Emulating Rafa's forehand

@Curious ... how is rec tennis doing in Melbourne? A lot of 3.5s, 4.0s, 4.5s, 5.0s? 4.5+ adult male tennis seems to be diminishing where I live, but 400,000 vs your 4+ million.
As far as I know it's divided into two: folks playing for fun, social gathering and those playing more seriously in competitive leagues. The second one requires more commitment due to more strict/regular scheduling although some guys like veterans playing social tennis could be quite high level.
 
No worries. Me trying to emulate Rafa's forehand does not prevent me from focusing on the basics at the same time. I might be a little more than what you imagine. I do fitness training 3-4 days a week mostly leg strength and agility, play 3 times a week, also play points with a good coach to get instant feedback from him.
Awesome! :cool:(y)
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
It looks like Rafa clearly changed his take back in the last few years.
In the video from 2013 the racket is pointing forward whereas in 2017 it points upward, he simply keeps the racket close to his torso and up before taking further back with the current version
Careful.

About the time you get Rafa's current FH down pat in a few more months, he's likely to have moved on to a new one...

Then what? :)
 
There used to be a guy who posted over-edited videos on Youtube who was obviously a huge Federer fan and emulated all his strokes after Fed's. Of course they looked nothing like Fed's strokes beyond the most superficial similarities. The whole thing was very cringeworthy

That's the first thing that comes to my mind when I see someone attempting to "emulate" any given pro's strokes. Why would you even want to do that?
Well I can give you example of people who successfully copied pro's strokes:

 
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Are you using the PT Head racquet? Made in Austria?

It kinda resembles his forehand, kinda like a punching motion. Whatever works for you though, keep experimenting. I used to have an extreme grip and switched to a eastern/semi.
 
@Curious its all about having fun, try and experiment until something clicks. Almost all players will not have same forehand stroke they did as they began out with, its always changing. You think your is good now until you meet higher opponents that will make you question everything then you have to go back and re-tweak things.

Best way to get better is simply playing better people, it forces you fast to survive on court and figure out the most optimal way to play your strokes and game otherwise nothing will work.
 
No worries. Me trying to emulate Rafa's forehand does not prevent me from focusing on the basics at the same time. I might be a little more than what you imagine. I do fitness training 3-4 days a week mostly leg strength and agility, play 3 times a week, also play points with a good coach to get instant feedback from him.
damn thats a lot of activity, careful you don't get an injury!
 
I wish you luck to find your own groundstroke, remember you are only hitting easy shots that hit into your strikezone, when in match, people will not hit into your strike zone, your "imitated" rafa will quickly break down if you don't understand other fundamentals.

But I guess you already know that, hence I wish you luck, you just need more practice and you will get better. :)
 
Didnt you read what he wrote before?
Hes just starting to emulate rafa forehand and hes already capable of hanging with ex atp hitting partners.

This is obviously working, hes transforming his forehand soon to the likes of nadal.

Give it a few more weeks and he will be competing at futures. 8-B
@FiReFTW You're gonna have to learn to accept that people are different and think differently to you. Tennis for curious is a series of little side projects and experiments and it's that which drives his interest.

For you it's following your coach's advice to become a hopefully around a 5.0 level player, as fast as possible.

If nothing else @Curious' posts are entertaining and keep this board going that's for sure.
 
Strange things are happening these days. I seem to get less and less pain the more frequently I play and work out. I’m really giving the legs a crazy workout and that’s I think making a huge difference. Never felt this light and quick in my life.
maybe you're just doing the right kinds of things: muscle building / prehab seems to have a positive effect for me especially when i rest enough afterward, while going 100% effort chasing down balls in the middle of the day is probably the most destructive and catabolic
 
As far as I know it's divided into two: folks playing for fun, social gathering and those playing more seriously in competitive leagues. The second one requires more commitment due to more strict/regular scheduling although some guys like veterans playing social tennis could be quite high level.
What I was asking ... if you got to 4.5, will you have a lot of people to play?
 
What I was asking ... if you got to 4.5, will you have a lot of people to play?
We don't have ratings here. You would play in a team generally and that team overall is in a grade. Plenty of people to play at all levels during the week night tennis (doubles tho), to the point we don't have enough courts for the number of people playing. Singles there is less comps, would have to travel further for a greater regional competition, up to city wide which would be a big commitment. I don't think he will run out of people to play
 
We don't have ratings here. You would play in a team generally and that team overall is in a grade. Plenty of people to play at all levels during the week night tennis (doubles tho), to the point we don't have enough courts for the number of people playing. Singles there is less comps, would have to travel further for a greater regional competition, up to city wide which would be a big commitment. I don't think he will run out of people to play
I asked because it's something some don't consider as they move up levels. When I was in my in my early 20s, my 4.0 USTA team went to Nationals, and I was bumped to 4.5. I had played with many of the same 4.0 friends for several years. We didn't all get bumped, so I was playing with new USTA players (many who turned out to be lifetime friends). But I was lucky at the time, we had a lot of local 4.5 USTA teams, and 15-20 4.5+ players at my club. Today, it really doesn't seem like many 4.5s followed us (replaced our group as we aged out). The 4.5 USTA male leagues are small compared to what we had. I think if you are 3.5 or 4.0 you are likely to have more players to play with than if you move up to 4.5 or 5.0. I would put it like this ... if you have been a 3.5 for years, and playing with the same friends for years (USTA, club leagues, etc), what's more important to you ... your group or your level? We play with people/friends ... it's a valid consideration.

I never lived in a city with 4+ million ... figured you had "enough" players. :p
 
No ... not rating Curious ... just asking if he would have plenty of players to play with as he improves.
TTW is the only way we can get a rating down here, but I like your belief in @Curious :) At 55 I imagine it would be hard to jump a level like that, when I watch videos of 4.0 and then 4.5's it seems like a world of difference. Personally I just want to beat the people I play with.
 
This hasn't come up from simple admiration of his forehand or trying to copy a pro forehand just to look cool or whatever. I have been thinking, watching and studying this shot for months now. I love it and I truely believe this is the ultimate forehand, a perfect throwing motion of the racket at the ball, nice and loose also explosive. In the end every one uses SW or W grip, poly strings, similar rackets etc but no one can hit like him.
Anyway, you may think it's not even remotely similar. I know, it doesn't look very similar, as yet! But the feel and the impact it gives to the ball is similar. I can spot the similarities and the differences. But I want to see first what you think. This is work in progress and I'm definitely determined to get the hang of it fully. The shirt was just a coincidence!

Notice how that Rafa style works so much better on the dropping ball? Imo that is part of why he plays so deep. I thought you did a nice job with it btw.
 
Anyway here is some more footage from yesterday for you to see more differences between my fh and Rafa's!


A couple of observations from my perspective.

There are a few differences between what you are trying to emulate, and what you are doing.

1) initial position of the racquet: you are exaggerating it too much: in the slow motion in several places it is so extreme that the face of the racquet is turned up to 60% towards the sky. You are literally almost putting the racquet on your shoulder. Too deep to produce subsequent smooth motion afterwards. Watch how Nadal's racquet head mostly faces the back fence before it starts dropping. You cannot do that , because taking it too far inside your shoulder you then need to "get it out of there" so to speak. That is breaking the initial rhythm of your stroke.

2) from 1), since you need to correct the initial position of the racquet, you start actively using your arm in order to start moving the racquet around, which causes you to try to guide the racquet too much. Basically you move it to its low position: there is almost no "drop" due to gravity, which again interrupts the flow to the next phase of the stroke, and also robs you of some acceleration of the racquet head. Your arm and wrist are not relaxed (if they were you couldn't get the racquet out of that initial "wrong" position) and you "forget" to relax them once you get the racquet in a good position to drop by itself

3) once the racquet is in that low position, and because you don't have enough shoulder turn, you try to get some more take back by, again, forcefully moving the racquet backwards, which effectively loses you all the energy that you managed to store in the racquet up to that point. That is why you are exaggerating your take back: to get enough power on the stroke. The problems here are two: your hand is too involved in controlling where the racquet is going, which stiffens the arm, and at the same time your forearm doesn't have the natural extension caused by the shoulder turn forward. Basically your shoulder is leading while you are trying to extend your arm further back (or at best your arm and shoulder are completely locked in one position while the shoulder is moving forward) which prevents you from having an uninterrupted stoke with good storing and transfer of the racquet head speed. You are arming the ball instead of throwing the racquet into it, so to speak. This must be tiring after a while, or you have unnaturally strong arm and shoulder to be able to do that for a long time.

4) obviously, you are also not hitting with as straight arm as Nadal, which maybe due to flexibility issues, not being able to hit with stiff arm so much stretched etc.

My conclusion is that you have a mental image of Rafa doing that fancy take back, and since you want to imitate him you are overdoing it from the very beginning which ruins your whole stroke.

A good thing would be to understand that your stroke should be compact, and not a stroke that tries to write the notes of a Bach Sonata in the air while you are swinging at the ball. Take a moderate take back focusing on a NON EXAGGERATED initial position of the racquet head, and enough shoulder turn, that allows you to drop the racquet naturally. Imagine that you need to turn your shoulder as much so that it allows your arm to be almost an extension to your body on the side, and then drop the racquet. Once the racquet head is down your shoulder should be starting to lead the relaxed arm forward and unwind the stored power from there. Keep your shoulder, arm and wrist loose. The racquet head will lag behind your wrist all by itself.

I know that you know most/all of this, but there is a difference between knowing it, and doing it.

For example, you use your left hand to pull the racket on the side and high, because you know that doing that allows you to then "drop" the racquet head, creating acceleration. That is the reason behind that action, but you are putting the racquet face too tilted upwards and too deep near your clavicula to accomplish it, and instead are creating the opposite effect, as you are forced to correct it forcefully.

I hope this helps, and sorry if someone already explained that better and in fewer words than me.

:cool:
 
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A couple of observations from my perspective.

There are a few differences between what you are trying to emulate, and what you are doing.

1) initial position of the racquet: you are exaggerating it too much: in the slow motion at some places it is so extreme that the face of the racquet is turned up to 60% towards the sky. You are literally almost putting the racquet on your shoulder too deep to produce subsequent smooth motion afterwards. Watch how Nadal's racquet mostly faces the back fence, before starting dropping. You cannot do that , because taking it too far inside your shoulder you then need to "get it out of there" so to speak. That is breaking the initial rhythm of your stroke.

2) from 1), since you need to correct the initial position of the racquet, you start actively using your arm to start moving the racquet around, which causes you to try to guide the racquet too much. Basically you move it to its low position: there is almost no "drop" due to gravity, which again interrupts the flow to the next phase of the stroke, and also robs you of some acceleration of the racquet head. Your arm and wrist are not relaxed (if they were you couldn't get the racquet out of that initial "wrong" position) and you "forget" to relax them once you get the racquet in a good position to drop by itself

3) once the racquet is in that low position, and because you don't have enough shoulder turn, you try to get some more take back by, again, forcefully moving the racquet backwards, which effectively loses you all the energy that you managed to store in the racquet up to that point. That is why you are exaggerating your take back, in order to get enough power on the stroke. The problems here are two: your hand is too much involved in controlling where the racquet is going, which stiffens the arm, and at the same time your forearm doesn't have the natural extension caused by the shoulder turn forward. Basically your shoulder is leading while you are trying to extend your arm further back (or at best your arm and shoulder are completely locked is in one position while the shoulder is moving forward) which prevents you from having an uninterrupted stoke with good storing and transfer of racquet head speed. You are arming the ball, instead of throwing the racquet into it, so to speak. This must be tiring after a while, or you have unnaturally strong arm and shoulder to be able to do that for a long time.

4) obviously, you are also not hitting with as straight arm as Nadal, which maybe due to flexibility issues, not being able to hit with stiff arm so much stretched etc.

My conclusion is that you have a mental image of Rafa taking this fancy take back, and since you want to imitate him, you are overdoing it from the very beginning which ruins your whole stroke.

A good thing would be to understand that your stroke should be compact, and not a stroke that tries to write the notes of a Bach Sonata in the air while you are swinging at the ball. Take a moderate take back focusing on a NON EXAGGERATED initial position of the racquet head, and enough shoulder turn, that allows you to drop the racquet naturally. Imagine that you need to turn your shoulder as much so that it allows your arm to be almost an extension to your body on the side, and then drop the racquet. Once the racquet head is down your shoulder should be starting to lead the relaxed arm forward and unwind the stored power from there. Keep your shoulder, arm and wrist loose. The racquet head will lag behind your wrist by itself.

I know that you know most/all of this, but there is a difference between knowing it, and doing it.

For example, you use your left hand to pull the racket on the side and high, because you know that doing that allows you to then "drop" the racquet head, creating acceleration. That is the reason behind that action, but you are putting the racquet face too tilted upwards and too deep near your clavicula to accomplish it, and instead are creating the opposite effect, as you are forced to correct it forcefully.

I hope this helps, and sorry if someone already explained that better and in fewer words than me.

:cool:
I applaud this post and agree with everything you say. The good thing is I spotted all of these when I watched the video especially the exaggerated take back, then the lack of lag etc. Also great observation about the extra take back I’m doing to gain more power/momentum. But don’t worry I will fix all of these. Actually already started doing so in the last 2 days. Next video will be interesting. Thanks for the great feedback.
 
@Tennis_Hands
Do you think the racket drops only by gravity or it’s enhanced by his right hand’s pulling towards his body and releasing it later? I always thought this was an important part of his motion hence my exaggeration.
 
@Tennis_Hands
Do you think the racket drops only by gravity or it’s enhanced by his right hand’s pulling towards his body and releasing it later? I always thought this was an important part of his motion hence my exaggeration.
It is difficult to say, but I would say "no" to his right hand doing much apart from helping him put the racket in its correct initial position and a slight guidance ( which basically is just an extension to what is happening the whole time while the right hand is on the racquet) in order to ensure that there is one smooth motion, rather than giving the racquet even more acceleration as too much acceleration might pose a problem with controlling the racquet once its head drops.

These guys are good enough to forcefully go through parts of the stroke, if for example they are rushed, but in general I would consider that sub-optimal.

:cool:

P.S. I was talking about Nadal in the above.
 
There used to be a guy who posted over-edited videos on Youtube who was obviously a huge Federer fan and emulated all his strokes after Fed's. Of course they looked nothing like Fed's strokes beyond the most superficial similarities. The whole thing was very cringeworthy

That's the first thing that comes to my mind when I see someone attempting to "emulate" any given pro's strokes. Why would you even want to do that?
Didn't he even have his hair styled like Fed, wore a full set of RF gear, emulated his pre-serve and return racquet twirling rituals, and even imitated his gait?

I remember that video posted here once before but could never find it since.
Not quite, he's a little too flashy almost like he's trying too hard.
that's because he is. It's a superficial copy of the way fed moves around during warmups. He could nonetheless still be good in match play or with someone on the other side of course.
 
He seems to have that 'exaggerated' wrist action in his current take back motion which is clearly different from a few years ago. I don't know exactly when he made the switch but you don't see that in his 2011-2015 videos.

 
I got it now. He changed it in 2016. He stopped pointing the racket towards the net during the take back and started taking straight up and close to his head, making it more compact with a smaller loop.
Interesting thing is he used to have the current style back in 2010. See in the videos.


 
He seems to have that 'exaggerated' wrist action in his current take back motion which is clearly different from a few years ago. I don't know exactly when he made the switch but you don't see that in his 2011-2015 videos.

So the first two Rafa vids show him hitting of his front foot mostly, it looks open but its not. He brings his back foot around due to the momentum and core rotation. He wraps his left arm around his whole body- his left hand against his right tricept.
 
The line between feet parallel to the baseline is open, like 45 degrees in semi open, 90 degrees in neutral, past 90 is closed. Is this correct?
 
Looks like correct. He mostly uses semi open.

This pic doesn't show weight transfer. My point was your using open and weight is on outside right foot. Rafa using semi open with weight on front foot at contact- "alot of the time", not so much in last clay court practice session.
 
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