Low trajectory and heavy topspin

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by peakofthebounce, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. peakofthebounce

    peakofthebounce Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Messages:
    245
    Shot A. If you close your racket face, and swing violently upwards at the ball, you will hit a shot with high pace and heavy topspin that also flies very low over the net. It may bounce shorter due to the spin.

    Shot B. If you open the racket face and swing violently through the ball, you will hit a shot with lots of pace but little topspin. It will also fly low over the net. It may bounce deeper due to the lack of spin.

    Both of these shots are low trajectory shots that have lots of pace (i.e. they are not loopy). But what are the pros and cons of each? Would it be better to hit shot A or shot B in most situations?
     
    #1
  2. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    4,761
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I use "Shot A" a lot. It stays low and crashes into the opponent's racquet with a lot of force. It is heavy. Hard to hit this kind of ball back with interest unless the opponent has a more conservative grip and really swings through the ball.

    Shot B looks like something I would not ever try to do. Hitting a ball with high pace and no spin makes for a ball that is easy to block back, easy to slice back, easy to dropshot.

    Spin (topspin or backspin) is what makes a shot difficult to deal with.
     
    #2
  3. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,362
    If the angle is there from the contact point to the target B would be the most aggressive shot since the speed loss due to spin will be minimal. But as long as you can reliably execute such flat shot.
     
    #3
  4. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    10,481
    Location:
    Germany
    Shot A won't act the way you described…
     
    #4
  5. Cobaine

    Cobaine Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Messages:
    291
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    I agree. Shot A is going to travel at least 3 feet over the net if you're hitting from the baseline.
     
    #5
  6. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    4,761
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Shot A would land deep. That's where OP is wrong.

    A flat, heavy topspin shot almost never lands short.
     
    #6
  7. spun_out

    spun_out Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    215
    To hit Shot A, you need a relatively flat swing path and a less than perpendicular racquet face angle at contact (although the angle of racquet face needed is dependent on various factors). The topspin comes from the wiping motion that is produced independent of swing path, as a result of the racquet face violently opening up in the move from takeback to forward motion.
     
    #7
  8. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    Federer hits low trajectory and with heavy topspin.
     
    #8
  9. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    10,481
    Location:
    Germany
    he hits everything really. He also hits very high trajectory topspin shots with his FH.
     
    #9
  10. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    Yes which is why he is the most gifted player in history. He hits a lot flatter than in his prime because his movement isn't as good now. That's what Nadal needs to do in order to keep winning in his late twenties. The guy can't grind forever.
     
    #10
  11. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    10,481
    Location:
    Germany
    yeah that's true. Nadal though has difficulties flattening out his shots (consistently) due to his grip/technique, which is another reason why his decline will be much more dramatic.
     
    #11
  12. peakofthebounce

    peakofthebounce Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Messages:
    245
    Sorry, I should clarify, that I am talking about using this shot on very high balls. Say neck-height or higher.

    If I wish to return a looping shot with low trajectory, I swing upwards at the ball with a very closed racket face. This causes a ball with a lot of pace and topspin and a relatively low trajectory (to my eyes it looks like it's being smashed downwards, but that's probably an illusion - it probably still goes upwards initially slightly). However, it may bounce short due to the topspin. It kicks forwards. This is what I meant by Shot A.

    You can only hit these shots on high balls, as otherwise hitting with that closed a racket face will dump the ball into the net.

    In this case, is Shot A an effective shot vs Shot B?
     
    #12
  13. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    10,481
    Location:
    Germany
    you would not be swinging upwards, but through the ball.

    Which shot is better depends on what shot you want to play and where your opponent is positioned.
     
    #13
  14. peakofthebounce

    peakofthebounce Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Messages:
    245
    With shot a I am swinging through the ball to a certain extent, but I am also swinging upwards, because it's a 1hbh, and I can tell that my racket drops as low as my thigh and rises up to meet the ball that is neck or head height
     
    #14
  15. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    10,481
    Location:
    Germany
    we're discussing a OHBH, good to know :lol:

    the greatest part of your swing will be through the ball to truly get the result you described.

    The flat shot is good as a passing shot, the high shot will have much more length and a high bounce and is good to put pressure onto your opponent when he is on the baseline.
     
    #15
  16. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,326
    Also function of where you catch the incoming ball.
    If it raising you don't have to hit up a lot even with closed racquet face. Even a relatively flatter swing path would produce the trajectory A you mention.

    If it is a falling ball, a closed face, moving upwards is a recipe for shanks.
     
    #16
  17. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    2,258
    Location:
    Between the baseline and netcord.
    Almost every ball I hit is similar to "Shot A" but I hit it deeper, about 2-3 feet before the baseline.
     
    #17
  18. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Messages:
    829
    Location:
    UK
    Shot A will land shorter and give the opponent far more time, like those rally balls Nadal hits which land at the service line and kick up. It's consistent and hard for the opponent to attack, but you'll need to place it wide to hit a winner. At lower swing speeds the kick doesn't make up for the early bounce so the opponent can attack the ball.

    Shot b will skid through like a Del Potro forehand and win lots of points, as long as it is hit hard enough - however the consistency will be terrible so it needs to be this effective to be a worthwhile shot. At lower paces it will be very easy to read due to the lack of spin, so the opponent will beat you with consistency.

    I recommend heavy topspin aimed 6ft+ over the net (like Nadal when rallying deep), or average spin shots aimed 2-3ft over the net (like Djokovic).
     
    #18
  19. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    19,994
    Location:
    On my iPhone
    Tennis hack would love a thread like this.

    Wait.....
     
    #19
  20. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,100
    Oh yeah, it's him.

    [​IMG]
     
    #20
  21. peakofthebounce

    peakofthebounce Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Messages:
    245
    So how do you get shot A to land deeper? Just swing really fast at the ball with the closed racket face?
     
    #21
  22. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    10,481
    Location:
    Germany
    yes and no. Swing fast and flat, with a slightly more upwards motion (or more opened racquet face) than shot A.
     
    #22
  23. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I'd approach the OP from a different perspective...same swing path, mostly horizontal with a small vertical component, same swing velocity, aiming 2 feet over the net, struck from 2 feet behind the baseline. Shot A with a western grip, shot B with eastern forehand.

    Shot A crosses the net at 50 MPH lands short at the service line, kicks up and "feels" faster when hitting the opponents racquet due to spin.

    Shot B crosses the net at 55 MPH, hits just short of the baseline, medium bounce.

    Either shot can be effective...the benefit of A is that you can swing out more, even as you get closer to the net, and keep the ball in play.

    If you hit shot B from inside your own baseline and don't slow down your swing or add more spin, it's going 4 feet long. This is in essence the "margin for error" that has put so much emphasis on topspin.
     
    #23
  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,414
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    You need both, and many more.
    Short and heavy top is great for creating angles and dipping passing shots.
    Deep with less spin is great for pushing the player back, opening the court for the short and heavy top.
     
    #24
  25. Rafaboy

    Rafaboy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    Manacor
    the modern technique with the western fh does not require an open faced upward swing path.

    instead, the racket face only opens for a split second from the pAt the dog position. then it closes again with the follow thru, into the wiper finish. modern technique teaches us to hit with the edge of the racke, contact is made with the lower edge of the stringbed as it snaps thru.
    if you have not grasped this concept , then you are not employing the full use of this technique. you can immitAte everthing you see , but then it would be just mimickery of what reLy takes place.
     
    #25
  26. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,412
    First off, for this conversation to make much sense we need to set some constants, like the speed of the swing. If we can assume speed of swing at "X", then we can now address the question here with a reference. Lets also set the shot trajectory as Y or 2' above the net with a waist high contact point.

    Ball "A" with good TS, speed X and trajectory Y....that shot will land shorter than shot "B" due to the topspin and and slightly slower ball speed.

    To have shot A land deeper you should simply raise the trajectory about a foot to 3' and the shot "A" will land deeper and likely close to where shot B would go.
     
    #26
  27. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,412
    Shot A is much more useful due to control, variety, and consistency.

    Shot A is much better for working the width of the court, as well as hitting passing shots (due to the dip you can get). THis shot also tends to give a bit tougher bounce depending on how much spin a player can impart. The spin really helps to avoid hitting long and giving up too many UEs.

    Shot B can tend to fly on you leading to UEs and has a very consistent easy bounce to time/return. It is also way easier for a man at net to volley because it flies so flat.
     
    #27
  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,414
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    John McEnroe used shot B and was able to defend himself against some decent players.
    Lots of US College graduates hitting shot A and ranked in the 200's.
    Still, you need both, not one or the other.
     
    #28
  29. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,415
    of course the harder you hit the lower the trajectory of a topspin shot will be.
     
    #29
  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,414
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Nadal hit's decently hard and his forehand has a HIGH trajectory.
    Harder still, his 2hbh has a LOW trajectory.
    His forehand is hit with heavy topspin.
    His 2hbh is hit with very little topspin and lots of ball speed.
     
    #30
  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,412
    Yes, clearly a time for shot B with good players, but shot A is critical and makes for a strong foundation and lots of variety available using it.
     
    #31
  32. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,412
    Imo, understanding this issues in your question here is very important to consistent improvement.
     
    #32

Share This Page