Holding/absorbing the ball

#1
I'm an Australian tennis coach based in Singapore and for all beginners and rec players the biggest fundamental flaw I notice that prohibits this level on improving any stroke is the ability to hold/absorb the ball. Push and turn on the ball is key. Create the most resistance on the ball then accelerate with the most mass. Like rowing or Swimming, "catch the water" (special mentions to coach Doug King for originally highlighting how important this is in my coaching.

The amount of people I have seen improve from total beginner or rec player is through the ability to hold the ball on the string.

Two of the most evil words a coach can say is swinging and hitting and they are used the most by coaches.
All this does is makes people accelerate the racquet further from the ball thus the ball just bounces of the stings and the larger body parts don't work with the ball, your hand and arm become he main power source.

Very effective coaching cues I use and it works like gold-
" wait for the ball, catch the ball, coil into the ball slowly, rotate on the ball, ask your-self are you hitting the ball or catching the ball, the slower you go into the ball the better you will absorb it.
" are u rotating before the ball or on the ball" catch the ball with the most coils then you have more potential energy to move the ball with less effort.

Once someone achieves understanding of catching you will find any strokes are much easier for a student to develop well. You want your student to prevent any chance of a swinging, absorb the ball and a big thrust with the big guys.

I found this from the legend coach Doug King and it sums up perfectly what I'm talking about-

His quote and pic sums up everything, pure gold -

"In the modern game, the swing of racquet is minimised. The result is better contact between the racquet and the ball- that translates into less slapping into and pulling of the Ball and fewer off center hits. The hand positions the racquet to the ball and allows a leveraged drive and turn of the ball initiated with the body" Doug King


 

Fintft

Hall of Fame
#4
I like you spring model, although you could have reminded people about the whole kinetic chain, e.g. explaining/reminding people what some of the large springs are (i.e. "hips").
 
#5
I like you spring model, although you could have reminded people about the whole kinetic chain, e.g. explaining/reminding people what some of the large springs are (i.e. "hips").
Yep, agree. Once you can move the ball with your hips, spine and shoulder all in one moment the effortless power is unlimited.
 
#6
Yep absorb with quality strings and then you have a magic wand
For me that magic wand destroys fences!!! I do everything i can to limit ball pocketing!

So i dont understand the concept of catching the ball. Makes no sense to me

Closest i can understand is that with recent changes to my fh it doesnt even feel like i am hitting the ball. But i wouldnt say i am catching it either.

Also i hate flexy racquets and it seems one would need bendy racquets to catch the ball. Ex. The Rf97a was weirdly bendy on some shots and not others and would drive me crazy

Anyhow i dont understand the concept
 
#7
For me that magic wand destroys fences!!! I do everything i can to limit ball pocketing!

So i dont understand the concept of catching the ball. Makes no sense to me

Closest i can understand is that with recent changes to my fh it doesnt even feel like i am hitting the ball. But i wouldnt say i am catching it either.

Also i hate flexy racquets and it seems one would need bendy racquets to catch the ball. Ex. The Rf97a was weirdly bendy on some shots and not others and would drive me crazy

Anyhow i dont understand the concept
Every great player holds the ball, you have to or else you can't drive the ball with big muscles it's impossible. There are Some cool drills to show you to get better at absorbing the ball.
 
#9
Will find some cool Stuff for you.
a classic shot where if you don't hold the ball is with the slice backhand. Most people have trouble because they chop at the ball with the hand, you wanna catch the ball then drive the ball with the shoulder blades like doing a back exercise.
 
#10
Will find some cool Stuff for you.
a classic shot where if you don't hold the ball is with the slice backhand. Most people have trouble because they chop at the ball with the hand, you wanna catch the ball then drive the ball with the shoulder blades like doing a back exercise.
Maybe its the style of writing but this is confusing.

1st you say you dont hold the ball but then you say you wanna catch the ball. Is there a difference between holding and catching? If so what is it??
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
#12
It is impossible to catch the ball, though low tension strings and more flexible rackets may have an instant more of dwell time and provide better tactile feedback during the 2 ms or so.

You are mixing sound advice with wrong physics. The problem is not that rec players are swinging at the ball, but that their swing path is not held steady and they don't follow through. As the ball approaches, they experience an inner fear and back away from the ball, while trying to desperately take a swing at it. Better players stand their ground and stick to their swing path and follow through. Why do the lesser players not do it? Partly because of the lack of control that such a swing would require, and each higher level requires a higher level of control. When a player swings solidly with a steady path (for balls at his level of course), it appears that he is holding or catching the ball. Make this guy play against a much better player whose balls are deep with topspin and sidespin, and he will appear to be slapping the ball wildly from a bad and late position. If you are using the idea as a mental tool for a deliberate and controlled swing, it is OK of course.
 
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#13
It is impossible to catch the ball, though low tension strings and more flexible rackets may have an instant more of dwell time and provide better tactile feedback during the 2 ms or so.

You are mixing sound advice with wrong physics. The problem is not that rec players are swinging at the ball, but that their swing path is not held steady and they don't follow through. As the ball approaches, they experience an inner fear and back away from the ball, while trying to desperately take a swing at it. Better players stand their ground and stick to their swing path and follow through. Why do the lesser players not do it? Partly because of the lack of control that such a swing would require, and each higher level requires a higher level of control. When a player swings solidly with a steady path (for balls at his level of course), it appears that he is holding or catching the ball. Make this guy play against a much better player whose balls are deep with topspin and sidespin, and he will appear to be slapping the ball widely from a bad and late position. If you are using the idea as a mental tool for a deliberate and controlled swing, it is OK of course.
Here is another quote that hopefully make you understand -

"Because the racket actually holds back as the arm lifts upwards, we see that the role of the racket is to hold and grip the ball while the arm provides a solid counterforce that pushes and lifts upward. This discovery, that the role of the racket is not to hit the ball but to grip it, was discovered by Doug King. I find it to be the most profound insight into the modern game.
 
#14
It is impossible to catch the ball, though low tension strings and more flexible rackets may have an instant more of dwell time and provide better tactile feedback during the 2 ms or so.

You are mixing sound advice with wrong physics. The problem is not that rec players are swinging at the ball, but that their swing path is not held steady and they don't follow through. As the ball approaches, they experience an inner fear and back away from the ball, while trying to desperately take a swing at it. Better players stand their ground and stick to their swing path and follow through. Why do the lesser players not do it? Partly because of the lack of control that such a swing would require, and each higher level requires a higher level of control. When a player swings solidly with a steady path (for balls at his level of course), it appears that he is holding or catching the ball. Make this guy play against a much better player whose balls are deep with topspin and sidespin, and he will appear to be slapping the ball widely from a bad and late position. If you are using the idea as a mental tool for a deliberate and controlled swing, it is OK of course.
http://www.hi-techtennis.com/forehand/topspin.php
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
#15
That is a MTM site. You wrote:

In the modern game, the swing of racquet is minimised. The result is better contact between the racquet and the ball- that translates into less slapping into and pulling of the Ball and fewer off center hits.

Do you know that Oscar preaches that pros hit topspin not at the center, but in the lower half of the strings?
 
#16
That is a MTM site. You wrote:

In the modern game, the swing of racquet is minimised. The result is better contact between the racquet and the ball- that translates into less slapping into and pulling of the Ball and fewer off center hits.

Do you know that Oscar preaches that pros hit topspin not at the center, but in the lower half of the strings?
The point is if you don't grip the ball you can't use the body as the main force. You want to create the most mass on the ball.

If only you knew the feeling, I got most of my clients to catch the ball and accelerate on contact and the speed and power is no effort
all the big muscles of the body do all the work the hand is there to hold the and absorb.

A swim coach will say catch the water, same thing, like rowing also.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
#17
Read the articles in TW University. The Professor writes:

Longer dwell time does not, contrary to popular opinion, allow you time to direct the ball. In 4-7 ms of impact, you are a totally helpless victim of the physics of impact. In fact, your hand and brain don't even get the message that an impact has occurred until the ball has almost left the racquet — certainly too late to do anything about it.

As I said, you might have a wonderful mental visualization tool which is helping your students. No doubt about that.

BTW, I go to Singapore every year and there are quite a few Aussie expats there, and quite a few pubs catering to them!
 
#19
That is a MTM site. You wrote:

In the modern game, the swing of racquet is minimised. The result is better contact between the racquet and the ball- that translates into less slapping into and pulling of the Ball and fewer off center hits.

Do you know that Oscar preaches that pros hit topspin not at the center, but in the lower half of the strings?
Interesting. Oscar came to mind when thinking about the concept. Recalled his finding the ball and pull back

Not going to work for me. Anykind of ball pocketing or bending on contact is disturbing though i can see where people like it

But recently changes in the fh have changed that a tad. My lighting has those stupid prince grommets and was too soft on contact but now i can kind of hit with them.

For me mtm was a dead end. 6 lessons with a coach and countless vids and still not where my fh should be.
 
#20
collotennis, if you found doug king you are on the right path. check out his course perfect contact. I think if you join tennis player. net you can view it. Maybe John Yandell can verify. Doug is one one of the brightest people I have known, regardless of profession.
 
#21
Collo,
Regardless of the merits of teaching cues, the time the ball is on the strings is 3-5 milliseconds. High speed photography shows the ball pockets on the strings and then is catapulted off. With a given string set up incoming ball speed, and forward swing pattern there is literally nothing the player can do that will affect the dwell time.
 
#23
collotennis, if you found doug king you are on the right path. check out his course perfect contact. I think if you join tennis player. net you can view it. Maybe John Yandell can verify. Doug is one one of the brightest people I have known, regardless of profession.
He is amazing, I have watched perfecting contact, oh yeah I never seen anyone go deeper into tennis technique than he does.
 
#24
Collo,
Regardless of the merits of teaching cues, the time the ball is on the strings is 3-5 milliseconds. High speed photography shows the ball pockets on the strings and then is catapulted off. With a given string set up incoming ball speed, and forward swing pattern there is literally nothing the player can do that will affect the dwell time.
Yep I will take the the 5 milliseconds ha, the point is you wanna avoid any bounce off, capture the ball for those milliseconds and the control goes up massively. Whether it's 3 or 5 milliseconds
 
#25
Yep I will take the the 5 milliseconds ha, the point is you wanna avoid any bounce off, capture the ball for those milliseconds and the control goes up massively. Whether it's 3 or 5 milliseconds
That goes against the common wisdom that stringing tighter produces more control. Are you advocating stringing lower for more control???
 
#28
Ok , I see your never going to understand this unless your shown on the court.
Probably even then. If you want a longer ball pocket its best to string at 15lbs. Much more pocketing. But lots less control. So no i cant get my head wrapped around what you are saying. And you neglected to answer the question!

Who could show me on court?
 
#29
Probably even then. If you want a longer ball pocket its best to string at 15lbs. Much more pocketing. But lots less control. So no i cant get my head wrapped around what you are saying. And you neglected to answer the question!

Who could show me on court?
Yeah you don't get it, I can see by all your questions. I assumed you would understand it by now. Your Talking about stings ect, give me the worst strings possible it doesn't matter.
 
#33
Yeah you don't get it, I can see by all your questions. I assumed you would understand it by now. Your Talking about stings ect, give me the worst strings possible it doesn't matter.
You were talking about ball pocketing and the strings catching the ball and 5 milliseconds. All i am saying is that low tension will achieve that by default...but there is no control typically

Hey you are the coach here. Why not explain it better?? Right now it doesnt make sense the way you are explaining it.

And i dont think you understand how tensions work in relation to ball pocketing because if you did you would realize tension is undermining your theory.

And there is no need to insult my level. Its the same level as most tennis players. Presumably as a coach you could write a coherent explanation of what you are explaining? And not get insulting when some one asks clarifying questions?
 
P

PittsburghDad

Guest
#39
BTW. The whole catching the ball thing has been used in baseball as well. B. Bonds once stated that his first tip was to catch the ball with the bat. But he clearly wasn't actually catching the ball. He was destroying it with massive bat speed. And not a lot of dwell time with maple strings.

But it's definitely a decent teaching tool for some.
 
#40
It's absolutely a teaching tool. And a good one. But it's not the physics of it at all. The drive on the ball is from massive racket head speed. And everything that helps build it.
I will put it another way, a lower level player will have a rebound affect where the ball bounces of the strings too quickly, where the higher the level the ball has a longer time(milliseconds) on the stings, like a push and turn. Lower level players don't get that absorption with the ball.
 
#41
BTW. The whole catching the ball thing has been used in baseball as well. B. Bonds once stated that his first tip was to catch the ball with the bat. But he clearly wasn't actually catching the ball. He was destroying it with massive bat speed. And not a lot of dwell time with maple strings.

But it's definitely a decent teaching tool for some.
Baseball even Cricket, you have to have some hold with the ball, it's not very Long at all but it is there.
 
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PittsburghDad

Guest
#42
I will put it another way, a lower level player will have a rebound affect where the ball bounces of the strings too quickly, where the higher the level the ball has a longer time(milliseconds) on the stings, like a push and turn. Lower level players don't get that absorption with the ball.
This just isn't true. And research data exists on it. It's been studied.
 
#44
There's no "hold" on a ball coming in at 95 and leaving at 110 off of wood.

You're teaching tool is not bad. But you're drowning it in a complete misunderstanding of the physics of how it works.
Ummm, people are miss-understanding. There has to be a element of absorbing the ball with the bat, racquet, the timing to create the most mass at contact. I'm talking about split seconds but you need to catch the ball big gears and small gears together in one moment.
 
#45
The drive happens not before the ball, but only on the ball. It's for miliseconds but the that moment of hold lets the big muscles of the body generate the force together with the hand.
That is a MTM site. You wrote:

In the modern game, the swing of racquet is minimised. The result is better contact between the racquet and the ball- that translates into less slapping into and pulling of the Ball and fewer off center hits.

Do you know that Oscar preaches that pros hit topspin not at the center, but in the lower half of the strings?
sadly the more i experience mtm teaching the less credible it seems. Maybe they need that linquist guy the politicians use to transform the estate tax to the death tax. Maybe some terms that make sense??? Catching the ball makes no sense
 
#46
sadly the more i experience mtm teaching the less credible it seems. Maybe they need that linquist guy the politicians use to transform the estate tax to the death tax. Maybe some terms that make sense??? Catching the ball makes no sense
Catching, absorbing, Holding, caressing, stroking, whichever word helps you understand that moment where you create a resistance on the ball to send it back with a greater force through the body and racquet together.
 
P

PittsburghDad

Guest
#47
Ummm, people are miss-understanding. There has to be a element of absorbing the ball with the bat, racquet, the timing to create the most mass at contact. I'm talking about split seconds but you need to catch the ball big gears and small gears together in one moment.
I get what you're saying. And have definitely used the "catch" imagery in teaching my daughter. But you can go to far with it and sacrifice massive racket head speed which begins with the first movements of the stroke and builds to impact.

Depending on who you're teaching and what the goals are the tool could be ineffective or helpful.

It's definitely not the worst advice I've read here. But it's not the end all and be all either. To me that is and will always be racket head speed. Control, power, everything comes from RHS. My opinion. I'd be careful teaching someone to "catch" the ball until I'd spent quite a long time optimizing a swing for RHS.
 
#48
I get what you're saying. And have definitely used the "catch" imagery in teaching my daughter. But you can go to far with it and sacrifice massive racket head speed which begins with the first movements of the stroke and builds to impact.

Depending on who you're teaching and what the goals are the tool could be ineffective or helpful.

It's definitely not the worst advice I've read here. But it's not the end all and be all either. To me that is and will always be racket head speed. Control, power, everything comes from RHS. My opinion. I'd be careful teaching someone to "catch" the ball until I'd spent quite a long time optimizing a swing for RHS.
The speed is in the lag of the bat or racquet, whip drive is the ultimate. You want speed coming into the ball at impact but you need drive for direction and control.
 
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PittsburghDad

Guest
#49
You would also have to phrase it in a way that DOES NOT ever encourage a player to decelerate into impact. Then be super vigilant about watching for it.

I would bet that often times you tell someone to "catch the ball" with there racket the inclination is to decelerate. And nothing, nothing nothing is worse for a stroke.

The more I think about it, the more I dislike catching the ball. Except on volleys. I like it there.
 
#50
You would also have to phrase it in a way that DOES NOT ever encourage a player to decelerate into impact. Then be super vigilant about watching for it.

I would bet that often times you tell someone to "catch the ball" with there racket the inclination is to decelerate. And nothing, nothing nothing is worse for a stroke.

The more I think about it, the more I dislike catching the ball. Except on volleys. I like it there.
No no, another way to say it. Wait for the ball to be on your strings then rotate with the massive force of your hips, spine and shoulder.

Are you rotating before the ball or on the ball, time your mass with the ball and the speed and control is insane. Coil then time the uncoil with the ball. Then you you get amazing speed and drive
 
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