Monday, May 27, 2013

Tennis: Forehand Technique for beginners

The two very important things to learn are the grips and the footwork. Once you have these two things in place, with a little bit of practice you can start playing a good topspin forehand shot and slice. There are a lot of stuff related to forehand like how to hit a high rising ball, how to hit a running forehand, how to hit cross court or down the line shots; even how to move the racket at the contact point to generate topspin. This article doesn't cover everything but it tries to go into the very basics of where to start.

Grip: You can use any one of the eastern, semi-western or western grips. The eastern grip is the most conservative grip you can use to hit a forehand. The natural contact point for an eastern forehand grip is about waist high. This grip makes it easy to hit the tennis ball flat or to give a little bit topspin. Here you can learn about eastern forehand grip If you want a lot of spin you can use semi-western or western grip. For Forehand slice shot, you need continental grip. Here you can learn about continental grip

Footwork: While hitting forehand your body weight transitions from one foot to another foot. You have to load on the right foot and land on the left foot. There is a very good exercise that this video shows

Preparation: As soon as you see that ball will be on your forehand make sure before ball hits the ground on your side your forehand should be in ready position. I will elaborate more on this.

Swing Path: From the ready position, you are supposed to drop the racket and then make a C to hit a powerful forehand. This a great video demonstrating this point

Finish Point: For beginners, just to stress on where to finish, try to finish your forehand shot by touching your racket on your back. This is just an exercise you don’t have to touch your racket on your back but idea is take the racket as far back as possible while finishing. This is a good video demonstrating this point

Some great videos showing entire forehand from start to finish:


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tennis: Importance of taking Tennis lessons at least once a month for beginners or non-professionals

I go to tennis courts near my house and see recreational players who have been playing for months. They play regularly and have developed shots that are not there in any tennis teaching manuals. Instead of proper forehands some hits only slice, but they have added power to their slice because of regular practice. Some plays a sort of scoop instead of proper backhand. Some uses forehand grip while playing volley and same forehand grip while serving. Especially people from Indian subcontinent, because they grow up playing cricket they use these cricket shots in tennis. I believe if you are playing every day and getting so much practice why not play in right way and that will take your game to a whole new level.

Also, if you have been playing at 2.5, 3.0, or 3.5 USTA level for quite some time and you want to take your game to next level what helps is practicing the right way. When I say practicing the right way, I mean you need to understand there are different grips for different shots; different ways to hit forehand top-spin shot and forehand slice; different ways to hit backhand top-spin shot and backhand slice.

While playing generally you need three different grips: One for Forehand (eastern, semi-western or western), one for serve and volley (continental grip), and one for backhand (eastern, semi-western or western). Some people use different grips while serving also to get more spin, but for non-professional players one grip generally continental grip is good enough for serve. Similarly while playing forehand and backhand, it is important to use the right grip while playing the top-spin shot and slice shot.

So, there are a lot of things you need to know and practice them. In order to understand these techniques, you can watch videos on youtube but it is very important that at least once a month have a good trainer look at you and make sure that you are using the right technique. Sometimes people learn from youtube, in videos, trainer shows the right technique but when we play we change it a bit and that doesn’t help at all.

The point that I am trying to stress here is, if you a recreational player or someone who wants to take his/her game to next level, watch training videos to learn about the game and techniques but to make sure you are playing with the right technique take a lesson with a good instructor at least once a month and you will see a big difference in your game.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tennis: French Open Men's Winner! Nadal or ??

French Open is starting in exactly 10 days from now. Who is going to win it among men’s is a big question among tennis fans these days? Considering Nadal won Mutua Madrid Open and is doing pretty well in Rome Italy, answer the question about his fitness that critics has been asking and also his past success on the clay court, he could probably be an easy choice. But let’s analyze who all can upset Nadal: Djokovic, Murray, Federer, or Wawrinka.

Djokovic is currently world number one, so he is probably the best contender who can beat Nadal. He can do anything on the court. He can hit groundstroke winners off both sides, whether through power or placement. He can come up with big serves. And he has magnificent touch around the net. Plus he knows when to utilize his various abilities—the true key to his near-legendary year. Also, he has beaten Nadal in Grand Slams on various occasions in the recent past makes him the number one contender to beat Nadal.

Murray is best described as a defensive counter-puncher. His strengths include groundstrokes with low error rate, the ability to anticipate and react, and his transition from defense to offence with speed, which enables him to hit winners from defensive positions. He is capable of injecting sudden pace to his groundstrokes to surprise his opponents who are used to the slow rally. Murray is also one of the top returners in the game, often able to block back fast serves with his excellent reach and uncanny ability to anticipate. For this reason, Murray is rarely aced. Murray is also known for being one of the most intelligent tacticians on the court, often constructing points. Only time will tell if he will be able to repeat his 2012 US Open success at Rolad Garros 2013.

Who is not aware of Federer–Nadal rivalry? If we go by stats they have played 29 times, Nadal leads their ten-year-old rivalry 19–10. No one denies the fact that on his day Federer can beat anybody especially with his speed, fluid style of play, and exceptional shot making. He mainly plays from the baseline but is also comfortable at the net, being one of the best volleyers in the game today. He has a powerful, accurate smash and very effectively performs rare elements in today’s tennis, such as backhand smash half-volley and jump smash (slam dunk). He has very efficient movement around the court and excellent footwork, which enables him to run around shots directed to his backhand and instead hit a powerful inside-out or inside-in forehand, one of his best shots. His forehand and backhand slice are both known as the best ever to enter the game. 

Wawrinka was another finalist at Madrid Open and was beaten by Nadal recently. He is another contender who can upset Nadal in French Open. He has the best one-handed backhand in the game today according to John McEnroe. Wawrinka is characterized as a powerful offensive baseliner capable of playing well on most surfaces, especially on clay and hard courts. His largest weakness has been considered his mental strength as he has been known to falter in the biggest matches. Hope, he must have learned from his latest encounter with Nadal how to play him better.

Who is going to win French Open only time will tell but we tennis fans are very fortunate to be living in this era where in 2012 every grand slam was won by a different player. I just hope we will get to see a good tennis in French Open. Good Luck to  all the players!


Social Cause: Lessons to a young girl to survive in India's Capital

I belong to a town called Meerut which is 60 kilometers away from India's capital. Recently my cousin sister who is 21 years old got a wonderful opportunity to work in India's capital. I was very excited and happy for her first job but the thought of letting her go and work alone in India's capital was so scary to me considering the latest cases of rapes that I read daily in newspapers. I did a full research and came up with a list of DO's and Don'ts; before our government comes to some senses and makes strict laws to eradicate this evil, we will have to take onus on ourselves to make sure girls are safe. This list is an attempt from my side and I am sharing it with everybody hoping it will save someone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings; whenever you are walking on a street always make sure to know if someone is following you and for how long. If someone has been following you, and if he is coming too close: yell, shout and draw attention to yourself. Attackers usually have an idea of how the attack will happen. Disrupt that idea. Yell loudly and strongly. Bystanders are unsure of what is going on; does the attacker know you? Etc. Yell "POLICE!", "CALL POLICE NOW!” or "HELP!". Words such as "POLICE" are more likely to scare the attacker and alert bystanders to the truth of the situation. Also, point to an individual bystander by saying "you sir, in the white shirt, I need your help now! - This man is attacking me..." Tell it like it is, and point to an individual.
  • Try to be at home before sun set; some streets are not properly lighted and these are the places where someone can easily drag you into a vehicle. If you have to be out please make sure you have a reliable company.
  • If you feel uneasy or unsure in anyway, get away and get help; don't freeze which happens to a lot of people, move quickly out of that place or situation.
  • Try to avoid going to parties where you know very few people. Don't accept drinks from strangers or someone you cannot trust. Also, make sure to keep your drink in front of you. There are some drugs that can be mixed to drinks and can cause temporary loss of senses.
  • Practice being careful when going into your house because someone could easily push you in and lock the door behind you. Be aware of your surroundings; carry your keys ready in your hand and look around you before opening the door.
  • Carry sprays, pepper and chili powder in your bag. Even an umbrella or a purse can be used as a weapon against an attacker. Also, you can try soft targets. Center of stomach-Instep-Nose-Groin, the four attack points you should focus on if grabbed from behind. Elbow them in the center of stomach, stomp on the foot as hard as you can, and when they let go, turn around and jam the palm of your hand into their nose in an upward motion, then finish with a knee to the groin. This may disable him long enough for you to get away.
  • When you take a taxi or an office cab, make sure to call some and tell them loudly the vehicle type, color and plate number, also little description of the driver. This will give an impression to him that he can be easily traced. Also, in case none is available just pretend as if you are calling to a real person.
  • If worse comes to worst, it means if you have to confront a rapist.  You must do everything in your power to escape even if it means hurting yourself. Sometimes, the rapist will kill his victims to prevent him from being caught or identified. If the rapist comes in your home, throw heavy items through windows and at the rapist. Make as much noise as you can. Do not get in the car or van with them if you can help it. Jump out of a moving car or crash the car if you are driving. Look for every opportunity to hurt them and escape. Take your extreme fear and turn it into fighting anger at your attacker. Do not be passive unless you feel you have to because a weapon is on you.
Also remember, rapists do not necessarily look like criminals. The person could look very normal, well groomed, pleasant, young, etc. They might not look evil or like a bad guy. They could be your boss, a teacher, a neighbor, boyfriend or girlfriend, or relative.


    Monday, May 13, 2013

    Monday, March 25, 2013

    Tech: Mobile app for IOS and Android

    Recently, i have started working on mobile apps. The approach that we have taken is, we are developing a simple webapp with Java technologies Spring MVC, Spring, Hibernate and Mobile JQuery. We have written two wrappers using phonegap one for Android and one for IOS to generate apk and ipa files respectively. I have not researched if it is the right approach or we have other options available. Any ideas?

    Here is one more idea i found while googling:
    You may want to develop Mobile Java Application using Codename ONE a cross-platform Java Mobile development platform. Getting Started : Developer Resources:
    The cool thing here is that you will end up writing one code and with a click of a button you can cross compile mobile applications for almost any device.

    Sunday, January 29, 2012

    About Me

    I watch and play tennis almost every day. I wanted to share the knowledge that I get while playing it, watching it and discussing it with people. I also like to read books and news, Social causes like rapes and corruption bothers me a lot. I work as a Software Consultant, my job requires me to learn new technologies from web and mobile applications, databases to different operating systems. Through this blog, I am trying to discuss and share things that interests me with everyone.