning to like the lower tension, especially since I'm using Poly's. I definitely need to hit more winners off my backhand wings. I don't want it to seem like a liability. We played a match and naturally he took it 6-1. I think we took a few points to deuce a few times. My only saving grace was my serve at times was really on fire and I was bringing the heat. That and I was able to rip a couple forehand winners.

I'm really getting the hang of disguising my forehand. Though I since I take such a huge cut on the ball, most of my forehands have both good pace and a ton of spin. I have been flattening out every so often and doing a straight flatter drive type forehand. I tend to aim for low clearance over the net anyways, so I'm not afraid anymore to open up on a flat shot.

Since I've found myself hitting the slice out of comfort, I've learned how to hit it correctly. I think I was just doing a chopshot before. Mostly its just footwork. If I can get in position early, I can get ready and just crack a nice 2 hander out.

Service wise I'm happy. I had to resort to hitting 2 first serves bc Julio was just abusing my weak 2nd serve. I put some work into my kick and slice serves but is coming along slowly since timing has never been a strong point of mine. Once I work back into my strength training routine, I'm pretty sure my 1st serves will be pretty devastating.

I look forward to more good games and hitting sessions with Julio. Considering I played one hell of an ultimate frisbee game and had a nice run in the morning, I think if I had my wheels with me, I could of gotten a few more points off him.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Think I might have a problem...

This is the most racquets I've ever had at any given time. Craziness to Recap...
3x Babolat Aeropro Drive Cortex
1x Babolat Aeropro Drive
1x Babolat Pure Drive Team+
2x Wilson k6.1 95 16x18
1x Wilson k6.1 95 18x20
4x Head FXP Radical
1x Head Microgel Radical
1x Prince More Response
1x Prince More Precision
1x Prince More Control DB
1x Prince Precision 730

17 racquets... craziness!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's the Strings!

So I've been trying out these new strings from a company called Superstring. They feel good but the strings I'm using in the crosses are much stiffer than the Sensations I'm used to. I'm going to take down the tension to about 58 and see how it plays.

Played Monday with John and Anoop. With the stiffer string bed I was having trouble on softer shots. I played another APDC of mine with 54# PHT's and I was firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately with the leaves everywhere I lost my footing a bit and tweaked my achilles. Nothing too serious, but I do get a little twitch when I launch off a bit.

Had a match against Gottfried too. I got bageled real badly while trying to find my strokes with the Superstring. I decided to swap it out with the PHT APDC and I took the 2nd set 6-2. We decided to call it quits since I wasn't wearing tennis shoes and my Achilles was acting up again.

Service-wise, I was serving more consistent than usual. I wish I was serving as consistently as I did during warmups but that just takes time I guess. I'm really liking this open stance serve motion. I can't believe how I was serving before...

... following through on my right side... so high of a toss... so many things to go wrong. I really have to thank Alex Propman for fixing my serve. With a bit more practice I think I can really have a lethal 1st service. My second serve however is pathetic. I think this weekend if I'm going to work on my kick serve. That and my backhand. I need confidence with it and that will only happen if I go out with the ball machine and drill it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rallies with Puerta

I always like hitting with David. Mostly because we goof around and crack jokes and its pretty casual. David is actually a former #5 seed with the FSU tennis team. He hasn't had the opportunity to hit as much as he'd like but he still gave me plenty to deal with. Man I wish I didn't pop my strings last week. I had been using this new Super String Pure Control v8's in my mains which felt a world better than the kirschbaum I usually use.

Going back, I found myself lacking some pop and dwell time in the string bed. I was hitting short and to the net again. My backhand was solid at times, but I still deferred to the slice if I felt uncomfortable. Rattled off a few serves to see if my serving streak was a fluke, but they blasted nicely and consistently. Too bad alot of our best rallies weren't video taped. I'll make sure to leave the camera on next time.

Oh and I promise to never wear that shirt again... didn't realize I looked like a crossing guard from behind.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

New Year, New Goals

So I've been keeping this blog for almost a year now, and looking back, I've made some considerable leaps and bounds in my play. Earlier this week my monday hitting session with John was canceled but I was able to find a real quick 4.5 practice partner with Anoop. The dude is quick and can handle the pace I put on the ball so hopefully that pans out into some good hitting sessions. For a while I've been playign with some older balls in my basket, mainly bc I can unleash on them, without the fear of them flying long. Also bc BJs hasn't had the bulk packs of tennis balls on sale for a while now. I don't know, I just like extended rallies. Anoop and me hit with fresh balls and after adjustment I'm over my fear. I think this will translate into more confidence during match play where we use new springyier balls.

I think the best thing to come out of this week was my hitting session with a guy I met on tennisopolis, Alex Propman. He's actually a distributor/rep of a new string I've been trying out, SuperString Pure Control v8. On a side note, I'm pretty happy with them and I think I'm switching over from the kirschbaums.

Anyways, this guy was ridiculous. Massive serve, massive strokes. I think he was playing at half speed and still quickly bageled me 6-0. I will say he is an incredibly nice guy and gave me some really great pointers into my serve. Its amazing, with the amount of video reviews I do on my game, a trained eye catches much more in 15 minutes. I tried out a basket this morning and were hitting the 1st serves around 50% maybe higher. I'm really stoked about this. Just opening my stance up a bit and focusing on the shoulder turn and follow through did a lot for my serve. My previous motion was just unnecessarily complicated. I think I still will try a bit of a knee bend though, bc of my height, or lack thereof, to get some more clearance.

I've also resolved to play more matches this year. I'm pretty confident with my game now, and I guess its time to stop running around and rallying and focus on winning points. We'll see what this year has in store for me...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Match vs Alex

Wow, so I got spanked 6-2, 5-2 (before the lights went off). But I was way out classed by Alex who's a 4.5. Overall considering I'm about 15 lbs overweight, and rusty fron being vacation I was happy with my play.

You know I'm fine with it. I'm still hitting a bit shallow, but when I open up, it flies hard, deep, and kicks like a motherf-cker. I need to realize I can hit with more clearance over the net since I spin it so much. My directional control is ok, but I'm still natively hitting to the center. If i'm conscious (ie: not scrambling) I can play it, and even hit a few nice DTL and cross court winners. The running forehand needs some work and my approach windshield wiper needs fine tuning. Hitting a few of those long.

Problematic but what else is new. I'm still hitting the backhand off the backfoot which kills all power from that shot. I need to time the footwork right and take a more aggressive cut on the ball. If I'm in position I can kill it, I'll probably devote a weekend to the ball machine one of these days.

My service during warm ups are fine. In game they're terrible. My flat 1st serves are particularly bad. I can get power, but consistency first I guess. I'm about 20-30% on the deuce side... On the ad side, I'm ok since I hit a hard slice serve on the 1st serve. I'm reverting to a moderate slice serve on the 2nd serve. My kick serve is too unreliable. I'm rolling over, instead of brushing from the back. I'm working on adjusting the pronation of my wrist to see if that will help.

Service returns were good on forehand side. Backhand I'm hitting slices unless its a gimme serve.

Net Game
What net game? I don't think I botched a volley, but i rarely if ever came to the net. Even if I did, against Alex, with his control he can pass me easily.

I honestly think if I didn't serve so poorly I could of stole another game from the sets and made it 6-3. Groundstroke-wise I can keep up with Alex. I hit just as hard as he does if not harder with much more spin. His placement is just immaculate and he can definitely deal with my pace. Placement before power... I always have that backwards...