# What produces a "heavy ball"

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by guedoguedo, Jun 29, 2006.

1. ### papaHall of Fame

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Well, LeeD might be right here but I think its spin. When you play or hit against players who hit with pace & rpm's you feel it after a while.

2. ### gameboyHall of Fame

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People are making this way more complicated than what it is. The "heavyness" you feel when you hit a ball is the ball's momentum. You are changing the direction of the path that ball is traveling. That means you need to counter-act the momentum that the ball is carrying. That is what you are feeling.

Momentum is just mass times velocity.

However, there are two kinds of velocity; vector velocity which is the path that the ball is traveling on and angular velocity which is how fast the ball is spinning. When you combine them together, you get this:

Momentum "heavyness" = (Weight of the ball X Velocity) + (Weight of the ball X Angular Velocity)

This simply means that the ball will feel heavier when it is traveling faster and spinning faster.

I will put a caveat that heavy spinning balls feels "heavier" (more than it really should based on its angular momentum) a lot of the times, because it is more difficult to hit it in the sweetspot, which will cause the racquet to twist in your hand and make the shot feel heavier.

P.S. The earlier posts about "heaviness" of baseball sinker is actually describing something other than momentum. Baseball people call pitches "heavy" when it drops more than expected - like a sinker. However, sinker has much less spin (usually about 1000 rpm or less and usually slower) than a fastball (3000 rpm+).

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3. ### Bertie BSemi-Pro

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I think heaviness is achieved with an extended contact through the strike zone. This requires you take the ball a little later so you get more weight behind the ball.

4. ### shindemacHall of Fame

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A heavy ball has more spin and/or pace than you're used to. Once you get used to it, it loses its "heaviness".

5. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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A "heavy" ball can also be a dead flat ball hit deep into your discomfort zone.
You mishit it, force it, block it, but to no effectiveness, so you can say it's "heavy" with placement.

6. ### Bogdan_TTProfessional

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Last edited: May 25, 2017
7. ### ChaelAZHall of Fame

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Rain. Those suckers get really heavy.

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8. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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A "heavy" ball to a 5.5 level player is a nothing ball for Federer.
A "heavy" ball that I feel is a nothing poof ball to a 5.5 level player.
A "heavy" ball to a 3.0 is a sitter easy ball for me.
PERCEPTION, not absolute.

9. ### FintftHall of Fame

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I felt it right away a couple of days ago against the best player in town (21, tries to go on the challenger circuit). It was a lesson, so although he took it easy on me (plus he couldn't move fast, recovering from an ankle injury) his balls were the heaviest I've seen (a combination of pace and spin). His elder sister and coach (who has a few WTA matches under her belt and is the coach I use in Canada), doesn't hit as heavy.

It's obviously technique (and yes he tries to hit as deep as possible as well).

10. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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It's not only spin, it's the combination of spin, ball speed, and placement. Any two without the third is not a "heavy" ball, since it's only 2/3rds to the total components.
Papa, if it's the same one I played against, are both 4.0's. We don't hit "heavy" balls to each other, but we hit "heavy" balls to 3.5's and lesser player's.
Every 5.0 level player hit's "heavy" balls to us, when they're trying.

11. ### ChaelAZHall of Fame

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Speed and overall "heaviness" is not absolute, but what makes it a heavy ball is, which is the combination of spin and speed. I get what you mean though, such that a 3.0 player who hits a heavy ball in 3.0 may be considered average when they move to 4.0 because their shot weight doesn't transfer up for some reason. So that can be part of perception, but none the less hitting a heavy ball at any level is a heavy ball for that level.

12. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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Rafa can hit his hardest heavy topspin at me, and it wouldn't bother me much if it landed short serve box depth, and I was standing 5' behind my baseline.
However, if his shot landed within a foot of my baseline, I'd just fall down trying to respond to the PLACEMENT of his shot.

13. ### kiteboardLegend

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Pace produces the heaviest shots. The kind of pace that hurts your hand, that is.

14. ### FintftHall of Fame

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While what you say it's true in general, even a short heavy ball can cause great problems if it hits any irregularity on the court (such as a plastic lines).

15. ### SinjinCooperHall of Fame

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Rafa hits somewhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of his shots short of the service line most matches. Lee can handle them, of course, but the ATP tour has had a great deal of difficulty.

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16. ### Big_DangerousG.O.A.T.

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I was thinking the same thing, haha! Just soak the balls in any kind of fluid really, and they'll be much heavier.

Or I guess you could play so long in warm and humid conditions that the balls in your pocket become so soaked with your own sweat, that you can see the sweat fly off as you hit them!

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17. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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ATP tour kills Rafa's short groundies that aren't angled past the doubles courts.
Even LeeD can handle short groundies hit well inside the singles court, but maybe SinjinCooper cannot.

18. ### FintftHall of Fame

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Even the guy who plays on the challengers circuit told me something similar, how sometimes the ball kicks up so abruptly, that he has trouble handling it/making it impossible for him.

19. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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I did not even hint I had a chance to beat Rafa.
I said, if Rafa hit's hit heavy high rpm spinner groundie short ALL THE TIME, I could get it back.
If Rafa hit DEEP high rpm spinners, I'd have NO CHANCE to get more than one or two back each rally!
Meaning, PLACEMENT is one third of the equation! The other two are spin and ball speed.

20. ### TennisanityLegend

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You guys are forgetting LeeD is an advanced 3.5. Can easily handle Rafa's balls.

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21. ### GazelleLegend

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Lol, you could barely get a single groundie back when playing a 4.5 player (see vid with Maximaxx or whatever he's called). If Rafa hit a heavy rmp spinner to you all the time, you would watch if fly past you all the time. As would most of us.

22. ### StringSnapperSemi-Pro

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Id say a heavy ball is one that hits the back fence after its one bounce in the court. For me, that requires a decently hard whack + spin + depth.

23. ### mhkeunsHall of Fame

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I can describe from my experience as:

1. Heavily hit topspin shot that sends shock to the hand and almost takes the racket out my hand.
2. Cleanly hit flat drives that feels like the racket is being pushed back.

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24. ### spun_outRookie

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In your example, where is the ball bouncing first? Near baseline? Service line?

25. ### StringSnapperSemi-Pro

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Near the baseline. Im not sure if people can get it to hit the back fence if it already bounces at the service line. I can't, anyway.

26. ### Luis BabboniNew User

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Mmmm, linear speed and rotation speed. The energy you puts on the ball could be used in differents proportions in two kind of energies (translational or rotational) depends what kind of hit you did.

27. ### donquijoteLegend

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Not sure what are the kinetics behind it but LeeDF and sureshs come to mind while talking about heavy balls.

28. ### PMChambersHall of Fame

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1. Heavy = Energy or Work = Speed + Spin
2. Heavy = Additional mass, ball been sitting in a puddle for 20+ sec.

If 2 always save it if serving for that dead 2nd serve at opportune time, even if your shorts get wet and looks like you've had an accident balls up and keep it for that special occasion . If returning smash it into the ground as hard as practice.

29. ### thomas danielsRookie

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It's all about dealing with "On coming power". First, attack the ball and hit it on the rise, this takes timing and great hand and eye coordination, and wrist FEEL so you will need to work on this in practice for about a month. Also, play more inside the baseline for a month in practice and work on what I just said, you should be good to go after 1 month my friend. Oh yeah, use your legs to push off on the ground too.

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By "extended contact", do you mean longer dwell time on the strings?

31. ### Raul_SJHall of Fame

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Yes, that is what happens when I am returning a hard serve and it feels like I'm hitting a basketball. Even though I think I am hitting in the sweet spot and contact out in front.
I don't know why this happens. I assume the heavy racquet is strong enough to absorb the light spinning ball.

32. ### Attila_the_gorillaHall of Fame

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Combination of ball speed and rotation.

Of course equipment again can make a massive difference. Greater racket stability, higher swingweight and looser stringbed can mitigate that jarring heaviness. Racket head speed helps too for sure.

Of course the ball may still be uncontrollable, but at least your arm won't get hurt.

33. ### 997turboRookie

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Sweaty balls are fine but make sure you're well waxed or it gets pretty grimy down there. . And as you're BIG and DANGEROUS, a professionally-done job is a must.

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34. ### FiReFTWProfessional

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Yes its speed and spin.

Speed obviously:
1, The more speed the harder the impact and more force on the racquet

Spin in two forms:
1. More spin = More speed retained after the ball bounces hence more speed/force on impact
2. More spin forward = Grabs the strings more = more force on the racquet from the forward spin momentum

I would think those are the main factors.

35. ### Big_DangerousG.O.A.T.

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36. ### thomas danielsRookie

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You should be volleying the return back, just tighten up your wrist and angle the racket to where you want to return it and that should solve the problem for you. It's all about using the server's pace back on them.

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38. ### jz000Rookie

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Positioning, legs, core, hips, pronation and timing

39. ### OnTheLineProfessional

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Kind of like 42.

Isn't that the answer to life, the universe, and everything in tennis?