Take back height / "fight to maintain contact height"

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by StringSnapper, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    @tennis_balla @Ash_Smith @nytennisaddict @J011yroger

    So recently the "fight to maintain your contact height" and "hit every ball at the same height" idea made huge improvements in my game.

    Im aspiring to get to 5.0 (this is in Australian league rankings not American) and i played a guy who was that ranking on the weekend. He beat me 6-4 6-2 but we had about 12 games to deuce and he probably won 10!! So I'm getting close.

    The thing was, i couldnt maintain my contact height however hard i fought for it.

    I'm wondering now if take back (as in unit turn) height is another huge factor?

    Just hitting with the wall today i noticed i could get my backhand to feel like the stroke was super grooved and "flowing" if i had a heigher take back and then kind of got my racquet hand level with where id take the ball at contact, and release the stroke from there. Its easier to start the takeback heigh and drop it lower, than start it low and bring it up (since you fight gravity) and i now think this is why the pros have high take backs (not because dropping it adds momentum, that is too minimal imo).

    So if the ball was low, id get my racquet hand down low. If it was high, id get my hand up high. It probably sounds stupid, but having this as a conscious thought process seemed to help my hitting. I could be lazier with my footwork and still hit good shots. Now, in an actual match i would have good footwork and use this concept against 5.0s obvioisly but it seems to give me more breathing room.

    I think what happened was my ideal contact point was hip height, but this guy always hit it deep with spin. I have to retreat or take on the rise. So on one hand i need insane timing (insane in that i probably wont win a match hitting every shot on the rise like that) or insane footwork (getting far back enough).
    I mostly used my footwork, but he was hitting some so deep and heavy that the fence would stop me from getting far back enough. So id try and swing and hit it short.

    I think i swung with my hand at my hip height in the take back, all the way up to shoulder height or above. A very steep swing path. So the ball would loop up and fall wayyy short...

    Perhaps more complete advice is....
    "try and hit the ball at the same height. If you cannot, line the racquet hand up with the contact point in take back and swing from there"

    What do you think about this thought guys??? Is it an established thing already?
     
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  2. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    I think maybe this is easier to do with the backhand because the racquet hand is out in front and you can visually line it up with the ball better.

    Perhaps with the fh you need to use your off hand to "spot" or guide the level of your take back racquet hand (hopefully keeping the off hand and racquet hand at the same level)

    Have i just disccovered the purpose off theoff hand on the fh??? Will my off hand stop just laying limp by my body now???
     
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  3. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Yes, in the most simplest of terms don’t go low then high. The tennis stroke is low to high, but watch all the pros, their racket head is up and they come down and back up.
    It would be easier to help you with a video but you’re on the right track.
     
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  4. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    Would you say that the ideal takeback height then is: it depends on the incoming ball and surface. But perhaps on hardcourt its something like shoulder height. For balls contacted lower, you just let the hands drop down to contact (racquet flip etc really occuring as a separate topic for now) and drive through contact with the racquet flip hitting topspin onto the ball.

    But shoulder height is good because it doesnt get much heigher for contact. I mean check out Thiems fh takeback, super high and his fh is made for clay
     
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  5. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    That depends on height of your contact point however like I mentioned before, racket head up and use that non-dominant hand on the take back. Fed and Djoko are great examples of this, taking the racket back initially with both hands on the forehand.
     
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  6. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    then your opp was good, because i am trying to hit it out of you contact zone by hitting it away from you, or keeping it high or low intentionally
    sometimes style matchups are an issue... ie. maybe i'm just a natural slicer on a fast slice surface, and you're a clay courter used to high balls western grips, etc... so now i'm not even trying hard because my natural shot is your worse shot to hit
    yes! my hand always tracks ("stalks" ala wegner) the ball height
    sounds like you just need more reps against that kind of ball... when i'm hitting well, every ball will hit deep enough and with enough spin that it will hit the back fence after the first bounce...
    i struggled with a guy like that too, i had to stand like 8ft back (as the ball was descending just to get it back... was too hard (for me) to hit on the rise consistently (as the ball was VERY heavy)
    only solution for me would have been to pay him to hit with me :p (he was top atp500 before he retired to teaching)
    i'd switch order/priority... always line up the hand with the contact height... but also fight to actually make contact at approximately waist/chest height... you want to avoid unnecessarily steep swing paths, because then the racquet stays in the contact zone less.
    [/quote]
    good progress!
     
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  7. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    Great reply thanks for taking the time.

    When you "stalk" the ball with your hand on your FH, is it your off hand thats stalking it? On the BH i can visually line it up easily but it doesn't seem as natural on the FH, but i don't really use my off hand on the forehand usually (no real reason - probably just because i never had lessons and didn't focus on this lol)
     
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  8. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    the hand holding the racquet is stalking (fh and bh)
     
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  9. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    First of all I don't try hit every ball at the same height and certainly not hip height. I try to hit every ball at the apex of the bounce or shoulder height, whichever is lower. This is all in your footwork and you should be practicing all the patterns which are exhausting.

    W/R/T the takeback, it is determined by the height of the ball, you want to encircle the ball with your hand, take the racquet back above the level of the ball, drop it below the level of the ball and swing forward.

    J
     
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  10. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    Thanks for the reply. That's an interesting idea "circling the ball"
     
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  11. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    If you want to hit flat make a little c around the ball, for spin make a big C.

    J
     
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  12. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    Damn thats actually a great idea.

    Makes me think too. Gasquet should make smaller C's imo
     
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