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tennis_hack 05-18-2013 02:48 PM

'Push' vs 'Pull' forehands, 1hbh's and 2hbhs?
I've read a little on this. Some people don't care about it. That's great. And this thread isn't for you. If you'd like to post in this thread to tell me you don't care about classifications, that's a good way to waste everybody's time. This thread is for the people who are interested in the classifications.

So who on the ATP or WTA (but preferably the ATP cuz I don't care about the WTA) has a 'pull' forehand? Nadal and Federer, that much I know. Who has a 'push' forehand? I have no clue.

And the topic is less commonly discussed on backhands. Who has a 'push' 1hbh? Who has a 'pull' 1hbh? What is the difference?

Who has a 'push' 2hbh? Who has a 'pull' 2hbh? What is the difference.

For the forehand, as I understand it, it has to do with the wrist bending backwards as the racket is swung forwards. Then the wrist snaps back to neutral as contact is made with the ball...? This happens in the Nadal and Federer forehands. Yet I saw Tsonga's forehand recently described as being a 'push' forehand, but his wrist does the same thing as Nadal and Federer's do. With a 'push' forehand, I'd imagine the wrist to be locked at a certain angle throughout the entire stroke - but I haven't seen any pro with a wrist as rigid as that.

WildVolley 05-18-2013 04:48 PM


You'll need to ask Tricky, as I believe he is the originator of the push-pull taxonomy. Don't know how often he posts these days.

It never made any sense to me, but I don't think it was just something to do with the wrist. Also, I've never heard anyone apply the push/pull definitions to backhands of any kind.

BevelDevil 05-18-2013 05:23 PM

This is a somewhat controversial topic, perhaps due to different definitions.

However, here's how I understand it:

The definition has nothing to do with whether the wrist bends back or not (though it may be correlated). It has to do with whether the arm is passive and being pulled by the shoulder into the shot ("pull") vs. whether the arm and shoulder are both actively moving forward ("push").

You can try to identify these traits by looking for a lag between the start of the shoulder turn forward and the start of the hand moving forward. If there is a lag, that suggests pull. If they move simultaneously, that suggests push.

But I say "suggest" because it is possible for a player to keep his arm passive yet for there to be zero or imperceptible lag. For example, I think Jim Courier's (from the 90s) fh should be classified as "pull" even though there was no/little lag because of how his elbow was tucked in.

As for Federer, notice how his arm is basically being dragged by his body and being flung forward.

These terms are not really applied to backhands. However, intuitively, I think 1hbhs are basically pull shots in most situations.

Relinquis 05-18-2013 07:10 PM

it looks like the wrist snapping, but it's actually the forearm moving from pronation/neutral on takeback, to suppination as you start to swing forward (the racquet flips back) and then neutral/pronated at contact and follow through...

it's the forearm not the wrist and it is a result of a loose arm and slightly shorter takeback than the WTA. if you do it right you'll feel a slingshot type sesnsation in forearm.

your wrist may extend back at some point, but it does not flex forward.

tennis_hack 05-19-2013 12:03 AM

Why aren't these definitions applied to backhands?

Beveldevil, I take it you mean that if the arm is flung forward by the rotation of the torso then it is a pull shot? But if the arm is forced forwards by the muscles of the shoulder (the muscles of the arm only control the forearm and fingers), then it is a push stroke?

If that is the case then most 1hbhs are push strokes as torso rotation is limited and the arm is propelled through the shot by the muscles of the shoulder - not by a violent torso uncoiling. And certainly I see no lag between the beginning of the uncoiling of the torso and the movement of the arm in most 1hbhs, so by your own definition most 1hbhs are push strokes. Perhaps Wawrinka is the exception?

Who would you say has a pull style 2hbh?

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