Originally Posted by FrisbeeFool
Everyone seems to have their own terminology for this shot. Buggy whip forehand, reverse forehand, running forehand, etc.
Most players at the top hit this shot very well. In any given match, there are usually times where players can use this shot to get themselves out of trouble, or even use the shot more offensively to take control of the point.
Do you teach this shot to players, or do you let them develop it on their own? If you teach the shot, how do you teach it?
I think a lot of us at the rec level learn the shot on our own, just from being in situations where we're on the run, or late, or need to really get the ball to dip down into the court fast.
At higher levels is this shot taught formally, or do most players figure it out on their own? If it is taught, how is it taught?
A running forehand will not necessarily be struck with a reverse follow-through, and many player use this follow-through during match play without being in motion while strikign the ball or even when hitting an approach shot, so the term "running forehand" does not apply. The most commonly used term is the reverse forehand because it's convenient from purely pragmatic and methodological standpoint to refer to the follow-through as reverse.
Technique is a peculiar thing because movements can be more orl ess efficient: some require a lot of effort to produce inconsistent, inaccurate and slow shots... Statistically speaking, it's not impossible to get things right through experience, but understand that's not necessarily out of sheer genius, as someone pretends here. If you get things right without thinking and going through a systematic approach, being rigorous and methodological, it's not out of genius that you learnt something... it's out of sheer luck. Learning is always a two ways channel; it's a sort of dialectic, of interaction. What you get out of a situation depends of what you understood before; it relies on several psychological constructions which are mostly a result of previous experiences. You may be more orl ess incline to focus on the detail A and B, but not the C. It's called selection, for the wonks. You select, organize and interpret every sensory input and that threefold process is the actual scientific definition of this thing everyone uses right and left all the time: it's perception.
If you happen to have developped the exactly right habits
that will lead you to react in a certain way, as well as the exactly right identity traits
that will lead you to select the right details out of everything you will sense, then, yes, you can learn something very nice out of a pure coincidence. But as this thing becomes more complex, you might have to repeat this process in several steps and everyone must just nail it in order to achieve something great in the end.
Without any contact with the pros, this movement is unlikely to occur naturally. However, if you have watched them play and you did pick up the right details, without exaggerating them too much, you might manage to approximate their movement without even thinking about it. That's how I learnt that shot in the first place: I watched pros a lot, tryign to improve. Some day, I got caught too close to the ball and I pulled it off to hit the ball... It's an example of latent learning: you observe someone doing something and you manage to perform the task once you are motivated to do it.
However, the problem with this shot is that people do not necessarily get it right. Even with this follow-through, the arm movement before contact is fairly horizontal. As with most shots, you do not want to come too vertical from the take back to the contact... Most pros swing rather horizontally, with just a slight slope. The more vertical your swing, the higher flies the ball, so you'll need tons of spin if you swing too much upward. Much the upward action occurs after contact -- such as in this shot. Typically, good players get some extension on that shot: they tend to hit it with an extended elbow and do not literally come up the same side. It's more like moving the racket in front of your face before bringing it above your head. That's why Nadal does his lasso-whip like follow-through: he's about to continue as normal, when he finally brings it over his head. Letting it loose, it looks like a lasso.
As for formal teaching, Salzenstein teaches it extensively to older players. Many coaches out there find it useful in some circumstances -- some statisticians estimated that it can save you about 10% of your points during a match. Without it, you would be bound to hit a weaker stroke or you would increase the odds of making a mistake in about 10% of the situations... so, it can be useful. I can't recall where I got this, so do not take it as if it was absolute truth. It's just to illustrate the idea that ti can useful and that some coaches teach it as an additional option.