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View Full Version : DO YOU hit your HARDEST?


Jaxon
11-03-2009, 05:23 PM
I've been noticing people playing competitive tennis my age are generally hitting much harder groundstrokes than me. Now I have a solid build and good technique but I swing the racket at about 70% maximum potential in fear of over hitting. Is this why my groundstrokes are so slow? And how hard do you guys and pros hit to your fullest ability or no? Thanks.

Kick_It
11-03-2009, 05:33 PM
I've been noticing people playing competitive tennis my age are generally hitting much harder groundstrokes than me. Now I have a solid build and good technique but I swing the racket at about 70% maximum potential in fear of over hitting. Is this why my groundstrokes are so slow? And how hard do you guys and pros hit to your fullest ability or no? Thanks.

Rarely do I go for more than 80% of my max pace off the ground in a match. Like less than 10% of the time.

I really need to be feeling it/have confidence that I'll be successful at it - otherwise I'll probably just end up hitting a UE and donating the point to my opponent.

Just my M.O., K_I

Geezer Guy
11-03-2009, 05:33 PM
For groundstrokes, I'd say I rarely hit at 95+ percent ability, unless I'm just hitting for fun. Certainly I hit at more than 80% strength.

70% sounds pretty low to me. As long as you have good topspin on the ball, you can really whack it and it will stay in.

LanEvo
11-03-2009, 05:36 PM
yea im around ur status 70% bc im in the fear of hitting wide and far, so its common id say, i only go full out when i need to finish my shot, but more so i go for the angles

split-step
11-03-2009, 05:39 PM
If 70% is slow, then your hardest is not much faster, so to answer your question: That is probably not why your groundstrokes are slow.

I do not ever hit my hardest except on some overheads. (It has to be high and very close to the net)

Otherwise I rally at about 70%. I can crank it up once I have opened the court for a winner or to force a weaker shot, but even then I am not hitting my hardest.
I play a game of controlled aggression and at my hardest, that control drops significantly.

Jaxon
11-03-2009, 05:41 PM
I'm asking because I was playing number #1 and #2 nationals 12 year old girls and when playing against them unless I hit a shot 85% or higher, they would hit easy winners against me. They really opened my eyes in terms of not underestimating 12 year old girls.

Jaxon
11-03-2009, 06:01 PM
bump 10chars

apor
11-03-2009, 06:21 PM
with my backhand (my better side) i can go for 80% and above whenever i get time and the right ball to do it with. otherwise i'm risking an error. with my forehand, which produces more errors, i need to be especially careful of how much i attack the ball. as another poster said, with overheads, i can often go 100% - if the ball is right.

Falloutjr
11-03-2009, 06:35 PM
I hit with lots of topspin on my groundies, so it isn't uncommon for me to hit around 90% on a regular basis :P it's the cure to everything in tennis.

VaBeachTennis
11-03-2009, 06:41 PM
Maybe your "70%" is not really your 70%. Maybe your timing may be slightly off or you are muscling (tightening up) the ball at that 70%. What gave me that thought is that you said you swing at that percentage "in fear of over hitting". If you are swinging "in fear of over hitting", then maybe you are tightening up and don't realize it.
Many people may give you suggestions here, some good, some bad, some in between. My suggestions may fall into one of those categories, but here they are:
1) Go out and hit with your hitting partner, against the wall, ball machine, etc. and just concentrate on hitting the ball with good timing and swinging loosely (relaxed). Keep your head still and just concentrate on the contact. In short relax your mind and body.
2) If you see your ball flying long, make your swing a little more vertical. (hit through 2 balls instead of 5 balls) If you see the ball going short, make your swing a little more horizontal.(hit through 5 balls instead of 2 balls)
3) Don't think about what percentage (strength wise) you are hitting with for now. Just swing and relax and make minor adjustments.
4) Make sure you are doing a nice shoulder turn as your first move, then move your feet, make your stroke compact(initially) and just hit the ball. After you have your "groove" then you can naturally swing out more. Don't force it, just be natural.

The above is what works for me, hopefully of it can work for you. Good luck.

Blake0
11-03-2009, 07:21 PM
I understand what you're saying. If you put rallys and winner mphs together..it can be quite misleading..so i'll just have a scale from 0-100% for rallying speed, and 0-100% for winner speed.

For rallying speed, i'd say my warm up is about less than 50%. Normal hitting would be around 70%. Concentrating and trying would be about 80-85%. In the zone would be anywhere from 90-100%.

I'm pretty sure other people your age can't swing their fastest and get the ball in on a consistent basis throughout a spread of a month, or hey even a week..or well even a day to be honest..they can just swing faster..because of working out the right muscles..and playing a lot of tennis. Also having good technique and timing help a lot, power & spin wise..and control wise too.

user92626
11-03-2009, 08:00 PM
It's simple with me. I try to hit my hardest as long as I do not lose balance and can sort of still comprehend what just happens with the stroke. It's fun and a good way to train yourself to hit hard or at least break the mental block. When I'm on, I'm really unstoppable (within my group of course) I kid you not. A good sign is the opponent net man starts to back down to baseline.

Storm_Kyori
11-03-2009, 08:08 PM
Nope, rarely do I get that much racket head speed to hit that hard. I see a guy around here do that with his coach on fed balls, he just swings his stick as fast as he can (It seems) on every shot. I love how everyone just stops and like drools at the sight of that. It's not a rally, I'm sure lots of players can try to crush the ball every chance they get. It would be nice to get more depth on my shots without really feeling like I;m going for it. My shots are just slightly past the service line. I can hit closer to the baseline, but again when I swing aggressively.

Mick
11-03-2009, 08:41 PM
if you hit your hardest, the ball will go out within 3 or 4 hits, and a hard ball that goes out is worthless.

Jaxon
11-03-2009, 09:20 PM
Thanks a lot for the advice guys I'm going to try to put more pace on the ball without sacrificing control next time I go out and play.

user92626
11-03-2009, 10:49 PM
if you hit your hardest, the ball will go out within 3 or 4 hits, and a hard ball that goes out is worthless.

That's not important if you already got a winner from the 1st or 2nd ball. LOL.

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-03-2009, 11:49 PM
I've been noticing people playing competitive tennis my age are generally hitting much harder groundstrokes than me. Now I have a solid build and good technique but I swing the racket at about 70% maximum potential in fear of over hitting. Is this why my groundstrokes are so slow? And how hard do you guys and pros hit to your fullest ability or no? Thanks.

If you truly have good technique, you should be able to swing out 100% without fear of any of them going long as well as being able to swing at 70% and generate plenty of pace.

Slazenger07
11-04-2009, 08:24 AM
Im like Falloutjr, hit with alot of spin on my strokes, most of the time my forehand has heavy topspin, so its not too fast initially, then it hits the court and takes off. I can hit hard off both wings tho, one time I hit a backhand so hard it landed right next to my opponent but he didnt even react for it at all, had to have been near 100mph, I got a taste for how the pros hit the ball. :)

skiracer55
11-04-2009, 08:34 AM
...it's kind of difficult to talk about hitting 70%, or whatever, of your "hardest", because everybody probably has a different idea of what "hardest" means. If you're talking pure pace, very few guys except the ATP and WTA guys and gals hit 95% of their max pace, all the time.

But consider this: there is an article out there on the web somewhere where somebody figured that one of the keys to Sampras' game was that he had, shot for shot, a higher rotation on the ball than anybody else in the game. Sampras hit (and still does) an incredibly heavy ball that had pace and all kinds of spin on it. Federer is much the same. His forehand has lots of pace, but it goes in a bunch, too, because he's got a ton of topspin, too. It's not as evident as Nadal's heavy top, but it's there.

So in a lot of respects, you swing just as hard at a heavily topped ball as you do at a flat ball...it's just a different swing path, and one that is going to produce a ball path that'll give a higher percentage shot...high over the net, then dipping down into the court...

LeeD
11-04-2009, 08:38 AM
I like to vary my groundies, as I do with my serves and volleys.
Hitting the same basic pace and spin just grooves your opponent to your shots, so when you need that one winner, he's ready for it.
I hit from 50% on up, depending on how set I am, where I am, what I want to do with the ball, how fast my opponent is, how tired WE are, etc.
50% pace is plenty to keep most 4.5's from attacking, if I place it decently and constantly vary it's spin.
Opponent eats up one ball, they don't get it again very often.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
11-04-2009, 08:48 AM
Power is nothing without control.
As a tennis-coach i see a lot of braindead Juniors who hits as hard as they can, making 3 out of 10. The results of that is pretty obvious.

dozu
11-04-2009, 09:26 AM
I have repeated posted that 'balanced point construction' being the central focus.

That being said, this focus will tell you where the 'redline' is for every shot. If you are well set up, and the ball is in the perfect height, perhaps that redline is 100% of your power... in other situations, you are on the run, not in perfect position, conditions are windy, ball is higher/lower than your strike zone etc.... the redline is reduced.

that being said, you still shouldn't push the redline on every shot - control / ball placement/ change of pace is far more effective than raw power.

Majik
11-04-2009, 12:44 PM
I wonder, do they sale a racket that measures and records how hard and fast you hit the ball?

Jaxon
11-04-2009, 02:36 PM
The best players I've ever played against all hit to almost their fullest efforts. Just saying.

GuyClinch
11-04-2009, 04:00 PM
No. I don't think most people are hitting their hardest on most balls. Even with regards to the pros. Gael Monfils hit one forehand 120mph but he sure doesn't do that every time.

I saw Del Potro live and after you let him hit a few forehands - he would dial it up a notch and smack the crap out of one. Even then I am not sure it was as hard as he could possibly hit..

For amateurs I think the lower the level - the less they are hitting out on balls. With low level dinkers NEVER hitting out. To 4.0s hitting out on select shots here and there..

Pete

user92626
11-04-2009, 05:11 PM
I wonder, do they sale a racket that measures and records how hard and fast you hit the ball?

I think you just need a radar gun and chart the players' weight and mph to know where you stand. It would be a fun project.

I feel I hit very hard but for some reason my shot doesn't feel as fast as other's I see. But then I am also aware that I'm not looking at it from the side. I can only judge by the bounce and if it hits the back fence.

Claudius
11-04-2009, 05:15 PM
Swing as fast as you can without compromising control. There's a difference between hitting your hardest and swinging your fastest.

Jaxon
11-04-2009, 06:41 PM
Well Im going to play with some nationals players tomorow and I'm going to play with a more offensive tactic And swing faster rather than defensive because even if I win the match, it's depressing to see all those winners zoom past me. I'll report my results also

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-04-2009, 07:01 PM
Im like Falloutjr, hit with alot of spin on my strokes, most of the time my forehand has heavy topspin, so its not too fast initially, then it hits the court and takes off. I can hit hard off both wings tho, one time I hit a backhand so hard it landed right next to my opponent but he didnt even react for it at all, had to have been near 100mph, I got a taste for how the pros hit the ball. :)

I think either he's a narcoleptic, you got him so bored he fell asleep, he was texting, he was distracted by something or someONE, or you got it in his blind spot. Haha.

Power is nothing without control.
As a tennis-coach i see a lot of braindead Juniors who hits as hard as they can, making 3 out of 10. The results of that is pretty obvious.

That's not even the worst part. Once they do become solid and have the game to pull it off, what do they do when they go against someone who hits harder? They tend to be one dimensional and end up in pure power contests where they can't do anything to compensate for the power difference. It's always good to have some power, shots, and strategies in reserve if things aren't working out.

Jaxon
11-04-2009, 07:05 PM
I think either he's a narcoleptic, you got him so bored he fell asleep, he was texting, he was distracted by something or someONE, or you got it in his blind spot. Haha.



That's not even the worst part. Once they do become solid and have the game to pull it off, what do they do when they go against someone who hits harder? They tend to be one dimensional and end up in pure power contests where they can't do anything to compensate for the power difference. It's always good to have some power, shots, and strategies in reserve if things aren't working out.

thts why I also work on my serve and volley game. It's reserved for heavy hitters and dinkers

Fedace
11-04-2009, 07:18 PM
hit 80-100 % with good string job and if my string bed feels crappy and trampoliny, then about 60 %

icefatboy
11-04-2009, 07:39 PM
for me, it is more mental.
The fear of shanking robs me of hitting as hard as I want. I believe this came from the confidence in my technique.

So whenever, there is a "sitter", I will lower my body, crank back my racket, but in a flash, one thought came into mind, "What if".. and it sort of deflates me, and I will try to play safe instead.

So until now, even my "hardest" shots seems so pathetic.. sigh..

kashgotmoney
11-04-2009, 07:42 PM
My technique always stays the same when i hit for the most part. I can swing as hard as i can and not have fear of overhitting or out wide. the harder you hit, the less consistent you are though. but however, the more spin you hit, the more consistent you are. I can swing as fast as i can and control the depth of the shot. There are 2 factors for me, one is amount of spin and two, height above the net.

SlapChop
11-04-2009, 07:44 PM
I do not have near enough control to even attempt to hit my hardest. I can stick tennis balls in the fence swinging close to my hardest but that is it, I am working on controlling it but it ill take much more time.

ubermeyer
11-04-2009, 08:49 PM
don't hit your hardest every time, that's how to lose

alm
11-05-2009, 05:16 AM
Maybe your "70%" is not really your 70%. Maybe your timing may be slightly off or you are muscling (tightening up) the ball at that 70%. What gave me that thought is that you said you swing at that percentage "in fear of over hitting". If you are swinging "in fear of over hitting", then maybe you are tightening up and don't realize it.
Many people may give you suggestions here, some good, some bad, some in between. My suggestions may fall into one of those categories, but here they are:
1) Go out and hit with your hitting partner, against the wall, ball machine, etc. and just concentrate on hitting the ball with good timing and swinging loosely (relaxed). Keep your head still and just concentrate on the contact. In short relax your mind and body.
2) If you see your ball flying long, make your swing a little more vertical. (hit through 2 balls instead of 5 balls) If you see the ball going short, make your swing a little more horizontal.(hit through 5 balls instead of 2 balls)
3) Don't think about what percentage (strength wise) you are hitting with for now. Just swing and relax and make minor adjustments.
4) Make sure you are doing a nice shoulder turn as your first move, then move your feet, make your stroke compact(initially) and just hit the ball. After you have your "groove" then you can naturally swing out more. Don't force it, just be natural.

The above is what works for me, hopefully of it can work for you. Good luck.

VaBT,

I'm ashamed to admit that it's taken me around 10 years of playing tennis to realise what you summed up in 4 paragraphs!

Now that I have, my enjoyment of the game has gone from 'hitting the occasional sweet shot' to intoxicating rallies where I'm finally in control of the ball. :)

Nellie
11-05-2009, 06:38 AM
Let's suppose that you opponents are, in fact, hitting as hard as they can (although I suspect that they have an extra gear that you don't). It works for them and would likely not work for you. As you develop as a player, you confidence and ability to hit out will increase. For now, hit your shots safe and deep. When you see an opening (e.g., the ball is short and bounces high) come in and crush that ball. If the ball is in the middle, change direction and hit crosscourt. You need to practice that put away shot and the related footwork so that it is automatic.

Do not hit away from the baseline. You likely will make errors, and even if the ball goes in, you likely will not hit a winner, so the expected return is low.

As you get better, you will notice that you can make that shot in more difficult situations. If you notice, for a pro, any error or mistake means the point is lost.

So, in summary - avoid giving your opponent the set up shot (short and high) and when you see it, smack it (think of short as being a green light, deep as being a red light).

TheMagicianOfPrecision
11-05-2009, 06:58 AM
That's not even the worst part. Once they do become solid and have the game to pull it off, what do they do when they go against someone who hits harder? They tend to be one dimensional and end up in pure power contests where they can't do anything to compensate for the power difference.
Thats very true, it becomes a battle of hard harder the hardest!

Mick
11-05-2009, 07:48 AM
i don't know if you guys have seen rod laver commentating on the 2008 first round match between james blake and donald young.

laver said blake could be more successful if he did not hit hard all the time and waited for the right shot to unload his power.

ci2ca
11-05-2009, 11:23 AM
I rip the ball with alot of spin. No fear of the ball going long or wide most of the time,maybe short..=[

5263
11-05-2009, 11:54 AM
If you truly have good technique, you should be able to swing out 100% without fear of any of them going long as well as being able to swing at 70% and generate plenty of pace.

I think this is an important point. If your swing and target is right, then you should be able to swing very freely.

LeeD
11-05-2009, 12:01 PM
Swinging freely and hitting 100% are two very different things.
As one poster said, ... the Gonzalez's, Montfils, and delPorto's can hit 110 + forehands, but seldom do.

defrule
11-05-2009, 01:52 PM
Only go full power when I want to spank a winner.