PDA

View Full Version : Watch the ball


5263
09-16-2011, 01:03 PM
Watch the ball and to try to watch it into the strings is NOT a myth.

Watching is not quite the same as seeing.
If you are on the lookout to put the ball on the string, you may not see it, but you are being attentive to the task and should get better contact and have a more stable head. Seeing the ball actually touch the strings is something different and may not happen according to current science, but watching attentively is still possible.

watch   -
verb (used without object)
1. to be alertly on the lookout, look attentively

see    [see] , saw, seen, see·ing.
verb (used with object)
1.
to perceive with the eyes; look at.

Limpinhitter
09-16-2011, 01:10 PM
Watch the ball and to try to watch it into the strings is NOT a myth.

Watching is not quite the same as seeing.
If you are on the lookout to put the ball on the string, you may not see it, but you are being attentive to the task and should get better contact and have a more stable head. Seeing the ball actually touch the strings is something different and may not happen according to current science, but watching attentively is still possible.

watch   -
verb (used without object)
1. to be alertly on the lookout, look attentively

see    [see] , saw, seen, see·ing.
verb (used with object)
1.
to perceive with the eyes; look at.

IMO, whether or not you are actually able to see the ball contacting your strings is irrelevant. Focusing on the ball, as best you can, all the way from your opponent's racquet to your racquet and everywhere in between, improves the quality of your ball striking, AND improves your shot preparation and set-up. You will tend to keep your feet moving until contact, better, when you focus on the ball all the way in to your racquet.

chenc
09-19-2011, 12:28 AM
Try "staring" at the ball if you like playing with words. :)

Stare: to gaze fixedly and intently, especially with eyes wide open.

sinnetklat
09-19-2011, 02:33 AM
Try "staring" at the ball if you like playing with words. :)

Stare: to gaze fixedly and intently, especially with eyes wide open.

Yeah, although the ball is very blurry, staring at it definitely increases my consistency.

larry10s
09-19-2011, 04:25 AM
what about after the ball leaves your strings
and as the player and ball are getting closer
you focus on the ball and put the player in peripheral vision
or focus on the player and keep the ball in peripheral vision??

jswinf
09-19-2011, 10:15 AM
Try "staring" at the ball if you like playing with words. :)

Stare: to gaze fixedly and intently, especially with eyes wide open.

But you don't want to consciously avoid blinking, especially if you wear contact lenses--your vision will "haze up" after a few seconds. I'm all for watching the ball, though.

thug the bunny
09-19-2011, 10:26 AM
you focus on the ball and put the player in peripheral vision
or focus on the player and keep the ball in peripheral vision??

Definitely the former.

I see the ball as it approaches. I can usually see the spin unless it is a blast serve. I can't say that I actually see my opp w/ peripheral vision, but my brain knows where he is and where I want to place my shot, maybe with my 'mind's eye'. Then during the hit, I see the racquet flash past in a blur, but I don't really see the contact.

For me watching or seeing the ball, whichever, is far and away the most important thing for good ball striking. It puts me in a state of mind where I don't have to conciously focus on any mechanics - just get to the ball, decide on the shot, and pull the trigger.

mightyrick
09-19-2011, 10:30 AM
what about after the ball leaves your strings
and as the player and ball are getting closer
you focus on the ball and put the player in peripheral vision
or focus on the player and keep the ball in peripheral vision??

I dunno... this seems way too forced. The whole "peripheral vision" thing.

How about this? Just keep your eye on the ball and just know where your opponent is?

thug the bunny
09-19-2011, 10:39 AM
^^^yup, just like I said:

I can't say that I actually see my opp w/ peripheral vision, but my brain knows where he is and where I want to place my shot, maybe with my 'mind's eye'.

beernutz
09-19-2011, 10:40 AM
I have read tennis sites which suggest you need to exaggerate your head turn when hitting backhand in order to give your farthest-away eye a better view of the ball so as to get a better 3-D view of it. That's because the backhand tends to be hit from a more closed stance that the forehand, so you have to turn your head farther in the opposite direction of your racquet to compensate for this. BS or no?

thug the bunny
09-19-2011, 11:14 AM
I have read tennis sites which suggest you need to exaggerate your head turn when hitting backhand in order to give your farthest-away eye a better view of the ball so as to get a better 3-D view of it. That's because the backhand tends to be hit from a more closed stance that the forehand, so you have to turn your head farther in the opposite direction of your racquet to compensate for this. BS or no?

I would agree, esp for a 2hbh, but when I'm seeing/watching the ball well, I don't even think about this kind of stuff.

sureshs
09-19-2011, 11:26 AM
Watch the ball and to try to watch it into the strings is NOT a myth.

Watching is not quite the same as seeing.
If you are on the lookout to put the ball on the string, you may not see it, but you are being attentive to the task and should get better contact and have a more stable head. Seeing the ball actually touch the strings is something different and may not happen according to current science, but watching attentively is still possible.

watch   -
verb (used without object)
1. to be alertly on the lookout, look attentively

see    [see] , saw, seen, see·ing.
verb (used with object)
1.
to perceive with the eyes; look at.

Just a convenient play on words, using the first definition of watch.

From the second definition, looking attentively at a physical object is not possible without seeing the object.

Povl Carstensen
09-19-2011, 11:34 AM
Always a pleasure to have your positive outlook on board, Suresh!

sureshs
09-19-2011, 11:49 AM
Always a pleasure to have your positive outlook on board, Suresh!

Just pointing out a mistake in logic.

Watch as in "watchman" means to be alert. A watchman is scanning to see if everything is OK, but not focusing on a single thing (necessarily). That is the first meaning.

The second meaning of looking attentively is possible only by physically seeing the object.

Thus the claim in the OP falls apart because it is based on selective picking of meanings.

If the intention is to use the first meaning and say that paying attention to the ball is important, then there is really nothing new. Keep your eye on the ball has been used for ever. Thus, the whole thing is just a play on words.

Povl Carstensen
09-19-2011, 11:55 AM
Well I think everybody here understands it quite well. If you want to take it semantically apart thats your prerogative.

Povl Carstensen
09-19-2011, 12:01 PM
Just pointing out a mistake in logic.

Watch as in "watchman" means to be alert. A watchman is scanning to see if everything is OK, but not focusing on a single thing (necessarily). That is the first meaning.
(But you can watch a single thing)

The second meaning of looking attentively is possible only by physically seeing the object.
(Looking is not the same as seeing)

Thus the claim in the OP falls apart because it is based on selective picking of meanings.
(Your arguing is based on selective picking of meanings)

If the intention is to use the first meaning and say that paying attention to the ball is important, then there is really nothing new. Keep your eye on the ball has been used for ever. Thus, the whole thing is just a play on words.
(If something has to be new to have a place here, there would not be much discussion. Some of your opinions are really really old and repeated ad nauseam...)

-----------

doctor dennis
09-19-2011, 12:15 PM
For me watching or seeing the ball, whichever, is far and away the most important thing for good ball striking. It puts me in a state of mind where I don't have to conciously focus on any mechanics - just get to the ball, decide on the shot, and pull the trigger.

This is me as well 100%. Whenever I watch the ball footwork, mechanics etc seem to fall in place. My hitting is 10x better when I watch the ball through contact. I'm just finding it difficult making it a habit, I still have to tell myself to watch the ball, I need it to be automatic.
I find watching the ball hardest whenever I'm on the run, if I'm set it's not so bad.

Regards

mightyrick
09-19-2011, 12:17 PM
This is me as well 100%. Whenever I watch the ball footwork, mechanics etc seem to fall in place. My hitting is 10x better when I watch the ball through contact. I'm just finding it difficult making it a habit, I still have to tell myself to watch the ball, I need it to be automatic.
I find watching the ball hardest whenever I'm on the run, if I'm set it's not so bad.


Inner Tennis talks about how some people can't just look at the ball. Some people need to focus on something more. So that book says that some people need to actually focus on the rotation of the seams -- in order to get the level of concentration they need.

sureshs
09-19-2011, 12:22 PM
-----------

How about you saying something relevant? Can you do it?

larry10s
09-19-2011, 12:29 PM
what about after the ball leaves your strings
and as the player and ball are getting closer
you focus on the ball and put the player in peripheral vision
or focus on the player and keep the ball in peripheral vision??

the op is about watching the ball as it comes toward you
im talking about as the ball gets close to the opponent

Lyzerd
09-19-2011, 12:33 PM
I use the force and therefore don't need to even have my eyes open while playing tennis.

doctor dennis
09-19-2011, 12:49 PM
Inner Tennis talks about how some people can't just look at the ball. Some people need to focus on something more. So that book says that some people need to actually focus on the rotation of the seams -- in order to get the level of concentration they need.

Concentration is a big issue of mine at the moment. I'll try and get a copy of the book to read if it can help me focus that little bit extra.
I'll try and look at the seems when I hit tomorrow evening and see if it can help me.

Cheers

SystemicAnomaly
09-19-2011, 02:02 PM
the op is about watching the ball as it comes toward you
im talking about as the ball gets close to the opponent

If the ball is very close to the opponent, then both the ball and the opponent would be in your central vision, not your peripheral vision. If the ball is a little bit away from the opponent, you can fixate on the ball and still see the movement and detail of the opponent quite well.

When you are watching the ball when it is close to you, your peripheral vision should be able to pick up movement of the opponent (but you would not be able to see detail). Not important to see the opponent detail when the ball is close to you -- only their movement.
.

SystemicAnomaly
09-19-2011, 02:24 PM
"Watch the ball" as a directive is useful up to a point. However, it does not tell the whole story. "Watching the ball into the strings" might also be helpful, but it is not really accurate. Many elite players do not watch the ball into the strings. Take a look at various pics of Agassi, one of the best ball strikers and serve returners of all times. His gaze stops somewhat in front of him, perhaps when the ball is a meter or two away from his contact point. When the ball gets very close to the impact point, it is more important to keep the eyes and head still rather than trying to follow the ball into the strings.

http://www.pajiba.com/assets_c/2010/02/andre-agassi_1350126c-thumb-260x162-7914.jpghttp://www.revolutionarytennis.com/Resources/federe2.jpeg

OTOH, players such as Federer and Nadal seem to follow the ball into the strings. But this is not really accurate either. High speed film reveals that Roger's eyes arrive at the contact point before the ball does. As the incoming ball gets close to him, his eyes jump ahead to his expected contact point to lie in wait for the ball. I have provided videos quite a few times in past threads on this subject that show this.

Should we characterize this as "watching the ball into the strings"? I suppose that you could, but it would not really be accurate. Instead of "watch the ball into the strings", I will instruct students to keep the head (and eyes) very still and focus on the contact point, not the ball, during the forward swing of the racket. In keeping the head still and the eyes quiet during the forward swing, the eyes are on the contact point just prior to contact, during contact, and for some time after contact.

Keeping the head/eyes still regardless of gaze location is what nearly all elite players will do.

jswinf
09-19-2011, 02:33 PM
I use the force and therefore don't need to even have my eyes open while playing tennis.

Don't your opponents get mad when you keep slicing the balls in half?

Povl Carstensen
09-19-2011, 08:36 PM
How about you saying something relevant? Can you do it?
Well I made my points in the quote. Watch the post. Or, look at it, and you might see it. Or is it a blur to you?