HELP! how to hit a flat forehand like federer? What grip?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by NineEleven, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. NineEleven

    NineEleven New User

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    Singapore/Vancouver
    Hello!

    Been watching alot of videos lately and i cant help but noticed how HARD federer hits the ball.

    Other than the technique i can see on video, i was wondering about other aspects:

    1) what grip? Semi-western? he seems to hit a lot of spin too.

    2) What string tension does he use low?


    I use a semi-western forehand.. when i try to go for power shots,

    i just delay my shot to the las moment and sort of do a slap shot if u will.

    When i try to change to a eastern forehand, my balls sail long..i guess this could be the low to high swing motion i am accustomed to.


    Would appreciate some feedback

    thanks!
     
    #1
  2. teppeiahn1

    teppeiahn1 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    Messages:
    394
    1. People claim he uses some sort of modified eastern that favors to semi western.

    2. Uses something like 56-60. prolly depends on condition and surface.

    Why exactly does federer hit the ball hard? because he drives the ball. Many people slap the ball with windshield wiper motion which is why their shots are weak. Also he catches the ball early, wich is a key.

    Like you stated, motion is low to high but make sure you hit throught the ball with ur core, not just arms. Loose arms is another key.
     
    #2
  3. NineEleven

    NineEleven New User

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    Singapore/Vancouver
    thanks for quick response..

    Regarding the tension, i see around that he uses under 50.

    As to loose arms, its really funny but what exactly is that because, i really 'loose' accuracy/control when i loosen my arms, i just hit a baseball shot if u like..

    I seem to hit better when i grip my racket and control my arm more.

    Anyway im thinking if the eastern forehand is the key to a better flat stroke
     
    #3
  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    35,687
    Fed string tension high 40's for sure. But he only uses NEWLY strung rackets, not settled and old strings.
    Lower your followthru so it's almost level with your backswing. Makes for flat balls, unless you hit straight down into the court.
    Shortening the swing can also flatten out shots, as you see sometimes Fed does with a short prep and short violent swing leading to shorter followthru not very high.
    Save the WW finish for another shot.
     
    #4
  5. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,995
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Watch the super slow mo videos of him hitting on Fuzzyyellowballs.

    He's really not swinging that hard, and he's barely even holding the racquet..the power all comes from his core and the fact that dragging the loosely held racquet, with a laid back wrist, through the zone creates whip effect on the head of the racquet..it's a similar concept to the pronation on serve. If you simply arm the ball over the net with a stiff wrist, you'll be lucky to serve over 55 MPH. If you're holding your racquet tightly with a straight wrist and arming the ball, you get something that looks noting like Federer with no pace.

    I really noticed it when Federer was playing Davydenko..Federer's forehand is so much more effortless looking than almost every other player on the tour.
     
    #5
  6. Slazenger07

    Slazenger07 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,068
    Fed uses an Eastern Grip for the forehand. Thats also the grip I use, gotta say that I love it because not only is it easy to hit flat shots if you have a loopy swing path you can also generate heavy topspin easily, giving you variety.
     
    #6
  7. MNPlayer

    MNPlayer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    420
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Interesting comment. I was just thinking about this the other day. I have long tried to maintain a loose arm/grip on serves in order to whip the racket through contact, and have lately noticed that this is absolutely necessary to achieve good topspin serves in particular because of the higher racket head speed required (as well as a good drop back). I've never really focused on it for groundstrokes though.

    I will think about this more on groundstrokes at practice tonight - be loose!

    I think one of the main confusions is between swinging "hard" and swinging fast. The mental picture I get for swinging "hard" is more "muscled", whereas in reality hitting the ball hard really requires only swinging fast and getting clean contact on the right plane. The latter is probably more important, come to think of it...
     
    #7
  8. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,960
    1) He uses a modified eastern forehand grip. His index knuckle is on the part where the bevels of eastern and semiwestern connect.

    2) He strings 46 lbs on his Wilson Natural Gut mains, and 43 lbs on his Luxilon Alu Power Rough. This is to accommodate the amount of spin he uses. Before (around 2005-2006), he used to string 55 lbs for the gut and 50.5 lbs for the Luxilon. I'm not 100% sure whether he strings by kilos or lbs (probably kilos), but there's a 1.5 kilo difference in his tension since early 2004. Before that there was a 1 kilo difference. So I'm pretty sure he goes by kilos. So right now he goes around 21 kilo mains and 19.5 kilo crosses, with the max and min tensions going from 19-22 I think. I haven't seen him go over 22 kilos mains or lower than 19 kilos crosses, but he'll eventually get there I bet. He's trying to generate more and more spin in an attempt to take Roland Garros.

    And your ball flying long on an eastern forehand grip isn't because of your low to high motion. I hit with an eastern grip and generate more spin than my peers. With proper technique, spin is not affected by the grip.

    He CLEANLY hits through the ball well with a relaxed motion and a LOT of racket head acceleration. His footwork is also the best in the game's history, which allows him to frequently hit those big forehands. Also, unlike most people he can smoothly float into the perfect position to hit through the ball, and hit the ball, without stopping and without running through the ball. It takes a LOT of his opponent's time away, adds disguise, and adds a little extra pop to the ball.

    But if we're talking about his rally balls from the baseline, he just junks those with so much spin that he can easily drive through them extensively without hitting them long. If you watch him play, the ball will be 3-4 feet over the net, clearly hit with a lot of spin as shown with it's clean arching path in the air. The low tensions he plays with help him retain the depth lost from all that spin.

    To hit harder, just drive through the ball. Enough said.
     
    #8
  9. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,021
    Location:
    Lafayette, Or
    Are you sure that he doesn't use the WW swingpath for his flat balls? Show me a video clip of him hitting flat with a classic out in front, over the shoulder finish.
     
    #9
  10. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,709
    Location:
    Texas
    Eastern forehand grip is federers forehand grip. He strings around 48 usually, but it varies according to where he plays, the weather, feel, etc.

    Federer does do classis over the shoulder finish nowadays, especialy when he's pulled out wide. He does a classic finish to hit a hard flat shot on the run usually dtl, not always though.

    Here you can see a couple.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbN0Iqlx8CI&feature=related
     
    #10
  11. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,142

    And I wanna challenge dman on his statement as well. How do you know Fed isn't swinging that hard? Fed has crazy racket head speed, and I don't know any way for that to happen without some sort of 'hard' swinging.
     
    #11
  12. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,960
    Then you're stuck at the 3.5-4.0 level.

    I can swing with roughly 10-20% effort and still generate a ball with pace and heavy spin. (Originally did that to try and prolong the life of my strings to more than a mere hour, but it still broke in 50 minutes and I was hitting solid shots with almost no effort.)

    Hell, I don't even try on dip drives anymore and I crush the things every time I see one.

    It's all about positioning, clean contact, and accelerating the racket. You don't have to try hard to do that, just let the racket do the work.

    That's why you see skinny, tiny 9 year olds who can take serious rips on the ball - they know how to hit the ball, how to whip the racket around with little effort, how to position themselves to get clean contact and maximum power with minimal effort. You can hit with 10% effort and still generate an amazingly heavy topspin ball.

    It's the same concept as with the serve. Loose arm and body means lots of whipping action to get easy acceleration. If you try to hit hard, your body tenses up and you lose a lot of racket acceleration and racket head speed, hence the reason you'll be stuck on the 3.5-4.0 level.
     
    #12
  13. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,071
    Sounds like another hockey player - welcome.

    The shot is not a slap-shot although there are some similarities, the racquet has to be pulled forward, butt first. The trick is keeping the hand in front of the racquet face as long as possible to prevent any racquet rotation behind the plane of the body. Sound familiar? OK, weight has got to be shifting forward off of the rear (inside) leg and balance is a key ---- sound familiar again?

    Keep both hands on the racquet side until the ball bounces with the non-hitting arm getting as perpendicular to the "side" fence as possible - this get the shoulders perpendicular to the net. Keeping the head quiet, go into the ball with the elbow (he doesn't do this but you should - probably) riding the rib cage forward - not really but its a good visual. Watch the ball hit the racquet as you rotate your BODY counterclockwise into the ball.
     
    #13
  14. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,995
    Location:
    Long Island, NY

    I didn't say that he didn't have crazy racquet head speed. I said that he wasn't SWINGING "hard". Nadal is swinging hard, Federer's motion is very conservative compared to many guys on tour. Compare him to Nadal or Soderling or any number of other guys..they look like they are straining on every shot. I noticed this with Davydenko also when Fed played him. The only time Federer looks like he's straining is when he has to resort to the squash shot.

    Federer floats, because his form is all about fluidity. His racquet is moving quickly at contact, no question..it's like whip that he's dragging through the zone, but he is not swinging with all of his might like many other guys are. He also does get similar pace with less effort because he isn't stringing at 60lbs like a lot of other guys.
     
    #14
  15. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,142
    Ok guys,

    Maybe this is all semantic between "hard", "fast", "accelerating", etc.

    Frankly I have not met anyone who has a great pace and spin that keeps up and does not feel exhausted after a hitting session. This also includes Fed whom you saw was clearly exhausted and out-hit by Nadal, Davy, Del Portral in recent matches. If Fed or anybody was playing effortlessly and with just techniques, I don't see how they could lose.
     
    #15
  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    35,687
    MaroSmith...
    "short violent swing path with shorter followthru"
    That followthru on his flat forehand is not long WW, but rather short and no wristover pronation. You've seen it in some vids. Usually jumps on those forehands also.
     
    #16
  17. teppeiahn1

    teppeiahn1 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    Messages:
    394
    wow did not know he was in the 40s sorry lol
     
    #17
  18. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,960
    Pros don't swing hard. They know how to hit the ball, they don't waste any energy swinging "hard". They all swing fast. Nadal might be the one who exerts the most energy purely because he's not a natural lefty (and cause he makes the sport so physical).

    Like I said, that's cause you're at the 3.5-4.0 level. The only reason I, or anyone else I see who plays at a high level only gets tired because of one reason - the other guy ran them around the whole court.

    Once you get to the 5.0+ level, you can literally go hours nonstop and not break a sweat as long as you don't have to move around too much to hit every shot.

    At your level, you can get away with constantly muscling the ball and wasting energy and potential racket head speed, because you aren't generating much to begin with. Once you move up, you need to have proper technique so all the physical burden is left to actually getting to the ball. If you tire out from simply hitting the ball, how the hell are you going to last in rallies?! How are you going to last in a match?!

    The reason Federer loses isn't because hitting so many of those big forehands tires him out, no not even close; it's because he's missing the ball and the other player is hitting balls he can't reach! That's the simple basic idea of how to win in tennis! Did you ever consider THAT?!

    The short and violent shot helps with clean contact and hitting through the ball cleanly, but the shorter follow through I disagree with. My follow through is as big, if not bigger, when I look to flatten out a shot. It might be more guided and relaxed, but it's still bigger because I accelerate forward and more rapidly than on a regular topspin shot, so the arm needs to either decelerate over a longer period of time or at a faster rate to slow down. I use a shorter takeback than normal though, something between a regular groundstroke and a service return. That way, I minimize the amount of loop in my backswing so I can hit a flatter, cleaner shot. If I don't, I'll end up hitting with way too much topspin.

    Well, to be fair, he did once string in the mid to upper 50s while he was using full natural gut, and later switched to mid to low 50s when he was using a hybrid of Luxilon and gut. Last time he used those tensions was around 2006 with his nSix.One Tour. His tension might change again with the new Wilson racket.
     
    #18
  19. NineEleven

    NineEleven New User

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    Singapore/Vancouver
    very nice great discussion here..

    i guess i have to adjust in playing with 'loose' arms.

    tried thi on court and my balls go long ..

    i think to play with the loose arms also require a rather heavy racket since the racket is suppose to do the 'work'

    i can imagine swinging loosely on a very light racket and the ball might not have much pace..

    am i wrong here?
     
    #19
  20. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    743
    well, I think you shoould use the heaviest raquet you can actally use and control. that depends on many things, age and fitness being critical, but also on how relaxed you are duringyour strokes...
    it is heavier on the body if you muscle a heavier raquet, but easier on the articulations if you are relaxed because the diference in mass of the raquet and the ball.
     
    #20
  21. TheFuture101

    TheFuture101 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    101
    I read one of sampras's books awhile ago and I remember him saying when he was a child. His coach at the kramer club had him swing with the racquet cover still on to teach him to hit through the ball while following through over shoulder to impart spin. idk if this helps but thats my 2 cents : P
     
    #21
  22. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,885
    Yes, when matches are played even though a player works to keep his upper body quiet, his lower body is doing a lot of work.

    Serving take a lot of energy out of person which is why mechanics, relaxation, and general form and motion is so important. But you are right, even though we preach relaxation, in reality there is muscle exercion involved. Plus, the tennis conditions could zap a players strength, stamina, and endurance such as the heat.
     
    #22
  23. jazzyfunkybluesy

    jazzyfunkybluesy Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,707
    My favorite forehand is a whole body twist. I used to sling the racquet but now have much better feel of the ball.

    Federer now hits a full eastern grip forehand. John Yandell on TennisPlayer.Net has several hundred still photos of Federers shot at ball contact.

    He used to hit a partial semi western grip.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
    #23
  24. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,142
    #24
  25. TheFuture101

    TheFuture101 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    101
    Right?!?!?!?
     
    #25
  26. NineEleven

    NineEleven New User

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    Singapore/Vancouver
    Hi jazz, thx for your response.

    May i know what you mean by 'sling'?

    Also how does one produce so much spin using an eastern grip? this puzzles me.
     
    #26

Share This Page