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The Myth of Hitting Around the Ball

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  • johnyandell
    started a topic The Myth of Hitting Around the Ball

    The Myth of Hitting Around the Ball

    Would love to get your thoughts on my article, "The Myth of Hitting Around the Ball"

  • morespin
    replied
    I've been working on getting some of my students to hit through the ball more on their groundstrokes recently.

    I ask them to hit the ball as "long" as possible without hitting the ball higher over the net. They have been trying to hit the baseline without hitting any higher than 3 feet over the net. Of course in the "real world" they wouldn't be trying to hit the ball that deep.

    Every one of them automatically began to extend the strokes toward the baseline by pushing their shoulders forward.

    They still have quite a bit of spin on the ball and it becomes very heavy. An 11 year old boy I coach can make the ball hit about 3 feet up on the back fence after it lands near the baseline.

    A ton of pace with a ton of spin! And because the ball doesn't go too high over the net, the consistency is good too.

    Leave a comment:


  • doctorhl
    replied
    Originally posted by jeffreycounts View Post

    arturohernandez - I really like this idea. To me it has to do with engaging the shoulder and extending with this powerful muscle. The shoulder can't push or accelerate the ball until the ball is on the strings, which is why I like the concept of "grab" first. And that's when good players engage the shoulder in a powerful way. For the windshield wiper forehand, the shoulder also rotates as it pushes. On the one and two handed backhand you see more of the pure extension with the shoulder and less of the extreme rotation (although there is always some rotation)

    You can really see this accelerate/push from the shoulder on contact with the Berdych's backhand clip on this month's new issue home page.

    Of course this is all a timing issue. You have to feel in the stroke when to pull and then get the feeling of pushing/extending at the right time when the ball is on the strings. Another name for all of this concept of "throwing" or "accelerating on contact" is extension. A great article on this is John's article in the Advanced Tennis series. The extension move, or the pushing from the shoulder, is what gives you power.

    Anyway thanks for sharing that tip you heard.
    Jeffrey and Arturo- Thanks! Your accelerate/ push/shoulder extension concept, for me at least, is one of my missing links to learn hit a “ heavy
    ball”. A person just can’t see the “ heavy” on film and one has to experience it from an opponent to know it’s effectiveness. Some people seem to hit a “heavy” ball with seemingly little effort, and some with even with a relatively flat looking stroke. I think your string engagement theory also could be apply to the serve. When my serve timing allows a “ push” engagement with the strings, rather than a “ whack”, my opponent says the served ball is “heavier’ and more difficult to return. Again, “heavy” can’t be captured on film unless you could capture a speed/spin ratio at that moment I guess.

    Leave a comment:


  • arturohernandez
    replied
    Originally posted by jeffreycounts View Post

    arturohernandez - I really like this idea. To me it has to do with engaging the shoulder and extending with this powerful muscle. The shoulder can't push or accelerate the ball until the ball is on the strings, which is why I like the concept of "grab" first. And that's when good players engage the shoulder in a powerful way. For the windshield wiper forehand, the shoulder also rotates as it pushes. On the one and two handed backhand you see more of the pure extension with the shoulder and less of the extreme rotation (although there is always some rotation)

    You can really see this accelerate/push from the shoulder on contact with the Berdych's backhand clip on this month's new issue home page.

    Of course this is all a timing issue. You have to feel in the stroke when to pull and then get the feeling of pushing/extending at the right time when the ball is on the strings. Another name for all of this concept of "throwing" or "accelerating on contact" is extension. A great article on this is John's article in the Advanced Tennis series. The extension move, or the pushing from the shoulder, is what gives you power.

    Anyway thanks for sharing that tip you heard.
    I always wondered what John meant by extension and got the feeling of the racket going forward. But I never understood it as the result of taking the ball with the strings and pushing it in a certain direction.

    Funny, how all these words can confuse us and not really fit with the feeling.

    It took a while to really learn to feel the ball and to engage a more kinesthetic sense with the racket. It is what makes tennis so hard. Nothing like ball sports where our hands and bodies affect the ball directly.

    Thanks for the thoughts!

    Leave a comment:


  • teachestennis
    replied
    Originally posted by kenh View Post
    Hitting for the lower outside corner of the ball is a valid teaching comment. It has been used by and thought of by great players for a long time. Tilden spoke of it in his books. This concept is used as a counter measure for someone who makes contact with the ball and has the hand going forward slightly before the racquet (jammed). Hitting the lower outside corner concept gets the racquet head below the ball and utilizes the leverage advantage of the racquet by getting the racquet tip of the racquet going forward ahead of the hand after contact. May not be factual all the time but sometimes it is very effective.
    It's very effective and it gives the ball a bit of a draw like in golf.

    Leave a comment:


  • jeffreycounts
    replied
    Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post

    I remember hearing a very famous pro for the LTA in England talk about accelerating after contact. Or we could think of grabbing the ball and throwing it with the strings.
    arturohernandez - I really like this idea. To me it has to do with engaging the shoulder and extending with this powerful muscle. The shoulder can't push or accelerate the ball until the ball is on the strings, which is why I like the concept of "grab" first. And that's when good players engage the shoulder in a powerful way. For the windshield wiper forehand, the shoulder also rotates as it pushes. On the one and two handed backhand you see more of the pure extension with the shoulder and less of the extreme rotation (although there is always some rotation)

    You can really see this accelerate/push from the shoulder on contact with the Berdych's backhand clip on this month's new issue home page.

    Of course this is all a timing issue. You have to feel in the stroke when to pull and then get the feeling of pushing/extending at the right time when the ball is on the strings. Another name for all of this concept of "throwing" or "accelerating on contact" is extension. A great article on this is John's article in the Advanced Tennis series. The extension move, or the pushing from the shoulder, is what gives you power.

    Anyway thanks for sharing that tip you heard.
    Last edited by jeffreycounts; 09-22-2019, 10:04 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • morespin
    replied
    Great suggestions. I like drills/techniques that a player can't possibly do any other way than correctly.

    Between seeing the ball roll and feeling how to make it roll a player would have to intentionally try very hard to not learn how to apply topspin

    Leave a comment:


  • jeffreycounts
    replied
    Originally posted by nytennisaddict View Post

    oops, forgot to use... i'm teaching a couple lessons this weekend with some kids, will use that tip.
    though i remembered that i've already somewhat used that tip with younger kids and newbies... one drill i use is to have roll an exercise ball with a racquet to simulate hitting a topspin fh/bh... but i hate carrying that exercise ball around :P
    i've been mainly using the "topspin pro" to teach beginners.... but i have to remember to say "it's like rolling the ball to the target" (in a perfect world i'd use the exercise ball & the topspin pro to reinforce their mental model)
    I use one of those big plastic kids balls you can get at a grocery store. And then I use the swinging volley technique you can find in the last two animations of the Stosur forehand article from the wonderful Tom Downs article on Sam Stosur's forehand. If you try to drive through the ball toward the target not much happens. But if you roll it with your forearm and shoulder, it's like magic. You can really feel the connection with the ball and can accelerate on contact. Perfect for teaching the topspin forehand.

    For kids, I have the plastic ball on the ground and let them roll it forward.

    Agree with morespin - magic!

    I also really see this transition from trying to drive forward to more of a rolling motion with this incredible piece with Jimmy Arias. He talks about how in his first lesson he was told to follow through out to the target, and it killed his forehand. When he shows how he really does it, with a bunch of practice swings, you can see how he is always rolling at the end. And when he hits it in slow motion, you can really see how he accelerates at contact with the wiper rolling motion. With that Arias interview, you learn how the modern forehand emerged. It's amazing.
    Last edited by jeffreycounts; 09-20-2019, 08:52 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • morespin
    replied
    I actually roll a tennis ball on the court toward a target area to show players what it looks like.

    I've just started really using that tip and I'm still surprised how well it works. It's like magic sometimes.

    Best of luck. Let me know how it goes.

    Leave a comment:


  • nytennisaddict
    replied
    Originally posted by morespin View Post
    nytennisaddict, how has the tip worked for you?

    I find that it works for 99% of the students I work with. It's so simple and super effective. It de-clutters the player's mind of all of the technical swing thoughts.
    oops, forgot to use... i'm teaching a couple lessons this weekend with some kids, will use that tip.
    though i remembered that i've already somewhat used that tip with younger kids and newbies... one drill i use is to have roll an exercise ball with a racquet to simulate hitting a topspin fh/bh... but i hate carrying that exercise ball around :P
    i've been mainly using the "topspin pro" to teach beginners.... but i have to remember to say "it's like rolling the ball to the target" (in a perfect world i'd use the exercise ball & the topspin pro to reinforce their mental model)

    Leave a comment:


  • morespin
    replied
    nytennisaddict, how has the tip worked for you?

    I find that it works for 99% of the students I work with. It's so simple and super effective. It de-clutters the player's mind of all of the technical swing thoughts.

    Leave a comment:


  • nytennisaddict
    replied
    Originally posted by kenh View Post
    Hitting for the lower outside corner of the ball is a valid teaching comment. It has been used by and thought of by great players for a long time. Tilden spoke of it in his books. This concept is used as a counter measure for someone who makes contact with the ball and has the hand going forward slightly before the racquet (jammed). Hitting the lower outside corner concept gets the racquet head below the ball and utilizes the leverage advantage of the racquet by getting the racquet tip of the racquet going forward ahead of the hand after contact. May not be factual all the time but sometimes it is very effective.
    agreed, some tips if taken literally, don't make sense,... but could be very helpful in breaking a habit/ingrained neural pathway of a student.
    common pattern i try to break, is when a student tries to skim the net... i can say "low to high" or "get more under and swing up"... but their old pattern is hard to break... but when i tell them to literally hit the ball over the fence, they have to do something very different...

    Leave a comment:


  • nytennisaddict
    replied
    Originally posted by morespin View Post
    I am a teaching pro in Orange County, CA.

    I think of this topic like hitting a put in golf. You need to roll the ball in the direction of the cup.

    I tell my students to "roll the ball toward the target." To roll the ball you need to make topspin. To make the ball move in the direction of the target, you need the racquet face to face toward the target while you swing toward the target. Problem solved

    There's a big difference between hitting the ball toward the target and rolling the ball toward the target.

    There is almost immediate improvement in the stroke mechanics and shot quality when a player uses this method.

    Tim Ludeke, USPTA
    stealing this tip thx, that's a good visualization to give students

    Leave a comment:


  • nickw
    replied
    Originally posted by klacr View Post

    Watching the clips in this article its amazing to see just how little difference there is. which leads me to this next query:
    I had heard this statement somewhere and not sure if it is true but figured I would ask the forum. When it comes to the sensitivity of the racquet face, 1 degree of change/difference is equal to 16 feet. Not sure of the context or the origin of this statement but curious if there are measurements.
    Great article John. Love this myth busting series.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton
    Not sure on the measurements Kyle, but it's clear the sensitivity is very high. What the high speed footage explains beautifully in this article is the classic scenario when you aim a ball cross-court, and it ends up going down the line because you are fractionally late at contact. The video clips show the margins are very small! For the same reason, many balls aimed down the line end up quite wide of the mark, so a great example of one of the reasons why hitting cross-court is the high percentage choice. If you're late at contact, the ball still goes in!

    Leave a comment:


  • doctorhl
    replied
    Another possible swing thought——Position yourself to hit a feed down-the-line to the right corner. Now, think of hitting a similar placed feed by hitting down the line to the left corner. Cross court thought let’s you hit around the ball with incorrect racket approach.

    Leave a comment:

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