How do you get higher over the net with a perpendicular face?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by LakeSnake, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. LakeSnake

    LakeSnake Semi-Pro

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    So, I'm struggling with this concept of being able to get the ball to clear the net by 4', 5', 10' with the face being perpendicular. Can someone explain how this works? I can get the ball to go high with no problem by opening the face, but just can't understand how it can go up when the face is perpendicular or closed.
     
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  2. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    In general, you want to open the face slightly to get more net clearance. There are a couple other variables though. When you learn to hit topspin, you will find that a steeper swing path will cause the ball to go upward ever so slightly because the ball grabs the strings a bit. Also, when you receive topspin, the incoming spin will cause the ball to come off the racket at a slightly higher angle. You will get used to these effects through time and repetition.
     
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  3. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    If you don't have much racket head speed, then it is going to be difficult to get much clearance with a perpendicular face. If you are swinging hard with a lot of speed and a vector going upward and forward at contact, it is trivial to hit a ball over the net with 4' of clearance.

    I don't think it is easy to get 10' of clearance with a perpendicular racket face unless you shank the ball. That is a topspin lob, and those are usually hit with a slightly open racket face if the incoming ball has much pace.
     
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  4. tonyplaystennisallday

    tonyplaystennisallday New User

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    The angle of the swing path. In general from what I know: flat shots are 0-10 deg from horizontal, topspin are 35-55, and topspin lobs are 55-75.
     
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  5. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    This is the kind of question where I don't know how you explain it to someone. It seems that if someone actually "tries" to following the advice of consciously changing the racquet face angle... they are going to fail miserably.

    When I hit "higher over the net", I just hit more up (more spin and less through) on the ball -- without slowing down the swing speed. I can't describe it any other way. But it took a lot of trial and error to get the feeling down.
     
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  6. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I'm sure a camera would prove that you must have the racket face slightly beveled in order for the ball to on a non-parallel trajectory. It will get topspin if your racket travels at an even steeper path than the bevel.

    But that's awfully hard to think about when hitting a shot. Just think about aiming for more clearance over the net and it will tend to happen. People who get plenty of clearance from the net are not hitting with a perpendicular racket head even if they believe they are.
     
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  7. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I asked my coach this once and he gave me some great advice.

    He basically said not to think about the mechanics, but just to aim higher over the net.

    He pointed out that if I was trying to throw the ball over the net and it was too low, I probably wouldn't think "Okay, I need to release at a slightly more extreme angle and arch my body etc." I would just do it.

    Sometimes too much thinking about how to do stuff can mess you up.
     
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  8. LakeSnake

    LakeSnake Semi-Pro

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    Sounds like I just need to keep practicing and it will come. Thanks for the replies!
     
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  9. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I'm with you on this one.
     
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  10. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    a. don't think
    b. go on court or against wall and get the feel of you hand directing the ball where you want it to go. hand/palm facing DTL and ball goes DTL. Hand/palm facing CC and ball goes CC. Just relax and direct a few ball.
    c. now hit some high topspin FHs with the feel of the hand directing the ball higher
    d. no thinking again and don't over analyze it. simply hit it with the hand/palm feeling the direction/height you want.
     
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  11. LakeSnake

    LakeSnake Semi-Pro

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    aiming

    After my hit yesterday, I drop fed for a half hour or so and get this--just aimed for a certain height over the net. It worked very well! I found that if I aimed 2-3.5 ft over the net, I could hit out and the ball stayed well in play. After awhile I got in the zone, aimed for the tape, and hit it! Normally I aim for spots on the other side, not an imaginary target over the net like this.
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You must not be a bowler.
    Lots of bowlers bowling, how do you spell that?
    Anyways, aim for the sport above the tape, NOT the baseline on the other side.
     
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  13. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    If you are swinging the racquet upwards then when the ball is on the stringbed it will be pulled upwards with the racquet. The faster you swing upwards, the faster the ball will travel upwards. Because you are pushing from one edge of the ball you will also generate spin.

    The deflection of a moving ball against an angled racquet face is an unrelated effect, and you combine the upward swing with the angled face to get the correct launch angle and spin.
     
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  14. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    The upward swing on a fast topspin shot would send the ball very long if the racquet face weren't fairly closed at contact. Perpendicular or very slightly closed is what you want to aim for on everything but lobs.

    I get about 6ft net clearance aiming half way between the service and baseline, hitting with very heavy topspin when rallying deep; and if I hit those with a perpendicular face they would hit the back wall without bouncing.
     
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  15. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    When I hit topspin, the racket feels closed to me also. But I've always regarded this sensation as misleading. I recall Vic Braden saying, "The ball is round, the racket is flat, it goes where you point it." Wouldn't this mean the direction the racketface is pointed determines direction? And how different the swing path is from that direction determines spin?

    Maybe the racket if open slightly on contact even though it doesn't feel like it?
     
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  16. LakeSnake

    LakeSnake Semi-Pro

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    Would be nice if there were some tutorials about this subject, something like this:

    http://www.unc.edu/~sheng1/spin.htm

    For me to spin the ball, my mental image is sort of cutting the ball with my thumb. The face feels like it closes 20 degrees or so, but it must not.
     
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  17. 10s talk

    10s talk Semi-Pro

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    well said, the trajectory angle of the swing will determine the height of the shot

    YOU DO NOT have to open the racket face to hit a higher shot
     
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  18. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    But when you hit a slice serve, the direction the racket is pointed determines the flight of the ball. And it 's the fact that the swing is in a different direction that gives it the spin. Why wouldn't it work the same way for groundstrokes?
     
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  19. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Not true at all. Swing path determines shot height by a little bit, but racket face angle>>>swing path.
     
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  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Sure it has some truth. you can get shot height by swing path and/or racket face. I never open my racket face much for TS shots, but can vary the trajectory greatly thru swing path. Easy to make the adjustments to path but tougher to make fine corrections to racket face. Imo the softer the shot, the more it is about racket face angle though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Physics to the rescue.

    If the strings are a rigid body and the ball a rigid body, it is not possible to clear the net by that amount with a perpendicular or closed face.

    What really happens is that the ball and the strings are deformed during the dwell time, and the ball travels up with the strings as the racket moves up, and is eventually released.
     
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  22. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    and that is why softer shots require more open face, as you will get less tramp/deformation from the strings and less compression in the ball to hold them together during dwell time.
     
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  23. 10s talk

    10s talk Semi-Pro

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    The original premise was that the racket face was 90 degrees
     
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  24. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Oh, sorry about that. I thought you were saying the racket face angle is inconsequential compared to swing path.
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Racket face 90 degrees, you chop downwards, contacting the ball, the ball goes down.
    Racket face 90 degrees, you lift upwards, contacting the ball, the ball goes upwards.
    Racket face is still 90 degrees.
     
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  26. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    LeeD gets it.

    The combination of the racquet movement AND the racquet face angle determine the ball trajectory.

    If you swing up with an open face then you will probably hit it long (or hit a moonball if you swing slow enough), if you swing down with a closed face you will hit it into the net (unless you are hitting down on a smash). If you swing down with a slightly open face you get a fairly sensible trajectory and get underspin (a slice), and if you swing up with a slightly closed face you get a fairly sensible trajectory and topspin.
     
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  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Hadn't thought about it, but it is true.
     
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  28. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    I'm not convinced that the extra time due to the deformation has a significant effect on the upwards movement of the ball, as the reduced force will stop the ball speeding away as quickly. Because of this reduced force there is still plenty of time for the racquet to drag the ball upwards. String snapback will obviously have a big effect for fast swinging topspin players with slippery fresh poly, but that actually launches the ball AGAINST the angle of the face, for your average player using 9 month old synthetic gut on a slow relatively flat swing I doubt deformation has that much effect on topspin.

    The actual reason to open up the face on a slow swing is as follows:

    • When you hit soft the ball travels slower.
    • The lower the speed along the court the longer the ball needs to stay in the air, as it needs to stay in the air until it at least passes the net, which takes longer if it is travelling slower.
    • Because the ball is in the air longer gravity has more time to drag the ball downwards to the floor
    • To counteract the extra time gravity has to drag the ball down, the ball must be flying upwards at a greater speed than a shot with higher speed across the court.
    • Opening the racquet face will produce more upwards speed and reduce the amount of topspin which gives the soft shot more time to make it to the other side of the net before dropping too low.

    Conversely, when hitting hard:

    • When you hit hard the ball travels faster.
    • The higher the speed along the court the shorter the ball needs to stay in the air, as otherwise it will travel past the baseline before bouncing.
    • At the same time, the ball still needs to go OVER the net.
    • Closing the racquet face stops the ball travelling long by reducing the upwards speed and adding topspin, but now the ball won't make it over the net.
    • To get the ball over the net but maintain a similar bounce location you swing upwards more quickly, which makes the ball travel upwards initially - but adds topspin which causes the ball to dive down after a short space of time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
    #28
  29. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

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    More low to high. That's about it without changing anything else.
     
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