Spin & The Magnus Effect

The Magnus effect is named after a German physicist : Heinrich Magnus. It is a phenomenon in which a force acts on a spinning cylinder or sphere in a uniform flow. The air flow above the ball moves quicker than the air flow below it. So the path of the spinning object is deflected by this difference of air pressure around it.

Under the Magnus effect, topspin produces a downward swerve of a moving ball, greater than would be produced by gravity alone. Backspin produces an upwards force that prolongs the flight of a moving ball. Likewise side-spin causes swerve to either side.

In Tennis, the Topspin can increase consistency because the curve of the ball means that the player can clear the net higher and land the ball before the baseline.

Topspin is created very simply through the strings brushing up the back of the ball!

This motion should be straight up and down in order to develop true topspin. Looking at high level players in super slow motion you will see that around contact the racket almost always moves straight up the back of the ball and forward depending on what type of ball they are hitting.

Now, we have to mentioned one particular strike named "Banana shot". It's a mix beetween Topspin and side spin, marvellously done by Rafael Nadal.

Take a look at this video that shows every kind of spin shots in the same point!

We, at SPIN TENNIS, hope that this article helped you to catch how important is the spin understanding to improve your consistency and your positioning. Indeed, having a nice move without being positioned at the right place in regard of the ballpath is useless. That's why live ball drills are so meaningful.