Your Contact Point for Topspin Groundstrokes

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by PhilStar!, May 9, 2013.

  1. PhilStar!

    PhilStar! Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    419
    Where is your initial contact point when you hit your topspin forehand groundstrokes?

    This video on Caroline Wozniacki shows 3 contact point:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGt2tqXerJ0

    1. sweetspot ( middle of the racquet )
    2. above the center mains of the strings
    3. below the center mains of the strings

    There's all different type of opinions regarding where a player should hit but a popular theory is that if the contact point is at the sweetspot or below it, there's less room to brush and therefore, a likelihood that you could end up framing the ball.

    Then there's famed guru, Oscar Wegner, who says that most pros actually hits the ball well below the center of the racquet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxUPDHegz98


    So where do you folks make initial contact for your topspin strokes?

    ( this is probably the spot of the racquet that you'll likely end up breaking the strings at too ).

    Just trying to get an idea where majority of the people make contact for their topspin here.
     
    #1
  2. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,908
    Contact point usually means how far in front you hit.
     
    #2
  3. PhilStar!

    PhilStar! Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    419
    I meant contact point for where the ball makes contact on the racquet face ....
     
    #3
  4. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,411
    I just go for the center of the racquet. It's hard enough to hit that as it is. If I want more topspin then I direct my swing path to be more vertical.
     
    #4
  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,234
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    I think some exceptional pros can hit higher on the racket to impart a shorter spinnier ball, or lower on the racket to hit a more solid shot, but it's more by instinct than cerebral.
     
    #5
  6. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,899
    The frame!:twisted:

    Actually, I'd guess most people don't know as this isn't the sort of thing you can easily see. I need high speed video to see, unless I notice strong twisting in my hand.
     
    #6
  7. S&V Specialist

    S&V Specialist Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2012
    Messages:
    296
    Location:
    Texas
    Heavy top/side spin shots: above
    Penetrating pace: below
     
    #7
  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,665
    If I want to hit high loopy topspin on a low ball, I end up hitting below the sweetspot. It just happens by itself.

    A lot of it is determined by whether the ball is rising or falling, and how closed/open your racket face is, and the height of the ball. You can argue that a lower point helps in pulling up the ball more for top spin, or that (as in a previous post) that you would increase the chances of missing it, or it can be argued that the intended contact point is above or below what was actually observed, etc.
     
    #8
  9. PhilStar!

    PhilStar! Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    419
    But typically, it's usually where the string breaks (unless you're mixing in flat shots) as an indicator where you usually hit the ball.

    Also, a player can be conscience as to where they're aiming the racquet face at when they're about to make contact.

    I tend to hit more above the center mains ( as shown in the 2nd stroke of the Wozniacki clip ) but the frame does open up and the ball tends to go loopy afterward. Aiming it above the sweetspot gives me a higher margin for error so even if I miss that part of the racquet, the sweetspot will still get the ball. I've never framed the ball this way.

    I am curious however how players hit well below the center yet doesn't frame it, because the margin for error is so low.
     
    #9
  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,665
    Probably that is what the pros do. We see slightly different results based on the situation, and may end up thinking that was the intent.
     
    #10
  11. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2012
    Messages:
    566
    Not that this is false, but your swing path has a greater influence on the ball's flying increment than on its spin.

    If you want more spin, without changing anything else, close your racket face a bit. The idea is that you'll get to make contact above the center of the ball with a closed face, meaning that the upper edge will get accelerated forward. As you swing a lot faster forward than upward -- I've rarely seen pros going beyond 30 degrees of swing path prior contact, including Nadal on clay -- you'll get more spin that way.
     
    #11
  12. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,411
    I do not agree. If you close your racquet face without changing anything else you'll just hit the ball lower over the net, or perhaps into the net. This is my experience as a player, and also what I would deduce from physics (I have an Masters in Mechanical Engineering).

    If you want more topspin you need a greater vertical component in your swing. Open or close the racquet face to get the appropriate height over the net.
     
    #12
  13. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,899
    Usually, my string breaks high center of the racket head, which is where I hit most balls.

    However, I don't think that tells us much of what you want to know. The original video shows hits high or low around the axis running through the handle and up the head. Since I don't always hold the racket with the same face forward, the shots are going to be distributed around that center line, even if I'm consistently hitting in the stringbed closer to the ground or above that line toward the sky.

    If you're hitting high in the stringbed (while the face is horizontal) isn't the racket trying to torque open on most shots? That would get annoying quickly.
     
    #13
  14. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    4,863
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I hit a pretty heavy ball, but I really only know what it feels like. To get more or less topspin, I know how to adjust the "feel" of the stroke.

    It makes me feel like an idiot to hear you guys are able to tell yourself to contact a couple inches higher or lower on the stringbed, or adjust the face five degrees. Man, I don't know how you guys are able to think and position and detect where you hit so precisely when things move so quickly.
     
    #14
  15. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2012
    Messages:
    566
    The vast majority of my strokes end closer to the bottom edge, not in the dead center of the racket. It's not really something I think about, it's more something that simply happens. The stringers I talked to also noticed it. The near-edges are filled with fuzz and worn out when advanced players bring their racket.

    I am sure if you watch a pro hitting many balls in super slow-motion, you'll pick it up: unless he hits flat, he'll almost always make a low contact.

    With that said, you shouldn't be thinking about this. If anything, it will become an habit by trial and error, through practice and time. There are other details that are more important, I would say.
     
    #15
  16. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,899
    You're obviously not a very good tennis player if you can't see whether you hit the ball an inch below or above the center line.:twisted:

    As I suggested, the only way I can tell is by using high speed video. And even with the setup, I don't video many of my practices. Mostly I just use the video when I'm working on something new or I have someone to shoot for me. At 240 frames a second, that video card gets filled up fast.
     
    #16
  17. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,665
    Bottom edge is natural with closed face top spin. It just happens naturally. So I would think.

    But we had discussed this before in great detail. Hundreds of videos were studied, and the impact point was all over, not necessarily below. But the issue was never resolved because 1. There was a requirement that only TS balls should be counted (slices are supposedly hit on the upper side - that was the claim), and flat shots also were supposed to be discounted. Who gets to judge that decisively from a few seconds of video? 2. The results were challenged on the basis that the intention of the pro was to hit lower but he couldn't (on the clips which did not support the hypothesis). Who can decide that? 3. It was also claimed by the opposers that shots which were impacted below actually might have slid down because of deformation and gravity, and the impact was higher.

    Just to tell you that this is an old topic beaten to death without conclusion.
     
    #17
  18. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,370
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Some earlier replies on where on the racket face the ball is first contacted:

    This issue needs more work with high speed video that has adequate frame rates to see the ball movement during, say, 5 milliseconds of ball-string contact. 240 fps might not be enough. ?
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
    #18
  19. PhilStar!

    PhilStar! Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    419

    It depends on how tight or loose I grip the racquet, and how fast and heavy the incoming ball is.

    but in general, on average grip and incoming speed, it does torque and the racquet face do open up. The resulting shot is a loopy shot. However, I still impart tremendous spin on the ball.

    Sometimes I tilt the racquet down while I swing and that helps a bit to keep the ball from going too loopy ( higher arc ).
     
    #19
  20. PhilStar!

    PhilStar! Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    419
    That's another good indicator I use as well; where all the fuzz is concentrated on the stringbed.
     
    #20

Share This Page