whipping ground strokes

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by lendl lives, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. lendl lives

    lendl lives Semi-Pro

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    does a-rod look like he is whipping his forehand? how many of you use "whipping" as imagery for groundstrokes? I definatley use that imagery on serve. i've been trying it on groundstrokes and have found more power but less consistency on my fh at least.
     
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  2. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, roddick does wipe up the ball. He takes a measured backswing brings it forward with a laid back wrist and then wipes up the back of the ball with a relatively flat face from the elbow, not the hand. The hand sort of goes with the flow and can assist in the energy transfer but is not the main show. The upper arm is (elbow to shoulder).

    When you wipe up with the hand the forearm and racquet head get harder to control.

    A lot of the force comes from the racquet head speed he is able to generate and the use of his chest muscle for control and power.The shoulder and chest muscle provide the thrust and control, while the elbow provides the mobility to transfer the energy up the bal of the ball.

    As always take it slow so you can feel which muscle groups are providing the control, the blast, and the stability. Then once you think you got it, increase the speed of the ball feed.

    Also note, his racquet is very closed on the backswing when he is about to go forward, this is inherent of his Western grip. He also gets right on that ball when he really wipes up the back of it, so your footwork and your ability to get an early jump on the ball is paramount.
     
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  3. lendl lives

    lendl lives Semi-Pro

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    tks bungalo,

    i think you explain what i'm trying....is there a reason you use the word 'wipe' as opposed to 'whip'? whip seems to be more appropriate.
     
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  4. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Well, I think I know where you're going with this.

    I also think I know what you might be seeing may not be the "real mccoy" in his swing. Why dont you email me and I can provide some clips for you to help you understand what is happening.

    When you slow it down, the wrist of Roddicks is definitely fixed throughout the forward swing. Right before contact, and I mean right before contact within nanoseconds, he has a wrist release similar to Agassi's. That makes it look like a "whip" in fast motion.

    When Agassi first came on the scene everyone thought his "whippy" stroke meant that he was using a lot of wrist in his shot. Film after film shows he is not. The timing of his wrist release is so precise and so practiced that it actually moves the hand/racquet forward near contact and then continues moving forward as it relaxes on the followthrough.

    The wipe I was talking about is the "roundhouse" swing that Roddick adds to generate a lot of topspin which is different than what I just said above.

    You can see Roddick as he begins the forward swing, the wrist is forced into a laid back position as the force of his arm going forward puts it there. Then as the arm slows down the wrist sort of "catches up" at contact for extra pop.

    Most club players will have a difficult time finding enough time to practice the timing of the wrist release to hit a reliable consistant ball. So, if you want to try it you can, just know that it is a steep curve to manage.

    Most of the time, I just suggest moving the elbow forward as a seperate mechanism in the rotation into the ball while keeping the wrist fixed and laid back on impact without the wrist release. With a solid wieght transfer and clean contact, plenty of power can be generated and it is much easier for a club player to manage on a day-to-day basis instead of introducing other elements in the swing that could potentially derail a lot of hard work.

    However, in the club players qwest for the holy grail of power, that is what the little "extras" can give you.

    To know exactly what is happening in a wrist release do this exercise.

    1. With your hand in front of you, lay back your wrist like you would in a forehand and make sure you have some tension holding it back. Now, release the tension. You should have seen your hand sort of "spring forward" to a normal position without you forcing it. That is a wrist release.

    2. Now picture this. Roddick can get his racquet head speed going within a foots distance of the ball up to 50 mph. My friend that is genes. That is extremely fast. So, if you're trying to get Roddicks pace you must be blessed! What Roddick does, is has somewhat of a loose wrist from the forward spring perspective not a floppy wrist which causes the racquet head to droop.

    When he takes the racquet back both hands are positioning the face downward (largely due to the grip). He then starts the forward swing with his elbow making the initial move. This allows the shoulders to trail or lag slightly behind.

    Because Roddick can generate so much force in his forward swing, his wrist lays back from the forces and the weight of the racquet lagging behind. So his wrist is loose at the hinge but is fixed in positioning the racquet head in relation to how it travels over the ground. Understand?

    As the racquet is brought forward, the racquet face is slightly angled down so he can prepare for both the wipe up the back of the ball and the wrist release. The wrist release is in essence a byproduct of a relatively relaxed laid back wrist as the arm slows down and the speed of the swing is sent to the racquet head. The wrist sort of "snap"s forward or springs forward as the elbow reaches its final destination before impact. The wrist releases incredibly fast into the ball partly from the wieght of the racquet finally catching up and the force that Roddick can get his forward swing going over a small distance.

    Ulitimately, the racquet ends up slamming into the ball at a very high speed due to the kenetic chain.
     
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  5. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Interesting stuff as always BB. I've found in my case, that by keeping both hands on the racquet on the forehand, I'm able to get by shoulders and hips turned properly - by getting lazy I seem to end up using more arm. I have to play this game using my legs and shoulders probably more than you younger folks.
     
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  6. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Very true indeed! Well, thanks for the compliment of being younger. I think with all the years of sports and especially hard court tennis, my younger days feel like they were about 20 years ago! ;)
     
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  7. vin

    vin Professional

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    There was a recent article on tennisone about the difference between a pro and amatuer forehand. The difference was that pros keep the butt cap pointed at the ball longer. It seems like this would cause the racquet head to come around faster and maybe result in the 'wrist release'?

    When I keep loose and don't over rotate on my backswing I can feel the racquet head coming around to hit the ball faster than the rotation of my swing. Basically, it seems as if this extra momentum of the racquet head is causing the wrist to release. Is this the same wrist release you are talking about BB? It's a very nice feel, but if it is in fact what you're talking about, I'm worried about how high maintenance you say it is.
     
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  8. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Well I think you got the concept. But it isnt the racquet that is doing it. The racquet head speed is coming from the starts and stops of the kenetic chain that starts from the ground (your feet) and works through the weight transfer into the upper body/arm motion.

    The wrist travels a very small distance from being laid back to its forward "break" or spring" forward. The racquet is being accelerated by this small movement while the arm and shoulder rotation are slowing down but got the forces going. I think the wrist release is happening just as contact or slightly before impact that is impossible to see. My friend john Yandell probably would disagree with me on this as he has wrote an article on the "Myth of the Wrist" (http://www.jericho.bc.ca/tennis/The Myth of the Wrist The Modern Pro Forehand.htm). I think his article is correct as well.

    From my viewpoint it is happening as the contact is made, you just cant see the tendons and the muscles begin to relax and the arm is traveling so fast, so by the time the motion slows down and the ball is gone, the wrist ,makes a physical appearance that a release after the ball is gone has taken place.

    I am certainly an understudy to John Yandell, so it is not my intention to disagree with his findings. I think more study on this will eventually reveal what is truly happening and when. For now, just know that the concept of a fixed racquet position throughout the swing and a laid back wrist that will eventually release is what we are talking about and what most pros are doing.

    Anyway, on these videos watch how the racquet bends back as the elbow moves forward, the wrist is laid back and then as the elbow/arm slows down, the wrist catapults (releases) the racquet.

    1. Agassi's movment in this photo is very small, it could be because of the shot he was making: http://www.uspta.com/html/e-lesson-Open stance forehand 1.swf

    Guga is more apparent. look how the racquet sort of falls back as the elbow comes forward. Then as the elbow slows down you can see his wrist release or spring forward: http://www.uspta.com/html/e-lesson-Running forehand.swf

    Haas is very obvious he is using the wrist release in this shot. In fact, out of the three this is the best example of what a wrist release is: http://www.uspta.com/html/e-lesson-Open stance forehand 2.swf
     
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  9. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    I sort of backed into the idea of the loose wrist forehand. I always had a pretty good layback in the wrist, but I never really understood the involvement of the wrist release. Ever since reading an article that claimed the Federer forehand feels like your swinging the arm through loosely from the hips, I have improved my spin and power greatly. The loss in accuracy is almost non-existent, so it is great. Now, I can feel the wrist unwind just before it meets the ball, and I hit the ball harder than before with less effort. It happens automatically, as long as I am in position. I no longer concentrate on a deliberate setup and getting all the pieces right in the swing, you know trying to build the perfect looking forehand like Agassi. I just load it up with a simple backswing and then let it fly with a free flowing drive and extension through the ball. It actually looks better than the old forehand to boot. Now my mental checklist reads one thing, if it feels too easy, then I did everything right.

    BB, do most people really have that much trouble learning it? I find that even when I don't make an ideal swing, I catch it a hair late, and the wrist just hasn't released and remains in a more fixed position. So, I still hit an effective ball. I think this is the biggest reason I am more successful with my current forehand. It has increased my margin for error by allowing me to be slightly late.
     
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  10. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I don't know, I find a lot of club players can understand the concept but to put it to practice and especially use it in their local matches it can be a challenge. If you are determined to practice and get good at tennis, then no it is not difficult. It is like anything else - it takes time to get it down.

    I do not release my wrist on all forehand shots. Like you said, I can hit a very effective ball without it. But if I really want to accelerate the ball I will loosen that wrist for release a little. In general, I maintain a pretty fixed racquet position so my wrist release may not be as much as someone elses. It is simply enough for me.
     
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  11. lendl lives

    lendl lives Semi-Pro

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    i was reading tennis book written in 1980 and its the opposite of everything we talk about now.....lol
     
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