Define "Heavy Ball"

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TimothyO, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Over in the strings section there's currently a discussion on strings that produce a "heavy ball". And we hear that term constantly during television commentary and read about it frequently on TT.

    Since spin and shot quality are primarily technique related with varying levels of support from hardware I thought this question is best handled in this section.

    Some seem to believe that "heavy ball" refers only to pace. Others to spin. And yet others to a combination of the two. In which camp do you reside?

    A. Heavy Ball = Pace Alone
    B. Heavy Ball = Spin Alone
    C. Heavy Ball = A Certain Combination of Pace and Spin

    IMO a "Heavy Ball" is defined by a combination of Pace and Spin which is modified by the shot one is used to seeing.

    Pace alone doesn't make sense to me since I've returned shots coming it at extraordinary pace but it seems really easy. Such incoming shots are easily blocked back or hit accurately.

    Spin alone can result in a floating duck easily hit for a winner. You see these hit a lot in mid-level rec play. All spin, no pace or depth.

    But a truly heavy ball approaches quickly over the net, seems to accelerate after the bounce due to spin and positively leaps off the court, and it retains so much spin that it effects the quality of any return shot. Negating the incoming spin and turning the shot around with accuracy is actually a challenge.

    And that's where skill and experience comes in relative to MPH and RPM. You still need both to be "above average" but above average relative to the guy knocking the ball back. A pace/spin combo that will challenge a 4.0 is routine to a 5.0 (kudos to LeeD pointing that out in another thread). But regardless of level that pace/spin combo must be special and unusual.
     
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  2. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    I'm with you on C. The completely subjective nature of the word "heavy" limits the incoming ball to one's personal experience and skill level. If a player sees an extraordinary amount of pace and spin on the ball, a combination of added pressure to return it/hit a similar-quality ball, insufficient skill to do so, and the "wicked" spin will cause the player to muscle it or hit off-center (which also adds to the perception of "heavy").
     
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  3. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Choice C as well
     
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  4. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Nadal's balls are heavy
     
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  6. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Ask Tennisean, he knows all about the power game....













    A glove may be required.
     
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  7. Spin and Pace. When you play high level players who hit pace and spin beyond your level it is almost like you are being bullied and forced back and you cannot get hold of the ball and you are always fighting the opponents spin and end up giving them loads of short balls.

    A hard flat shot can be directed dtl with more ease than a heavy ball (pace and spin). That is why it is so hard fro one handers against Nadal and you can see Djokovic almost wrestling with Nadals spin when he tries to get on top of it and send it dtl.
     
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  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Heavy ball is a ball with more energy. The linear energy pushes your racket back, the rotational energy makes it difficult to counter the spin and exert control.
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    ONLY perception by the reciever determines a "heavy" ball.
    YOU and I can hit with as much spin and speed as we can swing, it's NOT a "heavy" ball to Nadal or DJ. In fact, it might not be a "heavy" ball to TennisBalla.
    But it IS a "heavy" ball to a 3.5 level player.
     
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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is perceived as a heavy ball because it has more energy. If it was just a matter of perception, multiple pros would not say Nadal's ball is heavy. So it is not a perception issue.
     
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  11. Lack

    Lack Rookie

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    Heavy Ball = Spin and pace
     
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  12. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I agree when looking from the perspective of a lower player to a higher player.

    But I do feel there's some minimum requirement to the point that Sureshs makes.

    Merely hitting flat and fast is very different from hitting with enough spin to make the ball jump and effect an opponent's ability to control the ball in light of the RPMs and pace.

    I see this at 3.5/4.0. At this level not many can hit "heavy balls" relative to their typical opponents on a routine basis and not cough up lots of UEs. So we don't get to learn how to handle "heavy balls" since we don't see very many. We do see some hard shots, just not lots of spin and pace at the same time.
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I have been told that my balls are heavy (by 3.5 women). That is because they have more energy than the balls they usually face. That is all.

    On the other hand, I find balls hit by junior boys to be very heavy.
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    We don't get to.....
    Why don't you just hit with a few 4.5's, or 5.5 level players?
    That way, you can see how the better players can hit the harder balls more consistently and off even your best "heavy" shots, which aren't at all "heavy" to them.
    I"m barely a top 3.5 singles player, but get to hit with Open level players occasionally. And most 4.5's wouldn't hesistate to hit with me if they show up without a partner.
     
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  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Typed a reply but it crashed. Forget it.
     
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  16. TahoeTennis

    TahoeTennis Professional

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    Heavy Ball = Spin/Pace, but also just massive SPIN

    I love hitting a deep spinning deep Heavy ball.


    The ball DROPS HARD AND FAST and stays in...DROPS hard because is is HEAVY!

    Great Scott! This is Heavy!

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sounds like bravado and bragging here.....
    If you hit such a heavy ball, what level player ARE you?
    Now while I can occasionally hit a heavy ball, I play singles at the highest 3.5 level, but can play doubles up into solid 4.5's without being the worse player on the court.
    And once in a while, I can hit a "heavy" ball to a 5.5, but it's once in a while, and they can casually handle anything else I hit at them....while I"m scrambling to set for their rallyballs....which are heavy to me.
     
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  18. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    #18
  19. TahoeTennis

    TahoeTennis Professional

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    A heavy ball, by its definition, drops hard and fast. It looks like it's going out by a mile, but the sheer spin DROPS the ball in hard and fast.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    So, your "heavy" ball is something a 4.0 cannot handle.
    BUT, every 5.5 sees it regularly.
    Every PRO just crushes it.
    Can't be "heavy" to a 5.5 or a pro, can it?
     
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    LeeD talking about bravado and bragging .........
     
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  22. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    It ain't bragging and bravado if you back it up with performance.
    Notice, Shoud and RobFL think I can play decent tennis, at 64, not able to run, and playing less than twice a week. 5 days a week, I windsurf, as that's my main sport.
     
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  24. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    Racket head speed is the key to making your shot heavier. This, along with using a heavier racket with greater mass. Force=mass times acceleration.
     
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  25. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    wet ball = Heavy Ball
     
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  26. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    B

    for me heavy ball means a lot of spin only, at least that is the conventional definition. that doesn't mean that the speed/power combination is not important, I just think that heavy is not a qualitative term. a ball can be too heavy.

    I'm not a fan of redefining terms and in tennis heavy traditionally means a lot of spin and nothing else.

    of course a good shot is heavy and has pace but heavy alone just means a lot of spin. "heavy" is just a quantitative term for the amount of spin and not judging the quality of a shot.
     
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  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    A medium paced dead flat ball is "heavy" to a 3.0 player, if you just hit it deep right back feeding them.
    Perception is what defines a "heavy" ball.
    That same ball is average to YOU.
    That same ball invites a pummelling to a 4.5.
     
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  28. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

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    LeeD, you said the exact same thing in five different posts. We get it. It's relative.



     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    EXACTLY, and every different poster DOESN'T get it.
    Each new guy talks about spin and speed.
    It's the PERCEPTION from the returner, that defines a "heavy" ball.
    For the SIXTH time, it's the PERCEPTION that counts.
    Even Nadal's forehand is not always "heavy". When he loses, his opponent doesn't flinch from his forehands.
     
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  30. Rui

    Rui Rookie

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    In the '50s & '60s, a "heavy" ball was one that looked like it was struck easily, but was on top of you in a rush. IOW, the ease of the stroke was incongruent with its pace. Back then, people referred to a lot of topspin as "a lot of topspin."

    Somewhere along the line, "a lot of topspin" became "heavy." And with that term came a new definition of a heavy stroke.
     
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  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    EXACTLY !!
    Notice you had to mention the guy who's trying to return the "heavy" ball.
    PERCEPTION is everything.
     
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  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is 7 times now
     
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  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Hey LeeD, do you agree that heaviness of ball is based on perception?
     
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  34. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    The "heaviness" ofthe ball is what you feel/experience on your racket- whatever the cause.

    Also, I agree with Rui, above, that there is a 4th choice- that can add to that sensation-- rather than just pace, spin or a combination of the two-- it is the psychological gap between perception and reality that causes you to misjudge, and, therefore, be unprepared for/surprised by the force of the ball against your racket.
     
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  35. 10nisne1

    10nisne1 New User

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    In my opinion, a heavy ball is defined by the receiver and not the sender. I've never gone around saying that I hit a heavy ball, but I have played/hit against people who commented that I hit a heavy ball.

    A heavy ball to me is a ball I have trouble controlling (hitting the ball where I want to place) due to pace, spin, and trajectory. Mostly if the ball I'm receiving is deep, linear with late breaking topspin, I have more trouble controlling my shots.

    That would be my definition of a heavy ball.

    10
     
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  36. Shroud

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    My 2 cents is that some of that has to do with the difference in weight between rackets now and rackets then. Sure a massively spinning ball will seem "heavy" with these light rackets today but a 14oz or heavier racket will be better able to control the ball giving a less perception of heaviness.
     
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  37. GBplayer

    GBplayer Semi-Pro

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    Maybe because I use a relatively heavey racquet by todays standards ( 345 g ), is why I do not understand why so much effort is put into spin with no pace. Once you workout were they are going to bounce, they are easy to return.
     
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  38. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

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    So a heavy ball is a ball that feels heavy. Pretty heavy stuff. I'm glad we worked that out.
     
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  39. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    It's still unclear.
     
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  40. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Shroud. Please clear this up for ttw. LeeD keeps claiming your the ultimate judge of his game. Can leeD play tennis or not. Is his lefty twists bouncing 5 ft high. Can he get a few games off WTA pro.
     
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  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I may be going out on a limb here, and LeeD can chime in, but I think a heavy ball depends on perception.
     
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  42. Tmano

    Tmano Professional

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    Mybe I'm wrong but i think some people are maybe confusing with winners. in my head a heavy ball is just not one shot, it is a ball that is hit consistently over and over the same way that pushes you further back on the court, or the sides of the court. that opens the court up to your opponent or that makes you hit /push the ball over the net trying to absorb the power, pace just to stay in the point.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
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  43. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Ah the joys of the internet. Now I get to comment on something as polarizing as Lee D and his game. Thanks Arch:rolleyes:

    Simple answer is yes he can play. Though his age and injuries limit what he can do now. Given that he seems to have trouble just walking its amazing he can compete like he does. Doubles has to be a better option for him and with his serve I dont doubt his claims of a solid doubles player in the 4.5-5 range.

    But dont you have to know a bit about me first to understand my experience...I think Lee would agree its all relative.

    Highschool varsity doubles player. 4.0 Volvo league state finals (Florida). A Few local tournament wins b-b+ doubles, A singles title. Maybe a B singles title too. When I won the A singles they made me play Open the next year and totally got crushed.

    Best player I have faced was the #1 player for the Naval Academy. Not sure if that is DIv I or II or what it was 20 years ago. He dropped 2 games the entire tourney and totally outclassed us all and bagelled me. I think my college was DIV II and while I did the best in the walk on tryouts it wasnt even close.

    Anyhow today is so groundstroke oriented and as a serve volleyer my game gets judged a bit lower than it should be. But I know full well that nothing makes up for average ground strokes like free points on the serve.

    Lee's serve was impressive and one of the best I have faced. He says he told me he was serving down the T but I dont remember that part. Anyhow we were in the ad court and man he made me look like a chump. Blew so many by me like I was sleeping. Sure I was looking for the lefty outwide but after 5-6 down the line you think I would have adjusted. Sure I think it would "slow down" and I would adjust in a match but I can totally see where he would carry a doubles team with his serve.

    Like a lot of rec players I was more focused on my game. I dont remember much of our rallys or his groundies. I just remember that I had slight TE, couldnt hit my normal backhand and well was ****ed that I decided that THAT was the best time to completely change my forehand take back.

    That stuff about him warming up a pro at some tourney (Curren I believe) is believable IMHO.

    I doubt even 5.5s would get a game of a WTA pro.
     
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  44. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Leed is the best
     
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  45. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Thanks man! I interpret your post as:

    LeeD is a decent rec player. With a good serve. But it is not a bomb or twisting chameleon to bother a pro like date krum. Or any other WTA pro. He can't run. So no way in hell he is getting any points off a WTA pro. So I believe his 3.5 rating. A 5.0 dbls rating is a deep stretch because he can't run. Doesn't matter if its half court. At 5.0 his serves are dealt with. A 4.5 dbls rating is still a stretch but I'll give him that. But a lot of teaching pros play at 4.5 dbls and they can run and still serve 120.

    This is the first time we had an eye witness account of leeD. A guy with a good rec serve who can't run. Please all ttw refer to shrouds posts when leeD makes outrageous claims.
     
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  46. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    A heavy ball is THAT rally ball that you can really feel the weight of.

    There is that forward momentum and weight of shot that you can feel everytime your racquet makes contact.
     
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  47. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    [​IMG]
     
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  48. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    We had an account of his serve before this - on video.
     
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  49. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    By interpret I think you mean TWIST.

    He moves as well as Rod Laver...its all relative

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2IP9jz48xc
     
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  50. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    saw that vid, and well that is not the serve he pulled out on me.
     
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