Top Spin Explained

Top Spin Explained

To start at the beginning let’s skip to the end. In other words, what is our end goal here? If we asked you to hit the ball as hard as you could…well, that would be pretty easy right? You’d grab the racquet, swing through the ball as hard as you could and that would probably be quite a satisfying feeling.

The problem comes when you want to hit the ball but keep it inside the court too.

In that case the other extreme would be to simply hit the ball with less power so it lands between the lines, but let’s face it, that doesn’t sound very satisfying nor does it sound like a way to win many games of tennis.

So, the question then is how can we go about generating power but maintain the control and consistency that keeps the ball in the court.

This is where physics comes in. 

If you were to hit the ball as hard as you could without adding any kind of spin to it, the ball would (basically) keep going until it runs out of energy and starts gradually falling to the ground. 

But when you make the ball spin some strange and interesting things start to happen! 

If a ball rotates forward as it’s moving, the air creates a downward force on the ball that causes it to drop before it runs out of energy.

Ok, there’s way more physics to it than this, but let’s keep it simple! 

This type of rotation is called topspin and essentially means that if we can hit the ball and make it rotate forwards (i.e. with top spin) we can hit the ball harder and have a much better chance of keeping the ball inside the court because the air will push it downwards before it loses its power.

In other words, using top spin = more power with better control and consistency. 

Master this and you’ll be like the Harry Potter of tennis, a wizard who can magically control what the ball does and where the ball goes! 

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