I've been playing for over 40 years, and I've never more than a low intermediate. If I had my best version of each stroke, all together on the same day for an entire match, I'd be a high intermediate. One thing that messes up my ground strokes, I've come to realize, it trying to imitate the pros. That is, every pro I see seems to take what appears to me to be a humongous elaborate backs swing. However, I seem to play better the more I try to eliminate the back swing (at least so far as swinging with the arm). In the old days, when correct (i.e. eastern shake-hands) technique was still taught and used, I hit my best forehands and could climb out of any slump if I tried to fix my arm at hitting position at the elbow and shoulder and for power just step in, lean in, and rotate the shoulders. Then, as I stopped paying attention and played by instinct, my strokes would loosen up and I'd begin swinging more freely thinking I'd finally cracked this nut. Then, the next time playing, I'd hardly be able to keep the ball on the court and for weeks after I'd wonder what that dream of competency had been -- until one day I again remembered to eliminate (or at least sharply reduce) the back swing. Three years ago I switched to a more extreme eastern grip with what people call windshield-washing instead what had been taught to me as the correct follow-through (racket finishing vertical pointing high over the opponent's back fence). It was a big improvement, but getting back on the court after not playing for six months again I could no longer control the ball. This time, instead of eliminating the arm swing completely, I solved the problem by going to what felt like a cute little vertical swing -- nothing but a foot of pure down-and-up with my hand as I used my legs and shoulders to line up for the ball and lean in. What is going on here? Is it that, being utterly devoid of talent, it is my destiny to use on easy balls the technique pros reserve for the most challenging shots -- e.g. service returns and overhead-smash retrievals -- on the theory that because I'm so devoid of talent even easy balls are extremely challenging for me? Or is it more likely that what _feels_ to me like no back swing as actually a quite generous back swing -- that I confuse the feeling of the motion of my hand with the visual perception of the _racket_head's_ motion? (Under that theory, when I try to imitate the pros' swings I'm actually making a ridiculously exaggerated back swing.) I suppose if I had the facility to videotape myself I could answer my own question, but what do you think?