Modern Forehand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by PhatAbbott, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. PhatAbbott

    PhatAbbott Rookie

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    Well im using Agassi as my forehand model. From what I can see he uses very little arm movement and uses mostly his torso for the shot.

    The problem I find is keeping my wrist laid back all the way through the hit. I often find it slacks a little or moves forward trying to gain control. This means I loose accuracy and consistency.

    Do I need to build up more wrist strength or just keep practising it?
     
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  2. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Agassi does have a release just prior to contact. If you lay back your wrist back right now you will see what I mean. Now relax it, it should go back to its normal state.

    Agassi uses this "spring back" effect to help accelerate the racquet and also act as a shock absorber.

    I would lay the wrist back to what is comfortable for you. Everyone is different. My wrist locks back and downward. I keep it there for most of the forward swing right up until impact which is when I let it go. Mind you, I am still in control. It is not some floppy uncontrolable wrist when I release. I am sort of "letting a little air out of the tires" so to speak.

    Take a look: http://www.uspta.com/html/e-lesson-Open stance forehand 1.swf

    Good model of choice though.
     
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  3. PhatAbbott

    PhatAbbott Rookie

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  4. gerli

    gerli Rookie

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    I have the same problem like you. For me it was very helpful to focus not so much, bringing the butt end of the racquet to the ball instead of bringing the palm of your hand to the ball. This helps me a lot to hit through the ball on a longer straight line. The wrist movement is the result of hitting trough the ball so I can compleat agree with your link.
     
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  5. PhatAbbott

    PhatAbbott Rookie

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    Thanks Gerli I guess its all about keeping it simple.
     
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  6. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    PhattAbbott,

    I know what you mean. I am in agreement with the article and I am in understanding of what the writer is getting at. The wrist on both examples above shows Agassi''s wrist in a fixed position and barely moves at least to the human eye.

    Agassi is well known for his wrist release just at contact. I dont think your going to pick this up so easily. However, it does not mean he does it on every shot.

    The main point you can learn is the wrist stays pretty much fixed throughout the forward swing and contact. The release I am talking about is not a visual thing you are going to pick up, it is more of the feeling of release and if you did the exercise I was talking about above, you would see it is a very very small movement. You could very well leave that part out if you wanted and still have a stroke resembling Agassi's forehand.

    The wrist release is not for eveyone.
     
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  7. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Relase, Snap or what??

    Since that piece of high speed video came from our foundation Advanced Tennis (and we were pleased to have USPTA use it on their site), I have a couple of thoughts. It's funny but I once heard Andre himself say he used a lot of wrist on his forehand! But the clip referenced here shows minimal movement until well after contact. On some of the dozens of others we filmed at 250 frames you can see something like what I think BB is describing. The wrist comes slightly forward from the maximum laid back position. That is, the angle is less severe just before contact--and yes you can see the wrist at times actually forced back further (slightly anyway) by the contact.
    Now my own opinion is that this happens as a natural consequence of the forward swing--assuming you are nice and relaxed. The drive to the ball is still with the palm of the hand--and there is definitely nothing happening at contact in terms of a "snap"--in fac if anything the wrist can be more laid back after contact.
     
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  8. Brent Pederson

    Brent Pederson Semi-Pro

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    Wow! A celebrity among our ranks!

    John, I just wanted to let you know that you are single-handedly responsible for my being such a tennisaholic! I've played casually since junior high (I'm now 47), but wasn't any good. Took a class in college, didn't help much at all. All the tennis instruction I'd ever seen or heard was of the turn-step-hit variety, which, needless to say, was pretty much getting me nowhere.

    About 15 years ago, I happened upon one of your books in the local library, and my world was transformed. Suddenly I was seeing the strokes broken down precisely, the myths busted, and the error of my previous ways enlightened. My game improved instantly! I must have read that book 5 or 10 times at least! Easily the best book ever written on tennis instruction IMO. The only other one that comes close is Braden's "tennis for the future", but yours takes it all to another level.

    I just wish I had this kind of info when I was first starting out, I would have been able to play on my high school team, college, etc.

    Nowadays, I just play for fun, though I'm a pretty competitive type. I'm about a 4-4.5. Frequently I see a beginner out struggling on the courts, flapping their wrist around, swinging in a circle like a gate, and I can't help but take pity on them. Many times I've offered to give them a tip or two, and, by showing them the double-bend arm position, the fixed-wrist, and the linear swing, within five minutes or so, they are hitting the ball so much better they are amazed! Some have said they took lesson after lesson, yet learned more from the couple of minutes of your tips than they had from all their paid instruction.

    Anyway, obviously hearing this kind of stuff is probably not new to you, but I just wanted to express my appreciation for what you've passed on to those of us who really needed it.

    And, ladies and gentlemen, pay attention when this man posts on this board, for he knows of what he speaks!
     
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  9. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Wow. I've heard a few similar things before, but I can stand to hear it again... Thanks Brent. Email if you want to get on the update list for our new instructional website. It'll be up sometime later in the season. videoten@isp.net
     
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  10. PhatAbbott

    PhatAbbott Rookie

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    Thanks for your reply John. Agassi looks very loose and relaxed with his laid back position. Almost as if the forward momentum drags his wrist back.

    Its interesting. When I look at Federer's face there is barely any signs of effort. Yet when you look at allot of other players coming up the ranks there strokes involve far more effort and work from there bodys.

    What allows these players to hit so effortlessly.
     
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  11. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    Relaxation, timing, and a perfect kenetic chain?
     
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  12. troytennisbum

    troytennisbum Rookie

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    wrist movement on the forehand

    So the million dollar question is.......

    "Should you pronate your wrist or not when executing the
    forehand???"

    Pros like Andy Roddick look to me like they pronate their
    forearm/wrist alot when they hit their killer forehands.

    Any thoughts or comments about this would be
    appreciated.
     
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  13. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    No doubt the wrist action is complex, misunderstood, and too fast for the human eye to see. Strictly speaking the "wrist" doesn't "pronote." It's the forearm rotation that is called "pronation" in bio-mechanical terms.
    If you study a lot of high speed video, you'll see that all the players including Roddick hit with the wrist laid back. This basic position is set up when (or before) the racket starts forward. The wrist stays laid back until well after the hit, and only releases in the second half of the followthrough.
    The forearm definitely pronates on all forehand. Some top players and coaches use a term like "turning the hand over" to describe this.
    Lay your wrist back and point your fingers at the side fence. Now without moving anything else, rotate your forearm and arm til the fingers point at the sky.
    That move (with the wrist still laid back) is a key part of all forehands. The more extreme grip players will pronate up to twice as much. That's just natural in their swing patterns. If you have an image of the correct extended finish (on a basic drive) and make than position, you'll pronate correctly.
    Good players will also consciously turn the hand over more to increase spin or hit shorter, sharper angles. This is paired with the wrap finish on the left side rather than over the shoulder.
     
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  14. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    That is one excellent post John Yandell!
     
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  15. ferreira

    ferreira Rookie

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    BB/John,
    does the degree of wrist lay back have any connection to grip? I have the impression that more classic grips usually relate to less lay back and, thus, less top spin. It is to me another example that, in tennis, it is very hard to understand what is cause and what is effect.
    Another doubt: Was wrist lay back always used, or is it a more present feature in modern tennis?
     
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  16. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    yes, there is more somewhat more lay back with the more extreme grips--it's a function of anatomy. It's not that the eastern players are laying it back less on purpose. You need that angle between the arm and racket to drive the ball with the hand--so the old guys have it too. The amount just varies with the grip.
     
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  17. ferreira

    ferreira Rookie

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    John,
    your post, along with some of Bungalo's and Mr. Khan's, show how "scientific" tennis is. I understand the need for making it simple in some cases, mainly in the beginning, but I think sometimes even some experts make the mistake of oversimplifying tennis. And that is very detrimental for people in the intermediate/lower advanced levels, who are frequently under the impression that there is a missing link to what they are reading or being told. Thus, I very much appreciate this very technical approach, and the emphasis on the fact that there are very subtle aspects in the stroke and in the game, overall, that can lead to dramatically diefferent results. It helps make clear that some strokes are just plain harder to master than others.
    By the way, have you ever thoght of a Visual Tennis book for intermediate/advanced players?
     
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  18. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the feedback. I think if knoweldgable people with open minds and not too many preconceptions keep training their perceptions on the video we now have available in increasing amounts and formats--that's the best chance for making progress.
    A good book would be a modeling book on the various technical styles using photos of the top players across the grip styles and identifying key positions that way. In fact that is one of the things I'll be doing when we launch Tennisplayer.net--but maybe better than a book because we can use stills and moving images.
     
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  19. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Since we are all paying our respects, I appreciate your friendly comment Ferreira.

    Since I know John Yandell is a well respected Tennis Instructor/Author/Researcher, I can only say that I am a student of the game under the likes of John Yandell, EASI Tennis, Pat Dougherty, Mahboob, Vic Braden, Don King, and the many other professional instructors and players of this game. I take nothing as my own.

    The only thing I do take is that I study everything I can get my hands on. I read, take notes, review film, varify key points, etc.

    It is not always fun reading tennis books, tennis articles, studying film, varifying movements patterns, etc. In fact, sometimes it is rather dry seeing and reading the same old things.

    What makes it interesting is trying to see it from a different perspective that others bring to the table. That is also difficult because you have to keep an open mind which is always in conflict with your own beliefs and what we adopt to be true. Tennis is never an exact science but we always have to look at this as approximations. Especially from the printed word.

    For example, in the past when Agassi said he used a lot of wrist and the whole tennis world took off with that comment trying to "flick" the wrist at the ball, I was not sure aboout it but I do remember being very confused. It took Vic Braden himself to show his well received "stick figure" video of Agassi's motion to prove Agassi didnt use that much wrist. That his wrist movement was more of a release or relaxation that happened at contact and the ball was long gone before anything else took place.

    Without people like the above mentioned, we would still be in yesteryear concerning tennis.
     
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  20. ferreira

    ferreira Rookie

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    Bungalo,
    I read my post again and thought I should make it very clear that you, as well as Mr. Khan and John Yandell, are among those that show that tennis is complex. And, IMO, that is the correct approach. You won't tell a kid learning to fly a kite that, because the rules of aerodynamics also aplly to airplanes, flying that kite and flying a 747 airlines are the same thing. Jumping back to tennis, I prefer being told that, to play tennis at an advanced level, I'll have to end up learning how to hit in many different ways, because a low ball is hit one way, a waist-high ball another and a high ball yet another.
    Einstein once told someone afraid of not understanding an explanation of his: "I'll make it as simple as possible, but not simpler than possible".
     
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  21. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, I hear you. I am always baffled at those that say "uhhh, just go out and hit balls". If it were that easy we would all be pros on tour.

    At the first level, tennis is in its most basic form. But like anything else, there is a lot more to it.

    I can remember learning to surf growing up in San Clemente, CA. I surfed since I was a kid on those beaches. Then one day, I thought I was pretty good. So I moved to Hawaii and was in for a rude awakening.

    It felt I was learning to surf all over again. The waves were faster and more powerful, the surfers more aggresive (and all of them were good), getting in position was more difficult and more tactical, and my physical conditioning was very poor to take on the difference in power and speed.

    Needless to say, I got my you know what handed to me the first 3 - 6 months on the North Shore of Oahu.
     
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