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...