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There are several different techniques available for tennis players to use in order to push their shots over the net into their opponent’s side of the court.
While topspin and backspin are the most formal and frequently created movements of the tennis ball, another option can prove as a resourceful tactic during a match.
Flat ball hitters are players who choose to opt for no spin on their shots, branding these shots the name flat shots.
Much of the skill needed to complete a flat shot requires precise timing and ball height, but other features such as using the best racquet for flat ball hitter, your abilities, and the proper utilization of power can help increase the accuracy and speed of your flat shots.
What is a flat ball hitter?
The term flat ball hitter is used to describe tennis players who make contact between their racquet and the tennis ball at an even or neutral level of the net.
The shot features no spin creating a driving force in the ball.
This push moves the ball at a set angel through force rather than relying on the spin to generate speed and movement.
This is a power type shot, that quickens the pace of both the ball and the game.
Many players do not rely on this tactic as it can be seen as lacking tack, breaking away from the usual advanced playing of spin.
But using a flat shot can help catch your opponent off guard and, if executed properly, can be difficult to retrieve due to its low trajectory.
These shots are also created by your opponent’s topspin shots.
These shots come well over the net’s height and bounce up making for easy targets to smash a fast shot.
How to execute a flat shot
The timing and height of your shot is key in order to have better control over your shot and to prevent the ball from failing to cross over the net.
The ball will travel in a straight line often for flat shots but can feature some directional turns depending on if you add a small amount of spin.
Hit the ball during its highest point in the bounce created by your opponent’s topspin. This height should be above the net line to allow for a shift downward motion as soon as the ball has passed the net.
Flat vs topspin
The minor differences between the flat and topspin shots are their speed.
While flat shots are fast paced, topspin shots are slower, allowing the opponent time to retrieve a shot.
But topspin is easier to control allowing you to better place shots where your opponent cannot reach them.
To learn more about the different form needed to create a flat shot rather than a topspin, view the short video below.
Flat hitters can also use flat ball techniques in order to create flat serves. The serve can is used often, normally as the first serve of a match.
Similar to a shot, the flat serve has high speeds and there is a small chance of error.
These serves follow a straight pattern and have a lower bounce than other serve types.
Pros and cons of a flat shot
Using a flat shot has many advantages. The shot has less chance for error as a top serve, with the greatest error lying your ability to time the shot to make it across the tennis net.
These shots have extreme power and speed, a strong feature to have in a shot. This can make it difficult for your opponent to return the shot.
The low, minimum bounce of the shot is also challenging to recover for a player.
While using a flat shot can be useful, it is still important to rely on your main shot types, top spin and backspin.
These are the primary shots for a reason.
They allow for more stylized shots that are easily customized to target your opponent’s weaknesses.
Head and string requirements
The head of a racquet for flat ball hitters must offer power and control, with an advanced sweet spot and lower string tension.
The racquet head should be smaller in size to bring strong control and accuracy for your shots. The space for the strings in the smaller head will also decrease.
A racquet between 95 and 98 square inches is a great option as it generates its own power and offers a consistent sweet spot.
This is an advanced player racquet as intermediate and beginner level players may not yet be able to properly balance their racquet’s skills with their own.
The strings should have a tight, dense pattern like 16 by 20 or 18 by 20. A dense string pattern provides a stiffer racquet with a firm response.
These patterns use more strings, which increases the surface area of without expanding the racquet head’s sizing. It also offers strong control due to less string movement upon contact.
A dense string pattern increases the life of your strings as well, so you can use soft, thinner strings.
Thinner strings feature also control the amount of spin your racquet can create.
Strings with thinner diameters will bring more spin, and therefore may not be the best option for a flat ball hitter.
Thicker strings will offer stronger power and be more durable than thin strings, especially in a dense pattern.
Lower tensions are also good to consider as they produce greater power and push shots deeper into the court. This is because the ball stays on the string bed longer.
Eastern grip type
While choosing the proper grip size is important with any racquet, choosing the right grip type is also important.
Of the different grip types, you can choose from eastern tennis grips are the most compatible for flat ball hitters.
A semi-western can also work for those looking for a grip type balanced between topspin and flat shots.
The eastern grip does not require you to change the way you hold your racquet making it easier and versatile in the power or control supported by your position.
You can also easily switch between your forehand and backhand for quick return time.
Eastern grips still offer players the option to easily maneuver for topspin or flat shots with solid power.
Weight and balance of racquet
The weight of your racquet can affect the power or control of your racquet and the physical effects your racquet can cause.
For a flat ball hitter, you will be looking for more power in order to increase the speed of your shots, so looking for a racquet leaning towards power or balancing between power and control is a good option.
Racquets that weigh more bring more power and stability, absorb shock, have a strong feel, and work well with players who have faster paced strokes.
This weight is also ideal for flat ball hitters as it can bring more speed to your shots and push the tennis ball deep into the court.
Best racquet for flat ball hitter
There are a number of tennis racquets that could potentially work well for a flat ball hitter. It’s important to always consult an industry professional before using any new racquet.
Tecnifibre TF40 305 Tennis Racquet
This black and white racquet with a red and blue striped section is by Tecnifibre. The tennis racquet offers specialized Tecnifibre technology in its design such as Dynacore XTC and RS Section.
The racquet is also made to work for close net shots, such as flat shots.
The grip size is 4 3/8 and the tennis racquet weighs a light 11.3 ounces. The racquet is lighter than many of Tecnifibre’s other designs.
The weight is balanced as a head-light racquet, but there is added weight to the head to help increase power to your shots.
The TF40 305 is designed to be used by advanced tennis players, as it focuses on power rather than control.
Therefore, control will need to be a skill well mastered by the user in order to aim the quick shots.
The racquet’s Dynacore Xtreme Touch Construction, or XTC, is a technology that utilizes a braided core in the entire head of the racquet.
This works to allow the racquet’s core to reduce shock and increase feel and precision.
The RS section is a flat beam that is placed to provide higher levels of stability and consistency from your racquet.
The RS section beam is 21.7 millimeters in size.
The string pattern of the racquet is a dense 18 by 20 pattern. The strings are aided with Xtense Bumper and Grommets.
These newer Tecnifibre technologies enlarge the racquet sweet spot while also increasing the length of the eyelets and bumpers.
These extended sections are where the main strings and crossed strings overlap with the racquet’s frame.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this racquet could work for you.
Wilson PRO STAFF 97 COUNTERVAIL TENNIS RACKET
The Wilson black and white tennis racket is part of their 97 line with a focus on precision for both intermediate and advanced players.
Even though this racket is not designed for power, it can still provide good quality flat shots for those players you need a racket with a stronger focus on power due to their skill level and personal strengths.
The racket does offer a powerful, straight drive shot with its design, which works well for flat ball hitters.
The racket comes in several different grip sizes including 4 ½, 4 ¼, 4 1/8, and 4 3/8.
The Pro Staff racket is box shaped made with a thin, 21.5-millimeter frame. The graphite in the frame is braided and combined with a layer of carbon.
This helps increase the stability and durability of your racket’s head and shape.
The material is also vibration dampening and allows for a solid feel that is consistent no matter the shot being performed.
The Countervail material is also intertwined in the racket to help maximize your energy during a match.
This can reduce strain and fatigue to your muscles, a common trait for control-based rackets.
This brings further reduction to the vibrations caused by contact on off-centered shots.
The balance and extreme speed of the strings is caused by both the 7-point system and 16 by 19 string pattern.
The weight of the racket is a head light balance.
The racket head is 27 inches in length, with 97 square inches of string surface area, an ideal measurement for flat shots.
View at Amazon for more information on how this racquet could work for you.
Learn more about this racquet on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wilson-Federer-Countervail-Tuxedo-Racquet/dp/B07DRP7MJ8/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?crid=3L4Q80CRDDZGZ&keywords=wilson+prostaff+97+countervail&qid=1583271011&sprefix=wilson+pro+staff+97%2Caps%2C182&sr=8-3-spons&psc=1&smid=A2CFHVUH63IJ53&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExVThWU1VQWE5EN0M3JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMjU3ODcwM0JURUtSWDVMQ1pXSyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNjQxNTg2MzVTWktDWE1XNkNXMSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=.
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