View Full Version : ~ Top spin addicts...

08-24-2007, 03:32 PM
Whenever I see "good" people play, they just stand in way back behind the court and hit top spins to each other. I understand if you do that in a fun, friendly rally, but if you're doing that in a real game that's just stupid. All you have to do is hit a nice slice that just misses the net and the ball would bounce 12 times before getting to the other player. Why do people hit the ball directly to the opponent's raquet, I never understood.

Steady Eddy
08-24-2007, 03:50 PM
Way back in the 70's people got really excited about topspin. It was like they thought that players had never used it before. People thought that since Borg and Vilas used alot of topspin, then that must be why they were so successful. I was no different. I worked on topspin all the time too.

Later I started to question this. I noticed that topspin made things easier on my opponent. Topspin shots bounce high, and opponents like the high bounce. They hate the low bounce. Topspin shots drop sooner, so are less likely to go over the baseline, but they also are misshit more often. If they're really safer is anyones guess.

In Fox's book he says that topspin is actually useful for passing shots, and is misused as a stroke in a rally. You don't see heavy topspin players like Borg or Vilas as much anymore. (Nadal comes close to being like them though). For rallies a flatter stroke does more damage.

I think the players you described play like that because they learned the game back in the topspin era. I think you're right, and that to a large extent topspin just makes it easier for your opponent to return the ball.

08-24-2007, 04:17 PM
Obviously you need to mix things up, but topspin is generally less attackable than slice. Topspin also brings consistency (net clearance, controls the depth of the ball) and consistency wins a lot of the time. Of course, topspin with pace is even better.

Pros hit with a ton of spin, just they have a ton of pace too. But they hit with enough spin to get 3-4 feet of net clearance and still have the ball land inside.

Steady Eddy
08-24-2007, 04:50 PM
Thought I'd add this about topspin, because I've never seen it mentioned in print. I you swing horizontally, then 100% of your racquet head speed goes into your shot. If you swing upward at a 45 degree angle, then your raquet is only going 70% as fast in the horizontal direction. So if you swing 100 mph, (I picked that # because it makes the math easier), at a 45 degree angle you're hitting the ball at 70 mph. If you want more spin and swing at a steep 60 degree angle, then you're only hitting it at 50 mph.

Where to these figures come from? You take the cosine of the angle in question. You folks are at a computer, open the one on accessories and display it in the scientific mode. This means that if you use moderate topspin you don't sacrifice much power, but you're giving up alot of power with excessive topspin. Also, the same factor tells how much you are decreasing your hitting area. At 45 degrees it is only 70% as big, at 60 degrees, it's half as big. That's why you'd see even players as good as Borg sometimes hit into the top deck.

Does it make a player more consistent? That's debatable. On the one hand the Bernoulli effect makes it drop, so and can clear the net by alot, but this is offset the more difficult timing due to the decreased hitting area. I've heard some people argue that the decrease in speed helps, because a ball not hit as hard will have more time to drop into the court. While that is true, it is not a good argument for topspin. If you're using topspin to slow down the speed of your shots, a simpler method would be to simply not swing as hard.

Some people argue that topspin is what brings balls down into the court. They are forgetting about gravity. And gravity can pull some extremely hard hit balls down into the court. If a player is very skilled topspin can allow him to hit passing shots that: will go over the net, travel quickly, and land inside the sideline (when hitting at an angle, the sideline becomes a barrier like the baseline).

One thing I definitely know that topspin does it wear out your strings. When I was really into topspin I was always breaking strings. Now that I just massage the ball, my strings last for about a year. :D

08-24-2007, 05:53 PM
i slice my severs and put topspin on all my FH and BH

08-24-2007, 09:17 PM
You guys are totally right. If the player is standing up closer to the net, topspin would force him to back out and get you ready for a low bouncer. But if the player is already in the back of the court, a top spin would send the ball right to him, which is not what you want. I saw lots of coaches that teach the kids to solely use topspin, and they would yell at them if they used anything else; i think that's absurd.