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. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    pronation and ulnar deviation cannot exist at the same time

    can you hit a proper sw, western forehand? its all pronation. if you swing the racquet, you will know. difficult to put into words.


    [​IMG]

    any release of the wrist forward from this position would be quite painful

    [​IMG]

    this player is setting up for a wrist release
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
    #51
  2. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    These movements are completely independent of each other. The hand/wrist just sits on the forearm and enjoys the ride. Of cause it can move itself by using four different motions, see please picture.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
    #52
  3. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    The most important matter in any FH is the wrist orientation – ϕ angle.
    [​IMG]
    Let’s analyze FH with semiwestern grip.

    If ϕ=90°, we can pronate and create “pure” topspin FH. In this case pronation cannot change racquet string bed orientation relatively to the court ground and can be used to produce topspin, but with a little power.

    If ϕ=0°, it means we hit “pure” flat FH and we cannot pronate at all, because this motion would close the racquet face completely. See image below.

    [​IMG]

    Obviously Verdasco cannot pronate, but he hits the most powerful FH possible.


    Wawrinka mixed these two routine together (ϕ=45°) and produced powerful FH with a lot of topspin and big flat (normal to racquet string bed) component of the racquet velocity.

    [​IMG]

    We must understand this stuff absolutely clearly, otherwise nothing will work.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
    #53
  4. corners

    corners Legend

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    I agree with toly:)
     
    #54
  5. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Being clear is very nice, so yes we should work to be clear here.
    You make one claim after another that you seem to think are clear, but...
    why do you say the wrist is the most important aspect?
    why can Verdasco not pronate?
     
    #55
  6. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    5263, I believe Toly’s assertion is that in the picture Verdasco’s racquet and arm form an almost straight line. The angle Toly calls Φ is 0°. Making these assumptions for a moment, if Verdasco decided to purely pronate his wrist, the racquet would rotate about an axis that travels the length of the racquet, from the handle to the head. The racquet face would just close towards the ground.

    Now having said all of that I don’t believe Toly’s analysis takes into account all of the important aspects of wrist motion. As Toly himself pointed out the human wrist can move in a lot of ways. There is also an elbow and shoulder than can add several degrees of freedom. All of these degrees of freedom mean that only looking angle between the wrist and the arm at contact will not tell you everything you need to know to decipher the racquet’s motion.

    In the picture of Verdasco he’s probably hitting the ball fairly flat, but I don’t believe it’s totally flat. Look at the strings on his racquet near the ball. You can see that a couple of the strings are flexing down toward the ground. This is a pretty strong indication that the racquet face is brushing up on the ball – i.e. topspin.

    We also haven’t seen the racquet’s motion before and after contact. While it would be really difficult for Verdasco to suddenly start moving his wrist such that the racquet face brushed up on the ball right at contact, if the racquet were moving in that direction already then he could be hitting with TS. And this gets back to the complexity of all of the joints of the arm, and the whole body as well, affecting the swing path of the racquet. A human has enough joint freedom that if the racquet were already brushing up the back of the ball right before contact, that this motion could be continued through the contact zone. Since the strings of the racquet show evidence of a brushing action, that’s probably what’s happening, though without seeing the whole stroke it’s really hard to know.

    There’s also the issue that generally it’s really not a good thing to hit a fh with no wrist lay back (i.e. Φ = 0°). The contact point would be at the side of the body and it would put a tremendous amount of strain on all of the joints of the arm. One of the bigger reasons you want the wrist laid back and the contact point to be out in front of your body so that the force of impact happens when your arm is pointing more into the court and not sticking out from the side of your body. Your arm is a lot stronger and able to take a lot more force when it’s in front of you then when it’s to the side. Again with Verdasco I think we need to see the whole sequence. Sometimes you have to reach out for a ball, but I’ve never seen anyone with good strokes intentionally try to take a ball with the racquet and arm in line. And a laid back wrist doesn’t prevent you from controlling the amount of TS on the ball – you can still hit it pretty flat if you want to.
     
    #56
  7. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I think I'm sort of stuck at his claim that a TS Fh uses ulnar deviation.
    He has not said to much since that question came up.

    Thanks for your comments on what he may be trying to say.
     
    #57
  8. theblueark

    theblueark New User

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    If we isolate the arm by holding the racquet at right before contact point, racquet parallel to and facing the net:

    In a conservative grip (continental - eastern), to produce TS with the wrist, it seems like we'll need Radial Deviation.

    In a SW grip, I think the same production seems to begin to incorporate maybe some Flexion.

    And in a Western grip, I think there indeed seems to be a little Ulnar Deviation going on.

    So I guess it depends on the grip? After all, the palm is facing almost opposite directions from a continental to a western. Which means Radial or Ulnar Deviations are going to be moving in very different directions in either of these grips.
     
    #58
  9. toly

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    If we want to hit “pure” TS FH, we have to keep the wrist in locked position with ϕ=90°. We don’t want to use ulnar deviation at all. Is it clear?
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
    #59
  10. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Just trying to help.

    Like you, I don't see how someone could use ulnar deviation (flexing the wrist toward the pinky side of the hand) while hitting a forehand. In another FH thread Ash said it was pronation and radial deviation. As I sit here and hit a FH with a pencil Ash's description matches what my wrist is doing.
     
    #60
  11. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Based on your previous posts I think you meant to say "pure flat FH" with a ϕ=0°. Either way I don't agree. You would never want to hit a FH with a ϕ=0° other than in a desperation situation. Have you ever tried to hit a ball like that? It doesn't work very well.
     
    #61
  12. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, corners. At least one person in the world agrees with me about this matter!:):):)
     
    #62
  13. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Sorry. I meant ϕ=90°
     
    #63
  14. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    When do you claim we need ulnar deviation motion direction?
    When do you think Fed uses flexion?
     
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  15. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I agree with what you and Ash are saying, so I figure I am not understanding toly since I know he is a sharp fellow.
     
    #65
  16. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    OK, forget about medical terms. Just swing the hand/wrist forward (counterclockwise) to produce flat FH!
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
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  17. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    #67
  18. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    I’m trying to describe theory of tennis strokes. According to usual scientific approach we should simplify the matter as much as possible. That’s why first of all I analyze two simplest extreme cases: 1. “Pure” flat FH and 2. “Pure” topspin FH.

    For SW/W grip, the “pure” flat FH (ϕ=0°) is created mostly by wrist ulnar deviation (and some wrist flexion too, but I purposefully ignore it right now to simplify the matter). This motion provides a lot of power, translation motion of the ball, but no spin. Obviously we cannot use pronation here to create spin, because it closes racquet face.

    Again for SW/W grip, the “pure” topspin FH (ϕ=90°) is created by pronation, because in this case pronation is tangential motion to the racquet string bed and cannot produce translation motion of the ball, but spin only. Thus, it would be very pathetic stroke.

    Pros usually mix these two routines, by keeping ϕ around 30°- 60° in the moment of impact.

    I also want to stress here, than smaller ϕ than more cautiously we should use pronation. In case of “pure” flat FH we have to destroy pronation at all.
    Even a lot of pros don’t know that, including Nadal. Very often I have seen, when they hit floating above and next to net ball, they hit it into net. Why? Because they use “pure” flat FH routine to produce maximum power (playing winner) with a lot of pronation.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
    #68
  19. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    the way a person hits the ball affects what he see and feels about others hitting the ball
     
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  20. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
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  21. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Hi toly, your posts are always interesting, but it's too bad that we don't agree on 80% of the issues! :)

    I think we agree that the wrist has a special and important role, and that the angle ϕ should be as large as comfort permits when the forward swing starts.

    What we disagree on, I believe, are the following:

    - the exact role of the wrist, and why ϕ has to be maximized
    - the sources of power that cause the wrist to flex forward
    - the role of forearm pronation
    - how ulnar/radial deviation works in the FH
    - mechanisms underlying flat and TS shots

    I am not saying your way won't work - only that it's not what I get out of seeing slow motion videos... I would really like to see a forehand executed using your methods!
     
    #71
  22. timpap

    timpap New User

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    so is keeping your wrist laid back and tight, but with a loose grip so bad?? What is best for the average players like me? I tried both. The federer forehand with the wrist snapping thing and the tight wrist forehand. I can produce more power and spin with the first forehand, but my consistency sucks . 1 out of 3 is out. The second one, needs more of a fast swing to produce power and spin but the consistency is good! So, what am i supposed to do? Let the wrist loose or no? Thanks in advance!
     
    #72
  23. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    the angle comes natural if you have the right grip

    verdasco grip vs wawrinka grip

    although the base knucle of index finger is on the same bevel, the Hypothenar eminence of warinka is more under the racquet than verdasco. hence the different angle.

    with verdesco grip, his fh is naturally more arm and whippy compared to wawrinka. verdasco fh is more similar to fed's.

    i belive the more under the racquet u are, the better. u are using the body more efficiently. its a body swing. the human racquet concept.
     
    #73
  24. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Definition: ϕ is angle between racquet long axis and forearm axis.
    It has nothing to do with grip.
     
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  25. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Hi bhupaes, thanks for comments.
    What really you don’t understand? Can we go step by step, because general questions I don’t follow?
    For instance, what means,” - the exact role of the wrist, and why ϕ has to be maximized”?
    The wrist role, I believe, I explained many times already and I never said that ϕ has to be maximized.
    This is special picture for you.

    [​IMG]

    Djokovic hit practically “pure” flat FH. He extremely exploited wrist ulnar deviation, because it practically in natural brake position and ϕ=0°. I usually don't pronate with this extreme ulnar deviation action because it is very difficult to control. But Djokovic sometime does.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
    #75
  26. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    That doesn't look like a normal Fh to me. Looks more like can I somehow get this ball back in play???
    Don't see how what is happening in this compensation effort, has to do towards developing a consistent Fh.
     
    #76
  27. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    If you're late on the ball, on the run, aiming crosscourt, in several cases you WILL snap forward at the ball earlier than normal because otherwise it goes down the line. Then again, when you're on the full run and/or off balance, you do a bunch of things to compensate that you wouldn't normally do.
     
    #77
  28. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Forehand Racket Face Orientation & Hammer Exercise

    Not sure if this interesting blog discussion has any relevance but the lines show the racket face orientation very clearly in one plane.

    May 20, 2011 on forehand.

    http://blog.tennisspeed.com/search/label/tennis instruction

    FYI, A second observation - I do wrist exercises (pronation & supination) at the TV by using a heavy 16" hammer and rotating it like a windshield wiper (not a WW forehand motion but with a stationary elbow). This exercise might be dangerous with any injury and too much weight and/or momentum.

    I also have tried raising the hammer as a ulnar deviation exercise - stand & hold the hammer straight back - and was surprised at how strong the arm is for that motion. (Toly had mentioned ordinary hammer strikes as closely associated with ulnar deviation.)

    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/WristFlexors/DBUlnarFlexion.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
    #78
  29. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Federer's fh with the straight arm and whipping wrist takes some timing to get down. You're probably better off starting with the more common "double bend" (bent elbow and wrist) that de-emphasizes the wrist a bit and gives you a bit more margin for error if you don't set-up on the shot quite right.

    I think the best way to think of it is what Dave Smith said in his book, Tennis Mastery. He says, "Keep the plane the same." What that means is that once you start the stroke forward, establish the plane that you want the racquet face to be at when it moves through the contact zone and maintain that plane all the way through the contact zone.

    Your wrist should be fairly firm with respect to flexing, but it should be pronating to create topspin.

    But it's not just your wrist that's doing this. All of the joints in your arm need to participate to perform the WW motion while maintaining the same racquet plane through the contract zone. Watch some youtube videos of pros, especially pros that use the same fh grip as you (pros use Eastern to Western and everything in between, semi-western being the most common, full Eastern probably the least common). Practice the stroke in the mirror.
     
    #79
  30. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Sorry, I went over your posts again, and you are right, you didn't say that ϕ has to be maximal. I am kinda busy with work now, but I will post my explanations sometime later, maybe tomorrow.

    The main movement of the wrist in this picture is flexion, moving the racquet upwards for more TS, and not ulnar deviation. Any ulnar deviation is purely due to anatomical constraints, IMO. To me it seems like Djokovic has tried to hit with lots of TS, and he is pulling the racquet up as hard as he can on the run, for a defensive shot most likely. One has to see the full stroke in a video to really know what happened, but I feel pretty sure that I am right.
     
    #80
  31. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    another problem i have

    u cant step on the gas until u are fully supinated

    if u step on the gas at the end of your takeback, u will miss the supination phase

    i realized this as i was getting double bageled. i tend to speed up the rythm when i m losing.

    a proper sw fh is so damn hard

    i have almost zero muscle, i m very underpowered, all my power has to come from proper stroke mechanics. to keep confounding factors to a minimum, i will not gain power through other means. the goal is to be able to crack a 80mph fh off a no pace ball.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
    #81
  32. timpap

    timpap New User

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    Thanks a lot for your time ! I use a grip between eastern and semi-western. What i want to ask is :
    1) if i have to rotate my torso consiously to get power or let it come naturally.
    2)since im pretty tall( 6'4'') if i should bend my knees or it doesnt matter. 3)How tight should my wrist be and how hard should i grip the racquet?
    4)How bent should my arm be? Like 90 degrees or less?

    Thanks in advance!
    Tim.
     
    #82
  33. timpap

    timpap New User

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    #83
  34. Giannis

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    1)You might have to do it conciously until you get used to the rotation.
    2)Since you are tall, you should bend your knees even more to get under the ball.
    3)Most people would tell you here to keep everything very loose and very relaxed. My opinion is that that you should have your wrist as loose as possible, while being consistent. If you are only practicing for now and dont play matches, you could try practicing the very loose wrist, but it might cause inconsistency. The grip should be fairly loose, getting tighter as the pace increases, but not so tight that you strangle the handle.
    4)If you mean your elbow, it should be around 120-130 degrees.
     
    #84
  35. timpap

    timpap New User

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    Thanks for your answer Giannis! Im from greece too! I have a hard time understanding this loose grip thing.. Its hard to keep it loose when im trying to hit hard.. The wrist flexes unconsciously. Maybe i should change to a semi western grip where wrist snapping is more natural.

    As you can see in this video, Falla is not at all keeping his wrist loose. He hits a decent forehand with lots of spin but with a tight wrist, laid back through the whole back swing. Is that wrong?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zSvXXrFoOg&feature=channel_video_title
     
    #85
  36. Giannis

    Giannis Rookie

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    Its normal to grip tighter when you try to hit hard. No, that forehand isn't wrong, it might not give the easiest access to tremendous power, but you avoid more misshits that way, which makes you more consistent.

    I think also that playing with a really heavy racket with very high swingweight plays a role too. If you watch Blake for example in this video, he hits with a very relaxed wrist and although a lot of balls dont hit the sweetspot, they are still good balls because of the power of the racket.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
    #86
  37. timpap

    timpap New User

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    Yes i can see that, but i still cant decide what to do! They are pro's right? They are allowed to do whatever they want with their wrist ! But for an average player like me? Maybe keeping it loose but not TOO loose? Or i have to find my own way to hit it? Which pro's forehand would be good to try to emulate? Maybe berdych's? Simple and powerful stroke and he's at my height too, so i copy it easier. Do you agree?
     
    #87
  38. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Here are my thoughts:
    1) At first you should try to do everything consciously until it is automatic: the foot work, the shoulder turn, reaching across with the non-racquet arm, etc.

    2) Bending your knees is always a good thing regardless of how tall you are

    3) It’s hard to quantify this. It shouldn’t be super tight. The looser it is the more the racquet will be able to whip, but control can suffer if you don’t have the racquet going in the proper direction. A firmer wrist will give you more control, but less power.

    4) As another poster said, the angle between the upper and lower arm should generally be 130° or so, but straight (180°) works too. 90° is too bent.

    Regarding the video, yes that's a good lesson. All of the forehands there are good. A couple of comments on the video:

    • Good idea to start with an Eastern forehand. You can rotate more towards the semi-western later if you want.
    • For finding an E. fh, another way to do it is using the knuckle on the base of your index finger as a guide. For the E. fh the knuckle is on bevel 3, and SW it’s on 4.
    • Starting out with a closed stance is good. Later one you move to hit with more open stances. Pros use open and closed stances to hit. The critical thing is that regardless of what stance you use you have to rotate your shoulders and hips the same way.
    • Look at how the non-racquet arm moves too. It’s important to the shot.
     
    #88
  39. Giannis

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    It depends on what you are looking for, if you like winning, you will have to do whatever it takes to be consistent. If you dont really care and just enjoy to hit very hard, it will be easier with a loose wrist or you can do something in between like you said. Just make sure that you choose a technique that works for you and stick with it. I play too with a forehand similar to falla and a lot of women pro's do too if it makes you feel better :)
     
    #89
  40. timpap

    timpap New User

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    Haha! Now im relieved! I just got back from tennis training and i observed that keeping wrist and grip tight does not help at all in power. The double bent technique also seemed a little peculiar ( Θελω να πω οτι μου φανηκε λιγο παραξενη αυτη η τεχνικη γιατι σε συνδυασμο με το WW forehand δεν δινει ωθηση στη μπαλα προς τα μπρος αλλα απλα την ξυνει, η ωθηση ισως να πρεπει να ερθει απο την περιστροφη του κορμου). I just have to get used to it. I think the best is somewhere in the middle with a nice and fast torso rotation which will give power.
     
    #90
  41. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    I can't seem to find my posts. They simply disappear.
     
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  42. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I used to do a drill where I would set my wrist immediately when I recognized it was a forehand. The wrist angle would change very little through out the whole forehand loop. Fed, Nadal, and Courier seem to do similar in that they positon grip and wrist earlier. I admit pros sometimes adjust wrist during swing but I think it is better to think of the wrist angle as constant while still keeping arm/wrist loose and relaxed. I think laid back at contact is best too. Sometimes I position arm/wrist in a good contact point and then loop backwards into initial pivot/stalking position where racket head is between shoulders and above wrist - basically take a backward swing from contact to prep position. Courier really laid wrist back in stalking/pivot position. As you loop and rotate shoulders and hips forward; a relaxed wrist will lay back a bit more too.
     
    #92
  43. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Hi toly, I have a few minutes now, so I'll take a break from my work and point out where we think differently and why, starting with the points I posted earlier.

    - the exact role of the wrist, and why ϕ has to be maximized at the start of the forward swing

    I view the wrist as the final stage of a complex torque conversion process that delivers power for moving the racquet. It is only a small source of power in itself, but it is a conduit that delivers a pretty large amount of power, and it plays a major part in control. By maximizing ϕ at the start of the swing (within the limits of comfort, of course), power can be delivered over a greater distance, resulting in more racquet head speed.

    - the sources of power that cause the wrist to flex forward

    Ultimately, most of power comes from the kinetic elements preceding the wrist, starting with the leg push off. I don't want to get into the exact contribution due to each link, but I agree with studies done by Brian Gordon, as pointed out by spacediver. Suffice it to say that the links controlled by the big musces have a significant active contribution in addition to whatever they "pass on" from the previous link. The wrist/forearm itself contributes only a small active portion.

    - the role of forearm pronation

    Pure forearm pronation that causes the wrist to rotate provides mainly control. It serves to position the racquet head correctly.

    - how ulnar/radial deviation works in the FH

    There is ulnar to radial deviation when Eastern and SW grips are used. IMO, this is also a mostly passive movement, that contributes to TS. With extreme western grips, it seems that this is overshadowed by wrist flexion... something I realized only yesterday after looking at the picture of Djokovic you (toly) posted. But one should never use ulnar deviation to "hammer" a forehand, as you (toly) have suggested, IMO.

    - mechanisms underlying flat and TS shots

    Well, this is very complex, and depends on the exact FH mechanics including the grip. I will take the easy way out and say that any movement that causes the racquet head to move upwards contributes to TS. But it would be wrong to say that the most significant component is wrist rotation caused by pure forearm pronation (not to be confused with upper arm rotation, which is a major power source).

    Well, these topics have made the rounds many times in many different threads... I am just pointing out what I believe to be true among the various theories and models that have been discussed so far.
     
    #93
  44. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    are u sure you guys know what u are talking about? can any of you hit a proper forehand?


    the detail of the wrist thing has been repeated for years with no progress.
     
    #94
  45. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    how? and in what direction?
     
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  46. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    It's the so called weight shift, where one pushes off the right leg (for a righy) and shifts weight to the left leg in a forehand.
     
    #96
  47. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Don't care who you are, thats sort of funny.
     
    #97
  48. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    come on, cant be that simple
     
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  49. Funbun

    Funbun Professional

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    Uh.. you don't necessarily have to shift your weight from one foot to another. Nearly all the professional players have hit off their back foot one time or another during a match.

    I think most of the energy for nearly all shots in tennis comes from rotating your entire body (your core, shoulders, etc.).

    While I agree that using the legs is fundamental to having good technique in the forehand, I disagree that they form the basis of power in anyone's stroke. The leg, in terms of ONLY the stroke, serves as mostly a pivot point and base.

    Your legs act as a stabilizer for the entire stroke, i.e. step one to the forehand. You can't muscle the ball, obviously; instead, you rotate your body to generate the angular momentum necessary to hitting a strong shot.

    I'm not saying the legs don't contribute any power to the shot; they can certainly do so, but not very much. In fact, running approach shots have that ball speed because of your forward velocity, which apparently came from your running (your legs). Only here I can draw an exception.

    @pushing_wins: I seriously suggest you look at pro practice videos. There is no problem in mimicking what they do. You can even see them in slow motion to see how they get the power they need for their groundstrokes. You don't need much arm muscle, but you certainly need decent shoulders, core, and legs if you want to have stronger strokes and footwork.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
    #99
  50. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    You're sort of right, in that players do hit off the back foot, but they do shift their weight when they do...

    Power generation most certainly comes from the legs, but it takes different forms depending on the stance.
    Hitting off the back foot requires vertical momentum to generate power (weight shift up).
    Hitting off the outside foot requires rotational (angular) momentum (try rotating your core and shoulders without using GRF - not very powerful is it!). Use GRF to push and shift the weight across from right to left (for a righty forehand) and the increase in rotation speed is massive.
    Hitting off the front foot (no debate on the validity of it please :) ) requires lienear momentum, that is weight shift from back to front.

    Too many players don't understand the use of different methods of power generation and especially how stance dependent it is.

    cheers
     

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