Watching the pro’s there always looks like there is a world of difference to local club or recreational tennis.
There are many differences: the power of the shots, the speed of the ball, the agility of the players, the tactics, the type of shots played and the mentality being used.
Many of these aspects are hard for you to pick up in your coaching sessions. A part time club player will never be as fit as a full-time professional, but you could work on your technique to develop your shot selection for instance.
A big difference between the amateur and the professional is the use of topspin.
What Is Topspin?
Topspin is the description for forward rotation of the tennis ball. Obviously the ball can rotate forwards, backwards and sideways. For instance when hitting slice shots usually the ball spins backwards or sideways. But with topspin shots from the baseline the ball usually rotates just forward.
Topspin is created very simply through the racket strings brushing up against the back of the ball.
This motion should be straight up and down in order to develop true topspin. Observing the pro’s you will see that around the contact the racket almost always moves straight up the back of the ball and also forward depending on what type of ball they are hitting.
Is Topspin Always Better
Contrary to what many people believe more topspin is not always better! Most pro’s hit with topspin and amateurs need to work on this part of their game.
Using topspin there is always a trade-off between spin and speed. The more spin, the less speed and the ball will not generally penetrate to the back of the court.
A balance needs to be found, and depending on your tactics shot selection is key.
Men vs Women
In the professional game men usually use topspin more often than women. This is simply for the reason that the ladies find it harder to generate the fierce topspin than their male counterparts, and when they try to the ball often just simply sits up.
The analysis between men and women was to highlight a point, “Is it better to use topspin or not?” This all boils down to the fact if the shot can be accurately delivered. In general, recreational players are better using moderate amounts of topspin in their game, and it rather depends on the opponent.
Club players, male and female, tend to like hitting the ball through the court. This way they keep their opponent at the back of the court in a defensive position, and it also help to eliminate errors by giving them more time for the return.
The best advice is to try and perfect topspin in your game, this will then give you the option of using it when the occasion arises. It is always good to have as many tools in your box to select from.