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View Full Version : Help! I've lost my forehand and now my mind


MAXXply
11-01-2009, 04:54 PM
I'm exasperated - I've lost all stroke memory and confidence on my forehand under matchplay conditions to the extent that I do nothing more now than bunt every forehand back with a feeble flat motion.

My 1H backhand however is great - good depth, power and reliable under most playing conditions, physical and mental. The required mechanics on this stroke just feel so natural to me, as opposed to the forehand.

Has this happened to you? What's the solution? Forehand drills and nothing else? I'm a confidence player more than anything...any mental re-programming or "Inner Game" wisdom would be welcome. Thanks.

PS don't suggest crystal meth!:)

Cloud Atlas
11-01-2009, 05:00 PM
PS don't suggest crystal meth!:)

I'm out of ideas then.

Seriously though, this has happened to me too recently and it changed my game completely. I used to stand in the backhand corner and pound off forehands all day long, when my forehand mysteriously broke down and has never really recovered. The upshot is, I had to rely on other ways to win, and now my serve, volleys and backhand have improved immensely. But I still haven't really gotten my forehand back. Not sure why this happens or what can be done about it, but if you find out the answer, let me know!

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-01-2009, 05:03 PM
In practice, focus on swinging out but generating the spin to drop the ball into the court. Once you get to the point where a lot of them are dropping in, you'll feel a lot more confident.

You can also go the other way, and play mini tennis, then slowly back up every few minutes until you get behind the baseline and start whacking again.

You also might want to look at simplifying the stroke mechanics so it's more solid under pressure. The whole time I've played, my backhand never broke down under match pressure the same as my forehand because the mechanics on the one handed backhand are as simple as they get. You really can rarely go wrong in hitting that shot. For that side, it was really about confidence, nothing more. For the forehand, it's about solid, simple mechanics and confidence. Start with mechanics, THEN work on confidence.

Gugafan
11-01-2009, 05:51 PM
Whilst improving my 1hbh my forehand began to suffer. I noticed I was spending too much time hitting backhands during practice and whenever playing doubles always taking the bh side. The key thing for me, was to balance my practice sessions out and remembering to utilise the inside-out forehand more than just hitting backhands.

86golf
11-02-2009, 03:35 AM
Been there done that...as a fellow one hander, I've had my forehand disappear during a match. For me it was due to late preparation and not enough body rotation. The one hander is mostly an arm extension shot with your body remaining pretty still while the forehand has a lot more going on...pivot, rotate shoulders, turn hips into the shot, blah, blah.
For me, I lead with my shoulders on my forehand, so if I don't turn back well in early preparation I tend to open up too much during my shot.

Just video one of your matches and you'll likely spot your troubles in about 45 seconds. My wager is on your body rotation.

Good luck

5263
11-02-2009, 04:28 AM
Been there done that...as a fellow one hander, I've had my forehand disappear during a match. For me it was due to late preparation and not enough body rotation. The one hander is mostly an arm extension shot with your body remaining pretty still while the forehand has a lot more going on...pivot, rotate shoulders, turn hips into the shot, blah, blah.
For me, I lead with my shoulders on my forehand, so if I don't turn back well in early preparation I tend to open up too much during my shot.

Just video one of your matches and you'll likely spot your troubles in about 45 seconds. My wager is on your body rotation.

Good luck

I think this is a real good post here. It is easy to lose that good shoulder turn. I do that too often on serves.
Also focus on finding that ball smoothly from below, then accelerating up and across the ball to a nice finish. Many Fh problems come from that ballistic swing where the swing is accelerated too early before contact.

Sublime
11-02-2009, 05:07 AM
Has this happened to you? What's the solution? Forehand drills and nothing else? I'm a confidence player more than anything...any mental re-programming or "Inner Game" wisdom would be welcome. Thanks.

At times my FH or BH breaks down. Usually I gravitate towards pace-less spinny balls. When this happens I need to reset my mind. I do this by trying to hit a flat ball with as much racket head (loose swing) as I can. The ball may or may not go in, but it resets my feel.

What I've found is that we slowly tweak our strokes based on what the outcome of our previous shot did. The problem is that tennis is counter-intuitive in some ways. So sometimes we need to find a new reference point to begin tweaking again.

Your mileage may vary, but it works for me.

dozu
11-02-2009, 05:36 AM
the FH break-down is usually due to the lack of body rotation during the take back.... if you stand too square to the incoming ball, and if you lack shoulder turn on the take back, it's easy to lose the 'lay-back' wrist position early.... once the racket head pasts the wrist, you have released it already and will no longer have control.

an easy fix is to step the left foot forward and hit a closed stance FH, and just drag the butt cap to the ball, you have get the control back easily.

if you still want more control, just brush up more for spin.

give it a try, you will get your FH back, guaranteed.

5263
11-02-2009, 05:43 AM
the FH break-down is usually due to the lack of body rotation during the take back.... if you stand too square to the incoming ball, and if you lack shoulder turn on the take back, it's easy to lose the 'lay-back' wrist position early.... once the racket head pasts the wrist, you have released it already and will no longer have control.

an easy fix is to step the left foot forward and hit a closed stance FH, and just drag the butt cap to the ball, you have get the control back easily.

if you still want more control, just brush up more for spin.

give it a try, you will get your FH back, guaranteed.

I like your post, but no reason to go closed stance for this good advice.

mikeler
11-02-2009, 06:23 AM
At times my FH or BH breaks down. Usually I gravitate towards pace-less spinny balls. When this happens I need to reset my mind. I do this by trying to hit a flat ball with as much racket head (loose swing) as I can. The ball may or may not go in, but it resets my feel.


I was struggling with my forehand for months. My one handed backhand has always been solid. It never leaves me for more than 1 match. Almost every other forehand was a mishit for awhile. For me, it really just came down to hitting more through the ball which is hard when you don't have confidence in that stroke. Just go for your forehands more and see what happens. I've always had eye contact problems on my forehand side too, so I really have to concentrate on focusing my eyes on the ball from that wing.

dozu
11-02-2009, 07:14 AM
I like your post, but no reason to go closed stance for this good advice.

sure.... if one usually plays open stance, this is just a temporary fix to help them get the feel back to keep that lag as long as possible into the forward swing.

as long as the player understands where the 'loss of control' comes from and can have enough body turn so they don't throw the racket head at the ball too early, they can use their preferred stance.

Sublime
11-02-2009, 09:52 AM
Just go for your forehands more and see what happens. I've always had eye contact problems on my forehand side too, so I really have to concentrate on focusing my eyes on the ball from that wing.

I agree. Just focus on the movement of the lines on the ball (I don't think seams is the right word here) and swing through, allowing the racket to do what it's going to do.

For me, my forehand doesn't disappear in one swing, its the slow evolution from minor (subconscious?) tweaks. If you try to fix it with minor tweaks, even if they're correct, it will take you just as long to fix it as it did for it to go wrong. You need to reset the computer in your mind. Because it's made some bad assumptions and is headed down the wrong path to fix it.

Blake0
11-02-2009, 02:46 PM
I've had this problem forever and it keeps recurring..its the most annoying part of tennis. My forehand becomes super flat with no spin at all even when i try to brush up it gets barely any spin and really flat..so you say it's because of a lack of body rotation?

Dozu can you explain further on the "it's easy to lose the 'lay-back' wrist position early.... once the racket head pasts the wrist, you have released it already and will no longer have control" part.

Let me just take a guess at it and tell me if i'm right..because of the lack of shoulder rotation, you swing your racket with your arm, your wrist lays back and releases too early, causing your racket face to go in front of wrist before you hit the ball, so you lose spin because of that?

dozu
11-02-2009, 03:00 PM
I've had this problem forever and it keeps recurring..its the most annoying part of tennis. My forehand becomes super flat with no spin at all even when i try to brush up it gets barely any spin and really flat..so you say it's because of a lack of body rotation?

Dozu can you explain further on the "it's easy to lose the 'lay-back' wrist position early.... once the racket head pasts the wrist, you have released it already and will no longer have control" part.

Let me just take a guess at it and tell me if i'm right..because of the lack of shoulder rotation, you swing your racket with your arm, your wrist lays back and releases too early, causing your racket face to go in front of wrist before you hit the ball, so you lose spin because of that?

I think you got it.... elbow leads the hand and hand leads the racket head.... you will have control of the racket head (therefore has consistency) as long as you are still pulling the racket.

At some point (hopefully during the follow thru, after contact) the racket face will go pass the hand.

If you can't produce spin, but otherwise can still hit flat balls with consistency, then the lack of spin is a separate issue - could just be the swing path is too flat (even if you perceive it as a brush up)... if you post a vid I am sure you will get plenty of feedback here.

Blake0
11-02-2009, 03:05 PM
I think you got it.... elbow leads the hand and hand leads the racket head.... you will have control of the racket head (therefore has consistency) as long as you are still pulling the racket.

At some point (hopefully during the follow thru, after contact) the racket face will go pass the hand.

If you can't produce spin, but otherwise can still hit flat balls with consistency, then the lack of spin is a separate issue - could just be the swing path is too flat (even if you perceive it as a brush up)... if you post a vid I am sure you will get plenty of feedback here.

Oh, im not hitting flat with consistency, its the problem you mentioned. I knew i forgot something..elbow leads hand..i was going..shoulder leads hand, hand leads racket head..for some reason after i recovered from injury..i'll try it the next time i hit, thanks. I'll try posting a video this weekend..if i can find my video camera..

boojay
11-02-2009, 03:16 PM
I've had this problem forever and it keeps recurring..its the most annoying part of tennis. My forehand becomes super flat with no spin at all even when i try to brush up it gets barely any spin and really flat..so you say it's because of a lack of body rotation?

Dozu can you explain further on the "it's easy to lose the 'lay-back' wrist position early.... once the racket head pasts the wrist, you have released it already and will no longer have control" part.

Let me just take a guess at it and tell me if i'm right..because of the lack of shoulder rotation, you swing your racket with your arm, your wrist lays back and releases too early, causing your racket face to go in front of wrist before you hit the ball, so you lose spin because of that?

I know this feeling all too well, my shots go flat, either into the net or long. It happens whenever I play a high level pusher and I'm not on my game. I can somewhat appreciate that the body rotation would have something to do with it because my experience of hitting unwanted flat shots is due to stiffness (being overly tense), improper use of the body, and arming the ball too much. Good body rotation does allow me to become looser, thus allowing me to hit with more topspin.

user92626
11-02-2009, 03:46 PM
To hit topspin, at contact point your racket is already on the way thru & up, like you're painting a rainbow in front of you.

Another thing is because you do not hit completely thru, you're hitting like half of the ball and letting the ball deflects off the racket in an angle instead of it (ball) being propelled with the racket behind.

My own understanding / concept anyway.

Blake0
11-03-2009, 06:43 PM
I know this feeling all too well, my shots go flat, either into the net or long. It happens whenever I play a high level pusher and I'm not on my game. I can somewhat appreciate that the body rotation would have something to do with it because my experience of hitting unwanted flat shots is due to stiffness (being overly tense), improper use of the body, and arming the ball too much. Good body rotation does allow me to become looser, thus allowing me to hit with more topspin.

This is a problem i have too, the body rotation gets out of timing..somehow. But the main thing right now is the wrist....broken down my forehand so badly.Oddly enough my backhand,my weaker shot, rarely breaks down,and if it does it's just a timing issue...not much of a problem..i get it back by just hitting.

user92626
11-03-2009, 06:48 PM
Do you guys hit really hard? Or average pace and power mainly to get the ball over (I don't mean slow enough that a netman can run across and poach)? IMO, without power it's easy to get the fh. Do that (hit easy) and then keep the same stroke & gradually increase the pace.

Blake0
11-03-2009, 06:56 PM
Do you guys hit really hard? Or average pace and power mainly to get the ball over (I don't mean slow enough that a netman can run across and poach)? IMO, without power it's easy to get the fh. Do that (hit easy) and then keep the same stroke & gradually increase the pace.

I see what you're saying..i've tried it too. I play short court tennis (service line tennis hitting forehand/backhand with topspin, can't back up). I'm alright here. I get decent spin with fairly good consistency. But when i back up to the baseline and hit even if easily..somehow something goes wrong now. I've somehow created a bad habit..that has evolved into a bad technique.

LeeD
11-04-2009, 07:27 AM
I think lots of us players tend to "develop" our strokes too fast, without a solid base, so what we think we have...ie solid forehand, we really only have an illusion of ...forehand.
Possibly we need to take a step back and work on the basics, breaking it down from shoulder turn onward, starting with early recognition of incoming ball and readiness.
Once we really get a SOLID forehand, it won't wander or walkabout, it comes back after a miss without skipping a beat.

naylor
11-04-2009, 12:01 PM
Quite a few ideas in here.

For me, the problem is that I lose the shoulder turn so I stand with my shoulders too square to the net. But then, in order to still generate some power, I start rotating the shoulders towards the left fencing, which pulls my right arm across the ball. The result is a shank which drags the ball out left or (if I'm dragging the racket upwards) a very weak forehand with lots of topspin but no dept.

The way I see it, the solution comes in two parts:-
1. regain the shoulder turn in the backswing; and
2. stop (or at least drastically slow down) the shoulder turn in the forward swing when the shoulders get back to square to the net.

For me this second part is critical, because by slowing down the shoulders you create a pivot which enables the transfer of momentum from the shoulder rotation to the arm. This in turn allows the arm to come through from behind and get in front of the body, and then in turn release the rackethead - so the rackethead hits through the ball (moves a few inches just before and after contact in the direction you're hitting the ball).

It's this "hitting through the ball" that brings back the "solid" forehand we've lost. But it you don't slow the shoulder rotation, this rotation keeps dragging the arm and racket around, and you can then only hit the ball with a glancing blow - result, a weak forehand, or a complete mishit.

Setting up for a forehand in a more closed stance also gets you to "hit through the ball", because it makes your swing more linear - forward in the direction of the net. But in a match you just cannot hit all balls with such a stance, you'll get some where you just have to hit openstance - and on those the problem will return, unless you've figured out what you have to get the shoulders to do.

Blake0
11-04-2009, 06:37 PM
Quite a few ideas in here.

For me, the problem is that I lose the shoulder turn so I stand with my shoulders too square to the net. But then, in order to still generate some power, I start rotating the shoulders towards the left fencing, which pulls my right arm across the ball. The result is a shank which drags the ball out left or (if I'm dragging the racket upwards) a very weak forehand with lots of topspin but no dept.

The way I see it, the solution comes in two parts:-
1. regain the shoulder turn in the backswing; and
2. stop (or at least drastically slow down) the shoulder turn in the forward swing when the shoulders get back to square to the net.

For me this second part is critical, because by slowing down the shoulders you create a pivot which enables the transfer of momentum from the shoulder rotation to the arm. This in turn allows the arm to come through from behind and get in front of the body, and then in turn release the rackethead - so the rackethead hits through the ball (moves a few inches just before and after contact in the direction you're hitting the ball).

It's this "hitting through the ball" that brings back the "solid" forehand we've lost. But it you don't slow the shoulder rotation, this rotation keeps dragging the arm and racket around, and you can then only hit the ball with a glancing blow - result, a weak forehand, or a complete mishit.

Setting up for a forehand in a more closed stance also gets you to "hit through the ball", because it makes your swing more linear - forward in the direction of the net. But in a match you just cannot hit all balls with such a stance, you'll get some where you just have to hit openstance - and on those the problem will return, unless you've figured out what you have to get the shoulders to do.

A simple way to get your shoulder turn in the beginning of the forehand, is to keep holding the racket with the left hand up until the set up and bringing the racket face back, which is when you'd release and keep your arm pointing to the side fence then swing the racket and let the left arm naturally swing to the side

naylor
11-04-2009, 09:08 PM
A simple way to get your shoulder turn in the beginning of the forehand, is to keep holding the racket with the left hand up until the set up ...

Thanks, "holding the racket" is a simple concept but it works, because in order to try to get hold of the racket with the left hand you have to bring the left shoulder around. It also keeps your body reasonably together (as opposed to one arm pointing one way, the other the other way). Then, when you release the left hand it's still there on the racket side of the body to hold the shoulder turn - when the left hand continues to point at the incoming ball - until it's time to turn the shoulders back to square to build the momentum that unloads into the shot.

I think this can be quite a problem with "strong players" that can get away with "arming" the ball... until you come across someone who keeps testing you on a shot so you realise you need the proper mechanics for consistency. For me, it happened on the backhand (I play SHBH, and it's a lot stronger and reliable than my forehand) when I suddenly started being more erratic. My coach quickly spotted that because I was so strong on that wing I didn't bother preparing and holding the racket with my left hand on the take-back, so on some shots I was beggining to flap out of plane. So, quick instruction to ensure I do grab the throat with the left hand for the take-back and to ensure I turn the shoulders for the backhand, and consistency returned. Must do the same on the forehand!!

Bungalo Bill
11-04-2009, 09:57 PM
I'm exasperated - I've lost all stroke memory and confidence on my forehand under matchplay conditions to the extent that I do nothing more now than bunt every forehand back with a feeble flat motion.

My 1H backhand however is great - good depth, power and reliable under most playing conditions, physical and mental. The required mechanics on this stroke just feel so natural to me, as opposed to the forehand.

Has this happened to you? What's the solution? Forehand drills and nothing else? I'm a confidence player more than anything...any mental re-programming or "Inner Game" wisdom would be welcome. Thanks.

PS don't suggest crystal meth!:)

Go back to the basics and fundamentals. Keep hitting. Maybe a break for now. But when you get back to playing, go with the fundamentals and drill it. It will come back.