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View Full Version : how do those skinny Russian chicks hit the ball so hard?


tennischick
May 28th, 2004, 03:15 AM
i am asking this seriously as a player myself.

it seems to me that we Americans seem to believe that the solution is to muscle up. Serena, Capriati, Venus (slim but muscled), nd Meghan (who for a while there was so muscled she started looking like a mutant).

contrast them with the majority of the Russian chicks don't use this approach. for the most part they remain rather skinny -- even frail-looking in some cases. i'm thinking of Kirilenko (who challenged Serena today), Sharapova, Myskina, et al.

what have they figured out about how to produce big shots without putting on big muscular bulk? and please don't answer by pointing out the Americans who have not muscled or the Russians who have bec that does not answer my question. thanks. ;)

- L i n a -
May 28th, 2004, 03:17 AM
Bovina hits it harder than all of them probably, and she's a stick.

I don't know how they do it.

Knizzle
May 28th, 2004, 03:18 AM
The majority of power comes from timing. Not muscles. Jen, Serena, Davenport and Venus have great timing on their big swings. Davenport is not that muscled.

tennischick
May 28th, 2004, 03:28 AM
Davenport is not that muscled.you couldn't resist could you? :devil:

- L i n a -
May 28th, 2004, 03:29 AM
The majority of power comes from timing. Not muscles. Jen, Serena, Davenport and Venus have great timing on their big swings. Davenport is not that muscled.
I don't know if that's true... Bovina mishits nearly all her shots :p

esquímaux
May 28th, 2004, 03:38 AM
I agree with the timing. Also they are incredible flat (no pun intended :p) on their groundstrokes. Kirilenko also had her Yonex taped up with lead tape at 3 and 9 o'clock, but like Knizzle said, timing is the most important factor :)

WtaTour4Ever
May 28th, 2004, 03:38 AM
Must have missed the Serena match, b/c one of the guys was commenting on this, and even repeated it for the players at home, that power is generated in TIMING!!

LindsayRocks89
May 28th, 2004, 03:43 AM
Davenport has plenty of muscle, and i hope thats all we're suggesting, i was confused about what you guys were talking about, well yeah its about timing.

- L i n a -
May 28th, 2004, 03:44 AM
Bovina has poor timing. So, it's not the case.

tennischick
May 28th, 2004, 03:52 AM
Must have missed the Serena match, b/c one of the guys was commenting on this, and even repeated it for the players at home, that power is generated in TIMING!!yeah i'm only now watching the tape and you're right, Cliff Drysdale emphasises that power is all about timing.

in which case can someone explain to me what was Meghan Shaugnessy trying to accomplish? or any of the other muscled babes? does having extra muscle give you some kind of advantage that Cliff forgot to mention? :confused:

fammmmedspin
May 28th, 2004, 04:15 AM
Skill.:worship:

Its interesting that the US top players now look like the stereotypical Russian shotputters and many of the Russians look like US movie stars.

Eurotennisfan
May 28th, 2004, 04:17 AM
you can hit a powerful shot in three ways...

1.Muscle (american women)
2.Putting your whole body behind a shot (Justine)
3.timing (Russians, Hantuchova (post mental melt-down), Davenport

Nobody's Perfecc
May 28th, 2004, 04:27 AM
in which case can someone explain to me what was Meghan Shaugnessy trying to accomplish? or any of the other muscled babes? does having extra muscle give you some kind of advantage that Cliff forgot to mention? :confused:
Didn't you know? Muscles intimidate your puny, stick-figured opponents to submission. :p

ys
May 28th, 2004, 04:27 AM
Power != muscles. Power in tennis is not measured with how much weight can you lift. It is measured with how fast you can move your racket head at the right time. And that is biomechanics, flexibility, hand-eye coordination, putting your weight behind the shot and only then muscles.

In men's tennis, do you really think that that would be the weightlifters, not skinny Ivanisevic,Sampras or Kafelnikov who would hit the ball hardest? Any muscled men players? Agassi is as muscled as it gets on ATP these days. I guess, that's for the reason.

Knizzle
May 28th, 2004, 04:44 AM
Muscle can probably add control because you can absorb the opponents powerful shots.

tennischick
May 28th, 2004, 04:54 AM
Muscle can probably add control because you can absorb the opponents powerful shots.i don't get this. players who control the ball better are the most muscled? i dont think so...:o

Knizzle
May 28th, 2004, 06:10 AM
i don't get this. players who control the ball better are the most muscled? i dont think so...:o
I meant control of the power.

"Topaz"
May 28th, 2004, 06:12 AM
Timing doesn't generate power. Power comes from racket head movement and the big change of momentum impacted to the ball at the time of impact. The greater the momentum (mv, ie, mass x velocity) the larger the amount of energy transferred to the ball.

- You could swing the racket like a swatter, thereby involving mostly your arm with the risk of having a great deal of the reaction taken up by your arm alone.

- Or, you could hold your arm somewhat steady and twist your whole body to transfer a higher mv (mass x velocity) to the ball, with the whole body now taking up the reaction.

The latter method not only generates more power but also is safer, ie less injury prone. The big rub is how to engage your body when a ball is coming at you at 150 km/hr. That's where timing comes in. It's not a separate ingredient, but part and parcel of the execution of the shot. You first teach the student how to twist/involve the whole body, then you concentrate on timing, which begins with footing and racket head preparation, then the uncoiling, then the impact. It's a real marvel when, in a second or less, the whole operation is executed and the ball takes off on a path tangential to the circle traveled by the racket head. Maximum power has been transferred and a score is under way.

That’s what the Russian girls do to perfection. Justine, of course, is the study (ie, the model). Why don’t the American girls do it, one may ask? Actually they do. The way the sisters, Jen and Davey hit the ball, there is no way they could stay out there for one or two hours if they were using all arms. Why do you think Venus pulled her abdominal muscles during a shot? It’s exactly because she was engaging her whole body. The different results we’re seeing come from different methods and different degrees of coiling and uncoiling. Some do just a partial coil/uncoil; the Justines of the world do a total (ie, maximum) one. BTW, nobody does it shots after shots.

That's my little contribution, Tennischick. :angel:

mandy7
May 28th, 2004, 06:16 AM
wow, so if you're not too fat for your size s outfit, you're skinny?
i used to think that you just look good :confused:

"Topaz"
May 28th, 2004, 06:23 AM
mandy7, :smash:

:topic:

mandy7
May 28th, 2004, 06:34 AM
okay.. serious answer then? :)
cause they train hard, and practice makes perfect
don't need complicate theories to know that ;)

Tarassik
May 28th, 2004, 07:27 AM
Physics : :confused:

Force = mass*acceleration :nerner:

You get compensation of mass (weight) with acceleration.

End of the story ? :scratch:

Iroda_Fan
May 28th, 2004, 08:09 AM
I agree with the timing. Also they are incredible flat (no pun intended :p) on their groundstrokes. Kirilenko also had her Yonex taped up with lead tape at 3 and 9 o'clock, but like Knizzle said, timing is the most important factor :)

Maria's racquet does not have lead tape, the racquet just comes like that
take a look.

http://av.tennis-warehouse.com/big/RDX3-big.jpg

salima
May 28th, 2004, 08:50 AM
Skill.:worship:

Its interesting that the US top players now look like the stereotypical Russian shotputters and many of the Russians look like US movie stars.

good point.

it is known from all sports, that if you can include biger part of your body into the movement, the strain on each muscle is smaller, and the power of the movement gets stronger. a drawback is that you have to be fiter to maintain the teqnik over a period (match or race or performance).

To L I N A: Bovina is tall and slender, compared to her Kirilenko is a tiny tryasoguzka (sorry don´t know the english name of this little bird)
;)

ninedays
May 28th, 2004, 10:12 AM
magic :worship: they are supergirls :D

volta
May 28th, 2004, 10:15 AM
LOL. they are making what Venus do. Venus is not that skinny but still it´s the best hard hitter on tour.

manu
May 28th, 2004, 10:54 AM
In the first place they generate so much speed because they hit the ball so flat, whereas the top-players (and hard-hitters) use much more topspin (eg Justine, Amélie, Serena, ...).

It's easily explained: when you hit the ball with your racket-head 100% vertically placed - at a 90° angle - you will use 100% of the power of your arm to send it back over the net.

If you want to produce topspin, you hit the ball at least at an angle of 45°, or even almost horizontally (take a look at Federer!). Therefore you need MUCH more power to send the ball back, because (when you hit the ball at 45°) you use 50% of your power only for a top-spin effect, and only 50% to give the ball speed.
Conclusion: if you want to hit it as hard as a "flat-hitter" and also hit with a lot of top-spin, you have to be twice as strong! So players with that kind of style have a reason to muscle up.

That's why the Russians hit it so hard, because they all have rather flat shots. (but there are exceptions eg Zvonareva)

But this kind of game's got a few disadvantages too:

1) as a flat-hitter you have to have an excellent timing (and that's exactly what the Russians are so good at), otherwise you'll make a lot of errors. (eg: if Justine or Serena have to run for a ball and hit it behind their bodies - and not in front like you should do - they will still be able to produce winning shots because of their muscle and top-spin technique, whereas a Russian player is more likely to mishit because she won't be able to execute her great timing, which she needs)

2) it can lead to a one-dimensional style of play

faste5683
May 28th, 2004, 11:36 AM
In the first place they generate so much speed because they hit the ball so flat, whereas the top-players (and hard-hitters) use much more topspin (eg Justine, Amélie, Serena, ...).

It's easily explained: when you hit the ball with your racket-head 100% vertically placed - at a 90° angle - you will use 100% of the power of your arm to send it back over the net.

If you want to produce topspin, you hit the ball at least at an angle of 45°, or even almost horizontally (take a look at Federer!). Therefore you need MUCH more power to send the ball back, because (when you hit the ball at 45°) you use 50% of your power only for a top-spin effect, and only 50% to give the ball speed.
Conclusion: if you want to hit it as hard as a "flat-hitter" and also hit with a lot of top-spin, you have to be twice as strong! So players with that kind of style have a reason to muscle up.

That's why the Russians hit it so hard, because they all have rather flat shots. (but there are exceptions eg Zvonareva)

Excellent analysis. But let's not forget Svetlana Kuznetsova: she hits with incredible
topspin and pace. Of course, she's an anomaly among the "skinny" Russian chicks. Sveta is a large, powerful young lady...

:wavey:

Dava
May 28th, 2004, 11:40 AM
Its timing essentially, but also a lot of them are tall, and that helps, as they can ground themseleves well into the shots. Notice how Dementieva hits with her legs in a highley exegerated open stance. It means she shifts her body weight through the shot.

Also they do use a lot of big raquets but they compliment there style of play. I use the MP2i which is practically the same as the RDX Super Mid which Maria was using yesturday (same dimensions, same technoloy, but this new hexagon frame thing, it doesnt have), and its amazing the power that I can generate from skinny little me (though they do seem to land out :P).

Spunky83
May 28th, 2004, 12:48 PM
This is a really interesting topics. I´ve asked myself that many times before. I think it really has something to do with the extreme flat balls the russians hit, there are really good analyzers among us;)

the cat
Jul 6th, 2004, 11:38 PM
TC, I think it's timing that allows the slender Russian women to hit the ball so hard. For the most part the Russina's lack the muscle and bulk of the American women. They generally don't hit as heavy a ball as the mighty American's but they can hit the ball almost as hard as the American's and I think it's because of the timing. I was also surprised to see the crafty and very slight of might Maria Kirilenko capable of going toe to toe with Serena Williams in the second round of the 2004 French open. And the ESPN announcers Cliff Drysdale and Mary Carillo were talking about Kirilenko's great timing as the reason a lightweight like her can hit the ball hard.

Maria-UK-Website
Jul 7th, 2004, 12:06 AM
i am asking this seriously as a player myself.

it seems to me that we Americans seem to believe that the solution is to muscle up. Serena, Capriati, Venus (slim but muscled), nd Meghan (who for a while there was so muscled she started looking like a mutant).

contrast them with the majority of the Russian chicks don't use this approach. for the most part they remain rather skinny -- even frail-looking in some cases. i'm thinking of Kirilenko (who challenged Serena today), Sharapova, Myskina, et al.

what have they figured out about how to produce big shots without putting on big muscular bulk? and please don't answer by pointing out the Americans who have not muscled or the Russians who have bec that does not answer my question. thanks. ;)
Мария Шарапова ...that's Maria Sharapova in Russian
why does a race horse run faster than a cart horse...
why is a Ferrari faster than...
why can an ant...
http://www.maria-sharapova.me.uk ...we know the reason!

stacyh5
Jul 7th, 2004, 12:08 AM
The power is all in the legs and the rotation of the hips, which means the player with the proper contact point will hit the hardest. Sharapova is very consistent that way -- at Wimbledon, Serna had no idea where her contact point was, because her opponent was hitting the ball so hard.

Doc
Jul 7th, 2004, 12:29 AM
The snap and speed of the racket head also affects the generation of power.

tennischick
Jul 7th, 2004, 12:51 AM
so...

the answer is a combination of:
1. timing
2. fitness
3. racket head speed
4. racket technology?

thanks for the serious responses. :besos:

DunkMachine
Jul 7th, 2004, 01:00 AM
Russian anabolics

Eric_tennis
Jul 7th, 2004, 01:58 AM
so...

the answer is a combination of:
1. timing
2. fitness
3. racket head speed
4. racket technology?

thanks for the serious responses. :besos:
Good points. But I'd like to add several points.

5. Long frame : The skinny Russian girls are most tall. The long length between their grip and shoulder will produce more angle velocity when they hit. It also has some advantages when you hit the ball from the high impact point with the height over the net. (no top spin required.)
6. Swing form : They hit the ball flat, so their swing is more of flat than American girls, that can produce more racket head speed.
7. Taking ball early : If you hit the ball early when it's rising, you can use the power of the coming ball, so it will generate more power.
8. Wrist usage : They may use the technique which was shown in "Killer Forehand" video of Nick Bolliterri(spell?). use the wrist to add more head speed.


PS. Hitting flat could cause one dimentional play, and easily have Bad day depending on opponent's ball (when it's slice or slow flat ball)
But Maria Sharapova used more forward spin rather than flat when she hit short & low ball in the Wimbledon Final. She could make so many good short angle using those technique with lesser UEs. Almost instinct to switch from flat to more foreward spin which most female top players still can't. That's the part where I give her the most credit.
:)

Doc
Jul 7th, 2004, 02:07 AM
Maria Sharapova used more forward spin rather than flat when she hit short & low ball in the Wimbledon Final. She could make so many good short angle using those technique with lesser UEs. Almost instinct to switch from flat to more foreward spin which most female top players still can't. That's the part where I give her the most credit.
:)

I was wondering how Masha was producing those magnificent angles. :lick:

arcus
Jul 7th, 2004, 02:33 AM
The snap and speed of the racket head also affects the generation of power.

absolutely right. Racket head acceleration is important in generation of power. Look at roddicks serve, his racket speed on "the snap" is amazing. I was struk by the racket speed of both federer and sharapova at wimbledon on the groundies. Grafs forehand was another good example

power comes form a combination of getting your body in the right position to make a stroke, getting weight behind the ball, good swing/technique, good timing, and racket head acceleration in the hitting zone.

Some players have more of one of the components than others, players generate power in different ways. some will rely more on "muscling" the ball, others on technique/timing, others on racket head acceleration.

tennischick
Jul 7th, 2004, 02:49 AM
Top Ten Reasons Why Those Skinny Russian Chicks Hit the Ball so Hard:

10. fitness
9. racket head speed
8. racket technology (NB. not referring to use of lead)
7. height/body type (mainly long/tall and skinny)
6. swing form (they hit flater balls)
5. they take the ball early
4. excellent wrist usage
3. use of foreward spin (e.g. Sharapova)
2. they throw their body into the shot
1. beautiful timing of the ball ;)

Julian
Jul 7th, 2004, 04:01 AM
To make a long answer short..

its the way they were taught ;)

tonyy1
Jul 7th, 2004, 05:22 AM
leverage

gweeny
Jul 7th, 2004, 06:02 AM
Something in the Russian water? :devil:

Chimera
Jul 7th, 2004, 10:25 AM
I'm sure it's all about timing

Darop.
Jul 7th, 2004, 10:31 AM
To hit the ball hard, you dont need big muscles on your arms, but u have to bend your legs, have good timing, good hip rotation, powerful legs...

Since Serena is too lazy to work on hip rotation and bending her legs, she just buffs up her arms :p

Experimentee
Jul 7th, 2004, 04:35 PM
I think Maria Sharapova is quite muscular. She looks like she isnt because shes so tall, but if you look closely she has quite broad shoulder and muscular arms.
Same with a lot of the other Russians like Bovina.

xan
Jul 7th, 2004, 05:10 PM
Long arms help in achieving power. That's why the taller girls are generally better servers. The longer the arm, the greater the racket head speed for the same amount of arm and body movement.

DA FOREHAND
Jul 7th, 2004, 05:31 PM
To hit the ball hard, you dont need big muscles on your arms, but u have to bend your legs, have good timing, good hip rotation, powerful legs...

Since Serena is too lazy to work on hip rotation and bending her legs, she just buffs up her arms :p


So Serena dominates the tour winning four slams in a row...loses a Wimbledon final and now she has poor technique? What a dumbass!

Venus Williams is not muscular her dark skin helps give her arms a more defined look, if these russian chicks weren't so pale you'd see some muscle definition there too.

stacyh5
Jul 8th, 2004, 01:53 AM
You guys are going all over the place -- it's still all about legs and pivot.

Contact point and racquet speed are the same for all the players at the top level. Racquets don't matter as much as you think. The top players use those racquets because they are paid big bucks to play with them, not because they like them -- and the ones they use are not the same as the ones you buy at your local racquet shop. Usually, they're considerably lighter and more head heavy than the generic models, and the players often add lead tape to the top to make them even more head-heavy.

Sure, a tall player may have a longer wingspan (although Lindsay has short arms), but that's not where the power is generated. It comes from getting low and attacking your shot on the rise, sending your opponent's power back at them with added emphasis.

And the muscles you see on players arms do not compute into power. If anything, that may slow down their racquet speed, just as it slows arm speed in boxers. Look to their legs instead.

Last, I agree that hitting flat has brought back the excitement in women's tennis. Nothing made viewers click away faster than watching two players exchange beautiful, heavy topspin forehands. A player who possesses a strong flat shot creates thrilling tennis, at least to this viewer.

Jaime Bahena
Jul 8th, 2004, 08:53 PM
Didn't you know? Muscles intimidate your puny, stick-figured opponents to submission. :p

How true!!! Did you notice how intimidated Sprem was with Venus in the second round, and how Maria was shaking in her sneakers when she saw Serena across the net? Intimidated with a Capital I.

pav
Jul 9th, 2004, 08:52 AM
Did My eyes deceive Me ,or did I read way back in this thread someone describing a certain Miss J. Capriati, amongst others, as slim, but muscular?

:unsure:

the cat
Jul 9th, 2004, 04:49 PM
TC, I agree with your 10 reasons why the skinny Russina's hit the ball so hard.