As the racquet is brought up from the neutral position (for a forehand) for the initial part of the back swing, Nadal, Federer, Novak, Murray, Blake, and Agassi all do have a bend in the elbow. Sometimes it lasts for only a second before straightening out, sometimes it lasts the entire stroke. Even sometimes the elbow bend is initially present, and then the arm becomes straight at some point, then right before contact the elbow bends again (Murray). I see that I also have a bend at first, but the motion to stretch out my arm up and toward the back fence gets rid of it quickly. Sitting here right now, I can feel the difference between keeping my elbow bent for a long time vs a short time on the take back – the long time motion is dictated by the arm/forearm, and I can feel the rotation of the racquet is more compact as it goes around my elbow like an upside down pendulum. The short time motion is dictated by my shoulder, which produces that higher-reaching and loopier back swing, and unless I willingly pull my elbow in to make it bend (which I would think is not good technique, but how does Murray do it?), it doesn’t seem to bend again. So take back dictated by the elbow is good, while by the shoulder is bad…?
I can see from the video that the pro with the closest initial backswing to mine definitely is Novak (I’ll explain why down below), and he has the head of the racquet level with his head most of the time, half way over his head at best, when he brings it up from the neutral position for a forehand. I’m assuming that keeping the racquet head lower forces him to have a prolonged elbow bend or vice versa. I see that I’m getting the whole head of the racquet over my head sometimes if not most times. So I’ll make keeping the racquet head at my head level a habit. I do see, thought, that Novak outstretches his arm back horizontally about the same as I do (sometimes I do more, sometime he does), but so does Murray, Blake, and Agassi (Agassi seems to get the racquet head over his head quite a bit, too). I think I’m seeing Federer to it a fair amount as well, but maybe not as often. Nadal almost appears to do straight down drop of the arm to about 45 degrees, so he’s the outlier in this group. So is having the arm stretched back near horizontal fine, and is having the take back from your elbow, not the shoulder, the way to doing it correctly?
The pronation of the racquet back early in the back swing was something I saw from a Jeff Salzenstein video on youtube about Novak’s take back and thought I’d try it out. I can see what you’re saying about tension because I have to force it - since I would say until I tried the technique from that video I was taking the racquet back more like Murray (the first 13 seconds of my video is more like I used to hit before trying the Novak turn), who looks like he implements very little pronation on the take back (especially early in the take back, but he does get the racquet face parallel to the ground at the lowest point of the back swing which requires pronation). This also occurs with Blake and Agassi, and if I have read correct information, all three of them used the SW grip. It would make sense if that was the case, but in rallies I feel I have been able to generate more topspin pronating back like Novak does. I know Agassi and Blake both could generate good topspin but were more known as flat hitters, is that the case with Murray (I don’t follow him as much)? How are the three of them able to go from flat to topspin without the drastic Novak pronation, is late pronation (like Murray) and not early pronation (like Novak) the key for a SW forehand? Is the tension created with the Novak pronation what’s cutting down on my ssc (even though I am seeing my wrist back before contact, I’m guessing there needs to be more than that and the wrist bend isn’t the only sign of the ssc)?
"Why should the devil have all the good music?" Kevin Max, formerly of DC Talk
Last edited by TheLambsheadrep : 01-26-2013 at 05:14 PM.