Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sharpy, Jan 3, 2008.
Ok, I'll try these visualizations of racket head coming closer to body.
hopefully this works...
Again to reiterate, to make the racquet head come closer, upper arm starts turning back. You should feel a stretch in right pec.
I see that those two thing are related, racket comes closer to body at the drop, and upper arm pulls further back...
So, right now, why is the arm not pulling further back on its own? Is it because im not having the racket come closer to the body?
To be honest, it's a unusual swing pattern. When you get it down, then you'll know what to look for and it'll come pretty naturally.
Like, if you imagine a whip, your upper arm is the handle of that whip. When the racquet drops, you kinda take the handle back with the rest of the whip trailing it. And then when you initiate the forward swing, you drag the whip by the handle (the upper arm), and then everything catches up and "snaps" forward.
The arm is still not coming back further in. I tried the idea of thinking of racket coming closer to body.
So, the upper arm is not pulling back (i.e. crossing toward your right hip)?
Is the racquet head still in front of your hand?
Are you making sure not to pivot the racquet around the elbow?
Well if you havent already, have a look
http://youtube.com/watch?v=FACN4mmXcmE (theres 1 fh in here)
At 0:03, roughly height of takeback, things looks good. But then you start letting the forearm pivot around the elbow.
That is, as you let the racquet drop and start pronating, your forearm starts to turn around the elbow in a clockwise direction. As if you were waving "hello" to the right.
You don't really want to intentionally wave "hello" to the left or right at all (a little bit happens counterclockwise or toward the left, but as an involuntary means to balance the shoulder turn and pronation) in the racquet drop. One way to help avoid this is to let the shoulder turn further as you drop the racquet. This shoulder turn pulls the upper arm back and enable the wrist to relax as you pronate the forearm.
What do you mean, "let the shoulder turn further as you drop the racket?" isnt all the shoulder turn supposed to be completed once the nondominant hand lets go of the racket?
how can you tell im intentionally waving "hello?"
As the racquet starts to drop, the hand is still moving back quickly, rather than with the rest of the arm as a unit. The hand has move quickly behind the elbow before most of the racquet drop has occurred. This can only be because the forearm is pivoting around the elbow. Again, for this simmplified style, the racquet should stay in front of the hand. That includes avoiding the forearm pivoting around the elbow. This itself is consistent with overall "pull" FH technique, and so you can go practice the plain vannila pull stroke to kinda remember what not pivoting the elbow should feel like.
The active shoulder turn (or shoulder turn initiated by the player) is usually completed at height of takeback. During the racquet drop, usually some shoulder turn still occurs by gravity and natural shoulder rotation. Though it's not initiated by the player. In this stroke, it's part of bringing the pulling the upper arm back, so that the racquet head comes closer to the body.
Now, if you're pivoting around the elbow, then the above doesn't happen. So try working at that elbow issue first, and see where it takes you.
If a picture worths a thousand words, a video would worth ...many many thousands ...
I agree...damn you have a good eye.
Now with the thing about avoiding pivoting around the forearm, that's tough to do. i might try the 1/3/4 finger excersise, i may have gotten into a bad habit from messing around with all different types of strokes..
To me you look like talent in the making.
Keep it up!
It's a really interesting FH during the racquet drop. As the racquet drops, the racquet head and hitting arm go back, as a normal FH would. BUT, the head goes back much, much slower than the hitting arm. As a result, at end of takeback, the racquet head is much more in front of the hand and hitting arm than it was at the beginning of the takeback. When you initiate the forward drag swing, the effect is very, very whippy. This is the opposite of what you're accustomed to, where the racquet head moves back faster than the rest of the arm in the takeback.
In any case, just work on keeping the racquet tip pointing at net, the thumb pointing at net, the racquet (for now) in front of the hand, and the upper arm pulling back (or shoulder turning a little) to bring the racquet head in. All of it ties back to pronating the forearm and preventing the forearm from pivoting as you're doing.
Im still trying to get this to work. this is basically the last issue left (arm not coming back in)
Its interesting that you mention a whip. When you drag your forward swing, do you do this with your hand dragging the racket or would you use your upperarm shoulder to drag the racket forward?
The upperarm shoulder -- but that itself is a sign that the takeback is working. I think in your current situation, you probably do it from the hand, because it would be too awkward to do it any other way.
Just speculation, but you may be self-consciously trying to straighten the arm. That might be throwing you off. If you are, remember that you should never actually try to straighten the arm -- it happens due to the other elements.
yes indeed i do drag it by the hand. how did you know?
i dont really think im trying to purposely straighten the arm. but sometimes i do find some difficulty in that the racket doesnt feel like it wants to drop down by itself
From the last clip, your forearm was pivoting during the takeback. Once your forearm starts pivoting, the inclination is to straighten out the "thumb-wrist" (i.e. ulnar deviation, or roll your hand toward side of pinkie.) If this happens, because it's so late in the takeback, then your hand would lead the forward swing. This would happen whether you were executing a regular forward swing or dragging the swing.
This is just for visual reference, but between the height of takeback and about 75% of the racquet drop, the racquet face stays at roughly similar angle through it. Not only that, but if you drew a line from the height of takeback to that 75% drop point, the racquet head falls almost parallel to that line, not in a circle. That's only possible because the forearm doesn't pivot.
Is your elbow hooking up/counterclockwise (away from the midline of the body) during the racquet drop? If so, that would cause a problem.
Midline in this context means a horizontal plane (i.e. parallel with ground) through your sternum (not waist.)
So.... was the thumb wrist straightening in the last clip as well?
I do find it hard to avoid pivoting around the forearm, at some time or another after the height of takeback, how could you not do a pivot?
do you have any particular visualizations or tricks i can do to avoid pivoting around the forearm?
It started toward the end, because you were also trying to relax the wrist (which itself is correct.) If you pivot around the forearm and preserve that thumb-wrist, your wrist cannot go into a neutral position.
I would try looking at a mirror, and then see if I can drop the racquet while keeping the racquet head falling at, say, a 45 degrees angle through 75% of the drop. Only way this is possible in this stroke is if you remember not to pronate.
When I mean by angle, I mean that the racquet head would drop at a straight angle (and racquet face doesn't change), while you pronate. If you can find side-clips of Federer (there's a good slo-mo one from Wimbledon on Youtube) or Nadal, you'll notice this. It's kinda strange when you first notice it.
so right now, my racket drop angle doesnt maintain the same?
btw, i know exactly what you mean when you talk about the potential whippy spin and power. its absolutely nuts. i get a day like this maybe once every 2 weeks. this may be when i accidently did the stroke right. but i cant consistently call it up.
Not at this time. Basically, watch your racquet head as you let the racquet drop. It's currently traveling in a kind of semi-circle path. See if you can make that path instead a straight line for about 75% of the drop.
I guess another thing you can try is to drag from the height of takeback (using your upper arm to drag), and then drop and pronate a little bit more each time, to see where the forearm starts to pivot. And this might help out with you kinda getting better sense of the upper arm coming in.
Here's the newest fh video.
Still having the issue with the arm not naturally coming back in. Any ideas?
Just to let you know, Gorilla, I agree with you with that retro serve video.
Sharpy needs to split step, gravity step, crossover step, do a fox-trot and finally into the souljaboy sit and lift. I think this is what I learned from the footwork threads.
When you pronate your forearm, are you turning your hand counterclockwise around your wrist (i.e. turning the door knob), or are you rotating your forearm and hand counterclockwise as one unit?
I think i am rotating the wrist only (which naturally leads to the forearm rotating too..,right?). why?
You know, I am just so tempted to correct this problem by purposely dragging the upper arm manually back more, but I know that will mess everything up.
Sharpy needs to pronate his ankle about an eliptical orbit, while at the same time supinating his face, it's a bit like doing an inverted moonwalk while eating a lemon.
that's what I learned from this thread
Thanks, that means a lot to me.
Exactly. The Michael Jackson Albino Forehand is the greatest weapon of all.
Yeaaaahhhhh. . . that's not the right way to rotate the forearm (supinate, pronate, etc.) If you turn the racquet around the wrist (i.e. turning a doorknob), then yeah you'll instintively start pivoting around the elbow.
If you try rotating the forearm around the elbow itself, then the pivoting problem will be easier to fix.
I always did it like turning the "door knob." Didn't know that was incorrect
Yeah, that's not uncommon. Turning the wrist does rotate the forearm, but it screws up the swing pattern itself.
So, instead, i should think of rotating the actual forearm and let that rotate the wrist along? should i rotate all the way or..?
Here's my analysis:
BTW, I say at the end that you need to hit ~100k balls on the ball machine. My buddy said you could misinterpret that as a slight so I wanted to mention it in advance. I was making a more general point that developing correct technique takes hitting tons of balls. It probably took Federer a million+ to get his forehand.
Anyway, hope this helps. Not sure about the format so let me know if something is confusing / doesn't work.
Thanks for the analysis. I agree with the part about being off balance, but somehow the machine was feeding sidespin low balls which was hard to time on the clay.
As for the windshield wiper, i did in fact start out with a classic finish but eventually started learning the wiper.
heres how i look when im hitting my best. unfortunately i can't get this type of hit all the time.
Those forehands do look a lot better. Higher follow through / arm and body seem to be working together more.
The problem with trying to hit a WW, or any shot that requires a lot of racket head speed, is that if your mechanics aren't completely sound you won't be consistent. It's not just a matter of hitting a ton of balls -- you have to do it with the correct technique. Otherwise, you'll be reinforcing bad habits.
Again, I would lock up the "boring, classic forehand" (heh) before focusing on the advanced stuff.
I posted some bh vids/pics up
http://geocities.com/tennisadvantage/h1.jpg (to 10 you know the format)
so close....so close....
heres an additional video, mostly slices but you can critique that too
BH takeback looks okay, but the footwork's off. Often you're not stepping out with foot closest to ball. And when you do, the steps are not moving into the court.
The problem looks like the sequencing between the legs and hips. What you're doing is first setting your back foot and then turning the hips to load your swing. But the actual sequence on the BH wing is the other way around. Hip turn starts first and helps to key off the step-out. You'll find doing this helps you transfer your weight into the shot. And, it should set up a straighter left arm in the POC.
This is pretty easy to fix. Out of the split step, remember to turn your hip and then step out with foot closest to ball. You'll find that if you try a cross over step, your torso will no longer be facing the net.
So.... the order is to step out with foot closest first right? what's all this stuff about turning the hips before you step out your closest foot?
what "steps are not moving into the court?"
Have anything to say about the takeback?
Sometimes you step out with foot closest to ball, but you're not really stepping "out." The foot should stay in front of your body unless you're doing something like a gravity step.
The hip turn and a step out goes together. It helps transfer your weight onto that step and your future steps.
Right now, you think that the feet drives the hips. That is, you step and then unload from the hips. But, the hip should drive the feet. You turn the hip and the feet steps forward into the shot.
You shouldn't tuck in your elbows (or close the armpits) in the BH takeback, which causes you to trace the smile pattern by purely pivoting the forearms (i.e. hands) around the elbows. Conceptually, it looks like you're trying to swing around your body, as if you were swinging a bat.
You want to trace the pattern with the left elbow joint, letting the arm come away from your body, and the armpit to open naturally. Remember that you're not trying to swing around the body. You want the swing to travel in a line toward the ball.
That all said, the footwork bit is the bigger problem. It's just messing with your concept of the BH, because you're totally thinking of it as a rotational (swing around the axis) rather than linear (put weight into ball) movement.
yep yep yep. That's exactly how i think of hitting my bh, like swinging a baseball bat!! I mean this is EXACTLY the visualization I use! How in the world did you know?
So essentially what's the difference? I'm not quite sure what you mean by having the swing travel in a line toward the ball vs. swinging around the body. Im assuming #2 is what im doing now?
Let me have a look at the footwork...So basically what you are saying is that i start out with the feet closest moving first, but somehow not turning the hips along with it?
Yeah, that's not a good thing. If you have played a lot of baseball, this could mess with your muscle memory.
Basically you want to punch or push the racquet into the ball. If you've ever tried out a old-school, closed stance FH, it's kinda the same thing. Or kinda like sucker punching somebody in the breadbasket.
No no no. Hip turn helps the step out.
For example, say you need to step out with the left foot. You start turning your left hip and at the same time, lift your left foot off ground. This will initiate the step out.
You'll notice that your foot speed will pick up and your feet will move much lighter. It's less running and more like "stepping" very quickly. You can try this right now.
I'll try not tucking the elbows. Is both elbows tucked in right now?
How much to turn the hips? Does this apply to the fh side as well?
Seems to be. It's kinda strange, though, because you don't do this with the 1H BH slice. You know to transfer your weight into the shot for the slice, but not your topspin BH.
It's not a lot (no more than 45 degrees); it should feel natural. Also, as you move, you want your torso facing the net, not square to it (which is what you're doing now.) Just let learn to step out using your hips and go from there.
You could, and most of the time you will. You could also do something different if you know you're going to hit a FH on the next sequence. On the FH wing, you can sit back a little. Sit back a little and lift the foot closest to the ball to step out. This sets you up quicker to groove a shot
Note that if the ball is coming from your right and you intend to hit a CC BH shot, you still use your hips and step out with foot closest to ball.
I think its starting to make sense now, only your explanation is alot different than what i heard from quite a few coaches....and probably technically a lot clearer
Ok last questions for tonight, how's the slice bh takeback?
tricky heres more pics. Been playing around with stuff but still struggling with the bent straight config stuff. I don't really think im tucking in the elbows in this one though...
I know the footwork sequence is still off in this one but that should be really easy to fix.
It looks like when you take back the racquet, you lead with either both arms or the right arm. Of course, you want to lead the takeback with the left elbow.
The right arm is completely passive, and often it remains bent at end of takeback.
Usually at end of takeback, the left elbow is "high" (about chest height), and the right elbow is "low" (no higher than sternum height.)
One thing that helps is, at beginning of unit turn, have the left elbow pointed slightly away from the body, and to make sure the elbow is still slightly pointed away as you take the racquet back. This helps create a more natural takeback, and it helps prevent you from swinging around the body.
EDIT: Another thing that helps (i.e. reinforcing left elbow pointing slightly away) is to have the elbow initially dip a little as you begin the takeback. If the elbow is pointing inwards, then your balance will be off. If the elbow is pointing away from the body, then your balance will be correct, and you'll experience a tight U-shaped/pendulum takeback.
Pictures and videos coming up in a bit of serve....
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