Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by dlam, Oct 5, 2012.
title speaks for itself.
want some opinions about whether or not this biomechanically sound.
i most definitely sure that for most groundstrokes you pretty much better be stable on the ground.
certain attacking shots might benefit from feet off ground but not many during a match.
Sure it is sound, but it isn't something to focus on in isolation.
The more athletically you play, the greater the odds that both feet will come off the ground. If the opponent hits more topspin, then it is also more practical as jumping can lower the contact point.
The pros come off the ground more than a lower level player, but they are usually swinging harder and hitting against more topspin. But even they are not going into the air on every shot.
Well this is how it goes for me. I use the "sit and lift" method on my strokes, especially the forehand. Virtually zero arm swing, just using the arm to guide. The more I push of the ground with my legs the faster my arm naturally comes forward. Sometimes after a well placed ball, I'll have the chance to hit a winner, and based on my mechanics, ill end up in the air and hit thru the ball crazy hard. Sometimes I don't end up in the air. Don't micro manage, but always remember to push off the ground for that rotational energy and kinetic chain. If you end in the air, so be it. If not, fine too. Djokovic and Federer do this all the time.
If you use the legs strongly, you will end up in the air, but no
need to force that or do it when you don't want to hit as strong or as much TS.
I been watching some pros on YouTube and it seems almost all prepare to leave their feet off the ground for ball contact during the serve
For groundstrokes most strokes have at least one foot on the ground during the ball impact , very rarely but sometimes I seen a purposely hop or jump and both feet leave the ground before ball contact, these cases the ball is either sitting up or a floater.
Well, for serves, even this 63 year old can average 5" off the ground at my toes on serves.
On groundies, only maybe one in 7, IF the ball is high, and I"m going for a forcing shot.
You should not focus on leaving the ground. This results in a huge amount of errors. The reason you come off the ground is the result of loading your lower body to get weight into the ball. AFTER the weight is transferred, your body may be off the ground. It should not be off beforehand, as you generate the majority of your power from the ground (loading the lower body and torso is easiest when grounded. Look at the mule-kick backhand. The ONLY way to get any pop onto this ball is to rotate your hips through the ball significantly.
You shouldnt be trying to get up high to the ball however the drive from the legs through the ball may bring you up anyway in which case its fine.
You should check out David Bailey's footwork analysis. His analysis shows that there are four or five legitimate and commonly used footwork patterns - or "moves" as he calls them - where both feet are off the ground. As he explains, what "move" you use to hit the ball depends primarily on where the ball is and what recovery steps will be necessary to get you back into position after hitting it. On wide balls there are two moves that are commonly hit with both feet off the ground. On very deep balls that push a player back there is also a move hit airborne. And there are also two airborne attacking moves - one at the baseline used to hit high balls aggressively, and another used to move very quickly toward short balls, where the intention is to continue on toward the net. In all of these moves, I believe, jumping is not necessary to hit the ball, per se, but is necessary to hit the ball AND transition quickly from the act of hitting into the proper recovery steps that bring the player back to the center of the court.
The most basic of the moves all good players use, however, is what Bailey calls the "step down", where a player steps down into the court on a fairly low, short incoming ball and hits with a neutral stance before stepping through with the outside foot and then recovering to the center. If I had my choice I would use this move on every ball. The front foot stays down, the center of gravity is low and centered, everything is very calm and grounded. But rarely do we get nice balls that land somewhat short that we have time to step into, unless we're playing below our level or just rallying.
Tennisplayer.net has a very good series of articles by Bailey where he explains each of the moves, which are illustrated with John Yandell's high speed video clips of pro players. Each and every move is used in nearly every match by nearly every pro player. Once you are familiar with these footwork/hitting patterns you start to see them everywhere, even in vintage tennis footage. Rod Laver's dynamic footwork had him leaving the ground on nearly every point. I don't think it's necessary to practice the moves in a regimented manner as Bailey proposes, but just being aware of them and what can be accomplished using them is eye-opening and has changed my understanding of footwork immensely.
In addition, using proper volley technique you will hit the ball during the brief moment when both feet are off the ground, right before your front foot lands. (Reflex volleys when stuck in position are an exception, of course.)
So yeah, it's OK to jump, but with a purpose. Which is why it's a good idea to take up jump roping or some other bouncy exercise, which prepares your legs, and especially your feet, for such dynamic and explosive motions.
it is sound because the energy of the legs is already transferred upwards in the system at the time the feet leave the ground. so it is no problem that you cannot continue to push.
however if you just jump for the sake of jumping it is bad.
Great post, this guy knows what he's talking about.
Momentum from the stroke takes you off the ground.
No it doesn't. This is a commonly repeated tennis myth. Your arm and the racket do not have enough mass to lift you off the ground from momentum.
The only momentum that will lift you off the ground during the stroke is that developed in your body because your feet are pushing you off the ground. In every other sport this is called hopping or jumping, but because so many tennis players have been told not to jump, they mention some sort of mythical momentum which is lifting them into the air.
Getting off the ground on groundstrokes is not something you do intentionally. It does happen in the right circumstances depending upon your court movement at the time. Of course it is caused by the legs, but it is not an intentional jump (unless you are trying to hit a groundstroke off a really high ball over your head for some reason).
When you try to analyze what is "intentional" or not "intentional, you are entering a very tricky area. I normally hop on every real serve. Is it intentional? I would say at the moment, I am thinking about where I want to hit the ball and what spin I want to put on it and not the hop at all. But at one time the hop was definitely intentional as I was learning. I was also a long jumper in college. I can tell you that once you reach a high level, most of what you are doing is just running on auto-pilot, but it doesn't mean I wasn't still sprinting as fast as I could and jumping.
As corners mentions, David Bailey is explicitly teaching jumping moves to young players. Once the neural pathways are made, most of this stuff will seem subconscious or non-intentional, but it still is jumping or hopping.
The teaching pro at my club is a former touring pro who has classic strokes. He had been trying to tell me for the past several months that I should stop jumping off the ground on my groundstrokes. He said my shots were losing penetration because I was not getting proper weight transfer and that I can still generate enough topspin relying on my swing. I finally took his advice, and my ground game has noticeably improved.
I can see your point about intentional vs. not intentional. However, when people intentionally jump, they often run into the problems Ramon in the above post had.
Duh? You don't produce a stroke with your arm and the racquet only. The stroke starts with your feet pressing on the ground. Momentum isn't "mythical", its simple physics.
The problem I have with the way you've said it is that most players do not come off the ground when they swing. So when I hear stroke, I think of swinging a racket, not jumping into the air. Just swinging a racket will not provide the momentum to go into the air.
So when you say, "Momentum from the stroke takes you off the ground" you really mean: "If you jump or hop as part of your swing, the momentum will take you off the ground." I completely agree with this.
I just think we might want to note that there is a jumping or hopping motion as part of the stroke which is providing the momentum to take someone into the air. For example, a lot of volleyers prefer to hit the volley unweighted (i.e., both feet off the ground at contact). I wouldn't tell them, let the momentum from the volley carry your body into the air. Rather, I'd say something like move forward and do a low hop or running glide into the volley.
People who only swing with their arm aren't producing a real tennis stroke, they're just swinging the racquet like a fly swatter. I wouldn't think this needs an explanation but I guess it does. Spend less time worrying about whether or not you need to jump at the ball and more time learning real stroke mechanics from the ground up and you'll find the answer.
saw some of Baileys footwork pattern and it seems to make a lot of sense.
My footwork is poor on my FH side for some reason, and teaching pro made it worse by telling me to try a specific pattern
There seems there is a wide range of footwork that can be "personalized"
If you have consistent issues on the forehand side I would search for posts by tricky on his one foot drill. I found it very helpful in correcting my step patterns and weight transfer on the forehand, all with one simple drill that forces your body to teach you how to hit efficiently and naturally, rather than learn patterns.
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