Should the racket face be closed at impact for a SW grip?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by newyorkstadium, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    Exactly true. At contact the racquet face must be perpendicular to the floor. At most 5 degrees tilt. With an extreme grip you just need to contact the ball more up in front of you.

    The grips is really about that wrist snap, or wind shield wipper movement, to accelerate and brush the ball from a low to high movement to impart top-spin. But at contact the racquet is always squared with the ball.

    This happens automatically. Why think about it? That will only harm your game. Just focus on brushing, from low to high and making hood contact with the ball. Thats it.
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    So, is it square, is it 5 degrees, is it 8 degrees?
    The harder you swing, the more difference it makes.
    Plenty of pics of Nadal hitting regular groundies with at least a 10 degree closed face.
     
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  3. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    it all depends on what you want the ball to do...

    want more topspin?

    close face more... until balls hit the net, then swing more steeply.... until balls sail long... then close face more... until balls hit the net, then swing more steeply... suddenly your shot is jumping off the the ground up and forward aggressively after the bounce, you grunt more... your biceps are bulging, your water bottles are lined up and you feel compelled to clear the baseline and touch various body parts before you serve... your girlfriend is much prettier, thinner and supportive, she has an accent and your family are closer than you have ever been, people cheer your name wherever you go, everyone wants to touch you, etc...
     
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  4. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    When has this ceased to be an exchange of idea? I don't get upset. Do you? :) I might have gotten a wrong impression from you but what have I written that was offensive to you..? :)

    Yeah I missed the title about grips. Posts in a thread tend to veer in many directions and I only read the immediate point.

    Anyway, maybe it's just semantic. Aid, define..whatever.. bottom line is it's difficult to align racket face with one grip than with another. Each player has his/her own unique swing path, physical built, perception, etc...that they prefer a particular grip. Hence we have from eastern to western varieties. Don't make it too complicated.
     
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  5. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    We're cool.
     
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  6. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    I know, but I am not hitting at that level, and the balls coming my way are not fast and high enough for me to hit with a closed face. If you see still shots of fed at contact a lot of them are contact at square face. Closed face is possible for them behind the baseline but I am just saying it does not go at will for people like me.
     
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  7. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    I lol'ed.

    10goatposts
     
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  8. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I believe you, but I think with more play we naturally adjust the racket face so that it isn't too closed. Sometimes the racket face needs to be slightly open to just get the ball over the net.

    Still, it is worthwhile to try a slightly closed racket face if you can take a good cut at the ball. It might logically seem that it shouldn't work, but works just fine with decent net clearance. Try it sometime.
     
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  9. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    Logically it works because I know for a fact a half volley is hit with a slightly closed face and it cleared the net all the time. :)
     
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  10. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Hewitt uses full western grip for forehand and his point of contact is between his chest and his mouth and the racket face is vertical. Watch Novak Djokovic's semi-western FH and observe closely the face of the racket at contact, it's vertical.

    At times it appears that the racket face is close that's because the ball has been contacted already and the picture has been taken after the ball has been hit (NOT at contact).
     
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  11. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Mahboob Khan,

    Yes, video does show that the racket is often perpendicular to the court on groundstrokes, but it also shows that the racket is often slightly closed, and in rarer cases, especially with lobs, can actually be open when hitting topspin.

    Here's an edit for Khan. We know that the racket is closed because the video shows the racket going from very closed (sometimes parallel to the ground) to less closed in the forward swing. In slow motion video, we therefore know that the racket is not flipping closed due to contact (though that does sometimes occur depending upon the contact point). Watch the videos, it is possible to hit a topspin shot over the net with a slightly closed racket face.

    I remember when Vic Braden used to teach that racket "had to be" vertical, but it happens that this isn't true. In my opinion, the video evidence is overwhelming that Federer, Nadal, et al, are often hitting topspin drives with a slightly closed racket face.

    If you don't believe this try it yourself. I think you'll be surprised. You can use a tripod mounted video camera to confirm that what you feel is actually happening.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
    #61
  12. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I think you can hit still use a slightly closed racket face on a dropping slow paced ball and even a mid-court ball below the net height. Of course, you could also use a vertical or very slightly open face. I have been working on using a closed racket face and I use it on slow balls that are dropping. Played mixed last night and girl hit several deep loopers and still used closed racket face.

    Try it - let us know what you think.
     
    #62
  13. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    in a way, the racket face angle is irrelevant, as the ball does NOT touch the frame!

    it goes contact -> pocketing -> separation

    ball makes a concave on the string bed, shaped like a (

    for a topspin ball, the ball separates from the lower part of the ( which is open. this is why you can have an upward trajectory even if the frame is closed.

    this is also why softer strings at lower tensions tend to produce higher trajectory as the ( is deeper.

    this is science. boyz.
     
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  14. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    uhm... dude...:shock:
     
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  15. thecode

    thecode Banned

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    I think you must hit hard enough to pocket the ball like luv says if you try to use a closed face, which is not the case for a soft looper.
     
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  16. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    My earlier statement was not clear. She had soft loopers and I returned them with a closed racket face. I don't agree that you have to "hit hard" - I think you have to take a full accelerating swing in order to hit a slow dropping ball with a closed racket face, but I was not hitting them overly hard - just about 3/4 pace on my return.
     
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  17. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    It seems like there is evidence of players driving the ball with slightly closed racket faces. To me it is a bit beyond concious control, but enough to not warrant saying keep racket head vertical at all costs.
     
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  18. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    what, dude?
     
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  19. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    idk. maybe i misunderstood what you meant. you said the face angle is irrelevant? are you saying if you swing at the same ball with the same swing path one with a closed face and one w/ a neutral face you'd get the same results?
     
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  20. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    My opinion is the angle of racket face is relevant. A slightly closed face results in more topspin and since you can level out the angle of ascent and still get good spin, it is still a high percentage play. You don't have to swing upward at 45 degrees, instead you can use 15 degree upward path.

    Yes, the ball contacts the strings but the angle of the strings is important.

    My SWAG is that a forward leaning face pushes up more on the top 1/2 of the ball at contact. TW Univ has research that shows you get more topspin on a kick serve when you contact the ball above the equator - basically hit it on top. On kick serve and topspin groundstroke, you still have upward stroke path. I think closed the racket face on a groundstroke is related to hitting the top 1/2 of the ball on a kick serve.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
    #70
  21. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    i said 'in a way'.

    sure it's a factor.. the frame sets the | before the ( is formed.

    ultimately the ball only knows about SEPARATION, the shape of the ( and where it leaves the (

    also, the ( is not a smooth surface, hence a open string pattern tends to produce an even higher trajectory than a dense one.. ball penetrates into the ( more, so the lower string pushes up the ball more.

    but, all this stuff on paper is only good on paper.

    it doesn't take too many trials and errors for player to figure out the face angle for any type of shots.
     
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  22. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Of course when the racket is coming off the loop the strings are pointing to the ground but we have to see what happens at the point of contact (when the strings actually hitting the ball). I also agree that a "little bit close" at contact is ok.

    "Little bit close" at contact might be ok for groundstrokes hit from the baseline but can you hit a winner with it?
     
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  23. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Yeah, I don't think we disagree much, except that I think you can still rip the ball hard if you have racket head speed and perhaps a racket face at 75-80 degrees from the court rather than perpendicular. The low to high racket path is still needed but it it doesn't have to be steep.

    Since learning this, I now teach my students a range when demonstrating the proper racket angle for a topspin drive. I show them that the racket should be close to perpendicular with the court, and demonstrate an angle between about 75 degrees to say 95 degrees for most topspin ground strokes. How a particular player hits will depend on experimenting, but I don't want them to get overly concerned with having a precisely perpendicular racket face, especially when I'm teaching them to "pat-the-dog" and close the racket face down at the end of the back swing and then let it open from that very closed position during the forward phase of the swing.
     
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