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Is it right to copy a Pro ?

Should You Copy The Pros in Tennis | Everything You Need to Know

Is it a good idea or a bad idea to copy the pros in tennis ?
In this article we’ll go over some of the pros and cons of trying to emulate a specific player or a specific stroke. Now it’s a question that we get asked a lot, ‘Should I be modeling my game on let’s say Federer’s game ? Should I be trying to copy Nadal’s forehand ?’

Copy the Pros ? – Problems

Now, it can be very beneficial when you’re trying to master the fundamentals of a specific stroke but it can also be very negative when you’re trying to make your forehand look exactly like Nadal’s forehand. And what tends to happen is, players get so obsessed over the small details of a specific stroke that they forget about actually mastering the fundamentals. So for example, it could be the Federer’s forehand, players will think about exactly what Federer is doing in the racket drop position. They forget about actually using the body to produce that power and using the body in the most energy efficient way.

So, it can be a very beneficial thing but it can also be very negative. What we need to avoid is trying to make our swing look exactly like someone else’s, because every single body is different. So, my natural swing won’t look like someone else’s, just like they’ll struggle to make their swing identical to mine. But what we can do is to master the fundamentals ?

Copy the Pros ? – Basics/Fundamentals

The fundamentals are simply the things that will help us to produce the best result on a specific stroke. So if we analyse some of the biggest forehands in the world, we’d see that they’re all using the same fundamentals.
It may be the coiling of the upper body, it may be using the ground for making sure that they’re using the correct stances, for the neutral, the open, or the semi-open stance and avoiding the closed stance. It may be the racket lag face prior to the contact point and it could be making sure that they‘re making contact out in front of their body, and having a good follow-through.

Don’t Copy the Pros, Rather Analyse !

So, all of the above are the fundamentals that we should look to implement into a specific stroke. But that doesn’t mean that you now go out and try to make your forehand look exactly like Rafael Nadal’s, because then your focus will be on making your swing look like his, but not the fundamentals. But rather it can be a very good thing when you are analysing the best servers in the world and seeing what they all do or the common traits that they all have. This could be the leg drive, having a consistent ball toss, making sure that they’re using the continental grip. All of these things we’ll see time and time again if we study them carefully.

A lot of players will see that they have the same fundamentals on a certain stroke. So on the backhand, it could be making sure that they get that coil with the upper body at the start of the swing. Making sure that the racket head is above the grip level, so they have space to accelerate. Making sure that they’re loading with the legs stepping into the shot as they make contact, or making sure that they’re transferring their weight through that contact point.

How to Correctly Observe the Pros ?

It’s a very good idea to watch the slow motion of the pros. Watch Federer playing in slow motion, watch Nadal playing in slow motion, watch all of them hitting their strokes and look for those common traits, that we can spot time and time again with a bunch of different players.
If you see only one player using it, maybe it only works for that specific player, but if you see 10 players using the exact same coiling with the body, then we know that that’s the fundamental, and we know that we can then implement that into our own games. That’s actually one of the ways that you’ll improve the quickest.

Implement Basics in Your Own Style

You may master those fundamentals in a slightly different way from somebody else. Your swing on the backhand might look very different to someone like Wawrinka, but you’re still using the same fundamentals and that’s the most important thing.

We should master the fundamentals of each stroke but also have our own style to the swing. Because we don’t have to look like Federer to have a very good forehand, or we don’t have to look like Nadal to have a lot of spin on the shot. We can have our own unique game, and actually, that’s very important that we keep that identity. So we should master our own game but by using those fundamentals.
So it’s a very good thing to analyze the players and look for those common traits. Find those common fundamentals that players are using time and time again on a certain stroke and then use that for your own game. But it’s a very bad thing to try to make our forehand or backhand or serve look identical to someone else.

Copy the Pros ? – Conclusion

So, after summing it all up, you should look for the fundamentals and not at the exact way a Pro is playing, analysing the pros and not copying them, mastering the common traits, and having your own unique style of playing. So, follow this cycle, it is the best way to improve.

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