Solution to high bouncing top spin balls

martini1

Hall of Fame
A coach is telling me to hit those shoulder high balls with an eastern - weak semi western grip (fh), from high to low finish. The ball is still on the rise, but it bounces near the service line you may not have time to go forward and see it on the rise at waist high or lower.

I have also been trying to hit them more flat with a true semi western (or western even) and sometimes a reverse fh finish.

What would you guys do? Please keep it at around 3.5-4.0 skill level.

PS I know the scissor kick fh is another solution but requires a bit of practice and good timing.
 

gregor.b

Professional
A coach is telling me to hit those shoulder high balls with an eastern - weak semi western grip (fh), from high to low finish. The ball is still on the rise, but it bounces near the service line you may not have time to go forward and see it on the rise at waist high or lower.

I have also been trying to hit them more flat with a true semi western (or western even) and sometimes a reverse fh finish.

What would you guys do? Please keep it at around 3.5-4.0 skill level.

PS I know the scissor kick fh is another solution but requires a bit of practice and good timing.
Try using a split step properly to move up or back in the court. It really isn't all that difficult if you recognise the trajectory of the ball.
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
Try using a split step properly to move up or back in the court. It really isn't all that difficult if you recognise the trajectory of the ball.
Up, yes, but for the purpose of learning the shot moving back is not preferred.
 

Lukhas

Legend
Unless you happen to be Agassi/Davydenko and hit every single ball on the rise, step back. There's no shame in stepping back. Even pros step back (and move forward later when/if they can).
 

Moz

Hall of Fame
A coach is telling me to hit those shoulder high balls with an eastern - weak semi western grip (fh), from high to low finish.
If you want to continue to take it at shoulder height on the rise then I would start by shortening up the backswing which would be more important than the grip you use.

However, the cue I would use would be to flatten out the swing but certainly not a high to low finish. A high to low would, I suspect, defy the rules of physics or involve wafer thin margin for error.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
A coach is telling me to hit those shoulder high balls with an eastern - weak semi western grip (fh), from high to low finish. The ball is still on the rise, but it bounces near the service line you may not have time to go forward and see it on the rise at waist high or lower.

I have also been trying to hit them more flat with a true semi western (or western even) and sometimes a reverse fh finish.

What would you guys do? Please keep it at around 3.5-4.0 skill level.

PS I know the scissor kick fh is another solution but requires a bit of practice and good timing.
What your coach tells you to do... you do.

Talk to your coach if you think his advice sucks. Tell him the guys at tennis warehouse will be running. the show from now on. :shock:
 

Costagirl

Banned
See the ball early, split step, take the ball early on the rise preferably in a eastern, SEMI western grip.
 

arche3

Banned
Actually. The grip you use can be eastern or your regular semi w. Your coach is correct on shoulder high balls you swing from a higher racket prep to a finish under your left shoulder or even near your hip. Assuming a wiper or modern finish. The contact is close to 5ft high for a 5'9 or so male. The net is 3ft high. If your a step or two into the court the court is huge if you take this shot height and drive down into the court. This is a very high percentage play.

Keep in mind your not actually hitting down. Your racket prep will have your hands at a higher point on the unit turn. To match the ball contact point more closely. Then your swinging flat through the ball with a finish that's lower than your contact point. Slightly closed racket face.

Watch some tennis pros. This is the ball height you want to finish and or force a point.

There are various footwork patterns to hit this shot effectively. Depending on ball your getting. Absolutely listen to your coach. But I only disagree about changing grip. I don't think its absolutely necessary to do so.
 

boramiNYC

Hall of Fame
play around with stance. usually at contact more open stance opens up racquet face more and vice versa. hi to low swing in a neutral stance is a good place to start. and stronger the topspin you want to close the racquet face a little more.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
A coach is telling me to hit those shoulder high balls with an eastern - weak semi western grip (fh), from high to low finish. The ball is still on the rise, but it bounces near the service line you may not have time to go forward and see it on the rise at waist high or lower.

I have also been trying to hit them more flat with a true semi western (or western even) and sometimes a reverse fh finish.

What would you guys do? Please keep it at around 3.5-4.0 skill level.

PS I know the scissor kick fh is another solution but requires a bit of practice and good timing.

I agree with some of the other posters here: if you have a coach, you don't need faceless opinions from TT :twisted:


But, since you're here: If you're going to take the ball early, why wait until it's all the way up at shoulder height? If you see the moonball coming, and you're committed to taking it early, step into the court and take the ball in your strike zone. You'll need to counter the kinetic energy of the rising ball, and the topspin generated by the court by swinging flatter (perhaps even slightly down on the ball), and you'll want to grip the racquet a little bit harder.

I use a 2HFH, so those shoulder high balls are sitting ducks for a nice jumping FH. Hahahaha!
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
Unless you happen to be Agassi/Davydenko and hit every single ball on the rise, step back. There's no shame in stepping back. Even pros step back (and move forward later when/if they can).
I'm not anti stepping back. The purpose of the drill is that u got caught off guard with a heavy top spin ball and you need deal with it. Another point is if the other guys starts lobbing ts balls to you and you back up against the fence, you will eventually hit short balls or moonballing back. It kind of goes back to beating the pusher thing.
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
On the comments about the coach...

It's like social tennis group class thing. So the coach is not hard core or anything. Actually he needs to accommodate a few 3.0 ppl there. I am not dissing him at all. And by the end of the drills I did pound a few of those balls.

Btw the balls are not really moo balls. They are high ts balls that dips into the service line area, and bounces shoulder high at base line. It is not easy to go up to it if the other guy mixes it up. But certainly if I see him hit it more often I can anticipate a little bit better and step in more. Could be risky sometimes.
 

Lukhas

Legend
I'm not anti stepping back. The purpose of the drill is that u got caught off guard with a heavy top spin ball and you need deal with it. Another point is if the other guys starts lobbing ts balls to you and you back up against the fence, you will eventually hit short balls or moonballing back. It kind of goes back to beating the pusher thing.
Moonballing and good TS balls are a different matter altogether. Moonballing can be dealt with using swinging volleys. Low pace, higher bounce so you have even more time to set up. Good TS balls are a different equation. Ask the people (not named Davydenko) who had a match against Nadal. Unless you want to call Nadal a pusher/moonballer (some do)...

If the ball is long, with both pace and spin, step back or hit on the rise. If your opponent is moonballing, hit swinging volleys. Not every ball with high bounce is equal.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
I hit a lot of balls like that and the best players I play 4.5 or under counter it with slice and take it early. The higher level do the scissor kick. I personally prefer a combo of both on my side, depends on the time I have to hit the ball.

I really like slicing players 4.0 or under because a lot of the ones who hit with a lot of top seem to net slices very often. I played a 3.5 guy and just sliced him the whole time to save energy and he was dumping everything into the net.
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
This is a very important shot to learn to handle. Go to any 5.0 or open tournament and the majority of guys are hitting top spin like this rather than just trying to blast flat winners.

I really don't understand why you would change your grip from a SW to Eastern or whatever he said. You're not volleying the ball. If anything, the higher the bounce, the more western you want to be. If he wants you to slice the ball back on your FH, that is a good shot to learn for emergencies, but I wouldn't want to make it my go to shot on this type of ball. You want to keep your opponent back, and the you do that by hitting top back. At 3.5 or 4.0, you mainly want to hit this shot back with some depth and spin, not go for too many winners or forcing shots unless you are well within the court.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
This is a very important shot to learn to handle. Go to any 5.0 or open tournament and the majority of guys are hitting top spin like this rather than just trying to blast flat winners.

I really don't understand why you would change your grip from a SW to Eastern or whatever he said. You're not volleying the ball. If anything, the higher the bounce, the more western you want to be. If he wants you to slice the ball back on your FH, that is a good shot to learn for emergencies, but I wouldn't want to make it my go to shot on this type of ball. You want to keep your opponent back, and the you do that by hitting top back. At 3.5 or 4.0, you mainly want to hit this shot back with some depth and spin, not go for too many winners or forcing shots unless you are well within the court.
Nice suggestion. The high FH Slice is a shot that I use often-ish. It has a ton of side spin action on it, and the trajectory and spin results in an extremely low bouncing, sometimes skidding ball. It's an effective way to take the high ball to the FH, change pace, and force your opponent to high a very low ball.

I've also found that the high FH slice is a relatively safe shot as well. You''ll probably not net it, or send it out, and if hit correctly it cannot be attack easily.
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
This is a very important shot to learn to handle. Go to any 5.0 or open tournament and the majority of guys are hitting top spin like this rather than just trying to blast flat winners.

I really don't understand why you would change your grip from a SW to Eastern or whatever he said. You're not volleying the ball. If anything, the higher the bounce, the more western you want to be. If he wants you to slice the ball back on your FH, that is a good shot to learn for emergencies, but I wouldn't want to make it my go to shot on this type of ball. You want to keep your opponent back, and the you do that by hitting top back. At 3.5 or 4.0, you mainly want to hit this shot back with some depth and spin, not go for too many winners or forcing shots unless you are well within the court.
He demoed the shot. It can be a winner if hit from mid court. From the baseline it can still be an attacking shot because it is kind of just pound it back out wide on both wings. It can also be the shot that we want to smash but the ball get too low, if you know what I am trying to say. His shot doesn't have a wiper finish.

I can do the high fh slice too. Just chop it back deep, but it can be dangerous if the guy is coming forward to net. My fh slice doesn't have fh pace.
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
If you want to continue to take it at shoulder height on the rise then I would start by shortening up the backswing which would be more important than the grip you use.

However, the cue I would use would be to flatten out the swing but certainly not a high to low finish. A high to low would, I suspect, defy the rules of physics or involve wafer thin margin for error.
I would listen to this advice. Bring the racket back to the height of the ball, and swing straight through (no low to high). I would not change your grip either - just keep the contact point out front and don't get intimidated by the incoming ball. With some practice, you can absolutely punish this shot.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
He demoed the shot. It can be a winner if hit from mid court. From the baseline it can still be an attacking shot because it is kind of just pound it back out wide on both wings. It can also be the shot that we want to smash but the ball get too low, if you know what I am trying to say. His shot doesn't have a wiper finish.

I can do the high fh slice too. Just chop it back deep, but it can be dangerous if the guy is coming forward to net. My fh slice doesn't have fh pace.
Well yeah, if you've gained a mid court position and can hit a ground stroke there's a good chance you're in position to hit a winner.

Your example of the guy rushing the net helps to underscore the general nature of your question. There is no "correct" play. You really need to be able to handle this ball in a variety of ways so you can execute your shot selection strategy.

What shot do you play when ...
  • It's an outside FH or BH
  • It's an inside FH or BH
  • You're both at the baseline
  • You're at the baseline and your opponent is covering the net (DTL, Mid, CC)
  • It's a short ball and your opponent is at the baseline
  • You're rushed / You have plenty of time to prepare
Your priority should probably be to develop a high percentage return and play that until you can develop the other options relevant to this return (drop, pass, aggressive lob, defensive lob, change of direction, etc ...).
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
I would listen to this advice. Bring the racket back to the height of the ball, and swing straight through (no low to high). I would not change your grip either - just keep the contact point out front and don't get intimidated by the incoming ball. With some practice, you can absolutely punish this shot.
Yes I am starting to get a hang of it. At least I am returning the ball with some depth.

Well yeah, if you've gained a mid court position and can hit a ground stroke there's a good chance you're in position to hit a winner.

Your example of the guy rushing the net helps to underscore the general nature of your question. There is no "correct" play. You really need to be able to handle this ball in a variety of ways so you can execute your shot selection strategy.

What shot do you play when ...
  • It's an outside FH or BH
  • It's an inside FH or BH
  • You're both at the baseline
  • You're at the baseline and your opponent is covering the net (DTL, Mid, CC)
  • It's a short ball and your opponent is at the baseline
  • You're rushed / You have plenty of time to prepare
Your priority should probably be to develop a high percentage return and play that until you can develop the other options relevant to this return (drop, pass, aggressive lob, defensive lob, change of direction, etc ...).
That's a good reply and makes sense. The only thing is I am not sure if you really doing all these with a 2hfh. Do you slice with 2h too? :)
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
Yes I am starting to get a hang of it. At least I am returning the ball with some depth.

That's a good reply and makes sense. The only thing is I am not sure if you really doing all these with a 2hfh. Do you slice with 2h too? :)
No, definitely not. The 2HFH is a specific shot type. I have plenty of 1HFH shots, the slice being one of them.
 
M

MurrayMyInspiration

Guest
If your coach is asking you to use a different grip for putting away short high bouncing balls compared to your regular forehand grip then he is an idiot and stop getting lessons from him immediately.

I am a coach btw. Just use your regular forehand grip and practice!!

It obviously bounces up high so you are not going to have to swing through the ball more and you can almost hit it down and with very little spin needed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1vkkqoTTPc

Quit a high short ball that Murray puts away at 124mph for a winner!
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
He demoed the shot. It can be a winner if hit from mid court. From the baseline it can still be an attacking shot because it is kind of just pound it back out wide on both wings. It can also be the shot that we want to smash but the ball get too low, if you know what I am trying to say. His shot doesn't have a wiper finish.

I can do the high fh slice too. Just chop it back deep, but it can be dangerous if the guy is coming forward to net. My fh slice doesn't have fh pace.
If you are dealing with these types of balls, then you need to learn the forehand described by a few people here and yourself as the scissor. The best players get off the ground and attack these balls with a level swing. Yes, it can be tough, but it is a devastating shot because if you can hit it, you can beat down a lot of spin hitters. They will end up pressing the issue and trying to hit bigger, which will yield UEs.

If you don't want to slice, and you don't want to run back and hit defensive, then you need to try and get off the ground and drive the ball.

There are 3 shots that are more advanced than 4.0, but can win you a lot of matches - the DTL backhand, the jumping scissor forehand, and the swing volley.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
If your coach is asking you to use EFH or less of SW grip and hit hi to low, I assume he is asking you to hit a slice forehand. I will use the occasionally on return of serve of a fast hi bouncing serve or on a very hi bouncing short ball.

I do it a lot more on my BH side. I have 2 hbh but will use a slice on really hi kicking groundstrokes or serves sometimes.

I prefer to move back and hit topspin, but it is good to be able to hit the hi FH slice.

You saw this a lot more in the past. Connors, Ashe, Evertt, Navratolova, and especially Goolagong all used this shot.

Federer will occasionally use it on fast hi serves and he sometimes but rarely uses it on hi mid-court balls where he will slide a FH into the corner and follow it in. It is like a fake drop shot that he then drives.

It is probably beneficial to learn the shot especially if your coach is telling you to learn it. I assume he see things in your game that we cannot see.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
Snip!

There are 3 shots that are more advanced than 4.0, but can win you a lot of matches - the DTL backhand, the jumping scissor forehand, and the swing volley.
Wait, huh?

Why would you say any of those three shots are beyond the scope of a 4.0 player? I'm assuming your suggestion is a little more nuanced, and that's why I'm asking.

I'm an okay NTRP 4.0, somewhere in Florida (cough, Gotham City), and all three of those shots are viable in my league. The jumping scissor is by far the most rare, I've actually never seen it. Even in pro play, I can only think of a few guys who use it (Monfils, Nishikori, Tips). But, since I have a 2HFH, I can use a standard jumper on the high FH's and it works remarkably well.

Every person I've ever faced in this league can take a BH DTL with some degree of success, and most of them can hit a swing volley if they have to. The change of direction BH DTL is obviously a much harder shot, but you still see it.
 

tennis_hack

Banned
Basically there is no solution at all for high bouncing top spin balls, which is why Nadal is winning everything in sight.

Your only option is to try to hit with even more topspin and bounce height than your opponent, but the person who hits with the most topspin and height will basically win the game. Nadal doesn't really lose because at the moment he hits the most topspin and height.

Really, this should be the goal of every person playing tennis: to hit the most topspin and height that they physically can get.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
Basically there is no solution at all for high bouncing top spin balls, which is why Nadal is winning everything in sight.

Your only option is to try to hit with even more topspin and bounce height than your opponent, but the person who hits with the most topspin and height will basically win the game. Nadal doesn't really lose because at the moment he hits the most topspin and height.

Really, this should be the goal of every person playing tennis: to hit the most topspin and height that they physically can get.
Good observation, really.

I've often wondered if Nadals' propensity towards extreme spin is the result of Uncle Toni's history with Ping Pong (he was a competitive Ping Pong player). Ping Pong is a game of spin. I've often said the same thing about tennis.
 
M

MurrayMyInspiration

Guest
Basically there is no solution at all for high bouncing top spin balls, which is why Nadal is winning everything in sight.

Your only option is to try to hit with even more topspin and bounce height than your opponent, but the person who hits with the most topspin and height will basically win the game. Nadal doesn't really lose because at the moment he hits the most topspin and height.

Really, this should be the goal of every person playing tennis: to hit the most topspin and height that they physically can get.
Nadal only in last few years started hitting insane topspin, at 17 18 Nadal hit a regular forehand with a normal amount of spin like everyone else!
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Wait, huh?

Why would you say any of those three shots are beyond the scope of a 4.0 player? I'm assuming your suggestion is a little more nuanced, and that's why I'm asking.

I'm an okay NTRP 4.0, somewhere in Florida (cough, Gotham City), and all three of those shots are viable in my league. The jumping scissor is by far the most rare, I've actually never seen it. Even in pro play, I can only think of a few guys who use it (Monfils, Nishikori, Tips). But, since I have a 2HFH, I can use a standard jumper on the high FH's and it works remarkably well.

Every person I've ever faced in this league can take a BH DTL with some degree of success, and most of them can hit a swing volley if they have to. The change of direction BH DTL is obviously a much harder shot, but you still see it.
I believe those shots can raise your level from 4.0 to 4.5 if you have a good serve as well. That is why I said that.

I am talking about change of direction BH DTL as well.

A swing volley is not a shot you see executed much at a 4.0 level. Jumping so you can hit a higher bouncing ball with a level trajectory is not common at 4.0, but all of these shots are attainable with practice and will reaise your level of play.

Basically there is no solution at all for high bouncing top spin balls, which is why Nadal is winning everything in sight.

Your only option is to try to hit with even more topspin and bounce height than your opponent, but the person who hits with the most topspin and height will basically win the game. Nadal doesn't really lose because at the moment he hits the most topspin and height.

Really, this should be the goal of every person playing tennis: to hit the most topspin and height that they physically can get.
This is such an absurd post. To play like Nadal requires immense talent and skill, as no one else in the world really can do it. Secondly, just hitting with topspin and height is meaningless if you can not put weight on the shot so the ball can not be attacked.

The OP is playing from 3.5-4.5 level. Do you think he is seeing weight like that? No. Most players never see weight like that until they face Nadal, which is why when you watch someone's first match against him they struggle with timing.

Most people who try to hit with that much spin leave the ball sitting in the strike zone at the 4.0 level and those shots can be attacked with practice.

To simplify it like - whoever hits with the most spin wins, makes me wonder if you have actually played tennis before.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
I believe those shots can raise your level from 4.0 to 4.5 if you have a good serve as well. That is why I said that.

I am talking about change of direction BH DTL as well.

A swing volley is not a shot you see executed much at a 4.0 level. Jumping so you can hit a higher bouncing ball with a level trajectory is not common at 4.0, but all of these shots are attainable with practice and will reaise your level of play.

Snip!
Okay, I see what your saying, and in that sense, would agree with you.

The COD BH DTL is a tough shot, for sure, an possibly an underrated potential weapon at the rec level.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
Snip!

To simplify it like - whoever hits with the most spin wins, makes me wonder if you have actually played tennis before.
He might be using hyperbole intentionally to suggest that topspin might be on the verge of becoming an overpowered tactic (as the serve did back in the 90's).
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Okay, I see what your saying, and in that sense, would agree with you.

The COD BH DTL is a tough shot, for sure, an possibly an underrated potential weapon at the rec level.
Yes it is for sure. A friend of mine was a 5.0 USTA in south FL (very tough place to play as a junior) and while his game is not back to what it was, he still can give me a good match because his DTL backhand and serve is lethal. He knows the game so well that instead of going big on his forehand, he starts off with a lot of moonballs just get a rhythm. Really smart player.

He is why I learned the jumping forehand. I had to punish him for the moonballs. Jump, attack the high ball with a forehand into the corner, and follow to net.

He might be using hyperbole intentionally to suggest that topspin might be on the verge of becoming an overpowered tactic (as the serve did back in the 90's).
You have to read his other posts and you will understand why I said that.
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
If you are dealing with these types of balls, then you need to learn the forehand described by a few people here and yourself as the scissor. The best players get off the ground and attack these balls with a level swing. Yes, it can be tough, but it is a devastating shot because if you can hit it, you can beat down a lot of spin hitters. They will end up pressing the issue and trying to hit bigger, which will yield UEs.

If you don't want to slice, and you don't want to run back and hit defensive, then you need to try and get off the ground and drive the ball.

There are 3 shots that are more advanced than 4.0, but can win you a lot of matches - the DTL backhand, the jumping scissor forehand, and the swing volley.
Yes, those 3 shots... I love the DTL bh. It's one of my fav shots. The swing volley is also doable for me if the ball is not from like 20'+ in the air coming down.

It's the scissor kick I am working on. In my social tennis class I'm the only one who dares to use it because I don't care if I shank it. I just have to time it better each time and go up with the correct foot kicking out, and not jumping on purpose. I'm still experimenting with it. On some fh I am launched off the ground anyway.

Edit: of course, the cod DTL bh is no easy shot and the trigger cannot be pulled every time. Patience is needed. I think that's why a lot of 3.5 cannot do it is because they try to pull the trigger at the wrong time.
 
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martini1

Hall of Fame
Nadal only in last few years started hitting insane topspin, at 17 18 Nadal hit a regular forehand with a normal amount of spin like everyone else!
True. I saw the teen Gasquet vs teen Nadal match on youtube a couple of years ago and Nadal was not hitting his reverse fh ts shot yet. Richard beat him fair and square.
 
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