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View Full Version : Why is getting the shoulder turn right at the start of the forehand so important?


Messarger
11-20-2009, 06:09 AM
Hi all. I've been reading and applying a lot of the biomechanics that tricky, wil and BB have been advocating.

One of them, esp in FYB, was the pivot and shoulder turn after the split step. Today after a short break from tennis, i was again out on the courts hitting some balls from the baseline. At the start my balls were landing service line short, and i couldnt figure out why. I was bending my knees, i was hitting through the ball and everything seemed right.

But then i realize that after split stepping and bending my knees, i would immediately seperate my hands from the racket during the shoulder turn, instead of seperating my hands from the racket AFTER the shoulder is completely turned (shoulder under the chin). After making this adjustment, i was hitting the forehand a lot deeper and there was more spin.

My question is, why does such a seemingly small detail have such a huge difference in the quality of the balls produced?
It'd help if you guys can enlighten me in simple layman terms as i'm not too familiar with biomechanic jargon like the kinetic chain etc.

Btw, i'm using a semi wester grip.

5263
11-20-2009, 06:24 AM
Hi all. I've been reading and applying a lot of the biomechanics that tricky, wil and BB have been advocating.

One of them, esp in FYB, was the pivot and shoulder turn after the split step. Today after a short break from tennis, i was again out on the courts hitting some balls from the baseline. At the start my balls were landing service line short, and i couldnt figure out why. I was bending my knees, i was hitting through the ball and everything seemed right.

But then i realize that after split stepping and bending my knees, i would immediately seperate my hands from the racket during the shoulder turn, instead of seperating my hands from the racket AFTER the shoulder is completely turned (shoulder under the chin). After making this adjustment, i was hitting the forehand a lot deeper and there was more spin.

My question is, why does such a seemingly small detail have such a huge difference in the quality of the balls produced?
It'd help if you guys can enlighten me in simple layman terms as i'm not too familiar with biomechanic jargon like the kinetic chain etc.

Btw, i'm using a semi wester grip.

What may help is to keep the hand on the throat til the ball approaches it's bounce then release and stretch that off hand across as you prepare your racket during the full take back. This off hand & arm stretch across (left?), will aid in completing the shoulder turn as a habit.
Here is a vid of Fed doing what I attempt to describe:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ImeQaAyFPc

see how his left hand comes off and stretches across

This seemingly small detail, shows the importance of the body rotation in relation to power of shot.

Messarger
11-20-2009, 06:58 AM
This seemingly small detail, shows the importance of the body rotation in relation to power of shot.

Thanks for the video 5236.

But what is the difference between seperating the hitting hand from the racket throat during vs after the shoulder turn? I mean, after all the shoulders are still rotated. How is the rotation affected?

5263
11-20-2009, 08:06 AM
Thanks for the video 5236.

But what is the difference between seperating the hitting hand from the racket throat during vs after the shoulder turn? I mean, after all the shoulders are still rotated. How is the rotation affected?

I have learned it as part of the timing mechanism. It would be after a partial shoulder turn (assuming you didn't have to take the hand off to run), which accompanies your movement to the contact area.

Keeping that hand on the throat helps to get the racket in position when facing bigger shots and works with the timing of when to get the full shoulder turn. You don't want the full shoulder turn too early, as it would affect you movement and approach to the ball, along with possibly affecting your timing.

Bungalo Bill
11-20-2009, 09:26 AM
Hi all. I've been reading and applying a lot of the biomechanics that tricky, wil and BB have been advocating.

One of them, esp in FYB, was the pivot and shoulder turn after the split step. Today after a short break from tennis, i was again out on the courts hitting some balls from the baseline. At the start my balls were landing service line short, and i couldnt figure out why. I was bending my knees, i was hitting through the ball and everything seemed right.

But then i realize that after split stepping and bending my knees, i would immediately seperate my hands from the racket during the shoulder turn, instead of seperating my hands from the racket AFTER the shoulder is completely turned (shoulder under the chin). After making this adjustment, i was hitting the forehand a lot deeper and there was more spin.

My question is, why does such a seemingly small detail have such a huge difference in the quality of the balls produced?
It'd help if you guys can enlighten me in simple layman terms as i'm not too familiar with biomechanic jargon like the kinetic chain etc.

Btw, i'm using a semi wester grip.

Good one!!! When I view players strokes, I am always looking at the non-dominant arm/hand. Do you ever hear it taught on court? Or in passing with your fellow players? The answer is usually a resounding NO! Most coaches and players focus on the hitting arm because, well, that is where the racquet is.

However, when you look at a figure skater, how do they twirl faster with virtually no effort? They bring their arms in! And how do they get it going while maintaining their balance? They have their arms out before they bring them in!

The non-dominant arm is critical in all strokes, however, for momentum and power it is crucially important for the forehand and serve.

So, you discovered something. A little thing that we constantly preach here that has elevated your forehand with an "ahh, haa!"

So, let's dive in to why (in laymen's terms of course).

1. Your unit turn sets up several things.

a. It allows the back shoulder to turn far enough so you don't open too soon, pull away from the shot during angular momentum (sort of like centrifugal force), and allows you to swing through the ball better while performing not much else except executing the swing path of your choice to go through the ball. Even the slightest extra momentum that goes into the ball will produce dividends in your ability to hit a clean ball on time.

b. The non-dominant arm extends with the body to help it remain balanced over your back leg before you sned your energy back toward the ball. The non-dominant arm, like the figure skater example, prepares your body to "spin" or "turn" or "execute angular momentum more efficiently while helping you stay in the shot to penetrate through the ball and help you rebalance on the other side.

c. When you keep your non-hitting arm on the racquet longer you are improving your chances of allowing that arm when you start going through the ball to fold back into your body rather it staying outside of your body or worse, dangling by your side.

user92626
11-20-2009, 10:26 AM
The shoulder turn is interesting to me. I try to apply it all the time but my observation is that it's only possible when you have enough time! Sounds trivial but really, the greater part of most points I play is running and hitting at the same time. It's kinda difficult to perform the whole stroke production elaborately.

Another thing is that in order to get the full effect of shoulder turn, your hitting arm should feel very passive with the takeback/backswing while you feel the non-hitting arm's involvement significantly. This can be tough sometimes because it requires you to learn to tense--untense--tense--untense--so on... the hitting arm. See, if you forget and tense it all time, you tend to simply use it only because it already feels adequate. You don't wanna let go.

my 2 cents.

Messarger
11-20-2009, 10:30 AM
Thanks for the input BB. So what actually happens that make my balls land short when i seperate my non dominant hand from the racket as i'm doing the unit turn?

And are there any tips to that'll help me remember not to make this same mistake?

Bungalo Bill
11-20-2009, 10:32 AM
Thanks for the input BB. So what actually happens that make my balls land short when i seperate my non dominant hand from the racket as i'm doing the unit turn?

And are there any tips to that'll help me remember not to make this same mistake?

You are simply not going through the ball as much. Most likely pulling off your shot and sending energy away from the ball.

Just keep practicing keeping that arm on the racquet longer. Hit slower balls so you can engrain it and feel it in your shot.

jazzyfunkybluesy
11-20-2009, 10:35 AM
I actually focus on hip turn, shoulder turn then a windshield wiper action. A whole body twist.

Messarger
11-20-2009, 10:38 AM
Hey user thanks for sharing. To me the preparation time is not so much of an issue. As long as i'm moving my feet and i recognise the ball early, i'd have enough time to set up. Could it be due to your backswing being too large? my 2 cents.

fuzz nation
11-20-2009, 12:08 PM
With the little bit of teaching and coaching that I do, an issue that I often try to confront with my players is using more advanced timing so that they can regularly be ready to hit a routine ball before it shows up. Lots of players will time their back swing and forward swing so that they're only just on time when the ball comes into their strike zone. Send a faster ball and that timing unravels.

Just a thought. A long and complex back swing will obviously hold up a good motion, but I think it also takes some active concentration on the practice courts to learn to rush that first move (yes, the unit turn) and make it second nature to be set up earlier, even with a rather slow incoming ball.

Messarger, something that I try to do in my head to keep my unit turn happening on my forehand side is to use my off-hand to actively push the racquet back to that side about as far as it can ("it" refers to my off-hand). The extension of my racquet arm on that backswing goes beyond the reach of my other arm, so I don't hold the racquet with my off-hand. With that push, the unit turn happens right away, but my off-hand doesn't restrict a full takeback since I'm only gripping the racquet with my right hand.

Messarger
11-20-2009, 02:47 PM
Messarger, something that I try to do in my head to keep my unit turn happening on my forehand side is to use my off-hand to actively push the racquet back to that side about as far as it can ("it" refers to my off-hand). The extension of my racquet arm on that backswing goes beyond the reach of my other arm, so I don't hold the racquet with my off-hand. With that push, the unit turn happens right away, but my off-hand doesn't restrict a full takeback since I'm only gripping the racquet with my right hand.

Thanks fuzz nation. Yes, actually i find that when i do that i hit the ball better. But i have one question about this technique. When should i begin to feel 'conscious' about my hitting hand? Right now i'm feeling it after i push back my racket with my non dominant hand (right) and my right hand starts to seperate from my racket and hitting arm. Is this correct?
by 'conscious' i mean delibrately using it

fuzz nation
11-20-2009, 03:56 PM
Sounds like you're getting a good early setup with that early turn and separation of your hands. I don't run into much of a problem with my hand on my forehand side, but I sometimes need to deliberately lay my wrist back when I set up. If I don't do this and neglect to get fully set to swing when the ball comes, my wrist can break open as I start the racquet forward. Then my stroke evaporates.

Ultimately I think you should keep doing what's working now until you don't really have to be conscious of your arm or your hand. Eventually your overall set position (including your hand) will feel right and once you've arrived there, you'll only need to watch the ball and release your stroke. For now, I'd say to keep paying attention to that racquet hand so that you repeat a proper setup and that good habit will become more and more ingrained.

papa
11-20-2009, 04:16 PM
I like to get the non-hitting arm straight and as perpendicular to the side fence as possible. This one little thing get the shoulders perpendicular to the net and ready for the forward drive into the ball. Works, you might think about giving it a try.

naylor
11-25-2009, 12:46 PM
Good one!!! When I view players strokes, I am always looking at the non-dominant arm/hand. Do you ever hear it taught on court? Or in passing with your fellow players? The answer is usually a resounding NO! Most coaches and players focus on the hitting arm because, well, that is where the racquet is... The non-dominant arm is critical in all strokes, however, for momentum and power it is crucially important for the forehand...

Your unit turn sets up several things.
a. It allows the back shoulder to turn far enough so you don't open too soon, pull away from the shot ... and ... swing through the ball better ... hit a clean ball on time.
b. The non-dominant arm extends with the body to help it remain balanced over your back leg before you sned your energy back toward the ball.... prepares your body to ... execute angular momentum more efficiently while helping you stay in the shot to penetrate through the ball ...

This is exactly what I'm looking for, BB, how to crank up momentum and power for my forehand. I've gone through lessons and read plenty of coaching manuals - many with lots of pictures - but as you say all the focus / pictures track positions of the hitting arm and racket.

I guess what I need to do is to look at my forehand (and while at it, why not backhand and serve also?) in terms of the kinetic chain involved, what moves help load power (for instance, the unit turn in the backswing), and then how that power is released most efficiently in the forward swing - the correct sequence and timing of the chain reactions that transfer most of that power to the ball at contact.

Can you recommend any coaching material that looks at the forehand (and perhaps other full strokes) that way, that I can consult/access?

Many thanks!

Bungalo Bill
11-30-2009, 09:43 PM
This is exactly what I'm looking for, BB, how to crank up momentum and power for my forehand. I've gone through lessons and read plenty of coaching manuals - many with lots of pictures - but as you say all the focus / pictures track positions of the hitting arm and racket.

I guess what I need to do is to look at my forehand (and while at it, why not backhand and serve also?) in terms of the kinetic chain involved, what moves help load power (for instance, the unit turn in the backswing), and then how that power is released most efficiently in the forward swing - the correct sequence and timing of the chain reactions that transfer most of that power to the ball at contact.

Can you recommend any coaching material that looks at the forehand (and perhaps other full strokes) that way, that I can consult/access?

Many thanks!

Don't know of anyone that has info on this especially how the non-dominant arm is involved. However, you can search a lot of my posts that provide step by step informaiton on hitting forehands, backhands, etc...

When you hit your forehand, the back leg and the timing of your front step towards the ball or in an open stance contrinutes to power.

I will say this over and over again, the key to power is TIMING AND HITTING CLEANLY.

Remember power is a support mechanism for your strokes. It is not the main show. You should be using controlled and managed power for your strokes with the main emphasis being placed on consistency, ball movement, and placement. Power simply supports your ability to do this. The better you get, the more power you can add to a certain point where your ability to hit cleanly with good timing overshadows everything.

RafaBrain
11-30-2009, 10:37 PM
Hi all. I've been reading and applying a lot of the biomechanics that tricky, wil and BB have been advocating.

One of them, esp in FYB, was the pivot and shoulder turn after the split step. Today after a short break from tennis, i was again out on the courts hitting some balls from the baseline. At the start my balls were landing service line short, and i couldnt figure out why. I was bending my knees, i was hitting through the ball and everything seemed right.

But then i realize that after split stepping and bending my knees, i would immediately seperate my hands from the racket during the shoulder turn, instead of seperating my hands from the racket AFTER the shoulder is completely turned (shoulder under the chin). After making this adjustment, i was hitting the forehand a lot deeper and there was more spin.

My question is, why does such a seemingly small detail have such a huge difference in the quality of the balls produced?
It'd help if you guys can enlighten me in simple layman terms as i'm not too familiar with biomechanic jargon like the kinetic chain etc.

Btw, i'm using a semi wester grip.
.
.
imo, in simple layman terms, without should turned we hit with arm power; with should turned the abs leverage power will be added to the arm power.

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-30-2009, 10:45 PM
I find that separating the hands after the shoulder turn gives you a bigger shoulder turn and loads your muscles more naturally. It works your core more effectively.

papa
12-01-2009, 10:46 AM
I find that separating the hands after the shoulder turn gives you a bigger shoulder turn and loads your muscles more naturally. It works your core more effectively.

Whatever works as long as the mechanics of the stroke are sound. Just make sure that off-racquet hand/arm does move and leads the way.