is there a simple way to just flatten the damn forehand??

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Rozroz, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    it appears that i'm still not even close to understanding this :mad:
    couldn't find a thread explaining this, so i ask again, sorry.

    well: i know that every forehand i hit will be relatively top spinned.

    but when i see Berdych hit those flat bombs (not just high balls, but when he needs to just put the ball away skidding low), i don't get what i need to do.
    i think i never succeeded doing that, even by mistake.
    it's a weapon i feel i need but still just haven't figured out correctly.

    my coach told me to go forward with the stroke motion, etc.
    well, all i know is that he could hit those lower faster balls at me that skid fast and low, whenever he chooses to. i'm still far from getting the "trick".

    but i thought maybe some of you have some basic simple fundamentals i could just learn to use also while i practice by myself,
    to finally feel that my balls go off flatter and lower...

    there isn't ONE video on YT that deals with the specific flattening.
    and i cannot understand what to do differently even when i carefully try watching various slow motion videos.
    it still somehow looks the same to me.

    i apologize if it's a repeated question. thanks.
     
    #1
  2. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    Well, there really is no "trick" to hitting flat. Like other shots in tennis, it is all about the path the racket head takes through-the-ball.

    If you are now hitting with moderate to heavy topspin, then your stroke begins with the racket dropping low on the backswing and driving through the ball at about a 45 degree angle (or so). To hit with less topspin allow the racket to drop less on the backswing and drive through the ball at (more like a 5 degree angle low-to-high.

    Obviously, you will have to "adjust" a bit by "aiming" the ball lower over the net than you do with your topspin shot-- otherwise you will be hitting way to long.

    Rather than try to learn the new stroke in the middle of a match, take some time to practice- especially by having someone toss you some set-up balls, or just hitt back to you, easily, so you have time to focus on the new sensation/stroke.
     
    #2
  3. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    thanks, i hope i'll manage to get this.
    still, even when i try to do what you suggest, i just cannot figure out how to "make" myself go through the ball. i will still brash the ball more than simply "Go through" it,
    so the result will still be a spinny jumpy ball and not skiddy and low.
    hope i'm clear.
     
    #3
  4. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I understand that there is the mental element involved. It is hard to overcome a habit/strole that has been drilled into your muscle-memory.

    Take your time. Practice. You might try imagining an arrow piercing the ball through its dead center and pointing about a foot (or so) above the net. With your racket head (basically) perpendicular to the court (not too open or closed) drive your racket head through the path of the arrow from one end to the other. You can even try watching yourself practice the stroke in front of a large window- swing your normal topspin shot, then the "flat" shot. The flat shot may "feel" wrong, but if it looks correct (smooth, no hitches) in the reflecton, then keep swinging/practicing until you can easily control the degree of spin you want to impart to the ball.
     
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  5. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    this will also help a lot, thanks.
     
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  6. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    You have to be willing to just lower the trajectory and go for it, no real trick to it. I hit high loopy top spin most of the time but flatten it out when I step into the court with time to set up on a shorter ball.

    I can hit the flatter shot pretty good at times but it is a much higher risk shot. That is why I don't use it as often as I could, because a lot of times it is to risky and hate giving away to many points.

    I watched berdych today and he lost, ya it is great to watch when he is crushing those flat shots but he also makes a lot of errors going for them. Plus he is very tall so that helps him go flatter and of coarse he is a pro.

    Some of the 5.0 older players at my club hit this way, eastern grips and rip it low. Its impressive to watch these guys hit that hard and flat but they don't hit the net that often. But these guys have played since they were young and everybody used continental or eastern grips when they learned to play and they have perfected the flat trajectory shot.
     
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  7. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    yes of course i'm aware it's a high risk shot.
    so i DO need to change my grip to a bit more eastern?
    because Bagumbawalla did not mention this.
    or will this just mess up my muscle memory?
     
    #7
  8. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    You don't have to change your grip, a player can use full western and still hit the ball flat. The problem I think some have myself included is you are used to using spin and some loop on your shots which is a built in safety that gives great consistency. To flatten out and live closer to the net is more risky and goes against what your used to.

    So you just need to really practice bringing the trajectory down and don't get discouraged just keep working on it. I use full western grip and have been practicing hitting flatter shots myself. I have learned that I can still hit over the net by a couple of feet and produce a much flatter shot than usual. So you don't have to barely clear the net to hit flat just a little lower than what you normally do.

    What I have found is I need to hit through the shot well to make it consistent, with the grip I use I still get plenty of spin even with a flatter trajectory. So I just lower the trajectory and let it rip with more level follow through than usual, not so much up the back of the ball swing.
     
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  9. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    I would advise against changing grips for different groundstrokes- Changing one thing (the racket path through the ball) is enough-- the more things you try to change (at the same time) the more complex things become.

    Keep it as simple as possible.

    Though heavy topspin may come "more naturally" with an extreme Western grip- and "flat" with a Continental- Nadal, for example, can hit a fast, flat ball at will, and someone like Laver (old-style Continental) was known for his topspin.
     
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  10. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    People Who Post Spoilers Suck

    OMG ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???!!!?

    i'm watching the match right now and he just won the first set. Oh well there goes my enjoyment for the rest of the match. thanks a lot.

    NO SPOILERS ON THIS FORUM!!!!
    WTF??? DOESN'T EVERYBODY KNOW THIS BY NOW??!!


    DAMMMIT! :mad: :mad:
     
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  11. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    I feel your pain, Cheetah-- but

    -People are always going to forget about/not know about the spoiler rule (especially in TT/I where current pro matches aren't discussed that much).

    -Going on a tennis forum if you're watching a delayed match and don't want to know about it is an inherently risky proposition.
     
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  12. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    There's no need to change your grip. My guess is that some aspect of your technique is preventing you from driving through the ball. Even when a pro or other high level player hits with heavy topspin, there is a drive element to the stroke, which means that it isn't that hard to increase or decrease spin at will. Players who use the wrong parts of their bodies to stroke the ball may struggle to add or subtract spin. Without seeing a video of your strokes, there is no way to tell what's going on.
     
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  13. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    they aren't discussed in TT/I because you're not supposed to discuss them here.

    Agreed and it's my own fault. But people that post spoilers still suck though.
     
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  14. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    You can pracice flat hitting by feeding yourself easy balls that bounce well above the net, around the service line. And just crush them before they drop below the net. The secret is to have a higher backswing, and swing across the ball following through across your body, rather than upwards above your shoulder.

    That will give you a feel for how to hit flatter, then you can apply it in less extreme ways to your baseline game.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    1. Use a wall to hit against.
    2. Shorten backswing, flatten swingpath, by spreading your fingers on the grip to somewhat lock your wrist. Don't turn over on the followthru, instead drive straight at the target. Don't try to create RHS.
     
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  16. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Sorry but when I watch a delayed match I never come to this site until match is over.
     
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  17. Velvet Ga el

    Velvet Ga el Rookie

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    Let's hit the basics. First, the easiest way IMO to practice hitting flatter is to fix your racquet path, which is the biggest contributor to topspin. To do this, try and keep your racquet head from dipping well below the level of the ball on the backswing. My guess is you get the top part of the racquet well below the ball, which is why you hit solid topspin. Practice hitting where you get the top part of your racquet no lower than the ball. It won't be easy at first, but if you pull it off, you'll feel your follow through naturally go more into the court instead of towards the sky, and the ball will flatten out for you.

    Second, if you're not having much luck with that, take a look at your grip. Although you can hit with different racquet paths from extreme grips, a solid western grip naturally leads to a low to high racquet path. If you're at a western or a strong semiwestern, try to back off it on some shots to see how your racquet path responds. It may not change at all, but I would bet that your path will shallow out a bit simply by the grip change.
     
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  18. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    Drive through the plane of the ball. Focus on finishing lower, more around the shoulder area. Watch Federer when he crushes the short ball. That's ideal. Have your weight moving forward and really extend towards the target
     
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  19. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    thanks, so many great tips!
    i liked the tip about spreading my fingers on the grip for less spin.
    it's time to practice. maybe a ball machine will help me here.
     
    #19
  20. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Cheetah is right.

    No spoilers.

    Don't be a killjoy. Talk about older matches if you have to.
     
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  21. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Have a more vertical racket face and "slap" the ball.
     
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  22. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    i understand all the logic and instructions,
    i just wish i had a good slow motion video of someone giving a good flattening.
    would help a lot to understand the fundamentals.
     
    #22
  23. toly

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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
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  24. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    #24
  25. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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  26. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    #26
  27. hawk eye

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    #27
  28. MachiA.

    MachiA. Banned

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    A Grip more eastern makes it easier to hit flat.

    Finish over shoulder makes it more easier too.

    High friction string setup is an advantage for flat hitting (full gut, rough nylon, sticky multi, shaped multi, locked strings).

    KR
     
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  29. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    yes, but as you yourself are a flat hitter by nature, do you have a more usual western grip and do you change it to flatten?
     
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  30. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    A vote for starting the shot only slightly below the ball and ending not above the shoulder, but rather shoulder height or lower. So you pull the racket more foreward through the ball than swing it upwards.
     
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  31. mightyrick

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  32. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    also watched this one.
    the problem with learning it the Agassi way is that his grip was basically different than today's, so it's gonna be more tough to imitate.
     
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  33. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Actually, it isn't. Agassi hits with an extreme eastern grip, which is Federer's grip. Several pros hit with this grip.

    The important thing is to look at how Agassi swings at the ball. He doesn't really drop the racquet head below the ball. He drops the racquet head until it is even with the contact point and then brings it forward.

    It's exactly the same as a regular topspin stroke except you don't let the racquet head drop below the level of the ball.
     
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  34. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    thanks for this.
     
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  35. PhrygianDominant

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    Do a loopy stroke for a loop ball, do a flat stroke for a flat ball

    [​IMG]
     
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  36. MachiA.

    MachiA. Banned

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    I started with more western but changed it in early years to eastern.

    If i want i can produce with eastern spin too.

    With eastern you can also play longer to a higher age.

    Extremer grip plus extremer swing is only working until a certain age.

    Sampras can hit monster FHs still in his high age, relaxed and free of unhealthy tension.

    Fed with his extremer grip and swing has already now problems.

    Most of opponents play more extreme these days.

    I observe that a flat, deep ball with pace is not easy to manage with a western.



    Agassi hits way more eastern than Fed and also way more flatter.

    KR
     
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  37. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    i hope your grim observation is exaggerated :(
     
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  38. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    The grip matters. If you are too far western it can be trickier to hit the ball you are describing. Id suggest at least a sw grip. It will help you orient the racquet face better.
     
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  39. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    I think the easiest thing to try is to adopt a more neutral stance.

    I never change my grip just to flatten the ball (I use SW). The only time I will shift my grip at the baseline is if I'm countering a deep looper with another looper -- I will move my grip a teeny bit more western for that extra spin -- but in this scenario you have TIME to change your grip a bit.

    Anyway, I think rec players should still keep some topspin even if they are going for a flatter winner. Margin of error + you don't need that extra bit of speed from a flat shot. The pros are a lot faster and that extra pace matters at their level.
     
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  40. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I pretend I'm hitting through 4 balls at once if I want to hit flat. It's a more classical way of hitting , but it works.
     
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  41. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    Somewhere someone said hit through 4 balls in a straight line, not literally, but imagine having to hit through them and you should get the trajectory you're looking for.

    And take LeeD's advice. The easiest way is to hit the wall so you can see the angle coming and going.

    One advantage of old school is we learned to hit flat first.
     
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  42. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    hmmm... sounds like a good trick, this "4 balls" thingy :)
     
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  43. MachiA.

    MachiA. Banned

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    @ OP

    Good thing is, when you can hit flat, deep, with pace (more easy with eastern) the western grip owner on the other side of the net has problems.


    In your position i would change to an eastern grip.
    With this change you can also play more tennis in your life.

    KR
     
    #43
  44. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Berdych isn't hitting it flat. He's hitting a flat trajectory topspin shot, just like federer and nadal can do. The reason he hits flatter more often is because he uses a really heavy racket, so he's getting much more power into the ball but can generate less racket head speed and hence less topspin.

    Make no mistake, he's not hitting that flat. Flat trajectory, still has good amount of rotation.
     
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  45. ricki

    ricki Professional

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    Semi-western works perfect for both: Just follow-through horizontally for flat hit and over-the-shoulder for loopy...
     
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  46. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    ok, maybe it's not flat, but it looks like it stays fairly low to the ground.
    anyway, i know from my own experience,
    i have a few partners that produce those skiddy low forehands, you know, those balls that "attack your legs" if they come at you.
    i can barely reach them, they're surprising, aggressive, and i mostly return them defensively.
    i will not rest until i have that in my arsenal!!
     
    #46
  47. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    ok, that eases my mind a bit, thanks
     
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  48. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    Yeah Berdych's shot looks flat but has a good deal of spin.
    There's this guy around here who used to play juniors w/ Berd, has some similar elements to him in terms of forehand and serve. When he hits flat trajectory he tends to push down on the ball more but lift with his legs, so he gets the vertical component for spin from his legs and the flat trajectory from the level swing. Might be something to try.
     
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  49. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    Buy a heavy wood racquet and use it for a couple of practice sessions. It will force you to hit thru the ball. Once you get a feel for this it should help you do this with your normal racquet.
     
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  50. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    LOL i have my grandpa's wooden racket. nice thought.
     
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