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Achillesg
06-05-2005, 05:54 AM
Are there specific drills designed to improve one's impact point accuracy? or is this just a function of gradual improvement in hand-eye skills over long periods of time? It's my opinion that some folks just have far superior hand-eye coordination (Tony Gwynn, Phil Mickelson types), but what should mere mortals expect and what is the best way to reach one's potential on solid contact with sweet spot?

TennsDog
06-05-2005, 09:29 AM
I have heard watching the ball ala Federer and just playing a lot are the two best ways to improve making clean contact. I am also interested in finding out any other good ways to improve because watching the ball only makes it worse for me and I have played for 10 years = lot of shots, but I still need to improve this part of my game.

Kana Himezaki
06-05-2005, 09:55 AM
Hi! :D Usually, mishits are a result of awkward timing and mostly not watching the ball.

Often, people (including me x.X) tend to watch the player on the other side of the court. Of course you should be aware of their position, but you should be focusing on the ball at all times.

Watch it off contact, over the net, and off the other players racquet. You'll find mishits decreasing a LOT. When you get better at it, and get used to focusing on the ball constantly, you should try to always identify the spin and general height the balls going to be at after the bounce. Simply watching will avoid a lot of mishits, and identifying the spin, etc. will allow you to anticipate and get in position for the next ball.

As a bonus, watching the ball helps concentration for many people. By focusing on the ball, they're not focusing on the opponent, or if he's doing anything strange, or on outside influences or anything. They just want the ball.

That's probably your problem, I hope I said it clearly.


edit:: I forgot to add that rotating your head to watch the ball even at close range helps. If you ever see a picture of Guga hitting his 1HB, he has AMAZING neck rotation. O_O But he's watching the ball with it. But it's really cool, you should see it. :D

Also, another potential reason for mishits is not moving into your ideal position for every ball. If this is your problem, I'd just try to watch the ball first. For some reason, at least for me, just doing that gets me moving into position naturally.

Split-step and move as soon as you know what direction the ball is coming. Move into position (which naturally, identifying the spin and general height of the ball as said before helps on), and your set.



I can't think of anything else.

Achillesg
06-05-2005, 12:22 PM
Kana,

You're probably right about positioning. For the first time ever the other day, I saw myself playing on videotape. I was shocked to see how little I moved compared to a tournament level player. It looked as if my feet weighed 50 lbs apiece and were glued to the court. Also, when I thought I was bending my knees, the "bend" was so slight as to be imperceptible. The final observation was that my racquet speed was extremely slow, but that was not as surprising because that's how almost everyone swung when I learned to play. I'll try your suggestions along with forcing myself to have more active feet and see what happens.

For the previous poster, (Tennsdog) the thing that helps me the most on zeroing in on impact point is backboard reps. That helps, but I've still got a long way to go.

iplaythementalgame
06-05-2005, 12:58 PM
I teach my students that one or both of the following things usually cause you to hit the ball off center. It may be because your grip and your wrist were too tight and/or you didnít see the ball all the way to your racket. If this happens often, you will need to spend some time feeling your grip and wrist at impact and allow them to be more relaxed. Tim Gallwey (The Inner Game Of Tennis) said that you should hold your racket like you would hold a bird. Tight enough that the bird canít get away, but not so tight that you would squash it.

peripatetic
06-05-2005, 01:15 PM
I read an article somewhere, don't recall where, a while back that advocated focusing more on the actual contact point. This was a theory being put forth by some scientist(s) I think in Colorado who said that one could rely on peripheral vision for positioning more, and use your eyes to actually focus on hitting the ball. Their thesis was basically that 'watching the ball' was not as important as watching the racquet hit the ball. They were advocating exercises where they had players focus on the hitting zone, and moving to line their body up with the path of the ball. I believe that they also had some good raw data to back up their claims. I tried working on this a bit, and I did feel like I was getting results, then winter hit.

I know that a lot of people may come out raging against this, so just let me say I'm not a big proponent, just an interested guinea pig. I will say that when I worked on this, I did feel like I was 'seeing the ball' at impact better. I have noticed, personally, that while I do focus on watching the ball, there is almost always a short period (maybe a few milliseconds), just before impact with the racquet, maybe just after I've begun my swing, when I feel like I'm generally blind, and don't see the ball very well. This technique made me feel more blind as far as the actual trajectory of the ball, but also like I had better vision on impact.

Remember--don't argue with me, argue with the thesis :mrgreen:

Kana Himezaki
06-05-2005, 03:16 PM
Actually, that's one of the main points of watching the ball.

Watching it come off the racquet, however, is also ideal. While it may not help your own stroke itself (as watching the ball off contact does), watching is essential for reacting and identifying the spin and height after the bounce of the ball.

If you see Federer, he watches the ball off his strings for a really long time. You don't have to do it that much, but you should be watching the ball at and after contact.

Kana Himezaki
06-05-2005, 04:08 PM
Watching the ball HELPS judgment. That's the whole purpose behind identifying the spin and trajectory of the ball. Not just gradually, you'll get immediate results.

The better your judgment, the easier it will be to keep your eye on the ball!

The better you watch the ball, the easier it will be to judge the ball. They're both connected. ^^ I need to check these sites, thanks for the link.

Marius_Hancu
06-05-2005, 04:59 PM
you might want to check this thread:

Watching the ball until the last moment trouble
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=33919

Marius_Hancu
06-05-2005, 05:06 PM
learn where the sweetspot is located on your racket

make a conscious effort to maintain the racket in the "hitting tunnel," or "hit" like hitting 4 balls in series, around the contact spot.

check easitennis.com, has pretty nice explanations on this.

iplaythementalgame
06-05-2005, 09:59 PM
There are a lot of posts talking about seeing the ball all the way to impact, but I believe that is only part of the answer. Seeing the ball is critical, but if you still try hard to contact the ball in the center of the racket, you may still hit it off center. I donít think there is a person alive who really consciously knows how to hit the ball on the center of the racket. But the body knows and/or it will learn how to do it given the chance. That is why the grip and the wrist must be relaxed at the same time as you see the ball. By relaxing more you are giving your body the chance to learn where the center is. There is also a chance that tension held in the upper body due to holding ones breath is a factor. I have help many players who used to miss hit the ball learn how to hit it more on the center by trusting that their body knew more than they (their conscious mind) did and you do this by letting go (relaxing) more some part of your body.