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  1. #1
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    Keeping Your Eyes on the Ball medical proof.....

    The Willmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University has come out with their study on keeping your eyes on the ball. They concluded that 75% of all mishits are due to taking ones eyes off of the ball. They came to the conclusion that balance, power, and accuracy were increased tremendously by keeping your eyes on the point of contact and watching the ball into the strings. This was a full study focusing on tennis. We had this debate somewhere on the forum earlier and many thought that it was overrated, but it really does help guys and gals. When I begin coaching highly ranked or skilled players that are stuck on a plateau, it is usually small things like keeping their eyes on the ball or getting a better turn on the shot that helps them take it up a notch. When players start getting good, they tend to work on highly technical things and tactics, but they forget to work on the basics. Keeping your eyes on the ball is a great basic technique that can help you improve your stroke performance.............

  2. #2
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    I'm dubious...
    Not that they didn't have the right intentions. Nor did their samplings showed any different results.
    I'm SURE holding the head steady is the most important part, if you already track the ball towards your strikepoint.
    That final 3' before strikepoint, you cannot track the ball there, as it's moving sideways too fast, it's too close for focus, and pics of Federer, the only guy who's reputed to track the ball ON VID to his racket, can only do so on certain early forehands where his eyes are behind the racket during the strike.
    So wide backhands taken with slices CANNOT be tracked to the racket, and most forehands taken either late or wide CANNOT be tracked.
    So that leaves volleys, which usually cannot be tracked (tracking ball all the way to the racket) because of conti grip means the ball his struck inside the front shoulder, not well out in front so you could possibly see both the ball and the rackethead.
    And backhand volleys, no chance, since most top players use a cont grip shifted slightly towards Eforehand for their backhand volleys.
    Studies are what they are. An exercise by "study experts", not by tennis experts.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeD View Post
    I'm dubious...
    Not that they didn't have the right intentions. Nor did their samplings showed any different results.
    I'm SURE holding the head steady is the most important part, if you already track the ball towards your strikepoint.
    That final 3' before strikepoint, you cannot track the ball there, as it's moving sideways too fast, it's too close for focus, and pics of Federer, the only guy who's reputed to track the ball ON VID to his racket, can only do so on certain early forehands where his eyes are behind the racket during the strike.
    So wide backhands taken with slices CANNOT be tracked to the racket, and most forehands taken either late or wide CANNOT be tracked.
    So that leaves volleys, which usually cannot be tracked (tracking ball all the way to the racket) because of conti grip means the ball his struck inside the front shoulder, not well out in front so you could possibly see both the ball and the rackethead.
    And backhand volleys, no chance, since most top players use a cont grip shifted slightly towards Eforehand for their backhand volleys.
    Studies are what they are. An exercise by "study experts", not by tennis experts.
    Lee, Since you're so convinced that keeping your eye on the ball is not important, try this. Go hammer a nail in a wall without looking at the nail.. see how that goes That is less than 3 feet, and on top of that the nail doesn't move like a tennis ball.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawn Tennis View Post
    Lee, Since you're so convinced that keeping your eye on the ball is not important, try this. Go hammer a nail in a wall without looking at the nail.. see how that goes That is less than 3 feet, and on top of that the nail doesn't move like a tennis ball.
    Well put. The subjects were tour players. They were studied and filmed. Real deal studies. I have no problem tracking the ball into the strings. I never have. Maybe that's what got me a decent world ranking. I don't know, but I know that watching the ball into the string works extremely well. And, by the way, if you do the nail trick and try to hit it without looking, don't forget to give it a full swing while stepping into the shot! Lol!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tennisking1 View Post
    well put. The subjects were tour players. They were studied and filmed. Real deal studies. I have no problem tracking the ball into the strings. I never have. Maybe that's what got me a decent world ranking. I don't know, but i know that watching the ball into the string works extremely well. And, by the way, if you do the nail trick and try to hit it without looking, don't forget to give it a full swing while stepping into the shot! Lol!
    lol

  6. #6
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    Actually, your analogy is flawed, so is your thinking and response.
    Nail doesn't move, and you move yourself to best hitting position.
    Golf ball doesn't move, and you position yourself to the best spot.
    Incoming tennis ball DOES move, and your trying to position yourself to the ideal position, but often it doesn't happen, so you ball strike is often done when you are NOT in ideal hitting position.
    Better analogy. Ever catch a football while running away from the quarterback? You track the ball until it goes level with your head, then the last 3', you catch it, with eyes open, but ball not tracked.
    Ever see WillieMays do a basket catch? Most famous outfielder for defense ever. He tracks it to just overhead, then keeping eyes open, his eyes don't move down to his glove.
    You two guys think THEORY and what is IDEALLY good.
    I think in practical terms, and live in NOT a IDEAL or THEORITICAL world, I live in the real world.
    Oh, I played varsity football as a receiver for 3 years, varsity basketball for 3 years high school, and was one of the guys HenryHines consulted with for his movement book.
    Key is, don't move your head. Key is not to track all the way to your racket.
    Oh, I'm a carpenter also, and I do look at the head of the nail. But it's not moving out of my view.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeD View Post
    Actually, your analogy is flawed, so is your thinking and response.
    Nail doesn't move, and you move yourself to best hitting position.
    Golf ball doesn't move, and you position yourself to the best spot.
    Incoming tennis ball DOES move, and your trying to position yourself to the ideal position, but often it doesn't happen, so you ball strike is often done when you are NOT in ideal hitting position.
    Better analogy. Ever catch a football while running away from the quarterback? You track the ball until it goes level with your head, then the last 3', you catch it, with eyes open, but ball not tracked.
    Ever see WillieMays do a basket catch? Most famous outfielder for defense ever. He tracks it to just overhead, then keeping eyes open, his eyes don't move down to his glove.
    You two guys think THEORY and what is IDEALLY good.
    I think in practical terms, and live in NOT a IDEAL or THEORITICAL world, I live in the real world.
    Oh, I played varsity football as a receiver for 3 years, varsity basketball for 3 years high school, and was one of the guys HenryHines consulted with for his movement book.
    Key is, don't move your head. Key is not to track all the way to your racket.
    Oh, I'm a carpenter also, and I do look at the head of the nail. But it's not moving out of my view.
    I actually live in the real world and made quite a bit of money working with real professional tennis players and played professionally as well. My father was the "Lonesome End" with Bill Carpenter at Army (Russell Waters #83) on the 1958, '59, and '60 Army football team and my uncle (his little brother) was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers from 1960-1965 (Bob Waters #11). I give you names so you can check for yourself. He says watch the ball into the hands. I say watch the ball into the racquet. It keeps the head from moving and improves your chances of a solid stroke.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeD View Post
    Actually, your analogy is flawed, so is your thinking and response.
    Nail doesn't move, and you move yourself to best hitting position.
    Golf ball doesn't move, and you position yourself to the best spot.
    Incoming tennis ball DOES move, and your trying to position yourself to the ideal position, but often it doesn't happen, so you ball strike is often done when you are NOT in ideal hitting position.
    Better analogy. Ever catch a football while running away from the quarterback? You track the ball until it goes level with your head, then the last 3', you catch it, with eyes open, but ball not tracked.
    Ever see WillieMays do a basket catch? Most famous outfielder for defense ever. He tracks it to just overhead, then keeping eyes open, his eyes don't move down to his glove.
    You two guys think THEORY and what is IDEALLY good.
    I think in practical terms, and live in NOT a IDEAL or THEORITICAL world, I live in the real world.
    Oh, I played varsity football as a receiver for 3 years, varsity basketball for 3 years high school, and was one of the guys HenryHines consulted with for his movement book.
    Key is, don't move your head. Key is not to track all the way to your racket.
    Oh, I'm a carpenter also, and I do look at the head of the nail. But it's not moving out of my view.
    It is easier to hit a stationary object over a moving object.. I don't care how in or out of position you are. To say otherwise is asinine. Now here's another thought for you Lee. If you aren't looking at the ball while hitting the ball, where are you looking? Moreover, because a tennis ball continually slows as it travels, spin will have it's greatest effect on the ball in the last 10 -15 feet potentially throwing off the expected trajectory. Lastly, you've mentioned more than once something along the lines of 'watching the ball out of the corner of your eye'. Because you're supposed to square up your stance before and during the swing, you can expect your eyes to be comfortably right on the ball.

  9. #9
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    I never mentioned anything remotely close to "watching with the corners"...
    Your friends, PRO players for sure, are telling you something akin to "always stretch", or put on your pants one leg at a time.
    Specifically, they don't really mean to always watch it into your racket/hands/glove.
    Once again, wide reciever running downfield on a post pattern, QB throws it over the WR's head. WR cannot look back at the incoming ball and MOVE HIS HEAD forward to where his hands are.
    Once again, WillieMay's basketcatch. You cannot track in incoming ball from up high, then snap your head down to look into your glove.
    You say "10-15" the ball has some movement. I agree. But you've seen this incoming ball hundreds of times, and you track it down to the last 3-5', that's enough.
    Keeping your HEAD STILL is the credo, not move your eyes around trying to track the ball.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeD View Post
    I never mentioned anything remotely close to "watching with the corners"...
    Your friends, PRO players for sure, are telling you something akin to "always stretch", or put on your pants one leg at a time.
    Specifically, they don't really mean to always watch it into your racket/hands/glove.
    Once again, wide reciever running downfield on a post pattern, QB throws it over the WR's head. WR cannot look back at the incoming ball and MOVE HIS HEAD forward to where his hands are.
    Once again, WillieMay's basketcatch. You cannot track in incoming ball from up high, then snap your head down to look into your glove.
    You say "10-15" the ball has some movement. I agree. But you've seen this incoming ball hundreds of times, and you track it down to the last 3-5', that's enough.
    Keeping your HEAD STILL is the credo, not move your eyes around trying to track the ball.
    Wow. You seem to question everyone's credibility. I guess I am not a pro even though I have been fooling myself by playing professional tournaments and coaching at Bollettieri and Saddlebrook Resort/Hopman Academy. $1000 bucks on me in a head to head match with you. Glad to do it anytime. I'll even wear jeans. I'll watch the ball into the strings as well........I take cash only......

  11. #11
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    I hope you don't think I'm advocating NOT watching the ball as long as you can before the strike.
    Watch the ball, keep head still.
    But there comes a point where you can't do both, and you can still hit a pretty good shot.
    I pointed out certain backhand volleys, where your head is even with the ball. Defensive gets, where your racket is behind you. Some say, even on twist serves, you pull your head down slightly before you strike the ball. Edberg did, he was OK.
    And I'm always leery of any "study" done by any institute. They can jangle the results any which way, to suit their purposes. You know that.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeD View Post
    I hope you don't think I'm advocating NOT watching the ball as long as you can before the strike.
    Watch the ball, keep head still.
    But there comes a point where you can't do both, and you can still hit a pretty good shot.
    I pointed out certain backhand volleys, where your head is even with the ball. Defensive gets, where your racket is behind you. Some say, even on twist serves, you pull your head down slightly before you strike the ball. Edberg did, he was OK.
    And I'm always leery of any "study" done by any institute. They can jangle the results any which way, to suit their purposes. You know that.
    No, I think it was a study that had no money or implications involved. It was just a study to see how important the eyes are to performance. How about we meet somewhere in the middle. Watch the ball into the contact point. Contact point is well in front of you and slightly to the side. And yes, it is about keeping the head still. Your eyes tend to make you want to pull your head up to see what is going on. So, if you keep your eyes on the incoming ball (the best you can) your head should stay put on contact. We may be coming at this from two different angles with possibly the same point intended. Keeping your eyes on the contact point really does keep you from wanting to pull up to see what is happening. If your head pulls out of the shot (as you pointed out) the shot is pretty doomed. Not always, but unless you are using a Big Bubba racquet, you will make poor contact. The shoulder, arm, and racquet will follow the head and pull out of the shot.

  13. #13
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    Actually, I was thinking less of pulling your eyes/head up to watch the flight of your ball, rather that in order to track the ball into your racket, just in front of the front shoulder on good shots, you might need to MOVE your eyes, which is almost as bad as moving your head. Better to hold both head and eyes still while stroking the ball.
    If possible, say on early forehands, you can watch the BACK of your racket as it strikes the ball, but that's only when you're early and behind the ball, a small percentage of the time when I play.
    I'm a 10 handicap golfer too.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeD View Post
    I never mentioned anything remotely close to "watching with the corners"...
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeD View Post
    Key is not to track all the way to your racket.

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