PDA

View Full Version : Forehand problem.


MasturB
11-19-2009, 10:24 AM
I use extreme eastern on my forehand, but I'm having a problem with depth/range.

If I stay toe to toe with the baseline and take it on the rise, my forehand goes barely long or I keep hitting the tape on the net almost every time. I step back maybe a foot or two behind the baseline and my forehands have good clearance and good depth and I almost never hit the tape, unless it's a very very low ball.

If I use semi-western grip on scenario a), I get much more spin but not as much penetration, leaving balls for my opponent to hit in their strikezone. If I use semi-western on scenario b), I'm not getting it deep, but halfway in between the baseline and service line.

What should I do? It's very frustrating when I know I made solid contact and had a great swing on the ball, but then it keeps hitting the tape of the net, or it clears the net barely and lands out. I'm thinking about changing to semi-western full time, but I just don't get the pace/penetration + depth that I get with my extreme eastern.

5263
11-19-2009, 10:33 AM
If I use semi-western grip on scenario a), I get much more spin but not as much penetration, leaving balls for my opponent to hit in their strikezone. If I use semi-western on scenario b), I'm not getting it deep, but halfway in between the baseline and service line.

What should I do? It's very frustrating when I know I made solid contact and had a great swing on the ball, but then it keeps hitting the tape of the net, or it clears the net barely and lands out. I'm thinking about changing to semi-western full time, but I just don't get the pace/penetration + depth that I get with my extreme eastern.

I think this is a common misunderstanding on depth. If you are getting good spin and power, your "but halfway in between the baseline and service line" is fine! It also helps with consistency.
I know many on here will disagree, but the stats show them as mis-informed. Look where shot spot shows balls hitting in pro matches and you will see. I often chart matches and in well matched sets, the best players hit with power and spin to the area near the middle between svc and baseline on more than 70% of their shots.

And NO, you can't leave it slow and/or flat in this area, but with power and spin, it works well.

jazzyfunkybluesy
11-19-2009, 11:24 AM
Thats the rub with hitting a flat eastern grip forehand. How do you think Stepanek feels hitting a continental forehand :-0

LeeD
11-19-2009, 11:28 AM
Keep your XtremeEastern and stand back THREE feet. If the opponent can't hit the ball to you, try better competition. When you stand back and still hit deep, you hit a heavier ball.

papa
11-19-2009, 01:59 PM
I think this is a common misunderstanding on depth. If you are getting good spin and power, your "but halfway in between the baseline and service line" is fine! It also helps with consistency.
I know many on here will disagree, but the stats show them as mis-informed. Look where shot spot shows balls hitting in pro matches and you will see. I often chart matches and in well matched sets, the best players hit with power and spin to the area near the middle between svc and baseline on more than 70% of their shots.

And NO, you can't leave it slow and/or flat in this area, but with power and spin, it works well.

Well, I wouldn't disagree with you but whats the point? Most rally balls stay comfortably in the area you describe. Not a heck of a lot of sense in keeping the ball around the baseline every shot is there? And your right, if you leave a sitter around the service line, watch out, your going to have it for lunch.

As you know its pretty hard to attack balls hits with power and spin between the service line and baseline - your waiting for an opportunity but those types of shots aren't very tempting.

Bungalo Bill
11-19-2009, 02:13 PM
Well, I wouldn't disagree with you but whats the point? Most rally balls stay comfortably in the area you describe. Not a heck of a lot of sense in keeping the ball around the baseline every shot is there? And your right, if you leave a sitter around the service line, watch out, your going to have it for lunch.

As you know its pretty hard to attack balls hits with power and spin between the service line and baseline - your waiting for an opportunity but those types of shots aren't very tempting.

Lol, you are right! I don't hit balls close to the baseline nor the sidelines especially if I am rallying!!

And sitters will of course be attacked whether they are short or not!

Bungalo Bill
11-19-2009, 02:24 PM
I use extreme eastern on my forehand, but I'm having a problem with depth/range.

If I stay toe to toe with the baseline and take it on the rise, my forehand goes barely long or I keep hitting the tape on the net almost every time. I step back maybe a foot or two behind the baseline and my forehands have good clearance and good depth and I almost never hit the tape, unless it's a very very low ball.

If I use semi-western grip on scenario a), I get much more spin but not as much penetration, leaving balls for my opponent to hit in their strikezone. If I use semi-western on scenario b), I'm not getting it deep, but halfway in between the baseline and service line.

What should I do? It's very frustrating when I know I made solid contact and had a great swing on the ball, but then it keeps hitting the tape of the net, or it clears the net barely and lands out. I'm thinking about changing to semi-western full time, but I just don't get the pace/penetration + depth that I get with my extreme eastern.

We got to see the swing MasturB. No other way or we are all guessing on the technique you are using.

However, scenario B is the better one. I advise players to hit their balls within three feet of any line. If it is before that, it is okay, so long as the ball kicks well to the baseline so your opponent can't attack it. The other side of the coin to not allowing your opponent to attack your ball is to be able to move it around.

However, it is pretty simple to guess that if you are not hitting good penetrating shots, chances are you are not going through the ball enough. It could a slew of other things as well.

papa
11-19-2009, 03:49 PM
Lol, you are right! I don't hit balls close to the baseline nor the sidelines especially if I am rallying!!

And sitters will of course be attacked whether they are short or not!

Yeah, its one of the things that bug me when they start talking about "% of ball here and there" - who really cares, there rally balls but they like to make a big deal of them. All good players can keep the ball in play for quite a while but it really doesn't mean much - to me anyway.

5263
11-20-2009, 04:19 AM
b), I'm not getting it deep, but halfway in between the baseline and service line.

What should I do?

Here is the point. He mentions hitting halfway in between the baseline and svc line as if this is no good. I'm pointing out that this depth is an acceptable rally depth and what you see with good players hitting with "relatively good power and spin". (relative to their level)

Maybe why he is frustrated is because he hears and reads that depth should be within 3 feet of the baseline and he can't do this without hitting too many long or in the net. It is a common problem with that advice. Even the pros don't hit that kind of depth a high % of the shots. Sorry you don't like percentages.

5263
11-20-2009, 04:22 AM
Yeah, its one of the things that bug me when they start talking about "% of ball here and there" - who really cares, there rally balls but they like to make a big deal of them.

What is your point here?
Are you saying that rally balls and their placement are no big deal?
Know you don't like percentages, but rally balls are about 70-80% of the game.

5263
11-20-2009, 04:26 AM
I don't hit balls close to the baseline nor the sidelines especially if I am rallying!!

or

I advise players to hit their balls within three feet of any line.



Is within 3 feet not close to the baseline?
What do you consider close ?

papa
11-20-2009, 01:32 PM
What is your point here?
Are you saying that rally balls and their placement are no big deal?
Know you don't like percentages, but rally balls are about 70-80% of the game.

Yes, for the most part. Rally balls are hit with a fair amount of safety and your absolutely right, they do represent a high percentage of the balls. As you know, most points, errors, don't come off rally balls - at least at the higher levels. I'm not implying they aren't important but the placement of these shots have quite a margin for error - as long as they are deep and with some pace. You really can't do much, or shouldn't try to do too much, with a rally ball. What your looking for is something you can attack.

papa
11-20-2009, 01:35 PM
Is within 3 feet not close to the baseline?
What do you consider close ?

I know you didn't ask me but you should be able to keep the ball fairly close to the baseline - 3 feet works for BB, I might suggest a little closer.

LeeD
11-20-2009, 04:08 PM
My GOAL is to groundie within 3' of the baseline.
Reality says this works one in THREE groundies, most land shorter, some land close to the service linel.
If you can really groundie 7 out of 10 closer than 3' from opponent's baseline, you're playing well below your level.
When I play above my level, I'm lucky to get 3 out of 10 that deep.

papa
11-20-2009, 06:45 PM
Well, I play, in the winter months anyway, mostly on Har Tru. Its interesting after you've hit for an hour or so to see where your ball marks were - I really don't make serious effort to examine the marks but hard to miss when you sweep the court after play.

Would be nice to say that most of my marks are close to the baseline and I actually think they are when I'm hitting because I'm trying to keep the ball deep. However, when you look later you realize that although most were in the backcourt, some were behind and others to the front of the service line - kinda like the old "bell curve".

I like to hit on the diagonals a lot rather than down the center - really depends on who I might hit with. Although this isn't totally realistic, its fun to just wail away for an hour or so - I happen to find it relaxing which I guess might be considered odd. I like volleying at the service line also - same thing, not thinking of much just hitting - passes the time.

fuzz nation
11-21-2009, 04:58 AM
MasturB, I think that if you're landing a lot of those strokes in the back box, you're doing something right, even if they're only landing half way back. When coaching high school teams, we try to get our singles players to maintain practice rallies where they're landing all of their strokes behind the service line and as it turns out, it can be a serious chore. When they do it though, it's easy to see how they're keeping their opponents pinned deep in their end.

Use a reliable stroke so that you get some net clearance and can land your stroke beyond the service line routinely - if you start looking for more pace, your margin for error is simply going to shrink. Power in your stroke is only useful if you have enough spin and control on the ball to keep it down on the court, right? Regardless of how hard you might want to hit, keep consistency at the top of your list of priorities.

As I see it, you only want to be concerned with actually landing a ball within three feet of the baseline when you need to hit a deep approach shot that you can follow to the net. Even if you leave an approach in the near half of the back box, you won't be able to move forward as aggressively as when you can place it deeper and keep an opponent on his/her heels. I'd say that most rally balls are deep enough as long as they're three feet of so beyond the service line.

5263
11-21-2009, 06:22 AM
MasturB, I think that if you're landing a lot of those strokes in the back box, you're doing something right, even if they're only landing half way back. When coaching high school teams, we try to get our singles players to maintain practice rallies where they're landing all of their strokes behind the service line and as it turns out, it can be a serious chore. When they do it though, it's easy to see how they're keeping their opponents pinned deep in their end.

Use a reliable stroke so that you get some net clearance and can land your stroke beyond the service line routinely - if you start looking for more pace, your margin for error is simply going to shrink. Power in your stroke is only useful if you have enough spin and control on the ball to keep it down on the court, right? Regardless of how hard you might want to hit, keep consistency at the top of your list of priorities.

As I see it, you only want to be concerned with actually landing a ball within three feet of the baseline when you need to hit a deep approach shot that you can follow to the net. Even if you leave an approach in the near half of the back box, you won't be able to move forward as aggressively as when you can place it deeper and keep an opponent on his/her heels. I'd say that most rally balls are deep enough as long as they're three feet of so beyond the service line.

Very well put.

5263
11-21-2009, 06:46 AM
Rally balls are hit with a fair amount of safety and your absolutely right, they do represent a high percentage of the balls. As you know, most points, errors, don't come off rally balls - at least at the higher levels. I'm not implying they aren't important but the placement of these shots have quite a margin for error - as long as they are deep and with some pace. You really can't do much, or shouldn't try to do too much, with a rally ball.

Seems like you mostly agree with what was said about a Rally shot and it's big margin or error, but that you don't seem to think it relates to the OP.

He asks about his Fh when hitting around the baseline and well behind it, so to me, that means he is asking about the rally shot. You and bb both agree that rally shots should have a great margin for error, with bb saying, "nowhere near the line"; but then both of you mix in something about being within 3 ft of the baseline.
Which is it? Inside 3 feet is pretty close to the BL.

I guess what we don't agree on is the importance of the rally shot.
I DO think that most errors come from rally shots. Maybe not as a % related to how many rally shots hit (IE.. 50 rally balls & only 3 errors vs 7 attack shots & 3 errors ),
or even as point ending errors UEs,
but as a stand alone number on the combination of UEs, FEs, and balls left in play to attack (meaning you hit a poor rally shot and have it put away by the opp). often matches I chart in Jrs and pros have 11 rally UEs and only 4-7 attack shot UEs, meaning as a stand alone number (not %) the rally UEs are higher; and that is without counting the rally errors that stay in play only to get crunched or the FEs.

I feel strongly that the rally shot and the second serve are the most important shots to excel in execution.

papa
11-21-2009, 10:01 AM
Your not going to find be saying the rally ball isn't important but I would take issue with that fact that you think most errors occur off of these shots. Sounds like the "get the ball back and maybe they will make a mistake" type tennis. If the other player(s) miss every third shots or so, then yes, this might be the way to go. However, most good players can keep a rally going for quite a while without much effort - sometimes its like a chess match out there seeing who is going to blink first. Sure, start moving the ball around and changing pace or spin, sure mistakes happen, but those aren't necessarily rally shots - change of spin and pace maybe - depends.

However, I think I see where your coming from and maybe I missed the intent of the original question.

And yes, three feet is a good distance to be thinking about - in my mind I'm thinking a little closer but in reality, as I mentioned earlier, the balls probably are averaging about three feet. Rally balls are hit with a very comfortable margin over the net and inside the lines.

5263
11-22-2009, 07:49 AM
Sounds like the "get the ball back and maybe they will make a mistake" type tennis.

Sure, start moving the ball around and changing pace or spin, sure mistakes happen, but those aren't necessarily rally shots - change of spin and pace maybe - depends.


Depends on what? Why would those not be rally shots?

As for "get the ball back & maybe they will miss"; well of course this is the 1st level your opponent must prove to you, But this is only the first level of good rally shots. Changing pace, spin, and location of rally shots are all tools of the high level player. Rally shots can be aggressive and probing, without being an all out attack. The Rally shot is the foundation of point play. The great players all dominate this facet of the game, with the exception of some incredible servers.

papa
11-22-2009, 08:32 AM
Depends on what? Why would those not be rally shots?

As for "get the ball back & maybe they will miss"; well of course this is the 1st level your opponent must prove to you, But this is only the first level of good rally shots. Changing pace, spin, and location of rally shots are all tools of the high level player. Rally shots can be aggressive and probing, without being an all out attack. The Rally shot is the foundation of point play. The great players all dominate this facet of the game, with the exception of some incredible servers.

Because most rally shots are kinda like a cat and mouse thing. You know the ball is coming back but maybe you'll get a little opening which will allow you to do something. Maybe they get bored/impatient and go for something which might be a lower percentage shot. Rally shots, to me anyway, are similar to hitting with someone - keeping the ball deep and with moderate pace and location - another words, returning a ball to where it just came from without changing angle or depth is relatively easy.

Rally shots are not dominated by one of the players and if you don't have hit a decent rally ball, there is no way you would even be in the professional ranks - actually most players at the 4.0 level can even keep the ball in play for extended periods of time - consistency.

I guess my point, and perhaps where we differ, is that not all shots are hit with the same degree of comfort/risk. If you start changing direction or one has to start moving quite a bit on each shot then, you've raised the stakes. Now keep in mind that you can move in and out of rally balls during the same point, doesn't happen all the time but it happens. Generally you pick on someone weaker wing and just make them hit the same shot over and over - your hoping they are going to screw up a little like leaving the ball a little short, let it sit up a little too much - that type of thing. Although your right, points are won/lost on rally balls, that's really not your expecting - hey, great, guy wants to throw you a bone, you take it but that's a little like hoping the will just do you a favor and beat themselves. Does it happen, of course but most good players know you have to beat them they're not going to just roll over and give you the match.

5263
11-22-2009, 09:12 AM
Because most rally shots are kinda like a cat and mouse thing.

I guess my point, and perhaps where we differ, is that not all shots are hit with the same degree of comfort/risk. If you start changing direction or one has to start moving quite a bit on each shot then, you've raised the stakes.

This is not where we differ, unless you think changing direction or comfort/risk makes it not be a rally shot. The rally shot is thrusting, spinning, and probing for and at weakness, in search of a weak reply; mostly around the baseline area.
If you chart UEs and FEs, this is where most points will end in pro tennis, especially if you add in balls that are left as sitters as a result of an aggressive rally shot. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of shots ended by serves/returns, but even most short ball attack finishes come from a rally ball error.

Reduce your rally ball errors, and you greatly reduce your opponents chance to attack you.

MasturB
11-22-2009, 07:40 PM
Hey Bungalo, sorry I'm late in replying in this thread, I've been working a bunch and kept forgetting to check up on it.

Anyhow, here's a video of me from about April of this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54h6r_Pxqls

Bungalo Bill
11-23-2009, 07:08 AM
Hey Bungalo, sorry I'm late in replying in this thread, I've been working a bunch and kept forgetting to check up on it.

Anyhow, here's a video of me from about April of this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54h6r_Pxqls

I assume you are the one wearing the dark clothes? I can take a look at it later.

LeeD
11-23-2009, 07:33 AM
Red is lazy and not trying at all, slow to prep and recognize, just not interested.
Dark is pretty good, trying to improve. Inconsistency of red might affect dark's consistency.
Both still too lazy and not trying, except to conserve energy.

MasturB
11-28-2009, 11:06 PM
You know the last 2 days, I've been hitting the same (mechanically).

My string tension is really loose by now (well far from the normal 62 I string it at). I'm much more comfortable with this for some reason. I'm whipping good forehands: low, high, and in my strikezone and they're falling in.

Can't figure this out, because I was always told that higher the tension more spin and control, yet my strings aren't that tight anymore and I can generate way more spin,control, and power now. Usually when I hit with the same racket head speed and mechanics, it's either hitting the the tape of the net or going barely long.

This isn't the first time I noticed this, because before when I delayed restringing my racket, I'd keep hitting with it and let it get this loose and be hitting out of my mind.

I'm debating whether or not I should start experimenting to string my rackets at a lower tension. Any input from you guys?

spacediver
11-29-2009, 01:56 PM
Hey Bungalo, sorry I'm late in replying in this thread, I've been working a bunch and kept forgetting to check up on it.

Anyhow, here's a video of me from about April of this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54h6r_Pxqls

wow you remind me very much of my own style of play. Very similar athletic style.

http://www.vimeo.com/7275640 (I've improved my form significantly since this video, especially my backhand, but there's something about your style that feels very familiar).

LeeD
11-29-2009, 02:02 PM
For most average speed swings, lower tension adds ballspeed and spin.
Higher tension for average speed swings means less power and spin, but balls don't go as long.
For fast swingers, notice tensions around 70 for the bigger guys. They don't want more power or more spin, they want the ball to go shorter.
So comes down to....what is your swing speed?
18x20 or 16x19?
17 guage or 15 guage?
Nadal and Fed reputed to string at under 50.

W Cats
11-29-2009, 02:08 PM
With lower tension comes a bit more power and length to the ball. Some people unconsciously adjust for this and reduce racquet head speed and swing with a little more relaxed pace and their percentages go up.

LeeD
11-29-2009, 03:09 PM
But don't Nadal and Federer generally have FAST rackethead speeds? How do they compensate with a slower swing? And sometimes, both of them REALLY swing fast, with a more compact stroke, finishing with racketface well closed, yet they don't mishit or roll the ball off the frame.

W Cats
11-29-2009, 03:12 PM
I was just referring to us mere mortals at the club and high school level, might have a tendency to overhit the ball.

papa
11-29-2009, 03:21 PM
Nadal and Fed reputed to string at under 50.

Well, I have no basis for this comment but I would really question they both string under 50 - maybe, but I doubt it. My guess would be in the low to mid 60's.

LeeD
11-29-2009, 03:41 PM
Sorry, but plenty of threads around saying Fed is around 46-48 and Nadal just over that. They give it in KG's, so we gotta do the match (2.2 is the conversion).
They also list a bunch of guys using 70+ lbs. tension.
Consider this.... if one player uses a stiff hoop at 110 at 16x19....
it's totally different from 90 sq in 18x20's ..... :shock::shock:

MasturB
11-29-2009, 03:47 PM
For most average speed swings, lower tension adds ballspeed and spin.
Higher tension for average speed swings means less power and spin, but balls don't go as long.
For fast swingers, notice tensions around 70 for the bigger guys. They don't want more power or more spin, they want the ball to go shorter.
So comes down to....what is your swing speed?
18x20 or 16x19?
17 guage or 15 guage?
Nadal and Fed reputed to string at under 50.

I wishI knew what those numbers and terms meant.

EDIT: Actually, the string I use is Topspin Cyber Flash String 17 (1.25) Gauge.

But I'm not sure what the 18x20 or 16x19 and what the difference is.

MasturB
11-29-2009, 03:47 PM
Sorry, but plenty of threads around saying Fed is around 46-48 and Nadal just over that. They give it in KG's, so we gotta do the match (2.2 is the conversion).
They also list a bunch of guys using 70+ lbs. tension.
Consider this.... if one player uses a stiff hoop at 110 at 16x19....
it's totally different from 90 sq in 18x20's ..... :shock::shock:

I've seen posts on here for years and people taking pictures of Federer's stringing request on paper, that his tension is around 48-49

LeeD
11-29-2009, 04:01 PM
Yeah, some site tells you with vid each racket of most of the top 30 pros, not all.....
denser string pattern can be strung looser and still feel crisp and tight.
looser string patterns need some tension or stringshift/double rolling hits occur with extreme spin swings.
And I"m sure, head stiffness plays a factor, as does head weight and balance, so pure ONLY tension means little.

Bungalo Bill
11-30-2009, 07:08 PM
I've seen posts on here for years and people taking pictures of Federer's stringing request on paper, that his tension is around 48-49

Are you the one in the dark clothes?

MasturB
11-30-2009, 08:14 PM
Are you the one in the dark clothes?

Yessir. just a little hit around in early April.

I can easily say I'm much better now on both wings today than in that video.

Bungalo Bill
11-30-2009, 08:33 PM
Well, I have no basis for this comment but I would really question they both string under 50 - maybe, but I doubt it. My guess would be in the low to mid 60's.

You should also doubt that lower tensions increase spin also. That is flat out not true. In fact, what is true is that string tension itself does not influence the amount of spin on the ball.

Further, you should doubt what LeeD said about lower tensions meaning or even generally meaning higher spin. In fact, the school of thought was the opposite for awhile where HIGHER tensions were thought to contribute to higher spin because of its "control-oriented" qualities and the ball compressing itself into the string bed further than having looser lower tension strings.

With lower tensions, the string bed is going to be more elastic. It will act more like a trampoline and transfer a bit more energy into the ball. However, this energy transferred can mean hitting long by two feet. Therefore, big hitter will likely want higher strings to help "control" the distance the ball travels.

String tension does not have much to do with the amount of spin, the player does.

papa
12-01-2009, 05:01 AM
You should also doubt that lower tensions increase spin also. That is flat out not true. In fact, what is true is that string tension itself does not influence the amount of spin on the ball.

Further, you should doubt what LeeD said about lower tensions meaning or even generally meaning higher spin. In fact, the school of thought was the opposite for awhile where HIGHER tensions were thought to contribute to higher spin because of its "control-oriented" qualities and the ball compressing itself into the string bed further than having looser lower tension strings.

With lower tensions, the string bed is going to be more elastic. It will act more like a trampoline and transfer a bit more energy into the ball. However, this energy transferred can mean hitting long by two feet. Therefore, big hitter will likely want higher strings to help "control" the distance the ball travels.

However, string tension does not have much to do with the amount of spin, the player does.

Well, I've thought of it in a similar manner but I get the question often especially with players using the larger racquets. I know some, many, who like the Weed racquet and to my surprise, some string those in the 30's. I realize the larger head (Weed, if I'm not mistaken, get close to the max of 135 - think they have a model just a little lower also) might be a "little" different but lots of players and several companies (Wilson, Prince and head) are designing larger racquets) are going this route.

The question I have is, we've all gotten used to the racquet suggested tensions which normally run in the 55 - 65 area. We've been told not to string above or below these figures. Can we safely string in the lower tensions and with the exception of a spec more power, is there any other benefit? As you mentioned, I see no plus in the spin department at all and control goes downhill. To me, that little extra power is not worth it because I find the ball harder to control for depth - keeping it in.

LeeD
12-01-2009, 07:07 AM
Average speed swing is medium speed swing, right?
Lower tension, the speed of the ball increases. I never said the spin increases.
Higher tensions, the ball comes off the racket slower. I never said the spin decreases or increases.
However, with HIGH swing speeds, like FernandoGonzalez forehands, lower string tensions would affect control, as the ball might double hit or roll off the frame, so he can't hit as fast. Higher tensions would allow him to swing fast, hit clean, and impart the ball speed AND spin he wants.
Slow swing speeds, like McEnroe, NEED lower tension to get ball speed. With slower swings, you don't mishit as often by rolling or double hitting, so you can swing thru.
I didn't make up Federer and Nadal 47-49 lbs tensions. It's listed and for real.
But remember, they play with new different strings from you and I, and they use different rackets.

Bungalo Bill
12-01-2009, 07:23 AM
Well, I've thought of it in a similar manner but I get the question often especially with players using the larger racquets. I know some, many, who like the Weed racquet and to my surprise, some string those in the 30's. I realize the larger head (Weed, if I'm not mistaken, get close to the max of 135 - think they have a model just a little lower also) might be a "little" different but lots of players and several companies (Wilson, Prince and head) are designing larger racquets) are going this route.

The question I have is, we've all gotten used to the racquet suggested tensions which normally run in the 55 - 65 area. We've been told not to string above or below these figures. Can we safely string in the lower tensions and with the exception of a spec more power, is there any other benefit? As you mentioned, I see no plus in the spin department at all and control goes downhill. To me, that little extra power is not worth it because I find the ball harder to control for depth - keeping it in.

I am of the school of thought that the recommended string tensions for racquets should be used over anything else. A player going outside of those tensions should be the exception rather than the rule. They also should have good reason to do so rather than doing it because Nadal does it.

Because I hit the ball hard and have a fast swing speed, I will go to the upper end of the manufacturers recommended guidelines. At times, I have gone beyond that depending on the string I use.

However, when I string towards the higher end, I am not looking to add more spin and neither should someone stringing towards the lower end. It is about ball control and the distance the ball travels. Slower swing speeds will probably want more energy transfer in the ball which help allow the ball to travel farther. Higher swing speeds tend to like higher tension in the strings to get the ball to travel a shorter distance.

With higher tensions, players tend to have a very fast swing and can generate more spin because they swing faster and not because their strings are tighter. Also, players with higher tensions may hit the ball higher allowing for a steeper decent towards the ground on the other side which makes the ball bounce higher looking like it is kicking more off the ground.

The bottom-line, it is the swing speed of the player and how he views the higher and lowe tensions of his strings that can influence how much spin goes on the ball.

user92626
12-01-2009, 08:53 AM
BB's post about string tension makes me think, and it kinda goes against what I always believe/observe.

I had played with 60lbs tension and it felt like a wooden board against the ball whenever I let up the swing power. So, for 2 years I've been playing in the 50-55 range. I almost always try to swing at the top of my power (with adequate control) and feel more trampoline effect. I thought that would give me more spin since there was more contacting time and contacting surface, and more trampoline = more power.

Anyone who tries my racket is always amazed at the bounciness of it.

MasturB
12-01-2009, 12:05 PM
I'm starting to feel the trampoline effect as described in my other posts.

I can swing hard like Fernando Gonzalez and still get it a good 2-3 feet inside the baseline using extreme eastern with some excellent power/pace.

If I swung that hard with tension in the 60-62 range, it'd go long by less than 2 feet.

I don't know if it's creating spin or not, but I'm getting some loopy balls (not moonballs, but not a hard hit shot) that I'm surprised are staying in.

Should I start stringing at a lower tension?


---

This is how I'm starting to view it, tighter the tension the more it's like a ping pong paddle. The tighter strings create almost a solid surface. It's for more spin, but since I use a flatter grip (extreme eastern) it's not working since I'm hitting more through the ball. I notice with high tension, when I use semi-western around my shoulder or Nadal's western buggy whip, I get good spin.

Now that my tension is low, the trampoline effect is kicking in. How this creates more spin for me with the same swings i'm not sure. My guess is, the ball is hugged by more of the stringbed than usual because of the trampoline, which means it creates way more spin when it pushes and rolls off the strings. The funny thing is, I was playing around and doing buggy whip forehands with the low tension using semiwestern and western, and I was getting much more "pop" than what I get with the higher tension.

user92626
12-01-2009, 12:18 PM
Frankly, I really like the low tension setup. Two of my main sticks are at 53 lbs. Most of my shots can be described like hitting days old balls, meaning I hit really hard and the ball does not go out and it also drops quicker. Since I hit really hard and still constrain the ball to a certain trajectory I speculate all the power must be stored into the shot somehow!

The only annoying aspect of low tension is I have to constantly rearrange the main strings.

Any player should try different tensions and different weighed rackets at some point.

papa
12-01-2009, 01:02 PM
I am of the school of thought that the recommended string tensions for racquets should be used over anything else. A player going outside of those tensions should be the exception rather than the rule. They also should have good reason to do so rather than doing it because Nadal does it.

Because I hit the ball hard and have a fast swing speed, I will go to the upper end of the manufacturers recommended guidelines. At times, I have gone beyond that depending on the string I use.

However, when I string towards the higher end, I am not looking to add more spin and neither should someone stringing towards the lower end. It is about ball control and the distance the ball travels. Slower swing speeds will probably want more energy transfer in the ball. High swing speeds, higher tensions.

With higher tensions, players tend to have a very fast swing and can generate more spin. Also, players with higher tensions may hit the ball higher allowing for a steeper decent towards the ground on the other side which makes the ball bounce higher looking like it is kicking more off the ground.

The bottom-line, it is the swing speed of the player and how he views the higher and lowe tensions of his strings that can influence how much spin goes on the ball.

Thanks BB, excellent advice.

I'm asked about this constantly it seems. I know some never seem to either break strings or replace them because of age/tension. Unfortunately, I'm a string breaker - don't want to be and I've tried a variety of mixes to reduce the problem to no avail. Can't play with just Luxalon so I'll use a combination of poly and synthetic gut strung in the mid 50's. Trying Prince tournament poly on the mains and synthetic gut on the crosses tonight to see how it feels. Har Tru really bites the strings. What I really like is Wilson's TNT tour 17g but that last about a week or two if I'm lucky. Almost strung today with some 18 g Wilson Enduro Tour that I've had but think it might be too stiff for me - maybe try it next.

MasturB
12-01-2009, 01:25 PM
Frankly, I really like the low tension setup. Two of my main sticks are at 53 lbs. Most of my shots can be described like hitting days old balls, meaning I hit really hard and the ball does not go out and it also drops quicker. Since I hit really hard and still constrain the ball to a certain trajectory I speculate all the power must be stored into the shot somehow!

The only annoying aspect of low tension is I have to constantly rearrange the main strings.

Any player should try different tensions and different weighed rackets at some point.

Well for me, money plays a factor. I only string high so the strings will last longer and take a little longer to break down. But now that I've found a very comfortable string level, I might just regularly string low. I usually string 62, but I'll try 53 the next time out and work from there.

I feel the same way, hit hard and it doesn't go out but drops quicker. It means we're getting more spin, I'm just not exactly sure where the spin is coming from.

Agreed on adjusting the strings regularly. I never have to do that with high tension.

LeeD
12-01-2009, 01:54 PM
I'm basically you too....
Always strung 95 sq in 18x20's at around 63. I have a medium fast swing. Always strung my 108's at 70, so the groundies stay in.
Just bought a Aero200 18x20 and got it strung at 55. Tomorrow is tryout day with it.
15 guage nylon always, as it's soft when I swing hard.

Bungalo Bill
12-01-2009, 03:10 PM
BB's post about string tension makes me think, and it kinda goes against what I always believe/observe.

I had played with 60lbs tension and it felt like a wooden board against the ball whenever I let up the swing power. So, for 2 years I've been playing in the 50-55 range. I almost always try to swing at the top of my power (with adequate control) and feel more trampoline effect. I thought that would give me more spin since there was more contacting time and contacting surface, and more trampoline = more power.

Anyone who tries my racket is always amazed at the bounciness of it.

That is exactly what you want to string towards. You want to find the string tension for your racquet that gives you the best balance between power and ball control. This is largely dicated by your racquet, your swing speed, and your string/tension.

Keeping everything else equal, if we just focus on strings, string to the tension that gives you that balance. It could be 50 or 55. Whatever it is string it there.

Additionally, your string type will make a difference on where you adjust your string tension. For instance I use Big Banger and I do have to string it a pound or so looser than I would Prince Synthetic for instance to get the balance I like. Also, I hit with a Volkl V-10 93 head size. My racquet is deemed a control racquet. However, even with a control racquet and with a lower tension in the strings, my shots tend to fly long when I know I used the right swing speed for the shot chosen. Because I don't want to retrain my swing speed, I opt to adjust the tension of the strings to find that balance.

Now, of course, racquet flex has something to do with this as well, but we aren't talking about that in full. The more flex the racquet has the less you lose in side to side control but the more you gain in depth control. The opposite is true for the stiffer racquet. A good balance of stiffness in your racquet and string tension goes a long way in helping a player acheive their best results on court.

And regarding money and breaking strings, I was natorious for breaking strings and going through racquets during sets. I had to purchase 5 of these racquets before I discovered Big Banger. Now, I am down to three in the bag. Although Big Banger is a tougher less elastic string, it just doesn't break. My arm is able to handle this and I do string it a pound or two looser to get the balance I like.

MasturB
12-02-2009, 12:52 AM
I'd buy Big Banger if it wasn't so expensive.

I'll never know how it compares to the Topspin Cyberflash String i use. I heard it's comparable.

I buy it because it's pretty much half the price of Luxilon.

papa
12-02-2009, 04:06 AM
Although Big Banger is a tougher less elastic string, it just doesn't break.

Oh, it breaks believe me - not as fast but it will snap especially if strung in the higher tensions. Of course your suppose to string the stuff 5 # less than "normal" string - I guess that's the case with poly and it has to be pre-stretched a little more than the others also. If you can play with it, it great string. I like it for the mains and have difficulty using it for the crosses also - maybe I'm getting it a little too tight.

papa
12-02-2009, 04:08 AM
I'd buy Big Banger if it wasn't so expensive.

I'll never know how it compares to the Topspin Cyberflash String i use. I heard it's comparable.

I buy it because it's pretty much half the price of Luxilon.

There are actually several poly strings on the market now and although they might not play quite as well as luxilon that are much cheaper.

papa
12-02-2009, 04:33 AM
That is exactly what you want to string towards. You want to find the string tension for your racquet that gives you the best balance between power and ball control. This is largely dicated by your racquet, your swing speed, and your string/tension.

Keeping everything equal, if we just focus on strings, string to the tension that gives you that balance. It could be 50 or 55. Whatever it is string it there.

Now, this will make a difference on the type of string you use. For instance I use Big Banger and I do have to string it a pound or so looser than I would Prince Synthetic for instance to get the balance I like. Also, I hit with a Volkl V-10 93 head size. My racquet is deemed a control racquet. However, even with a control racquet but with lower tension in the strings, my shots tend to fly long when I know I used the right swing speed for the shot chosen. Because I dont want to retrain my swing speed, I opt to adjust the tension of the strings to find that balance.

Now, of course, racquet flex has something to do with this as well, but we aren't talking about that in full. The more flex the racquet has the less you lose in side to side control but the more you gain in length control. The opposite is true for the stiffer racquet. A good balance of stiffness and string tension goes a long way in helping a player acheive their best results.

And regarding money and breaking strings, I was natorious for breaking strings and going through racquets during sets. I had to purchase 5 of these racquets before I discovered Big Banger. Now, I am down to three in the bag. Although Big Banger is a tougher less elastic string, it just doesn't break. My arm is able to handle this and I do string it a pound or two looser to get the balance I like.

Very interesting. I don't want to send anyone in the wrong direction here but Prince has a tournament poly that I think is very good and not quite as harsh as Luxilon. Like Luxilon is has wicked memory so you really have to pre-stretch the stuff with is easy. I have been playing around with using it and synthetic gut for the crosses, strung quite a bit lower and it plays pretty nice - little stiff at first but I like it much better than going with just Luxilon.

I think I got some of this Luxilon craze going years ago when I was racquet testing. Some probably remember me saying I things to the effect that it wouldn't break, was like aircraft cable and that I think you can hit rocks with the stuff. Since then, Luxilon has certainly broadened their product line and I think made it much more player/stringer friendly. I remember the first time I had a racquet done with Luxilon and my stringer said "if your going to continue using this crap, find a new stringer". Stringers didn't like it at first but the combination of making the string better and more players using it have made it more acceptable today.

I've heard some say that it shouldn't be used in the larger racquets which I think is misleading. It plays well but as BB says, you've got to find your particular comfort level - for me its in the low 50's, for others it could be higher or lower.

Everytime I read one of BB's posts I end up saying "damn, why didn't I think of that" - I know what your all thinking and all I can say is shame on you.

5263
12-02-2009, 08:16 AM
I've seen posts on here for years and people taking pictures of Federer's stringing request on paper, that his tension is around 48-49

My guess is that this is much about tension loss, but not sure.
Fed gets sticks strung right before going on the court with a constant pull, and plays about 8-10 games then go to the next one, I'm told. just using constant pull can give several %s tighter.

We get sticks strung the night before at best and then play several times with a new set of strings, so they are only reasonably fresh for one outing. Most of our experience with our strings is mostly likely 10-25% less tension than what we strung them at.
USRSA (sp) says that we lose over 8% in the first hour from stringing if I rem right.
This may explain much of why they can string much looser as a starting point??

LeeD
12-02-2009, 08:23 AM
Good stuff there, 5263.
My older Mfil 200's 18x20's were strung at 62 thereabouts, and dropped maybe 5-10 after 10 hitting days, mostly doubles.
My newest Aero200 got strung at 55, but I really want lower than 50 for my aging wrists.
I've always strung 5-10 higher than what I want to play with, knowing the tension goes down each time I hit for the first 10 or more days.
Of course, I use 15 guage nylon, which might drop more than expensive strings, which is why I start so tight.

5263
12-02-2009, 08:51 AM
Good stuff there, 5263.
My older Mfil 200's 18x20's were strung at 62 thereabouts, and dropped maybe 5-10 after 10 hitting days, mostly doubles.


Yes, I know what you are saying Lee.

Can you believe stringers Assoc says they drop more than that in the first hours of so after stringing? Then another 10 or so after playing an hour of singles? Sort of hard to believe really.

MasturB
12-03-2009, 12:33 AM
There are actually several poly strings on the market now and although they might not play quite as well as luxilon that are much cheaper.

What you have in mind? I use Cyberflash Topspin and it's $7.49 per set.

papa
12-03-2009, 04:13 AM
What you have in mind? I use Cyberflash Topspin and it's $7.49 per set.

Well, there you go. Lots of good strings out there so look around and sample a few. If you find the string bed a little too harsh, mix it up - most stringers don't mind, just a couple of more knots, no big deal and your working with shorter pieces. I happen to like a synthetic gut on the crosses but whatever works best for you.

Bungalo Bill
12-03-2009, 07:38 AM
What you have in mind? I use Cyberflash Topspin and it's $7.49 per set.

As Papa implied, find the string that provides your preferred balance between cost, playability, and durability. When it comes to strings, it is as personal as a racquet can be.

I like Big Banger while others may not. I tend to value durability over playability because I will make up for less playbility in my strings. So far, I am used to the Big Banger feel, I like how long it lasts, and it does not hurt my arm. It also doesn't dent the wallet because the extra few dollars spent saves me money because of its durability.

Everyone is different and these are the cases where you can safely tell a player "do what feels good to you" and feels right for your racquet and game.

5263
12-03-2009, 07:43 AM
What you have in mind? I use Cyberflash Topspin and it's $7.49 per set.
CF is a good string, but I like Pro Supex Big Ace, as it is so easy on the arm that I don't even bother to hybrid it (go with a full set) and very playable with wicked control. Less than $4 a set when I buy it by the reel. Excellent durability too.

W Cats
12-03-2009, 11:09 AM
It helps to decide and rank the characteristics that you like in a string and then pick a string and gauge that best matches your preferences. You can get some good info over at the string board, TW Educ.or from the GSS website. Remember to sort the objective information from the subjective. Find a knowledgeble stringer that you can work with that knows the ojective info. and subjective antidotal info. I string racquets for people I know in my club and the high school kids I coach, and I generally have a fairly good sense of their game and what would work for them from the stock that I carry. You may have to experiment with tension for a given racquet once you decide on the string.

Here is a website that will give you some good objective data on strings. Just select the string brand then the type and gauge and it will give the stiffness rating, tension loss and measured thickness of the string.

http://www.racquettech.com/tennismag/tennismagstring.html

The stiffness rating will give you an idea of how the strings feel hard/soft when all else is equal. Higher numbers are stiffer ex: Luxilon Alu Power polyester 1.25 is 242 while Klip Legnend 17 natural gut is 113. Remember this is for the strings only any varibles can effect how it feels once it's installed on a specific racquet i.e. type of grip, layers of overgrip, weight of the racquet, string pattern, dampner, etc.. Tension loss gives you info on how much tension in lbs is lost, I believe with a machine refence tension of 60lbs. and measured again after 24 hrs. w/o hitting any balls (not 100% sure on this). Again Lx Alu Power 1.25 is 17.13 lbs and Klip Legend 17 is 9.31.