Forehand Topspin Drive

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by KayFactor, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. KayFactor

    KayFactor Rookie

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    I'm having a tough time on how the topspin drive works. Am I really suppose to swing through the ball with a diagnol swingpath? Do I continue the diagnol path immediately after the ball leaves my racket?
     
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  2. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    It's a bit vague, the way you describe it but if moving diagonal means, moving your racket across in a fashion of a Winshield Viper forehand, then answer is yes, that's the way modern forehand stroke is. After impact you continue your motion across (follow through) the most natural way, you don't stop the racket right there.
     
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  3. ramos77

    ramos77 Semi-Pro

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    a drive doesn't use much topsin IMO, it's a flatter shot

    at least that's my understanding of a drive.

    see agassi
     
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  4. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    The swing for a good modern Fh is on an arc, but the arc is very flat leading to
    the ball in a way that feels very straight to contact.
    This is the alignment phase....dragging the racket, butt cap leading.
    As you approach contact out front, the arc should begin to become more curved,
    which gives more rhs and puts you on that diagonal patch "up and across"
    the contact, and bringing the strings to contact.
    More details for you if this description is helpful.
     
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  5. KayFactor

    KayFactor Rookie

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    Can you provide more details? I think this is exactly what I do. I got a pretty flat ball out of it, and I;m so use to the topspin shot I do that clears the net by like 3 feet, so it jut seems really flat to me.
     
    #5
  6. Headshotterer

    Headshotterer Professional

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    i believe the follow throw affects the trajectory of the shot. high follow through means lots of spin, high net clearance. the same stroke but with a lower follow thru means lots of spin, dipping type shot.
     
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  7. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    You have to power up to do that move.
     
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  8. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    what is power up?
     
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  9. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    So you want to clear the net more or less?

    Get the loop lower under the ball to clear the net higher and less loop
    below the contact for less net clearance. The diagonal is steeper for
    more clearance and can be nearly flat like - for less clearance.

    There are lots of details about dragging the racket and shifting wt across an
    open stance to accel the racket face.
    More?
     
    #9
  10. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    I think a drive is opposed to a lob, pass, or drop-shot. You could hit a slice drive as long it is intended to be deep and pressing, and that your opponent is on the baseline.
     
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  11. KayFactor

    KayFactor Rookie

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    I want to be able to control this forehand drive shot.
    So basically, for more net clearance, I get the racket under the ball more when I set up. Sothe more the racket is the under the ball, the more net clearance and vice versa? And when getting under the ball more, I'm still maintaining what FEELS like a straight swingpath to the ball, but it is actually traveling diagnolly which achieves the topspin. Right?
     
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  12. KayFactor

    KayFactor Rookie

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    Actually, I think what happens before the follow through does most of the work. I feel like when I'm hitting, the follow thru is a result of how I'm using my body to the shot.
     
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  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    You are right...work is before follow thru, but follow thru tells you a lot about
    what that work was.
     
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  14. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, for more net clearance, come to contact from below the ball more...

    Yes, feel like you are going straight to the ball with the butt cap, but NO, it's
    not so diagonal at that point yet. As you approach the ball with the butt cap,
    the hand starts to move more across on a tighter arc (while still going low to
    high or upwards)
    This up and across drags the racket face to the ball on a diagonal, giving a
    slight side aspect to the topspin.
     
    #14
  15. KayFactor

    KayFactor Rookie

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    This part that I bolded, I'm assuming it is naturally achieved by coming to conatact from below the ball more?
     
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  16. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    That was a joke. Viper forehand, like the snake, sounds like something from a video game, or a japanese cartoon. It was a beautiful typo that took on a whole meaning of its own.
     
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  17. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    oh yeah, like Mario:)
     
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  18. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    the "across" is a function of body rotation and pronation. you are not trying to swing across (in fact you try to swing as much in line with the ball exit path as possible. but since the swing is rotational you will not be able to hold that line for more than a fraction and then it goes "across".

    for a CC shot you really hit "across" but only compared to the side line not ball flight.

    the across is just a combination of the upward brushing and rotation (of spine and arm) it's nothing you should do intentionally. FYB has a good video about that. they describe the WW forehand and the coach says the worst thing you can do is swing normally to the ball and then try to rip the rackethead across the back of the ball. the ww finish should be a natural consequence of the upward swing path and rotation it is an effect and not a goal.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Great post. Across is a very misleading term to teach.
     
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  20. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    How much you brush across the ball diagonally determines the amount of topspin you generate.

    How flat/vertical your stroke path is effects the trajectory of your shot.

    To hit a flat topspin drive you brush diagonally across the ball with a flatter stroke path.
     
    #20
  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    And this is where we differ a bit. I respect the above opinion to see it that way,
    but when I do the across part, I do intend to do it for a couple of important
    reasons. Imo when you try not to follow the natural rotational arc, and seek to
    extend further straight out, you tend to
    get a push behind the ball that works against you.
    also when you work across the ball with the natural arc, the swing is smoother
    and you can control net clearnce better in my experience.
     
    #21
  22. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Exactly.

    Trying to brush up while extending results in lower acceleration that comes from the shoulder. If you brush across you are pulling your arm in by bending at the elbow and this generates much more acceleration.
     
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  23. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    No. you are not trying to extend but also not bending. the across comes from internal rotation of the humerus and forearm. the arm angle remains mainly constant.

    I agree that you should not try to force a linear path but you should not try to swing across abruptly. just a natural circular path around the body.

    here is the vid:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtuTHsFlfGg
     
    #23
  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    For powerful shots, you should not "brush."
     
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  25. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Wait a minute. The acceleration is "built in" as the hand starts to move inside, or closer to the midline....(as a result of shoulder internal rotation, pronation) no need to force it in most cases
     
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  26. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    As much as I love Will, he's talking about a different technique than what 5263 and I are. (Or is at least describing it very differently!)

    His WW technique seems to be better suited to players that use a much more western grip. The technique I'm talking about is more applicable to players that are using semi-western to an eastern grip.

    This is the technique I'm referring to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qxz2Vc0g2I
     
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  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is a desperate on the run and stretched out wide forehand. Bad example.
     
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  28. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  29. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    to me that is the same, fed is just using a little more forward and less up motion because it is a flatter shot. I know some people are trying to construct some magical moves (like the racket face closing because the ball is hit below center or some sudden direction changes) but IMO that is not really happening.

    I think there are really only 3 factors that are combined in different doses:

    1.up
    2.forward
    3.around (rotation)

    there are no secret forces it just a combination of some well known biomechanical principles. There is a lot of "bro science" out there (even among good coaches and players).
     
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  30. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    #30
  31. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Actually the forehand as prescribed by 5263 and Oscar are what I consider quite old school.....Not many current pro's hit as they describe which is a quick break of the elbow (quick left) and over the shoulder finish..(which tends to limit rotation of teh arm/wiping action) No, most pros (at least on standard drives) allow the arm to move on it's natural arc, and wipe the hell out of it, which generally leads to a lower finish.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2012
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  32. Cheetah

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  33. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Maybe different ways of explaining it work a lot better for different people, then. The way Will explains it, it's a windshield wiper motion that turns at the elbow.

    The technique I'm talking about is brushing up and across the ball, leading with the side of the racket and pulling inward and to the left.
     
    #33
  34. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    well that might work for some but to me your description is bro science. it might work as a cue but it is not what is actually happening. but the FYB vid is not describing it all correct too. the WW is pronation and internal rotation of the shoulder. the elbow has not much to do it. the leading with the edge comes if you have a little more forward and less upward component.


    BTW fed is swinging in line with the ball longer than anyone else on the tour. he is the master of extension.
    [img=http://s11.postimage.org/cui9o24nj/fed2.jpg]
     
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  35. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    that is the key to me. extending past the natural arc (although fed seems to sometimes do that a little) is not good because it ruins rotational momentum but taking a hard left (more than the natural arc) is not good either.
     
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  36. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    He is swinging up and across AS he extends. Yes.

    I don't know what you mean by it being bro science. I wasn't trying to be scientific at all... It's just a way of explaining the motion. I don't think explaining the exact biomechanics of it would be a helpful mental tool for most people.
     
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  37. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    But when the bold above happens...you are working across.

    You are right...no need to force...but force is not the same intending a certain type of motion.
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Your shoulder's will always be attached to your arm, which is attached to your racket...that determines your swing path.
    Just hit the ball fast, put some topspin on it, the mechanics don't matter, as we're all physically similar here.
     
    #38
  39. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    You never heard me say to finish over the should unless talking of the basic
    modern Fh or not to finish lower, which is just another flourish to that basic
    Fh.
    You never heard me or Oscar say quick break of the elbow, hard turn, or abrupt
    bla, bla ....on and on of words you try to add to the basic correct description to
    make it something it is not.
    Most pros finish in about any position from low to bolo and everything in-between. There is no set low or any other finish. There is just a swing path
    that will finish somewhere based on the shape of the swing.
     
    #39
  40. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Basically well said here. Wil does talk more about the elbow, but not much of
    that talk in mtm or modern. Elbow is more a part of it when you don't use the
    straight arm technique, but we still don't focus on much on the elbow movement.
     
    #40
  41. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Nice discussion here folks. Enjoyed reading the posts so far.

    In the video referenced above I explain that the WWF is driven by the motion of the arm. Jeff Counts (hi-techtennis.com) compares this motion to lifting and turning over a lever. Roddick and Andreev are good examples of this type of WWF.

    But there's another way to hit a WWF. Federer is a prime example. Where the path of the arm doesn't control the low-to-high motion of the racket as much and doesn't cause the WW follow through. Instead, it's pronation that does the trick.

    So there are two types of WWFs. Each works just fine. BUT from a recreational player's standpoint, I think the "lever" one is preferable because it's easier to learn, doesn't require amazing timing, and is more stable.

    (Ever wonder why Federer goes on "shank sprees" on his forehand? Even the GOAT goes cold occasionally and loses his timing. A good indication of how tough this technique can be.)

    - W
     
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  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is why I think Federer "uses" modern rackets effectively and does things which will not work with a wood racket, though people think the opposite (that he is a classic player). Many of his shots are hit with very little margin and look like flukes to me.
     
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  43. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Fed is the most consistently successful player in grand slams ever by a wide margin. I believe he could have done it precisely due to his technique and style not despite of the demanding nature of his technique and style. many rec players think hitting the soft pancake serve will prevent mistake and help consistency but in fact hitting high level second serve is much more consistent. again not despite but due to more difficult but correct technique.
     
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  44. watungga

    watungga Semi-Pro

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    Op meant that the topspin drive is similar to the ping pong.

    Bad analogy.

    In tennis, the art of forehand attack is based on WHEN the ball was hit. Ascending. Peak. Descending.

    ... and the discreet gap in between the 3 above stages.

    Disregarding the player's arm, there are hundreds of angles in which a racquet face hits the ball.

    Let's add the arm, add hundreds of styles.

    Add the torso..

    Add the feet...

    Add the muscles...

    Add the brain...

    We will have thousands of sequences to hit the TopSpin Drive.
     
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  45. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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  46. Cheetah

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  47. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    others use pronation too but most others have that second hinge joint (elbow) which fed has not with his straight arm FH. so he has to do the WW with his forearm alone which is probably why his swing path is a little flatter.
     
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  48. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Hey Will, thanks for the reply. I've gone through FYB Premium, Tennis Ninja, and TennixRx. Great stuff not only for learning, but for teaching others.

    I'm wondering if you're familiar with the tennis speed blog, which talks about the different types of forehands used by the top pros. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, it's a great read.

    http://blog.tennisspeed.com/2011/05/roadmap-to-hall-of-fame-forehand-part-1.html

    Speaking from experience it seems like the Roddick style WWF is more suited to western or extreme western grips and relies on supination leading up to the forward swing, whereas the straight arm style is suited to semi-western(Nadal) to eastern style(Fed) grips and relies upon pronation leading up to the forward swing.

    First off, I'll begin by saying I'm a 4.5-5.0 level player who's had a good amount of coaching as a kid, so I'm probably more advanced that your average target audience and I definitely understand the reasoning behind making things as simple as possible.

    As someone with a extreme-eastern grip the Federer method feels extremely intuitive and simple in comparison. I think it's a common sort of cliche that coaches use when they say that what the pros are doing is just not possible for the average player. I don't think it's a coincidence that most of the recent top forehands in the game are all using the pronation technique. Rather, I think it's a recent advancement in technique that's a result of the advances in string technology among other things. For me, it's simply the easiest way to get maximum control (topspin) and speed, all while still being able to maintain a relatively flat trajectory. However, it's definitely not something the average weekend warrior club player is going to have the patience to learn and it's definitely a more advanced technique to apply than the other style, so the simplification is warranted.

    It's pretty clear from watching the classic Federer vs Roddick matches. The difference between the two techniques is the crazy amount of topspin that Federer can generate while STILL maintaining high ball speeds and a relatively flat trajectory. He's able to hit the same speed of shot Roddick is hitting but with a TON more margin on everything. In fact, the harder Federer hits, the more topspin he's generating, whereas the harder Roddick hits the less topspin he's getting.

    Agassi talks about it in the commentary booth at the 07 US Open Roddick vs Federer QF.

    Yes, Federer and Nadal are very gifted athletes but I think part of their success is due to their technique, which is actually superior to the Roddick technique because of how much control it grants them due to the crazy amounts of topspin they can generate without sacrificing pace or trajectory.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
    #48
  49. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Interesting thought about two different types of fhs.

    I guess I think of it more as a continuum. The more Western your grip is, the more you're going to use "the lever" to achieve the swing path. The more Eastern, the more you need to pronate your wrist to achieve the swing path.

    I don't know that one requires better timing than the other.

    I do think there's a bit of "pick your poison" however. The more Western grips make top spin easier to achieve, but hitting through the ball can be harder. The more Eastern grips the opposite, hitting through the ball comes more easily but getting good topspin is harder. At the optimum I don't know that there's a difference in what can be achieved.

    Watch the 2007 QF match at the USO between Fed and Roddick. Very different grips on the fh, but both of them are hitting very, very hard with lots of spin, and not missing much. Brutally honest guest commentary by Agassi as a bonus.
     
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  50. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    You got it here, where some seem to miss this about the ww.
    I don't think it's that tough to learn though and actually sort of easy imo.
    Maybe that's because I've hit a lot of balls thru the years, but I've also had
    good luck in teaching it quickly.
     
    #50

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