Forehand sometimes breaks down and shots go long.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Raul_SJ, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    Messages:
    1,333
    Location:
    San Jose, California
    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
    #1
  2. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,504
    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
    #2
  3. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,661
    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.
     
    #3
  4. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,006
    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 ;)
     
    #4
  5. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,013
    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.
     
    #5
  6. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,773
    Suspect three - you are hitting the ball late (off your back foot)
     
    #6
  7. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,362
    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.
     
    #7
  8. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,039
    Location:
    NorCal
    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
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
    #8
  9. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,294
    ball flying several yards long is tell-tale sign of flipping
     
    #9
  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,412
    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.
     
    #10
  11. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,130
    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.
     
    #11
  12. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    954
    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.
     
    #12
  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,412
    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.
     
    #13
  14. frenzy

    frenzy New User

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2012
    Messages:
    67
    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.
     
    #14
  15. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,294
    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.
     
    #15
  16. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,013
    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.
     
    #16
  17. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,063
    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
     
    #17
  18. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,335
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    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)?
     
    #18
  19. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,412
    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.
     
    #19
  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,412
    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.
     
    #20

Share This Page