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three eights
10-08-2007, 03:12 PM
My tennis instructor teaches me to lift my elbow high and back before i hit my forehands rather then a more compact swing of back down and up. it feels a little uncomfortable to me and when i see other pros i don't see them raising their elbo up and back before they swing. what are your thoughts?

Midlife crisis
10-08-2007, 03:31 PM
Like shown at this site?

http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/index.php?col=260821

You can see the elbow position in the "step 2" frame. Is that what your coach wants you to do?

three eights
10-08-2007, 06:16 PM
Like shown at this site?

http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/index.php?col=260821

You can see the elbow position in the "step 2" frame. Is that what your coach wants you to do?

Yes! What does it mean?

Tennisplayer92
10-08-2007, 06:28 PM
i have no clue but i tried it and it felt cool x] not switching though.

WildVolley
10-08-2007, 06:36 PM
Yes! What does it mean?

When I think of someone lifting his elbow first, I think of Pistol Pete Sampras. When he was hitting forehands, he'd stick his elbow up in the air first, and then lead his takeback with the elbow.

I'm not sure what the advantage of this technique is, but some players use it and most probably don't, at least not to an exaggerated extent.

Midlife crisis
10-08-2007, 07:11 PM
When I think of someone lifting his elbow first, I think of Pistol Pete Sampras. When he was hitting forehands, he'd stick his elbow up in the air first, and then lead his takeback with the elbow.

I'm not sure what the advantage of this technique is, but some players use it and most probably don't, at least not to an exaggerated extent.

I think the reason is because that position allows the supination of the forearm as the swing initiates, which then puts the forearm in a position to pronate (and impart topspin) as the swing moves the racquet towards the contact point. It also allows the racquet to move in a continuous loop, which allows for more racquet head speed at the contact point than a straight back takeback, which means the racquet must totally stop before being accelerated forward.

WBF
10-08-2007, 07:29 PM
Your coach is an idiot. It's one of the many ways one may hit a forehand, and unless you notice it help you immediately, I would say it's poor advice.

I don't know all the fancy words that coaches or Midlife crisis use, but I've played against folks with very high level forehands with both these styles. Chances are if there are a good number of players at the top of the game who do it one way, it is *not* something to avoid unless it somehow helps you as an individual.

Midlife crisis
10-08-2007, 08:10 PM
Your coach is an idiot. It's one of the many ways one may hit a forehand, and unless you notice it help you immediately, I would say it's poor advice.

The thing none of us know except the OP is what the relationship is between the coach and the OP. If it's a high school coach who may work with the OP for six weeks or so and then is done and gone, then yeah it is bad advice. If it is a professional coach who is expecting a long-term relationship with the OP, and the OP has expressed a desire to play high level tennis, then maybe it isn't bad advice. This type of takeback is now a very accepted way to hit a forehand, and the straight takeback has become more and more outdated in the modern, high-speed high-spin game.

NLBwell
10-08-2007, 11:43 PM
The high elbow is a way to get a loopy swing. I can't be sure why the coach is recommending this. There must be a result that he is looking for or else it is just a useless artifact which will complicate the swing. A reason to try a high elbow to get a loop on the backswing would be to try to generate more power, or perhaps more spin. 3-8's should know why the tennis instructor is asking him to hit with a high elbow - a coach should be able to explain why he wants a student to do things. Go ask him why!

Supernatural_Serve
10-09-2007, 05:07 AM
the point is to get your racquet back whether your preparation is short and compact or big and loopy. In my opinion you should develop both and feel comfortable using them in varying degrees of open and closed stances.

But, you don't have to focus on the elbow flying up in the air, focus on getting the racquet back efficiently with quick unit turns and coiling your body.

three eights
10-09-2007, 08:11 AM
He is my personal coach. I did ask him why he recommends it and he told me this is the way he learned it. He also wants me to focus on early preparation and bigger swing with more power. The only thing is it feels awkward to me and i end up faulting more because of it..... *sigh*

Jonny S&V
10-09-2007, 08:18 AM
He is my personal coach. I did ask him why he recommends it and he told me this is the way he learned it. He also wants me to focus on early preparation and bigger swing with more power. The only thing is it feels awkward to me and i end up faulting more because of it..... *sigh*

That is rather dumb. I would ignore this advice and do whatever is comfortable and whatever works (that is still technically correct, that is). Coaches need to have open minds, which is why I don't like Nick Bolliteri (sp?).

Mahboob Khan
10-09-2007, 10:27 AM
Well, if you are hitting your forehand few feet behind the baseline, then your elbow should be in line with your shoulder, and the racket finishing on your left shoulder (this will give your shot more lift/topspin/clearance over the net.

wihamilton
10-09-2007, 11:49 AM
Like shown at this site?

http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/index.php?col=260821

You can see the elbow position in the "step 2" frame. Is that what your coach wants you to do?

Funny that you guys mention this -- in early videos we recommended getting your elbow up but took it out b/c we didn't want to get too complicated. A lot of top level players do it -- Federer, Roddick, Safin, etc.

Getting your elbow up (and away from the body) does several things: 1) It makes your loop bigger. This gives you more time to accelerate the racket. 2) It gets your arm muscles into the shot more so than a shallower, e.g. smaller, loop. Try keeping your elbow down as you take the racket back -- your shoulder will do most of the work. If you now elevate the elbow during the take back, the arms play a much larger role.

The combination of the two things above should result in more racket head speed, which adds power and control to your forehand. This isn't always the case -- I have seen HUGE forehands w/a relatively compact loop. But for a lot of people -- and a lot of the top pros -- getting the elbow up helps and it's something I would teach (eventually) if I was building someone's forehand.

Ross K
10-09-2007, 11:49 AM
Calling tricky!... Calling tricky!... Come in please, tricky!...

rosenstar
10-09-2007, 01:15 PM
Your coach is an idiot. It's one of the many ways one may hit a forehand, and unless you notice it help you immediately, I would say it's poor advice.


No matter your grip, you need to load. otherwise you cannot possible incoorporate the rest of your body (legs and torso) into the shot. Getting the elbows up is the easiest and most logical way to teach this.

since this man is such an idiot, tell us, how would teach someone to load their forehand?

RoddickAce
10-09-2007, 01:30 PM
When I started playing tennis, I developed that high elbow thing cuz I thought andy roddick's forehand was pretty cool. It's easy to hit loopy forehands like that(u can sometimes get more swing length)...also good for flat forehands as the hitting zone can be aligned to the take back position.

WBF
10-09-2007, 01:56 PM
Midlife: my assumption was that this was a post from a high school student or a relatively inexperienced, or lesser skilled player (under 4.0). In those cases it would be silly to rearrange their forehand (he says it feels uncomfortable) in a way that won't offer major benefits regardless of whether he improves later or not.

rosenstar: i'm not a tennis coach. his coach is not an idiot based on this alone. I was being a bit extreme in my response, but I don't agree with his coach. That part of a forehand is *not* required by any means, and does not inherently result in a better forehand. If it did, every professional we know would do it, and it would be taught as your standard forehand.

rosenstar
10-09-2007, 03:53 PM
i'm not a tennis coach. his coach is not an idiot based on this alone. I was being a bit extreme in my response, but I don't agree with his coach. That part of a forehand is *not* required by any means, and does not inherently result in a better forehand. If it did, every professional we know would do it, and it would be taught as your standard forehand.

almost all professional players do do this (at least on any offensive shot). fed, nadal, roddick, djokivic, and davydinko all do it. top 5 players in the world do it. can't be that bad of a tip.

brayman9
10-09-2007, 05:50 PM
my coach told me to do it a while ago to break some habit but i don't use it anymore i think it was to just stop some bad habit.

tricky
10-09-2007, 08:08 PM
Calling tricky!... Calling tricky!... Come in please, tricky!...

Yeah, that high elbow takeback is classic push stroke. He has a pretty open stance there, but there's very little hip rotation going on. That's another tipoff. Also, after his unit turn, both his elbow and hand still go up. Even if you abbreviate the stroke, you'll still see the elbow in a high position.

Yes, Roddick and Gonzo has high elbow setups too, but their racquet tip is below their elbow, pointing down. Also, their elbow and hand drops through almost the entire takeback.

wihamilton
10-09-2007, 08:48 PM
My comments are premised on the push vs. pull concept, which I understand to be "pushing" the ball with your arm (not using the rest of your body) vs. pulling your arm and the racket around when you swing with your body -- legs, core, etc. If my understanding of the term is incorrect obviously what I'm about to say doesn't apply.

I disagree that a high elbow takeback is indicative of a push stroke. I don't think it really has anything to do with the concept. Heath Waters (http://www.virtualtennisacademy.com/) said that it is a component of the forehands of many of the top pros on tour -- Federer, Safin, Roddick, etc. -- and John Yandell (http://www.tennisplayer.net/) found a huge variety in the takebacks of the top pros on tour. Yandell's point was that there are few common elements between pro takebacks and the elbow up is not one of them. What I'm trying to say is that the elbow up is unrelated to what kind of forehand you hit -- push, pull, etc.

I just found this video on youtube, the quality is pretty terrible, but it is a video of Lleyton Hewitt hitting. You can see that he takes his racket back similar Frank, the guy in the video mentioned earlier in this thread: elbow high, racket higher:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUgOyTsuFps

Lleyton obviously doesn't push the ball and neither does Frank -- he used to be the No. 1 junior in the world. I think the more important thing to focus on, RE: the push vs. pull, is whether or not a player gets to the correct hitting arm position (double bend) w/relation to the rest of the body. The elbow is more stylistic, although getting it up can have some advantages.

tricky
10-09-2007, 09:22 PM
My comments are premised on the push vs. pull concept, which I understand to be "pushing" the ball with your arm (not using the rest of your body) vs. pulling your arm and the racket around when you swing with your body -- legs, core, etc. If my understanding of the term is incorrect obviously what I'm about to say doesn't apply.

Yeah, feel free to use whatever you like. Most people don't care for the "push" vs. "pull" thingie. :D I should have been more thorough in my remarks . . .

In the example (before Safin) cited from your video clip, his forearm-elbow is hooking upwards, turning counterclockwise in the takeback, or deviating away from the midline. This is also consistent with his follow through, where his shoulder rotates relatively in sync with his hitting arm, which is again consistent with a push stroke, rather than springing foward as it usually does in a pull stroke. This is the stretch or negative portion of forearm adduction, not unlike the down stroke of a bench press, and it helps the triceps leverage power into the stroke. Sampras begins his takeback with this in order to establish a push.

Hewitt has the elbow really high, but his forearm-elbow doesn't hook upwards or deviate from the midline. That itself is consistent with the backswing of a pull or rotational stroke. In slow mo clip, like most with a pull stroke, his shoulder is ahead of the hand, and then the hand catches up and passes the shoulder forward into the path of the ball.

It's a technically correct stroke either way, though. With an Eastern or very conservative SW grip, you can do either. With a strong SW grip like Hewitt, it's relatively hard for your forearm-elbow to deviate like that in the takeback, so it's rare to see somebody try to push with a strong SW or Western. Likewise, with a continental grip, it's more difficult for the forearm-elbow not to deviate in the takeback. As a result, certain grips kinda favor certain things.

The core problem is whether the OP is switching or not between the two types. If he's not, then it's not a big deal, and the high elbow takeback will feel natural or "additional." If he is switching, then he might notice himself hooking shots or having problems generating a smooth cadence with the stroke. He'll feel like his stroke is out of sync.

NLBwell
10-09-2007, 10:34 PM
3-8's, as you can see from the thread, there are good reasons to have a high elbow takeback, but it is certainly not necessary. Because that is the way your instructor leaned the stroke is not a good reason to do it that way. If you are not succeeding in getting a better, more powerful stroke this way, he should be able to give you different tips on how to do that.