I hate topspin.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Golden Retriever, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    I have been lured to believe that topspin is god by topspin worshippers on this board and I have wasted 8 years of my life trying to prime my topspin. Last week I injured my wrist so I stop using topspin and voila my shots are much much much much much better. Its got speed, depth, angle, control, less stressful on my wrist and most importantly it feels good.

    I am now playing the game like it was meant to play. When I want spin I use backspin.

    Come to think of it, topspin is just more harmful than benefitcial. First it slows down the ball a lot while expanding much more energy. How stupid is that? Secondly, it bounces higher to the striking zone of the opponent making it easier for your opponent to return the ball.

    Now people say topspin has more control blah blah blah. I don't buy that no more. Yeah, you can hit higher above the net with topspin but remember you have to swing a lot faster to create that topspin. The faster the swing the less control you are gonna get. Any extra control you get from topspin will only be neutalized by the faster swing speed required to create that topspin. I would say at the end you get less control not more.

    Of course if you can acquire the kind of topspin like Nadal then it is just another level of play but for most people topspin is way way way way way way overrated.
     
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  2. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    i don't know if you have seen the piece done by cliff drysdale and patrick mcenroe on old school vs new school tennis during the wimbledon telecast. what i got out of it is if you have an old school style of play, you can play with any kind of racquets but if you are a new school player (a player who would hit with topspin), you can only play well with the newer racquets.
     
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  3. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    Did they say which one is better? I am definately going old school from now.
     
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  4. ronalditop

    ronalditop Hall of Fame

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    i think the answer is pretty obvious. Old school style's swingspeed is slow, therefore the timing is much easier, so you can play with small headed racquets with no problems. In the other hand, new school style's swingspeed is very fast so you need a bigger headsize to help timing the ball. There's a reason why nadal uses a midplus...
     
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  5. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    drysdale says old school and P mcenroe says new school :)
     
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  6. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    this is true. and when drysdale demonstrated old school tennis, he would hit a very flat ball and imo, it is easier to hit an offensive flat ball than an offensive top spin ball.
     
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  7. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    Who the hell is P Mac Enroe anyway? If it was J McEroe maybe I would give it some weight.
     
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  8. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    New school is only for the few very gifted and young. So maybe the best new schooler will cream the best old schooler.
     
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  9. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    he's the mcenroe who plays with a 2hbh :)
     
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  10. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Did it ever occur to you guys that if the old school game was better than the modern game, then the players with the best results (ie. top ranked) would play an old school style? Its no coincidence that the best players in the world (Nadal and Federer) hit with lots of topspin.
     
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  11. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    I don't think Federer hits a lot of tops on purpose. Thats just the result of hitting flat with incredible swing speed. He intends to hit flat but ends up with a lot of tops. He is actually the ultimate old schooler.
     
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  12. Double bagel

    Double bagel Banned

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    That's why I love the SW grip, when I want topsin...it's there. When I want to drive the ball, say for an open court winner, it's there.
     
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  13. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I think Federer is good enough to hit the ball exactly the way he wants. If he wants to hit it flat, he can and does hit it flat.
     
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  14. Mr. Blond

    Mr. Blond Professional

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    Another reason for why topspin is the way to go these days is because it gives you a much greater margin for error than hitting flat. It is simple geometry.....more arch on the ball means you can have more clearance over the net and better placement in the court.

    One should strive to do well with both but I must admit, that once you master topspin.......you can flatten a ball out with much more authority. The opposite does not seem to be true of people who hit flat most of the time. They can usually not hit a good top spin shot.


    Almost all of the top ranked (1 - 100) players use massive topspin....there has to be some validity to using it.

    If you hate it, it is probably cuz you will not take the time to master that skill, and that will eventually make you plateau as a tennis player.
     
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  15. Mick

    Mick Legend

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  16. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Fed doesn't do anything "on accident", he mixes the amount of spin to work the ball in a very specific way.
     
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  17. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    but we are not talking about top 100 atp here.. I agree that the modern game is needed to get to the top these days.

    But for club level 4.0-5.0 (and even 5.5), old school tennis can be used effectively:
    1) most guys play a lot of doubles and serve & volley is important here
    2) requires less effort and less tiring. perfect of club players
    3) less injury potential to the wrist/elbow.
     
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  18. Double bagel

    Double bagel Banned

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    I storm the net simply for the fact that the players nowadays aren't used to seeing s&v tennis. Just scampering towards the net like some Edberg-esque foaming-at-the-mouth savage incites inconsistent lobs and passes. They simply haven't perfected the art of beating a net-rusher.
     
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  19. Steady Eddy

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    What this neglects is that by hitting with topspin you are exposing less of the face of the racquet to the ball, and the more likely you will have a mis-hit. Here's how: hold your racquet in front of you, slowly rotate it until only the frame edge is facing you. That's what a topspin stroke does, at zero degrees, 100% of the face is available, at a 45 degree turn, only about 70%, at 60 degree angle it decreases to 50%. The more you swing low-to-high the more difficult it is to hit the ball on the sweetspot. This is why topspin is so much more popular with today's bigger racquets.

    Also, the more your racquethead goes in a low-to-high path, the less speed to the ball. Let theta be the angle of your racquethead path to the floor of the court, the forward speed becomes the cosine of theta. This reduced speed is another reason the ball is less likely to go long, (that, and the Magnus effect). But if less speed is the player's goal, then an easier way to achieve this is simply to not swing as hard on a flat path then to swing very hard on a low-to-high path. The topspin shot also bounces higher than a flat ball, so this is good for your opponent. Given all this, why would anyone hit topspin groundstrokes? Allen Fox explains that topspin allows more angles for passing shots, but that for rallies it is better to hit flat as it does more damage to your opponent.

    Some people argue that without topspin there is no way your shots can land inbounds. This would be true if you play in a spaceship with air but no detectable gravitational pull. For people who play on planet earth, there is alot of gravitational pull. At the rate of 16 feet per second squared. Play around with the parametric equations on a TI 83 calculator sometimes and you'll discover that even the fastest shots have plenty of 'bend' from gravity, and unless you have incredible power, gravity will pull almost all of your shots into the court.
     
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  20. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I don't know if I agree with the less injury potential, since I play with alot of middle-aged people who suffer from tennis elbow, and almost all of them hit flat strokes (with improper technique of course). I won't deny that the modern game requires more physical exertion though, and thats why I'm not surprised alot of older players still play the old school style of game.

    I read in one of my tennis instruction books that it takes 3 times as much practice to develop flat shots than topspin shots, because there is far less margin for error in flat shots.
     
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  21. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Correct me if I'm wrong. I do not consider Federer's style as topspin hitting. Nadal's style is. Fed does have topspin but that's more like ...the usual ts which most 10 do.
     
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  22. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I don't think Fed hits with exceeding amount of topspin like Nadal, but he certainly plays a modern topspin game vs. an old school game.
     
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  23. ronalditop

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    you know, federer is second when it comes to spin production in the whole atp tour , behind nadal obviously.
     
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  24. Steady Eddy

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    I've read books that discuss this as well, and I've been very dissappointed in the analysis they offer. First of all, they only discuss the path of the ball, and don't even mention the fact that it's more difficult to time a low-to-high racquethead path with a ball moving horizontally, than to match a horizontal path with another horizontal path.

    When I started in tennis, the instruction books said that without topspin your shots would go long unless you hit "helium balls", shots so slow that gravity pulled them down. This makes it sound as if gravity has no effect on hard hit shots. Well gravity does have less time to work on hard shots, but even hard hit balls are influenced plenty by gravity. Even Major League fastballs thrown with underspin drop due to gravity, (not rise, as some believe). A 60 mph serve, hit parallel to the floor, with no topspin, will still not go past the service line. (Measure serves with a radar gun, don't assume your hard ones go 100 mph, most people can't hit it harder than 80 mph.) When you are hitting groundstrokes there is even more distance than on the serve. Even when you wallop the ball, if it still stays within two feet of the top of the net, it's gonna be in. Why do some go long? Because you really "skyed" it. Weekend players don't hit as hard as pros, and consequently don't need topspin. Gravity will work for them just fine. In fact topspin takes away from their pace, and they need all the pace they can get. What works at the pro level has almost nothing to do with club tennis. Radar guns have become affordable. Go around with a radar gun sometime, it's humbling to see how different club tennis is from world class.
     
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  25. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    Couldn't agree with you more.

    Strange how people would say anything to promote their own agenda. It is 3 times more difficult to master a flat shot?? Give me a break.
     
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  26. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I dont' even think so. Djok, F Gonzo and Tsonga hit with more ts than Fed.

    Fed relies on low, flat, fast penetrating shot which suites hard surface and grass so much, hence his dominance there. Also, Fed's grip is eastern bordering sw which in slo mo you don't see a significant low to high swing path. All makes sense if you think about it but I am not sure.
     
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  27. Narcissist

    Narcissist Semi-Pro

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    Whatever works for you I guess. I find it much easier hitting the ball 4ft above the net with topspin than threading the needle with flat shots 1ft over the net.
     
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  28. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    Well you are wrong Federer hits with a massive amount of spin and pace on his forehand, go watch him hit live there is nothing flat about any of his shots off either wing.

    [​IMG]

    Federer is as far removed from old school as they come on the forehand, he hits a straight armed, windsheild wiper forehand using an eastern grip which requires extreme racquet head speed and timing to pull off.

    Nadal and Verdasco hit their forehands with the same motion as Federer just different grips and swing planes. The new newschool.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2009
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  29. S H O W S T O P P E R !

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    Use kinda-new school :)?) style! Topspin is good for basic rally shots and helps when you need to defend while using flat shots (little to no topspin) is great for attacking. They fly through the air and usually have penetrating depth. You need to learn to combine both styles and once that happens, you will own :D
     
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  30. certifiedjatt

    certifiedjatt Banned

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    i hate topspin as well (i.e., above and beyond what is impossible to remove). i play fairly flat and love it. it's more fun, more challenging, and just better.
     
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  31. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    Topspin is just one of those things that makes you feel good but actually hurts good. Not unlike drug and/or sex.

    Just kidding about the sex part.
     
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  32. tribunal4555

    tribunal4555 Semi-Pro

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    Topspin doesn't have more control- it just annoys my opponents by bouncing out of their comfort zone. I wouldn't call myself a "heavy" topspin hitter by any means, however- my normal rally ball is fairly flat, while I use heavy topspin shots to set up a point. I wouldn't dream of hitting topspin on every shot!
     
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  33. DNShade

    DNShade Professional

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    Ummm...No. Have you sat courtside while Roger plays? Have you hit with him? Then you'd know he hits on average a HUGE amount of topspin on almost every shot. It's a very deep and very HEAVY ball. Like the poster said above - second only to Rafa with RPMs. Roger does flatten out his shots now and then - but not nearly as much as quite a few other players do (Soderling, Blake, Gonzo at times) and Tsonga hits much flatter on average than Fed.

    And yes, topspin is a much safer and controlled shot than a flat ball, and your timing doesn't have to be quite as precise as a "take the ball on the rise and drive it" kind of shot.

    The reason you might not recognize it is because Roger's swings are much more compact and rely on timing a bit more and an all out huge swing path. You don't have to take a huge swipe at the ball to impart huge spin.

    By the way, I'm a much more of an old school player - so don't try to paint me as a TS fanatic. Just posting the reality.
     
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  34. LuxilonTimo

    LuxilonTimo Rookie

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    Some players on these boards dont know what they're talking about. They tell you to add more spin but if you add more spin you loose power and speed. The ball will just get high net clearance and drop down, then bounce high where it will be perfectly played in your opponents hitting zone because it will not travel far. Spin is good if you hit through it. Everyone thinks nadal is all spin but thats not true. Nadal hits through it very well with spin but andy roddick IMO uses to much spin and thats why Federer has beaten so easily.
     
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  35. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    Most older players were taught the classic topspin forehand stroke, brush up the back of the ball high to low to create topspin.

    The modern forehand stroke is a windshield wiper forehand which allows
    a more linear swing plane to hit through the ball and rip across with the windshield wiper finish to create topspin, this is the modern stroke.

    The old classic stroke is fine for recreational old school players, but is not the
    same stroke seen out on the ATP tour anymore.

    Using the windshield wiper you can hit a flat trajectory and still hit massive spin, that is what makes Federer's forehand the best stroke in tennis. Spin without losing speed and power on the shot.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2009
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  36. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    Hating topspin is kind of silly. Different spins serve different purposes. I grew up at a time where the conti and eastern grip was the norm, as I grew older it changed to extreme eastern and semi-western. There are times when you need a good topspin shot, flat shot, slice shot, and side spin shot.Why limit yourself to just one or two?
    My main rally ball is a flat/topspin ball. It has a somewhat flat trajectory, but when it bounces it has a good amount of topspin. Depending on how I hi it, it will either kick forward or kick up and forward.
    I tend to use topspin when I:
    Do a high looper to buy me time or keep the opponent back
    As a controlled approach shot
    For angles
    As a passing shot
    A topspin lob

    If I see that my opponent likes the topspin shots that kick high, I flatten it out more so it goes lower.
    So don't "hate topspin", use it when the situation calls for it........................
     
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  37. Mr. Blond

    Mr. Blond Professional

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    Are you trying to suggest that a ball hit flat will land in as many times as a topspin shot because of gravity?

    I understand what you are saying about how gravity adds to the balls trajectory, and you are right.....but I know this as fact from my game.......topspin shots catch waaay more than flat shots. Combine that with the extra action of a topspin bounce, the damage is there for my opponents.

    The fact is that a flat ball is easier to return if you can get your racquet on it because you can just flat racquet it back using its own pace. A topspin shot however will need to have something put back on it.

    Topspin as well as flat shots are effective.....it all boils down to being able to use both effectivly.

    They are both shots a player MUST have to excel in tennis.
     
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  38. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    I love this thread. I am 54 and use heavy topspin with a lightweight frame. In the past 3 weeks my game has gone to h***. So erratic, no consistency. Honestly, I'm freakin' tired and sore all the time. I always felt I needed the safety of heavy topspin to keep the ball in play. The big topspin modern swing has worn me out and I was frustrated, until today..

    Today, being sore and tired, I went back to my old heavy Prince Orig. Graphite OS. Yes, the pog. You can not take a big whack at the ball with this frame, to heavy to get around! So, I hit the ball flat with a much shorter compact easier flat swing. Holy cow, my consistency was improved 10 times over! I had more energy since I wasn't using such a huge violent swing. Took a while to go back to the "old school" swing, but it was refreshing! Now my issue is retraining myself and retraining my serve. I think old school is the new school for me now.
     
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  39. Steady Eddy

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    "As many"? It's more complicated than that, but there are some important generalities. One of them is that the harder the flat shot is hit, the less gravity bends its path. This is one of the few times a hacker like me has an advantage over a pro. They hit with so much pace they need topspin to keep there shots in. I don't hit nearly as hard as the pros, and can play consistently without spin.

    Do you shank more balls because of going for topspin? To make a fair comparision we have to include ALL factors. Not just the one's in topspin's favor.

    Maybe. You have to put something on it, but when it sits up, this is also easier. I hate returning flat shots, esp on a smooth court, the low bounce means I should bend my knees to hit good shots. (I often get lazy and lock my knees and flick at the ball.)

    Yep. When your opponent is at the net, you can aim further to the sideline with topspin. A flat shot will go long. In the 70's topspin was sold as the ideal stroke for rallys. This seems to be understood to be a mistake. Flat strokes and slice for a change of pace have made a comeback.
     
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  40. animagriever

    animagriever New User

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    I have the opposite problem... my forehand grip is extreme eastern-mildly semi western but because top-spin is in-grained into muscle memory I find it more difficult to hit flat! I have been having some lessons from club coach who is slowly weaning me off top-spin (arch shaped shot) to a more flatter trajectory top-spin shot... The reason I add this is I tend to have problems with the shorter balls where you should flatten shots that are above net level. Hitting with too much topspin will send the ball long whereas hitting flattish (some downward "punch") sort of shot will generally lead to an unreturnable shot or weak return...
     
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  41. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Federer could make the ball jump or die at will. Everything he does is intentionally, even hitting the net cord =)
     
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  42. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    You certainly know what you are talking about. I do have a question. When is brushing up (topspin) absolutely necessary? I am trying to not brush up at all from now on but sometimes it is still necessary. For me it is the topspin lob and the high forehand putaway. What do you think?
     
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  43. ubermeyer

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    uhh no the high forehand putaway is best hit flat
     
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  44. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    See, what did I tell you? I'm glad you've finally seen the light. There's nothing better than hitting flat and crushing the ball. :)

    Now if you'd also realize how much better a 1HBH is than a 2HBH, then you'll really be onto something. ;) LOL
     
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  45. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Um...Federer has an old school, classic game and he uses an old school, small-headed racquet. That's why I like his game so much. :)
     
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  46. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    federer's forehand is old school like borg's

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31IYa7VsZYg
     
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  47. Steady Eddy

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    I don't know your game, so it's hard for me answer this, but I don't know if it's ever absolutely necessary. I think topspin works well when your opponent is at the net because sometimes you can make the ball dip down at his feet. But I don't know if this means that it is best shot to try in that situation. For lobbing, again topspin lobs work great if you hit them just right but you don't have hit topspin lobs, sliced or flat lobs can work pretty well too sometimes.

    Good luck with your flat game. It's easier on the arm because you don't have to swing so hard, and your strings will last longer. When I was into topspin I was lucky to have my strings last two weeks. Now I replace them before they've even broken. :)

    I was thinking that too. You've got a straight shot at the court and don't need spin to 'bend' it in. You also want alot of pace, and a flat shot imparts the most speed.
     
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  48. heycal

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    Man, I'd love to get me some of this fancy "topspin". But I use an old school style and my idea of safe net clearance seems to be around 3 inches. Very easy to both hit the net or hit long with flat strokes, which I guess is why topspin is so popular these days at all levels of the game and what they teach the kids.
     
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  49. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    Actually, after I switched to hitting flat, my 2HBH has become my best shot. It provides excellent control for hitting flat. I can hit devastating DTL flat backhand all day now.

    Sorry to disappoint you.
     
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  50. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    But I was talking about a short high forehand putaway. If I hit flat on a short high ball wouldn't it go long?
     
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