View Full Version : First Post- Please help with my pitiful forehand..long

04-09-2004, 01:23 PM
Hi all great forum wish I had discovered it earlier. Anyway here is the deal I am 41 and have played tennis all of my life it seems but only seriously now for the past five years. I have been rated as a 4.0 . I play on our company team where we compete (doubles) in an industrial league. I play about three times a week for a total of about 5-6 hours. I actually prefer singles and love to compete. I use a western to semi -western grip have two-handed backhand and pretty consistent first serve. My second serve is weak. Anyway here lies my problem;. I get beat, pretty much each week ,by a friend at work . We play during our lunch break and only have time for one set plus a “mini-set” (best of three). Okay granted the guy is a better player than me. He has the shots, consistency and volleying ability to put me away, usually 6-2. I think in the past two years I have beaten him a mere 5 times… if that. He used to serve and volley but figures why come to the net when he can beat me anyway. :oops: What falls apart for me is my FOREHAND. I can hit clean driving shots all day during a rally and against other players but choke up and hit these safe semi-lob shots. I know it is mental and the extra pressure of losing again is likely making me tense up. My question ( and thanks for staying here with me) is what can I do in my preparation, follow through, timing ,footwork, TECHNIQUE etc… would enable me to hit like I normally do. I just can not put my finger on what it is that I need to correct. Thanks so much for any help

04-09-2004, 06:48 PM
sounds to be purely a mental thing if you can use your forehand without an issue otherwise. no amount of technique training really fixes that since you are simply choking up. to be honest, at 41 and choking up, i cant say that it will go away with some more match experience. since it seems thats the only shot you choke on, why not switch it up on him and slice the ball back low. very tough shot to return when rushing the net. the reason i suggest that over getting back to normal is simple....if you were able to get back to driving the ball, serve and volleyers, that are similar to me, actually LIKE the extra pace....makes our job easier by just blocking back instead of having to creat our own pace. also, those floaters are easy put aways, so ANYTHING besides that is good.
one more thing for you to think about would be to try to change up your game on him a bit. it sounds as though you are losing to him the exact same way every time and always under his style of game. to win against him you are going to have to really change it up it sounds.

04-09-2004, 07:52 PM
Thanks Brijoel for responding. I do try mixing it up and sometimes with better results the problem is my inconsistent FH brought on by nerves. It hapens about 60% of the time I play this guy. There are alot of things I try to do to improve hitting my FH more with more consistency but they are all with technique ie... taking a step in focusing on my follow thru, earlier prep, etc but I need to find something to combat the tightening up. Who knows it is a challenge in itself .

04-09-2004, 09:50 PM
take a muscle relaxer before you play? :wink:

seriously though, you really need to work on how you see the person you are playing if hes the only one who causes this fear in you (and it IS fear). you need to find a way to not worry about playing this specific person and see him as though its just a wall, or a ball machine. this is not something technique drills can fix, since your nerves are activated by mental stress. i cant emphasize that enough.
if i was you i wouldnt play him for a couple weeks and find some other matches....get situated playing other people instead of losing the same way over and over. build some confidence in winning against a few other opponents who are also tough since you wont mentally see them in the same manner as you will the guy you've been losing to for years.......

what i cant figure out though.........is why its only your forehand that gets affected. generally your whole body tightens up whe nerves are brought on, so im having a hard time figuring out whether you truly do just screw up the one shot, or you just have a weak forehand and he hits you shots that you cant handle on that wing and it has nothing to do with nerves at all....

04-09-2004, 11:40 PM

whats up, i noticed u dont string with hammerlast at 68lbs anymore, nows that arm doing? my arm hurts just thinking of hammer last at that tension....

04-10-2004, 06:25 AM
work on hitting your rally ball forehand during the match, and slowly start hitting out more. i mean, what do you have to lose right? nothings really on the line here persay, and it just seems like practice sets. if you lose to him, it's just another loss, but look at it as a chance to improve. if you can't step up in these "practice sets" how are you going to perform in "real" matches? is it only against this guy you're tentative w/ your forehand, or all opponents?

do you feel your forehand is the weakest shot in your game? if so that would explain why it's the first to fall apart during a match.
just focus on the ball, not on the opponent, and whisper to yourself hit-bounce-hit on every shot.

Web Crawler
04-10-2004, 07:40 AM
One of the greatest things BB told me was to visualize my shots before I take em. May sound stupid but trust me it works. Visualize the placement of your forehand shot and see if that works.

04-10-2004, 02:35 PM
Another thing you may want to take into consideration is how much different this man's strokes are during a match than during a practice rally. Most high level players I know hit with less velocity and spin when rallying around then when actually playing a match. Maybe your forehand is suffering because his game changes slightlly when you play a match.

04-10-2004, 11:48 PM

whats up, i noticed u dont string with hammerlast at 68lbs anymore, nows that arm doing? my arm hurts just thinking of hammer last at that tension....

the arm is perfectly fine actually, lol. thanks for the concern... :D
the reason i switched was simply i decided to save my last few packs of hammerlast that i have in my closet for some tourny play in a few months. gotta love 19g string :wink:
the guy at the pro shop looked at me funny when i asked to have it strung at 68 with the duraflex cause that stuff plays stiffer than the hammerlast seems to, and asked me how my arm was as well.....i dont have any probs hitting the ball cleanly with the 6.0. so ive never really had any arm probs i guess.....i used to string my 6.0 at 77 with the hammerlast when i was teaching and playing all the time...talk about pinpoint accuracy :twisted:

PS: sorry for the off topic everyone, PM's apparently arent allowed for some silly reason...

04-12-2004, 04:06 PM
Thanks all for the great advice. To answer a few questions. My backhand is stronger in the sense that I have a two hand back hand and that extra hand on the raquet insures a repetitive and consistent stroke. However my forehand just falls apart under mental pressure. One of you guys/gals mentioned something about whispering "hit-bounce-hit" on each ball. That is great advice because it has worked for me in the past. It really forces you to find a rythym and more importantly to actually look at the ball which I tend not to do in times of pressure (losing). So I will try this approach and some of the mental preps that you have suggested. I just feel like if I focus on the fundamentals they will get me back in to a positive mental situation.

04-12-2004, 06:23 PM
dang, 41 you should have great mental toughness, but i guess its just a matter of, you know you usually lose, take a few chances, a few lost points on your long forehand won't make anyone lose the game, go into a match telling yourself you will hit hard forehands NO MATTER WHAT! It usually works for me, especially if theres nothing at stake

04-12-2004, 11:54 PM
Maybe you want it too bad. I would be looking at reading some work by Dr. Jim Loehr on the mental side of things, he has a few. Hope this helps.


04-13-2004, 08:52 AM
Thanks again I will check out the book. Played a singles match last night won 6-1. Same thing saturday with a different player. These two guys are not as consistent as my nemesis and I try to take advantage of that. So I will go at it again tomorrow during my weekly match and try just to relax more and focus on getting a rythym on my forehand. Last night I did something a bit different in my technique. I focused on making contact with the ball at a point on the racquet that is slightly inside of the sweet spot. By inside I mean closer to my body. This gave me much more of a comfortable and repeatable shot.