– Hey guys, Nate and Scott
here with playyourcourt.com. Today we’re going to show you three tips to help with your timing
on your ground strokes. (swishes)
(pops) – All right, guys, today
we’re going to go over three very simple, but
super actionable tips to improve the timing
on your ground strokes. This video is for players
with a Play Your Court rating of 60 and below. If you’re not in our
community, it makes Nate cry. And I’d, I mean, just join–
– Little bit. – You’re hurtin’ his feelings.
– Totally. – But anyway, moving on, these three tips. Do you want to get us started? What’s tip number one here? – Tip number one is creating more space between you and the incoming ball. A lot of times when
we’re examining timing, we’re really thinking about contact, and we start gettin’ a
little bit technical, but this game is a sending
and receiving sport, and this whole game is
about giving yourself time and taking away time from the opponent. So if you’re havin’ a hard
time with your timing, it’s time to create space, it’s time to get off the baseline and back it up. I think this is a really good tip, ’cause I see a lot of coaches
really sort of force you to press the baseline, they don’t want you to be letting the ball come to you. But what we see a lot with our athletes, lower-level players especially, is they’re crowding the ball and then they’re forced to back up. We’re super inefficient backing up when we’re hitting the ball. We’d much prefer you be
taking steps towards the ball. It’s going to be a lot easier
to transfer your weight into the shot than it is backing up and trying to find that
timing that way, right? – Yeah, and especially in the beginning, ’cause I think when we are
within the first year or two of playing the game,
there’s a lot of mis-hits, so we start fearing the short ball, because you’re not anticipating
’em to kind of happen. But we were made to move
forward, we were made to run. So that should be the
least of our worries. It’s when somebody hits the ball heavy, so for you guys that are a
little bit more advanced, this is going to be more of your concern, that they’re hitting
a bigger, faster ball. The only way to give yourself more time is to give yourself space. Should you be moving up into
the court at some point? Yes, when there’s an
opening, when you have a weak ball, when you have an invite. But tryin’ to be Andre
Agassi and hold the line and take everything on the rise, that’s really hard to do.
– Not always going to work out that well for you.
– Really hard to do. So we’re going to jump in
a little demo mode here, and we’re just going to show you exactly what we’re talking about. Nothing earth-shattering,
we’re just going to show you the appropriate space
and what this looks like when we allow ourselves
time and we have the ability to get better contact out in
front because of this timing. – All right, guys, so again, even if you’re looking to crowd the baseline, take more balls on the
rise, and take time away from your opponent, the
correction I want you to make here is to start two or three,
maybe even four feet behind the baseline, and
then move into that shot. What we see a lot of players do, and the mistake that they make, is they start here, and then
when that ball pushes them back off the baseline, their
contact point is rushed, they’re hitting off their back foot, it’s much more difficult,
as Nate pointed out, to move back than it is to move forward. So even though my contact point
is still going to take place here on the baseline, you’re
going to see me start back, and when I have a ball
that I can move forward in, and crowd the baseline,
you’re going to see me move into the ball to hit
it, and then when Nate pushes me back off the baseline
I don’t have to back up, I’m already in optimal
position to play that ball. So let’s take a look at that now. So the quick fix here,
guys, is you can see if I stand two or three
feet behind the baseline, I have the option to move
forward when Nate hits shorter, take the ball on the rise,
and crowd that baseline if I’d like, and I’m
also capable of defending heavy, deep balls that he
hits without backing up. All right, guys, to quickly recap, the adjustment here is to
start a little bit further off the baseline, and if
you see the opportunity to work forward, then great,
but at a less-advanced level, you’re not going to be
playing up on the baseline. We want you to give
yourself some more time, some more space to make
contact with these balls. And if you see a ball hit
short, you can track forward and do the damage, but best-case
scenario, at your level, you’re in a good position to
never really be backed up. We know it’s very difficult,
much more difficult to hit off your back
foot or moving backwards than it is moving
forward towards the ball. So if you stay on your toes and stay just a little bit off the baseline, that’s what we’re looking
for in terms of creating more space and cleaner contact. This scales all the way up to the pros. Think of Nadal, Nadal’s not
standing right on the baseline, crowding the baseline,
he’s starting further back, and allowing his opponent
to give him some guidance as to what he should do
with those feet, right? – 100%, and then you’ll see,
especially on the hard courts, as he gets confidence,
he’ll start moving forward, he’ll start holding the line. Fed and Agassi, they’re the anomalies where they’re just always on the line, they’re always lookin’
to take timing away. Also happen to be two of the professionals with the best timing.
– The top players in the world, also.
– All of us, all of us, we need to be playing off the line, and then if we’re looking
for the opportunity to be more aggressive,
or our timing is there, move forward, but let’s
start three or four feet behind the baseline for a reference point. All right guys, so the next little tip that we’re talking about here is about racquet prep, all right? So you’ve given yourself more space, you’ve given yourself time to react, not just with your feet, but now we’re going to talk about the hands. And this is about the unit-turn, and what we want to debunk
here is this little myth about getting the racquet
back versus the unit-turn. We’re going to jump into demo mode, and I’m going to talk you through
what the difference is now. OK, guys, so what we’re
talking about is the unit-turn, and it’s just so important for timing. And what we really want to be doing is before the ball bounces on our side, as we are ready to receive the ball, we’re kind of get into a half-swing, all right, and this is the unit-turn. The important thing here is the shoulder rotation, the hip rotation. So when we started this,
what I was sayin’ is, kind of to debunk the myth
of the racquet take-back. I don’t know that that’s necessarily the best way to coin what we’re doing. Because what this suggests
is what we’re seeing is the racquet just taking back here, and this leads to more
of a disjointed swing, we’re not getting this coil. All right, so we’re going to
take a look at that right now. I’m just going to show
you what that looks like as far as it being disjointed, and with just the racquet
take-back versus the unit-turn. So guys, you’ll see my racquet
back before the bounce, and it’s not bad, but it’s not ensuring that I’m getting my shoulders
turned or my hips coiled. So it’s like I can kind of make it work, just through pretty solid contact, but it’s not the same as the unit-turn. So racquet-back, now you can
see I’m kind of disjointed with that left hand, and
that gets a little bit funky. So the unit-turn that we’re talking about is before the ball bounces. You can still tell I’ve
got plenty of space from the baseline from tip number one. I’m not crowding. From here I’m going to go unit-turn, it’s kind of like this half-swing, so that there’s more of a coil, more of a load, and more
power through this shot. (upbeat music) All right, guys, so there
we focused on the unit-turn, all right, not the racquet take-back, we don’t want that disjointed swing, but the unit-turn where we’re
getting the shoulders back. And now the nice thing is I’m
halfway done with the stroke. So whether the ball has some crazy spin, and I get something kind of wonky, I’m able to adjust, because
the swing is already back. I’ve already given
myself space, all right? And then with some additional footwork I can find that spacing
and complete the swing. What ends up happening is if you start taking the racquet back,
a lot like what we saw through the ’60s, ’70s,
it’s that we’re just not getting the same power, we’re
not getting the same coil, and it doesn’t have a lot of tempo to it. And this tempo is really
important when it comes to rhythm. And that’s what we, when we’re having a good day here in court, that’s what we have found,
we have found rhythm. Timing, and tempo, and rhythm. All right, so now we’re going
to talk about tip number three, and this is loading with
the bounce of the ball. So with loading with
the bounce of the ball, what we’re talking about is
when we’re bending our knees. OK, we know that we have
to bend at the knees, really load the lower
body on every single shot. Problem is that we don’t
necessarily know when to bend. So some of us, we’re bending really early, and the trajectory of the ball changes, and then we’re stuck,
because once we load, you’re really grounding in, you’re getting that solid foundation, and
there’s no time for adjustments. Some of us are bending
late, so all of a sudden the ball’s coming, last
second you’re tryin’ to load, and then what ends up
happening is we jump. We’re jumping because
as we’re loading late, and we’re trying to create space, that jump is trying to create space, and as a result we have poor contact. All right, so when we’re going to bend, as the ball approaches and it hits the ground, I’m going to load. And what I want you to
notice with this load is I step out, my toe is
parallel with the baseline, and this is more of my semi-open stance, open stance, semi-open stance. And then as far as going forward, I’m just going to step
in with the left foot, but I’m going to time this load depending on what level player I am, if I’m just kind of getting started, I’m year two or three of playing the game, I’m going to let the ball descend. So I’ve given myself space,
and as the ball starts to descend, I’ll bend with it, and then I’m going to
rise up with the ball. So the ball is falling,
’cause it’s descending now, it’s already bounced on
the ground, it’s falling, I bend and then I rise up with the ball. And that’s for you guys that are still tryin’ to figure out the timing. For you guys that are more advanced, what’s going to happen
is as the ball bounces, I’m going to load, because
now I’m going to take the ball a little bit earlier, I’m
going to drive through it. So I’m just timing my load,
the bending, a bit early. We’re going to take a look at
both of the correct versions now. So guys, early on, what
we’re going to try to find is when to time the bend,
and what you can see here is the ball bounces as it ascends and then descends, I’m bending
and lifting up with the ball. So it’s dropping, I’ve got my load, pushing through the ground,
and then up the ball. I got my trusty continental grip here. And that is going to be what we want to focus on in the beginning. Some of you guys have only
been playing a year or two, it’s like, when are we bending? So that’s a good way to kind of decipher, the ball has bounced,
it’s starting to descend, you’re going to bend, and then
you’re going to lift with the ball. Kind of an old-school method, but I think it’s really, really useful, because it helps us
with this timing tempo. So the more advanced way, now, you guys that have been playing a while, you’re looking to be more offensive. I’m going to load before
the ball has bounced, because I’m looking to
be way more aggressive. (upbeat music) (grunts) OK, guys, so we went over those three tips to help with your timing, your tempo, to get better rhythm in your matches. In the first one, just more space. Get off the baseline, three or four feet, create space, if you get a short ball it’s always easy to move forward,
that’s how we were built. Tip number two, and this
is prepping the racquet, the unit-turn, not just
the racquet take-back. A lot of us are taking the racquet back, it’s not the same, we want a unit-turn, and we really want it before the ball bounces on our side of the court. And the final one is loading with the bounce of the ball. So for you guys that are
in the beginning stages, the ball’s moving relatively slow, you get a lot of these rainbow arcs, you can go ahead and bend, you can load as that ball descends, and
then rise with the ball. For you guys that are more advanced, and you’re looking to take the ball early, especially if you’re driving,
this is where we want to load a little bit before the bounce, get up to that ball and
load just before the bounce, so that we can explode,
that load, explode, really go through that
ball as it’s ascending. – Nate, amazing instruction, my man. Guys, as always, Nate and
I just want to help you improve your game, but the bottom line is, we need to know exactly
what your skill level is to give you the coaching that you need. YouTube’s great, but a lot
of times you’re watching generic tips that apply to
a wide range of players, and sometimes you’re watching generic tips that just aren’t for you. A beginner doesn’t need
the same instruction as a division one college tennis player. This is why we created the
player court membership. If you click the button or the link below, answer some questions for
Nate and I about your game, jump inside the community,
we’re going to send you custom video coaching
on the specific things you need to improve your game. And not only that, we’re going to pair you with local players at your exact same skill level for practice and matches. Click the button or the link below, jump inside the community, and we’ll see you in there soon. (swishes)

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Dennis Veasley

13 thoughts on “3 Tips To Help With Timing On Your Ground Strokes”

  1. Just to clarify, on the load as soon as the ball hit the ground then you load? Or you load while the ball is about to hit the ground. Cause what i noticed in the video is the load happening after the ball hit the ground already.

  2. You boys have really stepped up the video production editing and quality. Absolutely loved this! Nate you have an amazing forehand…love the style and great power. Keep it up guys!

  3. Don't forget to check out the PlayYourCourt community to receive custom video coaching, find practice partners and improve your tennis game. Here's the link: http://bit.ly/2Wpb3Wv

  4. Fantastic breakdown of the elements of timing. What I really like is the first one of giving ourselves enough space. Thanks!

  5. Can you start 7-8 or more feet behind the baseline? How do you learn anticipation so you can move forward to take time away? When does a player shift into learning an offense?

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