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Hitting dead nicks

Published: 13 Sep 2008 - 07:45 by mike

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 10:17

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As my shots have tightened up I find that I hit a lot more nicks than I used to, but that very rarely are they dead nicks. When nicks were total flukes, and not partially intentional, I found that a lot more of them would come out dead.

I had thought that the difference between a normal, or near-nick and dead nick was probably down to fate, but after just watching the Dutch Open final where Cameron Pilley put at least 6 cross court kills dead into the nick (4 in one game) I think there must be more to it.


So what differenentiates the two technically? The ones that come out dead seem to go towards the side wall at a sharper angle (more width, less length) and are usually hit harder. This probably makes the shot riskier, because if you miss the nick it will come out to be more open.

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From mike - 18 Sep 2008 - 22:24

Well I downloaded the match from so I don't really have a helpful link to give.

I had a quick go at editing the video to grab a few snippets, but Premiere Pro doesn't seem to cope well with any compressed internet video formats. Is that what you were after, some footage?

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From rippa rit - 18 Sep 2008 - 11:04

Mike - you got the link to those "dead nicks" by Pilley in that game you refer to, please?

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From mike - 13 Sep 2008 - 08:27

You can hit a dead nick off a ball if it has bounced high enough though these opportunities are few at a top level. 

Yes, as the commentator mentioned Nick Matthew's shots were not particularly loose, Pilley just knew what he wanted to do with them.


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From rippa rit - 13 Sep 2008 - 08:16

Mike - I see the guys practising the "dead" nicks and they are executed mostly off a high ball that is not too close to the wall, and they go for the volley nick kill, with a flat racket face.  So the downwards angle of the hit is the main ingredient.   Yes, if you miss the nick that can mean trouble, as the ball is short, lacks spin, and will sit up for the opponent to execute.

Drop shot and boast nicks are effective shots (more spin less power) because of their angle into the side wall, and a great deal of skill is required to retrieve them into a good return, but few scoot along the floor for an outright winner. Why?  The ball is approaching the nick at a low sideways angle, and is a softer shot. 

You can hit a dead nick off a ball if it has bounced high enough though these opportunities are few at a top level.  To cut these down into the nick is less risky and often do hit the nick as well.

Cameron Pilley is a tall guy too with good reach.

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Many thanks for your nice answers! That's great to meet guys like you!

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