Space between you and ball at contact on the forehand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by rusty75, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. rusty75

    rusty75 New User

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    I always felt that you should always be close to the ball during contact, but today I tried to create space between me and the ball till the point my arm was almost straight during contact and wow!!! I was a ball machine. So consistent. Can anyone explain this.
     
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  2. HunterST

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  3. GetBetterer

    GetBetterer Hall of Fame

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    You were taught to hit closer to the ball on your contact point?

    I was taught the exact opposite. Hit farther from the contact point in order to stretch your arm out more. This way, less energy is absorbed by your elbow and releases more into the racket for more spin and power depending on the shot.
     
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  4. rusty75

    rusty75 New User

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    So you guys were taught
    to hit far. That's unbelievable. I was always taught to get as close to the ball as possible. So interesting. I created substatial space between me and the ball and everything came natural. Wish I knew this earlier.
     
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  5. Jaewonnie

    Jaewonnie Professional

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    I was taught to hit comfartably....
     
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  6. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Well think about it, rusty. If you swing at the same tempo, the farther away the racquet is from you within reason, that greater swing radius naturally yields greater racquet speed.

    Look at how golf clubs work. A wedge is typically rather short for a more controlled shot, but a driver is usually the longest club in the bag, since it needs to generate the most power and distance. The longer club swinging at the same tempo as a shorter one will be moving faster out at the end where it hits the ball.

    In tennis, racquet speed produces both pace and spin on the ball, so when a player can comfortably swing through their full radius, that gives them a better ability to generate that racquet speed.
     
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  7. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    This is why you need to outstretch your off hand before every forehand.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Distance depends on your stroke, your build, your preference, and whether or not it's working for you with your style TODAY.
    First, PRACTICE. Find the best distance and stick with it. If you shots falter, adjust either direction until you get your shots back.
    Some top players hit close to the body with elbows bent.
    Some top players hit far away with elbows relatively straight.
    You are neither, so hit the way that works for you.
     
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  9. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    Hitting the ball in front is VERY important, for pace, control, consistency, basically everything. How far in front depends on your hitting arm position you get to at the end of your backswing. If your arm is straight at the end of your backswing, then you should contact the ball in front with a straight arm, if it's bent at backswing, then you should catch it bent in front of you.

    Extension through the ball, going up and across is good too.
     
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  10. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    That's why I think footwork is most important in learning a stroke. Space is so important. There is no specific guideline to the amount of space. Some players hit with a completely straight arm and others hit bent or slightly bent. It depends on your technique.

    That's why I like Agassi's tip on letting the stroke "breathe." It's a general idea of giving your self space so that you don't have to compromise your stroke. If you hit too close you might jam yourself and compensate with your swing. However if there's always space you can hit out the same way every time.
     
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  11. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    Now that I think about it. Having a straighter arm also means it's more difficult "arm it" over. I often suggest to players to try and experiment with more extension and forcing them to rely more on their core. Meaning a steady and consistent swing. How could I forget ^^
     
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  12. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    You're swinging with your whole body and you're not overthinking. Your feet are working harder than you think though. So too your legs core and neck for that matter. My guess.

    The only way I can do what you describe is to be dancing in front of the practice wall with nobody watching. But I know what you are describing because when you're roping forehands with your arm fully extended and the ball being near shoulder-height, into the ball's path you're twisting, or pivoting, on a hinge someplace beyond but behind your extreme lower back, right above your butt crack.

    When I swing from the butt crack, dance (to stay light on my feet), am swatting with an arm at full extension at shoulder height balls, and nobody's watching, my forehand has been fearsome.
     
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  13. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

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    I have no idea why anyone would ever teach hitting close to the ball. Just curious, so seeing literally every professional on tour hitting with maximum distance b/w themselves and the ball whenever possible did not give you a hint?

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GkPPFjUE0Y&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2S4qi-1Xjw&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaUH9Bevnew

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mz6h4TSW7LI&feature=related

    Actually most players have a slight bend to their elbow. The fully extended is very rare. Nadal and Fed being the prime examples. A female would be Henin, almost. I personally don't think she does it as well. Very good forehands. Right now I think most don't understand these forehands. It will be interesting if more coaches and players catch on, the tennis world might follow ^^
     
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  15. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

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    So...it is so rare that only the world #1 & 2 are doing it? Yes the videos you posted have a slight bend but still show excellent extension and spacing.

    Here is another pro with maximum distance/extension to add to Fed and Nadal:

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    ^ Very good call, I forgot about him. I'm trying to think of others.

    Edit: Hmm.. Not sure if there are any.

    Why they are so rare is the technique of their forehands is very new to tennis.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
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  17. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    It may be interesting your posting two prodigious pics of Nadal, immediately following my use of the phrase "butt crack," but we were not comparing serve rituals in this thread.
     
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  18. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    haha. how do you swing from your butt crack?? that should be for picking only.

    On a serious note, sounds like you get good glute activation. Do you have a big butt like Nadal? no don't answer that.
     
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  19. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    Still looking? It's okay. We are on the same side and for all intents and purposes the discrepancy between Fed/Nadal and some pros on bend is very little. Extension is a mark of a great forehand, but also varies. I just wanted to take the opportunity to highlight Fed/Nadal's full extension as something extra special.
     
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  20. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

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    Heres one of Delpo..he also gets a lot of extension..

    [​IMG]

    Cilic also..

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. MNPlayer

    MNPlayer Semi-Pro

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    Hitting too close to the body is a classic problem at lower levels, a problem I've been working on for a couple years too. I think it comes because you get more control from the smaller swing radius, by limiting your power. As I get better, I want to get control from spin, not lack of power :)

    I think the argument about what exactly the pros are doing isn't that important to most of us mortals - they all hit way further away from their body than what the OP was probably doing.
     
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  22. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    You guys posted a lot of examples of pros hitting a straight arm forehand. There is also a double bend forehand that many more pros use. The straight arm forehand is a very tough stroke to emulate right out of the gate.
     
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    But shouldn't OP use the forehand distance that works BEST for him?
    Doesn't he need to hit thousands of forehands to determine that distance...for him, and nobody else?
    Don't matter where whatever pro hits it, he needs to practice and hit shots so he can figure out what works best for him.
     
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  24. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I agree, but it helps to know the technique behind a stroke to execute it properly. Or you just reinforce bad habits.
     
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  25. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    Lol Cilic and Del Potro get alot sure, but not full like Fed/Nadal. Slight bend.

    And as stated above me it varies. I consider Djokers forehand as good as anyone's aside from Nadal/Fed. He uses more bend than many players. It varies because of technique and there is no absolute.
     
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  26. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

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    there is basicly 2 ways to hit a fh:
    1. Pull: you hit with your arm (Federer, Nadal) the farther your elbow away from your body, the more you get speed (the radius is longer)
    2. Push: you hit with your body, The closer your elbow to your body, the more you use your trunk rotation and arm as one unit as main power supply. (Hewitt, Del Potro, and most WTA)
     
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  27. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    That is so severely wrong. If anything Fed/Nadal have the most relaxed arm and more body than every other player.

    Push/Pull fails again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
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  28. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    All the illustrations were of straight arm forehands. It's very difficult to compare contact points of straight arm vs double bend structures. IN my opinion, elbow angle is the critical factor in setting ideal contact points. The straight armers' will play the ball much further forward, and create much more spacing in a lateral sense.
     
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  29. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    Players hit their forehands in many ways. Fed and more noticeably Nadal bend their arms for certain shots.

    However the contact point is not more forward because of extension. It may seem like it should be, but you have to understand the mechanics to Fed/Nadal's forehand. In truth their stroke direction is actually very angular. if anything the stroke direction makes it easier to control late balls.

    Lateral distance is actually an advantage if you call it reach. This would only be a problem when cramped for space if the ball is hit directly at you, but actually it's no problem at all. Fed and Nadal will bend their elbows without compromising their stroke. It's just that their mechanics doesn't require the bend.
     
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  30. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, but he should still hit the ball infront of him, not behind or beside.
     
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  31. rusty75

    rusty75 New User

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    I believe this is a great way to learn the straight arm forehand. Rather than being conscious about making your arm straight, just contact further forward and lateral. Thinking about making the arm straight during contact is hard. I tried that, but just creating space came very natural.
     
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  32. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    Yes usually the simple instructions are often the most helpful. Athletics is trial-based, overloading instruction and creating rigid guidelines is often counterproductive.
     
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  33. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

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    it's never does. look at all Junior camp. all of them hit push stroke with it signature: big loop and racket point to the sky.
    look carefully at video of Federer and Hewitt. an average intelligent person will see the different in two different mechanic.
    If you have problem seeing it, just ask.
     
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  34. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    I am very well aware they are very different in technique and also heard enough of the push/pull theorists to know they don't come close to properly outlining the differences.

    a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. People notice the difference of Hewitt and Fed, create a separation between the two, but honestly it falls short. When exploring the majority of players, the separation becomes less clear, the differences less significant and the outlined difference push/pull offers less important.

    I think it would be more beneficial to analyze Fed/Nadal's forehands of themselves rather than trying to draw this line down the middle. If you're adequately intelligent enough to understand that? ^^
     
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  35. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

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    Fed/ Nadal hit with a pull stroke, it was invented by Nick B. in "Killer forehand" some 15 years ago. i myseft have learn and analyze it profoundly very long time ago. Pull stroke is very effective with players who seek spin. however, it need good talent to do the difficult timing and dedication.
    About 10 years ago, Doug King invent the Push stroke. it easy to learn, more powerfull and more consistent. It's start out on the tour with Williams sister. and since then it overwelming the WTA tour as well as Junior and start out dominating ATP (Hewitt, Del Potro, Gonzalez, Novak, Sam Querry....)
    I guess i have enough intelligence to give up my Pull and turn to Push ( it's just me) set aside analyze Fed/ Nadal Pull stroke. Since i been using it for years, if you have any question on pull, all you need is ask.
     
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  36. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

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    1. PULL: racket speeds, with the help of Kinetic Energy
    2. PUSH: Body mass behind the string bed.
    That is two completely different concepts, it leads to two completely different mechanics.
     
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  37. Dreamer

    Dreamer Professional

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    Wait a second push stroke INVENTED 10 years ago? Williams sisters were around much longer than that.

    Second of all it's called Killer forehand not pull stroke.

    Pull/Push is a made up concept attempting to describe and differentiate the forehands of players. The Players themselves probably never heard push or pull.

    I have no questions your push/pull could answer.

    And as for your 2nd post:

    1. PULL: racket speeds, with the help of Kinetic Energy
    2. PUSH: Body mass behind the string bed.

    You say Djoker, Del Potro are push?
    They actually use a great amount of angular momentum to increase racquet head speed. There is no clear divide.
     
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  38. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    There is no such thing as push/pull. It is a made up term from this website that simply will confuse people.
     
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  39. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Yeah, I was just saying, that it's a good idea to have a basic idea of your default elbow angle, or hitting structure. It can vary greatly from player to player. From a 90 degree bend in the elbow to more or less straight.

    Those that play with a straight arm align further from the ball, (in a lateral sense) and play the ball further forward, that those with a traditional double bend.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2010
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  40. Mr_Shiver

    Mr_Shiver Semi-Pro

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    I reckon that whatever distance you hit the best shot from is what you should go with. That is all that matters, not copying your favorite pro. If Nadal hit his best shot backwards on one foot I gaurantee you he would do it as often as possible.
     
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  41. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    One thing I notice is that if yourfootwork is developed, you are split stepping and prepping properly for the ball, than getting the right distance between the ball is a lot easier and more natural.
     
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  42. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

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    i respect your opinion. even i disagree with it. some people can see the difference, some people can't. some people can think it out, some people just cannot. that is just a way the public is. as always. case closed.
     
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  43. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

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    sorry, repeat
     
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