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View Full Version : Why not look where the ball is going?


majordude
10-30-2009, 06:38 PM
Okay, I've seen more than one video where the instructor says to hit the ball and hesitate briefly before turning the head and looking where the ball is going.

This seems counter intuitive to me. :???:

Cody
10-30-2009, 06:43 PM
It inforces keeping your head still which is ball striking 101

Geezer Guy
10-30-2009, 06:45 PM
Your head weighs 15 - 20 pounds. Jerking your head to watch the ball at the same instant you hit the ball will mess you up. Keeping you head still and your eyes on the impact zone will help you hit the ball cleanly and squarely.

5263
10-30-2009, 07:12 PM
Your thoughts work by anticipation of things. When you anticipate where the ball is going, you move your head early to catch the early glance. This head movement just prior to contact can affect the quality of the impact. You have to purposely stay till the work is done to ensure you don't move prior or during the contact.

majordude
10-30-2009, 07:17 PM
Your head weighs 15 - 20 pounds. Jerking your head to watch the ball at the same instant you hit the ball will mess you up. Keeping you head still and your eyes on the impact zone will help you hit the ball cleanly and squarely.

But that sort of seems like looking at your fingers when you play guitar. If you know what you are doing you don't need to look.

And like in football or Frisbee... you look where you want the object to end up.

5263
10-30-2009, 07:25 PM
But that sort of seems like looking at your fingers when you play guitar. If you know what you are doing you don't need to look.

And like in football or Frisbee... you look where you want the object to end up.
In those examples, the things like guitar, are in your hands, not coming at you at 50mph.
The football and frisbee are already in your hand too.
When you catch or kick a football, you should keep the head very still as well.

Imagine trying to hit a baseball while glancing up into seats where you expect your long ball to land.

dozu
10-30-2009, 07:27 PM
this is more personal preference.... the head can turn, as long as it turns around a steady axis.

for certain players, early head turn allows better body clearance.

if you want to turn your head early, and can still keep your balance and have consistency.... just do it.

NickH87
10-31-2009, 06:54 AM
But that sort of seems like looking at your fingers when you play guitar. If you know what you are doing you don't need to look.

And like in football or Frisbee... you look where you want the object to end up.

Why do you think the football players drop passes when the commentators say they took their eye off the ball...they dont watch it in because they look to see if they have open field or about to get hit and they drop it anyway. Your logic sucks, look the ball in, you dont have to stare at it, keep your head still, do what your coach says and get better.

gzhpcu
10-31-2009, 07:52 AM
Because it tends to change your body position and might cause an unforced error.

blakesq
10-31-2009, 09:33 AM
majordude you can do it your way, and look at where the ball is going. Or you can do it like Federer, Nadal, and the rest do it, by watching the ball through impact with the racket.

You watch the ball, because you continously make adjustments to try to get your racket head to hit the ball properly. If instead you are watching where you want the ball to go, you will mishit the ball, frame it, etc., way too many times. This is because you may think the ball is traveling in a particular trajectory, and your racket is traving in a particular trajectory, but if you actually watch the ball, you have to make adjustments to get your racket to hit the ball just right.

It is just like when you think a ball is going to go out for sure, and somehow it lands in. YOur brain anticipates the ball's trajectory as best it can, but it can be wrong. That's why you have to watch the ball as you hit it, because the trajectory you think the ball is traveling can be wrong.

But that sort of seems like looking at your fingers when you play guitar. If you know what you are doing you don't need to look.

And like in football or Frisbee... you look where you want the object to end up.

Bagumbawalla
10-31-2009, 02:13 PM
I don't look to where the ball is going, at all. Instead, I keep a book on tennis basics in my left and and read it during the point so I won't make any mistakes.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-31-2009, 03:51 PM
But that sort of seems like looking at your fingers when you play guitar. If you know what you are doing you don't need to look.

That's the thing... You DON'T know what you're doing... Otherwise you wouldn't be asking.

And why do you want to see where the ball is going?

Your opponent is the one making the calls on your shot, so why even bother looking at where it bounces? (Assuming he's honest and doesn't cheat) Whether it goes in or out, you can't challenge your opponent's call. No point at all in looking at the ball after contact except when your opponent makes contact.

callen3615
10-31-2009, 04:05 PM
This seems counter intuitive to me. :???:

You never played golf did you? :)

dozu
10-31-2009, 04:29 PM
You never played golf did you? :)

what a F$%$ little game golf is :)

callen3615
10-31-2009, 04:38 PM
what a F$%$ little game golf is :)

Yeah. ;)

But you really have to concentrate on the ball, and in golf it doesn't move. :)

majordude
10-31-2009, 04:44 PM
I don't think I am making myself clear. Look at this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0RndYbEl3s

Around 2:27 he talks about keeping your head down, hitting the ball, and KEEPING IT THERE after the ball is gone. So it isn't about looking the ball into the racket, it has something to do with form or position. That's what I don't understand. It seems natural to look at the ball the minute it leaves my racket for feedback that it went where I wanted it and to get ready to respond to where my opponent could possibly hit it back.

callen3615
10-31-2009, 04:51 PM
So it isn't about looking the ball into the racket, it has something to do with form or position.

Na, its just to make sure you watch the ball.

blakesq
10-31-2009, 07:53 PM
It is to prevent you from looking up too quick to see where your ball is going, which is the natural reaction from everyone.

I don't think I am making myself clear. Look at this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0RndYbEl3s

Around 2:27 he talks about keeping your head down, hitting the ball, and KEEPING IT THERE after the ball is gone. So it isn't about looking the ball into the racket, it has something to do with form or position. That's what I don't understand. It seems natural to look at the ball the minute it leaves my racket for feedback that it went where I wanted it and to get ready to respond to where my opponent could possibly hit it back.

ubermeyer
10-31-2009, 09:12 PM
Your head weighs 15 - 20 pounds.

no, I think 5-10. that would be massive!

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-31-2009, 10:37 PM
I don't think I am making myself clear. Look at this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0RndYbEl3s

Around 2:27 he talks about keeping your head down, hitting the ball, and KEEPING IT THERE after the ball is gone. So it isn't about looking the ball into the racket, it has something to do with form or position. That's what I don't understand. It seems natural to look at the ball the minute it leaves my racket for feedback that it went where I wanted it and to get ready to respond to where my opponent could possibly hit it back.

Why do you need feedback?! You felt contact on your strings right? You were aiming the ball to go to a specific location right?

THEN YOU SHOULD KNOW WHERE THE BALL IS GOING! A split second isn't going to make you lose track of the ball on the court entirely and cost you the point.

It's like he said in the video, people want to recover too soon. You want to finish your stroke (and focus on that), before you do anything else.

Na, its just to make sure you watch the ball.

No, he's right, it's all form. It's more important to keep the head still. Very few people can actually see the ball at contact. And even then, it's a green blur at best. People can hit the ball with their eyes closed (even serves) as long as their body is quiet and controlled. Once you track the ball and start the forward swing, if you keep your head and body quiet, you can close your eyes and still hit a solid shot.

It is to prevent you from looking up too quick to see where your ball is going, which is the natural reaction from everyone.

Precisely! It's all to prevent people from trying to recover too early (in this case, DURING the stroke and maybe even before contact!) and losing focus on what's important - the stroke you're still in the process of hitting!

People try to do too many things at once. Pros learn to focus on one thing at a time and do everything completely and properly. Amateurs try to mix everything together because they think they have less time than they actually have. People think Federer has more time than he actually does (or he might actually have all that time) because he keeps his head so still and he focuses on his stroke so well and does things one at a time.

It is said that pros hold their finish longer than amateurs, which is true since they will keep their body quiet and the head still even until the finish, THEN recover whereas the amateur will swing forward, start recovering, make contact, and run to the center.

MasturB
10-31-2009, 11:17 PM
You know, I never really thought about it, but I guess you guys are right.

Before when I "forced" my head to look at the ball through the entire swing, everything just flows much better and I hit the ball more cleanly.

When I "attempt" to look at the ball, sometimes my body just impulsively tries to follow the ball throughout contact and away.

I'm going to go back to the courts and keep "forcing" my head to stay still and eyes to watch through contact until it becomes natural.

Another thing I noticed is that when I know i'm hitting with someone who has excellent pace and depth, my brain seems to focus more and my adrenaline kicks in more and rallies are long and great.

When I'm hitting with people with decent pace and depth, I just can't seem to concentrate that much, and I have short rallies.

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-01-2009, 01:47 AM
Another thing I noticed is that when I know i'm hitting with someone who has excellent pace and depth, my brain seems to focus more and my adrenaline kicks in more and rallies are long and great.

That's because you have less time to think, and can only really react. You try to be more efficient in your form and focus on the things that matter (clean contact, footwork, depth, etc).

And since you have less time to swing and everything goes by faster (and you're more focused), you tend to focus more on what you're doing instead of what's happening around you. Because of this (focus and less time taken for the swing execution), your head will focus on contact and stay still and the swing will be finished before you even realize it. The difficulty is trying to gain this feeling in every match you play and maintaining it for the whole match. When you get an adrenaline rush, it becomes easier, but it still takes a lot out of you to focus like that for long periods of time.

Federer can do this on every ball once he flips on his switch, and this is why he can perform at levels nobody else can come close to (except maybe Nadal in his recent peak performance last year and the start of this year).