Observe how far away you can locate an incoming ball? POLL

How far away can you locate the incoming ball?

  • at impact

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1 foot / 0.3 meter back on the trajectory from impact

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2 feet / 0.6 meter back on the trajectory from impact

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3 feet / 0.9 meter " "

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • 4 feet / 1.2 meter " "

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • 5 feet/ 1.5 meter " "

    Votes: 2 33.3%
  • 10 feet / 3.0 meters " "

    Votes: 2 33.3%

  • Total voters
    6
  • Poll closed .

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
How far away can you locate the ball from an incoming ground stroke? We are trying to get information on when the ball can no longer be located due to its speed and limitations of the eye & brain.

Please go out on the court to observe a few better paced incoming ground strokes. Hit the ball back.

Estimate how well you are able to locate where the ball is. Blur is OK if you can locate it.

You can post
1) A guess, optional, before observing.
2) Any details about your ball watching and stroke technique.
3) You might also list the court surface and color.
4) Do you impact the ball 'out in front' ?
5) Lighting conditions, direct sunlight, overcast, reduced lighting, court lights, indoors lighting. Do in direct sun light if possible.
5) Any other things that you observe.

You should be able to change your vote.
 
Last edited:

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Overlooking some very important considerations here. Number one, many players are very poor at determining lengths, spacing or distances in numerical units. Probably even worse at giving a number to ball speeds.

I have indicated to students, with my hands, how much spacing should there should be between their outstretched hand (vertical arm) and the ball location where they will make contact. I am showing them something close to 60 cm (~ 2ft). When I ask them how much space I am showing them, I get usually get answers that vary from 1 foot to 3+ feet.

Another significant issue is that incoming ball seeds will vary considerably. If the fastest ball speed is more than double the lowest speed, the "invisible zone" measurement can also vary by a factor of two or greater

But, it's even worse than that. Some players may be dealing with incoming speed that is greater than 60mph whereas a 3.0/3.5 female or junior may be dealing with a lot of balls slower than 20 mph. So that can be a variation of 3x or 4x.

And lastly, many players believe they are watching the ball all the way on to the strings. I seriously doubt that this is actually happening.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
We have been around and around about this issue! I am very interested to see the poll.

I'll take a look and reply.

Would you post a similar poll?
 
Last edited:

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
We have been around and around about this issue! I am very interested to see the poll.

I'll take a look and reply.

Would you copy my poll and post it?
Only you appear to be going round and round with this.I'm pretty happy with my understanding of this issue since it's something I've been researching since the mid-1980s ---> with behavioral sports vision training and tons of research & experimentation since that time.

I believe this poll will be pretty meaningless for the reasons given in post #3.

Copy & Paste your poll where? I'm not playing anymore (5 years) and I'm teaching very little these days. Since I think it's a worthless poll why should I bother anyway?
 
Last edited:

yossarian

Professional
We have playtesters here on Tennis Warehouse, many of whom are very high level players, who would probably be more than happy to answer this question for you. Multiple former Division 1 and current open level players. There is also plenty of video available to see their stroke technique. You ever think to ask them?

@TW Staff

Can you guys give Chas some help? What are you thinking about when tracking the ball? Do any of you see the ball on the stringbed at impact? Does anyone consciously try to watch the ball through the back of their strings?
 
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Slicerman

Professional
IMO, I don't really think travel distance is a good indicator. Time is probably a better factor, since the ball's speed can vary greatly depending on the type and intensity of shot.

For me, direction of the ball can be determined pretty quickly, maybe a split second. Depth of shot, however might take a bit more time to recognize, because the ball needs to travel a bit for you to see how high and what shape the ball will take.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
IMO, I don't really think travel distance is a good indicator. Time is probably a better factor, since the ball's speed can vary greatly depending on the type and intensity of shot.

For me, direction of the ball can be determined pretty quickly, maybe a split second. Depth of shot, however might take a bit more time to recognize, because the ball needs to travel a bit for you to see how high and what shape the ball will take.

This poll does not have to do with estimating where the incoming ball will land.

Can you see the incoming ball's blurry image or smear well enough to know where it is?

For the poll, just hit your usual forehand on a few better paced incoming shots and give your best estimate of where you could last locate the ball. impact, 3 feet back, etc.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
How far away can you locate the ball from an incoming ground stroke? We are trying to get information on when the ball can no longer be located due to its speed and limitations of the eye & brain.

Please go out on the court to observe a few better paced incoming ground strokes. Hit the ball back.

Estimate how well you are able to locate where the ball is. Blur is OK if you can locate it.

You can post
1) A guess, optional, before observing.
2) Any details about your ball watching and stroke technique.
3) You might also list the court surface and color.
4) Do you impact the ball 'out in front' ?
5) Lighting conditions, direct sunlight, overcast, reduced lighting, court lights, indoors lighting. Do in direct sun light if possible.
5) Any other things that you observe.
didnt @JohnYandell already do this?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
I hope so, will search.
Might not find everything you are looking for there but should be related stuff. And much more in the research papers of the past few decades.

You might also seek out a behavioral optometrist and look into sports fishing training for a lot more insight on all of this.
 

JohnYandell

Hall of Fame
There is the Hamori stuff. Also Damien Lafont. Could be other stuff I forgot! Let me know if you find something... Going to actually do an article myself with my own theory. You can't track the whole flight of the ball--your eyes need to jump. I say soft focus on the ball coming off the racket. Hard focus around the top of the bounce. Look for the spin and the blur of the ball markings and try to keep your head still even if you don't have the big head turn like Roger.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
There is the Hamori stuff. Also Damien Lafont. Could be other stuff I forgot! Let me know if you find something... Going to actually do an article myself with my own theory. You can't track the whole flight of the ball--your eyes need to jump. I say soft focus on the ball coming off the racket. Hard focus around the top of the bounce. Look for the spin and the blur of the ball markings and try to keep your head still even if you don't have the big head turn like Roger.
I was doing sports vision training with a behavioral optometrist back in the mid/late 1980s for tennis & badminton competition. He would often speak of hard focus and soft focus for tracking balls, shuttles and other players.

Soft focus is often employed to increase peripheral awareness. We it's a lot with smooth pursuit tracking as well as sacaddic tracking. The sacaddic system can be used for catch-up, jump-ahead and for scanning (jump-around tracking). All 3 of these uses of this saccadic system is employed for different situations in tennis.

The jump-ahead is something Roger & others appears to use when the ball is in very close proximity. Roger's eyes will jump-ahead to his contact point very shortly before the ball actually gets there.

A jump ahead is also used by lines persons. They will frequently track the ball back and forth with their smooth pursuit tracking system. However, whenever they see a ball that appears to be encroaching the line they are calling, they stop tracking the ball and their eyes jump-ahead to the section of the line where they expect the ball to be.

There is another scenario where I've used the jump-ahead. This is one that some elite tennis players probably use but I'm not certain how common it really is. It is actually a gaze strategy that I picked up from cricket batsman.

The ball is tracked for a while after being delivered by the bowler or by a tennis server. The approximate bounce area will be determined as a ball is being tracked. However, before the ball bounces, the eyes jump ahead to the expected bounce point -- and lay, in wait, for the ball to arrive. Once the ball has bounced, this smooth pursuit system tracks of all again for a short time.

I do not always employ this particular gaze sequence but will sometimes (frequently) use it for serve returns. It is something that can also be used when executing half-volleys and for other bounce events in tennis.
 
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