Questions about closed and square face

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by kickingbird, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. kickingbird

    kickingbird Rookie

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    Please help me answer some of these questions! (When I say 'closed' I mean a couple of degrees).

    1) The majority of baseline rally shots on the professional tour are hit with a SQUARE face. Even the claycourters like Ferrero do so. True or False?

    2) Heavily spun angle shots (eg. passing shots) are usually hit with a CLOSED face. True or False?

    3) Is it possible to hit a ball that has a low trajectory (let's say around 2 feet above the net), which is heavily spun with topspin, is fast, and lands deep, with a SQUARE face? aka 'heavy balls'.

    I actually don't think this is possible with a square face because the harder you hit, the more spin and pace you'll get, BUT, it would also launch the ball up into the air a fair bit, would it not?

    During warmup I always hit flattish shots with a square face, and it's very consistent, but it's with about 70% of my max swing speed. When it comes to the match, I will take swipes at the ball (85% or so speed), and hit with a closed face to make sure it doesn't sail out.

    Bottom line: For me, it just doesn't seem safe to hit with over 80% of my max swing speed and try and hit with a SQUARE face.

    I want to hit consistently with full swings, but don't want to hit moonballs. I want to hit balls like Coria for instance.

    So, is this possible with the vertical plane??

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Roddick hits with a western grip, but he opens his racquet face on contact and pronates his forearm like no other pro. Federer keeps a semi-closed face on contact. Both pros hit their forehands with tremendous pace and topspin. I think if you want to be safe, keep your open face style of play, but make sure you have a whipping followthrough with a fair amount of pronating in your forearm.
     
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  3. GrahamIsSuper

    GrahamIsSuper Semi-Pro

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    Yes, crosscourt shots are usually hit with a closed face, contacting the ball on the side, giving you more angle.

    Yes, dtl shots and middle shots are hit with a square face, depending on your grip.

    Yes, it is possible to hit heavy spin/pace balls with an open faceand keep it in. Make sure you're hitting the back of the ball squarely and hit low to high, producing spin. Spin is your friend for consistancy and is a pretty good substitute for power on offcenter shots.

    Sounds like you are lacking the match experience / confidence in your game to bring your practice game to your matches. That will come with time. Don't worry about it, the worst that can happen is that you will lose 1 match, big deal. Focus more on progressing your tennis game, ie, play matches like you play practice: relax.

    Edit: Forgot to say something: Most professional shots from the baseline arc/rainbow the net at a minimum of 3 feet, check it out. There's nothing wrong with a "moonball" if its spinny. In fact, on a windy day w/ wind to your back, you'll find your opponent stuck to the back fence trying to return them.
     
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  4. kickingbird

    kickingbird Rookie

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    Thanks for the replies, and yeah, I probably do lack match practice. But I never hold back my swings during matches- I'd rather miss big than hit timid little slow balls.

    Anyway, I have some follow up questions.

    For most of the pros' rally shots, what kind of an angle are they swinging the racquet up at? Let's say if you swing directly upwards (=almost exclusively topspin, like a topspin lob) it is 90 degrees and directly forwards (=almost exclusively 'flat') is 0 degrees.

    At what angle would the racquet be swung at rally pace? At the moment I am probably doing something like 45 degrees with a slightly closed face.
     
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  5. sanitarium

    sanitarium Rookie

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    Depends on the type of ball - on a high ball where they're forced back deep i'd say 60 degrees?

    Sorry its just even a rally ball can change so much, if i hit a deep ball i'd put a lot more topspin, if i hit a ball with pace i'd hit more through, if this helps.
     
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  6. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    Take advantage of your western grip.. use an open stance and feel the freedom of movement!!
     
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  7. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Rickson, where do you come up with this stuff?

    Roddick hits with a somewhat mild western grip. He does not, and I repeat DOES not hit his forehand with a partially open racquet face. If your talking about the fact that to start the Western grip places the racquet in a closed position then as it is brought forward it opens, then I would say of course it does! This is very natural.

    The forearm does not pronate as you imply, turning it from the forearm. It pronates because his arm turns at the elbow as he goes low to high and has a cross followthrough AFTER he goes through the ball.

    It is the swing pattern that will cause the arm to finish on the other side instead of up around the neck.

    Roddick gains speed on his swing right before he strikes, and the momentum generated causes his arm (at the elbow) to come around on the other side at his side. That is all it is.

    It is NOT a forced whipping motion it is a byproduct of a very fast swing speed and the path he swings his racquet in.

    Noone needs to twist or turn their forearms on purpose to make Roddicks swing happen. What will seperate Roddick from the rest of us is how fast he can get the racquet going just before he strikes the ball.

    This makes it "look" like he is "whipping" his racquet but it is simply very natural. If you slow down the tapes on Roddick forehand you can clearly see that it is his elbow the leads the way and just before he makes contact the racquet squares quickly (AND IS NOT OPEN!!!!), goes through the ball (low to high), and around to the opposite arm.

    Also, a fixed wrist in Roddicks swing helps to maintain control of his racquet head during these very high speed swings.
     
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  8. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Photo after photo, player after player shows that at contact, the racquet is nearly sqaure or sqaure at contact. You dont need to think any further on this. If it is nearly sqaure it is almost always on the closed side rather than the open side from a simple thing called physics and the fact that pros hit quite a few balls on the rise.
     
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  9. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    So then what the hell is the difference between a square face and an open face?
     
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  10. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    Well open face is usually a slice.. as for open stance.. thats a different thing
     
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  11. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    An open face is where the face of the racquet has passed the square stage of being perpendicular to the ground. The face of the racquet (stringbed) is angling up towards the sky. That is an open face. A closed face is where the string bed is angling downward or towards the ground.

    A square face is perpendicular to the ground. It does not angle upward nor does it angle downward. If anything on Roddicks forehand he would lean to having very slightly closed when he hits through his forehand.

    Western grippers almost always tend to have a slightly closed face or a square face at contact simply from the nature of the grip. This is why the low ball is the bane of Western grippers.
     
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  12. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    I entirely agree with Bungalow Bill.

    On slice, yes, the racket face is slightly open so that it slides under the ball to slice it. But here we are talking about topspin drive ground strokes.

    Remember, we said that the height and point of contact vary with grips used e.g.

    a. With continental FH grip, the point of contact is between your knee and ankle and almost in your body line (not out in front) to assure that the racket is vertical (square?) at contact. For continental forehand you ought to have relax wrist so that it is laid back just prior to and during contact to assure that the racket is vertical at contact!

    b. With eastern FH grip, the point of contact is out in front of the lead foot, and between your front knee and waist, to assure that the racket is vertical at contact. Lower than that and it will be close!

    c. With semi western grip, the point of contact is farther out in front of your right foot (open stance), and between your mid-section and chest, to assure that the racket is vertical at contact. Lower than that and it will be close!

    d. With western FH grip, the point of contact is out in front of your right foot (open stance), and between your chest and neck, to assure that the racket is vertical at contact. Lower than that and it will be close!

    If for some reason, on ground strokes, your racket face is partially close, then your overall swing and point of contact need adjustments.

    Yes, it is natural, with western grips, when you pull the racket back to initiate the loop, the racket head stays close, but in the contact zone it should be vertical, and in the follow-through because of pronation, it closes again. This is this closing, 'opening' to assure that the racket head is vertical, and again closing which create an illusion that the racket head is partially close at contact.
     
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  13. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I said Roddick kept an open face because I always thought it was when the face was level, not pointing up or down. If I had known open face meant facing up to the sky, I would've never said Roddick hits that way.
     
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  14. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    So you give out advice left right and centre and don't know what an open face is? :p
     
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  15. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    Slight terminology goof.. give him a break heh :roll:
     
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  16. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    My icon at the end kept it light. I was pretty easy i thought.
     
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  17. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    G'day, Mite. Oy doyn't wanna bay geevin ayout bad advoice nayow, do oy?
     
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  18. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    #18
  19. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Didn't know I could speak Aussie? :wink:
     
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  20. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    Oh that's what it was, you had me fooled for sure lol
     
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