How important is sidespin?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by firepanda, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. firepanda

    firepanda Professional

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    You know the ones: the ridiculous banana-shots the Nadal pulls off on the run or, more commonly, pros get on the slice backhand.

    I was arguing with a friend about how important sidespin is. He argued that it is sidespin on the forehand can add an element of variety and can add a margin of error to already-difficult passing shots. Sidespin on the slice means that there is another factor for the opponent to deal with and the ball is less able to be hit away.

    I believed that sidespin is a gimmick and impractical. I hit with a lot of topspin and can get spidespin if I try, but it adds little to the shot. Sidespin on passing shots is extremely difficult in practice and actually makes it harder to get the ball in, because it is hard to know where it is going. On the slice, sidespin can be helpful, but can easily cause excess lurching that will send the ball floating out.

    TL;DR How helpful is sidespin? Do you guys find uses for it?
     
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  2. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    If it is not helping control and making it stronger, you aren't doing it right. A well
    hit modern Fh will most often have some degree of sidespin due to working the
    arc across contact. It's part of getting the best rhs and that is why you see
    it in Rafa's TS shots.
    On slice if done right, it gives you the fine control over net clearance for those
    low skidders.
     
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  3. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    side spin is usually a byproduct.

    ts fh, very visible left to right curve on high balls because of the cross-the-ball ww motion.

    fh dtl passing shot, because of the contact point on the outside part of the ball, there is the right to left curve.

    the bh slice side spin is most visible when - high slice, contact on the outside part of the ball, resulting l to r curve... low slice, because of the cross-the-ball cut, resulting in r to l curve.

    so for the most part these are produced as byproducts determined by the swing path.

    deliberate side spin - backhand drop shot down the line with side spin that makes the ball bounce to the left.
     
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  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I find side+top to be very difficult to deal with. Side+slice is much easier.

    I haven't quite figured out how to add sidespin, except by a brushing action which has a horizontal component in addition to the vertical component needed for top spin. The theory seems simple - but I cannot visualize doing it on demand.
     
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  5. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I'm with your friend. It's one more thing that your opponent has to deal with. And as 5263 said it's a fairly natural outgrowth of the modern swing paths. On high topspin shots you can get kind of an American Twist thing happening too where the ball kicks back in the opposite direction of the spin.

    The side spin on slice can really mess with people, even really good players. Honestly on low slices if there's not quite a bit of side spin on the ball I don't see how you could be hitting with a modern slice technique.

    There does need to be a good does of pace to make the spin effective.
     
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  6. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Side spin is hard for me to fend off at the net if its coming with some power.
     
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  7. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Side spin is crucial for my game at least, because normally I'm slicing DTL on my backhand in the Ad court. This means that when I hit the line, it's drawing my opponent into the doubles alley and opening up a ton of court space. This is my bread and butter approach shot as it just works really well for me.

    Sidespin on the forehand I don't hit ever when I'm hitting a normal rally ball, that being said when I'm on the run its almost always a buggy whip shot that has a ton of action on it from the low to high and across motion. It's just physics at that point, (which I don't know very well in depth!) that with enough racket head speed I'm going to be getting a lot of spin. :razz:

    -Fuji
     
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  8. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    Side spin is one tennis stroke out of many, as to it being useful that depends on how well you hit it and whether you got the right stuff to pull the string on it

    :mrgreen:
     
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  9. firepanda

    firepanda Professional

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    Well. It seems I have a new item on a growing list of things I need to work on... -_-
     
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  10. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Sidespin is nice.
    Not a must-have for basic tennis, but all good players know how to use it successfully.
     
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  11. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    My opponents, up to and including 4.5 level players, tell me that my sliced sidespin shots are the most difficult for them to handle. What variable spins do is screw up a player's timing. It introduces yet another variable that has to be paid attention to.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
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  12. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    It is called tennis. Not table tennis.
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I have played against only one guy who can put sidespin - cheetah.
     
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  14. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7gQ-vySQMk

    The pros use some measure of sidespin on groundstrokes quite a bit. The banana shot is an extreme example of this. Check the link above for a great view on how Roddick executes the banana shot.

    Quite often, elite players will hit a bit to the "outside" of the ball rather the directly on the back of the ball when hitting topspin or slice groundies. This will cause a bit of bending to the left or the right as the ball flies thru the air. Once in a while, they will hit a bit on the "inside" part of the ball to get the ball to spin the other way to get the ball flight to flare out a bit (like on some inside-out shots).

    Hitting on the outside of the ball is probably used more than hitting on the outside, particularly true for FH shots. This practice is often employed when hitting x-court topspin shots (either FH or BH), especially for short sharp angles. It is also very useful when returning an incoming x-court shot DTL. When attempting a DTL shot for a ball that is coming from a x-court direction, the ball will tend to go wide unless the player hits a bit on the outside of the ball -- to get the ball to curve in a little bit (away from the side line).

    For BH slices, players will sometimes hit the inside of the ball to get the ball to curve one way or they will hit the outside of the ball to get it to fly straighter or to have it curve the other way.

    Another type of (horizontal-axis) spin, spiral spin, is often used in conjunction with (vertical-axis) sidespin. Spiral spin does not cause any left-right deviation in the flight of the ball, but it does cause the ball to veer to the left or the right when it bounces (note that regular sidespin does not do this). This spiral spin is the type of spin that causes the ball to bounce in the opposite direction on a twist serve.
     
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  15. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    It can add and extra dimension.
     
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  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Got back from a Christmas social. The highlight was not playing with the sucky crowd, but the hitting I got to do with a junior guy whose father was playing, before the games began.

    Now, that was some real sidespin. It was somewhat more than what Cheetah puts. He hit one forehand which swung so deceptively in the opposite direction that I completely "lost" the line of the ball and it crashed into the fence behind me. First time I have been fooled this way. I thought such deception happens only in baseball and cricket.
     
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  17. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    did he spin it to the inside, outside or use each side in different situations?
     
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  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    His other side spins were of the Cheetah quality. By now I have enough experience to time them properly and the eyes can follow the ball without blur.

    This one was what you would call an inside one I suppose. A right-handed forehand topspin would curve to the server's left after bounce - this one curved to his right (and into my backhand). I thought I got it and was totally fooled.

    To add to the confusion, this junior is pretty unique. He (and his father) use a Battistone racket (the one with 2 handles). He has several variants - one hand on one handle, two on 2 handles, and their forehand and backhand variants. In addition, he also sometimes uses a left handed forehand as his backhand - and its single handle and double handle variations! It is like you are watching a juggler in action. I think very few will have this experience in their lifetime. The severest top and side spin come when he swings viciously with one hand on each handle of the racket.
     
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  19. Metalica

    Metalica New User

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    I don't think many people can hit banana passing shots like Nadal at all, even pros (well not as good as him anyway). It's quite wasy to hit sidespin slice though. I think its a great shot you can use to pull the opponent wide; Murray does this a lot.
     
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  20. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

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    Easy answer: Very
     
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  21. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Sidespin is incredibly important, hitting a hard forehand to my opponents backhand, when it lands it skids to the side, adding to their misery. Sidespin is a big part of the game, whether left or right, it's hard for an opponent to adjust to a ball that lands then moves out of their position.
     
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  22. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Off the fh Cheetah is really good at it and uses it a lot. I'd be very surprised if the thejackel's balls don't have side spin on certain occasions. I didn't see it when we hit last week, but he definitely has the rhs and the stroke mechanics to produce it. He hits a very solid ball off both sides. Pretty much every high level player I've hit with hits side spin off the fh sometimes. FWIW, I do it too.

    Cheetah does it off the bh as well. He hits a one hander. I rarely hit side spin off the bh. When I see that they're going to kick up high I'll usually take them on the rise and hit hard and flat.

    Side spin off the slice is just expected. Super common.

    Cheetah hits that banana passing shot dtl all of the time. He's pretty good at it and it pisses me off :). I think a more Western grip really helps with that. It's a cool shot but there are other options too, especially for those of us with more E. grips.
     
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  23. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I don't think it is very important except on the serve. The slice serve can be very effective and draw the opponent off the court. The lefty slice can also mess with you, if you don't get to play against lefties much.

    On ground strokes, topspin is by far the most important spin, because it helps bring the ball down into the court, allowing you to hit harder and with more net clearance without going long. Side spin just makes a ball a little more difficult to return and can help make drop shots more effective by moving the ball farther from the opponent.

    If you hit ground strokes you're probably also hitting some side spin whether you want to or not. It is usually easier to hit spin by pulling the racket toward the center of your body when hitting. The other famous side spin is the "banana" down-the-line running passing shot.

    The standard side spin on the slice backhand is caused by pulling the racket in toward the center of the body. The "banana" shot is made by swinging the direction you're running and hooking the ball back into the court.
     
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  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think you were also hitting side spin during our SD TW meetup on the 16th, were you not?

    Somehow it did not bother me that day.
     
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  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    My next tennis will be Wed morning in Honolulu!
     
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  26. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I hit some. It didn't seem to bother you. But the idea is that you throw little things in all of the time. Every thing you hit can take little digs out of your opponents. If you can make them miss enough that the ball goes a couple of inches long or into the tape then you've won.

    Cheetah hits with more side spin and he can get that American Twist kick as well. You really have to keep your eye on the ball, especially the high ones.
     
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