My forehand is gone

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Service Ace, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. Service Ace

    Service Ace Professional

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    Ever since I started taking lessons, I feel like my overall game has improved but my forehand has been drastically worse. I had gotten it to the point were it was my go to shot. I could hit it were I wanted as big as I wanted and get it 7/10 times.

    Now, my instructor has taught me that my forehand has been wrong. My finish was incorrect and I was looping it rather than pausing among other problems which I can see but which are painstaking to correct. Now, I can't hit a forehand for the life of me. I'll get one in probable 1 out of every 10 shots but most of them I just dump right into the net.

    My footwork has been terrible because I'm so focused on the new mechanics my mind can't think to keep my feet moving and when I play matches, I find myself actually running around my forehand to hit backhands because I know a shot to my forehand means the end of the point. I want to go back to my old shot but I don't want to stunt my progress as a result. If anyone has any tips or just encouragement, it'd be greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Wait a second, I thought a loop was a good thing? :confused:
     
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  3. Vision84

    Vision84 Hall of Fame

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    Ahhh one of the biggest dilemmas for coaches. Often when a coach sees that they can make a technical change in someone's game they have to consider that the player will play poorly with that shot for a while but in the long run it could prove very beneficial. Sounds like you need to practice more till your 'new' forehand becomes more natural (assuming the coach is teaching you correct technique.)

    I had this problem when using a continental grip. My coach didn't change it and I was hitting a pretty flat ball and then I moved it slightly over more to get more topspin on my own but I wasn't aware of the grips. I did fine early on in high school in England but then when I became a junior and began playing varsity then it held me back. It wasn't till I began coaching and doing research of modern technique that I began to self improve.


    If you want to keep advancing and getting better for the long run then I suggest you stick with it and keep practicing but it may be frustrating for a while.
     
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  4. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    I don't understand this. Aren't you supposed to make a loop in one steady rhythmic motion rather than pausing?

    No wonder you're messing up.
     
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  5. Service Ace

    Service Ace Professional

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    No, no. I used to make the loop. But he told me it's better to hold the racquet out there, pause for a sec, than swing directly ahead. Because I'm so used to rotation around and through the loop from behind me to in front of me to generate forward momentum, this idea of pausing and making momentum from parallel to forward is something I'm really struggling with. Obviously, I have to drive way further out in front when making contact to generate the same kinds of momentum I had before but relearning all of that timing involved in the kinetic chain is probably going to take a year. So I'm basically back to having a 2.0's forehand wherein I'm constantly shanking the ball or not imparting the topspin early enough.

    My coach also stresses open stance everything which is a big issue for me because it really inhibits my footwork. It has worked wonders on my backhand because once you can hit open stance, closed stance is cake, but again, on the forehand...

    I don't know. He's worked with Guga (not teaching him, but working with him while he was in the area) so I'm just going to have to trust him.
     
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  6. Squall Leonheart

    Squall Leonheart Rookie

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    That is what he is saying, creating a loop with your stroke is the proper technique. Like you said, the pause breaks the kinetic chain, and thus is less efficient. Either I'm misinterpreting you or your coach doesn't quite know all that much.
     
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  7. Service Ace

    Service Ace Professional

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    I think you're misinterpreting me. I used to hit in a looping motion. He told me stopping and pausing is better. It keeps me from being late and forces me to swing out further in front and through the ball.

    To make it clear:
    My coach told me not to use the loop. Now I'm having major problems.
     
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  8. dakels

    dakels Rookie

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    Vision84 brings up a very good point. Sometimes we have to take a step back to go 2 steps forward. I'm going to assume the teacher knows what he is doing. As such he is probably breaking your swing down to work on consistant contact. Some cases, possibly yours, some people have too much uncontrolled backswing and loop which makes them miss hit or hit improperly more then they should. While you may have thought you had a good forehand before, it may have had these fundamental problems which your new coach is trying to improve with baby steps.

    The short backswing shot is a key fundamental to which every pro has in their repertoire. You most often see it on serve returns when they are rushed. Another example is someone like agassi who had the most flamboyant of loops, change to a short backswing later in his career.

    I suspect that after some time and proven consistency, your coach will start incorporating more complex aspects and momentum builders like the loop back into your swing. Most methods, no matter how strange it may seem to you in the short term, have a long term goal which generally make sense. It's like staring at some strange piece of a jugsaw puzzle by itself, then seeing how it all fits into the big picture later.

    7/10 is only good for first serves, nothing else. Hopefully your new swing mechanics will help you reach 9/10 or better. Talk to your coach and ask questions. Hopefully he will let you pick his brain a bit.
     
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  9. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Very true! Which is why I am greatly concerned with the tips and casual unresearched comments on this board! One change can cause a rippling affect in a players game and be more of a detriment then a help.

    Coaches on court and off-court, need to be careful with what they say, what they see, how they say it, and even how they write it!

    A technical change is not a small thing in someones game. If we are togive oout instruction or advice, we need to be damn sure we know what we are talking about because if something goes wrong, we need to have the answer on how to correct it or encourage the player to keep using the instruction for improvement.

    Good advice provided he received good advice to begin with. :)
     
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  10. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    If you trust your coach, then it'll work out in the end. In the mean time, take what you can, and modify your strokes so they fit you. I remember when I was first learning the heavy top forehand from my coach, I had a horrible first week before anything started to improve. It was a bit frustrating at the time, but my forehand has been amazing ever since. Just give it some time to settle in.
     
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  11. roger is the king

    roger is the king Rookie

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    yeah you might wanna talk to him about it because that's not what a coach should be mostly telling you...your forehand should be...check vids/ pics on google
     
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  12. Uthree

    Uthree Rookie

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    May need to be patient. May be inappropriate advice. Be cautious not to have too much focus on the finish.
     
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  13. Vision84

    Vision84 Hall of Fame

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    I have been considering putting videos on here but right now I have a persistent shoulder injury and hadn't before because of all the daft advice I have seen on here. I learned a lot through this board and other sites to get a sense of what is correct and what isn't and what posters seem to genuinely know their stuff. I remember The_Gorilla who is now banned saying not to bend knees on a kick serve for example.


    And in terms of what the op said in the original post it sounds like your instructor is trying to simplify your swing
    making it easier to make the correct adjustments and then you can add the loop again which can be good advice. If ever you question your coaches corrections then just ask him to clarify and how it will help you. As a coach myself I like it when my students do this as it shows them wanting to know more about the game rather than just accepting whatever I tell them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
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  14. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    This seems totally wrong. Stopping and pausing? That sounds like a recipe for disaster! Your coach sounds pretty old school to me, but what do I know, anyway?
     
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  15. lolsmash

    lolsmash Rookie

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    Don't take it back and pause exactly. Keep a smaller loop maybe, because, remember, an object that is at rest is harder to get in motion than an object that is in motion.

    Ask him about the physics thing and see if he can give you a straight up answer. If it's good enough, then stick with it, but if you're not content, ask him what was wrong with the loop. To be honest, I doubt that you will find rhythm with all of the pauses and such.
     
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  16. Gantz

    Gantz Rookie

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    everyone plays differently. i don't even think about what i do; i just do what feels natural to me. if federer started owning by hitting the ball with the frame of his racket, does that make his forehand wrong?
     
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  17. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
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  18. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    My guess is, Your coach just wants you to prepare your stick earlier and start your loop from a different spot.
     
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  19. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Wow, that's REALLY keeping it simple! :shock:

    Excellent though.
     
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  20. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    That guy has the best instructional videos for a beginner that I've ever seen. His progression from proper contact and then to power is brilliant.
     
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  21. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Yeah, at first it looks like he's a total pusher and then two vids later he starts ripping! :)
     
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  22. dakels

    dakels Rookie

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    This is what this thread is about though and hopefully the point of OP's instructor. Bad fundamental mechanics often need a fundamental rebuild. As I said before, the addition of unnecessary elements should be added after the fundamental becomes consistent. Preswing movement and setup is often a big cause for inconsistency. Technically, a loop is not necessary. It's just additional momentum. Rebuilding a swing requires understanding as few concepts at a time as possible. If you don't think of it as a step by step PROGRESSION, most students will often ingrain bad habits which ultimately limit the potential swing.
     
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  23. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    yeah, and he doesn't move a whole lot, doesn't bend his knee, swings short, pauses too much.

    But what's amazing is you could really tell that those things could be easily incorporated, eh?

    It's like looking at the first block of Lego(tm) which you can easily tell where the next blocks go to make a beautiful piece. :)
     
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  24. Julieta

    Julieta Guest


    Your ultimate goal needs to be to somehow get back that desire to want to hit your forehand. Since you've known what it feels like to want to hit one, use it to take over the point etc. etc. you can get the feeling back again, it is not gone forever.

    What you need to do is accept that there may be something technical that you need to change on the forehand, and if there is, its not going to feel great until you practice it enough. My suggestion is to get your forehand on video if you haven't already (doesn't have to be high quality, you can even do it with most mobile phones) and take a look at it with your coach. Seeing it will show you where the problems are. Ask your coach to show you a visual example of what he wants from another player, for example a pro's forehand on youtube, or in a book or magazine, or one of those USTA high performance newsletter things (not even sure if they have those anymore but they used to have pictures) with the "right" forehand, or the one you want yours to most resemble. I think this is important and he should be able to show you something.

    That being said...teaching forehands can be really hard! For many coaches, they did not learn or use themselves the kind of forehands they want people to hit so they can't repeat the same cues they heard when learning themselves. Breakdowns in communication can occur. Also, just because your coach worked with Guga does not mean he is the right coach for you, or the right coach for you on this particular shot. I dont want to slam your coach but many coaches market themselves on who they supposedly worked with and in a lot cases maybe they hit with that person once or they happened to be in the same club. Also again, teaching someone is so different than being a hitting partner for a tour pro.

    The other thing is that tennis is lifetime sport. Not just because you can play it for so long but because you're always going to be refining things. Just when you think you've got it, there will be some other tweak or adjustment. But you do want to get to the point where you enjoy it and you want the ball to come to your forehand, because that's when you're going to get the most out of playing. Good luck with it! And don't worry. If you do need to fix it and you spend the time, it will be so much better you'll be glad you did it.
     
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  25. Gantz

    Gantz Rookie

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    everyone has a different forehand. some may be similar, but there will still be some minor differences. just do what feels natural for you to hit a forehand and forget the mechanics your coach has told you.
     
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  26. Fay

    Fay Professional

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    http://www.procomparetennis.net

    this is free site that has a ton of great videos ... and they can viewed by frame via mouse

    you can find whatever pro you like ...

    for myself I keep my racquet in front of my body until the very last minute and then make a loop

    there is nothing wrong with you experimenting and watching videos and seeing what works for you .... every coach I have taken from has something good that another coach might not have mentioned, but you are the final judge of what feels good for you ... and no one coach knows more about what FEELS right for you than you.

    You might video-taping yourself and find pro videos you like that move in the same approximately way that you are inclined to move .... and use visuals to correct your swing.

    I had one coach take everything I did naturally and change it, and I ended up injured. I started doing my own research and found methods that worked better for my body.

    Perhaps you can talk with your coach and explain that you feel that some changes feel worse and see whether you can work out a win-win situation. Or you might have one coach work on the things that work well for you in that relationship and find another coach to work on another part. Team teaching often work great.
     
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  27. tennis_guy

    tennis_guy Rookie

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    You are suppost to have a loop on your forehand, like a 'C' shape, otherwise how can you generate topspin? If you want to see a loop just look at Hewitt's forehand.
     
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  28. split-step

    split-step Professional

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    The loop on the forehand is for timing/rhythm purposes not topspin.
    You can hit topspin groundies with a straight takeback on both wings.
     
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