counter loop drives with power

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Lon S
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Joined: 08/22/2011

I have noticed that in counter driving topspin repeatedly , a "shootout" contest of sorts, my third or fourth return will often go long.  I am talking about an effort to return with maximum power or increasing power with each contact.   If I consciously control the rally with a hard hit followed by a softer loop drive, then the rally can continue for several more shots  until someone makes a mistake. 

My question is whether this is a function of the physics of escalating power/speed that requires more and more subtle alterations in blade angle?  Or is it a matter of bottoming out the rubber/sponge and could be remedied with a harder and thicker sponge?  Or is the solution mostly tactical where one avoids overhitting by consiously reducing the speed of these shootouts?

Lon S
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Joined: 08/22/2011
Re: counter loop drives with power

Thanks Larry. I will try to assess how the backswing might be affecting these fast loop drive rallys during today's practice!

Larry Hodges
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: counter loop drives with power

It depends on the level. The higher the level, the faster players can rally without overhitting. If you are forcing the shot (i.e. there's any strain), then you are overhitting. Of course many players cannot rally at a fast level because of poor technique. For example, in this morning's blog I wrote about how most top players bring their arm in on the forehand backswing to increase the quickness of the backswing, which leads to faster rallying ability. 

Lon S
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Joined: 08/22/2011
Re: counter loop drives with power

So, I am wondering if you are suggesting that a "maximum" force rally is always overhitting, and one should practice to grove a lower intensity shot into muscle memory?

Larry Hodges
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Re: counter loop drives with power

If you are hitting the ball harder each time, then of course the ball will tend to go off the end unless you close your racket angle or aim lower with your stroke, or some combination. However, one thing that jumps out to me from your posting is you mention consciously controlling the shots. That's a big problem - rallies are too fast to do that, and it is your subconscious (i.e. muscle memory, which is what you train to learn) that shold control the shots. You likely are missing because you are trying to consciously control the shot instead of letting muscle memory work.