Bird man's Forehand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by rk_sports, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    Watching Tomas Berdych hit his usual clean (and powerful) forehands at Hopman cup... and one of the commentators (Fred or Pat) said that his stroke uses bent arm (this part is straight forward) and that he hits his forehand next to him.. that is more to the side than in front like most players (or modern technique)

    Is that one of the reasons why he gets such easy power? :confused:
    Ofc the point is.. can we learn anything from this knowledge? :)
     
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  2. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Hitting more to the side definitely gets easy power, given all the other elements are in place (such as vertical axis stability, point of impact further away from the body, keeping swing path in one plane etc.)
     
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  3. ace_pace

    ace_pace Rookie

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    Yeah the smaller the angle between the arm at the side of the body and the arm at the contact point of the ball the more power you have. Obviously the smaller the angle the more difficult it is to time and hit the ball consistently. I'd rather hit out in front, you get more topspin most of the time anyway.
     
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  4. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    Hmmm...both you guys are a bit cryptic.. :) .. could you bother to eloborate? thnx
     
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  5. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    You want to get complete breakdown of proper forehand? I'm not sure what your level is, it's easier to explain based on the mechanics you already have. Besides, I would tweak one thing at a time.

    Vertical axis stability has to do with balance: you want to make sure your body does not tilt to the left at the moment of impact. Especially if your motion is more circular than linear and hitting zone is more to your side than in front. Here's my take on hitting more to my side (watch my hat as a visual pointer of rotational axis stability),
    http://youtu.be/PxEMcHH3ToM
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
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  6. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    I think I understand. I found that when I catch the ball more out in front, I will hit the ball with more spin. As in the angle of my racquet is a bit more tilted and less vertical (perpendicular to the ground). But, when I hit a little later and at my side, I end up with a flatter shot, albeit with less margin for error.

    Does that sound normal?
     
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  7. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    It's simple physics: if your motion is perfectly circular (your head/spine being in the center) and you hit perfectly flat, than your margin of error is virtually zero. In this case, hit a little early and ball will go to your left, hit a little late and ball will go to your right.

    But you have greater margin of error by compensating with your wrist, plus your swing path does not chart perfect circle etc. etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
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  8. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

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  9. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    There are variety of grips and swing paths for different hitting zones, what coach Mauro showed is fairly standard way of hitting with some spin and some power. This thread is about how to maximize power by hitting more to your side than in front, which is one of the most effective ways, but with lesser margin for error.
     
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  10. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    Got it..its the balance and head being steady.

    You seem to have a nice stroke there... very compact, yet ball seems to zip off..
    Not that you mentioned that your stroke is like Birdies', but the difference I notice is that you seem to have a great racquet head speed.

    What grip do you use? some sort of Eastern?
     
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  11. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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  12. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
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  13. tsongaali

    tsongaali Semi-Pro

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    I honestly think berd's power is unexplainable because there are too many variables. If it was explainable, then why wouldn't every pro have forehands as big a berdman?

    some (not all) possible variables:

    the racket. I believe berdych uses an extremely heavy racquet but is still able to swing it just as fast as a 10 oz racket. This will provide maximum momentum.

    Contact point:

    Berdych hit most balls out in front, not completely at the side. This provides more power because you have more leverage on the ball. If you want proof, try pushing a heavy object with your hand exactly parallel with your side, and with your hand in front of your torso. Big difference.

    Timing:

    Hit a bit too early or late and you will lose a lot of power. This correlates to the contact point.

    Stroke length:

    Ironically, berdman gets huge power from an abbreviated stroke. his finish is so sudden, like he's not even swinging that hard. This is truly a phenomenon.

    Constitution:

    Berdych is a big guy. Have you seen his quad's? You will need a body like his to even have a tiny chance of producing the power he does.

    Bottom line: No one will be able to explain the mechanics of berd's forehand. Also, no one will be able to copy it. I suggest you not try to copy a certain pro's stroke, because it is unique to them. Look at dolgopolov, his stroke is so unconventional yet it provides massive power. Obviously you will need WW, and other accepted focus points, but you need your 'own' style.
     
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  14. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

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    There is two ways to hit ground stroke:
    1/ Push: you hit with your body and arm as one unit,. the main power come from the rotation of your body. The easiest way to do this is to have your elbow close to your body. Rotational force is max at your side.
    2/ Pull: you hit with your arm, with the help of Kinetic Energy from your body dragging your arm behind. Kinetic Energy need time to develop, Therefore it is max at far out.
     
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  15. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Arghh..not another push and pull explanation !!! :) You guys make it too complicated.

    If I use a huge axe and chop hard on a tree trunk as if I want to cut it down as fast as possible, is that a push or pull action?

    Why does everyone know how to use an axe or a stick to wack at something hard but put a tennis racket in his hand and it becomes a rocket science!!??


    Would this guy have a bad backhand stroke?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
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  16. tsongaali

    tsongaali Semi-Pro

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    Your not "pushing" or "pulling" anything, that's just an expression. Your "swinging" something by moving your body and arms. All that matters in tree chopping is swinging as hard as you can, but in tennis you also need to apply topspin, so the motions are entirely different.

    Like I said, expect many differing and complex answers to this berdych question, because there is no right answer.
     
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  17. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

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    Science is a fundamental answer to mostly everything, that what all of us went to school. There is nothing wrong with using science to explain things and improve thing. Even cutting a tree need a serious science: from hand cut to machinery, all engineers study how to do it efficiency and keep improving it. If you are not, your are out of business.
    There is nothing wrong with Push and Pull. It's just a way to explain and improve your stroke.
    There is something wrong with Push and Pull: people do not have ability to understand it.
    The bottom line is to be success: have you being success with your fundamental: just go out rotate your body and whip the hell out of the ball with your arm???
    Come to think of it, if it is so simple, all the coach will be out of job.
     
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  18. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    this is due to his rather conservative grip. the more eastern the farther back usually and the more western the farther out front.

    he still hits it in front of the body just maybe a couple of inches deeper.

    why he hits so hard?

    1.long levers: he is tall and has long arms. that means he will need less angular displacement to get the same racket speed

    2.very flat stroke: he maybe hits the flattest from all top10 players. that means unlike guys like nadal who also has crazy RHS he converts most of his RHS into ball velocity rather than spin.
     
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  19. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    ^pretty much this, however after seeing him play live, I don't think he hits much harder than most of the other top 30 pro's. He just gets the most out of his ball because it is flat with little margin over the net while others have to violently swing to impart the additional topsping to get the ball to come down in the court.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSBPIMz9IcE
     
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  20. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Not really. You also need to keep your eyes steady to chop on the same spot for most effective, and without a good motion involving good muscles, you gonna tire your arms out quickly or even hurt your back, no?

    Uh..topspin isn't something magical. It's just an effect on the ball from swinging with all the characteristics described above plus keeping the racket face correctly closes, going thru the contact spot from low to high and allow the racket to the other side for a natural follow through. What else is there?
     
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  21. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    Now your post makes me explain my reasoning for my question!

    IMO having a great racquet head speed is the pre-requisite for a pro in this era --- now, a former player now commentator (might be robbie koenig or his co-commentator then) mentioned that what is unique in berd's forehand is the lack of racquet head speed (compared to other pros)

    That made me wonder...then how on earth is it such a penetrating shot!!.. if someone can have such a forehand without tremendous racquet head speed, that would be just awesome for weekend warriors :)

    No, the question is not to learn berd's forehand "as is" ...but to get as many minds on understanding and this will give other ideas/theories that might help some :idea:
     
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  22. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Not long ago, Tennis magazine did a pictorial segment on Berdych forehand and it was a beautiful thing to behold.
     
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  23. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    Seeing this match between Greg Jones (Aussie) and Dogopolov... and Greg's forehand looks so similar to Berdych
     
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  24. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    This post is a WIN. And I truly mean it.

    are you suggesting that there was some technological breakthrough with regards to an ax design? I kind of think things stayed the same for quite a few years now, no? :)
     
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