Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by tennisismylife9, Jan 2, 2011.
Are these beneficial for working on strokes?
I've used them for hitting the ball inside against the wall. Helps to train the eye to focus on the right contact point.
Also work well for teaching beginners to play tennis because they move slower and bounce lower (prior to USTA QuickStart initiative).
They can certainly help if you're stuck somewhere enclosed and you have no other options.
One major problem is when you rely on it without already having good, solid grooved strokes..... you tend to hit too flat, even with some underspin, to make the ball go faster and farther. Foam balls are lightweight, and easy to hit with improper tennis technique....but maybe "proper" foam ball hitting technique.
Actually kinda like using a badminton shuttlecock to hit with, you have to be careful how much you actually hit and you have to use tennis technique, which you might not have since you're looking for indoor practice in the winter.
They certainly are. It's certainly true like LeeD said, you can hit them with some unorthodox ways but if you already have developed strokes they can real ly help with racquet head speed and clean contact.
Take your partner and start hitting from the service line. Because the balls obviously stay on the strings longer, the ball can come off with some odd spin forcing you concentrate all the way to the contact point.
Secondly, go to 3\4 th court now try hitting cross court. Because the ball absorbs so much of your power you really need to hit thru the ball to get it to your partner. If you have spiny slappy shots this is really going to be tough.
Lastly, go to the baseline and use a real ball and feel the difference. The tennis ball is going to feel like a ping pong ball. Your shots should go deep and heavy.
I know some 11 year old kids who only ever hit with foam balls, and can beat almost any real tennis player....using the foam balls.
Different strokes, different read, different reaction, different strategy...
Same thing happened to me with unpressurized balls. After a week of those, real balls felt rock hard
They are awesome for volleying with a partner.
The balls give you time to focus on good footwork and mechanics, yet if you don't transfer your weight you can't get them to go anywhere.
The aformentioned 11 year olds don't transfer weight, don't move their feet, but just quickly arm a flat/slice shot anywhere on the court.
They can't hit a tennis ball for beans, but how can they, they only practice with nerf balls? And chosen racket is a jr about 8oz. Try that with a tennis ball.
I personally don't like to use them, make you flatten out your shots.
Again I reiterate, if you developed strokes, they can help you with some aspects of the game.
Racquet head speed and footwork. The foam balls are hard to hit over, you need to really hit thru the ball. Foam balls bounce a little like those reaction balls. You need quick feet and good clean contact.
If I generalized based on what I saw 2 11 year olds doing on the court and limited myself to that narrow pov, we may as well be hitting with continental grips and square stances I see the 61 year olds I see play Sunday doubles at my club. Foam balls do have their place, you just have to have a little imagination and intuition. Cheers.
Well, when ANY one of the top 1,000 men in the world seriously say they train with foam balls, I'll go with your flow.
As of now, it ruins strokes more than help. Most players WITH strokes start out normal, then start to hit HIGHER on the strings, then start to modify their strokes flatter and over towards a bit of underspin, almost like racketball and squash.
If you think that is helping anyone's strokes, you are free to get good at tennis by hitting foam yellow/orange balls.
My son is 9. He has been playing adult racket and full court tennis with real balls since 7. Lessons with pros every week. And I hit with him weekly. His friend has been taking 75% bounce foam ball 3/4 length court tennis lessons... kids raxkets . and tournaments on sunday using same gear. This kid has been talking smack joking with my son in class he will give my kid a tennis smack down. So last weekend we get on the court with the kids for some fun. Guess what? The topspin ww strokes my son hits with adult pace the other kid can't even get back over the net. The ball bounces too high and my sons friend can't get a handle on the speed of the ball as it bounces over his shoulder height. When my kid hits a rally forehand 5 feet over the net it bounces near the baseline and over his friends head. Granted my son is big and athletic. At nine years old he is 5'1" and 115 pounds. So he hits as hard or harder than most 3.5 club guys even now.
I am sure though if he had to play with a kids racket with foam balls and on the 3/4 length court my sons friend would whip his ass.
I think where we're misunderstanding each other is hitting 'Foam Ball' exclusively. I'd never start and end a lesson with a student hitting only foam balls. Nor do I train high performance juniors in which I would employ a completely different regiment. Foam balls are use to supplement a lesson not dominate it.
Here's my take. A normal ball is hard and fast. Heavier and livelier. Hence more rec adult players tend to sacrifice racquet head speed for trying to hit the ball in the center of the strings. Also, mishits are also quite jarring to arm and wrist which also deters them from swinging faster. What you end up with is a bunch of old timers who never progress beyond guiding the ball with abbreviated follow-thru's. I use foam balls to transition players out of this 2.5-3.0 plateau. They have 3 characteristics I like.
1) They are slow and easy to hit.
2) They require one to hit thru the ball for it to go anywhere (Akin to learning with a wooden paddle -remember those?)
3) They are soft negating the fear of a jarring mishit.
I really want an transitioning adult to experience what it feels like to get the racquet head moving quickly and thru the ball. Foam balls are perfect for this. They always hit better with real balls after 10 min warmup with foam.
If they aren't hitting better because of the theories I've outlined then they just must be 'magic' . =).
Different strokes for different folks. What I may feel is effective may be seen by others as detrimental or hogwash. It matters little as long as a student improves.
I do hit foam balls occasionally, but I have to remind myself I"m playing tennis, and not foamballtennis. Still, heavy whippy topspins are very effective foamballtennis, more sitter feeding in real tennis.
And having such a light object to hit is bad practice, because you tend to just swing out on every shot, something you cannot do with real tennis balls.
But if it works for your teaching methods, more power to you.
I also live in California, where I can play outdoors usually 5 days a week thru winter, and more than 7 during the summer....lights on lotsa courts.
It sounds like you might be talking about the low compression, standard size training balls rather than the oversized foam ball (top pic) that is being discussed in this thread. The foam ball is often used by younger kids (under 7?) on a 36' mini-court. This one of 2 types of ball that is sometimes designated as qst 36. These balls bounce a lot less than the 75% than you are talking about.
The qst 60 ball is a regular size, low compression ball that has a bounce that is about 50% of a conventional ball. The 60 in qst 60 refers to a short 60' court. The qst 78 ball a regular size, reduced compression ball that has a bounce that is about 75% of a conventional ball. This ball is meant to be used on a regular size (78') tennis court.
I will use some of these training balls when rally with novice players who have a difficult time with the lively bounce of a conventional ball. I still use the regular balls when performing easy feeds for these novice players.
I also use the over-sized foam ball with higher level players, who have mature, grooved strokes as way of warming up quickly. It promotes longer rallies in order to warmup, especially on cold days.
Apparently, the various qst training balls are used in the Europe as well as in the US for developing/training younger players. While I can see these balls being used in conjunction with regular tennis balls, I'm not sure that I see the benefit of using them exclusively, particularly for 10-&-under tournaments. I've heard the this has been implemented to prevent younger players from developing bad habits from always having to deal with very high-bouncing balls. It has also been suggested that the qst system has been implemented to prevent younger players from burning out.
Not sure that I agree with this thinking. Anyone else have info or feedback on the qst system?
Well I used them with under 5-8 year olds when I use to teach really young kids. It's just easier for them to hit and the ball doesn't go flying over heads as much. The last thing you want is Tennis to look more like badminton.
Kids use a undersized soccer ball in little league, why not a tennis ball/court meant for kids as well. Henin grew up on this system.
This year USTA will require the 10 and under to use the appropriate QST ball, court size and equipment. If your son/daughter is more advanced then you can bump them to the 11 year old division.
As for adults using them, it is great for doing mini tennis drills...50 ball rally's
Are they using the qst60 or the qst78 for 10- events?
I can see using a qst ball for the Novice events (& maybe Challenger events), but I think that it might be more appropriate for the kids playing Open (& Challenger?) levels in the under 10s to play with a conventional ball. An 8 or a 9 yr old should not have to play against 11 or 12 yr old players just so that they can compete with a conventional ball.
I like the foam (qst36) ball for mini tennis drills as well. Also good for volley drills as Cindy suggested.
We are using the 60 (orange ball) at our club, however I use the green ball when I practice with my 10 yr old daughter. It's a heated topic/debate as you can imagine.
A problem with USTA
A problem goes really deeper
For example post#8 overthere talks about de-evolution.
Post 109 is just for you,i think
^ julian, it appears that it is not just a USTA "problem". Apparently, QST program has been in place in Europe for quite a while now (2 decades?). Not sure of the implementation -- do not know if they are mandating orange (qst60) balls for U10 competition. Perhaps someone has mentioned it in that 7 page thread referenced below:
no need to hit thru them more.
the idea is to work with a smaller court, focus on form and work on spins.
Does anyone make foam balls that don't shred so fast? With the ones I've tried hitting with any kind of spin rips them up pretty bad.
I do use them to warm up against walls. If your hitting against a wood wall you can use regular balls. But if you don't have a proper practice wall and have to use a brick or cement one the regular ball bounces too fast - even if you cut a hole in it...
I am not a "hitting on the wall" guy.. But 15 minutes before playing a match.. You get alot of practice in that way..
It would mess up your game if you learned that way but because your then reinforcing your practice with live tennis I think the ill effects are minimized.
I had a heart attack
So now we have a foam ball forehand and backhands?
Foam ball hitters will always find a better and easier, more efficient style to hit FOAM BALLS.
It might not translate to hitting tennis balls, but it does work for foam balls, it that is the final goal.
Heh, heh, who are these elusive 'Foam Ball Hitters'? I've never seen a adult match played using foam balls. Have you? If you find these pests, I suggest you exterminate them using any means possible. They are a blight upon all which is good and holy in tennis.
(i.e. beat them with your Cane LeeD, beat them hard!).
Once again.... "I have never seen it, so it must not be true"....
and when the tree falls in the forest, nobody saw it, felt it, or heard it, did it really fall at all?
I have never been shot, so it's impossible for me to get shot.
Try that theory in Afganistan or Iraq.
Foam ball experts have lightning quick swings, loose grips, and high rackethead speeds. They don't worry about mishits, because the foam ball doesn't punish mishits whatsoever. In fact, it REWARDS the mishits off the tip of the racket with more pace and spin, and REWARDS the mishits off the bottom of the racket with super short drop shots.
I don't get your question here.
you should strive to use the foam balls to work on optimal form for standard tennis strokes. If you try to hit thru the foam balls more to perform on a standard court, it will not translate as well.
I just haven't heard people using foam ball other than a training aid. I can't wait to see the AFBP hold it 1st tournament bringing foam ball experts from all over to compete in the self defeating and slightly less demanding sport of Foam Ball.
You either are off your rocker your mixing this thread up with young juniors playing with QST balls (softer and lower bounce). Where do you find people who exclusively hit with Foam?
Where? RoseGarden, late PM, BerkeleyCa. SanPabloCourts, late PM, BerkeleyCA.
Those are the only two courts I go to hit tennis balls.
I warm up with over - sized foam trainer balls for a few minutes at the service line for the very reason LeeD stated in an earlier post: they make you hit out.
When I'm warming up I am hoping to accomplish three things: 1) loosen my joints and arm up. 2) concentrate on my footwork/set up for ground strokes. 3) focus on my strokes. When Lee says "hit out", my interpretation of that is that I focus on accentuating the follow thru of my stroke.
Because the ball "dies" so quickly, I find I can really focus on those things and not feel rushed.
This helps me a lot. Those fundementals stay with me; at least until I get 2 or 3 points into the match.....
Edit - I left out that use these from service line to service line: "mini tennis". My fault.
Interesting. This be very much a phenomena in very densely populated tennis areas. Us Canucks aren't up to the latest trends.
Never thought you could hit a foam ball from baseline to baseline without some major racquet head speed.
I stand corrected.
It can be done, but I did just edit saying it is service line to service line warm up....
No, it's just the nature of the material. I've been hitting a foam ball inside for fun for the past week and I've almost gotten it down to the size of a regular tennis ball.
if they do it like the LTA do in britan they will have :-
under 10s the green tennis balls QST 78
under 9s the orange tennis balls QST 60
under 8s the red tennis balls QST 36
this is only how the british do and it has been really benefical to my brother who is 6 and coming along very well in the mini reds(under 8s)
Excellent post, especially where you explain what hit out means to you. I may be wrong, but most use that to mean hitting out thru the ball towards the target line. You description of hitting out is much better.
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