Enough Is Enough: Should I Switch to Open Stance FH?

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Yeah, I was having trouble getting my FH slice/chip to work on the deuce side. I subsequently learned that I was Doing It All Wrong. I was trying to get it deep and crosscourt, which is an issue if the serve is wide. It was going right to the net person. When I changed my target to be no deeper than the serve line, the net player couldn't catch up with it.

But . . . you already knew that, huh?
If the serve is wide on the deuce side, I will sometimes hit into the alley for an outright winner.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
If the serve is wide on the deuce side, I will sometimes hit into the alley for an outright winner.
[/QUOTE


Yeah i don't think I've ever gone CC on a wide serve to deuce. I can hit that alley corner over 50% of the time for an outright winner. Even if I can't get set up for a drive FH i'll still lob it deep to that corner since it allows me to a) reset the point and get back into position and b) if I miss hit it and it's a weak sitter, I'm generally only facing a high backhand volley. Good chance my opponent flubs that.
 

EP1998

Semi-Pro
I had a lesson this morning, and I didn't say anything to the pro about open stance. Instead, I decided to focus hard on hitting off my front foot, swinging toward the target, and giving myself enough space.

There is still much work to be done, but it is already much better. I think the biggest challenge will be giving myself enough room. And crosscourt still feels really weird and awkward. But given that I play doubles and will have to learn a closed stance FH for approaches anyway, I think mastering these things makes more sense than trying to learn open stance.
Don't ignore the reverse forehand suggestion! It is amazing for approach shots and returns. Seriously if you learn it - and you can - you will wish you started using it sooner.
 

ktx

New User
Cindy keep us posted on the FH...I'm curious how it works out for you. I think some of us tend to overanalyze stroke technique when we should really focus more on the footwork patterns that work for us and how to play more fluidly.
 

BenC

Rookie
Using a semi-open stance by default has made a big difference for me - I can push off my back foot as I would in a closed stance but can also swing my hips more through the ball as in an open stance. Moving forward on approaches I usually change to a closed stance, whereas getting pulled wide sometimes means an open stance.

Some days I practice shadow swings and approaches without even a racket or ball to figure out footwork patterns and work up a sweat.

I actually had issues hitting cross court FH from the deuce side - I'd hit them late and either send them down the middle to get poached or flying way long. What actually helps me sometimes is at around 9:15 in this video:

It's under "disguising the shot," but I find that it adjusts my contact point and timing so I'm reliably able to redirect the ball crosscourt. Line up in a closed stance, and when hitting the ball rotate through so that your hips end up facing the direction of the shot.

I can’t use the slice on every situation (I still need something else for low balls from the baseline), but on balls above the waist, I now feel confident using a forehand slice as a go-to option in a rally against good players.
Same, but the cutoff for me is from the shoulders up. My hitting buddy yells "NICULESCU" at me every time I hit the FH slice because he hates 'em.
 

Rosstour

Hall of Fame
3. Do you know if your eye-dominant side is the same as your handedness? For instance if you are left-handed, are you also left-eye dominant? If that’s the case, you might do better with an open stance and it is worth trying. Many players who struggle with the FH are same-side eye dominant and sometimes see the ball better with an open stance.

With many rec players, a common problem with footwork is getting too close to the ball and not having enough space to swing out freely with proper weight transfer. If your coach wants you to stop further away from the ball, that’s definitely something to work on. The other common problem is not bending the front knee enough while hitting the closed/neutral stance to get low with the racquet head starting from below the ball - your chest should be somewhat upright, but your knee should be bent to get low. Many players fall over with their chest and head bending forward while keeping their knee straight and reach for balls. All the best with diagnosing the reasons for your errors.
Wow. Great post. I see myself in it.

My left eye is terrible and I don't wear glasses. And I tend to generally 'rush' everything on the court so I over-run the ball and get too close to it. Thanks for writing this all out.
 

socallefty

Semi-Pro
Wow. Great post. I see myself in it.

My left eye is terrible and I don't wear glasses. And I tend to generally 'rush' everything on the court so I over-run the ball and get too close to it. Thanks for writing this all out.
Glad you found it useful. Most players get too close to the ball because they hit shots without full extension too close to them. If you focus on having an early takeback and then try to hit the ball more in front of you with good weight transfer and full extension, you will start stopping further away from the ball as you will not be able to swing out freely if you are too close. Most players have a cramped swing based on getting too close to the ball and they cannot just change their spacing without changing their swing - I think if they change their swing first to hit the ball earlier in front of them with full extension, the spacing automatically will change for the better over time.

Also, when I talk about dominant eye, it is not the same as having better or worse eyesight in one eye. I would suggest googling "dominant eye" or "ocular dominance" to figure out the simple test to find your dominant eye if you don't know which eye it is already - basically, your brain prefers the visual impact from your dominant eye to make judgments on depth/distance etc. If you watch pro doubles on TV, you’ll see the net player standing sideways many times with one side of their body more in front - this doesn’t correlate to their FH or BH side, but to their dominant eye side. They are coached to have their dominant eye in front to pick up the ball early at the net - many players have a sideways return stance also for the same reason.
 
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Rosstour

Hall of Fame
Glad you found it useful. Most players get too close to the ball because they hit shots without full extension too close to them. If you focus on having an early takeback and then try to hit the ball more in front of you with good weight transfer and full extension, you will start stopping further away from the ball as you will not be able to swing out freely if you are too close. Most players have a cramped swing based on getting too close to the ball and they cannot just change their spacing without changing their swing - I think if they change their swing first to hit the ball earlier in front of them with full extension, the spacing automatically will change for the better over time.

Also, when I talk about dominant eye, it is not the same as having better or worse eyesight in one eye. I would suggest googling "dominant eye" or "ocular dominance" to figure out the simple test to find your dominant eye if you don't know which eye it is already - basically, your brain prefers the visual impact from your dominant eye to make judgments on depth/distance etc.
I know which one it is, always have. It's my right, supporting what you said.

Re the other stuff, I have to almost tell myself to be lazier so I don't overrun the ball. It's a constant battle.
 

socallefty

Semi-Pro
Re the other stuff, I have to almost tell myself to be lazier so I don't overrun the ball. It's a constant battle.
The problem is that if you stop further from the ball but you use the same cramped swing you always used when you stopped closer to the ball, you will mistime the ball as it will be too far from you. You have to consciously train your swing to hit the ball earlier in front of you with more arm extension doing drills or the ball machine and then your feet will follow and stop further from the ball over time. You can’t train this while playing matches.
 

Rosstour

Hall of Fame
The problem is that if you stop further from the ball but you use the same cramped swing you always used when you stopped closer to the ball, you will mistime the ball as it will be too far from you. You have to consciously train your swing to hit the ball earlier in front of you with more arm extension doing drills or the ball machine and then your feet will follow and stop further from the ball over time. You can’t train this while playing matches.
I don't have a cramped swing though. Thinking about this a little deeper, it's an issue with shot tolerance...and with the other thing we are discussing: seeing the ball.

This over-running of the ball happens "all the time" only because I play the same guy 95% of the time. He's 29, a 6'3" beast, probably a 5.5, can punish small mistakes from both wings.

On the rare occasion I play someone else, it's my Dad, who's a 3.0-3.5 right now and whose only weapons are first serve and FH. When I play against him there are no issues, I can move around and hit the ball in what feels like slow-mo. Against the faster, stronger guy, the stress level is so much higher and I'm always 'scrambling'. Mentally, visually, and so physically.
 

HelenCH

New User
There is a little clock in my head that tells me exactly when to hit once I lock the ball and it all works well most of the time, but sometimes the clock is a little off and then things start to fall apart a little. Luckily it doesn't happen during actual matches. I tried to find some way around to compensate, but in reality nothing has consistently worked, the problem tends to resolve on it's own after 10-15 minutes. It happens when I hit with a coach and if I hit in the same way 3-4 times in a row, we switch to backhand that for whatever reason doesn't have any timing-related issues, or just play a few points.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Cindy keep us posted on the FH...I'm curious how it works out for you. I think some of us tend to overanalyze stroke technique when we should really focus more on the footwork patterns that work for us and how to play more fluidly.
Will do.

This is going to be interesting. All four of my USTA teams disbanded because Covid.

That frees up budget for weekly private lessons. I plan to devote these lessons from now until March on FH. I will also play social marches 2-3 times a month, but I will only work on other things in lesson if something else goes sideways. And I will not crash the net but will park on the baseline and try to hit proper FHs.

I hope this works.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Will do.

This is going to be interesting. All four of my USTA teams disbanded because Covid.

That frees up budget for weekly private lessons. I plan to devote these lessons from now until March on FH. I will also play social marches 2-3 times a month, but I will only work on other things in lesson if something else goes sideways. And I will not crash the net but will park on the baseline and try to hit proper FHs.

I hope this works.
All teams disbanded?? Wow. Locally our Fall leagues start this week. More teams at both the 3.5 and 4.0 levels and each team is bigger than I have seen in the past couple years.

Having a pause from league play is a great time to really work on a particular skill or two. I definitely took advantage of March - June and ended up with a few skill upgrades. It is hard to do it with matches-that-count in between.

Enjoy the process!
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
All teams disbanded?? Wow. Locally our Fall leagues start this week. More teams at both the 3.5 and 4.0 levels and each team is bigger than I have seen in the past couple years.

Having a pause from league play is a great time to really work on a particular skill or two. I definitely took advantage of March - June and ended up with a few skill upgrades. It is hard to do it with matches-that-count in between.

Enjoy the process!
Regarding teams disbanding . . . it looks like captains polled their players about whether they were willing to play (1) indoors, and (2) wearing masks. Only our 7.5 ladies combo team had enough people agree to play to field a team. Alas, no other 7.5 ladies combo team registered, even though there are normally maybe six teams in the flight. So that means no league tennis for me for the remainder of 2020. There are some outdoor leagues in other counties, but that doesn't work for me because of the distance.

As I said, I still have seasonal time, a mixed group on Saturdays and a ladies group on Sundays. I played indoor doubles for the first time since the lockdown on Saturdays -- wearing a cotton mask. The others on our court also wore their masks.

It was . . . survivable but unpleasant. On long points, it was definitely hard to recover afterward. And there were lots of times I had to pull the mask away and gulp some air, or leave it affixed such that there wasn't much filtration happening, with all the air coming in through the sides.

Trouble is, the facility was not enforcing the mask rule (which is a state or county requirement, not a facility rule). So on the court next to us on both sides were foursomes not wearing masks at all or wearing them under the chin.

I don't consider myself especially conservative or cautious or militant per Covid. I just follow the rules, avoid high-risk indoor encounters, and live my life. But if I'm wearing a mask, I'm protecting others, protecting myself, and following the law or ordinance or whatever it is. But these other people were not willing to inconvenience themselves and protect me. It was annoying enough to wear a mask I would prefer not to wear, but to be near others who were blowing off the rules . . . it was kind of mentally unpleasant.

I'm not sure what to do about this.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Regarding teams disbanding . . . it looks like captains polled their players about whether they were willing to play (1) indoors, and (2) wearing masks. Only our 7.5 ladies combo team had enough people agree to play to field a team. Alas, no other 7.5 ladies combo team registered, even though there are normally maybe six teams in the flight. So that means no league tennis for me for the remainder of 2020. There are some outdoor leagues in other counties, but that doesn't work for me because of the distance.

As I said, I still have seasonal time, a mixed group on Saturdays and a ladies group on Sundays. I played indoor doubles for the first time since the lockdown on Saturdays -- wearing a cotton mask. The others on our court also wore their masks.

It was . . . survivable but unpleasant. On long points, it was definitely hard to recover afterward. And there were lots of times I had to pull the mask away and gulp some air, or leave it affixed such that there wasn't much filtration happening, with all the air coming in through the sides.

Trouble is, the facility was not enforcing the mask rule (which is a state or county requirement, not a facility rule). So on the court next to us on both sides were foursomes not wearing masks at all or wearing them under the chin.

I don't consider myself especially conservative or cautious or militant per Covid. I just follow the rules, avoid high-risk indoor encounters, and live my life. But if I'm wearing a mask, I'm protecting others, protecting myself, and following the law or ordinance or whatever it is. But these other people were not willing to inconvenience themselves and protect me. It was annoying enough to wear a mask I would prefer not to wear, but to be near others who were blowing off the rules . . . it was kind of mentally unpleasant.

I'm not sure what to do about this.
The rules here in Phase 2 are that masks need to be worn at all times in the Indoor facility, except when playing tennis. You need to put your mask back on when walking out behind the curtains.

8.0 mixed season in full swing. But some teams are using outdoor courts as home - normally all usta leagues are indoor.
 

HelenCH

New User
You must hate Daylight Savings.
Lol. Well, this is the closest analogy I could find. I have no idea why it's happening, probably there is number of reasons, but if have 3 mishits in a row, to me it means that the clock needs resetting, and it it resets during point play. By now I know hat persisting with trying to hit a FH once it happens is a waste of time I pay for, this time is better spent doing something else. Maybe with a coach I am focusing too much on the actual move, on what my feet are doing, and my focus on the ball is probably not as strong, I just wait for balls to arrive so eventually my focus slips. In active play I am actually tracking it and moving according to its trajectory.
 
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