Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by KenC, Oct 11, 2012.
Not the experience I've seen working and teaching this.
He was talking about pros
Oh really? but when we look at documentation what do we see?
We see that winners are very close to the lines and we know that Fed can produce more topspin than anyone other than Nadal and his short balls have enormous spin and jump at the opponent.
but he said-
"If you don't believe, just try hitting angle shots. Notice how short your angled shots are?"
so clearly not just talking about the pros,...full time job correcting your misinfo.
If you think those are close to the lines,,,fine, but I only see one very near the
No wonder you make the claims you do.
Thanks for adding your perspective so we can see what you think is close.
There are some subtle issues about depth which are not reflected by ball plots.
1. In the Stan-Fed Shanghai match, each was pulling the other wider and wider off the forehand side (and the backhand too). In this case, depth needs to be measured by the distance traveled by the ball, not by its position relative to the baseline, as the ball was leaving off the sidelines. They were hitting almost alley to alley with depth, but it won't show as depth into the court as conventionally described.
2. In a Verdasco match, he was hitting short spinny balls with less depth and more angular direction which were winners. However, it is misleading to focus on that. The opponent would be pulled out wide in the deuce court with a deep forcing leftie DTL shot by Verdasco, and instead of volleying the return to the open court, he would wait for the bounce and hit a short angled ball with spin into the ad court. Here it is not about so much keeping it short, but simply a matter of going into the open court and the spin is something he puts into every shot. The conventional definition of depth is misleading here, because the opponent was not in striking distance standing behind the ball and probably could not have retrieved a deep shot into the ad court either. Also, the angled short ball was made possible by the deep DTL shot, which does not classify as a winner because it was returned, but it made the short shot possible.
That is why there are many nuances to this issue.
I strive for "ok depth" and count on my topspin to keep my opponent pushed back. 8-10 feet seems about right to me for rally balls.
Of course sometimes it makes sense to aim closer to the lines. You just have to think of it in terms of risk/reward. I alway hope my opponent will get impatient and try to force things when I have him pushed back.
George in Seinfeld also experienced shrinkage but your situation is extreme
Maybe WHERE the ball bounces is of less importance than where the ball goes after it bounces.
A hard fast shot that lands middle of NML, then bounces to the backwall without hitting the ground can pin an opponent back just as well as a softly hit loopy topspin ball that lands near the baseline (within 2'), but is going so slow it barely hits the backboard after it's bounce.
My biggest complaint about playing 4.0 singles or doubles is that about half the balls just do not reach me, me mobility challenged now. I'm standing 2' behind the baseline, the opponent whacks the ball with his fastest swing, mishits it so it double bounces inside the baseline, forcing me to move forwards, set up feet that don't move, get sideways with them not working, and hitting an approach shot to move (which I can't) to service line position in anticipation of their next shot.
I pride myself in the fact that 95% of my groundstrokes not only reach my opponent who is standing 5' behind his baseline, but my ball get's up higher than his hips on forehands and maybe thighs on sliced backhands.
Uh, 1 inch does not represent shrinkage for me..........
I can agree and live with 8-10 feet of margin, but surely you can agree that is
not often what is taught, and when announcers comment on a ball in the corner
that catches both lines as a perfect placement, maybe you can see how that is
not a great message for Jrs developing. That shot is just normally called out in
the jr ranks unfortunately and even in challengers.
Good one there ........ You are living up to your reputation
you are actually starting to get some of these subtle points.
keep it up and can get how it pieces together a bit more.
I'm not sure what is taught for rally balls.
The ball the catches both lines for a winner is not a rally ball (and is probably just a really good "mistake").
Notice I didn't say for a winner, but you jumped to that conclusion due to the
learned attitude that those will be winner, but
that could have just as easy been a pushing rally that hits the same spot, and
is very easy to rally back.
Not picking on you here, but using this to make a point of how our subconscious
notions of things will effect our perspective and decisions. How it can lead to
conclusions that are not warranted or supported.
Most academies will set the targets about 3-4 ft from the BL as a target when
working on rally shots. I've seen it from Macci's to Evert's and many others.
No, when pros rally the ball does not hit the T of the side and baselines. Whenever it does that, there is a very high chance that it was a winner. It is because of the risk taken by the hitter which happened to click.
There is nothing "learned" about this except it is what is seen in actual pro play.
Difference in your opinion and my info is data. I've charted enough to know that
statistically you are incorrect.
Hitting deep is old school. At the service line or just pass it and well within the single side lines. You can hit much wider angle.
If you hit deep with a topspin ball, your opponent can return them on the rise. If you hit a heavy topspin ball that shorter, the ball will be rising higher toward your opponent which is harder to time and attack.
Hit deep flatter topspin groundstrokes when you are attacking.
It all seems like a good theory but if you hit heavy topspin that lands somewhere on the service line or just passed it, providing it's not a vicious angle that moves you off the court, then that ball is much easier to deal with than the same type of topspin landing near baseline. Deep balls pose more damage and are not overrated as stated in this thread. You obviously watch a lot of pros playing. Their game should not be compared to club levels full stop.
This really seems like a flawed logic to me, since Pros play Pros, and we tend to
play our peers.
Due to that, IMO many of the ideas translate very well, especially related to DEPTH.
It would be hard to argue against Pros being the very best at attacking any short
ball that can be attacked, and frankly hard to argue that most club and rec players
don't tend to struggle with this part of the game....even with easy feeds from
a pro or partner!
I think it is pretty logical and my experience agrees, that you can get away with
twice as much in the rec game related to short balls than one would observe at
the Pro level. What you often see at the club/rec level is that better players tend to
be excellent at defending more than being awesome at hitting winners, so this is
another supporting factor that depth is less important on the club/rec level. Not saying
depth is not a Factor, for surely it plays a part...just not near as critical as on the PRO
level....Just the opposite of the post above.
when you see a rec player blasting winners left and right off short balls, you are likely
watching players of grossly different ntrp levels.
Agree about depth, but you have to hit great angles. Having played a 6.0 player yesterday I learned that pretty fast. Hit deep precise angles and anything shallow without serious pace gets put away instantly.
Its the angle that is important, not the depth
Trying to hit every ball deep is not necessary and thus this maxim of tennis is somewhat overrated. Of course it does not mean to hit every ball short either. A ball bouncing 1ft. from the baseline does more damage than a ball 3ft. from the baseline, but a ball hit 3ft from the baseline does more damage than a ball hit long.
And even here it is more about him being 6.0 than about how depth works.
When you are a higher level player, of course you can attack more of the lower
What is more telling is that with good line of shot, you were able to do well even
with the 6.0 without extreme depth.
Oh I hit deep as often as I could. It was the only way to keep a point alive. Best shots were heavy cross court and inside out forehands put into the corner.
But you are not 6.0 right?
So this is data from a mismatch situation right?
I'm not saying you can't hang to an extent, as any good athletic player should be
able to do. I even stole (and I mean stole) a straight sets victory off a former D1 player
with challenger victories on his resume. I know brains will explode on this and his
did too, but the win had nothing to do with getting good depth or dinking/pushing.
My point and the point repeated by some others, is that mismatches can be very
misleading in what happens. The better player can take liberties he can't take
against his equal or better.
Good I/O angled off near the svc line would have been even better, but likely you
couldn't do that playing up.
I agree with you, that it's hard and deep every time, but it also depends on your skills. you are also right saying that a ball hit 6 ft from the baseline can do some demages as well but even here it depends what kind of player hits that ball at command and for how many time in a row? because his opponent supposingly good as him is ready to hit back that ball.
I see pros hitting many ball with tons of spin right after the service line or a foot after it but after a couple of shots like that if not angled to take the opponent out of the courts are punished by taking the ball early. They are pros and they know that risk.
Yes but playing him showed me what shots i needed to execute to play at a higher level. So why not take those shots more often against every player?
The only thing that rattled him was depth placement and pace, so why would i not use that against everyone? The best players i play all stay back when i hit with depth. i am talking 3 feet or so in the baseline. I do go for short angles as well on people but i fail to see how they are much more low risk.
I find I hit much better against a top level player, 5.0 and up, than I do against my hacker friends at 4.0.
Easy to hit consistent when the incoming ball has pace, spin, and depth.
Talking about hitting, not set play.
My friends all mishit, dink, crush one a mile out, then actually find the court. How can I pay attention?
Harvard's old #2 hit every ball hard, and every ball actually reached me on one bounce, usually armpit high, so I need only worry about that strikezone, not something skidding to my shoelaces on 2 bounces.
Of course, if we played, I'd barely get 4 points off him, but we were just hitting.
You will find out, but it will take a lot of time to get it this way.
I don't expect a lot of agreement on this, because most fall into the trap that
has snared you here. I believed it as well till I did a lot of charting and realized
the myth of it and why.
Sure, the only way you could get to him was by trying to hit shots that are
basically low percentage for you. By feeling that you HAD to hit harder AND deeper,
you ensured you had no chance, and you likely didn't have much chance any-
way because he is way better. When a player is significantly better than us,
we must take risks to challenge them, but these risks will ultimately sink us
anyway. He is not forced to take these risks by you and only does at his luxury,
meaning he does it because he can afford to...not needs to.
When he plays a player of his equal skill, he will have to play more conservative in
regard to his shots; meaning he can't hit harder and deeper to win. He must
play smarter and likely use his power to safer targets, although some will focus
more on depth and placement, without the focus on power. Charting has
proved to me that even the best players can't just blast it with extreme depth
and power with the consistency required against another top player.
This is why we almost NEVER see top matches played or chart this way.
There is an exception to what I say that is quite common though! If the players
are cooperating. If they both tend to go for too much depth and power, then the
match is really a toss up with both giving away easy points and the match goes to
who is hotter; or against who is colder. These matches can be recognized by
the high number of UEs, which is a signal of poor quality play. Some might watch
and be impressed by the hard hitting and hustle and the many misses may only be
by inches, but still low quality due to high UEs.
To really be at a better level, you have to play in a way to challenge the opponent in
other ways other than sheer force of power and depth. You must move them to spots
on the court where you get a certain match ups of skills, like making them hit a running
Fh, so you can be aggressive to their Bh on the move, attacking the earned shorter ball.
Good matchups like this tend to come down to who executes better on the
attackable mid ct ball. Who can use these to force an error, get to net, or hit a winner.
It is quite subtle, but you can look at nearly any shot spot diagram and
see how few balls are truly near the lines or very deep. Usually there will be more misses
long than good balls hit real deep and some of those deep ones are slices. Most of top matches
are played with good margin and quality, THAT is what you should strive to do against
more players and excel in doing. Working to hit harder and deeper to be better is like
playing against the house in poker. You don't beat them by taking a fools gold of
greater risks, but by raising your quality and minimizing your risks.
is dtl overrated?
This requires that tennis players think on the tennis court. Good strategy is based on knowing better alternatives, which is why I want to challenge some of these maxims of tennis, like always hit deep, hit everything with as much topspin as you can, etc. If people get boxed into thinking that every shot has to follow a certain prescription they lose out on all the other possibilities that make a player like Federer exceptional.
I agree and it seems like you are really start to see into this game. I like the
threads you've been starting here. Are these insights newer, or have you been
looking at it like this for awhile? Good points you are hitting on!
Thanks, this is just stuff that was really forced on me by getting my butt kicked by 5.0 and 5.5 players all year long. I learned a lot from my losses and by studying my peers at the tournaments.
Almost forgot, I also have a great hitting coach and do 3 2 hour sessions every week. He helps me out a lot with strategy.
Sounds like a pretty good hitting coach and good that he understands the use
of depth better than most I guess.
Actually he always has me hitting into hula hoops which pretty much cover the areas you call smart targets.
Ken, I kind of start to see what you are trying to say here. What put me off, was the actual title of this thread. Tennis is a series of variety of different types of shots. I personally wouldn't call such and such shot overrated or underrated. If played at the right moment, then it has a tons of value. I'm not sure if I'm on the same page here. When I play good players, I don't always go for depth, I don't always play heavy topspin. What I do is trying to get them out of their comfort zone. Depends how quickly I can figure out their weaknesses. And yes..I agree..depth is not always an answer but it's not overrated either.
The way I see it in my amateur mind, you have to develop enough versatility, (deep shots included) that will enable you to deal with all types of players and will allow you to switch to a different tactics easier, if the first one doesn't work for you.
I think you are mistaken. The effect of aiming at or slight longer than the service line is like hitting a kick serve with groundstrokes. It's used to battle for court position.
I understand, it's a nice theory but there's not many players that would hit a topspin landing somewhere near or past service line and bouncing over my head, while I'm standing on the baseline or close. I should say there's not many players able to hit loopy topspin with such high velocity, unless you are Nadal.
The idea here is to challenge common maxims of tennis. Of course depth, topspin and winners are important, but how important? Often people take them as gospel and this can hinder proper development. Overrated does not mean unimportant, it just means that we often place more importance on them than is necessary.
I chose the word "overrated" because it sounds more controversial and will bring out the best arguments on both sides. The truth is, there is a lot of grey area and a good discussion may just help us to understand when hitting deep is preferred, when to flatten out a forehand and when to go for winners.
I started out with hula hoops too and they are quite handy, but just went to
the cones making a triangle because of the gate the front 2 cones create to
the back cone.
It gives you 2 cones to line up for down the line...2 cones to line up for cc, and
everything inbetween those front 2 cones covers every option inbetween the dtl &
the cc....but really no better than the hoops once you get the idea.
I think you are assuming I always hit deep and don't use angles and variety. That is false.
I do know the more consistently I get my shots deeper into the court if I am on the run or out of position, the better chance I have of staying in the point. If I have balls coming that I can angle off the court bouncing near the service box, I do it. If I face a crosscourt shot and have to hit a deep CC response, I can do that too.
Depth bails you out of potentially hitting a sitter. Throwing up a moonball that is deep can get you right back into a point many times if you are on the run and scrambling.
Obviously the word overrated was used to evoke a response, because depth is very necessary on recovery shots and shots that you can not fully get set up for.
No, I'm assuming that you don't always hit deep and was just trying to address
your previous post best I could, like- "The only thing that rattled him was depth placement and pace, so why would i not use that against everyone? The best players i play all stay back when i hit with depth. i am talking 3 feet or so in the baseline."
Anyway, I like the comments you mention above about depth and how you can use
it to facilitate defense at times. IMO that is a better time to strive for depth
than when aggressive.
Yeah I agree. When I am aggressive, it is more about placement. But to set up that aggressive shot, I need a weak reply and I get those many times with deeper shots in the corners.
Absolutely. There are plenty of times when depth is critical. Can you imagine not hitting a lob deep?
Maybe you can play around with a bit.
Imo you don't need to work strong depth to get a attackable ball and my
charting shows me that the pros get as many or more attack chances from
well hit and directed shorter balls.
Maybe you can play around with this and see how it works for you in evenly matched
sets. Maybe vid if you can, but at least see if you can go for great depth, then
compare with well hit and directed shorter balls...looking to see which works
better for you. With vid it is easier to chart or keep up with.
Even if they come out equal, since less depth is less risk in general, then big
depth comes in second.
See how it works for you, but my charting and play have actually worked better
with a focus on pace and line of shot for earning attackable balls.
Key is to be clear about when it is truly a excellent depth and how that works
(not just avg depth, cause that goes in the other category).
Another thing I demo'd numerous times is just to do almost nothing special, direction
or depth, and you almost always get an attackable ball with 5 strokes. I do
this with students all the time...just give them very avg easy shots, and get
a ball to attack within 5 looks.
Im about to go hit, so ill try it out.
How does your charting tell you this? How does that work?
They seem to be very low-level students if they not only cannot put away very average easy shots, but actually give you an attackable ball in return.
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