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-   -   Heavy Topspin is Overrated. (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=442275)

KenC 10-06-2012 11:03 PM

Heavy Topspin is Overrated.
 
Last night I watched the semifinal of a local 5.0+ tournament and there was this 14yo 5.0 phenom against an 18yo 5.5 topspin monster. The 14yo hit with a modest to normal amount of topspin just to keep the ball in while the 18yo used a full western grip with the typical overworked strokes. Every time the 18yo hit one of the massive topspin FHs the 14yo just nailed it back twice as hard. The massive topspin had no effect on a 14yo. The 14yo won 7-5, 6-3.

I've been noticing a lot of these matchups lately. It seems those who hit with more pace and just enough topspin to keep the ball in are doing more damage than those who try to hit massive topspin. Apparently, all the effort going into hitting massive topspin is robbing them of needed pace.

I know everyone is enamored with topspin, but it begs the questions: Do you really do damage to your opponent with all that topspin? Really? When was the last time a player beat you with topspin?

FedMex 10-06-2012 11:40 PM

I agree, if the topspin has some pace
 
I agree that if you have flat to just needed spin on your shots then you can have an advantage over overworked spin players IF you get your timing used to their ball early in a match and all else is equal (movement, respective technique level, etc). One of 2 things happen:

1. you get your ball deep and they have to pick up on the rise, which is harder to do with a more vertical spin path and not end up with a defensive or short shot

2. your ball goes into their sweetspot / wheelhouse but because your pace is flatter they have to accelerate their racquet fast to get the loopy shot. if you can get the opponent running their capacity to do this consistently is diminished and eventually you get a weak ball you can flatten out for an approach or winner.

I think what throws a flat to mild spin player off more is a lack of rhythm that may result from a non-consistent, often non-pace shot, not necessarily a heavy top spin hitter that is consistent and provides some pace once the ball bounces off the ground.

kimbahpnam 10-06-2012 11:52 PM

tell Nadal that.....

tennishotdog 10-07-2012 12:58 AM

it is overrated at the amateur levels up to 5.0. i play with many of these wannabes and topspin junkies types and their topspin are pretty weak. the ball just bounces high but has little pace. they are easier to handle than backspin slices for me. you can break them down pretty easily by just moving them around, hitting on the rise, throw in some slices and short balls, and not give them time to recover and set up.

but topspin at the ATP level is totally different obviously there is a ton of pace mixed in with ridiculous amounts of topspin. so players can still keep the ball inside even with big swings at the ball for crazy passing shots and create insane angles. but guys like nadal use way too much topspin it should be illegal lol

Torres 10-07-2012 01:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KenC (Post 6940162)
Last night I watched the semifinal of a local 5.0+ tournament and there was this 14yo 5.0 phenom against an 18yo 5.5 topspin monster....<snip>.......Every time the 18yo hit one of the massive topspin FHs the 14yo just nailed it back twice as hard. The massive topspin had no effect on a 14yo. The 14yo won 7-5, 6-3.

How can you possibly conclude from that that topspin has no effect? Maybe the 14 y/o was simply a better player and the 18 y/o having an off day?

It's also difficult to believe that any 14 y/o can nail it back with "twice the power" that an 18 y/o can generate. Is this 14 y/o green skinned and a freak of nature?

And since when do they have NTRP rated tournaments in Italy?

I don't seen how you can possible conclude that in a flatter v spin match up, the flatter hitting player will prevail and that "top spin has no effect". That's just simplistic nonsense.

ace_pace 10-07-2012 02:02 AM

Topspin is not overrated. Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have the one of the highest average topspin rpm. It simply has so much more benefits. Some include:

*More depth, height and direction control
*Heavier balls i.e. requires more effort to change direction of the ball
*Less pace is lost
*Causes balls to bounce higher than usual, meaning higher contact point and longer depth

KenC 10-07-2012 02:58 AM

So, how many people play ATP level tennis here? Is the average 4.0 able to hit 4000rpm with heavy pace like Nadal? I would like to see the video please.

Let's be realistic here. How many people are hitting spin and pace like Nadal today? Maybe just Nadal. But, how many are trying to hit spin and pace like Nadal and not doing a very good job? Millions. OTOH, I see people trying to use just enough topspin to keep a ball with heavy pace in, like Djoko does, and getting better results.

Let me make this as clear as I can. I'm not saying to not hit with topspin, I am saying maybe it is more reasonable to just use enough topspin to keep a ball with heavy pace in, rather than put all the energy into creating a 4000rpm ball that just loops through the air and takes it's time arriving. Pace does more damage than spin does. But, if you can do both, like Nadal does, great for you.

maxpotapov 10-07-2012 03:16 AM

I would argue that in case of Nadal it is not exactly
spin AND pace, but rather
spin OR pace

I mean statistically his forehands land more in the middle of the court and then bounce high because of all those rpms. During USO 2009 he hit more flat, penetrating shots instead of his usual spin and it took many by surprise when his forehands landed so deep all the time. But then he went back to his all spin game.

There is an advantage to this spin only game as one does not allow opponent to feed off pace and forces him to develop his own power all the time (and that's what 2011 Djokovic did brilliantly with all those shoulder level backhands) . But then you better be ready for this defensive/survival game and chase every ball the opponent tries to nail (younger/healthier Nadal style)

Metalica 10-07-2012 03:27 AM

Heavy topspin provides you with:
-Better consistency
-More angle
-A higher point of contact for your opponent (makes it uncomfortable for him if you're looking for how topspin can be made a weapon)
-The ball will travel much further after bouncing. This combined with the height of the shot may force the opponent back, giving you a court positioning advantage
-It's another shot in your repertoire that you can use to mix things up, disrupting your opponent's rhythm

Topspin is not essential to having a great stroke however it never hurts. As long as you have sufficient physical strength and technique, generating enough power will not be an issue. The best groundstrokes in the game right now are those that possesses both pace and heavy topspin, e.g Fed & Nadal's forehand

KenC 10-07-2012 05:26 AM

Guys, I think we all know what topspin does.

My question is "What is the point of full western grips and overworked strokes, especially on the FH, if they don't do so much damage?" At worst, they create junk balls because the technique is too demanding, and at best they produce a ball that jumps off the bounce and bounces higher than normal. But, those ball get sent back every time.

What I am seeing at the NTRP equivalent of 5.0+ here is way too many people who try to create a lot of spin with their western FHs and crazy looking strokes, but are neutralized by heavy hitters who use a normal amount of topspin. And this is on clay. On cement the advantages of killer topspin are seriously diminished.

Djoker91 10-07-2012 05:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KenC (Post 6940502)
Guys, I think we all know what topspin does.

My question is "What is the point of full western grips and overworked strokes, especially on the FH, if they don't do so much damage?" At worst, they create junk balls because the technique is too demanding, and at best they produce a ball that jumps off the bounce and bounces higher than normal. But, those ball get sent back every time.

What I am seeing at the NTRP equivalent of 5.0+ here is way too many people who try to create a lot of spin with their western FHs and crazy looking strokes, but are neutralized by heavy hitters who use a normal amount of topspin. And this is on clay. On cement the advantages of killer topspin are seriously diminished.

Your absolutely right. On the nose. I've experienced this. A lot of people preach the heavy topspin, western grip. I see it all the time. But after years of falling into that, it is WAY better to have a mix. More pace, enough spin to keep it in, and you will hit winners or force a mishit from opponent. I've seen it first hand. And if the heavy spin player is just a little off during one of the shots in the rally, ball lands too short and goes right in my wheel house, the rally is over. Either I smack a nasty winner, force them to mishit, or I hit it out or in the net. But I go for it every single time. Has given me some great wins. Definitely the way to play. Just ask Djoker or Federer or Agassi. Not COMPLETLY flat, but enough spin to smack em with pace. Look at James Blake too

maxpotapov 10-07-2012 06:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Djoker91 (Post 6940517)
A lot of people preach the heavy topspin, western grip. I see it all the time. But after years of falling into that, it is WAY better to have a mix. More pace, enough spin to keep it in, and you will hit winners or force a mishit from opponent.

Take into account that western grip and heavy topspin is actually easier to learn. Modern lighter/faster/powerful racquets allow people to muscle the ball without regard to proper timing, footwork and kinetic chain. And "heavy top spin" is just the way to channel all the amateurish enthusiasm into something productive (to make the ball go over the net and land into the court thanks to huge margins of error).

And I agree, that "after years of falling into that, it is WAY better to have a mix".

Limpinhitter 10-07-2012 06:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KenC (Post 6940162)
Last night I watched the semifinal of a local 5.0+ tournament and there was this 14yo 5.0 phenom against an 18yo 5.5 topspin monster. The 14yo hit with a modest to normal amount of topspin just to keep the ball in while the 18yo used a full western grip with the typical overworked strokes. Every time the 18yo hit one of the massive topspin FHs the 14yo just nailed it back twice as hard. The massive topspin had no effect on a 14yo. The 14yo won 7-5, 6-3.

I've been noticing a lot of these matchups lately. It seems those who hit with more pace and just enough topspin to keep the ball in are doing more damage than those who try to hit massive topspin. Apparently, all the effort going into hitting massive topspin is robbing them of needed pace.

I know everyone is enamored with topspin, but it begs the questions: Do you really do damage to your opponent with all that topspin? Really? When was the last time a player beat you with topspin?

Tennis is a percentage game. There is more to winning a tennis match than stroke production. The player who is more disciplined at executing a high percentage gameplan and hitting to high percentage targets will usually win the match. Heavy topspin with a high margin for error is one small aspect of high percentage tennis. But, the gameplan and target choices are even more important, IMO.

sundaypunch 10-07-2012 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KenC (Post 6940375)
So, how many people play ATP level tennis here? Is the average 4.0 able to hit 4000rpm with heavy pace like Nadal? I would like to see the video please.

Let's be realistic here. How many people are hitting spin and pace like Nadal today? Maybe just Nadal. But, how many are trying to hit spin and pace like Nadal and not doing a very good job? Millions. OTOH, I see people trying to use just enough topspin to keep a ball with heavy pace in, like Djoko does, and getting better results.

Let me make this as clear as I can. I'm not saying to not hit with topspin, I am saying maybe it is more reasonable to just use enough topspin to keep a ball with heavy pace in, rather than put all the energy into creating a 4000rpm ball that just loops through the air and takes it's time arriving. Pace does more damage than spin does. But, if you can do both, like Nadal does, great for you.

Maybe in the match you watched. The opposite seems to be true in the majority of USTA junior matches I have watched. I see very few kids that have a hard time dealing with pace. It is the deep, heavy topspin balls that cause problems. The obvious situation where a flatter ball with more pace is important is hitting a winner by someone.

I also see more rec. players that can handle pace but not the big spinny ball. As you said, if you can do both it is the best of both worlds. Find out what gives your opponent the most problems and adjust.

AnotherTennisProdigy 10-07-2012 12:11 PM

You described that the 18 year old was hitting it with more spin but with less pace. Doesn't that just mean the 14 year old was better? It's not that topspin is better than pace but rather spin helps you put a lot of pace on the ball and still keep it in. It's a little redundant if the shot has no pace to begin with, that's like saying a junk baller is better than a basher.

sureshs 10-07-2012 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennishotdog (Post 6940290)
it is overrated at the amateur levels up to 5.0. i play with many of these wannabes and topspin junkies types and their topspin are pretty weak. the ball just bounces high but has little pace. they are easier to handle than backspin slices for me. you can break them down pretty easily by just moving them around, hitting on the rise, throw in some slices and short balls, and not give them time to recover and set up.

but topspin at the ATP level is totally different obviously there is a ton of pace mixed in with ridiculous amounts of topspin. so players can still keep the ball inside even with big swings at the ball for crazy passing shots and create insane angles. but guys like nadal use way too much topspin it should be illegal lol

Good observation. Most club level topspin (adults) is ineffective, other than the fact that it helps keep the ball in. Seasoned clubbies have no problem dealing with it, though you can get away with those guys who only play with flat-hitting people.

Junior level and college is a whole different ballgame.

boramiNYC 10-07-2012 12:45 PM

when adding pace to a stroke comparable amount of spin must be added otherwise loss of control. spin is the foundation where you can add pace. that 18 y o hasn't found a way to add pace to his spin and that 14 y o progressed with more balance of spin and power. dismissing spin is silly. but not able to find the balance between the spin and pace is also a limitation. this balance also depends on the competition level. as the level goes up spin becomes more important.

NLBwell 10-07-2012 01:12 PM

Of course the other extreme is to constantly chip-and-charge putting slice approaches deep in the court (often down the middle so there's no angle) and ankle-high. Make the topspinner constanly have to pass you while hitting the ball from an uncomfortable position.

LeeD 10-07-2012 05:23 PM

Heavy topspin works best when it's used by a match smart player, not by a strong dummy who just pummels the ball hard up the middle.
Heavy top allows for increased short angles, running the opponent well past the doubles sidelines. It's also effective for dipping teasing passing shots, to make the netperson volley upwards.
Great for driving tentative players off the baseline, so your short angle works even better.
But no, a dummy hitting hard topspin is not the best player on the courts.

5263 10-07-2012 05:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boramiNYC (Post 6941128)
spin is the foundation where you can add pace. that 18 y o hasn't found a way to add pace to his spin and that 14 y o progressed with more balance of spin and power. dismissing spin is silly. but not able to find the balance between the spin and pace is also a limitation. this balance also depends on the competition level. as the level goes up spin becomes more important.

This is pretty good above. I don't agree with OP that tons of players try to overhit TS and
I don't agree if you hit big TS, you can't have big pace.

I do agree if the OP is just saying overworking the TS without some good pace
has little application against good players, but
I don't know anyone who suggests to do that...do you?


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