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View Full Version : How should I be practicing on my forehand...


Gugafan
07-20-2009, 01:40 PM
Over the past year or two, my forehand has really started to struggle with consistency. Its very frustrating knowing, I have mastered the single handed backhand which technically is a much tougher shot. Whenever I play doubles, I will always play on the backhand side and at times even avoid hitting a topspin forehand by slicing!!. It's come to a stage, where I'm hitting loopy balls with not much pace which is putting me on the defense. On the other hand, I feel I can do anything with my backhand. Opponents will often pick on my forehand and extract plentiful errors. I never thought it was possible to lose confidence on a shot, in such a manner. I cant put away short balls, always end up hitting angle but with no pace. Furthermore my forehand return has become a liability, I just dont seem to want to hit the ball and end up framing. Not sure if its mental, but I actually doubt myself when the ball is approaching my forehand.

Any tips on how I can fix this problem??? Is it a case of completely starting from scratch on my forehand??...Any drills I can focus on??

Many thanks..

p.s I use SW forehand

hellonewbie
07-20-2009, 02:04 PM
Can you post a video???

aimr75
07-20-2009, 03:55 PM
maybe initially just try get someone to feed you a bucket of balls from the net to the forehand so you can re-discover some groove.. feeds are pretty slow paced with consistent bounce, so will give you time to get used to hitting your forehand again without pressure

destroyer
07-20-2009, 05:56 PM
Two years of problems might require seeing a pro.
Good luck.

Mansewerz
07-20-2009, 07:03 PM
No wonder you love Guga :D

ronalditop
07-20-2009, 08:45 PM
Maybe the reason why your forehand is unestable can be the balance of your racquet. If its too HL, youre backhand side is going to feel great but your forehand is going to suffer. I realize this some weeks ago when i noticed how my racquets balance was much more HL than my friends racquets, and they had a better forehand than me. Once i got to play with their racquets and my forehand suddenly became very good, i was hitting winners like never before (i used to hit winners mostly with my ohbh). So then i tried to make my racquet more like theirs so i put lead on the head till i get a similar balance, and now my forehand is as good or even better my backhand.

plasma
07-20-2009, 09:22 PM
try a volley grip on the returns. and a SHORT (1 foot) block

Gugafan
07-21-2009, 07:00 AM
Thanks for the responses...I tried an eastern forehand grip today and it feels completely unorthodox. What I have discovered is inadverdently over the years, my forehand has become more spinny ala Roddick. I have started using an extreme SW grip, and my swingpath starts alot lower then most players (almost Nadal like). I was watching a video by FYB, and it mentioned hitting short balls that sit up with a different swing path (not windshield wiper) like I tend to do. Only thing is, I watch Nadal and I am pretty sure he does not really flatten out on short balls but hits these angled spinny shots by coming under the ball??


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Rl0fwXTrr8&feature=channel

Pause the above video at 9 seconds....Look at how lower Nadals racket head is, when compared to Federer prior to contact. I myself hit most of my forehand with this swing path. Players with extreme sw grip such as Nadal, tend to hit alot more under the ball. Should this also apply on shorter balls that sit up??

bad_call
07-21-2009, 10:08 AM
look at how much forward motion and the contact point in Nadal's shot. suggest u drive the ball forward more until the ball lands within a foot of the baseline.

DavaiMarat
07-22-2009, 10:07 AM
Over the past year or two, my forehand has really started to struggle with consistency. Its very frustrating knowing, I have mastered the single handed backhand which technically is a much tougher shot. Whenever I play doubles, I will always play on the backhand side and at times even avoid hitting a topspin forehand by slicing!!. It's come to a stage, where I'm hitting loopy balls with not much pace which is putting me on the defense. On the other hand, I feel I can do anything with my backhand. Opponents will often pick on my forehand and extract plentiful errors. I never thought it was possible to lose confidence on a shot, in such a manner. I cant put away short balls, always end up hitting angle but with no pace. Furthermore my forehand return has become a liability, I just dont seem to want to hit the ball and end up framing. Not sure if its mental, but I actually doubt myself when the ball is approaching my forehand.

Any tips on how I can fix this problem??? Is it a case of completely starting from scratch on my forehand??...Any drills I can focus on??

Many thanks..

p.s I use SW forehand

Don't feel bad. Technically, the 1 handed backhand is a more natural motion for the body actually. So don't feel bad about feeling awkward with your forehand. More people like to hit thier forehands more because the right side of thier body (being righthanded) is the naturally stronger wing and most of your daily tasks are done on that side as well.

Well, like a couple people commented, it's really tough to diagnose your problem unless you show us a video or really explain specifically is wrong with your shot. However, I've been working alot with my girlfriend on her forehand (her 2handed backhand is surperb but her forehand not so much) so I can tell you a few things that might be able to help you.

With all the talk about racquet head acceleration we get a ton of players who get really 'whippy' with the ball. It sounds like you might be suffering from a bit of the same since your telling me your hitting loopy topspin with little pace. They key is to 'slow' the arm down. I'm serious. It will allow you to hit thru the ball more and get more of the sweet spot. Secondly, your going to 'arm' the ball less, you're going to allow the bigger muscles, specifically the hip, legs, and torso do more of the work.

I can't show you exactly how without a lengthy explanation but I'm going to outline some of things to look out for.

1) Weight transfer. Open stance. The weight is going from your right foot, to your left foot, then back to your right foot. It's almost like your pivoting on your ball of your left foot to bring your right foot around.

2) Torso rotation. Wil Hamilton from FYB call's this the unit turn. Basically you have to get your left shoulder pointing toward the ball while your setting up to receive it. As you strike the ball the right shoulder ends up in front. Don't rotate before your racquet begins it's upward path toward the ball, you'll break your kinetic chain. Legs and hip open up 1st then torso.

3) Slow the arm down. With the proper technique with the body your arm is actually working the least in the shot. Think of it as a lever to connect your body to the racquet. It works mostly in the lifting of the ball but not so much in rotational power. Keep your wrist nice and relax, tighten the grip only on impact.

4) Positioning. Make sure you have enough room away from the ball to achieve the right amount of leverage. A matador never sets up with the cape in front of himself. Nor should you set up like that with the tennis ball. Your racquet is the drape and the ball is the bull. Pros take 7-8 steps between every shot (including little positioning shots), you should be taking at least 5-6 as a rec player.

I hope this help you. My girl went from playing on a ladies C division team to the A division team in 2 years. So I think my advice is pretty sound.

Good luck to you,

Mike

Gugafan
07-22-2009, 03:45 PM
Thanks Davai, very informative post. I am certainly going to try slowing my arm down, to avoid them shanks and hit through the ball abit more. The other thing that you mention is positioning, which I am working on greatly. Way too often, I find I'm too close to the ball when hitting my forehand. Whats the best way to counteract this??? Practice more inside-out forehands by running round my backhand?

thanks

Number1BallBoy
07-22-2009, 06:42 PM
Don't stress man!! I had the same problem but with my 1 hand back hand. It use to be pretty solid until it gradually disappeared. Then it got to the point where I was nearly slicing everything unless it was a fairly easy ball to hit. I found out that all it took was redoing the basics. When you had something before and it disappears, something changed. So what I did for my backhand was just start with the basics. I didn't try to kill the ball. I just practiced my stroke slowly. Then after awhile, you get the 'feel' back on how to hit it. I'm not fully back yet, but I'm getting there. Just keep it simple and go back to basics..slowly of course. Good luck!

naylor
07-22-2009, 07:04 PM
... Way too often, I find I'm too close to the ball when hitting my forehand. Whats the best way to counteract this??? Practice more inside-out forehands by running round my backhand? thanks

I've read your thread with great interest, as I have similar problems. What I've found works better for me - in terms of not hitting too late and getting jammed - is to play the forehand off a more closed stance, i.e. making a first step forward and into the shot with my left leg.

Looking at Davai's post (which I found really good), by doing so it makes the weight transfer more effective. In an open stance, the ball is moving towards me but my feet/legs are perpendicular to the incoming ball, so moving my weight from right foot to left foot across the path of the ball doesn't transfer as much weight and as effectively into the shot as moving my weight from the back foot to the forward foot and straight into the incoming ball.

Second, it also makes the torso rotation more effective. The step into the shot brings the left shoulder forward naturally. But what I then think is key is that the arm movement is preceded by a push off the right foot to move that one forward. That push off the leg in turn opens the hips, which it turn opens your trunk and brings the right shoulder from behind towards the front - and arm and racket follow. But the racket movement comes last and somewhat like a slingshot from everything that happened before, which generates rackethead speed. I think that's what Davai means when he says "slow the arm down" - let it react to the legs / hips / shoulder's opening, rather than throw it at the ball from a closed stance.

And I think better positioning can also result from a closed stance start. If you start from an open stance, you're basically standing still waiting for the ball to arrive close to your strike zone, and then you begin to crank things up... often, late! Whereas if you make the first move into the part of the incoming ball, you're already moving, and you're engaging your eyes and brain to start working together to get your racket to contact point at the right time with the right swing and movement sequence - i.e., you're engaging your subconscious to deploy all the hours of practice hits, lessons, etc. etc. to produce a good forehand.