Trouble with Eastern Forehand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by johnchung907, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    Hello,
    Fellow tennis players,
    Just curious to the other eastern forehanders out there. Can you provide a significant amount of topspin? Okay I'm young and most people hit with a semi-western. But I can't hit with the semi-western because if I do my wrist will start hurting over a period of time. My forehand is a pretty good shot with consistency. I do feel like though that my forehand is mostly flat and needs a tad bit more topspin. Any advice? As I mentioned before I can only use eastern for the sake of my wrist.
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    WW the finish, which adds a bit of topspin.
    But with E, you can add more slice to your forehand game, something seen quite often at the AussieOpen lately.
     
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  3. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    I do use the windshield wiper finish. However, some of my balls land out when I swing really fast. Regarding the slice forehand... I don't use that with eastern. I do it with good ole fashioned continental.
     
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  4. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    That is not a technique problem, you simply need to play within yourself. You are naturally going to make more errors when you go for bigger shots. But, the more you practice the more you will be able to go for while staying in control.
     
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  5. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    I grew up playing with an Eastern forehand. My normal stroke has plenty of topspin, but, when I want, I can add some super-excessive topspin by hitting through the ball with more low-to-high follow-through.

    The grip does not dictate the amount of spin- it is the speed and direction of the racket as you strike through the ball.

    Having said that, the grip does tend to dictate what might be called your "normal" path through the ball-- but, I have seen McEnroe (Continental) hit with lots of topspin and Nadal (Western) hit pretty flat shots.

    My suggestion is to use whatever grip you like best-- and then learn to be a flexible and well rounded player who can create a wide variety of shots as required by the situation.
     
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  6. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    One question, how would you rate the flexibility of your wrist?

    I ask that because when I know I need more topspin, I turn/roll my wrist over as I make contact.

    I hope that's enough to provide a visual for the wrist action (I know it's not much, but I don't know how else to describe it).

    But yeah, the saying that eastern forehand can't generate topspin is a myth.
     
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  7. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    I don't roll it over... I hit it at a slight downwards angle. I'm combining brushing up and hitting through together.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    U turn over your forearm, pronate, just like the serve.
     
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  9. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    Pronate? Sorry I haven't heard that term for a couple months. Could you explain?
     
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  10. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Assuming you have a basic WW swing path, when you want the bigger topspin it's especially important to bend your knees and keep your take back short. You want to explode up and really pronate your forearm (pronate = turn your right forearm ccw as you're looking at your own hand). The racquet has to go up more to create more topspin.

    I use a very stong E. grip, almost SW, and this is something that I focus on. I can hit with tons of topspin when I do it correctly.
     
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  11. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    IMO, there's no need for any of that pronation, ww craps. Just hit the ball with a slightly closed racket face. The ball may go to the net, so you'll learn very quickly to swing up. None of this requires pronation, turning, ww whaterver!
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The WW pronated finish is part of the stroke.
    Like in the golf swing, if you don't follow thru completely, you can still hit the stroke, but it's consistency suffers badly.
     
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  13. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    You can do this, and you can hit a nice flattish stroke, but you can't get the big topspin without some combination of forearm pronation and upper arm rotation. The racquet has to go up, and given human physiology that's the best way to do that.

    With the E. grip specifically, it's going to be mostly pronation at the contact point. Upper arm rotation mostly decelerates the racquet. With more W grips it's different.
     
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  14. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    I get a good amount of spin with an eastern grip.. I think the WW motion certainly helps me achieve more spin..

    just some drop balls, but its the racquet/hand/arm path i try for with an eastern grip

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVcWXW4Lcis
     
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  15. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    I use a modified eastern and can generate a ton of topspin using the pronation/pull technique.
     
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  16. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Flattish stroke?

    Actually, what I described in my post above is exactly how the racket contacts the ball and produces topspin as far as it is concerned. To produce a topspin shot the racket face just needs to contact the ball unevenly, above its equator, and with an upward and forward path. IMO, for simplicity's sake that's all novice and overworried players need to focus on. (Of course, after contact, simply allow the racket, your arm flow their natural courses.)

    For me that has been much easier to learn than to pay attention to "forearm pronation" or "upper arm rotation", etc.
     
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  17. AYone

    AYone Rookie

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    John, did you try using a wrist support? I've had a ton of wrist issues playing tennis. I also regularly lift weights, so my wrists take a real beating. I started using a McDavid wrist support and I've been largely pain free. I use a semi-western grip and have no trouble pronating and generating the same spin as w/o the wrist support. You could try tape too. Pretty sure Nadal tapes his wrists.
     
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  18. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    I played Western when I was younger and competed, eastern for about 2 years recently, then switched to SW. With the eastern I could generate a good amount of spin, the trouble was more with high balls, and relying too much on moving forward to generate power. I find it easier to generate spin with a SW or extreme eastern grip. Have you tried an extreme eastern fh?
     
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  19. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    Extremem eastern? You mean the one that fed uses? An in between semi western and eastern? No I have not tried it. Will it provide a somewhat semi-western spin and still allow me to hit through flat?
     
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  20. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    Regarding wrist support. Your basically saying that I should put wrist support on and I'll feel no pain? Actually my wrist pain came when I used a western grip couple years back so I switched to the eastern. Find my balls have about the same consistency but having a hard time making a significant amount of topspin but it has a faster pace :)
     
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  21. AYone

    AYone Rookie

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    Right. Try a wrist support while playing with a semi-western grip. Also try to strengthen the muscles in your hand and forearm with regular exercise.
     
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  22. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    I think you got the quotes and responses mixed up.

    But to answer your questions, I'd say yes. I say I play SW for the sake of simplicity but I start shifting towards extreme eastern for lower shots, so I actually play EE quite often.
     
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  23. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Wrist issues not withstanding, I agree with some of other posters that it will be easier to generate the spin with an extreme/strong/modified Eastern grip than with a pure E. grip. With a pure E. you really have to lay your wrist back a lot to be able to pronate your forearm and generate a good topspin swing path.

    I suspect that this is why some players who use an E. grip also have a straight-ish arm at contact. The straight arm would tend to reduce the amount that you have to layback your wrist. But consistently hitting with a straight arm has its own set of difficulties. Something around SW is a really good compromise for wrist position, generating the swing path for topspin, but still being able to flatten out shots when desired.

    When I started hitting a modern fh two years ago my fh grip was fairly centered between E and SW. It's migrated to be darn close to SW, although I don't think it's quite all the way there. That type of grip migration is pretty common from what I've heard. To a certain extent I've just let my body tell me what it wanted to do and went with it. I'm big on analytics, but you do need to feel it too. When your hitting feel is all you have, so it's gotta feel good. The results are working for me.
     
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  24. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    no need to change your grip. federer hits eastern and has, by some measurements, the 2nd highest topspin on tour.

    just hit with a more closed racquet face at contact. think 10-15 degrees. you might find that you have to swing forward faster, or adjust your stroke otherwise, but it will come through feel. hitting with a closed racquet face at impact gives you more topspin than hitting flat.

    much easier than messing around with overly wristy movements.
     
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  25. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Respectfully, closing the racquet face at contact with no other changes means that you'll just hit the ball into the net. Closing the racquet face in and of itself does not produce topspin. The racquet has to have a component of its velocity going up to produce topspin. You can get some gentle topspin by swinging low to high ala the classic forehand, but if you want the ball spinning the way that is possible with a modern swing path (like Federer) you’re going to have to add a significant upward component to the swing and that upward component has to be present at the contact point. Flat contact with a WW follow through looks nice, but doesn’t actually create topspin. Generally to get the upward component in the swing path requires some combination of pronation of the forearm and upper arm rotation. With an Eastern-ish grip, at contact it’s going to be mostly forearm pronation, with upper arm rotation being used mostly to decelerate the WW motion.
     
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  26. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    if he dumps it into the net after tilting the racquet forward, as he mostly likely will do, then he will adjust his swing path accordingly to get it over the net next time by swinging low to high slightly. The key is to have an closed racquet face (i.e. tilted forward, not much, only about 10-15 degrees or so, maybe even a bit less). If the racquet face is not tiled forwards at contact, the spin won't be as intense not matter how steeply you hit upwards and will likely come by sacrificing depth.

    That's why you hear coaches sometimes say to lead with the edge of teh racquet. It's a cue to ensure that it is tilted properly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  27. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't think the key to generating topspin is to have a closed racquet face. It's never worked that way for me and I can't think of any reason why it would work that way. The angle of the racquet face determines the angle that the ball will leave the racquet. The swing path can have some effect on what racquet face angle you will want, but you're not going to get appreciably more topspin just by tilting the racquet face.

    The key to generating topspin is swinging low to high as you said. However how do you swing low to high fast enough to generate large amounts of topspin without some combination of pronation and uppper arm rotation? A gently upward swing path, which about all you can get without pronation and upper arm rotation, will produce small to moderate (at best) amounts of topspin. You're not going to get the kind of spin that you see modern players getting without using modern techniques.
     
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  28. 2ManyAces

    2ManyAces Rookie

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    I use extreme eastern. I like it because you get the ability to flatten out your shots easily, but I can also clock spin when I need to.

    I hit western for awhile but then changed to normal eastern. I sucked for awhile but it helped my technique a lot.

    I have recently switched to extreme eastern and I feel like it's easier to generate a low-high swing path.
     
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  29. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    the launch angle is not perpendicular to the face
     
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  30. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    That's what I use. If you use the right technique you can generate a ton of spin. (Using pronation in the takeback) Otherwise, it's going to be less spin than SW but more than eastern. (obviously)
     
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  31. gbgTennis

    gbgTennis New User

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    You can hit every kind of shot with every kind of forehand grip (ok, fh slice is hard to do with western grip ;)). If you keep playing with an eastern grip for a couple of weeks, your wrist will automatically get stronger and you'll be able to hit more from low to high and you'll also be able to pronate with more power without hurting your arm. Pronation basically is the rotation of your right arm counter-clockwise. When your arm just hangs down lose, pronation is turning the palm of your hand from the front to the back of your body.
     
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  32. mbm0912

    mbm0912 Professional

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    Nice! I wish I was that confident to hit close to glass..:)
     
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  33. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    That's his neighbor's house I bet. :)
     
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  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I switched away from Eastern forehand grip because it allows errors in both directions...too high and going long, and too low and dumping into the net.
    It DOES allow for a nice sliced forehand, something seen more and more often.
    I'm at strong SW right now, no slice forehand, but a rally ball forehand and a forcing shot forehand.
     
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  35. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    What you said is quoted above.

    Specifically I was responding to, " . . . there's no need for any of that pronation, ww craps. Just hit the ball with a slightly closed racket face." Respectfully a closed racquet face by itself won't do anything but direct the ball down. It's not going to add spin.

    I also don't think that it's super productive to think about uneven contact hitting above the equator either. It's the upward path that you mention. The racquet has to have an upward component to produce topspin. Figure out the racquet angle you want to make the ball clear the net, and get that upward component.

    The best way to get the upward component is the ww stuff, pronation, etc. You also just hit with a rising swing path like they used to teach and you'll get some topspin, but nothing like what you can get with modern technique.
     
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  36. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    I wasnt trying to kill the ball..
    Have since sold that house.. glass in tact :)
     
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  37. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    rkelley,

    It sounds like you're trying to split a stroke into different, individual components, ie. " closed racquet face by itself" and pick parts to argue!!! Why? A stroke needs a right mix of stuffs to work, ie the power, the contact, the path, ... and you hone in by practicing and feels.


    "The best way to get the upward component is the ww stuff, pronation, etc."

    Well, for me the best way to get the upward component is to ...hit up :) What I observe is that human mind can only visualize and apply exerting force in a linear path. Yes, in reality the racket goes in an arc, but when you intend to hit or throw something with force it's a linear, "straight" line exertion that the mind perceives. So, when you think pronation, ww or anything that goes in a curve, especially after the initial swinging, it tends to screw up your stroke.
     
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  38. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I'm not trying to pick parts to argue. I also agree that you can only focus on so many things at one time. To me, closing the racquet face is the last thing you think about. If the swing path is right and the form is good, but the ball is still long or into the net, change the racquet face angle. Estimating the best racquet face angle is something we do on every shot and had lots of different components that affect what the best angle should be.

    But I did want to address the idea that closing the racquet face in and of itself produces topspin. To me this is the wrong place to focus if you're trying to generate more topspin. I'm just imagining folks going out, tilting their racquet face more toward the ground, and wondering why they're not getting anymore topspin and hitting the ball into the base of the net.

    If you want the big topspin, the racquet has to have a large upward component to its velocity that is perpendicular to the ball. That's just physics - like you said swing up. Given human anatomy, the way that high level players are creating this huge upward velocity (i.e. swinging up), while maintaining good forward velocity through the ball, is via pronation of the forearm and upper arm rotation. You can say it's wristy, hard to learn, whatever, but I know of no other way to make this happen.

    You can get smaller amounts of topspin by hitting with a rising swing path. Swing low to high and catch the racquet up by your head. It works for what it does, but again you're not going to get the huge topspin, ball goes 70 mph and kicks up to your opponents head, with that technique.
     
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  39. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Facts:
    Most pros hit the ball with a slightly closed racket;
    Most pros swing on a nearly horizontal plane prior contact.

    For Federer, hitting well above 2500 rpm of top spin, it takes a plane of roughly 15 degrees and a 11 degrees of racket face closure at contact. Of course, he does other things, but it illustrates how shallow a swing can be and yet generate tons of spin. If you swing more upward, you will get some more spin, but as you said it will indeed be only a bit more -- and you will also be sending the ball higher.

    The face closure does generate more spin, ceteris paribus. The idea is that by angling your racket, you manage to make an off-center contact with the ball: you hit the upper edge of the ball, which increases the amount of energy you spend in creating spin versus accelerating the entire ball.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
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  40. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    That is unfortunately wrong. Up to a point, closing the racket face does have an impact on spin. Formally speaking, it does not create spin. It actually increases the spin/pace ratio.

    The idea is that you have a certain amount of energy that will effectively be transmitted to the ball. It can accelerate the ball or the edge of the ball (that is, making it spin) or both. It's the ball's roundness which is useful here because you can in fact make contact in different places on it. Like pool, hitting on the top does make the ball spin. Of course, the string bed and the ball are not solid like rock, but it gives you an idea of what happens.
     
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  41. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    That's not physics actually. What you depict here is a major misunderstanding.

    Spin is the edge of the ball moving relative to its center. Let's simplify the problem for you to grasp it. Let's say the ball is only two-dimensional (it's a circle). If you apply a vector is directly forward-directed to the upper edge, what happens? The edge moves forward, which is the same as saying that the edge which is bellow moves backward, which is the same as saying that the front edge moves downward and that the back edge moves upward. In essence, in front, bellow, behind or over... it doesn't matter, all of them can produce spin. That's physics. You do not need to have a vertical force to generate top spin because top spin is not directed upward. Our real possibilities are hitting the upper edge or bushing the back of the ball.

    Unless you swing at more 45 degrees from an horizontal plane prior contact, most of your swing is directed forward... With a greater amount of force directed forward, it seems logical to assume that accelerating the upper edge is a better strategy.
     
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  42. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Let's see.

    Agreed.

    Was that comment really necessary?

    Agreed. But how do you apply a (force) vector to the upper edge of the ball that has a direction that is "forward-directed?" In the case you putting forth the force vector is not in line with the center of the ball, correct? The ball's center of mass is at its geometric center, so the vector you're describing creates a moment around the center of the ball that creates spin, correct?

    But a tennis racquet is a plane that interacts with the ball. The point where that plane contacts the ball must always be normal to the surface of the ball. The reaction force from that contact has to go through the ball's center of mass. So using a plane to apply the force, how do I create the moment about the ball's center of mass?

    To be specific, you need a vertical velocity component of the racquet's swing path to generate topspin. Force alone, at least on the racquet, won't do it. You can put all the force you want on the racquet. If there hasn't been enough time for that force to sufficiently accelerate the racquet upward to create that significant vertical velocity component you're not going to get much topspin.

    So how can I hit the upper edge of the ball with a plane (the racquet) without just directing the ball down? Brushing the back of the ball is exactly what I'm talking about.

    Here's a couple of videos of Fed and Djokovic. They actually are swinging up at around 45°.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ImeQaAyFPc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me1tzm1nnWk
     
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  43. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    er.. no.
    I thought about that before the video loaded.
    Swing is maybe 35 degrees upwards, as little as 30 degrees.
    He's hitting a rallyball, to sustain the rally, against a deep ball, and he's going for lots of topspin to control depth and keep the opponent back.
    Now, "almost 45 degrees" is realistic, but NOT the same as "up around 45 degrees".
     
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  44. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    The basic point is that there is a significant upward component to the swing to generate the topspin that is seen in the modern game. It's not subtle, and it's not generated by closing the racquet face. The players are swinging the racquet up at very steep angles and very high racquet head speeds. It's not rocket science.

    Here's Fed in a match ripping one, and the angle is pretty steep. I'll let Lee determine the exact measurement.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmhvKafCYsk&playnext=1&list=PL66E278AE87156ED2&feature=results_main
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
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  45. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    :) Now THAT one is a hair stronger than 45 degrees.
    Talking rackethead path, of course.
     
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  46. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Not sure if this is most relevant, but this was put up a couple of days ago:

    From TWU:

    Reaction force components of racquet on ball. For reasons discussed below, the normal force is typically directed in front of the ball's center of mass.

    The perpendicular rebound force usually does not act directly through the center of mass, but rather, in front of it. This happens whether or not the strings move laterally. That is because the ball starts to spin off of the strings on its back side and into the strings in front. The ball thus exerts greater force on the strings on its leading side. Friction slows the bottom half of the ball, causing the upper half to stretch and deform forward, shifting weight as it does so. The greater force on the strings at the front of the ball causes the net normal force to shift forward in front of the CM by a distance D — usually about 2-9 mm, depending on the stringbed setup. This distance, D, is often used to designate the normal force offset as "D-offset."


    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/spinpatterns.php
     
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  47. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I see their rackets going up a slope. Why do you say it is a nearly horizontal plane?
     
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  48. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Excerpts from my posts on another thread:


    That is because most of the energy is in the forward direction with the up and across component coming from forces below the center of mass, and friction with the strings, which create the spin.

    One of them is like flicking a vertical wheel on the lower side with an upwards and forwards force. As long as the line of force does not pass through the center of mass (axle) but above it, the wheel will rotate. Another way is to grip the wheel and turn it. These two are analogous to the strike on the ball followed by friction during the dwell time, and both require the across and up component.

    If the direction of the force (and hence the swing just prior to it) was merely normal to the ball, it would just go straight. If the across and up direction passed through the center of mass, the ball would also be launched across and up. So it is a combination of the force in the forward direction which also acts up and across in a glancing way, which makes the combination of pace and spin possible.

    Continuing on this topic, there seems to be a lack of appreciation of the dwell time and string friction, which is the basis for all the different varieties of strings and pro preferences etc.

    Let us take a billiard ball and a cue. How would you impart some rotation to the ball? By hitting it off center so that the line of force does not pass through the center. You won't get much rotation. How would you increase it? You would have to make the contact more grazing or tangential. That is the only way.

    In tennis, the ball and strings deform much more, and there is plenty of friction in the dwell time. This gives an opportunity to be less grazing, but still produce spin by an off center hit. The single arc can create both pace and spin without the need for the arc to be very steep. That is the kind of arc used most frequently.

    Table tennis is somewhat in between.
     
    #48
  49. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    #49
  50. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

    Joined:
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    Less than 20 degrees is visually closer to an horizontal plane... so, to break with the common knowledge which advocates "low to high" and the impression we have of players hitting very vertically, I use this wording.

    They do hit low to high... but it's a very shallow slope for most forehands. Federer is very consistently hitting on something around 16 degrees, unless he purposefully moonballs.
     
    #50

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