Forehand: What do I do when I rotate to contact

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by KayFactor, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. KayFactor

    KayFactor Rookie

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    So, on my forehand when I finally rotate almost to contact, do I release the energy with my arm? Because when I don't use my arm at all, I have a lot of trouble on how to bend the ball in a controlling manner, but I get so much power out of it. But people say not to arm the ball. I'm confused.

    Here's what djokovic does. I rotate to contact like him, I just don't know how he continues the swing. With the arm?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koADJfIQBAQ
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
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  2. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    If you've coiled and rotated properly, the arm should just come through naturally. Gotta keep it loose throughout. That's how I understand it, and I still have to get that part completely right.
     
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  3. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    As I see it, "arming the ball" means to generate most, if not all, of the racket speed/power, using (only) the shoulder/arm. This is not what Novak is doing. He is using a full kinetic chain. It start with his lower body and transfers to the hips, then torso followed by shoulder and arm.

    Notice that, as his racket is dropping (prior to the forward swing), his torso is coiled more than his hips. This means that he has energy stored in his core. The hips uncoil followed by the torso. As the torso catches up and passes the hips, the energy stored in the core is being released/transferred. At the start of of his forward swing, the racket head lags -- the arm/racket is being dragged by the uncoiling torso. There is tension/energy stored in the (right) pectoral muscle. As the forward swing progresses, the stretch in the pectoral muscle is released and the energy is released/transferred to the shoulder/arm. As this transfer happens, the arm starts to move faster than the uncoiling torso.

    The kinetic chain for this FH is actually a bit more complex than I have described here -- I have just highlighted some of the links and transfers of the chain (of events).
     
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  4. KayFactor

    KayFactor Rookie

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    By the time the energy is released into the shoulder and arm, the arm starts to move faster than the uncoiling and torso. Am I controlling this part of the swing with my arm or do I watch my arm ride the path even through contact?
     
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  5. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Great example of the confusion of traditional instruction on this issue. Imo the
    over emphasis on extension leads to the problem you describe.
     
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  6. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I imagine the kinetic chain as being somewhat like cracking a whip. The energy is transferred to the arm in this case. Prior to contact, the shoulder rotation of most of the top pros slows in order to allow the arm and ultimately the racket head to accelerate.

    From the ground up the kinetic chain is a result of a turning motion which then slows to transfer the energy to the next part of the chain.
     
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  7. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ This is a good analogy. The hips rotation slows down to allow a transfer to the torso rotation. It might be less obvious that the torso slows down to accelerate/propel the arm forward. This is more obvious on the 1-handed BH -- the torso rotation is stopped (or slowed down significantly) to provide a more complete transfer -- the arm flies thru as the torso is slowed/stopped.

    You must deliberately have the arm moving faster than the torso rotation at some point during the forward swing. Otherwise, you are not really releasing/transferring the tension/energy stored in the pectoral and shoulder muscles.
     
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  8. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    trunk rotation slows down and arm accelerates. you don't want to spin through contact. many people now think that modern strokes are just relaxing the arm and then spin the body like crazy but this is not true. guys like fed have a great INDEPENDENT arm action. it's a multi stage rocket, first fires the rotation and then the arm as the rotation stops.

    also get rid of the thought that the arm gets whipped through passively. the arm is accelerated by active contraction of the arm, shoulder and pec muscles. but this contraction must not be initiated too early or the kinetic chain is ruined. the muscles fire sequentially from the ground up. every ounce of muscle is used in a high level stroke but it has to be coordinated in the right sequence.
     
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  9. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    This is what I've been needing to hear! I never understood how to do the kinetic chain properly and have a controllable forehand if I kept the arm passive throughout the entire stroke. Now it all makes sense! I do use my arm, I just have to know when!
     
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  10. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    For the most part, this is an excellent perspective on the FH stroke -- it further clarifies what I was saying in posts #3 and #7. However, I must take exception to the parts that I've bolded above. The torso/body might very well slow down prior to contact, but it does not stop rotating until well after contact. Once the "arm" stage of the rocket fires, the body continues to rotate for the FH (or a 2-handed BH). However, much of the later rotation of the torso/body is because of the momentum of the racket, racket arm and racket shoulder. Because the back shoulder continues to come around for the contact and follow-thru, the torso/body are pulled around with it.

    OTOH, the torso often does stop rotating for the 1-handed BH of elite players. Since the back shoulder/arm is not attached to the racket, the back shoulder does not need to come around and, therefore, the torso can stop completely well before contact. This represents a more complete kinetic chain transfer than the FH mechanics.
     
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  11. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    One of the things I've always found different about the Nadal fh, and especially his rodeo finish fhs is how quickly his shoulder rotation stops. He almost does stop his shoulder rotation at contact on many shots, much more like what you'd see on a ohbh. It provides that odd abrupt look to his fh strokes when watched in real time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pm9vxTKTlM

    However, how much torso rotation slows really depends on the player and shot. I believe that the core comes into play by stiffening and slowing torso rotation just prior to contact.
     
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  12. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I agree. the shoulders do follow through because of the momentum but they are not actively accelerated all the way through contact.

    I think a more aprupt stopping is a sign of a good energy transfer. however it is bad if you decelerate the shoulders prematurely. if you want to achieve a dead stop you will probably slow down too early so trying this is bad either.

    I would just concentrate to rotate the hips and spine and then you stop accelerating them and feel how all the energy is now in the arm and shoulder muscles. the shoulders are probably not going to stop completely but there is no further energy wasted in accelerating them through contact. they will slow down and the arm and racket is really ripped though the zone.

    look at this discus thrower:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz2FMoj9tpo

    His arm is by no means passively whipped through but it is passive till the chest is nearly facing the target and almost has slowed down to zero.
     
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  13. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Interesting observation. Rafa's torso pretty much ends up facing the net at the completion of his rodeo finish. In contrast, this video shows one of his more conventional finishes on a high ball that goes across his chest. In this case, we see that his torso does slow down at contact but still continues to rotate after contact (more than 60 degrees).
     
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  14. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Yes, I think that we can definitively say that on most forehands the torso rotation slows prior to contact but doesn't stop, especially for the more conventional finishes used by most players. The rest of the rotation is due to momentum and safely decelerating the racket, arm, and torso rotation.

    I still have a suspicion that the ball can be hit hardest when the deceleration of the torso turn is rapid, as when serving. I recall reading an article by a back/core muscle researcher named McGill(?) who asserted that top professional athletes have the ability to stiffen the core rapidly during complex actions and thereby causing other parts of the body to greatly accelerate, as when throwing or swinging a tennis racket or bat.

    The Rafa rodeo finish is intriguing but not something that I'd start beginners hitting. The other guy who seems to use a similar technique to crack deceptively fast fhs is Dolgopolov, but I think Dolgopolov relies on his leg muscles more than Rafa for producing topspin.
     
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  15. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    could this be because the momentum of his arm is going up instead of forward? I think the shoulders decelerate in both but in his conventional style FH the arm pulls the shoulder around while in the reverse FH the back shoulder is pulled up rather than around

    conventional (WW)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKoUrBhhh7k
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inQvbT8uEGk

    reverse
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK9OZ6FR86g&feature=relmfu
     
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