How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace? - MensTennisForums.com
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-09-2005, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

According to my dad, when he watched me play from a side angle (ie. perpendicular to the net), he said my groundstrokes were EXTREMELY flat.

I was both happy and dismayed at this. I was happy that I was truly driving the ball, not just brushing it.

I was dismayed because I realized this was an important observation. It's probably the reason why my opponents can just get their racquets to touch the ball, without any backswing, and the ball will actually go over the net. Too predictable of a rhythm.

How can I add topsin to my shots, maybe even to the level of a moonball, and yet not sacrifice pace?

As I said with my previous (about two months ago) serve topic, I'm willing to continue a fitness regimen and make modifications.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-09-2005, 11:58 PM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

Well, a very general simple explanation is to hit up and out, at the same time. Quite obviously if you hit straight out you're going to hit the ball flat, and if you brush straight up on the ball it will be almost pure topspin. Brushing straight up on the ball sometimes even overdoes the spin, and it won't even clear the net. It's a fine line I guess, but you have to make your swing a combination of the two. When achieved your balls will land deep in the court with nice pace, and they also will have a nice bite on them causing them to bounce higher from the topspin. The ultimate goal is to be able to change your shot accordingly to the type of shot you want to hit. A short ball you will generally want to hit a little more flat, but you want at least some topspin usually to help keep it in. On the flip side a normal rally stroke, or a defensive shot from a bad position will have more topspin on it.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 12:12 AM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

I just press the B button on the x-box controler.



sry i cant help you...i just had to say that.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 12:19 AM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

I'm just now trying to add it to my game too...and struggling. I've fiddled with a bit of a grip change...but much prefer trying to do it with a low-to-high overall stroke rather than my wrist at ball contact. Since my toppers have/had a tendency to hit the tape...and drop like a rock...on my side...I'm having to give myself a bit more of a margin for error and aim a bit higher. The topspin...will keep it in...but if I miss it...boy, it just zooms right out.

Good luck.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 12:23 AM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by erik-the-red
How can I add topsin to my shots, maybe even to the level of a moonball, and yet not sacrifice pace?
This is not an easy topic to explain on the internet, although HrbatyFan did a good job. What is your level? Do you know how to hit topspin at all? How long have you been playing? 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.

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.

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.

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).
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 12:32 AM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

Just think about getting your racquet head below the ball. Its a simple concept. Topspin is a downward motion, which is created by severe upward motion with the racquet. The more you get below the ball, the more spin you can produce. So instead of swinging straight foreward, try to devolop a swing that goes: High-Low-High. If you have access to video footage of any top players, watch it in slow motion and you'll see what I mean. All the best players have a stoke that is built around this concept.
As for power. Make sure you have consistent racquet head speed, the faster the better. You will not loose any pace on your shots if you have fast racquet head speed. One of the best coaches I've ever worked with told me, "speed and spin are interchangable" meaning: If your ball has more spin on it, it doesn't need to be quite as powerful, and if your ball is flat you have to have alot more pace on it to keep it in the court consistently and hit an effective shot. Ideally you want your topspin balls to kick high out of your opponents strike range. But say you're playing a taller player, a flat low ball can be more effective. Mixing up your spins and speed of your shots is also an effective weapon, especially on clay where the bounces are often irregular.

Good Luck!

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 12:36 AM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angle Queen
I'm just now trying to add it to my game too...and struggling. I've fiddled with a bit of a grip change...but much prefer trying to do it with a low-to-high overall stroke rather than my wrist at ball contact. Since my toppers have/had a tendency to hit the tape...and drop like a rock...on my side...I'm having to give myself a bit more of a margin for error and aim a bit higher. The topspin...will keep it in...but if I miss it...boy, it just zooms right out.

Good luck.
If you're using an eastern (the flat shake hands grip) grip, you ought to change the grip to a semi-western (from the eastern close, the face of the racquet so that it is at an angle (something like this: \ as if your looking forward). If you search the internet, you'll find pictures of the semi-western.

The easiest way to start adding topspin, is to add a loop to your strokes. Like most of the pros do. So, your swing will start high in a loop, then drop down below the ball, and come up under the ball, brushing up the back of the ball, and your swing will finish high (usually over your left shoulder or in your left hand). Its like a pendulum, and it helps create momentum and balance when your coming up the back of the ball. Try to watch some slow motion video of the loop motion of a player. There's probably some videos out there by the leathered one (Bolliterri) that focus specifically on topspin and have slow motion or frame by frame analysis.

If your shots are falling in the net, it could be because your standing straight up. Bend your knees while you hit so that you can get under the ball and get more power.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 12:57 AM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by erik-the-red
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.
Yes, for a serve the eastern backhand grip is good to use to start spinning in your serve. But, what grip are you using on your forehand? As I said in the above post, you should at least have a semi-western.


Quote:
I'll try to get my dad to watch me at a good angle.
This will help, and if your Dad really wants to help you improve he'll get a basket of balls and feed them to you every day for an hour or so. If not throw the ball up yourself, and pretend its a high bouncing ball on a clay court. As the ball comes down, work on brushing up the back of the ball to get the feel. It will be harder when someone actually hits the ball at you, as it will be more of a line drive, and you'll have to work harder with your footwork and legs to get under the ball.

Quote:
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.
Absolutely, you should use a loopy swing (it helps off both sides, although many players keep a flatter backhand if its a two hander), I think it will help a lot with adding topspin. I would start with a larger loop backswing because it will help you get more momentum and more spin. I think the loop helps your balance and timing as well, as it is a rythmic motion. Agassi likely uses the small C that you refer to because the ball comes at him so fast and because he also tends to drive through the ball quite a bit. Most players, if they play on hard courts tend to evolve to a small C eventually anyway, while the clay courters will tend to keep the larger swings as they have more time to prepare.

Last edited by ftd999; 03-10-2005 at 01:01 AM.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

ftd, I strongly believe I hit my forehand using a semi-western grip. I don't think it's east, and I don't think it's full west, either.

On my backhand, I'm right-handed, so my left hand is in a backhand eastern grip and my right hand is in a continental grip.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 03:10 AM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by erik-the-red
ftd, I strongly believe I hit my forehand using a semi-western grip. I don't think it's east, and I don't think it's full west, either.

On my backhand, I'm right-handed, so my left hand is in a backhand eastern grip and my right hand is in a continental grip.
Those are both fine Erik. Good luck
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 04:49 AM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

Topspin rules! I added it to my game last year and I can honestly say it took me up a notch. I feel like I can hit so much harder and have way more control over the ball than when I used to hit flat. I just have so many more options now ....good luck....
some tips....
1.change grip
2.don't worry if your balls are landing too short at first (aka, your side of the net lol).
3.start with short high bouncing calls
4.practice taking balls out of the air (pros actually do this to improve head speed)...just make sure you are thinking about topspin and not just crushing the ball lol.

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 06:47 PM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by erik-the-red

How can I add topsin to my shots, maybe even to the level of a moonball, and yet not sacrifice pace?
u cant!
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 06:50 PM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

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Originally Posted by federer express
u cant!
Oh please, there's nothing wrong with defying the laws of physics.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 06:56 PM
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Re: How do I add topsin to my groundstrokes without sacrificing pace?

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Originally Posted by hrbatyfan
Oh please, there's nothing wrong with defying the laws of physics.
if muster couldn't do it built the way he was (like a tank), am not sure anyone can. like u say, the laws of physics are a bitch to overcome
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