Muscling the ball right before the contact?

Koaske

Rookie
In his newest Article, Ron Waite says that muscling the ball for a fraction of a second right before the contact (not muscling through the whole stroke) will greatly increase the power of the stroke WHILE MAINTAINING THE CONTROL. He said that he had observed some slow-motion videos of pros and found out that they use this technique to create controlled power.

I'd like to know what people here think about this. Does muscling right before the contact really help? Were you taught to hit power shots this way? Discuss!

Here's a link to the article if you want to see it:
http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/turbo_07_01.html
 

Supernatural_Serve

Professional
He's making valid points. There are several ways to improve racquet head speed. The "muscling" he is referring to momentarily before impact wouldn't be high on my list of things to focus on to generate racquet head speed.

But, I am sure it would work for a lot of people, assuming they are getting the most out of their body to begin with and can remain relaxed while they add "muscling" the ball momentarily to their swing mechanics.

Its the kind of thing one needs to learn naturally and not "try" to do in my opinion.
 

Bagumbawalla

Hall of Fame
"Muscling the ball" may give a slightly wrong impression that mere brute force and last second timing is at play and that there is some deviation from the normal smoothness of the stroke.

Having said that, by definition "accelerating the racket head" is basically that, increasing the speed of the racket by increments.

And having said THAT, It would be almost impossible for a normal person (anyone I know) to consciously/effectively/suddenly muscle the ball just nano seconds before impact. A good hard stroke is a smooth continuous (possibly even "explosive") excelleration with no hitches or jumps or sudden changes in momentum.

B
 

Techniques

Rookie
I agree, I reckon Agassi is doing it there. His racquet head speed is certainly faster just before he hits the ball IMO.
 
C

chris2k5

Guest
I think a lot of players do it now...

Back during 1999-2002, Serena Williams hit her forehand and hit through the ball. Now a days starting 2004-2006 she muscled the ball. I perfered the hit through but muscling I think gave her more power and consistancy off the forehand side.
 

tricky

Hall of Fame
Muscling during the backswing is a no-no because it sabotages the stretch-shorten cycle of your kinetic chain. The stretch reflex, not really your demonstratble strength, is what gives you the racquet speed.

Basically the idea goes that you want the muscles to lengthen as quickly as possible AND to feel as little tension during the lengthening as possible. And this is why so much emphasis is put on using the lower body, hips and core to lengthen the arm muscles.

And it's also important that the muscle feels as little tension duiring the stroke as possible. If you're consciously trying to muscle the backswing, you automatically generate additional tension which reduces the power of the reflex.

Both goes into the rationale why a short backswing is better; what is really meant is that the lengthening of the relevant muscles in the kinectic is facilitated in as little motion as possible. And in using a swing that puts less tension on the rotator muscles through the backswing, the potential energy of the reflex goes up.

This is partially why it looks like at times that the backswing seems slow or easy, and then the racquet accelerates. It's partially because the person is trying to lower the arm tension (looser, but stable grip) during the backswing and then using maybe hip rotation or his legs to help drive the racquet back.

If you "muscle" on the forward swing, once happens is that right before the reflex goes through the entire kinetic chain, you're adding tension again. And in doing so you reduce the potential energy that can be released.

The trick is to add additional muscle after the chain has released all of that potential energy. And that's where the visualizing step of hitting through the ball or the palm of your hand kicks in.

You actually "muscle" the ball through your hand. That is the hand has a lot of say in how the muscles in the chain get used, and it's important ti understand that. The four knuckles on your palm drives the muscles that are pulling forward (agonist muscles.) The four fingers, which stablizes the bar, drives the antagonist muscles. If you flex around the 4 knuckles, the swing accelerates. Whereas if you grip harder around the four fingers, which is what most people do when they "muscle" on the swing, the racquet speed slows down. If gripped too hard, then the swing plane changes too. And if the thumb is gripping harder, your racquet speed ways down. That is why most people recommend that you try stabilizing the racquet with mostly your 3rd and 4th fingers.


So, in short, the idea goes that during the backswing, you want to whip on the ball. When the racquet starts travelling toward, think hitting through the palm, and flexing around the palm (but no thumb) while keeping a loose, but stable grip.
 
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