Percentage of strength on shots

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Djoker91, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    I find when I'm limiting myself and holding myself back, I play much better. When I swing between 60-70% on my forehand, IE, I'm able to produce controlled winners, great placement. But when I play someone better, and they get these back, I swing much harder and the ball flys on me. Hitting the fence. My question is, what is your percentage of strength roughly for A: a rally ball. And B: going for a winner. And what are some things to do to hit a proper winner when in position to put the ball away?
     
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  2. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    The ball should not fly on you no matter how hard you swing. If it's flying, something's wrong with your form. I'm not saying the pros swing 100% out on every ball, or they'd tire themselves out pretty quickly, but they can go for big racket speed without losing control. Here's the thing with going for winners: you don't necessarily need to swing faster to hit one. If I get the guy off the court, I can gently hit the ball to the open court for a winner. If you feel you need to overhit to hit a winner, you shouldn't be going for a winner on that shot.
     
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  3. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    But what I don't understand is, when slowed down, my form and stroke is fine! About 3 foot net clearence, good depth, I have a great rally ball. But when I pull them off the court, I hit a rally ball to the open court and they get to it and get it back. I don't know how to add that little extra to get it passed them. Every time I do go for that little extra, something gets lost in transition and it results in an extra loopy forehand that ends 4 feet long
     
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  4. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Based on your description, I'm going to guess that something is indeed wrong with your form. I have no idea what that is since I can't see your strokes (unless you want to post a video), so I can only really help you with strategy. Basically, since you don't have the form that will enable you to hit the ball by someone with pace and spin, you will have to win by playing a defensive style, attacking the net, or hitting to smarter placements. Alternatively, you can find a good pro who will give you more tools to work with.
     
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  5. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^
    On the form, the OP shouldn't give up so easily of developing at least one good weapon (say the FH): I suggest relaxing your arm while watching the ball closely...(You may find that techniques such as pat the dog might just happen naturally that way).
     
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  6. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    It's your form. I can't give any more specific advice. You need to adjust and increase your margin for error.
     
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  7. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Also could be loose old string for that form. Sounds like the shot is fine till he starts tramping the shot with power.

    I agree he does seem to be in a paradox of controlling power to control the shot vs having a more normal swing speed and using more or less spin to control the Fh like you do when serving.
     
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  8. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Good point about the strings though I have a feeling it's more along the lines of him not having the correct form, which forces him into slowing down the swing speed to keep the ball in play, that is, the paradox you're describing.
     
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  9. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I agree.
    Likely they are intertwined to some extent, since he says he is hitting winners and consistent with his current form when hitting mid power. If his for was too bad, he would not likely be consistent at all with a power that can generate winners.
     
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  10. Topspin Shot

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    I would guess he has enough of the basics down where his strokes look good to the naked eye, and he can rally consistently and hit hard inconsistently, but he's missing some key aspects necessary for him to eliminate the "I have to slow my swing down to keep the ball in play" factor. To the OP, unfortunately, we can't help you much unless you post a video of your strokes. One video that might help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ot2xQJRJ5Q.
     
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  11. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    In the above video, Coach Smith talks about "keeping the plane the same" on the forehand...

    Would one be in violation of that principle, if one laid the wrist back and let the racquet head lag on the take back and then let the lagging racquet head come through quickly on the forward motion ( a la Federer)?
     
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  12. Mr.Lob

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    OP raises good question. Let's take it to a practice situation. Are there drills that higher rated players use to dial in the amount of power they want to use on each shot? Like a golfer using a select club and swing speed to get the correct distance, so should a tennis player? With certain balls hit to you, are you thinking hit at 50%, 75%,90%? This would seem like a good thing to do. Like most golfers... the faster you swing, the more margin for error there is. So the more I can be subjective and be analytical over my shots, the more consistent I will become.
     
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  13. Topspin Shot

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    No, the lag happens before the hitting zone, not in the hitting zone. The plane should be kept the same from about a foot below contact to about a foot above contact.

    With the exception of touch shots, such as volleys and the like, a top player will swing as fast as he can without tiring himself out. With proper modern technique, swinging faster does not make you lose control, nor does it make the ball go farther. Instead, you just get more pace and more topspin, with the spin canceling out the added distance from the pace. If you want the ball to land shorter, you can either hit lower over the net or swing more vertically, thus imparting more topspin on the ball.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
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  14. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Imo you misrepresent Fed here. I do think it catches up some, but more due to the change of direction as he pulls across than a mere lag/catch up.
     
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  15. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    This video was very interesting. It is true when you see slow motion videos the plane remains the same. Even with the wrist laid back. I wish he went more into how to do this in the stroke. Will try this!
     
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  16. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    I'll have to study the Federer's forehand again and see whether he is "keeping the plane the same" a foot before the contact point (I doubt that he does. It looks like there is extreme lagging until the very last moment).

    Here is Coach Jim McLennan video describing the extreme Federer racquet lag:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4AMJptIH3ew#t=82
     
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  17. RetroSpin

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    I think the fact that you ask the question this way suggests that you have a flawed understanding of how to produce a harder shot.

    I think most top players would say they use about the same "strength." They swing more quickly, but they do it without significantly increasing the amount of effort. Their arms are relaxed and they let their body rotation and wrist action generate the pace and spin.

    My guess is that when you want to load up and really crank a FH, you take a much longer backswing, then try to muscle the shot. You are not hitting the same shot somewhat more quickly. You are hitting a totally different shot, one that is not as sound technically but "feels" more powerful to you.

    Ash had some useful comments on this issue last week in another thread. His point was that form breaks down as you try to increase pace too much. The best players retain their technique as they step up the pace.
     
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  18. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Nadal gets a lot of lag, and he keeps the plane the same. Toly's picture illustrates it perfectly. [​IMG]
     
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  19. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I really like this post.
     
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  21. Cheetah

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    This is 'maintaining the hitting structure' which I often mention here on TT. Great hitters all maintain this structure. Even if they have a very loose arm and wrist and are flexing, extending, pronating and supinating through the stroke this structure is maintained even though the face of the racquet will maneuver above, below and at different angles within this structure.

    If you want a good breakdown of this then try to ask John Yandell for a 2 day trial or something to his website. There a good article(s) that goes into detail on this with slowmo vid and pics to illustrate.

    Oh yea... it's your form. ... not the strings. what ash said..
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
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  22. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    So the correct way to do it is to not really focus on changing anything in particular, but to just try to speed up the pace of the swing just a little bit?
     
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  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    If the stroke is right, you mostly just lift stronger from the legs as you also increase the amount of "up and across" acceleration at and thru contact. If it is a mid ct attach, the across aspect will be flatter to hit stronger and a bit lower net clearance.
     
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  24. shindemac

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    It could be possible your swing is not built for speed. It only works when you swing slow. Like we said, none of us knows. Maybe you have to change something. Maybe you don't. See why giving advice is hard.
     
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  25. Mr.Lob

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    Ok, what about the average Joe rec. player then? I hit the ball flat on the backhand, minimal to moderate topspin on forehand.
     
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  26. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Then there is a trade off between power and control, unless the rec player wants to learn and practice the correct form. The player will have to use a more moderate swing speed and set up points through placement. You can play some pretty darn good tennis even with this limitation, especially if you've got good touch and play the net well, but you will be limited to a certain extent with how much you can go for your shots without losing control. Does this make sense?
     
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  27. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    In general, if the big muscles of the body are used to generate power (push off the ground, hip turn, etc), more of the arm can be used for control. That's why if you are going all out using only the arm to generate power, not enough of the arm can be devoted to control, so your form will break down. In my mind, I always remind myself that the small muscles are used for control, and the big muscles for power. In the heat of a match, I don't always remember however, since during such moments bad muscle memory from the past tends to take over... :( If I could go back in time with what I know now, I would spend all my time building good muscle memory!
     
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  28. Moz

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    I like to think about it as swinging quicker rather than harder. Harder has connotations with strength and muscling rather than whipping the weight of the racket through.
     
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  29. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    Gotcha. I think what I struggled with is the racket plane remaining the same throughout contract. Even when the pros miss a forehand, you see them shadow the swing with their hand. And they even keep that the same throughout. Almost like pulling the racket head up and across, but the natural finish for me when I shadow this swing is to follow thru over the shoulder. I don't wanna go classic if that's gonna hurt my game
     
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  30. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    That's good. I think I'm a person that learns by hearing what the stroke is supposed to FEEL like. Not actually what's happening in particular. What's the feel of the forehand? Does it feel like you're rolling over the ball? Or more of a spanking motion, whipping the ball upwards? Or something else??
     
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  31. Djoker91

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcX3XGKyxjQ

    How does this look concerning the forehand? Over the shoulder finish, however it looks like he strikes a ball that's gonna be a great shot. Maybe 2 feet over the net and dipping down quick for a great shot. All estimating tho, as you don't see the result. Is this something you do in you're forehand? Same-plane throughout contact? Long hitting zone? I used to think closing the racket face a little on contact, but that didn't work for me. Maybe this might?
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
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  32. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    I do I do. My question is this. Let's say you're in match play. You miss a forehand long, very loopy. No problem. You then miss 3 more like that in a span of a few strokes. What do you do to change that if you're in the situation? What is your both mental and physical fix to get 2 feet net clearence and a better shot?
     
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  33. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    Man I'm really thinking this is it. That video explained a lot. I'm going to start slow, play mini tennis in the service line with this "hitting structure remaining the same thruout" in mind. It made me think of WTA. Men obviously do this as well, but to the naked eye one can be fooled. When you watch serena, this is exactly what she does. The face is the exact same before thru and after contact. And her forehand is absurd.
     
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  34. mightyrick

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    This is an interesting thread and I also had some of the misconceptions about the FH... much like the OP.

    Some humble background on me. My backhand is horrible (In the process of learning a 2HBH). My serve is unorthodox and not great. My volleying is hit-or-miss. But I've been told that my forehand is easily at 4.5 level. I hit it very well.

    The biggest problem I used to have when I changed to an ATP-style forehand was understanding that swing tempo should never be consciously changed.

    The two things that I've found critical to be conscious of on every single shot are:

    1) Preparation and timing. Here is where you must speed up or slow down. Getting into position for the ball might require running. Or perhaps slow side steps. Everything depends on the speed of the incoming ball and your relative position. But if you are too early getting to the ball... or too late... you are likely to hit a shank or hit the ball incorrectly because you will compensate for your preparation error by adjusting your swing tempo.

    2) Spin control. I never ever adjust the speed of my swing on rally balls. Only the amount of spin. Much more low-to-high if I'm inside the court. Less low-to-high if I'm behind the baseline.

    For anybody learning an ATP-style forehand, I cannot stress the importance of preparation. A person has got to be very conscious of court positioning and the speed/placement of the incoming ball. The thing to speed-up or slow-down is NOT your swing. The things to speed-up or slow-down is getting into position for the ball.

    Great thread.
     
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  35. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    Listen to this guy. To step up pace don't muscle the ball.

    You want to keep your arm loose and do a few things.

    1. Create more tension with your abs, hips, and legs when you rotate. This lets you turn into the ball harder while maintaining the same technique with your arms.

    2. Think fluid rather than power.

    3. Move your feet aggressively prior to the shot and get them through the ball.


    It is a hard concept to get at first, but practice it and you will improve your power game significantly.

    Some players also hit "harder" by hitting flatter at moments where they have better control over the ball (like sitters and high bouncy shots). Depending on your grip, you should always be swinging pretty similarly even on rally shots. The only case where this isn't true is if you hit very flat to begin with. Then you just have to figure out what kind of swing it takes to get rally shots in with depth comfortably.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
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  36. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    Great post man. So true. Can't have any success if not in position to produce what's needed. That is the first key. Very interesting.
     
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  37. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    Great point. This is the kind of things I'm looking for. Mindset, what it feels like, what to think of while etc... Right up my alley. This is how I learn
     
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  38. RetroSpin

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    I had the same impression. He does have a good point, but the way he presents it could lead to students producing a somewhat mechanical or wooden stroke. Luckily Oscar has some great vids to set them straight.
     
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  39. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    Are you referring to the focusing of the "pulling across" aspect of the stroke? Because I also tried this but failed to translate what I was watching from those videos to good strokes on the court. I loved those videos, but couldn't make the connection on the court so I stopped with them looking for what I might be doing wrong
     
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  40. RetroSpin

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    I had/have a similar problem of losing control of my FH trajectory when I try to up the pace too much. In my case it is related to the position of the racquet face at PTD. If rushed or trying to hit too hard, I have a tendency not to get it facing the ground, but to start forward with it too open. Then it requires manipulation to get the proper angle at impact, soemthing that is hard to do consistently.

    This is kind of what the guy was getting at in the video. It's just that the problem can be created by an improper move much earlier in your swing.
     
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  41. RetroSpin

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    Yes, but not just that aspect. He teaches a dynamic technique. Really, 5263 is the guy to ask about that.
     
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  42. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    Now I have a question. This PTD, I think you're referring to the "pay the dog" phrase. I've heard that a lot only on this website. What does this actually mean?!
     
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  43. Djoker91

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    I meant pat the dog on that last one sorry
     
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  44. RetroSpin

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    It's the last position before you start rotating forward. Most pros have the racquet face parallel to and facing the court. When they start their arm forward, the wrist lays back, ie it goes into extension and ulnar deviation. http://blog.tennisspeed.com/
     
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  45. Djoker91

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    As I suspected. Thinking about my stroke, I don't conscientiously get to that point. I go from high low high. Should I make sure I get into that PTD position? Might that help me from flying long?
     
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  46. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    Understood. A buddy of mine said to get my wrist fixated. On the back swing, much like tommy haas, to have the wrist laid back, racket facing down, this way when I actually swing forward, that relationship doesn't change. This is what he does. I'm a bit skeptical because I've never heard this before. Fundamental?
     
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  47. Djoker91

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    My OTHER friend, former number 1 juniors player in his area, and has hit with the great serena once in his life, said "if you wanna hit topspin, think of yur girlfriend, and spank that ball". I know. 0.0! We laughed a while but he said that's honestly the motion he uses, spank it and finish over the shoulder. The topspin he creates and the penetrating forehand he has is a headache to deal with. This is something I'm gonna try too. Shadow swinging it, it feels right. Feels like it could work out! Again I'm big on what it's supposed to feel like
     
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  48. Topspin Shot

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    What you really need is a video of your stroke to answer that question. You may already be incorporating the position without realizing it.

    There are many highly successful players who use this form though I would say optimal mechanics don't require a fixed wrist. The key is to keep the plane the same. If the wrist moves (due to the racket's momentum, not you forcing it) with a combination of radial deviation and slight flexion through the contact zone but the plane remains the same, you're good to go. Forcing a fixed wrist will stiffen up your arm, which is not good.

    Never heard of this one before. I would keep it a secret from your girlfriend! :)
     
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  49. Djoker91

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    So there's a few variations, but the main thing I need to keep in mind is the racket face has to remain the same. And this will produce a modern forehand with a good shot, good net clearence and easily repeatable, as well as easily sped up to hit a winner when available?
     
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  50. Topspin Shot

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    Unfortunately, no. I think keeping the plane the same is one of the most important points to hitting a good modern forehand, but there are a lot of other pieces there too. There's a slight chance that you've got everything else going for you, and keeping the plane the same is the last piece to the puzzle, but more likely than not, there's other things that need work as well. So focusing on this tip should certainly help, but no single tip is a panacea. If you upload a video of your strokes or see a good pro, you can get more personalized instruction.
     
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