Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by [ GTR ], May 20, 2011.
nobody hits mostly off the front foot today.
Fed only gets on the fron foot if he steps into the court to punish shorter balls.
but with his normal rally stroke behind the baseline he uses and open stance like mostly like anyone else on the tour.
Roger Federer practises at Roland Garros 2011
Really, the important question is not if he does or does not hit off of the back foot. The question is: what would he do under ideal circumstances?
In my opinion, it's not a good idea to pattern the technique you use in ideal circumstances after what Federer does when he's returning the shots of another pro who is hitting with wicked pace, spin, and depth.
Hunter - recently your posts have become more and more off base.
time to hit the court.
"The question is: what would he do under ideal circumstances? "
Thats my point. I read a lot of posters who critique videos of even high level players, judging them on 'falling back' - when in fact it is reacting to a certain ball, i.e. deep and higher ball pushing them back.
Its not always ideal to step in and take it on the rise... Im mostly talking about the old school players here - saying Federer is an old school player who hits off the front foot the majority of times. It also seems as if most players think stepping into the ball is a MUST.
You cannot step into the ball all the time otherwise youd be making errors left and right.
If u are pushed back, then you are. Watch Federer's footwork pattern how he loads up on the back foot while leaning back to transfer the weight to his left foot. This is the weight transfer that most people don't realise even though it appears he is leaning back
and bob, your point?
Oh yeah. This is absolutely true. Sometimes you're forced back and you have no choice but to hit falling back. My pro says that one of the main mistakes lower to intermediate players make is trying to hit an offensive shot when they're in a defensive position instead of being defensive.
The only problem I have with it is that tons of people hit while falling back when there's no reason to do so. The ball is not particularly pressing, they get set up in time, and then they just hit with their weight going back for no reason. They just think it looks like what they see pros do.
Watching pro matches, it is apparent that they almost always hit forehands off the back foot, either open or neutral stance. Some guys like Murray often hit with the front foot off the ground! A few guys like Soderling or Berdych might be exceptions? As other have said, that doesn't mean they aren't putting their weight into the ball.
I take lessons from two pros, one of which strongly advocates hitting off the front foot and the the other really pushes the open stance unless hitting a winner off a short ball. I find myself leaning towards open/neutral stance for almost all shots, perhaps just because this is how I've played for years now.
I think the strongest argument for hitting off the back foot is the recovery time. You can get moving back to the center of the court much faster. I have a habit of hitting shorter balls off the front foot, and even there, if I have to scramble back to the baseline it takes more time, my legs get tangled up
That said, there obviously are players who can play at a high level (5.0+) hitting off the front foot almost all the time (I've seen at least one anyway). This is an aggressive style of play, I'm impressed with anybody that has the footwork to make that work.
That is British English spelling. Their verbs end in "ise" If I recall correctly.
100% correct. We teach kids to hit coming forward to show them how to explode into the shot. Then as they move into real situations they gradually adapt to the level of competition as they age.
By the time they are top juniors they need to hit off the back foot many times and then recover. Of course they can pick their spots and come forward when they go for winners.
Tennis is situational like any sport. You teach the fundamentals and then real life circumstances dictate how you can apply those fundamentals.
if a player stays in balance, and has the correct firing sequence, this front foot back foot thing is a moot point.
by the time the impact is made, the energy stored in the legs has long been released... the legs are NOT providing any power AT the moment of impact.... they are there to keep the player in balance and make tiny adjustments so he is at the correct distance to the ball.
weight should always transfer from the back leg to the front leg, but whether the transfer has been completed (aka hitting off the front foot) at the moment of impact is irrelevant. Once the right foot fires, the energy is transfered to the later stage rockets - the hips then on to the core and the arm. The energy is gone.
I was once told that to be a top ranked player you had to be a master of hitting off 2 out of three stances - front foot, outside foot and back foot.
Federer, for example, is a master off the outside foot and the front foot. Nadal, a master off the outside foot and the back foot.
The important thing is to understand how power is generated from these three positions when teaching them.
That may be true for a single shot in isolation, but if you are pulled wide to the forehand and hit off the front foot (assuming you have the skill to setup properly), it better be a winner because you will have a heck of a time recovering for the next shot. That's how it works for me anyway...
This is interesting. When I'm really "in the zone" I can feel a smooth switch between outside foot and front foot from shot to shot and I'll hit one or the other depending on the incoming ball (speaking just for the forehand side here, my backhand is not that developed). Doesn't happen often enough but it's a great feeling
Hit off you back foot for consistency.
Hit off your front foot for power and winner attempts.
Everyone does both, from American S/V guys to Spanish back footed baseliners.
Pretty insane how hard the pros hit the ball.
Nice video of old man washed out Federer hitting his feeble shots... Sorry, joking
Good post lee, i like to hit heavy top spin and i find that i can actually hit more consistent off the back foot. Because i am pulling up and back so much it makes it natural to hit off the back foot. I have noticed that when hitting off the back foot and pinning my opponent back, that when i change it up and step into the shot i have to be much more precise or i will hit long when stepping forward.
However like you noted if you get the shorter ball then you move forward and hit off your front foot. I know i have had people notice that i am hitting off the back foot, and they tell me that it is wrong and i should be hitting off the front foot. But a big part of my game is looping heavy ts relentlessly, and like you say it is very consistent to use this method.
Not sure what all the fuss is about... He's backin up but definitely still transferring hIs weight into the shot, ie moving into it...
This leaves me wondering if we watched the same video. In that practice session he is obviously working one aspect of his game, hitting as extreme off his back foot as he can, while leaning back on most shots, pulling his racquet across. A situation he would find himself in at times during a match. Just like all aspects of his game, he focuses on certain things in certain session, like most players do.
He certainly does transfer his weight and move into his strokes many times.....but that is not what he was doing in that video in the first post.
His stance is either square or semi-open, but not open, on most of the shots. He still transfers some weight forward by pushing off from the back foot. If he was completely open, then it would be much harder to do that.
If he wasnt transfering his weight, he would not have his weight shifted from his backfoot to front foot, i.e, hopping backwards on the backfoot.
Look again, he is transferring his weight.
Cup said "transferring his weight, ie moving into the ball"
If he is moving into the ball at the .17 and .20 second marks than we have a different description of "moving into" the shot as Cup said in his post. He is pulling across. Hopping backwards on his back foot at contact is "moving into" the ball?
I see a player practicing for situations where he will be forced to hit while backing up in a match.....not every shot in that video, but that seems to be the focus of the session.
^^^Even when hitting of his backfoot he transfers his weight from one foot to the other. That's the modern forehand your weight is going from the right to left foot...
As far as the exact footwork - what I have noticed is this - guys will take a step with their right foot - a kind of pivot step to turn a bit sideways (semi open) And then they hit off that foot.
I think as an amateur its okay to take another step with the left while you hit - but this is something the pros don't do that often as it slows the recovery. In the pros the shift from one foot to another seems to spin em around instead. If you see an approach shot though I think you will still see the step forward with the left I am talking about..
I teach the modern forehand and use it myself, I know all about weight transfer. I am talking specifically about the forehand at the 17 second mark and Cup's comment that he is "moving into the ball".
He is not. He is leaning backwards. Of course he has to land as I doubt he can fly!.
At the 17 second mark Federer is practicing hitting a shot where he would be forced backwards. He is not moving into the ball. On this video at several times he seems to be working on backing up and hitting with little time to get set, unlike most of his regular ground strokes.
Not everything is written is stone. Players can and do have to hit some shots where they are not transferring their weight and moving into the ball, as Federer is doing at several parts of that video.
You can see the goal of the session. At the 32 second mark he gets a ball where he has to really back up and he takes a swing at it off his back foot to the extreme. He flubs it and laughs. Obviously the practice partner was told to back him up so he could practice those strokes.
There are times he does hit his regular weight transfer stroke, most likely because his practice partner can't put every ball in the right spot. But clearly on several strokes he is exaggerating the lean back to practice for a difficult match situation.
Nice video, but I don't see anything unusual about it. High bouncing heavy balls hit deep on clay are going to be hit differently than low bouncing balls in front of you.
If you are backing up to get behind a ball, often the best you can do is to try to slow or stop your rearward momentum by planting hard off the rear foot. Often times, this means that the player is actually moving backwards with the body as the ball is hit. If you watch the pros, especially on clay, you'll notice many times they are not moving into the ball with the body at contact.
Federer often pushes hard and then does that extreme pivot to his left foot when backing up and taking a high ball. I've tried this move, but I tend to end way off balance, as I must be doing something wrong.
To me, Fed's weight transfer in that video was rotational, not linear.
what direction does a pistol move, when it fires a bullet?
what direction does a javelin thrower move as he releases?
even an Abrams has to recoil from the impact
Don't you think that when a right handed player has his left foot come off the ground that his weight is going backwards? I guess that some people just can't grasp that pulling up and across will have a player hitting off his back foot many times.
Watch video of Nadal, he hits off his back foot with his weight going backwards many times. But he can still put a lot on the ball, even though his weight is pulling back.
The reason for the existence of the "SpanishStyle" is the consistency off the back foot on every shot.
I've been watching Davydenko's footwork on Youtube and he ALMOST ALWAYS hits off the front foot. Maybe that's why with this exquisite timing he can dictate the points against the giant opponents and run them ragged. He looks like a welterweight beating up on a heavyweight. He seems to use much less energy and take fewer steps than the other pros as well.
i meant hopping off the backfoot just by itself is not tranferring weight.
However when the weight is shifted from back foot to front foot, then that it weight transfer. As a previous poster mentioned, it's more rotational than a linear type of weight transfer.
Two factors to consider here are contact height and body rotation.
Davydenko is taking the ball early at a lower height. He can step into these and hit more conventionally.
But with the trajectories and spin of the modern game, the contact height is often at shoulder level. That requires open stance and often includes an explosion into the air.
With the amount of body rotation in the modern game open stance is also important. Players finish with the rear shoulder facing the opponent or close on many balls. You can't do that and stay on the front foot.
In the Tennisplayer archive, most of the neutral stance balls you see are at lower height or short and low. Or taken on the rise.
Excellent observation above..... ball height has a determining factor in groundstroking style.
I am not debating weight transfer. But lets not make it more complicated than it is. It is not about whether the weight transfer is "rotational or linear". We all know sometimes players step into shots more than other shots they pull across.
Strictly speaking of this video at several points, such as the 17 second mark. Fed is exaggerating the leaning back, off his back foot. He is probably practicing for such an event in a match.
He is not transferring his weight on that specific shot, either sideways or forward. He is leaning back while he hits it. He does it again at several points, such as the 32 second mark.
On other shots the balls come in to far in front so he uses his more traditional strokes, like at 25 seconds, on that shot he IS transferring his weight. Players can and do sometimes have to hit while leaning back, relying on pure arm strength.
I seriously worry about your students. He is most assuredly transfering his weight there. Why do you think he spins around?!
haha i found this clip of federer practicing with Monfils.
This seems to be the exact rally in the first video, at the end of this video.
He hits with his arm only, then his other foot lands well after the ball is gone. He is off balance....he can not fly, so his foot does land. Weight transfer was not involved in the actually hitting of that ball, unlike most of his forehands.
Don't worry about my students, one is on a full ride at U of FL, another is top 5 in the national 16s, another draws a crowd every time she hits and is not even 7 years old.
Thanks for your concern, we are doing just fine.
Exactly. Fed hit strokes in that video unlike what he would have done in a real match, several times with his weight going backwards and arming the ball.
Because his arm caused his body to go sideways and eventually his foot landed, posters are confusing that with "spinning around". Its not the same thing as when he rotates into a normal forehand.
I think that so many have this belief that you must transfer your weight forward and players always hit from back foot to their front foot. Which is so far from what really happens in match play.
Thats why i used rafa as an example, he hits off his back foot a lot, but so do the other players. There are times like you pointed on that a player must only hit with the arm. That is why they pull up and back, they need to make enough space to be able to swing, plus they can get some power from pulling up and backwards. Thats right despite popular belief you can get power from moving your weight up and back.
When players do this you will see their front leg come off the ground, then it will go around and land to the side or behind them. The only way this can happen is if their weight is coming back, there is no forward weight transfer. When they have time to set up they will transfer their weight forward, but many times they don't have the time or court position to enable it.
I had to watch that shot at 40 seconds at least 5 times.
At the start of the stroke is right foot is loaded - by the end of the stroke his right foot is no longer loaded and has changed position.
You don't have to be a physics major to understand that weight was transfered here. If he hit the ball and his right foot stayed loaded - only then could you say there was no weight transfer.
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