The modern game

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Shroud, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,742
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Trying to get my head wrapped around some things and hopefully this is an ok place for these questions.

    Heard these claims but never seen an explanation. Can anyone explain:

    1. Smaller handles produce more spin.

    2. Racket head speed is a more important factor in creating spin than racket weight.

    Thanks.
     
    #1
  2. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    The trend towards smaller grip sizes is because it allows players, especially clay-courters, to really wrap their wrist around their forehands to generate that whipping action. That's why Nadal's and Federer's grips are so tiny relative to their actual hand size. I think Guga and Sergi Bruguera started that trend.
     
    #2
  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,204
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Us old farts are just left behind the curve, and our old school games are dinosaurs only.
    While we might compete against MarinaHigh, Maximagq is beyond our reach.
     
    #3
  4. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,742
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Ok. How does a bigger grip get in the way of that? And nadal uses a normal grip not a tiny one.....if you factor in all that tape he has on his fingers.

    Can you spell it out more cause I just am not getting it.
     
    #4
  5. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,386
    gripping something smaller allows more wrist range of motion. try it yourself. make a fist roll your wrist. then grab a ball and roll your wrist.
     
    #5
  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,204
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Shroud actually HAS.
    When we switched rackets, his 5 1/8th vs my 4 5/8th, we both liked each other's racket! :shock::shock:
     
    #6
  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,204
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Possibly, both Shroud and I roll our forearms to get the WW finish, while other players might do it differently, maybe using their wrist...which I don't understand. I certainly can't figure out how to flick my wrist forwards, and still hit a tennis ball.
     
    #7
  8. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,386
    I mean roll in all possible directions. not forearm pronation supination. wrist. flexion extension deviations and combo. more wrist ROM allows more whippy strokes.
     
    #8
  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,204
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Few ATP guys have "whippy" strokes.
    Even fewer WTA gals.
     
    #9
  10. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,386
    well I think they mostly have whippy strokes IMO. your mileage may vary.
     
    #10
  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,204
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Some say Nadal's strokes are "whippy". I think it just swings faster than normal, making it look whippy.
    DJ has pretty normal all strokes, as does Ferrer, Murray, Fed, DelPo, and especially Nalbandian.
     
    #11
  12. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,265
    Nadal does have a whippier FH than most. He flexes and flexes alot all the joints in his FH swing. Others like Murray keep at least some joints "stiff" and fixed.
     
    #12
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,204
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Is it possible Nadal swings like he does because he creates the fastest possible swing speeds, while the other's are holding back slightly for control and repeatability?
    If WE were to try to swing as fast as Nadal, maybe we would all look out of sorts, disjointed, and .....whippy.
     
    #13
  14. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,141
    This is kind of interesting. I hit a modern forehand, heavy top and all, but I keep my wrist and forearm fairly firm. The topspin comes from brushing up violently at impact with my entire arm, and I try to keep the racket face as vertical as possible. The windshield wiper finish occurs at the end when my arm relaxes. To Maximagq, who I know has a very good game, do you do it differently, that is, do you actually use your wrist and forearm for topspin?
     
    #14
  15. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,742
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Do you have a vid?

    Man I HAVE been doing this. I just had a fork and flexed my wrist back and forth, and then did it with a jar of Cayenne pepper. Big difference in circumference but little if ANY difference in range of motion.

    and YES I do have a component of wrist flexion on the forehand and backhand for that matter.

    What about Nadal's tape? It shouldnt make any difference if the tape is around the fingers or around the grip, the fingers are still the same distance from the handle. So IMHO he doesnt actually have a small grip.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
    #15
  16. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    I don't consciously try to force these components but if I try to hit a shorter cross court angle, I feel that I do use a little bit more wrist to get a some extra spin. I mostly try to hit the way you do though for a regular rally ball.
     
    #16
  17. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,141
    So then why the heck is everyone on here obsessing about wrist flexion/forearm pronation?
     
    #17
  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,204
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Because it's rumored Nadal and Federer use 4 /3/8 grips sizing, and everyone is jumping onto the bandwagon.
     
    #18
  19. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,742
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Exactly that is what I dont get. Does topspin really come from that? Sure I do it but I cant say that it really adds much topspin. Mostly that comes from low to high swings. Maybe 70/30 with 30% from the wrist motion. But that is a guess.

    For me what it really does is keep the ball low as the flexion is mostly toward the opponents court and NOT up. YMMV
     
    #19
  20. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,265

    Your mistake is you attempt to "keep my wrist and forearm fairly firm."

    Ideally, the wrist and arm and forarm shouldn't even be in your consciousness. Joints are made to flex and increase range (range aides power), and if you are capable you'll take advantage of them, ie doing them to the max, while not even being conscious of them -- because you're capable, like Mike Tyson's unconscious and casual tapping would feel like a heavy punch to most guys.
     
    #20
  21. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    20,199
    Location:
    On my iPhone
    Pretty sure Nadal uses 4 1/4 grip size. And that is small.
     
    #21
  22. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,141
    Yeah, but I still have to control the racket face. Allowing my wrist and forearm to do their thing without inhibition would mess up my racket face angle at the contact point, killing my depth control.
     
    #22
  23. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,386
    nadal uses 4 1/4. Fed uses 4 3/8. no rumor. very well known stuff. yes the bandwagon is called progress and better performance. you want to be on it.
     
    #23
  24. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,386
    it becomes more important for modern E fh than SW or W fh where wrist control is not as pronounced. do you have E fh?
     
    #24
  25. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,265
    You need to play without inhibition. If anything, that's the characteristic of pro's, advanced players. You "control" everything through doing things correctly and feels and experience.

    Look at these guys play. See how "freely" they swing. That's not to say they can always control the ball and not send it to the net.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6p5ZdGR4hU
     
    #25
  26. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,742
    Location:
    Bay Area
    I know, but factor in the tape on his fingers and its more like 4 1/2 or more.

    Does it make a difference if the tape is on his fingers or his grip?? Either way his finger is gripping something larger than 4 1/4
     
    #26
  27. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,386
    I don't think taping fingers add much if at all to the grip size. pretty much negligible IMO.

    have you seriously tried using smaller grip? I mean not just hours but for extended period? I went from 4 1/2 to 4 3/8 to 4 1/4 using each at least two years. the difference was obvious. also could be just getting better but no more wrist pain I sometimes used to have with bigger grips.
     
    #27
  28. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    Messages:
    797
    Yeah sorry its not about the wrist ROM. I broke out my goniometer and had the same exact wrist measurements holding my racket and then my thicker water bottle.

    But I always used a 1/4 because it felt more comfy to me...I've got long fingers too. And I don't keep a firm wrist and I've been told I've got heavy topspin on my FH. Racket and strings help too I'm sure.
     
    #28
  29. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,742
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Nope I havent, not that small. I think that would mess with my elbow, and well all the sticks I have are at least 4 1/2. Though I suppose if I removed the grip and just put an over wrap it would be small enough. But I put a ton of weight in the handle and not having it there would mess things up. Maybe I can try it one day. Still makes no sense to me :)

    Look at this pict. That amount of tape if it were on a racket handle has to take it up at least one size:

    [​IMG]
     
    #29
  30. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,742
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Now feeling comfy is one thing and I am all for that. what is a goniometer?? Does that measure wrist movement? Interesting.

    IMHO if you change the face of the racket (by say going to a W grip vs SW or E) you get more spin than changing grips.

    Never had any wrist problems with a big grip. It feels better to me than a tiny one. but I guess everyone is different.
     
    #30
  31. redpurusha

    redpurusha Rookie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Messages:
    289
    I was watching this and at first thought it was Soderling/Wawrinka..then wait a sec, this guy plays like Roger Federer.. but not quite. Then finally checked Dimitrov! no wonder. He's like a poorman's Federer. Not bad, but not great (comparitively speaking).

    And agree with this comment made totally. At this angle you can see the height clearance, and it's pretty high. "This angle kind of makes them look human... the above angle seems unreal sometimes. "
     
    #31
  32. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,386
    It must be ROM combined with a motion, not just ROM alone. should have mentioned my assertion was not based on measurements but based on my personal feel and experience. found a piece from TENNIS.com gear editor Justin diFeliciantonio and his technical advisers. Sorry couldn't find anything more technical.

     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
    #32
  33. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,742
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Interesting!!! Thanks for digging that up. The SERVE is where the spin is supposed to be helped by smaller grips! Not monster forehands. Wow. I thought it was ground strokes!

    But I thought that the whole "wrist snap" on the serve was debunked as a myth. Its pronation not a wrist snap or flexion. So how does the small grip really help for pronation?? And what are they really feeling??

    Thanks that was a great find. Any info on the 2nd question about RHS vs mass?
     
    #33
  34. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,737
    You guys get too concerned with spin and wimpy strokes. Tennis is about ball control. It's the same now that its always been. The players today are just not as good at it.
     
    #34
  35. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,742
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Supposing you are correct, does it have anything to do with grip size??

    And isnt the modern take that the spin helps in control?
     
    #35
  36. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,737
    Smaller grip sizes just give you less stability. Players compensate by havering more,extreme grips, wrist action, and have to spin the ball more, and death clutching the grip. You really don't want to use much wrist on your shots. It's a bit fragile compared to larger muscle group on the body. A lot of new players use the wrist to compensate for bad technique. In the end its a bad recipe for both control and health.

    Spin has always been to help with control. Players just use more of it now because they don't have as much ball control. Hitting spin for the sake of hitting spin it not a very effective approach to the game. I play with a lot of different levels and people will ask me about the way they play. The real question is what are you trying to accomplish? Ok, so your hitting excessive spin....why? What are you looking to get out of it? This is where serving becomes the exception. Especially for serve and volleyers.
     
    #36
  37. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,742
    Location:
    Bay Area
    FWIW I have no plans to a smaller grip- though I am open to trying it. As a serve and volleyer I am happy with the large grip I use because it is solid on every shot especially the serve and the volley. Its a very relaxed grip precise because it isnt small as you point out.

    But the point of the thread was that I heard 2 things often repeated here with little if any proof and since I cant figure it out by reason I thought I would ask.

    And I get plenty of spin on the serve but are you saying that a smaller grip gives more spin on the serve when you say "this is where serving becomes the exception" or are you talking about wanting more spin.

    Personally I dont even get the small grip thing for the serve as my spin doesnt come from a wrist snap on the serve.
     
    #37
  38. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,737
    No you right on track. I mention the serve because for the serve excessive spin is actually useful. Especially for S&V. For ground strokes excessive topspin is often counter production for,the majority of players. It doesn't really do much for you and,has some serious drawbacks.

    A smaller grip is not going to do much for your serve. It usually works against people as you start clutching the grip because stability gets compromised.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013
    #38
  39. Tennisean

    Tennisean Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2013
    Messages:
    218
    One thing to keep in mind, in regards to grip size, is that a smaller grip allows for more power and a larger grip less.

    Works the same way with barbell/dumbbell grips and lifting.
     
    #39
  40. Tennisean

    Tennisean Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2013
    Messages:
    218
    One of the several very good reasons to wear a glove is, it helps prevent calluses.

    An added bonus is he could wear a carbon glove on his non-racket hand so it doesn't get stinky from all the backside picking. (though he may actually like and want it to)
     
    #40
  41. Vlad_C

    Vlad_C Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Canada

    1. Have you tried it yourself?
    I personally found from experience that it is true: I am able to hit with more spin with a slightly smaller grip size. I'm not talking about some excessively small grip, like Nadal. For me, it's just one size lower than what I "should" be using, according to all conventional measurements.
    I couldn't really tell you exactly why that is the case. I think it starts with the fingers and hand muscles being more relaxed around a smaller grip.

    2. That's fairly obvious, I think. The spin is created by the low-to-high brushing up the back of the ball, so the main factor there is racquet head speed in the upwards direction (that "windshield wiper" follow through). Racquet head speed can be achieved with both a light and a heavy racquet. For the heavy racquets, if helps if they are more headlight though (like 7pHL at least).

    Now, from the weight of that weapon you still call a tennis racquet, and the size of the grip you're using, I'm guessing you're a fairly tall and strong guy. If that's the case, you probably also hit more flat, and likely with an eastern fh grip. That stuff works great for tall guys, because you get a better angle to hit some really nice flat bombs. So if that's what you do, then a large grip size probably works great for you.
     
    #41
  42. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,141
    You're making some pretty serious claims about spin. I realize that some players use too much of it, but I have a feeling that if you were to play a ranked junior or college player, you would get destroyed by the spin that you don't think works.
     
    #42
  43. WesternCK

    WesternCK New User

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2012
    Messages:
    16
    I don't think smaller handles necessarily produce more spin. It obviously depends on technique.

    I do think that both points 1 and 2 are tied in together though in that a smaller grip can allow for a person to produce more racket head speed.

    I often tell my students that it's a misconception that hitting the ball harder will lead to greater inconsistency. In general, topspin will lead to greater consistency and the harder you hit the ball (assuming you follow through), the more spin there will be. The reason why is fairly straight forward. I've never really used this example but pretend you're rolling a bowling ball down a lane. If you roll it softly, it will probably only have rotated say, 50 times before it reached the pins. If you roll the ball as hard as you can, this number will increase to 200 (arbitrary number but the point stands). As long as you are brushing the ball, and hitting the ball from low to high, a higher amount of racket head speed will certainly increase the amount of RPMs on the ball and in turn produce more spin.
     
    #43
  44. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,386
    since you are talking about misconception, I'll add. yes corelating hitting harder with more inconsistency is misconception. and in a very general sense the other point could be true but not always. old time pros with very flat strokes had great consistency much more so than most juniors. and someone who is very good can be super consistent hitting very softly. the keys to consistency are how (much and well) you are utilizing the kinetic chain and how well balanced you are. and not how hard you hit or how much topspin you generate.
     
    #44
  45. pkshooter

    pkshooter Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Messages:
    588
    Location:
    In front of the TV
    I always thought timing was the greatest component to topspin, and keeping your muscles lose was a way of making sure your brain doesn't get in the wy of making that connection. Because at some point you do tense up, bu only for that split second where you need it.
     
    #45
  46. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    679
    I understand that balance is really important to maintaining stability when hitting the ball. Why do we see so many pros jumping on one leg when hitting the ball?
     
    #46
  47. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,141
    Yes, you can be very consistent without hitting topspin. The key is that you can't be very consistent hitting hard without hitting topspin. If two guys with equal consistency levels are going at it, and only one can hit hard, the hard hitter will almost always win. The flat hitter can hit hard if he wants, but then, unlike the topspin hitter, he will no longer be consistent.
     
    #47
  48. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,386
    ^dk, cuz they can do that without losing balance. body coordination controls how hard you can swing depending on your balancing ability since you made command to your body the limit is without losing balance or falling down. thus when your balance improves you can actually swing harder.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013
    #48
  49. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,265

    I also like to add the misconception that driving faster leads to crashing. All myth! :)
     
    #49
  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,636
    #50

Share This Page