Originally Posted by asimple
I've never quite understood how this works. The balls speed and spin can be exactly the same between a heavy hitter and normal hitter, but the difficulty in returning it is huge, and can actually seem like you are getting pushed off the court.
When I was a kid, I hit with an older ex high level touring pro (top 20). His strokes didn't look that fast and weren't, but it felt like you were being physically pushed off the court on every stroke. When I asked him about it, he mentioned it was just getting your body behind the ball and good hip turn. I have a pretty big forehand, but it is mostly arm and shoulder and not heavy.
So what is causing you to be pushed back, magic?
If you have more difficulty returning a shot, there are only 3 things that can be in play: pace, spin, and placement. If the opponent is consitently hitting the ball where you can't set up properly to hit it, than maybe that's giving you the illusion of some unseen force on the ball.
A tennis ball moving at 70 MPH off the racquet of a mouse or a 250lb guy with perfect technique is still moving 70 MPH. A tennis ball moving at 2500 RPM at 70 MPH off a weekend hack who just happened to hit one perfectly vs a pro who can do it on every stroke is the exact same ball.
A "heavy ball" is a ball with pace and spin. That's it. There isn't any other force that can be created hitting a ball.