I've been playing for 2-3 years in a club, I'm pretty much a beginner. Lately, I'm experiencing some very sharp pain in the outside portion of my upper arm after competitions. It started when I switched to a more head heavy no flex racket, X-Feel Blast from the super flex X-Feel Lite. I don't want to switch back, I'd rather fix my poor stroke technique, however I'd like some help with pinpointing the things I need to work on with the forehand stroke.
My coach sometimes complains about my stroke technique, he use to say that I should be more relaxed and that I should take the shuttle higher.
But watching myself play for the first time recently, it was very shocking seeing that my stroke technique was so bad. Could anyone help me pinpont this more specifically?
Here's a short clip of me playing (in black t-shirt):
It looks as if my shoulder doesn't rotate enough and that I'm mainly using my underarm for the clears. The issue of pulling forward with the racket before a stroke is a bad habit i knew beforehand of, but maybe it plays a part in this.
Put it simply, try to feel like u'r throwing ur racquet as high and as far above your opponents head as you can. Right now you're throwing it AT his head. Throw it above his head. If this doesn't get u to lead with the elbow, I don't know how else to simplify it
edit: saw your second link. Body way too square to your opponent as you prepare to contact the shuttle. You need to propel the motion with your body, right now you're using your arms and not your body. Think of it this way, which do you think will go further -- someone throwing a rock by putting their entire mass into it, or just throwing via the arms. If you use your entire body to propel the shot, you basically need ZERO arm tension and the bird will still go baseline to baseline. That shuttle weighs just a few grams turn your body. I suspect u'r fairly tall, so when you combine that with the length of your arm + ur racquet, the speed will come...physics dictate it
Because of these two problems you try to generate all your power from the wrist with too much action (swinging before the backswing) and very sharp stops without having a fluent motion. This causes very likely the muscle distress/pain in your forearm.
To train this: Change one thing at a time. You need probably to hit around 200 clears 3 times a week for 1 month at least under training conditions with full concentration on correct technique. It is very hard to get rid of bad habits.
Thanks a lot for the input. It seems like if I force my elbow back and closer to my body before a stroke, shoulder will rotate more and my idiotic "doubleswing" motion can't happen either (due to the arm being too low). So if I change one, hopefully it'll resolve the other two issues as well. Or so I hope haha.
During shadow play I seem to use my body and elbow better, but when I'm actually playing I stiffen up and seem to forget all sorts of technique. I guess like you mention you need to have full concentration during practice for these habits to actually change.
In fact you are using your elbow but in the wrong way: you use your elbow to support your doubleswing. You do this by moving your elbow a little bit up to swing your racket head down.
In contrast, you should move your elbow more horizontally back and forward instead of up and down.
I just finished watching your video and here are some things I think you should do:
1. Try to correct your stroke, here is a great link for reference http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNVC5PVJyPQ.
2. Remember to turn your body. I noticed that when you were playing, a lot of your power comes from relying on your arm strength alone. Remember the force of the body rotation is what generates the power.
3. Back to the stroke. After you hit the shuttle with an overhead technique, your follow through should be going down wards to your left side. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8QWS69xnrQ Just look at the follow through in the video, he doesn't stop in mid air or follows through towards the right side of his body, its to his left
and also just something else I spotted, watch out for some of your flick serves with your back hand, most of them are illegal. Also since you are still a beginner, try to use a forehand high serve more often than a backhand serve.
1. hip and body rotation!!
2. unnecessary arm movement
the stroke should go like this:
side steps backwards (your hip and shoulder will automatically be in the right position), while running backwards, the racket will go up and back. then you initialize the movement with you hip!! i.e. the right side of your hip explosively rotates forward. your shoulder and then the arm will follow automatically! swing your arm like you throw a stone and hit the shuttle at (almost) the highest point possible. that's all...
3. your backhand serves (the flick serves) are not good for the underarm/wrist, too. you lack the wrist power to do this stroke consistently (and they are quite bad, too flat and short often times...). at your level, you don't need a short serve or a flick serve! do long and high (!!!) forehand serves with an easy full swing...
4. footwork: you often do one step too much, i.e. do a steps/small jump after your stroke! get rid of that. do the last step, then hit the shuttle, then move back. no more steps/jumps than needed!! you can fix that by doing footwork drills without a shuttle to get a good rhythm and feeling to cover the court.
As for the backhand serve, I've been trying to learn it and obviously it's not very good yet. I know that high forehand is easier at my level. How is the flick illegal? It looks pretty much like when I serve short to me. Is the point of impact too high?
Also, when doing the correct stroke, what if you're really pressured? I feel that if the ball is already behind me or if the lift is more flat that I don't have time to do the full motion, is underarm swing only accepted in this case?
The extra steps after stroke I've been aware of and have been trying to change for very long, it's also a thing I do correctly in footwork drills but not under matches. It's like I rush back to the point I can't halt my movement during the stroke, so my body takes a few extra steps in order to not fall over.
backhand serve: only do high forehand serves. it's easier. with short serves you're under pressure very quickly as a lower level player. pros serve short so that the opponents can't play offensive. for lower level players it's the other way around! if you serve short, you have less time to react...
if you don't have time, you must do what is still possible. but first, you should concentrate on doing the correct things when you do have time. basics first! and learn proper footwork in order to have enough time.. that leads to the next point...:
extra steps: it's a question of balance and power. you really have to work on that to get a good rhythm (balance!!) and power to not get out of control of your movements.
for me a good example is jan fröhlich (the guy in black and yellow...) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-Borf6wvTc
he's not one of the top pros, there are def faster and better players, but watch how he moves. he covers the whole court with a split step and one big step. that is of course somewhat over-exaggerated, but should clearly show that it is possible to cover the court with just a few steps...
Your stroke is awkward... notice how you drop your wrist forward before pulling it back up and swing again? I just picked up my racket and tried what you did... It was very very straining on the forearm. (How you manage to even hit it hard is beyond me)
And because of the unnatural swing, it'll take more toll on your whole arm, especially the upper triceps muscles as well as your side shoulder.
Notice that? By having an unnatural stroke, not only it tires our arm out, it also makes it a lot harder to hit it properly. It looks like your forearm/wrist area are extremely worn at that stage. (I have never seen a regular(at least 4 month) players trying to shake off their forearm's fatigue outside of driving practice)
just because i'm curious: why do you guys all think that his flick serve would be called by a referree?
agreed. I think the low backhand serve is very good. Dont worry about it. Some may think that your high backhand serve could be called because you tend to hit the shuttle close to being horizontal with your racquet hand. It has to point in a downwards position. BUT the few I saw from you are correct in my opinion.
Just concentrate on the overhead stroke first, then the footwork. IT is more important to not injure yourself while hitting.
Your non racket arm should point at the shuttle while preparing for the stroke. I think this hasn't been mentioned so far.By the way is your coach a trained coach? How big is your group you train with?
Yeah both my main coaches are. One group is 20-30 while the other is about 10.But like I said, it probably looks worse in this video as compared to training, during exercises my stroke motion is more correct. In matches I feel I cant afford to focus on my motion so my instinctive play is more dominant, if that makes any sense.