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-   -   The Forehand: Busting misconceptions once and for all (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=450567)

10isfreak 01-11-2013 06:27 AM

The Forehand: Busting misconceptions once and for all
 
Many of you might have encountered the tennisspeed blog. In there, we do not get served the usual beliefs we hear during all too many lessons... we are greated with hard science, with a big pile of evidence and repports that overviews some beliefs regarding tennis. The question is whether they are accurate in part, as a whole or if they are simply wrong.

I will just give you 3 key elements that he overviewed among others.

Your swing path prior contact mostly controls the ball's launching angle -- i.e., ceteris paribus, the more vertical your swing path, the higher the ball flies before starting to fall. As you can read, it's not the most determining factor in generating top spin.

The racket head is not perfectly vertical at contact, but is ideally tilted forward. Why? Because spin is about accelerating the edge of the ball and most of your energy is directed forward... so, trying to accelerate the upper edge of the ball should, in principle, capitalize on a lot of energy compared to trying to accelerate upward the edge that is behind the ball.

There is a direct relationship between spin production and how low the ball makes contact with the string bed. The racket is nearly horizontal during ground strokes, so low actually means near the side which is closest to the ground, not near the throat -- just to clear up the potential confusion. A low contact ensures the highest spin/pace ratio (that is, you get more spin, less pace this way).

Theoretical material and concepts are not purely useless, abstract things... If you actually know what pros do and how they do it, you're one step closer to doing it yourself: you just need to figure out how to incorporate these into your swing. From that point and on, you can go on the court knowing that you have a factually valid answer that is guaranteed to yield results. AND YOU GOT IT FOR FREE!

10isfreak 01-11-2013 06:32 AM

I will leave pictures or explanations on some subjects the host covers if someone asks for them, but I'd recommand reading the author who's quite a bit better than me at explaning what happens.

I hope that this sort out the confusion. Of course, feel free to leave comments or, after reading, express how your understanding evolve. You may as well comment about how it influenced your game play.


In my case, I never got to hit as hard, as well and with as much spin as when I have put all this into practice. And, as good coaches will tell you, spin is control... if you own spin production, you own the whole court. And it did help me kick the hell out of pushers once and for all.

sureshs 01-11-2013 06:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10isfreak (Post 7112244)
The racket head is not perfectly vertical at contact, but is ideally tilted forward

I have heard around 10 degrees. How do you reconcile that with your pics below? Is it that the racket face (in these cases) changes from vertical to slightly closed over the dwell time? Or the photos below are slightly before contact?


5263 01-11-2013 06:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7112262)
I have heard around 10 degrees. How do you reconcile that with your pics below? Is it that the racket face (in these cases) changes from vertical to slightly closed over the dwell time? Or the photos below are slightly before contact?


Do you think you can tell the tilt from those photos?

arche3 01-11-2013 06:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7112262)
I have heard around 10 degrees. How do you reconcile that with your pics below? Is it that the racket face (in these cases) changes from vertical to slightly closed over the dwell time? Or the photos below are slightly before contact?


You can't tell because the view is from the back. And the height of the camera affects the perceived racket face angle as well. You don't need a physics degree to know that. There is no way to know. Has nothing to do with dwell time.

dominikk1985 01-11-2013 08:05 AM

the racket tilt is more to push a rising ball (early striking) down to flatten the path of the ball (since a rising ball tends to continue to rise after hitting the stringbed) not so much to create spin.

watch the same player hitting the ball on the drop and he will hit with the same spin but a vertical racket face. the other reason for the racket tilt is that the ball is below the racket center when it leaves the stringbed (not at the moment of initial strike as the tennisspeed guy claims!) because the stringbed brushes upwards. this causes the racket to tilt.

I think with his opinion that the racket tilt increases spin the tennisspeed guy is pretty much alone.

sureshs 01-11-2013 08:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5263 (Post 7112269)
Do you think you can tell the tilt from those photos?

Not with 100% confidence, no. The grip might give a clue.

Do you think they are tilted?

sureshs 01-11-2013 08:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dominikk1985 (Post 7112483)
the racket tilt is more to push a rising ball (early striking) down to flatten the path of the ball (since a rising ball tends to continue to rise after hitting the stringbed) not so much to create spin.

watch the same player hitting the ball on the drop and he will hit with the same spin but a vertical racket face. the other reason for the racket tilt is that the ball is below the racket center when it leaves the stringbed (not at the moment of initial strike as the tennisspeed guy claims!) because the stringbed brushes upwards. this causes the racket to tilt.

I think with his opinion that the racket tilt increases spin the tennisspeed guy is pretty much alone.

That is why it is so interesting to me. On most the non-flattening forehand slow motion vids I have seen, the racket face has been almost vertical, which tells me that the upward swipe is producing the spin.

But there are also shots hit by Roddick and Isner where they go over the ball with a markedly closed face, and finish around the waist on the other side.

So I think a closed face, especially with a W grip, can also be used to impart a lot of spin.

dominikk1985 01-11-2013 08:16 AM



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Illustrated for you:)

WildVolley 01-11-2013 08:24 AM

SpeedMaster, who runs the blog in question, has shot video from the side showing a slightly closed racket face at contact. It should be noted that the pros don't always hit with a closed racket face at contact and, also, the racket face is only slightly closed. However, contra some early theorists, empirically you can lift the ball even with a slightly closed face if you have enough racket head speed and a slightly upward swing path.

I'm convinced that video is the best way to see what is happening, rather than arguing about subjective feelings of pulling across, hitting thru, accelerating late or early. Who cares about these terms when we can just mimic the movement patterns of successful pros?

sureshs 01-11-2013 08:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dominikk1985 (Post 7112505)


Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Illustrated for you:)

Well, what you are showing is the reaction of the racket at impact which causes a tilt.

I think your point is that the racket face is not deliberately closed at impact, except for the cases when flattening is required.

luvforty 01-11-2013 08:37 AM

the face is always closed in relation to the initial launch angle, because the string bed 'gives' on contact (pocketing)... so at separation the ball leaves the lower part of the pocket which is looking UP.

same reason face is always open to the launch angle for slices, because the ball leaves the upper part of the pocket which is looking DOWN.

try hit a few balls with a smooth sheet of metal, you will understand. (very little pocketing, therefore the launch angle almost always square to the face)

sureshs 01-11-2013 08:44 AM

No luvforty, I don't agree with you about the last part. The open face in a slice is deliberate, not just a consequence of recoil.

sureshs 01-11-2013 08:50 AM

Check this out - face definitely slightly closed at impact

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...PaZj4yn00#t=3s

jakeytennis 01-11-2013 09:15 AM

P.A.S. determines the ball's path
P for swing path
A for angle of the String bed on contact
S for speed of swing

All of them contribute to the ball path, but i think P contributes no more than A

i like to keep P an S relatively constant, and just adjust my angle of racket to control my shots.

here is some youtube videos i found

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8Sa1BYPctg
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWd1woOEJIE

Cheetah 01-11-2013 09:37 AM

Also a closed face gives more spin just by being closed. Given the same racquet path and same trajectory of an incoming ball a racquet with a closed face will produce more spin than one that is vertical.

luvforty 01-11-2013 09:41 AM

A is actually the angle of the pocket at the point that the ball separates from the strings.

this is why you can hit a ball up with closed face, or down with open face.

this is also why the same swing produces different launch, based on string type and tension.

sureshs 01-11-2013 09:43 AM

^^^ I have long believed that the pocketing in the dwell time holds answers to many mysteries. One of them that I understood was how the racket seemed to be moving up at contact on many first serves, but the ball came out a degree or so below horizontal. The answer I found is that the racket tip completes its apex turn during the dwell time in those serves, and actually launches the ball sightly down at the end of it.

TennisCJC 01-11-2013 09:51 AM

I fully accept both of these myths as true.

Yes, pros hit most topspin FHs with a sligthly closed face and underspin BHs with a sligthly open face. I doubt they think too much about this as it has become instinct for them.

Yes, you will get more spin if you hit below center as long as the racket is slightly closed.

Both of these indicate you are hitting the ball in the middle or even on top for topspin. You will encounter less resistance from the ball and it will result in more spin.

Isn't there an article in TW Univ somewhere talking about hitting the top of the ball for a kick serve and how it results in the most spin.

Having said I believe in the "myths" and believe that hitting on top results in more spin. I still visualize an approach to the bottom 1/2 of the ball for topspin. Actual contact may not be on the bottom 1/2 but my thought process is on the bottom 1/2. I practice/think "take the hand/strings to the lower half and pull up and across for topspin.

10isfreak 01-11-2013 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dominikk1985 (Post 7112483)
I think with his opinion that the racket tilt increases spin the tennisspeed guy is pretty much alone.

You gave an explanation and that's it. He tested 180 forehands of some of the best tennis players he could find, picture per picture at 210fps.

Who do you think we should listen to? The guy who has an opinion or the guy who has a tested opinion?

Evidence speaks loud; ideas, not so much.


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