Model yourself after the best of all times

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 10isfreak, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    We can argue back and forth about who has been the best player, all era's confounded, even if the margin for counting Federer out is an ever receding entity. But, for a matter of comparison, let's not waste our chance of also using Nadal!

    A blogger "whose name shall not be written" has published a very extensive and detailed comparison of both of their forehands. I will not post any link to the web page since TT sometimes view it as a form of advertisment or poromotion, but you may find him through google using "tennis" and "speed" as key words.

    Here it begins:
    The ready position
    [​IMG]

    Breaking the triangle
    [​IMG]

    Completed backswing
    [​IMG]

    First forward move
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    20 frames (95.2 milliseconds) before impact
    [​IMG]

    10 frames (47.6 milliseconds prior impact)
    [​IMG]

    At impact
    [​IMG]

    5 frames (23,8 milliseconds) after impact
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  3. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Follow-through
    [​IMG]

    End of stroke
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  4. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Hate to break it to you, but strokes hit during warmups aren't really the strokes anyone should model...
     
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  5. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    Interesting how both their shots look to have identical tech specs.. but the resulting ball is so different!
     
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  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think Nadal is swinging much faster around impact
     
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  7. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    why not? i think the pros do these practice strokes for a reason. it allows one to know the ideal racquet path, muscle movement and such so that it can be called on during match play to the extent the situation allows.
     
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  8. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed this. It is amazing how similar such disimilar players are. I have seen split screen side by side video analysis of Fed and Nadal and it also showed the common attributes of each shot.

    I disagree with the comment above that modeling after these "warm-up strokes" is not a good idea. This analysis includes all the attributes of the modern forehand in my view and I hope (dream) my FH is as close to these as possible.

    I think once you have these basics down it becomes possible to adjust to the dynamic situations of real match play. If you don't have these basics down, there is no way in hell that you can adjust to the dynamics of match play. Walk before you run baby. So, this is way cool in my view.
     
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  9. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    One difference I find interesting is in the 2nd frame in post 1 where they are "prepping" (Yandell) or "getting in stalk position" (Wegner); is how Federer leads back more with the elbow. The elbow leading back keeps Federer stroke a wee bit more compact. I prefer this method rather than tucking the elbow into the side like Nadal which allows the racket arm to get a little more behind the body.
     
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  10. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    There's also a lot of slow motion video of these two guys hitting balls during matches. Your criticism will hold if those strokes are a lot different mechanically. I tend to think from what I've seen that they're not.
     
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  11. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Hate to break it to you, but these aren‘t warm up strokes... they are practice strokes and since players are less challenged during hitting sessions, these are pecisely the ideal model because they‘re strokes in their purest form. During matches, pressure and adaptation might force unusual, weird adjustments.
     
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  12. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    The blogger explains that Nadal usually steeper swing path generates higher trajectories while increasing the effect of his extreme racket tilt at impact. That‘s why Federer hits more flat and Nadal gets a more loopy effect. It also exposes an important fact: your swing mostly determine how high the ball flies, how steep its rising slope is when it leaves your racket.
     
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  13. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    These are obviously great strokes.

    The real questions are along the lines of:

    - Should this be taught to beginners?
    - Should this be learned from scratch, or should this stroke be developed over the years?
    - How hard is this to learn and maintain, even for a dedicated, experienced player?
    - Is it worth the transition?
    - Does it require exceptional timing or footwork?
    - What are the downsides?
     
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  14. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Let me put it to you differently. If your body looks identical to either of the last frames at that point in the stroke in matchplay, you are not hitting the stroke as well as you could (even if the previous frames are also identical).

    As to the availability of slo mo matchplay strokes of the Pros (these two in particular)... that is exactly my point. Congrats.
     
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  15. isilra

    isilra Rookie

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    I don't think the result is so different. Fed has the second most average rpm on the tour after nadal. He plays more offensive and flat compared to nadal, that's the only difference between their shot. It's a matter of eastern grip vs western grip.
     
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  16. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    this is not nadals usual swing.

    in practice he mostly uses a ww finish (and hits the ball quite flat) but in games he uses that lasso FH almost always.
     
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  17. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    His usual swing on hard courts does involve a ww follow-through. As for the swing itself there is not a lot of difference between the reverse forehand and a standard ww forehand. The point being that both players show extensively similar mechanics, contrary to common beliefs.

    As for the sake of comparison, we‘d have to compare Federer and Nadal both doing a reverse forehand to get a real idea... whether Nadal uses it more often or not is of no relevance here because we compare swings, not tactics.
     
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  18. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    One of the thing the researcher noted is the difference between reality and beliefs regarding grips: a great array of different grips enable players to hit very comparable shots. It‘s actually a matter of swing path and racket tilt at impact... in essence, Federer evolved into hitting flatter than Nadal for strategic purposes (same for Nadal, but with loopier strokes). It‘s their intention and habits, not their grips, which makes the biggest difference.

    There are players using semi-western grips that can‘t top Federer‘s spin production... the grip defines very little beyond the forearm to racket relationship. Both Nadal and Federer can hit the same ball; they‘re just grooved into doing some shots better than others.
     
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  19. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    As a small disclaimer, I do not think that grips have no influence; I think that this influence is very much exaggerated in tennis talks over the net or even by coaches from the USTPA.
     
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  20. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    why do 99% of players with western grips hit more spin than players with an eastern and why do players with eastern grips hit flatter that players with a western if the influence is very much exaggerated?
     
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  21. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    But that's because Federer's forehand is radically different from most other forehands.

    If Federer hit a textbook modern forehand (but with an Eastern grip), he would tend to hit flatter than his SW counterparts.


    But grip affects the typical swing path and racket tilt at impact. Sure, someone with an extreme grip can flatten out, and vice versa. But it's a matter of what feels comfortable and natural. And different grips have different ranges of what feels natural.


    Taken from a different angle: Sure, you can hit a low forehand volley with a semi-Western grip and put some underspin on it; but it would take more work and feel less "natural."
     
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  22. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    not exaggerated but rather underestimated IMO. grip is the single biggest factor in determining the characteristics of one's game.
     
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  23. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Far from being this determining, as far as I can tell, but again, we need data and a lot of it to make conclusive statements regarding its real impact on the game.

    To answer the poster above, your example is poorly chosen... I didn‘t say that any grip does the same job. Within a certain range, many grip produce very comparable results and that the differences the typical guy exposes do not actually exist. As for swing path matters, you can clearly see Nadal using a much more hroziontal swing without problem during hitting sessions and on faster courts... the difference seems, as farr as I can tell, to be much more the result of strategic purposes than grip. Yet again, only complex statistical tests would allow us to speak about facts clearly.
     
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  24. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    The problem with statistics is that you can‘t pull them out of an hat... you can‘t state as a fact that the population is characterized by a ridiculous bias in spin production which is favorable to western hitters without measuring it.

    As for your assertion, again, I‘d need clear numbers to tell you exactly how much grip influences spin production... it‘s actually a perfect case for ANOVA, but 8 do not have tons of data to do the test.
     
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  25. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    yes i can. everyone already knows how grips produce different results. this is common knowledge and nothing new. I can post 100's of articles from other sites that say differently than the site you posted (that we've all seen posted here 100's of times). i can find videos of world class players and former and current atp coaches saying the same thing. I can find literally 1000's of posts on this website alone all agreeing.

    i'm not sure why you think you can challenge the status quo after reading one article on a website.

    And you cite Federer as an example. That's absolutely the worst example you could provide. It's Federer. The greatest player of all time who does most things differently and better than anyone in history. Take away Fed and Rafa from your 2 man sample and tell me that you see no difference or little difference in eastern vs western shot production from the rest of the tennis playing population.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  26. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Another skeptical scientist among us...great.
     
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  27. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    haha. brilliant post.
     
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  28. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    This guy has some good articles. I think some people on the talk tennis forums are skimming his articles, picking out terminology, taking that terminology out of context, and misconstruing his points.

    Here is a great quote from one of his articles on forehand technique:

    "The vast majority of tennis players hit their heaviest topspin forehands by attempting a wide variety of body movements to create the stroke geometry associated with high-speed, high-spin forehands. The commonality of the topspin-amplifying technique/movements used by the vast majority of players is that these involve consciously manipulating the racquet hand and arm during the 100 or so milliseconds before impact.


    These contrived movements commonly include such movements known as: “windshield-wipering”, ” wrist action”, “wrist rolling” or “wrist flipping”, “brushing up at impact”, “reverse finishing", etc. , etc., etc.. All of these movements involve highly conscious, and often last-second, timing-intensive racquet manipulation where required stroke consistency can only be achieved with an inordinate amount of practice time that’s only really available to serious competitive players.


    Yet, these moves probably represent the most common methods for generating heavy topspin for the vast majority of recreational and competitive tennis players alike."

    In that article, his point is, on a rally ball where you have time to prepare, you want to set your hitting arm structure and keep it relatively the same through impact and your contact zone. You aren't going to be able to hit consistent, sound rally balls if you're consciously trying to manipulate your racket hand and wipe over the ball.

    A lot of people in here are confused about his use of the word supinate. If you read his articles, he is advocating that you set your hitting arm structure with a closed racket face in your backswing, because as you swing out to contact your racket face will naturally open. He is saying that everybody's racket face upens up more, the farther they reach forward. This is when the supination happens. It's a natural part of the forehand stroke as you swing forward and follow through. It's not a conscious action, that you have to force to add power to the stroke, or an extra accoutrement that you tack onto the end of the stroke.

    All he is saying is that when you swing forward the racket face will open up. Players need to counteract this by having a closed racket face at some point in their backswing. He believes the most consistent, sound way to do this is with a backswing and transition to the forward swing, where you set your hitting arm structure early, with a closed racket face, and then maintain this hitting arm structure as your swing to contact. And he wants you to have a simple compact backswing, where the racket doesn't get too behind the other side of the body, via more elaborate contrived movements.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
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  29. Ryoma

    Ryoma Rookie

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    Too much information. I understand why when people ask top player how they hit the ball, they usually say "I just hit it". The whole tennis instruction concept is completely backward.

    When you make the ball travel to where you wanted in a certain speed, your stroke will look pro-ish to the 3rd person.

    Just go out there and hit the ball for christ's sake.
     
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  30. babyhagrid

    babyhagrid Rookie

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    +1
    My brain is crippled by too many thoughts about how to swing, move my feet etc. Next im out on court my aim will be to just swing the racquet.
     
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  31. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    I must apologize for my attitude then... it's certainly not appropriate for discussion to reject all thoughts, let alone for science and comprehension. As anyone on here, I am also passionate about tennis, which can be both bothersome and useful and I apparently slipped into exaggeration.

    Of course, referencing only one article is not sufficient and a comparison of Federer versus some other pro does not support the point I was trying to make. Obviously, many factors influence spin production: from the racket tilt at impact, to the swing path, the ball's initial trajectory prior impact and it spin rate, the type of strings, the type of frame, the head size, the stringing pattern, etc.

    Just using two or three players is precisely pulling statistics out of an hat... just like using numbers to qualify an impression we have -- it's not any better than what I criticized other people about. Fortunately for us, passion does not equate stupidity, although it produces common symptoms at times, so we can get back to talking in a more civilized manner -- and by "we," I mean "me."


    I'll look through the posts and compile the possible answers in the next post I'll publish to update the discussion and allow us to move forward with it.
     
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  32. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Good post.
     
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  33. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Here is the resumé of our contentions regarding grips:

    And, personally, I posted that grips were not this determining.
    ___________________________________________________
    Regarding what BevilDevil posted on the first page:

    I won't obstruct discussion with a detailed analysis unless required, but I'll answer each questions briefly.

    For learning, I would advocate teaching macro elements first: provide them with a rough overall approximation of a great movement before asking them more nuance in their actions. I would teach the basic preparation, take back, swing and follow-through before telling kids about what their forearm need to do. It also answers your question regarding the learning curve: we build it in steps, adapting the simple structure by adding up new details every time.

    For the amateur problem: can it be repeated? Well, the famous wrist movement is actually easier to replicate if you use a stretch-shortening cycle. It's that "natural pronation" people talk about on the forums. It simply requires that your forehand and hand are set in the right position as you swing forward and it's easier than actively trying to make it right every time.

    Downsides? Well, if you close too much the racket face (like Nadal, most often), you also reduce the potential contact area -- it makes shanking likelier. Furthermore, on bad days, it's not impossible that you have troubles getting the hand position right which prevents the possibility of enjoying a super-humand pronation.
     
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  34. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Very easy isn't it? Yet there are only a few real pros, and they did not get there by just hitting it, but by a decade or more of focused training.

    The fallacy of your argument is that you ask a top player, and one who probably doesn't care whether you improve or not, but just wants you to collect your autograph and get out of his way. When the same top player retires and opens an academy, then you will see how much attention he pays to his students.
     
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  35. nightfire700

    nightfire700 Rookie

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    ++1.
    Seriously, I have recently started looking at tennis and the amount of science jargon we throw around, it seems like it would be a better sport for physics PhDs. Most often physics thats talked here is not even taught to kids before high school and I wonder how they learn to play and build there foundation without knowing about it or maybe they learn because they dont know about it :)
     
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  36. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Who are you refering too - is there a link I missed?

    The set the hitting arm structure early and keep it consistent to contact was taught by Vic Braden in the 70s. I agree this is a very good approach for a basic stroke.

    I think the paragraph about "contrived wrist movement" (WW, wrist roll, brushing, ...) has some good points but I think a WW finish and hitting up (brushing) should be learned at the very beginning. In other words, I think the strokes we see from Federer and Nadal can be used as models for beginners all the way to world class. These are simple efficient strokes that provide a good margin of error due to the topspin and the long extension thru the hitting zone.

    Also, Federer is "setting the hitting structure early" in my opinion. Notice how in frame 2 his wrist is laid back a bit. Nadal too in the same frame. I think most of the wrist "movement" in the stroke pattern is natural and not consious thought.
     
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  37. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    It's not that complicated and, well, reading stuff that you barely understand is a good thing for your intellectual development, ultimately making you able to understand it.
     
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  38. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Actually, the WW forehand involves a forearm action that is not a necessity for the completion of the stroke... you can still hit very decently without using that.
     
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  39. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I don't think he uses the WW more on HC
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cfB4FAvAgQ

    he mostly uses it when he hits winners against high balls. I have never seen him hit a WW Forehand below net cord Level.
     
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  40. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    The OP in this thread is referencing a tennis blog by a high performance coach that is popular with posters on here. It's called tennisspeed. You can google it. I quoted one of his blog posts. Agreed, about Vick Braden, in one of the blog's posts the author actually quotes a Vic Braden article from 1977 I think. The blog has a lot of great info on technique and stroke production. The problem is, their are people on this forum skimming the blog, misconstruing his points, and then coming in here starting threads with thread topics like maximum supination and pronation, the keys to the modern groundstrokes.

    They key point to make to these people is that when someone is supinating or pronating, it's only one link in the kinetic chain and it's the consequence of something that went on earlier in the stroke like coiling and preparing properly with the type of backswing and follow-through the author describes in detail in his blog. It's not some magic "modern" phenomenon that you can just somehow add to your "traditional" stroke. People like Vic Braden were using these terms decades ago before there were internet message boards, or Roger Federer, or Rafa Nadal.

    If you read his blog he has some good sections about how players like Lendl, Sampras,and Agassi were already doing certain things on their forehand that are now common on the modern ATP forehands we see on TV. The blogs author believes that players like Del Potro and Gasquet are stilling hitting these transitional type forehands. One of his big points is that players imitating the modern topspin shots they see on tv are employing a variety of elaborate contrived suspect techniques in order to imitate the modern strokes, and they would be better off simplifying their backswing, prep and follow through, without all the herky jerky contrivances if they want to achieve a true "modern" forehand. I think this is a point lost on many of the posters here.

    A lot of the wegnerite posters obsessed with things like windshield wipering over the ball are citing his blog and I can only conclude they haven't put much effort into reading his blog.

    A huge point he makes is building consistent shots that don't break down. And then you have posters on here who have maybe skimmed his articles talking about how Sampras is part of the traditional game, don't be like him, maximize the supination on your shots by windshield-wipering. Frankly, it's shocking how bad some peoples reading comprehension is.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
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  41. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    With standard technique, grip has a pretty big influence. With the Fed/Nadal technique, it's less about the grip because you can make your grip play more extreme just by pronating your arm more.

    Federer/Nadal are not using the same WW that players like Roddick are using. Fed/Nadal are coming up and across the ball, bending at the elbow and pulling inwards towards their body, rather than turning at the elbow and wiping the forearm across like a windshield wiper. There was a great post by Will Hamilton about this, where he talked about how the WW technique he teaches is different than the type used by Fed/Nadal and is more like Roddick/Andreev's technique.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
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  42. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    With the grip, all he is saying is you can hit a modern forehand with a variety of grips. Yet we have posters who have skimmed his blog starting threads about how extreme grips are the key to maximum supination in modern strokes. It's just mind boggling.

    He spends a ton of time on his blog teaching how to prepare early for you groundstrokes, setting your hitting arm position, and coiling properly, etc. without adding extra contrived movements that will break down under pressure. Yet we have wegnerites on here ( Wegner teaches early preparation is not an important part of the modern game and shouldn't be worried about) citing the tennis speed articles about stroke production. It really is shocking how bad some peoples reading comprehension is.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
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  43. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Well, they're right if they're talking about the most common modern forehand technique.
     
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  44. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    What?? Perhaps you could elaborate.
     
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  45. thecode

    thecode Banned

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    Hey, thanks for the point out on tennisspeed blog. There is really a lot of interesting information on there. Can you give another point out where he teaches about early preparation? I wanted to read about that and couldn't find his teaching on it. I did see quite a bit on how he describes the backswing types, but missed the part covering the early preparation where I guess you are talking about before the actual backswing of the strokes starts. thanks
     
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  46. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    The WW finish can be of two nature, essentially: in both instances, it results from a forearm pronation and a wrist deviation (going from ulnar to radial deviation). In ALL cases, that's what happens. However, there are two possible ways of achieving this movement, one being better than the other. The first, most common, involves a simple concentric contraction of the relevant forearm muscles; the second, more efficient, brings the same forearm muscles through a cycle of eccentric and concentric contraction which, if done quickly enough, results in a much faster forearm pronation and wrist deviation.

    That's what the stretch-shortening cycle is: the muscle stretches and contracts back faster like it's a rubber band. Players who present a specific type of hand position during the take back also enjoy this benefit when swinging fast enough and it's the case for Nadal, Federer and Roddick (to my best knowledge).

    Just to say that what is REALLY important about the WW forehand is there for all of them. However, you could produce a WW finish that doesn't help your shot -- think of Hewitt or Gonzalez as examples of that. They look both more like Roddick than Federer or Nadal, but despite a similar outlook, their strokes were different in a key part.
     
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  47. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Nadal and Federer have extremely similar forehands- both straight arm, both very loose in the wrist, racket points to the ground before forward swing, both clear pull strokes.

    The differences lie in the grip, with nadal being more extreme he must move through the strike zone faster with more of a brush up motion.

    The next big difference is there rackets are as different as could be with Nadal's allowing for a little bigger strike zone to accommodate his grip and swing.

    I do think the grip itself is a little over rated as hand size compared to grip size can affect the grip, and even more importantly the swing path and technique really is the primary determining factor, of course hard to hit a double bend wiper with a continental and an over the shoulder on the edge forehand with a western so the extreme grips on either side require a specific technique.
     
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