Should you hit your average rally ball as hard as possible?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Ehh, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Ehh

    Ehh Banned

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    I have been realizing that if I were to classify my game I'd say I was a 'ballbashing pusher.' That may sound a contradiction in terms, so let me explain... I am a pusher in that I always aim to hit the ball in the middle of the court (the biggest possible target) and with huge net clearance. But I am a ballbasher in that I swing at every single ball in the rally as hard as I can.

    I used to have a western forehand, but now I'm in the process of nudging it over to Hawaiian, and I used to have a semi-western 1hbh, but now I'm in the process of nudging it over to be essentially an eastern forehand grip, but turned over to hit backhands with.

    I have a very narrow focus - all I'm interested in, in the game of tennis is to see how much topspin I can put on a ball, so I try to swing upwards faster and faster, and see how much of a loop I can get on the ball, see how high I can make that sucker kick off the court. I can play a clever rec player with flat shots and sneaky net approaches, and get destroyed, but that doesn't bother me much, because I don't really play tennis to win - I play to hit more and more topspin. We all have different priorities I guess.

    I've noticed a lot of rec players sort of hit the ball with a 70 - 80% type of swing - they're clearly not hitting each ball as hard as they possibly can... Is that a bad habit though?

    And what about the pro's - what about Federer and Nadal? For their average rally shots (particularly forehand) - aren't they trying to hit the ball as hard as they can each time? Especially Nadal - his entire game is built upon hitting the most topspin out of anyone in order to break down backhands, so surely he is swinging upwards as fast as he possibly can (i.e. maximum effort) on each rally forehand he hits?
     
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  2. StringingIrvine

    StringingIrvine Semi-Pro

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    I'm not a certified tennis coach but I don't think you should be hitting the ball as hard as you can 100% of the time. You said you don't play to win so I guess you can do whatever you like.

    For example:
    Swinging 100% = 25% error
    Swinging 90% = 15% error
    Swinging 80% = 5% error

    Tennis is about %'s. Reducing errors while still keeping pressure on the opponent is key.

    How long can you keep the rally going if you are swinging for the fence 100% of the time?
     
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  3. Ehh

    Ehh Banned

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    Well, I thought the harder you swing at the ball, the more topspin you get on it - and topspin adds consistency (by adding height over the net and dip before the ball goes long), so in theory, swing 100% effort on each ball should make you as consistent as possible...?
     
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  4. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    But if you swing at 100% of what you can humanly muster, chances are you'll shank it at least a third of the time...

    Also see: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=115515
     
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  5. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    The harder you swing at a ball with topspin, the more vertical movement of the racket and the more difficult it is to find the strings. You are probably going to shank a lot.

    If I take the 100% figure as an exaggeration, then it is probably fine to really try to put heavy topspin on the ball. Did you ever see the video that TW put out on the guy that breaks strings as a tester for Technifibre (?), I think. He hits aggressive topspin again and again and destroys strings in short order. It is worth watching if you love topspin.

    I'd like to play you. It is fun to hit down on heavy topspin if I have my timing flowing.
     
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  6. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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  7. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    Nope!.............

    Dont mistake hitting hard for swinging fast. You want to swing fast with a low to high motion to impart topspin. I can swing very fast and lightly brush the ball and get heavy topspin, where the ball will bounce high but will land short. If I swing fast with a low to high motion and move forward through the swing you will get a little less spin, but more power.

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
     
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  8. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

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    The key is to hit with as much power if you have the time while still being able to maintain your technique.

    With that said, hitting hard down the middle is how a lot of people win matches at the rec level and isn't at all a bad play
     
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  9. WesternCK

    WesternCK New User

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    If your sole goal in tennis is to hit as much topspin as possible, then I don't think you're making a smart decision by changing your one hand backhand from a semi-western backhand grip to an eastern forehand grip. No matter what your purpose is actually, I don't think that's a good idea. Your wrist is going to inhibit your stroke.

    As for hitting a "rally" ball, you should not be hitting it at full power. Putting a figure on it is pretty arbitrary, but I'd say a rally ball should be hit from anywhere between 50-100%, but usually between 75-90.
     
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  10. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Hitting the right shot =/= hitting as hard as you can.
     
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  11. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    A professional never has the goal to hit the ball as hard as they can. A professional seeks to hit the exact shot they need to in order to win the point.
     
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  12. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Of course you should not hit your average rally ball as hard as you can. You will exhaust yourself and consistancy will suffer. Hitting as hard as you can is more or less reserved for the psychological satisfaction of nailing an all out winner, if you pull it off. And I guess most of us know the temptation of that.
     
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  13. Ehh

    Ehh Banned

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    Consistency will not suffer though, because more racket head speed means more topspin, and more topspin means more consistency?
     
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  14. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    It kinda depends on the grip and swing style you use. Keep in mind there is no definite right way to hit the ball.

    With a full western grip, rally shots should use 90-95 % of your effort with a focus on topspin. This is why so many players switch to western. They can swing out and hard on shots and keep the ball in consistently. The downside that I find with western is that it is hard to really just smack a ball like you can with eastern and semi.

    With semi, rally shots should be 70-80 % effort with a focus on a mix of spin and pace. Semi western can be varied a lot, but I would say the typical player just wants to hit a comfortable balanced shot for rally balls. If a player with semi is swinging with 100% effort it should be a pretty flat trajectory rip.

    With eastern, rally shots are somewhere below or at the same level of effort as semi, but i'm not sure where.
     
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  15. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Well "as hard as you can" does not spell consistancy to me. What is more important is the ratio between the shots speed, height and topspin.
     
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  16. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    The harder you swing, the less control you have over your swing mechanics. The whole point of a rally ball is to find a comfortable swing speed that allows you to reproduce your swing mechanics over and over while producing an optimum combination of pace and spin.
     
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  17. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    This is just a saying for life in general: do the best that you can without getting burned out and going beyond your abilities.
     
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  18. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Yes, "play within yourself" is a lesson for all of us. And not doing that is as common a reason for loosing as any other, even (perhaps even especially) at the highest levels.
     
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  19. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    #19
  20. cgwhitey99

    cgwhitey99 New User

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    i know the discussion has focused on the effect of "hitting the ball as hard as you can" has on the ball, but what effect, over time, will it have on your body? if you are exerting yourself to your absolute maximum, theres a chance you may not be able to enjoy playing tennis as long as possible. its just something to think about i suppose. you may have to adapt your game as you get older in order to continue to enjoy playing tennis.
     
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  21. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    You will burn yourself out in the timeframe of the match.
     
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  22. Gut4Tennis

    Gut4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    ohhh please make a video and post it....pllllllllllease
     
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  23. Ducker

    Ducker Rookie

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    OP please make a video lmao
     
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  24. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I'm sorry, but this is fairly silly. Pros do not hit even at 80% maximum during rallies. It's just that their maximum is so much greater than ours. I know for a fact, because I've seen the numbers during matches, that every one of the top 4 can hit over 100mph on the FH wing, and over 90mph on the backhand. These, however, come from winners. Here is Murray hitting over 120mph, inside out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1vkkqoTTPc

    Clearly, he has the ability to hit that hard, but yet most call him a pusher. He wouldn't be successful if he went all out like this constantly. Look at James Blake for a guy whose technique is go for broke only.
     
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  25. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    If you hit an "average" rally ball as hard as you can, then it's not really "average" now is it.:shock:
     
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  26. cgwhitey99

    cgwhitey99 New User

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    absolutely 100%. couldn't agree more.
     
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