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-   -   How to learn the straight arm forehand? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=426902)

formula16 06-06-2012 04:32 AM

How to learn the straight arm forehand?
 
I hit a decent forehand now but i am aware that i have a bit of a bend in my elbow. I know that is not a bad thing but i want to hit a straight arm forehand (want a more aesthetically pleasing forehand and its more effecient anyway, not the point of this thread). So right now i've got a decent double bend going and i want to convert it to straight arm (please dont tell me how stupid this is). So it shouldnt be that hard right considering i already have the basic forehand down.

any tips anyone would like to share?

is it as simple as consciously thinking about keeping the elbow as straight as possible?

what about this push/pull business?

what i want to really know is if the straight arm is a result of doing something else correctly. I worked many hours on the wrist aspect of the forehand. I saw many vidoes of most top pros seemingly bend their wrists back right before they hit their forehands. So i tried to emulate this. It failed badly as i shanked and mis hit a lot of balls. After much experimentation, i realised the wrist snapping back was a result of the tremendous body rotation The racquet was "lagging back" as an effect of inertia. So the top pros were not actually concentrating on "snapping the wrist" back as i had been trying to learn. After realising this, my forehand immediately improved greatly, with the shot becoming very powerful and with great spin.

I want to know if the straight arm component of the forehand is a similar deal

Thanks!

thanks

1HBH Rocks 06-06-2012 05:51 AM

Watch Nadal and Federer...

The reason they hit with a straight arm is that they perform an arm extension in their take back while they pronate their forearm a bit. I've posted pictures of Federer's forehand in a few threads. I'll try to get them as they are commented with the actual anatomical terms which tells you exactly what movements he performs in each pictures.

I used to hit with a straight arm forehand. I spent the whole summer last year figuring out how I would get to hit it a la Federer. Of course, it worked fine. I was blasting the ball really hard and I had tons of spin... I spent so much time working on my footwork and shot placement that I was able to slam almost any ball I could get to. However, the timing and contact were really hard to get right and every other day I would be hitting very averagely. Kudos to my hitting partner who started hitting big himself and getting me into trouble, but it wasn't only about him playing well. It wasn't rare to play two or three great days and then have a poor day... and I had a one handed backhand, not to help! So both of my strokes used to be high maintenance.

But if you say that you have a good forehand right now, why not work on improving what you have instead of trying to change it all over? I recently got enough of trying to maintain a super high level of play to be aggressive all the time. Instead, I work on movements which are easier to duplicate. I have a two handed backhand since three weeks and I must have played a few thousands of them by now -- it's not yet a second forehand, but it evolves greatly. I started using the double bend and a genuine western grip and I'd say I'm hitting about as big as I used to, except with more spin.

And, tactically, instead of trying to end the point early, I think I'll get to build them one shot at a time, knowing I risk not to miss too many of them. If you really want an advice, getting grooved in a simpler movement will pay off in the long term; if you get to stop and play again after a while, your movement risks to be closer to its previous level if it's simpler and, throughout matches, you risk a lot less to ride roller coasters where you will hit either big or fail.

dominikk1985 06-06-2012 06:08 AM

Most straight armers don't straighten it in the take back but transition to the forward swing.

swing the arm back slightly bent and then relax the biceps so that the arm extends naturally.

connico 06-06-2012 07:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dominikk1985 (Post 6602490)
Most straight armers don't straighten it in the take back but transition to the forward swing.

swing the arm back slightly bent and then relax the biceps so that the arm extends naturally.

I like how this is phrased.

To emphasis the feeling, practice throwing a ball and feeling that extension.

user92626 06-06-2012 08:31 AM

OP,

I learned to hit a "straight" or straighter FH by incorporating these points:

- I space the ball away from the body correctly.
- Contact the ball more out in front. Think backing the hitting arm with the shoulder.
- Think slinging or flinging the rackethead.

Hitting a straighter FH is a challenge for most rec players because, IMO, not many are 'brave' to distance themselves far from the ball and swing all out. People are more comfortable staying close to the ball as if they'd have more control. And you need to swing all out in a slinging motion to get power. Double bent FH is easier to get power and comfort (and the limits that go with it) because you'd be doing something like an arm wrestling.

Say Chi Sin Lo 06-06-2012 11:04 AM

I don't recommend "learning" a straight arm forehand. It all comes down to your natural bio-mechanics. You can either do it, or you don't.

Do you have a naturally "uncoiling" body type? Or do most of your power come from sudden jerky/snapping motions?

TheCheese 06-06-2012 11:07 AM

Don't think of it as two distinct things. There is a spectrum of "straightness" in the forehand that goes from a complete double bend and a straight arm.

Federer doesn't hit with a complete straight arm every single time. All you have to do is think about adjusting your arm position to meet the ball. So, if the ball if further out in front, you hit with a more straight arm. If it's closer to you, you obviously have to do a double bend.

So really all there is to do is adjust your contact position.

dominikk1985 06-06-2012 11:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by connico (Post 6602735)
I like how this is phrased.

To emphasis the feeling, practice throwing a ball and feeling that extension.

Throwing balls is a great training for serving (a guy that throws like a girl can't serve) however I think here this is not correct.

In a throw you start bent and then extend the arm into the release. In the FH this comes earlier at the end of the transition the arm will already reach full extension. It's more like a cricket bowler but with the bent arm takeback.

doctor dennis 06-06-2012 12:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by formula16 (Post 6602202)
I hit a decent forehand now but i am aware that i have a bit of a bend in my elbow. I know that is not a bad thing but i want to hit a straight arm forehand (want a more aesthetically pleasing forehand and its more effecient anyway, not the point of this thread). So right now i've got a decent double bend going and i want to convert it to straight arm (please dont tell me how stupid this is). So it shouldnt be that hard right considering i already have the basic forehand down.

any tips anyone would like to share?

is it as simple as consciously thinking about keeping the elbow as straight as possible?

what about this push/pull business?

what i want to really know is if the straight arm is a result of doing something else correctly. I worked many hours on the wrist aspect of the forehand. I saw many vidoes of most top pros seemingly bend their wrists back right before they hit their forehands. So i tried to emulate this. It failed badly as i shanked and mis hit a lot of balls. After much experimentation, i realised the wrist snapping back was a result of the tremendous body rotation The racquet was "lagging back" as an effect of inertia. So the top pros were not actually concentrating on "snapping the wrist" back as i had been trying to learn. After realising this, my forehand immediately improved greatly, with the shot becoming very powerful and with great spin.

I want to know if the straight arm component of the forehand is a similar deal

Thanks!

thanks

Work extremely hard on your footwork and particularly your shuffle steps to get you in the right hitting position. I hit for about half an hour using a straight arm and it seemed that I had more pace. Not sure if I really did or not though. The problem was that you have to be in the correct hitting position every time or it becomes a problem. Short balls were very hard for me to adjust too.
Have fun learning and grooving it. It definitely looks more aesthetically pleasing IMO.

Enjoy

BevelDevil 06-06-2012 02:30 PM

Do you currently pronate on the take back (face your palm downwards)? I found this, and the timing of it, to be the trickiest part of the Federer stroke.

Instead, I like Del Potro as a model because he doesn't pronate on the takeback. It's a lot simpler and easy to learn, though I don't think it generates the same power or topspin. It might be a good transition stroke.

Anyway, one thing I focus on is my elbow. I think of my elbow as whipping my forearm forward and outward. This visualization really helped getting straight on contact and hitting through the ball cleanly.

Also keep in mind that when drop hitting a ball, you gotta drop the ball really far away from you, otherwise you will be building a bad habit. Maybe this is why Federer starts rallies with an underhand squash shot instead of his regular forehand.


BTW, I would add Berdych to the straight-arm club. Although his arm is bent at contact, his racket accelerates forward with a straight arm, then he bends the arm into contact. I don't recommend him for emulation though, because this is a more complicated stroke.

1HBH Rocks 06-06-2012 03:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BevelDevil (Post 6604369)
Do you currently pronate on the take back (face your palm downwards)? I found this, and the timing of it, to be the trickiest part of the Federer stroke.

Instead, I like Del Potro as a model because he doesn't pronate on the takeback. It's a lot simpler and easy to learn, though I don't think it generates the same power or topspin.

Pronation at the end of the take back, just before the forward swing is the exact movement you WANT to be doing -- it's what splits both types of forehand transition moves into the efficient and inefficient kinds. If you want to generate more spin and swing faster while retaining a much higher level of control, you need to swing forward with your arm set into a prone position.

That movement (pronation) allows you to tap into a stretch-shortening cycle in the muscles responsible for the internal rotation of the shoulder... in short, your arm moves faster around your body if you get that. Every player who doesn't meet this standard will suffer consistency issues when trying to retain control at high power levels -- and that's scientifically established.

Del Potro is an example of player who doesn't fit the bill, although he's more in a third kind of transition movement apparently. But note that even players who use a double bent structure will reach this position. Others will supinate before swinging forward. You must meet the ball with a slightly closed face and your arm will inexorably supinate as you move it forward... if you already begin the movement, you'll have troubles reaching a consistent contact and you might as well not be able to exploit a second stretch-shortening cycle, this time in your forearm pronators, which is responsible for added spin at contact. The point here is that both of these little tweaks can be added to the forehand of any player, even amateur, so long as he has a fundamentally sound basis; if everything's there with the foot stance, the arms and body posture, you only need to add little twitches to make it go from good to great.

user92626 06-06-2012 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Say Chi Sin Lo (Post 6603786)
I don't recommend "learning" a straight arm forehand. It all comes down to your natural bio-mechanics. You can either do it, or you don't.

Do you have a naturally "uncoiling" body type? Or do most of your power come from sudden jerky/snapping motions?

dude, natural tendency only goes so far, then it becomes a skill that needs to be learned, like any other skills. No beginner naturally knows how to serve and in fact serving hard for newcomers is often very injurous.

Any stroke mechanic can be learned, given the right instructions/instructors. The only difference is the speed that stroke is performed. Speed will always be a "problem".

aimr75 06-06-2012 06:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BevelDevil (Post 6604369)
Do you currently pronate on the take back (face your palm downwards)? I found this, and the timing of it, to be the trickiest part

To me, this is the easy part, its the forward swing that is not easy.. given that its not just the straight arm thing, but also employing the WW. This aside, consciously trying to straighten the arm doesnt work and can cause you to lock out the arm or hyper extend it. i would concentrate on maintaining some bend in the arm but hitting through the ball more

connico 06-06-2012 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dominikk1985 (Post 6603822)
Throwing balls is a great training for serving (a guy that throws like a girl can't serve) however I think here this is not correct.

In a throw you start bent and then extend the arm into the release. In the FH this comes earlier at the end of the transition the arm will already reach full extension. It's more like a cricket bowler but with the bent arm takeback.

The exercise is to only experience the feeling of extension.

aimr75 06-06-2012 06:28 PM

Also, with the takeback, you dont actually have to actively pronate your arm for the palm to face the ground.. from the initiation of the swing where you point the racquet up (off hand still on the racquet), you perform the unit turn and then at the completion of the unit turn, the racquet drops into the slot.. you will notice the palm is facing the ground without doing anything

Limpinhitter 06-06-2012 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by formula16 (Post 6602202)
I hit a decent forehand now but i am aware that i have a bit of a bend in my elbow. I know that is not a bad thing but i want to hit a straight arm forehand (want a more aesthetically pleasing forehand and its more effecient anyway, not the point of this thread). So right now i've got a decent double bend going and i want to convert it to straight arm (please dont tell me how stupid this is). So it shouldnt be that hard right considering i already have the basic forehand down.

any tips anyone would like to share?

is it as simple as consciously thinking about keeping the elbow as straight as possible?

what about this push/pull business?

what i want to really know is if the straight arm is a result of doing something else correctly. I worked many hours on the wrist aspect of the forehand. I saw many vidoes of most top pros seemingly bend their wrists back right before they hit their forehands. So i tried to emulate this. It failed badly as i shanked and mis hit a lot of balls. After much experimentation, i realised the wrist snapping back was a result of the tremendous body rotation The racquet was "lagging back" as an effect of inertia. So the top pros were not actually concentrating on "snapping the wrist" back as i had been trying to learn. After realising this, my forehand immediately improved greatly, with the shot becoming very powerful and with great spin.

I want to know if the straight arm component of the forehand is a similar deal

Thanks!

thanks

I don't usually hit a straight arm fh. But, I do sometimes unintentionally straighten my arm when I make contact a bit further in front and away than usual.

Magnetite 06-06-2012 07:27 PM

Either get someone to feed you balls, play with a wall and/or ball machine, or just think about doing it while hitting with a practice partner.

Video tape yourself if really want to.

BevelDevil 06-06-2012 07:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1HBH Rocks (Post 6604473)
Pronation at the end of the take back, just before the forward swing is the exact movement you WANT to be doing

As I said above, yes, the full Federer swing gives more power and topspin. But it is also a more complex stroke. This means it is harder to learn and to groove, especially if the player wasn't pronating on his previous forehand. This is something that shouldn't be ignored when choosing which stroke to learn.


Quote:

Originally Posted by 1HBH Rocks (Post 6604473)
Del Potro is an example of player who doesn't fit the bill, although he's more in a third kind of transition movement apparently.

I'm not clear what you are saying here. So are you think Del Potro isn't a good model?


Quote:

Originally Posted by 1HBH Rocks (Post 6604473)
But note that even players who use a double bent structure will reach this position.

Which position? Are you talking about the "pat the dog" position, where the palm is turned downwards? Guys like Tsonga (who has a pretty textbook modern forehand) don't come near to that. At most it's a very slight pronation.


Quote:

Originally Posted by 1HBH Rocks (Post 6604473)
if you already begin the movement, you'll have troubles reaching a consistent contact

I don't think Delpo supinates on the take back. He simply does not pronate. His supination seems to start at the forward swing.


Quote:

Originally Posted by 1HBH Rocks (Post 6604473)
The point here is that both of these little tweaks can be added to the forehand of any player, even amateur, so long as he has a fundamentally sound basis;

I'm not clear about what tweak you're talking about. Going from a conventional double bend straight to a Federer stoke is a huge change.

As I said in my post above, the Delpo stroke can be used as a transition from a conventional double-bend to a Federer forehand. While using the Delpo stroke, a person can get accustomed to hitting with a straight arm. Then, if he so chooses, he can begin incorporating increasing degrees of pronation on the backswing to eventually arrive at a Federer forehand. Or he can stick with the Delpo forehand.


Ultimately, I think it comes down to how much of a risk OP is willing to take and how much time he's willing to dedicate.

A full Federer stroke has more potential, however getting near that potential will be further in the future (measured in court time), and may never come at all if he doesn't get a feel for it. Only the OP can decide whether this is a risk and commitment worth taking. Although he seems to be a die-hard Fed fan, so I'd guess he'll jump straight into the Fed forehand. But even if this is the case, I think a reasonable way to arrive at the Fed forehand is via Delpo's.

TheCheese 06-06-2012 07:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BevelDevil (Post 6604985)
As I said in my post above, the Delpo stroke can be used as a transition from a conventional double-bend to a Federer forehand. While using the Delpo stroke, a person can get accustomed to hitting with a straight arm. Then, if he so chooses, he can begin incorporating increasing degrees of pronation on the backswing to eventually arrive at a Federer forehand. Or he can stick with the Delpo forehand.

Imo, I think it'd be a better idea to reverse the steps. First start pronating with a double bend, and then add the straight arm by just moving your contact forward.

Also, I'd like to add that grip plays into this. I personally hit with the straight arm and I don't see how it would work with anything more extreme than a SW grip. Personally, I use an extreme-eastern.

ace_pace 06-06-2012 08:54 PM

To the post above, Im pretty sure Nadal uses extreme semi western with his straight arm forehand. I think the straight arm forehand can work with more extreme grips its just that the transition between pronation -> supination will be more violent, could possible cause discomfort. Although, unless you're a top spin junkie, theres no point trying to utilise the straight arms inherent ability to create more topspin if your balls have no pace :) So yeah I think semi-western to eastern would be a good grip range.

BevelDevil is spot on.

If you really want to learn it, be prepared to train and practice for a long time. Best way to tackle it is with small steps.

1. If you don't pronate on the takeback of your forehand with a double bend forehand, learn how to do that and do it fairly consistently.

2. Once step 1 is done, the next step is to practice your footwork so that your contact point is slightly more out in front than usual. As you get more comfortable with it, increment the contact point distance further. This will help with getting used to the positioning of the forehand. This is important because you cant hit a straight arm forehand when the ball is too close.

3. Lastly, learn to relax your arm (not too much) once the backswing has started throughout the stroke. This will cause natural arm extension and wrist being laid back. The wrist is like a hinge, its not consciously controlled.

Theres a thread on Fed's backswing around here by tricky, you should have a look at.


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