# hitting through the ball analogy: pistol vs rifle

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by FrisbeeFool, Jan 30, 2013.

1. ### FrisbeeFoolRookie

Joined:
Jun 29, 2012
Messages:
377
Hitting through the ball analogy: Pistol vs Rifle.

This is an analogy a coach used to teach me the contact phase of the groundstroke that Vince Spadea is discussing in a video clip in another thread.

He explained it by talking about the rifling in a gun barrel. When a bullet is travelling down a rifle barrel it has a longer distance where it's being guided by the rifling. After going through that longer distance and being guided forward it really picks up more speed and power and spin.

In a pistol, it's not as accurate or powerful, because their is less distance forward and rifling over which to control the bullet and add power and spin.

Now if you look at the physics of a tennis groundstroke, this analogy isn't even true. because the dwell time of the ball on the strings is so short, during a lot of the time where you're hitting through your contact zone and getting that power forward the ball isn't even on the strings. But it's a visualization technique to teach the student to have a long contact zone and follow through, which will create power, control, and spin.

I'm not familiar with guns, that part of the analogy might not be true either from a physics perspective. It's a visualization technique to teach students firm clean contact, a long consistent contact zone, and a long follow through. If a student has these fundamentals, they will be learning the basics, and develop consistent spin, power and control.

2. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
Darn right you are not familiar with guns, and neither is your coach, who is basically clueless on that subject.
Rifling exists in both handguns and rifles. BOTH grab the bullet and spin it fully before the bullet leaves the barrel, so it don't matter the length.
If you pushed a bullet with handgun levels of powder thru a rifle barrel, the bullet will get stuck in the barrel.
If you pushed a rifle amount of powder thru the pistol barrel, it will not burn fully and probably barely increase the speed of the bullet, but adding tons of unburned powder thru the air.
A rifle of approximately the same caliber normally uses THREE times more powder!
It can, because a rifle is 3 times heavier and is more anatomical against the kick.
Forget using rifle and handguns.
WE cannot add the power whenever we need.

3. ### FrisbeeFoolRookie

Joined:
Jun 29, 2012
Messages:
377
I know the pistol and the rifle both have rifling. Read the first post more carefully. The analogy is that in the groundstroke with a long contact zone and follow through, the bullet is being guided by the rifling over a longer time period and distance, like in the rifle. This actually isn't true, because if you look at the dwell time on the strings its actually very short. It's just an analogy to emphasize that a longer contact zone and follow through adds spin and power. Beginner's often think they need to pull off the ball to add spin, the analogy helps show how a longer contact zone and follow through help you control the ball with spin.

Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
4. ### sureshsBionic Poster

Joined:
Oct 1, 2005
Messages:
40,025
LeeD you stay away from me, OK?

5. ### FrisbeeFoolRookie

Joined:
Jun 29, 2012
Messages:
377
In the tennis stroke you're only touching the ball for a very short amount of time. But during that time, in order to contact the ball powerfully, cleanly, and consistently you want a long contact zone and follow through. Look at Federer and and all the top guys. It's what gives you the power and control.

It's just an analogy. Have you ever heard the commentator says he rifled the ball on a groundstroke. It just means that player generated a lot of racket head speed by hitting outward and following through outwards towards his/her target. Beginners and internet denizens often miss what's happening in the long contact zone and follow through before the deceleration at the end of the stroke.

Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
6. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
OK...
But...
Hardly a better guy to have around when it comes down to crunch time.
Owned over 45 different guns, of all different calibers, fired them all at least 50 rounds, some as many as 25,000.
Spent one year in the USArmy, all training, tossed grenades, fired ATM's, .50, used to be able to break down M-16's blindfolded and in the dark....and put it back together correctly and functionally. Can breakdown and maintain AK's, AKM's, Valmet, SKS, FN's, HK's, and a few more.
Passed the E&E training, passed the GW training with flying colors, top 10%.
Speak some Chinese )).
Drove night taxi in SanFrancisco for 8 years, needing some of the above for a triad of hijinks including State of Calif. vs LeeD, the landmark decision that allowed taxi drivers to carry guns in California.
Watched almost every survival movie ever... Loved CharlesHeston.
Having tons of law enforcement officer friends, I kinda know a little of the insides needed to get by.....
Currently living off the beaten path, can relocate on a whim and less than it takes to decide....
Can get by on very very little....

7. ### FrisbeeFoolRookie

Joined:
Jun 29, 2012
Messages:
377
It's great that you know so much about gun's, and you have an impressive life story. I'm your biggest fan, LeeD, but I'm missing your point. My post is just an analogy where I compare the long contact zone to the long barrel of a rifle. I'm not advocating using guns or anything.

The time when your racket head is traveling through the contact zone towards the ball and the target is analogous to when the bullet is traveling down the barrel. It's just a way to let the student build up racket head speed before contacting the ball and stay with the shot once contact is made without pulling off the ball too early.

Last edited: Jan 30, 2013

Joined:
Feb 11, 2011
Messages:
6,680
9. ### sureshsBionic Poster

Joined:
Oct 1, 2005
Messages:
40,025
Well, I only care if leeD is normal

10. ### FrisbeeFoolRookie

Joined:
Jun 29, 2012
Messages:
377
Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
11. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
Bad analogy, any way you put it.
Rifles take at least 3 times the energy..powder... to push the bullet thru the barrel.
Accuracy is solely by longing aiming point, and fast moving bullet that doesn't get affected as much by wind, gravity, air resistance.
WE cannot add any extra energy. We have only what we have.
Maybe a better analogy is a shooting stroke in basketball. Long and smooth is more replicable than short and jerky, and direct path is one of the keys. More replication equals more consistency, for most.

12. ### FrisbeeFoolRookie

Joined:
Jun 29, 2012
Messages:
377
Well the guy that used it with me was a high performance coach that studied kinesthesiology in college and played for the University of Texas in the mid 2000's, but what does he know. He only rebuilt my strokes and helped me become a more consistent player. He made the point in a variety of ways. It's just an analogy to create a dramatic picture for the student, and help them understand what is happening in the stroke in a way that gets their attention.

13. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
So you don't think the shooting...not dunking, a basketball is not a better analogy?
NO, he doesn't know a thing about guns. I'll tell him, if you want.
I never had a coach. I played in over 12 A/Open NorCal tournaments, and have more wins than losses, although I lost by the 4th round in every single event. That's how worthy a coach is.

14. ### FrisbeeFoolRookie

Joined:
Jun 29, 2012
Messages:
377
Agreed with this point 100 percent

15. ### FrisbeeFoolRookie

Joined:
Jun 29, 2012
Messages:
377
You're overthinking this. He's just comparing the long distance over which the bullet travels through the rifling to the long linear forward distance the racket head travels before and during the contact zone and follow through. It's a tool to learn the longer follow-through which is a fundamental part of every pro groundstroke: traditional and modern.

The guy might have been a gun enthusiast himself so maybe the 2 of you could talk guns till the cows come home. I never mentioned gun powder or your life story in the op, but thanks for bringing those aspects into the equation. You truly are a living legend LeeD.

Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
16. ### WildVolleyLegend

Joined:
Jun 22, 2007
Messages:
6,338
Let's weaponize both! Any guy that likes shooting pistols can't be all bad.

In any case, the analogy I guess is to encourage the player to hit through the ball more. If these tricks work for a person is not for me to say.

I think the hit thru the ball/ hit across the ball discussion is sort of worthless unless we are looking at a particular player. Some players hit too much across or only brush up and can't create their own pace. Some hit totally flat. If you are going to hit a topspin drive you need both a horizontal and vertical component (there will also be an across component in almost all shots).

I believe the solution to this quandary is to either focus on the individual player or emulate video of a pro who hits the way we want to hit. The across/thru argument is just tedious at this point.

17. ### FrisbeeFoolRookie

Joined:
Jun 29, 2012
Messages:
377
Well said. For my particular game the hitting through part is what was missing. I think a lot of people watch tv and see the pros hit, and miss that part of the stroke because it happens so fast. I know I did. Yes everyone also needs to get below the ball and hit low to high. IMHO the way some of these internet forums folks describe the topspin aspect of the stroke is misleading, and confusing, because even on shots where I'm trying to get below the ball so I can hit more topspin, I still make sure to hit through the ball so that I can have a consistent, repeatable, powerful, sound groundstroke. There's just know 2 ways around it. All good players hit through the ball with a long follow through. If people aren't doing this, they're doomed to be playing 3.5 level tennis and looking online for the latest internet secrets of the modern game.

Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
18. ### WildVolleyLegend

Joined:
Jun 22, 2007
Messages:
6,338
Sounds like you had a good coach and the analogy worked for you.

I've had players who hit with a Western grip that were far too much across and up the ball. What was interesting was that they like pace but hated pushers. That was because they didn't naturally have much through the ball with their stroke mechanics. This wasn't a problem with the Western grip as much as with their particular form.

My current training involves trying to hit like a few of the pros (my current fh model is sort of a cross between Federer and Berdych). I use video to try to assess my form and then in play I vary the amount of topspin based on what I want to do with the ball. My basic take away is video beats talk.

19. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
"liked pace, but hated pushers".....
Well pushers DON'T hit with pace, do they?
And player who hit with pace are not pushers.

20. ### boramiNYCHall of Fame

Joined:
Jun 29, 2011
Messages:
2,743
LeeD, you getting old...er?
>>can handle pace but hate playing pushers since you have to generate pace by hitting through which they don't

21. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
yes, I"m almost senile. Turning 64 in a couple of weeks.
Guys who can handle pace don't like floaty nothing balls. Pushers hit the second.

22. ### WildVolleyLegend

Joined:
Jun 22, 2007
Messages:
6,338
Exactly. But it was really difficult to get these guys to hit through a ball rather than just brush up. These were classic "need to hit thru the ball" players.

23. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
I'm flummoxed.
I hit pretty hard, for an old fart.
I seem to do badly against fetchers and runners who hit soft.
Against fetcher's and runner/retriever who hit hard, I do pretty well, even though I lose badly...due to their clearly superior skill level.

24. ### bhupaesProfessional

Joined:
Aug 8, 2007
Messages:
957
LeeD, you know as well as I do that when you get a slow sitter, unless it's hanging over the net like a ripe orange on your neighbor's tree hanging over your fence, you need to spin the heck out of it! Forget about the through stuff when you are playing pushers, man!

25. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
Actually, no I don't.
If a pusher hits a ball that drops at my service line, I DO NOT spin the heck out of it.
Instead, I either hit a sliced approach shot, or a flat winner attempt.
A heavy spin shot goes slow, just what the pusher is looking for. He lobs effortlessly.
A fast ball, one hit without much spin, gives him NO time to set up to hit his shot.
An approach shot with underspin also gives him little time, but a different way. The underspin skids and bounces low off to one side, while the VARIETY from my normal topspin groundie would throw him off some also. And PLACEMENT is of utmost importance. For 4.0 level tennis, an approach DTL needs to land within 4' of the baseline, or I might as well drop my racket.
Why hit with spin? It hits slow, you need lots of effort and the chances of a mishit are much higher.

26. ### bhupaesProfessional

Joined:
Aug 8, 2007
Messages:
957
LeeD, it is true that if you can hit good approach shots, that will work. Remember though that if you are trying to create power, slice is not the best way. I play pushers all the time, and if a ball lands around the service line, I just kill it with a topspin shot. When I said heavy, spin shots, I did not mean sitters. These are shots that will land 3-4 feet within the lines, well away from the player, with good pace. Even if the pusher gets to it, he can only hit a weak shot which I will kill with my next shot. I can also flatten such shots, or slice them - but I will make a lot more errors, like you apparently seem to be doing... if not, I misunderstood you. But if slices and approach shots work for you, cool. I just like to finish my points whenever I get a chance.

27. ### slowfoxProfessional

Joined:
Oct 3, 2011
Messages:
1,105
Again with the guns analogies. Can't we go back to kitchen appliances? You rotate your core like a veggie spinner...

28. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
bhupaes...
If you are hitting a ball from your own service line, you do NOT need to create pace to hit a winner.
Your position close to the net takes time away for your opponent to react, and a average backspin volley is a clean winner if the opponent didn't know where you were hitting it, and it lands within 2' of the baseline into an open court.
Do you ever practice your volleys? I do, sometimes. I stand AT my own service line, and even against top level 5.0's, if I volley to within 2' of the sidelines, nicely controlled deep, they can't get to the ball in time to hit a solid consistent shot. Those are controlled volleys I'm going for.
Positioning can take the place of ball speed, both your positioning and the positioning of your ball.

29. ### bhupaesProfessional

Joined:
Aug 8, 2007
Messages:
957
^^^ All true, LeeD, and I am well aware of it. And I practice volleying three or four times a week - don't ask me how many hours I spend playing... ha ha!

But let me point out that you implied that heavy spin shots from the service line would be too slow, before your last post where you say pace is not necessary from the service line. Obviously I don't blast them as powerfully as I would from the baseline, only hard enough so that the other guy can't get to it or do much with it. I play enough mini tennis to be able to do that comfortably and without thinking. That said, if you have a system that works, great - that's all matters.

30. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
Post 25..." a heavy spin shot goes slow".....
That's what I posted.
Doesn't mean I advocate hitting a heavy spin shot, does it?

31. ### bhupaesProfessional

Joined:
Aug 8, 2007
Messages:
957
Okay LeeD, now I am confused... but I have already conceded that your way of dealing with a short ball is fine. Are you saying what I am doing is incorrect? All I can say is whatever I am doing seems to work...

32. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
I should have finished the sentence with...goes slow for the amount of effort and lack of depth control you need to hit heavy spin....

33. ### bhupaesProfessional

Joined:
Aug 8, 2007
Messages:
957
Agree with that... but it's a lot of fun!

34. ### LeeDBionic Poster

Joined:
Dec 28, 2008
Messages:
42,139
Location:
East side of San Francisco Bay
Tennis is supposed to be fun, first and foremost.
Unfortunately, I seldom have excess energy to burn.