Bungalo Bill and Others - Forehand help please.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by cenzo, May 25, 2004.

  1. cenzo

    cenzo New User

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    Feb 21, 2004
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    I have a semi-western grip on the FH, right hander. I'm having trouble with consistency. I have a loop swing. I take the racquest back high with the strings pointed to the back fence. I load the leg and stomach muscles and rotate into the ball (well I least I think I am). I try to let the kinetic chain bring my racquet into ball. I try to keep a fixed wrist, elbow in, but I have a tendency to move my wrist at contact (sort of a slap at the ball). I even feel that sometimes I'm muscling the ball. Most of the time, my ball flys out by 3-4 feet, with very little spin on the ball (especially when I play a match). I like to hit the ball hard but I'm so inconsistent. I've taken some lessons, but the pro hasn't explained the basic technique of hitting the FH and how to keep the wrist fixed and let the kinetic chain do the work. My feeling is that I need to go back to the drawing board and slow everything down. Also, I feel like I'm not getting benefit of spin which is why the semi-western grip is so popular. I also can't seem to implement rotating the forearm at contact. My tendancy is to hit flat, which is not what I want.

    Any drills I can do on my own or with a willing hitting partner that will help me keep my wrist fixed and let the kinectic chain do the work. Thanks.
     
  2. perfmode

    perfmode Hall of Fame

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    Try to bring your racquet down when you are winding and start your swing low. That will take care of the spin.
     
  3. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    You should videotape yourself so you can get a picture of what you are actuallly doing, then make the necessary corrections. Refer to the topic about keeping the wrist fixed, I have posted some good links that should give you a really good picture of what you should shoot for.
     
  4. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    YOU MIGHT WANT TO PRINT THIS.

    OK, we can help you with a couple of things. The above posts are good comments on how to hit spin. The angle of the swing path coming into the ball (low to high) is what imparts spin.

    The ball just isn't on the strings long enough for you to really "flick" it with more topspin. However, if you rotate the racquet up with your forearm, and have a low to high swing, you have a greater chance to apply a faster spin on the ball (more rev's or torque) but there is a tradeoff for us mortals and that tradeoff is consistency. Since you now have two movements going into the ball (the low to high swing and the forearm raising the racquet head for extra topspin), your opportunity to meet the ball cleanly diminishes. This leads to frame balls or shots going where you don't want them to go. Further, if you're like most club players (including myself) you hit a lot of balls off balance (because we are not in excellent shape) which complicates things even further.

    1. I have a loop swing. I take the racquet back high with the strings pointed to the back fence.

    I don't think I would tinker with your backswing. It doesn't sound like that is the problem. If the backswing feels comfortable to you then leave it alone. The only thing I would work on as you get better is shortening the backswing. You will need to learn how to impart spin and apply power with a shorter backswing at higher levels of play. If you play a lot of clay court - well maybe you won't have to change. Having a big backswing, and all of the "kenetic" chain elements you're doing can cause you to over hit since you like to hit with power and think MORE IS BETTER.

    You got to learn what your "control zone" is. This is a term I made up for my students. The "control zone" is the swing speed that allows you to feel relaxed, swing with a full swing, maintain your balance, keep the ball in the court with spin and placement, and has an element of power. It is the 80% I was referring to in past posts. What is your control zone?

    The control zone is what you need to train your nervous system and muscles to perform under stress. Do not train at full speed meaning more is better, train by hitting balls with different speeds and spins and with power. Move your ball to the spot you want to hit it to from all kinds of different balls. Learning your control zone will force you to slow it down and find that balance of control and power. What is your control zone? Gonzales control zone is much much much higher then mine and a lot of pros on tour. But there are certain balls where I will hit out because the margin is there and it allows me to raise the level of my control zone.

    2. I try to keep a fixed wrist, elbow in, but I have a tendency to move my wrist at contact (sort of a slap at the ball).

    If the wrist is fixed it shouldn't move. UNLESS! You are not getting to the ball in time and are off balance when you hit. Then since the brain is always calculating the position of your racquet face it will move the wrist thinking the body is off balance and try to tinker with the racquet at the last moment. Remember Agassi's comment on why being in shape is a good thing? He said, "it gives him more options. What does he mean by that? Well, for one thing if he arrives to the ball in time to set up, survey the court, get a little quicker to the ball then his opponent has a chance to recover, he will have more options to setup his next ball until his opponent finally cant get to the ball in time to do anything with it. Does Agassi hit with power? You bet. But he is well within his control zone and moves that ball all over the place.

    I use a semi-western grip as well. It is known as a power grip. Not as much topspin as the western but plenty nonetheless. I lock my wrist down. It is laid back and the pinky side is turned down as well where it cant bend down anymore. I keep it pretty much locked through the forward part of my swing and just as I make contact it relaxes which provides a spring or shock absorbtion. The key for power is timing and fluidness. Not a bigger swing or harder swing.

    Remember I am always trying to stay in my control zone. Granted on some days, my timing is better then other days and on those days my control zone increases because I can handle the improvement in timing. But if I can't move the ball around, I will drop down a level to find that balance. The control zone also has to do with net clearance. If my balls start getting lower and lower over the net, I will slow down the swing speed and loop more.

    Again, I am trying to find that balance to hit a billion balls with good power and control to all parts of the court. If I am hitting hard but only seem to be able to hit hard to the center of the court, I will slow it down and move the ball and gradually increase the control zone. Lendl used to be famous for this kind of play. In the first set, Lendl would hit with 70-80% power. He moved the ball around and got comfortable. As his timing got better, he increased the swing speed but gradually. When the 3rd set came around he was crushing the ball but it looked so effortless.

    3. I even feel that sometimes I'm muscling the ball. Most of the time, my ball flys out by 3-4 feet, with very little spin on the ball (especially when I play a match). I like to hit the ball hard but I'm so inconsistent.

    I answered this in the above two questions. What is your control zone? Do you practice it? Do you live for it?

    4. I've taken some lessons, but the pro hasn't explained the basic technique of hitting the FH and how to keep the wrist fixed and let the kinetic chain do the work.

    It could be he doesn't know. Lock the wrist down as described above and that is that. The rest is your rotation and swing. The elbow separation in your swing is key to professional level power and control. If the elbow leads the swing and initiates the upper body rotation, you can almost guarantee you won't over rotate. Your shoulders will rotate to the exact position they need to be in (45 degree angle) when you contact the ball and then through.

    5. My feeling is that I need to go back to the drawing board and slow everything down. Also, I feel like I'm not getting benefit of spin which is why the semi-western grip is so popular.

    Well yes and no. You already know how to swing the racquet. Now it is time to learn how to play tennis. You need to now play control tennis. Be aggressive but always play in your control zone. Control zone does not mean timid or passive swings. It means you apply the right amount of swing speed that will allow you to move the ball to different spots with different spins at anytime and with almost any ball. It means that you will take a full cut at times when the control zone increases like on a short ball or if you want to apply heavy spin.

    6. I also can't seem to implement rotating the forearm at contact. My tendency is to hit flat, which is not what I want.

    Don't rotate the forearm ON contact. You're asking for trouble. The forearm will naturally go to its final destination when you hit the ball and relax for the followthrough. Don't concentrate on the forearm rotating so much but concentrate on keeping the racquet going in a straight line about 4-6 inches from the ball (you cant see this, it is a feeling) then go right through the ball for another 4-6 inches and followthrough - let the followthrough happen and don't worry if it finished over here or over there. If you want more topspin, go down lower and swing steeper but when the racquet gets close don't change or alter the racquet face or angle of the swing path.
     
  5. cenzo

    cenzo New User

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    Great posts guys. Thanks a million. This really helps alot. Bungalo Bill: You explained all my questions very clearly. Thanks so much. I can't wait to start practicing this tomorrow. I have hope now. I'll give you an update soon.

    Thanks again guys.

    Cenzo
     

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