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View Full Version : How to hit Nadal's FH?


stradivarius
05-12-2007, 09:03 AM
I think Nadal's FH is so good, lot of top spin...Is that because he uses western grip?

dave333
05-12-2007, 09:09 AM
Nadal hits the forehand with a western grip, a windshield wiper stroke, and his arm straighter out. He creates a ton of racquet speed and creates his spin.

Also, I think his jacked biceps help too, you can feel your bicep flex when your arm goes into the western grip position.

ps60
05-12-2007, 09:21 AM
hit the gym and get yourself sth like his bicep and the famous butt first ! :grin: :grin: :grin:

rbowser
05-12-2007, 09:37 AM
Being a lefty helps a lot. And you need to have a good base. You could either WW it or reverse FH. If you really want to do it, strenghten your wrists and train lots and lots.

zapvor
05-12-2007, 10:20 AM
his swing also follows through over his head in a big loop. that motion adds to it

armand
05-12-2007, 10:56 AM
Some people really shouldn't be posting in this thread(or even in this forum)section because it just serves to confuse the OP.

Prince_of_Tennis
05-12-2007, 11:32 AM
w00t i'm back from the dead. You can hit with plenty of topspin without resorting to his technique.

Practice producing topspin on the ball. I practice a lot of mini tennis trying to use lots of topspin making it land in the service box.

Good luck remember practice is key.

goober
05-12-2007, 01:00 PM
http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/instructionarticles/forehand/forehand.aspx?id=56544

tricky
05-12-2007, 02:33 PM
From the tennis.com article, yeah, the one "teachable" thing he does is how he avoids tucking in the elbow, unlike most players.

When you avoid tucking in the elbow with the Western grip, you expand the optimal contact zone of that grip. This lets you hit shots with authority around knee-to-waist level, and depending on your finish, you can even hit these suckers flat. With a Western grip.

At the same time, a straight-arm swing gives your hand/forearm more freedom to rotate. Therefore, the effect of a finish and a grip will be more accentuated. If you hit over your shoulder, the straight-arm will generate more topspin than the traditional swing. If you do this with the Western, you get so much wiping action that your arm starts to lasso around your head.

So, yes, you get your cake and you can eat it too. So why don't more pros do it? Well, first, a straight-arm swing is a bigger arc, and so it's much more tiring. Second, combination of straight-arm and Western grip brings the contact point SO far out in front that it's now extremely difficult to step into a shot. And as you can see, Nadal only steps into a shot if he recognizes a short ball. Otherwise he steps away until he can recognize the spin on the ball.

paulfreda
05-12-2007, 03:27 PM
The way to really understand what Rafa is doing is to learn/teach yourself the Hawaiian grip. When you can hit with that grip well, you will understand what Rafa is doing.

The reason I say this is that Rafa is unique. Lots of players on the tour hit with Western grips. But none hit the way he does. IMO, he is using Hawaiian technique because I hit this way when I am using my Hawaiian.

Unfortunately it will take you tens and maybe a hundred hours of hitting to figure this grip out unless you find someone who not only knows the grip and uses it, but can teach as well. This is not an easy combination to find.

Notice he hits often as if he were delivering an uppercut to someone's chin in front of him. He is also suppinating [rotating CW] his forearm due to the closed face nature of the Western grip.
Yet he still drives thru the ball when he is not hitting defensively. With this grip that is very uncomfortable for someone doing it for the first time.

tricky
05-12-2007, 04:09 PM
Notice he hits often as if he were delivering an uppercut to someone's chin in front of him.

Yeah, that's a product of the straight-arm swing. You don't get a lot of down-to-up motion from the arm itself, and so you can drive through the ball with a flatter swing plane. With a Western grip, it looks like a uppercut.

His backswing is unusual, though. Like Federer, he's actually pronating his forearm while extending the arm. This is hard to master, but it gives him an extra jet pack in his swing.

zapvor
05-12-2007, 04:43 PM
Some people really shouldn't be posting in this thread(or even in this forum)section because it just serves to confuse the OP.

w00t i'm back from the dead. You can hit with plenty of topspin without resorting to his technique.

Practice producing topspin on the ball. I practice a lot of mini tennis trying to use lots of topspin making it land in the service box.

Good luck remember practice is key.

you mean me armand?

and yea. Nadal is extreme. you dont need to use his motion to get good topspin. but he was asking about how Nadal did it.

zapvor
05-12-2007, 04:45 PM
From the tennis.com article, yeah, the one "teachable" thing he does is how he avoids tucking in the elbow, unlike most players.

When you avoid tucking in the elbow with the Western grip, you expand the optimal contact zone of that grip. This lets you hit shots with authority around knee-to-waist level, and depending on your finish, you can even hit these suckers flat. With a Western grip.

At the same time, a straight-arm swing gives your hand/forearm more freedom to rotate. Therefore, the effect of a finish and a grip will be more accentuated. If you hit over your shoulder, the straight-arm will generate more topspin than the traditional swing. If you do this with the Western, you get so much wiping action that your arm starts to lasso around your head.

So, yes, you get your cake and you can eat it too. So why don't more pros do it? Well, first, a straight-arm swing is a bigger arc, and so it's much more tiring. Second, combination of straight-arm and Western grip brings the contact point SO far out in front that it's now extremely difficult to step into a shot. And as you can see, Nadal only steps into a shot if he recognizes a short ball. Otherwise he steps away until he can recognize the spin on the ball.

yea the biggest thing i think is how far out you are contacting the ball. if you try it and you arent like stretching out to hit that ball its not going to go well.

paulfreda
05-13-2007, 02:30 AM
..... he's actually pronating his forearm while extending the arm. This is hard to master, but it gives him an extra jet pack in his swing.

Very important observation ! !
Pronation closes the face even more on takeback, so in effect he is creating the Hawaiian grip by doing this. This means he can swing low to high and suppinate more aggressively in the forward swing and thus get more topspin.

tricky
05-13-2007, 03:15 AM
To me, that arm extension/forearm pronation technique Nadal (as well as Federer and apparently Gonzo and others) uses is a legitimate evolutionary step in the FH. Because, now, you no longer have a true double-bend backswing. It's hard to master because, without a static elbow structure, assumptions of how the forearm/racquet should rotate in the backswing go out the window too.

35ft6
05-14-2007, 06:38 AM
I would not try to copy Nadal's forehand. I wonder if this is the future of tennis, though, the straight armed western forehand. Verdasco hits his almost exactly the same way. Up till recently, I thought the straighter the arm on forehand, the closer to continental grip, but not really the case. Paradorn, Mardy Fish, Mark P, Federer, Nadal and Verdasco all hit with pretty straight arms with various grips. And it seems like it allows you to generate insane top spin but without the loopiness, a super spinny shot with a flat shot trajectory.

chris1992
05-14-2007, 06:51 AM
It's a great shot if you are pushed out wide but i would be careful when you try it as if not used correctly it can cause injury due to the extreme grip and the finishing swing. Much easier to hit for a lefthander, hence the fact that both Nadal and Verdasco use it.

35ft6
05-14-2007, 03:22 PM
^ How is it easier for a left hander?

Brian_C
05-14-2007, 03:34 PM
yea i mean I'm righty trying to play lefty and i still cant really get it down lol

tricky
05-14-2007, 04:06 PM
Verdasco's swing mechanics are different from Nadal's in the suppination vs. pronation thing. He doesn't extend his arm in the backswing. His finish is a bit lower as well, and he obviously uses it as an offensive weapon.

Paradorn, Mardy Fish, Mark P, Federer, Nadal and Verdasco all hit with pretty straight arms with various grips.

My hunch is that more Western grip clay-courters will adapt the straight-arm shot -- or possibly something like that will be instituted in their academies -- because it enables them to hit flat and low shots with their Western grip. Thus, generation of clay courters will become serious threats on HC surfaces.

vkartikv
05-14-2007, 06:22 PM
Why would you want your arm to end back up over your head like him? Is elegance no longer a part of tennis? Edberg and I denounce the turn this game has taken.

textbook strokes
05-16-2007, 12:26 PM
Yeah, that's a product of the straight-arm swing. You don't get a lot of down-to-up motion from the arm itself, and so you can drive through the ball with a flatter swing plane. With a Western grip, it looks like a uppercut.

His backswing is unusual, though. Like Federer, he's actually pronating his forearm while extending the arm. This is hard to master, but it gives him an extra jet pack in his swing.

Pronating during the take back?. You mean like a swimmer openning the water in front of him..., (only to his side in the case of a tennis player)?.
I'm allready experimenting with the "hitting from the shoulder" concept on my forehands with good results, relaxing the elbow, but this kind of takeback is new to me.
Could you elaborate more?. How does it help with spin and pace?. Why is it harder to emulate?.
Thanks.

Teh_pwnerer
05-16-2007, 01:19 PM
nadal hits off his back foot, i do too is this wrong?

habib
05-16-2007, 02:10 PM
To me, that arm extension/forearm pronation technique Nadal (as well as Federer and apparently Gonzo and others) uses is a legitimate evolutionary step in the FH. Because, now, you no longer have a true double-bend backswing. It's hard to master because, without a static elbow structure, assumptions of how the forearm/racquet should rotate in the backswing go out the window too.

I completely agree, as it is a natural progression of using more and more of your body's elements (limbs/joints/whate have you) to create the most efficient and powerful chain of energy transfer possible. Hence why nowadays you see so many "wristy" forehands on tour, whereas even 15 years ago this was far from the case, and 25 years ago the elbow didn't even figure as much into the stroke. We've gone from stepping into the shot with the arm basically locked below the shoulder, to using your body like a coil with a bent yet somewhat flexible elbow, to pronating the forearm into contact. This is also why I think that we're basically on the verge of, or in the middle of the verge of, a 1HBH revolution - more and more we're seeing the exact same kind of evolution in it. More players are beginning to use the shot as a weapon, and more and more are beginning to pronate their forearms into contact for additional racquet velocity.

habib
05-16-2007, 02:15 PM
Pronating during the take back?. You mean like a swimmer openning the water in front of him..., (only to his side in the case of a tennis player)?.
I'm allready experimenting with the "hitting from the shoulder" concept on my forehands with good results, relaxing the elbow, but this kind of takeback is new to me.
Could you elaborate more?. How does it help with spin and pace?. Why is it harder to emulate?.
Thanks.

I think some people here are misunderstanding the 'pronating the forearm during extension' bit. Watching these guys hit the ball, the arm actually begins to extend as it is pulled forward - NOT during takeback. They're basically unfolding and whipping their arms into the ball - and this analogy is very good, since when you think about it, a whip starts out coiled and it is the extension and uncoiling which produces its power. In other terms, the pronation is occuring as the arm is moving towards contact, not while it's being taken back. It is this pronation into the ball that results in additional spin and pace. Basically, the way I see it, tennis is beginning to get to a point, thanks in large part to the racquets and strings at our disposal, at which it can mimic the swing patterns and techniques of racquet sports which have traditionally utilized lighter racquets and flatter swings. Badminton and racquetball swings, for example, are almost entirely based around pronating into contact - you wouldn't be able to get a shuttle over the net, or do a whole lot with a racquet ball, if you didn't 'whip' your arm into the projectile. Tennis is beginning to adopt this concept as well, though why it's taken so long I'm not entirely sure.

textbook strokes
05-16-2007, 03:15 PM
That also confused me, but I think Tricky was talking about extending the arm during the take back, using a certain degree of pronation. That would explain why the frames of Rafa and Roger are perpendicular to the court, with the head pointing to the sky and the grip to the ground during the first part of the backswing.
I do all the rest, but my racquet doesn't go perpendicular in the backswing. Of course I don't want to copy everything exactly, but I'd like to try certain things if they can help.
Is Tricky around please?:grin:

habib
05-16-2007, 03:25 PM
That also confused me, but I think Tricky was talking about extending the arm during the take back, using a certain degree of pronation. That would explain why the frames of Rafa and Roger are perpendicular to the court, with the head pointing to the sky and the grip to the ground during the first part of the backswing.
I do all the rest, but my racquet doesn't go perpendicular in the backswing. Of course I don't want to copy everything exactly, but I'd like to try certain things if they can help.
Is Tricky around please?:grin:

Hrmm, I know what you're talking about re: their racquets being perpendicular to the ground at the end of the takeback, but imagining it in my mind, I think it may actually take suppination to achieve that, and it's not something special and restricted to Fed, Nadal and a handful of others, whereas pronation on the swing seems to be.

bluestreak711
05-16-2007, 07:42 PM
The way to really understand what Rafa is doing is to learn/teach yourself the Hawaiian grip. When you can hit with that grip well, you will understand what Rafa is doing.

The reason I say this is that Rafa is unique. Lots of players on the tour hit with Western grips. But none hit the way he does. IMO, he is using Hawaiian technique because I hit this way when I am using my Hawaiian.

Unfortunately it will take you tens and maybe a hundred hours of hitting to figure this grip out unless you find someone who not only knows the grip and uses it, but can teach as well. This is not an easy combination to find.

Notice he hits often as if he were delivering an uppercut to someone's chin in front of him. He is also suppinating [rotating CW] his forearm due to the closed face nature of the Western grip.
Yet he still drives thru the ball when he is not hitting defensively. With this grip that is very uncomfortable for someone doing it for the first time.

what is the hawaiian grip how do you hold your racquet for the hawwaiian grip?

bluestreak711
05-16-2007, 08:02 PM
^ How is it easier for a left hander?

it should be the smae for left handed and right handed people

remember that Nadal was right handed and the his coach switched him when he was young

i have experienced playing with both of my hands

and i have a theory that if you play with your non dominent hand and make it your dominent hand you develop spin on your shots sooner i perticularly experienced this on the serve

with my right hand my shots were flat where on my left hand i occasionally used a slice serve

see i was born right handed but for a few years i was playing tennis i was just messing around and wasnt trying to learn and i developped many bad habits where it made it difficult to play right handed correctly

so i switched over and was doing well until i suffered a slight strain in my left hand and so far it hasnt healed even after seeing the doctor so i may be swiching back to my right hand

my point is i have experienced playing with both hands..and quite well i might add...and it seems you develeop spin on your nondominent side sooner than playing with you dominent hand...it just seems to take longer


so my point and theory thier is no advantage or disadvantage of being left or right handed they are completely the same except they take thier forehands and back hands on the oppisite side of the court unless ou make you nondominent hand your dominent hand(or switch over) then it seems you slice your serve naturally


one more thing when you switch over you have more athority over your two handed backhands

tricky
05-16-2007, 11:56 PM
Watching these guys hit the ball, the arm actually begins to extend as it is pulled forward - NOT during takeback.

This is especially true if you don't tuck the elbow in, and it's the basis for the straight-arm shot. If you have a very relaxed wrist in your backswing and you don't tuck in the elbow, the torque of the racquet will cause your arms to extend into the forward swing. We don't see this with the old-school guys who didn't tuck in the elbows, because they didn't lay back their wrist. Exception would be Laver, and he had more angles than a pol.

Most windshield wipers then have two forward swing strategies. They can tuck their elbow in, the normal way, which gives them a tight arc, good mix of spin and pace, and ability to hit balls close to them. Or they can swing almost completely from the shoulder, which gives them a more linear swing, ability to hit flat and low with an extreme grip, and higher potential for spin. Some of them use both variations depending on the shot they want.

That said, yes, Textbook is right -- I'm actually talking about extending the arm in the backswing. And the technique to make that actually a good idea is the new wrinkle we're seeing with Nadal, Federer, Gonzo, and even Joker.

Textbook --

How does it help with spin and pace?. Why is it harder to emulate?.

It significantly increases the spin you put on the ball, regardless of what grip you use. It's usually done with the reversal of the racquet (racquet flipped 180 , so that the wrist is laid-back, and that the racquet is standing up.) And together, this releases a "SRC" with your forearm, which causes you to wipe very quickly through the zone.

You also get a very whippy swing, as if the arm is swinging for you. And you begin to understand the potential for this style, because literally it's like your arm has a life of its own. The swing speed with it is amazing, because truly you don't have to try very hard. You let your legs and hips do its thing, and then let the arm kinda wha!-pa! on the ball. Of course, it's also much harder to control, but you can see the potential with it. First you start with the basic Federer whiplash. If you set it high like Roddick, you have the Gonzo FH. If you use a Western grip and initiate the hips while the arm is still bent, you have the Nadal FH.

One key thing that needs emphasis: this is perhaps the only way where extending the arm in the backswing can increase power. If you start with conventional wiper style and try extending the arm through the takeback, you'll actually lose power.

In traditional WW style, the constant elbow bend is designed to make sure your backswing is stretching the shoulder, which loads power into it. But, when you extend the arm in a backswing without forearm pronation, arm does not naturally stretch out. Instead, you turn the backswing into a "lat raise", which are completely different muscles than what is used in the forehand. Therefore, you lose most of the potential power in the backswing. However, if your forearm pronates with the extension, then the shoulder still turns and stretches correctly. You gain potential power in the backswing.

Also, the the swing is still shoulder oriented, the wrist-hand just comes along for the ride.

[QUOTE]You mean like a swimmer openning the water in front of him..., (only to his side in the case of a tennis player)?.

Yeah, it's roughly like that. You want to keep two things in mind through the entire backswing.

1) The racquet tip is always pointing a little forward through the entire backswing. In other words, you want the angle between the thumb and left side of wrist to be a little "in" through the entire backswing, as if you were kinda making a hitchhiker swing with your thumb. This is important, so the shoulder is properly loaded in the backswing.

2) You want your arm to feel relaxed as it straightens out. If you feel tension, then you're not doing it correctly.

So, basically, the swing goes like this -->

1) Reverse racquet, so that it stands up and that your wrist is laid-back.

2) Draw the racquet behind you with the shoulder, keeping the elbow angle pretty constant.

3a) As you start feeling the stretch in the shoulder, you start rotating the forearm counterclockwise (pronation.)

3b) While you do this, you also start lowering the racquet toward waist level.

3c) If you try to keep your arm relaxed, you'll notice that it starts to automatically extend.

4) As you extend and rotate, start relaxing the wrist until it reaches about waist level.

5) Turn hips, legs, and fire away from the shoulder. The Nadal style has you turning the hips much earlier, but it can be distracting initially.

This swing style intuitively makes more sense if you try learning it with a wrist device like the Wrist Assist or Leverage Band. Now, in both devices, your wrist is always laid back, so the racquet will always stay on edge and the racquet won't be parallel with the ground. BUT, it'll teach you how to pronate the forearm while extending the arm in the backswing. It won't let you make it work any other way.

paulfreda
05-17-2007, 02:14 AM
what is the hawaiian grip how do you hold your racquet for the hawwaiian grip?

The Hawaiian FH grip is one bevel stronger than the Western.
With the Western you have your base knuckle on the bottom of the handle.
Now turn the frame so it closes the face and the knuckle is on the next flat surface.
Check out this site ......

http://www.waileatennis.com/grips.htm

and go to the Western FH. Knuckle on on bevel 5 is the Western. Knuckle on bevel 6 is the Hawaiian.

Hold a Continental and then try to hit with the opposite side of the strings.
You will need to make the throat of the frame perpendicular to your forearm.
Then rotate your forearm so the racquet tip points to the back fence.

Very hard grip to learn to hit the ball well.
But it is worth it IMO.
Great fun to hit with it.

bluestreak711
05-17-2007, 03:28 PM
The Hawaiian FH grip is one bevel stronger than the Western.
With the Western you have your base knuckle on the bottom of the handle.
Now turn the frame so it closes the face and the knuckle is on the next flat surface.
Check out this site ......

http://www.waileatennis.com/grips.htm

and go to the Western FH. Knuckle on on bevel 5 is the Western. Knuckle on bevel 6 is the Hawaiian.

Hold a Continental and then try to hit with the opposite side of the strings.
You will need to make the throat of the frame perpendicular to your forearm.
Then rotate your forearm so the racquet tip points to the back fence.

Very hard grip to learn to hit the ball well.
But it is worth it IMO.
Great fun to hit with it.

ok thank you