Hitting off centre of the sweetspot for greater crisp repulsion

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by visor, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    I'm sure this has been mentioned sometime in the past, but it's something I've recently noticed and worth mentioning again.

    Lately I've been experimenting with making my forehand pronation and backhand supination more explosive in drives, clears and smashes, and I've experienced greater crisp repulsion by hitting it just off to the side of the sweetspot that's accelerating the fastest into the shot.

    What do I mean by that?

    [​IMG]

    Looking at the picture above, we know that the general sweetspot is the centre of the racket represented by the gray oval area. But the blue upper area of that oval generates more power and speed simply due to greater leverage. We can often see pro players consistently hitting with this upper blue area in slow motion replays of smashes and drives. (see video update below)

    What I've noticed is that in addition to that, you can generate even more power by choosing to hit 2-4 cm off to the side of the centre of that blue area (marked by the red X's) that is accelerating the fastest into the shot.

    So if you're smashing or driving forehand, you'd want to hit with the red X that's higher or closest to you because it will pronate fastest into the shot. For backhand drive and supination, it would also be the same concept by hitting with the red X that's higher or closest to you as that would supinate fastest into the shot.

    I'm sure some of you are already doing this subconsciously, but for those who are not aware, give this a try and let me know. But you have to be intentionally explosive with the pronation and supination. And I promise there is no mysterious ratio system involved and no charge to try.

    Video update of smashes and drives in slow motion. You can see the offset contact point I'm referring to.



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    #1 visor, Aug 2, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
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  2. Ch1k0

    Ch1k0 Regular Member

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    Interesting. Shall experiment with it on my easy game on Saturday

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  3. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Word of warning though, don't blame me if you break your strings prematurely from mishits...

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  4. Ch1k0

    Ch1k0 Regular Member

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    Perish the thought bro. I don't break strings.

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  5. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    Interesting observation. I have always noticed that especially in drive shots, sometimes the shuttle seems to get kind of a turbo boost without doing anything special. I will definitely have a go and try to hit more towards the top-end sweet spot. And since I won't be on an actual court for the next 4 weeks (stupid summer break...), I will first of all have a go with some good old wall hitting. Thinking about it, it makes total sense - the higher stringbed stiffness in that area combined with a bigger lever effect could be a reasonable explanation for the effect.

    I remember how much I was able to improve my serves with shifting the hitting zone towards the top/side of the frame. Sadly, it will be much more complicated to consistently hit the "extra-sweet spot" with a flying shuttle. :confused:
     
  6. R20190

    R20190 Regular Member

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    I follow your theory but I am a little sceptical about the overall benefits this will have. Yes the side of the racquet face nearest your body will be rotating more and therefore be at a faster speed than the centre. But this is loading the racquet eccentrically which not only results in the frame and shaft having to resist the torsion momentarily, the shaft will also be undergoing combined torsion and bending which is probably losing you a bit of power in doing so. Also as off-centre shots twists the face of the racquet, causing it to wobble, it is perhaps less accurate/consistent although this will be less noticeable on more head heavy and stiffer racquets.

    To be honest, I don't think in the heat of a fast paced doubles game I would be able to precisely hit the shuttle accurately to 2-4cm precision, so if there were any benefits I don't think I could utilise it as I would be happy just to get clean hits. In singles you will probably have more time to hit shots precisely, but you don't generally need full power for singles.

    Your point about the upper part of the sweet spot being the most powerful is something I had noticed as a kid and have always tried to exploit even though I didn't know why at the time. And as I progressed further I found myself naturally attracted to racquets which had a "high" sweetspot. MP99/100, Ti10, Arc8DX etc... I remember when the Arc10 came out, everyone was raving about how good it was but I just couldn't use it, any shots in that blue zone in your diagram felt absolutely awful. But in contrast when I was introduced to the bravewords or meteors at the time, it was a like night and day. So much better.
     
  7. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    I don't hit off to the side, but I do aim for the upper sweetspot area.

    This is something I was consistently taught.
     
  8. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    Certainly an interesting observation - I don't know well enough where I hit the shuttle to know how it differs for me for different shots. But I do think your "sweet spot" is generous :) I would have drawn it as a small circle, approximately where your shaded blue area is at the tip of the arrow you drew: it would only be a few strings in diameter i.e. a lot smaller than you drew yours! But I grew up with an oval shaped racket with tight strings - it had a very small sweet spot by comparison to my current racket.

    For those wondering how to actually play around with this: the beauty is you don't have to try too hard to hit it slightly differently for different shots! You will do it naturally once you have experienced something better. So you just need to play around with it a little bit in training, until you experienced what "better" feels like, and then you just need to focus on the new "better" feeling.

    How to make an adjustment? Choose a shot and play around with the timing of the swing: swing forwards earlier or later, swing more explosively or less explosively, reach further or less far etc etc. You could try to hit a different area of the strings if you are so inclined. Give it a go, and you will likely (hopefully!) experience a crisper contact on some types of shots with certain types of swing. The most important thing is you remember how that contact feels, now just play around until you get the correct feeling. Simple - you now know how it feels and are highly likely to use it in games and training, or at least know that you want it to feel that way in games or training.

    Thats the beauty of learning or refining technique: whilst the details change the way the technique feels, you don't need to actually worry about them to get it - you just need to experience and feel what is "correct" once, and then your goal becomes to reproduce that feeling and you don't need to worry about the details.
     
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  9. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    Is there a way to join your W. Timothy Gallwey cult? :)
     
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  10. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    That's a good question. Maybe I should invent a fee for joining? My comments nowadays are less based on having read a book once and more on what works in practice for me and my students... I have improved so much as a result of experimentation and pushing my boundaries. I just wish I could spend more hours practicing!
     
  11. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    That's exactly the thing why that specific book is so special - so many theoretical things in there are working so well in reality and make you a better person (well... player...). And isn't that the basis of all religions out there? Your chance to become the charismatic Guru that shovels in the money now! :p
     
  12. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    That's why more explosive swings require stiffer and more stable rackets. Stable as in torsionally stable to resist twisting on harsh pronation and supination. In some of the slow mo smash compilation videos, you can see how the pros hit with severe pronation and supination and the racket shaft and head doesn't distort much.

    Sure you can. With a small sweetspot from tight thin strings, it'll force you to learn to hit precisely.

    Interesting, that may be why the JS10 works so well.



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  13. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Lol, I didn't make that picture, took it off an old post. Yeah, the white oval should only be about 6x8 cm size with reasonable tension.

    The good thing about using strings with great feedback like BG80 or GT5, is that it allows you to immediately and constantly feel with every shot how good your contact point is in terms of efficiency (ie. power input vs output), effectiveness, direction, contact point etc.

    And with that instantaneous feedback, that's when the refining and adjustments can be made as you drill hundreds of times to get a better and better feeling contact point. That's how I noticed this eccentric effect.

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    #13 visor, Aug 3, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  14. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    Exactly! Simples! BG66UM for me :)
     
  15. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    I'll look for some of those slow motion smash compilations and try to slow them down even more to show you what the pros are already doing hitting eccentrically, but are too fast for the eye to see.

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  16. R20190

    R20190 Regular Member

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    I'm sure you will be able to find examples of this but what isn't certain is whether it was intentional or not and if it was, whether there is actually any real benefit.

    The only time I would hit off centre intentionally is when I serve or slice. Otherwise I will aim to hit it cleanly, ideally near the centre.

    Just out of interest, (genuine question) how much more power do you believe you are getting from this?
     
  17. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Not significantly much more power, but easier more accessible power. Especially for short sharp actions like drives, smash returns. Just like finger power, pronation etc, every little bit helps right? The shuttle comes off the stringbed noticeably faster and crisper.

    The first few times I accidentally did it, I stared at my racket and wondered wth happened... And then I started to gradually intentionally hit like that. When there's time to line up for a full body smash with shoulder input, add that offset along with finger power and pronation and it would feel like you hit the turbo button somewhere. @s_mair

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    #17 visor, Aug 3, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  18. cn1766

    cn1766 Regular Member

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    check you the training video @ 6:07 Cai Yun talks about the sweet spot
     
  19. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Yep, that's a good one with FHF smashing. At 18:12, here's a screen cap showing his contact point.

    It's definitely off centre, at the X mark I mentioned that is closest to him. Remember, he's a pro. And the producer probably had many takes to choose from. That eccentric contact point is not accidental... it is very much intentional.

    [​IMG]

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    #19 visor, Aug 3, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  20. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    And here's another of FHF flipped around to show as right handed in super slow mo. Again contact point is offset towards him.



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