How to hit super hard forehands

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by ubermeyer, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    Texas
    Okay, my threads on this forum are beginning to sound very similar to each other, but I still don't think I've gotten the type of answer I am looking for yet.

    Basically, my playing style is grinder-ish with no real strategy except to not miss, to hit side-to-side for rallies, not come into net much, and hit drop shots whenever possible. However, this makes me tire easily and instead of going to the gym to fix this, I want to change up my playing style a bit. (I won't go to the gym not out of pure laziness, but also because I have a bad back and don't want to screw it up further... my 16 year old back is as bad as an 80 year olds, I have been told). Whenever I get a shot in my "strike zone," or an "easy shot", or whatever you like to call it, I just hit it back as I would any other shot, with maybe a bit better spin/speed/placement but not enough for a winner. I want to learn how to really crank forehands to end the point (preferably with a winner/forced error, but even if I miss it that's ok, as this is not going to be a consistent shot). I don't really care about getting a ton of spin on it or anything, I just want to know how to bash the ball. In practice, whenever I try this and just swing all out, I usually shank it or it goes 50 feet out. Now, I don't care if I miss this shot a lot but it should at least be close to the court, not hitting the fence on the fly. So, the obvious solution is to watch the ball better. Yet even when I split step perfectly, focus on timing and am in the perfect position to hit it, watching the ball closely, it still ends up hitting the edge of the racket near the frame most of the time and not going very fast. I'm not sure how to correct this. I've never actually hit a ball extremely hard that goes in, and this is making me mad because I want to at least have the ability to do this, at least 1 time out of 10. I don't think it's arm strength or anything, since I can whack the ball pretty hard but it just goes way out or shanks. I want to have a forehand people will think twice about hitting to, even if it misses I just want it to be intimidatingly fast.
    I don't know why I always write essays on this board, sorry about that.

    tl;dr: I want to learn how to hit a really really hard forehand, emphasis not on consistency or spin.
     
    #1
  2. bms2011

    bms2011 Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    The key is relaxing and having a strong core. For the core i usually use a resistance band. My favorite forehand related workout with the bands is standing in an open stance and pull the band back as if you were taking back for a forehand. Do about 3 sets of 10. Also you need strong shoulders. For go into a pushup position and with your arms walk your body in a circle. Do this about 5 times.
     
    #2
  3. TN00b

    TN00b New User

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    24
    Have you tried changing your grip a bit? Instead of leaning towards the western side maybe you should experiment with a more eastern forehand grip, that should make you hit a bit more flat on the ball.
    Of course, if you hit this shot as hard as you can the ball will go flying in the air, so there has to be some spin in there for it to land in the court.
     
    #3
  4. pyrokid

    pyrokid Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,768
    You just have to set the points up better. I know this isn't at all what you want to hear, but you can't just go for winners off of a neutral shot.
    If you want to try and force errors with a faster shot, you'd better be able to hit it consistently. They might miss about 10% more, but not tons more.

    So I say either work on a way to up the pace of your consistent rally ball, or learn to go for winners at opportune times.

    I win a lot of my points on winners, but a lot of them are hit at or only slightly faster than my rallying strokes.

    Anyway, use a bigger takeback, swing smoothly, use a full loop, and hit it early.
     
    #4
  5. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    Texas
    Wow, nice tips. I confess I have experimented with eastern but never seriously used it. Maybe I'll give it another go. Thanks! Those exercises sound good.
    @pyrokid, that also sounds good, I will experiment with my swingpath as well.

    I would still love more suggestions guys.
     
    #5
  6. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    4,676
    Good question. I think the answer is rather unsatisfying though. You need really good form on your shots you want to crank.

    You need to make sure your hitting the ball in the right part of the racquet - at the right distance away from your body - with a level but not downward swing for a winner with your normal finish..

    What happens to me sometimes - as well as most other players is that any mistake in form gets magnified.. So if our racquet is say a few degrees too open the ball pegs the back fence.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgvTEzeKxzw

    Here is Berdych hitting a nice winner. There isn't anything very different about his swing. The swing angle is a bit lower then normal but the finish and everything is the same. He has time to set up though and does everything correct..
     
    #6
  7. anchorage

    anchorage Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    254
    Get a full shoulder rotation, move your body momentum into the ball and think racket head acceleration through the ball. Keep rotating the shoulders to avoid arming the ball.
     
    #7
  8. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    532
    1. prepare footwork
    2. take a big back swing
    3. rotate your body during swing
    4. close your eyes on point of contact
    5. swing hard like a MOFO and scream "eeeeeeeeeeeeee"

    I gureantee that ball would be flying hard!
     
    #8
  9. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,005
    Location:
    No Man's Land
    my FH is stronger than the rest of my game, and it is most effective when hit deep, either with good spin or good pace (or both on occasion), i rarely hit all out, the loss of control is not worth any benefit. I can hit flat or with good TS, for flat, i dont use a whippy action, just good very good rotation on the backswing (my left shoulder points towards the net) and then rotate into the shot using my hips shoulders as a unit and the arm just comes along for the ride. That same shot also helps me deal with deep spinny shots that i receive.

    not sure going all out on the FH is a great idea if you dont have the consistency to hit at about 80% of full power consistently. Just my opinion.
     
    #9
  10. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Messages:
    617
    not just you, coach, scientist, players, pros all try to hit hard and in, that where the $ is. the whole billion of $ is base on it, hit hard and in.
    thousand of brains, million of dedicated player, so far they can only come up with 2 type: PUSH stroke and PULL stroke.
    welcome aboard, you have to use your brain first, then go to the court latter.
     
    #10
  11. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    Texas
    I believe you misread my post. I don't care about hitting in as much as hitting hard. I would like to be able to hit this shot at least 10% of the time for now, which is better than 0%, that's all what I'm looking for. I already have a consistent forehand.
     
    #11
  12. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Messages:
    617
    it will lead you to hit real hard, real real real hard (as the pro) that the easy part.
    it also lead you how to hit it in, that the hard hard hard part.
    just one example to open the door for you: this afternoon, go out, hold the racket real real loose, and whip the ball will all your might, is that hard enough? if not, add with a real loose arms, does it hard ? then jump forward as the ball is hitted, see what you like.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
    #12
  13. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,039
    Increase your racket head speed. Swing faster. Swinging faster will generate more spin. Spin=control. So the faster you swing, the more likely the ball will land in the court. So if you hit as hard as possible with the right mechanics, it should be more consistent than swinging regularly.
     
    #13
  14. supineAnimation

    supineAnimation Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Keep your arm and hand loose and try the stretch-shortening cycle. Best way to get free energy from your swing without any exertion from you. Get a bouncing medicine ball and work on strengthening the muscle groups you use, particularly your stomach muscles and core, in the specific sequence they're used in the forehand.
     
    #14
  15. forehandshanker

    forehandshanker Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    New York, NY
    While I think it would be worthwhile to experiment with an Eastern forehand, you could also consider learning how to flatten out your current forehand (assuming it's more Western). Rafa has been working on this for most of this year, and the results speak for themselves.

    A couple things to try:
    1) If you can't hit a WW FH, learn how to. You need to be able to hit through the ball, get it back deep and get enough topspin to get it in. Sometimes hitting the ball that bounces within a few feet of the baseline is enough to put your opponent under pressure.

    2) Examine whether you're using your kinetic chain efficiently. Can you transfer your weight into the shot to get a heavier ball more efficiently?

    a) In an open stance FH off a two foot pivot, are you really leading with your hips and pushing off with your back leg?

    This is a bread & butter shot when you don't have to move very far to set up for the FH.

    Rafa and Roddick are very good examples to emulate.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpocoSPRkMA&NR=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inQvbT8uEGk

    Both of them are using what is called a two-foot pivot, which is well taught here. While the young man demonstrating the stance exaggerates how much he loads up on his legs, it's better to use more leg load than less.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giK5yGgIq9Q


    b) Sometimes, in an open stance, you can lean into shot. Watch how Fed does this on an inside out FH against Djokovic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzkRo_r1k84

    He also kicks his back leg back for balance.

    In the Big Berd video mentioned by #6, he does lean in ever so slightly. Since he's so big, he really doesn't have to do much more than he normally does.

    c) Don't neglect developing a "fearhand" out of the neutral stance. In the neutral stance, you hit a heavy ball because you step into ball using linear momentum. In contrast the open stance relies upon hip rotation to impart more angular momentum.

    From the same match against Big Berd, watch how Fed's weight transfer in the neutral stance. The leg kick back is also for balance so that he can maintain control of the shot and not open his hips too early.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TnUOKP88MI&NR=1

    He does pretty much the same thing on most of his approach shots.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeE7wSNE4fU

    BTW, on his first several approach shots, ARod did put a great passing shot pass Fed. This doesn't diminish Fed's approach shot technique. His placement and choice of when to come in could have been better.

    From the same channel that teaches the two step pivot, the neutral stance is great for forcing shots.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_yLd9y2nLk
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2010
    #15
  16. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    Texas
    wow, thanks everyone!
     
    #16
  17. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,142
    OP,

    What happens if you simply stand at the baseline, drop a ball and hit it very hard over? Is it still out? Lack of power? Lack of spin? What?

    Hitting a ball hard like you said in game is just like that except with some running and the ball is moving more or less. That's all.
     
    #17
  18. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Messages:
    23,292
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Hip and trunk rotation and Core strength.
     
    #18
  19. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,691
    Drag the racket into the ball and thump it. If you are not lagging the racket into the ball, you're not going to hit it really hard. This requires a level of relaxation and commitment to the shot.

    You visually need to think loose and fast and make sure you're getting a full shoulder turn. Take it in front of you and keep your head still so you can hit the sweet spot.
     
    #19
  20. Mr_Shiver

    Mr_Shiver Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    645
    Location:
    Hell
    Knowing when and to go for it matters. 10 feet behind the baseline? No. Capitalize on short balls. Go get them, don't let them come to you. A ball hit at normal pace but three feet inside the baseline is gonna be more effective than a hard hit ball 2 feet behind the baseline.
     
    #20
  21. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    That's right.

    The biggest deficiency of technique among club level players is the lack of upper body rotation in their stroke production - both groundies and serve. Typically, they swing primarily with their arms. By upper body rotation, I mean the whole upper body from shoulders to hips rotating back and forth as a single unit. Think of the upper body as a cylinder (a tennis ball can), rotating back and forth. And how is upper body rotation achieved? With the legs. You have to get your legs into it. When you "turn" on your shots you get much more of the mass of your body behind your shot and you don't have to accelerate the swing as much to generate power. By not swinging as hard at the ball, you improve control and consistency. Also, there's much less that can go wrong with upper body rotation. It's a motion that can't vary much. The arm, on the other hand, can go awry in many ways. So, utilizing more rotation and less arm adds consistency and reliability to your shots.
     
    #21
  22. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks everyone

    I know how to do this on the backhand because there is a lot of upper body rotation that necessarily must be involved to hit a two handed backhand. However, the 1 handed forehand has different mechanics as the left arm is not in the same place as the right. I'm not going to switch back to 2 handed forehand but the fact that the left arm is not holding the racket makes it difficult to achieve enough rotation for me and also difficult to envision such rotation. I would like a big forehand so that people do not only hit to my forehand as they do now, because they avoid my backhand because it is a lot better and can hit winners more.
     
    #22
  23. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    If you don't rotate your upper body, and rely on an arm swing, then you are sacrificing power, control and consistency. Rotating with a one handed stroke is voluntary. With a two handed stroke, you have to do it. But, if you want to have the best forehand that you can have, then you must to rotate your upper body. Your choice!
     
    #23
  24. masterxfob

    masterxfob Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    91364 CA, USA
    i guess body rotation is the main way to hit with power, but footwork is the only way you'll end up making clean contact to do so.

    anyhow, it sounds like you're a bit of a pusher, and that's a playing style that's tough to overcome. even if you learn to hit a nice forehand, you'll most likely revert back to pushing in matches. just keep at it and remember you're going to lose a lot in the beginning.
     
    #24
  25. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,142
    Hmm..I just opened a thread on basically how to hit a super hard 2hbh (never mind if it's a good shot or not).

    You must be joking if you're alluding that you hit your BH more powerfully than your FH. Nearly everyone I know hits his/her fh far better power than the bh. How the heck do you produce a faster rackethead speed with 2 hands than with 1 fh?
     
    #25
  26. masterxfob

    masterxfob Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    91364 CA, USA
    uh, have you been following tennis at all lately? nalbandian is back and his 2hbh is clearly his stronger side.
     
    #26
  27. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    Texas
    Oh I'm definitely not joking. I'm just different I guess but I have always hit my BH far more powerfully than my forehand, and also never had problems with consistency either. It's just naturally my better side...
    And to answer another poster, yes I do sort of push off the forehand side although I am aggressive on the backhand
     
    #27
  28. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Messages:
    617
    what did i tell you? (welcome aboard) these guy can give you more than any tennis website, their informations, if you have time to think, will be very profound and very smart, all based on their experience, probably better than many reknown coach. but that they just warm up, the deeper you go into it, the better you will receive !!! welcome aboard !!!
     
    #28
  29. TennisAddict121

    TennisAddict121 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Messages:
    468
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Forget core rotation and strength there are 2 things that are much more important. Footwork and timing!!!! You can have the best strokes in the world but it will mean nothing if you cant position yourself correctly. Also timing is so huge because look at davydenko he is tiny but because he times teh ball so well he can crush shots bigger than guys half a foot taller than him
     
    #29
  30. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,005
    Location:
    No Man's Land
    ^^ true, but the flip side is footwork and positioning wont help that much if the stroke is not mechanically strong. You need all 3 to play a better shot consistently, easier said than done, otherwise we would all be very very good players.
     
    #30
  31. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    4,676
    Obviously footwork is important - but don't lose sight of what footwork does. It helps you get balance and in ideal position for more balls.

    The OP wants to hit winners of easy shots. You know those balls you should really crush but don't do enough with. They are slow - high bouncing and easy to get into position for.

    So in this case I don't think its fair to throw out the tenniswarehouse answer to every problem - footwork. <g>
     
    #31
  32. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,071
    Often the case with women.
     
    #32
  33. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,071
    Certainly have heard this before - consistency is not a factor, at least not yet.

    Maybe your trying too hard - relax and get some whip into the stroke.
     
    #33
  34. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    We're really just talking about a collision. So it gets down to path and racquet head speed.
     
    #34
  35. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,666
    Location:
    Here and There
    #35
  36. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,709
    Location:
    Texas
    A couple things that helped me gain pace.
    Racket head speed.
    Swing path is extend more throughout the shot instead of just brushing up.
    Wrist is bent at contact.
    Timing/footwork.
    Loading and releasing energy from your whole body, not just your upper body.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPLmCqGIotM

    Great video of federers forehand and a brief explanation on how he gets so much pace.
     
    #36
  37. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    Texas
    I'm a boy

    Thanks those videos were helpful
     
    #37
  38. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,071
    Good post.

    This is why some of us teach the 2HFH to get the younger/newer player used to doing these things. Not trying to push the stroke on people but it does incorporate the principals you describe.
     
    #38
  39. ManuGinobili

    ManuGinobili Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,591
    hahahaha SHAZAM
     
    #39
  40. CityTennis22

    CityTennis22 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    Middle States
    I always tee off on a forehand by taking the ball on the rise. If you get a shortball, then step into it and take it early. It's a lot more effective than crushing the ball from two feet behind the baseline.
     
    #40
  41. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    Texas
    Well, what do you know, all these tips actually worked wonders for me today. Although I mishit a lot of balls (which I know how to correct, it was mostly due to laziness/unfocusedness) I hit more winners than I ever have before. Wow!

    And all this was without even changing my grip to eastern.
     
    #41
  42. dsa202

    dsa202 Banned

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    341
    Location:
    Long Island
    Try not sucking.
     
    #42
  43. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    Texas
    Uh... thanks for the advice.
     
    #43

Share This Page