topspin is over rated

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by luvforty, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    if TonLars, arguably the best player on TT can draw even with the WTA elites, then it's pointless for the rest of us trying to model our games after the ATP (which seems to be what we are doing with all the males players mentioned).

    the rec game is closer to the WTA than the ATP.... it's only $199 to buy a powerful tweener and start whacking flat balls and get penetration..... costs much more (if even possible) to get foot speed and fitness to play the spin game.

    topspin is over rated.
     
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  2. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I would disagree that topspin is overrated.

    Up until two years ago I hit hard and flat. I could hang in rallies with very good players because of the pace and penetration of my shots, especially my forehand. However this required me keep the net clearance low, dtl shots were hard, and I had to pull back on lower balls to keep them in. Ultimately I often lost the rallies against better players due to an unforced error because they could usually deal with the pace. My shots might force conservative placement from them, taking me dtl off a ripped cc forehand was tough, but they could hit back hard cc and wait for another opportunity, or for me to make an error.

    Finally I hit with a guy who just blew me off the court with pace, spin, and consistency. Occasionally when I ripped one I could hurt him a little, but mostly it was me being blown back by pace, spin kicking balls up to my head and to the side, and consistency. That was when I decide I need to find out what all of this modern tennis thing was about.

    Learned the modern forehand, the modern bh slice, and made some improvements on my 2hbh. Two years into this change and I haven't lost pace, but I've gained a bunch of spin. I can hit with high rhs from anywhere on the court. I can kick balls up to my opponents head. I can hang in, and win rallies that never would have been possible two years ago - at least not at my talent level and the amount of time I can devote to practice. I'm way more consistent and hit bigger than I used to.

    So I'd say, as a guy, use that extra strength, learn the modern fh, and rip those balls with the extra margin. Not saying women can't do this too, but with good technique guys can create so much rhs that you're never going to be able to use it all without the spin. The ball just won't stay in. So use it to generate the spin.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
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  3. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Thanks rkelley! That means there's hope for me yet :)
     
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  4. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Disagree. The vast majority of club tennis is an error fest. The last thing you want to tell the general public is to whack flat balls....Besides it's not like the club level game is a battle of physical attrition. There is more energy expended picking up the balls after the two shot rallies...topspin to keep the ball in play, and then riskier shots as skill set improves..that's the simple equation.
     
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  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What is the reasoning behind using TonLars as an example? Is he supposed to be an example of a high level male with topspin who cannot beat the WTA elite? Or something else?
     
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  6. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Topsin is underrated.
     
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  7. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    To answer this one, I will tell you that I could not care the least bit. When we look for a model, for a basis upon which build an understanding of tennis strokes, we do not care about what can be achieved... we care about the knowledge we can draw from studying them.

    Once you understand what they are doing, then you can start thinking about what might fit recreational tennis and what can't. But until and if we get there, we're still studying the best to understand how the best possible strokes are produced.

    From a personal standpoint, my game got stable and consistent (and easy to get back to after a long pause) once I understood what enabled me to get the most spin out of my strokes. I could attack more easily, stay in rallies and vary my trajectories without problem... even after a week or two off the court, certain key aspects of my new forehand form made it a TON easier to get back to a decent level quickly. Last summer, I barely played, but during my last encounter, I was hitting big -- and with consistency.

    Kramer once said that spin is what controls the ball. It's very hard to lob a ball in a specific spot, just as is chipping it to feed a beginner an easy ball. However, once you get some pace going and add spin, it becomes easier to aim since you have much fewer things to adjust: you do not adjust your swing speed, nor your swing path much at all... it simply requires that you make the right type of contact to get the ball where you want.

    Of course, this is true only if you know how to make it happen.
     
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  8. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Yes.

    Through time and experience, there are players who mature. They stop bashing or junk-balling, getting much more measured and thoughtful in their game play. It doesn't take super-star balls to keep an average 4.0 off the court... just varying slightly the location and the trajectory can inhibit most of his offensive chances.

    Hitting top spin at different degrees can then become a key to succeeding for amateurs, until they get very good or unless they are really close to beginners. It becomes important as well when facing excessively defensive or excessively offensive players... in either case, being able to hold on, to be patient and to use the right amount of aggressiveness when required implies owning your strokes and being able to keep the ball in play at a decent pace.

    Top spin is misunderstood and underrated. Many people consider hitting heavy spin to be a weapon in an of itself... Even for Nadal, it's not the case. The point is to use it as a way to achieve certain objectives. In Nadal's case, pulling you off the court and retaining consistency. For Federer, spin becomes a variable: you can make flatter or loopier stroke, right in the middle of a rally to force your opponent to remain rigorous in his preparation... tons of players get grooved into facing certain shots and adding a new dimension (such different contact heights, different pace, different spin or forcing them to move forward) can make your standard pattern even more effective while earning a few free points.


    Top spin is how you control the court in the modern game... not playing with it is like surrendering the center when playing chess or tipping your opponents when you bluff at poker.
     
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  9. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Not some super tennis expert or anything but TonLars sure looks to have some topspin on his strokes.. <g>
     
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  10. The Meat

    The Meat Hall of Fame

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    Wasn't there a guy in the top 400 who used to post here a lot from Croatia or something? Also there is that Peliwo guy
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    ClintThompson was arguably the best player to have posted here. Maybe into the top 700. I'm sure some other better players have posted, but not on a regular basis or more than a few posts.
    Don't think our Canadian friend HAS any ATP points.
    I thought you need to win some matches in Q's before getting even ONE point.
    Flat or sidespin CAN work. It worked for JimmyConnors, JohnMcEnroe, BradGilbert, MiraslovMecir. But those guys also hit with topspin when that shot was appropriate.
    And they could HANDLE the high topspin shots.
    But no pro could make it into the higher ranks without some amount of topspin, if nothing else, for the variety and the rest from perfect posture needed when you hit flat.
     
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  12. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    I play heavy topspin and my game works great against pushers, counter-punchers and moonballers, but not so great against consistent ballbashers.

    The spin will make the pusher uncomfortable, so he'll hit something very simple to put away. No need to go close to the lines, hit on the rise or even go to the net - they get broken down with spin.

    If you want to be very cheap, you can take advantage of the fact that the back fence of rec courts is too close to the baseline, so send very high, heavy and deep balls, and they'll be nigh on unreturnable, as you can make them bounce over the back fence.
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    ACC, what level are you?
    If you watch the Aussie, most of the top players hit CC only about 60% of the time, the rest DTL.
    As for the topspin, I think you play below your own level, not your peers or better players.
    As for the backfence, it's regulation at 21'. When you hit your heavy topspin ball to a peer or better player, he only steps forwards into NML and approach volleys, forcing you to scramble full speed just to touch the ball.
     
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  14. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    If you hit your heavy topspin at the baseline, this amazing rec player is going to have to volley a dipper from NML, because the ball is not going to bounce before then.

    It's my philosophy to always hit CC - give the initiative to the opponent. If he goes down the line, I'll get to it, and hit it... you guessed it, crosscourt again.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Tennis is simple, isn't it.
    Always hit heavy loop topspin shots crosscourt. And you win Wimbledon!
    As for your ignoring my last sentence, that tells your level.
     
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  16. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    I don't know my level. Why have you got some sort of chip on your shoulder? Or you want me to say '3.0' - so you can inflate your e-peen? ******.

    And yes, tennis can be as simple as always hit heavy loopy CC - ask Toni Nadal.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    When someone posts that he uses ONE strategy, and ONE only, he/she is opening a question of skill level or the level of his tennis intelligence.
     
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  18. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    10is,

    This is a really good post. I hope those in attendance read and absorb it. Much of my work with students (at least as it pertains to this subject) revolves around tennis in a situational sense... That is, developing a reliable rally ball, (which in my experience is void of enough spin) or varying trajectories, or hell, stepping up and flattening the spin/and or trajectory in offensive situations. (an acquired skill). But yeah, the overwhelming problem at the club level is too low a spin rate.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2013
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  19. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Do you know how preposterous it is for you to compare the skills/strategy of the general public with that of someone who has the potential to win wimbledon? Topspin is a friend of to the average player, and yes, hitting alot of balls crosscourt is a great strategy.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Do you never watch the Aussie?
    If you always hit CC, your opponent STANDS THERE and you hit right to him.
    And most rec players hit with slice.
     
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  21. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    I've seen you around this section - and you obviously think you're pro-ready and know it all.

    Any coach will tell you that most rec players over-complicate things because they think they're better than they are - they think they have options. They don't.

    There is never any doubt in my mind that I will always hit crosscourt. It is the percentage play and it works.
     
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  22. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    As usual, you miss the point. This issue is not winners, but unforced errors at the club level. Adding topspin and playing crosscourt shots will both help in that regard. Do me a favor, (because i know you are a low level player) start rallying with a buddy and have him hit crosscourt and you respond down the line. Report back to me who runs the most and makes the most errors....Do you even know what changing the direction of the shot means, and the inherent risks/reward that goes along with it...Esp at the club level....Alwayshitscrosscourt is much more correct that you.
     
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  23. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    You are ahead of the game, my friend.....
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yes, a secret broken.
    A true feat to spot the player with 20,000 posts, and the ones with ...??
     
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  25. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Excessive topspin may be a bit overrated and it is as difficult to master and as limiting as a truly flat shot.

    The ability to hit moderate topspin when needed is not overrated and is a critical component of playing good tennis.

    I occasionally see the mini-Nadal types that hit the excessive spinners. When they hit it well, it results in a shot that is difficult to handle, but you also see a lot of mishits, unforced errors and short loopers from these types of players.

    There is probably an "optimal" angle of lift and topspin spin rate. Too little = no control and no safety when hitting hard. Too much = frequent mishits and errors due to difficulty of timing.
     
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  26. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    After this incredibly convincing post, think I'll change my mind..You're right, crosscourt's wrong. You're the bestest ever Leed.:shock:
     
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  27. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Is there some sort of logic to your first sentence? I've read it a few times and it still just seems to be incoherent. What point were you trying to make?

    Whether any of us should model our games on the ATP pros depends on whether or not we'd play better modeling on the ATP players versus the way we hit now or try to emulate how the WTA players hit. I believe that your point is that the WTA should be models rather than the ATP players, but I don't understand the relevance of Ton Lars?

    In any case, you really haven't provided any evidence that the average rec player would do better to model play after the WTA rather than the ATP. This is the sort of thing that would need to be put to an empirical test. Since many rec players are destroyed by pushers, I think there's a case to be made for the heavier topspin ATP game rather than the corner targeting flat balls of the top women (Azarenka and Sharapova, for example).
     
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  28. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Rec players are nowhere near the level of WTA or ATP or juniors or college players, so it really does not matter. If a guy developed a mega top spin by emulating an ATP player, he is not a rec player.
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Certainly a recreational player can be a 4.5-5.0. Let's say they learned to play well many years ago, and choose to not train or practice nowadaze.
    They still all hit forehands with topspin.
     
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  30. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    This too doesn't make any sense. Rec player simply stands for recreational player. There are some recreational players who are very good (though I'll admit they are quite rare).

    So if some recreational player copies the pros and develops a good topspin game such that he's playing at 5.0 to 5.5 ntrp, he doesn't magically become a professional, he just becomes a very good recreational player.
     
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  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    And lower level college can be pretty bad, maybe lower 4.5.
     
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  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Well, if you counting 5.5s, then yes.
     
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  33. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    There are 4.5s and 5.0s out there who hit very heavy topspin balls, they just tend to be inconsistent players or have some major weakness in their play.

    Obviously, if someone can do a good job of copying every shot a pro hits, he's probably going to be an awesome player, but there's a lot of variation. There are guys who can hit huge forehands but have bad backhands. Some have weak serves, and others can't volley well.

    Copying the pros doesn't mean playing as well as they do, but rather copying their stroke patterns. Even a 3.5 can copy the pattern and improve.
     
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  34. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Don't the WTA women use a heck of a lot of topspin, much more so than rec players? Maybe they can't "weaponize" it to the extent the ATP guys do, for anatomical reasons. Topspin is such a fundamental building block - I would consider it one of the cornerstones of today's tennis - that I don't believe the term "overrated" could be applied to it.
     
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  35. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Yes, good 4.0 and above players tend to have at least a moderate level of topspin incoorporated into their games and it makes them more difficult to play against. They can hit the ball harder and keep it in with more consistency.

    I stated earlier than some players go overboard in trying to hit topspin and that can have a negative impact on your game.

    But, in general, topspin = good!
     
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  36. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    WTA players use a lot of top spin. It is only on this board that 3.5s go around claiming that they hit with more top spin and so only Federer will do as a model.
     
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  37. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    It depends. WTA players definitely hit more topspin than the average rec player, but a lot less on average than the men. I've watched more ATP matches than WTA matches, but the difference is usually pretty obvious. The women tend to hit relatively flat hard shots while the men tend to hit hard heavy topspin shots. Sharapova and the Williams sisters, for example, hit much flatter than any of the top four men.
     
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  38. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Explain to me why a strong man should have the huge fh take back of Sharapova rather than Federer's shorter same side of body take back.

    Why is there so much hostility to recreational players trying to use the best players in the world as form models?
     
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  39. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    WV,

    What exactly is a pro's "stroke pattern"? How do you copy them?

    I think most rec players visualize a pro and think they hit like them pro. Maybe that's more psychological than anything practical or real. Can anyone show a youtube video of a rec player hitting like a particular pro? :)
     
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  40. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    The stroke pattern is the movements that a pro makes to hit a ball.

    You copy them by studying video (I use slow motion video) and then trying to emulate the movement myself. I use video to try to see how closely I'm playing like the pro. I have a Casio high speed camera and shoot at about 250 frames a second.

    Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Federer doesn't reach way behind his body when he hits a fh. Usually the racket doesn't extend beyond the plane of his shoulders. I thought I was copying Federer's shorter take back, but video showed that I had a huge WTA type take back (like Soderling but less graceful). So, I practiced shadow swinging with a racket and a mirror and using video. My take back is still bigger than Federer's but not as big as it was previously and I seem to be hitting just as much pace as I was with the bigger take back.

    Very few players will actually look exactly like the model they are studying for whatever reason. My arm isn't actually straight, even though I was using a straight arm model, for instance. But the video showed I was playing "more" like the pros and that's what I was looking for.
     
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  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    No hostility, but it should be based on reality. There are many WTA and ATP players with different kinds of swings. Soderling and DP have big swings.

    I have seen many club "Federers" over the years and none of them can hit like Federer. The ones who can are beyond the 4.5 level and have played as juniors. Most would be better off with a "push" forehand than any fancy pull and embedded inside-out action. You are underestimating the wrist strength needed to pull off the FHs of Nadal and Federer. It is fine to say that the wrist is not involved, but in reality it is.
     
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  42. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    There are definitely different swings, but there are also a lot of commonalities. Soderling has the biggest take back (or the most behind the back), while DelPotro lifts up high but doesn't take it back behind his back. In general most of the other men don't bring the racket back like most WTA players. There's a real difference.

    I don't mind players copying pros, because in my experience, even if you copy them, your stroke will look distinct unless you are an unusually talented mimic. As I previously noted, I tried to hit a straight arm forehand but found my body just doesn't do it. However, I think the exercise was still useful, as it helped bring my elbow away from the body at contact (even though there are pros that hit this way - Nishikori).
     
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  43. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Pretty sure the OP is being sarcastic. Don't feed him.
     
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  44. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    The wrist and forearm are involved - a lot - but it doesn't take a huge amount of wrist or forearm strength. It's mostly about set-up, timing, and form.
     
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  45. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    luvforty,

    Do you play on red clay? unless I'm trying to hit like soderling/berdych and aiming for the lines and corners most of the fitter guys that I play can run down shots effectively.. You need topspin and slice to mix things up both in terms of timing as well as height of your ball.

    It's not just about speed and flatness of your strokes that allows you to take time from your opponent, movement and placement matter a lot.
     
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  46. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Well technically Forehand or Backhand will have an element of topspin on it (unless hit incorrectly like an off forehand then it has sidespin). Even a good flat serve needs topspin...unless you're like 7' 9".

    But in regards to a loopy topspin groundstroke rally, yes I agree it is overrated, but this is where the newest racquet technology has gone and will go further. They want to make racquets that give users the safest clearance over the net , giving them a bigger margin for error. They want them swinging out with confidence. If you want to hit flat bullets over the net like Andre Agassi or Mark Philippoussis with speed and penetration you can either buy an old school school racquet or read up on how to depolarize your current one. But remember good solid footwork and preparation is key because there is a much smaller margin for error.
     
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  47. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    yes, clay is a different story.
     
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  48. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    You are probably talking about 4.5+ which is your level. Below that, the simple arc swing is better, isn't it?
     
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  49. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Actually, the researcher I often quote from this blog that I can‘t name, but which involves tennis and speed, showed Nadal and Federer as the example which best fits tennis in general - and he even says that it is even truer for amateurs.

    As for your comment, you first use the wrong word: it‘s not strength, it‘s power which is involved... secondly, it‘s not so much about having super human qualities than exploiting a muscular reflex. For half a second following the eccentric contraction of a muscle that is caused by an opposite force (such as contracting the antagonist muscle), you can benefit of a stretch-shortning cycle which gives you, because of a reflex, super human abilities... you can contract your forearm pronators a lot quicker than usual.

    All it takes is having the hand in the right position. Besides that, it also has the benefit of not requiring excessive practice to properly close the racket face at contact... basically, if you present the right set up as you begin to accelerate your racket, this movement is bound to happen and it fortunately is very easy to replicate.

    It‘s easier, science says, to hit like Feder, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray than to hit like Gonzalez or most of the WTA tour. As for your visual cues (pulling and pushing) are so vague that they divide anatomically similar forehands (like Djoko and Federer).

    The key difference, the only thing worth looking at to get the exact effect I refer to is what happens when the racket first moves forward. Essentially, you either supinate or pronate right as the racket starts moving... the best players pronate right from the start. The racket does open up and they do supinate while swinging forward before pronating, but from the start, good players pronate. All members of the top four do it properly... and many GS winners did not. Hewitt, for one, does not do that.
     
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  50. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Oh boy... it‘s lot more specific than that.

    It depends on how skillful you are: you simply need a “textbook“ swing with the simple stuff like a good stance, a stable and consistent swing path and relatively good footwork habits (including bending your knees when required). From there, you ADD new stuff like what I talked about.

    But a guy could rip big forehands, yet have an horrible backhand or a poor serve. He can‘t play at a high level, but his forehand could still be massive. It doesn‘t need to be 4.5 to hit as 8 explained... just a very average level of skill and a rather consistent swing is enough.

    Of course, if you want to crank up the pace or try to hit as I explained against an other big hitter, that‘s an other story altogether.
     
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