Author Topic: Height of ball  (Read 3720 times)

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Offline christof

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Height of ball
« on: December 22, 2008, 10:25:37 AM »
Hi

I was told that when returning ground strokes, it's a good idea to let the ball bounce up to its peak height before hitting.

Is this true also when returning high flying, looping shots? Sounds like if you wait for it to bounce up high you're losing too much time?

Thanks

Chris

Offline OSU Buckeye

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2008, 01:00:46 PM »
As far as I have ever heard you are supposed to take the ball on the rise, this way you are hitting the ball early and will have your opponent on his heels.  Also, that would mean you are stepping into the court instead of hitting all of your shots from behind your baseline.  That will steal more time from your opponent.  Lastly, taking the ball on the rise will also create more power since the ball has been hit by you as early as you could therefore borrowing the pace on your opponents shots for your shots.   

Offline dmastous

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2008, 02:40:56 PM »
I wouldn't say you are "supposed to take the ball on the rise" I would say that is an option. You can hit it at anytime during it's arc. Hitting it on the rise is a bit more difficult. It takes good timing, and it tends to be a bit riskier. You will get some free power from hitting on the rise, but you loose potential spin in the bargin.
Hitting at it's peak is ideal if it's peak is around waist high, because that is the point at which the ball is the most still (if it is ever still). Hitting it on the way down is acceptable as well. You can take a bigger swing, and hit with more spin, but in doing so you have to give up some ground.
So there is no right or wrong point at which to hit the ball. It really depends on your style of play, and what you are comfortable with. There are benefits and problems inherent with each, but you have to be willing to do what is neccessary based on the situation, and court speed.
It really is the biggest difference between Federer's approach (hitting it as early as possible, and on the rise), and Nadal (sitting back and taking massive cuts at it while it's on it's way down).

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Online monstertruck

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2008, 07:44:28 AM »
I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here.

Like DM said, each approach has it's pros and cons.  It's up to you to decide which you're best at and enjoy doing.

In the end, you will be forced to hit balls in all areas of the strike zone anyhow.
The choice comes in where you decide to take most of these balls.
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Offline Pacer

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2008, 02:29:44 PM »
Not necessarily for groundstrokes, the peak height could be well outside of your strike zone. This idea about hitting the ball at its peak, applies to serves for the most part. If you are hitting the ball on the rise( meaning pretty quickly after the bounce, but not neccessarily a half volley) you won't be losing any time at all, your opponent would.

Hitting the ball on the rise is an aggressive style of play. It allows you to take away time from your opponent, hit with more topspin,  open up more court angels( due to advantageous court positioning) and hit more powerful strokes. When you're hitting on the rise, you are usually controlling the points. So it's not peak height(unless you're talking about serves) but hitting on the rise, which means the ball is still ascending upwards( not at its peak, I've only heard peak when referring to serves) after the bounce. I would want to let the kind of ball that Nadal hits off the ground reach it's peak height. I hope I'm explaining this well.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 11:22:45 AM by Pacer »
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Offline jeffrx

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2008, 04:35:28 PM »
I'm more comfortable hitting balls after they reach their peak and are coming back down.  It give me more time to do 2 important things:
1.) Move to the best hitting position
2.) Hit a well-measured shot

I play more of a baseline, counterpunching style, so it just suites my game I guess.  Like others said, there is no right or wrong answer.  Many times, the flow of the point or the match will determine how approach each shot.  One thing I can guarantee, it helps to be able to execute both styles! 
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Offline Tennis4you

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2008, 04:48:58 PM »
It would be tough to meet every ball on the rise.  You need to go with your comfort level with the ball that is played to you verse your position as well as your opponent's.  It is tougher to hit on the rise as it takes a better timed shot.  Not all players will get better power off of this shot if they do not time it well.  I think I can take a better rip at a ball that has already reached it's peak and on it's way down, but it is a matter of preference.  I think if you want to take healthy cuts at the ball the key factor would be to hit the ball while moving your weight forward.
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Offline Pacer

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2008, 05:40:24 PM »
Agreed. It really comes down to your style of play. If you are someone with loopy strokes (bigger back swing)  with a preference for standing further behind the baseline, then hitting the ball on the way down makes sense. A ball coming down from its peak has slowed down making it easier for such a player to hit, as well as making it easier to get into proper position(as Jeff mentioned).

The ball is moving at its fastest the closer it is to the ground, which would allow a player with shorter/compact strokes to generate power effortlessly(among other things) by taking it early. But it would also require impeccable timing, hand-eye, fitness and just plain old determination to pull it off consistently throughout an entire match (think Agassi), you really would have to change the way you think, unless you are naturally an aggressive player.

So the person who told you this may be basing it off their observations of your game. Though I'm still not clear on whether or not you meant on the rise to begin with, rather than peak. But if you can and are comfortable with hitting on the rise, it will surely benefit you the further you move up the ranks.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2008, 05:41:12 PM by Pacer »
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Offline Shonoby

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 09:07:41 PM »
If your short try to hit the balls on the rise because if your opponent hits a high bouncing ball and you wait for it to get to your shoulders you will have a hard time hitting it where you want. But if your tall you can do both hit it early or hit it on the peak, height is an advantage in tennis. Agassi would always hit the ball on the rise to carve his angles and take time from his opponents, i think he was the connaisseur of hitting the ball early.
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Offline HighDesertTennis

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2009, 09:04:28 PM »
The game is becomming "flatter"..meaning..balls are being hit very hard with flat contact. Many times this makes our decision easier..because the balls tend to stay low. Therefore..as I feed balls..the ones that cause the most diffuiculty are the high arching topspin balls!

Beginners, especially..and intermediate players tend to allow this ball to tell them where thry need to take it! If hit with enough "top"..I've seen players literally jump with their racquet heads higher than the ball ...and IT IS TELLING THEM where it wants to be taken!!

The Advanced Player, by and large, knows that as the opponent strikes the ball, we split step, and move to where WE CHOOSE to take the ball according to what we wnat to do with it!  Then we reach into our "Tool Box" of Shot Selections and "set up" (always best to hit a ball from a stationary position than running) ...and hit the ball!  If we DO NOT have "the high ball" in our inventory ...it's best NOT to move to the spot where that's the shot that needs to be hit!    Better move to a place where you can take it low.

In it's travel across the net..the ball is low   ...3 times!!!     Move to ONE of those places!    Dan

Offline dmastous

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2009, 09:08:17 PM »
The game is becomming "flatter"..meaning..balls are being hit very hard with flat contact. Many times this makes our decision easier..because the balls tend to stay low. Therefore..as I feed balls..the ones that cause the most diffuiculty are the high arching topspin balls!


I disagree, and would take the opposite side. I'd say the game is more and more becoming about spin. More players at all levels want more spin. They are stringing their racquets with the magic spin string Luxilon with that in mind, not realising they actually have to work harder with Lux to hit the ball.
Even the women are starting add more spin to their games.
Spin is in!

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Offline HighDesertTennis

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2009, 09:14:53 PM »
Height of ball is the discussion, I thought. Would you disagree that taking a ball at shoulder height is difficult for Beginning-Intermediate Players? 

Furthermore..on the Tours, excepting european clay, and 4.0+ Tournament play ...flat and hard rules! The ball naturally spins..never a knuckle ball!    Dan
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 09:23:47 PM by HighDesertTennis »

Offline dmastous

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2009, 10:06:14 PM »
Height of ball is the discussion, I thought. Would you disagree that taking a ball at shoulder height is difficult for Beginning-Intermediate Players? 

Furthermore..on the Tours, excepting european clay, and 4.0+ Tournament play ...flat and hard rules! The ball naturally spins..never a knuckle ball!    Dan

I would definitely agree with that statement. I'm not sure what you mean by the Tours. If you mean the pros, I think spin is making inroads on hard and flat, though on hard courts that change is coming slower. Hard but with more spin is where I see most of the tour going, and what I see most pro players are looking for.

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Offline HighDesertTennis

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2009, 10:32:47 PM »
Well..then..with the discussion being "height of contact"..and players wanting to know about this VERY difficult stepping stone..I think the focus is ...MOVEMENT ...and where and how to set up for what ball! ..And..and..that in any ball coming over the net...there are 3 Spots to move to..to take it low! ...And how the Beginning Player can relate..and how the Intermediate can CHANGE the habits, many times of:

Where they have MOVED to where the ball will have to be taken high...to place their racquet head LOW..and to make early..BUT high contact..following thru high and over the shoulder (this player many time raises their racquet head to "pull" the shot down from high ..with underspin)!

But..ur "pugnaciousness" noted ..and appreciated, dmastous!!  I NEVER knew a good Staff Pro who wasn't pugnacious!!..incl My-Own-Self!  Dan
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 10:34:49 PM by HighDesertTennis »

Offline dmastous

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2009, 09:18:21 AM »
Well..then..with the discussion being "height of contact"..and players wanting to know about this VERY difficult stepping stone..I think the focus is ...MOVEMENT ...and where and how to set up for what ball! ..And..and..that in any ball coming over the net...there are 3 Spots to move to..to take it low! ...And how the Beginning Player can relate..and how the Intermediate can CHANGE the habits, many times of:

Where they have MOVED to where the ball will have to be taken high...to place their racquet head LOW..and to make early..BUT high contact..following thru high and over the shoulder (this player many time raises their racquet head to "pull" the shot down from high ..with underspin)!

But..ur "pugnaciousness" noted ..and appreciated, dmastous!!  I NEVER knew a good Staff Pro who wasn't pugnacious!!..incl My-Own-Self!  Dan

Well, I guess I don't mind pugnacious. I can live with that.

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Offline HighDesertTennis

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2009, 09:29:42 AM »
Indeed!

Well, now, closer to the point, that being of "High Contact".

From my significant experience, this can be a pivitol and positive improvement focus for many! This being the ability to "take the ball where WE WANT" as opposed to allowing the ball to determine..where to be taken!?!?!..huh?..dmastous ?   Dan

Offline dmastous

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2009, 09:38:07 AM »
Indeed!

Well, now, closer to the point, that being of "High Contact".

From my significant experience, this can be a pivitol and positive improvement focus for many! This being the ability to "take the ball where WE WANT" as opposed to allowing the ball to determine..where to be taken!?!?!..huh?..dmastous ?   Dan

It's the difference between controlling the point, and being controlled by the point.

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Offline HighDesertTennis

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2009, 09:58:08 AM »
Absolutely Correct!!! How would you work with a Beginner on this, dmastous ? I get on their side..have'um place their racquet to the side..and toss balls to them..allowing them to move to "capture" the ball after it bounces..and in the forehand form following thru over the shoulder with it.

If they don't get bored with this drill..they can often "capture" the idea ..and take higher and higher balls ..still following thru over the shoulder after the capture. It take more "hand-eye"! But it can also be a great movement drill.   Dan

Offline dmastous

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2009, 10:12:52 AM »
Absolutely Correct!!! How would you work with a Beginner on this, dmastous ? I get on their side..have'um place their racquet to the side..and toss balls to them..allowing them to move to "capture" the ball after it bounces..and in the forehand form following thru over the shoulder with it.

If they don't get bored with this drill..they can often "capture" the idea ..and take higher and higher balls ..still following thru over the shoulder after the capture. It take more "hand-eye"! But it can also be a great movement drill.   Dan

Interesting. Do you vary the spin when you do that, or is that too much for a beginner?

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Offline HighDesertTennis

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Re: Height of ball
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2009, 10:19:24 AM »
Depends on their hand-eye generally..and what sports they've participated in before. B-Ball players excell at this drill and seem to be able to pick up the game (tennis) very easily (if they're a good b-ball player).  dan