Originally Posted by LeeD
While I straight armed forehand or backhand does apply longer leverage to hit the ball harder, and also employs an easy laid back wrist, I find it less useful because of the need to compensate for action of the incoming ball, with perfect spacing needed to hit straight armed.
Proven by tons of pics of WTA players hitting extreme bend elbows. WTA players need to hit more groundies than their fellow ATP guys.
Of the ATP guys, only a handful in the top 200 hit with straight elbows.
It is true that only approx. 32 of the last 36 majors have been won by straight-arm FH guys. The straight-arm FH is still an unproven concept because, look for yourself, the other 197 guys don't use it! Although I will note that an old man hitting straight-arm almost beat a youngin hitting double-bend last Sunday..... The 4th set. Wow.
Kidding aside, the theory (and observable practice) is that you don't start the FH forward swing, the 'first forward motion,' until after the ball has bounced and you have a brief read on its spin and angle of ascent.
As for laying back the wrist, that's done via forearm pronation, not ESR, and is easy with either straight or double-bend, or so it seems to me. For people that don't quite get (yet....) ESR, which is about the lockup above all, and the later ISR for many players...a straight arm and heavy pronation at first forward motion (motion powered by the UB rotation) lets them get solid ESR "the easy way."
I'm not an advocate for the straight-arm, though I do think it's fun not because of power, leverage, but for other reasons. I find its main virtue comes when the hitter learns to pull the butt cap out "to where they expect to contact the ball" as opposed to "toward the ball." That "out toward contact point" bit makes it simpler to hit balls that are coming in very fast with spin, or so I found. Just let the hand continue around its arc and the racquet head goes where the hand was headed. I feel about ESR, at this point, like I imagine a 20-year-old coming back from a rave feels, trying to convince others that ecstasy really does change the experience. Laugh. Experiment! Try what works for you! I know what works for very good players, whether they hit with a straight or double-bend: ESR in the transition to the forward swing. I know. I sound like a missionary preaching to cannibals. Laugh.