straight arm fh vs. bent arm fh

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by tree90, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. tree90

    tree90 New User

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    ive just started reading this forum lately and ive seen a lot of talk about straight arm forehands, and forehands with the elbow tucked in. can anyone tell me the difference between the two and, and the benefit of each? thanks.
     
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  2. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    let me sum up the differences between them.
    Straight arm forehand = More power potential, Harder to time.
    Double Bend forehand = Less power potential, Easier to time.

    Why?

    Because straight arm forehand have a bigger swing path making it easier to plow through the ball, but it's harder to time because you have to hit it out in front of you more which requires better footwork, anticipation, and ball judgement to hit it consistently.

    Both forehands can be developed into world class forehands, double bend (in most cases) being the easier of the two.
     
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  3. halalula1234

    halalula1234 Professional

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    i use straight because its more beautiful :twisted:
     
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  4. wyutani

    wyutani Hall of Fame

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    anything that the boat floats.

    or anything that floats ur boat.
     
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  5. Pet

    Pet Semi-Pro

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    Eeee, no. For example, Blake and Gonzalez have a lot mph in forehands and hit with double bend.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaUH9Bevnew&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFibX-inICg&NR=1
     
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  6. OverTheHill

    OverTheHill New User

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    I just switched from the double-bend FH (semi-western grip) to the straight arm FH (eastern grip), and I absolutely love that I did so. I can hit more with power, aim and consistency now with the straight-arm. Your mileage may vary.
     
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  7. ledor

    ledor Professional

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    Experiment with both, but play with what's comfortable and consistent in your strike zones. I like the bent arm, but I'll throw in a straight arm too.
     
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  8. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Well he said more POTENTIAL. You can definitely pop a bigger forehand with the double bend position; you just need far more racket head speed to pull it off.

    Monfils has knocked the biggest forehand I've ever seen in terms of speed, and uses a double bend. But look at how much energy he has to put into the shot. He's jumping, twisting, and exploding. Then you look at Federer do the same thing (at 90-105 mph), it looks almost effortless. Then you look at Nadal do the same thing at 111 mph. It looks like more effort is used than Federer, but far less is used compared to Monfils. Nadal isn't exploding off the ground and putting every little bit he has into the shot.

    Nobody can make it look as smooth and easy as Federer or even Nadal.

    A straight armed forehand generates power more easily than a double bend because it's much easier to extend your racket through contact. A double bend is more likely to pronate through contact, creating nothing but spin. Your body has to create the power. With a straight arm, you can generate both easily in whatever combinations you desire.

    If Monfils could master a straight arm forehand and put as much acceleration into the ball as he does with the double bend forehand he has now, he could probably be #1 in the world with that shot alone!
     
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  9. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    I put potential on there :). Timing is more important, to me atleast, then how your arm structure is. You could swing the same racket with the same speed using straight arm and double bend, but either one could easily get more rpms/ mph on the ball.

    Straight arm forehands are more centered around timing for power and consistency then double bend.

    Btw OP, if you want more detail on straight arm/double bend, there are some really good posts if you search "straight arm forehand" and look
     
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  10. SourStraws

    SourStraws Rookie

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    With a bent arm on the forehand...Your racquet head angle is more steady...With a straight arm, it's more likely to change...Overall it's whatever floats your boat...I use a straight arm and it works for me...Thats just how I learned how to hit the shot...It's no big deal

    S.S.
     
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  11. Pet

    Pet Semi-Pro

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    Revolutionary tennis: ¨All in all the arm's parts compress into the body (to reduce their moments of inertia to increase the stroke's angular momentum) in an effort to whip the racket face around the arm and the body as fast as possible to hit the ball head-on. In a not so small way, this is similar to an ice skater spinning in a circle with her arms extended who then brings them in to spin faster. Of course we don't spin around, but for the small moment of a forward swing, the arms come in closer to the body to increase our racket's forward acceleration.¨
     
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  12. albesca

    albesca Rookie

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    Straightening the arm, mean to minimize the elbow joint hinge action. The result is a shoulder pivot swing ... slower but heavier at contact.

    At club level is very hard to keep tha ball in play with a straight arm forehand ... maybe because it is harder to spin the ball with the arm straight.

    I imagine that Federer is able to add to that shoulder pivot swing (power), a wrist action, keeping the elbow angle firm just before the contact and relaxing the wrist joint to have a whip action (spin), according with coach Dougherty that explain: a whip action needs a soft segment attached to a solid segment ..

    ... what imagination ... !! :)

    Ciao
    Alberto
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009
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  13. agalloch

    agalloch New User

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    i use a combo of both with a straight arm it helps to keep your head level with the ball and bring your weight forward through the shot and rolling the wrist over the ball at impact
     
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  14. benxten

    benxten Rookie

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    Definitely agree with this at the pro level as looking at some old and recent clips of Agassi hitting, his bent arm forehand is pretty flat and can drive through the court just as well as Federer's straight arm forehand, and most people know that Nadal's straight arm forehand can have some wicked topspin. Agassi's forehand also looks pretty smooth and less effortless than Monfils. However, I'm more interested in your average everyday player as I am one of them and I think they make up the majority of tennis forums. From my experience playing and watching high school, usta/alta leagues, and college intramurals, I noticed for the most part consistency wins over power and from what I have heard about straight and bent arm forehands, I would think most people would be leaning more towards the double bend forehand than the straight arm forehand as the latter seems more risky. From my experiences, the bent arm seems better for longer rallies, running forehands and defensive ones even though a straight arm would give you more reach but you have no control over the ball. However, straight arm forehand sare great for putting weak serves or weak shots away as one can now set up and time the shot.
     
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  15. FedExpress 333

    FedExpress 333 Professional

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    There is n such thing as a concious decision on hitting arm position. Federer hits many double bends too. It is because he uses a pull stroke that he sometimes has his arm extended ore.
     
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  16. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    yeah, I hit with a straighter arm but i dont think about it.. one thing you dont want is to hyperextend the arm thinking about hitting with a straight arm. Always should have some bend in there, even if it looks like a straight arm forehand
     
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  17. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I've noticed that quite a few players that attempt to hit with a straight arm (elbow) have more control issues than with the double bend. Appears to be a wandering elbow issue.
     
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  18. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    I think if you want to hit with a straight arm, it has to be a pull stroke.

    Whereas, with a double bend, you can use push or pull, but probably not as much pull as with a straight arm.


    So before you try to hit with a straight arm, make sure you know you'll be doing a pull stroke.
     
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  19. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    Sorry to unearth an old thread, but I did search for "straight arm forehand," funny.

    I just posted a video of my strokes in another two threads here because I saw that I hit a lot of shots with a straight arm forehand. This was news to me, as I thought the straight arm forehand was a hard technique to learn and saved for the likes of Nadal and Fed. Like you said, I have never consciously thought to hit with a straight arm and never thought I was in the first place. The video I posted had a lot of me trying a recent take back tip experiment, and due to suggestions I plan on changing the take back to pretty much what I had before (which will have me hitting a lot of shots with the double bend).

    What I was trying to figure out on my video threads was what makes the difference/what determines if you hit with a straight or bent arm? If people have good general technique is it just their timing, or vice versa? Is there more than that? I don't need to know so I can make changes to my strokes around the answer (since success can obviously be found in either one), but there must be an answer!!
     
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  20. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Straight arm vs double bend on their own is not a big deal.

    What is important is whether you are using pronation vs supination in the transition between the takeback and forward swing.

    If you're using pronation, you tend to produce a straight arm stroke, but the fact that your arm is straight isn't what's making the big difference. In fact, you shouldn't be focusing on hitting with a straight arm at all. That comes by itself from getting proper contact position. Watch Federer and Nadal, they frequently will hit double-bend forehands if they're not in perfect position.
     
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  21. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    TheCheese, that makes perfect sense actually. You saw on my video how much I was pronating on the take back, plus this is confirmed by pro slow mo videos, so thanks!

    I was wondering before this if supination from bad timing and/ or bad technique was causing some of my seemed-to-be regular shots to hit the back fence once in a while. After watching the video (9 seconds in) it appears that it's just me getting too under the ball and swinging across my body, which seems to create an upwards swing path. Could supination still have a hand in this?
     
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  22. getagrip

    getagrip New User

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    Whats the injury potential for these ? IMHO The double bend would be inclined to bends and twists and aches and pains
     
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  23. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

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    I have heard people alluding to double bend posing more risk for injury, but I have not seen conclusive data. I'd wager that people experiencing pain with DB forehands simply have poor form on their forehand which puts undue stress on certain parts of their body.
     
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  24. getagrip

    getagrip New User

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    Well mostly the blame is put on Stiff Guts / Stiff Frame / Racket Stability / Ball centering .... I say the mechanics of the game demand a different kind of training. A kind of training that requires a Bio Mechanic's expertise.
     
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  25. dimkin

    dimkin Professional

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    I find what controls my control is how long I spend the rf down in the takeback - the longer (ala Murray), the more control.
    If I don't consciously keeping it down and steady, letting it do a loop instead - my fh is all over the place.
    Having said that the straighter my arm is, the more controlled is the shot plane, the more consistent the shot.
     
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  26. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    I am skeptical. Did you ever film yourself and see if you are doing what you think you are doing? I tried and it's a hard stroke to master.
     
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  27. marian10

    marian10 Rookie

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    Federer doesn't push. Yes there's a forward component in every stroke of any player. But the fast change of direction is done by pulling inwards. Bent and straight-arm are not different techniques. Players can use both without thinking.
     
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  28. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I can't understand this notions that straight arm Fh is superior in any aspect. The fact that some "think" it looks more effortless really has no bearing and likely is completely untrue. If it actually took less effort, then there is a good chance we'd see some much faster straight arm Fhs than we see with the double bend. Imo it is sad that due to 2 top players with the most amazing movement and strategy on tour winning a ton of Slams with their heads and feet have glorified their Fh so much.
     
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  29. ace_pace

    ace_pace Rookie

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    Straight arm is theoretically better in terms of angular velocity. Assuming the angular velcoity is constant, the longer the lever (arm) the faster the tangential velocity (racket head speed). In practice, it becomes debatable. Del Potro, Cilic and Verdasco are examples of people with big straight arm forehands.
     
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  30. ace_pace

    ace_pace Rookie

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    Not sure if i can post website blogs here, but tennisspeed has some great info on both types of forehands. Main thing it points out is that the straight arm forehand produce more rpms on the ball than double bend on average (explaining federers high rpm in spite of extreme eastern grip).
     
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  31. Curiosity

    Curiosity Semi-Pro

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    In defense of the straight arm forehand, I would emphasize this:

    It is easier to apply major internal shoulder rotation just into the hit, as both Fed and Rafa do, without substantially displacing the contact zone of the racquet. This, provided that you get the racquet head below the hitting hand, and get the racquet lagged. If you do these and hit with a straight arm...then the racquet face goes "where the hand just was." Even better, as they say, than sliced bread.
    -
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
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  32. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Legend

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    I always felt the double bend used more ISR..

    http://www.essentialtennisinstruction.com/throwing-vs-the-pendulum/

    Interestingly he claims to be illustrating the Fed forehand - but uses more of a double bend.. The throwing action on a forehand is usually thought of as a double bend forehand. And it certainly seems that men anyway can hit rockets with the double bend forehand - and its a lot more common..
     
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  33. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

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    Neither technique is superior or inferior, they simply groove better with different players. I groove much better with a straight arm forehand, and a tall and powerful friend of mine grooves much better with a rather extreme double bend.

    All I can say is try it out for yourself and see what you prefer.
     
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  34. 10isMaestro

    10isMaestro Semi-Pro

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    Both can provide adequate shot control and power. The common point, however, is that you shouldn't hit forehands with your elbow stuck to your body. It has to be elevated away, both during the forward swing, as well as during the unit turn and take back phase. Then, if you prefer to make a straight arm contact, go ahead.

    Some players repport that it is easier to hit hard with an extended arm. That statement is questionable, even if we apply it to a difference in body shapes. I have read and heard people comment on how a large, rather heavy man will be able to smack a double bent forehand more easily whereas slander, thin people should stick to straight arm forehands. As far as I can see, comparing anecdotally top performers of either type of forehands, the gains in pace and spin must be rather small. Others have commented on straight arm forehands being harder to handle because they are executed further away from the body. I am not sure that anything like that is visible, again, in top performers.

    Now, do these concerns extend to amateurs? Perhaps, perhaps not. Personally, I can't hit with a bent arm because I keep moving around the angle at my elbow. To make sure I don't cheat, I hit with a straight arm and, frankly, it did help me.
     
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  35. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Several players have big ones, but the biggest are bent.
     
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  36. ace_pace

    ace_pace Rookie

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    Hence its debatable, for now anyway. I would argue that the straight arm is relatively new in tennis in comparison with the double bend and that there still needs some time for people to gradually adopt it.
     
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  37. hotshotMan

    hotshotMan New User

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    your wrist must be flexible (like Federer) to hit straight arm FH
     
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  38. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Straight arm is definitely not new.
     
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  39. 10isMaestro

    10isMaestro Semi-Pro

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    Let's be technical for a moment to see exactly how we would proceed if we were serious about settling this debate.

    Causal assessment always involve a counterfactual exercise: we are asking how would the same player perform with forehand type A relative to him playing forehand type B. Unless you have a group of people in order to randmonly assign forehand types, our only solution to answering this question would involve using field data. In that case, we'd be comparing group averages (estimators of conditional expected values) for different interesting components of forehands. There are two main problems with this:

    1- You have to be ready to accept that a given set of players with forehand type A would be performing exactly as a set of players using forehand type B if they were using forehand type B (we discard differences by narrowing the comparisons -- e.g., comparing players of similar age, experience, etc.);
    2- Because you won't have enough data to compute all those averages, let alone meat the requirements for convergence, you'll have to accept specifying a functional form for your expected values -- i.e., you'll be forced to run regressions. (It also implies we need special solutions for the above problems, but we can skip this part for now.)

    Doing this would settle the debate, provided the method credibly takes care of those two problems and provided we do find enough of both types of forehand. Now, I ask you the relevant question. Considering that our procedure requires sizable variability (actually, variability of a certain kind in specific places) to detect any sort of significant statistical difference between both forehands, do you think we'd find something? I frankly doubt it. The other problem we'd face is how this would play out for amateurs because our most reasonably accessible source of data would be top professional players' statistics.
     
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  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Maybe power POTENTIAL is a better word to use.
    And it takes a certain build and trained player to hit straight arm forehand consistently, much tougher than a bent arm forehand.
    Look at the forehands of the young, up and coming WTA players. ALL are extremely bent elbow forehands, but that could be a function of the strong grips used nowadays.
     
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  41. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Isn't it just simpler to accept that these pros found what worked best for them? and that in that process, it shook out as it did, with the bent arm Fhs tending to be the more powerful and Imo, best controlled and versatile Fhs. Only way to see the straight arm as more powerful is to speculate and excuse of why it is underperforming currently in that aspect from what I see.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
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  42. Bender

    Bender Hall of Fame

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    I can confirm that you can get bicep pain from straight arm forehands, especially if you frame the ball a lot due to bad timing.

    Source: Me and two other people who hit straight arm forehands and have had the same issues.
     
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  43. 10isMaestro

    10isMaestro Semi-Pro

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    It is simpler, but it is neither equivalent to, nor does it follow from what I proposed. Underlying your proposition, there are very strong hypotheses concerning human behavior, namely concerning its aggregation and the resulting impact on individual decisions. Besides, it almost readily answers the question because of hypotheses.

    It doesn't settle the debate and it doesn't even give you an edge over someone else who pretends the opposite. He can invoke that athletic performance involves habit formation which comes with sufficient "intertia" to counteract the evolutionary effect underlying your propositions. In both cases, we'd supplying the information we DO NOT have concerning the effect of forehand types by imposing strong hypotheses on observations... You might as well conduct the argument by saying "I'm right and you're wrong."

    You can try to defend your hypothesis by claiming it's credible, although the point I rose in this post is a genuine concern whose effect is equally plausible. You could alternatively point out that my previous discussion, however technical, did the same thing, although this assertion would require qualification. I detailed the proper procedure, taking time to explicit the problems that would arise and the gist of the basic hypotheses we would need to accept to believe this procedure. Also, my point did not make a sweeping claim about human nature, but about forehand performances -- specifying the anecdotal nature of this comment, I said I do not see enough variability in performance to expect a proper analysis to show the forehand type matters. That's a lot less strong of an assumption.
     
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  44. 10isMaestro

    10isMaestro Semi-Pro

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    Another interesting thing about the value of being explicit: the omitted variable bias.

    Let's make things more specific: the variable of interest for performance is the average speed. We'll suppose that your experience of tennis allows us to use the law of large number and, thus, that what you have in mind is in fact a consistent estimator of the difference between the average speeds for each forehand types. Let's grant that it is accurately negative, if we do straight arm average speed (SAVG) minus bent arm average speed (BAVG). Can we conclude that this is evidence that the bent arm forehand is better than the straight arm forehand at producing fast balls? The answer is no. Oddly enough, your "forecast" or predicted value for SAVG-BAVG is the best forecast you could ever make, it just doesn't have any causal interpretation.

    Consider a world where big guys hit harder and, somehow, bigger players systematically choose a bent arm forehand. In that case, part of SAVG-BAVG caputes the effect of bigger guys. Stated differently, we can't believably call the performance of a pool of player with a much greater amount of big guys a plausible estimate of how the smaller guys of the other group would have performed, had they preferred a bent arm forehand. If we have data on weight, we could control; if we didn't, we could control if we had many observations for each individual (assuming the weight is sufficiently constant through time).

    How do we get rid of the problem? Well, instead of estimating averages per forehand group, we'll estimate averages per forehand AND per weight (or per weight category or, using panel data, per individual). We don't throw in additional conditions to find excuses. We throw them in because we're giving our best shot at approximating a physics experiment. We want to do different things with one variable at a time, holding the rest constant. We want the same pool table, the same balls, the same layouts, the same angle for the path of the white ball, but different speed, for instance. We can show that the bias will be a function of the correlation between the variable you omitted and the variable whose causal effect you are trying to assess. In our former example, SAVG-BAVG would overstate the impact of forehand type. For all we know, the causal effect might even have the opposite sign, depending on how large is the bias.


    Even granted a ridiculously implausible scenario where your judgement and experience match the joint performance of proper statistical computations and random sampling, your argument remains incorrect.
     
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  45. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Not implausible at all really in my experience and track record. In fact, I'd say that despite your faith in stats, Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful. Correlation is not causation. While I can agree that with the right training, some players might could hit faster forehands with the SA, I still don't believe it would be a superior Fh for competing. I only mention how the fastest measured serves have all been DB to question why so many erroneously state the SA is more powerful and to point out that the SA can't even provide any data to back up that claim.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
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  46. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    If you look at the FH as a sidearm throwing motion, the DB is your model. If you look at it as pulling across, ie Oscar, it seems to me the SA is more natural.
     
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  47. 10isMaestro

    10isMaestro Semi-Pro

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    You either did not read me or didn't understand a word I said.

    1. In my first reply, I spelled out for you what anyone who wishes to use field data needs to accept in order to evaluate causation. That is not restricted to statistical models: it also applies to your personal experience and inferences, except that your experience is an awful sampling process. If you're not able to use controlled experiments, you'll do formally or informally what I spelled out: you'll use what someone does in situation A as a proxy for what someone in situation B would be doing if he were in situation A. If you don't like that proxy, too bad: there's no other option.
    2. There is plenty of reasons in my post to suggest statistical analysis should be carried out and interpreted carefully. Moreover, if you paid attention, you'd find a detailed explanation of when exactly can correlation be interpreted as causation. I'll spell it out for you: the aforementionned proxy needs to be believable. In other words, get rid of possible omission biases. In plain english, it means try not to compare apples and oranges when building your proxy.
    3. Do you know why I brought up the omission bias? Because, despite you vomiting a slogan about correlation not being causation, you committed this mistake yourself, repeatedly. You can't even use the difference between average performances in many indicators to support your conclusion. The players are not randmonly assigned forehand types, so there very likely are determinants of performance that also happen to be correlated with forehand type. What if bigger players pick db fh? What if players who tend to be more conservative or hit loopier shots use the db fh? What if better footwork comes more readily to s fh players? What if the older players more frequently use a s fh? Comparing averages amount to saying, exactly, that your proxy for the counterfactual scenario where, say, Federer plays a db fh is the average performance of db fh players. It is transparently silly.
    4. I don't put "faith" into statistical analysis. It just happens to allow me to formulate an idealize scenario so I can spell out specifically what I am doing.
    5. Seriously, the old "all models are wrong" line? Compare statistical analysis to your gut feelings: I can formalize my argument, from A to Z, point out exactly and transparently the reasons underlying my choices, as well as point out the ideal and what sort of second best option I have under hand. It would also make it harder for my biases to impact the conclusions. Your gut feelings involve very questionable hypotheses you're not even aware of using. Like it or not, you're basically soing the same thing I would be doing, with fewer data, a bad sampling method and a profound lack of transparency -- and that's if you even think about how those things work together and don't just give an overall impression.
    6. In all this, you even managed to miss the fact I didn't expose any profound opinion regarding both forehands. I said I doubted there's enough variation in performances for us to see any difference once we control for other potential factors. I could be wrong, but the only approximately sensible way to show me wrong is to do exactly what I explained, not emit an equally questionable opinion -- if not more questionable, given the tone and the absence of concern for spurious correlations.
     
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  48. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    actually it was YOU that didn't read or understand my comment, even after I repeated it for you. I didn't vomit and that is very rude if you want to come off as serious and professional. I don't recall speaking of avg performance to prove anything and only mentioned top performance to point out the the biggest Fhs recorded are not SA, and how odd it is they repeat that the SA is more powerful as though it is a commonly known fact.

    I don't even argue (unless I strayed during all this nonsense) that the SA isn't more powerful, but argue that it is not proven as such, along some evidence to the contrary. So really you have mostly mistaken my position and gone off chasing shadows as your discussion relates to my comments.

    On the other hand, I applaud your efforts to actually set up a model to offer some proof of where this issues stands. Imo if you focus more on that and less on needless attacks on me, you might just make a good point.
     
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  49. 10isMaestro

    10isMaestro Semi-Pro

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    675
    Maybe I did come off a bit too harshly. As I read your previous post, I was convinced it was written with a different tone. Visual and bodily cues do convey a lot of information, apparently, and they certainly were missing here. I apologize then.

    As for your comment, as I read them, I understood you were drawing comparisons by using common observations from your experience, not pointing out a few outliers in the dataset. I was somehow convinced you were comparing your overall impression of both types of forehands, but I see you were talking about extreme cases.
     
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    #49
  50. philosoup

    philosoup New User

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    Los Angeles, CA
    I think we are talking about a forehand shot where the ball still lands in opponent's side of the court. If you put more spin you could hit harder, and thus higher ball speed. The "effortless" straight arm forehand uses less energy, but it can be technically more difficult shot (and much less players doing it) to hit at extreme high speed and still have the ball in court, so you don't see the fastest forehand coming off from straight arm.

    Straight arm has arm and racket head in more linear trajectory, while double bend motion seems to be more loopy. The actual physics obviously is a little more complex. But it is sufficient to say the straight arm is more likely to create better energy conversion. So it is more "effortless". Double bend is better in spin potential. It may have more spin to hit high speed and still land in court, but apparently requiring more effort and looking less "effortless" .
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
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