Originally Posted by ftd999
What is your level? Do you know how to hit topspin at all? How long have you been playing?
From a personal NTRP rating, I guess I am at the 3.0-3.5 level. Definitely NOT 4.0. Unfortunately, prior to my dad's observation, I always thought I was hitting with spin. Obviously, now I have to simply say I do not know how to
I've started seriously playing for about two years.
These are all things that are important, because if you've never played with topspin it takes a while to learn. Especially on the backhand side. Once you learn though you do not sacrifice pace at all, but you'll actually be able to hit harder and still keep the ball in play.
This makes sense. Until very recently, I was actually flatting all my serves in, even though I had thought I was spinning them. I was hitting them with a semi-western grip. Now, I've switched to a backhand eastern / continental grip and my serves have more kick, spin, bite, AND speed to them.
The simplest answer, as HrbatyFan pointed out, is that you need to think about the strings brushing up the back of the ball. Try just dropping a ball in front of you and practicing this to get the feel, or have someone feed you balls (starting slow). All of this really should be done with a coach or someone watching to give feedback, because its nearly impossible over the internet without seeing your stroke.
I'll try to get my dad to watch me at a good angle.
Many players use a loop on their forehand and backhands to get more spin. Some have a more wristy shot which can help add spin. A deep knee bend and good shoulder turn / body roatation can also help to get under the ball and add power and spin. All of this is too much to think about though, especially if you are just learning.
Maybe I should try for a more "loopy" preparation off the forehand. I use a "small C" backswing, kind of like Agassi, or at least I imagine him when I hit the shot.
If you really are committed, provide more info and I can try to help. But really just get out there and drill. If you can't get a coach to help, then get your Dad to watch you or set up a video camera (this helps a lot!). If you are already able to hit with some spin, or have some idea, then work around with different spins. It's really all about feel and timing. Hit some extreme topspin where you just brush straight up the back of the ball. Hit some short angle topspin. Then, flatten it out and drive through the ball. You'll start to pick up the timing differences. But really, the best way is to get some on court help with someone who knows the game (preferrably someone who has been competing for a long time).
Merci beaucoup. You're absolutely right about the continuation of serious practice.