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user92626
10-16-2009, 08:36 AM
Hi All,

Yesterday I hit along side with a guy who has a huge FH. His shots usually caused people on the other side either mis-hit or hit very defensively. Seeing my FH he voluntarily offered some advices. He said the key is EARLY TAKEBACK. He showed me that as soon as the ball crossed the net on the way to the bounce, he already had his racket pointing to the back fence! Sometimes when he needed to adjust some steps he would still shuffle with the racket like that.

I tried to copy that but it felt very awkward. I couldn't set up my steps and stance with that kind of early takeback.

Is what he does a correct fundamental? If so, how would you practice that?

benasp
10-16-2009, 08:48 AM
I think he is correct. At least, it's better to be early than late ;)

wihamilton
10-16-2009, 09:09 AM
Hi All,

Yesterday I hit along side with a guy who has a huge FH. His shots usually caused people on the other side either mis-hit or hit very defensively. Seeing my FH he voluntarily offered some advices. He said the key is EARLY TAKEBACK. He showed me that as soon as the ball crossed the net on the way to the bounce, he already had his racket pointing to the back fence! Sometimes when he needed to adjust some steps he would still shuffle with the racket like that.

I tried to copy that but it felt very awkward. I couldn't set up my steps and stance with that kind of early takeback.

Is what he does a correct fundamental? If so, how would you practice that?

Hey user. What that guy suggested isn't correct technique. Virtually every time you go to hit a forehand you should pivot and turn your shoulders immediately -- this is also called the unit turn. But both hands should still be on the racket at this point. Keep in mind the racket is coming back simply because you've turned sideways.

When, exactly, you release the racket w/your non-hitting hand and take it back w/your hitting arm depends on how much time you have to hit. The longer it takes the ball to get to you, the longer you should keep both hands on the racket. And vica versa.

If you goto Youtube and search for some pro matches, you'll see this happening. Look for a situation where a pro has some time to set up for their forehand -- they'll keep both hands on the racket longer than "normal."

Hope that helps.

Will

fuzz nation
10-16-2009, 09:50 AM
Good input from Will (again!)...

I like to think of that unit turn as a "half turn" that can't happen soon enough!

It's hard to run around on the court with the racquet all the way back - you'd be off balance, etc. - but that early unit turn helps to get you set to swing sooner than if you wait and try to time your entire takeback and forward swing through contact in one motion. Since you only have a finite amount of time to position yourself and take a comfortable swing through the ball, anything you can do to set yourself up sooner will let you swing at a natural tempo much more consistently instead of rushing (mostly with just your arm) to catch up to the ball.

I'm not much of a fan of the Williams sisters, but they do that quick unit turn probably better than anyone in women's tennis. They're never not ready to swing at an incoming ball because of that very quick and deliberate unit turn. On the practice courts, fixate on a split-step and burst toward the ball with that half turn - I like to think of getting my racquet back to my hip on either side - along with a strong first step. More often than not, you want to feel as though you've arrived at your hitting zone and are waiting for the ball to show up so that you can use your most comfortable swing.

If things are uncomfortable at first, it might be that you're using a new tempo or synchronization to get to the ball earlier than before. The sooner you're set up though, the easier it will be to use an unrushed swing, especially when you want to take more of a full cut at the ball.

user92626
10-16-2009, 10:06 AM
Thanks, Will, Fuzz and All,

So you do a takeback via unit turn as early as you can, and sort of linger in that position if there's ample time, and then launch the backswing when you're ready, right? And you also try NOT make it into a distinctive 2-stage maneuver, right (Dementieva comes to mine)?

chico9166
10-16-2009, 11:49 AM
User,

The unit turn, and backswing are two different stages in the swing. At least in the termonology, I use. As mentioned above, the unit turn is a basic sideways orientation with the feet, hips, and shoulders upon ball recognition. The backswing begins when the hands separate and continue to move backwards.

Sometimes, when the ball is coming harder, or your pressed for time, these two moves will appear seamless. That is to say, the unit turn will be set, and then the hands will separate, and begin to move immediately into the backswing. When there is more time, there is a pause between these two stages.

The underlying issue is this. You want to set the unit turn, immediately. And then keep the hands together, until that point in time that the arm/racquet can move smoothly and continuously through the backswing.

user92626
10-16-2009, 12:55 PM
Thanks, Chico

I always suspected that what you said was right - a 2-stage thing - which should be conceptualized and implemented as such. The problem was that I watched too many Fed and other pro's clips in which they do the takeback and backswing so seamlessly, and somehow I tried to do the same and unwittingly skimmed on one and overcompensated with the other, namely less takeback and bigger backswing -- hmm.....makes sense ...cuz I always appeared rushed, arming too much and right down weakened with all the swinging.

It's funny..after 2 years and I am still constructing the FH. I'm a bit of perfectionist. :)

millenium
10-16-2009, 01:40 PM
Great input by Will, as there are tennis coaches who consider the UNIT TURN, when you have let go of your non hitting arm and racket is back and the buttcap is facing the ground and the tip ofthe racket facing the sky and strings facing the side fence.

If anyone has a picture of the UNIT TURN can they please post it.

fuzz nation
10-16-2009, 01:43 PM
Keep up the healthy attitude toward learning and you'll just keep on progressing. I think it's a huge plus that you can recognize that arming and rushing the racquet to the ball - that will help you to hone your skills and timing without a whole lot of external guidance.

When I'm ahead of the ball, the best idea I can think of to describe my tempo is a feeling like I'm doing a slow motion move in a fight scene from one of the Matrix movies. As the ball is on its way into my hitting zone, I can feel my feet set, weight transferring, and everything poised to uncoil. For a split-second, I'm in that sort of suspended pause and then when I'm ready to hit the ball, I make a smooth shift back into real time forward motion. That tiny pause tells me that I'm swinging without any rush.

millenium
10-16-2009, 01:46 PM
Does the same apply of the UNIT TURN on the backhands aswell?
Both the one hander and two hander??

chico9166
10-16-2009, 01:59 PM
Does the same apply of the UNIT TURN on the backhands aswell?
Both the one hander and two hander??

Sure does.

GuyClinch
10-16-2009, 03:43 PM
I think Will is exactly right.

What my coach told me - is turn the shoulders - then run - then at some point full take back and swing.

That is still "early" take back because your turning your shoulders as soon as you see its a forehand or backhand. However it feels very awkward to run with the racquet all the way back.

The early prep you get from the shoulder turn seems to help alot. Granted my tennis level of play hasn't shot up but for me being able to beat people with power and pace is a big step up from dinking them to death..

What I tried to do before - and its wrong is to move - then turn the shoulders - then do the take back and hit the ball. I was often rushed and late - so all I could manage was a dink.


Pete

chico9166
11-03-2009, 03:20 AM
I think Will is exactly right.

What my coach told me - is turn the shoulders - then run - then at some point full take back and swing.

That is still "early" take back because your turning your shoulders as soon as you see its a forehand or backhand. However it feels very awkward to run with the racquet all the way back.

The early prep you get from the shoulder turn seems to help alot. Granted my tennis level of play hasn't shot up but for me being able to beat people with power and pace is a big step up from dinking them to death..

What I tried to do before - and its wrong is to move - then turn the shoulders - then do the take back and hit the ball. I was often rushed and late - so all I could manage was a dink.


Pete

I wouldn't suggest turning the shoulders fully, and then running. The unit turn, is just a little quarter turn with feet, hips, and shoulders as you move to intercept the ball. This is not the loading stage in the swing, but rather just a "headstart" into your preparation. The body really starts to coil, and store energy, when the hands separate as a result of your shoulders continuing to turn back. Again, sometimes these two stages (unit turn and the beginning of the backswing) will appear quite seamless, and other times, there will be a slight pause between them. Just depends on the situation.

SystemicAnomaly
11-03-2009, 03:59 AM
I was going to add my 2 cents here but it appears that Will, chico, fuzz and others have already said it all.

(we've already had this discussion more than once previously in the past year).

user92626
11-03-2009, 09:22 AM
SA,
Go ahead and add your 2 cents anyway. The change jar is 2 cent poorer without your 2 cents.

Another question I have is ...what technique do you use to ensure you have a proper and adequate shoulder turn?

IStern
11-03-2009, 10:34 AM
I like to reach out sideways with my left hand

jazzyfunkybluesy
11-03-2009, 10:45 AM
I have noticed an early hip, shoulder turn (Fed) and a really late take back like when the ball bounces late. (Nadal) If you have a heavier racquet it seems to make it easier to time a shot with an early prep.

LeeD
11-03-2009, 10:47 AM
Seems to me.....
The unit turn idea is the new SW to W way to hit topspin groundies.
But that big FH guy is prolly using Eastern, or E with conti flavor, as do many older players (more than 30 years experience), so taking the rackethand back early is a different but equally effective way to hit hard FH's.
Some pics of Connors or AdrianoPanatta have them racket all the way back and just setting up the feet with little steps to strike the ball.
Lots of women's pros also take the racket back one handed, keeping the off hand well pointed forwards along the way. Works for them.
There is more than ONE way to hit hard strong forehands, so do what works for your style of play.
Old daze, and I'm full of old ways, some pros took the racket straight back with closed face and hit great forehands.
But we're supposed to be "modern" players, so unit turn.

sureshs
11-03-2009, 10:48 AM
Same thing a D2 woman player told me - take back should start as soon as ball is seen over the net. I used to think it was an instant before the bounce, but that is apparently too late at higher speeds.

LeeD
11-03-2009, 10:50 AM
Maybe half the takeback as soon as the ball direction is sighted, then the rest while setting up the footwork just before strike.