FH Takeback - Pause vs. no-pause

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by DJG, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. DJG

    DJG Semi-Pro

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    I've got a question on the FH takeback...

    Conventional wisdom dictates that the shoulder-turn, pat-the-dog (BB's name) and follow-through is one consistent motion, hence a "loopy swing". Looking at the pro's this is mostly one consistent motion with decent timing and a very fluid stroke.

    Are there severe problems with a more straight, waiting-type takeback? What I mean by this is that the shoulder-turn and pat-the-dog position is done as part one, followed by a slight delay waiting for the ball to arrive (racquet pointing backwards, stringbed angled downwards) before the forward swing takes place.

    Both of these swings has the same motions, and I've found myself to be more comfortable doing the latter. My timing is a bit better, although the stroke is arguable not as "smooth looking". I've heard more than once that it should be a single motion and am quite willing to adapt (there goes the rhythm) if there are technical and/or health, power and/or control reasons for doing the former.

    I suppose the latter swing is more flat than loopy, although sped-up the swingpaths are (should be) identical.
     
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  2. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Looks like you just answered your own question right there.
     
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  3. DJG

    DJG Semi-Pro

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    Since you are a fan... Djokovic actually is the one exception - on a lot of his FH's, he has a longer (noticeable) pause than other pros. :) It can be one motion in his case, but he often has a (short) delay before swinging forward to meet the ball.

    Then again, I don't spend hours analyzing pro's strokes and it may just be a mirage or a side-effect of his swingpath or grip.
     
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  4. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    He may do it sometimes, but this one certainly looks like one smooth motion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbsQ8gZLWyc
     
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  5. DJG

    DJG Semi-Pro

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    Agreed. If you take a look at his forehands in the rally after the unfortunate ball-girl incident (which still makes me cringe)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S789HMLNAKk&NR=1

    I see his takeback as:

    1. slow past the ear to the back
    2. very slight pause right at the back
    3. very fast swing towards the ball

    It all depends on the speed of the ball as well, for instance on shorter balls (loads in this fh medley - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AihErqH3YQQ&feature=related) he gets into position very quickly and waits like a predator. (Love the footwork.)

    In contrast Federer (in my humble opinion) has a smoother path once he starts taking the racquet back, much more "loopy".

    I suppose the above Djokovic "in my view" is a bit off topic and in my world the balls come by a tad slower. So I'm still asking the same question - is a slight pause harmful in any way? (Two step loop instead of one continuous motion.)
     
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  6. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    It all depends on your level. It probably won't hurt you at all right now, but why not learn the right way for when you start really getting good? :)
     
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  7. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    As has been pointed out before, Djoko often has that high takeback, with a pause. I tried that out some time back and it works v well.
    Actually I needed an early take back and wait, since I was using faster balls and I was mistiming. This helped me get the ball on time. I was also able to hit nice hard flat drives.

    Whenever I move to new balls, I do often need to do this so as not to mistime.
     
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  8. DJG

    DJG Semi-Pro

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    Well, I was already really good before I took a 16 year break :) Now, I'm terrible (ok, not quite, but unfit yes) and coming to grips with modern techniques.

    I'm mostly worried about thing that are taxing on the body and not straying too far from accepted practices, as I've realised crossing the 35 threshold brings all kinds of weird surprises to our frail bodies.

    From the pro's, my untrained eye picks up 3 different swings:

    1. Pause before the takeback - one continuous smooth motion on the swing (Federer)
    2. Pause at the ear, shoulder turn - one fast swing after the turn (Nadal)
    3. Pause at the back - one fast swing from the back (Djokovic)

    So there is variety out there - I've always had a flatter (McEnroe, Connors) type swing with an EFH, I switched to SW and realised I have a pause at my "pat the dog" position. This can be very noticiable on slower balls, where I'm in position quite early and just waiting for it to get to my hitting zone.

    My timing couldn't be better, power is there, control is there. Old-school coaches cannot see anything wrong. But, I would like to know from the decent modern coaches out here, if this causes any issues of problems.

    (As an aside - from the older TonLars videos, he also has a wait at the end of his take-back before he starts the forward swing.)
     
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  9. DJG

    DJG Semi-Pro

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    Yes, it is one benefit - the timing of the swing is much easier, and in my case results in me not being late on some much faster shots - like hitting against ex-D1 players. (Mis-timing can be a nightmare arm-wise for me - completely out of hitting position, shoulder/elbow in the wrong place and I can feel it.)

    Any coaches want to weigh in on a slight wait pause being acceptable/non-acceptable?
     
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  10. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

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    I believe the Williams sisters don't have the continuous C-loop motion, not only on the forehand but also on the backhand.

    They simply drop the racquet behind them pointing to the ground, wait for the ball, and authoritatively bash the ball.

    Thanks,
    eagle
     
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  11. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    I don;t know whether one can use this parallel, but in the 1hbh we like to take an early back-swing, too. I don't know about the gasquetesque C- motion, but definitely the classic smile/U pattern.
     
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  12. TonLars

    TonLars Professional

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    Yeah, even now (the new videos I posted) my takeback is still basically straight back. I dont think there is anything wrong with that takeback to be honest. Its really more about how you swing and hit the ball, and a matter of how youre taught and preferrence for the takeback as long as you have the timing down. Hewitt and the Williams sisters come to mind. And also, especially for balls coming harder and deeper, if you dont really have that loop backswing stroke down, its difficult. You pretty much have to resort to the straight back and compact swing for those balls regardless of what you normally do.
     
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  13. mordecai

    mordecai Rookie

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    Djokovic has a continuous swing. The pause you see is just his arm staying loose while his core unwinds to begin the forward swing.
     
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