Models of ideal tennis technique.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Kobble, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

    Feb 19, 2004
    Has a mechanical model of the ideal serve and forehand ever been put together. In golf they have a swing based on some of the best players in history, and I was wondering if anyone has done the same thing with tennis. I know many descriptions exist about the positions you should achieve are published, but it is much easier to grasp in a moving model. Also, it is very easy to just put on a tape of Agassi, Federer, and Gonzo, then start copying what they do. However, I feel like history has shown us, the best technique is yet to come. Are any people out there truly working on figuring out the biomechanics of tennis, or are they just waiting for some players to stumble upon a better method so they can study it and then teach it to the rest. Bolletieri was essentially doing a copy and paste with his players. Agassi comes along so he teaches Agassi's forehand. Flipper comes along, and we get the sonic serve. For that reason, I have always maintained a stance that Nick is just a business man in tennis attire. I doubt any guys from MIT are going to dedicate themselves to tennis, but I am sure someone with the understanding of human physiology has done some work on it. If anyone has any information or opinions, please post.
  2. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

    Feb 11, 2004
    Agree a lot with your post except about Nick. He is a business man in Euro-Med gigolo attire. See "Anthony Quinn"
  3. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    There are a lot of ground breaking studies being done for tennis. Keep in mind, many of the pros you mentioned for Nick were already developed. Most of Nick's stuff is developed behind the scenes. Nick is first most a promoter/marketer and a pretty good one at that. He endorses a lot of stuff from researchers who do not have a big name and would probably not be successful marketing their own findings. In comes Nick B. with a "selling" name and the product goes on the market. He still makes sure it is valid and if it is and he likes it, his name goes on it. That is just the way it works! This is not to say that Nick B. doesnt know anything about tennis, it is to say that he does not do a whole lot of research and most of his stuff comes from other people without a big name.

    Braden continues to do research and has worked with biomechanic scientists to understand the tennis stroke. Many popular names also have and are still contributing to tennis mechanics. Braden has moved more into the soft sciences (which is what he has always wanted to do) and is trying to understand the brain more, how a person can choose which backhand is right for him based on brain type, choosing your game style based on brain type and is also working with other well known scientists across many different disciplines to help sports in general and tennis.

    I have spoken with EASI and very much enjoyed our conversations about tennis mechanics and how they understand the modern tennis stroke and how they have broken down many different aspects of the biomechanics on how to hit the strokes pros are hitting but most important how to learn them and learn them quickly!

    Right now, the research industry for tennis is a bit fragmented. Each seeing tennis from different perspectives and understandings. There is no one way to teach tennis. Each has bits and pieces of the other as they continue to evolve and learn more of the truth. But as they learn, the game continues to reinvent itself. So trying to keep pace is difficult right now.

    With the advent of high speed cameras, we are now able to study how a ball is hit. But the high speed cameras are still nowhere near what they should be. Last time I checked high speed cameras were up to about 125 frames a second. However, if you introduce Andy Roddick as the model and you're trying to capture the elements of his forehand, you're going to need a camera that can handle 600 frames a second. Why? Well, Andy Roddick can get his racquet moving within a very short distance to speeds at over 50 mph (about a foot). What you see in TV that makes it look "whippy" is the trailing effect his racquet is giving - the eyes are sort of tricked. That is why it is very difficult to study a pros stroke on 30 frames per second normal speed. I call it the Agassi effect. Many people used to think Agassi whipped his wrist around to get that extra pace on the ball, at higher camera speed captures and especially reducing this to skeleton form this is not true. He maintains a fixed wrist throughout the stroke till contact, then relaxes. Almost all the pros do this, some have less pressure on the handle then others or relax sooner, but for the most part the physics are there.

    So we are still a ways off equipment wise on really developing solid mechanical studies. But I believe someday there will be a convergence in technique and tennis biomechanics as equipment and undertstanding improve. For now, all of us contribute as much as we can to help improve this sport, but many times we will "favor" one method of learning over another because of the results we get in teaching on the court. It does not mean the other method is wrong - it is preference of the pro.

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