Originally Posted by forehandbackhand21
I've been hitting a somewhat spinny forehand lately, one that doesn't get much pace or depth. Im seeing other tournament players like me hit really "heavy" balls, ones that dont clear the net more than 4 feet but are very consistent, and they rarely land inside the service line. They have lots of pace on them but lots of spin too... and they're not loopy at all.
How do I achieve this? Specifically, how do I keep my wrist before, during and after contact? Right now, my wrist is pretty loose before contact during the takeback, then it lays back as I do the unit turn. The problem with this is sometimes my wrist doesn't lay back right, and I hit a really weak ball. So should the wrist be laid back all through the swing and then release (pronate) right after contact? I'm really confused, and I think all my other mechanics are right but my wrist is the only thing that is holding me back from these flat, penetrating, topspin forehands.
My typical rally ball has a fairly hard, flat trajectory that bends down sharply (usually pretty deep, I am often a bit surprised they still go in!). Net clearance is typically 1-4 foot. I use a semi-open to neutral stance with what I’d say are modern influenced classic strokes. I do hit more through the ball than across it (yes probably 3-4 balls worth, but there is a lot of rotational energy imparted, not just linear).
So I am familiar with the kind of shots you refer to and the simple answer is to flatten out a bit more. But that may not be all you are seeing. Pretty much all strokes these days go up, out and around; the differences tend to lie on which vector component is emphasized. Too vertical and you may lack plow-through (although it allows for more RHS and great spin which can both control and make the ball jump on the bounce). Too flat and it is easy to overhit long or miss into the net. You really need to feel for yourself how flat will get you the result you seek.
But I’ve also found racquet choices and string setups play big role. I can really get the aforementioned rally ball result with a heavier racquet. Less RHS but great plowthrough which carries the ball flatter and deeper before its momentum drops and allows the spin to have its effect. My same stroke using a lighter racquet doesn’t have that plow and I need to compensate with more RHS and higher spin rates. And the trajectory changes a bit (loopier). Hence I like hitting with the heavier stick, but some circumstances are better with the lighter racquet.
Another factor for me is ball height at contact and the grip; balls around the eyeballs can be tough to drive; knee to navel are easier, but I need to make contact with a partially closed face to impart the topspin I need. How you “lay back your wrist” to make contact is up to you; I’d tend to find making sure that as my racquet comes forward to make sure I “pat the dog” helps as well as feeling I’m pulling the handle towards contact (must be out in front!).
I don’t think you want “keep” your wrist in any way, as that can lead you to tighten up which will be counterproductive. In my good strokes (plenty of bad ones unfortunately …) as I “pull” the racquet handle to contact at the proper point the racquet head catches up, passes and rotates around the hand, naturally pronating and leads the around part of the stroke, shoulder and core rotation following to its termination (note this is not forced, but a natural follow through if you started your stroke with rotation from the ground up). The most relatable motion that seems similar to me is if you went throw a pitch sidearm or maybe flicked a frisbee with an inside out motion (from external rotation). It shouldn’t feel held or forced but fluid.
But that’s just what works for me; gives me the “sensations” to feel when doing well and helping to set muscle memory. There are other descriptions or “tricks” to get you into the same spot. A good pro may help. My problems are more consistency in footwork, spacing and watching the ball. Hope this helps.