Calling Tricky, Bungalo Bill and others....

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Osiris_4, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. Osiris_4

    Osiris_4 New User

    Feb 23, 2009
    I've been reading through some posts on the tenniswarehouse forum. Especially I have been reading the following thread:

    I have been going through the instruction on the FH, but my biggest issue lies in the initiation of the stroke after lowering the racket into the "pat the dog" position. My racket is at that moment parallel to the ground and the buttcap is facing the net.

    My question is: should I consciously pull the racket with my hand upward or is it solely the shoulder rotation what initiates and drives the forward motion? Or is it a combination of these two? This stuff is really confusing me on the court, and the effect is that my forehand isn't consistent enough.

    Is there any way anybody can clarify this for me?

    Thanks a lot for your responses!

  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    A tennis shot us hit using your whole body kinetic chain, from your ankles on up thru your shoulder.
    Now exactly WHICH to initiate with depends on your makeup, as everyone is a little different.
    But sure enough, when the swing just gets started, EVERY part must be in motion and working together.
    Hit a tennis ball, see what works for you by the results.
  3. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

    Oct 19, 2005

    What should be driving your forehand is a combination of your total upper body strength, meaning your shoulder, forearm, chest, hand, etc.

    Here's a video that might clear things up (ignore the music)

    Watch what happens after Federer lowers the racquet. The arm barely moves at all. Federer first opens up his shoulders and fires from the hips. This starts the kinetic chain and brings the racquet forward.
  4. Sublime

    Sublime Semi-Pro

    Jun 25, 2008
    I agree with this 100%

    People talk about the kinetic chain like its sequential, but its not. All the pieces fire independently with the goal of maximizing racket head speed at or just before contact.

    Even if you diagnosed Federer's forehand to the millionth of a microsecond, you will be no closer to reproducing it, because its an unconscious effort.

    Plus even if you did reproduce it, without his wrist flexibility, grip, posture, contact zone, it wouldn't be an optimal match for you. Federer's contact point, flexibility, posture is different than Nadal's, which is different than Roddick's, which is different than your's.

    There are some general good guidelines like: Take the racket back to a closed face (pat the dog). While in the motion of doing that, and keeping your forearm and wrist loose, use the kinetic chain to achieve maximum racket head speed at your contact point.

    How to fire the kinetic chain, what order, what to keep loose and when to tighten it is only going to come to you through hitting some balls.
  5. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

    May 12, 2006

    try this

    its like throwing a ball side arm

    photo 8c and 8d

    u swing the elbow down and into the slot

    let me know how this feels to you
  6. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

    Oct 19, 2005

    This is an untrue statement. Many players have flaws in their forehands because of a lack of a proper kinetic chain. This can be fixed with a watchful eye and some proper coaching.
  7. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

    Aug 23, 2006
    agree with NamRanger here. i'm guilty of this since i bully the ball at times when getting lazy.
  8. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Jan 27, 2008
    IMO, you're seriously overthinking and overcomplicating it.

    As soon as you turn your body plane to face the side fence and you start whipping the racket at the ball, several CORRECT things will automatically take place: the buttcap has no choice but to lead first a bit (that's from whipping); the bodyplane/shoulder has no choice but to reset to face the net, otherwise your bicep will jam the chest muscle. How can anyone whip the racket fast & forward while keeping the bodyplane facing the side fence? It's impossible.
  9. mordecai

    mordecai Rookie

    Feb 21, 2008
    The best shots come when you try to grip the racquet as lightly as possibly and use your dominant arm's muscles as late as you can.
  10. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    For just the place you isolated (shoulder rotation and pull of the hand) it is a combination of both. However, clarification is in order.

    The "pull" of the hand is more concept than reality. The hand should lead for one main reason, to help the elbow move in front of your body plane at contact.

    The dominant force in doing this should be your shoulder rotation. The "pull" on the handle happens very very slightly and is IMO largely more concept than and actuall pull on the handle.

    In other words, the pull shouldn't be an obvious pull and then you rotate around with it. It is fluid and is barely felt and barely visible because it should blend with everything else.

    In fact, you really shouldnt be thinking about it because chances are if you are doing all your prep work right it will largely just happen.

    The legs recieve source energy from the ground through pressing. You allow the energy to flow through kinetically because your muscles are accelerating and braking all the way up the kinetic chain.

    If you stay relaxed and allow your angular momentum to be the dominate force, chances are that "pull" is happening.

    So, you shouldn't really feel a physical tug or pull and it is something you dont want to try to maintain either because that will mess your timing up and your stroke will look weird.

    Stick to the concept of pulling or tugging and let it rip. And also, for this kind of talk, Federer is not exactly my favorite model to illustrate this area and get clarification.

    Here is a video for you. I put this up because Pat Doughety is largely behind the discovery of the "tug" or "pull" on the handle in the forehand to bring the racquet forward.

    If you watch real real real carefully you can see as the racquet drops the hand will slightly accelerate and lead the shoulder rotation for this persons forehand. He drops and drops and then the hand area begins to accelerate and bring the racquet forward. However, just as he is doing that within a fraction of a second shoulder rotation follows and eventually leads as the elbow and hand decellerate as they are moving forward as a unit into the ball.

    This is the acceleration and braking that I am talking about that takes place throughout the forehand, serve, etc...and is necessary to help accelerate the next part of the body until you hit the ball and relaxation takes over.

    Ask questons and I can explain further.
  11. Osiris_4

    Osiris_4 New User

    Feb 23, 2009
    Hi Bungalo Bill,

    First of all thanks for the quick and elaborate response!

    I still find it very difficult to visualize this when on court, and sometimes I really have the feeling that I am overthinking the whole thing.

    Yesterday I went out on the court and tried to keep a "loose" grip to ensure fluidness in the complete stroke. The thing is that I keep changing small elements of the stroke (a more western grip, keeping the non-dominant hand on the racket longer during the takeback) which eventually leads to an inconsistent execution.

    After watching the video you have provided over and over again I can see that the player first moves his hand and this the shoulder rotation takes over. About the "patting the dog"-position in this video: does the player initiate the forward stroke from the patting the dog-position or does he initiated when still lowering the racket? It's a strange question when reading again, but I mean is there a kind of a pause where the racket is exactly in this "pat the dog"-position although being it miliseconds, before initiating or does it go fluently when lowering the racket?

    When my forehand is complete off, I try to visualize the 4 positions which you mention in this thread ( I have days that I am ripping the FH like the pro's (in my mind then ;) ), but there are also days that my FH is completely off and it's like I'm searching water in a desert.

    It's looks like that I am looking for the holy grail of the FH, but I have a strong will to try and to overcome this hurdle and get more consistency in my forehand!

    Do you have any tips, except the above given in your great thread, how to get more consistency in my stroke?

    Thanks for your help and comments!
  12. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    Yes, you are overthinking. Big problem right away! Overthinking also has a connection with an inconsistent stroke. For my forehand, I don't always execute the stroke exactly like the previous one. That depends on the ball I am receving, my positioning, where I am on the court, how focused I am, etc...

    Changing the grip is a problem. You should stick with one and master it. Then if you want to add another, you can do so then. Just change your positioning on different balls for the grip you choose. I am also not a big fan of the Western grip but that is another subject.

    Your main issue is lack of concentration because you have too much noise in your head. You are sending negative signals, feelings, and insecurities through your entire body by worrying about something that you shouldn't.

    Focus! Hit the ball like you know how. Main thing to focus is on is your timing and hitting cleanly. Forget the other crap. You already know how to shape your arm in the stroke, now do it!

    Hahaha, man, you should be in my field (auditing), you would make a good one. Forward stroke begins at the racquet drop. However, your hand may be accelerating beforehand to sned it forward when it gets there. Let your arm drop naturally and what feels good to you. Then bring the racquet forward naturally and what feels good to you. You already know the checkpoints and as long as your racquet is going through the checkpoints, let yourself fill in the blanks.

    Don't worry about what happens first or second. It will happen and it will be your stroke.

    Is there a pause in Blakes forehand?


    I think every tennis player has gone through what you are going through. You are learning a new concept so give yourself a break. Let your nervous system, muscles, brain, etc...wrestle with it.

    However, don't over think and disect this to very small lower priority points. Motion is what you want, fluid motion. Your two most important things are:

    1. Making clean contact with the ball.

    2. Timing.

    Probably are. The position I show are just points in the stroke that should be there in general. Everyone will be slightly different depending on grip, muscle and bone structure, etc...during that motion sequence. I am teaching a neighbor right now. She couldn't hit a forehand to save her life through these four steps. Then the more I coached her to relax, let your hand go through the positions, and had her practice, now she is ripping the ball!

    BUT!!!! I no longer teach the points anymore unless there is something real real wrong. Now, I get her to develop her own stroke in a fluid manner. IS she perfect through the sequence? No! But she has good form and fluidity, so now I build movement underneath and stress the stroke to refine it, engrain it, and strengthen it to make it her own.

    Consistency comes from hitting cleanly and on time. Sub components are movement, ball read, etc...

    Consistency comes from having confidence that you arm is going through the stages and not worrying about whether you pulled on the racquet first or second. Maybe you dont want to think about this anymore. There is one thing about perfecting your stroke as a whole, it is a whole different thing when you want to perfect every single tiny element of your stroke to hit a ball. Forget this pull stuff and just worry about letting your arm go through the stages, your movement, your positioning, and hitting through the ball cleanly and on time. Simplify it and do it over and over again.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2009
  13. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

    Apr 2, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    BB, too bad you dont post so much any more.. the info you provide is very helpful
  14. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    Thanks, I get tired of posting stuff on the same things like "should I switch to a twohanded backhand", etc...

    I will pop in every now and. I see SA is still posting so that is good. Not sure about the new ones that are posting to see if they are giving or not giving pie-in-the-sky tips and instruction.
  15. FH2FH

    FH2FH Professional

    Apr 30, 2006
    this is a good image. ...except pretend that the rock weighs 11oz. ;)

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