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View Full Version : Stepping in to your forehands or hitting flat-footed??


Zachol82
12-27-2009, 09:08 PM
For simplicity sake, assume that all techniques are performed by a right-handed player, since I am right-handed.

I've been noticing this a lot ever since wooden rackets were abandoned but just never remember to ask this on the forums.

Is it correct to step into your forehand with your left foot? If so, then is hitting flat-footed, or hitting off the right foot, incorrect?

I have seen many pros, including those that are ranked top 10 in the world hitting their shots either flat-footed, or off their inner foot. However, in the past, I swear all of my different coaches have told me to never hit a ball flat-footed or off my right foot. I still see other coaches telling their students to step into their shots and never hit flat-footed.

In my own experience, I usually step into my shots when I am fully prepared and on the offensive, meaning I'm the one moving my opponents around the court. However, when I'm being moved around or when I get to a shot too late to prepare for it, I tend to hit it flat-footed since it requires less time and it's easier for me to move after my shot to maybe chase down another shot.

I'm sure there is no correct and definite answer to this question but all I'm asking for is maybe a list of the pros and cons of stepping into your shots and another list of pros and cons for why a person should hit flat-footed as well.

tennisguy5
12-28-2009, 10:59 AM
There was a thread a while back about clay courters hitting off of their back foot (flat footed, open, blah blah blah). You are correct in saying that there is no right way to hit a forehand, but the position you hit the ball in, determines the kind of shot that you would like to produce.

One of the many ways to hit is open. This is the hitting style of Rafa. Rafa can put an ungodly amount of topspin on the ball, somewhat because of his extreme western grip, and somewhat because of the position that he chooses to hit the ball in. Rafa hits the ball where his feet are parralel to the baseline and the service line. This allows him to hit a most extreme windshield wiper forehand, or a forehand swung from down to up instead of side to side. The position Rafa hits his groundstrokes from, causes him to be on defense 90% of the time.

The other way you mentioned is stepping through the shot with your left foot (opposite for lefties). This is a more traditional way to hit the ball, and puts more zip and control into your forehand. The way to position your body using this style of forehand, is to make your body perpendicular with the baseline or parralel with the doubles alley. This is the hitting position of Robin Soderling, one of the flattest hitters on the tour. Robin is able to hit the ball harder than most, with extreme precision, and end the points earlier. Because of Robins position on the ball, he is on offense 90% of the time.

The way you hit the ball is totally based on your style of play and how you hit.

MichaelChang
12-28-2009, 11:04 AM
To put it simply:
If you hit open-stance forehand, your weight is on your right foot and you don't step forward. If you hit closed-stance then yes you should try to step in.

Zachol82
12-28-2009, 03:09 PM
Ah, thank you guys!

So pretty much, hitting an open-stance forehand or a closed-stance forehand all depends on the situation and which shot selection you're going for? Kind of like deciding to hit a topspin-forehand or a sliced-forehand?

tennisguy5
12-29-2009, 07:50 AM
Ya, Whatever kind of shot you want to hit depends on how you position yourself, like if you wanted to hit a down the line winner, you would want to get parralel with the alley and step into the ball. Unlike if you wanted to be somewhat of a pusher, you would stay open

ManuGinobili
12-30-2009, 10:26 PM
I just read about this on vic braden's website yesterday

http://www.vicbraden.com/tip5.html

stepping into a shot could give you up to 6 extra mph... but IMO you should practice both ways to be ready for different situations

Zachol82
12-31-2009, 09:29 AM
It seems that whenever I step into my shots, I lose recovery time as well as racket-head speed :[. Also, whenever I step into a shot, I tend to move forward a bit as well, which is good if I'm trying to get to the net and volley..but otherwise I'm in no-man's-land.

Slazenger07
12-31-2009, 11:35 AM
If you get time with the shot, step into it and use your forward momentum to add power. If you dont have time to step in to it use an open stance and let racquet acceleration help you add power.

tennisguy5
12-31-2009, 07:36 PM
But as stated earlier, it really depends on the kind of game that you want to play. If you are uncomfortable stepping into the shots, by all means STAY OPEN!

SuperDuy
12-31-2009, 10:33 PM
What I try to do is shift all my weight into the ball, 'punce' into it with alot of power. And to play a power game and keep moving forward.

Bungalo Bill
12-31-2009, 10:42 PM
For simplicity sake, assume that all techniques are performed by a right-handed player, since I am right-handed.

I've been noticing this a lot ever since wooden rackets were abandoned but just never remember to ask this on the forums.

Is it correct to step into your forehand with your left foot? If so, then is hitting flat-footed, or hitting off the right foot, incorrect?

I have seen many pros, including those that are ranked top 10 in the world hitting their shots either flat-footed, or off their inner foot. However, in the past, I swear all of my different coaches have told me to never hit a ball flat-footed or off my right foot. I still see other coaches telling their students to step into their shots and never hit flat-footed.

In my own experience, I usually step into my shots when I am fully prepared and on the offensive, meaning I'm the one moving my opponents around the court. However, when I'm being moved around or when I get to a shot too late to prepare for it, I tend to hit it flat-footed since it requires less time and it's easier for me to move after my shot to maybe chase down another shot.

I'm sure there is no correct and definite answer to this question but all I'm asking for is maybe a list of the pros and cons of stepping into your shots and another list of pros and cons for why a person should hit flat-footed as well.

There is a right way in all the shots for a forehand. There is also a definitive answer. From there, variations will exist. Do not confuse variations of something with just anyone doing their own thing without basis or foundation.

When you are hitting in a forward, neutral, or closed stance, your momentum and weight transfer needs to be more linear (straight) so you will need to step into the ball. The step towards the ball is a timing step which will help you with power in your shot.

In open stances, you get power through rotation. That means your right foot will first plant and your weight should load over that leg. Just as you turn back into the ball, your left foot will be away from the contact point but will still make a "step". Sometimes it is a pivot or a lifting of the heel. This step is a timing step to execute your forward rotation. Since you are using angular momentum and not linear momentum in the open stances, you will load over the back leg and then unweight off that leg and rebalance to your left leg as you followthrough. You do not want to rotate all the way through on that back leg.

The flat-foot that you see is very temporary. Hitting off the back foot can be done for specialty shots or if a player is in trouble. The latter is not what you want to be doing all the time. :)

ManuGinobili
01-04-2010, 01:44 AM
There is a right way in all the shots for a forehand. There is also a definitive answer. From there, variations will exist. Do not confuse variations of something with just anyone doing their own thing without basis or foundation.


Sometimes your words are aggressive, sometimes they paint the very essence of tennis :)

Power Player
01-04-2010, 08:34 AM
I spend a lot of time focusing on my weight transfer. I think it is super important to consistent tennis. I hit with a more open stance, but I started closed just to make myself get into the habit of loading off my right foot and stepping with my left.

What I am getting to is that I agree with Bill, hitting off your back foot is less then optimal. It usually means I am out of position and did not move my feet properly to set up my shot.

ttbrowne
01-04-2010, 04:17 PM
Depends on where I am on the court as to whether I hit open or closed.
Drawn out wide I'm gonna try to hit on my right foot so I can get back to the left quickly.
If I get a short ball I'm gonna hit off the left foot.