Topspin

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In ball sports, topspin is a property of a ball that rotates forwards as it is moving. Topspin on a ball propelled through the air imparts a downward force that causes the ball to drop, due to its interaction with the air (see Magnus effect). Topspin is the opposite of backspin.

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Baseball

In baseball, the curveball, a type of pitch which usually has downward movement, is thrown in such a way as to put topspin on the ball. Its close relatives are the slider and the slurve. The "curve" of the ball varies from pitcher to pitcher.

Cue sports

In snooker, pocket billiards and billiards, players use topspin to keep the cue ball moving, including after it hits other balls. They get top spin by hitting the cue against the top of the ball.

Cricket

In cricket, a top-spinner is a type of delivery bowled by a cricketer bowling either wrist spin or finger spin. In either case, the bowler imparts the ball with top spin by twisting it with his or her fingers prior to delivery. In both cases, the topspinner is the halfway house between the stock delivery and the wrong'un - in the wrist spinner's case his googly, and in the finger spinner's case his doosra.

A topspinning cricket ball behaves similarly to top spin shots in tennis or table tennis. The forward spinning motion impedes air travelling over the ball, but assists air travelling underneath. The difference in air pressure above and underneath the ball (described as the Magnus effect) acts as a downward force, meaning that the ball falls earlier and faster than normal.

In cricketing terms, this means that the ball drops shorter, falls faster and bounces higher than might otherwise be anticipated by the batsman. These properties are summed up in cricketing terms as a "looping" or "loopy" delivery. Also, the ball travels straight on, as compared to a wrist spin or finger spin stock delivery that breaks to the left or right on impact. A batsman may easily be deceived by the ball, particularly given that the action is quite similar to the stock delivery.

In delivery, the topspinner is gripped like a normal side spinner. For a legspinner the back of the hand faces the cover region and the palm of the hand faces the mid wicket region at release. For an offspiner, these directions are reversed. The ball is then released either with the seam going straight on to the batsman, or with a scrambled seam. A spinner will frequently bowl deliveries with both top spin and side spin. A ball presenting with roughly equal amounts of both is usually called an "overspinning" leg break or off break.

Tactically, a bowler will bowl topspinners to draw a batsman forward before using the dip and extra bounce to deceive them. In particular, batsmen looking to sweep or drive are vulnerable as the bounce can defeat them. In modern-day cricket Anil Kumble is considered the foremost leg spin exponent of the top spinner. Muttiah Muralitharan is an example of an offspinner who frequently uses this delivery.

Golf

In golf, shots may also have topspin, although this is nearly always the undesirable consequence of a topped shot.

Racquet sports

The topspin shot (also called a topspinner) is primarily used by tennis players and table tennis players as either a "safe shot" or rally ball, or it can also be used to construct a point. For example, a player may hit three topspin shots crosscourt, and then on the fourth shot hit a flat ball or a slice down the line to set him/herself up to win the point.

A topspin shot can be generated by hitting the ball with an up-and-forward swing, with the racquet facing below the direction it is moving. A topspin shot is the opposite of a "slice".

Table tennis

Top spin in table tennis. The ball would have fallen off the table if trajectory had not bent downwards due to spin. Wikipedia-TableTennis-TopspinCurve-4Phases.PNG
Top spin in table tennis. The ball would have fallen off the table if trajectory had not bent downwards due to spin.

In competitive table tennis, effective command of topspin is indispensable, not only in order to be able to execute an attack shot counter to a backspin ball, but also in order to be able to execute a speed shot when the ball is already lower than the net. In table tennis the best defense for a top spin loop is a block close to the table which involves a firm fixation of the paddle and a slight movement forwards with an angle less than 90 degrees. Another way of defending the topspin is to counterattack with a topspin or slice the ball.

Tennis

Other than trajectory in air, top spin affects the bounce of the ball as shown. Top spin 1.svg
Other than trajectory in air, top spin affects the bounce of the ball as shown.

In tennis, because of a net being in the middle of the court, using topspin will increase the player's consistency. Topspin also allows a player a greater margin of error. Because topspin brings the ball down toward the ground quicker, a player can hit the ball higher over the net, thus increasing the margin of error. This may help in lobbing an opponent who is waiting at the net, or playing directly to a player's feet. Hitting low to high as the player approaches the contact point will impart lift. Keeping the racquet face (the strings) slightly closed from perpendicular will impart the topspin to the ball that the player wants. However, balls that bounce lower due to greater force or backspin are much more difficult to return using a grip that confers topspin such as the semi-western and western grips, as the racket is angled too far downwards to 'lift' the ball back over the net. As such, topspin is more effectively used on slower, higher bouncing surfaces such as clay. Topspin is also far more difficult to impart on backhand strokes due to the physical limitations of an arm stretched across the body.

Physical explanation

The Magnus effect, demonstrated on a ball. v represents the wind velocity, the arrow F the resulting force towards the side of lower pressure. Magnus effect.svg
The Magnus effect, demonstrated on a ball. v represents the wind velocity, the arrow F the resulting force towards the side of lower pressure.

Topspin on a shot imparts a downward force that causes the ball to drop, due to its interaction with the air (see Magnus effect). In racquet sports, it can be generated by hitting the ball with an up-and-forward swing, with the racquet facing below the direction it is moving. A topspin shot is the opposite of the slice; topspin itself is the opposite of backspin.

One way of explaining the Magnus effect is that - because of the rotation and the fact that air acts as a viscous or "sticky" substance on the surface of the ball, a stream of air in the wake of the ball is being ejected upwards. As a reaction to this, the ball is pushed downwards.

Often Bernoulli's principle is used to explain the topspin effect, as the difference in speed between ball surface and air is greater on the top of the ball. For example, if the air flowing past the bottom of the ball is moving faster than the air flowing past the top then Bernoulli's principle implies that the pressure on the surfaces of the ball will be lower below than above. In other words, since there is more air friction occurring on the top surface of the ball compared to the bottom, this differential causes a greater pressure to be applied on the top of the ball, resulting in the ball being pushed down.

Competitive utility

The topspin shot is very effective on hard surfaces. The ball spins forward and descends toward the ground quicker, so it can be hit with more force compared to another type of shot.

On most court surfaces, topspin also makes the ball bounce higher. As a result, it is often used on clay or "soft" court surfaces which have a naturally higher bounce in order to make the ball harder for the opponent to hit. An opponent with a one-handed backhand is especially vulnerable to a topspin shot because it is difficult to hit a high ball with a one-handed backhand.

See also

Related Research Articles

Leg spin Type of spin bowling in cricket

Leg spin is a type of spin bowling in cricket. A leg spinner bowls right-arm with a wrist spin action. The leg spinner's normal delivery causes the ball to spin from right to left in the cricket pitch when the ball bounces. For a right-handed batsman, that is away from the leg side, and this is where it gets the name leg break, meaning it breaks away from the leg. The turn is mostly when the ball pitches.

The flipper is the name of a particular bowling delivery used in cricket, generally by a leg spin bowler. In essence it is a back spin ball. Squeezed out of the front of the hand with the thumb and first and second fingers, it keeps deceptively low after pitching and can accordingly be very difficult to play. The flipper is comparable to a riseball in fast-pitch softball.

Off spin Type of bowling in cricket

Off spin is a type of finger spin bowling in cricket. A bowler who uses this technique is called an off spinner. Off spinners are right-handed spin bowlers who use their fingers to spin the ball. Their normal delivery is an off break, which spins from left to right when the ball bounces on the pitch. For a right-handed batsman, this is from his off side to the leg side. The ball breaks away from the off side, hence the name 'off break'.

Table tennis Racket sport

Table tennis, also known as ping-pong and whiff-whaff, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight ball, also known as the ping-pong ball, back and forth across a table using small rackets. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net. Except for the initial serve, the rules are generally as follows: players must allow a ball played toward them to bounce one time on their side of the table and must return it so that it bounces on the opposite side at least once. A point is scored when a player fails to return the ball within the rules. Play is fast and demands quick reactions. Spinning the ball alters its trajectory and limits an opponent's options, giving the hitter a great advantage.

A topspinner is a type of delivery bowled by a cricketer bowling either wrist spin or finger spin. In either case, the bowler imparts the ball with top spin by twisting it with his or her fingers prior to delivery. In both cases, the topspinner is the halfway house between the stock delivery and the wrong'un - in the wrist spinner's case his googly, and in the finger spinner's case his doosra.

Spin bowling Bowling technique in cricket

Spin bowling is a bowling technique in cricket, in which the ball is delivered slowly but with the potential to deviate sharply after bouncing, and the bowler is referred to as a spinner.

In tennis, a grip is a way of holding the racquet in order to hit shots during a match. The three most commonly used conventional grips are: the Continental, the Eastern and the Semi-Western. Most players change grips during a match depending on what shot they are hitting.

Forehand

The forehand in tennis and other racket sports such as table tennis, squash and badminton is a shot made by swinging the racket across one's body with the hand moving palm-first. In tennis, except in the context of the phrase forehand volley, the term refers to a type of groundstroke—a stroke in which the ball has bounced before it is struck. It contrasts with the backhand, the other type of groundstroke. For a right-handed player, the forehand is a stroke that begins on the right side of the body, continues across the body as contact is made with the ball, and ends on the left side of the body. It is considered the easiest shot to master, perhaps because it is the most natural stroke. Beginners and advanced players often have better forehands than any other shots and use it as a weapon.

Backhand

The backhand is a tennis shot in which one swings the racquet around one's body with the back of the hand preceding the palm. Except in the phrase backhand volley, the term refers to a groundstroke. It contrasts with the other kind of groundstroke, the forehand. The term is also used in other racquet sports, and other areas where a similar motion is employed.

Lob (tennis)

A lob in tennis involves hitting the ball high and deep into the opponent's court. It can be used as an offensive or defensive weapon.

In tennis, there are a variety of types of shots which can be categorized in various ways. The grip you place on will help you have different types of shots, the lower your grip means that the ball is most likely going to be a ground stroke. According to William T. Tilden, "All tennis strokes, should be made with the body' at right angles to the net, with the shoulders lined up parallel to the line of flight of the ball ." The serve is the opening shot of a point. Groundstrokes are hit after the ball has already bounced, and can be either forehands or backhands depending on which direction the racket is swung relative to the body. A lob is a groundstroke hit well over the head of an opponent who is positioned at the net. A passing shot is a groundstroke that is hit out of reach of an opponent at the net far to his left or right. A cross-court shot is a shot hit from the left side of one player's court to the left side of the other player's court, so that it crosses the lengthwise centerline of the court. A down-the-line shot is one that is hit more or less parallel to, and near to, one of the sidelines, so that it never crosses the centerline.

This page is a glossary of tennis terminology.

Wrist spin Type of spin bowling in cricket

Wrist spin is a type of bowling in the sport of cricket. It refers to the cricket technique and specific hand movements associated with imparting a particular direction of spin to the cricket ball. The other spinning technique, usually used to spin the ball in the opposite direction, is finger spin. Wrist spin is bowled by releasing the ball from the back of the hand, so that it passes over the little finger. Done by a right-handed bowler, this imparts an anticlockwise rotation to the ball, as seen from the bowler's perspective; a left-handed wrist spinner rotates the ball clockwise.

Finger spin is a type of bowling in the sport of cricket. It refers to the cricket technique and specific hand movements associated with imparting a particular direction of spin to the cricket ball. The other spinning technique, generally used to spin the ball in the opposite direction, is wrist spin. Although there are exceptions, finger spinners generally turn the ball less than wrist spinners. However, because the technique is simpler and easier to master, finger spinners tend to be more accurate.

Table tennis is unique among racket sports in that it supports a large variety of different styles of players. As players' levels increase, the diversity of styles decreases slightly, because technically weak styles are quickly eliminated; but, even at the very top of international table tennis, there are many dramatically different styles to be found. As of 2010, attacking styles dominate most of the top places in the world. However, this may be due to the relative popularity of attack over defense, as defensive players are still able to reach the final stages of international competition.

Backspin

In racquet sports and golf, backspin, is a shot such that the ball rotates backwards after it is hit. This direction of spin imparts an upward force that lifts the ball. While a normal hit bounces well forward as well as up, backspin shots bounce higher and less forward. Backspin is the opposite of topspin.

In cricket, a slider is a type of delivery bowled by a wrist spin bowler. While a topspinner is released with the thumb facing the batsman, a slider is bowled in a similar manner to a legbreak, but instead of imparting sidespin with the third finger, the bowler allows his fingers to roll down the back of the ball, providing a mixture of sidespin and backspin. Whereas a topspinner tends to dip more quickly and bounce higher than a normal delivery, a slider does the opposite: it carries to a fuller length and bounces less than the batsman might expect. The sliders will typically head towards the batsman with a scrambled seam. This has less effect on the flight and bounce but absence of leg spin may deceive the batsman. Frequently the slider is bowled with a mixture of side spin and backspin. This has the effect of making the ball harder to differentiate from the leg break for the batsmen without reducing the mechanical effects caused by the backspin. This delivery may skid straight on or it may turn a small amount.

Flight (cricket) Cricket terminology

In cricket, the flight of the ball is its trajectory through the air between being released by the bowler and bouncing on the pitch. The flight of a delivery may be varied by changing the pace of the ball or through use of the Magnus force.

Serve (tennis)

A serve in tennis is a shot to start a point. A player will hit the ball with a racquet so it will fall into the diagonally opposite service box without being stopped by the net. Normally players begin a serve by tossing the ball into the air and hitting it. The ball can only touch the net on a return and will be considered good if it falls on the opposite side. If the ball contacts the net on the serve but then proceeds to the proper service box, it is called a let; this is not a legal serve in the major tours although it is also not a fault. Players normally serve overhead, however serving underhand is allowed. The serve is the only shot a player can take their time to set up instead of having to react to an opponent's shot. But as of 2012, there is a 25-second limit to be allowed between points.