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View Full Version : Forehand sometimes breaks down and shots go long.


Raul_SJ
12-17-2012, 03:22 AM
Sometimes my forehand breaks down and sails several feet long (am using an Eastern FH grip with relatively flat strokes).

I suspect two likely possibilities:

1. Racquet face is too open at contact causing the ball to go long.

2. Racquet face is in correct position at contact, but swing path is too linear -- need more of a low to high swing path.

But I am not able to easily figure out during a match which is the problem..

Forehand usually come back after I miss a few, but I want to be able to recognize the root cause immediately during a match.

Hi I'm Ray
12-17-2012, 04:11 AM
Sometimes my forehand breaks down and sails several feet long (am using an Eastern FH grip with relatively flat strokes).

I suspect two likely possibilities:
1. Racquet face is too open at contact causing the ball to go long.

2. Racquet face is in correct position at contact, but swing path is too linear -- need more of a low to high swing path.
But I am not able to easily figure out during a match which is the problem..

Forehand usually come back after I miss a few, but I want to be able to recognize the root cause immediately during a match.

If you know your shot and have practiced it, I don't think 1 & 2 should really be a concern, those sound more like things someone would think about when developing their strokes. If you normally have consistent strokes but you miss a few and don't really know why, it sounds like you either: lost concentration and weren't watching the ball closely, or aimed too deep and close to the baseline.
Last week I had one of those days where I was just not able to hit the ball the way I normally do and I wasn't sure why. Towards the end of the day I finally realized that I wasn't concentrating and staring down the ball all the way to the contact zone like I normally (try to) do. After fixing that things were back to normal.
If you aim too close to the baseline, aim shallower especially when hitting harder + hit the ball hard (within your control) but also put as much spin on it as you can (that can be any trajectory, high or low).
If you do those things, you shouldn't be hitting your FH long too often.

sundaypunch
12-17-2012, 04:30 AM
This is the product of low margin, flat strokes. Add some topspin and give yourself more net clearance. Many flat hitters do fine until they are really pushed. Then you see the long balls start multiplying.

It's possible to play this way but takes much, much longer to groove your stroke and become consistent.

Greg G
12-17-2012, 04:38 AM
I would suggest taking video. I've discovered a lot of things in post match analysis. For example, I was wondering why I had a streak of missed forehands during a match- video showed I had reverted back to my older forehand take back under pressure which in turn caused me to open my racquet face more.

At the time, I thought it was just a concentration issue. Video tells it like it is...brutally, at times ;)

anubis
12-17-2012, 06:09 AM
I too hit with an eastern grip and have experienced the same issues that you currently are.

For generic advice, try to hit the ball on the rise and in front of you. contact point should be around 1:30 - 2:00. If you're waiting until the ball gets right next to you, such as 3:00 to 3:30, then you'll be hitting the ball too early in your swing path, which may send the ball at a higher trajectory. Hitting the ball in front of you ensures a lower trajectory.

Secondly, what about your equipment? Because of the way that I play, I have to use the lowest powered racquet and lowest powered strings just so that I can take a fast cut at the ball and keep it in. If I play with any other racquet, 90% of my shots go long. But with my low powered setup, most of my shots stay in.

Nellie
12-17-2012, 10:57 AM
Suspect three - you are hitting the ball late (off your back foot)

boramiNYC
12-17-2012, 11:26 AM
the most important thing for this problem is that your weight should be solidly on the left foot (for righty) during contact. and the stance needs to be close to semi open not closed. when the weight remains on the right foot the racquet face opens up.

And stay behind the incoming ball not below the ball.

3fees
12-18-2012, 10:36 AM
Try hitting with extreme eastern FH Grip, vee is on the bevel edge going towards semi-western grip, racquet is more closed on swing, the ball will have more spin and dive in not going long, if your trying to stay with a flat swing, then simply roll your wrist in the follow thru to keep the ball from going long..Hitting a flat shot without wrist roll is like bacon without eggs, steak without potatoes, tennis shoe without laces, not enough. +1

luvforty
12-18-2012, 12:21 PM
ball flying several yards long is tell-tale sign of flipping

5263
12-18-2012, 02:06 PM
Sometimes my forehand breaks down and sails several feet long (am using an Eastern FH grip with relatively flat strokes).

I suspect two likely possibilities:

1. Racquet face is too open at contact causing the ball to go long.

2. Racquet face is in correct position at contact, but swing path is too linear -- need more of a low to high swing path.

I'm guessing #2 is the closest answer with your swing being too linear, but
not needing more low to high, instead increasing the arc of the swing to a
tighter arc as you contact the ball. Likely you are pushing out down the
target line past contact too aggressively to be able to use your power
effectively.

NLBwell
12-18-2012, 07:16 PM
Video would be good.
I'll suggest a more generic version of Nellie's advice - contact point is wrong. Most likely late as Nellie said, but not necessarily.

For your swing, obviously the racket is too open at impact. Most likely due to late contact point.

The solution may (or may not) be to re-work your swing to be more low-to-high with a more closed racket face.
A problem and a solution are not really the same thing - you could have a perfectly linear swing and hit the ball in the court.

TheCheese
12-18-2012, 07:40 PM
Both of those problems can be fixed by adding topspin. It's likely you're hitting too flat and giving yourself a really small margin for error.

5263
12-18-2012, 07:59 PM
Video would be good.
I'll suggest a more generic version of Nellie's advice - contact point is wrong. Most likely late as Nellie said, but not necessarily.

For your swing, obviously the racket is too open at impact. Most likely due to late contact point.

The solution may (or may not) be to re-work your swing to be more low-to-high with a more closed racket face.
A problem and a solution are not really the same thing - you could have a perfectly linear swing and hit the ball in the court.
I think this is very plausible and can go hand in hand with what I said
previously about #2 in the OP.

If your contact point is too late or deep into the hitting zone, then it would
be in the area where the arc is more linear or straighter. Contact during this
section of the swing arc would tend to push out more down the target line
from contact and tend to push shots long imo.

frenzy
12-19-2012, 04:51 AM
I think this is very plausible and can go hand in hand with what I said
previously about #2 in the OP.

If your contact point is too late or deep into the hitting zone, then it would
be in the area where the arc is more linear or straighter. Contact during this
section of the swing arc would tend to push out more down the target line
from contact and tend to push shots long imo.

Well, I sometimes have the same problem as the topic starter. Usually when playing hardhitters, I tend to flatten my swing path to put more power into the ball. This creates two issues: balls going long or balls ending up in the net due to too less net clearance.

What I do to solve this, is paying more attention on my preparation: make sure the rackethead is pointing up, so that it drops (making the C) before hitting and make sure my racket head ends above my shoulder.

This gives me more net clearance and top spin preventing the ball for going long. On the other side, it does reduce the speed of the ball.

What also could help, is using your legs more (sit low and push off during stroke). This also creates a less linear trajectory, and adds power to your stroke. It does need a lot of practice since the timing of the push off is quite difficult in the beginning.

luvforty
12-19-2012, 05:49 AM
we are all giving subscription without seeing the patient.

if anything, a late contact should cause the ball to duck into the net if the racket has not open up enough from the dog-padding position.

in any case, 'lack of spin' would cause the ball to go a foot long, 2 tops.

now, if a player flips from open to close, and he is late, then he produces home runs.

anubis
12-19-2012, 06:16 AM
Both of those problems can be fixed by adding topspin. It's likely you're hitting too flat and giving yourself a really small margin for error.

More top spin doesn't always fix the problem. I hit with a lot of topspin, so much so that many of my female 4.5 hitting partners can't deal with it. I use the lowest powered racquet you can practically buy, and low powered poly, and I still hit the ball long. In my case, it's technique, which I'm sure that is the case as well for the OP.

Frank Silbermann
12-19-2012, 07:45 AM
I read an article about that in "Atheletic Journal" (I think that was its name) by Princeton tennis coach Mercer Beasley. It was about a pupil whose game disintegrated when he lost the touch on his flat forehand. Paraphrasing from memory, he wrote:

"Ask the average junior how he wants to play and he will say, `I want to hit flat'. That's the optimism of youth -- nothing but the best. I suggested he learn a slice forehand. `But the forehand is my big shot' the boy protested. I reassured him that I was not advocating a permanent change, but rather I convinced him that having a steady slice as back-up could keep him in the game until his touch returned."

http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2007/02/22/17422/

http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Mercer_Beasley

Relinquis
12-19-2012, 07:46 AM
is the ball high when it passes the net as well as being long, or is it low (whether you hit the net or not)?

5263
12-19-2012, 08:55 AM
we are all giving subscription without seeing the patient.

if anything, a late contact should cause the ball to duck into the net if the racket has not open up enough from the dog-padding position.

in any case, 'lack of spin' would cause the ball to go a foot long, 2 tops.

now, if a player flips from open to close, and he is late, then he produces home runs.

That why we lead with guessing or we think....
since there is no vid available.

But on the other hand, after teaching for years, you do recognize the common
fixes for common problems.

5263
12-19-2012, 09:02 AM
Well, I sometimes have the same problem as the topic starter. Usually when playing hardhitters, I tend to flatten my swing path to put more power into the ball. This creates two issues: balls going long or balls ending up in the net due to too less net clearance.

What I do to solve this, is paying more attention on my preparation: make sure the rackethead is pointing up, so that it drops (making the C) before hitting and make sure my racket head ends above my shoulder.

This gives me more net clearance and top spin preventing the ball for going long. On the other side, it does reduce the speed of the ball.

What also could help, is using your legs more (sit low and push off during stroke). This also creates a less linear trajectory, and adds power to your stroke. It does need a lot of practice since the timing of the push off is quite difficult in the beginning.

Use the legs, but to push up and get that spin...not out to be more linear.
Why try to hit harder when they do...they are providing you with power to
redirect... so I think the 1st mistake is changing your stroke to try to match what
the other player is doing. Maybe consider staying more with your established
stroke, looking for better timing and cleaner contact to use his power.
I also find that the across aspect of a good modern stroke, adds greatly to
net clearance control and spin. Used in a balance fashion, it should help you
clear the net at just the right spot for the specific shot.