Short landing high floating balls

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Curious, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Curious

    Curious Professional

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    I struggle with these type of balls whether it is a rally ball or slow moonball like second serve. I set up nicely, get into the position with my regular SW forehand and bang into the net! Next time i try to adjust, oops wild long... Bloody annoying. How to find the middle ground guys?
     
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  2. Braxton Wallis

    Braxton Wallis New User

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    Two ways of doing this. 1: which is the way I do it, get under the ball and roll your wrist and forearm over the ball to get good topspin while not being over dramatic with it. You still want to hit through the ball to get good depth. Or the 2nd way is to just hit straight through ball and produce a flat ball. It will provide very good depth but could fly on you a bit. Either could be effective when practiced though.

    Sent from my HTC6500LVW using Tapatalk
     
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  3. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Semi-Pro

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    Adjust swingpath and racquet face.
    You want to hit through the court and finish the point, but you need to close the raquet face more and add some upward motion so the ball clears the net but has alot of topspin so it doesnt go long, just go out and practice it till you get the right balance.

    I think when you hit long is a pretty good thing to focus on, those swings are probably good in terms of swing path, u just need to close the raquet face a bit more and the ball wont go long.

    My advice is to go out and let a friend hit u such balls, then play with swingpath and closing of racquet face till you get a nice balance, ball flying over the net but dropping fast from topspin, then just gradually increase speed and make minor adjustments till you get a good feel for it.

    If you watch pro players hit these shoots u will see they hit the ball hard but it dips down into the court alot because they close the racquetface more than when thet hit from baseline, if the ball is quite over the net they might even hit straight with no upward swing but close the raquetface more so it adds topspin and also the flight path of ball starts going down from the start, but since they hit it so hard it doesnt start going down so fast to hit the net.

    But it all depends at what height and distance from the net you hit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You can do a lot with short high balls, just don't smack it into the bottom of the net.
    Try practicing it with a cooperative partner feeding you such.
     
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  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Something I learned from golf is the relatively recent change in what they call the "new ball flight laws." According to the new ball flight laws, it is the angle of the club face at contact that determines the initial direction of the ball flight, and the swing path that determines the spin. I see no reason why that does not also apply to tennis in large part, although, it seems logical that the added dwell time on tennis racquet strings may give the swing path some influence in initial ball flight direction, but, I don't have anything authoritative on that.

    All that to say, if you are hitting the ball into the net, then it is most likely that your racquet face is too closed at contact. There is more than one fix, but, It seems to me that the easiest fix is to adjust your grip.
     
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  6. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Semi-Pro

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    From a few posts of yours ive read, you usually post good stuff, but this is ridicilous..
    Angle of the racquet AND swingpath both affect trajectory AND spin.
    How do you expect tennis players to hit high slices that fly downwards by hitting high to low, yet have an slightly open racquet face or around neutral, if what you claim would be true then this would be impossible.
    Also hitting heavy topspin with a slightly closed racquet face but hitting upward hard hits the ball UP not down, despite the closed racquet face the ball doesnt travel DOWN at the start of the hit because of the upward momentum.

    And closing or opening racquet affects spin, how would it not, by adjusting the racquet face you are also adjusting where you hit the ball (bellow or above the center of mass in a round object) its only logical it will spin the ball, thats why you can open ur racquet and someone can hit the ball hard into ur racquet and even if u hold it still the ball will bounce and have backspin.

    And I dont think his problem is racquet angle because he says he hits it into the net or way long, I think the swingpath is wrong either too downward or straight or too upward.
     
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  7. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe these explanations will help you better understand the concepts:

    http://www.golfwrx.com/107406/understanding-the-new-ball-flight-laws/

    http://www.bettergolfcoach.com/newballflightlaws.htm
     
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  8. Dartagnan64

    Dartagnan64 Hall of Fame

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    The difference between golf and tennis is the string-ball interaction which adds a third factor to the equation of spin and direction. But some things hold true. You swing up to make the ball spin down and swing down to make the ball spin up. The racket face will add most of the direction. If you watch pro's slicing, most often the racket face is neutral at contact rather than open. Add dwell time from the string-ball interaction and that will get the ball going the intended direction.

    Someone alternatively netting the short balls or hitting them long is usually swinging too horizontal trying to flatten the trajectory. This results in a ball that will have little margin for error and will go exactly the direction the racket face points. Too open, long, too closed, in the net. You have two fixes: 1) increase the low to high swingpath to add more topspin and less drive through the court (remember you are no longer hitting from the baseline, so you don't need as much court penetration) or 2) use your usual FH swing and ensure the racket face is slightly more closed (this will produce more penetration, flatter trajectory and more risk, but is necessary against high level competition). Of course another fix is to get to the ball sooner, elevate and smack it downwards with a horizontal motion like the pros.

    At my level, exaggerating the low to high path works best as few of my opponents are quick enough to get to a fairly loopy topspin shot DTL from midcourt.
     
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  9. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Semi-Pro

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    I understood them but its just wrong, and there are huge differences in a golf ball and a tennis ball, and a golf club and a tennis racquet.
    Tell me how else do you explain players hitting with slightly closed strings and the shot going upwards instead of down because they hit upwards?
    Infact go on the tennis court and really open ur strings by some degrees and let someone throw u a slow easy ball, then chop down fast on the ball with a very high to low motion and you will see the ball will go very downward with a ton of backspin.
     
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  10. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Semi-Pro

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    The face does have alot to do with direction I agree, but swingpath and racquet speed have an effect aswell like you said because of that interaction.
    For example many pro players hit most topspin shots with a slighly closed face but brush up with alot of racquet speed and infact the ball has alot of upward trajectory at start but dips down alot after because of alot of spin.

    But racquet face angle also affects spin aswell, open face will add backspin and closed face will add topspin.

    All in all its a bit more complex than golf.
     
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  11. Dartagnan64

    Dartagnan64 Hall of Fame

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    Ball to string interaction. That will carry the ball in the swing path plane and influence it's direction, along with classic angle of incidence and reflection laws. That's the biggest difference between golf and tennis. Otherwise many of the priniciples of direction and spin still hold true.
     
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  12. ptuanminh

    ptuanminh Rookie

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    If its really short, don't try to put it away. Hit it deep to the corner and finish it off at the net or overhead.
    If its not that short, play the corner anyway until u are confident with those types of balls.
     
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  13. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    If a ball is moving at you more slowly there are two problems. It doesn't have much energy to redirect compared with a rally ball hit with more zip, so that can make it easier to spray. It also doesn't travel into your hitting zone at the same rate as a regular incoming ball, so the timing for a big swipe at it can be rather tricky - easy to get too stretched and out of shape with the stroke, since the ball doesn't come to us so much.

    A great tip that I think I caught in an old issue of "Tennis" magazine talked about being careful to only add 5% pace to any ball. If the incoming shot is already sort of fast, it's usually easy to hit it back across the net a little faster yet under control. But if it's a slow floater, try hitting it at a reasonable target with only a little extra pace.

    Be aware of the potential trouble that those slower sitters can cause and remember to stay light on your feet - take extra shuffle steps because that slow ball won't come to you.
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I like playing net tennis, so I just high volley it to a corner and await mostly a lob return attempt.
    When you're standing near the service line to hit the ball, you can hit winners with a slice volley stroke, because you're taking away time from your opponent by standing closer to him. No need for a wild swinging Gubuis forehand, just punch it to the open court and watch your opponent scramble over to your shot.
     
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  15. MajesticMoose

    MajesticMoose Semi-Pro

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    I step around it and prepare my inside out forehand by stepping in with my left foot ala Federer and then follow it into net if the ball is bouncing around the service line. Get around the ball and get a good angle on it and avoid open stance. I feel I have better accuracy and control by stepping in with the left foot and doing a 1 hop compared to just hitting open stance on that shot.
     
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  16. Mack-2

    Mack-2 Rookie

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    Works for a lower ball! I recommend the open stance for the higher short balls.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  17. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Of course there's a difference, but, the general premise is demonstrably correct.
     
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  18. Curious

    Curious Professional

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    So it looks like it comes down to a balanced mix of racket face angle, swingpath and how hard you are trying to hit it. I have to change my mindset and not try to hit a winner every time with these balls! Repetition again will be the key. Will set up the ball machine to feed these types of balls and see if I can eventually find that nice balance.
     
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  19. jz000

    jz000 Rookie

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    1. Open stance FH topspin it back.
    2. Volley it back.
    3. Hit on the rise back.
     
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  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    are you hitting neutral stance and stepping into it strongly?
     
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  21. Curious

    Curious Professional

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    Probably. I will practice those balls with the machine and record it today. I also want to see what exactly I'm doing.
     
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  22. Curious

    Curious Professional

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    The weather was great and I ended up hitting my newly adopted SW grip forehands for 3.5 hours. Unfortunately the sun was out only when I was picking up the balls, so the video is quite dark. I love this SW forehand, the addictive feeling of spin, penetration, heavy balls. I figured out I need to hit thousands of balls to get the hang of it, the nice balance of spin and drive, that is.

     
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  23. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

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    I was hitting average rec overheads often too sharply down into the court. They would bounce short, high and slow and become a set up. Too many also in the net.

    I asked an instructor. He said that the distance between my body position and the dropping ball was probably too great at impact. When the racket contacted the ball, it was too closed. He stood in front of me and held a ball high and asked me to put the racket on the ball. I did. He moved the ball farther away, I again placed the racket on the ball. The demo was very clear as to how the body position affected how closed the racket face was at impact.

    My overhead problem was positioning and getting set too early and not keeping my feet moving. This awareness fixed the problem immediately. From then on if I hit a ball in the net, I would remember this and be aware of my positioning.

    In your case of a high floating ball, the ball is dropping faster than a groundstroke with pace, the height of the ball at impact will be less certain. You sound as if you get in position early and set up. Try keeping your feet moving, small steps, as you look at the ball.

    A second basic issue for a forehand is how you handle high short balls, the racket face angle and stroke. It's different than for baseline strokes. You don't need much/any topspin for a high short ball, options? use less topspin, use more sidespin? Heavy topspin is a good option. Grip change for short high balls? With SW grip racket face angle changes with impact height. ? Study some high level points and see how the their strokes are different, especially upward racket motion for topspin. But you can't see the grip very well.

    Probably high speed video, side view, would show you what is happening is a short time especially how closed your racket is at impact. Check ball watching and when you stop positioning. Video in direct sunlight with high speed video.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017 at 5:46 AM
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  24. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    give a try making contact a bit closer to the dampner.... see if you can feel the power and control this offers since it allows you to blend your power thru the ball with a very strong across the body
     
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  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    That's a nice looking forehand. I don't have a great view of your grip in that video. But, from what I can see when I stop the video after contact, that doesn't look like it's a full SW grip based on contemporary definitions. Just an observation. I'm not saying you should change it if it's working for you. In any event, with that grip, I don't see why you would have trouble with short sitters.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017 at 10:40 AM
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  26. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Hall of Fame

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    My coach says most people never learn to his this shot.
    You're using so much topspin that the ball has no forward motion.
    You need to start the racket high, and keep it high.

    A shot above your shoulders at baseline is a defensive shot.
    Try topspin lob it back for a safe shot that is hard to attack.
     
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  27. coupergear

    coupergear Semi-Pro

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    Great point common tendency is to take a huge cut at it, way beyond reason. Just relax remember your form and place it well.
     
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  28. coupergear

    coupergear Semi-Pro

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    Agree. Huge shot trying to get to 4.0. Many 3.0 - 3.5 players are still dinking their second serves. Often these are slow short balls... if you can consistently return them deep with placement, rather than just pushing them back across, you'll beat these players.
     
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  29. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Hall of Fame

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    When you swing high to high, you will have less topspin, so don't overhit it.
    Some people can get topspin on a shot over their shoulders, but I'm not there yet.

    A huge thing that many 3.5 players never learn is what shots are offensive vs. defensive.
    A ball over your shoulders is not the one you want to hit for a winner. Place it deep, and keep the point alive.
     
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  30. Stretchy Man

    Stretchy Man Rookie

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    How did you become such an expert on 3.5 players?
     
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  31. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Hall of Fame

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    Takes one to know one
     
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  32. Stretchy Man

    Stretchy Man Rookie

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    Doesn't mean that other 3.5 play like spazzes. Might just be you...
     
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  33. Quinn Lamontagne

    Quinn Lamontagne New User

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    I sometimes do the same thing and I realized it's because I'm not driving the ball enough, I'm just scraping the top of the ball
     
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  34. Quinn Lamontagne

    Quinn Lamontagne New User

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  35. Mark Asher

    Mark Asher New User

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    I hate these kinds of balls. Yes, it's easy to overhit and go long or drive it into the net because the swing plane isn't right.
     
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  36. Traffic

    Traffic Professional

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    I was thinking it doesn't look quite SW grip as well. I hit with an Eastern FH and it's a lot easier to modulate TS mid court. I probably don't get as much RHS at contact since I strike the ball a little earlier. But I'll take the control over all out power.
     
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  37. Curious

    Curious Professional

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    It's definitely SW grip but it may look a little different because I hold the racket with a flexed wrist instead of a cocked one, just as a personal preference similar to the way Murray and Kyrgios hold it.
     
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  38. marian10

    marian10 Rookie

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    (I don't get it, you're hitting a thousand balls landing in the box from the baseline?)


    Back to your op, the most important part of the sequence to attack the short/floating ball is:

    - recognition: if you never practice it you'll never learn to differentiate it. One way is to train your brain to get into the court on every average paced or a paced shot landing short. You have to systematically hit (I'm not saying crushing the hell out of the ball) a ball landing on the T, inside the court.

    - quickness of the footwork: If you setup early 90% of the job is done.The goal is to hit it under the shoulder (with one exception see later) and above the net height. Sprint forward as early as you can. The slower the ball travels the fastest your body has to travel. Tennis is a game of short distance sprints.

    - Adjust around the ball: You can get to it on the rising phase or down phase. You have to sprint, turn, prepare behind you prior to ending the run. Come around the ball with adjusting steps (it is the indicator of early recognition). Don't hit completely flat. If you're early, let it enter your strike zone and hit a regular drive with a very very small loop (remember your racquet is already behind you). Finish above the shoulder. Swing fast and aim far from the lines.

    - exception: if the ball is really close to the net. Initial footwork is the same but you hit it at shoulder height. And your swing plane goes down with zero loop. You smack it flat down into the court.

    I'm not favorable to control the pace/hitting slow on these balls. You have to go for it, learn to let your arm "flow". But that's my opinion only. You don't need to paint the lines.
     
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  39. Curious

    Curious Professional

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    Sorry, the video was posted to show my forehand, not really about returning short balls. Next time I will do a drill where I move forward from baseline to return those close to the service line.
     
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  40. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Semi-Pro

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    @Curious heres a good vid on what you need to do

     
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  41. Curious

    Curious Professional

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    Nice video, thanks. My big problem is the short high slow balls, like a moonball landing around the service line with no pace on it. That's usually where I screw up.
     
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  42. OnTheLine

    OnTheLine Semi-Pro

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    I truly hate short slow balls that are "fluffy" .... everything in my entire being says "crush it" and then a stupid error ensues.

    So, I now chip them and take the net. Chip to the middle in doubles, chip to a safely margined corner in singles ... ready to finish with a good volley or overhead.
     
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  43. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    (1) Try choking up on the handle (moving your hand up the grip and away from the butt) for better control (and less power).
    (2) Try to be more aggressive with angle/top spin, but using less power. For example, I like to aim at the corner of the service box/side line, opposite the side where the opponent hit his/her last shot.
    (3) Stay down throughout the stroke (don't popup by extending your knees ) or you will lose control.
     
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  44. marian10

    marian10 Rookie

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    Ok, I get it but I this case why not have your machine feed you balls near the baseline?
     
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  45. Curious

    Curious Professional

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    Not quite ready for very deep or fast balls because I have just switched to SW grip from eastern and still learning. That's why I am getting nice and easy balls. And struggling even with those as you can see.:D
     
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  46. marian10

    marian10 Rookie

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    Oh ok. Imo you can't work two things at the same time. If you're not familiar with your new grip it's too early for specific target and shot making. Getting to short floating balls is among the most difficult things to master in tennis.
     
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  47. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Hall of Fame

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    This weekend I rented a ball machine and hit short approach shots for an hour straight.
    They would land around the service line. I totally got it into my head this is a feel shot.
    I would swing at like 50%. You need to reprogram your brain.
     
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  48. Traffic

    Traffic Professional

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    Answering a short ball with a short ball of your own with some back-spin that doesn't bounce much is a great shot. But let it bounce a bit high and it's a floater for your opponent.
     
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  49. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I thought you hit quite a few excellent Fhs. What I did notice though, was a bit of variability in your wrist/hand as you seemed to try to make adjustments "on the ball" at times. These led to some overly high or overly low shots at times. Where you trying to hit some of those lower....just over the net?
     
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  50. Curious

    Curious Professional

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    I really feel I hit it well and enjoy it a lot on and off with this new grip but after years of eastern grip I think it will take quite some time to be comfortable and consistent with SW grip.
    By the way a friend of mine yesterday made an interesting comment. He said ' try to hit the balls around the same height every time for consistency, your contact height vary too much' and I got a bit defensive saying ' yes but every ball is different'. I think he has a point there though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 7:05 PM
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