Breaking the wrist on a forehand...

mightyrick

Legend
Fundamentally, I know that you aren't supposed to break your wrist during a groundie. I know that you are supposed to keep the angle relationship consistent throughout the swing.

However, I have developed a deceiving forehand shot that I reserve for "sitters" that bounce around the service line in the middle of the court.

Effectively, I plant my feet, unit-turn, backswing... just as if I'm going to hit an ordinary forehand. I intentionally point my non-hitting shoulder at the place I want the opponent to *think* I am going to hit it.

But then, as I swing forward into the ball, I break my wrist and essentially send the ball in the other direction -- with a serious side spin. When I hit the ball, the racquet brushes the ball from 4 o'clock to 10 o'clock.

Do others ever have shots where they intentionally break their wrists in order to change the angle of the racquet face to deceive their opponents?
 

ManuGinobili

Hall of Fame
Sorry to be frank, but sounds to me like you're just bringing up an excuse for a technique that you know is weird, and then trying to find agreements on an internet forum so that you can feel better about it.

There are many ways to truly effectively disguise your shot with proper technique, you don't have to do something so risky like breaking your wrist during a shot... this is coming from someone with ECU tendinitis - it's not something you want to have.
 

toly

Hall of Fame
Fundamentally, I know that you aren't supposed to break your wrist during a groundie. I know that you are supposed to keep the angle relationship consistent throughout the swing.

However, I have developed a deceiving forehand shot that I reserve for "sitters" that bounce around the service line in the middle of the court.

Effectively, I plant my feet, unit-turn, backswing... just as if I'm going to hit an ordinary forehand. I intentionally point my non-hitting shoulder at the place I want the opponent to *think* I am going to hit it.

But then, as I swing forward into the ball, I break my wrist and essentially send the ball in the other direction -- with a serious side spin. When I hit the ball, the racquet brushes the ball from 4 o'clock to 10 o'clock.

Do others ever have shots where they intentionally break their wrists in order to change the angle of the racquet face to deceive their opponents?
I think this is very good advanced technique. See also http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=290022 please.
 

mightyrick

Legend
Sorry to be frank, but sounds to me like you're just bringing up an excuse for a technique that you know is weird, and then trying to find agreements on an internet forum so that you can feel better about it.

There are many ways to truly effectively disguise your shot with proper technique, you don't have to do something so risky like breaking your wrist during a shot... this is coming from someone with ECU tendinitis - it's not something you want to have.
Believe it or not, I'm actually not looking for excuses. I actually figured that breaking the wrist (not pronation -- but literally changing the wrist angle) was done by players when they needed a quick racquet angle adjustment of some sort -- and they don't have time to change their stance or their grip.

But since you bring it up, I am very interested in any technique which you know of that I could use to make an opponent think I was hitting a sitter-in-the-middle-of-the-court in one direction -- and then hit it in a completely different direction.

I'm thinking this is probably going to be different than an inside-out forehand or inside-in forehand.
 

ronalditop

Hall of Fame
Well I dont know exactly how u break your wrist to hit sitters, but I've played with some begginers than often hit their normal forehands that sometimes end up landing inside the service line and bouncing very little, almost like a drop shot disguised as a tospin forehand.
 

maggmaster

Hall of Fame
This is essentially a forehand slice hit without a grip change? I do the same thing, it is almost unusable at any advanced level though, you just don't get those balls in the middle of the court anymore unless you force them.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
If you set up your body/orientation to maximize your options, you won't need to resort to any questionable practices of employing excessive wrist articulations. Just turn you body or torso enough to that you can hit either CC or DTL with equal ease -- then it just a split-second matter of timing and contact point to send the ball in any desired direction.
.
 
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Zachol82

Professional
Nothing wrong with breaking your wrist, aside from possible injuries.

Nowadays, there are plenty of training regimes to strengthen a specific part of your body, including your wrists. I do wrist exercises every other day for several years now and I have not had any sort of wrist injury or wrist pain.

Don't get me wrong, I don't wrist on every shot since it is unnecessary and the wrist muscle does get tired fairly quickly after repeated usage. However, it is definitely a viable option and I will not hesitate to break or snap my wrist to either get a huge boost in spin and power, or to achieve sharp angles.

My advice to you is if you think your game needs it, go for it. However, do train your wrist and work it out so that it is strong and has a lower chance of being injured. If it hurts in any way, stop it; this is not the time to be stubborn since it may bring about permanent injury.

Don't mind those who look down on the technique. People have been looking down on MANY techniques in the past and only go "oh, maybe it is a good idea to incorporate this technique" after someone wins a title with that technique.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
^ The wrist is a joint (capable of 4 articulations). There are no wrist muscles.

I will admit to using an extra helping of wrist action every once in a great while. However, I would discourage anyone from using excessive wrist actions in the manner described by the OP on a regular (or semi-regular) basis.

.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
^ You'd be surprised at how many ppl think that there are muscles in the wrist. The knee is capable of 2 articulations. Never hear about anyone taking about knee muscles tho'
 

toly

Hall of Fame
Wrist motions

Fundamentally, I know that you aren't supposed to break your wrist during a groundie. I know that you are supposed to keep the angle relationship consistent throughout the swing.
It is not true! See pictures please. The wrist moves from bend to neutral position. It travels more than 90 degrees.
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
Sorry, I thought OP was saying his keeps his wrist laid back, never pronates it during that sidespin shot like something JimmyConnors did on his sidespin groundie DTL wide forehands.
 
See the pictures please. The wrist moves from bend to almost neutral position. It travels more than 90 degrees.
so are you saying that you don't need to "break" your wrist purposefully but keep the wrist limp and let the momentum of the racquet coming around dictate the break naturally?
 

tricky

Hall of Fame
When I hit the ball, the racquet brushes the ball from 4 o'clock to 10 o'clock.
My guess is that you're describing hitting the inside of the ball. If so, yes you do feel your wrist lay back and recover more acutely.
 

mightyrick

Legend
My guess is that you're describing hitting the inside of the ball. If so, yes you do feel your wrist lay back and recover more acutely.
Yes, this is exactly what I am describing. At contact, I consciously allow the wrist to go extremely limp, which causes it to break at impact. I continue the swing forward which causes the inside brushing on the ball.

When I hit this shot, it creates immense side-spin (with a little bit of topspin) and the shot travels in the opposite direction from where my non-hitting shoulder is pointing. The side-spin makes the ball seriously break to the right and the little bit of topspin brings the ball down.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
Almost all the pics above show players reaching for balls, so in that case you must break to wrist to get max reach for a wide ball.
In some of the pics they are working the out side of the ball in sort of a buggy whip stroke, which also requires the wrist to break.
 

tricky

Hall of Fame
Yes, this is exactly what I am describing. At contact, I consciously allow the wrist to go extremely limp, which causes it to break at impact. I continue the swing forward which causes the inside brushing on the ball.

When I hit this shot, it creates immense side-spin (with a little bit of topspin) and the shot travels in the opposite direction from where my non-hitting shoulder is pointing. The side-spin makes the ball seriously break to the right and the little bit of topspin brings the ball down.
That's fine. As you said, it's a good way to add side spin, especially when you hit inside-out.
 

Blake0

Hall of Fame
Yes, this is exactly what I am describing. At contact, I consciously allow the wrist to go extremely limp, which causes it to break at impact. I continue the swing forward which causes the inside brushing on the ball.

When I hit this shot, it creates immense side-spin (with a little bit of topspin) and the shot travels in the opposite direction from where my non-hitting shoulder is pointing. The side-spin makes the ball seriously break to the right and the little bit of topspin brings the ball down.
Ah i love those on the sitter, i watched federer do it a couple times and copied ever since :). It's when theres a sitter around mid-court or closer to the Ad service box. You space yourself, and brush the inside of the ball to get spin that fades away to the right on an inside-out forehand, right?

Truthfully you shouldn't break the wrist at contact, many players wrist release during the followthrough, although not consciously. This is good advice to follow 99% of the time, but there are a couple of those times where you need to improvise on the spot.
 

toly

Hall of Fame
Sorry, I thought OP was saying his keeps his wrist laid back, never pronates it during that sidespin shot like something JimmyConnors did on his sidespin groundie DTL wide forehands.
Reed OP carefully please.
 

toly

Hall of Fame
so are you saying that you don't need to "break" your wrist purposefully but keep the wrist limp and let the momentum of the racquet coming around dictate the break naturally?
On contrary, I think they use wrist flexion (for continental and eastern grips) or wrist ulnar deviation (for semi western and western grips) deliberately and forcefully, to provide power and control of the stroke.
 

bhupaes

Professional
On contrary, I think they use wrist flexion (for continental and eastern grips) or wrist ulnar deviation (for semi western and western grips) deliberately and forcefully, to provide power and control of the stroke.
Hi toly, on the forehand, doesn't the wrist start out with an ulnar deviation and end up radially deviated (with SW and W grips)? I agree the position of the wrist is crucial for control and direction, but I am not convinced about power...
 

tricky

Hall of Fame
Hi toly, on the forehand, doesn't the wrist start out with an ulnar deviation and end up radially deviated (with SW and W grips)? I agree the position of the wrist is crucial for control and direction, but I am not convinced about power...
That's my understanding too. BTW, for those who've read the Wrist Flex or Lefty Hand Dominance threads, the vertical slot or towel trick is actually designed to increase this hand deviation. That in turn enhances the wrist hinge effect, which is what people feel in that visualization.
 

toly

Hall of Fame
Hi toly, on the forehand, doesn't the wrist start out with an ulnar deviation and end up radially deviated (with SW and W grips)?
Hi bhupaes. For explanation of the wrist ulnar and radial deviation see picture below please.
 
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chico9166

Guest
Hi toly, on the forehand, doesn't the wrist start out with an ulnar deviation and end up radially deviated (with SW and W grips)? I agree the position of the wrist is crucial for control and direction, but I am not convinced about power...
Yes, and this what Brian Gordon (tennisplayer) has alluded to as well. That there is a certain degree of conscious flexion (especially with the eastern and ulnar to radial with sw) BUT, that is principally used for racquet orientation/control, and not for additional racquet head speed generation.
 

tricky

Hall of Fame
The general radial-to-ulnar deviation is an important component of the wiper movement. It keeps the forearm pronation from releasing the wrist and rolling the racquet over the ball. However, depending on your WW FH style or "defensive-ness" of the swing, the deviation can be somewhat suppressed as you go through the contact point. As a result, you may see some passive wrist release through the contact point.

In theory, there is some active wrist flexion in the actual forward swing. It has to do with your fingers. The torque of the racquet is going to create a slight pull on the fingers, which in turn leads to the fingers flexing a little bit in order to control your grip. That in turn causes the wrist flexors to release in kind, but in a highly controlled fashion. Choosing to hit the inside or outside of the ball helps you mediate this somewhat. Also, at contact, the impact of the ball will cause your hand to tighten, which in turn may cause the wrist to flex a little. However, again due to the overall deviation movement of the hand, that may not express as a wrist release in slow-mo video. In both cases, your choice of grip play a part.
 

toly

Hall of Fame
The hand (wrist) is the best!

I am not convinced about power...
Yes, and this what Brian Gordon (tennisplayer) has alluded to as well. That there is a certain degree of conscious flexion (especially with the eastern and ulnar to radial with sw) BUT, that is principally used for racquet orientation/control, and not for additional racquet head speed generation.
When we run, we practically cannot rotate the body. The main resource of the racquet’s speed would be: 1) The slow arm rotation. The shoulder joint can provide angular speed around Ω1=1000°/sec. 2) The fast wrist (hand) flexion or ulnar deviation. These motions can create angular speed Ω2 around 4000/sec°.
Let’s calculate linear speeds V1, V2 of these movements. The arm linear speed is V1=50’’*Ω1=25 mph. The wrist linear speed is V2=25’’*Ω2=50 mph. It means, the main contributor to the powerful forehand is the wrist (hand). It is just pure, easy physics and no mystic whip effect etc.
 
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toly

Hall of Fame
I agree the position of the wrist is crucial for control and direction, but I am not convinced about power...
So, you agreed the wrist orientation is crucial for control and direction. Important question here is in what moment pros change position of the wrist to provide proper racquet orientation? They keep the wrist in bend position before very last moment of the contact and then racquet should travel around 90 degrees. Hence, they have to move the racquet very fast. But, fast motion means high speed of the racquet. Thus, we conclude: Fast wrist alignment = fast racquet speed = power = powerful FH. The wrist could be the main source of the powerful FH. We cannot separate fast wrist alignment from power. They are inseparable entities. It would be logically incorrect to disconnect them. What do you think about that?
 
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bhupaes

Professional
So, you agreed the wrist orientation is crucial for control and direction. Important thing here is in what moment pros change position of the wrist to provide proper racquet orientation? They keep the wrist in bend position before very last moment of the contact and then racquet should travel around 90 degrees. Hence, they have to move the racquet very fast. But, fast motion means high speed of the racquet. Thus, we conclude: Fast wrist alignment = fast racquet speed = power = powerful FH. The wrist could be the main source of the powerful FH. You cannot separate fast wrist alignment from power. They are inseparable entities. It would be logically incorrect to separate them. What do you think about that?
Hi toly, let's do a gedanken experiment. If you were asked to hit a ball at waist height as far as you could using a tennis racquet, where would most of your power come from? I would not even think about using the wrist - it would be all about the core and big muscles, and it would happen naturally. Of course, since we have the additional constraint that the ball should land within the court - too bad! :) - we cannot hit like that. We still develop most of the power that way, but use forearm movements like pronation and wrist flexion to control and direct the ball.

The other thing to remember is that the wrist may move fast, but its connection to the body is weak. By itself, it cannot get as much "weight" (momentum) behind the ball as the big muscles can. Thus upon contact, a purely wrist based movement will undergo huge deceleration and cause a lot of shock to the arm, and probably not transfer as much momentum to the ball as a full bodied shot would.

I am not being very mathematical here, but I hope I am making my point clear.
 

papa

Hall of Fame
Well, there is a wrist release into most shot which I believe is more passive than intentional. Can you come out of the small L to strike a ball, sure but I'm not sure I see the point. If this is an every once in a while shot, fine but it almost sounds like its more than that. If this is more of a "flick" type shot cross court, it works fine.
 

toly

Hall of Fame
The other thing to remember is that the wrist may move fast, but its connection to the body is weak. By itself, it cannot get as much "weight" (momentum) behind the ball as the big muscles can. Thus upon contact, a purely wrist based movement will undergo huge deceleration and cause a lot of shock to the arm, and probably not transfer as much momentum to the ball as a full bodied shot would. I am not being very mathematical here, but I hope I am making my point clear.
Hi bhupaes, according to your analysis, powerful FH between legs is impossible shot, because body moves in opposite direction. But, Federer demonstrated it few times. This shot is very wristy shot. I would even say that in most cases modern FH is wristy FH.
 

papa

Hall of Fame
Hi bhupaes, according to your analysis, powerful FH between legs is impossible shot, because body moves in opposite direction. But, Federer demonstrated it few times. This shot is very wristy shot. I would even say that in most cases modern FH is wristy FH.
One of the major things that identifies the modern forehand is the "lack of wrist" movement and rotation. When we hit more in a linear manner, there was quite a bit of wrist involved.

The between the legs thing is very different and I agree with you. Crowd always enjoys it but not a very smart or effective shot. When it works it looks great but pretty low percentage.
 

bhupaes

Professional
Hi bhupaes, according to your analysis, powerful FH between legs is impossible shot, because body moves in opposite direction. But, Federer demonstrated it few times. This shot is very wristy shot. I would even say that in most cases modern FH is wristy FH.
Toly, is the "between the legs" (BTL) shot really that powerful? Certainly not as powerful as a full blooded forehand! Sure, the wrist does contribute some power, I'm not saying that the wrist contributes zero power - we are talking relative amounts here. Also, keep in mind, it's a gravity assisted shot that's aided and directed by the wrist. The acceleration of the racquet during the initial portion of the "BTL" shot also includes contributions from other muscles of the body.
 

toly

Hall of Fame
One of the major things that identifies the modern forehand is the "lack of wrist" movement and rotation. When we hit more in a linear manner, there was quite a bit of wrist involved.

The between the legs thing is very different and I agree with you. Crowd always enjoys it but not a very smart or effective shot. When it works it looks great but pretty low percentage.
The pictures below show Federer inside-out forehand. Even in this occasion, his wrist rotates around 55 degrees. In case of the crosscourt, his wrist usually travels around 100 degrees. Federer practically always uses the wrist flexion to provide addition power and proper boll direction. And all pros are using the wrist in the same manner. But, amateurs still discuss locked wrist.
 

papa

Hall of Fame
The pictures below show Federer inside-out forehand. Even in this occasion, his wrist rotates around 55 degrees. In case of the crosscourt, his wrist usually travels around 100 degrees. Federer practically always uses the wrist flexion to provide addition power and proper boll direction. And all pros are using the wrist in the same manner. But, amateurs still discuss locked wrist.
Well, first of all, I have never said anything about locked wrists and have always said their is a "passive" release that occurs just prior to and through contact. However, and I don't recommend it but you can hit an acceptable ball doing this (locked wrist). The reason most of us harp on maintaining the "little L" is to prevent the premature/deliberate turning of the wrist which with some starts to occur around the back hip. However, we don't want the wrist locked through the shot.

The wrist probably "travels around 100 degrees" but that is a very misleading comment to make and "generally" is misunderstood by a good percentage of players who frequent these boards.

All shots, as you probably know, have the wrist moving to a varying degree as you pointed out.
 

toly

Hall of Fame
Well, first of all, I have never said anything about locked wrists and have always said their is a "passive" release that occurs just prior to and through contact. However, and I don't recommend it but you can hit an acceptable ball doing this (locked wrist). The reason most of us harp on maintaining the "little L" is to prevent the premature/deliberate turning of the wrist which with some starts to occur around the back hip. However, we don't want the wrist locked through the shot.

The wrist probably "travels around 100 degrees" but that is a very misleading comment to make and "generally" is misunderstood by a good percentage of players who frequent these boards.

All shots, as you probably know, have the wrist moving to a varying degree as you pointed out.
The locked wrist, I was talking about OP, see extract below.
Fundamentally, I know that you aren't supposed to break your wrist during a groundie. I know that you are supposed to keep the angle relationship consistent throughout the swing.
Your statement about, "misliding comment to make ...", I do not understand. Can you be more specific?
 

papa

Hall of Fame
OK.

The wrist releases in most cases just before contact - not always true but as a general statement. Most advanced player understand this concept - perhaps your one yourself. However, many trying to learn the game and even most intermediate players assume a "wrist release" and "breaking the wrist" are the same thing - they aren't and are actually quite different.

So, the OP was saying "you are supposed to keep the angle relationship consistent throughout the swing". This isn't a correct statement as you pointed out, the wrist moves but in most cases is passive as compared to a deliberate, separate action.

You used the word "flexion" which I think/believe means bending.
To me, it seems more like un-bending or partial straightening of the wrist just prior to contact. I was concerned that many would understand this whole thing as "breaking the wrist/rotating the wrist/bringing the wrist through its whole range of movement in one direction" which I don't think you meant to imply.

So, while I think your response/post is correct (from a technical standpoint) its not suggesting that players deliberately break their wrist.
 

Manus Domini

Hall of Fame
Jack Kramer on Perry's wrist snap forehands: "screwed up men's tennis in England, although this wasn't his fault. The way he could hit a forehand—snap it off like a ping-pong shot—Perry was a physical freak. Nobody else could be taught to hit a shot that way. But the kids over there copied Perry's style, and it ruined them. Even after Perry faded out of the picture, the coaches there must have kept using him as a model."

If it is natural because of your motion, I believe it's fine. But that's from a loose wrist, using the muscles going into moving the wrist as a powersource is dangerous as the wrist doesn't have strong enough muscles to absorb all the shock
 

spacediver

Hall of Fame
I have a feeling that, when it comes to wrist flexion, the wrist plays a similar role to its role in the serve - definitely experiences flexion prior to contact in many cases, but probably passive.

More like the end of a whip in the kinetic chain (smaller lighter joint, so that racquet head speed increases to conserve angular momentum that is channeled from previous links).
 
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chico9166

Guest
I have a feeling that, when it comes to wrist flexion, the wrist plays a similar role to its role in the serve - definitely experiences flexion prior to contact in many cases, but probably passive.

More like the end of a whip in the kinetic chain (smaller lighter joint, so that racquet head speed increases to conserve angular momentum that is channeled from previous links).
I know you like Gordon,(who doesn't). He is convinced now that flexion is not passive, and principally used as a directional device. Makes sense as the shot line is almost exclusively a function of racquet face orientation at impact.
 

spacediver

Hall of Fame
I know you like Gordon,(who doesn't). He is convinced now that flexion is not passive, and principally used as a directional device. Makes sense as the shot line is almost exclusively a function of racquet face orientation at impact.
Interesting. Can you point me to info about where he says this? Was it an article or thread on tennisplayer.net?
 

tricky

Hall of Fame
Interesting. Can you point me to info about where he says this? Was it an article or thread on tennisplayer.net?
I can confirm that. He wrote me that there were doing research about it, and I think it may have to do with minute reactions from the hand holding the racquet. Would emphasize, though, it's like talking about quantum physics. Just because I'm not really here doesn't mean you get my chair. ;)
 

spacediver

Hall of Fame
heh i really can't wait for his biomechanical series on the forehand (I think he's busy with a business enterprise right now for the year so might be a while before he's able to share his findings). In the mean time, I'll keep my eye out on google scholar :)
 
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chico9166

Guest
just read his posts - cannot f&*#ing wait for his forehand series where he explains this in more detail :)
I know, right? That serve series, was absolutely brilliant.
 
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