Originally Posted by Ripper
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.