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-   -   Tweener/hardcourt long balls, cure? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=449391)

Relinquis 12-30-2012 06:40 AM

Tweener/hardcourt long balls, cure?
 
My ground strokes are going long, in particular my forehand. I don't know what the issue is.

I've been using a new racquet for the past couple of months, a Wilson Steam 100 (a tweener i guess). It has been a bit of an adjustment as I have been absent from the game for over 15 years. This racquet is a lot more powerful than what I used to use.

The long balls are more of an issue on hardcourts than clay courts (euro-style red clay). I also feel that I'm not swinging as fully as i used to when i was a teenager for fear of long balls.

- Have any of you faced this kind of issue?
- Any thoughts of what I could be doing wrong?

I wonder if i should experiment with higher tension stringing (i use multis) and maybe a bit of lead.

arche3 12-30-2012 06:42 AM

You need more top spin.

sundaypunch 12-30-2012 07:56 AM

A Wilson Steam strung with a multi would be a rocket launcher for me. I agree that adding more topspin is probably the answer. You may not be able to do this immediately. In the meantime you probably want to do something that will let you swing out on the ball with more confidence.

Can your arm handle a poly? That would probably tame the racquet a bit. If you need a softer string, Head RIP Control is a lower powered multi. Very comfortable strung in the low 60's. Adding lead will make the racquet more powerful if you maintain the same swing speed.

3fees 12-30-2012 08:53 AM

Try hitting the ball earlier, more out front, late swings tend to go long or into the net, as y'all get too much carry or not enough.

:mrgreen:

anubis 12-30-2012 08:54 AM

I had the same problem as you. Lots of people here will say that you need more top spin -- but its more than that. It's also trajectory off the strings, swing speed, swing path, and timing. It's the whole enchilada, so to speak.

There are a few factors here at work:
1. Your racquet is generating a lot of power
2. YOU are generating a lot of power
3. Your strings are generating a lot of power

what this means is, you add all of those things together and you'll find that you cannot compensate for the tons of power with merely adding more top spin. You've got to do more than that.

I agree with SundayPunch, you might want to switch to poly. What you have to do is find ways of counterbalancing all the power that's in your arsenal. This can be done by low powered strings. Or, you can string regular syn gut very tight (60 lbs plus).

Secondly, you need to look at your swing speed -- until you master everything else, you've got to slow down your racquet head speed. You're generating too much pace.

Thirdly, you've got to attack the ball sooner. You should hit the ball when its in front of you, not when it eventually gets even with your body. The sooner you hit the ball (on the rise), the lower the trajectory the ball will take when it leaves your strings.

Lastly, as everyone else says: top spin. You should modify your swing path so you're going more low to high, as opposed to hitting through the ball. Really brush up on the ball so that you are applying enough spin to compensate for all the power you're generating.


For my part, I could have done all that I just suggested to you, when I was using powerful tweeners. But I took the easy path out, I sold them all and bought the lowest powered racquet I could find with the lowest powered strings so that I didn't have to modify my swing speed or top spin. Now 90% of my shots stay in, which is great for me.

good luck!

slowfox 12-30-2012 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by anubis (Post 7086764)
For my part, I could have done all that I just suggested to you, when I was using powerful tweeners. But I took the easy path out, I sold them all and bought the lowest powered racquet I could find with the lowest powered strings so that I didn't have to modify my swing speed or top spin. Now 90% of my shots stay in, which is great for me.

Hey anubis: Just curious, what racquet and strings are you using now? Thanks.

luvforty 12-30-2012 12:16 PM

OP has a flawed swing.

if more spin could have cured the problem, he wouldn't be asking for a solution.

Relinquis 12-30-2012 01:13 PM

Thanks for all the replies guys. Lots to think about. Here are my thoughts/more info:

- Swing: I'm pretty sure my swing isn't 100% yet (esp the forehand, the backhand is pretty good, maybe i'm attacking sooner on backhand).
- Strings: I'd rather stay away from poly as it might be too stiff on my arm. I'll try a higher tension/thinner gauge multi (currently mid 50s lbs, will try 60+ lbs).
- Spin: I had fewer long balls on Clay. Paradoxically I felt the faster i would swing the easier it was to control the distance (spin or better form?). Maybe I just haven't found my hardcourt timing and am opening up the racquet face to compensate.
- Racquet: I don't have the long-ball issue with my old Prince racquet from my teen years. It's smaller and heavier, but I do tend to hit pretty flat with that unless I'm slicing/volleying.
- Balls: I find that I hit longer when I receive pace-less shots (why?) or low-topspin moonballs (might be opening up the racquet too much during takeback). On clay I used to step back and hit the moonballs while waist height. My hitting partners on clay were more advanced and hit harder i think.

I'll try out some of your recommendations this week and will report back. I don't want to give up on the Steam yet as it is great at the net, for slices/drop-shots and for overheads. I also feel that if I can master this I will become a better player overall even if I end up moving to more of a "player's" racquet in a couple of months. Or maybe it's an ego thing!

moopie 12-30-2012 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Relinquis (Post 7087266)
- Balls: I find that I hit longer when I receive pace-less shots (why?) or low-topspin moonballs (might be opening up the racquet too much during takeback). On clay I used to step back and hit the moonballs while waist height. My hitting partners on clay were more advanced and hit harder i think.

Here's your problem. You're not adjusting your stroke to the incoming ball. A ball coming at you with pace and topspin will bite into your strings and reverse, naturally giving your shot pace and topspin with no help from you. A no-pace ball, and especially a sliced ball, will sit up with no pace and no spin. When your strings make contact you don't get that extra pace or spin. If you take the same stroke you will either hit long or into the net. You need to adjust by putting extra topspin on your shot (not necessarily easy to do, it takes some practice. this is related to the whole "trouble with pushers" problem).

10isfreak 12-30-2012 04:38 PM

Top spin is your main issue and the worst reflex you could have is to try and increase the increment of your swing path prior to ball contact. From the furthest point of your take back, up to contact, the angle at which you swing does have an impact on spin production, but contrary to common beliefs, it is only marginal... Usually, as current researches revealed, doing this tends to do one thing: it increases the launching angle of the ball -- that is, the more vertical your swing prior contact, the more vertical the ball flies.

Spin isn't about moving your racket... It's about accelerating the edge of the ball. Top spin is forward eccentric (off center) acceleration -- the top of the ball moves forward relative to its geometric center. To achieve this feet, top pros revert to two very simple tricks. Trick number one: they tilt their racket forward. It might seem silly, but place a ball on a table and see how a racket could hit the top while still hitting the back of it. You need to tilt it. Trick number two: they hit off center -- closer to the bottom edge for more top spin, closer to the upper edge for less top spin. (Of course, we're assuming the racket is more or less parallel to the ground as in any ground stroke.)

Generating spin is your number one problem; your second problem is to control the ball... but I told you how to do both: do with your racket what you want the ball to do. Typically, if you get to hit the ball's upper edge and make a low contact (in your string bed), the racket should close right after the ball leaves the string. It seems that it allows you to transfer more energy into top spin and less into forward momentum and this specific type of contact seems very voluntary from the part of top pros as they consistently contact the ball higher in the string bed for winners and lower for more spin.

As for the tilt, we're talking about something like 10 to 15 degrees from the vertical plane and, usually, pros swing up to contact with an increment of less than 20 degrees fro the horizontal plane.

ramos77 12-30-2012 06:15 PM

I had the same issue playing with powerful 100" frames

So I bought PS90 and I no longer have the problem.

A heavier control racquet is just what I needed (I used to play with a max200G as a kid)

The PS90 BLX gives me the confidence to swing through the ball and no worry about it going out...

The modern 100" frame just isn't for me. Also using a natural gut/poly hybrid helped too. gut or multi in a 100" is too powerful IMO

sundaypunch 12-30-2012 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ramos77 (Post 7087980)
I had the same issue playing with powerful 100" frames

So I bought PS90 and I no longer have the problem.

A heavier control racquet is just what I needed (I used to play with a max200G as a kid)

The PS90 BLX gives me the confidence to swing through the ball and no worry about it going out...

The modern 100" frame just isn't for me. Also using a natural gut/poly hybrid helped too. gut or multi in a 100" is too powerful IMO

IMO, if you are going to use a Steam 100, Pure Drive, etc., you have to have a game that suits that type of racquet. It seems counter-intuitive, but taking an aggressive cut at the ball (with the proper topspin stroke) helps keep the ball in play. Once you get tentative to adjust for the power the ball is more likely to fly on you.

Without this type of stroke, a lower powered racquet is probably a better fit.

anubis 12-31-2012 05:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slowfox (Post 7087130)
Hey anubis: Just curious, what racquet and strings are you using now? Thanks.

Head Youtek IG Prestige MP w/ BHB7 @ 50 lbs

Relinquis 01-30-2013 01:55 AM

UPDATE: Problem Solved
 
Update:

Ok guys, problem solved! thanks for the help.

I played last night, same set-up with the Wislon Steam 100 strung with a multi (mid range tension); no modifications. Hardly any long balls. What I learned:

- Movement: I noticed most of the long balls that i hit before were when the incoming ball was high, i.e. high kicking topspin, moonballs; Or were when i was hitting late.
Cure: Better movement and getting into position, either moving forward and hitting on the rise (somewhat difficult, but very effective), or moving backwards and hitting the ball once it drops into my target zone (easy to do and doesn't make me as defensive as i was afraid it would).

- Technique: Two issues were contributing to long balls. my racquet face would tiled backwards (open) before contact. 2nd issue is i would use an short follow through (due to fear of long balls). I found that making sure my racquet fact was flat or slightly closed (feels like only 10-15 degrees) before contact and having a proper/full follow through solved these shots. This gave me a lower tragectory shot and sometimes some more topspin.

Thanks a lot for your help guys. I think i've tamed the tweener and will continue to play with it to see it's potential (maybe string a natGut/Poly or multi/poly hybrid). Will also try out a heavier, softer mid-sized stick in a couple of months; Something similar to my teen years.


tl;dr
I don't know which was the key point, but all of these tips helped immensely:
- Move and position batter for the ball (forward or backwards).
- Hit out in front, but in strike zone (not too high above shoulders).
- racquet face/head should be flat/slightly tilted forward, i.e. slightly closed not open.
- full follow through and focus on hitting the ball cleanly. Add speed as you get more comfortable.

anubis 01-30-2013 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Relinquis (Post 7179341)
Update:

Ok guys, problem solved! thanks for the help.

I played last night, same set-up with the Wislon Steam 100 strung with a multi (mid range tension); no modifications. Hardly any long balls. What I learned:

- Movement: I noticed most of the long balls that i hit before were when the incoming ball was high, i.e. high kicking topspin, moonballs; Or were when i was hitting late.
Cure: Better movement and getting into position, either moving forward and hitting on the rise (somewhat difficult, but very effective), or moving backwards and hitting the ball once it drops into my target zone (easy to do and doesn't make me as defensive as i was afraid it would).

- Technique: Two issues were contributing to long balls. my racquet face would tiled backwards (open) before contact. 2nd issue is i would use an short follow through (due to fear of long balls). I found that making sure my racquet fact was flat or slightly closed (feels like only 10-15 degrees) before contact and having a proper/full follow through solved these shots. This gave me a lower tragectory shot and sometimes some more topspin.

Thanks a lot for your help guys. I think i've tamed the tweener and will continue to play with it to see it's potential (maybe string a natGut/Poly or multi/poly hybrid). Will also try out a heavier, softer mid-sized stick in a couple of months; Something similar to my teen years.


tl;dr
I don't know which was the key point, but all of these tips helped immensely:
- Move and position batter for the ball (forward or backwards).
- Hit out in front, but in strike zone (not too high above shoulders).
- racquet face/head should be flat/slightly tilted forward, i.e. slightly closed not open.
- full follow through and focus on hitting the ball cleanly. Add speed as you get more comfortable.

I'm glad you had a good result! Just for the record though, just what tension are you playing with?

LeeD 01-30-2013 10:10 AM

Just aim frickin lower over the net.
You cannot hit long if your ball clears the net by a foot or less, or even 2'.

MikeHitsHard93 01-30-2013 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7180116)
Just aim frickin lower over the net.
You cannot hit long if your ball clears the net by a foot or less, or even 2'.

Lol. And bend the knees before the shot and propel into the shot, rather than scooping the ball upwards.

dman72 01-30-2013 11:07 AM

Most people I play have issues with short balls or tweeners that should be easy to put away...I go through phases where I keep missing them too.

Watching a court level slo mo of Federer putting a mid court floater away, inside out, in his loss to Murray shows that his short ball put away cleared the net by 2 or more feet and landed 3 feet inside the line.

I find when I'm missing, it's because my trajectory is too flat....you have much less margin for error and you either hit the tap or hit long too often.

I do think the answer is more topspin. Of course different frames/strings etc make a difference in what type of swingpath you need to keep the ball in play, which is one of the reasons why screwing around with your gear all the time messes up your game. You have to know how the ball is going to respond when you swing a certain way...that changes when you change frames.

dman72 01-30-2013 11:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7180116)
Just aim frickin lower over the net.
You cannot hit long if your ball clears the net by a foot or less, or even 2'.

Maybe if you have little girly arms...I can hit the back curtain on a ball that clears the net by 2 feet if I swing with an Eastern grip completely flat.

LeeD 01-30-2013 11:10 AM

The answer, of course, is more topspin, lower trajectory, less ball speed, and smarter ball placement.
All have problems, and take time to implement successfully.


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