Myth or a great tip?

Curious

Legend
Sergey is a pretty good player and seems to know what he's talking about in his videos.
I think there was some debate before about what he claims here. I wonder what especially advanced level players think about it.


 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
First off, no one hits a tennis ball at 6000 rpm. The avg Fh topspin for Rafa is about 3200 rpm and for Roger, closer to 2700. Rafa's Fh max is close to 5000 rpm. Similar to the max spin on Pistol Pete's serve. Roger has hit some Bh slices around 5300 rpm according to JY.

Tennis ball does not roll across the strings as this guy would have you believe. It is typically only on the strings for 4-5 ms and, for the most part, is pocketed in the stringbed. If there is any roll at all, it would a small fraction of a rotation.

Pro players do not necessarily contact the string bed above the midline. They can contact it there but are just as likely, if not more likeky, to contact below the midline.
 

Curious

Legend
First off, no one hits a tennis ball at 6000 rpm. The avg Fh topspin for Rafa is about 3200 rpm and for Roger, closer to 2700. Rafa's Fh max is close to 5000 rpm. Similar to the max spin on Pistol Pete's serve. Roger has hit some Bh slices around 5300 rpm according to JY.

Tennis ball does not roll across the strings as this guy would have you believe. It is typically only on the strings for 4-5 ms and, for the most part, is pocketed in the stringbed. If there is any roll at all, it would a small fraction of a rotation.

Pro players do not necessarily contact the string bed above the midline. They can contact it there but are just as likely, if not more likeky, to contact below the midline.
Then I guess you don't believe in what Takao Suzuki claims here about slice serve, because it's pretty much the same idea. He says you should hit the ball more on the right side of the stringbed, not dead centre.


 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Did some quick math. Let's assume a long dwell time of 5 ms. IF the ball is actually rotating at 3000 rpm while on the stringbed, it would experience 1/4 rotation while in contact with the strings. At closer to 5000 rpm, it might turn about 0.4 revolutions. This is actually greater than I had expected but it is still misleading to state that the ball is rolling across the strings as this coach implies.
 
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Happi

Professional
My take is that there is so much info (for free) out there, that internet coaches somehow have to come up with different approaches to stand out from each other. Some of these tips are really bizarre. I more and more just buy into courses mostly the Top Tennis guys and Jeff S, and they seem to work great.

My take on the specific video, I think it is hard enough to hit in the sweet spot consistent, so the idea of hitting the ball below the sweet spot without framing it might be too difficult for me. However I never dismiss anything before I try it out for myself.

Cheers, H
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Then I guess you don't believe in what Takao Suzuki claims here about slice serve, because it's pretty much the same idea. He says you should hit the ball more on the right side of the stringbed, not dead centre.


One might visualize hitting the right side of the bed, but I'm not sure that is necessarily what happens -- all least not a high % of the time. Didn't watch his vid. Does he show high-speed film of this happening?
 

Curious

Legend
My take on the specific video, I think it is hard enough to hit in the sweet spot consistent, so the idea of hitting the ball below the sweet spot without framing it might be too difficult for me.

Cheers, H
I know but at least can one try to avoid hitting the upper half of the stringbed? I never thought about the ball rolling on strings as SA pointed out above but the effect from hitting the lower half ie preventing the racket face tilting back at contact makes sense to me in theory, although not quite sure of course.
 

Curious

Legend
One might visualize hitting the right side of the bed, but I'm not sure that is necessarily what happens -- all least not a high % of the time. Didn't watch his vid. Does he show high-speed film of this happening?
No but he presents it as if it's a big thing.
 

Dragy

Legend
If you drop all the “theory” he puts into it and keep the “hit it in the sweetspot with high RHS, WW component of motion and slightly closed RF... Yeah, that should work - requires some calibration though with swing steepness coordinated with your racquet launch angle.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
This serve is a 142 mph flat serve. Even tho fairly flat, I believe it likely has 1000-2000 rpm. (Pete's serves at 120 mph had abt 3000 rpm). We can clearly see the ball spinning after it has left the stringbed -- a combination of topspin sidespin. Can't really detect any rotation when the ball is pocketed on the stringbed. But it does appear to roll a scosh as it exits the bed.

 

Curious

Legend
If you drop all the “theory” he puts into it and keep the “hit it in the sweetspot with high RHS, WW component of motion and slightly closed RF... Yeah, that should work - requires some calibration though with swing steepness coordinated with your racquet launch angle.
How about this? Say you missed the sweet spot, which one would be less favorable , hitting below the sweet spot or above it? ( in terms of overall shot quality and topspin ).
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
The other fallacy here is the racket face rotating on off-centered hits. Sure, if you hit the upper part of the stringbed (above the midline), the racket face will open up as he indicates. However this does not launch the ball upward as he claims. When that rotation of the racket face happens, the ball has already left the strings.

Ditto for a ball hit low in the bed. Racket face closes (after contact) but the ball is not driven down into the ground
 

Dragy

Legend
How about this? Say you missed the sweet spot, which one would be less favorable , hitting below the sweet spot or above it? ( in terms of overall shot quality and topspin ).
To me it’s below. If it’s to the degree shot quality is strongly affected, you get both:
- Weak stringbed response, taking away ball speed, launch angle and spin;
- Some degree of extra RH closure due to off-center hit,
together resulting in hitting in the middle of the net.
Hitting above center line, unless extreme, may cause the ball go higher and weaker. Still has chance to make it deep.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
How about this? Say you missed the sweet spot, which one would be less favorable , hitting below the sweet spot or above it? ( in terms of overall shot quality and topspin ).
I think that TWU has indicated that there is a bit more topspin for balls hit lower in the stringbed. But how much more depends, in part, depends on racket characteristics if I remember correctly.

But not sure if it's worth the risk for a bit more rpm to actually strive to hit low in the bed.
 

Dragy

Legend
The other fallacy here is the racket face rotating on off-centered hits. Sure, if you hit the upper part of the stringbed (above the midline), the racket face will open up as he indicates. However this does not launch the ball upward as he claims. When that rotation of the racket face happens, the ball has already left the strings.

Ditto for a ball hit low in the bed. Racket face closes (after contact) but the ball is not driven down into the ground
I’ve been thinking so, but meanwhile I get some balls go higher than expected (and weak) on off-center hits. Need to film it and analyze...
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
To me it’s below. If it’s to the degree shot quality is strongly affected, you get both:
- Weak stringbed response, taking away ball speed, launch angle and spin;
- Some degree of extra RH closure due to off-center hit,
together resulting in hitting in the middle of the net.
Hitting above center line, unless extreme, may cause the ball go higher and weaker. Still has chance to make it deep.
Cause of the swing angle and path. Hitting top top half with a vertical song path doesn’t make sense. So then when swinging downward, like a slice, hitting above would then make more sense than hitting below.
 

Dragy

Legend
Cause of the swing angle and path. Hitting top top half with a vertical song path doesn’t make sense. So then when swinging downward, like a slice, hitting above would then make more sense than hitting below.
I’m aiming for the sweetspot generally. There’s some mind trickery though when hitting shots with big spin - some tend to approach the ball for the sweetspot, but then pull the stringbed up/down with extra force, hence end up missing the sweetspot. It’s sometimes a good focus to actually aim for upper stringbed on TS and lower stringbed on slice - to end up at the sweetspot. Temporary and personal, however.
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
I’m aiming for the sweetspot generally. There’s some mind trickery though when hitting shots with big spin - some tend to approach the ball for the sweetspot, but then pull the stringbed up/down with extra force, hence end up missing the sweetspot. It’s sometimes a good focus to actually aim for upper stringbed on TS and lower stringbed on slice - to end up at the sweetspot. Temporary and personal, however.
Yep same. I just hit the ball. No aiming anywhere in the stringbed. Making things far too complicated in an effort to unlock some secret trick. There’s only one secret trick. Practice. I was just saying in regards to curious question about which of the two between higher and lower would be better.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I’ve been thinking so, but meanwhile I get some balls go higher than expected (and weak) on off-center hits. Need to film it and analyze...
Let us know what you find in your investigation. For balls high in the bed, that fly higher than expected, is the racket face vertical or open a bit? And how does this compare to your swing path?
 

Dragy

Legend
Back to the original video, I’m actually wondering why he brings up an “issue” with not being able to hit fast drives with healthy topspin. I’ve been always looking at this from the middle standpoint: you have a topspin drive, and you figure out how to hit it flatter or loopier on demand. His sentiment about having loopy and drive shot, and struggling to combine them, is alien to me. Accelerate the racquet with mildly rising swingpath. Control racquet face angle, including having suitable grip. Experiment. Being a strong male player, you’ll be good.
 

RiverRat

Professional
I'm not defending the video. I just want to say that whether or not something works according to physics is not the only consideration. I agree that, if it doesn't, it shouldn't be purported as a technical element. But in my own experience, I have visualized certain motions and the reaction of the ball to them, as they relate to the feeling I have as I hit the ball. It has been beneficial in my own experimenting. And no, I don't believe in unicorns.
 

Happi

Professional
Last question: do you reckon Sergey is imagining things or purely making it up?
There are some high speed videos of Federer hitting the ball and then the racquet is twisting, I have always thought abut that as a slightly mishit rather than deliberate hitting low in the string bed.


2nd ball he strikes is an example, but other shots seem to be hit dead center and I think that Fed might be a good example of spin + power that the original video talks about.
 

Curious

Legend
There are some high speed videos of Federer hitting the ball and then the racquet is twisting, I have always thought abut that as a slightly mishit rather than deliberate hitting low in the string bed.


2nd ball he strikes is an example, but other shots seem to be hit dead center and I think that Fed might be a good example of spin + power that the original video talks about.
He has some good high resolution slow mo videos taken from behind. I’ll have a look later to see how often he hits above the midline of string bed vs below it.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru

Green line represents Roger's racket face orientation at contact. Yellow lines, prior to contact. Red lines are post-contact. No doubt a low CP here. His racket face starts to close, as seen by the red lines -- but the ball is already gone.

Here's one where Roger hits much closer to the midline. Racket face does not close. In fact, it might be opening up very slightly. Green dots are right hand positions. Red dots are for racket head position. Racket head rises more than that hand after contact... mild WW finish.

 

Curious

Legend
There are some high speed videos of Federer hitting the ball and then the racquet is twisting, I have always thought abut that as a slightly mishit rather than deliberate hitting low in the string bed.


2nd ball he strikes is an example, but other shots seem to be hit dead center and I think that Fed might be a good example of spin + power that the original video talks about.
I actually checked the contact points on stringbed for every shot in that video and Roger hits mostly in the lower half, then dead center and very seldom in the upper part.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I'm not defending the video. I just want to say that whether or not something works according to physics is not the only consideration. I agree that, if it doesn't, it shouldn't be purported as a technical element. But in my own experience, I have visualized certain motions and the reaction of the ball to them, as they relate to the feeling I have as I hit the ball. It has been beneficial in my own experimenting. And no, I don't believe in unicorns.
Yes, this we know. Like other coaches, I will sometimes ask a student to visualize something in order to elicit a certain response. Even if I know that the visualization is actually technically incorrect.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I actually checked the contact points on stringbed for every shot in that video and Roger hits mostly in the lower half, then dead center and very seldom in the upper part.
Wondering if this is part of the reason for his high incidence of shanks that inflicts him every once in awhile. Especially with the smaller racket head he was using before. If he is hitting mostly low in the stringbed and he is facing very heavy topspin, there's a good chance he would hit too close to the bottom edge of the frame.
 

Happi

Professional

Green line represents Roger's racket face orientation at contact. Yellow lines, prior to contact. Red lines are post-contact. No doubt a low CP here. His racket face starts to close, as seen by the red lines -- but the ball is already gone.

Here's one where Roger hits much closer to the midline. Racket face does not close. In fact, it might be opening up very slightly. Green dots are right hand positions. Red dots are for racket head position. Racket head rises more than that hand after contact... mild WW finish.

I am always very skeptical when just take a single shot is analyzed or a single frame is taken out of context. This one could simply be a mishit. Sweetspot are quite small, so I would expect a drop off in power when hitting outside the sweet spot. I really thinks topspin is produced by the racquet swing path, not where you hit it on the strinbed. But it is an interesting theory, and I will try it out next time I hit the court.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I am always very skeptical when just take a single shot is analyzed or a single frame is taken out of context. This one could simply be a mishit. Sweetspot are quite small, so I would expect a drop off in power when hitting outside the sweet spot. I really thinks topspin is produced by the racquet swing path, not where you hit it on the strinbed. But it is an interesting theory, and I will try it out next time I hit the court.
I've seen a multitude of Roger's shots that look like this one. Many were insisting that he was intentionally closing the racket face and sought to emulate this. However, on shots that were much closer to the center, his racket face was not closing as we see here. Have even seeing somewhere his racket face opens (as it does a tiny bit in the vid I posted).
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@SystemicAnomaly do you think it is intentional or mishits ?
Do you mean Roger hitting low in the stringbed? Don't know if he does it intentionally but it might be something that has become a habit. Except for the mishits, it might be something he developed (subconsciously) because it was effective -- for the most part.

Good question though. If you ask Roger this, could you give you an answer? Not certain.
 
Sergey is a pretty good player and seems to know what he's talking about in his videos.
I think there was some debate before about what he claims here. I wonder what especially advanced level players think about it.


He talks several times about the "ball rolling on the strings" when creating TS which is clearly false since contact only lasts 4ms.

This is the crux of his argument, that hitting the ball below the sweet spot will cause the racquet face to close enough to generate the power missing from a regular TS shot. But if contact only lasts 4ms, how will the racquet have time to close much at all?

Color me skeptical.
 

Happi

Professional
Or did you mean Roger closing his racket face? I think he is very relaxed immediately after contact and his racket, forearm and shoulder turn as a result of off-center hits
I have seen many players trying to hit topspin with a very closed racquet face, think they might be inspired by Rodger - but I also think they misread the closed face (perhaps just seen an image after contact), I agree that he is just relaxed, and the closed racquet face is just a result of hitting low (or mishit) in the stringbed.
 
I have a hard enough time hitting the sweet spot. Now I'm supposed to deliberately hit off-center? How much $ do racquet manufacturers spend trying to make more efficient the sweet spot only for someone to preach avoiding it?
 

Morch Us

Professional
He should have simplified it by saying close the racket face and swing really steep (with high racket speed).

Racket face determines ball path and swing path determines spin. So approaching the ball with a slightly more closed racket face will provide a flatter trajectory, even with high vertical racket swing speed, creating the flat trajectory ball with high spin (no rocket science here). Add that with a good component of hortizondal racket velocity and you have spin+pace combination.

I am sure many know about the above. He just complicated it in the explanation. Of course when you approach with closed racket face, you are more than likely to hit slightly below the middle of the racket, and yes, that does happen in high level pros. It is just a side-effect.


I think there was some debate before about what he claims here.
 

Curious

Legend
I don’t think we’ll lose anything by experimenting it maybe with some mini tennis or hitting from the middle of no man’s land nice and easy and see how it goes/feels. I’ll certainly try.
Maybe on a topspinpro first.
 

RajS

Semi-Pro
Maybe it happens naturally if the stroke is basically a linear movement of the racket head towards the ball, with internal shoulder rotation starting just before contact and continuing into the follow through, like all the pros seem to do.
 

RajS

Semi-Pro
To add to the above, you would tend to aim the middle of the racket head at the ball during the swing. The ISR starting just before contact will shift the contact, on the average, to below the center.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Back to the original video, I’m actually wondering why he brings up an “issue” with not being able to hit fast drives with healthy topspin. I’ve been always looking at this from the middle standpoint: you have a topspin drive, and you figure out how to hit it flatter or loopier on demand. His sentiment about having loopy and drive shot, and struggling to combine them, is alien to me. Accelerate the racquet with mildly rising swingpath. Control racquet face angle, including having suitable grip. Experiment. Being a strong male player, you’ll be good.
I had the same reaction on his dichotomy....except that I dont seem to have the loopy ball. Sure I can but even when I try to hit loads of top it always has a flat trajectory with spin. So in a way the outcome of the vid is what I already seem to have.
 
Two things:

When the dude demonstrated how to do it, his racquet face didn’t close.
Also, if I try to hit 90mph, the last thing I try to do is miss the middle of the sweet spot.
 
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