Can't hit mini tennis forehand

#1
This is a bit embarrassing, but I have a lot of trouble with my forehand in mini tennis. Once I move back I can do pretty much anything with it and hit well on the run, can hit extremely hard, with angles, etc. Even while I'm playing if I get a short ball around the service line I can kill it or angle it off. For some reason though during the warm up I can't hit a mini tennis forehand to save my life.

If I try to hit it normal I hit it up high and it lands past the service line around no man's land. When I try to take something off it has nothing behind it and goes into the net or just past it. My 2 handed backhand is my weaker shot, but I can hit it in the mini tennis warm up with no problem. It sounds dumb, but it really hurts my confidence to start a match by missing so often in the warm up and I got put on a bad court in a clinic because the pro walking by thought I can't play when he saw my mini tennis forehand.

How are you supposed to hit just a nice rally ball back within the service line? All of my shots are too deep or too shallow
 
#2
Try hitting mini tennis forehands with continental grip. It sounds weird, but it makes hitting mini tennis forehands so easy to control that it is addictive. Works equally well on slice forehands and mild topspin.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#3
You need to spin it, swing fast but put most of the swing speed into spinning the ball, so it has alot of revolutions and gets pulled down, then your ball can't possibly sail long, it sails long because you are putting all your energy into hitting it and driving it and not nearly enough into spinning it.

Relax your arm and loosen it up and swing fast up and over and let your arm naturally pronate around.
 
#4
Most people warm up hitting short court and moving back to the baseline. Try it the opposite way, but don’t go 100% on your swing because you aren’t warmed up yet. I’m thinking if you’re used to swinging from the baseline. You can make the adjustment a lot easier coming into the court by lessening the amount of power you use.

Regardless of how you choose to resolve this, it’s imperative that you learn how to hit in the short court.
 

HunterST

Hall of Fame
#8
This exact thing happens to me! Rather than needing to brush up more, I think the problem is we actually need to hit through the ball more.

I don't know about you, but I have a topspin heavy fh swing. When I/we slow that type of swing down for mini tennis, it goes right into the net. I think that's why my backhand, which is actually a weaker shot, is better for mini tennis. It's more linear and translates to short court better.

So, try a little flatter/more linear swing path for mini tennis.
 
#10
This is why it's good to do some mini-tennis. It improves your feel. As a goal, you need to feel like you can place a ball from anywhere on the court, to any other place, regardless of speed.

Maybe you're too obsessed with form? For some shots, you don't want to use your topspin, power shot.
 
#11
Hit further out in front of you than you normally would and exaggerate the top spin. I use a lot of wrist for mini-tennis because I try to get a feel for the ball. I also make a point of hitting slices and top spin off both sides always with ball way out front.
 
#12
This exact thing happens to me! Rather than needing to brush up more, I think the problem is we actually need to hit through the ball more.

I don't know about you, but I have a topspin heavy fh swing. When I/we slow that type of swing down for mini tennis, it goes right into the net. I think that's why my backhand, which is actually a weaker shot, is better for mini tennis. It's more linear and translates to short court better.

So, try a little flatter/more linear swing path for mini tennis.
Yep, I have a very topspin heavy forehand. Guess I need to experiment w/flatter or more brushing. It's just embarrassing that I have so much trouble with it that it's hard for me to stay relaxed and experiment
 
#14
I believe that any shot used from the baseline can be translated to short court/mini-tennis. You can use the same exact strokes (forehand, backhand, slice, serve even) and make it work for short court, most of the time you just have to reduce the swing speed.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#15
I believe that any shot used from the baseline can be translated to short court/mini-tennis. You can use the same exact strokes (forehand, backhand, slice, serve even) and make it work for short court, most of the time you just have to reduce the swing speed.
You can swing with the same swing speed in mini tennis than from the baseline.
 
#17
You can swing with the same swing speed in mini tennis than from the baseline.
Maybe. It really depends on the stroke style. My default forehand is fairly flat (80% drive, 20% spin), if I swing at higher speeds it would go long. I could hit down on it but that is not helpful to my partner in cooperative rally. On the other hand, if I used my topspin dominant stroke style then it will work.
 
#18
What is the point of that? The purpose of mini tennis is to "feel" the swing, this is the ONLY time you actually have a chance to. I don't mean to say bunt it back. But it is also not trying to swing as fast as you can. Less take back, and full follow through at a controlled swing, so that you are more aware of the mechanics, and keeping the ball in the string bed as long as you can during the swing.

You can swing with the same swing speed in mini tennis than from the baseline.
 
#19
If you are true to your statement you may have absolutely no feel of the ball. Sure you might have tons of topspin from baseline, but are you consistent?
I have a topspin heavy fh swing. When I/we slow that type of swing down for mini tennis, it goes right into the net
 
#20
If you are true to your statement you may have absolutely no feel of the ball. Sure you might have tons of topspin from baseline, but are you consistent?
I sometimes have the same problem on my BH: standing 40' away from the net allows me to swing harder and drive more and this allows me to hide whatever deficiencies I have when standing on the SL. Practicing to control the stroke up close has led to better control from the BL [and also the short, low ones].
 
#21
This exact thing happens to me! Rather than needing to brush up more, I think the problem is we actually need to hit through the ball more.

I don't know about you, but I have a topspin heavy fh swing. When I/we slow that type of swing down for mini tennis, it goes right into the net. I think that's why my backhand, which is actually a weaker shot, is better for mini tennis. It's more linear and translates to short court better.

So, try a little flatter/more linear swing path for mini tennis.
Everything in the post above is all wrong.

Don’t you coach players? I seem to recall you mentioning teaching tennis in other threads. How do you warm up your students if you can’t do mini tennis?
 
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FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#23
I guess you could but no high level player I’ve seen does this.
What is the point of that? The purpose of mini tennis is to "feel" the swing, this is the ONLY time you actually have a chance to. I don't mean to say bunt it back. But it is also not trying to swing as fast as you can. Less take back, and full follow through at a controlled swing, so that you are more aware of the mechanics, and keeping the ball in the string bed as long as you can during the swing.
Yeah I didn't actually mean that swinging as fast as from baseline is useful, I do agree mini tennis is good to get a nice feel for the ball, I was just trying to make a point that with spin and racquet face you can control the shot trajectory and everything so much that you can swing extremely fast and still have the ball land extremely short, because most people I notice here seem to be under the impression that in order to hit the ball shorter you HAVE to decrease the swing speed, possibly even bunt the ball slowly over the net, I don't think thats really y useful way of thinking for someone wanting to improve.
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#24
What's the point of warming up with mini tennis?! Warm up at the baseline where you will be hitting from mostly during a match. Ever seen Federer doing mini tennis warm up?No.
 
#27
Imo it is important for junior players to hit some touch shots without a lot of spin. Learning to control depth with spin is important but a player who can just swing fast and vary the spin is limited because there are going to be situations were you have to use touch and regulate the racket head speed.
 
#31
I have seen very good junior players in practice doing mini tennis matches. A lot of extreme angles, mostly slice and push shots, great for footwork, touch and also tactical awareness.

We often did that in practice, you could go to the net but no downward strokes allowed, ie you had to hit a volley with an initial upward trajectory.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#32
I have seen very good junior players in practice doing mini tennis matches. A lot of extreme angles, mostly slice and push shots, great for footwork, touch and also tactical awareness.

We often did that in practice, you could go to the net but no downward strokes allowed, ie you had to hit a volley with an initial upward trajectory.
It infuriates me when people can't do something so they say it's stupid or pointless instead of realizing there is something wrong with their stroke and working to fix it.

J
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#33
Why screw up things using half court first and then going back to full court?!

It improves feel and touch and racquet angle control and hand eye coordination.
There is no reason why you can't do those from the baseline.

It infuriates me when people can't do something so they say it's stupid or pointless instead of realizing there is something wrong with their stroke and working to fix it.
I'm saying it's pointless not because I suck at it. It's actually just the opposite, I do pretty well with mini tennis but when I use it as a warm up and go back to the baseline, I'm like ' wow! the court is huge, the other baseline is like a mile away' and I absolutely hate adjusting everything again at the baseline.
Again don't get me wrong I love playing mini tennis, slices, drop shots, touch and feel, it's great fun. But as part of a warm up, I hate it.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#34
Why screw up things using half court first and then going back to full court?!



There is no reason why you can't do those from the baseline.



I'm saying it's pointless not because I suck at it. It's actually just the opposite, I do pretty well with mini tennis but when I use it as a warm up and go back to the baseline, I'm like ' wow! the court is huge, the other baseline is like a mile away' and I absolutely hate adjusting everything again at the baseline.
Again don't get me wrong I love playing mini tennis, slices, drop shots, touch and feel, it's great fun. But as part of a warm up, I hate it.
You should be able to start off with mini and then slowly back up to 3/4 then full court.

There is no recalibrating when you go to full court, the purpose of mini is to calibrate, it's how you learn to aim.

If you can hit a small target you can hit a big one.

J
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#35
You should be able to start off with mini and then slowly back up to 3/4 then full court.

There is no recalibrating when you go to full court, the purpose of mini is to calibrate, it's how you learn to aim.

If you can hit a small target you can hit a big one.

J
I know and I tried to do it that way but most guys I play with go straight back to baseline. Anyway, why not start warm up straight at the baseline? Why is it so rare in pro tennis practice sessions and of course nonexistent before actual matches? How many times did you see it happen at your recent visit to the US open? Another interesting thing is it mostly happens in women's tennis for some reason. That's my experience at the Australian open which I go and watch every year almost every day of it, at least the first week.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#36
I know and I tried to do it that way but most guys I play with go straight back to baseline. Anyway, why not start warm up straight at the baseline? Why is it so rare in pro tennis practice sessions and of course nonexistent before actual matches? How many times did you see it happen at your recent visit to the US open? Another interesting thing is it mostly happens in women's tennis for some reason. That's my experience at the Australian open which I go and watch every year almost every day of it, at least the first week.
Most slam tournaments they just warm up and play sets. Same reason you don't see them doing volley to volley drills.

J
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
#37
I just block it over until the dumb useless exercise is over. A much better warm up is just exchanging volleys. Get's your hand and eyes synced and your feet moving, then move back and hit the ball from someplace that makes sense on the court.
 
#39
One of my hitting partners can't hit mini tennis either. But it is only that he doesn't have the mindset to ever do it. He thinks tennis is only about hitting hard and flat, period. So I am there trying to loop balls and he is hitting down at my feet hard. So I usually only do a few minutes of warm up close like that, or play half-way between the serive line and baseline to try and at least get a little warm up in. Even if I do manage to get him starting a few easy lopped shots he we start trying to hit winners within a few shots, thinking everything needs to escalte to pace to be right. It is the same from the baseline, and why most our rallies end about less than 10 shots.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#40
I have. It's a tough drill, swing as fast as you can hit the ball 6' over the net and land it in the service box, then bring it down to 3'.

J
Its a really good shot to have in your arsenal, being able to swing extremely fast and brush the ball a ton for spin, and bring it down into the service box.

I really like to hit these shots when I get short balls that bounce over the net height, I just swing extremely fast and brush the ball violently so it spins it really hard into an angle and the extreme spin makes it bounce extremely out of the court, pretty much impossible to get to this ball even if you are Nadal, but you really need a high over the net ball... well maybe some better players can do the same with balls that bounce bellow net level, but on those I can't do the same.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
#41
You should be able to start off with mini and then slowly back up to 3/4 then full court.

There is no recalibrating when you go to full court, the purpose of mini is to calibrate, it's how you learn to aim.

If you can hit a small target you can hit a big one.

J
Except when I'm hitting a ball that lands short of the service line in a match, I'm basically never aiming to hit it back short of the service line with topspin unless it's a sharp angle. I'm basically practicing a shot a I would never hit. Now I'm sure you would say that's true of going volley to volley, but the adjustment to hit a volley away from someone is not nearly as significant as your stroke trying to keep a mini tennis rally going vs what you'd actually try to do with that ball if trying to win the point.

But whatever, we've had this discussion before. I go through the motions if people want to do this warm-up, but I see no benefit to it.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#42
Its a really good shot to have in your arsenal, being able to swing extremely fast and brush the ball a ton for spin, and bring it down into the service box.

I really like to hit these shots when I get short balls that bounce over the net height, I just swing extremely fast and brush the ball violently so it spins it really hard into an angle and the extreme spin makes it bounce extremely out of the court, pretty much impossible to get to this ball even if you are Nadal, but you really need a high over the net ball... well maybe some better players can do the same with balls that bounce bellow net level, but on those I can't do the same.
Keep practicing, you need it more for the lower ones or waist/net height.

The high ones you can smoke into the corner or go short angle.

You can practice it by yourself with drop feeds alternate short angle and dtl.

The hardest one is the short angle iso forehand, but it's devastating because you can run around and freeze your opponent and he can't get to the angle or the inside in.

J
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#43
Except when I'm hitting a ball that lands short of the service line in a match, I'm basically never aiming to hit it back short of the service line with topspin unless it's a sharp angle. I'm basically practicing a shot a I would never hit. Now I'm sure you would say that's true of going volley to volley, but the adjustment to hit a volley away from someone is not nearly as significant as your stroke trying to keep a mini tennis rally going vs what you'd actually try to do with that ball if trying to win the point.

But whatever, we've had this discussion before. I go through the motions if people want to do this warm-up, but I see no benefit to it.
I'm just saying that you disagree with a lot of things higher level players advocate, like the looping the ball high over the net to learn the second serve.

I invited you to come over when I practice my second serve and I would explain it to you, but you politely declined (which is clearly within your rights.)

You are so quick to condemn these things but maybe it wouldn't be the end of the world to be a bit more open minded and think that maybe your reluctance to practice these things is a part of the reason you are UTR 5 and I'm UTR 10.

J
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
#44
I'm just saying that you disagree with a lot of things higher level players advocate, like the looping the ball high over the net to learn the second serve.

I invited you to come over when I practice my second serve and I would explain it to you, but you politely declined (which is clearly within your rights.)

You are so quick to condemn these things but maybe it wouldn't be the end of the world to be a bit more open minded and think that maybe your reluctance to practice these things is a part of the reason you are UTR 5 and I'm UTR 10.

J

Uh, I never declined anything. My last direct comment to you was that we should get together after sectionals, right? It's been raining.

I advocated against 2 "conventional" things in about 10 years on this site.

I'm not sure where this aggressiveness is coming from. I just said I don't think mini-tennis provides any benefit in warm up, and that hitting kick serves with an upward trajectory doesn't make sense, IMHO, for people who can already hit a flat serve. Your UTR is higher than Nick B's ever was, but not sure that qualifies you to teach over him. We all know how good you are J.
 
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J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#45
Uh, I never declined anything. My last direct comment to you was that we should get together after sectionals, right? It's been raining.

I advocated against 2 "conventional" things in about 10 years on this site.

I'm not sure where this aggressiveness is coming from. I just said I don't think mini-tennis provides any benefit in warm up, and that hitting kick serves with an upward trajectory doesn't make sense, IMHO, for people who can already hit a flat serve. Your UTR is higher than Nick B's ever was, but not sure that qualifies you to teach over him. We all now how good you are J.
Sorry, wasn't intending to be hostile.

Your disagreements stood out to me because they are basically the same thing. Mini tennis is the groundstroke equivalent of looping the serve; you are shaping the ball and hitting a target. It's all about control and making the ball do whatever you want.

Once again, I wasn't intending to be hostile towards you, it's just my frustration coming out with people who tell me they want to get better and I say ok this is what you need to do to practice, and of course they struggle with it but instead of realizing wow this is difficult for me I need to work on it they say this is a dumb drill I would never do it in a match.

I go through the same thing with these HIIT idiots.

I'm not a musical person but I imagine it's like trying to teach somebody the guitar and they say why do I have to play scales to warm up, Jimi Hendrix didn't play scales to warm up. You're not Jimi Hendrix!

J
 
#46
Sorry, wasn't intending to be hostile.

Your disagreements stood out to me because they are basically the same thing. Mini tennis is the groundstroke equivalent of looping the serve; you are shaping the ball and hitting a target. It's all about control and making the ball do whatever you want.

Once again, I wasn't intending to be hostile towards you, it's just my frustration coming out with people who tell me they want to get better and I say ok this is what you need to do to practice, and of course they struggle with it but instead of realizing wow this is difficult for me I need to work on it they say this is a dumb drill I would never do it in a match.

I go through the same thing with these HIIT idiots.

I'm not a musical person but I imagine it's like trying to teach somebody the guitar and they say why do I have to play scales to warm up, Jimi Hendrix didn't play scales to warm up. You're not Jimi Hendrix!

J
J , the last bit was totally on point.

Respect.


Sent from my SM-N920G using Tapatalk
 
#48
To OP, don't be discouraged. You can do it, ask some local player to show you. I'm not going to repeat many good advice that's been posted here.

As a perspective, I hit with quite a few officially rated 4.5 players who cannot warm up with mini tennis. I basically ended up volleying everything back.

I find the mini-tennis warm up very useful to get grooved on my strokes before playing. When I feel good hitting my full, long strokes during mini tennis, I usually play well that day. Of course everyone is different, some people never needs mini tennis to warm up.

Usually those who hit mostly flat strokes are the ones having the most trouble hitting mini tennis.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
#50
Sorry, wasn't intending to be hostile.

Your disagreements stood out to me because they are basically the same thing. Mini tennis is the groundstroke equivalent of looping the serve; you are shaping the ball and hitting a target. It's all about control and making the ball do whatever you want.

Once again, I wasn't intending to be hostile towards you, it's just my frustration coming out with people who tell me they want to get better and I say ok this is what you need to do to practice, and of course they struggle with it but instead of realizing wow this is difficult for me I need to work on it they say this is a dumb drill I would never do it in a match.

I go through the same thing with these HIIT idiots.

I'm not a musical person but I imagine it's like trying to teach somebody the guitar and they say why do I have to play scales to warm up, Jimi Hendrix didn't play scales to warm up. You're not Jimi Hendrix!

J
All good. I'll just restate my case for clarity: I don't think warming up with mini-tennis makes anyone noticeably better or warms them up in any useful way that volleys or regular ground strokes wouldn't. I think it's a waste of warm up time. And I think the OP was talking about their deficiencies in mini-tennis warm up. Practice may be a different story, but I'm sure you can think of better ways you teach a student how to put short balls away than mini tennis. Would you have someone stand at the service line to drill them on putting service line sitters away? I hope not since in reality you'll be moving forward on that shot 95% of the time.

Oh, and I play guitar. Mini tennis is like asking someone to practice playing a guitar intentionally knocked out of tune so they could get better playing a tuned guitar.
 
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