In my new book, The Art and Science of Ball Watching (Click Here) I explored Roger Federer's unique ball watching technique. The book is aimed at finding a methodology to learn how to see contact–in as much as this is possible within the limits of physiology and nerve transmission speed. (Click Here to see an article on Tennisplayer, based on the book.)
But in the course of writing the book I also became very interested in the mechanics of racket to ball contact. How long is contact really and do different strings and tensions affect the length of contact?
Could changes in the length of contact be an explanation for the rise in ball speed and spin on the forehands in pro tennis? And another question--how does that apply to the rest of us?
I began writing the book that is the basis for this article - The Art and Science of Ball Watching - in August of 2019 and finished it in January of 2021. In a sense, though, I have been working on it since I started playing tennis fifty-five years ago at the age of five. In high school I played four years of varsity tennis in addition to sanctioned USTA junior tournaments. I probably reached a 4.5-5.0 level. I considered playing small college tennis, but by then I was burned out on the sport, and knew that my pre-med studies wouldn't allow time for college tennis.
But tennis was in my blood, and I started playing again with a passion after medical school. During this time, I really started to study the technical aspects of the game.
My idea for the book started out with various technical ideas that I had been kicking around by watching great players over several generations. In the end I came to the conclusion that good racket to ball contact depends on good ball watching. I wrote the book to teach myself how to see racket to ball contact and my hope is it can help you do the same.
The Art and Science of Ball Watching
The Art and Science of Ball Watching takes the reader through the scientific principles involved in tennis ball watching, with a focus on those aspects of Physical and Biologic science that facilitate the ability to see ball contact.