Do you hit the sweetspot?

Ajtat411

Semi-Pro
When I played high school tennis I always thought that the sweet spot was the center of the racket head. This was before the widespread use of the internet and youtube. :) Edit: It pretty much is center of racket.

After getting back into tennis, and from the TW racket power comparison diagrams, its seems that for my racket you can get more power as you go lower toward the throat. So does more power=sweet spot? I think it's both power and feel at contact. So is the sweet spot the center of the racket or just below center?

For the players that consistently hit their sweet spot, do you ideally try to aim for a spot lower than center? Or do you just aim for center and call it a day?

Just wondering.
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
I don't hit the sweetspot, especially on my errant forehand.
When I serve, I toss to hit the higher part of the rackethead.
When I groundie and volley, I aim for center of mass. Now I don't get it often enough, but that's life.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
I try to hit with the frame as much as possible to avoid wear & tear to the strings. :twisted:

Seriously, I actually aim for the sweetspot on volleys at the net. On first serves, I tend to hit higher in the stringbed as LeedD suggests. On the serve the, the racket moves thru and arc and the tip of the racket is moving much faster than the sweetspot. About halfway between the tip and the normal sweetspot is the "1st serve sweetspot".

For volleys, the racket head trajectory is less of an arc and the ideal spot is pretty close to the sweetspot. Oftne have a dramatic low-to-high swing for many groundstrokes -- I try to get the ball to go thru the sweetspot as it moves across the face of the racket. this doesn't always happen.
 

Ajtat411

Semi-Pro
Hmm, OK, I'm starting to see a pattern. :)

So depending on the complexity of the stroke, the margin of error is required so you want to hit higher than the sweetspot.

I found a diagram of the different spots.

i8_152_Tennis_fig01.jpg


So, center of percussion is generally considered the main "sweetspot" where forces equal out. And the vibration node is where no vibration is felt at impact. And best bounce is where the most power is produced.

Ok, so it sounds reasonable where you guys are hitting the ball. :)
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
^ I like to hit that "Dead Spot" on my first serves. For my 2nd serves, I try to hit the "COM" -- hmm, that might be why so many ball get caught in the throat of my racket (jk, of course).
 

Ajtat411

Semi-Pro
Opps, I meant to label it "different spots" not "different sweetspots". hehe

I've hit the dead spot many times on overheads.

I've actually seen a couple people hit the ball in the COM and have it get stuck in between the throat. haha It's like a stuck free throw ball.
 

dozu

Banned
hm - just my speculation - hitting low on the face maybe an indication of a racket release issue in the swing.

like SystemA and LeeD indicated, they tend to hit high on the face for serves..... but FH is not much different.... if you have good release (thru impact the tip is moving much faster than the sweet spot), then instinctively player will tend to hit closer to the tip for maximum leverage.

but if there is a racket release issue, where the hand is just pushing the racket thru and there is not much difference in speed between the tip and the throat, then the player will have a tendency to hit low, because that is the more 'stable' spot and easier for the hand to push.

if you watch a lot of pro videos, they tend to hit high even for goundies.


Edit - let me correct myself - I think for an old style conti grip FH, it probably makes sense to hit low or on the sweet spot...... but in a 'modern' WW type motion, the tip does move a lot faster than the throat, so player should hit high.
 
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Mr_Shiver

Semi-Pro
I just go by results. If you practice your shots enough with the same racquet you get a good feel for what works and what doesn't. Good old trial and error. Great thread though. I think the difference in the spots from one racquet to another (or even the same ones with subtle differences) is why many pros are reluctant to change.
 
Most 'good' players hit a vast majority of their shots above the sweetspot (center of percussion as noted above). There are 2 advantages: it actually produces more power, as the increase in racquet speed (due to longer lever) overcomes the slight loss of racquet power; and when trying to hit lots of topspin, the wrist is used as an additional lever (windshield wiper or whatever), and as above, the tangential speed of the stringbed is higher farther from the handle.

And before someone comes in and says this is all rubbish, it's been well documented using high speed cameras, look for yourself.
 

fruitytennis1

Professional
I would agree with Conso.
A majority of the time i hit the sweetspot or just above that. Now maybe if I didnt do that my strings would last longer o_O
 

Ajtat411

Semi-Pro
Most 'good' players hit a vast majority of their shots above the sweetspot (center of percussion as noted above). There are 2 advantages: it actually produces more power, as the increase in racquet speed (due to longer lever) overcomes the slight loss of racquet power; and when trying to hit lots of topspin, the wrist is used as an additional lever (windshield wiper or whatever), and as above, the tangential speed of the stringbed is higher farther from the handle.

And before someone comes in and says this is all rubbish, it's been well documented using high speed cameras, look for yourself.

This makes a lot of sense that even though the power sweet spot is further down toward the throat that people would hit at center of percussion where the lever advantage is greater.

I can see that the further toward the center would allow for better stability during impact also since the closer you get to the center of percussion the closer the forces on the hand become at the handle.
 

TheBoom

Hall of Fame
I hit it consistently i'm in high school now. As long as i keep my head down ish and dont look up when I am following through I don't have to worry about the sweetspot because I always hit it :)
 
To clarify, I meant most good players hit it 1-2" above the center of percussion, which is what most people refer to when they say sweet spot.
 
And as a follow-up, in one 'project' where they filmed and quantified hit location on a bunch of D1 and pro players, almost 100% thought they were hitting it lower on the stringbed than they were. Almost to a person, they reported that it was 'correct' to hit the center, or just below, yet almost to a person, none did. A good example of our body and mind being able to figure out what's right, despite our best efforts =).
 

Dominik

Rookie
Do people actually *try* to hit the sweetspot? It's not something I have ever really thought about, just make solid contact and you're fine. It's something that should usually just happen.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Do people actually *try* to hit the sweetspot? It's not something I have ever really thought about, just make solid contact and you're fine. It's something that should usually just happen.

As I mentioned above, I actually do try to hit the sweetspot (CoP or perhaps the vibration node) on volleys in tennis. (In badminton, I avoid the sweetspot on most net drops to maximize the tumbling effect).
 

NLBwell

Legend
On the old wood rackets the head was very flexible - weak - and people hit significantly below the center of the stringbed to get any power at all. I used to wear out my strings just maybe 3 inches from the bottom of the string bed. With modern rackets, the sweetspot is much closer to the center of the stringbed. I now actually wear out the strings above the center of the stringbed.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Since 1975, I wear out my strings a couple inches above the "sweetspot" or center of mass on my rackets, wood, aluminum, combi alu and carbon, whatever. That's where my mains break after showing wear.
 

Mr_Shiver

Semi-Pro
Wait, were supposed to put strings in them? And all this time I've been trying to hit the ball with the frame...
 

Zachol82

Professional
The sweetspot for me isn't the center of the stringbed, rather, it's the center of the top of the frame (excluding the frame of course, just the stringbed...but I don't know how to really word the very top portion of the stringbed) to wherever my vibration dampener is.
 

julian

Hall of Fame
A very interesting point

^ I like to hit that "Dead Spot" on my first serves. For my 2nd serves, I try to hit the "COM" -- hmm, that might be why so many ball get caught in the throat of my racket (jk, of course).
SystemicAnomaly,
Happy New Year,
I understand sarcasm of your post above.
However there is a conjecture that hitting
away from a center of a racket and closer to a tip of a frame
may increase a speed of a serve ( see Vic Braden).Please note the word SERVE in the previous sentence
Additionally a sweetspot maybe really a large area,NOT a spot.
I can expand my remarks if necessary
regards
 
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Ajtat411

Semi-Pro
Happy New Year,
I understand sarcasm.However there is a conjecture that hitting
away from a center of a racket and closer to a tip of a frame
may increase a speed of a serve ( see Vic Braden)
Additionally a sweetspot maybe really a large area,NOT a spot.
I can expand my remarks if necessary
regards

Hitting further up the tip of the frame creates a longer moment arm to get additional power? But you would figure that if you hit too far up, you hit the "dead spot" where the racket feels like a board.

I think System understands this and did say that he hits above the center for first serves since the point is to generate a faster serve.

I refer to sweet spot as a singular spot because I don't hit it often enough and it makes me feel better to think that it's a singular spot. :) So now you're just saying that I suck.hahaha

Maybe I'm referring to the spot on the racket called "vibration node" since the only way I can describe my ideal sweet spot shot as one that feels "clean" as in minimal vibration and effortless power.
 

julian

Hall of Fame
Let us wait for SystemicAnomaly to respond

Hitting further up the tip of the frame creates a longer moment arm to get additional power? But you would figure that if you hit too far up, you hit the "dead spot" where the racket feels like a board.

I think System understands this and did say that he hits above the center for first serves since the point is to generate a faster serve.

I refer to sweet spot as a singular spot because I don't hit it often enough and it makes me feel better to think that it's a singular spot. :) So now you're just saying that I suck.hahaha

Maybe I'm referring to the spot on the racket called "vibration node" since the only way I can describe my ideal sweet spot shot as one that feels "clean" as in minimal vibration and effortless power.

1.Let us wait for SystemicAnomaly to respond.

2.There is no a generally accepted definition of a sweetspot-it was a part of my post.
 

julian

Hall of Fame

dak95_00

Hall of Fame
I just try to hit the ball. I do not think about it that much and I nearly always hit the sweet spot on my forehand. When I'm on and playing really good, I also hit it on my backhand.

I learned to play w/ a cheap aluminum racquet and w/o a vibration dampener. It taught me the difference between the sweet spot and other spots. I still play w/o a dampener so I constantly get that feedback. I like the feedback I get from hitting w/o a dampener and for some reason feel that the vibration I get when I miss the sweet spot reminds me to hit better the next time around. If I hit the sweet spot, it doesn't vibrate and is just a flush, thud feel the same as I get w/ a vibration dampener on all shots.

My 2 cents:
Get rid of the vibration dampener.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
We aim for the top of the racket, or within 5" of the top of the racketface, on first serves NOT because it can serve faster, but because we raise the strikepoint SO there is a chance our first flat serves might go in!
Who ever thinks the racket is more powerful when struck up there?
WE supply the necessary power, and we have to find a higher strikepoint so the percentages of first serves IN favors us.
And the sheer variety caused by striking the ball a little too high, or a little lower than aimed, is all for our benefit. Too high, a slower ball bouncing up radically. Too low, a faster, almost skidding ball.
But of utmost importance is..... serves gotta go in!
 

Kevo

Legend
I like the feel best when I hit center or slightly lower by maybe an inch. However, most of the time I swing big and that lends itself to hitting slightly higher than center. Consequently, I generally break my strings about an inch higher than center.

I think part of my trending a little high is that it feels like I'm hitting harder there. Results wise I think hitting lower than center actually produces more power.

Some of my best serves are actually hit center or slightly lower and they feel much nicer than the ones hit higher up. The power is shocking compared to how they feel. It's difficult to hit them low consistently though since you always want to swing up and make contact higher.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Me, I need a higher percentage of first flats hit full speed.
Any LOWERING of the hitting zone takes away my percentages.
Any RAISING of the hitting zone increases the chance my first flat serve might actually land IN.
How many of you are aware of WHERE (how high off the court) your strikepoint IS on your first flat serves? I am.
And I don't really care how high my strikepoint is on my spin serves!
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
SystemicAnomaly,
Happy New Year,
I understand sarcasm of your post above.
However there is a conjecture that hitting
away from a center of a racket and closer to a tip of a frame
may increase a speed of a serve ( see Vic Braden).Please note the word SERVE in the previous sentence
Additionally a sweetspot maybe really a large area,NOT a spot.
I can expand my remarks if necessary
regards

Hauoli Makahiki Hou, julian.

I pretty much agree with what you are saying here. While I was being facetious about hitting 2nd serves at the CoM, I was serious about hitting volleys in the sweetspot area (V-node and CoP area) and hitting overheads and first serves higher up in the string bed (close to the "Dead Spot").

When I first saw the graphic of (post #4) some 5 years ago, I had assumed that the location of the "Dead Spot" as shown was in error. However, I discovered that this area where I was hitting serves & overheads, really was in the vicinity of the Dead Spot area after reading some of the writings of physicist, Rod Cross (who wrote Technical Tennis and other books).

According to Cross, "... a good place to hit a ball when serving is near the dead spot. However, when returning a fast serve, the dead spot is the worst place to hit the ball. The best spot is nearer the throat of the racquet since that's where the ball bounces best."

http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~cross/tennis.html
image001.jpg
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
Not sure hitting at the "best bounce" area is the best spot to hit on return of serves,
I'd go for the "most average bounce" area, so I have margin for error either direction. I don't only mis short, I can mis long also.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
^ Rod was talking about returning a fast serve. Not sure if he was talking about blocking the ball back or really swinging at at.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
er...
When RussellSimpson or JoaoSoares hit their first flats into my court, I don't have time to swing hard back..... I chose to block with slice, conti grip.
Now if some of you can actually short groundie a 130+ serve back, more power to you! I couldn't, don't, and won't even bother to try.
Funny thing. THEY didn't shortswing groundie off my first flats either. Possibly a trend at the time (late '70's), but there just isn't time to switch grips and take a forward swing on serves that speed.
You might counter by saying Nadal DOES take a short groundie return swing off any speed serve.
You might be right! But I am no Nadal by any means.
 

julian

Hall of Fame
Unrelated thought

Hauoli Makahiki Hou, julian.

I pretty much agree with what you are saying here. While I was being facetious about hitting 2nd serves at the CoM, I was serious about hitting volleys in the sweetspot area (V-node and CoP area) and hitting overheads and first serves higher up in the string bed (close to the "Dead Spot").

When I first saw the graphic of (post #4) some 5 years ago, I had assumed that the location of the "Dead Spot" as shown was in error. However, I discovered that this area where I was hitting serves & overheads, really was in the vicinity of the Dead Spot area after reading some of the writings of physicist, Rod Cross (who wrote Technical Tennis and other books).

According to Cross, "... a good place to hit a ball when serving is near the dead spot. However, when returning a fast serve, the dead spot is the worst place to hit the ball. The best spot is nearer the throat of the racquet since that's where the ball bounces best."

http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~cross/tennis.html
image001.jpg

You may find
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2465297/
interesting
I can move this post into a different thread if you prefer.I expect you will raise this point
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
I just don't like tennis theory as an exercise in itself.
Somewhere along the line, you have to add real playing experience.
Anyone who plays tennis would NOT choose to hit that "best bounce" spot ever, and anyone who can serve a tennis ball would surely aim for the "dead spot", even when trying to hit the fastest ball possible.
I also windsurf, kiteboard, waterski jump, surf, snowboard, and a few other sports, and I quite often come accross people who could explain everything by using a calculator and illustration, but little of it applies in the real world.
I know we all want to participate in TRON, but we are stuck in a real world of greys and different shades of....GRAY.
 

Ajtat411

Semi-Pro
Before this thread, I never really thought about the sweetspot and just tried to hit the center of the racket on every ball, even the serve. And at the moment, the only way of judging if I hit a ball the right way is by feel. I don't think I will be ever be able to target a specific spot on the racket even if I wanted to. :(

I think tennis theory is important for reinforcing recommendations by people on the forums, otherwise you have all kinds of information floating around and can't really take anybody seriously. As far as tennis theory exercices are concerned, I just ignore the theories that will not affect my game and skim over ones that may related to the progression of my game.

If I had the choice between being on the courts versus being on the forums, I would pick the courts everytime, but unfortunately the crappy Norcal weather is not cooperating right now.
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
NorCal, SanPablo, 47 degrees, light rain since this morning, winds E at 7-13 mph, overcast skies.
 

Ajtat411

Semi-Pro
^Should be nice though this coming week though in Fairfield. Partly cloudy and highs in the mid 50's will have to do. :) Hopefully the winds die down though.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Fairfield?
Don't you windsurf at RioVista (ShermanIsland) or LagoonValley?
Don't you race motocross?
Are you a parasailer, hangglider pilot, or a jumper?
Please tell me you are at least a jet skier.
We're actually only about a 1/2 hour apart no traffic.
 

Carolina Racquet

Professional
Before this thread, I never really thought about the sweetspot and just tried to hit the center of the racket on every ball, even the serve. And at the moment, the only way of judging if I hit a ball the right way is by feel. I don't think I will be ever be able to target a specific spot on the racket even if I wanted to. :(

Based on my wear pattern, I tend to hit the ball towards the upper center of my racquet face especially topspin ground strokes and serves. Do i purposely do so? No... I think it relates to feel.

I guess that's why I feel more comfortable with racquets that are little more powerful and stiff. It helps to compensate for where I hit the ball on the face.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Hmm...
For the last 3 years, I've used DunlopMfil and Aero200 18x20s.... soft flexing, very weak hitting, and I wear out my strings top center.....
I didn't arrow back, but did I miss something here. There is NO SWEETSPOT on the illustration.....just like on my rackets when I hit the ball.
 

Ajtat411

Semi-Pro
Fairfield?
Don't you windsurf at RioVista (ShermanIsland) or LagoonValley?
Don't you race motocross?
Are you a parasailer, hangglider pilot, or a jumper?
Please tell me you are at least a jet skier.
We're actually only about a 1/2 hour apart no traffic.

No windsurfing in riovista or lagoon valley, just people playing golf in 50mph winds and running around the trails. Motocross is too dangerous and physically demanding for me, one mistake and it's a broken leg or shoulder.

The most dangerous thing I have done is sky dive in Hawaii. Only time I went jet sking was in Tahoe and the water was cold. I'm more of a snowboarder in the winter and tennis in the summer guy.

Yeah, SP is about 30 mins away and usually no traffic since traffic usually starts at Berkeley. Any decent courts and competition in SP?
 

Ajtat411

Semi-Pro
Based on my wear pattern, I tend to hit the ball towards the upper center of my racquet face especially topspin ground strokes and serves. Do i purposely do so? No... I think it relates to feel.

I guess that's why I feel more comfortable with racquets that are little more powerful and stiff. It helps to compensate for where I hit the ball on the face.

I think I'm going to stencil my whole racket to see where I'm hitting the majority of my balls. :)
 

SuperDuy

Hall of Fame
No windsurfing in riovista or lagoon valley, just people playing golf in 50mph winds and running around the trails. Motocross is too dangerous and physically demanding for me, one mistake and it's a broken leg or shoulder.

The most dangerous thing I have done is sky dive in Hawaii. Only time I went jet sking was in Tahoe and the water was cold. I'm more of a snowboarder in the winter and tennis in the summer guy.

Yeah, SP is about 30 mins away and usually no traffic since traffic usually starts at Berkeley. Any decent courts and competition in SP?

LeeD is also a snowboarder type of guy, ask him for his storys of his 30 feet jumps he used to go over. If I recall it was 2.5 hours away was where he skiied.
 

Ajtat411

Semi-Pro
LeeD is also a snowboarder type of guy, ask him for his storys of his 30 feet jumps he used to go over. If I recall it was 2.5 hours away was where he skiied.

I sense a little sarcasm.hehe It doesn't matter what type of guy LeeD is, as long as his posts make sense and are reasonable I'll listen. Stuff unrelated to tennis is cool, but this is a tennis forum so I move on pretty quickly. :)

From what I've read about on his thoughts on tennis technique, he may sound a little boastful and mean but his posts sound reasonable and on point. Has a bit of a rough edge, but overall a good addition to the TW community of knowledgeable people.
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
Maybe we can hook up and go snowboarding. I'm about into day 240 or so.
I do not jump in parks. Too much impact on landings, on icy landings at that. Went once this year, after not going for 5.
Still got my raceboard (slalom), carving board, pow board, and 3 all around goof-arounders.
And I still wonder why the illustration shows NO sweetspot whatsover, unless I'm missing something here.
 

julian

Hall of Fame
You have to look for a definition of a sweetspot first

Maybe we can hook up and go snowboarding. I'm about into day 240 or so.
I do not jump in parks. Too much impact on landings, on icy landings at that. Went once this year, after not going for 5.
Still got my raceboard (slalom), carving board, pow board, and 3 all around goof-arounders.
And I still wonder why the illustration shows NO sweetspot whatsover, unless I'm missing something here.

You have to look for a definition of a sweetspot first
 
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