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View Full Version : Agassi/Blake Forehand comparison [pic]


cukoo
08-28-2007, 07:51 AM
I have always been big fans of big hitters like Agassi and Blake, heres 2 frame by frame analysis of their forehand.

http://www.procomparetennis.net/tech_image_sequences/fullsize/agassifhsideview.jpg

http://www.procomparetennis.net/tech_image_sequences/fullsize/blakefhside2.jpg

Look at Agassi's 7th and 8th frame, the racquet is nearly on a leveled plane with the ball. How does he hit so hard without brushing up and applying topspin? In Blake's pic, in the 6th and 7th frame, you can clearly see that Blake drops the racquet below his waist and below to the ball to come up and through the ball.
When I hit the ball at shoulder level like Agassi sometimes I could get a ton of pace on the ball but 7/10 times it would go long because I could not get away without applying topspin on the ball.
How does Agassi do it? Advice?

pics courtesey of procomparetennis.net:)

stormholloway
08-28-2007, 08:13 AM
Interesting. I always thought Agassi hit with more spin than Blake. Blake's forehand is considered relatively flat, not that Agassi was known for massive topspin.

Agassi is definitely brushing up in some way or else his racquet wouldn't lift higher than his contact point.

The way I think of it is that a topspin shot is a combination, or ratio, of drive to cut. Too much drive will launch a ball out. Too much brushing up, cut, etc. and the ball will just spin downward into the net. Each ball that comes to you is different, so get a feel for how you need to meet the ball under different circumstances.

burosky
08-28-2007, 08:27 AM
You are not comparing apples to apples here. Agassi is hitting a chest high forehand while Blake is hitting a knee level forehand. The mechanics will be different. The interesting thing is during the forward swing, their motion is fairly similar.

Both of them do brush up on the ball. For Agassi, look at frames 8, 9 and 10. That upward swing path puts the brush on the ball. For Blake, it is frames 6, 7 and 8. They practically do the same thing during their forward swing.

enwar3
08-28-2007, 08:41 AM
Agree with burosky - Agassi has his racquet on a higher plane because his ball is on a higher plane as well. Although I'd say Blake looks like he puts more brush on his ball in this example...

snoopy
08-28-2007, 09:04 AM
Agassi almost looks to be slapping at the ball.

smoothtennis
08-28-2007, 09:13 AM
I have heard countless times that Aggasi hit a flatter ball than most pro's today. He would drive though it with the racket more level with the ball. He didn't hit massive topspin compared to others from what I have seen.

burosky
08-28-2007, 09:29 AM
Agassi almost looks to be slapping at the ball.

He couldn't be slapping at the ball. The swing still has an upward path even if it is very minimal. To slap it means not having an upward path at all which by the way puts some side spin on the ball. His swing puts some top spin on the ball.

Golden Retriever
08-28-2007, 09:37 AM
When you take the ball on the risk you don't need that much topspin.

BillH
08-28-2007, 10:15 AM
Agassi did not hit as flat a ball as many people think. I sat three feet from the side of the court while Agassi warmed up with Cahill during the clay court tourney in Houston a few years ago. His forehand shots all cleared the net by three or four feet and had a great deal of spin. As mentioned above, the comparison with the Blake photos is not a good one as the postiion of the ball is way different in each case.

cukoo
08-28-2007, 03:36 PM
Agassi did not hit as flat a ball as many people think. I sat three feet from the side of the court while Agassi warmed up with Cahill during the clay court tourney in Houston a few years ago. His forehand shots all cleared the net by three or four feet and had a great deal of spin. As mentioned above, the comparison with the Blake photos is not a good one as the postiion of the ball is way different in each case.

When playing on clay, players tend to use more spin, aint it?

You are not comparing apples to apples here. Agassi is hitting a chest high forehand while Blake is hitting a knee level forehand. The mechanics will be different. The interesting thing is during the forward swing, their motion is fairly similar.

Both of them do brush up on the ball. For Agassi, look at frames 8, 9 and 10. That upward swing path puts the brush on the ball. For Blake, it is frames 6, 7 and 8. They practically do the same thing during their forward swing.

Hmm, maybe you have a point there, I never really though about that.

But it still amazes me how Agassi hits that chest high FH imparting so little spin. I can hit that waist level hard flat ball Blake style with great success (of course not half as powerful as Blake) but pretty consistant nonetheless. But when hitting that high ball, like I said, it would usually go long. And yes, I am taking the ball on the rise at chest/shoulder level. Any advice?

drakulie
08-28-2007, 04:08 PM
Interesting,,,,,, they both have a laid back wrist before, and during contact.

Guess that puts that argument to rest.

tricky
08-28-2007, 04:46 PM
Agassi uses an over the shoulder finish; most people finish at around chest height. That's how he gets reasonable amount of spin to control depth of his shots, be the ball shoulder higher or waist high, and then he uses his mild SW grip to improve leverage in a higher contact zone. His backswing is a bit more circular than people usually associate with Agassi. Agassi's spin rate isn't as high as other pros now, but the overall profile between pace and spin is matched well enough that he can pretty easily control depth of his shot.

Blake's mechanics are really different from Agassi. He uses a relaxed wrist and a figure-8 swing, which improves the pace on the ball. But this can be a problem sometimes because his grip is very mild SW and his finish is also pretty low (thereby emphasizing pace over spin.) In other words, his pace/spin profile isn't as balanced, and so his depth control can leave him. Also, his shots aren't as heavy as other top pros, meaning if they can retrieve his shots, they can go on the offensive.

stormholloway
08-28-2007, 04:48 PM
I still don't see why players don't straighten the arm. A straight arm with the laid back wrist is optimal to me.

tricky
08-28-2007, 04:51 PM
I still don't see why players don't straighten the arm. A straight arm with the laid back wrist is optimal to me.

It moves the contact point forward. Also the exact contact point is more difficult to control. But, yeah, if you can control it, it's wonderful. It's like having the choices of a 1-handed BH on your FH side.

cukoo
08-28-2007, 09:49 PM
Agassi uses an over the shoulder finish; most people finish at around chest height. That's how he gets reasonable amount of spin to control depth of his shots, be the ball shoulder higher or waist high, and then he uses his mild SW grip to improve leverage in a higher contact zone. His backswing is a bit more circular than people usually associate with Agassi. Agassi's spin rate isn't as high as other pros now, but the overall profile between pace and spin is matched well enough that he can pretty easily control depth of his shot.
sO YOU SHOULD FINISH wit hthe racquet over the shoulder? This is to impart more topspin on the ball right?

stormholloway
08-28-2007, 10:06 PM
It moves the contact point forward. Also the exact contact point is more difficult to control. But, yeah, if you can control it, it's wonderful. It's like having the choices of a 1-handed BH on your FH side.

The few times I've consciously straightened the arm the ball absolutely launched off the strings. The problem is of course that it happens so quickly it's hard to control.

paulfreda
08-29-2007, 04:06 AM
Storm
I am confused by your last two posts.
At first you say ...
"A straight arm with the laid back wrist is optimal to me."

Then you said with a straight arm you fly the ball.

I have always felt the straight arm was for continental FHs. You must take the ball later and cannot hit it close to your body. Watch old clips of Mac approaching net. His arm is quite straight.

With modern strong grips you need a bent arm except for a very low ball IMO.

junbumkim
08-29-2007, 05:55 AM
It's outrageous to think that you have to finish over your shoulder to impart more topspin.
The end position of racket can be deceving. Even look at Blake, his racket goes as high as his head, and then comes down to and around his waist. In the beginning coaches always emphasize on finishing high up because they want that low to high swing. However as you advance, if you always try to finish your racket around your neck, it's not going to help. Sometimes you can't get acceleration on your racket when trying to finish around your neck.

Each and every player hits different forehand. But their key elements are the same.

tricky
08-29-2007, 06:53 AM
sO YOU SHOULD FINISH wit hthe racquet over the shoulder? This is to impart more topspin on the ball right?

Mmm . . . well, that's what Agassi does in his stroke, and that's what used to be taught a long time ago. Agassi's stroke is more of a circular loop (due to the consistent over-the-shoulder finish), but because he's terrific at producing that loop from the shoulder, it's still very abbreviated. He also sets up his unit turn with fuller arm extension, which lets him accelerate the racquet a bit more. For him, it allows him to hit flat and maintain good depth control.

With modern strong grips you need a bent arm except for a very low ball IMO.

Really, the major difference between bent-arm and straight is in the position of the elbow as the forward swing begins. Arm pit "closed" = bent-arm. Arm pit "open" = straight arm.

Straight arm gives you an expanded swing, and therefore more choices and possibly more power. More spin with conservative grips, ability to hit flat and low with extreme grips. But it also moves the contact point forward and that contact point can float a little. Thus making it harder to control.

WildVolley
08-29-2007, 07:20 AM
I think these photos show how Agassi really lays back the wrist on the forward portion of the swing, even more than Blake does.

Blake also rotates the body a little more than Agassi does.

ho
08-29-2007, 08:56 AM
I have always been big fans of big hitters like Agassi and Blake, heres 2 frame by frame analysis of their forehand.

http://www.procomparetennis.net/tech_image_sequences/fullsize/agassifhsideview.jpg

http://www.procomparetennis.net/tech_image_sequences/fullsize/blakefhside2.jpg

Look at Agassi's 7th and 8th frame, the racquet is nearly on a leveled plane with the ball. How does he hit so hard without brushing up and applying topspin? In Blake's pic, in the 6th and 7th frame, you can clearly see that Blake drops the racquet below his waist and below to the ball to come up and through the ball.
When I hit the ball at shoulder level like Agassi sometimes I could get a ton of pace on the ball but 7/10 times it would go long because I could not get away without applying topspin on the ball.
How does Agassi do it? Advice?

pics courtesey of procomparetennis.net:)

AA hit flat with a push type, that not what he did when he was Nick student, 20 years ago. I guess he change his stroke (pull) as he get older. at contact point, he pronate his forearm to create spin. You should learn WW forehand. Thank for the pict. I really looking for pict AA new forehand. I was AA absolute fans since he was a kid.

dherring
02-04-2008, 06:24 PM
what stance is Blake hitting from?

Noveson
02-04-2008, 06:29 PM
Interesting. I always thought Agassi hit with more spin than Blake. Blake's forehand is considered relatively flat, not that Agassi was known for massive topspin.

Agassi is definitely brushing up in some way or else his racquet wouldn't lift higher than his contact point.

The way I think of it is that a topspin shot is a combination, or ratio, of drive to cut. Too much drive will launch a ball out. Too much brushing up, cut, etc. and the ball will just spin downward into the net. Each ball that comes to you is different, so get a feel for how you need to meet the ball under different circumstances.

That is exactly the way I think of it:) Now I know how to explain it too, thanks. I always thought of it as swinging up vs out. If I was hitting to long I would swing up more, too short and swing through it more.

rosewall4ever
02-04-2008, 07:32 PM
i like agassi's forehand than blake's...looks more controlled than the full blooded swing of blake's...

RoddickistheMan
02-04-2008, 08:38 PM
Could it be that agassi initiates the topspin once the ball is in contact with the strings where as blake initiates the upward swing path before contact with the ball. It seems that agassi begins the upward motion to initiate topsin after the ball hits the strings. This is similar to roddicks old forehand of 03 and 04 where topspin was applied right when contact with the strings occurred.