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View Full Version : Whats wrong with using the reverse forehand (nadal forehand) all the time?


BirdWalkR
01-05-2012, 02:34 PM
Just hitting around and started experimenting with the nadal type forehand. Took about an hour to realize I hit much much much better like this. I rarely mishit, I generate excellent pace, and I get so many angles with so much more control. I know most people seem to advocate against it but whats wrong with it? It felt fine in the hour long rally but is it more injury prone? Only thing I noticed is a did tire a little more than usual. There must be some sort of reason why it isn't widley used. Thanks!

Torres
01-05-2012, 02:43 PM
There's nothing 'wrong' with a reverse forehand; sometimes its the only type of forehand that you can realistically hit, particularly if you're pushed out wide and have to lift a low ball.

But you're not driving through the ball with a reverse forehand and therefore less able to hit through the court. So why you'd want to be hitting reverse forehands from the middle of the court when you have an opportunity to drive through the ball, I've no idea.

Even with Nadal, its not as if he's constantly hitting reverse forehands eg. www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB6EY7FxgUg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB6EY7FxgUg) and even he's flattened out some of his strokes over the last few years.

Here's a great article from Lansdorp about the 3 types of forehand finishes: http://www.active.com/tennis/Articles/The_Reverse_Forehand_Finish.htm

onehandbh
01-05-2012, 02:48 PM
You'll have a lot of trouble against someone with a Djokovic-like FH.

Timbo's hopeless slice
01-05-2012, 03:06 PM
You'll have a lot of trouble against someone with a Djokovic-like FH.

yeah, 'cos rec tennis is chock full of those puppies... :?

Dellon
01-05-2012, 03:25 PM
Nothing wrong with it at all. Just make sure you don't hit yourself in the head :) ... yes, it uses the arm muscles more (biceps - just look at nadal) and the wrist so be careful not to injure yourself... it's a safer shot for club players if hit with pace as it has also more spin

Xizel
01-05-2012, 03:41 PM
You do run a higher risk of injury to the rotator cuff. The shoulder joint has tremendous flexibility, but it is not particularly stable at the extremes and especially not when you're whipping a racquet at high speed, which also happens to be abused as such already on serves. Nadal can do it day in and out because he has a more gifted musculature than average and has additional training from coaches as well as repeated use. There's nothing wrong with it if you take precautionary steps like Nadal to train your shoulder joint.

BirdWalkR
01-05-2012, 04:03 PM
You do run a higher risk of injury to the rotator cuff. The shoulder joint has tremendous flexibility, but it is not particularly stable at the extremes and especially not when you're whipping a racquet at high speed, which also happens to be abused as such already on serves. Nadal can do it day in and out because he has a more gifted musculature than average and has additional training from coaches as well as repeated use. There's nothing wrong with it if you take precautionary steps like Nadal to train your shoulder joint.

Like what steps? I have had some elbow and rotator cuff issues in the past from poor serve technique in the past so I am a bit weary of injury. Stopped playing for 3 weeks and it healed itself but not really looking to be out for that long again!

BirdWalkR
01-05-2012, 04:07 PM
There's nothing 'wrong' with a reverse forehand; sometimes its the only type of forehand that you can realistically hit, particularly if you're pushed out wide and have to lift a low ball.

But you're not driving through the ball with a reverse forehand and therefore less able to hit through the court. So why you'd want to be hitting reverse forehands from the middle of the court when you have an opportunity to drive through the ball, I've no idea.

Even with Nadal, its not as if he's constantly hitting reverse forehands eg. www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB6EY7FxgUg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB6EY7FxgUg) and even he's flattened out some of his strokes over the last few years.

Here's a great article from Lansdorp about the 3 types of forehand finishes: http://www.active.com/tennis/Articles/The_Reverse_Forehand_Finish.htm

I was thinking more of just using the reverse forehand for the majority of my forehands hitting heavier spin shots, more control and more angles. And then using my flatter traditional Windshield Wiper forehand for drive power shots when I need them. Main worry is fatigue and injury I suppose

btw really liked the links! always enjoy the FYB vids and the article was a good read as well. thank you!

user92626
01-05-2012, 04:10 PM
2 things at least:

- You'll likely hit your head with the racket. Even Nadal in slow motion clip shows that the racket misses his head by hair strands sometimes. But Nadal is trained and paid millions for those risks.

- You're not strong enough to produce deep shots consistently with that stroke. Basically that stroke is just a lot of vertical effect and very little forward.

Xizel
01-05-2012, 04:15 PM
Like what steps? I have had some elbow and rotator cuff issues in the past from poor serve technique in the past so I am a bit weary of injury. Stopped playing for 3 weeks and it healed itself but not really looking to be out for that long again!

Internal and external rotation exercises. Overall shoulder musculature with exercises like shoulder press.

BirdWalkR
01-05-2012, 04:22 PM
2 things at least:

- You'll likely hit your head with the racket. Even Nadal in slow motion clip shows that the racket misses his head by hair strands sometimes. But Nadal is trained and paid millions for those risks.

- You're not strong enough to produce deep shots consistently with that stroke. Basically that stroke is just a lot of vertical effect and very little forward.

I think I'll post a video soon for a direct analysis. But personally I felt like I was hitting a fairly deep shot and than i could roll over the ball and get some angles fairly easily. Although it was a bit more tiresome to hit at that same pace

oh. and i did almost hit my head once haha hopefully with muscle memory it wouldnt happen much though if at all

86golf
01-05-2012, 04:28 PM
Just hitting around and started experimenting with the nadal type forehand. Took about an hour to realize I hit much much much better like this. I rarely mishit, I generate excellent pace, and I get so many angles with so much more control. I know most people seem to advocate against it but whats wrong with it? It felt fine in the hour long rally but is it more injury prone? Only thing I noticed is a did tire a little more than usual. There must be some sort of reason why it isn't widley used. Thanks!

I think it is mostly a method to hit cross court "late" and get on the outside of the ball. Many other pros hit this shot, not just Nadal. Clijsters hits this almost exclusively on her cross court forehands. Probably a good shot to have in the bag but you shouldn't be using this on inside out shots. You want inside out shots to slide away instead of hook in.

SystemicAnomaly
01-05-2012, 08:24 PM
^ I like 86golf's take of the use of the reverse FH. I believe that it is a good variation to include in your arsenal, but I would be wary of using it as your primary FH stroke/finish. People who overuse it often do so because they prepare late or they start their forward swing late. For x-court shots, esp when you've been pulled out wide, it can provide you with some excellent options -- sharper angles, more spin, etc.


You do run a higher risk of injury to the rotator cuff. The shoulder joint has tremendous flexibility, but it is not particularly stable at the extremes and especially not when you're whipping a racquet at high speed, which also happens to be abused as such already on serves. Nadal can do it day in and out because he has a more gifted musculature than average and has additional training from coaches as well as repeated use. There's nothing wrong with it if you take precautionary steps like Nadal to train your shoulder joint.

This is a real possiblity. We don't really know what the long term effects might be of prolific use of the reverse FH. Problems with the shoulder/rotator might not manifest for quite few years. Just because it does not bother you now, doesn't mean it won't eventually result in some significant problems in the future.

Sampras, Davenport, Capriati and other used it quite a bit in the past. However I cannot think of anyone who has used it as prolifically as Nadal. I may be wrong, but I think that even Nadal does not use it quite as much now as he did some years back. Note that Nadal does have pretty beefy arms and shoulders. It could be that his rotator groups may also be more bullet-proof than most players.

Also, the Nadal implementation of the reverse is somewhat different from conventional implementations. Quite often you see Sharapova and many others execute a reverse finish with the racket hand ending up on the same side of the body. Another common implementation is where the racket hand finishes directly over the head. We've seen Sampras and others use this variation when returning balls out wide. For many of Nadal's reverse FHs, we see his racket hand circle around his head (like a lasso) -- sometimes referred to as a helicopter follow-thru. It is possible that this implementation of the reverse might be more stressful to the shoulder/rotator than other variations. The bottom line is that we don't really know what the long term effects of prolific use of the reverse FH might be.

syc23
01-06-2012, 07:58 AM
I started a thread on the Racquet section asking whether playing with light racquet has caused pain in my rotator cuff. The general consensus is that strings and racquet weight may be a factor but this does make me think whether a reverse FH may add to this aswell as I've only recently started using this shot.

I've neglected the gym since last August so will be incorporating strength work back in my routine again aswell as resistance band and medicine ball exercise to strengthen the core and add tennis specific exercises to help with injury prevention, increase explosiveness on the court and add pop to my groundstrokes and serve.

spaceman_spiff
01-06-2012, 08:36 AM
Quite a few juniors around here use the reverse forehand a lot, and I see a lot of issues that they may or may not notice in their games.

First, they get fatigued much more, so they're usually more tired than their opponents at the end of the match. Second, they have a lot more mis-hits, especially when the ball comes in at their feet. Third, even when they don't mis-hit, they hit a lot of short sitters due to timing issues, getting too much spin and not enough pace/depth. Fourth, when they're stretching for a wide, low ball and try to use the reverse FH to pick it up, it almost always spins into the bottom of the net (probably 90% of the time); i.e., they don't have the arm strength to pick up a low ball and get enough height to clear the net using the reverse FH because too much of the energy in the shot goes into spin production.

I've only seen one junior around here who has the foot speed, balance, and fitness to use the reverse FH for a majority of his shots from that side.

I haven't seen any adults (older or younger) who use a reverse FH at a level I would face in league matches. The one I've hit with a few times on social nights was easily over-powered on the FH side because he couldn't set up quickly enough to execute his full swing (same on FH returns).

Other than that, I don't see any problem with it.

In D Zone
01-06-2012, 09:29 AM
Noticed a lot of pro's are applying the RFH specifically on a dead run - cross court passing shot or down the line.

I've used this tactic as well but only on specific situations and it has paid dividends.

Larrysümmers
01-06-2012, 09:52 AM
The follow through isnt the important thing, the important thing is dropping the racket head low and acceleration the racket fast enough to justify using a reverse forehand follow through. if you just a reverse forehand for *****s and gigs you'll evenutally tear your cuff.

i only do it in situations when that extra topspin is needed. and it is great for on the run forehands sampras style

ace_pace
01-08-2012, 02:28 AM
As long as it works, theres nothing wrong with it.

SystemicAnomaly
01-08-2012, 02:48 AM
As long as it works, theres nothing wrong with it.

This is naive thinking. There have been more injuries in pro and amateur tennis, particularly repetitive motion injuries, in the past decade or so than we've ever seen in past decades. The modern game appears to be much harsher on the body than the classical game of previous eras.

ace_pace
01-08-2012, 07:02 PM
This is naive thinking. There have been more injuries in pro and amateur tennis, particularly repetitive motion injuries, in the past decade or so than we've ever seen in past decades. The modern game appears to be much harsher on the body than the classical game of previous eras.

Lol perhaps I should elaborate more, I was assuming you were talking about nadal and his style of play.

Zachol82
01-08-2012, 07:09 PM
Just hitting around and started experimenting with the nadal type forehand. Took about an hour to realize I hit much much much better like this. I rarely mishit, I generate excellent pace, and I get so many angles with so much more control. I know most people seem to advocate against it but whats wrong with it? It felt fine in the hour long rally but is it more injury prone? Only thing I noticed is a did tire a little more than usual. There must be some sort of reason why it isn't widley used. Thanks!

Like others have said, the main drawback is that the reverse forehand lacks forward momentum, in other words, you're not driving through the ball and therefore is not as penetrating.

Also, it is very "wristy" and using that same shot over and over again will just tire that part of your body out faster. It is good to have a variety of shots that focuses on a different part of your body so that your other muscles and/or joints can rest.

hescobal
01-08-2012, 07:44 PM
I have noticed that sometimes I use a reverse fh when pulled out wide on lower balls. However, with better players, my cross court reverse fh gets a good angle like people said, but not enough forward momentum.

This gives my opponent time to go either way(catch it above the net and go down the line, or wrong foot me and go back with a sharper cross court)

So now, I think I have to either swing across my body more if its possible to prevent a sitter cross court, or loop it back down the line so I can get back to a neutral point

5263
01-08-2012, 08:20 PM
There is really nothing special about the rev Fh.

A Fh will go rev at times primarily due to steep low to high swing to contact and certain contact points. For this reason, many times the rev won't really work for the ball you receive for certain targets. Ex. it is pretty rare to see one used for an inside out Fh (which is a quite important shot). Rev Fh also would not be a normal choice to attack a sitter, short ball for a put away.

So while it can be used with great variety, you probably don't want it to be your only Fh stroke due to certain limitations.

Matthew Bance
02-18-2014, 12:53 PM
I use it when it is coming near my body and cant move in time or when on the run and gets a very good sharp angle

GuyClinch
02-19-2014, 12:47 PM
Think of it like a kick serve. If you can get some pace on your kicker and really get it to kick up - its a weapon. But if you just kinda spin it in there and it kicks right up into guys wheelhouses - its a negative.

Its not just a neutral serve to get the point started; its actually easier to smack then a generic 90 mph flat or a 80 slice into the body..

It's the same with this shot. Its only effective if you can execute it very well. No doubt there are some lower level club players that will have trouble with a mediocre reverse forehand. But eventually you will run into players that you think you can beat who will love to feast on your forehand.

SystemicAnomaly
02-19-2014, 05:04 PM
If you've not done so already, check out my caveats in post #13 (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=6211527#post6211527) of this thread. Apparently, Nadal has experienced some shoulder issues in the past few years (but not yet as bad as his knee issues it seems). As a follow-up to my previous post, check out the following links on the possible dangers of an excessive use of the reverse FH:

http://www.kinohi.org/tennis-shoulder-injuries
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=8014278
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2577490/
.

treo
02-19-2014, 07:24 PM
I was watching the AO Nadal/Fed match and Nadal was hitting almost all his FH reversed. It seems to be a strategy against Fed on slower courts.

freelans
02-20-2014, 02:17 AM
One drawback is that the opponent can really tee off on it if he/she's good or you mishit and hit it weakly.

But that's true of all forehands, so it boils down to how it fits into your strategy and skill level.

It's a heavy ball with higher consistency but you really need strength for it to be overpowering like it should be.

winstonlim8
02-20-2014, 02:59 AM
Curiously enough I can only hit that kind of whippy forehand in just one direction - a short, angled crosscourt shot. I've never been able to hit it down the line. It makes for reliable passing shot but I've always wondered why.

syc23
02-20-2014, 04:01 AM
I use it a lot especially on clay - I make sure I add enough pace to it so it doesn't land short for my opponent to attack. Most of my reverse FH land inches from the baseline making it hard for people to attack.

When I get the short ball I often employ a buggy whip FH finish which is effective and gives you more angle to play with.

For an inside out FH, I only hit a conventional FH finish. Inside in, I do vary it.

Not sure why people say it's ineffective, done right it's a great shot to have in your arsenal.