The most important tennis video ever made!

Curious

Legend
This is one of my recent posts:

''Significant improvement in my consistency and match scores that all my tennis circle keep talking about recently ( just so you know that it’s not a delusion or a fake eurika). And that was about leaving the head still for a moment looking at the contact area, stopping looking at the outgoing ball. Basically what Federer does brilliantly. Now this is not in order to look cool nor to watch the ball like a hawk, it’s only to stop my 5-6kg head from wobbling even a tiny bit screwing up everything as did before. The other excellent not much talked about benefit is it serves like a brake stopping the torso from over rotating, causing the shoulders to stop/slow down very suddenly transferring all the rotational energy beautifully to the swinging arm and racket. ''

And this is a video that I came across today:


 
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That is an excellent video and clearly communicated.

He mentions Federer as a model. Federer is my model too for ground strokes.

Relative to looking at the ball, there are some video observations to consider:
1) For ground strokes most pro players have a very quick & late head turn to point at the impact area. The head turn is often so fast that you have to really watch closely to see it. A friend of mine told me about this quick head turn in the 1970s.
2) Djokovic is not so locked on the impact area as Federer and may look more at the ball's trajectory in front of the impact area. I have not studied large numbers of Djokovic videos where his eyes can be clearly seen but Djokovic seems clearly different than Federer on ground strokes.
3) On the serve, most ATP servers are not looking at the ball at impact. Most break off looking a very short time before impact. I believe that this is done to allow the uppermost body to bend forward without stressing the neck. View high speed videos from the side. Tsonga, Karlovic, and some others are looking at impact. Tsonga's head moves down amazingly fast after impact. Most are not looking at impact on the serve. I found that I can do this too, probably because the dropping toss is predictable, especially if you watch some of the drop. Close your eyes as the toss drops and try it.
 
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ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
"Now this is not in order to look cool nor to watch the ball like a hawk, it’s only to stop my 5-6kg head from wobbling even a tiny bit screwing up everything as did before. "

Not an important tip for most of us here ... heads are light and empty. o_O
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I don't agree. I think it's an idiosyncrasy Federer has that people make out to be important because it's Federer. If it feels good for you, keep doing it, but IMO it isn't a cure-all or even necessarily a good thing for most players.
So True ... if Fed did the Nadal taint pull, we would have pages of slow motion ttw taint pull analysis.
 
If you screw up a shot or hit it very well, try and recall what the ball looked like just as you hit it.

I think there is a correlation between having no ball image to remember and poor shots and also a correlation between remembering a ball image and having good shots.
 
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BetaServe

Professional
I don't agree. I think it's an idiosyncrasy Federer has that people make out to be important because it's Federer. If it feels good for you, keep doing it, but IMO it isn't a cure-all or even necessarily a good thing for most players.
Agreed. Djokovic doesn't watch the ball as much.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
I don't know about Federer and Djokovic, I can only tell you when I'm consistently keeping my head down through contact a la Federer, I'm winning points more often than not against people I play.

When my head is pulling up early, I'm losing points. It works for me. Whether it's the watching the contract or the steady head making the difference doesn't matter to me.
 

Curious

Legend
I don't know about Federer and Djokovic, I can only tell you when I'm consistently keeping my head down through contact a la Federer, I'm winning points more often than not against people I play.

When my head is pulling up early, I'm losing points.
Exactly my experience as well. (y)
 
Thread on watching the ball on the serve.
Hey guys,

I'm still quite new to playing Tennis, but I feel I get better except for the serve. My coach told me some basics, but I think there is more to it.

After watching some videos I understood some fundamentals I'm doing wrong. However, nobody mentioned how long to watch the ball. Do you watch it until contact? I think I stop watching the ball too early why many serves go into the net.

Thanks in advance :)
Here is a Stosur on one of the thread's serves that I believe was a kick serve.
For single frame on Vimeo, hold down the SHIFT KEY and use the ARROW KEYS.
 

user92626

Legend
OP, the title of this thread should be


The most important tennis video ever made for Curious!
who has the framing, shanking problem.


:laughing::laughing::-D:laughing:



For me, I just watch the ball, hit, complete the stroke before moving on. I don't have the shanking problem. :)
 

Kevo

Legend
I can't remember what female pro it was, but she jerked her head on every ground stroke. She also hit the ball really hard and was super solid. I feel like I haven't seen her again maybe because she developed a neck problem or something. In any case, I was surprised how good and consistent her strokes were the way she threw her head around. Watching her play really cemented in my mind the concept of the ball not caring what your strokes look like. Of course I wouldn't recommend hitting the way she did, but I think there are definitely lots of ways to hit the tennis ball really well. What works for someone might or might not work for you.

I think a big problem for a lot of players is simply inconsistency. The biggest part of that for most of my students starts with their early preparation and footwork.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
I can't remember what female pro it was, but she jerked her head on every ground stroke. She also hit the ball really hard and was super solid. I feel like I haven't seen her again maybe because she developed a neck problem or something. In any case, I was surprised how good and consistent her strokes were the way she threw her head around. Watching her play really cemented in my mind the concept of the ball not caring what your strokes look like. Of course I wouldn't recommend hitting the way she did, but I think there are definitely lots of ways to hit the tennis ball really well. What works for someone might or might not work for you.

I think a big problem for a lot of players is simply inconsistency. The biggest part of that for most of my students starts with their early preparation and footwork.
I think you are talking about Bouchard. Her strokes were violent and not smooth at all.
 

Raul_SJ

Legend
That is an excellent video and clearly communicated.

He mentions Federer as a model. Federer is my model too for ground strokes.

Relative to looking at the ball, there are some video observations to consider:
1) For ground strokes most pro players have a very quick & late head turn to point at the impact area. The head turn is often so fast that you have to really watch closely to see it. A friend of mine told me about this quick head turn in the 1970s.
Not clear on the "late head turn". It looks like Agassi is focused on the ball all the way till its close to the strings. (until about few inches from impact, since human eye cannot focus on the exact moment of impact).

 
Not clear on the "late head turn". It looks like Agassi is focused on the ball all the way till its close to the strings. (until about few inches from impact, since human eye cannot focus on the exact moment of impact).

Just to show what I mean here's Federer.

I don't notice this in just watching videos played back in real time as in watching TV. But many times I tried to look for it and it was mostly there. But I don't claim to have statistics. Maybe there is also some variation on where the ball is struck on forehands relative to the head.

If anyone wants to know the statistics, the videos are out there.
 
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Curious

Legend
Thiem closes both eyes right before contact every time.
Like, totally closed at contact.
Interestingly it's part of the progression that I have done and also mentioned in the video. What does it do? The idea is to overcome that urge to want to see where the outgoing ball is going. If your head( your CPU!) is steady, locked at target ( contact area), you can actually close the eyes right at that moment.
 

Curious

Legend
Here's an interesting thought related to the topic: In tennis strokes, the target is not a spot on the court, it's the ball at contact and the aim is to hit it as well as possible to achieve the desired outcome- to make it land on the desired spot on the court. So it makes sense to be as balanced, steady, focused as possible during the whole forward swing and contact. I don't have a tiny doubt that this works, and works on every stroke, groundstrokes, volleys, serve, oh let me not forget return of serve. Volleys for example, is there a rec tennis night where you don't see someone missing easy volleys right at the net? Yes there are of course other factors like maintaining a firm wrist, avoiding extra movements, racket face angle variations along the swingpath etc but nothing is more crucial than focusing at contact with a nonmoving head.
 

Raul_SJ

Legend
Volleys for example, is there a rec tennis night where you don't see someone missing easy volleys right at the net? Yes there are of course other factors like maintaining a firm wrist, avoiding extra movements, racket face angle variations along the swingpath etc but nothing is more crucial than focusing at contact with a nonmoving head.
Guilty of this on the volley. Looking ahead instead of watching the contact...

Now on the baseline cross court rally forehand, after contact, where are you generally picking up the ball again? Well after the bounce on the opponent's side of court?
 

Curious

Legend
Now on the baseline cross court rally forehand, after contact, where are you generally picking up the ball again? Well after the bounce on the opponent's side of court?
All the way before. Now definitely not before my ball passes the net, usually a little before it bounces on the other side.
 
I am seeing the head very still all the way thru to contact (no "late head turn to watch contact") in the first shot.

Is the second shot an example of this "late head turn"?


I showed a video to indicate what I mean by the words I used. Watch it in real time - for example, 0 to 4 seconds -and the head turn looks fast to me. Notice when the profile of Federer's face appears.

But it could be that Federer tracks it in...... ?
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Interestingly it's part of the progression that I have done and also mentioned in the video. What does it do? The idea is to overcome that urge to want to see where the outgoing ball is going. If your head( your CPU!) is steady, locked at target ( contact area), you can actually close the eyes right at that moment.
I dunno. Works for him though. His head does stay steady, but definitely not conventional wisdom that you have to watch the ball through contact. Was crazy when I first noticed it, but he does it consistently on ground strokes.

 
I dunno. Works for him though. His head does stay steady, but definitely not conventional wisdom that you have to watch the ball through contact. Was crazy when I first noticed it, but he does it consistently on ground strokes.

Wow! Nice find.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Almagro closed his eyes on some serves but I don't believe all. (Almagro retired April 2019)
 

Curious

Legend
I dunno. Works for him though. His head does stay steady, but definitely not conventional wisdom that you have to watch the ball through contact. Was crazy when I first noticed it, but he does it consistently on ground strokes.

I think the crucial thing is the steadiness of head not the eyes. Don’t move the head once your forward swing starts and until the finish of follow through ideally with the hitting shoulder touching the chin at the end. Give it a try as an example on running forehands out wide, and similarly on out wide return of serve. Works so well.
 

Kevo

Legend
Yes, having a still head is important. If your head moves then your swing will move too given how heavy the head is and how far away from the center of gravity it is. It really helps you to be balanced and consistent when it's not moving during the stroke.

Having said that, some players do get away with it, but they are very consistent in how they move their head, so I think it just becomes part of their technique.
 

Curious

Legend
Yes, having a still head is important. If your head moves then your swing will move too given how heavy the head is and how far away from the center of gravity it is. It really helps you to be balanced and consistent when it's not moving during the stroke.

Having said that, some players do get away with it, but they are very consistent in how they move their head, so I think it just becomes part of their technique.
What happened to 'like' button?! Just disappeared. Anyway I like it:)
Yeah some people are still very good not doing it clearly. They are just good as you say. We also don't know how good they would be if they did it. Then someone may say ' and we don't know how good Federer would be if he didn't do it!':eek:
The truth of the matter though is that it works very very well.;)
 

Cobaine

Semi-Pro
No, I don't think it was either of those players, although they do exhibit that tendency. The player I'm thinking of did it in a more pronounced fashion. The sportscasters commented on it quite a few times.
Alisa Kleybanova
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Good that you made huge improvements, post a match against your friend now, so we can see your progress.
 

Curious

Legend
Good that you made huge improvements, post a match against your friend now, so we can see your progress.
Have been playing doubles only lately due to some residual injury. But I can try to video a hitting session, or a singles set once well enough to play singles.
 
Curious. Do you notice a new awareness of the back of the ball?

I would say that my ball watching skills peaked after I took some excellent lessons several years ago.

At that time, I also experienced something new for a few months. I sometimes would be less conscious of the court and opponents and desired trajectory, etc. and would start thinking more about the back of the ball, as if the whole conscious game could switch briefly to the back of the ball for impact. The direction for the shot was there somehow on the back of the ball with less thoughts on the racket swing path and desired trajectory.

One example of this, that many people might be familiar with, occurs after a wide ball has bounced and is passing over the side line and you want to change the direction of the ball. You make sure that the racket face is angled so that it first contacts the outer side of the ball. Being conscious of the side of the ball, or other part of the ball that I wanted to hit, increased when I looked more carefully at the ball at impact. In other words, it seemed as if I could play the game on the back of the ball at impact.

I did not switch my awareness to only the back of the ball. Maybe that is best?

Later, I realized that where you first contact on the ball depends only on the angle of the racket face and not the path of the racket face. But the final trajectory, spin and pace will depend on where you first contact on the ball, the path of the racket face and other things too complicated to understand.
 

user92626

Legend
Later, I realized that where you first contact on the ball depends only on the angle of the racket face and not the path of the racket face. But the final trajectory, spin and pace will depend on where you first contact on the ball, the path of the racket face and other things too complicated to understand.
It is not complicated. It's only complicated due to your personality of putting math and angle degrees etc into it. LOL.

Everyone knows how to hit the ball forward. This is the start.

However, only patient and learners patiently observe and match their varied actions with varied behaviors of the ball. That's all.

I doubt Nadal, Federer care about where on the ball to hit, or the angles, etc. Same as Thiem. Hence these guys move differently, swing differently but the ball more or less goes where they intend.

Most rec players are lazy. They just want to play and have fun. Better games require WORK. Work is boring and tough. That's why they don't want to do work and thus no progress.
 

BetaServe

Professional
Curious. Do you notice a new awareness of the back of the ball?

I would say that my ball watching skills peaked after I took some excellent lessons several years ago.

At that time, I also experienced something new for a few months. I sometimes would be less conscious of the court and opponents and desired trajectory, etc. and would start thinking more about the back of the ball, as if the whole conscious game could switch briefly to the back of the ball for impact. The direction for the shot was there somehow on the back of the ball with less thoughts on the racket swing path and desired trajectory.

One example of this, that many people might be familiar with, occurs after a wide ball has bounced and is passing over the side line and you want to change the direction of the ball. You make sure that the racket face is angled so that it first contacts the outer side of the ball. Being conscious of the side of the ball, or other part of the ball that I wanted to hit, increased when I looked more carefully at the ball at impact. In other words, it seemed as if I could play the game on the back of the ball at impact.

I did not switch my awareness to only the back of the ball. Maybe that is best?

Later, I realized that where you first contact on the ball depends only on the angle of the racket face and not the path of the racket face. But the final trajectory, spin and pace will depend on where you first contact on the ball, the path of the racket face and other things too complicated to understand.
What is your NTRP @Chas Tennis ?
 
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