PDA

View Full Version : To be or not to be... a "ballbasher"


AndreConrad
Jun 18th, 2008, 11:23 PM
While reading posts on this forum I can see that people seem to accuse some if not most of the players to be “ballbashers”. Before I use this word again I will define it for everyone from my point of view so everyone is clear at least what I mean by it. If I put a player in this category I would think that she doesn’t have in her “toolbox” any other “sharp” tools except the ability to hit the ball really hard. I would not think of someone as a ballbasher if she hits the ball hard but uses relatively rich arsenal of other strategic or tactical weapons (e.g. changing pace of the game, drop shots, spins, etc.).

Having such definition in mind I would like to ask you a few questions. Here they are:
1. How many “ballbashers” we have in the WTA top 20 (perhaps you can list the chief ones)
2. Do you believe that ball bashing is a sufficient tactic to get into and stay in the top 10 or even top 5
3. Lastly if a player doesn’t have the ability to hit the ball really hard but she has a smart game and many other capabilities is she capable to get in the top 10 or 5 and stay there for a while.

Your opinions are appreciated :wavey:

Dawson.
Jun 18th, 2008, 11:30 PM
i hate the term ballbasher. it has connotations of young players who do not 'understand' the game. i think people who use the term ballbashing are so used to seeing slice backhands and volleys that any other technique is looked down on.

ive heard so many people on this board call azarenka a ballbasher, which is ridiculous. Yes, azarenka can hit the ball hard, and her baseline game is her 'A game', but that doesnt mean she isn't capable of doing anything else! in actual fact, azarenka is one of the most talented and versitile girls on tour.

at the end of the day, 'ballbashing' works for some players, so why knock it :shrug:

Irute
Jun 19th, 2008, 12:31 AM
I don't believe you can get to top 20 without broader set of skills. On the other hand I think it is not necessary to have hard hitting as one of weapons to get to the top

WhatTheDeuce
Jun 19th, 2008, 04:45 AM
The thing that bothers me the most about the term "ballbasher" is that people attach it to being untalented, when the fact of the matter is it takes tons of talent and immaculate timing to be able to hit the ball with such heavy power and pace consistently, not to mention with accuracy. Playing that style also means you're sort of going against the percentages, usually with a lower ball trajectory and less spin - that makes it harder to execute.

So just because hitting the crap out of the ball is the main strategy for some, doesn't make them lesser players, just perhaps less diverse. But when you're that good at hitting the ball hard, it almost doesn't matter.

In The Zone
Jun 19th, 2008, 04:50 AM
The thing that bothers me the most about the term "ballbasher" is that people attach it to being untalented, when the fact of the matter is it takes tons of talent and immaculate timing to be able to hit the ball with such heavy power and pace consistently, not to mention with accuracy. Playing that style also means you're sort of going against the percentages, usually with a lower ball trajectory and less spin - that makes it harder to execute.

So just because hitting the crap out of the ball is the main strategy for some, doesn't make them lesser players, just perhaps less diverse. But when you're that good at hitting the ball hard, it almost doesn't matter.

:worship: Britney fans are always the smartest.

AcesHigh
Jun 19th, 2008, 04:54 AM
The thing that bothers me the most about the term "ballbasher" is that people attach it to being untalented, when the fact of the matter is it takes tons of talent and immaculate timing to be able to hit the ball with such heavy power and pace consistently, not to mention with accuracy. Playing that style also means you're sort of going against the percentages, usually with a lower ball trajectory and less spin - that makes it harder to execute.

So just because hitting the crap out of the ball is the main strategy for some, doesn't make them lesser players, just perhaps less diverse. But when you're that good at hitting the ball hard, it almost doesn't matter.

Great point! Agree with everyone except the bold.

WhatTheDeuce
Jun 19th, 2008, 05:04 AM
Great point! Agree with everyone except the bold.
Can you elaborate on what you disagree on there? Don't get me wrong, it's better to have a full repertoire of shots, including power. If you can incorporate different shots and spins into your arsenal while maintaining the power, that can give a player the advantage they need to become better than the rest.

But I have to use Maria Sharapova as an example here. Moreso the Sharapova of a few years ago, but even the one of today to some extent. This is a player who has risen to the top purely because of her power on the serve and off the ground. Her entire game is built around that. Yes, she can hit other shots, we've all seen it from time to time, but the VAST majority of the time she's blasting it at you hard and flat and trying to get you off balance with her strength of shot. She's pretty much a one-dimensional player, and she's so good at that one dimension that it's almost irrelevant that she doesn't do very much of anything else.

There are other examples, but I just used Sharapova cause she's the highest ranked and most prevalent.

AcesHigh
Jun 19th, 2008, 05:47 AM
Can you elaborate on what you disagree on there? Don't get me wrong, it's better to have a full repertoire of shots, including power. If you can incorporate different shots and spins into your arsenal while maintaining the power, that can give a player the advantage they need to become better than the rest.

But I have to use Maria Sharapova as an example here. Moreso the Sharapova of a few years ago, but even the one of today to some extent. This is a player who has risen to the top purely because of her power on the serve and off the ground. Her entire game is built around that. Yes, she can hit other shots, we've all seen it from time to time, but the VAST majority of the time she's blasting it at you hard and flat and trying to get you off balance with her strength of shot. She's pretty much a one-dimensional player, and she's so good at that one dimension that it's almost irrelevant that she doesn't do very much of anything else.

There are other examples, but I just used Sharapova cause she's the highest ranked and most prevalent.

You're 100% but IMO, Sharapova's greatest asset over the past 4 years is her mental strength and toughness. Her consistency is a great weapon too. There have been moments where opponents could have clearly outclassed her on the court but couldnt hold it together or couldnt bring it in the first place.
It doesn't matter unless you meet the higher class players who can actually pull it together and stay mentally strong and consistent. Sharapova gets ahead because she's got a solid game that would rarely fall apart and she had the tenacity, fight and willpower to match it. Yet, when she runs up against Henin or Mauresmo when they're playing well, or a SErena or Venus who are able to use and cover the court better, the advantage is always in their favor IMO.

It's really tough to argue my point because on the women's tour, you just don't have a great deal of great/good players who are mentally strong and a have a variety of weapons. And I think Maria Sharapova is a very exquisite and rare champion. It's easier on the men's tour with James Blake, Andy Roddick and Fernando Gonzalez as examples.

Mikey.
Jun 19th, 2008, 07:23 AM
The thing that bothers me the most about the term "ballbasher" is that people attach it to being untalented, when the fact of the matter is it takes tons of talent and immaculate timing to be able to hit the ball with such heavy power and pace consistently, not to mention with accuracy. Playing that style also means you're sort of going against the percentages, usually with a lower ball trajectory and less spin - that makes it harder to execute.

So just because hitting the crap out of the ball is the main strategy for some, doesn't make them lesser players, just perhaps less diverse. But when you're that good at hitting the ball hard, it almost doesn't matter.

I agree :hearts:

LH2HBH
Jun 19th, 2008, 07:38 AM
Ball-bashing pays the bills so you can take your one-handed backhands, slices, and serve and volleys crying home with you crybaby!

;)

Long Live Masha!

AndreConrad
Jun 19th, 2008, 11:57 AM
The thing that bothers me the most about the term "ballbasher" is that people attach it to being untalented, when the fact of the matter is it takes tons of talent and immaculate timing to be able to hit the ball with such heavy power and pace consistently, not to mention with accuracy. Playing that style also means you're sort of going against the percentages, usually with a lower ball trajectory and less spin - that makes it harder to execute.

So just because hitting the crap out of the ball is the main strategy for some, doesn't make them lesser players, just perhaps less diverse. But when you're that good at hitting the ball hard, it almost doesn't matter.

I agree hard hit is as good or perhaps even better than most weapons. I guess like hight in basketball, therefore it should not be frawned upon. However lack of diversity should. It makes the game uninteresting and what is more important the lifespan of hard hitter only is shorter in my opinion. It is more phisically demanding and leads eventually to injuries if there are no other weapons one can relay on. I can't see women playing purely physical tennis past their thirties; I even believe that 25 may be the limitting age for a lot of "ballbashers".

frenchie
Jun 19th, 2008, 12:09 PM
I voted almost all of them

mal
Jun 19th, 2008, 12:12 PM
Thank God for that.
I thought at first this thread was about something else.

Good thing I didn't do what I was going to...
pull out my piece and blast my own testicles across my thighs.
(Don't worry I still might.)

Anabelcroft
Jun 19th, 2008, 12:29 PM
If you are able to beat others,nobody cares if one is a ballbasher

sammy01
Jun 19th, 2008, 01:19 PM
I don't believe you can get to top 20 without broader set of skills. On the other hand I think it is not necessary to have hard hitting as one of weapons to get to the top

have you ever seen nicole vaidisova play, to me she is the ultimate ballbasher. i think the term ballbasher is used by people including myself who see no thought process behind a shot. loads of girls can hit hard but it dosen't make them ballbashers. i dont see sharapova as a ballbasher even though she has very few shots and hits hard most of the time, she constantly thinks what shes doing with the ball and where shes placing it, shes not just hitting hard for the sake of it.

vaidisova and razzano are 2 players i think are ballbashers and i hate watching them.

Derek.
Jun 19th, 2008, 01:25 PM
shes not just hitting hard for the sake of it.

But you honestly think Nicole is doing this? :spit:

Watch her 2007 Wimbledon 4R match vs. Mauresmo, 2007 Zurich SF vs. Henin, or her win over Jankovic in the QF of Sydney this year.

sammy01
Jun 19th, 2008, 01:44 PM
But you honestly think Nicole is doing this? :spit:

Watch her 2007 Wimbledon 4R match vs. Mauresmo, 2007 Zurich SF vs. Henin, or her win over Jankovic in the QF of Sydney this year.

do you realy want me to list the matches where shes just shutting her eyes and going for it, try most of her matches this year!

supergrunt
Jun 19th, 2008, 01:52 PM
I think "ball-bashing" is a strategy and it has been proven to be an effective one. Why knock it :shrug: ? While some people might not like to watch it, I would personally rather watch it than I would pushers and moonballers and I know many agree.

AndreConrad
Jun 19th, 2008, 01:55 PM
(...) i think the term ballbasher is used by people including myself who see no thought process behind a shot. loads of girls can hit hard but it dosen't make them ballbashers.(...)
vaidisova and razzano are 2 players i think are ballbashers and i hate watching them.

So your definition is consistent with mine. I don't know Vaidisova enough to confirm or deny, however her mind this year so far is not focused on tennis therefore I would not be surprized if she leaned on her "sharpest" tool only just to get over the match. It proves it is not enough.

Dawson.
Jun 19th, 2008, 01:57 PM
have you ever seen nicole vaidisova play, to me she is the ultimate ballbasher. i think the term ballbasher is used by people including myself who see no thought process behind a shot. loads of girls can hit hard but it dosen't make them ballbashers. i dont see sharapova as a ballbasher even though she has very few shots and hits hard most of the time, she constantly thinks what shes doing with the ball and where shes placing it, shes not just hitting hard for the sake of it.

vaidisova and razzano are 2 players i think are ballbashers and i hate watching them.

have YOU ever seen vaidisova play?? yes she can hit the ball hard and her baseline game is her 'A game', but that doesnt mean she isn't capable of anything else. If you have seen vaidisova play in many matches, you would see that she actually has a lot of variety, but rarely uses it, which is a shame because when she does use it, she can cause problems to the top players - the match against henin in zurich 07 springs to mind.

Lunaris
Jun 19th, 2008, 01:59 PM
do you realy want me to list the matches where shes just shutting her eyes and going for it, try most of her matches this year!
Why would anyone shut their eyes? :p
Also I really doubt you saw most of the matches she has played so far this year since she loses too early for her matches to be broadcast.

Ryan
Jun 19th, 2008, 02:12 PM
I'd agree on Vaidisova being a ballbasher - she HAS variety, but doesn't use it often because its not reliable for her IMO.


WTD has a great definition of a ballbasher IMO, although I think that most ballbashers by definition don't have as much variety as "other" players.

sammy01
Jun 19th, 2008, 02:15 PM
have YOU ever seen vaidisova play?? yes she can hit the ball hard and her baseline game is her 'A game', but that doesnt mean she isn't capable of anything else. If you have seen vaidisova play in many matches, you would see that she actually has a lot of variety, but rarely uses it, which is a shame because when she does use it, she can cause problems to the top players - the match against henin in zurich 07 springs to mind.

you have just proved my point! if she has these other shots and dosen't use them she is not using her brain and is therefore a ballbasher!

sammy01
Jun 19th, 2008, 02:16 PM
Why would anyone shut their eyes? :p
Also I really doubt you saw most of the matches she has played so far this year since she loses too early for her matches to be broadcast.

i've seen her last 2 matches and believe me there was no variety or thought process in them! ;)

slamchamp
Jun 19th, 2008, 02:21 PM
thank god for ballbashers, women's game would be so boring

Lunaris
Jun 19th, 2008, 02:21 PM
you have just proved my point! if she has these other shots and dosen't use them she is not using her brain and is therefore a ballbasher!
Just like many other players. Or how are Sharapova, Ivanovic, Williams, Safina or Azarenka different? What other shots do they use that Vaidisova doesn't?
i've seen her last 2 matches and believe me there was no variety or thought process in them! ;)
Well, two isn't most, is it? :p

Dawson.
Jun 19th, 2008, 02:22 PM
you have just proved my point! if she has these other shots and dosen't use them she is not using her brain and is therefore a ballbasher!

like i said, it is her 'A game' and it works for her... well it used to :lol:
but when she faces more versatile players, she adds this variety to her game.
This year her A game hasn't worked. I think she has completely lost confidence in her groundstrokes, therefore there is no way she is gonna try new things on the court because she simply doesnt have the confidence.

theDreamer
Jun 19th, 2008, 02:25 PM
You're 100% but IMO, Sharapova's greatest asset over the past 4 years is her mental strength and toughness. Her consistency is a great weapon too. There have been moments where opponents could have clearly outclassed her on the court but couldnt hold it together or couldnt bring it in the first place.
It doesn't matter unless you meet the higher class players who can actually pull it together and stay mentally strong and consistent. Sharapova gets ahead because she's got a solid game that would rarely fall apart and she had the tenacity, fight and willpower to match it. Yet, when she runs up against Henin or Mauresmo when they're playing well, or a SErena or Venus who are able to use and cover the court better, the advantage is always in their favor IMO.


The only reason she is at a disadvantage against the players
you mentioned is due to her poor footspeed, rather than lack of variety in her style of play. If she was as good a mover as say venus, she would easily hold her own against them.

And for the record, I don't think Sharapova is a "ball basher".
Even though the power of her shots is important to her game, it
is the placement of her shots (her point construction) that is the key to her greatest victories (and of course mental strength which
is required by any top player anyway).

Irute
Jun 19th, 2008, 09:08 PM
Can you elaborate on what you disagree on there? Don't get me wrong, it's better to have a full repertoire of shots, including power. If you can incorporate different shots and spins into your arsenal while maintaining the power, that can give a player the advantage they need to become better than the rest.

But I have to use Maria Sharapova as an example here. Moreso the Sharapova of a few years ago, but even the one of today to some extent. This is a player who has risen to the top purely because of her power on the serve and off the ground. Her entire game is built around that. Yes, she can hit other shots, we've all seen it from time to time, but the VAST majority of the time she's blasting it at you hard and flat and trying to get you off balance with her strength of shot. She's pretty much a one-dimensional player, and she's so good at that one dimension that it's almost irrelevant that she doesn't do very much of anything else.

There are other examples, but I just used Sharapova cause she's the highest ranked and most prevalent.


Masha has much more to offer than pure power. She is great at the net.

ASP0315
Jun 19th, 2008, 11:07 PM
i'll say around 60% of top 20 are ballbashers. In my opinion "Ball Basher" does not neccesarily mean hard hitter but they often play flat and not much variation in game and many of the players do not come up with any game plan when they are on court. So they always have the mind set of "hit hard as you can." There is nothing wrong with bieng ball basher. But however, thier playing careers might not last long and could retire by the age of 25.

mirzalover
Jun 19th, 2008, 11:42 PM
Masha has much more to offer than pure power. She is great at the net.

If you think Maria is great at the net you must have thought Justine had magical powers at the net.