On the forehand: Early take back vs. continuous loop

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    EDIT

    Okay, so here's pretty definitive proof that Fed holds racquet at chest and then begins the stroke.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI5Pa...vwp&NR=1#t=38s

    This video, however, shows Serena taking the racquet back and waiting.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNKIwi54HlY


    So, basically, I guess the answer is it doesn't matter?

    Obviously Federer has the better forehand, but is Serena's easier to copy for mortals?

    END EDIT

    A forehand with a continuous loop gives you a lot more topspin. By continuous loop, I mean the take back is a loop, and it flows right into the stroke, almost like the arm is making a circle. This is a pretty commonly given piece of advice.

    Another piece of advice that is given frequently is to have early preparation. That is usually described as getting body into a coiled position and have the racket back.

    something like this
    [​IMG]

    So, the two pieces of advice seem kind of conflicting. How can you be coiled with the racket back as early as possible AND make the loop continuous. You have to wait for the ball to be close enough to make the loop.

    Can anyone shed light on this?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
    #1
  2. kazamzaa

    kazamzaa Rookie

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    I'm not a teaching pro, but my coach is very good.
    I think you can do both. With the early preparation you can slow things down once you've finished the take back. Then gradually increase the pace of your swing once you've started the forward swing.
    With an early preparation you go slow motion in the early forward swing.

    That's how I do anyway.
     
    #2
  3. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I can see why this is confusing. Lots of problems here.

    People used to say early prep and get the racket head back towards the fence,
    not like Fed here who is just now as the ball is bouncing, starting to sep his
    hands. Fed is of the continuing loop side of things and only does the modern
    version of early prep, with both hands on the stick with good shoulder turn.
    He doesn't do the backswing part early or with a hitch.

    I don't like calling his time with both hands on the racket early prep for the
    reason of these type mix ups. Better to use a new name to separate it from
    past thinking and technique. MTM uses stalking. Because old school teaching
    was more of a set, hitch type position, some try to understand stalking that way
    but it's not correct. Stalking is a moving sequenced position on several levels,
    but mainly keeping the racket in front of the chest area and including in front
    of the back shoulder including early part of where the hands separate. If you hate
    MTM, then call it something else, but best not to call it early prep, due to old
    terms give the confusion you post about. How about modern prep, but many
    hate to say modern, so maybe "front prep" for keeping the racket generally in front of
    the body as the shoulders turn?
     
    #3
  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't matter.
    Steffi Graff had the best forehand in women's tennis for a while.
    Anke Huber had the acknowledged second best. Anke took the racket straight back, dog fully patted, waited for the ball, and hit with great effectiveness. She just didn't play the overall game as well as Steffi, and her backhand was suspect at best.
     
    #4
  5. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    most of the early take back is actually shoulder turn. the last part (loop with the racket) is actually quite late while the lower body already starts to get uncoiled.
     
    #5
  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I have a very simple description of such things. From you current position till the time you have moved to the desired position, completed your back and front swings, with or without a loop, and contacted the ball - call that interval of time T and the distance you are moving D.

    Your position in the court and the racket position wrt your body both need to change from your current configuration to the final configuration within T and D.

    Make the movement as smoothly continuous as possible over T and D. That is all.

    There may be jerky adjustments needed in some cases (like you are running wide and then want to flick the ball in with a quick swing at the last moment), but overall it should be smooth to prevent injury.

    Keep in mind that not all pros do this. Some like Roddick prefer to get to a far ball first and then start racket takeback and finish it quickly, others start taking it back smoothly earlier on the run in such a way that the forward swing finally meets the ball. Some like DP and Soderling might prefer to wait for the ball with the racket back much earlier than others, hoping for a huge and fast swing into the ball.
     
    #6
  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Artists vs the technician?
    Both are athletes.
    The artist, AdrianoPanatta and IlieNastase were old examples, vs the technician's BrianGottfried and VitusGerulitus...RaulRameriz and DickStockton.
     
    #7
  8. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    5263 reconciles early prep and continuous loop very well in his explanation above. Basically early prep or stalk position is with both hands on the racket and the racket in front of the chest - between the shoulders and not laid back pointing toward back fence. From there, you will wait on the ball to start your swing and once you start your swing it will be continuous - flat C.

    If you can find old video of Jim Courier forehand, he turned his shoulders and kept his hands out front - less back than Fed. From there, he would start his swing and used a continuous loop. He was an even more extreme example of keep hands together and not laying the racket head back as part of the "prep".
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I don't think you can teach a pig to fly, nor a fish to walk, nor a alligator to climb trees.
    Some players need simple mechanics, while other's do better with more intricate, more artistic strokes.
     
    #9
  10. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    You can stalk the ball with the racquet held high. Just don't stalk it with the racquet lower at the start of the forward swing. Then, you'll lose racquet speed.
     
    #10
  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    There are fish like lungfish which can walk short distances on land between two water areas
     
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  12. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    This is kind of what I was thinking would make sense. Unit turn happens early and then the loop is part of the swing.

    Kind of a lightbulb, and I don't know if this is part of MTM, but is this what people mean when they say the swing shape should be like a C? Never really understood that, but if they're saying the loop is part of the swing, it would make sense.
     
    #12
  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, pretty much on target there.
    One caution and honestly not promoting MTM here, but just pointing out keys here.
    Careful with the old unit turn term, as it plays into some confusion as well. Doesn't hurt
    anything to use it of course, if it's all very clear to you, but the
    unit turn is often described as this immediate turn fully to the side the ball is
    coming to, like in the classic book "Visual Tennis", with the racket full back.
    Check out some vid and you likely can see how touring Pros tend to stay sort
    of chest on to the ball as the move to it, why we call it stalking it. The unit
    turn as demo'd in vid and books shows a near complete shoulder turn right off
    the bat, which would be an awkward way to move to the ball.

    This is also how the confusion seeps in as related to stalking, as the unit turn
    is a quick turn to a position, where stalking is a turn to that side that tracks
    the ball path with the 2 hands on the racket unless there is a long run to the ball.
    You normally turn to track the balls with eyes and shoulders, with the hands on
    the racket in front of your chest or shoulder.
    So this is why stalking is never so static as the instruction for a unit turn seems to be.
    Stalking is more of a moving position where you cover ground and work the shoulder turn
    with the racket in a position to start the loop you mention.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
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  14. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Excellent analysis 5263, because there is a lot of confusion on this subject. The picture of fed clearly shows his shoulder turn has been made, but he is not even close to having the racket take back complete.
     
    #14
  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It depends on the situation and at what point the photo is taken. With a neutral stance or gravity step, racket can be elsewhere for the same distance to the ball.

    [​IMG]
     
    #15
  16. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Going along with 5263's point, it's very very important that you are "stalking" the ball or trying to find the ball with your non-hitting hand. THAT should be done as soon as possible.

    More or less, when you find the ball with your non-hitting hand, you automatically initiate your unit turn. Once your hitting hand separates, you want your takeback to be ideally against the direction of your overall momentum. That gives you the smoother, more rhythmic backswing that gives you the better timing.

    It's a little like throwing a football while rolling to your right. Unless I'm running at full sprint, I still want to find my target before I separate my non-throwing hand from the football. If I just separate, THEN roll out, that will end up just as a pitch or dink-and-dunk pass.
     
    #16
  17. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Good analogy here,
    and thanks tlm.
     
    #17
  18. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

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    IMO: Whatever you use, the finish is more important.
     
    #18
  19. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    You can have an early takeback and a looped backswing. In the modern game, most players have a higher takeback. They turn their shoulders and coil and take the racket head back high. The high takeback is what creates the appearance of the loop.

    The best explanation I've seen on the boards came from TCF. He described teaching kids the high takeback, and then to drop the racket into the hit.

    Old school players like Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert take the racket head back early, but they do so with a lower takeback than modern players.

    Look at this video of Wawrinka. His coach talks about his early take back. Since Warinka has a high takeback on his backhand, it also has that loop appearance.
    http://m.youtube.com/index?&desktop_uri=/#/watch?v=f97Krt-SnTM

    This video has a pretty good explanation of the high takeback.
    http://m.youtube.com/index?&desktop_uri=/#/watch?v=-6rzrad0kWw

    If having someone tell you to "stalk" the ball helps you learn early preparation or a higher takeback, more power to you. Personally, when I hear the phrase stalk the ball, i don't visualize any of that. I personally would need more concrete descriptions, such as, "take the racket head back high" "turn your shoulders" "drop the racket into the hit" etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
    #19
  20. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    I remember watching a video with Boris Becker, where he says his coach didn't focus on the backswing much at all. He just focused on the contact and follow through. He didn't care how the player took the racket back. So a variety or methods can create great strokes.

    People understand some thing intuitively, but need concrete advice on other things. Everybody learns differently.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
    #20
  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    C'mon this is an example in which you just made up what you like about the term stalking. This is what 5263 said:

    stalking is a turn to that side that tracks
    the ball path with the 2 hands on the racket


    You changed that to "non hitting hand."

    Everyone has been stalking with the non-hitting hand pointed to the ball for years and years (on the FH).

    5263 wants both hands on the racket, the OPPOSITE to what you are saying. It is not correct and not what the pros do.

    Use of terms like stalking and finding have the advantage that people imagine the correct things (taught by most coaches and executed by the pros) and attribute that to this terminology, when in fact it is wrong.
     
    #21
  22. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    #22
  23. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    ^ change the m to www.
     
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  24. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    thanks!
    ......
     
    #24
  25. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    You'd think so, but many people really try to find the ball with their racquet (i.e. playing catch with the racquet.) That leads to "early preparation", but not in a way that improves form.
     
    #25
  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I have been reading "point to the ball with the left hand" for ever. If that is called stalking or finding the ball as you claim, that is fine.

    Pros do keep both hands on the forehand together for a while as they are turning, but then the left hand comes off and starts pointing to the ball. That would be the stalking or finding. Otherwise it is just the turn and the only stalking is with the eye, which has been described as "keep your eye on the ball" for I don't know how many decades now.
     
    #26
  27. Off The Wall

    Off The Wall Semi-Pro

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    Several months ago I suggested a definition for "stalking" as being between the unit turn/coil and racquet take-back. Some, like Ash, thought it was worthy. (That is, he thought the group had made some sort of agreement/progress toward a meaning for it.) Just a reminder.
     
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  28. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think that is a great definition.

    Not sure why a new term is needed when we already have "point to the ball" and "keep your eye on the ball."
     
    #28
  29. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    We don't 'point to the ball' anymore.
     
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  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Then is it regarded as a general position in the overall direction for balance purposes?
     
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  31. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    We don't point in the general direction of the ball anymore. (maybe if you're in a neutral stance)
    arm is extended parallel to baseline.
     
    #31
  32. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Not the opposite, lol :)

    Yes, what the pros do. Dj does it many times on this vid but one of the best where
    he took abt 3 steps stalking with 2 hands on the racket and preparing for the Tk back-
    you can use the space bar f/ slo mo, starting 0:36 and he stalks most of the 37th sec
    for several steps and it happens fast.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTUphl4Tnlw&feature=player_detailpage&list=SP85703292A08EEEFC#t=37s

    call it what you want, describe it how you want, but this is a pretty good example
    of what we term as stalking and is very different from traditional/classic instruction.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
    #32
  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yes lots of examples in neutral stance. Good catch on the stance dependency

    Oudin

    [​IMG]

    Roddique

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/studiotsang/4460933663/

    [​IMG]

    Goat

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    .tqn.com
    www.flickr.com
    image.shutterstock.com
    tennis.topbuzz.com
    1.bp.blogspot.com
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
    #33
  34. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Very interesting links here to 2 vids where neither does the early tk back:???:
    Seems there is confusion by the poster between early and high take backs and
    he seems to switch back and forth with his use of the terms.
    The coach in the vid says nothing about a early tk back that I could find and
    only mentions an early close of the racket.

    Both of these are continuous loops after a brief stalking. Stalking looks almost
    like a unit turn here where the ball comes right to them but there is an important
    difference. Hunter, do you see that difference? Has nothing to do with the
    high take back of this post.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
    #34
  35. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    ^^^^ The mobile links don't work on my desktop
     
    #35
  36. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I expect that for most of those pics they have just caught them after the hand/arm
    has moved from parallel to the BL and strarted working across.
    Not saying it is always the case, but several of them appear that way to me,
    like the Roddick one where it is still nearly across.
     
    #36
  37. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    earlier post explains that you switch the m for www.
     
    #37
  38. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That doesn't work either, i.e does not point to a particular video. Too lazy to find one on the page assuming it is there.
     
    #38
  39. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    yes to what 5263 said. nobody is pointing to the ball. if they were pointing to the ball it would be obvious and they would literally be pointing to the ball. parallel to baseline serves several purposes and if you point to the ball most of those purposes are lost.
     
    #39
  40. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f97Krt-SnTM

    This link should work better. I posted the other ones from my phone.

    Peter Lungren says: "Stan is closing his racket head very early" He is of course referring to Stan's take-back. What else would he be referring to? That is how Stan closes the racket face, with his take-back. Watch the video. Look how early Stan's take-back is. You'll also notice that he takes the racket head back high, and then drops it's down in line with the ball. This is what creates the loop.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6rzrad0kWw
    This link is only about the high takeback. If you watch the video, the players they show all have their racket back and are coiled, before the ball bounces. No counting to five here.

    Early preparation with a higher takeback than more oldschool players like connors and evert. It's how everyone plays these days. With the high takeback you can drop the racket back down behind the ball and hit through it, even on higher bouncing balls.

    To quote the guy in the second video: "What a high takeback is, is essentially a loop backswing."

    Edit: Another thing I neglected to mention, that I think we are all in agreement on. In the takeback, there shouldn't be any extraneous motion, where the racket head is on the other side of the body, on the forehand. You should take the racket back by keeping a relaxed hitting hand and coiling your shoulders. On the forehand you want the racket head to stay on that one side of your body, so you can drop it down more or less in line with the ball. You don't want extraneous "baroque" motions that you often see juniors use which bring the racket face way around on the other side of the body on the takeback. This is what people mean when they refer to the compact take-back.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
    #40
  41. Long Face

    Long Face Rookie

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    My understanding is: Early shoulder turn + continuous racquet head acceleration.

    Thinking "pulling your hand back early" is a very bad thing, and could ruin your forehand.

    It is amazing to see pros still having his/her racquet in both hands when the ball bounces. But since his/her shoulder had already fully turned, the racquet can start accelerating and still hit the ball in time.
     
    #41
  42. FrisbeeFool

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    Yeah pointing at the ball is something you saw pros doing in the Chris Evert Days. Today, most are pointing to the side fence with their off-hand during their forehand preparation. Players today coil even more than the oldschool players during their preparation on groundstrokes.
     
    #42
  43. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks for reposting and I really like the professional tone of your comments.
    I don't mean to be argumentative, but would like to question some of the points
    you made as they relate directly to the OP and what he is asking.

    You say the comment about closing the racket head is on his tk back, but I just
    don't see that, as it seems he really keeps it pretty open till swinging forward
    during alignment for contact. Maybe you can help me see what you have here.

    I don't have a problem with what you are calling early prep, but Hunter is looking
    to see how this differs from the past where early prep was racket well
    behind the back shoulder and racket mostly pointing to back/side fence....not
    2 hands on racket directly in front of the back shoulder like Stan here. I guess
    calling it early prep is fine, but confusing from a different early prep in classic
    instruction pov.

    It's also hard to say this prep is earlier than Evert and other old schoolers who
    ran around the court at times with the racket already in full back position.
    IMO Stan is a better example of continuous loop, than early prep and also don't
    see why you can't have a loop with a lower tk back. It's more obvious
    with a high tk back, but a lower tk back can do a small loop too, right?
    thanks for your insights
     
    #43
  44. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    I never said players today take the racket back earlier. Only that they are more coiled on their forehand prep. As you and Cheetah pointed out, you see more oldschool players like Chris Evert pointing more or less at the ball, while todays players have that off arm pointing more or less at the side fence during their prep.
     
    #44
  45. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    See the pics. Oudin, Roddick and Nadal did not play when Chrissie was playing.

    I think Cheetah's point about it happening in neutral stance is valid, even though you see Oudin do that in almost open stance.

    Isner:

    http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/7Ucqwsl__67/Sony+Ericsson+Open/W57dR2UASqH/John+Isner
     
    #45
  46. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    Yeah I agree with both of you. In some of those pictures you posted, the player has already begun opening up and swinging. That is why the front shoulder is more opened. You paused the stroke at one point. It you looked at their entire stroke most modern players have a point in their forehand prep where their front shoulder is closed, and their off arm is pointed more or less at the side fence
     
    #46
  47. FrisbeeFool

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    #47
  48. Cheetah

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    #48
  49. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Very nice find here, thanks for the ref.
    Nice Pic here of what we call stalking-
    http://legacy.tennis.com/articles/articlefiles/367-2007_06_11_federer_forehand_1.jpg
    Especially the 1st one.

    Stan does a good job of course, but few things to notice,
    I'm not a grip zealot, but is it a sw grip? Many say Eastern.
    Someone got the pics out of sequence right? for a reason?

    Where he says "Federer is turning his shoulders as he’s moving to the ball.
    Notice how his left hand is on the racquet even though he’s well into his preparation.
    This forces him to turn his shoulders"
    This is not just exactly right.
    The shoulders have NOT really turned from the body, or done much prep by coiling.
    At that point he is really still just running to intercept the ball with everything pointing
    the way he is running except his face as it watches the ball come in. His feet, hips,
    shoulders are all facing the direction he is running, with the racket still in both hands,
    in front of his chest/body/shoulders,(I call stalking) very much like in the ready position.
    It's a instant later where he gets some shoulder turn to load and coil his core
    for the shot.
     
    #49
  50. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Nice of Stan to point this out as well_
     
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