Solar Power vs Wind Power
Tennis is a sport that requires you to use your opponents power but also at times to create your own power. This depends on the speed of the ball coming towards you as well as tactical considerations.
At Scarborough Tennis we train this by learning about the two power sources:
Solar Power and Wind Power
What is Solar Power?
Solar Power is about ‘converting’ energy. In tennis terms we discuss trying to absorb the shot coming to you and deflect the power back to your opponent.
Solar Power will in its nature be a shorter swing to ensure that the oncoming ball can be absorbed and deflected.
What is Wind Power?
Wind Power is about ‘generating’ energy. In tennis terms we discuss trying to create larger racquet speed to generate power and send it back to your opponent.
Wind Power will in its nature be a larger swing with players needing to swing in more of a loop (like a windmill) to wind up the racquet and generate power.
Point play scenarios
Generally a big first serve coming towards you leaves you little time to create your own racquet speed (wind power) and if you do it will normally result in you mis-timing the return. Better is to shorten your backswing and try and absorb the power coming towards you and deflect it back (solar power). A second serve however is slower and gives you the opportunity to step up and create your own racquet speed (wind power).
Hitting the ball on the rise?
During a baseline rally, if a player is hitting deep balls, this will often force you to hit on the rise. When you hit on the rise, timing the ball can be tricky and therefore more of a ‘solar power’ approach can work better.
Receiving slow balls?
During a baseline rally, if a player is hitting slow and loopy balls, this can be difficult to play back. Given that your opponent is not hitting with very much power to you, this normally means that you need to generate your own power (wind power).
The ultimate ‘solar power’ shot, a volley is generally about absorbing the power coming towards you and deflecting it to another part of the court. The exception to this is a very slow ball which might require you to hit a drive volley which is ‘wind power’.
How to mess with your opponents rhythm?
Often players have a strong preference on their power creation. Some players love to wind up and create big power and some rely on their opponents power. Forehands generally speaking are better at creating ‘wind power’ and backhands better at creating ‘solar power’.
By mixing up the speed, shape and placement of your ball this will force your opponent to have to switch between ‘solar power’ to ‘wind power’. If a player prefers ‘wind power’ a low, fast, deep shot towards them might force them to mis-hit the ball. If a player prefers ‘solar power’ then giving them some slower balls can result in them not generating enough power and landing their ball short in the court for you to move forwards and finish the point.
Director of Tennis