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Ball Watching: Part 3

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  • paulhamori
    replied
    Dr. Hamori responding to comments of Arturo Hernandez: Arturo, very insightful comments. One of the ideas I worked with during writing the book, but put aside, was exactly what you hit upon: that when you focus on the hand, it does put contact more into the peripheral vision, which happens to be processed faster than central vision. However it gets incredibly complicated to start deciding which vision to use in addition to all the other things we need to focus on the when hitting the ball. Since just focusing on the hand will accomplish this automatically, I decided not to over complicate the process. I have found the technique works very well for both ground strokes and volleys. In the case of volleys, the whole stroke ideally occurs in front of you so in some ways it is even easier than with ground strokes. I did not address serves in the book because of the incredible complexity of shot. However in experimenting, it has been more difficult to get my eye to the hand on serve. In part because the ball is a little bit more in front and my hand is coming up from the back. Additionally, as you pointed out, things are happening so fast–probably 20-30% faster than with ground strokes. However I have found that being mindful that my hand is coming up from the back tends to keep my head up, and this has had beneficial effects on the serve–since dropping the head also drops the shoulders prematurely which has detrimental effects. So far though, seeing the contact on the serve has been elusive for me(same for overheads). I have not looked at film of Kenin but I will do so. I appreciate your interest in the subject, and your support for the book!

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  • arturohernandez
    replied
    Dr. Hamori. Thanks for your really valuable contribution. I was first made aware of Fed's technique a while back. I played around with it with some success. It really seems to help for short balls where I would often take my eye off the ball and miss. Now, if I just focus on contact, I am able to do much better with these balls.

    I liked the idea of narrowing the focus to the hand since it is not moving as fast. Interestingly, this means that contact would be in our peripheral vision and that after contact our eyes would narrow or close to keep the contact point "alive" longer.

    The idea of focusing on the hand just before contact had never occurred to me.

    I am wondering if this would work on the serve in a similar manner. Here we would focus on the hand right before contact since it is moving more slowly than the racket. Then our eyes could narrow or close (doesn't Kenin do something like that?) after contact.

    In this case, the racket is moving so quickly that trying to keep track of contact becomes impossible.

    Do you think a similar approach might work on the serve? What about for volleys and overheads?

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  • paulhamori
    replied
    Dr. Hamori here with answers and responses to the comments.

    bojalad asks about the position of the hand relative to the torso when applying the 4 steps: Typically with a semi-open and open stance preparation, we keep the racket head and hand toward the front although we have turned the torso to the side. As we initiate the stroke, the racket head will travel back behind hitter but the hand typically does not ideally go behind. As you're coming forward with the racket handle is when the you then shift your vision to the hand/racket complex. I once saw a Great article that compared the Nadal forehand to the Wozniaki forehand. They flipped the image of Nadal to make him a right-hander for the purposes of comparison and then superimposed the Image on the Wozniaki forehand. It clearly showed how in ATP forehands the hand stays toward the front and only the racket head goes back to 270?, Whereas with the WTA Forehand it is common for the hand to go back behind the player. This leads to a shorter travel path for the racket head and less racket head speed/acceleration. Search the lesson library on tennisplayer.net, if you don't find that article you can see if you can find it on a Google search.

    JHTB1021: I agree with your thought that knowing what your opponent is doing is more important than following your own shot since you already know basically where it is going. Watch the opponent during recovery, and try to land a split step when they touch the ball for a fast first step.

    Doctorrhl: Agree with your comments as well, and as an aside, in the case of Federer, the racket head speed is so great that follow-through is typically complete and the ball is only about 10-15 feet away from him, still has not crossed the net, so there is still plenty of time to pick up on the ball trajectory.

    Ten 1050 And Jeremy 93: Thanks for your support and positive comments.

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  • bojalad17
    replied
    I am a little bit confused by Step 2. Focus (saccade or eye shift down) on the hand racket complex about a foot or so before making contact. Isn't the hand behind the torso at this time, or is this step just meant to say just focus on the hitting area?

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  • jthb1021
    replied
    I like the 4 steps. I’ll continue tinkering with it as I have had some really good results with this.
    as far as step 4 I also like this for players to not watch the ball off their strings because they have a tendency to follow the shape and bounce of their shot. If you keep your head still through contact to extension which is what I always teach and then look up players tend to learn to focus more on the opponent as opposed to the ball. Focusing on the opponent allows higher level players to see the racket face on the other side and how they’re receiving your shot which is so much more important than your shot itself. I’ll keep tinkering but I am intrigued. Thanks for your series it has been really interesting

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  • doctorhl
    replied
    Excellent! It would seem the gains received in solid contact by focusing on hand/ racket complex and eyes not following outgoing ball outweigh any possible time losses in recovery by moving head and tracking outgoing ball too soon( certainly in Federer’s case).

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  • ten1050
    replied
    Interesting articles, I strongly agree that not following your shot is a good thing. I tell people all the time to watch Federer. Watch how he shows almost no interest in his shots immediately after contact. It is a thing of beauty to behold. The advice to close one’s eyes after hearing contact is absolute genius. It is a wonderful way to train the brain to not look up. If your eyes are closed briefly there is nothing to look at! I read your book, Dr. Paul, it was great.

    Norman Ashbrooke

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  • jeremy93
    replied
    Thank you. This series was interesting and fantastic!

    Leave a comment:


  • johnyandell
    started a topic Ball Watching: Part 3

    Ball Watching: Part 3

    Let's get your thoughts on Paul Hamori's article, "Ball Watching: Part 3"

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