View Full Version : BB - A challenge to conventional vision knowledge

08-19-2004, 06:45 AM

Scott Ford, a USPTA pro with some addional credentials, has a few articles on tennisone about playing in the 'zone'. The most recent one discusses vision.

His claim is that it's best to focus on your contact zone and where the ball enters this zone.

He says that watching the ball all the way from your opponent's racquet is allowing you to approximate speed and direction, but at higher ball speeds, your brain is more likely to make judgement errors which will result in bad timing.

By watching the contact zone, he claims that it is easier for your brain to calculate correct timing because you are not relying on your abilities to refocus.

He even points out how this contradicts the conventional advice of watching the ball and the hit-bounce-hit method.

I get the impression that you are not a tennisone member and won't be able to check out the article, but the guy has a website: www.arete-sports.com . The website has one of his tennisone articles on it, but it's not the one on vision that I am referring to.

What do you think? Hopefully I paraphrased well enough for you to understand the point of the article. If you have questions, let me know and I'll go back to the article to see if I can answer them.

Bungalo Bill
08-19-2004, 03:43 PM
Well I read the article and I don't see it as a challenge to the conventional HIT BOUNCE HIT method. As the article mentions, the HIT BOUNCE HIT method is a very good method and most importantly has been tested to work on the court. It is a good vision strategy.

What I learned from this article (more than anything) is I see the article as research that is trying to improve upon an already good thing - the HIT BOUNCE HIT method.

There is no question that the HIT BOUNCE HIT is a good vision strategy and is employed by many top players. This article is simply reducing the focus from two extra points in time (HIT, BOUNCE) to one (HIT).

However, I do not use the first HIT in the HIT BOUNCE HIT method to "focus" closely on the ball.

I use it to move. To sense the direction of the ball to prepare.

My mind is pretty empty as I allow both eyes to face towards the ball but I am not trying to SEE the ball. I just simply can not focus that hard. I am just reacting to the direction of the ball as soon as I pick it up. I am actually gradually moving from peripheral vision to focal vision as the ball gets nearer.

Again, when I am moving towards the ball, I am not focusing real hard. The article points this out that it is nearly impossible and I agree. But as I sense the balls direction, and the preparation takes place, I start turning my focus to the contact zone.

The BOUNCE is the point that my head and eyes are focused on the contact zone and is the trigger to recognize when the ball comes into the beginning of my contact parameter for the swing. The HIT part is simply helping reinforce that "window" Scott is talking about.

Here is the imagery he used in the article:

I don't see Roddick only looking at the contact zone, I see his head moving and then when he is about to hit the ball he looks at the contact zone.

Agassi is also another player that keys in on the HIT part of his opponent and has one of the best jumps on the ball in the game today.

I can see how the HIT BOUNCE HIT method can be taken so literal that it becomes very serial. So maybe that can be explained better as I tried to above.

I am in agreement with the article and I hope from Scott's research we can improve this vital area of learning to hit better balls!

If you try it, I would be interested in your results and findings. But give it several months perform the method with all of your strokes.

Don't forget though it is the back eye that must be on the ball to help with timing. So both of your eyes (if you want to follow this article's instruction) need to be on that contact zone. It is the back eye that controls depth so the brain receives good information. He used these equations for his rationale:

Accurate Visual Input = Accurate Motor Output

Inaccurate Visual Input = Inaccurate Motor Output

Power Game
08-19-2004, 04:21 PM
geez, how do you do hit bounce hit. I don't have nearly enough time, so i go 1 2 1.

Bungalo Bill
08-19-2004, 04:50 PM
geez, how do you do hit bounce hit. I don't have nearly enough time, so i go 1 2 1.

Good enough! Sounds like the same thing!

08-19-2004, 05:03 PM
Thanks Bill.

I'm glad you like the idea. Getting more accurate visual input by not having to refocus a bunch of times makes total sense.

Bungalo Bill
08-19-2004, 05:43 PM
Thanks Bill.

I'm glad you like the idea. Getting more accurate visual input by not having to refocus a bunch of times makes total sense.

Yeah I do, remember when I said to pretend there is an imaginary line in front of you right about where you would make contact or put some tape on the court going from alley to alley to get a reference of your contact point? If you mistimed the ball adjust yoru position and when the ball reaches the line, hit it?

Same concept.