Roger Federer and Modern Technique

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by JohnYandell, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Guys,

    So here is the long promised Federer high speed forehand at 500 frames/sec shot not in practice but a live match this past summer in Cincy.


    http://www.tennisplayer.net/public/tw/fed/


    This rear view clarifies a few things about preparation, extension, racket face angle and swing path.

    First watch how the preparation actually starts before he even lands the split step. The right outside foot is starting to turn.

    You do not wait to start the preparation. It begins with the feet and torso. In less than 2/10s of a second after that right foot lands, the shoulders have turned essentially 90 degrees. This is called the unit turn. The hands arms and racket naturally turn as well as a consequence of this unitary body motion.

    At this point the hands and the arms start to move independently, going upward and backward together with both hands still on the racket. This is the start of the backswing in my view because the hands and arms are moving on their own not just as a function of the turn.

    This takes less than another 2/10s of a second. Now the hands start to separate. The racket hand goes up probably a bit further and then starts down. The left arm straightens out and stretches across the body, eventually pointing directly at the sideline.

    Look at how all this happens before the ball bounce on the court. The backswing does not start at the bounce of the ball. The turn is complete at around the bounce. This full turn position and the timing of it is characteristic of virtually every player in the pro game. Notice also that the preparation motion is completely smooth and continuous. It never stops. There is no pause.

    Occassionally on a very slow ball or a let cord the players will pause and that is porbably 2% of the thousands of forehands I've filmed. Rhythm comes from this immediate smooth continuous preparation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
    #1
  2. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    And then hit the ball off the frame edge?
     
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  3. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Rufus, Yes exactly hit the ball off the bottom of the frame. That's my advice. Don't you want to be like Roger?

    Just kidding. The reason I picked this one was that I think we can kill a few birds here.

    BTW Roger stayed in that point although I am sure he would have prefered to hit the ball in the center.

    But the preparation phase is no different on 200 hundred other Fed fhs. The mishit helps us see one of the problems in studying still frames. If you look just a few fractions of a second after contact, the frame has turned pointing almost directly downward. People see a still of a similar moment and think he hits with a radically closed face.

    In the video you can see this as a function of the mishit. The ball is quite high and the face appears to be slightly closed. That was point I was getting around to. It's at most closed a few degrees on some balls.
     
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  4. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    John, would you agree in the term "hitting through then across your body" on a forehand such as Federer's or pretty much almost any pro rather than just saying "hitting across"? Am I Making sense here at all? Just wondering, thanks.
     
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  5. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    t balla

    Yes. the forehand swing is on an arc. So it extends forward and curves across at the same time.

    So click about 30 frames past contact and see how much he has extended. Click another 20 or so and see how he has come across his body with the hand at about the left edge of the body. But see how far forward the hand still is.

    Now the swing can break off sooner and shorter for sure under circumstances, and the hand turns over in the so-called wiper more or less. This one is fairly moderate.

    The point is how far out the swing travels as it comes across on the drive.
     
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  6. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Thank you thats exactly what I was thinking. Cheers
     
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  7. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    If you use hit with a semi-western forehand, shanking balls off of the bottom edge of the racquet happens quite frequently. It's not pleasant but it happens.

    I'm a prolific ball shanker, but the benefits of the semi-western forehand (at least to me) far outweighs a few shanks here and there.
     
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  8. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    Jab step! to the side :D
    I think that the left hands point roughly towards contact point
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011
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  9. MixieP

    MixieP Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for sharing!
     
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  10. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    nope.........

    [​IMG]

    ball deflecting racquet past contact due to a very loose grip

    His racquet does look a bit closed in the forward swing, possibly causing some of his shanks though
     
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  11. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    yep......

    [​IMG]


    Cheers

    Ash
     
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  12. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    nice one.. got it a frame too early :)
     
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  13. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    It really illustrates JY's point from earlier in the thread - one frame either way and he either hits pretty much out of the middle or right from the bottom of the bed! As JY said you have to be very careful analysing single frames from vids as they won't tell the whole story!

    Cheers

    Ash
     
    #13
  14. Chenx15

    Chenx15 Banned

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    isn't his back swing a bit too late? i think he's framing it because he is underestimating the ball, his back swing is late, and he moved his head too quickly. just some observations
     
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  15. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    The unit turn is before the bounce, but then the racket is held up just behind his head with the tip of the racket still tilted forward.

    Then after the bounce the racket is then brought all the way back+dropped down to complete the back swing.
     
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  16. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Thanks for posting, John. Loving your website as well.
     
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  17. Consolation

    Consolation Rookie

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    It has nothing to do with his grip (which is closer to Eastern than SW).

    Roger shanks because he, more than almost any other pro (Davydenko), hits the ball on the rise. Those balls are coming incredibly fast with tons of spin. It's not possible to be perfectly accurate in your estimate of how the ball will bounce each time, and to hit on the rise, you have to commit early. If you let the ball apex and start to descend, it's a lot slower and you have time to adjust to variations in bounce angle.

    I suspect the reason you shank a lot of balls is not the same.
     
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  18. Bacterio

    Bacterio Rookie

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    I came in here to ask if I'm approaching tennis incorrectly by not obsessing over the minutiae of a particular stroke. I always feel lost in threads like these. That's a serious question by the way, just wondering if perhaps I'm missing out on astronomical improvements or if this thread and others like them are just different ways to approach the game.

    They do seem like a good topic of conversation for those that like to dissect the game in this way. I can also see the value some might find, but personally I'm almost convinced I would start disliking tennis if I approached it in this manner.

    Oddly enough though, as lost as I knew I was going to feel with just the thread title hinting at what was within, you all managed to take it up a step and make it even worse with all these back and forth jabs at each other.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Stalking/finding/tracking are terms which have been coined to replace phrases like keep your eye on the ball or find a rhythm. Their correctness cannot be proved or disproved as they are just a play on words to make them seem different from previous phrases. I might as well come up with a "strategy" called "keep you mind on the ball" and spend years arguing how it is correct, because it can be interpreted in any way suitable to me.
     
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  20. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Oh god, I feel another literary reference coming on. Scott Peck's classic, People of the Lie.

    No matter how many times you make basic points about technique and document them with video, there will always be people with agendas that will twist it around. Now I am asked to explain his own terms to him. No thanks.

    What I tried to do in this thread was show what one version of great preparation looks like. The whole shape of the backswing thing and where the tip points you can find top players with multiple angles including angles that are backward.

    But for those of you who requested pure info my point is this: start your preparation with the feet and shoulders immediately after the split. Keep both hand on the racket as the backswing starts--this duration can also vary a bit.

    And most importantly, get the shoulders turned 90 degrees plus, the left arm stretched across, and reach the top of the backswing and hopefully slightly further by the time the ball bounces on the court.

    If you learn the feelling of your version of that position you'll crush the ball and have confidence in your forehand.


    Got to go out to the matches at Indian Wells but more on the actual meaning of extension later.
     
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The first tennis book I purchased was Visual Tennis This was 2004. The photos alone were enough for me. Those days there still weren't too many videos on the net or it did not occur to me to search for them. I started oout with the forehand eastern grip and the footwork described in the book. The book would have a main line of instruction which emphasized classical play, followed by remarks like, once you are comfortable, you can incorporate more topspin into your shot, change your grip etc. The 1 handed BH I felt no need to change from the book, but on the forehand, I automatically slid to a SW grip and followed the advice of transitioning to topspin. TS came naturally to me as played table tennis as a kid and to this day, I cannot hit flat. But for other starting adults, I have found that they sometimes don't take to TS as easily as juniors. Many of them become good doubles players and continue to hit more flattish. Others like me pickup TS more easily. What I found from Visual Tennis (which I have now given away) was that it introduced me to a very easy way to start playing without the extreme grips etc which could cause injuries to an adult, and yet had enough hooks to add more TS and different grips and open stance as further options. That is the path I followed.
     
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  22. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    thanks for this john. And glad you brought this last point up. I keep hearing this term thrown around: "extention".

    I really don't know what it means - when I think of extension, I think of elbow extension, or wrist extension, or some other joint extending. But I get the impression that in the context of the forehand stroke, it means something different?
     
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  23. Lawn Tennis

    Lawn Tennis Semi-Pro

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    One signature part of Federer's forehand is about halfway through this video. When the swing forward begins, the racquet head stays behind. The wrist falls back as far as anatomically possible and the racquet quickly follows.

    What is your opinion on this? How much more racquet head speed does it create if any?

    Almost all recreactional players I've met do not employ the described. Many professional players on both the ATP and WTA do not employ it either.
     
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  24. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    @Spacediver...Extension in this case refers to the movement of the racquet arm through contact. The arm (in a double bend forehand) is bent at contact and through impact extends up and in the direction of the target before coming across the body. See the composite image of Nalbandian below...

    [​IMG]

    You can see the four frames of impact and how the arm straightens and the hand moves up and out toward the target (the hand is still on the contact side of his body), the last frame shows the start of a move toward a wrap-around finish.

    Maybe the MTM posse will say this is "up and across" hitting and not extension, but therein lies the problem - semantics! What I describe as extension, MTM may call something else and JY something different again!

    Pretty sure these arguments all boil down to different words for the same thing - and that kids, is why you shouldn't get your instruction from an internet forum where the written word is the order of the day!

    Cheers

    Ash
     
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  25. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Really? It looks like a semi-western to me. Maybe I'm looking at wrong. :confused:

    Haha, and the reason is because I'm no where near as good as Federer. I'm just saying whenever I shank balls, 90% of those shanks come off the bottom edge of the racquet.
     
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  26. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    well said in the broader sense of things.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011
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  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yes, just rephrasing an old concept to make it seem like something new.
     
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  28. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    agassi took the ball on the rise even more than fed and he never shanked.

    I think rogers shanking comes from his extreme wrist action. the wrist action is what makes him so good. his arm speed and shoulder rotation is not better than the average top10 player, but he is much more flexible in the wrist.

    anyone lays the wrist back, but he does it more than anyone else. that means that the racket will turn around the hand very quickly leaving little room for error because the racket goes on a very tight arc with large angular displacement. this means little misstiming=much error (but creates also a lot of speed of course).

    here I illustrated this. between those 2 swings the forearm/hand doesn't cover a lot of ground, but the racket does.
    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
     
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  29. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the reply:

    very hard to make out anything in that image. I can tell that the racquet is tracing a curved path (windshield wiper), but can't make out any elbow extension.

    I also have no idea why elbow extension is even relevant in discussion of the wiper motion.

    Can you clarify?
     
    #29
  30. Hewex

    Hewex Semi-Pro

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    A ww forehand has to have some across the ball extension...because if it were a WW on a car it would have zero extension and you'd hit it into the bottom of the net.
     
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  31. sennoc

    sennoc Guest

    Roger Federer does not use wrist at his typical WW forehands.

    F-O-R-E-A-R-M.

    "Small" difference.

    ...but I also agree that wrist plays major role :)

    Can't explain everything here, you have to wait a few months.
     
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  32. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I'm not saying there is no extension, because there is some, but actually if the ww was like a car, the ball is still coming in at good speed to give a good rebound on most shots.
     
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  33. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    I'm so confused.

    Does extension simply refer to ELBOW extension?

    i.e. the extending of the elbow, which causes the arm to become straighter?

    If so, then what on earth does "across the ball extension" mean?
     
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  34. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Well... Agassi did use a behemoth of a racquet. 110 vs 85-90ish is a BIG difference in a player's hand.
     
    #34
  35. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    That image is from Hi-TechTennis.com. Whomever that modified image originates from doesn't want to give Jeff Counts credit.

    -SF
     
    #35
  36. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    and to reiterate - can barely make out anything with respect to the elbow joint angle in that picture.
     
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  37. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    You ask some good questions here.

    I think we are talking about any way of extending the racket thru contact out towards the target line past contact.

    Not sure where "across the ball extension" came from. Hope it wasn't me, but out of context, I can't be sure.

    IMO it should be hit thru the ball, but not the classic "thru the ball on the target line". Instead, "thru the ball on a up and across the target line" path.
    Hope this helps.
     
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  38. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    Visit hi-techtennis.com. The picture is from an animation.

    -SF
     
    #38
  39. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    This is complete gold right here and something I have spent the last few months focusing on more than anything. If you follow this advice to the T, your game simply goes up. Doing this has not only given me a more consistent and heavy forehand, it has also allowed me to finally figure out the best racquets for me and groove a swingstyle that works. Not to mention, I can hit absolute bombs more often and with a lot less effort.

    More people should just worry about nailing this before overthinking wrist pronation and all the other little stuff that comes naturally.
     
    #39
  40. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    thanks... so from what I gather now, extension simply refers to keeping the racquet face square to the target.

    If so, then the term may be related to wrist extension, since keeping the wrist extended, or laid back, facilitates this effect.
     
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  41. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, but I'm not following you here. John says he is coming back to discuss extension. Maybe what he says will clear some things up?
     
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  42. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    5263, remember this thread? http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=355111

    same stuff, but there I didn't use the term "extension".

    Anyway, right now, you said that extension in this context refers to "extending the racquet thru contact out towards the target line past contact"

    To me, this is equivalent to keeping the racquet face square to the target, right? In other words, if the opponent is looking at your racquet, she should be looking through the strings, rather than at the edge of the frame. This is what I mean by keeping the racquet face square to target.

    Now one of the ways in which you can achieve this is by keeping the wrist laid back. By this I mean that your wrist joint is such that there is a 90 degree angle between the back of your hand, and the backside of your forearm (see image below):

    [​IMG]

    Now if you adopt that position of the wrist DURING and after contact, the racquet face will be square to target.


    The key thing here is that the position of the wrist is what is known as wrist extension:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
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  43. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think this is on topic exactly, as I don't think the wrist position is what is in question here. Yes the wrist is in the extension position during the swing, but IMO what we are discussing here is extending the contact zone or area, for example by stepping forward or pushing out to the target. I also tend to think of the wrist more in the deviations than extension, although IMO it lies in both to some extent.
    make sense?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
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  44. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps I've misunderstood what you mean by extension.

    You say it is extending the contact zone, and by this, I take it to mean that the racquet face should be square to the target for as long as possible. Is this correct?

    If so, there are a number of ways to facilitate this. Stepping forward would be one. Pushing out towards target (allowing hitting arm structure to move linearly rather than rotating across body) is another. Having the wrist laid back would be another. Do you agree?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
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  45. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Not sure how having the wrist laid back effects extension, sorry.
    Not saying it doesn't, but that I just don't get it or see what you are getting at. I agree the wrist will be in what many call a laid back position, but think that is sort of given at this point, to help you swing faster. I guess it also affects the racket face to the ball as well, like you say in the other thread.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
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  46. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    This discussion is getting good! I have a lot of stuff to add--heading up to the Shasta forrest tonight with my wife to recover from Indian Wells...BUT the good news is we have internet at the house.
     
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  47. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    looking forward to it John :) - glad the Indian Wells experience was so positive for you.
     
    #47
  48. Lawn Tennis

    Lawn Tennis Semi-Pro

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    Will somebody give their input on this question? It's been vaguely covered in this thread, and I would really appreciate an an opinion.

     
    #48
  49. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    See the first post in this thread here - it explains it completely:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=355111

    If you gradually lay the wrist back more and more during the stroke, then the racquet face will be square to target for a longer period of time.

    Isn't this precisely what you mean here by "extension"?

    Yes or no: by extension, do you mean that the racquet face is square to target?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
    #49
  50. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    IMO it adds significantly to RHS and IMO most male pros use it.
    I don't know about the women cause I don't study them as much.
     
    #50

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