Okay... I have done a lot of experimentation by now. I thought I would describe my experience briefly for everyone's entertainment, lol!
I should mention that I did try the forward swing with a straight arm, as I said I would. When it works, it is sweet. But I encountered a couple of problems along the way. It is a slightly more stressful stroke - the extra leverage places more stress on the shoulder and arm. But I can deal with that, if I had to. What was more difficult was that since I am used to bending my arm on the forward swing, I am too used to hitting closer to the ball than a straight arm permits. So while playing for points in a tug-of-war match, my old muscle memory just wreaked havoc... I would hit a great shot, and totally mess up the next ball if it was hit at my body or close to me! For better or worse, I just hit better with a bent arm.
So rather than change everything at once, I decided to stay with the bent arm forward swing, but continue to straighten the arm out at the bottom of the backswing.
The other thing I noticed was that if I was thinking about getting the correct arm position and the right shoulder feel, I was mistiming the shot more often than not. So I decided to play a small trick on my mind. I imagined that I was pulling the racket from the inside to the outside, and straightening it out when close to the ball so the head became square. This made me turn the racket face towards the side fence at the start of the swing, and ESR just happens, I think, when the arm is straight. The shoulder tightening feeling happens automatically, I noticed, if I try to hit the ball hard. As I said earlier, if I try to tighten the shoulder deliberately or try to manipulate the racket into a specific position, I don't seem to hit well.
Anyway, I think I am on the right track now. The fun never stops, of course, lol!
Last edited by RajS; 07-10-2014 at 10:55 AM.