PDA

View Full Version : The way Federer looks at the ball, that important?


raiden031
02-06-2009, 04:02 AM
I know that posters here as well as commentators like to point out the way that Fed looks at the ball during contact for a longer period of time than most pros. But I'm trying to see if that is what makes him so much better than the rest, or what.

On this board there is alot of talk about Federer shanking the ball during routine shots, that we don't see other pros doing as much, hence all the talk about increasing his head size. I too feel like Fed shanks the ball at very random times throughout a point, but I don't think its because of his racquet size, but instead just a side-effect of his shotmaking ability. His shots are so precise, that perhaps he must look at the ball longer in order to avoid those shanks. That would explain why he has been so dominant on the forehand side at the same time that posters are whining about his head size being too small.

Then you can look at the fact that Fed is good at all aspects of the game and ask where staring at the contact point for so long fits into that. He obviously is talented in the way he moves his feet, his ability to coordinate his muscles to hit all the shots, and his shot selection choices.

What are your thoughts? Does the fact that Fed stares at the contact point for so long make him a greater player? Is this something a rec. player can use to improve their game?

gzhpcu
02-06-2009, 04:13 AM
I think that looking at the ball longer just ensures that you keep your head steady, which is a good thing for the stroke. If you look at the court too soon, your body will tend to follow. Just like looking up too soon is not good, because you pull your torso up. In short, the body follows the head.

10isNE1?
02-06-2009, 06:09 AM
His head doesn't jerk up so there is more control on the ball during the followthrough. But just as important, or maybe even more so, by keeping his head still he can be aware of his opponent's position in his peripheral vision and yet at the same time keep his main vision focused on the plane of the strike zone. By doing this simultaneous "split screen" kind of focus he is able, more than any other player, to play and stay longer in the "zone". Most of us mere mortals go into the "zone" from time to time, but are rarely able to stay in for long. Try keeping your head still through the shot and you'll find you're in the "zone" more often.

SystemicAnomaly
02-06-2009, 06:48 AM
Is Federer really shanking the ball during routine shots? Not aware of this.

As others have pointed out, the most important feature of Fed's "Quiet Eye" technique is that he is keeping his head & eyes still during most of his forward swing. If we attempt to move the eyes much during this time, the head tends to follow. If we attempt to move the head immediately after contact, we are probably already moving it during contact. This will have the effect of altering the swing path of the racket.

There is some debate as to whether or not Fed actually acquires any additional visual information by specially fixing his gaze on (or behind) the contact zone as opposed to some point in front of the contact area. He undoubtedly picks up a blur somewhere close to the contact point even tho' his eyes cannot really track the ball using smooth pursuit.

But whether or not this additional visual info (the blur) is useful info is probably of less importance than keeping the head & eyes still. It is interesting to note, however, that Nadal appears to have adopted a technique that is very similar to Fed's.

raiden031
02-06-2009, 09:00 AM
Is Federer really shanking the ball during routine shots? Not aware of this.


There is a fair number of people on the board who have witnessed Fed shank routine shots while not under pressure. Why do you think people are always saying he needs a bigger racquet head? I've witnessed it myself, noting that he will do this more than his opponent. His opponents might mishit more because of pressure from Fed, but not while hitting a routine shot.

LeeD
02-06-2009, 10:44 AM
Didn't you just answer the question?
Fed shanks goofing around because he doesn't need/care to watch the ball.
When he plays, he watches.
Other guys hitting with Fed watch the ball all the time. Then when they play him, they watch his balls go whizzing by them:):)
Whenever a lesser player hits with a superior player, they have to try harder, while the superior player can relax.

mg.dc
02-06-2009, 01:17 PM
It is interesting to note, however, that Nadal appears to have adopted a technique that is very similar to Fed's.

That's a good point. I've noticed that too.

stormholloway
02-06-2009, 01:24 PM
My opinion is that you track the ball the best you can and make sure to put your eyes where you want to make contact. It's more about focusing on the desired contact point. Because the eyes are so strongly connected to the nervous system, they actually serve as a compass for the muscles.

orangettecoleman
02-06-2009, 06:19 PM
all i know is that when i watch the racquet contact the ball the way federer does, i always play about 200 percent better. so i continue to do it. if your coordination is good enough to play well without watching the contact point, then more power to you, but mine sure isn't!

limitup
02-07-2009, 03:52 PM
The way he stays "frozen" on the contact point for so long is very weird to me. I've studied it in slow motion and by my estimation, half the time he does this the ball is already bouncing on the other side of the court by the time he actually looks up. You would think this would have serious negative effects, but obviously his movement and quickness is incredible and he still gets to the next ball.

When I try to keep my head/eyes frozen on the contact point for as long as Fed does it feels REALLY weird.

Generally what I try to do is keep my head still the way Fed does, but after contact I will shift my eyes up and over towards my opponent (while keeping my head still for a bit longer).

JHBKLYN
02-07-2009, 08:41 PM
What are your thoughts? Does the fact that Fed stares at the contact point for so long make him a greater player? Is this something a rec. player can use to improve their game?

Fed is a great player because he is a great player. Rec players can stare at the ball for 10 seconds after contact and it won't help them because they don't have the skills that Fed has. If Fed only looked at the ball for a millisecond and sticks his left middle finger out, then everyone will be saying the reason why he is so good is because he only looks at the ball for a millisecond AND sticks his middle finger out. Imitation is the best form of flattery, but it won't help your game if you don't have game. :)

limitup
02-07-2009, 08:45 PM
True we are no Federers, but reminding people to actually watch the ball is still good advice. As simplistic as it sounds, most club players don't watch the ball very well which leads to mishits, inconsistency, etc.

JHBKLYN
02-07-2009, 10:28 PM
True we are no Federers, but reminding people to actually watch the ball is still good advice. As simplistic as it sounds, most club players don't watch the ball very well which leads to mishits, inconsistency, etc.

Yes, I agree that is excellent advice. I think most players do look at the ball or else every other ball would be a shank. I believe the difference between players is the ability to see the ball aka vision and the timing to hit the ball. The higher level players have the ability to see the rotation of the ball and can judge where it will bounce and where they will hit it. The lower level players can see the ball but don't have the ability to judge where the ball will be or their calculations is a little off so they hit the ball too early or too late and can't hit it perfectly. This vision quest is born within and can't be taught and no matter how hard we try, most of us will never be professional tennis players. :)