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Spinning Tops For Kids Question

Chris asks…

How many different types of spin are common for forehands and backhands?

I have only heard of top spin. What other kids of “spin” exist?

scottparat answers:

Here are the common ways to hit groundstrokes (forehand and backhand)

1. Flat: This is the most powerful shot where the ball has no spin on it. It flies through the air fast and in whatever direction your racket head is pointed. The advantage is that it often puts your opponent on the defensive and can hit clean winners easily. The disadvantage is that it is an inconsistent shot that is very easy to “net” or go out of bounds.

2. Topspin: This is a shot that puts forward spin on the ball and is usually the safe shot for most players. After the ball hits the ground, it will launch forwards (in the same direction) if it has topspin on it. The advantage to using topspin is that it creates a higher arc over the net and it also forces the ball to curve downwards into the court, making it much more consistent than a flat shot. The disadvantage is that it is a slower ball and easier for the opponent to get to. But players that have an extremely “heavy” topspin (more rotation on the ball) push their opponents further back and make it difficult for them to attack the ball.

3. Slice: A slice puts “backspin” on the ball (the opposite of topspin) and causes the ball to stay very low and float slowly back over to the other side. After it hits the ground, the forwards motion on the ball “dies”. This shot is used mostly as a defensive shot to get back into position, or as a changeup shot to change the pace of the ball. Opponents often have difficulty responding to the change in pace and backspin and make unforced errors when trying to attack it. Slice is more common on the backhand side and few players use it on the forehand. A forehand slice is also called a “squash shot”. The disadvantage of slice is that the slowness of the ball gives the opponent time to attack it.

Those are the 3 basic spin varieties when hitting groundstorkes. Here are more spin shots:

4. Sidespin: This spin causes a regular topspin or slice shot to curve off to the left (for a right-handed player) or curve to the right (for a left-handed player) while in flight. The ball also jumps/skids in that same direction after it hits the ground making it very difficult for an opponent to do anything with it. However, this type of shot is extremely difficult to master even for professional players!

5. Dropshot: A dropshot is basically a very short slice with an extreme amount of backspin on the ball. It can be hit off the forehand or backhand (though it is generally easier to disguise the shot when hit off the backhand). Ideally, the ball drops just on the other side of the net while the opponent is at the baseline. If it’s a good dropshot, the opponent won’t be able to run up to it before it bounces twice, or if they do get to it, they won’t be able to control the next shot. If it’s a bad dropshot, your opponent will have plenty of time to hit a clean winner.

6. Topspin Lob: A lob shot is one that goes straight up into the air and falls back on the other side after it drops. An offensive lob is designed to sail over an opponents head (usually when they are close to the net), while a defensive lob is used to keep the ball in play and give you time to get back to the center of the court. Most lobs are hit with topspin (to increase the chances of them dropping within bounds). A flat lob is much more risky and often used purely defensively, while a slice lob “disguises” the shot from the opponent but is extremely difficult for players to master.

Paul asks…

How effective is a flying spin kick?

If I jumped and spin in the air with one of my feet hitting a target? I saw a YouTube like video where a kid spin kicked his friend and knocked him on his a s s by hitting him accidentally on the head. It just seems too over-the-top and unnecesary move but I can’t believe it works. Do people usually aim for the head or the body when attempting this and is it more of a pushing force?

scottparat answers:

In a real fight, it wouldn’t be very effective. First, it requires hours of practice to be able to successfully hit a target with a kick like that. Like you saw in the video, the kid knocked out his friend by missing his target. Second, although kicks while airborne look cool, they generally deliver less force than a simpler kick. This isn’t to say it wouldn’t do significant damage if it were to be landed. A solid kick to the head will usually end a fight. And yes. The purpose of a jumping kick is usually to hit an area the person can’t reach on their feet, although there are exceptions.

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