Keeping the head still

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by christos_liaskos, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. christos_liaskos

    christos_liaskos Professional

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZozZvcWg2TM

    I was watching a wildlife program the other day and it showed a cheetah running at full speed. I was immediately struck at how still it's head was while the rest of it's body was just flayling around so fast. It's not just the legs moving but the whole body and up the neck too, with the head remaining perfectly still, at times not even moving up and down, it's as if it's totally independent from the rest of the body.

    As that phrase came into mind 'wow how still is it's head', I thought straight away of tennis and how we are meant to do the same. Seems like this technique has been perfected in nature by the cheetah as it stays calm in keeping it's eye on it's pray yet at the same time it's working at a furious pace - the same fine balance in calm/speed that is needed in tennis and many sports if they are to be performed well.

    (That video doesn't even show it that well, I just tried to pick one with lots of running in fairly decent quality picture and no actual killing in respect for the squeemish :D. The HD clip I saw on TV the cheetah's head was perfectly still the whole time it was running, almost like it was floating, as if completely independent to the rest of it's body. Amazing animal and amazing nature)
     
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  2. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    In Cheetah it is called Keep you Eyes on the Prey.

    In tennis it's called Keep your Eyes on the Ball.


    We animals all speak the same language.
     
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  3. Homeboy Hotel

    Homeboy Hotel Hall of Fame

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  4. Leelord337

    Leelord337 Hall of Fame

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    ^^^it was, i thought it was going to be the espn video of cliff drysdale commenting on how federer keeps his head still and eyes on the ball the entire time throughout the swing
     
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  5. christos_liaskos

    christos_liaskos Professional

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    Hehe glad I fooled you both. Thought it was better to post something original, and what I also thought was actually pretty amazing, rather than a video and a subject which has been posted many times before
     
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  6. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

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    I knew Rodge's got a Cheetah gene
     
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  7. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I LOVE cheetah burgers.
     
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  8. 1970CRBase

    1970CRBase Guest

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaM081sRXrk&feature=related

    Fed's bh in slow motion. He keeps his gaze firmly lasered on the contact point of the ball until he has completed his follow through. Easier said than done. Incidentally, this is something Graf didn't do well on her own ohbh, always turned her head way too soon on the drive.
     
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  9. vernonbc

    vernonbc Hall of Fame

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    I saw a picture of Nadal taken at last year's WTF (wish I had saved it) where he was running at top speed to the net. The photographer did something with his shutter speed so that all his body parts were just a blur but his head was perfectly focused as he kept it amazingly still. It was an incredible photo.
     
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  10. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    [​IMG]
     
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  11. vernonbc

    vernonbc Hall of Fame

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    This isn't the exact one I saw but it's very similar - probably from the same photographer's set. The one I saw was more head on and you could see the determined look on Rafa's face as he went for the ball while his arms and legs were just a blur like in the Roadrunner cartoons. :) Thanks for posting this one though. It's a great pic.
     
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  12. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
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  13. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

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    Good analogy. Maybe this belongs on 'tips and instructions'?

    Actually, all predators that pursue their prey do this - hawks, wolves, etc. The stakes are too high in the wild for them to screw up.

    We have to force ourselves to do this (at least I do) though. For some reason, our brains think that they can help the ball go to the intended spot by looking there.
     
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  14. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    Clever that brain. That's because the brain tells is what to do to get the ball to the exact place we are looking. It says Look at the Exact Spot.

    Try flinging a piece of closthing into a clothes hamper. Stare at the exact spot where you want the clothing to go and and the same time throw the piece of clothing. Magic..it goes in without any planning of what sort of arm action we are going to use.

    Keep practicing. It will make you mother very happy.
     
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  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It depends. If it was foolproof, you would not see so many pros missing free throws.
     
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  16. aprilfool

    aprilfool Guest

    Some bright spark did an analyses a few years back and claimed that he is actually looking through the rear of the string bed, as seeing the ball at the moment of impact is impossible when looking directly at it.



    http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/federervisiontechnique.html
     
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  17. blastforehand

    blastforehand Rookie

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    I saw these photos also. In the next shots Nadal has caught the cheetah by its right rear leg, flung the poor thing over on its back, and then in the final shot Nadal has delivered the coup de grace to the cheetah's neck. Awful to see, but not unexpected.
     
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  18. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

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    Systemic Anomaly is really into the looking at the ball through the racquet strings thing. Not sure if I buy it though. I slow the ball down with my eyes and see it hanging there, but when the swing happens it's just a blur.
     
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  19. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    For tennis, we need to visualize the target while swinging, not stare at it.


    Actually, what Federer appears to do is to look at the ball (or contact point) thru his strings. This is not an absolute must for every player tho'. The most important part of the Fed vision technique is that he keeps his eyes and his head very still for (nearly) all of his forward swing. Moving the head during the forward swing tends to screw up the swing path of the racket.
     
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  20. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    Cool comparison with the Cheetah. You see the same thing with top marathoners, sprinters and even believe it or not hurdlers.

    I think its huge for tennis. My number one issue is looking up too soon and taking "my eye off the ball" which goes back to a calm/still head. Taking my eye off the ball does a couple of bad things. I won't make minute adjustments until contact and I'll probably lift my shoulder when I lift my head hurting the stroke in progress.

    I like one of the Tennis Channel episodes where the instructor talked about what choking was. Looking up too soon to see the future....to see the results of your shot too soon b/c you are so tight and worried about the outcome. Make the shot at hand first...one at the time...completely. Then move on to the next one.
     
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  21. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

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    +1. Very well stated. Worrying about the outcome / lack of confidence are the main reasons for looking up / picking the head up. The most common situations that elicite this are volleys, half-volleys, sitter put-aways, passing shots, and of course, just general all around sucking.

    It can be a reflexive cycle. You're not hitting well, which causes more looking up, which leads to sucking more, etc...
     
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  22. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I was caught in this vortex last night.
     
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