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View Full Version : Eye on the ball? Overrated or important?


MaratSafin_fan
11-02-2009, 10:39 AM
Everybody says "eye on the ball" when you hitting, but does everybody do that? What will be the consequence by not looking at the ball, ex; like Federer do it.

Will I loose topspin if I dont look at the ball during a forehandshot? Misshits? and so on...

dozu
11-02-2009, 10:48 AM
I used to say this is important for beginners - but after teaching my 5 and 8 year olds, I'd say this is over-rated even for those who just picked up a racket....

you can't help not tracking the ball, it's human nature.

look at my other posts about where the focus should be - balanced (physically and mentally) point construction.

There are even threads about looking at the print on the ball - I don't care who (supposedly famous coaches or not) said it, it's just absurd.

Power Player
11-02-2009, 10:48 AM
It's one of the most important things in tennis. Federer definitely looks at the ball and keeps his head down through the contact zone. He actually takes the concept to a level of 110%, so I am not sure how you could think it could be overrated.

JRstriker12
11-02-2009, 10:54 AM
Everybody says "eye on the ball" when you hitting, but does everybody do that? What will be the consequence by not looking at the ball, ex; like Federer do it.

Will I loose topspin if I dont look at the ball during a forehandshot? Misshits? and so on...

HUHUH???? Federer is one of the few players who seem to track the ball all the way to the racket and he keeps his head and focused on the same spot long after the ball has left the racket.

Realisitcally, there's a point where you can no longer track the ball - this topic has been discussed multiple times...

I think more important than "eye on the ball" is keep your head still through contact. Looking away suddenly just before impact can throw your balance totally off and cause framed balls, etc. For example, pulling your head down during a serve to see where it lands can pull you forward and cause your ball to go into the net.

SystemicAnomaly
11-02-2009, 11:12 AM
"Eye on the ball" is a misguided mantra. Track the incoming ball until it gets close to you (one meter? several meters?). However, as it gets closer, it should be "head still" and "eyes on the contact point". Most pros will keep the head still but not all focus on the contact point as Federer and Nadal do.

Some, like Agassi & others, keep the head still but fixate their eyes on/near the "vanishing point" -- approx the location where the ball became "invisible" or where the eyes could no longer track the ball with their smooth pursuit system.

dozu
11-02-2009, 11:20 AM
"Eye on the ball" is a misguided mantra. Track the incoming ball until it gets close to you (one meter? several meters?). However, as it gets closer, it should be "head still" and "eyes on the contact point". Most pros will keep the head still but not all focus on the contact point as Federer and Nadal do.

Some, like Agassi & others, keep the head still but fixate their eyes on/near the "vanishing point" -- approx the location where the ball became "invisible" or where the eyes could no longer track the ball with their smooth pursuit system.

yup - keeping the head still is the real purpose (not trying to read the seams or the print on the ball, stupid!).

in the games of swinging a device into an object, it's key to have a steady axis (back of the neck down to the tail bone).

there are 2 style - 1 is the Fed/Nadal style where the eyes are on the contact point after the ball is gone... the other is Roddick style... he is already looking down the target line when the impact is made.

look at Tiger - his head stays down at the ball way after the ball is gone.
look at Annika Sorenstam - her head is looking down the target line before the club meets the ball.

different style - same purpose - to keep the axis of rotation steady.

TennisCoachFLA
11-28-2009, 08:39 PM
Actually Federer looks at the back of the racket when he hits the ball. His head is perfectly still but his vision technique is different than almost every other player whose eyes are looking in front of the racket.

http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/federervisiontechnique.html

SystemicAnomaly
11-28-2009, 10:48 PM
Actually Federer looks at the back of the racket when he hits the ball. His head is perfectly still but his vision technique is different than almost every other player whose eyes are looking in front of the racket.

http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/federervisiontechnique.html

This is really just a variation of eyes fixed on the contact zone. If the contact is sufficiently forward, on a topspin groundstroke, a player might be able to see the flash/blur of the ball essentially thru the strings. Note that the racket & strings will also pretty much be a blur on many groundstrokes. On sliced g'strokes, it will be difficult to "see thru the strings" for most shots. The most important aspect, whether the Federer variation is used of not, is keeping the head still.

nabrug
11-29-2009, 02:30 AM
where the focus should be - balanced (physically and mentally) point construction.
(There are even threads about looking at the print on the ball - I don't care who (supposedly famous coaches or not) said it, it's just absurd.)

Important point. Do you ever get distracted during points?

raiden031
11-29-2009, 03:51 AM
Its overrated in that telling a beginner to keep their eye on the ball is not going to lead to instant results. There are so many other aspects of the stroke they need to do right as well.

LeeD
11-29-2009, 07:34 AM
If the player is looking up during the stroke, then tell them eye on ball and hold head steady.
If the player is watching opponent or girls on the sidelines, tell them to watch ball.
If the player is tracking to within 6' of contact, then unconciously switching off the eyes, they might be pretty good.:shock:

TennisCoachFLA
11-29-2009, 09:57 AM
This is really just a variation of eyes fixed on the contact zone. If the contact is sufficiently forward, on a topspin groundstroke, a player might be able to see the flash/blur of the ball essentially thru the strings. Note that the racket & strings will also pretty much be a blur on many groundstrokes. On sliced g'strokes, it will be difficult to "see thru the strings" for most shots. The most important aspect, whether the Federer variation is used of not, is keeping the head still.

Oh, its a lot more than that. Federer's head tilt is totally different than pretty much any other player. He may be looking at the contact point but it gives him a much different standard of balance and vision. And his blur is a whole lot bigger than someone only looking at the ball. What he is doing has a bearing on his entire game.

nabrug
11-29-2009, 10:10 AM
Oh, its a lot more than that. Federer's head tilt is totally different than pretty much any other player. He may be looking at the contact point but it gives him a much different standard of balance and vision. And his blur is a whole lot bigger than someone only looking at the ball. What he is doing has a bearing on his entire game.

And that is?

Ripper014
11-29-2009, 02:20 PM
It is huge to watch the ball as long as you can... I don't think it is possible to watch it all the way onto your strings... but it is important to maintain visual contact with the ball as long as possible.

z_z
11-29-2009, 03:01 PM
If the player is looking up during the stroke, then tell them eye on ball and hold head steady.
If the player is watching opponent or girls on the sidelines, tell them to watch ball.
If the player is tracking to within 6' of contact, then unconciously switching off the eyes, they might be pretty good.:shock:

I used to have a bad habit of looking at where the ball will be going instead of keeping my head still through the moment of contact. My coach fixed that by telling everyone that I keep looking at girls around the court....Grrrrr.

mg.dc
11-29-2009, 05:08 PM
My opinion is slightly different regarding this topic. In the first place, like others have said, I don't believe Federer is watching the ball to his strings, and certainly not to the back of his strings. Impossible. To be sure, all the still photos show Federer watching the back of his racket/strings as the ball makes contact. In my view, however, Federer has no clue this is actually happening in real time.

So what's happening?

Federer has hit millions of tennis balls from an early age. With experience and athleticism he has excellent timing. Simple as that.

But there's one thing he does in fact do differently. Just before contact, he turns his head/gaze backward. That's it. In other words, drop a tennis ball and hit it after it bounces: just before you hit the ball turn your head/gaze backwards slightly and quickly. In my view -- and I may be utterly wrong on this -- that's it. Have a friend snap a photo at the moment of contact: you're just like Roger.

Also, if you watch closely, Nalbandian does the very same thing on his backhand. He snaps his head/gaze back slightly just before impact.

So why do Federer and others such as Nalbandian do this? Well, it forces them to keep their head down and gaze still, as SystemicAnomaly pointed out. Is this technique necessary? I don't think so. But everyone has different tricks to keep their stroke as mechanically sound as possible.

CallOfBooty
11-29-2009, 05:26 PM
It is overrated, but it is also important in a way. When coaches tell you to keep your eyes on the ball, they really want to make sure that you keep your head still. Thinking about keeping your head still throughout the whole shot is harder than just thinking about keeping your eyes still on the contact point until you finish your follow through. That is why you always hear "keep your eyes on the ball!" The eyes on the ball don't help directly, but they help you keep your head still because your head won't move if you keep your eyes on the contact point.

SystemicAnomaly
11-29-2009, 08:20 PM
Oh, its a lot more than that. Federer's head tilt is totally different than pretty much any other player. He may be looking at the contact point but it gives him a much different standard of balance and vision. And his blur is a whole lot bigger than someone only looking at the ball. What he is doing has a bearing on his entire game.

Not really that much different, IMHO. The most important aspect in his technique is keeping the head still for most of the forward swing of the racquet. His variation may or may not provide significant added benefits.

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-29-2009, 10:17 PM
It's nice, but it's far more important to keep the head still. You can hit a cleaner ball if you can watch the ball AND keep your head still, but the biggest thing is keeping the head still, since your brain can actually keep track of the ball's flight for a few feet even if you don't look.

I personally do my best to watch the ball as it comes in, then keep my head still during the stroke itself and focus on the stroke.

So when I'm hitting very well, I'm focused on the ball coming in, then I focus on the swing (just the forward acceleration to follow through part, I let my muscle memory load up my body while I'm tracking the ball).

So I'm trying to make it a habit, and right now during a rally I'll be thinking "ball... stroke", which means track and focus on the ball, then focus on the swing and keep everything else quiet (mainly the head, so I can see contact and the ball).

LeeD
11-30-2009, 07:25 AM
Yes, and that is good enough for pro wide recievers, pro outfielders, AND pro tennis players.
When you watch the incoming ball to within 5', hold your head still until AFTER ball strike, you need to practice other things in your game.