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solidj11
03-10-2004, 09:46 PM
Hey everyone,

I've been hitting with a semi-western, western grip for sometime but i just seems to lack some "oomph" or pop. Feels as if i'm muscling the ball and not having my racket parallel to the ground upon impact. The delivery is fine but there's a heaviness that's lacking. Any tips or advice on how to aid my stroke? Thanks!

Bungalo Bill
03-10-2004, 09:59 PM
Try this:

Point the butt cap of your racquet at the ball. As your arm is a bit away from your body on your backswing. Pull the butt cap of the racquet forward towards the ball, with your SHOULDER.

As your elbow begins to pass in front of your body, your shoulder rotation will begin (or thereof). The point is contraction of the elbow coming close to your side and in front of your body should start first.

The reason you want the elbow to come in first is so it can offset the centrifugal force that will happen on your rotation which can cause the elbow to go out away from your body too much and therefore you will lose control of the racquet face. Also, the elbow being close and passing by your body has a mental effect as well. It is easier for the brain to gain a sense of where the racquet face is relative to the ball and you will have a lot less frame balls.

If you use just your lower arm to pull the butt cap towards the ball, the upper arm loses its ability to help stabilize the racquet head as well.

Swing in a STRAIGHT line towards the ball and go right through the sucker. You should be able to get very BIG pace and excellent control. YOu are learning the flat forehand which is the basis of hitting the professional topspin forehand.

Try it and give me some feedback on how it worked. When you think you got it, we can move on with exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles so you can achieve the modern professional forehand - next stage of development.

ho
03-11-2004, 12:41 PM
You do not feel the "oomm" because you do not hit hard enough, you do not feel the "heaviness" because you do not hit THROUGH the ball and keep the ball on the string long time. Just answer you the first part. To hit hard. the speed of the racket have to be max at impact and with a heavy racket. Law of collision physic: m1xv1=m2xv2. m1 is the mass of the racket, v1 is the speed of the racket. m2 and v2 is of the ball. All you do now is to increase v1 and m1 and you all right. for m1 , it's easy, just add lead tape at the top racket. for v1, you have to do some work, as Mr BB have show in so many post how to hit a forehand with basic method, I skip that. to go to another level, you have to hit with kinetic chain energy. Just say at the end of this chain is your racket. If you want the speed of it have to be max at contact, along with other basic things, you have to create a lag behind between you wrist and your racket. Means at the beginning of the forward swing, when your wrist start to move forward, your racket still move backward. a rotation of your body will get max speed at some where to your right in front of your body, then it slow down. By then the racket behind your wrist will naturally launch forward, create a snap. Just like when you drive your car and suddenly stop, the inertia momentum of the car will launch your body forward violently. You have so may chain in your body. That will be next when you feel this is what you need in your v1.

Bungalo Bill
03-11-2004, 01:21 PM
Be careful about the words above, it sounds like Ho might be an advanced player. This is NOT a "basic" forehand I am tipping you on. Also, it is very clear that good solid players eliminate as much wrist movement as they can for consistency and accuracy. It only appears they are using there wrists because of the racquet head speed they generate.

The above forehand will give that explosive forehand your looking for without the m1xv1=m2xv2. You dont even have to think about a formula.

Here is where your going. To learn this forehand, you are developing over a foundation which I beleive you have already achieved which is to line up the butt cap, keep a fixed wrist position then the rotation and acceleration stages are combined - elbow and shoulder move together. This is a basic forehand.

Typically, this stroke is taught by focusing on the followthrough. In other words, the elbow is already in front of the body plane and you rotate into the ball. This forehand can be found by reading classic books on the subject by Braden etc. This forehand is a good starting point for players 4.0 and below or you have not mastered this elementary stroke. The limitations of this forehand is that it cannot be executed efficiently at high speeds without becoming unstable, and due to its lack of a seperate acceleration compenent, it cannot be used to generate modern high energy ball speeds. However, it is a consistant and reliable at medium speeds and is common amongst players with a NTRP rating of 4.0 and below.

I think without seeing you, you have this forehand. I could be wrong and only you will know for sure. If you dont think you do, it is BEST to practice this movement first so it can engrain into your brain as it serves as the foundation building a killer forehand and a massive weapon of destruction. I think I am getting carried away. If you think you got this, then practice what I said in the previous post.

The difference between these two forehands is your introducing a seperate acceleration stage but NOT with the wrist! The key component is the pulling motion to start the stroke. This contracting of the elbow provides some acceleration and a large component of stability to be executed at higher speeds and therefore bigger hits.

The final stage once you mastered this is simply (and is actually running parallel to) to develop the shoulder muscles. This is going to be key because strength in this area will allow you to generate bigtime speed while keeping the racquet path stable.

Again, this is not a basic forehand, you are moving on provided you believe you think you have mastered the foundational forehand mentioned above.

Every tennis player needs to be careful how they develop their tennis body. The brain and the muscles need to be developed to support the racquet speeds and control needed to play at a higher level. No such thing as "just doing it" it takes work and patience. Most players dont have the patience which is why a lot players dont get above 4.0.

Balance and strength exercises will come next when you believe you think you got it. Dont mean to downplay Ho's comments and it sounds like Ho takes a scientific approach to this game which is good! But if you want a KILLER FOREHAND, you have to develop the stroke, the brain signals, and the muscle strength to execute it at higher speeds under stressful conditions.

solidj11
03-15-2004, 08:18 PM
thanks for the tips guys. i mainly just made my upper arm get more into the swing and i'm getting more solid shots. i'm about a 4.0 to 4.5 btw. i'm just looking to get the forehand more efficient and smooth-looking the how pros hit. i know it's gonna be a lot of hard work but i'm up to it. i understand tennis takes a lot of time to be really good at. thanks again.

Marc C.
03-17-2004, 09:07 AM
With a western grip, you will get the topspin pretty much no matter how you hit it. It sounds as if you are "brushing up" to much on the ball. You may want to try swinging through the ball.