PDA

View Full Version : Anyone think that Nadal is particularly loose with his forehand?


Clay lover
12-27-2009, 04:59 AM
I have the feeling that Nadal is particualy "loose" with his forehand compared to most other pros. The straight arm at contact to me is a result of his loose technique rather than a conscious effort. In the practice videos I have seen of him, he seems to rely primarily on body turn and his shoulder to "whip" his left arm into the contact zone and his left arm seems to me to be completely relaxed during the swing. I don't think anybody disagrees that the more relaxed you are, the more racquet head speed you can generate. The mega spin therefore, in my opinion, is due to this very relaxed technique; Nadal does not take his racquet any lower than most of the other pros, it is the fast swing and the closed racquet face before contact that makes the difference. The common conception that Nadal's forehand is "all arm" I think is not true. He primarily uses his body and his shoulder to "drive" his relaxed arm into the contact zone instead of using his arm strength to muscle into the ball.

Actually, I think that Nadal's technique on his forehand is so unique that no pro players are even remotely similar to him in that department. Verdasco you can maybe make a case, but he chokes up way more than Nadal (which results in lesser "looseness") and hits way flatter on average. Yes he can come up with spin monsters once in a while, but never with the regularity of Nadal.

Videos won't help, it's just a matter of sensation. But I will give one anyone to see if anyone has a similar feeling:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MsHvZeyKgQ

Feel free to disagree and give your opinions. These observations are based on his practice sessions (driving forehands) more than on his matches, where he primarily uses his reverse forehands, and I am not sure if they stand when he goes to the reverse forehands.

LeeD
12-27-2009, 08:48 AM
Cool vid. I never watch Nadal hit closely because his strengths are opposite of mine.
I like his closed feet for 2hbh, negating lots of thoughts on these forums.
I like his lack of loop on the forehand takeback, as above.
He's got loose wrists for sure on the forehand takeback.
And his 2hbh is the opposite of his forehand, mostly shoulder and little wrists.

Determined
12-27-2009, 09:10 AM
Just a comment. You can't really hit straight arm. If you did you would develop tennis elbow. What pros and good players do is bend the elbow slightly. The arm is not entirely straight when you make contact with the ball. It's ever so slightly bent that it's hard to see on camera. But it's definitely not to the point where your arm is locked. But yes Nadal's arm is very loose during his stroke. That's how he gets his racket speed. Baseball pitchers don't muscle the throw to get a speedy fast ball. They stay loose. I'm not sure if I misunderstood but you can't hit the ball with a closed face unless you're fully expecting it to hit your side of the court of the net. It should be perpendicular to the ground. You don't really have to think about it that much. Just telling you. You probably don't hit with a closed face anyway. If you're anywhere 3.0+

Blake0
12-27-2009, 09:18 AM
You guessed it, with a straighter arm you really need to be loose, it's not something that you can hit well with being stiff.

user92626
12-27-2009, 09:48 AM
As far as stroke techniques go, no such thing as "conscious effort" with Nadal or any pro. They do it like we walk! I think they're only conscious of reading and anticipating their opponent's move.

I truly like Nadal's FH stroke. To my eyes he uses a lot of wrist strength to milk every ounce of whippiness. You can't whip anything effectively with a stiff arm.

Physical strength aside, a major key in Nadal stroke is that he know precisely the moment to explode with power. This is the part that I'm trying to learn to be consistent at. I can whip hard once in a while (according to my physical strenght) but most of the time it's either too early or too late!

aimr75
12-27-2009, 03:56 PM
Just a comment. You can't really hit straight arm. If you did you would develop tennis elbow. What pros and good players do is bend the elbow slightly. The arm is not entirely straight when you make contact with the ball. It's ever so slightly bent that it's hard to see on camera. But it's definitely not to the point where your arm is locked. But yes Nadal's arm is very loose during his stroke. That's how he gets his racket speed. Baseball pitchers don't muscle the throw to get a speedy fast ball. They stay loose. I'm not sure if I misunderstood but you can't hit the ball with a closed face unless you're fully expecting it to hit your side of the court of the net. It should be perpendicular to the ground. You don't really have to think about it that much. Just telling you. You probably don't hit with a closed face anyway. If you're anywhere 3.0+

They dont always hit with a completely straight arm, but it does happen... I find it unlikely that they can control their arm to have a slight bend using a straight arm technique..

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9T2cRtlgHV0/SKgu6Gb888I/AAAAAAAAAgE/YnRpKniMx5k/s400/Rafael-Nadal-of-Spain-returns-a-forehand.jpg

http://z.about.com/d/tennis/1/0/h/C/federer-forehand-inside-out.jpg

http://www2.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/BNP+Paribas+Open+Day+10+2D7bMVzdukll.jpg

Zachol82
12-27-2009, 09:53 PM
Nadal definitely does seem loose on his forehands. I agree with the OP.

xFullCourtTenniSx
12-27-2009, 11:22 PM
Just a comment. You can't really hit straight arm. If you did you would develop tennis elbow. What pros and good players do is bend the elbow slightly. The arm is not entirely straight when you make contact with the ball. It's ever so slightly bent that it's hard to see on camera. But it's definitely not to the point where your arm is locked. But yes Nadal's arm is very loose during his stroke. That's how he gets his racket speed. Baseball pitchers don't muscle the throw to get a speedy fast ball. They stay loose. I'm not sure if I misunderstood but you can't hit the ball with a closed face unless you're fully expecting it to hit your side of the court of the net. It should be perpendicular to the ground. You don't really have to think about it that much. Just telling you. You probably don't hit with a closed face anyway. If you're anywhere 3.0+

... Odd... I've never had elbow problems playing with a straight arm... Though I'm not the fool to hit with a stiff arm, but it's most definitely as straight as it gets. 0 bend, 100% whip. If you look at the pictures posted above, the arm is actually bent BACK slightly at the elbow. It's like they're leading the stroke with the inside of the elbow or the wrist. Your elbow's hinge joint won't allow the forearm to go back any further, so it is in fact locked, but loose. It can't go back any further, but it'll snap back forward easily because it's a result of a kinetic chain and a VERY loose arm.

Also, closed racket face shots account for approximately a third of the shots in the game. Sometimes it's extreme, sometimes it's moderate. I've hit thousands of closed faced shots and got the ball plenty of height over the net as well as solid pace and topspin.

Clay lover
12-28-2009, 03:16 AM
To those who are commenting on the closed racquet face AT contact, I am actually talking about the closed racquet face BEFORE contact. As Nadal pulls the racquet into the contact zone, the racquet head is also pulled upwards from a closed position to a more open one to generate spin. Refer to this video to see what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKamwrstur8

Blake0
12-28-2009, 02:20 PM
To those who are commenting on the closed racquet face AT contact, I am actually talking about the closed racquet face BEFORE contact. As Nadal pulls the racquet into the contact zone, the racquet head is also pulled upwards from a closed position to a more open one to generate spin. Refer to this video to see what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKamwrstur8

The closing of the racket face at the backswing is caused by the pronation of the forearm. Why do they do this?

When you pronate your forearm at the end of the backswing and start swinging forward, you'll see your arm naturally "sling" to a supinated forearm. Then at contact, nadal/federer pronate their arm even faster because of the "sling". This is a basic sling shot forehand, and why nadal/federer's forehand look very wristy and whippy.