how often do good players hit the sweet spot during match/practices?

stockboy

New User
I've been some people's rackets where the strings in the middle are worn down considerably more than the other parts, which suggests they're really good at timing the ball. But part of me also wonders if those good hits were done in a controlled environment against a ball machine or something. I've also seen videos of college D1 matches where the players more often than not, seem to hit outside the sweet spot, if not borderline shank the ball, but yet still produce great ball speed. so am i correctly assuming that the worn out stings at the sweet spots that I've seen come from repeated hits with a ball machine or coach, where the player knows exactly where the ball lands? Also, the ability to hit the sweet spot is dependent on your fundamentals and how well you can read the ball? Lastly, what are somethings you can focus on to hit the sweet spot more often? One thing I can think of is to focus on the point of contact.
 

RyanRF

Professional
Any time I get a chance to watch pros practice up close that's the first thing I notice. Every single ball is hit dead center of the racquet. As a result they get more power and spin while using less effort.

 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
You can also tell if someone is striking the sweet spot from the sound the ball makes. Shanks and off-center hits have a very distinct sound. Not even bragging, but I tend to hit my sweet spot a good 85-90% of the time and I hardly ever shank my shots. I see the ball into the strings, but I don't Federer-It and keep my head down at my shot as the ball leaves the strings. I think timing, good ball recognition and obviously footwork all come into play when executing good clean hitting.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@stockboy
Any time I get a chance to watch pros practice up close that's the first thing I notice. Every single ball is hit dead center of the racquet. As a result they get more power and spin while using less effort.

Possibly hits the center / sweetspot more in warm-up practice than in matches. Have seen plenty of vids / images where Roger's racket face closed very significantly after contact cuz he had contacted the ball very low in the stringbed. This has led some to believe that he purposely hits the ball low in the stringbed (probably not true tho).

BabolatPlay data from from Rafa's racket (AO 2015). It appears that he hit about half of his shots in the center zone (and half in other areas).


 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
In this video image, Roger's racket face was slightly closed at contact (green line) but very significantly closed on the follow-thru (red lines). He does not purposely roll his racket over after contact. The racket face orientation on his follow-thru is a result of a relaxed arm & contacting the ball very low in the stringbed


 
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ZanderGoga

Semi-Pro
Varies. A lot of players don't particularly want to, since hitting higher on the stringbed promotes a flatter/more predictable response.

But generally speaking, better players are very good at positioning their bodies such that their swings result in virtually identical contact points on the stringbed each time, especially along the axis running the racquet's length.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@stockboy @RyanRF
But generally speaking, better players are very good at positioning their bodies such that their swings result in virtually identical contact points on the stringbed each time, especially along the axis running the racquet's length.
If high level players are warming up or casually hitting, I would imagine is probably fairly easy for them to hit the sweetspot.

However, in competition, they are hitting or dealing with very high ball speeds, often with massive spin rates (3000-4000 rpm, sometimes in excess of 5000 rpm).
 

Hit 'em clean

Semi-Pro
It's always easier to do it in practice or warm up and gets harder during match play. According to my Head sensor I'm hitting the sweetspot 70-80% of the time on average while playing. The better I play the higher my percentage gets. Hitting the sweetspot gives you the best spin, power and direction you'll get out of contact and the more you hit... the more predictable your shots will be. Outside of the sweetspot the racquet is likely to twist more, provide variable levels of power/spin, etc. which makes it harder to be as consistent.
 
Now, I try to change strings before they break- but in the past, they would always break in the center of the sweet spot-
and I am a good/not great player. If you get into position, watch the ball and hit with a purpose (and, depending on the opponent),
it is not that hard.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
@stockboy @RyanRF

If high level players are warming up or casually hitting, I would imagine is probably fairly easy for them to hit the sweetspot.

However, in competition, they are hitting or dealing with very high ball speeds, often with massive spin rates (3000-4000 rpm, sometimes in excess of 5000 rpm).
That's why they are 10 feet behind the baseline.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
That's why they are 10 feet behind the baseline.
While Roger is usually not 10 ft behind the BL. You suppose that is why he sometimes frame shots?

I recall playing doubs one night where I faced a guy who hit massive TS. The ball kept dipping / dropping more than I would anticipate and kept hitting the bottom edge of the frame. Had never had an experience that extreme before. Could have been one or more factors: (1) His TS was significantly greater than any I had seen before. (2) The visibility & the court lighting was not ideal that night on that particular court. (3) My eyes / brain were more fatigued then usual and, as a result, my hand eye coordination was off.

I can imagine that with the massive spin that Rafa, Roger, Pete and others generate, opposing players might have a difficult time hitting the ball cleanly
 
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