Question about the nature of hard courts

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by bjsnider, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. bjsnider

    bjsnider Professional

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    Hi, I need to know something about hard courts.

    Up until recently I'd only ever played in a parking lot hitting against a wall. In that context, I considered myself pretty good.

    I recently hit around with someone at a reconstructed, resurfaced, painted hard court. I knew it would be different, because the ball's timing is different off a racquet than it is off a wall.

    I was unable to hit any groundstroke other than a slice 1hbh. Everything else sprayed. I couldn't read the ball, so I was frequently out of position. But worse than that, it was doing crazy things when it bounced the first time.

    This is what I'd like to know about. On this particular court, the ball would sometimes bounce up with heavy topspin, sometimes it would skid low, and it hardly ever did what it should have. On at least two occasions, the ball skidded as if it hit ice. It hit, then slid a foot or two, and bounced under my racquet. Other times it would bounce straight up and curve low as if Nadal had hit it. I was not able to read the ball at all off this court. So, my question is, are the things I'm describing normal for a well-surfaced hard court?

    The court had recently been painted blue and red by the city. There was enough paint that it wouldn't be possible to see the texture of the material beneath (probably asphalt).
     
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  2. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    Spin from the other player plays a big roll in how the ball will bounce when it's returned to you. A ball bouncing off a wall won't have any spin... i.e. it'll be a flat return. Something you almost will never see from an actual person hitting to you. Try another court next time, but I doubt that's the case. Hitting against the wall won't teach you to play tennis. It will teach you how to hit a ball with a racquet so you can make contact. That's about the 2% part of tennis that you learned by doing that.
     
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  3. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Take it from a guy who hits against the wall a lot, there are definitely differences. The biggest thing I notice is that playing against the wall takes your time away, so it's harder to get the right footwork and run around shots, it's also harder to approach and volley against the wall since you have less time. The bounces are also different too.
     
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  4. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    It's actually good practice for those times when you play a net rusher or someone who hits the ball so hard.
     
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  5. tball

    tball Semi-Pro

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    Congratulations. You've just experienced a proper hard cord. Play on it as much as you can -- to get used to those bounces.

    Not all hard courts are like this. The hard courts where I practice are bold. Underspins and topspins do not communicate much. Unfortunately, I spend 99% of my time on them -- and have gotten quite used to them.

    When tournaments come, they happen at far better private hard courts where the surfaces have incredible grip. I've always taken aback by how different the bounces are on those sufraces. I usually end up playing the same guys -- so their technique is quite familiar to me. But with a new surface, the entire game is totally different. I feel like I am 15 again -- with the ball bouncing wildly around me and I am struggling to catch it. Unfotunately, I cannot practice on those courts -- they always come a surprise to me.

    Are there any standards on "grippiness" of the surface? Either my public courts are way off, or whoever laid down the private courts went way overboard with the ingredients. I kind of suspect the former ...
     
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  6. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    That is actually a pretty funny line. I like it, and no offense intended to the OP.

    As you play more, you will find all sorts of differences... even between courts of the "same" composition. One public hard court will feel/play different than another... faster, slower, dead spots, cracks, affect of the wind, direction in regards to the sun, noise, etc.

    Then, you play on clay... again, huge differences which will really throw your game off the first time.

    Or you might play on plastic mesh/grid type courts... again, very, very different.

    And then you start playing indoors at clubs... and their courts are different... different wear on the courts, different lighting, different "run off" area on the back or sides (even non-existent run off area on the sides if they have the divider curtains pulled).

    The more you play, the better you can adapt to the differences faster. The longer you only hit vs a wall, the tougher the transition will be... and that is just the court surface consideration... you haven't even touched on the myriad of player differences... which you will find out is even a bigger variable. MUCH bigger. Court surfaces are A factor, like the type of racquet or string you use... the opponent factor is THE difference maker.
     
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  7. floydcouncil

    floydcouncil Semi-Pro

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    RF used to beat the wall, now he's struggling.
     
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  8. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    Is "wall" a code word for Nadal?
     
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  9. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    The OP needs a bigger racquet. :p
     
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  10. bjsnider

    bjsnider Professional

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    Well, let me just defend that comment a bit. I play with a difficult racquet to master -- Dunlop's 200 Tour -- pretty much the heftiest, heaviest stick there is. About as heavy as the Fed Tour 90, but a lot bigger and heftier. Weighted down more by the replacement of the stock grip with a leather grip. If I can play with that successfully in any context, I think I have earned some respect.

    About 20% of the balls I play with end up broken. They break along the glue seam (tennis balls are two halves of rubber glued together). The balls have all their extra felt off in about 15 minutes of hitting. I can stand in front of the wall about 15 feet away and sustain a rally ripping the ball as hard as I can hit it quite a few shots before I get a bad bounce. I can stand about 35 feet away from the wall and reliably hit a small sign posted to it, with the forehand or backhand. 10 shots will yield a couple of hits or near-hits. The sign is about 8-10 inches on all 4 sides. It says "No idling".

    I have no trouble pronating on serves or forehands, and supinating on backhands. I can flatten shots or topspin/sidespin them. My serve is very good, in fact it was by far the best shot I had during this session I mentioned. The guy I hit with mentioned he usually didn't get a chance to return a serve like that.

    I knew going in that the timing would be different, but I thought the bounce wouldn't be too much to worry about. In fact, the surface was by far the biggest problem.

    At one point early on I can remember thinking "I have got to stand further back, give myself more time", so I did. And then the ball landed 20 feet in front me and died LOL. So much for me.

    BTW, we used those cheap Wilson "championship" balls (red and yellow case), which I think were part of the problem. I had some US Open balls in an unopened can. I should have insisted on hitting with them.
     
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  11. bjsnider

    bjsnider Professional

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    Well, it says on the city's website the court I played on was painted using a "urethane surfacing system", so it's not the preferred acrylic paint used in a high-quality hard court. So I guess that's why the bounce was crap.
     
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  12. spinorama

    spinorama Rookie

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    Lol I love this forum
     
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  13. sam_p

    sam_p Professional

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    I so agree. It is kind of the tennis equivalent of Ripley's Believe It or Not!
     
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  14. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    It is not the court. It is because you are playing against a person and not a wall. The balls off the wall will have little spin, while a person can hit topspin (high bounce), side spin, slice(skidding), and everything in between.

    Hitting against the wall is only going to get you so far, you have to play against an actual opponent to really get better.
     
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  15. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Repeated for awesomeness.
     
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  16. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    I don't think even the 120 mph 3.0 servers have claimed to literally break the tennis balls in half when they hit them. Impressive stuff.
     
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  17. tennixpl

    tennixpl Rookie

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    Walls have no spin, plus you know where the ball is going, and asphalt (i assume) is a lot diiferent than even bad tennis courts.
    Each court surface has a different amount of sand and grit which "slows" it down and makes spin take a more pronounced affect.

    on a wall/asphalt setup almost all energy is transferred horizontally while on a tennis court a lot of energy gets transferred to vertical movement. Add a topspin shot to a court that will grip and it is a completely different game.

    I did same thing as a teenager, hit for hours against a wall, and became "good", step onto a court and had no footwork bc the ball bounced different and i didn't know where it was going.

    Walls are to learn a stroke, ball machines/just hitting to learn some prep and footwork, and playing to learn how to actually "play" tennis.
     
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  18. tennixpl

    tennixpl Rookie

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    delete double post
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
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  19. hcelizondo

    hcelizondo New User

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    Cmon guys this is a joke and you are clearly falling into it LOL
     
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  20. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Until recently, I only played tennis against unicorns. I was undefeated an felt confident, so I challenged a human. I had a hard time adjusting to a player that could hold a racquet and not one with imaginary hooves. Anyone else have a similar experience?
     
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I find the advantages of unicorns to be their extraordinary speed, and they run around with FOUR tennis rackets, giving disquise and uniqueness to their returns.
    Plus, after an extended warmup, the court favors them because they tramped holes all over the court, causing unpredictable bounces and skids.
     
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  22. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    Hahahha yeah must have been the balls.. Haha this has to be trolling.
     
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  23. DirtBaller4

    DirtBaller4 Rookie

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    Great thread!

    Lefty Trolls with their low bouncing skidding topspin 125mph kick serves are at it again.
     
    #23
  24. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Either the top percent of arrogance or a poster giving us all a good laugh. I'm assuming the latter. ;)
     
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