Forehand question

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TennisBoy, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

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    If you took a video of a person cracking a bullwhip, it would look like his wrist is laid back and that no wrist action was involved. But we all know the whip does not crack without wrist release [assisted by forearm motion].

    If you think there is no wrist release in top level tennis then I would say you have never been to an ATP event in the qualifying or early rounds. It is so obvious these days the frames have changed the game and raised it to a new level.
     
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  2. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    You are completely missing what I'm trying to say. I never asserted that you were laying it back intentionally prior to the forward momentum. Rather that you are imagining the wrist release into contact. It's quite obvious from analysis of super slow-mo video that this doesn't actually happen.[/QUOTE]

    Imagining it or not, that's what it feels like I'm doing and I'm using it as a mental cue. And really, aren't you just "imagining" everything you tell your body to do when doing any stroke? In the clip of Verdasco telling himself to wrist release, he's just imagining the wrist release correct?

    To summarize my point(s)-> A last second laying back of the wrist and subsequent wrist release as a result of windshield wiping is preferable than laying back the wrist early. It is just as easy to learn (if properly taught) and more consistent (as a result of free topspin) than the early laying back of the wrist. The occasional mishit is of negligble effect compared to the benefits of overall consistency and power.
     
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  3. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    Fair enough. You can have a relaxed wrist and lay back early.
     
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  4. habib

    habib Professional

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    I'm not saying there's no wrist release, I'm saying it occurs after contact, not that the wrist actually releases into the ball. And the whip doesn't technically crack because of a wrist release. It cracks because the arm decelerates and the end of the whip is flung forward. That was the point of the whip analogy. Of course, the arm decelerating is what causes the wrist to release.
     
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  5. habib

    habib Professional

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    Ah, and here we get to the meat of the issue. Because you are right in that, even though it may often feel like the wrist actually releases into contact, it's really just the feeling of a relaxed wrist completing a natural range of motion. In fact, the release does not occur into contact - at least not usually. As far as imagining everything else you do in a stroke, I'm not sure about your point. A wrist release around contact (whether right after or right before or into) takes place in an amazingly short amount of time. It's similar in a sense to the whole "watch the ball onto the strings" line. It's basically impossible to actually track the ball so accurately, but that's the feeling you get.

    As far as Vedasco's wrist release, I haven't been able to find a good slow mo of it, and it's pointless trying to figure the matter out at full speed due to the timing issues I mentioned above. So I can't really comment on it.

    And this will in fact vary from person to person. I generate more consistency when I lay back my wrist earlier - my stroke is more repeatable that way and the mechanics remain far more consistent. I can get more topspin if I completely loosen my wrist and allow it to actually release into the shot as you imply, but directional control takes a large hit, and your comments about it 'feeling imprecise' make me wonder if that doesn't affect you, as well.
     
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  6. habib

    habib Professional

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    Thank you. :)
     
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  7. bizzle

    bizzle New User

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    #57
  8. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    I posted a youtube of his FH a couple posts back. In :25, you can see him practicing the wrist release, which backs up my comment that you want to feel a loose wrist whipping through the ball.

    The imprecision comment - i suppose i can't hit exact spots yet as i have yet to really get familiar with the shot. I've only learned to hit it this season. In hindsight, my "double bend" fh was just as "imprecise" but at the same time lacked the safety net of the free topspin.
     
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  9. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    In response to ur first vid, here's Andy with wristyness.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=p3iWVRe9NKY&mode=related&search=

    The second video you posted looks to me like he's definely whipping through the ball. Body rotation, then a hard pull with the pec muscle from right to left whips the racquet around the wrist.

    Look at this for a few more pronoucned examples of a loose wrist.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=xNPaZj4yn00&mode=related&search=
     
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  10. EricW

    EricW Professional

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    Are you serious? When a pro hits a topspin forehand, and they are in position, they have wrist movement.. and when they hit flat forehands in position, they have no wrist movement.

    Also, when watching those slow motion forehands, how do you know what you're watching? The ones with wrist movement that were posted i'm sure we topspin forehands, ones without wrist movement were probably closer to flat.
     
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  11. EricW

    EricW Professional

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    The vid of tommy haas, I can't tell, but the vid of gonzo, that is a flat forehand(look at the way he contacts it). Flat forehands = no wrist movement.

    Also, about the sequence of images of hewitts forehand, he might have either hit a flat forehand, but he could also have had wrist movement you can't see. You never see his wrist laid back to 90 degrees, and that happens when the butt of the racquet is a bit further than next to his hip, which is missing on the images

    Basically in this thread we have the [no wrist movement] side of the arguement, posting pros hitting flat forehands... and then we have the people who are on the [wrist movement before contact] side of the arguement, posting pros hitting topspin forehands.. And we're arguing about topspin forehands

    Also, regarding me saying it's impossible to make contact with your wrist still at 90 degrees, pick up a racquet and try it
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2007
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  12. EricW

    EricW Professional

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    I'm sorry, but I plan on getting to and exceeding the 6.0 level, so... I'll stick with my ideas on the topspin forehand.
     
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  13. Thomas Bird-Itch

    Thomas Bird-Itch Semi-Pro

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    This is getting more interesting! It seems like when they catch it early and in their wheelhouse, it's hit with the wrist more laid back and the ball is flatter. In the shots where they're a little late or hitting sharply across their bodies there's lots of wrist action.

    In the long clip (3:54) of Federer at the AO, he's hitting a lot of these shots on the run and out of position. Many of those shots look wristy, but the shots where the ball comes to him the wrist stays laid back. Nadal hits LOTS of balls with the wrist laid back contrary to what many people here seem to believe. What he does is extreme: laid back, wrist action, and incredibly fast WW motion. Federer does those extremes as well, however he generally hits flatter with less WW motion. His ball takes more time away from his opponents, where Nadal uses consistency, angles, and speed as weapons.

    Are these laid back wrist shots because the ball is close to them, even jamming them at times? Are the shots where the wrist pushes the racquet out in front because they're late or reaching for the ball?

    In all cases, the racquet appears to be parallel to where they're attempting to hit the ball. Maybe this subject has been far too overanalyzed, where BOTH opinions are right ...AND wrong. Both laid back and the wrist action shots occur, so maybe there's nothing "magical" about either of these scenarios.

    It makes sense to hit flatter and more aggressively when the ball is hit right to you anyway. It's low percentage compared to topspin, which is used primarily to keep the ball in the court and allow greater angles.
     
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  14. EricW

    EricW Professional

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    All improvised shots aside, generally, the no-wrist movement forehand is when they hit it much flatter, and the wrist movement forehand is when they hit topspin. So yes, both do happen
     
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  15. Kingofthecourt67

    Kingofthecourt67 New User

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    Well I used to avoid wrist-break throughout my forehand(SW grip and I even caught the racket to avoid a wristbreak as I was instructed however I found out that was for eastern grips) but I never got any topspin and now I am tinkering with it. What would you guys recommend. I want to get a good as I possibly can so don't worry about dumbing it down; however, I'd have to say is I'd probably be a 3.5 right now trying to get major improvement.
     
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  16. habib

    habib Professional

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    Oh come on. You're using evidence of him pronating his wrist without a racquet in his hand as proof that he 'practices a wrist release.' Seriously, that's ridiculous. Hell, *I* do that between points and so do many other people, but it doesn't mean there's a wrist release into contact. In fact, if you just 'shadow swing' like that with a relaxed wrist, you'll notice the wrist releases when the arm slows down, which is damn unlikely to happen before contact is made.
     
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  17. habib

    habib Professional

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    Your whole theory on "topspin forehand - wrist movement and flat forehand = no wrist movement" is bollocks. Topspin is produced from a low to high racquet motion, a flat shot is produced from an obviously flatter racquet motion. Your wrist generally doesn't play a role in either one of these. You sound quite confused. With regards to the Hewitt video, the very first clip int he sequence is with his racquet by his hip, and his angle is greater than 90 degrees but remains identical through contact. All this proves is that some players have greater angles and some have smaller angles, which all depends on the person's flexibility. You're also off your rocker if you think you can't make contact with your wrist at 90degrees considering 90% of pros, male or female, happen to strike the ball like this. You sure have studied the modern game, haven't you?
     
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  18. habib

    habib Professional

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    Let's see some evidence, hrmm? The only shot so far where we've seen any sort of clear wrist movement into contact was Roddick's jumping forehand posted by Mrcalon. Federer hits many of his forehands with intentional wrist action (coming from his history with squash, I'm sure), and Nadal definitely does the same thing. Slow motion video has shown that with virtually all others, and many times even with these two, the wrist only releases after contact is made.
     
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  19. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    Then what the bloody hell are you practicing when you do it? Your practicing slowing down your damn arm? Jesus H Christ. Keep using a layed back forehand for all i care and don't wrist release, because only morons like those on tour exhibit it. Enjoy playing in the 80s.
     
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  20. habib

    habib Professional

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    Hey, alright, good luck. Ignore every other knowledgable person here who's insisted that topspin is achieved through the path of the arm and racquet and shouldn't be generated by rolling the wrist over the ball.
     
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  21. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    Sharapova and Williams called. They want their Forehands back.
     
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  22. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    Let's also ignore Einstein and Capernicus, because the earth is flat and the center of the universe.
     
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  23. habib

    habib Professional

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    You're not really practicing anything. Come on. How can you possibly practice a stroke of any kind without a racquet in your hand? Everything from balance to weight distribution to, you know, having an empty hand, changes, and this leads to changes in everything else - ie: you'd be amazed how differently muscles inyour arm work when they're tensed (holding something) or completely loose. You can get pissy with me all you want, but you've yet to procuce a cogent or convincing argument for your case. If "well Verdasco releases his wrist when swinging an empty arm around between practice points" is your evidence, then far be it for me to argue with you.
     
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  24. habib

    habib Professional

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    Err, ok? Are you hitting as good a forehand as either one of them? Alrighty then.
     
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  25. habib

    habib Professional

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    Nice strawman. Not sure exactly what point you're trying to make, but as far as addressing irrelevant issues, you're right on target.
     
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  26. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    tennisplayer.net has tons of videos. give that a try.

    Now you're citing squash as the reason for a wristy forehand? ok...
     
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  27. habib

    habib Professional

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    This is pretty pointless. I post videos demonstrating pros making contact with a 90 degree angle of the wrist/racquet, and EricW claims that it's impossible to do this. Mrcalon is using racquet-less footage as evidence for a wrist release into contact. Let this circus continue without me.
     
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  28. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    read between the lines -> your argument is -> "i am right because everyone else on the board says so".

    my counterpoint -> the earth used to be flat because everyone else said so too.
     
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  29. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    and habib continues to use rhetoric as defense.
     
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  30. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    err, are you? errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr pointless.
     
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  31. habib

    habib Professional

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    I've gone through many videos on tennisone.com, all in super slow motion, demonstrating quite the opposite of what you're arguing. Any further motions? Ok then.

    As far as the squash reference, let me clear that up. I'm not citing squash as the reason for a wristy forehand, at least not the way you're phrasing it. I'm arguing that one big reason for Federer's admittedly wristy forehand - which differs in this regard from just about every other forehand in the ATP - is that he's been playing squash about as long as he's been playing tennis, and as anyone familiar with squash or racquetball or badminton can tell you, wrist pronation is a big factor because the racquets are lighter, among numerous other reasons. Hence, it's my own personal hypothesis that his years of playing squash probably influenced his tennis technique. This isn't really a new idea, I played badminton competitively for a dozen years before picking up tennis and I still have bad habits technique-wise because of it (not that his is a bad habit). People going from tennis to badminton experience the same thing. Thus, in this case, I think that's what influenced his forehand.
     
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  32. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    dumb argument.
     
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  33. habib

    habib Professional

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    But that hasn't really been my argument for the last couple of pages. In additoin, you're comparing apples and elephants since we have video evidence of no wrist release into contact, whereas ides about the Earth being the center of the universe were based on dogma. So what's the relation, again?
     
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  34. habib

    habib Professional

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    My irony detector just exploded.
     
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  35. habib

    habib Professional

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    No. But then again, I wasn't using them as examples to disparage people who lay their racquets back early, was I? Logical argument not your strongsuit, eh?
     
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  36. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    Please re-read. Basically ur last point was that there is no wrist release because every knowledgable person on THIS BOARD says so.

    My point is this -> knowledgable people can be wrong. Thus your argument that "others agree with me thus i'm right" is ludicrous at best.
     
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  37. habib

    habib Professional

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    No, my point was that there is no wrist release into contact because we have slow mo video confirming this fact. In addition, I noted that many knowledgeable people on this board have attested to the same thing. How difficult is this progression to follow?

    Of course knowledgeable people can be wrong. Slow motion video, on the other hand, is pretty easy to analyze. The latter was my main argument. The former was a supporting argument. You hoping up an down and screaming that my argument is ludicrous makes no sense because (1) I've never actually said "others agree with me thus I'm right" nor made any similar statement (look up exactly what I said in this regard), and (2) it doesn't address the main argument whatsoever, and is just a convinient way for you to try and get away from the total lack of credibile evidence you've managed to provide.
     
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  38. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    Ok, but the wrist in squash and badminton is used completely different than in tennis.
    The wristy technique used in squash CAN be used in tennis, for defensive shots such as the one often seen employed by Roddick.

    The wristyness employed in a rally forehand is used to generate topspin.
     
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  39. habib

    habib Professional

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    BTW, here's one of the free videos from hi-techtennis.com, displaying Verdasco's forehand in slow motion (you can even click on the clip and advance frame by frame): http://www.hi-techtennis.com/video_sample/index.php?movie=verdasco_forehand_001.swf&size=wide

    Not how at contact, the racquet is back at a 90 degree angle, and how the release of the wrist doesn't occur until after the ball is off his strings. Incidentally, and I may have missed noting this earlier, but I have nothing against allowing your wrist to lay back on its own. I sometimes use such a swing myself, though most of the time I lay it back prior to the forward swing. What I do have something against is this idea of the wrist releasing into contact being some sort of general technique used by all pros. In fact, although I think that an essentially active wrist usage is where the evolution of the forehand stroke is going, most pros do not release their wrist into contact.
     
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  40. habib

    habib Professional

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    Sorry, I didn't explain right. I don't mean the type of "squash shot" you hear people talk about, which is essentially a wristy forehand slice. In both badminton, racqutball, and squash, the wrist is an active component in generating power on virtually any stroke. This isn't the case in tennis because if I tried some of my badminton strokes with a tennis racquet, I would break off my wrist and have to assemble a search party to find it. It's my belief that Fed's years of playing squash influenced his forehand technique (and backhand too, incidentally) with regards to even actively using his wrist to generate additional racquet speed. So, yes, he does use his wrist to generate additional topspin, but I think he does it intentionally (and I've read interviews where he's said as much). Hence why I brought up the issue of physics earlier with regard to the arm having to decelerate in order for the wrist to 'naturally' release.

    I'm not going to argue that using your wrist as you describe won't give you topsin, because it does. If I drop a ball and use my wrist to flick the racquet low to high, it will indeed generate topspin. However, when you properly setup your stroke and use your legs to generate racquet speed, the low to high movement of your racquet will generate topspin more efficiently with less chance of timing errors - which is one reason that Fed and Nadal's usage of the wrist is so amazing and unique even among pros.
     
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  41. EricW

    EricW Professional

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    Habib, Verdascos forehand right there, you're right and there's no wrist movement, but me saying it's impossible to make contact with a right angle, it's true, just pick up a racquet. Verdasco comes in contact with more than a right angle or he wouldn't be hitting to the side at all.

    Anyway, every pro on the ATP tour hits both forehands. Sign up for hi-techtennis.com and you'll see vids of wrist movement before contact, and vids of no wrist movement. So what are we going to argue now? Which pros use more of the one or the other? What situations the pros use them?

    One thing I know is if the ball is high over the net, they hit a huge completely flat forehand with no wrist movement, and a lot of times you'll see them hitting topspin forehands with wrist movement. Also 98% of the WTA use the no-wrist-movement forehand exclusively, (besides the best WTA player in the world, henin!), and 100% of the ATP uses the wrist-movement forehand atleast some of the time
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2007
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  42. habib

    habib Professional

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    But Eric, this simply isn't true. First of all, I make contact with my hand and racquet at a 90 degree angle to my forearm. Second, this is the case in virtually every single video I've linked. Why do you keep refusing to believe this is not only possible but also the rule, rather than the exception?

    Thing is, as I keep saying, I'm signed up with tennisone.com, which features hundreds of super slow motion videos of dozens and dozens of pros. You're right in that WTA players generally have far firmer arms/hands in their forehand techniques than do ATP pros, with one big reasons being that men are stronger and their bodies capable of bearing the stresses associated with far more relaxed arm whilst still retaining the strength to align everything correctly on contact. However, I would nevetheless argue that, even in the ATP, a small minority of top players actually release the wrist into contact. In most cases, what looks like a wrist releasing into contact is in fact, when viewed at slower speeds, a wrist releasing after contact - as in the Verdasco clip above. His arm looks like Gumby at full speed, but slow it down and you can see that the wrist comes over only after the ball has been struck. With women, what I think you're noticing is that far fewer of them release their wrists at all, pre or post contact.

    I won't disagree that many ATP players use their wrists on the forehand on some occasions, but as I've said before, topspin or flat, I think it's the exception, not the rule, and I think most video evidence backs it up.

    However, I've also said that, in my view, the next evolution of the forehand (and to an extent, the 1hbh) will be an active use of the wrist (with proper timing and technique, I don't think it places much additional stress on the arm). At the same time, even if it does indeed become widespread (and likely it will considering the new generation of youngsters will grow up emulating Federer and Nadal), timing will be an issue.

    Look at, for one example, Bracciali. This guy has an extremely wristy stroke on both sides. And when he's on, as against Roddick at the 05 Wimbledon, he hits the ball beautifully. But his technique and timing is woefully inconsistent because of the additional consideration of the wrist moving around, so on most days he's as likely to nail a winner as the neighboring court.
     
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  43. EricW

    EricW Professional

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    Alright, I just experimented with my racquet, and there are definitely ways to make contact with a right angle.. but i'd say it's not nearly as normal as contacting with ball with a lot more of an angle, and the forehand stroke that I hit makes it very awkward to make contact that way
     
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  44. EricW

    EricW Professional

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    So basically after this huge thread, we pretty much agree that ATP players use both types of forehands.. I know I use both too.. but when I get in perfect position and blast a topspin forehand I relax my wrist.
     
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  45. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    ok - exchange "practicing" to "visualizing". Is it possible to visualize wrist release without a racquet, or is that breaking the rules of logic? And what do legs have to do with wrist release?
     
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  46. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    I said you were describing Serena's stroke. Do you feel disparaged being compared to her?
     
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  47. mrcalon

    mrcalon Rookie

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    Agreed. Not all pros use it - but the best ones do.
     
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  48. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

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    Wrist usage on the rise

    I agree with your words through "90 degree angle".
    He is at 90 deg just after he begins his forward swing, yes. Arm points directly to side fence and racquet tip points to back fence.
    But look carefully. At contact when the racquet tip points to the side fence his arm is at 45 degrees to the target. His wrist has released a full 45 degrees as he enters the hitting zone to make contact.
    Does that not prove he is releasing ?
    Do we see it differently ? Please look carefully using the arrow keys slow motion feature.

    Here I agree with you.
    1/ Not all pros release and even those that do do not do it on all shots.
    2/ Wrist usage is on the rise due to lighter frames and the modern power game.
    3/ And I agree that a wristy player is likley to have less consistency than a firm wristed player. Note how Fed can be quite inconsistent with his FH at times.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2007
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  49. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    oh god

    another wrist thread

    u are not doing what u are think you are doing
     
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  50. habib

    habib Professional

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    Hell yes. :)
     

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