How to learn the straight arm forehand?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by formula16, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. connico

    connico Rookie

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    And you say you have no issues with straight arm??... yep sure...
     
    #51
  2. formula16

    formula16 Rookie

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    had a go today, tried to implement some stuff you guys told me. It was a bit tough at first, i hit some double bends unconciously. Then i did a few shadow swings of the arm straightening out and tried to implement it to my hitting. When i timed it, it was sweet. But i think i have to get used to the timing of it.

    Will have a few more gos and post results
     
    #52
  3. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Imo, the straight arm is not really any different technically than a bent arm. I mean, what if the ball is too far away from the bent arm? Are you not allowed to straighten it because then it'd become close to a straight arm? The amount of bend in the arm doesn't define the techniques.

    It's just a preference of where you'd like to contact the ball that results from having one type of forehand technique which uses pronation in the takeback. Nobody should be trying to force themselves to hit with their arm straight. The straight arm should be a result of the contact point.
     
    #53
  4. connico

    connico Rookie

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    Agree. Its all preference and any good coach will understand that all players need to be comfortable with their stroke. Bio-mechanically no two bodies are the same. But if you want to move to a straighter arm forehand, than a longer extension is required.

    The OP needs to think extension, reach and hitting way in front.
     
    #54
  5. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    I didn't say it was technically different but there are differences in contact points and other small differences.

    All I'm saying is that most people use a bent arm and that a bent arm is easier to learn and a straight arm requires better timing. In reference to your own example, what if the ball is too far away for a straight arm?

    And according to connico, adjusting your stroke 'leads to disaster'. But then again he also says most how-to videos teach a straight arm.
     
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  6. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    As i read it, all he is saying is that the double bend is easier than a SA, and that it is not biomechanically inferior. And on both points, I agree. There are just too many GREAT DB forehands to argue it is. (inferior)
     
    #56
  7. connico

    connico Rookie

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    and than again you say you have no issues with a straight arm forehand when clearly you do. Just because someone believes something different...

    and if you the ball is to far for a straight arm, its to far for a bent arm... So you move your feet to the ball. But hey, going by your opinion we shouldn't work on foot work because its to hard... to difficult to work master perfect foot work, let alone a perfect swing.

    Nothing is perfect. Reducing variables is essential in maintain consistency and a straight / straighter arm forehand helps with consistency.
     
    #57
  8. connico

    connico Rookie

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    Never said it was inferior.... You can use what you want to use, it matters not.
     
    #58
  9. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    I think the straight arm does allow you to accelerate a little more since your arm is effectively longer. It's really not going to make or break your forehand though, obviously you can be good with either technique.
     
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  10. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    But I seriously doubt they are trying to emulate Delpo. They're probably deviating from his stroke at some point. You should have a Delpo takeback, followed by an X forward swing. It's a package deal, to some extent.

    Think of it this way: There are tons of people who try (or tried) to emulate Federer or Nadal, and they probably had a worse experience.

    I'm saying, for many/most people, Delpo is a better model than Fed or Nadal because his stroke is more simple than theirs: He does not turn his palm down on the take back.
     
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  11. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    So you think people would be better off trying to emulate Federer or Nadal, vs. Delpo?

    In other words, if someone says, "I want a straight arm forehand", you would recommend Fedal?

    Don't people run into even more problems when they try to do that?


    I'm saying Delpo is a better model than Federer or Nadal (for most people). I'm not saying everyone, or even most people, should try to emulate him.
     
    #61
  12. connico

    connico Rookie

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    I wouldn't encourage the emulation of any players swing. There swing is has been developed and refined for them. Eumulating them could end up in a poor result. Instead I would encourage working with a proficient coach for a time to kick start the development of "ones" own stroke.

    If you cannot afford a coach or are too vain to get one, than yes emulation is fine. Yet when a player gets to a certain level they are not going to be able to progress unless they seek help from someone that has the ability to shape thier stroke biomechanically. A copy is still only a copy... it could be a pretty shocking copy and should be inspected tweaked and refined by a professional.
     
    #62
  13. enishi1357

    enishi1357 Rookie

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    well for me at least the first thing that really helps is how you feed. If you are not relax when you feed, you will not be relax in the rally. If you are not relax in the rally, you will have bent no matter how much you try to change. What everyone seems to not mention is that feeding is many of the basic element that distinguish a noob from a pro is how they feed. So first go learn how to feed properly.

    The second thing that I know at least federer does is windshield wiper forehand. If you hit it flat, the swing path will be shorter in a straight line so therefore if you can imagine it no matter how much you try there will always be bent. In ww fh, the swing path is longer so the arm has to be straight unless of course you are not relax in the first place.

    The third thing is nobody is perfect. There will be times where it comes out bent and times it is straight. Federer i think doesnt hit straight all the time. So don't be too hard on yourself if it doesnt comes out straight right away. I experimented countless times before coming out with something vaguely resembling to it.

    Lastly, don't take everyone suggestion to heart. At the end only you opinion matters. Federer's stroke is extremely complex and require a few tricks. But I assure you the above steps is the most important element in anyone's game.

    On a more personal note, I recorded 160gb of myself experimenting before coming up with something somewhat satisfying so you can imagine the effort it took coming from a complete mess of a form.
     
    #63
  14. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    I have learnt more through self teaching/video analysis than any advice from a coach as far as technique.. I know a coach who i hit with sometimes and he talks to me about aspects i should improve on and its mostly movement, shot selection etc. Not that my technique is great or anything

    From the coaches ive seen teach and have spoken to, its pretty rare for any coach to go to the level of detail thats discussed in these threads, even at higher levels.. i havent seen any real "shaping" of strokes other than forming basic technique. If a stroke has the basic fundamentals and the student is getting the ball over the net, then they arent looking at getting people in pronated positions, straight vs bent or whatever (from what ive seen)
     
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  15. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    First of all, I think you bring alot of good insight to this forum, but, I really disagree with you on this one.:)

    IMO, the easiest, most efficient way to "manage" the racquet face angle (in the forward swing) is to close it, (to a certain extent) in the backswing. So that when one rotatates, and pulls on the handle, the face opens up to its ideal angle. (grip dependent) There are many different backswing shapes, grips, etc. but most every good player uses this closed to "more open" system, in the transition from backswing to forward swing.

    Of course, it can become inherently more difficult as one tries to close, or pronate more in the backswing, as the necessary counter rotation of the arm increases. So this can definately be overdone.

    But, I would much rather see a player, close the racquet to a certain degree in the backswing, (sooner rather than later) then try and keep the racquet "on edge" throughtout, as Delpo does. That, requires more racquet face micromanagment IMO>
     
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  16. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Could not all this be simplified to say 1. rotate shoulders to side keeping both hands on racket head up and leading back with the elbow "pointing at back fence and slightly up, 2. when time to hit the ball, launch a continuous chain to pull the racket arm forward - chain is low to high knees, hips, shoulders and finally arm. 3. as racket hand start to be pulled forward, wrist should lay back naturally if grip/wrist very relaxed, 4. touch lower half of ball at impact, 4. pull racket head thru contact letting the head flow up and across body into follow thru, and 5. let forearm/wrist flow into WW follow thru with hand ending near right shoulder.

    Vic Braden coached "lead back with elbow" to shorten stroke and close racket face (palm down) 40 years ago.
     
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  17. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    I wouldn't emulate Delpo. His stroke has to be the ugliest forehand I've ever seen, and it's not going to give you the same spin potential that the Fedal technique does.
     
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  18. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    I never disagreed with any of this.

    What I am saying is that, of the forehands of Federer, Nadal, Verdasco and Del Potro, Del Potro's is, by far, the easiest to turn into a workable stroke. I don't think this has been disputed.

    Let me put this another way: Delpo has a 0-degree pronation on his takeback. Federer has about a 90-degree pronation (which is a lot). Which extreme is easiest to execute? If you had to choose one extreme to teach someone how to hit a decent straight arm within a reasonable amount of time, which would it be?

    If Federer's forehand were easy to emulate, then we'd see a lot more "baby Federers" with forehands that were actually like Federer's. But we don't, at least not yet. This suggests to me that a lot of talented people have tried and failed.

    I suppose time will tell, but it's been 8 years since Roger has been in the limelight. If we don't see young ATP players on tour wielding Fed forehands within the next few years, I think it would be safe to conclude that that stroke is prohibitively difficult for even serious and talented young players to deliberately learn. And for recreational players, with limited time and talent, it's even harder.

    This reminds me of Pete Sampras' serve. It's admittedly the GOAT serve, yet no one seems to be able to emulate it. Nor should they, since his racket drop is tough to time, and probably too hard for most people's shoulders. That's why people say Federer's serve is a better model than Sampras', even though Sampras' is the better stroke.


    No, what's even more ugly are failed attempts at emulating Federer. And there are a lot of those.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
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  19. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Yeah, lets just compare FED and Delpotro because they have similar grips, and so it's more of an apples to apples comparison. I agree, they represent opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of pronation in the backswing. As such, neither would be great models for a prospective student.

    But....if given the choice, (in terms of basic backswing characteristics) Fed would be a much better model. Some degree of inverting and/or pronating early in the backswing sequence is a good thing. (fed just happens to pronate throughout) It's certainly a better overall model than DP who's backswing is a hot mess. To start the sequence, he lifts and then shoves the racquet away from his midline (towards the side fence) and then opens the racquet if anything (doesn't even keep it "on edge") Because of this position at the beginning of the downswing, he has a huge "lateral" move to get the racquet back into the slot. (close to his hip) And because the racquet is open/on edge he has to rotate the racquet/arm significantly to close it at the bottom of the downswing. Neither one of these things are easy to manage. So no, I don't agree. In fact, he would be one of the worst to use as a model.
     
    #69
  20. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Emulating Delpo's forehand defeats the entire purpose of trying to have a straight arm. Unless the OP is going for purely the aesthetics or feel of having his arm straight, copying Delpo is a bad idea. The whole advantage of copying the Fed/Nadal/Verdasco type of stroke has to do with the advantages you get from the pronation.

    Also, just because you use a similar technique to these guys, it obviously doesn't mean you'll have a "Federer forehand". It's possible to use similar technique to these guys, but you're never going to be nearly as explosive or accurate.
     
    #70
  21. formula16

    formula16 Rookie

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    ok so forehand broke down again, back to the drawing board.

    i think im thinking about it too much, all this arm straightening shoulder rotating slingshot business.

    what are the key movements in a straight arm forehand. What i mean is what are the key moves that naturally cause the arm to straighten out at contact. Im sure the pros dont conciously think about straightening the arm out everytime.
     
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  22. Off The Wall

    Off The Wall Semi-Pro

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    IMO you should rethink your goal. Bent arm FHs aren't bad. Wouldn't you take a FH like Gasquet's? IMO a straight arm FH is more difficult to master and the payoff is minimal, even questionable for amateurs.
     
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  23. formula16

    formula16 Rookie

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    i know bent arms arent bad, but i just want to learn a straight arm because i think theres more potential. Anyhow argueing about bent vs straight and whether its worth it or not is not the point of this thread,

    Any tips from anyone who uses the straight arm? The tennisspeed blog which someone posted with the pictures of federer is quite helpful but the tennis jargon is kind of hard to understand.
     
    #73
  24. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    The straight arm forehand resembles the one handed backhand... It's a pendulum... a long one.

    the shoulder is it's axis. SHoulder turn is not a source of power, but to liberate the pendulum so the torso doesn't get in the way of the arm.

    learn the low contact point at first. Waist height is a piece of cake.

    shoulder height and head height balls are another story. The pendulum works still, but not with the gravity. There the source of power is indeed shoulder turn. But its a little bit more complicated.
     
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  25. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    I hit it, and it has a big power advantage.

    I wouldn't recommend it to really tall players, since they limbs are long and power is not an issue for them. The taller the better off they are with a bent arm FH.

    1.85 mts tall people can do whatever they want, they are in the tennis height sweetspot.
     
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  26. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    They don't. They naturally started with a straight arm forehand (I did) by instinct and the motion is further reinforced by repetition. If anything, I try to pronate and stretch my entire torso back, to have the most distance between the start of the forward swing up to contact. That torso stretch is also critical to stretch reflex that powers the arm. The torso significantly decelerates once facing net while the arm continues to move, essentially the whip or slingshot effect.
     
    #76
  27. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    The pendulum is the whole arm...at first the pendulum is the upper arm the elbow straightens making the whole arm the pendulum as it reaches its lower part where it is at its fastest only with gravity.

    the humerus swings, the forearm reaches and they follow together... it is not a coordination thing, is something you can experience by letting your arm do a natural pendulum without your own force, then you add the force.
     
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  28. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Yes. Just move your contact point more forward and you'll be forced to straighten your arm.
     
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  29. paulorenzo

    paulorenzo Hall of Fame

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    federer's forehand was closer to a double bend than a straight in his junior days. so it may come natural, but they don't necessarily start with it.
     
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  30. HodeClassicMP

    HodeClassicMP Rookie

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    Here is my take...

    We are kind of in the same boat. I hit well with double-bent forhand, but wanting to change to straight arm... it simply gives me more power and spin.

    Here is my own experience for key movement...
    1. relax the wrist
    2. naturally start racket backswing(at this point, the arm is bent)
    3. while backswing, you gradually pronate your forard. At the end of backswing, you will reach your max pronation angel(like other said, Federer could get 90 dregrees. Nadal even higher maybe 100?)
    4. Extend your forarm and pet the dog, at this point, your arm is straight! Which means, you start your forward swing with straight arm
    5. start forward swing, arm straight. The forward swing motion is acutally initialized by your leg, then your torso, then your shoulder, then your arm, so called kinetic chain. At this point, your wrist is relaxed, and froward swing(last chain is ur wrist) causes even more laid back wrist. This part, relax your wrist is crucial.
    6. Follow through. Once you reach this point, you just kind of let the swing taking care of business by itself. Still keeping wrist relaxed, and you will get so called "look at your watch" position. Then finish the whole stroke as your shoulder turned all the way to the front.

    Please anybody... correct me if I am wrong, I am still learning...

    I have some success with straight arm forhand, but it is not consistent enough. Once it is on, oh man... the power and spin, you will feel you are in sky high... :)

    Good luck ...
     
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  31. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    i'd suggest just watching slo mo video of Nadal and practice a ton. REPETITION!!
    eventually u'll have a great straight arm forehand.
     
    #81
  32. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    No one should say either bent or straight is better.
    Each is proven to work at the highest level (straight-Federer/Rafa) (bent-Djokovic)
    just a matter of personal preference.
     
    #82
  33. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    The last thing you should be thinking about is whether your arm is straight or not. It's just something that happens as a result of the technique. Federer and Nadal will commonly hit forehands without a straight arm if they're slightly out of position.
     
    #83
  34. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Not if you want to learn how to hit the straight-arm fh, as the OP does.

    A number of top players have proven the technique, so it isn't correct to dismiss it out of hand to someone who wants to hit that way. A lot of what pros do is now subconscious, but it wasn't at a point when they were learning. Tennis isn't exactly natural to anyone.

    I suggest that anyone wanting to learn the technique model it on a pro. You should shadow swing the technique in front of a mirror or camera to make sure you're hitting the required points. After a couple thousand repetitions you might not have to think about it on court.
     
    #84
  35. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    I have hit successfully with both elbow flexion and extension at contact, on my forehand. It does work and, yes, you tend to stick to one hitting position over an other -- it becomes an habit and, soon enough, you just forget that you'Re doing it.

    I have even hit forehands with the entire array of grips that you see on the tour today: all the way from eastern to the most extreme full western you could find. I have struck with an extended elbow with virtually all those grips, except the full western (I couldn't get the contact right with it) and I have hit a bent arm forehand with all of them, except the eastern (I couldn't manage to hit a proper windshield wiper forehand with an eastern grip and a bent arm). I went from a catastrophe to a wonderful shot using everyone of these combinations, always switching for different reasons and always spending hours hitting hundreds of forehands to get the hang of it. And, believe it or not, I also went back and forth between backhands.

    Every time it feels weird and, then, it starts becoming more of a second nature and there's a reason for this: knowledge and habits are social and psychological constructions. He wishes to learn to hit with a straight arm... Fine. But, get a model and practice hard.

    I would also give an advice, grip-wise. Grips do not change a lot your spin production., but it does make you lean toward certain trajectories more than others. I have found it extremely annoying to swap my western grip for a continental during game play and it became obvious when I tried bringing my girlfriend into playing tennis... Try hitting softly with a western grip -- you are more hero if you can -- or try using the continental, or the eastern, for some touchy shots when you are used to a full western. It goes way out of whack because you're used to a face which is far more closed and, therefore, to a forearm which allows the face to open a lot more.

    The point is that going for less extreme, such as with a mild semi-western or a very definitive eastern can ease your game a lot if you enjoy using the whole court. It also makes it easier to deal with the straight arm thing... trying to make a good contact, using WW finish and dealing with an extreme grip all at once can become really, really annoying.
     
    #85

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