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View Full Version : How to consistently hit deeper forehands that end up short of service line for me?


firstblud
07-16-2009, 08:07 AM
Since I've last complained about my shanking of forehands (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=269160), i think i've vastly improved my consistency by sticking with the one grip that my racket seemed to always naturally appear to fall into... western grip (or a very very extreme semi-western). I made it a large point for me to focus on sticking with one grip (instead of experimenting) and turning my shoulders (something i really sucked at).

one problem i have now is that i'm having trouble consistently trying to hit deep on rally balls, so it's like i'm more consistently hitting the ball short, inside the service line, for my opponent to run up and put balls away.

Do you folks have any pointers for achieving depth more easily and consistently? one thing i notice about myself is that i have a pretty compact backswing. when i tried to make it more loopy (in hopes of achieving more power), i'd just lose sight of my racket face position and frame the ball.

When i try to hit through the ball more, it just ends up being short. when i try to hit more low to high, it helps sometimes, but it lacks speed and kind of floats in the air.

Cnote
07-16-2009, 08:17 AM
If you are truely hitting through the ball more, then you still may not be getting enough shoulder turn to penetrate the shot and you may in fact be arming the ball. I had the same problem earlier this year and really worked on rotating my body to initiate the shot. Within 15 minutes of constant drills I was penetrating the court with effective topspin. I even beat a guy 6-2 1-6 6-4 that I have never even come close to beating before.

DavaiMarat
07-16-2009, 10:45 AM
Since I've last complained about my shanking of forehands (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=269160), i think i've vastly improved my consistency by sticking with the one grip that my racket seemed to always naturally appear to fall into... western grip (or a very very extreme semi-western). I made it a large point for me to focus on sticking with one grip (instead of experimenting) and turning my shoulders (something i really sucked at).

one problem i have now is that i'm having trouble consistently trying to hit deep on rally balls, so it's like i'm more consistently hitting the ball short, inside the service line, for my opponent to run up and put balls away.

Do you folks have any pointers for achieving depth more easily and consistently? one thing i notice about myself is that i have a pretty compact backswing. when i tried to make it more loopy (in hopes of achieving more power), i'd just lose sight of my racket face position and frame the ball.

When i try to hit through the ball more, it just ends up being short. when i try to hit more low to high, it helps sometimes, but it lacks speed and kind of floats in the air.

I know your problem. It happens to most people with an extreme grip. They accelerate the racquet to the ball but they end just brushing the back ending up with a short ball with lots of spin but no penetration.

Try this, slow down your contact zone, if your doing the correct weight transfer from the legs (hip loading, torso rotation) slow down the actual head of the racquet. You'll find your balls will find the back court and despite the fact your ball is not as spinny you'll actually be hitting a heavier ball trust me. All this talk about racquet acceleration makes people go for whippy stuff because they think the acceleration is all from the arm and wrist. If I had a dime for every junior I've run into with your problem, me = rich man.

I'm a 5.0 and taught for almost 2 decades now but don't take my word for it. Go try it out and see for yourself.

hoodjem
07-16-2009, 10:46 AM
Aim higher.?

mikeler
07-16-2009, 11:03 AM
I've been battling the forehand shanks all year. I hit with a semi western grip most of the time. I've heard two tips that have helped some. One is to use your off hand to track the ball like most people are taught to do on an overhead. The other tip was to make sure you are following through "out" more than "up".

Last night I tried something new that really seemed to work for me. I purposely attempted to hit the ball lower on the string bed. I'm not quite sure why this worked, but I probably only had about 5 mishits on that side last night which is low for me. I also did not have any "space shuttle" mishits where the ball goes straight up into the air. I'm usually good for at least one or two of those a match.

firstblud
07-16-2009, 11:59 AM
I know your problem. It happens to most people with an extreme grip. They accelerate the racquet to the ball but they end just brushing the back ending up with a short ball with lots of spin but no penetration.

Try this, slow down your contact zone, if your doing the correct weight transfer from the legs (hip loading, torso rotation) slow down the actual head of the racquet. You'll find your balls will find the back court and despite the fact your ball is not as spinny you'll actually be hitting a heavier ball trust me. All this talk about racquet acceleration makes people go for whippy stuff because they think the acceleration is all from the arm and wrist. If I had a dime for every junior I've run into with your problem, me = rich man.

I'm a 5.0 and taught for almost 2 decades now but don't take my word for it. Go try it out and see for yourself.

just to be clear, are you suggesting that, in order to slow down my contact zone, i reduce the speed of my arm swing and rely moreso on the power from my rotation (shoulder,leg)? if so i'll keep this in mind. thanks.

naylor
07-16-2009, 02:09 PM
... I've heard two tips that have helped some. One is to use your off hand to track the ball like most people are taught to do on an overhead. The other tip was to make sure you are following through "out" more than "up"...


Second that. By pointing the off-hand at the ball, you're actually closing your shoulders and playing the forehand from a more closed stance, so when you swing and unwind / open your shoulders you start generating momentum from the trunk rotation, which in turn releases the racket arm. The result is more momentum (broadly, weight of shot) and more rackethead speed (which adds extra topspin) - put those together, and you're hitting a heavier, harder shot which the extra spin helps bring down past the service line but inside the baseline.

The follow-through "through the ball", rather than up, tends to be a natural result of the above. If your swing starts with the opening of your shoulders, then your swing basically rotates around your spine (whereas if you started with open shoulders, the rotation can only take place around the shoulder - basically, you're only "arming" the ball). Your swing has a longer radius, and your swing plane is actually flatter overall than when you're only swinging around your shoulder (which is a much shallower WW path). Therefore, after contact, the rackethead continues tracking forward and through the ball.

To cut a long story short, hit some forehands from a more closed stance - bring your left leg forward (for a rightie) so your legs are more perpendicular to the net, rather than parallel to the baseline - which will help your swing start with legs-hips-trunk, and this in turn will fire your arm around and through.

mikeler
07-17-2009, 06:29 AM
To cut a long story short, hit some forehands from a more closed stance - bring your left leg forward (for a rightie) so your legs are more perpendicular to the net, rather than parallel to the baseline - which will help your swing start with legs-hips-trunk, and this in turn will fire your arm around and through.


Glad you brought this up. I seem to shank less when using a closed stance.

naylor
07-17-2009, 03:13 PM
Glad you brought this up. I seem to shank less when using a closed stance.

It makes you step into the incoming ball, so you have some body momentum going into your shot. Also, because it's a positive action (you step in to intercept the ball), your brain forces your eyes to track the ball more to work out the contact point and then manages your swing mechanics to get the racket to contact.

In an open stance, you're often a lot more passive, waiting for the ball to arrive into your swingpath. If you have good footwork, you still adjust your open-stance position to hit the ball on the tangent of your normal swingpath (broadly, squarely into the middle of the strings). But if you don't, and you simply wait and swing, you don't hit on the tangent (i.e. there's an angle between the direction of the incoming ball and the strings, it's not perpendicular) - on days when you have good timing, you still hit with the middle of the strings; but when your timing is also slightly off, you hit off-centre or with the frame.

The bottom line, it's all about footwork. If it's good, then there's no problem hitting open-stance. But if it's lazy, then close the stance (i.e. start moving your feet!) and let your tennis brain help out with the rest.

mikeler
07-17-2009, 06:03 PM
It makes you step into the incoming ball, so you have some body momentum going into your shot. Also, because it's a positive action (you step in to intercept the ball), your brain forces your eyes to track the ball more to work out the contact point and then manages your swing mechanics to get the racket to contact.

In an open stance, you're often a lot more passive, waiting for the ball to arrive into your swingpath. If you have good footwork, you still adjust your open-stance position to hit the ball on the tangent of your normal swingpath (broadly, squarely into the middle of the strings). But if you don't, and you simply wait and swing, you don't hit on the tangent (i.e. there's an angle between the direction of the incoming ball and the strings, it's not perpendicular) - on days when you have good timing, you still hit with the middle of the strings; but when your timing is also slightly off, you hit off-centre or with the frame.

The bottom line, it's all about footwork. If it's good, then there's no problem hitting open-stance. But if it's lazy, then close the stance (i.e. start moving your feet!) and let your tennis brain help out with the rest.



I'm lazy. I think that is why my 1 handed backhand works so well. The closed stance just forces everything to happen correctly.

naylor
07-17-2009, 06:36 PM
I'm lazy. I think that is why my 1 handed backhand works so well. The closed stance just forces everything to happen correctly.

That makes two of us! In a neutral situation (the ball coming straight at me down the middle, or returning serve from the deuce side) - instinctively I'll run around the forehand to play a backhand. I find I can unwind and fire the rackethead through the shot a lot more quickly than with forehands, and I can either flatten it onto the baseline or whip it and get the ball to dip as soon as it goes over the net.

Often, returning serves in doubles (from the deuce side) I go for the netperson playing backhand down the line, when he thinks I'm going to get jammed and only be able to push a weak inside-out cross-court backhand. It tends to keep them honest and in their place, knowing that if they move too early I will also step early into the backhand and whip it into their tramlines.

mikeler
07-17-2009, 06:44 PM
For years, most of my regulars have served to my backhand. I don't try and do too much with that return other than get the point on neutral terms whether I slice it or hit topspin. My forehand I will go for outright winners at times. Lately, I think they have all had a discussion on how to play me, because they all serve 75 percent to my forehand now. I'm much more comfortable on the backhand return, but hey, they are giving plenty of practice on the forehand. Eventually, I'll burn them with it :twisted:

naylor
07-17-2009, 07:13 PM
... I'm much more comfortable on the backhand return, but hey, they are giving plenty of practice on the forehand. Eventually, I'll burn them with it :twisted:

Like you, I prefer it when people go to my backhand. What I'm forcing myself to do is to make a positive move at the start of my returning routine - like Murray, when he stands back but takes a step forward when the opponent serves. It gets the feet moving and the body momentum going forward into the shot, so it makes it easier to make the next move more left or right to make room for a forehand or backhand. When I just stand and wait for the ball, anything to the backhand I can usually fend off, but I seldom get the forehand to fire early enough (from an open stance) to make a decent return off that wing. Nothing that more practice on the footwork won't cure, mind you...

ronalditop
07-17-2009, 07:40 PM
put some lead on the head and you will hit deeper.

firstblud
07-23-2009, 09:57 PM
just an update on my progress... so i settled in on transitioning from a western grip to a semi-western, although my grip still slips to the more extreme side, but it's still certainly a semi-western grip.

the first few practice sessions, which obviously frustrated the hell out of my hitting buddy, involved me hitting so many home runs because my swingpath was so used to the western grip. i was doubting if semi was good for me, but i persisted.

now i can hit deep balls with decent pace wayyyy more easily than i could with the western grip. i'm a happy customer now of the semi-western grip. i'm not saying i'm consistently hitting it deep like a solid 3.5 player, but the difference is very significant. instead of always hitting UE into the net, I'm at least blasting it out of the court instead now :p

however, i don't regret using the western grip. it forced me to evaluate all the mechanics in my forehand to try and get the most power i possibly can in my footwork, hip/shoulder turn, technique, etc. if i had started with a semi western grip off the bat, i may not have evaluated these aspects as closely.

mikeler
07-24-2009, 06:58 AM
Like you, I prefer it when people go to my backhand. What I'm forcing myself to do is to make a positive move at the start of my returning routine - like Murray, when he stands back but takes a step forward when the opponent serves. It gets the feet moving and the body momentum going forward into the shot, so it makes it easier to make the next move more left or right to make room for a forehand or backhand. When I just stand and wait for the ball, anything to the backhand I can usually fend off, but I seldom get the forehand to fire early enough (from an open stance) to make a decent return off that wing. Nothing that more practice on the footwork won't cure, mind you...


Same here. I always take 1 step towards the server when he tosses the ball. That is the way I was taught by my coach in high school. It can be very helpful the few times during a match where I chip and charge. Since it is part of my normal return routine, I'm not giving anything away on the 2nd serve because I do it every time. It's amazing how 2 or 3 successful chip and charges can generate double faults from an opponent.

Back to the forehand. I went back to my heavier rackets that I used last year (10 ounces versus 9.5 ounces). I also dropped my tension by 3 pounds. My slice backhand is a beast again, but the forehand shanks are still there :evil: This setup is just much easier on my elbow, so I'll stick with it for a while.

Golden Retriever
07-24-2009, 08:06 AM
Hit as flat as you can.

Power Player
07-24-2009, 09:38 AM
You have to prepare your racquet earlier. First, make sure you are doing that.

Second, you need to turn your shoulders towards the net.

Third, you need to keep your head down on contact and not pull up off the ball.

MarrratSafin
07-25-2009, 07:20 PM
I know your problem. It happens to most people with an extreme grip. They accelerate the racquet to the ball but they end just brushing the back ending up with a short ball with lots of spin but no penetration.

Try this, slow down your contact zone, if your doing the correct weight transfer from the legs (hip loading, torso rotation) slow down the actual head of the racquet. You'll find your balls will find the back court and despite the fact your ball is not as spinny you'll actually be hitting a heavier ball trust me. All this talk about racquet acceleration makes people go for whippy stuff because they think the acceleration is all from the arm and wrist. If I had a dime for every junior I've run into with your problem, me = rich man.

I'm a 5.0 and taught for almost 2 decades now but don't take my word for it. Go try it out and see for yourself.

Hey Davai, just wanna say a big thanks to you, your advices/tips I've read in various threads are first class and incredibly effective. You're spot on again about this correct kinetic energy resulting in slower racquet head speed but launching a ball so much more effective than whatever out-of-the-world speed you can swing using mostly the arm and wrist- I'm really amazed at the results.:)