Short or long backswing? What do you think is better?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by effortless, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. effortless

    effortless Rookie

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    Title is self explanatory
     
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  2. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    It's impossible to answer that, while there are obvious pros and cons, the biggest factor is personal preference and how one's body mechanic produce power.

    Someone that relies on timing may not need the longer backswing with more potential energy, and can easily outhits one who relies on brute strength and longer backswing.

    Also, it depends on the shot. Service returns, compact swings are better. Volleys should have zero swing. Picking stuff up off the ground should have little to no swing. Blah blah blah.

    You can't just have one type of swing for your entire game.

    But if you have to ask which is better on any given shot, I'm going to say shorter backswing is better. The game of tennis and sports is to keep things simple: the less moving parts you have, the less likely you'll make a mistake.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  3. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    I would leave technicalities for coaches but I can tell you from my own experience, my backswing was always big 'cos that's how I've been playing for nearly 30 years. The problem is with faster ball exchange, where I tend to get a bit late. Shorter backswings in modern shots make strokes more compact and it's relatively easier to deal with faster paced balls. I'm in the process of rebuilding my forehand but it's not that simple to remove something that's been ingrained for years. I keep trying though.:)
     
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  4. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    Compact backswing, long follow-through.
     
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  5. effortless

    effortless Rookie

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    Seems like more people prefer short compact swings.

    But doesn't a longer swing mean more power? In that case wouldn't you want a long swing when you have time to wind up for ground shots?

    I personally think there are benefits to both. The reason i started this thread is that to me it seems too many people are advising other players to have short compact ground shots and i'm not sure that is right.
     
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  6. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    If you hit with timing, power (or lack thereof) becomes a non-issue. Not to mention, it's easier on the body.

    But yes, longer swing generally mean more power, but how much more does one need? However, like I said, if you time it right, a massive swing won't give you that much more power.

    You definitely need to have both, but you'll be surprised by how many winners/forced you can get by just blocking and flicking **** back.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  7. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    It's all about timing. Look at 2hdb for example. The swing is obstructed with your other hand crossing the body but when timed properly, those balls are like cannons.
     
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  8. effortless

    effortless Rookie

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    If someone gives you a weak shot you can't generate a fast shot with only good timing.You need to generate your own racquet head speed. I agree that with good timing you can block a fast shot back as a winner if you only have a very short swing. But there are occasions when you need a long swing.

    In my opinion a player should have the ability to generate as much power as possible when they have the opportunity to do so.

    If you have short backswings you can benefit from hitting the ball on the rise.
     
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  9. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    it depends on how much time you have to hit the shot :)
     
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  10. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    A lot of variables to be honest. The first thing you want to look at is, regardless of size of backswing, do you have a consistent contact point? If you don't, then that means your backswing is masking problems with your unit turn (or a complete lack thereof.)

    The "correct" size of your backswing can be determined by the one-foot drill. Standing on just your plant foot, go through your complete swing. If your backswing is significantly smaller, then that means your normal backswing is covering up a hitch.
     
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  11. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Alright, I think we're beating on a dead horse here. It's pretty obvious that OP likes to have long, epic, Earth shattering swings.

    Just so you know, power isn't everything. What you gain with power, you lose on precision. And as I mentioned before, the more moving parts you have, the less accurate and consistent you'll be simply because there are more opportunities for stuff to break down.
     
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  12. Vlad_C

    Vlad_C Semi-Pro

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    Here are a few examples:

    Fernando Gonzales - monster backswing loop, monster forehand:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hA28Wqp0Fg

    Juan Martin del Potro - medium backswing, still a big forehand:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY6o5m3jRfs

    Andre Agassi - more of a straight takeback, due to the fact that he was usually hitting the ball on the rise, at shoulder level.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrQ0FJ-Kn3M

    Agassi is usually used as an example of a pro with a shorter takeback, but if you watch more videos of him playing, you can see that he also had the tendency to do a loop when he had more time to prepare for the shot.

    The general trend is, the bigger (more loopy) the backswing, the more powerful the shot.
    At the park, I see all the time guys with a really short takeback, simply lowering the racquet at knee level behind them, and then just hitting up from there. But this way they "muscle the ball" instead of using the swing of the racquet to generate energy, and they can't really put enough power behind their shot.

    Personally, I like Del Potro's swing. It is a relatively simple, clean motion, and is easy to imitate.
    But when I have more time to prepare for the shot, I still go for a Gonzales monster winner!
     
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  13. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    A longer swing will take less effort to generate racquet head speed. Theoretically, less effort means it will be easier to be accurate with your swing (and to hit the ball in the center of the racquet). However the nature of the game (speed and depth of ball coming at you) mitigate some of these advantages.
     
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  14. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    My opinion is shorter backswings are MUCH better. I think Agassi ground strokes or Federer's FH with compact backswings and full WW follow-thrus have inherit advantages. At higher levels, a full backswing will be difficult as you will not have as much time and timing the hit will be more difficult. Also, shorter swings have less moving parts which equates to less things to go wrong in my view.

    But, Soderling had massive swings and did well with them. So, it can work either way but I strong feel compact backswings are the way to go. Some WTA players also have longer backswings like Wozniacki.

    My rule of thumb is the entire swing should be in front of your shoulders - you pivot the shoulder to the side as part of the prep and from there, the hand and racket head should start entirely in front of you chest/shoulders. The racket head should never go so far back that your opponent can see it sticking out from behind you back.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
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  15. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    IMO, your swing should be generated primarily by upper body rotation and arm supination/pronation, not by swinging independently with the arm from the shoulder. A long unit turn will get your chest to about 4 O'Clock (from above). That's where your racquet face should be pointing as well. I hope that answers your question.
     
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  16. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    I think this is where the discussion should head. It is kind of hard not to have a longer backswing if you are getting good trunk rotation. I think people should get good trunk rotation and pull the racquet back far enough that the buttcap faces the net and then let it rip.

    If people are not getting good trunk rotation and trying to hit everything open stance with a short backswing, then it is my guess that they are just arming the ball and not getting the body involved. And there is always time to properly set up for a hard hit rally shot if one does a proper split step, gets their shoulders turned and has good footwork and speed. If a player doesn't have those fundamentals down solid it is useless to circumvent them by using a compact swing.
     
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  17. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    What is the source of power on the forehand, the arm or the rapid recoil of the hip and shoulder back to the ball?

    Which takeback provides better timing for the rapid recoil, getting the racquet in the slot with the arm extended in stretch for the best potential to rapidly accelerate out of "the butt pointed at the ball" position?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Bowtiesarecool

    Bowtiesarecool Rookie

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    The best backswing is the one you don't have to think about.
     
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  19. effortless

    effortless Rookie

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    No. I like you Say Chi but don't just assume that i have a long, earth shattering backswing. I use a different swing depending on what has been delivered by my opponent. The reason i started this thread was that i felt too many people were advising other players to have short backswings. I think this is good advice for a beginner or intermediate who wants consistency, simplicity and placement. But there comes a point in one's game where i think you need the ability to potentially hit a powerful shot with a long back swing.

    In charliefederer's photos you can see that they all have medium to long backswings. To generate your own power you need to use your whole body (legs, torso, shoulders, arm, wrist). I think a long to medium backswing makes this easier.
     
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  20. effortless

    effortless Rookie

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    Good post :). I would describe Federer as having a medium back swing though (he hits the ball differently all the time). The thing is pros alter their swing depending on the shot. E.g. Agassi used a shortish backswing most of the time but if he had to generate his own pace he could do so with a more loopy take back. He had the ability to do it if he needed it.
     
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    "Better" for who and what ball, what's the idea behind the shot?
    Incoming balls, hard hit, deep and tons of spin, you're more consistent with a shorter backswing.
    Incoming balls, something you can handle, a big swing allows you to effortless hit a bigger ball.
    Incoming ball, slow and popped up, favors EITHER. A short backswing can generate enough power to hit a good shot, as does a long backswing.
    Now if you swing short and compact, you cannot swing well with a long loop.
    Conversely, if you naturally flow into long loopy strokes, you never be content with the lack of power using a short compact stroke.
     
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  22. IsnerFan

    IsnerFan New User

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    a shorter backswing has less moving parts and is generally harder to get the timing perfect
     
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Really? I find a long backswing has more moving parts and generally harder to get the timing perfect.
     
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  24. MarinaHighTennis

    MarinaHighTennis Professional

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    I love compact backswings and I think I do fine with one. However, everyone seems to tell me I need a bigger backswing ;)
     
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  25. Dreamcastin

    Dreamcastin Rookie

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    gotta disagree with that. I use a short to medium backswing for normal/heavy rally balls, but if its a putaway then i take the big swing to add some juice into the shot.
     
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  26. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    well most of the power today comes from the hip and spine rotation in the modern swings. that means as long as you coil your body enough away from the target (closing the shoulders) you can still hit hard even if you don't have a huge arm and racket lift.

    most of the "long swing" appearance of the pro strokes is because they are doing a full shoulder turn which you should do.

    I don't like a pure rotation backswing though. this can lead to a swing that relies too much on body rotation and neglects a nice independet arm whip at the end. so I like a little racket lift at the end of the turn so that the elbow is at least in a 45 degree angle away from the body.
     
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