how to flatten the forehand, FFS???

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Rozroz, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    one of my main difficulties is handling oldschool opponents that naturally hit a low bouncing flat ball when they can punish me. not just on high easy balls in the middle of the court, but also from the baseline.

    how the hell i can finally also learn to hit those flat sharp balls that are almost impossible to get to?

    no matter how i hard i try to follow through strait with the ball, or whatever way to flatten a stroke, it always comes out spinney in some way- bouncing up and not staying low. maybe i'm doing something fundamentally wrong?

    is there a simple, basic, effective way to learn how to properly just hit a good flatter? or maybe my hand and wrist just don't have it and i should stick to how i can hit best WITH spin?

    thanks.
     
    #1
  2. mxmx

    mxmx Semi-Pro

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    In my experience:

    1) play eastern forehand grip
    2) Hit the ball on its highest point or on the rise, and not when it is falling. A still ball is easier to return with no spin, than one which is already spinning.
    3) Follow through around the waist, and not around the neck. A follow through around the neck, provides more spin imo.
    4) not the most important: have a racket with a tighter string pattern
    5) consider at times, to return their ball with slice instead of trying to hit it back flat.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
    #2
  3. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    You don't have to counter a flat hitter with a flat hit from your own racquet. the flat hit isn't necessarily "better" or 'worse' than hitting with a lot of TS.

    If I'm playing someone who's forehand is difficult for me to deal with, I simply avoid hitting to their FH. Punish their backhand.
     
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  4. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    thanks for the tips above.
    however, i didn't mean i want to return those flatters with a flat shot.
    i was just admiring the ability to hit those oldshool hard flat shots, they are a good weapon and i also want to have it !
     
    #4
  5. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    What grip are you using? Can you say anything more about your basic swing?
     
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  6. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I would not mess around with mechanics too much, and you can get different spins out of similar strokes. Specifically, if you hit the exact same stroke but don't get your racquet head under the ball, the shot will be pretty flat. By way of example, think of your stroke as a "U" - if you hit during the bottom of the curve, you will get a pretty flat shot.
     
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  7. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    i'm using an eastern and trying to emulate the Federer swing as much as i can.
    sure it's not even close in effect but you can understand the swing style.
    that's why i find it strange i cannot flat the ball.
    i'm definitely not in the extreme spin grips club.
     
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  8. texacali

    texacali Rookie

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    Yup...Eastern FH. I started in the 70's and that's how we learned. I hit a very (maybe too) flat FH, and the ball sometimes barely clears the net. Not much margin for error. I think a really hard flat FH is scary to see, because it just looks like it's moving faster.

    I do have a hard time trying to hit a topspin FH, unless the ball is pretty low. But waist high and above, I hit the flat one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
    #8
  9. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Just hit through the ball rather than brushing as much low to high and you'll impart less topspin.

    Get some video of yourself playing. My guess is that even though you believe you are hitting through the ball, you actually are still heavily brushing up the back of it.
     
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  10. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    This is one of the hardest Federer flat FH I’ve ever seen.

    [​IMG]

    During impact, the angle between racquet long axis and forearm axis is next to zero. That’s why there is practically no extension. Federer chest, arm and racquet construct almost straight line. So, during impact racket velocity can have only normal component to the string bed. That’s why there no ball's spin. From the power standpoint, this is the best mechanics for maximum ball translation speed.

    Very important that practically all power is coming from active wrist flexion, because torso and arm around shoulder joint rotates very slowly compare to hand/wrist rotation. There is no pronation and elbow flexion. The geometry of the stroke is very simple.
     
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  11. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    so you're saying that the contact point in a flat stroke suppose to be more parallel to the body as opposed to a topspin which is more in front?
     
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  12. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    yea that's what i mean. maybe a smaller margin for error but the ball really cuts through the air instead of having it's speed 'within' the ball spin.
    my motion was always more of a brush stroke and i gotta have the 2 options to try and punish or close down points at the right time.
     
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  13. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Oh, ok. Well you can't use eastern grip for those shots, that's probably your problem. they aren't using eastern, they're using continental grip for those really flat shots. It's very old school, traditional method that they probably learned in the 70's with wooden racquets.

    I don't recommend playing like them, its from a different time and is counter-productive to your development as a player. I'd focus on perfecting your forehand so that you can make it into a weapon through solid stroke mechanics and hand-eye coordination.

    But to counter those low shots that give you a lot of trouble, you need more of an open racquet face since they are lower to the ground. You can do that either by hitting eastern, or just pronating your wrist more to open up the racquet face.

    If the face it aimed at the ground and the ball is less than a foot above the ground, there's no way its going over the net.
     
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  14. LanEvo

    LanEvo Hall of Fame

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    Yes, that specifically, for more flatness, (although I use an eastern grip for the most part), swing more across the body instead of the normal low to high loop motion.
     
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  15. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I guess I'd really need to see your stroke. With an E. grip it's generally pretty easy to hit a flatter shot.

    On the type of shot you're talking about, a hard flatish ball that stays low, I generally try to rip my racquet up as much as I can to get some spin the ball. I'm trying to hit it hard but I need to keep it in too. I let the pace from my opponent's shot supply most of the pace back. So I'm having trouble understanding why your shots are just spinny. That's actually kind of hard to do if the incoming shot has a lot of pace.

    And more generally, I basically never try to hit a totally flat ball with a different form than my normal shot. I don't see the pros doing that either. Everything has some amount of spin. I try to use the same stroke mechanics for all of my shots. I can vary the amount of spin by how far I set up below the ball, how much I emphasize the upward component of my swing, and how far I let my backswing go.
     
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  16. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Yes, this would be one of the variations I would make to hit a flatter shot. You can get some side spin happening too.
     
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  17. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    No, between 1 and 8, the forearm has moved forward and probably very fast. I don't think just moving the wrist would have done it.
     
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  18. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    sigh...

    I'd highly suggest you ignore that picture Toly posted. This is not the way to hit a flat forehand. If you follow that model you'll have a very low success rate.

    That picture of Fed is a fh runaround put-away winner hit from a few feet from the net and where he has jumped considerably and is probably hitting the ball down and finishing low. This is not a routine fh hand and nobody anywhere uses this technique in a standard rally near the baseline.

    If your attempts are too spinny then you're either using too much wrist in the wrong way (too much deviation etc) or the swing path is too severe or you're jumping up thru the hit giving too much brush, or possibly making contact at the wrong point (hitting the ball too far in front for your grip).

    You probably already know how to hit a flat fh. The problem most likely is that you haven't practiced it. Go to the wall and hit 500 balls working on finding a flatter swing path, racquet position related to the body, the correct stance and contact point. You'll figure it out.
     
    #18
  19. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Cosign. Just practice it.
     
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  20. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    yea i guess that's the only option to really understand how to make it really work..

    thanks for all the responses.

    so to summon it up:
    - plow through the ball and not brush it.
    - contact point is less in front, more parallel to the body.
    - swingpath should be across the body and not low>high
    - experiment with the grip around the eastern to find the best 'fit'.

    ya?
     
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  21. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    sounds good.
    A small bit of brush is ok. A tiny amount of topspin goes a long way on a flat ball. If you spend a little dedicated practice on it you'll get it. Try to keep everything loose also.
     
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  22. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    #22
  23. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    I calculated the racquet tip speed in horizontal plane, see chart below. All data were taken from Roger Federer forehand on the APAS System video.

    [​IMG]

    The red line represents real speed of the racquet tip relative to the court ground. The blue line shows real racquet tip speed relative to the wrist. Black and green lines are corresponding approximation. Frame #25 is point of contact.

    According to approximation data around contact the hand/wrist (actively and passively) contributes to racquet tip speed around 80%.

    So, everybody who ignores importance of the hand/wrist action is completely wrong!!! :)
     
    #23
  24. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    toly, I gotta point out that while your observation seems correct your conclusion is not. during the forward swing, the tip lags behind the hand until the hand slows down to cause the racquet tip to gain speed or accelerate. this acceleration is not due to wrist forcing the racquet to go around. it's more of the case of travelling wave on a whip. light nature of wrist in the kinetic chain means the same wave will travel faster once it reaches the wrist.

    however I'm hesitant to say wrist is passive either because wrist can be controlled to add spin or power. I just wouldn't say it's the majority of the rhs.
     
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  25. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    ^^^ pretty much that. You'll definitely damage your wrist if you go out there thinking your wrist is what gives you the power.
     
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  26. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    About passive/active wrist I explained in http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=7046738#post7046738 post #103. What is wrong with my explanation?
     
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  27. mxmx

    mxmx Semi-Pro

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    The OP would really need to look carefully how they hit that shot. I can hit very flat with eastern forehand. Yes there is minor rotation on the ball, but using a continental for a flat shot has different mechanics, and will probably have some underspin. I guess half a dozen of each is possible...but the best by far would be to hit with eastern forehand, and not continental forehand.

    As for spin vs. speed. Any spin on the ball creates friction, slowing the ball down. On a very flat shot, you want less spin, but at least some so that the ball can fall into the court. Even something like 5 ball rotations from contact to landing should be enough if you hit it low enough over the net. You would be surprised how much curve very few rotations can make.
     
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  28. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    thy don't seem flat at first, from the grip and technique,
    but they don't bounce up from spin so much either, so they are kind of 'half flat'.
    he's taking off the spin factor to flatten some of the shots,
    while with an extreme western grip. am i correct?

    does this mean you are saying- use what you have to flatten the hit and not switch to other different options?

    however those are not 'hardcore' classic flatters IMO.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
    #28
  29. taurussable

    taurussable Professional

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    great post, Sureshs, how do you make such stroke sequences?
     
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  30. Failed

    Failed Semi-Pro

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    Did not read any responses. Why do you want to hit flat? Why don't you try to find ways how to stop your opponent doing that? If you hit above his hitting zone, he won't be able to hit the ball flat and you can control the point as you please. Obviously you might sometimes want to hit the ball flat, but that shouldn't be your main concern. You can also hit the ball low and with a lot of spin, which, in my opinion, is far better.
     
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  31. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    ha, this is what usually gets me punished LOL.
     
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  32. mxmx

    mxmx Semi-Pro

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    There is a place for flat strokes though. But I also agree to some extent ^

    A strategy against someone hitting flat against you may be to approach the net with a slice. This may put additional pressure on a shot which is already risky. Playing flat and hard, is not percentage but a risk. The net clearance is low and the ball may fly out. So approaching the net against your opponent will force him to play topspin, or to make mistakes. A flat shot is also sometimes easier to volley.

    Secondly...if an opponent overpowers you, just recover to the best possible positions and use his pace against him. Force him to play angles or spin he doesn't want to. Giving him a high ball, may force him to play topspin...giving him a very low slice, may cause him to slice back. These are things to consider.
     
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  33. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    totally agree upon how to handle a flatter...
    but as i said i was only wondering how to have myself some of that flat magic at my disposal.
     
    #33
  34. Dasol

    Dasol Rookie

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    I hit flat and use eastern grip. The way I am hitting is 1) to have a high racquet position, 2) shoulder turn (rotation), 3) make a minimal loop swing (compact swing, but not short swing), and 4) followthrough either to my neck or upper body.

    I think the difference between flat hitting and topspin hitting lies in the loop swing and racquet position. I do not drop racquet a lot until I hit flat, and when I hit topspin, I drop my racquet below the ball and do loop swing. Of course, one should drop his racquet to contact the ball when he hits, but compared to topspin hitting, a flat hitter does not drop his racquet that much. If you look at some baseball players and see how they swing (level swing), you can understand what I mean.:)
     
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  35. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    swing more across the ball using the natural arc, but with little to no "low
    to high".
     
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  36. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    Yes, I think it's the best option. It's just a modern forehand lower over the net and harder with less spin. Not complicated and no special diagrams needed.
     
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  37. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    They're pretty flat - watch the slow motion of the racquet at contact. There's not a lot of upward component in that shot. And the form is still basically a modern fh.

    Grip looks like strong E.
     
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  38. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    #38
  39. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    swing more through the ball and less up.

    also don't swing too much to the left. if you pull the racket to the left quickly you have to brush up a lot.

    instead try to extend through the ball a little bit more. fed does this very well.
     
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  40. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    make sense. good tip!
     
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  41. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I had the problem too for some time. first I tried to finish lower because I thought lower finish = shallower swing plane. but I only got more spin like that because if you finish low/hard left (sometimes even at the left hip) your racket has to go pretty parallel to the chest (your chest is the windshield that is cleaned by the whiper:)) which means not a lot of "through" velocity.

    however if you finish more up and through like a WTA FH you will get a lot more penetration. then you have to find a happy medium. you probably want a little more WW motion than in a WTA FH but less than you do.

    an extreme WW FH ends at the left hip but you might instead want to finish against the mid of the left arm (not quite over the shoulder).
     
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  42. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Interesting and seems your WW missed the primary reason it was developed and
    used on the pro level. It is at it's best used as a way to really hit with power, while
    still maintaining a very high level of spin. It gets away from the old trade off of
    spin vs power and instead, brings in both at a very high level.

    Yes, you can hit a loopy spinny wwFh as well, but that is nothing new that couldn't be
    done before the WW.
     
    #42
  43. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I'm not saying that ww is bad. all good hitters now use some level of WW. but there is always a balance between "through" and up/left.

    it also depends on the situation.

    here fed is hitting with a relatively high finish and a lot of extension:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ImeQaAyFPc (still some ww but not as much)

    and here is novak using an extreme ww to create more spin:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ncw_CuvaAY

    you will also find strokes were novak finishes higher and strokes were fed finishes lower depending on the situation.

    It is not about ww or not, it is about how much ww you use.

    straighter shot: a lot of extension before going "across" (left) and finish about nipple high around the body

    spinnier shot: earlier across motion with less extension and usually a lower finish.
     
    #43
  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    How to flatten the forehand?
    Go to a wall. Hit 30 shots against the wall. Subtract spin by shortening your backswing AND followthru.
    Do the same on court with your opponent.
     
    #44
  45. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    your example and explanation makes good sense. however, you gotta realize even the same player will hit some shots with the wrist more passive but other shots more active. I find more wrist involvement with flatter shots as you pointed out.
     
    #45
  46. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Yes, You are absolutely right.:)
     
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  47. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    i think that's the secret key ;)
     
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  48. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    well i tried some of the pointers mentioned here, and i must say i feel i'm half way there :)
    even managed to actually hit a low flat one that my partner couldn't reach.
    the thread helped a lot. thanks.
     
    #48
  49. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think so.. Sorry, but think this is an important point that is being
    pretty misunderstood imo.
    WW is a great way to hit big...not just spinning the ball. You can hit big, & still
    get the spin! Thats the point here

    Vid of player hitting 115mph wwFh while falling away.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=vBctFQT1Dxg#t=9s

    that is the main purpose of the ww Fh, not to just hit high rollers.
    Lazy rollers with the wwFh is like driving a race car slow....you can do it, but that's not
    what it was designed for.
     
    #49
  50. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    well of course you can hit a ww FH big. but you also can hit it soft and spinny. there is not ONE purpose for the WW FH. Good players can hit it big and soft. roger federer could swing as hard as he could and still hit a soft dipper in front of the feet of a net player but he also can hit a screaming 100 mph winner both with his ww FH.

    even a ww FH doesn't defy physics. a ww FH doesn't magically generate energy. the racket can only generate two forms of energy:

    1.linear velocity of the ball when the force vector goes through the center of the ball

    2. spinning the ball by hitting it tangential

    a ww FH will generate exactly the same pace or spin then a conventional FH given equal force vector. the reason why it allows for higher ball speed is because it allows to swing up a lot and still generate more RHS since you can swing more freely and use more muscles then a conventional topspin which is kind of an awkward motion.

    but WW is no magic bullet that allows to hit hard and spinny. it just allows you to swing at a more tangential vector at a higher speed.

    but still even with the WW FH those 2 factors (how tangential and how fast you swing determine how hard your shots will be.

    if the "through the center" vector component is not big enough even your WW FH will be soft. physics apply to everything and I would be wary to call the WW FH the magic bullet for everything. it is the best way to swing a tennis racket with today's equipment but there is nothing magical about it. it still listens to the laws of physics.
     
    #50

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