Left arm = zombie arm

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by freelans, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. freelans

    freelans Rookie

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    My left arm (I'm right handed) looks absolutely dead when I hit.
    Watching some vids of myself, I notice that my left arm goes down and in on forehands instead up up and away.
    On backhands (one handed) I forget to spread my left arm back.

    I know I need to remember to do this but when I'm focused on the ball I fail to do so.

    Any tips on how to ingrain proper left arm motion?

    Thanks.
     
    #1
  2. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Concentrate on finding the ball with your left hand.

    If that's not working, then try a few shadow swings while standing on just your right foot, only letting the left foot drop when you swing through contact point.
     
    #2
  3. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    try to feel a good stretch on the left side your back by extending left arm in front of you before the forward swing. as a matter of fact let that stretch lead the timing of the torso rotation.
     
    #3
  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You need that left arm to balance out the right flailing around behind you, so keep BOTH elbows up and away from your body when you backswing.
     
    #4
  5. firepanda

    firepanda Professional

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    It doesn't matter if it's zombie-like, as long as it doesn't impede a nice smooth rotation of the torso. At least, that's what I was taught.

    I tend to tuck my right (I'm left-handed) elbow behind me during the follow-through. I seem to remember that Agassi (?) did something strange with his right arm on his forehands. In the end it doesn't matter and no-one notices it anyway.
     
    #5
  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I don't think it's possible to play decent tennis with only one arm working, the other along for the ride only.
    We need balance more than anything else, and the oft arm balances out the hitting arm for the hitting turret of the shoulders.
    When we run, we swing both arms. Stands to reason, if we're really hitting the ball hard, against a hard incoming ball, we need both arms working for the good of our balance.
    Balance separates the good players from the bad.
     
    #6
  7. bradsm01

    bradsm01 Rookie

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    #7
  8. freelans

    freelans Rookie

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    Personally, I feel like this is an effect of not engaging my core enough and just using my shoulders and wrist to "arm" the ball.

    It certainly feels less intuitive and even less powerful to reach or stretch out with my left arm (With a dead arm, I get a whippy action which feels more powerful but I believe it compromises too much control) but stretching out with the left are seems more controlled and balanced when I check it out on video.

    When I engage my core, I seem to get a slower more controlled rotation but my left arm tends to stretch out more and it "looks better" if that's worth anything.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
    #8
  9. freelans

    freelans Rookie

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    Great vids :)
    They really made me realize again how amazing those players were with their traditional strokes. Traditional strokes seem so intuitive (almost like a person without any training would hit the ball) yet the modern strokes seem more fluid and powerful. After watching Laver, I'm almost starting to doubt whether the modern stroke has that much of an advantage over the traditional.
     
    #9
  10. henryshli

    henryshli Semi-Pro

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    I don't think it matters that much. Granville from TW also has a "lazy" left arm and he plays pretty good!

    I find that it helps to keep my left hand on the throat of the racket as I rotate my shoulders for the take back. And then when I open my left shoulder to iniate the swing my left arm naturally rotates with the left shoulder
     
    #10
  11. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    The left arm going outwards is just a product of the shoulders opening and helping your body come around gaining torque. As your body comes around pulling your arm inwards helps you gain extra speed as you come around.

    Also, be careful when watching "old" tennis. There are a lot of other contributing factors than just pure kinetics. No jumping on the serves were a rule. Grunting was discouraged. I could totally see flailing arms being ungentlemanly. Also, 2HBH's were "weak" and "unusual" back then.
     
    #11
  12. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    I can only imagine the "dead" left arm standing out and looking that way if you are not rotating with your hips or shoulders enough and just arming the ball. If you have your left hand supporting the frame as you turn sideways and then rotate hips/shoulders again as you hit the ball, a tucked or loose left arm wouldn't stand out or look so bad since everything is rotating together.

    If you remember to take the racket back with your left arm (here's a basic vid, see step 2: http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/video-tennis-lessons/forehand/forehand-fundamentals/) and also remember to hit by rotating your hips quickly and not so much with the arm, your whole stroke along with your non hitting arm should look good.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
    #12
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Traditional strokes matter less, because you're not swing nearly as hard.
    Modern forehands are hit with much more force and spin, needing more balance from the players.
     
    #13
  14. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    You also can improve your serve by using the off L arm. Keep it up high pointing at the ball until you start forward motion. Also, you can pull it down against chest to slow off side and speed up R side as it swings to contact. Watch video of Federer and Sampras serve and watch how they use their L arm.
     
    #14

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