Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Pet, Oct 7, 2011.
Is deep the holy grail?
Yes, no and why?
Seems like correct spelling may be the holy grail.
Actually, I believe he is talking about the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, which may in fact one day become "the holy grail".
No, making one more shot than your opponent is the holy grail.
the 7th game is definately the "holy grail". As well as "finding the win"
What the heck is deph?
What the fruck is a frush?
Not being able to hear...or spell.
To answer the OP's question, depth is probably on of the best strategies to use as a general rule.
The "advanced moonballer" that plays with lots of spin, high-ish net clearance, and keeps the ball deep with his spin has two big things going for him. Consistency and because the ball stays deep, its much harder for his opponent to hurt him.
Now, when you actually go out and play a real match against a real person that is trying to impose his own will and strategy on the game, all this might not mean much.........
As I general rule, I try to hit my rally strokes so they hit the service line but have enough spin to keep my opponent deep enough so he can't hurt me. So when I hit "long" (well past the service line), I don't lose the point. I'm not going for the back line every time on rally shots. That would just be stupid.
Not if you just lost the set 6-0.
good plan, and really allows you to cut loose with your power.
Wow, if I had the kind of r2's control, I would try to hit my rally shots 2 feet close to any border line. Also, as a general rule i try to serve fast to the T or the extreme side, getting a free point. If it goes 'long' i still have my second dinky serve! Can't lose with such a plan!
There is no single technical solution, an adaptive strategy is required in this sport.
What will depth do for you? Other posters have answered that, so then, how do you incorporate those strengths into your overall game plan?
Depth can be a great basis for your game but what are you going to incorporate with it?
No, great depth increases depth risk in a game where making shots is first and foremost.
Increasing depth is also the most fundamental step in getting out of the 3.5-4.0 range.
Borrowed from another thread....
"All that really matters is that you win the LAST point of a match"
I'd argue that in the 4.0 and below range, depth can actually hurt you more than it can help. You rarely find really good movers at that level, so if you hit deep, you're helping your opponent not have to move as much since the ball is always coming to them.
That's also the reason why so many people struggle against softballers/pushers/whatever because their balls are landing short and it forces you to move up and people rarely know how to do that and execute a good shot at the same time.
Against a counterpuncher or pure pusher, you probably don't want to hit deep, because they'll just work the point with little effort, you're better off hitting short and making them create their own pace and/or move in.
Sounds like you play against opponents with decent anticipation. When I come up against players like this, I use a more compact swing, which takes away a lot of their time needed to anticipate and float over to the deep ball effortlessly.
If you can take away those precious fractions of a second and/or disguise your shot a bit better, suddenly they no longer get to everything effortlessly. In many case they are left flatfooted and watched balls whiz by.
I totally agree that you need to move your opponent vertically as well as laterally, but try what I mentioned and watch things change drastically...if you can execute the compact swing even half decently. It doesn't have to be a blistering winner on the corner lines. Those players become unravelled when they can't anticipate and react early. Actually most lower level players suffer from this.
I was just posing a situation where depth isn't going to be the "holy grail". I don't have problems with good anticipators, pushers or counterpunchers.
There's so many things you can do. Admittedly, I've never tried compact swings because I go with shot placement and angle instead. I'll usually take pace off the ball and try to hit shorter angles to get them moving up into the court and then hit the next ball deep so that it's either at their feet or crosscourt from where they hit the last ball.
Some short slices work well for me as well, because I can hit decent passing shots or go for the lob.
I hit a lot of the short angle shots as well, but it is normally once I've moved an opponent behind the basline with deep shots....
Different styles make the game interesting and the matchups can be a challenge.
I'm old school, so winning the depth/baseline game is key (for me) to setting up the easy short angled winner...very little power required...just a well placed angle with enough topspin to keep it in.
Also, I like to be at the net......
A ball machine is a great tool for developping a compact swing...no pressure..just practice delaying the backswing for as long as possible. Iread somewhere that 1 or 2 tenths of a second taken away from your oppponents reaction time is usually enought to make a BIG difference in them being able to execute or not.
Agree. An average 3.5-4.0 player does not hit a sufficiently heavy ball to penetrate the court from service line depth. If you want penetration you're going to need more depth, as in aiming higher over the net and halfway between the service line and baseline. That's plenty of margin for error. Topspin without depth will give your opponent an attackable ball that sits up. Depth pushes your opponent back and at the same time that it narrows their angles, shorter replies give you a the wider angle you to work with.
this is a tennis fallacy.
ultimately better technique is the holy grail.... with faulty strokes, player cannot aim deep, as poor depth control will result in many long balls, so he has to aim at the service line.
Really if this is true then how has Rafa won 10 majors then? He hits the majority
of his shots just past the serve line.
I was taught the tennis holy grail is comprised of depth, pace, heavy spin, and robbing my opponent's time.
I thought we were talking about amateur games... pros are a different story.
as for Rafa, his average depth depends on court surfaces... to many nuances to argue about, and is irrelevant for the original topic anyway.
the closest proxy in the pros for amateurs are actually the WTA, and look at the depth there.
Not really. Just look at the recent final between Rafa and Joker. The primary reason Rafa got owned is because so many of his balls landed so short and Joker took advantage. End of story. It's just that a lot of other players can't handle the spin, but Joker can and did. But had those same shots by Rafa been deep it would have been another story, so yeah, depth was the difference.
dozu makes a good point about distinguishing pro and amateur games. IMO, most of things pros do are virtually inapplicable to our level!!!!!!!!
I notice that simply keeping the ball in play and you'll win about 90% of time. Majority of losses are due to UEs. hehe
Dephinitely not in all cases.
Sometimes, a slow slice near the service line gives people more problems. Even at the pro level, Brad Gilbert mentions in this "Winning Ugly" book that Aaron Krickstein was pummeling the ball at the baseline, when Gilbert accidentally hit some short low balls, Krickstein would just hit easy returns that Gilbert could take advantage of. So Gilbert starting using that tactic. Of course, against a different player this may not work.
So there is no silver bullet or holy grail in tennis, as in depth, spin, power, etc. You just have to just find your opponents weakness and expose it. Actually, maybe "exposing your opponent's weakness" is the holy grail.
I don't konw about the holy grail of one single deep shot. However, I think anyone who can place three to five deep shots in a row close to either corner would have a high chance to win the point at any tennis level.
One of the differences between low level play and high level play is depth + lower clearance. There may be exceptions like Nadal and Patty Schenider, but the big difference is that advanced players can hit deep without moonballing. I noticed this sharp contrast when watching a lesson yesterday given by a former touring pro turned teching pro to a 3.5-ish player. He was having him aim forehand crosscourts deep into the corner. The pro demonstrated a series of shots, each hit hard and with just the right amount of spin to clear the net and hit the area. Then the student followed, and the only way he could hit the ball in that area was with lots of net clearance and a much slower and spinnier ball.
It probably also had to do with the height difference between the two men.
That is what many observers were saying. Federer has difficulty with the short topspin balls of Rafa, but Djokovic can take them early with his backhand. I was watching Nadal-Fish in Tokyo yesterday, and Fish even tried to take these balls as volleys by coming to the net, but the spin and trajectory were so tricky that he often dumped them into the net. At those levels, it is difficult for us to gauge what is going on by watching on TV. There is probably so much spin that the ball has a great tendency to get pulled down on contact, unless the volley is strong enough.
Just go to you tube and watch some clips of different pro men players. Then pay attention to the average depth in their rallys, you will be surprised they hit a higher % closer to the serve line than they do the baseline.
I believe the reason is that there is much more safety in playing this way, plus they have so much power and spin on the ball that it still carries easily past the baseline. They are more apt to hit deeper once they get control of a point, but on average the are not hitting that close to the baseline.
Many people don't relies they are hitting closer to the serve line because the ball still carries through the court so well without a lot of depth. But if you don't believe it just watch some clips and pay attention to where the ball lands on average.
As far as the women's game goes i would agree that they do hit deeper because they don't have near the spin on the ball and they hit much flatter.
This is true, that is why it is not a good idea for amateurs to try for to much depth because it will cause many more errors.
Which is why depth is important for recreational players because their skills are nowhere near the pro women, let alone the men.
Joker has played at another level above everyone else this year. Rafa has not played like he did in the prior season all year for some reason. Joker has always hit the ball deeper and more penetrating than nadal has, but he was never able to do it with the consistency that he has this year. He has been amazing at hitting consistently hard and deep this year, but like i said he has been off the charts this season. If the average player trys to hit with that much depth they will lose every time against a solid player because they will make a ton of unforced errors.
So yea that was part of the reason that he won the us open but not the end of story. Rafa missed so many of his forehands were he had the point set up to take. But he was off which had nothing to do with what joker was doing, once nadal lost confidence in his forehand he then played to defensively and in return started hitting to short.
And again you are comparing one final with joker playing out of his mind. That still does not answer how rafa has won 10 majors without hitting the ball very deep.
People who try to keep their ball from going too deep end up short, choppy strokes that lead to low net clearance, little power.
I believe that hitting depth only works at lower levels. If you hit deep with no pace, prepare for a pummeled ball. The ultimate combo at the rec level would be depth PLUS pace.
I am not trying to compare their skill levels, i am talking about their average depth of shot. Since they are much more skilled than the amateur player but still use a lot of safety in controlling their depth of shot, it would only make sense that the amateur player would even have to be more careful because they have nowhere near the precision in their shots.
This can be true with players that do not use much top spin, they end up using weak strokes to keep from hitting long. Which is not the right way to become a very good player. I am referring more to players that have more developed strokes, they can still hit hard but control their depth with more spin.
guy keeps talking about the ATP pros.
if you wonna talk pros, go watch WTA matches, as the male amateur foot speed is remotely comparable to the women pros.... and watch how deep those girls hit.
the pro guys play a different game, stop going there already, you are comparing apples and oranges.
better yet, post a video of yourself hitting short balls and still manage to win.
By that logic, the women should be hitting with less depth than the men, so your argument doesn't hold. You can't have it both ways - claim that women don't have as much topspin to do damage with short balls as the men and so need depth, and then claim that rec players are worse than women pros so should hit with even lesser depth. You are extrapolating one way in one direction, and another way in the other.
One thing is very clear to me after observing many club juniors and adults play - the advanced players have greater depth in their shots. In those cases where they hit short, the ball has so much topspin that it bounces and jumps up viciously and changes direction.
So, for adult club players, depth should be the goal. If they could produce the topspin of the advanced juniors, chances are they wouldn't be seen around the club hitting with 4.0 players.
If you want to believe that club players should reduce the depth of their shots and focus on hitting closer to the net, go ahead. It will produce the worst kind of player. Sure they will beat fat Bob because he hasn't moved forward in 30 years, but that is about it.
Not to drag this out, but if the players you're talking about hit with a lot of topspin, then they need depth, and hitting long shouldn't be much of a concern.
Not to mention that heavy topspin causes the trajectory to dip, and reduces depth. The original idea of topspin and polys was to be able to hit hard but still get the ball in. You might ask, then what is the point. The point, apart from the difficulty of facing spin, is to provide more control. Allowing harder hits to land safely in allows more freedom in swings and directional control.
Some people here are confused, thinking that pros hit short in order to hit short. While that may be the goal in some cases, their topspin pulls the ball in shorter, and an extreme grip also contributes to it. The shorter depth is often a consequence of the heavy topspin and extreme grip, not the goal.
That is why it is wrong to tell club players to reduce depth. Tell them to increase topspin, not to reduce depth.
Another example of well-intentioned but dangerous advice is to ask club players to increase the clearance above the net. The example given is Nadal. It doesn't occur to many that if you swing up on the ball as hard as Nadal, it is likely to clear the net higher. Like the shorter bounce, it is a consequence, not the goal. What happens is the club guy takes a lesson and the pro keeps telling him to clear the net by at least 3 feet. Great, but the guy doesn't have much spin or pace. His slow shots are now going higher, that is all, and that is fine during the lesson. Then he plays doubles on Friday night against the crafty old guy at the net and gets his weak high pseudo-topspin shots punished relentlessly.
It is always about effectiveness. What is the goal? That should be clear.
I am watching Tsonga-Berdych now, and am astounded by the depth of their shots. Two tall and strong men here - no wimpy loopy short balls from these two.
Okay the topspin does give more safety for depth control no doubt, but it is still risky to push to close to the baseline. By using a lot of top spin it enables you to swing much harder and still keep the ball in. But even with the safety of the heavy spin you will make a lot of errors aiming at the baseline.
The other benefit of heavy spin that many here are missing is that even if the shot is just a few feet past the serve line it will still carry with acceleration past the baseline. The key here is heavy spin that makes the ball explode forward after it hits, without that i would agree that these shots would be to weak.
Look when a player is good enough to hit the ball deeper and maintain good consistency while doing so then that is the way to go. But most club players i see are not that good and if they go for to much depth they will beat themselves.
I never said to hit close to the net, i stated that just past the serve line is a good reference point to start. This way your average shot will probably be land halfway between the serve line and baseline which gives you some margin for error when your shot carries a little longer.
To hit around the serve line you do need the kind of top spin that you mentioned that jumps up viciously. Which is what most of the high school kids have that i hit with have. My friend coaches at a high school and he has me play some of his singles players.
They hit with a lot of top spin which really kicks up and out. But most of them if they were to play club tennis would be playing 4.0 level tennis. The reason is that they try to go for to much and a seasoned consistent club play would beat them most of the time.
One of the reasons they would get beat is because even with all that heavy top spin they go for to much and hit to deep and end up hitting a lot of balls long. Sorry but i have seen this many times, my friend the coach is always preaching to them to tame down the shots and keep the ball in the court. They drive him crazy with there constantly trying to hit the ball right at the baseline and beating themselves.
Guy with that kind of explosive spin can easily flatten it out also and hit deeper if he wants. It is a matter of choice for him.
All this is theory. I watched Tsonga-Berdych today and most of the balls were hit beyond the service line and many winners were close to the baseline on either flank. That is what really happened, so everything else is just useless speculation.
The holy grail of tennis is playing high percentage tactics and court positioning. I've written about this many times and don't want to repeat what I've already gone through in detail on numerous occasions. Suffice it to say that I disagree with 5236's opinion that hitting deep is too risky. If you know how to do it, it's less risky than hitting short. That's not to say go for the lines, but, hitting within 5 feet of the baseline is doable for any 4.0+ level player if they have consistent strokes and know how to do it.
Having said that, IMO, the preeminent high percentage/court positioning player in the game today is Nadal. He plays with tremendous discipline, rarely makes a tactical error (although I've seen him take more risks against Djokovic lately, for obvious reasons), and understands that an occasional winner or spectacular play by his opponent is a losing proposition against him in the long run. If an opponent hits a winner on a low percentage shot, Nadal will give him more opportunities to do so, knowing that the percentages are against his opponent.
WTA on the whole is the worst to emulate, unless you are watching the Aussie that won the US open this year. Most of those gals just bash deep until one misses or they can't get to one. The Open champ hit nice biting TS med depth till she got a mid ct ball, THEN hit a flatter trajectory TS ball to initiate her attack. She did it better than many of the guys on tour.
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