Question for Will Hamilton (& others who promote laid back wrist on forehand contact)

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by spacediver, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    In the FYB video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gZ6RIkQ9IU there are a few things that are stressed:

    1) The wrist should remain laid back before and during contact. In other words, there should be no flexion of the wrist until well after contact, and the wrist should remain extended before and through contact.

    2) Advanced players can start to introduce pronation / wrist deviation to aid in generating topspin

    3) Sometimes, the pronation/deviation can give the illusion of wrist flexion when watching full speed video.

    Now my question is whether 1) holds true in all circumstances. I'm not arguing that one should actively flex the wrist, but aren't there circumstances where the wrist will naturally flex to a more or less neutral position right at contact?

    Look at this super slow motion footage of a federer forehand:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji914RSFrew

    Unless my eyes are deceiving me, it seems clear that there is a significant component of wrist flexion that occurs right before contact. It appears that the previous link in the kinetic chain (the forearm) slows down and the momentum gets channeled through the wrist joint creating a nice whip effect.

    I suspect that this is more the case when one is hitting a flat forehand, with the racquet face perpendicular to ground during the forward swing (and square to target).
     
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  2. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    My feeling is that the flexion is used to regulate shot line more than anything else.
     
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  3. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    Interesting - I think that is along the lines of what Brian Gordon's latest research shows.
     
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  4. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    IMO you have to realize the difference in cause.
    IMO it is not active muscle derived flexion, but rather the whip effect created by changing the directions of the racket by pulling the hand across prior to contact.
     
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  5. spacediver

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    aye, as I said in my original post, I'm less concerned about establishing whether the flexion is passive or active - I just want to establish that the joint rotation (flexion of the wrist, whether it's passive or active) DOES indeed occur in some circumstances.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
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  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    So I would agree that it does occur and also because there is a little extra at the beginning from the force at the beginning of the forward swing, along with what has already been mentioned.
     
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  7. Funbun

    Funbun Professional

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    Now that we're on the issue of the laid back wrist, is it supposed to be a conscious thing? (I'm trying to avoid the word, "forced", primarily because it sounds like one is trying too hard when it isn't natural.)

    I see some guys like Robin Haase who does his entire forehand, takeback to followthrough, with his wrist back. This is also the case with many other guys like Federer, Nadal, etc.

    So are you supposed to lay your wrist back (or, to be more accurate, your entire hand back) with intent, or should one just lay it back naturally as you swing forward?

    I tried a little of both, and I cannot figure out which one is right. I see guys who keep it back the whole time, like Nadal, and then there are guys who just keep it loose, like Murray.

    I do feel that I get more topspin and contact when I try to keey my wrist back, though. Whereas, when I keep it relatively loose, I get less spin.
     
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  8. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I think you have hit on a big part of Murray's Fh challenges though.
     
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  9. tennis-kid

    tennis-kid Rookie

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    In my experience, laid back wrist prevent wrist injury. I intentionally laid back my wrist for FH and there is no pain for playing 2-3 hours. One day I didn't laid back my wrist and played over 2 hours and I had sore wrist following day.
     
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  10. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    To spacediver: I believe your observation is correct.

    See also the extremely interesting dynamics occurring at 0:02. See how the upper arm and hand movement causes the wrist to extend at the bottom of the backswing, just before the forward swing begins.

    Roger then pulls the racquet forward by the handle, and near about the contact point, the movement of the arm in the forward direction slows (due to change of direction, among other things), and this causes the wrist to flex. I believe there is an active flexion component also caused by the ulnar to radial movement, so this movement is not completely passive.
     
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  11. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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  12. Clay lover

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    Yeah I've always thought it is kind of awkward to lay back your wrist during contact, it feels like you are conserving so much energy in your wrist but not releasing it as you uncoil your body. The vids of Fed and Nad clearly shows that the wrist DOES flex, either voluntarily or involuntarily, shortly before contact.
     
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  13. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    Well, nothing holds true in all circumstances, and the exceptions are there for people to grasp. getting to know when to hit certain shots is a skill by itself.

    Now, of course if someone practices something and makes it reliable and steady, and it causes no injury, then he or she has developed a technique to reach a certain goal, and that technique can be copied, simply by observing what is happening.

    Tennis is as unique as the person that plays, so what works for someone might not be the best option for another person. But one t hing is certain, the less the variables the easier it is to have a steady system. Why complicate it?

    well, maybe the earning will outweigh complications for someone and it is something to be pursued. Go ahead, and experiment with the knowledge you already have as a basis. Then you can share your discoveries with us ;)
     
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  14. pushing_wins

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    try holding a sw grip and try to move the raquet perpencular to the ground at the point where fed moves his wrist

    how does that feel?

    it all depends on the grip. if you hand is on top of the racquet , you use your wrist to slap it, like in squash. if your hand is under the raquet, you pronate. fed's not a good example, his grip's in the middle, so he does both.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
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  15. pushing_wins

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    who is this guy? is his wrist laid back?

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. ttbrowne

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    I can only tell you what a tour player told me about the "whip forehand" like Fed's. Unless you're going to spend about 5,000 hours learning it, forget it.
     
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  17. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    that actually makes a lot of sense. I use an eastern grip myself and find that allowing my wrist to flex naturally can allow for some wicked flat forehand winners (though the timing needs to be perfect, since the angle of the racquet face is changing direction extremely fast).

    What actually seems to be closer to the truth here is that ulnar deviation of the wrist, flexion of the wrist, and pronation of the forearm are all occuring together to produce a complex motion. John Yandell recently wrote a great article on the serve that talked about this with respect to the serve - I believe he used the term "wrist action" to refer to the combination of radial deviation of the wrist, and flexion of the wrist, and as in this discussion, did not make any claims about whether this action was active or passive.
     
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  18. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    Aye, this is very similar to what happens during the backswing portion of the serve, where the racquet lags behind and drops behind. In that case, joint in question is the shoulder joint, and it is being externally rotated. The fascinating thing is that despite the external rotation of the shoulder, the internal rotators of the shoulder are actually firing! This apparent paradox is resolved once we understand that muscle fibers can be stretched due to "motion dependent effects" while still being innervated (which, in the absence of any opposing motion dependent effect, would cause the fibers to contract). This means that by the time that the shoulder joint is ready to experience an internal rotation, the force of internal rotation is greater, resulting in a very fast upswing.

    Perhaps a similar dynamic occurs here, where if one learns to fire the muscles involved in wrist flexion, and times this firing correctly, they can achieve a nice snap when the moment is right. An interesting point to note is that even though there is active firing of the muscles that control wrist flexion, the muscles aren't fired in sync with the actual flexion of the joint - they are fired much earlier - this may make it seem as if it is passive, or involuntary. In fact, the actual firing of the muscles during this earlier "lag portion" may be involuntary - this stretch shortening cycle may involve an involuntary contraction of the muscles to protect the joint against excessive wrist extension.

    For those who are interested in more details about the serving analysis in this post, I got this information from one of Brian Gordon's biomechanics articles on tennisplayer.

    Also, the dude from lock and roll tennis makes a similar observation about the racquet lagging behind during the first part of the forward swing in the forehand. You can see it in his video on his website.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
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  19. pushing_wins

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    on will's video, when he is doing the shadow swing with his hands, he is demonstrating by hitting the ball with his palm

    when you are hitting a sw grip, u are hitting with the back of the hand. it is not possible to move the wrist in that manner.

    i agree, your fh is quite flat and slappy. maybe thats how it should be with the grip you use.

    i know nothing about the serve, so i can comment.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
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  20. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    I did have an eye opening experience recently when I took a lesson with someone at my club. For the first time I felt what it was like to have a proper racquet drop and feel a natural wind shield wiper motion. Felt very smooth and effortless.

    Perhaps I'll learn how to employ multiple forehands :)
     
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  21. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Hi spacediver, I believe the forehand also exhibits kinetics somewhat similar to the serve as regards shoulder and wrist. The external shoulder rotation is not as easy to see as in the serve, but the internal rotators do seem to get stretched in advance of firing. The wrist/forearm gets loaded and released also, and this is more obviously visible. I believe one can get the most benefit by keeping the wrist - in fact, the whole arm structure - as loose as possible to let the muscles stretch maximally before they fire. Of course, the grip tightens involuntarily at the right time, and one doesn't really need to think about it. I think this is how the pros get the unbelievable control and consistency that simply eludes us amateurs. So much of the energy build up happens via involuntary and passive mechanisms that they can channel all their active faculties into increasing control.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
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  22. pushing_wins

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    good for you. are you finally trying out the sw grip? its a totally different sensation at contact.
     
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  23. spacediver

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    bhupaes - great post, makes a lot of sense.
     
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  24. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    interestingly, one of my first thoughts I had after this experience was that maybe I'd finally understand the sw grip if I was able to recreate that feeling I had during the lesson, but using an sw grip.
     
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  25. wihamilton

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    Hey SpaceDiver,

    The point of that video was to dispel the "snap your wrist" myth. However, the wrist definitely releases a bit prior to contact. For example, I've seen some footage where the angle between Rafa's racket and forearm is about 90 degrees right when he sets into his hitting-arm position, but the angle is greater at contact.

    But is he actively "snapping his wrist" to bring the racket around? No, I don't think so. Rather, I think it's a natural consequence of the swing path and staying relaxed.

    - Will
     
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  26. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the clarification Will. I agree that it is useful to emphasize that one should not aim to consciously snap the wrist, but I find a lot of coaches say that the wrist should remain laid back throughout contact, and they seem quite dogmatic about it.

    In other words, there are two independent considerations - the volitional control of a joint, and the rotation that actually occurs in the joint, and many coaches conflate these two things, ultimately leading to confusion to the discerning student.
     
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  27. wihamilton

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    Yep this is an excellent point.
     
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  28. rkelley

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    In the video that the OP put up of Federer it appears to me that Fed pulled the trigger a little early on this particular forehand and is having to reach out a bit, via flexing his wrist, more than normal to hit it.

    Thoughts?
     
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  29. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    IMO it's a perfect illustration of the wrist release. That must have been one helluva shot...
     
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  30. Torres

    Torres Banned

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  31. FedExpress 333

    FedExpress 333 Professional

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    Hey man, may I ask a few questions?

    1. Who told you that?

    2. Darn, I have been trying to learn it, but 5,00 hours is :(.

    3. If you can not learn that, what should you learn?
     
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  32. corners

    corners Legend

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    Of course tour players snap their wrist on the forehand. The video evidence is extensive.

    But of course they don't snap their wrists with their wrist muscles. Instead they slow down their torso rotation, which slows down their arm, and then the racquet pivots at the wrist/forearm and flexes/ulnar deviates & pronates to accelerate through contact.

    It's the same thing that happens when a golfer drives (wrists cocked (laid back) at the top of the backswing and then release into contact), a batter swings and a pitcher throws.

    It's simply the most efficient way to transfer rotational energy from the center to the periphery.

    We all do it on every serve, if we have a serve.

    Of course, it's much more difficult to time this release on a live, spinning ball, which is why the tour pro told ttbrowne it will take 5,000 hours to learn. It won't really take that long to get the mechanics down, but hitting consistently might never happen without lots of talent and lots and lots of practice.

    There are some nice posts by toly about the physics of these whip forehands. One of the interesting things he says is that with an eastern grip you get wrist flexion when the forearm slows down, while with a semi or western grip you get ulnar deviation when the forearm slows down.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
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  33. Kevo

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    I don't think it matters really. I think what matters is having a good release. If the racquet is impeded on it's path to contact then you are losing something from your shot, either spin or pace. Having a relaxed wrist and allowing it to flow with the swing will result in a variety of subtle differences in wrist flex and position right before and at contact. I don't think those things matter too much. I think what matters is all the stuff that leads up to contact. The racquet doesn't need to be held at contact. If it's in a good flight trajectory at the moment of impact with the ball, the shot will be good. I think most people impede the shot with too much muscle action near contact.
     
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  34. toly

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    One of my students began hitting very powerful FH with intentional and very forceful wrist action after 15 minutes. His strokes were also very consistent. Unfortunately after 1 hour of very successful hitting he broke strings on three of his racquets and told me that he cannot afford using this technique anymore, too expensive.:)
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  35. wihamilton

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    That's possible, but without seeing where the ball goes it's tough to say. As a general rule, DO NOT read too much into one clip or one picture (not implying that you're doing this, just bringing it up because it's an important point). Great way to reach the wrong conclusion. You need to look at a lot of material before you can definitely make a particular call... and even then sometimes it's dicey.

    - Will
     
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  36. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Very good point when looking for answers.

    On the other hand, when you are confident of the point you are making already, it makes a lot of sense to use one or two vids which illustrate it nicely.
     
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  37. pushing_wins

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    spacediver, are u coming up to watch the itf this week?
     
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  38. Mahboob Khan

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    With all modern forehands the hitting wrist-forearm is laid back creating a double bend; as the racket moves forward into the contact zone the wrist fires forward in a controlled way to aid in generating the racket head speed; (yes, the racket head which was dragging behind, now catches up with the wrist at point of contact). I call this, "an educated use of the wrist". With the "uneducated use of the wrist", uncontrolled wrist snap, the player will probably mistime the ball, shank the ball, etc.

    Observe the wheel of your car: the axcel part, and the top of the tire part. The axcel seems to be moving/rotating slow, the top of the tire moving quite fast (tire moving faster than the axcel but both reach their destination at the same time because the axcel distance is less, the tire's distance is more). For tennis players, the wrist-forearm is the axcel, and the tip .. frame of the racket .. is the tire. The wrist use accelerates itself (the axcel) and the axcel then accelerates the tire (frame of the racket).
     
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  39. Cheetah

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    I don't think this is a correct analogy. With a tire and axel there is no independent movement. The tire spins faster because of the distance from the point of rotation is greater than the axel's radius from the rotation point. The difference between rate of the spin of the outer edge of tire and the axel remains constant even though the tire edge is rotating faster. The tire doesn't 'catch up' to the axel. The differences between spinning rates stays the same. A passive wrist will 'snap' forward because the rate of acceleration of the arm slows decreases.

    I think most people dont utilitize a 100% passive wrist. They use slight control and 'education' as it was put to control the wrist during this snap and this probably contributes to the moving forward also.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
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  40. corners

    corners Legend

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    Tell him to switch to kevlar mains with a soft copoly cross at lower tension. He won't be breaking many strings with that extremely spin-friendly combo.

    But a pretty nice problem to have, as far as forehands go. Do you think, toly, that learning a whip, or slingshot (Fed or Nadal style) and becoming consistent with it is less difficult than people think?
     
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  41. BeHappy

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    The guy is from Pakistan, maybe simplify your language slightly if you want a response.

    Mahboob, are you talking about the wrist joint or the forearm?
     
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  42. rkelley

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    Agreed on all counts. I have studied Fed's forehand a bit however and it does appear that in the OP's video the contact point is further out from his body than usual. But without seeing everything leading up to the stroke and the result of the stroke it's hard to know for sure.

    Hey Will, I saw your commercial with the Bryan brothers on the Tennis Channel this weekend. Very cool.
     
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  43. wihamilton

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    Thanks. Bros are awesome guys. It was a lot of fun working w/ them.
     
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  44. toly

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    Active Hand/Wrist Forehand

    IMO, the hand/wrist is the most important part of our body relevant to tennis strokes. The wrist is the fastest joint and it is strong enough to rotate racquet by itself with very high angular speed (around 10 revolution-per-second or 600 rpm). It can define power and type of the FH. In comparison, shoulder joint can give just around 120 rpm. The body rotation practically doesn’t give us anything significant because it is very slow.

    First of all, we should clearly understand how to hit “pure” flat forehand without straight linear motion.
    Secondly, how we have to act to hit “pure” topspin FH.
    Then we can mix these two routine together and produce thousands different FH.

    Some of these hitting routines I explained in thread http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=368887. Everything is very simple. That’s why a lot of people can use the hand/wrist very efficiently practically right away.

    Look at small kids, all of them can do it without any problem. Unfortunately a lot of tennis coaches begin to teach them how to hit with frozen wrist, hitting linearly straight through 4 balls, and so on. The result is usually very bad. They just close the gate before them to the ATP or WTA tours.
    All pros are using these techniques, there are no exceptions.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011
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  45. pushing_wins

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    try holding a western grip and release the wrist as fed do in that video. feels awkward doesnt it?
     
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  46. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Lots of interesting claims in this post.
    Body rotation gives us nothing significant??
    We need to all learn to hit a pure flat Fh?
     
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  47. toly

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    Federer is using the wrist flexion. In case of the western grip, we have to use wrist ulnar deviation. This motion is very natural for people who often work with heavy tools like hummer, ax, etc. I as well have no problem with this motion.
    See also http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=5857288#post5857288.
     
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  48. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    IMO he uses more radial deviation.
     
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  49. toly

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    SystemicAnomaly or Tricky help me please!!!
     
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  50. Mahboob Khan

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    I understood his language but I stick to what I have said. Basically, I was referring to the wrist joint but I hate to ignore the forearm.

    All I was saying that the laid back wrist helps in the racket-head speed.

    Yes, the wrist use is there in the modern forehand, but this wrist use must be regulated/educated.

    Yes, the use of the wrist does occur in the modern forehand but this must be "regulated or educated use of the wrist".

    I gave the example of the axel and the tire; the tire moves faster than the axel but both reach their destination at the same time (on the completion of the circle).

    In tennis forehand, your elbow moves faster than your shoulder, your wrist forearm moves faster than your elbow, and the racket-head faster than your wrist-forearm, but all reach their destination (follow through) at the same time.

    Thus, the firing-forward from the laid-back position, helps in the racket head speed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011
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