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The open stance vs. the closed stance FH conundrum?

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The open stance vs. the closed stance FH conundrum?  Empty The open stance vs. the closed stance FH conundrum?

Post by socal1976 Thu 05 May 2016, 8:06 pm

In Lydian's discussions on Murray's FH an interesting point was made that was a bit ancillary to the topic of that thread. However Lydian, who I know is a very knowledgeable poster and player has put forward the following proposition:

open FH=more pace and spin than Closed FH

This statement in my mind is wrong for a number of reasons although to be fair to those who believe it; they do have a rational basis for believing it. I mean it is very intuitive; you see the big FHs on the ATP tour and they are hit THE VAST majority of the time with OPEN stances and therefore well if every ATP pros default FH even from the center of the court is the open stance then open must mean more power as a general rule.

Well it sounds well and good but there are others who have a more nuanced and in my opinion better reading of the difference between the two stances. In my opinion the closed stance FH; where you turn your hips and shoulders and front of your body away from the opponent, and get sideways on the ball is actually a better swing, and will generate both more pace and more spin in CERTAIN situations than an open stance. In certain situations, the converse is true that the open stance FH will produce the more powerful shot. (ie when pulled wide or lacking time)

How can I be so sure, well because I watch in situations when even open stance default players like Fed or Nadal when they have time and want to step in go to a CLOSED stance. Lets say for example that it is a central and weak ball, and they are looking to move in, and time is not an issue, then they get closed stance on the ball, and hit it earlier and effectively harder, and with more spin. I mean try to hit a low or medium low ball moving into the court and try to hit it inside out without turning your hips and shoulders, you will look and feel retarded and not be able to generate anything on the shot. Even Fed and Djokovic who mainly hit open stance on baseline get closed for the approach or the 3/4 deep ball they can step into.

Now why can I be so sure, well for one I have watched it on TV and have a lifetime of playing experience behind me we are talking off and on for over 32 years. And the idea that the sports physics of hitting with an open stance dictate that an open stance will generate more pace as a general or universal rule is simply not supported. For example if you want to generate power when golfing do you keep your hips and shoulders facing straight away or do you CLOSE YOUR stance and turn your hips and shoulders? When in football the quarterback wants to unleash a deep throw does he not turn his hips and shoulders and CLOSE HIS STANCE before throwing deep down field? Does a baseball pitcher not turn his hips and shoulders to a near 90 degrees to his opponent when throwing a baseball? in football when someone wants to unleash and bending biting free kick doesn't he turn his hips or does he hit it from an open stance? The answer to all these questions of the physics of different sports activities is that closed stance equals power and spin in some cases, which cases, WELL THE CASES WHERE YOU HAVE TIME TO SET UP. The preference for open stance again at the ATP tour is A. a function of lack of time creating a habit an adaptation if you will saving those two half steps in set up and recovery not just on that ball but on every ball makes you defend a lot better at all times. B. ATP pros don't have a power generation problem with this technology, but they do have a time problem since the guy across the net has the same equipment

When you look at just Tennis physics, well when you want to get power on a standard two handed BH you have turn your hips and shoulders and get closed. When you serve and you want power AND SPIN on your ball you have to get CLOSED. When you want to hit an overhead and you want to generate power and or spin you have to get closed. So I just don't buy this idea that the FH in tennis is the only thing in sports science, which involves a throwing, hitting, or kicking motion where not turning on the ball or target produces better spin and pace than closing up your stance on the target. Again its based on situations that are a function of how much time a player typically will have on the ball. On the serve you have all the time in the world, so every single player who plays closes his hips and shoulders to some degree on the spectrum to generate both spin and power. In fact, one of the biggest keys to generate spin on a serve is to get as humanly closed as possible and stay closed as long as possible without spinning out and over rotating. What that does is force you to hit up, and to hit the side of the ball as well, generating ridiculous angle and spin.

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Post by lydian Thu 05 May 2016, 8:27 pm

Amazing how the tour hardly ever uses it then...maybe 5% of FHs at most and even then most are probably borderline neutral stances. It's for old school players or when the pros get their feet stuck into that stance when rushed. Sometimes Fed will use it for the in-to-out cross court FH but that's because his body needs to point diagonally from the BH side. You'll never see Nadal generate 5000 rpm from closed stance, it doesn't allow his full use of stretch shortening cycles. I don't care how many years you've watched tennis, the game has moved on and the pros use probably 60% open, 35% open/neutral and 5% closed (for very specific reasons). Open stance is used so much by the pros because of the heavy ball gains - otherwise why play it with such frequency?!?!
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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 1:10 am

lydian wrote:Amazing how the tour hardly ever uses it then...maybe 5% of FHs at most and even then most are probably borderline neutral stances. It's for old school players or when the pros get their feet stuck into that stance when rushed. Sometimes Fed will use it for the in-to-out cross court FH but that's because his body needs to point diagonally from the BH side. You'll never see Nadal generate 5000 rpm from closed stance, it doesn't allow his full use of stretch shortening cycles. I don't care how many years you've watched tennis, the game has moved on and the pros use probably 60% open, 35% open/neutral and 5% closed (for very specific reasons). Open stance is used so much by the pros because of the heavy ball gains - otherwise why play it with such frequency?!?!
Why? Would they hit open if not for power, you ignored the part then when I answered the question many times. Because it's easier to hit it on the run and recover. Also it isn't watching tennis it's my experience in the sport. Unlike some I have hit a couple of million or so forehands in my life so I have a base of experience. By the way few players get totally closed even in high level amateurs. When I say closed I am considering the half/ half turn you call neutral a closed FH. It most certainly is not a swing that can be considered an open stance. So by your own post pros hit about 40 percent of balls from a closed or partially closed stance. And I agree with that. But I would put the number around 30 or so percent.

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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 1:17 am

If you can't generate rpms on a closed stance then why do players use a closed stance for a kick serve and basically every serve. Face angle, racquet head speed, and wrist snap creates spin there is nothing about a closed stance that prevents hitting the highest levels of rpms or mphs from that stance. when you want to pop an overhead or a backhand do you hit with an open stance?

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Post by lydian Fri 06 May 2016, 12:14 pm

In which case we have been talking at cross purposes because you're now saying you're not even talking about properly closed FHs.
You've changed the goal posts!

Here are the FH stances - lets be clear....there are 4 of them.
The open stance vs. the closed stance FH conundrum?  Tennis10

In terms of %'s played for these stances, I'll break down further what I meant as lumped open/semi/neutral stances together a little.

80% open & semi
15% neutral (this is what you are probably referring to when saying half/half turn)
5% closed

Yes the 5% is for running outwide (sometimes!), approach shot moving forwards, in to out (sometimes!)...yes it gives ultimately the most power but NOT the most spin. It cant do and this is why the pros prefer open/semi/neutral.

There is no way pros are hitting 30-40% of closed/neutral stance...analyse the videos and photos in match situations. Yes they'll hit more neutrals in warming up but they aren't really in a ralley situation. In a match they go more to the semi position, then unleasing in open stance. This is the classic Federer stance...and many are similarly to him:

The open stance vs. the closed stance FH conundrum?  Fed_so10
This is perfect semi-open stance (its actually half-open & half-semi...) and you'll see him hit most of his shots this way.

BTW, closed stance kick serve is completely irrelevant to a FH - cant believe you're even mixing those 2 shots! The FH spin in open stance comes from hip rotation speed combined with wrist, etc. You don't use hips in generating power & spin for serving/smashes, you use knee bend, upwards weight transfer and core rotation (abs, back, etc) but not hip twist like an open stance FH!!! Shocked Shocked Shocked

I'm really struggling to hold this discussion with you because you're throwing in completely ridiculous examples that aren't even linked which makes me wonder how much you actually know about tennis techniques...
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Post by Guest Fri 06 May 2016, 12:57 pm

Laugh Laugh

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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 5:31 pm

lydian wrote:In which case we have been talking at cross purposes because you're now saying you're not even talking about properly closed FHs.
You've changed the goal posts!

Here are the FH stances - lets be clear....there are 4 of them.
The open stance vs. the closed stance FH conundrum?  Tennis10

In terms of %'s played for these stances, I'll break down further what I meant as lumped open/semi/neutral stances together a little.

80% open & semi
15% neutral (this is what you are probably referring to when saying half/half turn)
5% closed

Yes the 5% is for running outwide (sometimes!), approach shot moving forwards, in to out (sometimes!)...yes it gives ultimately the most power but NOT the most spin. It cant do and this is why the pros prefer open/semi/neutral.
[/b]

I'm really struggling to hold this discussion with you because you're throwing in completely ridiculous examples that aren't even linked which makes me wonder how much you actually know about tennis techniques...

Oh so now you are telling us that in CERTAIN SITUATIONS THE CLOSED STANCE PRODUCES more pace, and then you accuse me of moving the goal posts? By the way talk about moving goal posts you were the one criticized Murray for hitting a closed stance FH and not being able to hit an open stance FH and therefore injure himself. I was the first one who said there was a continuum between the two stances and that pros have to be able to hit from all of them based on the situation.

PS please don't "struggle" to continue the thread I thought we could have discussion that would be a good thread on technical aspects but I see that is impossible because any time someone questions your immutable tennis knowledge on technique you get dismissive and condescending, so lets just end the thread I don't need to be talked down to. I have spent a few thousands hours hitting tennis balls, watching tennis, reading about it, and getting coached by some great coaches. By the way when I put the question to that coach he agreed with me and not you.




you stated that (paraphrase) Open=more pace +spin than closed now you acknowledge that that in certain situations the closed will provide more pace, hmmmm could have sworn I argued the same thing last week and you opposed the idea. Again best stance for generating power and spin depends on the situation and depends on the player.


Last edited by socal1976 on Fri 06 May 2016, 5:36 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 5:33 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:Laugh Laugh

If you have nothing to add except sarcastic cheerleading and 12 year old girl emoticons, please feel free to not contribute in that instance.

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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 5:44 pm

Here is an interesting little quiz and answers are provided for you at the end:

If you want more power on your backhand do you hit it from an open or closed stance?

If you want more power on an overhead do you hit it open or closed stance?

If you want more power on a serve do you hit open or closed stance?

If you want more power on a FH drive volley do you hit it open or closed?

If you want to hit a BH drive volley with more power do you hit it open or closed?


Answer Key:

closed, closed, closed, closed

Now I wonder why it is that the FH is the only thing in the universe of sports or tennis physics where not turning your hips and shoulders to hit, throw, punch, or kick something = more power.

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Post by Guest Fri 06 May 2016, 6:09 pm

socal1976 wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:Laugh Laugh

If you have nothing to add except sarcastic cheerleading and 12 year old girl emoticons, please feel free to not contribute in that instance.

You remind me of leghorn foghorn. Just shout shout and shout like a little child when they don't get their own way.

I comment where and how I choose. I don't need permission from sir shoutalot!

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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 6:22 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:
socal1976 wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:Laugh Laugh

If you have nothing to add except sarcastic cheerleading and 12 year old girl emoticons, please feel free to not contribute in that instance.

You remind me of leghorn foghorn. Just shout shout and shout like a little child when they don't get their own way.

I comment where and how I choose. I don't need permission from sir shoutalot!

I never claimed you needed permission, I am not shouting just pointing that your sarcastic emoticon smiley was a crappy post. You can post what you like and I can think your post sucks and vice versa.


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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 6:26 pm

PS, I am not shouting in any of my posts, I may choose to caps a word or phrase or bold it to highlight and eliminate confusion. Why is it that when I do a post I am shouting, but other people who do posts that disagree with me they are not shouting right? By the way how do you shout from a keyboard anyway, just about the dumbest of your many dumb posts today.

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Post by Guest Fri 06 May 2016, 6:56 pm

Laugh Laugh 

Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

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Post by lydian Fri 06 May 2016, 6:59 pm

socal1976 wrote:Oh so now you are telling us that in CERTAIN SITUATIONS THE CLOSED STANCE PRODUCES more pace, and then you accuse me of moving the goal posts?
Socal, I never denied the close stance doesn't produce more power per se on its own. Going back earlier in the Murray thread I actually said the open stance can produce more "pace and spin"...by that I didn't mean MORE PACE and MORE SPIN, I meant the combination of both together, i.e. total energy put into the ball. You simply cant get anywhere near the level of spin from a closed stance vs. non-closed. Yes closed can generate more pace, but it comes at huge expense of spin vs. non-closed.

socal1976 wrote:...you were the one criticized Murray for hitting a closed stance FH and not being able to hit an open stance FH and therefore injure himself. I was the first one who said there was a continuum between the two stances and that pros have to be able to hit from all of them based on the situation.
I never said Murray cant hit an open-stance FH, that's pure fabrication on your part.
I actually said this...."Murray can play open stance but does so rarely, it's not his modus operandi for producing the stroke".
Which I stick by...Murray tends to play mainly halfway between semi and neutral stance. The issue I raised in the other thread is not his ACTUAL stance but the WAY he gets to it. He moves as though going to a closed stance by but then produces mainly neutral stances. This creates extra work for Murray vs the other top guys.

socal1976 wrote:PS please don't "struggle" to continue the thread I thought we could have discussion that would be a good thread on technical aspects but I see that is impossible because any time someone questions your immutable tennis knowledge on technique you get dismissive and condescending, so lets just end the thread I don't need to be talked down to. I have spent a few thousands hours hitting tennis balls, watching tennis, reading about it, and getting coached by some great coaches.
Socal, I don't care how many balls you have hit...that doesn't mean anything. Its like when you interview someone for a job and they say they have 20 years experience...but then you find its about 1 year long, repeated 20 times. You are simply categorically wrong linking closed stance FHs to close stance serves...I don't even know where to start with how wrong that is, and the fact you cant see that is somewhat bewildering, especially for someone who has hit 1000s hours hitting balls.

socal1976 wrote:By the way when I put the question to that coach he agreed with me and not you.
No. You said this about your coaches response: "Coach Alan: "Open stance easier to hit from in terms of time. Closed hits ball earlier. Power depends on the stroke. "
Seems all your coach did was state the obvious. He said power depends on the stroke not the stance! So in some respects with you insisting closed stance is more powerful he's actually not agreeing with you!
BTW, I don't agree with him and not many top pro coaches would either...the most spin comes from a non-closed stance. Every player who exemplified the more closed stance way of playing...Sampras, Henman, Rafter, etc...all played with around 1500-2000rpm. Its simply not true that closed produces more spin than open...and I don't care who your coach is.

socal1976 wrote:you stated that (paraphrase) Open=more pace +spin than closed now you acknowledge that that in certain situations the closed will provide more pace, hmmmm could have sworn I argued the same thing last week and you opposed the idea. Again best stance for generating power and spin depends on the situation and depends on the player.
This is a repeat of above so I'm not going to repeat myself!! But now you're ending on the same point that power and spin depends on the stroke and situation...make your mind up...before you were categorical it was the closed stance that was more powerful...so which is it?

I don't think you're very clear in your mind basically. You're contradicting yourself and bringing in weird serving analogies...I'm not sure there's much left to contribute here tbh.
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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 7:16 pm

lydian wrote:
socal1976 wrote:Oh so now you are telling us that in CERTAIN SITUATIONS THE CLOSED STANCE PRODUCES more pace, and then you accuse me of moving the goal posts?
Socal, I never denied the close stance doesn't produce more power per se on its own. Going back earlier in the Murray thread I actually said the open stance can produce more "pace and spin"...by that I didn't mean MORE PACE and MORE SPIN, I meant the combination of both together, i.e. total energy put into the ball. You simply cant get anywhere near the level of spin from a closed stance vs. non-closed. Yes closed can generate more pace, but it comes at huge expense of spin vs. non-closed.

socal1976 wrote:...you were the one criticized Murray for hitting a closed stance FH and not being able to hit an open stance FH and therefore injure himself. I was the first one who said there was a continuum between the two stances and that pros have to be able to hit from all of them based on the situation.
I never said Murray cant hit an open-stance FH, that's pure fabrication on your part.
I actually said this...."Murray can play open stance but does so rarely, it's not his modus operandi for producing the stroke".
Which I stick by...Murray tends to play mainly halfway between semi and neutral stance. The issue I raised in the other thread is not his ACTUAL stance but the WAY he gets to it. He moves as though going to a closed stance by but then produces mainly neutral stances. This creates extra work for Murray vs the other top guys.

socal1976 wrote:PS please don't "struggle" to continue the thread I thought we could have discussion that would be a good thread on technical aspects but I see that is impossible because any time someone questions your immutable tennis knowledge on technique you get dismissive and condescending, so lets just end the thread I don't need to be talked down to. I have spent a few thousands hours hitting tennis balls, watching tennis, reading about it, and getting coached by some great coaches.
Socal, I don't care how many balls you have hit...that doesn't mean anything. Its like when you interview someone for a job and they say they have 20 years experience...but then you find its about 1 year long, repeated 20 times. You are simply categorically wrong linking closed stance FHs to close stance serves...I don't even know where to start with how wrong that is, and the fact you cant see that is somewhat bewildering, especially for someone who has hit 1000s hours hitting balls.

socal1976 wrote:By the way when I put the question to that coach he agreed with me and not you.
No. You said this about your coaches response: "Coach Alan: "Open stance easier to hit from in terms of time. Closed hits ball earlier. Power depends on the stroke. "
Seems all your coach did was state the obvious. He said power depends on the stroke not the stance! So in some respects with you insisting closed stance is more powerful he's actually not agreeing with you!
BTW, I don't agree with him and not many top pro coaches would either...the most spin comes from a non-closed stance. Every player who exemplified the more closed stance way of playing...Sampras, Henman, Rafter, etc...all played with around 1500-2000rpm. Its simply not true that closed produces more spin than open...and I don't care who your coach is.

socal1976 wrote:you stated that (paraphrase) Open=more pace +spin than closed now you acknowledge that that in certain situations the closed will provide more pace, hmmmm could have sworn I argued the same thing last week and you opposed the idea. Again best stance for generating power and spin depends on the situation and depends on the player.
This is a repeat of above so I'm not going to repeat myself!! But now you're ending on the same point that power and spin depends on the stroke and situation...make your mind up...before you were categorical it was the closed stance that was more powerful...so which is it?

I don't think you're very clear in your mind basically. You're contradicting yourself and bringing in weird serving analogies...I'm not sure there's much left to contribute here tbh.

Lets just leave it frankly, I appreciate your time to respond but if your position is that you know what your talking about and I lack the knowledge to discuss technique with you because my experience in the game doesn't count; well then I don't see why any of my arguments or examples will be convincing to you if you operate from that assumption. Plus frankly, I don't want make you "struggle" discussing this issue on this thread. I stand by all my positions just as vehemently as you do, but I didn't have to insult your knowledge and experience to do it. Honestly, I was a bit annoyed at your tone, in fact there are things we are in agreement on and part of the problem is different terminology; but as you indicated in your lengthy response you feel put upon by this conversation, far be it from me to waste both of our times then.

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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 7:23 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:Laugh Laugh 

Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.


Can someone translate this gibberish of emoticons followed by a cliché and tell me what it means? On my planet people use words, sentences, facts, and arguments to make a point.

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Post by Guest Fri 06 May 2016, 7:39 pm

Here have a shovel...

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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 7:44 pm

Good job LK, you have graduated from sarcastic emoticons to being able to type out sentence fragments. Excellent progress but I am still going to need a translator in "Idiotonics" to tell me what it means.

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Post by Guest Fri 06 May 2016, 7:48 pm

Don't need a translator socal.

I found lydians comments to be spot on. You bring out a debate. Get challenged. Circumnavigate your argument as you do so frequently in a bid to try and come out on top. Your cr@p gets exposed and then you play the victim card.

Classic socal.

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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 7:55 pm

Yeah, bs LK and you know it, was Lydian the one telling us that closed stance generates more pace when discussing Murray's FH? Oh no he wasn't, but now he is acknowledging that a closed stance depending on the situation will give you more pace than open. Sounds like I was right on that one just like he is acknowledging it now but denying it last week. You must have a reading comprehension problem then. I didn't shift anything, I was the one who first stated that all the pros have to be able to hit from varying degrees of open/closed stances depending on the situation on the Murray FH discussion thread. You know when you were kissing his backside for giving you a wrong and overgeneralized argument. Just because you have a memory of an ant doesn't mean the rest of us do.

But Lydian needs some more sycophants who don't know crap about the game and you certainly qualify for the position.

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Post by socal1976 Fri 06 May 2016, 8:00 pm

PS I don't need to play the victim card, lets dance.

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Post by lydian Sat 07 May 2016, 7:01 am

socal1976 wrote:I was the one who first stated that all the pros have to be able to hit from varying degrees of open/closed stances depending on the situation on the Murray FH discussion thread. You know when you were kissing his backside for giving you a wrong and overgeneralized argument. Just because you have a memory of an ant doesn't mean the rest of us do.

But Lydian needs some more sycophants who don't know crap about the game and you certainly qualify for the position.

Like I didnt know pros hit differing FHs in differing situations...and there was me thinking it was one size fits all. For the 2nd time, I didnt say a closed stance cant generate more power, I said an open stance can generate a heavier ball. There is a subtle difference if you care to open your mind.

Yes you know a fair amount about the game socal but I find you tend to take a position and then backfill it with various spurious notions, eg. throwing in the simply ridiculous serve analogy for which any coach would laugh you out of town for. That alone invalidated your credibility in this specific discussion. But instead of trying to further explain your idea (which I guess was going to be hard!) you instead choose to make a broader insult of calling anyone who doesnt agree with you a sycophant to the person rebuffing your argument. But hey ho, on the other thread you said you dont care for other peoples opinions so maybe this stance...pun fully intended...is to be expected.

LK is most certainly not a sycophant and I dont care, to use your parlance, for them either...well thought through, non repetitive, fact based linear arguments will do just fine...pretty please Wink
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Post by socal1976 Sat 07 May 2016, 7:27 am

Lydian, again you don't really open your mind to my arguments.

One issue that is causing confusion is terminology. A partially open or neutral stance you posted and talk about is what I was taught as squaring up. The feet remain in a similar position to the open but you get a bit more rotation of the hips and upper body. I understand all those stances you show, and I hit from all of them with pretty good technique, I have just always considered the neutral/semi as a semi-closed or half turn forehand so to speak and you have been calling it a a neutral or semi-open. So that is part of the confusion here, just one of terminology.

Here is the argument

1. hitting open on every forehand has a cumulative effect of saving time from shot to shot and can dramatically improve your movement on the FH side, thus you still have an incentive that isn't power related to hit open even from the center of the court, you will still have a step more in time which may allow you to be offensive on the next ball

2. I agree that in most instances on the tour that the medium to high ball is easier to generate spin, not mph with an OPEN STANCE. So I am with you there.

3. But in certain situation the CLOSED STANCE (ie hip down ball or medium to low FH, or approach shots, inside in and inside out shots on central ball) in these circumstances the ideal stance that will give you more power and penetration. Net power when you talk (MPH multiplied by spin) the more closed you can get on the spectrum of stances will give you more net power. Basically, on the balls that you have time, are medium to medium low, and or are stepping into the court on anyway like approach shots the optimum stance in terms of net power and penetration is closed.

4. I agree the vast majority of FHs on distribution are much more in the open end of the spectrum than closed, a much high percentage. I just disagree on the reason. The reason is the pros see more high balls, and they get a net benefit of time in set up and recovery on every following ball if they hit more open more often. And the open is more optimum for higher bouncing shots they will see more of any way.

5. Why is movement so crucial to the FH side in the modern game? Let us remember that Nadal a guy who hits almost every FH in a very open stance, out on the tour is also the guy who is the most aggressive running around the FH. If you can hit open more comfortably you will also be able to more aggressively run around the FH and still cover all that massive space a player like Nadal leaves on that side. Do you think even if Nadal wanted to hit a closed FH, he would be able to run around as much or as effectively he kept getting closed

These are all non power related reasons for why open is preferred in most situtations by the vast majority of pros.


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Post by socal1976 Sat 07 May 2016, 7:32 am

By the way you keep pointing out the serving analogy as why I lose credibility,  and conveniently ignoring all the other aspects of tennis where in every other type of driving shot where you need power you go closed. It isn't just the serve that closed produces superior pace and power with, also the overhead, the drive volley, and the backhand. Therefore it is a fair critique of your logic to ask why it is that in every other driven tennis shot the physics favors a closed stance and your argument is that you get more net power with an open stance, and that is only true for the FH. My point again being is that the open is favored because of the factors I discussed above that has nothing to do with power and is a function of time savings in set up and recovery.

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Post by socal1976 Sat 07 May 2016, 2:35 pm

PS although I do concede and actually its not really a concession, I agreed from beginning just didn't directly get as specific with the point  that the open stance will produce more weight on the mid to high FH, where the closed as a general rule when MOVING UP OR ON A LOWER BALL is the ideal stance for the most net power ( mph or kph X rotational or spin power=total net power)So yes on certain balls you are right the open does produce more net power with a combination of the added weight, those balls are typically higher balls or when pulled wide. But the reason for the change of course is that one the higher ball and handling it is more important for the modern game, most importantly you save time in movement throughout the rallies.

But again it is situational and more complicated which stance leads to highest net power on a particular ball most of the advantages are not really a power generation issue but a time issue. Also remember the new racquets allow more easy power on the FH, so a top pro may even use an open even if he hits with a little less power than with a closed because of the net time savings in rallies and of course it is better to control and hit high balls with it.

THE CRUCIAL THING IS THAT ONE STANCE IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS WILL GIVE YOU MORE POWER THE OTHER STANCE IN OTHER SITUATIONS. But the open always is easier to execute in terms of time, this time savings especially in light of how much the players run around bhs is the big deal.

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Post by lydian Sun 08 May 2016, 10:26 pm

Fair enough socal...on terminology.

I still don't buy the reason why pros use the open stance is to hit higher balls. Federer uses it a lot on regulation ralleys on HC...not particularly high bouncing there. You need to read more about the use of SSCs and how you cant do that in a closed stance. Tennis is a game of power and control...spin gives you control and that's what the pros need to control their power. So they can control shots better from open stance. Closed shots have less spin (which is one reason why they travel faster...move straight line than rotational speed). To be honest, the areas you use a closed stance FH in are limited...so its a somewhat moot argument.

No-one would serve in open stance...you cant pronate properly or get the same back arch into the trophy pose...its not linked to the way a FH benefits from close stance. Its fundamentally different action to hitting a groundstroke. Sure you can hit groundstrokes quicker from close stance (that's why it developed before the open stance, surfaces used to be quicker) but the pros can hit quickly from an open stance these days too...and as mentioned they seek to have better control of the ball at all times now due to the level of power in the game. Open stances give better control and allow more overall energy to go back into the ball. If this wasn't the case they simply wouldn't predominate with this type od stance. Ockham's Razor...

I think we agree on many areas inc. variation of stances needed. Where we differ is on origins of why certain stances are needed/used, and the height of the ball used in these stance. Yes closed is for low balls and pulled out wide when you have to run to the ball sideways...but for every normal regulation surface/ralley you'll find its mainly open/semi-open stance used...not to deal with high balls but to impart more spin as, again, that is what gives the pros more CONTROL.

Good discussion...anyway the fact remains that Murray tends to make life harder for himself by adding an extra unnecessary step into his neutral FHs by turning sideways and moving his left leg into the shot much more than needed. However, he's so fast that he's able to make it work by and large. Anyway, I'm sure he's been working on cutting out this step by refining his lateral footwork. His comments yesterday somewhat allude to this.
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Post by socal1976 Sun 08 May 2016, 10:58 pm

lydian wrote:Fair enough socal...on terminology.

I still don't buy the reason why pros use the open stance is to hit higher balls. Federer uses it a lot on regulation ralleys on HC...not particularly high bouncing there. You need to read more about the use of SSCs and how you cant do that in a closed stance.

No I agree it allows the pros to hit with a more spin and power on the medium to high ball. I just want to clarify that first off so you don't think I am disagreeing or arguing.

And secondly, the principal reason I am putting forward is not that it is easier to handle the high ball, it is easier to handle the high ball and to put spin on the ball with an open. (If the ball is from medium to high height) However, my main point is that the open is used and preferred because of its benefits in setup and recovery. The preference for open is for multiple factors with a more open stance you get these benefits: 1. time savings in set up and recovery
2. more spin and power on the medium to high ball 3. also you actually see the ball better because you are facing the ball and not looking at it through the side of your field of vision. My argument is that while all of these things are a factor as to why the Open stances are preferred the most important one is the time savings. Why? because an ATP tour player can generate huge power and spin off of either stance, but on each and every forehand he hits in open he saves a half step in set up and half step in recovery. Not just on balls pulled wide even on balls in more central positions you are still saving a half step each and every time, and this time savings adds up.


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Post by socal1976 Sun 08 May 2016, 11:03 pm

Lydian here is a thought exercise I want you to play to see why it is the time savings is so crucial to lets say Nadal a guy famous for his open stances.

Lets say Nadal wanted to hit from a closed stance forehand, do you think he could run around his backhand half as much with a closed stance as he can with an open?


Rafael Nadal can generate both pace and power at really high levels off of both stances. But he will have no chance of moving around and turning so many backhands into forehands with the use of closed stance. So it is the time and not the extra power that he is after with the open stance. Power isn't an issue for Nadal, but time almost always is. He could probably generate a powerful from a tweener stance, what makes you think he can't do it from a closed stance, but he won't be hitting 90 percent of his groundies with a FH if he goes closed the ratio might go down to 60 or 65 percent with the added time taken from his movement with a closed stance.

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Post by socal1976 Sun 08 May 2016, 11:22 pm

lydian wrote:

Good discussion...anyway the fact remains that Murray tends to make life harder for himself by adding an extra unnecessary step into his neutral FHs by turning sideways and moving his left leg into the shot much more than needed. However, he's so fast that he's able to make it work by and large. Anyway, I'm sure he's been working on cutting out this step by refining his lateral footwork. His comments yesterday somewhat allude to this.

Here now I will give you credit for something. I never even paid attention to Murray's stance for the wide FH, but a number of times today I saw that he did just as you say by getting closed on FHs that he had no business hitting in a closed stance. His movement to his FH corner is not as good as it is to the BH corner precisely because of the stance issues he has in the FH. Not only this Novak knows it and it was one of the main things he was exposing in his rallies, the difficulty Murray has in both getting to a shot in his FH corner, AND CRUCIALLY RECOVERING to the opposite corner.

Djokovic would continually give Murray first a down the line to Murray's FH, gets Murray off balance and scramble with a FH pulled wide, then knowing Murray would have trouble getting out of that FH corner recovery wise and regaining his balance he would hit every response from Murray now into Murray's BH corner. I don't know how many times Novak kept doing this sequence of giving Murray a FH, BH, FH, BH. He would pull Murray wide and then make him sprint to the other side knowing that because Murray doesn't recover well from chasing a ball into a FH corner he is basically done after that, a puppet chasing on a string always falling behind in time. Plus since Novak takes the ball earlier and changes direction better he can exponentially exploit Murray's poor movement, balance, and recovery on the FH side. It is exactly the playbook for a player who has a movement problem, you make him hit FH wide, then you pull him as far as you can to the other side into the opposite, and repeat this pattern till court opens up to either hit behind him or into the open court.

In effect he isn't picking on Murray's FH or BH per se but picking at his ability to move, prepare, and recover out of that shot and not fall behind in the rally. Murray always looks like he is hurried and desperate for time in most of their rallies and I think this is the reason, poor movement and recovery when pulled wide on the FH mainly from the stance issues you highlighted (too many closed FHs from inappropriate positions)

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Post by lydian Sun 08 May 2016, 11:26 pm

I agree open is quicker to get into because the feet don't have to move as much, it's just a simple shoulder unit turn. However, most ralleys are pretty regulation, the pros have time to get into neutral/semi closed but they choose not to. So I don't really agree, lol, that's why they choose open. Otherwise think we agree on overall benefits of open stance, it's the combined level of power and spin we disagree on and their primary driver of the stroke.

Sure re Nadal but the open stance suits his high spin game. Murray plays a lot of neutral shots vs Nadal...and likes to hit in to out FHs too...so why doesn't he play open stance more like Nadal does if saving time was the primary stance driver? I agree though it's an important factor, just not the overriding one. I think the pros choose the stance that best suits their level of power/spin (or rather vice-versa in some cases I suspect).
Good discussion.
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Post by lydian Sun 08 May 2016, 11:32 pm

Good obvs on Murray - I told you that is his main technical issue, good to hear you saw it today Smile
Yep his FH movement just isn't as good for sure and it costs him time and again...it's only his ridiculously fast speed that gets him out of trouble. If he had the innate FH footwork of the other top 3 he'd be a serious #1 contender for sure. I also think the explosive changes of movement he needs to recover from FH will also strain his body vs the fluidity of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. Djokovic looks like a ballerina in comparison!
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Post by socal1976 Sun 08 May 2016, 11:39 pm

Yes very good discussion. We don't disagree about the benefits of the various stances but, I just think the driving factor is the time savings. Especially in long rallies the cumulative time savings is huge, or could be in a 10 -20 shot rally. I think the stance preference is driven by the time savings in recovery and you think it is for that last bit of extra spin you get on a medium to high ball.

One reason I do think that even in a routine rally like you say when time isn't a factor players go open, when they conceivably could go closed and not lose much in recovery is habit. Once a player gets more comfortable and hits more frequently from an open he likes doing less work with his feet and running less. No player likes to run more and work harder, and in a high end rally when you are running down and producing big shots in rapid succession you feel every step.

In fact a lazy player, as most players are will naturally revert to some grab ass open stance type shot on his own without even knowing what a stance is or why he is using it, why because after trial and error he will figure out if he doesn't keep turning his body he will have to do less work in the rally. My coaches were always yelling at me as a kid to get turned your aren't moving your feet. Well because as training wore on and I wanted to work less hard, I just developed my own open stance FH when it wasn't in vogue with the coaches and they were adamant to drill it out of me. Little did they know 25 years later everybody would hit with socal's lazy man FH.

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Post by lydian Sun 08 May 2016, 11:44 pm

You were a trailblazer socal Wink
Amazing though how coaching times change...it's been a massive overhaul in technique these past 20 years...makes you wonder what could change in the next 20?
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Post by socal1976 Sun 08 May 2016, 11:50 pm

Yeah that is what I mean Lydian. I mean at 10 or 11 I didn't think I am going to save time or increase my spin with an open stance, if you play enough and you want to minimize your effort you figure out that open = less running. I can still here my coach yelling at me "TURN!" over and over again, now they yell "don't TURN!". I keep trying to convince these guys of my pioneering quality so thanks for that.

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