Which would sail longer?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Rickson, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    A sliced drive or a flat drive? Being a former baseball player, I know that every throw has backspin on it and I was able to cover some major ground from the outfield before the ball ever touched the field. Since it's virtually impossible to throw a flat ball from the outfield, I was wondering which ball would go longer in tennis, flat or backspin. I'm guessing a backspin drive would, but I'm unsure of this. Anyone have an answer?
     
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  2. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    backspin will go farther generally, but since a tennis ball is lighter than a baseball, will also start slowing down sooner than a flat shot, so it may depend on how hard you hit the ball. A fast flat could ultimately land deeper than a fast slice although the fast slice might hang in the air longer, both hit at the same trajectory and pace.

    I hit both flat and slice and also play alot of outfield.
     
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  3. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks, Kev, you're an asset to this board.
     
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  4. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    The more spin on your slice, the more it will slow down, but the extra spin helps to keep it aloft too (and makes for difficult vollies and overheads). You can research lift and drag to understand the physics. I think I have a tennis physics book that explains all of this. Headwinds will give more lift on flat shots (taking hard flat serves long) while slowing them down at the same time. Tailwinds will push down on flat shots (serve into the net) while increasing the speed of the shot so dealing with winds and spins can be confusing since topspin will act much differently in wind as the drag is increased going into the wind so the shot will slow down and curve even more sharply downward and short.
     
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  5. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I had some fun last night hitting with a western grip with an upward swing (little wrist) and was generating some heavy topspin balls. but I had a hard time controlling depth and it was exhausting to hit like this and only worked against fairly high moderate pace incoming balls, otherwise my flat or slice forehand shots worked much better. I couldn't hit winners this way either compared to my flat but did force errors when I hit the ball deep enough since it was really jumping off the court. Cool too how it looked like the ball would hit the fence but the spin would bring it back down into the court. I tried this after watching the 6.0 players in the $2000 local tournament I went to last weekend.
     
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  6. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Rickson - I "suspect" the answer is, "It depends." There could even be two "crossovers" of the graphing of Force / Distance for Flat and Slice shots. (Mostly because of all the variables kevhen already mentioned.)

    Thing is ... I don't even know how to construct the algorithm. (Hence, "suspect".)

    Any "Physics Wizzes" on this Board want to tackle this one?

    - KK
     
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  7. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Let's just duplicate it in the lab. Fuzzy balls can throw everything off too!
     
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  8. theace21

    theace21 Hall of Fame

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    Any golfers - A high fade has alot of backspin and carries higher...A draw usually stays lower and gets more roll...
     
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  9. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    It really depends on exactly how each is hit, but I find that a slice drive tends to go longer, or at least can if you lose just a little control. There are different combos of pace, spin, and angle that will change just how long a slice will go. If you hit a shot perfectly horizontal off of the frame with a lot of spin and pace, hence "drive", it will tend to curve up (noticeably so in tennis) and lift just as it approaches and crosses the net. So while it slows down, it actually gains altitude and will stay up longer.
     
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  10. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    The semi-physics wizzes would (should) tell you that variables like atmospheric pressure (and/or altitude), wind speed and direction, and even relative fuzziness of the ball will all play a role. More things act more substantially upon a rapidly rotating body, but how they balance out is pretty much guesswork and fodder for a high-level computer simulation.

    The REAL physics wizzes will tell you to go out and conduct some elementary experiments where you try to hit each kind of shot with similar initial velocities, and see for yourself.
     
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  11. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yep, with enough spin you can make the ball curve upward. I have seen plenty of opponents stop moving thinking my ball wasn't going to clear the net and then watch it rise and clear and then watch them hightail to get to it.
     
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  12. GrahamIsSuper

    GrahamIsSuper Semi-Pro

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    Slices tend to make the ball "float" more, it moves slower but still goes deep. Generally you don't drive a slice from the baseline though, a slice drive is more of an approach shot. Watch the pro's and notice the difference in speed of the slice shots and every other one.

    Here's a test for you: Go outside, with 2 tennis balls. With the wind, hit a ball as far as you can with flat. Hit a ball as hard as you can with heavy slice. Since the slice floats and stays aloft longer, wind will carry it farther. Voila, solved.
     
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  13. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    How come you are hitting the two tennis balls with the wind to your back? What about windless or into the wind? The flat shot will probably go farther under any condition (although slice may go farther with a tail wind) because it won't slow down as much unless it is knuckling with absolutely no spin, but otherwise all your hitting energy is going into the ball and not into the spin. Plus the spin will slow the ball down so it won't carry as far even if it does stay in the air longer. If you hit into the wind, the slice ball will rise even more and come to a crawl and drop straight down. I prefer to hit these on windy days since they do go consistently deep slicing through the wind and then dropping in. Now with a baseball you want a little backspin but the weight of the ball helps to keep it carrying forward for those homeruns. You can hit topspin in baseball but the ball will hardly make it out of the infield. Flat line drives will seldom carry for homers but that may have more to do with the swing plane.
     
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  14. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    See??? That's why I just want the "wizzes" to tell me. I'm not gonna fool around with this when I could be playing tennis. Which is where I'm headed ... just ... about ... [Post Quick Reply] ... NOW!!!

    - KK
     
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  15. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I may play a 4.5 guy tonight who played #1 for his newly D1 (last year D2) school. He hits a heavy ball and can hit shots that seem to hang on his strings forever.
     
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