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View Full Version : Is it worth revising my forehand?


jaybear1909
02-08-2012, 07:06 AM
I was practicing with some friends recently, and I told them I felt very clunky on the forehand side; almost like I was doing something extra. I told them to watch me hit one and tell me what they thought. They said I wasn't taking the forehand back enough. I learned that you should lead with the butt of the racquet and point at the fence behind you before you hit. However, this feels very awkward on my wrist and I became accustomed to "Shot-arming" the forehand.

I started taking a double-bend approach, and turning my shoulders more so that my racquet would point at the fence. It feels a little more natural now that I've practiced a little bit, but I've started to scoop at the ball more and my timing is off. Is this something that will improve with time?

Are there any more tips on improving this aspect of my game? :oops:

Limpinhitter
02-08-2012, 08:00 AM
I don't agree with any of that. YMMV!

IMO, a groundstroke should consist mostly of upper body rotation (initiated by leg and hip rotation), and wrist suppination and then pronation through contact, on both forehands and two handed backhands. There is very little arm involvement before contact. I'm assuming you are using a semi-western grip.

For a righty, your first move is to turn toward the right fence. The stance should be wide, low, and parallel to the baseline with the toes, chest and racquet face facing the right side fence with the racquet pointing straight up and your left hand still on the throat of the racquet. Your left heel should be off the ground. This is your backswing. All you have done is turn your body. The arm has done almost nothing. This is where you make any necessary adjustment steps.

From there, start by rotating your legs and hips toward the target. This will drag your upper body and arm along with it. Your arm, wrist and hand should be so relaxed that the racquet head automatically falls back below the level of the hand and the ball - that's suppination of the forearm.

From there, continue to turn and make contact out in front and swing your arm upward to, and beyond, contact. As your body continues to rotate, your forearm will pronate (rotate counter clockwise) from before contact through the end of your follow through and the racquet face should face the target throughout until you turn past the direction of the target. Also, as you continue to turn, your stance will reverse so that your toes and chest are facing the left side fence and your right heel is off of the ground. At that point, the racquet path has traveled in a large semi-circle from contact toward the top of the back fence and then back down to your left hip with your elbow pointing to the target.

Here is an excellent video demonstration from the ever popular "Lock & Roll guy" that will give you a good visual. I think his technique is excellent. The biggest difference is that his stance isn't quite as parallel to the baseline or as low as I suggest:
http://www.youtube.com/user/lockandrolltennis#p/u/0/EMNtq393tvo

Hope this helps.

rkelley
02-08-2012, 08:41 AM
Seriously, do that Lock and Roll forehand. Practice in a mirror. Practice with those large, yellow, foamy practice balls. Practice against the wall. If you get the motion grooved in your forehand will not suck.

Cheetah
02-08-2012, 02:12 PM
I was practicing with some friends recently, and I told them I felt very clunky on the forehand side; almost like I was doing something extra. I told them to watch me hit one and tell me what they thought. They said I wasn't taking the forehand back enough. I learned that you should lead with the butt of the racquet and point at the fence behind you before you hit. However, this feels very awkward on my wrist and I became accustomed to "Shot-arming" the forehand.

I started taking a double-bend approach, and turning my shoulders more so that my racquet would point at the fence. It feels a little more natural now that I've practiced a little bit, but I've started to scoop at the ball more and my timing is off. Is this something that will improve with time?

Are there any more tips on improving this aspect of my game? :oops:

Try this:
1) watch the vids at lockandroll
then...
2) take your racquet and do a shadow swing and freeze it right at the moment you are imagining the point of contact. hold that position. now, assuming have a good contact point and arms and body properly positioned, keep your arm and racquet in that position and rotate your torso back (without readjusting your arm and wrist) until the racquet is pointing to the back fence. it should now be in the 'pat the dog' position or somewhere pretty close to that. remember this position. now when you practice your shadow swings do your take back and modify it so that when you do the take back your racquet ends up in this position. figure out how to do that in a loose comfortably feeling motion. then from this position you just rotate your torso and the racquet will automatically flow into the correct hitting zone. So you want to take back, get in pat the dog position and rotate torso. work on that so that all the movement is comfortable and LOOSE. This will give you a nice smooth correct swing custom made for and by you. hope that made sense.

86golf
02-08-2012, 03:35 PM
I was practicing with some friends recently, and I told them I felt very clunky on the forehand side; almost like I was doing something extra. I told them to watch me hit one and tell me what they thought. They said I wasn't taking the forehand back enough. I learned that you should lead with the butt of the racquet and point at the fence behind you before you hit. However, this feels very awkward on my wrist and I became accustomed to "Shot-arming" the forehand.

I started taking a double-bend approach, and turning my shoulders more so that my racquet would point at the fence. It feels a little more natural now that I've practiced a little bit, but I've started to scoop at the ball more and my timing is off. Is this something that will improve with time?

Are there any more tips on improving this aspect of my game? :oops:

First off, technique is over-rated. What makes a good forehand is the ability to hit consistent shots to the 4 corners of the court on demand and absorb pace or add pace as necessary. This can be done with conti grip, eastern, SW or western and all sorts of stances etc. I've seen enough line one 4.5's that get by with technique or lack-there-of, nothing like any of the top pros, the lock-n-roll guy etc. Sure, there is some basic technique required to create a repeatable and consistent swing but you haven't told us enough to make a proper suggestion imo. Where is your contact point? are you missing long or in the net? Is your racquet face square at impact and what is your swing path? Post a match play video and I'm sure the experts here can fix you right up.

rkelley
02-08-2012, 04:26 PM
IMO if you're going to spend the time to learn something then you might as well give yourself the best advantage and learn it right. Develop solid technique and it will be a gift that will last your tennis life time.

user92626
02-08-2012, 04:32 PM
Lately I have come to another realization that good technique is quite hard to maintain. It's probably like keeping in shape.

If you don't keep a lengthy checklist and drill everything on a regular basis, you'll miss a few points and completely unaware of it and your tennis will go to hell. (People usually cite that as a bad day.)

LeeD
02-08-2012, 04:43 PM
Maintainance is super important. And good maintainance even more so.
But don't try to maintain bad form.

Nellie
02-09-2012, 06:51 AM
Try hitting a few balls with a two handed forehand. If you take back the racquet with two hand, you almost have to do a good shoulder/torso rotation

USS Tang
02-09-2012, 07:08 AM
Have you considered using a two-hand forehand? I switched from a one-hand and I am amazed at the difference. More depth, more power. Only disadvantage is that my footwork has to be near-perfect. There is a completely different thread here on the subject. Check it out.

doctor dennis
02-09-2012, 07:12 AM
Lately I have come to another realization that good technique is quite hard to maintain. It's probably like keeping in shape.

If you don't keep a lengthy checklist and drill everything on a regular basis, you'll miss a few points and completely unaware of it and your tennis will go to hell. (People usually cite that as a bad day.)

I like to call this "tennis amnesia"

Ive recently been through this and have had to rebuild my groundstrokes, almost from scratch.

The key thing, even when just hitting with mates is to keep focusing on the fundementals to keep them grooved as others have already mentioned.

Regards

athiker
02-09-2012, 08:28 AM
I don't know what level you are starting with but for me it was definitely worth it. More power, spin and consistency from a few years ago. Your timing will likely be off for a while b/c its a likely a longer stroke overall from what you had been doing so getting prepped early is key, otherwise you may be a bit late and not hit out in front as much as you should.

I would key on getting turned quickly as soon as you recongize fh or bh, take the racquet back with 2 hands quite a ways and really get that left hand/arm pointing to the sidelines like the pros (this ensures your shoulders are well turned). Its okay if you get turned a touch early and have to pause with racquet pointing up just before the drop and "C". The timing will get smoother over time.

As mentioned above try to drag the racquet through by starting with uncoiling hips and shoulders first with wrist laid back. By the time the racquet head gets to the to the ball, out in front, contact will be from a strong position.

http://www.insidetennis.com/blog/insiderblog/uploaded_images/gonzalez-782257.jpg

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slideshows/739/slideshow_73995/display_image.jpg?x=422109

http://images.cdn.fotopedia.com/flickr-1241370061-image.jpg

Limpinhitter
02-09-2012, 08:33 AM
As great as FG's forehand was, I wouldn't recommend trying to emulate his windup. IMO, it's WAY to big and complicted for most players, even pros, to execute consistently. It makes the timing too hard. IMO, Nadal and Djokovic's forehands are much simpler and easier to emulate and execute. The second and third pics show excellent postions, but, he doesn't have to wind up like that to acheive those positions.

athiker
02-09-2012, 08:34 AM
Oh, and one thing I catch myself doing when focusing so much on rotation is I rotate my head forward along with my shoulders...no! I have to remind myself to keep my head still and rotate under it!

athiker
02-09-2012, 08:49 AM
As great as FG's forehand was, I wouldn't recommend trying to emulate his windup. IMO, it's WAY to big and complicted for most players, even pros, to execute consistently. It makes the timing too hard. IMO, Nadal and Djokovic's forehands are much simpler and easier to emulate and execute. The second and third pics show excellent postions, but, he doesn't have to wind up like that to acheive those positions.

I can't disagree with that. I know my stroke gets too long on return of serve sometimes and I need to remind myself just to turn and get the racquet straight back.

I picked him b/c he just announced his retirement and everyone seems to post other players all the time. I also kind of think for many mortal players, if they try to emulate his stroke they will probably in practice only end up part way there and it won't be as big and as long as his actual stroke. :)

user92626
02-09-2012, 09:44 AM
I like to call this "tennis amnesia"

Ive recently been through this and have had to rebuild my groundstrokes, almost from scratch.

The key thing, even when just hitting with mates is to keep focusing on the fundementals to keep them grooved as others have already mentioned.

Regards


Yeah, it's kinda like that. Hence, even pros still have to practice "ordinary" rally and serve on regular basis.

But for me it's not a total amnesia. It just takes a couple crucial aspects off and my techniques are toasted. Doesn't help when I'm little of a perfectionist. I only need to know and get those aspects back and I'm good to go.

athiker
02-09-2012, 11:42 AM
Ok, so here are Fed and Agassi. I don't think most rec players really put their left arm out there as forcefully as these guys do. In the Fed pic that seems to be the spot, if any, that players pause if they need to b/c they have prepped early.

http://www.optimumtennis.net/images/fundamentals-of-tennis-forehand.jpg

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRd8QGIey6k7hOj1mA2pGiMETz8htEUB vqDlbXklOBPJqeVjHG4XIcpfMjmsg

http://www.optimumtennis.net/images/tennis-forehand-agassi.gif

Limpinhitter
02-09-2012, 03:50 PM
Nothing wrong with early prep. I strongly advocate letting the hand come "straight back" with the body turn. I also like to hold the throat of the racquet until I'm ready to start my forward rotation.

rkelley
02-09-2012, 10:16 PM
Nothing wrong with early prep. I strongly advocate letting the hand come "straight back" with the body turn. I also like to hold the throat of the racquet until I'm ready to start my forward rotation.

I don't see how you could get the racquet back far enough if you hold the throat until you start the forward rotation. I seems like you would be abbreviating the stroke and throwing away power. After the unit turn I think it's important to separate the hands and take the racquet back more while stretching the non-racquet hand across the body to complete the shoulder turn.

jaybear1909
02-10-2012, 11:01 AM
I'm going to start taking my left hand back with the racquet just to make sure I get a good shoulder turn. My problem before was just that I was in the 'set-up position', but couldn't rotate and get a good take-back. I'd just drop the racquet from where it was at my shoulder and arm at the ball. It's feeling more and more natural the more I practice.

rkelley
02-10-2012, 11:25 AM
I'm going to start taking my left hand back with the racquet just to make sure I get a good shoulder turn. My problem before was just that I was in the 'set-up position', but couldn't rotate and get a good take-back. I'd just drop the racquet from where it was at my shoulder and arm at the ball. It's feeling more and more natural the more I practice.

The key at this phase is the "unit turm." It's just like Limp and other have said. From the ready position with the racquet out front and both hands on the racquet, you start your racquet take back by just turning your shoulders. The racquet will rotate back with the shoulders. You don't need to move your arms at this point.

The second phase of the take back, which does involve moving your arms, is when you let go with your non-racquet hand, stretch your non-racquet arm across your body, parallel to the baseline, and simultaneously take back the racquet. When your done with this phase your shoulders are turned and are around 90 to the baseline, your non-racquet arm is stretched across your body parallel to the baseline, your racquet arm is back basically in line with your turned body (so your arm is just about pointing towards the back fence maybe a bit less), and the racquet is up.

Just look at the Lock and Roll video or any pro video on you tube. Fed has especially nice form. Janko Tipsarivic (sp?) has a great forehand to copy too.