Heavy Topspin is Overrated.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by KenC, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    Well... I did lose my footing today after hitting a second serve and fell on my butt.

    Also, when I get nervous I tend to lose fluidity. Nothing is worse than your mom and grandma chatting near the fence about how "He really can't afford to double fault a third time!"
     
  2. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    Ha ha, that's a tough audience:). On the positive side, it will sharpen your mental strength in the long run.
     
  3. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Yea, that's not easy knowing your family is watching you and the pressure mounts. It's tough enough with no spectators just trying to win.
     
  4. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    good point and well said!
     
  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    A relaxed, fast swing at a ball is not RIPPING the ball.
     
  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    It absolutely can be your fastest way to swing, even though
    you may think you are swinging faster by muscling up and trying harder.
     
  7. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    I think I understand what you mean, but I'm not completely sure. The arm is mostly relaxed, but the rest of the body is doing quite a bit of work.

    I'm not a professional coach or anything and I'm not claiming to know these things with 100% certainty. I'm always willing to listen to others' explanations.
     
  8. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    Some of my high school friends that used to be on the same usta and high school tennis teams came to see me play :/ It was disappointing for me and the other guy to hold serve the entire time and for me to get nervous and choke in my last service game.
     
  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    "RIPPING" the ball is not a rallyball.
    It means that one in 10 pure winner attempt, using all the kinetics AND musclepower you can gather for the stroke.
    The player is tense, grimace on his face, he tighten the grip, usually he really jumps hard into the shot, and he's using muscle as well as good form to hit this ball. He cannot RIP every shot, or he'll tire out before the 4th game.
    A rallyball IS a fast easy, smooth and relaxed swing. Easy means you can do it all day.
     
  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Those are your definitions and that is fine. We can choose to rally in a way we
    feel is much stronger and better. You should do what you feel is best for you.
     
  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If a fast, smooth swing is your definition of RIP the ball, what definition do you use for when a guy really WHACKS heck out of the ball, like Monfil's 115 forehands?
    I choose RIP when Monfills hits 115 mph.
    I choose rallyball when his forehand rallyballs go 70 mph with a big loop.
     
  12. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Obviously, everybody understands that a rally ball is different from a ball which is ripped by the player. Don't waste your time trying to convince anyone about such an obvious thing.
     
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Everybody? Does that include 5263? He seems think otherwise.
     
  14. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    A rally ball is what you should be hitting when around and just behind the baseline.
    If you can rip it 100 or so at times, it is still a rally ball due to where
    you are on the court. The speed and spin should vary.
    IMO and approach to the game, one of the big myths and
    source of UEs is to hit the wrong type shot from the wrong part of the court.
    Rally balls come from the rally area of the court for a good player.
    Yes, lots of players confuse this as you and suresh have and imo don't play to
    their potential with that mindset.
    I know you and suresh are stuck on the idea that all strong TS has a big loop and
    that will hold you back as long as you are stuck in this mindset.
    Suresh won't ever get this Lee, but you have expanded many of your ideas over
    the last few years on here. If you can learn to realize that a rally ball has more
    to do with your location than the kind of swing, although in general, in the
    rally area, you should be able to be consistent. You also have to realize there
    are many ways to be consistent. Hitting loopy TS is just one very avg way to do
    this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't you dare accuse me of being able to learn anything through experience, lessons, or otherwise. As everyone said, I'm stuck in my old ways. My head is stuck in the sand. You can't teach old dogs new tricks.
    I never RIP any of my rallyballs. I do swing moderately fast with a strong SW grip, but the ball is going relatively slowly, maybe 60 mph, with moderately strong topspin. I swing at my fastest controllable, but replicable speed....for rallyballs.
    However, given an opening, while standing 2' behind my baseline, I will haul off and strike a flatter, lower, faster moving ball that I think I RIP, for a forcing shot or winner attempt into the open court. That is not my rallyball swing. The swing might be no faster, but the ball is hit flatter and faster. That is my RIP ball.
     
  16. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    i think it depends on the player you are going up against. I'm a 4.0-4.5.

    When I use my heavy topspin forehand on my brother, it usually helps me setup a hard-hit flat forehand. He's always struggled returning my second serves that usually have high kicks on them. He's a 3.5 (used to be a 4.5 but he's very rusty).

    However when i use my heavy topspin forehand against 5.0+ friends, they usually jump on it and go for flat out winners. Tried it against my hefty 6'4'' friend. he was whacking forehands everywhere needless to say I got destroyed.
     
  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    In my twisted, out of whack world, a player who hits any kind of rallyball is playing defensive minded tennis. Whether it's a slice, a soft flat shot, or a heavy loopy topspin, it's still defensive tennis.
    Offensive tennis is going for a forcing or winner on the very first chance you get, subject to interpretation. When you're going for winners, you RIP the ball, or dropangle it. But you don't hit a defensive rallyball.
    I can say this without a grain of salt because I cannot run one step in the last 5 years, and any rally longer than 4 shots means I will not only lose that point, but get sooo tired and winded I'll probably lose the next 3.
     
  18. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    All this is fine and is what most players do imo, so you and suresh are right on
    on that account as well.
    But I don't agree or teach this way.

    We train to hit very strong shots as rally balls, but with good net clearance and
    very strong TS. When training this way, we find we can take our biggest rips
    at the ball and still make them very consistently when we have the right ball
    to work with. Sometimes we must be more conservative due to the ball we
    receive, but that is not just a hard/soft issue. There is a lot to it of course, but
    the big point is some of our biggest cuts at the ball come here and have nothing
    to do with openings. Given the length of the court to work with, makes some
    logic that you can swing big from here.
    In my training I call this a suck's play. You are clearly behind the baseline and
    going for a placement winner. May work at times and mostly against weaker
    opponents as you mentioned in another posts that I cheered, but is not high
    percentage. Rally area is a must for high % imo and avoid getting sucked into
    low % tactics. The big rip I teach is high % and leads to more big rips, UEs and
    attackable short balls. The only ideas we have when in rally area.
     
  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Difference here is that I don't play rally ball tennis, really.
    I cannot run. I hobble to the ball, making setup really difficult. I need to hit ONE great shot, then reap the benefits of it by going to the open court on the next.
    When rallies go over 4shots, I might as well sit down, as I'm going to lose the next 3 points also, being winded, tired, sore, and injecting my opponent with the idea that HIS keeping the ball in play will wear me down and out.
    Plus, I started playing in 1974, when you didn't just wait for an opponent's error, you had to CREATE his error with your strong forcing shots.
    I don't hope to beat a fellow 4.0 who can run like the wind, hit deep topspin consistent rallyballs, never gets tired, and who favors 30 shot rally's. That is out of my realm of possibilities.
    It is also out of the realm of possibilities of most recreational, 4.0 thru 5.5 players.
     
  20. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    I think you guys are right in your own right. It's just a mix up of expressions. We all know that a rally ball (whatever that means to every individual) is your most consistent shot. That is your chess game shot. When you get an opportunity and you decide to go for check mate, you use more power. That's when you call it, ripping the ball. Some may call it different. Whatever terminology, the effect is the same.
     
  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    That correlates with my ideas of tennis strategy and play.
     
  22. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    To an extent, I can agree with your idea here, but I think it's a big mistake
    to go for things in a winner ball mindset from rally area and also maybe you can
    see how our bigger, more aggressive rallyball might help Lee get off the BL area
    quicker to where he needs to be!
    Sort of a compromise he is not working right now, but might could help him to
    shorten his rally exposure, while not giving ground or position easily. Subtle but
    key!
     
  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    And that is because they are 5.0 and your are 4.0, :)
    Only strategy that matters imo is how you can win the matches you belong in.
    Not the easy ones where you are way better...teaches you little.
    Not where you are the weak one...teaches you the wrong things.
    It's the ones where it is on the line for you to play and execute your plan well.
    Those are the matches that matter. The others are to work and practice for
    these.
     
  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    To me, any ball I get a full prep and swing at from within 3' of the baseline is a forcing/winner attempt with a good enough percentage of succeding, then it's well worth the try. I"m not a little weak rallyer. I'm a strong hitter who can hit at almost any level, IF I get there in time.
    That's the catch....gettting there. I often don't, which allows my opponent to hit another ball, then another, then another.
    I need to nip that crap off in the bud, hit my first availible ball as hard and deep and well placed as I can, then go for the followup putaway shot.
    You rabbits who don't believe in first strike aggressive tennis should play the way YOU think works for you.
    I know, if I play timid and weak, I'll lose worst than playing like a lion.
     
  25. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Well of course there is little reason to have a lesson plan for guys like you. :)
    Not likely taking lessons or following the advice anyway.
    My training is for in shape aggressive all court players, who aren't afraid to trade
    a few from the BL. Most are young and on the way up or playing in college.
    You must play within you limits of course, but just your way is not something
    that would help most learning players, unless they have similar limitations.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    First sentence I typed was that I'd lose to the young guns.
     
  27. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    Everyone is bringing valid points. I would say something that can be taken away from this discussion is that western grips allow for stronger rally balls, but weaker "rips" or smashes. Although, I could still be wrong :neutral: I would think that someone with an eastern forehand could smack a flat shot harder and faster, but it would be lower percentage.

    Usually I swing at similar speeds for my rally balls (or slightly offensive balls) as my rips, but my rips are much flatter shots. The rips are more of a line drive with topspin to bring it down, while my rally shots have somewhat of a quick arc up and down. I do hit loopier ones on the extreme defense or when I feel like being mixing it up (or the occasional *cough* mistake *cough*). I don't often tense up and just smack the crap out of it, but that is probably just my style of hitting.

    A rally ball can be kind of a hard term to classify. A lot of times rally shots are not exactly even, but are at least close. One player could have a slightly more offensive rally ball
     
  28. S&V Specialist

    S&V Specialist Rookie

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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Moderate effort hitting to each other, without lots of attention to detail, just like a regular hitting session between two 7.0's. No reason to go anywhere beyond 60%, because they'll meet for real someday, or already have, and have nothing to prove in practice.
     
  30. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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  31. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    I thought we are discussing this in general, 'cos that's what I had in mind. Now, we are getting into the area of tactics. I see what you mean but wouldn't that be "the rally area" where you start creating something? What's wrong with, while in rally area, go for a ripping shot out of the blue, surprising opp, not necessarily placing it for a winner but just to send a message and even get lucky enough to draw a weaker reply or UE.
     
  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    LOL what about the 70 year student who hasn't heard of topspin?

    LeeD, you are only going to get insulted like this if you don't agree that a rally ball is the same as ball which was ripped by the player.

    It is a waste of time arguing with him. Don't waste your time. I have proved him wrong in every respect in every thread.
     
  33. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I'm not sure what you are trying to ask given I'm the advocating for many of
    the biggest rips to come from the Rally area. I also like to work them in every
    chance I get and when I get a chance to step inside the BL and go for a winner,
    it's going to be a nice rip, but not as big as my biggest Rally shots.
     
  34. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    good summary.
     
  35. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Just in case you still actually pay attention to this guy above Lee, which I doubt,
    with his obvious lies so clear in nearly every post like the first sentence above.
    I guess he throws out real obvious one like that to let folks know right up front
    he is not honest with his posts.

    Anyway, That post about the limitations you have expressed about your game was
    in no way any insult to you, and I respect very much that you still get out there
    and play so well with all the injuries you have had thru the years. I'm not that
    different really, except I guess I have some better recovery in areas. Anyway
    I doubt anyone other than suresh would twist it up incorrectly line that, and he
    does it on purpose for an agenda....and as he proves over and over...he has no
    interest in the truth or facts of situation...much like our politicians today.
    I'm sorry that he tries to "use you" turn things and make it look like you have
    been insulted, to make his ploys at misinfo.
     
  36. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    LeeD, that is the closest to an apology you will ever get.

    But you will soon be insulted again, it is just a matter of time.
     
  37. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Just shows how much misinfo you spew here, as I'm one of the few who will
    admit mistakes and apologize on this forum, and have done it several times.
    Much better record here than the "tennis myth" who posts above. :)
     
  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You guys know I should have hard skin, and a pig head, by now.
    But rally balls the same as every other shot? eh, no.
    I might get lucky and hit a rally ball for a winner, certainly not intended.
    I might get lucky and hit a winner attempt for a winner, but I planned that shot. And, I hit it much harder and flatter, going for the tiny target.
     
  39. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Not sure, but you seem to be locked into hitting hard, flat, and to small targets
    as though that all goes together as a package.
    Maybe not for you, due to mobility issues you have raised, but for most players,
    does it not make sense to go with big power AND Spin to a very large target,
    where you have some room for error with all that power?
    Why would normal players want to hit their biggest power with limiting factors
    like going flat and to a slimmer target and increase the chance to miss while
    pushing their ability to hit hard?
     
  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I never believed "playing the percentages" is the right ploy for my unique talents. P the P's is for guys who need to win NOW, while I don't, and only need to hit higher level shots, not every time, but enough often for my needs.
     
  41. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    But the advise here is not mostly for you. You know how you need to play and
    have tons of experience.

    But here you are giving advise to avg players, that don't usually have your more
    unique situation. That is where you can help more players, while also
    sharing with others dealing with mobility issues when that comes up, right?
     
  42. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    This is the problem with anecdotal evidence. It's just not all convincing to anyone without a preconcieved view.

    Yes a player who hit with heavy topspin lost to a guy who hit with less topspin. This doesn't mean the topspin hurt the loser. For all we know if he flattened out his strokes he might have lost even quicker. He might have lacked footwork or skill or fitness or simple athletic ability..

    What we would need to see to decide that 'topspin is overrated' is that legions of players from places that emphasize topspin lose to legions of players that hit flatter..

    Seeing that guys like Murray and Nadal use a ton of top - this does not seem to be happening. All we can learn from the anecdote is that SOMETIMES players who hit with heavy top lose to guys who hit with less topspin. Something any tennis fan could have told you..

    OP could have said..

    Experience is overrated - the less experienced player won.
    OR
    Height is overrated if the taller player lost.
    OR
    Speed/Footwork etc is overrated if the guy with less awesome footwork won..

    Anecdotal evidence is bad. Don't base your arguments on it.
    Del Porto wins tennis matches and Nadal wins matches. Clearly topspin won't kill you nor will hitting flatter..
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  43. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    The reason the guys with heavy topspin didn't seem as good is because heavy topspin allows lousy players to compete above their ability. You can gain the benefits of becoming a pusher -- and better -- without actually having to develop self-control.
     
  44. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    Ah yes because a topspin game is not real tennis....
     
  45. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    You have something there. I don't agree about the heavy topspin part - to have heavy anything needs skill. But do I think that club level topspin often hides a basic inability to control and place the ball by maintaining a firm hand? Absolutely. The same is true for the use of graphite frames and large heads. It helps players to get away with excessive use of wrist, bad fundamentals, and bad footwork.
     
  46. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    It's not the heavy topspin that's the problem, it's the loopy shots. If the other kid hit heavy topspin balls with a flatter trajectory he would be more consistent than the other kid and hit just as penetrating shots.

    Topspin =/= loopy. Look at Federer, he gets the 2nd most amount of RPMs on the tour and he's not just hitting loopers. Once you start trying to hit through the court with a lot of pace, you NEED the topspin to keep it in.
     
  47. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    The problem is on here, many think that if you hit TS, you are hitting soft & loopy.
    I guess that is what they do, see and recognize. Maybe when they face
    strong TS with lower trajectory, maybe they don't recognize the TS that is on
    it??
     
  48. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    their ability in what? in hitting topspin shots?

    Oooh my head is spinning just thinking about your statement. :)
     
  49. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Maybe.

    I think that it's most likely because most people on here probably aren't playing people who can hit flat trajectory heavy topspin shots. Most rec players have to choose between hitting flat with pace or slow, loopy, and spinny.

    However, obviously this doesn't have to be the case. If anyone has seen ground level camera angles of Federer playing, you can easily tell. 2nd most RPMs on tour, yet hits very penetrating shots. It's all in the technique.
     
  50. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    yep, obvious to you and I :)
    and hopefully many more.
     

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