WTA vs ATP FH: pull vs whip

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by dominikk1985, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Vic Braden is 84, Oscar is 74
     
    #51
  2. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    It can be true for continental/eastern grip only. :shock:
     
    #52
  3. corners

    corners Legend

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    Thanks for revealing this toly. I think you get credit as the first to identify this biomechanical fact, no?

    BTW, how large do you think the contribution of closing the racquet face during the interval when the ball is in contact with the strings (as described in section 2.5 of this paper) is with forehands like Federer's and Nadal's?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    #53
  4. corners

    corners Legend

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    Many people have now described the apparently fundamental differences between the prototypical ATP and WTA forehand techniques. The first to do so articulately, as far as I'm aware, is the poster "tricky". If you haven't read his posts I would recommend it. One thing that he emphasized is that the WTA -style relies primarily on the musculature of the anterior chain, which are also known as the pushing muscles (quads, upper pecs, etc.), while the ATP style relies more on the muscles of the posterior chain, which are known as the pulling muscles (hamstrings, lower pecs, etc.). If he is correct, then it might not be the best thing to describe the WTA style as a pull.
     
    #54
  5. corners

    corners Legend

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    I think the SSC is going on in the shoulder as well as the wrist and forearm, at least in some forehands. Federer, for example, is clearly pre-loading the wrist flexors and forearm pronators during the transition from backswing to forward swing, in my opinion.
     
    #55
  6. TCF

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    Exactly. Funny someone brought up Bouchard. I saw her play several times as a junior. She is so talented, mentally and physically, and the one thing I did not think was enough of a weapon was her forehand compared to the top players.

    With all her talent it could be her forehand that causes her to peak at 20-30 instead of top 5.
     
    #56
  7. SCSI

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    Here is another clip of Bouchard:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnMYnYyZ9RU

    You guys are completely missing the boat about this swing if you think her shorter looking swing results in slow racket head speed. With this new more advanced technique, you actually have much higher racket head speed from more efficient use of your body and adding more steps to the kinetic chain. So, you use your arm/racket like a whip or slingshot rather than hitting with a solid piece of stick.

    BTW, Bouchard is already Top 30 at only 19. This was possible because of her superior technique on her FH and BH as well as her physical and mental talent. I would be highly surprised if she doesn't at least make it to Top 10. Navratilova has said she has grand slam potential, which I agree.
     
    #57
  8. JohnYandell

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    Brian is Dr. Brian Gordon, the leading 3D researcher in the states and the only one in the world that is actively applying this type of work in coaching that I am aware of.
     
    #58
  9. TCF

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    She has not broken the top 30. She peaked at 32. She is tall and has been training since age 5, so while great results, they are not on the level of a Sharapova or Williams sisters at that age.

    I disagree that her forehand technique is superior than Sharapova's and the Williams sisters unless it gets better results in the real world. For a women her size I do not see her forehand as being particularly devastating.

    I never mentioned racquet head speed, I talked about flatter vs more spin, along with the longer wind ups. We shall see how far she goes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    #59
  10. gameboy

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    Funny you should bring up golf as that was on my mind as I was watching the video. The analysis of golf swing is far ahead of tennis strokes with the use of Doppler radar, intensive video analysis, and even 3D motion analysis. And what they have learned over the last decade or so closely mirror what is happening in tennis now.

    The main findings from golf swing analysis are as follows.

    -Emphasize rotational motion over lateral motion
    -The difference in angles between hips and shoulder is the main source of stored energy
    -An efficient swing is a result if chain reaction from lower legs to hips to shoulders to arms to wrist. They need to fire in proper sequence for maximum power.
    - Wrist lag is what separates man from the boys. The longest hitters feature extreme wrist lag that completes well after the forward swing has begun, just like Federer.
    -Wrist lag is held on till the very last possible moment before it is released.
    -The main difference between male and female golfers is the lack of extreme wrist lag and release. This is also the main difference I see between male and female tennis players in the video.

    To me tennis is discovering what has been known in golf for years now. Both men and women can benefit from utilizing this knowledge. More and more junior girls are hitting longer balls than female pros.

    I suspect something similar will happen as years go by in tennis.
     
    #60
  11. SCSI

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    Nobody here is saying Bouchard is a Williams or Sharapova caliber player. She is only 19 and is the highest teenager in WTA. Her technique is of interest for those of us that are interested in whether women can use this new technique. She proves that there are other up and coming WTA players that can learn and use this technique effectively.

    BTW, Nick Saviano must have had something to do with her technique from what I gather, though Bouchard has had a few different coaches over the years.

    Also, I myself have learned the new technique over the years and I have become much a better player. FYI, I started with a traditional Chris Evert style then to Spanish technique and learned this new stuff from a French coach.
     
    #61
  12. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    First off, her swing is not "short" - it is slightly shorter than others, that is all, that is it does not go behind her body. I don't think it is possible to produce high speeds by just taking the racket back a little - humans cannot accelerate like that. It will only result is a gentle tapping back of the ball.

    Second, she is on the side in neutral stance in most of the strokes like most of the females, and not doing the open stance short swing thing at all.
     
    #62
  13. GuyClinch

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    I agree. But I think in the last few years its been 'cleaned up' I think pros are teaching the outside setup - the relaxed wrist and the racquet 'flip'..

    It's going to take a while to see if these techniques trickle over to the female side. Henin points to success for this style as she was an early adopter.

    I have heard that she used to have a WTA forehand and remade it. Not sure if that is true as I can't really find any video of her as a kid..

    Dominating the sport while being a small woman in a world of giant isn't something you can overlook..
     
    #63
  14. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    bouchard has an WTA backswing but ATP finish. sloane stephens is similar in that regard. they have more of a "roll finish" but that classic behind the shoulders backswing (although she sometimes seems to shorten up). probably a hybrid between both styles?

    here is a match between stosur (who has a true ATP FH) and bouchard.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1LhIf-tN_k
     
    #64
  15. SCSI

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    I would say Stosur has an older more Spanish looking swing. Bouchard and to a lesser extent Sloane Stephens has newer more advanced (more Federer like) swing.

    BTW, I think Sloane Stephens trained with Bouchard at Nick Saviano academy.
     
    #65
  16. SCSI

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    Bourchard does not hit her FH with neutral stance. In order for this swing to work, you need to have slightly to semi open stance. Watch it carefully.
     
    #66
  17. GuyClinch

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    Your swing path is going to vary depending on what ball you want to hit. You really want to check out some of Rick Macci lectures on this stuff..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P52Ggata7qY

    I noticed a big change in his explanations in recent years - and I am guessing its because of Brian Gordon's work.. This is why I am skeptical of the theory that women have been using this technique and failing for decades. <g> Because the tennis 'establishment' hasn't been teaching it. Rick Macci is essentially the tennis establishment..because of his long association with it. His theories have changed.. I don't think for example he would ever teach forehands to Venus like they hit now. And he is openly critical of her serve..
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    #67
  18. TCF

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    I guess our main disagreement is the use of the words 'superior' and 'advanced'. So far more success has been had with the more traditional WTA forehands at the pro level. Same with the top junior girls.

    So far this technique has not been proven superior in the women's game where you get a lot of flatter balls hit at you compared to more topspin in the men's game. Tennis is a 2 way game, its not just the technique you want to use on your forehand, its also dealing with the type of balls the top players are hitting to you.

    The jury is very much out as to which forehand technique will emerge as the best option for a top female player.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Right foot behind left foot with a line joining the two perpendicular to the baseline is semi open stance? That is how she is hitting most of the forehands except one towards the end.

    BTW, my definition of neutral stance may be wrong. Also some people call the stance open (not even semi open) if the back foot is not completely behind the left.

    What I see is she is much more sideways than parallel to the baseline.
     
    #69
  20. TCF

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    I have been around junior tennis for 20 plus years. Some Russian coaches were teaching various racquet to the ball techniques decades ago. Others were not. Sanchez Casal teaches a totally different way.

    Macci has been living off the Williams sisters and Roddick for 25 years now and has not produced another winner since out of the thousands he has taught. He is not the tennis establishment. In fact He is considered a guy who is able to wrangle $400/hour based on success he had 25 years ago. In the last 10 years alone he has touted several different players he said were can't miss guarantees and all went no where.

    He was the loudest guy saying "teach boys and girls differently on the forehands". He said it on all his videos. Just because he changed his tune does not mean a thing since there are no results yet to back it up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    #70
  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is a great point. I find that with guys who have a high looping forehand which moves rapidly away from my forehand, it is easier to hit them with almost a complete open stance position.

    I don't that the balls turn that much after bounce in the WTA
     
    #71
  22. TCF

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    Exactly and thats what posters are missing. Go hit with a top junior boy who gives you tons of topspin, then go hit with a top women who gives you very flat balls. It causes you to behave differently. There is a reason the top females mostly hit differently from the top males.

    Some posters need to go to the Orange Bowl and watch what happens to most of the girls with the ATP style forehands. You can not pull out the exceptions as proof that technique is better.
     
    #72
  23. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Yes, it makes a lot of sense to me. I'm not Roger Federer (obviously), but as a player I focus on the swing path that I want to create. The movements of my joints given my grip have already been learned and engrained (mostly - like I said I'm not Roger Federer) so my conscious thought is on higher level stroke issues, not on how much I want to move part of my wrist.

    That said, with my grip (v strong E., almost SW), I do lay my wrist back, and the flexing of my wrist (not conscious contracting of the muscles, but the release of the lay back) is a big part of the through component of the stroke. If I was using a more W grip, as best as I can tell from some shadow swinging I would not use wrist flexion in the same way.
     
    #73
  24. SCSI

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    By more advanced technique, I am referring to Federer style forehand. For me the acid test of whether one has learned the technique is to see if that player is able to consistently produce balls with relatively flat trajectory but also has lot of forward kicking spin, a la Federer's balls.

    This technique is considerably different than the traditional Spanish technique, which tends to produce loopier balls that tends to sit up more. On the women's side, you see some Italian players like Erani and Stosor. On men's, every year, you see less and less of the players with this (Spanish) style, as it is already outdated and not very effective. Even on the Spanish side, you see more guys that play like Almagro and Verdasco that hit flatter balls but still with tremendous topspin.

    I agree that it is a 2-way street. However, with this new technique, you can mitigate a lot of pitfalls of the Spanish technique and I believe it will hold up well against flat hitters. The reason for this is: one, your ball does not sit up for the flat hitters to attack, because it has lots of pace, depth, and movement/spin. Two, you are also able handle lower high pace flat balls easier with this technique.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    #74
  25. TCF

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    Excellent post. It will be interesting to see how the WTA progresses in regards to the forehand.

    In the short term, as the dad/coach of a 9 year old girl, there is nothing to do but go with the gut. Her instincts are to hit flatter and hard and her timing is developing very well. I did shorten her take back in concert with an old time Russian coach we visited last summer. He spoke almost no English but kept grabbing her racquet on the take back to emphasize it was too much!
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    #75
  26. SCSI

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    As I have said, I have had great difficulty trying to teach this new technique. For whatever reason, boys pick it up fairly easily, but girls/women are not able to learn it well from my limited experience. So, I found your posts interesting that others have run into similar issues.

    What goes with this is whether or when you might want to teach this to girls especially at an early age... My guess now is that it would be easier for someone who learns the traditional technique with weaker grips to transition to this style than those who start with full western grip and open stance.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    #76
  27. gameboy

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    For what its worth, I am teaching ATP forehand to my 11year old daughter. I want her to just swing hard as she can and worry about control later.
     
    #77
  28. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Good idea. That is what Bolliierri said once - for juniors, first power then control.

    For adults, other way around (that is my statement, not his)
     
    #78
  29. wannabe good

    wannabe good Rookie

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    Are you saying that a girl hitting ATP forehand has more difficulty handling flat balls? Because that's a different claim from the initial critique of the ATP forehand for the type of ball it produces in woman's hands, presumably non-penetrating sitters.

    I thought ATP forehand would enable a player to handle incoming faster balls more easily, which is different from saying it is difficult to *learn* this type of forehand while having to deal with fast, flat balls.
     
    #79
  30. wannabe good

    wannabe good Rookie

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    Great discussion, everybody.
    I both like and don' like Bouchard's forehand. Something seems wrong about it. I think it's because her arm looks stiff so she doesn't get the "whip" effect.
    BTW, I like the description of the ATP forehand as a whipping forehand. I know that's how I describe it to my 9 year old daughter and that's what I am looking for when I make her shadow this shot.
     
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  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    ATP forehand is tougher. So the simple question is why do it if not needed.
     
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  32. wannabe good

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    I agree it's tougher to learn it. I do think it is a superior shot once mastered, but I am willing to hear arguments against it.
     
    #82
  33. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    The ATP FH might be a bit more difficult at first, but not exceedingly so for most (high) intermediate players. The WTA, with its longer takeback and longer forward swing is more difficult to time, especially on deep or fast balls (like serves). Because of the timing issue, directional control can be a problem. The larger/longer swing that is required will often require the player to play deeper -- back in the red -- and play defensively more often. I have seen this with many high school and junior tournament players as well as rec players.
     
    #83
  34. SCSI

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    Agreed. It is not perfect, but most importantly, it seems to produce the right effect - driving ball with a good deal of forward kick. You will see it if you watch her matches. I like the fact she does that with all her shots, FH, BH, and Serve. Someone taught her very well, IMHO.
     
    #84
  35. corners

    corners Legend

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    I think it's quite a bit more difficult to learn, and to time. And I think it's chief virtue is in spin production. If a player doesn't have the ability to swing fast enough that heavy topspin is necessary to keep the ball in the court, or the player doesn't want/need the ability to hit sick short angles, I don't think the ATP-style has much to offer. Consider Serena - she hits harder than the vast majority of rec players but she still doesn't need heavy spin to keep her shots inside the lines.

    That said, I've been working on my ATP-style forehand for several years and don't have any intention of switching back. On the other hand, watching Stepanek with his old-school forehand in Davis Cup over the weekend did have me wavering a bit.
     
    #85
  36. wannabe good

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    I shouldn't probably mention this because it's a matter of taste, but one reason I want my daughter to learn ATP forehand is the esthetics of it. I watched Stepanek this weekend as well and noticed his style. That's one ugly way of playing, I thought. The same goes for Serena's and Sharapova's game. I respect all of their accomplishments, but in my opinion players should strive towards beauty as well. (If you are wondering, I find Stosur's game very attractive.)
     
    #86
  37. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The Williams sisters play some of the most powerful tennis and they have huge backswings. I don't think that is a coincidence. Before criticizing it, someone better produce great results in an alternative way.

    I also don't think the women are handicapped by being unable to handle fast balls or losing control. I don't think that is the issue at all. They only play each other, not the men.

    I think the issue is spin, especially side spin. There is not much of it in the WTA - even the big junior boys have much more side spin. Adopting neutral stance fully sideways and preparing a longer swing would not work if the ball moved in the air and even more after the bounce.
     
    #87
  38. mbm0912

    mbm0912 Professional

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    #88
  39. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Henin's game was one of my favorites to watch. OTOH, I also enjoyed Graf's game even tho' her backswing on her FH was generous.
    .
     
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  40. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    As I indicated in my post, I've seen the issues that I refer to with numerous high school players (both JV and Varsity) as well as many junior tournament players and decent rec players. Often, their ablity to dish out the power sometimes exceeds their ablity to handle it.
     
    #90
  41. wannabe good

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    Henin goes without saying. Many male tennis fans find her tennis maybe the most attractive of all time, even though she herself isn't a pretty girl, if I may say so.
     
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  42. gameboy

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    I couldn't care less about aesthetics. I want to teach ATP stroke to my daughter because I believe it is the most efficient way to increase swingspeed.
     
    #92
  43. corners

    corners Legend

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    I'm in complete agreement on the aesthetics, and my wife has demanded that I teach her to hit the forehand like Federer. (Tall order!)
     
    #93
  44. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That got me thinking and I wonder if I can post this without causing trouble. Henin is not well-endowed if you know what I mean and Stosur is, well, OK. Could they both have body types which are inherently more masculine?

    I remember once the head coach here telling a junior girl's mother that if she had been serious, he could have taken her to great heights (she is now in college and playing tennis but as intramural or whatever) because of her body type. To be frank, she looks quite a bit like her brothers and tomboyish.

    Mods: delete if needed
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    #94
  45. wannabe good

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    That's probably the right way of looking at it.
     
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  46. wannabe good

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    I don't have a problem going there. The same is true for Schiavone, another woman with ATP forehand who looks like a man.
     
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  47. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Be careful there man.

    But yeah if one looks at Francesca and then at her compatriot Flavia, and then looks at their forehands, make you think doesn't it
     
    #97
  48. JohnYandell

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    RK,

    That video is a direct rip from Brian and Rick Macci. I know the Oxygen guy--he subscribes to Tennisplayer, which is where he got it. He is smart but he is paraphrasing the work of these other two coaches. Not a bad thing--but that should be acknowledged. Unfortunatelly he isn't the first coach on the web to present our info as if it was his own.

    I think one of the great things about the Gordon/Macci outside backswing is that it is not difficult. It works as a model and players will either stay on the right side all the way, or definitely take the racket back less.

    I have heard other coaches besides TCF say the same thing that women or girls can't get the same racket speed with it. Time will tell about that, it could be true at least for some players. In my own experience with junior girls and recreational women I found they got more and that the reduced motion was also a positive.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    #98
  49. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I didn't intend you were wrong, but wanted to point out what Imo were 2 big flaws in that vid. I found it interesting overall and think it could be very useful inspite of his faulty (imo) reasoning.

    I agree that the general modern swing path is generally independent of grip, although I would not rule out someone like toly showing some detail of adjustment that could be required due to grip.

    I also agree that grip affects the direction of wrist flex on the Fh, but don't think it changes the function or how it operates during the swing. There is wrist movement each way that relates to the plane of the swing, but imo the role of the joint is more of a springed hinge.
    I believe that for a good modern Fh, the change of the wrist angle is due to the change of direction of the hand as it approaches contact.
     
    #99
  50. SCSI

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    One thing that I have run into personally is that it is not so much women don't have enough strength to utilize the new technique but they rely too much (from my perspective) on feel and not really get what the swing is all about and why it is effective.

    But, then, men or women, this is, in many ways, what separates very good players from others - the ability to adapt and evolve your game to the most efficient way in the natural way. More and more, I realize this is a huge part of "talent". I highly doubt that uncle Tony or Peter Carter taught Nadal and Federer their unique and highly effective strokes.

    BTW, I don't know particulars about Henin. My guess is that she was lucky to have a great coach and also she herself was probably fully committed to becoming the best player possible in the long run and made no short cuts for any short term success.
     

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