mechanics of a flat trajectory, topspin forehand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by forehandbackhand21, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    Hi guys,

    I've been hitting a somewhat spinny forehand lately, one that doesn't get much pace or depth. Im seeing other tournament players like me hit really "heavy" balls, ones that dont clear the net more than 4 feet but are very consistent, and they rarely land inside the service line. They have lots of pace on them but lots of spin too... and they're not loopy at all.

    How do I achieve this? Specifically, how do I keep my wrist before, during and after contact? Right now, my wrist is pretty loose before contact during the takeback, then it lays back as I do the unit turn. The problem with this is sometimes my wrist doesn't lay back right, and I hit a really weak ball. So should the wrist be laid back all through the swing and then release (pronate) right after contact? I'm really confused, and I think all my other mechanics are right but my wrist is the only thing that is holding me back from these flat, penetrating, topspin forehands.

    Cheers
     
    #1
  2. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I hit that shot. There is a lot that goes into it, and the wrist is probably the last element. You want to be turned to the side and prepped before the ball bounces. Get your weight shifting from your right to left foot on your stroke and use your offhand and hips to swing the racquet. That will take the wrist out of the equation.

    Another thing i do to set my wrist is when i turn to prep the racquet, i make sure the tip is pointed up to the sky before i let go of the stick. I do this while stalking the ball and turning.

    Other thing that helps is using an 18x20 pattern. It is not a must but it does lower the trajectory of the ball and allows you to really drive it deep with spin like you are describing.
     
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  3. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    I don't think suggesting to use the off hand to swing the racquet is advisable w/o telling him how/when to do that otherwise that would have the opposite of the desired effect.
     
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  4. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    Ok, so you set your wrist before the swing starts, am I correct? Sounds good, I'm always debating whether to set it before the swing or let it lay back itself during the swing
     
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  5. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Well you can go ahead and take over then, i am just illustrating the main points i worked on that developed my forehand. Check out lock n roll tennis for more details and visuals. It is hard to cover this in detail since there are so many variables.

    But yes, i set my wrist by making sure my racquet is pointing to the sky before i let go of it with my offhand. Really helps with consistent contact.
     
    #5
  6. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    I've got an 18x20 racquet haha, its the blx six one 95
     
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  7. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    loose wrist. loose arm.
     
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  8. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    wait, what, power player just said set your wrist before contact.
     
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  9. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    haha. sorry man. no, you go ahead. no prob.
    actually i was addressing you as a test in that post more than him. lol. sorry.
    The off hand should be used which i agree with.
    But when do you use it?
     
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  10. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I should clarify when i say set my wrist, it is not fixed or locked in or anything, it is just in the proper position for a relaxed swing. If you feel like you are using your arm or wrist to swing, you are doing it wrong.
     
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  11. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    I see... and do you drive through the ball? like, fully extend your arm
     
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  12. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    yes. you should probably follow power players advice. ultimately you want a loose loose wrist. but i'm assuming you're probably not completely ready for that yet as that is more advanced and takes a lot of practice and discipline.
    most rec players don't use a completely loose wrist.

    so setting the wrist is fine for where you're at. again i'm assuming. it's easy to deal with and you'll be able to work on proper weight transfer and swing path.
    if you move up a level or so in the future and you have solid strokes then you can try going for the super loose wrist.
     
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  13. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    by that I mean, hitting through 3/4 balls type thing (if youve heard of that concept)
     
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  14. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    yes. this is good. not fixed. not locked. look at any hd slo mo of a very good player. the wrist is like spaghetti. the closer you get to that the better you'll be.
     
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  15. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    uh oh... here we go.. :)
     
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  16. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    hehehe this must be a pesky thing on the message boards i suppose?
     
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  17. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I hit real loose. The main reason i suggest setting that wrist at first is because you may be dropping the racquet head early and not realizing it. This will ensure that you wont do that and will build a habit really quickly.


    The end result is to be able to hit big shots while staying loose and using proper timing and weight transfer to hit the ball. Long story short, i believe solving the wristy stroke issue many times needs to start with making sure the footwork and prep is correct.
     
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  18. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    hitting thru 3-4 is associated with the last gen of strokes with neutral/closed stance and not recommended these days w/ angular momentum and open stance. it's always highly debated here but majority would say no to that.
     
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  19. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Q to you.. so when do you fire that offhand?:)
     
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  20. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    Ok, now I'm curious because thats exactly what used to happen to me... I had a really loose floppy wrist and I'd violently drop my racquet head very harshly.. it was a jerky movement. How is the wrist and dropping the racquet head connected?
     
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  21. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    I'd also like to know =D
     
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  22. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    But the funny thing is, a really popular and successful academy I used to go to advocated this EVERY SINGLE DAY. it was like their religion or something... 4 ball contactism... lol
     
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  23. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    It happens as a result of my hips opening up. Tough to describe but its after the hip i would guess. Its all a pretty fluid motion for me.

    If you drop the racquet head too early you can fall into the trap of using the wrist actively in the swing to correct it. What helped me to fix it for good was to always have the tip pointing up during prep. To ensure this i would use my offhand to adjust the racquet..now it is grooved in and i have a consisent racquet drop.
     
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  24. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    3-4 balls is good for lower to med level forehands and is a good teaching method to get students to get the feel and learn proper follow thru. It works great for 95% of players. It's fine imo. I'll bet the coaches at that academy do not say that to their top players tho. Anyway I always stay out of that debate. It gets pretty heated here with that. I"m surprised this thread is not 5 pages long already haha
     
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  25. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Cool. You pass. Good job. :) Some ppl when you tell them to use their offhand to swing the racquet they will make that movement too early in the swing and short circuit the kinetic chain. But I guess you know that.
     
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  26. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    Hitting through 3-4 balls is still applicable in the modern game but only when you are attempting to flatten out the ball and go for a forcing shot. You would not go through the hitting zone that way on a standard rally ball that has to clear the net by several feet.
     
    #26
  27. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    True, true, the coaches probably dont say that to their most accomplished kids
     
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  28. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    That explains a lot... cool! Thanks, and thank you too Cheetah :D
    S/O to OHBH for his input too hehe
     
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  29. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    agree. i was talking standard rally ball w/ open stance
     
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  30. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    #30
  31. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    wrong link
     
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  32. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    You pronate your forearm during the forehand takeback and then let the arm naturally supinate as it comes through as you brush up and across the ball for topspin.

    Combine that technique with a flatter swing path and you get the heavy topspin flatter trajectory shot. Unless you're at least 4.5 now, it's probably not even worth messing with.
     
    #32
  33. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    1st, likely the thing to help you most is to NOT get too much below the contact
    point on your backswing, resulting in a more level swing into and thru contact.
    Do still get slightly below it though.

    As to hitting thru 3-5 balls, its a matter of understanding the contact better.
    The key imo is to know that the hitting thru 3 balls can help some to get better
    drive out thru the ball, but can also mess up some who take it more literally and
    have the physical awareness
    to try to actually keep the racket on the target line
    out past contact. The racket face should actually work an ARC thru the
    target line that intersects at the contact point. To get more power, that arc
    should track more closely inline with the target line, and the arc will deviate from
    the line more for more spin on shots.
    A person who has the awareness to take it more literally when hitting out thru
    3 balls can spoil the arc of their swing with it leading to depth control problems; which imo is quite common with rec players.
     
    #33
  34. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    just like a higher spin but lean a little more into the shot and it will do low over the net.
     
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  35. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    You also shouldn't be consciously trying to do things with your wrist during the swing. You should be able to set it up during your takeback and have it naturally lay back as you swing through as a result of your racket head lagging behind your arm.
     
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  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Loosen up for a loopy, topspin, no pace ball.
    TIGHTEN up for a drive that goes low, flatter, and much faster.
     
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  37. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    So can we hit these drives as normal rally balls? I don't want to hit with no pace
     
    #37
  38. forehandbackhand21

    forehandbackhand21 New User

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    Everyone else is saying to stay loose, also
     
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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Do not lay your wrist back, like a WTA forehand. Just relax the wrist, allowing the racket to loop to the correct position.
    Other problems exist.
    You don't state your grip.
    You don''t state your stance.
    Obviously, you're swinging from too low to too high. So flatten your swingpath, first and foremost.
     
    #39
  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Or just switch to an Eastern forehand and hit the wall a bunch.
     
    #40
  41. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    The short answer is, pronate your elbow at the end of the backswing, shallow the swing path (not too low to high) and apply full windsheild wiper....These independent variables will TEND to flatten the trajectory while still maintaining a nice roll of spin.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2012
    #41
  42. jk816

    jk816 Rookie

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    My typical rally ball has a fairly hard, flat trajectory that bends down sharply (usually pretty deep, I am often a bit surprised they still go in!). Net clearance is typically 1-4 foot. I use a semi-open to neutral stance with what I’d say are modern influenced classic strokes. I do hit more through the ball than across it (yes probably 3-4 balls worth, but there is a lot of rotational energy imparted, not just linear).

    So I am familiar with the kind of shots you refer to and the simple answer is to flatten out a bit more. But that may not be all you are seeing. Pretty much all strokes these days go up, out and around; the differences tend to lie on which vector component is emphasized. Too vertical and you may lack plow-through (although it allows for more RHS and great spin which can both control and make the ball jump on the bounce). Too flat and it is easy to overhit long or miss into the net. You really need to feel for yourself how flat will get you the result you seek.

    But I’ve also found racquet choices and string setups play big role. I can really get the aforementioned rally ball result with a heavier racquet. Less RHS but great plowthrough which carries the ball flatter and deeper before its momentum drops and allows the spin to have its effect. My same stroke using a lighter racquet doesn’t have that plow and I need to compensate with more RHS and higher spin rates. And the trajectory changes a bit (loopier). Hence I like hitting with the heavier stick, but some circumstances are better with the lighter racquet.

    Another factor for me is ball height at contact and the grip; balls around the eyeballs can be tough to drive; knee to navel are easier, but I need to make contact with a partially closed face to impart the topspin I need. How you “lay back your wrist” to make contact is up to you; I’d tend to find making sure that as my racquet comes forward to make sure I “pat the dog” helps as well as feeling I’m pulling the handle towards contact (must be out in front!).

    I don’t think you want “keep” your wrist in any way, as that can lead you to tighten up which will be counterproductive. In my good strokes (plenty of bad ones unfortunately …) as I “pull” the racquet handle to contact at the proper point the racquet head catches up, passes and rotates around the hand, naturally pronating and leads the around part of the stroke, shoulder and core rotation following to its termination (note this is not forced, but a natural follow through if you started your stroke with rotation from the ground up). The most relatable motion that seems similar to me is if you went throw a pitch sidearm or maybe flicked a frisbee with an inside out motion (from external rotation). It shouldn’t feel held or forced but fluid.

    But that’s just what works for me; gives me the “sensations” to feel when doing well and helping to set muscle memory. There are other descriptions or “tricks” to get you into the same spot. A good pro may help. My problems are more consistency in footwork, spacing and watching the ball. Hope this helps.
     
    #42

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