Topspin with Side Spin

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I want to hit this type of topspin sharp angle shot with side spin more consistently. I’ve always been better at hitting the inside out forehand and my cc forehand was not that good and I couldn‘t hit much of a sharp angle like in this video. So I’ve been working on hitting the strong angle cc forehand a lot and have improved some but need to be able to hit that shot more consistently.

Some days I can hit it pretty well and then other days I struggle with it. I can hit the deep cc shot to the corner fairly well now but I want to hit the shot that goes off the side line just past the serve box. When I’m hitting it good it feels like I am using side spin as much or more than topspin. But I’m not sure what I’m doing different when I’m hitting it well as opposed to the days I’m struggling with that shot.

Any suggestions on how to hit this shot more consistently?



 

TennisProdigy

Professional
I understand your question and I know the answer, but let’s see if I can put it into an in intelligible answer...

Based on your video, it looks like you have strong, solid contact on your forehand. To hit a strong CC angled forehand, you need the opposite - weaker contact with the energy of your swing being converted into spin instead of big pace.

In your video you used the reverse finish, that’s an excellent way to increase spin and get less “solid contact” on your shot.

While maintaining your normal swing speed, you’ll want to try to take the ball a tad bit more in front of you AND hit the outside/side of the ball while accentuating a windshield wiper motion.

This is really the type of shot you gotta feel to understand, but once you do you can open up the court a ton and I feel it’s super useful on short angled passes and down the line passes when I want to curve the ball in for extra margin!
 
Last edited:

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I understand your question and I know the answer, but let’s see if I can put it into an in intelligible answer...

Based on your video, it looks like you have strong, solid contact on your forehand. To hit strong CC angle forehand, you need the opposite, weaker contact with the energy of your swing being converted into spin instead of big pace.

In your video you used the reverse finish, that’s an excellent way to increase spin and get less “solid contact” on your shot.

While maintaining your normal swing speed, you’ll want to try to take the ball a tad bit more in front of you AND hit the outside/side of the ball while accentuating a windshield wiper motion.

This is really the type of shot you gotta feel to understand, but once you do you can open up the court a ton and I feel it’s super useful on short angled passes and down the line passes when I want to curve the ball in for extra margin!
I get what your saying about the feel of the shot, and yes more outside the ball and less solid contact. I think when I’m having trouble with this shot I am hitting it too solid and they usually go wide because I guess too much solid contact and not enough brush.

like you say this shot can really open up the court, on those days it’s working I just love hitting it because if I hit it sharp enough it’s a clean winner or you pull the opponent off the court. Plus it is a great passing shot also.
 
Agreed with @TennisProdigy its a shot you have to practice and get a feel for it through repetition. For me it’s all about increasing my vertical racquet head speed and taking a little off of my horizontal racquet head speed. For me that feeling is like I’m hitting the ball a split second too early, just a little bit forward from my ideal contact point, and that instead of making contact in the center for the stringbed I’m making contact on the bottom half and the racquet kind of rolls over.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Agreed with @TennisProdigy its a shot you have to practice and get a feel for it through repetition. For me it’s all about increasing my vertical racquet head speed and taking a little off of my horizontal racquet head speed. For me that feeling is like I’m hitting the ball a split second too early, just a little bit forward from my ideal contact point, and that instead of making contact in the center for the stringbed I’m making contact on the bottom half and the racquet kind of rolls over.
Ya when I’m hitting it well it does feel like the racket is rolling over the ball.
 

Dragy

Legend
Any suggestions on how to hit this shot more consistently?
- Focus on hitting the “outside” of the ball.
- Release the racquet head to surpass the handle before contact.
- Swing outward more (outward will be mostly tip towards the net for sharp CC shot), don’t carry the stringbed flat through the ball.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tlm

socallefty

Hall of Fame
When I hit short angles crosscourt, I try to have a slightly later contact point than usual and brush up on the ball more to get the extra topspin needed. If I hit the ball well in front with my usual contact point, I end up driving the ball too hard without enough topspin to keep it from going wide.

I don’t know what you mean by adding side spin on short angles crosscourt - I do that more on inside-out short angles where I use the side spin to take the ball more in the direction of the opposite alley.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tlm

srimes

Rookie
I want to hit this type of topspin sharp angle shot with side spin more consistently. I’ve always been better at hitting the inside out forehand and my cc forehand was not that good and I couldn‘t hit much of a sharp angle like in this video. So I’ve been working on hitting the strong angle cc forehand a lot and have improved some but need to be able to hit that shot more consistently.

Some days I can hit it pretty well and then other days I struggle with it. I can hit the deep cc shot to the corner fairly well now but I want to hit the shot that goes off the side line just past the serve box. When I’m hitting it good it feels like I am using side spin as much or more than topspin. But I’m not sure what I’m doing different when I’m hitting it well as opposed to the days I’m struggling with that shot.

Any suggestions on how to hit this shot more consistently?



I don't see where "side spin" has anything to do with this, so I'm going to ignore that part.

The 1st key to hitting these short, sharp angles is to get good at hitting short. It's 90% the same as hitting an aggressive "dipper" to the feet of a guy at the net. As stated already, use more spin and less pace than when you want to hit deep. You can practice rally up the middle with focus on hitting short and with pace. Once you get a feel for controlling the depth range hitting angles gets pretty easy.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Good advice above. I mentioned side spin because it seem like when I’m hitting it well the ball really takes off sideways after the bounce, which I took as side spin on the ball.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
For understanding that shot you need clear high speed videos of your stroke and to search for ATP videos of the stroke you want.

A camera with 240 fps and a very fast shutter speed is good for showing the racket before impact and close to the ball. Tennisspeed has some clear illustrations of what you want to see for your stroke.

Example of what you want to see.


Your video has excessive motion blur so you cannot use it to see the angle of the racket face before impact. You cannot see impact.

Repeating your forehand video outdoors in direct sunlight - sunlight has as about 100X as much light as indoor tennis court lighting - would reduce much of the motion blur.

The old Casio Ex-FH100 cameras can video with 240 fps and shutter speeds down to 25 microseconds, great for eliminating motion blur. Many smart phones have high speed video and very fast shutters in bright sunlight.

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

Nadal has a running forehand with top spin and side spin. This is the shot that you see down the line that curves to the side and just gets inside the side line. You might look for his racket work that gets side spin and top spin. The first one has a bent elbow seen in close up (19 sec). There are many closeups through out this video that show the following - wrist flexion probably for racket head speed and some other motions to move the racket head up for top spin and to the side for side spin. Needs more analysis. It shows Nadal's technique close up many times.

Note - to interpret the above video remember that the camera records 3D space in a 2D image. The directions up-down and across in the frame are shown reasonable accurately, but the direction toward-away from the camera is shrunken or hidden. Here the speed of the racket head is greatly shrunken because in comes toward or goes away from the camera. A lot of racket head speed seems to come from wrist flexion that drive the racket head toward the camera.

The OP might adopt this stroke racket motion, that Nadal uses down the line, to his cross court forehands. Wrist flexion and racket strings moving laterally about at 45 degrees to the horizontal when viewed as in these clips. He is also running rapidly to the side.

If anyone views the close-ups please record the times of the video where they are, and post them.
 
Last edited:

tlm

G.O.A.T.
This is one of those things I would file under 'getting too fancy'
Did you watch how effective the shot was that I showed in the video? I’ve had days were this shot is on and it is weapon that can win a lot of points.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I want to hit this type of topspin sharp angle shot with side spin more consistently. I’ve always been better at hitting the inside out forehand and my cc forehand was not that good and I couldn‘t hit much of a sharp angle like in this video. So I’ve been working on hitting the strong angle cc forehand a lot and have improved some but need to be able to hit that shot more consistently.

Some days I can hit it pretty well and then other days I struggle with it. I can hit the deep cc shot to the corner fairly well now but I want to hit the shot that goes off the side line just past the serve box. When I’m hitting it good it feels like I am using side spin as much or more than topspin. But I’m not sure what I’m doing different when I’m hitting it well as opposed to the days I’m struggling with that shot.

Any suggestions on how to hit this shot more consistently?



Does the ball curve to the curve to the side? In which direction?
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Does the ball curve to the curve to the side? In which direction?
The ball curves to the left and a lot of times when it hits the court it will hook more to the left, that is why I think that there is side spin on the ball. The shot in the video didn’t hook much after the bounce but I have hit a lot that really shoot to the left like a slice serve does.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Good advice above. I mentioned side spin because it seem like when I’m hitting it well the ball really takes off sideways after the bounce, which I took as side spin on the ball.
Side spin could cause a bending of the trajectory prior to the bounce but does not cause the ball to break more sideways after the bounce. With topspin + sidespin, the ball will pretty much continue in the same direction after the balance as it had just prior to the bounce.

If you are getting an added deviation to the left (from your perspective on your right -handed Fh), then you have some spiral spin on the ball. (AKA corkscrew spin, gyrospin or bullet spin). This is the same type of spend you would see on a badminton shuttle or an American football (spiral pass). For the case of your righty Fh, from your perspective, it would be a counterclockwise spiral spin. In many areas outside of North America, CCW is known as anti-clockwise.

Note that spiral spin is also responsible for the sideways bounce on a twist (kick) serve. Quite often, when Federer & others hit a drop shot, the ball bounces sideways toward the alley. This is also due to spiral spin.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Side spin could cause a bending of the trajectory prior to the bounce but does not cause the ball to break more sideways after the bounce. With topspin + sidespin, the ball will pretty much continue in the same direction after the balance as it had just prior to the bounce.

If you are getting an added deviation to the left (from your perspective on your right -handed Fh), then you have some spiral spin on the ball. (AKA corkscrew spin, gyrospin or bullet spin). This is the same type of spend you would see on a badminton shuttle or an American football (spiral pass). For the case of your righty Fh, from your perspective, it would be a counterclockwise spiral spin. In many areas outside of North America, CCW is known as anti-clockwise.

Note that spiral spin is also responsible for the sideways bounce on a twist (kick) serve. Quite often, when Federer & others hit a drop shot, the ball bounces sideways toward the alley. This is also due to spiral spin.
Well when I’m hitting it well I call it my corkscrew forehand. It might just be the break in the air that gives the appearance of the ball breaking after the bounce.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
Did you watch how effective the shot was that I showed in the video? I’ve had days were this shot is on and it is weapon that can win a lot of points.
maybe i am missing something about the effectiveness of the shot. what so effective about the shot in the video if you can only hit some days?
if i am playing someone who can play a good shot only once in a while, i know its not effective and i can keep giving them that shot. :)
at rec level, i'd rather hitting simple shots with only topspin that go in all the time.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
maybe i am missing something about the effectiveness of the shot. what so effective about the shot in the video if you can only hit some days?
if i am playing someone who can play a good shot only once in a while, i know its not effective and i can keep giving them that shot. :)
at rec level, i'd rather hitting simple shots with only topspin that go in all the time.
Hitting a passing shot always entails some risk - you go wide over the sideline, you hit it too hard and it goes out, your deft angle shot is a sitter, and a banana is just another option.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tlm

tlm

G.O.A.T.
maybe i am missing something about the effectiveness of the shot. what so effective about the shot in the video if you can only hit some days?
if i am playing someone who can play a good shot only once in a while, i know its not effective and i can keep giving them that shot. :)
at rec level, i'd rather hitting simple shots with only topspin that go in all the time.
I’ve been working on this shot for a while now and it has gotten better over time. There are days that it works very well and other days not so well. But when it’s going good it gets me many easy points so why not try to develop it more? My Game Center’s around consistency but I keep trying to develop more of an attacking game.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
I’ve been working on this shot for a while now and it has gotten better over time. There are days that it works very well and other days not so well. But when it’s going good it gets me many easy points so why not try to develop it more? My Game Center’s around consistency but I keep trying to develop more of an attacking game.
Diagonal Topspin, which many confuse with sidespin.... is very key to this shot.... pls ck your Dm or Pm msgs.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
I’ve been working on this shot for a while now and it has gotten better over time. There are days that it works very well and other days not so well. But when it’s going good it gets me many easy points so why not try to develop it more? My Game Center’s around consistency but I keep trying to develop more of an attacking game.
thats a great mind set to have. however, i am not sure u need those kinds of shots against players as strong as 4.5. u might not need it after all.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I believe that the term 'spiral spin' is referenced to the ball's trajectory. Since the direction of the trajectory changes because of gravity and the Magnus effects of the air on the spinning ball, it is difficult to know how the 'spiral spin' changes as the ball moves forward. I believe that it is much simpler to not use 'spiral spin' in analysis. Then, a much simpler picture emerges to explain the sideways bounce. I have used 'spiral spin' loosely and incorrectly in the past. I believe that it was Travlerajm that recently pointed this out.

The most instructive publication that I have found on the spin vectors of the kick, slice and flat serves is

The display of ball spin vectors is very informative. They used a coordinate system based on the tennis court lines and the vertical (Z Upward). That coordinate system does not change regardless of what the ball does on its trajectory.



This shows the ball right after impact. The length of each arrow is proportional to the spin rate, in RPM or revolutions/second. The direction of each spin vector is given by the components in the X, Y and Z directions.

Ball Spin Direction Change Along Trajectory. Next, I assume that the direction of the ball's spin vector does not change as the ball travels across the court to the bounce. Justification - I believe that I have read Rod Cross state this. Also, I can often see print on the ball spin up to three revolutions and it appears by eye that the direction of the spin axis is not changing. This issue could easily be proved by simply having a high speed video camera view the ball after impact and another camera view the ball right before bounce. You may consider it a true or false, to be determined, if you like. But it is a very important issue for analyzing the bounce direction.

To consider the bounce direction, imagine the ball spin direction just before the bounce is the same as the ball diagram shown. Imagine extending the arrows through the bottom of the ball. Imagine lowering the spinning balls of the kick, slice and flat serves to the court surface. Imagine the spinning ball first touching the surface - How far away is that first touch from the spin axis passing out of the ball?

1) The flat and slice serves first contact the court very close to where the extended arrows come out the bottom of the ball. The speed of felt there is not very large.

2) When the kick serve, the spin axis is much more tilted and the first felt to touch the court is moving much faster than for the slice and flat serves. This would make the ball bounce to the right for a right handed server as observed.

Ball Distortions During Bounce. But after contact starts, the ball will distort and we can imagine a squished spinning ball interacting more strongly than just the felt speed with friction on the court surface.

It's a simple experiment to point a high speed camera, 100s fps, at the bounce and see spin direction before the bounce. But to see the details associated with a distorted ball bounce on the court requires a camera with 1000s fps and very fast shutter speed - probably a research grade camera.

It is always exciting to see a true or false issue that can resolved by pointing a high speed video camera at it. What a piece of cake project!

Maybe this has been done?
 
Last edited:

tlm

G.O.A.T.
thats a great mind set to have. however, i am not sure u need those kinds of shots against players as strong as 4.5. u might not need it after all.
Like mentioned above diagonal topspin is what I’m trying to hit. When hit correctly the ball comes down on an angle and shoots off on an angle and can really give your opponent trouble. I have been playing for years without this shot but now that I’m developing it more it can be effective and just another weapon to use.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Well when I’m hitting it well I call it my corkscrew forehand. It might just be the break in the air that gives the appearance of the ball breaking after the bounce.
Sounds good. Corkscrew spin (or cork spin) is the terminology used in ping pong / table tennis for spiral spin. Corkscrew spin can be quite dramatic in table tennis -- even more than in court tennis.

Yeah, often the spiral spin component is very slight and you might primarily be seeing bending prior to the bounce from conventional side spin. OTOH there might be a significant spiral spin component on some Fh shots. This is seen quite often, I believe, when a reverse (buggy whip) finish is employed.

For a twist / kick serve, side spin causes the ball to bend in one direction (prior to the balance), but then the spiral spin component tends to cause it to bounce in the opposite direction. However, with the buggy whip Fh (or corkscrew Fh), sidespin and spiral spin both results in a deviation in the same direction.

There are a couple of ways corkscrew or spiral spin is imparted to the ball. In one case, it can happen when the ball is struck / brushed. The ball can have a generous portion of spiral spin coming off the racket in this case. OTOH there is a case where the spiral spin component coming off the racket is quite small, perhaps even nil. However, if the spin rate on the topspin-slice is very fast, then the ball will "acquire" spiral spin as it flies through the air (prior to the bounce).

I believe that it is gravity (and perhaps air drag) that is acting on the sidespin present that will create the (acquired) spiral spin. To see this effect tho. the brush and resulting spin must be very fast. The same is true for kick serves that have a dramatic twist bounce -- that is, the brush / spin rate must be very high to achieve this.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Like mentioned above diagonal topspin is what I’m trying to hit......................
You might have something there.

I do not like to interpret extreme motion blurs, streaks, because the video is easily misinterpreted. A clear video simply does the job.

Look at both of your blurry videos, the frame before impact and the frame after impact. The racket head blur looks as if the racket head path rises, but I do not see blurs for the Nadal diagonal motion with side motion of the racket path (aided by his running).

Before impact (no ball streak.) Path of racket edges extreme blur.


Next frame after impact showing edge blur and yellow steak of ball.


These two frames show the racket head mostly rising, with little evidence for side motion. I would not interpret as "diagonal" racket head motion. (Captured with Windows 10 Snip & Sketch)

Unless you have video that shows "diagonal topspin", don't assume that's what you are doing.

Find a camera with high speed video mode and about 240 fps.
 
Last edited:

tlm

G.O.A.T.
You might have something there.

I do not like to interpret extreme motion blurs, streaks, because the video is easily misinterpreted. A clear video simply does the job.

Look at both of your blurry videos, the frame before impact and the frame after impact. The racket head blur looks as if the racket head path rises, but I do not see blurs for the Nadal diagonal motion with side motion of the racket path (aided by his running).

Unless you have video that shows "diagonal topspin" don't assume that's what you are doing.

Find a camera with high speed video mode and about 240 fps.
I use my IPhone for filming and I guess it is not good enough to see at high speed. You can see by the flight of the ball that there is a little break to the left and a small amount after the bounce. There are times that the ball really breaks off sharply to the left after the bounce so I’m sure that is from diagonal topspin.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
According to instructions in post #23, consider the ball spin vector diagram and how the spinning ball first touches the court.


For your larger bounces to the left - left is opposite to the kick serve - there must be

1) A large tilt to the spin axis relative to the horizontal court surface. Large tilt like the kick serve in the ball diagram but not for the slice and flat serves.
2) Higher spin rates.
3) Felt first touching the court moving to the right. Not to the left as for the kick serve.

You might get this with some tilt on the racket head closed just before impact. The ball diagram shows a kick serve that bounces to the right. You say your shot bounces to the left. The spin on your ball would probably be in the opposite direction from the ball diagram. Also, your spin vector arrow should probably be to the right (?) instead of to the left of forward in the ball diagram above. (?)

Experiment with impacting the ball with different angles of closed racket head tilts. Top edge of the racket is more forward for closed. Also, make the racket head path more to the right as it rises.

The downward angle of the trajectory at impact might have a big effect on how spin affects the bounce. Notice the angle of the trajectory as it hits the court. It might bounce at a sharper angle left when your get that sharper angle of the trajectory impacting the court.

This quick analysis is not very good. I'm confused reading it.........
 
Last edited:

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I use my IPhone for filming and I guess it is not good enough to see at high speed. You can see by the flight of the ball that there is a little break to the left and a small amount after the bounce. There are times that the ball really breaks off sharply to the left after the bounce so I’m sure that is from diagonal topspin.
Your iPhone should have high speed video mode? 240? What model is it?

It might make large video files unless you have someone to start and stop it.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Decent forehand - not seeing a lot of sidespin though.. Looks extra impressive because your opponent didn't even try to recover LOL.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Decent forehand - not seeing a lot of sidespin though.. Looks extra impressive because your opponent didn't even try to recover LOL.
That one was mostly topspin with a little side spin. I can hit them with more side spin at times but it takes just the right balance of top spin and side spin to hit It correctly. When hitting this shot right it really breaks to the left after the bounce.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
When you are able to video forehands in high speed, give hand signals after the forehand to indicate how well it worked and bounced.

For example, thumbs up - good shot, bounce left - point left.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
When you are able to video forehands in high speed, give hand signals after the forehand to indicate how well it worked and bounced.

For example, thumbs up - good shot, bounce left - point left.
Ok should be able to hit outside soon.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Did you watch how effective the shot was that I showed in the video? I’ve had days were this shot is on and it is weapon that can win a lot of points.
Honestly in your position I would focus on fundamentals first

Remember, KISS - the fewer types of shots you hit, the more time you can spend improving them
 

srimes

Rookie
Your slice shots are more impressive than your topspin ones. Footwork on the serve is funny: you start with a pinpoint stance and move to platform after the toss.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Your slice shots are more impressive than your topspin ones. Footwork on the serve is funny: you start with a pinpoint stance and move to platform after the toss.
Ya I am all over on my serve, I do more damage with my topspin shots but at times the slice is pretty effective.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I could say from the videos I watched you're a very uncomfortable player to play against.
A lot of my opponents say that. I don’t have a lot of skills but I can cover the court pretty well and defense is solid. So I play consistent style and try to vary up my shots with different pace and spins.
 
Top