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View Full Version : When hitting a forehand, do you use more power from the right leg?


Shangri La
11-02-2009, 04:16 PM
... assuming you're right-handed.

I find myself using my right foot to supply most of the power for my forehand when I'm caught late or hitting a defensive shot or using open stance, but not as predominantly from the right leg when I prepare early and move into the ball. My guess is a more even distribution of power when using the legs to drive your forehand is the right way, is that correct?

LeeD
11-03-2009, 06:49 AM
If you load the back leg thru the whole shot, you are basically leaning back and playing a defensive shot.
If you can load the back leg and transfer weight to the front, then you are hitting an offensive shot, more ideal, but hard to do on deep or hardhit balls.
If you can load the front leg mostly and hit thru the ball, then you aren't playing tough enough competition.

fuzz nation
11-03-2009, 09:31 AM
If you can load the front leg mostly and hit thru the ball, then you aren't playing tough enough competition.

...or you're movement has gotten a whole lot better, right? Keep running them hills - it worked for Agassi!

That's actually a pretty good summary from Lee. I've found that if I'm not on my forward foot after my stroke (forehand or one-handed backhand), I'm leaving a lot of energy out of the equation. That can greatly reduce my velocity, spin, or both. On the practice courts, I routinely remind myself to get off my back foot. If I don't, it can also reduce my rotation through my mid-section and probably kill half of my power.

wihamilton
11-03-2009, 10:17 AM
... assuming you're right-handed.

I find myself using my right foot to supply most of the power for my forehand when I'm caught late or hitting a defensive shot or using open stance, but not as predominantly from the right leg when I prepare early and move into the ball. My guess is a more even distribution of power when using the legs to drive your forehand is the right way, is that correct?

Hey SL. You load up on your outside leg (right leg if you're right-handed) as you prepare and push off it as you swing / hit. You don't push off your inside leg, but you might transfer your weight to it during the swing depending on the stance you're in / other considerations.

To answer your question directly -- no, you don't want an even distribution of power when hitting a forehand.

Here are some videos of Rafa hitting forehands. The slow-motion ones clearly show the weight loading on Rafa's outside leg / Rafa pushing off that leg as he swings. On some of the forehands Rafa's inside foot comes off the ground as he swings, which demonstrates that he's not pushing off it as a means of supplying power to the stroke.

http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/pro-stroke-library/rafael-nadal/forehand/

LeeD
11-03-2009, 10:55 AM
Personally, I'd NOT choose to use Rafa as any example of current correct strokes for the groundie game. Even thos he's not a bad player, he just uses too much expenditure of energy for each shot, something most of us don't have an abundance of .....
Of course, we can't outright copy Federer's grace and economy of movement either, for we might not be there just yet.
So, somewhere in between, a mixture of, leaning towards our own tendencies and physique just might be the best answer.

tennis angel
11-03-2009, 03:41 PM
Hey SL. You load up on your outside leg (right leg if you're right-handed) as you prepare and push off it as you swing / hit. You don't push off your inside leg, but you might transfer your weight to it during the swing depending on the stance you're in / other considerations.

To answer your question directly -- no, you don't want an even distribution of power when hitting a forehand.

Here are some videos of Rafa hitting forehands. The slow-motion ones clearly show the weight loading on Rafa's outside leg / Rafa pushing off that leg as he swings. On some of the forehands Rafa's inside foot comes off the ground as he swings, which demonstrates that he's not pushing off it as a means of supplying power to the stroke.

http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/pro-stroke-library/rafael-nadal/forehand/

Thank you for using the word "outside" leg! This is so much more accurate than saying the "back" leg because it allows for variety of stances, not just the closed stance. On the 1hbh, of course, it is the back leg, but describing outside to inside shift of weight allows for more situations.

tennis angel
11-03-2009, 04:00 PM
Personally, I'd NOT choose to use Rafa as any example of current correct strokes for the groundie game. Even thos he's not a bad player, he just uses too much expenditure of energy for each shot, something most of us don't have an abundance of .....
Of course, we can't outright copy Federer's grace and economy of movement either, for we might not be there just yet.
So, somewhere in between, a mixture of, leaning towards our own tendencies and physique just might be the best answer.

Rafa is a raging, especially in contrast to Federer's elegant economy of movement. But to say that he's "not a bad player" is too much of an understatement for me.

tennis angel
11-03-2009, 04:02 PM
Rafa is a raging, especially in contrast to Federer's elegant economy of movement. But to say that he's "not a bad player" is too much of an understatement for me.

Oops. I meant raging bull.

downdaline
11-03-2009, 04:11 PM
Check out this article by Jose Higueras.

He mentions something about how more and more players are hitting off the back foot. Interesting stuff.


http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/instructionarticles/strategy/strategy.aspx?id=173552 (http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/instructionarticles/strategy/strategy.aspx?id=173552)

LeeD
11-04-2009, 07:17 AM
Seems to me....
Jose is talking about pro players on the DEFENSE !! Meaning, they're just trying to get the ball back, NOT trying to hit forcing shots, winners, or making the other guy work.
When going for defense, it's OK to slice forehands, lob, moon, dink, OR HIT OFF THE BACK FOOT.
If you want to spend all the rest of your tennis days IN DEFENSIVE MODE, then hit off your back foot.
If you like to dictate points and make the OTHER guy run, retrieve, pant and sweat, then maybe try hitting balanced and ending on the FRONT foot.
You need both to succeed, but why focus ONLY on the defensive side?

Bungalo Bill
11-04-2009, 07:27 AM
Hey SL. You load up on your outside leg (right leg if you're right-handed) as you prepare and push off it as you swing / hit. You don't push off your inside leg, but you might transfer your weight to it during the swing depending on the stance you're in / other considerations.

Now, I am confused. Inside leg is always thought of as the foot closest to the ball when you move to the ball. For forehands this is the right foot and for backhands the left foot (player is righthanded).

LeeD
11-04-2009, 07:34 AM
I'm confused too... :)
For righthanders, left foot is nearest incoming ball, I think.
But for openstanced forehand players, maybe the RIGHT foot is closer to the ball.
I'm old school, so a forehand is hit semi closed, which means NEITHER foot is closer to the ball.....:shock:

Bungalo Bill
11-04-2009, 07:45 AM
... assuming you're right-handed.

I find myself using my right foot to supply most of the power for my forehand when I'm caught late or hitting a defensive shot or using open stance, but not as predominantly from the right leg when I prepare early and move into the ball. My guess is a more even distribution of power when using the legs to drive your forehand is the right way, is that correct?

The answer is there is a lot of loading and unloading off the back leg or your right leg. This is because chances are you are moving in that direction and need to stalbize your momentum from continuing to head to the right, and send it back into the ball.

Watch the right leg of Fernando here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFibX-inICg&feature=related

W Cats
11-04-2009, 09:32 AM
Just posted this on another thread that it appears as if Federrer springs off of his left leg on an inside/out forehand when he does not have ample time to set-up durring a runaround.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_CuXqNBr2c

Shangri La
11-04-2009, 01:15 PM
Thanks for all the advice, guys! Really appreciate it.

If you load the back leg thru the whole shot, you are basically leaning back and playing a defensive shot.
If you can load the back leg and transfer weight to the front, then you are hitting an offensive shot, more ideal, but hard to do on deep or hardhit balls.
If you can load the front leg mostly and hit thru the ball, then you aren't playing tough enough competition.

That's more or less the blurry picture I had in mind but just wasn't quite sure about. And I think you really summarized it well.

Hey SL. You load up on your outside leg (right leg if you're right-handed) as you prepare and push off it as you swing / hit. You don't push off your inside leg, but you might transfer your weight to it during the swing depending on the stance you're in / other considerations.

To answer your question directly -- no, you don't want an even distribution of power when hitting a forehand.

Here are some videos of Rafa hitting forehands. The slow-motion ones clearly show the weight loading on Rafa's outside leg / Rafa pushing off that leg as he swings. On some of the forehands Rafa's inside foot comes off the ground as he swings, which demonstrates that he's not pushing off it as a means of supplying power to the stroke.

http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/pro-stroke-library/rafael-nadal/forehand/

Thanks, Will! The video illustrates your explanation well: the shots at 55" and 1'00" are totally hit off his back/outside leg with the front foot off the ground; while the offensive winner at 41" he had a weight transfer finishing the shot on his front foot.

BTW - always enjoyed your videos : D

The answer is there is a lot of loading and unloading off the back leg or your right leg. This is because chances are you are moving in that direction and need to stalbize your momentum from continuing to head to the right, and send it back into the ball.

Watch the right leg of Fernando here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFibX-inICg&feature=related

Good to know that I'm not doing it wrong hitting a forehand off my back leg. But I think I'll try and incorporate a weight transfer on a more regular basis which I think puts less stress on my right body (lower back).

Bungalo Bill
11-04-2009, 01:41 PM
Good to know that I'm not doing it wrong hitting a forehand off my back leg. But I think I'll try and incorporate a weight transfer on a more regular basis which I think puts less stress on my right body (lower back).

Maybe I didnt explain myself well.

You don't want to make contact with the ball off your back leg unless you have too or if yu are doing something with the ball like hitting a reverse off the back foot and stuff. This will increase your risk in two areas:

1. Injury to the back or right hip.

2. Off balanced shots which leads to errors.

Planting and loading off your back leg is for one main purpose:

"To hold your the momentum you created from your movement and to send that momentum through rotation back towards the ball."

This means you do not want to remain on our back foot at contact. Your momentum should be going up and slightly forward for the most part. Staying on your back foot means you might be sending your momentum up and backwards at times.

Watch how Fernando moves off his back leg at or before contact. He rotates back over and rebalances over both feet. That is the action you want. You simply want to pull energy from the ground briefly and send that puppy back into the ball.

Shangri La
11-05-2009, 12:05 PM
Maybe I didnt explain myself well.

You don't want to make contact with the ball off your back leg unless you have too or if yu are doing something with the ball like hitting a reverse off the back foot and stuff. This will increase your risk in two areas:

1. Injury to the back or right hip.

2. Off balanced shots which leads to errors.

Planting and loading off your back leg is for one main purpose:

"To hold your the momentum you created from your movement and to send that momentum through rotation back towards the ball."

This means you do not want to remain on our back foot at contact. Your momentum should be going up and slightly forward for the most part. Staying on your back foot means you might be sending your momentum up and backwards at times.

Watch how Fernando moves off his back leg at or before contact. He rotates back over and rebalances over both feet. That is the action you want. You simply want to pull energy from the ground briefly and send that puppy back into the ball.

ahhh.... now that makes perfect sense. 'Your momentum should be going up and slightly forward for the most part'... I kinda felt that's the right way to do it but wasnt really sure. Looks Fed is doing the same thing here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVZVQMsb1AY&NR=1 where he took quite a few steps to hit a ball going to his right yet he still didnt quite hit the ball off his back leg. Thanks!

Bungalo Bill
11-05-2009, 12:37 PM
ahhh.... now that makes perfect sense. 'Your momentum should be going up and slightly forward for the most part'... I kinda felt that's the right way to do it but wasnt really sure. Looks Fed is doing the same thing here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVZVQMsb1AY&NR=1 where he took quite a few steps to hit a ball going to his right yet he still didnt quite hit the ball off his back leg. Thanks!

Yes, and the other thing about angular momentum, it can also rise nearly straight up. Unless you are doing something special, your normal forehand should be within the straight up to slightly going forward parameter. What helps here is to meet the ball slightly earlier.

ahile02
11-05-2009, 04:35 PM
BB, could you give a general overview of how to hit using the semi-open stance? I'm having a hard time rallying right now from a pure neutral or open stance.

wihamilton
11-05-2009, 05:43 PM
Now, I am confused. Inside leg is always thought of as the foot closest to the ball when you move to the ball. For forehands this is the right foot and for backhands the left foot (player is righthanded).

Heh someone needs to come up with a handbook that standardizes terminology. In my experience, the leg closest to the ball has been referred to as the outside leg.

Thanks tennis angel / SL!

Bungalo Bill
11-05-2009, 06:03 PM
Heh someone needs to come up with a handbook that standardizes terminology. In my experience, the leg closest to the ball has been referred to as the outside leg.

Thanks tennis angel / SL!

Hahahaha, yup, sort of like the Full Eastern, Eastern, Extreme Eastern or a Kick serve that twists and a kick serve that only has topspin but both are called Kick Serve. Sheesh! :shock:

Okay, so when I grew up and from all the info I have studied, inside leg is leg closest to the ball and outside leg is farthest from the ball.

Inside = Closest to the ball or inside track.

Outside = Farthest from the ball or outside track.

wihamilton
11-05-2009, 06:27 PM
Hahahaha, yup, sort of like the Full Eastern, Eastern, Extreme Eastern or a Kick serve that twists and a kick serve that only has topspin but both are called Kick Serve. Sheesh! :shock:

Okay, so when I grew up and from all the info I have studied, inside leg is leg closest to the ball and outside leg is farthest from the ball.

Inside = Closest to the ball or inside track.

Outside = Farthest from the ball or outside track.

Ya I've been told that the eastern grip used to be called continental. It can be tough to keep track of the varied terminology.

What we try to do in our videos is explain what a particular term means if there is any ambiguity about it. That way, if someone's definition of the term differs from ours they still understand what we're talking about.

Bungalo Bill
11-05-2009, 06:50 PM
What we try to do in our videos is explain what a particular term means if there is any ambiguity about it. That way, if someone's definition of the term differs from ours they still understand what we're talking about.

Yes, and I think we did that here.

Shangri La
11-06-2009, 04:35 PM
This is confusing me now...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk1eqm_vazU

In this video Djokovic hits a lot of forehands with his front leg planted and back leg sliding forward, which looks to me he's generating his power from his front leg? Or, is it because he already has his weight moving forward prior to the ball contact and planting the front leg is merely a means of keeping the balance?

Compare the Djokovic video to Nadal's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inQvbT8uEGk&feature=player_embedded# Nadal hits most of hit forehand off his back leg (except the first shot which looks more like Djoko's footwork). I can understand and use Nadal's weight distribution on a forehand (to get a taste of it), but how do you explain and do Djoko's way?

Bungalo Bill
11-08-2009, 01:54 AM
This is confusing me now...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk1eqm_vazU

In this video Djokovic hits a lot of forehands with his front leg planted and back leg sliding forward, which looks to me he's generating his power from his front leg? Or, is it because he already has his weight moving forward prior to the ball contact and planting the front leg is merely a means of keeping the balance?

Compare the Djokovic video to Nadal's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inQvbT8uEGk&feature=player_embedded# Nadal hits most of hit forehand off his back leg (except the first shot which looks more like Djoko's footwork). I can understand and use Nadal's weight distribution on a forehand (to get a taste of it), but how do you explain and do Djoko's way?

The key word is generating. The video you showed was him practicing and he wasn't really planting and pushing from the ground with the right leg. However, the back leg was used to get motion going forward. Nobody is saying the front leg is uninvolved or lazy or unused. It is used, but the back leg is what pushes against the ground the most.

Shangri La
11-08-2009, 08:30 PM
The key word is generating. The video you showed was him practicing and he wasn't really planting and pushing from the ground with the right leg. However, the back leg was used to get motion going forward. Nobody is saying the front leg is uninvolved or lazy or unused. It is used, but the back leg is what pushes against the ground the most.

I tried and paid more attention to weight transfer today when hitting and think I got a feel of it. Guess theorycraft works better with actual hitting.

Bungalo Bill
11-09-2009, 02:18 PM
I tried and paid more attention to weight transfer today when hitting and think I got a feel of it. Guess theorycraft works better with actual hitting.

Well I am glad you discovered a new improvement in your stroke technique.

AlpineCadet
11-09-2009, 02:29 PM
If I'm hitting open stance during a rally, I just shift a little more on the right side then back when hitting. 60/40 I guess..

Shangri La
11-09-2009, 03:28 PM
Well I am glad you discovered a new improvement in your stroke technique.

And it's a quite fundamental one. Of course the change is not going to happen overnight, but at least I know what I need to work on. Oh, and another newly discovered secret (that I read from one of your other posts, BB) to keep the non-hitting hand on the racquet for a split second longer when hitting a forehand has helped tremendously. Don;t know why, but it makes me anticipate/time the ball better (which has always been a big problem for me) and balance better. And the rest, a more fluid stroke and improved consistency, happens naturally. Thanks for the help, BB!

papa
11-09-2009, 04:26 PM
BB, you old dog - still at it after all these years. Where the heck is that book you were going to do - you were going to sell me the first copy - remember?. Just finished reading a bunch of your current posts which as always, are rock solid - actually, never read one that I could take issue with.

See many players who are constantly off balance (serves, vollies, ground strokes, etc) so I'd have to say maintain your balance throughout the stroke. Most good players are "generally" balanced - one of the basic differences in the skill level.

soyizgood
11-09-2009, 04:30 PM
I hit neutral stance. I was hitting with a coach yesterday and he advised me to make sure my legs were balanced and not spread too far apart. Then as I strike the ball to move my left shoulder to lead my right foot into the ready position. Essentially my right foot would move forward, my left foot would either stay of move slightly back, and it would result in my jumping into the shot.

His take made sense for me. Now I have to figure out how to make it work.

papa
11-09-2009, 04:53 PM
Well, consider keeping both hands on the same side until the ball bounces and try to get the left arm straight and pretty much perpendicular to the side fence - this gets your shoulders perpendicular to the net. At the momemt, I'd forget about your feet - they will take care of themselves, at least for the time being. If, on the forehand side you can splay your hands as the ball approaches like your going to be catching a beach ball and then extend that left arm toward the side fence, you should be in good shape. Give it a try, you'll be surprised.

ms87
11-09-2009, 05:38 PM
of course you get more power from your right leg. do you understand the point of the leg drive?

tlm
11-09-2009, 06:46 PM
Let me get this straight rafa is not a bad player.Is this the biggest understatement of all time? He is #2 in the world+ would still be #1 if it was not for injury.

Also he hits many forehands off his back foot+ not just in practice.I have watched him do the same thing during matches. And it is not just about how much time he has.He will hit off the back foot even when he could have stepped into it.

This is definitely not taught, this goes against most teachers.But there are some instructors that will say it is better to go up Or to the side with your weight transfer.But they are in the minority, of course one of them is oscar wegner.

Bungalo Bill
11-10-2009, 10:33 PM
And it's a quite fundamental one. Of course the change is not going to happen overnight, but at least I know what I need to work on. Oh, and another newly discovered secret (that I read from one of your other posts, BB) to keep the non-hitting hand on the racquet for a split second longer when hitting a forehand has helped tremendously. Don;t know why, but it makes me anticipate/time the ball better (which has always been a big problem for me) and balance better. And the rest, a more fluid stroke and improved consistency, happens naturally. Thanks for the help, BB!

Because when you use angular momentum, in a sense, you are sort of spinning. However, because there are other forces at work you want your angular momentum (energy) to go into and through the ball. Pulling in your non-dominant arm helps sustain or improve your momentum into the ball and helps with your balance. So you leave your hand on the racquet longer, let it extend on the hitting side, and then pull it in to release your swing as it goes forward. It is something that is rarely taught or noticed.

KenC
11-11-2009, 12:50 AM
Gotta' love this forum because of greats like Bungalo Bill and Tricky!

I have recently realized that it is dangerous to watch Pro players during matches and try to emulate their strokes. There is a good reason why some hit off their back foot, and that is because a monster like Nadal or Del Potro is launching missiles at them and there is just not enough time to properly position for every shot. In that case you do whatever it takes to hopefully stay in the point.

KenC
11-11-2009, 02:58 AM
I was thinking about my above post and remembered that FYB has a great video vault of Pros hitting "perfect" shots. Its probably better to study those rather than pro matches. I don't think Pros get too many chances to hit "perfect" strokes in a do or die match situation, the serve being an obvious exception. I think FYB did a great job to find those rare occasions.

Said in other terms, one has to be crazy to give Federer or Nadal, or any of the top 20 a "perfect" ball in which to showcase their talent on!

Rambler124
11-11-2009, 05:17 AM
Ya I've been told that the eastern grip used to be called continental. It can be tough to keep track of the varied terminology.

What we try to do in our videos is explain what a particular term means if there is any ambiguity about it. That way, if someone's definition of the term differs from ours they still understand what we're talking about.

Agree 100% here. I actually work with an older gentleman who has said the same thing to me. He calls what we know as eastern grip a continental grip. He knows his stuff to - has the body of work to prove it so I have to believe its a terminology difference or I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

Rambler124
11-11-2009, 05:26 AM
Let me get this straight rafa is not a bad player.Is this the biggest understatement of all time? He is #2 in the world+ would still be #1 if it was not for injury.

Also he hits many forehands off his back foot+ not just in practice.I have watched him do the same thing during matches. And it is not just about how much time he has.He will hit off the back foot even when he could have stepped into it.

This is definitely not taught, this goes against most teachers.But there are some instructors that will say it is better to go up Or to the side with your weight transfer.But they are in the minority, of course one of them is oscar wegner.

I don't see anyone disputing how good Rafa is? Perhaps I missed it.

I think you are missing the boat here a bit. Its situational at best imo. Weigh transfer is going to depend on so many varying factors such as court positioning when hitting/ball speed/shot selection/etc....

I'm not sure I see coaches teaching ONE way to hit a ball. I've always looked for basic balance but I could care less if my student is hitting off their back foot as long as there is balance in their position to allow them recover from the shot. Weight shift could be to the side/up/or through depending simply on the situation. No?

papa
11-11-2009, 06:18 AM
I don't see anyone disputing how good Rafa is? Perhaps I missed it.

.....I could care less if my student is hitting off their back foot as long as there is balance in their position to allow them recover from the shot.

Well, although I agree, it would depend on whether your teaching any mechanics. Pardon my hockey talk but its like trying to hit a slap shot off the inside leg - can be done but not by many.

You mentioned balance and that is the key to good strokes, regardless of type or wing. Can you/do you hit off balanced strokes - sure, because nobody is kind enough to give you those nice and easy bread basket shots. At the HS level I believe that strong mechanics should be taught and bad habits corrected "before" the player ends up at the college level where the play is a lot stiffer. Some kids can get away with bad habits at one level only to discover, to their amazement, that they cannot compete effectively at the next. Sometimes its just little things, sometimes its a big problem that has to be corrected. At the HS level its often the better athlete who wins but at the college level skill, conditioning along with many other factors enter the picture.

This is not intended to mean that everyone has to be taught the "exact" same stroke or the "one-way-only" approach.

Rambler124
11-11-2009, 08:51 AM
Well, although I agree, it would depend on whether your teaching any mechanics. Pardon my hockey talk but its like trying to hit a slap shot off the inside leg - can be done but not by many.

You mentioned balance and that is the key to good strokes, regardless of type or wing. Can you/do you hit off balanced strokes - sure, because nobody is kind enough to give you those nice and easy bread basket shots. At the HS level I believe that strong mechanics should be taught and bad habits corrected "before" the player ends up at the college level where the play is a lot stiffer. Some kids can get away with bad habits at one level only to discover, to their amazement, that they cannot compete effectively at the next. Sometimes its just little things, sometimes its a big problem that has to be corrected. At the HS level its often the better athlete who wins but at the college level skill, conditioning along with many other factors enter the picture.

This is not intended to mean that everyone has to be taught the "exact" same stroke or the "one-way-only" approach.

Agreed. Good thoughts there :)