Running Forehands

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by boramiNYC, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    With all the excitement about open stance and modern topspin stroke notwithstanding usual running forehands are out of that mold. Invariably they are very closed stance (which is a necessity) but still they can be hit very powerfully with pretty good control if executed well. Maybe not as spinny as regular topspin fh and more flat.

    Can you share your ideas on this shot about the technique and/or biomechanics? I don't know if a true western grip can execute this shot but for SW and E grips this is a very important shot. I'm trying to better understand its mechanics.
     
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  2. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I can't explain why, and I haven't heard a convincing explanation, but, I do agree that, when hitting a forehand while running laterally out wide, it's easier and more natural to hit with either a closed stance, or, at least be mostly sideways to the target, especially when hitting cross court.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Maybe because that shot cannot be reached if you tried to stop your momentum with a open stance. You needed the speed thru the hitting zone just to get into position to hit the ball.
    Sampras had one of the best.
    Just like a batter running to first base, he cannot stop right there, but runs thru past first base.
    As opposed to a runner going to third, where he HAS to stop to maintain contact with the bag, he can't get there as quickly.
     
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  4. Ash_Smith

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  5. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    In a running FH, to initiate the backswing, you consciously bring the racquet "down" or under the ball. This will cause the elbow to pivot high as the racquet is taken back (like Sampras.)

    This has big advantages when moving laterally. You don't need as much torso rotation to complete the backswing and forward swing. As a result, you can still swing through the ball with little restriction. Your stance will naturally be more closed.
     
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  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I can't speak for the OP, but, that's not what I mean by a running forehand. I mean hitting on the run laterally. Here are some examples of what I'm referring to. Federer, Sampras and Nadal all seem to have the same footwork - planting with the right foot (left for Nadal), on the backswing and stepping across with the left foot (right for Nadal), on the forward swing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWwiqsI7duk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnB3Jxy9Ecc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz47_0dMCME
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q442oHhPJ0
     
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  7. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

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    I agree with almost all your posts... I don't particularly like these video
    example's.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Those are not running forehands, in the sense I think of.
    They are forehands hit from out wide, where the player easily get's there in time to hit the ball.
    Running forehands, Sampras goes another 3 steps before recovery, full speed to get to the ball, not sauntering over to it. Running forehands are seldom hit as rally balls, as you hit the ball, then your momentum takes you far off the court.
     
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  9. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Ash, I meant something more wide and a little farther out of reach where you have to take big strides. But, for not too wide ones those are great.
     
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  10. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Racquet prep high
    hit off the left foot for righties. you don't 'step across'. you just continue your run w/ your normal stride and time it to hit on your left foot.
    come under the ball and finish high.
    aim for 3/4 wide or dtl shot

    no jumping/pivoting as in the vids posted by ash. that's for a normal wide shot. not a running fh.
     
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  11. boramiNYC

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    I'm especially interested in the core movement and control on this shot. And how so much power can be generated without the core rotation. Any ideas?
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Watch vids of Sampras hitting running forehands.
    He hits harder on those than most player can hit, period.
    Good enough is sufficient.
     
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  13. Cheetah

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    I already answered this. There is little to no core movement. The power comes from prepping the racquet high and letting it drop down under the ball from gravity and also from hitting off of the left foot for a stable base. Most rec players just run through the shot which is wrong. And by 'run through' i mean they just hit the ball no matter where their feet are and run through it instead of giving consideration to striking while on the left foot.

    Hit off the left foot. high prep. let the racquet drop down. hit outside of the ball. finish high. That gives you lots of power.

    edit: You don't necessarily 'swing through' on this shot. It's more like a pendulum. gravity does the work.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  14. tricky

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    It's due to the U-backswing or pendulum motion of the backswing (torso rotation mostly loads the shoulder abductors) This motion doesn't require a lot of torso rotation, and you generate most of the power from forward/linear weight transfer.
     
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  15. Cheetah

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    It's the forward swing that has a pendulum motion, not the backswing.

    How do you get forward/linear weight transfer on a running forehand?
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You don't. You get the power from your arms. Notice the longer than normal backswing.
     
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  17. tyu1314

    tyu1314 Semi-Pro

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  18. Cheetah

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    yes i know. i was just trying to point out that he was incorrect by saying u use liner forward weight transfer.
     
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  19. Cheetah

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  20. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    The backswing as well. On the FH swing, the pendulum takeback gives you a very high elbow position, and it lets you sling the racquet at the ball. It lets you drive through the ball cleanly, yet have a true reverse finish.

    There's a mechanical reason why. Most torso rotation is there to load the up-down-up motion of the swing (shoulder abduction.) This is difficult to load when you're moving laterally, and in fact your ability to drive through the ball gets compromised when moving this way with a traditional loop. However, the pendulum motion doesn't require that element, because it doesn't load the shoulder to swing the arm across the body. Thus you can still plow through a ball as if you were stepping into the shot. It gives you the same depth/pace.

    It requires really good footwork. You have to shift your weight over the outside of your foot while suppressing sideways lean with the trunk. To do that, this may require you to significantly lower and widen your base.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I think it's good to keep in mind that most are not really as powerful as they may
    seem.
    Often they are passing shots or hitting to an open slice of court with more of a
    quick squirt thru than major mph. Not saying that there are not some big ones
    hit at times, but imo that is not the norm on this shot.
     
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  22. Cheetah

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    No. There is no pendulum movement on any backswing. A pendulum is when a weight is suspended up at a pivot point and swings down freely from gravity to establish equilibrium. The high racquet prep at the end of the takeback is the suspension and pivot. The downward and then forward movement is the pendulum action. This occurs after the takeback. The momentum from the fall of the racquet is transferred into the ball.

    No. Loading is done from the legs and the energy is transferred from the ground up to the torso and then arms. Torso rotation has nothing to do with up / down motion. Rotation just delivers rotational energy/ momentum into the ball.

    Not really. You only need to time it so that you strike the ball while stepping on the left foot and remaining sideways.
    It doesn't require 'really good footwork' or any complicated footwork pattern. You should step on the left foot because it gives the stable base and it keeps you sideways and doesn't interfere with a sideways shot as a right foot step would. Also if you're not running all out and you step with the left you have a chance to then plant your right foot for recovery. If not on the next step then you can do it on the one after that and it will be natural because you hit off the left.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  23. tricky

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    For the running FH, it helps to use a pendulum motion in the takeback. The elbow is brought down initially, which causes it to rise in the takeback and above the racquet. Again, this helps to load the shoulder so that the forward swing does not need to go across the body. It's not that different from how traditional BHs are taught, except that it's just one hand and on the FH wing.

    The gravity explanation is a popular one to explain the C or reverse forehand, but even in situations where the racquet path is not especially high, you get a lot of power. It's again due to how the specific technique enables you to actually drive through the ball from a full run.

    Let me clarify -- the upper torso/trunk rotation mostly loads and set up the circular aspect of the loop. This is because, for the loop to occur (shoulder abduction), the arm must move away from the right side of the body. However, this is difficult when you're also running to your right. Using a pendulum motion (or starting the takeback by dipping the racquet) reduces the need to do this.

    I understand. The technique I'm describing is about executing a running FH from a near-full run.
     
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  24. Cheetah

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    Oh i see what you mean.

    Hmm... I don't see why you would want to bring the racquet down first and then up instead of just up. Bringing the racquet down first will not load the shoulder any more then starting it high. The 'amount of load' is determined by the height of the racquet at the pivot point and not by any amount of down first action.

    Also it seems that bringing the racquet down first and then up and then back down would be more time consuming and subject to more errors then just prepping high first.

    I don't see any pros doing this down/up/down motion for a running fh. Do you know anyone who does it this way so that I can check out it on utube?
     
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  25. Cheetah

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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  26. tricky

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    When you initially bring the racquet down, it actually goes up in the takeback regardless. This is because you're causing the front shoulder to dip and the back shoulder to rise. You don't need to consciously lift the racquet into a loop -- it happens naturally as you take the racquet back. Main thing is whether the elbow starts above the racquet at beginning of takeback. That's one tell that somebody's using a pendulum takeback.

    The main reason for doing this is to prevent the need to swing across the body. When you execute a traditional loop, it starts with the arm moving away from the side of your body. Your swing is loaded to do that. If you then try to execute a forward swing in a C-loop (without the arm coming across), you'll notice that the contact point is brought in and that the swing doesn't drive through. With a pendulum takeback, it lets you swing all the way through. Downside with a pendulum takeback is that you have less power on high bouncing shots and less spin variation.
     
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  27. Cheetah

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    Ok. I see what you're saying and can see how that's possible.

    So we have the same general ideas. pendulum swing, remain sideways etc.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  28. tricky

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    Yup, I think so! :)
     
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  29. Cheetah

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    I do know what you're talking about with how the contact point is brought in with the prep as how I described it. I'm going to try the pendulum takeback next time to see the difference.
     
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  30. TennisA

    TennisA Rookie

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    Huh... did not know you needed to use close-stance for a running forehand... Might explain why I get only one of those in every 10+ times I go for it.
     
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  31. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    For these shots you haven't got time to position yourself to an open stance. You still somehow have to rotate your upper trunk vs shoulders to finish off the follow through while your lower part faces the side fence.
     
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  32. Cheetah

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    no trunk or shoulder rotation necessary. the finish of the arm/racquet is on the same side of the body. no swing across.
     
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  33. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Is this running forehand?:):confused:

    [​IMG]
     
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  34. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    good images
     
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  35. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    That's a great set of images. No12 is exactly what I meant. Lower part facing direction of run (we say side fence) and look at his upper body....
     
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  36. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    got it.
    .....
     
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  37. sabala

    sabala Semi-Pro

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    Was testing out a new camera and caught myself with a running FH and a bit of a running BH too. Start on outside leg, swinging as inside leg comes across to balance. Contact seems to be as legs cross position?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgoGuubQGyM#t=2m55s

    I try not to think about what I'm actually doing though, lol -
     
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  38. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    toly thanks for the nice images. and thanks for discussion. it seems the forward swing is most of the times initiated with weight on right foot while running and contact in between the steps or closer to the left foot landing and above the head follow thru. I think this allows contact point to be as late as possible for more time. and it seems there is weight transfer that propels the forward swing big time.

    and I swear I've seen Djok swing straight across the body while executing one of these.

    maybe there also is some torso rotation which is abruptly stopped by left leg extending forward.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  39. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    One thing that struck me watching the running forehand video on virtual tennis academy- the running forehand has to be hit with intent. The goal is to make the other guy hit while moving too. If you just hit it to the center, the point is practically over. So you have to hurt him back with it. The target given was the crosscourt shot that pulls him out of court. Smart targets, if you will.

    Plus the high percentage shot for him will be to hit it back crosscourt, where you are. Easier recovery.

    Now if only I could do what I just typed :oops:
     
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  40. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    In 2011, Joker had the best running FH in the game. Del Potro gets more velocity, but nobody hits more winners on the run off both wings. It was as if Joker deliberately waited until he was on the run to go for the killshot.
     
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  41. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    You are welcome. Here are two more.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Fernando Gonzales swings straight across the body http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7I8g4dLVWh8&feature=related
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
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  42. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    That's awesome.
    Do you use photoshop for those images? If so how do get such great selections? (meaning the method/tool for selecting the part of the image you want to cut/copy/paste). Mine are never that good.
     
    #42
  43. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I use Photoshop.
    Mostly I apply Rectangular Marquee and Lasso.

    1. First I use Rectangular to make approximate selections from original JPEG (or whatever) file.
    2. Create new PSD file.
    3. Paste previous copied selection into PSD file. Photoshop automatically creates layer. I select this layer.
    4. Then I work as sculptor and cut everything useless. I apply mostly Lasso tool with Feather=1px to select first group unwanted pixels and hit “delete”. Hit "ctrl D" to deselect. Repeat this step for next group of unwanted pixel and so on.
    5. I often change Zoom: “ctrl +” (zoom in) and “ctrl –“ (zoom out).

    This is time consuming process, but I learn this stuff by trial and error and don’t know anything better.:(
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
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  44. Ash_Smith

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    ^^^Probably quicker to use the Path tool to create a path around the outline of what you want to cut out and then use the make path selection button on the layer toolbox, hit ctrl+i to invert the selection and then hit delete - all done in one go!
     
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  45. boramiNYC

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    On a second thought I'm not sure it's the weight transfer. Because biomechanics on walking or running involves arms and upper body counter-rotating to counter the rotational force created by leg movement and keep the center of the body stable. It seems for this shot the forward swing and contact always involves huge step creating a great lower body rotational force and the upper body is counter-rotated fast to match that lower body rotational force. This seems to be source of arm acceleration?
     
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  46. Ash_Smith

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  47. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Yes Ash, that's more like it. They call that powerstep huh? It seems the big step is the key in generating the force.
     
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  48. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. I'll those methods.
     
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  49. corners

    corners Legend

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    Tricky, can the pendulum forehand (OHBH on other side, like Sampras) be hit with a straight arm? And would that provide more power and spin variation on high bouncing shots, like it does with Fed and Nadal, who have very different takebacks?

    Sampras would go straight on really wide balls, where his wrist clearly was more "slappy", but I'm wondering if could have used the straight arm in other situations to give his forehand more versatility and spin. His forehand always looked a little "cramped" to me.
     
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  50. tricky

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    Technically, yes. When you need to hit extreme CC shots on the run, lower your swing plane so that the finish is below the shoulder (i.e. "WW-style".) You'll end up with a reverse finish due to the torque, but your swing will be straight. It will look like you're slapping the ball wide.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
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