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View Full Version : Shorter swing = better?


andymac1
05-10-2007, 08:44 PM
Well I recently went to districts for my school's tennis team, and I watched many of the top guys there have shorter swings on their strokes than most players. After districts I tried shorting my swing a bit on all the balls that come at me (except for the ones that give an ample opportunity to prepare myself for a big hit) and it really helped. I could hit harder on still have less unforced errors than I usually did, but I was just wondering if that might be a bad habit to get into?

mucat
05-10-2007, 08:54 PM
You can use different swing length for different situation. Longest for the easiest ball and shorten it up for high pace rally. It is not about just shorten your swing, it is about using the right swing length for the given situation, everyone is different, for example, stronger player might be able to swing the racket faster, so bigger swing might be a choice for them, etc.

andymac1
05-10-2007, 08:55 PM
Well it offered more control was the main thing for me.

ps60
05-10-2007, 09:04 PM
everyone has his habbit.

Watch Agassi's video if u like short swing

kingdaddy41788
05-10-2007, 09:17 PM
I think you mean short backswing. Short swing implies stopping at some point rather than following through which is a bad idea.

Mick
05-10-2007, 09:58 PM
I would use different kind of swings when I play: long swing, short swing, and no swing and I would make those decisions based upon how deep the ball lands.

SFtennisGG
05-12-2007, 04:43 AM
It all depends on the shot that you're facing. I dont think there is an obvious answer to your question. I find that my take back is dependent on many factors such as shot selection, pace, and position of my opp.

tricky
05-12-2007, 01:43 PM
Players with power in their shorter swings have learned to properly lead the backswing stroke with their shoulder. The shoulder is really where most of the arm-centric swing speed comes from. Thinking "shoulder" will automatically compact your swing, and properly integrate swing with your hips and legs.

Agassi is a great example. His swing is very compact, but if you watch his motion from the shoulder, that part of his body makes a noticeable circle so that on almost every stroke, his shoulder points to the back fence.

By tracing the backswing the shoulder, turning it to point to back fence, and keeping the racquet tip slightly forward through most of that backswing, you can keep the swing compact but powerful. Then from there, you can develop bigger cuts at the ball.

Bagumbawalla
05-12-2007, 01:58 PM
People are different in stature, body style, strength, playing style and so forth. Also, situations vary, almost from ball to ball.

The important thing is to develop good habits and groove your stroke paterns. Then, when necessary you can make changes based on the situation and your intent.

So, I guess the answer is-- It depends.

B

Ross K
05-12-2007, 02:13 PM
Players with power in their shorter swings have learned to properly lead the backswing stroke with their shoulder. The shoulder is really where most of the arm-centric swing speed comes from. Thinking "shoulder" will automatically compact your swing, and properly integrate swing with your hips and legs.

Agassi is a great example. His swing is very compact, but if you watch his motion from the shoulder, that part of his body makes a noticeable circle so that on almost every stroke, his shoulder points to the back fence.

By tracing the backswing the shoulder, turning it to point to back fence, and keeping the racquet tip slightly forward through most of that backswing, you can keep the swing compact but powerful. Then from there, you can develop bigger cuts at the ball.

Hi tricky,

Not sure if you're still on line now but anyhow...

We've discussed various aspects of the fh techniques of Fed, Verdasco & Blake (to name but 3) before, but as for AA, not so much really (with the exeption of how, unusually, he creates a laid-back wrist from virtually the START of his takeback... I think this is correct anyway?) Now I know he's famed for hitting on the rise, but I'm just wondering if you could say a few words as to Agassi's general fh - how is he different to, I dunno, A-Rod, or other pro's? What characterizes his fh form and what are those 'mechanics' right from just from when the ball's about to bounce up in front of him? Whatever; anything at all you'd care to say and I'd be very grateful.

Cheers

Ross

tricky
05-12-2007, 04:01 PM
Now I know he's famed for hitting on the rise, but I'm just wondering if you could say a few words as to Agassi's general fh - how is he different to, I dunno, A-Rod, or other pro's?

The key difference is that Agassi mostly keeps his racquet relatively on edge through the entire stroke. As a result, his wrist is fairly laid-back through most of the stroke.

As you know, most pros don't do this. They like a relaxed wrist through the backswing, and then as the forward swing initiate, the wrist passively lays back into the proper position. Safin's grip and stroke is similar to Agassi, but he keeps his wrist relaxed. The relaxed wrist sets up the "throwing" rotation that relaxes the shoulder on the backswing and makes it turn backwards more naturally. So you get a more powerful and natural stroke. This is what the figure 8 is meant to each, and it's why Lendl had ridiculous power without much effort or a double-bend. Agassi's, in keeping his racquet on edge longer, constricts this. That's why I feel it's better off looking at Safin's mechanics as a foundation model for a compact, powerful, and easy to follow stroke.

That said . . . here's how Agassi kinda does it . . .

In his unit turn, he sets up his racquet

1a) Hand away from his body, with almost full arm extension.

This lengthens how much time he has from elbow tuck to accelerate the ball through the forward swing. Because he doesn't have a relaxed wrist, this is the only really significant variable. Reversing your racquet (flipping your racquet upside down) will also lengthen the acceleration time. Roddick and Federer do this, so that they don't have to take their hands that far away from the body. Some people think Safin does this, but I'm not sure.

1b) Hand is about ear level.

This is fairly normal, as most people set up about one foot higher from their optimal contact zone. But, it's not so much about where the hand is, but how much "lift or hunch" you give your shoulder in the unit turn (which in turn moves the hand.) This will influences how much your shoulder can turn back. In other words, Agassi lifts his shoulder enough so that, with that arm extension and his racquet on edge, his hand reaches his ear level. Roddick goes even higher (above is head), and as a result he gets even deeper shoulder turn. So, again, think shoulder as you move the hand up.

2) In his back swing, he keeps his racquet on edge, but he also keeps his racquet tip pointing forward until he tucks in the elbow. This is very, very important. If you let the racquet tip become perpendicular with the ground or starting to point toward the back fence, your stroke becomes an arm movement again.

3) Trace backswing with shoulder until shoulder is pointing toward back fence. At the same time, make sure the racquet edge remain perpendicular with the back fence. Basically, this reinforces that the shoulder drives the backswing.

4) As you initiate the forward swing, tuck in the elbow. Finish over the shoulder.

Ross K
05-13-2007, 12:24 AM
As I've said several times before - fantastic post tricky! I'm going to be looking at AA vids now and, among other aspects, watching for his racquet being on edge and his tip pointing forward until elbow tuck... very interesting...

The only things I haven't quite 'got' are...

. Your initial point regarding - "Hand away from his body, with almost full arm extension." Sorry. Are you talking about him tracking or lining up with the ball around time it bounces? Or are you referring to actual takeback? Or both? Or something totally different?

. Plus also, are you saying the racquet arm is drawn right out (and I think you're saying virtually straight) and away from body, as in there's a lot of space between racquet arm and right side of boby (unusual for pro's)?

. You mention fed and a-rod flipping racquets over... you do mean right at the very end of takeback - just as forward swing is , yes?

. And lastly, a querie that's just occurred to me... Is it correct to say that AA hits with a relatively flattened levelled out or wide motion - ie, a flat fig 8 as opposed to high vertical swooping figure 8)?

Many thanks

Ross

And btw, one of these days (not now though... I do appreciate the effort you put into these posts), as you so recommend it, I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing to read a breakdown of Safin's fh...

tricky
05-13-2007, 01:13 AM
Your initial point regarding - "Hand away from his body, with almost full arm extension." Sorry. Are you talking about him tracking or lining up with the ball around time it bounces? Or are you referring to actual takeback? Or both? Or something totally different?

Just when he's setting up racquet with his unit turn, that's all.

Plus also, are you saying the racquet arm is drawn right out (and I think you're saying virtually straight) and away from body, as in there's a lot of space between racquet arm and right side of boby (unusual for pro's)?

Yup. A lot of the pros do that to some degree Hewitt, Safin, Hass, etc. As you do your unit turn, you set up both hands away from body and at about ear level.

You mention fed and a-rod flipping racquets over... you do mean right at the very end of takeback - just as forward swing is , yes?

No no no. Fed and A-Rod (and most of the Western grip players) flip their
racquets upside down at the unit turn. Flipping the racquet upside downaccomplishes much of the same effect as moving the racquet away from your body. That is, it extends the time you have to accelerate the racquet through the forward swing until it has to come around.

Conversely, the advantage to using the upside down is that, now, you don't need to put the racquet far away from your body. You can put it closer to your body, and you now have a very compact swing, which is especially valuable for Western grip players who need to hit the ball way out in front and conserve energy. Guys who combine both elements, arm extension in the unit turn plus reverse racquet, have very, very powerful FHs. Combine that with a natural throwing motion, which almost all pros do, and you have the true modern FH.

. And lastly, a querie that's just occurred to me... Is it correct to say that AA hits with a relatively flattened levelled out or wide motion - ie, a flat fig 8 as opposed to high vertical swooping figure

Yeah, it's a fairly wide motion (not as much as Blake), resembling a flat 8 (flat but not as flat as Blake), and it's all shoulder. The actual motion of his FH is very compact once it's set up. Note that in a "true" figure 8, the racquet rotates naturally through the back swing. In Agassi's case, he keeps his racquet on edge, so this obviously doesn't happen.

I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing to read a breakdown of Safin's fh...

Safin's plain FH is pretty straightforward once you have basic idea of Agassi's stroke. Basically, reverse the racquet, relax wrist (thus not keeping the racquet on edge) and finish a little lower (around the armpits.) Visualizing a figure 8 will pretty much help there.