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-   -   What produces a "heavy ball" (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=84973)

guedoguedo 06-29-2006 10:17 PM

What produces a "heavy ball"
 
I hit against some guy who used an old school racquet and hit it pretty flat and damn was it hard to get back...maybe i was having a bad day or something. And i can recall a few people whose serves where heavy as hell and you couldnt just pop it back in play.

How does this come about? Is it a type of racquet, a type of swing?

Kabob190 06-29-2006 10:19 PM

swing harder?

TennsDog 06-29-2006 10:29 PM

Simply put: heavy = fast and lots of spin. You really need both factors to qualify as a heavy shot, though weight of shot is subjective and only really relavent to the person trying to return it. Flat, hard shots aren't typically considered heavy because you can just block it back. A slow ball with spin isn't heavy either because, since it doesn't have much speed, it doesn't skid through the court at all and uses up a lot of its rotational energy in the bounce, which will make it bounce high, but with little juice left once it gets to you. A heavy shot feels like it pushes your racket around and may even cause it to twist in your hand. I have hit heavy serves that nearly knock the racket out of my practice partner's hand. If you hit with pace and spin, then the pace will drive the ball through the court and kick it up higher (anything near the shoulders will inherently seem heavier just because of the height), but since it has more speed, it won't use up all of its rotational energy on the bounce and will still be spinning away once you hit it. The spin is what really makes a heavy shot bite the stringbed and makes it twist and cause the ball to just jump off the racket rather uncontrollably. It's all in the mechanics, but it definitely requires a good deal of racket head speed to produce a truly heavy shot.

joe sch 06-29-2006 10:56 PM

When players play against old school flat hard hitters for the first time, they are often not able to handle the pace. Same goes for playing somebody that hits with lots more spin than you are used to handling. Both types of balls are often labelled "heavy". Two guys on the tour that fit these categories are Blake & Nadal. Both of these players present hugh problems for most of the players on the tour since the hits are not in their comfort zones.

looseswing 06-30-2006 12:06 PM

Look in the sticky and/or search it. There has been much discussion on this topic if you look.

thefan 07-03-2007 04:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TennsDog (Post 809012)
Simply put: heavy = fast and lots of spin. You really need both factors to qualify as a heavy shot, though weight of shot is subjective and only really relavent to the person trying to return it. Flat, hard shots aren't typically considered heavy because you can just block it back. A slow ball with spin isn't heavy either because, since it doesn't have much speed, it doesn't skid through the court at all and uses up a lot of its rotational energy in the bounce, which will make it bounce high, but with little juice left once it gets to you. A heavy shot feels like it pushes your racket around and may even cause it to twist in your hand. I have hit heavy serves that nearly knock the racket out of my practice partner's hand. If you hit with pace and spin, then the pace will drive the ball through the court and kick it up higher (anything near the shoulders will inherently seem heavier just because of the height), but since it has more speed, it won't use up all of its rotational energy on the bounce and will still be spinning away once you hit it. The spin is what really makes a heavy shot bite the stringbed and makes it twist and cause the ball to just jump off the racket rather uncontrollably. It's all in the mechanics, but it definitely requires a good deal of racket head speed to produce a truly heavy shot.

NEver knew that before...Good explaination man.

Who on the tour would you say has "heavy" groundstrokes?

stormholloway 07-03-2007 05:18 PM

People often describe Safin's strokes as heavy and I would hardly say he uses "lots of spin". To me, a heavy ball is produced when someone uses good technique and utilizes mass to hit a ball solidly, rather than having flashy, whippy strokes that produce tons of topspin. Federer's shots are heavy, and also use spin, but I don't believe it is spin that classifies a stroke as heavy. Safin's backhand is what I would call "heavy".

I disagree with TennsDog in other words.

The Gorilla 07-03-2007 05:22 PM

^^
So you agree with me basically but are too begrudging to admit it?

lol ;)

Ripper 07-03-2007 05:26 PM

What produces a "heavy ball"

Ball speed. Yep, as simple as that.

Bagumbawalla 07-03-2007 05:41 PM

Basically, a heavy ball is any ball that pounds into your racket with unexpected force.

Normally, it is (as mentioned above) a compination of speed and spin. The ball seems to leap into the strings, almost knocking the racket back.

But you can also have a relatively "flat" ball that comes across as heavy. Don Budge (from the 30s/40s) is mentioned as having one of the "heaviest" backhands, ever- and it was fairly flat. It just had a lot of speed and power behind it.

Which brings us to the psychological factor. When a ball leaves the opponent's racket, we get an impression of what to expect, and we prepare accordingly. Sometimes we are quite surprised. We see a smooth unspectacular stroke and prepare to return an average ball-- but the racket jars in our hand.

That brings us back to the defination-- any ball that pounds into our racket with unexpected force.

dave333 07-03-2007 05:42 PM

^^^^(gorillas, bagumwalla posted same time) No, it has to be speed and spin.

The Gorilla 07-03-2007 05:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ripper (Post 1561465)
What produces a "heavy ball"

Ball speed. Yep, as simple as that.

I think that produces one type of heavy ball, where the ball hits the racquet with great force, pushing it back and making it very difficult to follow through, and thus making it very difficult hit powerfully or to control.Examples of this type of heavy ball would be the groundstrokes of Lindsay Davenport or the serve of Karlovic.

I think the other type of heavy ball is the massively topspun heavy ball, where the ball is actually spinning so fast that your racquet headspeed is not fast enough to change the direction of the spin, and the ball exerts force of it's own upon the racquet's stringbed instead of the other way round.This means the ball departs from the stringbed at an angle, similar to the way the a ball will depart at an unnatural angle from the rail of a pool table when subjected to spin.Examples of heavy shots of this type are the groundstrokes of Nadal, and the serve of Sampras.

In both cases the ball is exerting a greater force upon the racquet, a greater amount of force is required to overcome this, which is why it feels 'heavier'.

In the case of the first type of heavy ball, the 'flat' type, this can be dealt with by using a heavier racquet, since the racquet has a higher level of *inertia,which basically means that once you start to swing the racquet a greater amount of force is required to change it's direction, or disturb it's motion.Which means your racquet will have a greater capacity to overcome flat heavy balls.That is, they will no longer feel heavy.

The second type of heavy ball, the 'topspin' is far more difficult to overcome, you must put greater effort into applying spin of your own to the ball, which requires a longer stroke, and requires you to hit through the ball less.This is why Sampras's serve was so effective, because it was hit fast enough that you didn't have time to take a long enough swing,, and so heavily that if you took a short swing you sacraficed control.


All comments, criticims, refutations of this theory welcomed.



[ *That property of matter which manifests itself as a resistance to any change in the motion of a body. Thus when no external force is acting, a body at rest remains at rest and a body in motion continues moving in a straight line with a uniform speed (Newton's first law of motion). The mass of a body is a measure of its inertia. ]

tricky 07-03-2007 05:54 PM

Quote:

No, it has to be speed and spin.
This is not only the consensus among tennis authorities, but "heavy" also translates as spin+pace in baseball. A 90mph sinker is much heavier than a 94mph 4-seam fastball because it has a better combination of spin rate and pace.

At the pro level, all shots are very, very heavy. Even Agassi puts 1000-1500RPM on the ball through both wings, and he's definitely hitting those babies flat and hard.

dave333 07-03-2007 06:49 PM

^^^^ Yeah, similar to chien-ming wangs nasty sinker, which is describes as "so heavy" by many of the players.

WildVolley 07-03-2007 09:10 PM

From my perspective, a heavy ball is one that has deceptive speed because of spin. In other words, it comes at you and hits your racquet harder than you expect because the spin pitches it at you faster than it seems it should from watching it prior to the bounce.

I've created this by playing with a ball machine and turning the topspin way up. You can see it come over the net, bounce, and then all of a sudden it seems to accelerate towards you. You definitely can learn how to time a heavy ball if you realize it is coming, but I can imagine that the way Nadal's forehand must seem to jump off the court would be quite intimidating.

Tennis_Monk 07-03-2007 09:14 PM

What produces? my opponents Forehand.

Frank Silbermann 07-03-2007 09:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dave333 (Post 1561490)
^^^^(gorillas, bagumwalla posted same time) No, it has to be speed and spin.

So basically, you are saying they are wrong -- those writers who claimed that Don Budge and Ken Rosewall "hit a heavy ball."

Like Humpty Dumpty in _Alice in Wonderland_, you can use words to mean whatever you want them to mean. But in the 1970s a "heavy ball" was one which hit harder than you expected.

Punisha 07-04-2007 03:27 AM

chuck norris

Wil 01-17-2010 06:07 PM

Do you need a racquet with a high swingweight 320-336, and an open string pattern(16X19) in order to hit a "heavy ball"?
I was playing with the Wilson (k)Tour 95 swingweight of 331 and a 16X20 string pattern, and my opponent told me that my serve and groundstrokes were "heavy" The racquet is strung with a very soft multifilament at 55lbs.

Zachol82 01-17-2010 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by guedoguedo (Post 808995)
I hit against some guy who used an old school racquet and hit it pretty flat and damn was it hard to get back...maybe i was having a bad day or something. And i can recall a few people whose serves where heavy as hell and you couldnt just pop it back in play.

How does this come about? Is it a type of racquet, a type of swing?

A heavy ball is mainly determined by how much pace it has, then comes the spin, but spin doesn't really have as much effect on how heavy a ball is, as many believe it to.

As you have experienced, and described, the ball you had to deal with felt pretty heavy, yet it is pretty flat.

I'm just guessing here that shots hit off-centered will feel "heavy." A flat, fast-paced ball will feel heavy if it misses the sweet-spot by a little, that and flat shots tend to be fairly low, deep and barely clears the net. Now, shots with a lot of spin will feel heavy because spin tends to throw you off your sweet-spot as well.

Therefore, if you are able to hit all shots right at the sweet-point, then pace will mainly determine how heavy that shot will feel.


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