Forearm advice, please - I hit a lot of net shots.

If you have time, I'd love some feedback and tips on my forearm.

I hit a lot of net shots, a couple of out not too many in my video below.

I'm still a beginner but trying to improve with weekly coaching.

I don't think I move my hips enough, my footwork or my backswing.

All comments are really welcome.

A video from last night, sorry about the lighting and also the quality of my GoPro4.


Thanks.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
So what is the exact nature of your forearm issues? Painful? Epicondylosis of a lateral nature (tennis elbow) or a medial nature (golfer's elbow). Or perhaps a fracture of the ulna or radius?
 
So what is the exact nature of your forearm issues? Painful? Epicondylosis of a lateral nature (tennis elbow) or a medial nature (golfer's elbow). Or perhaps a fracture of the ulna or radius?
It's more than I'm hitting into the net, although I did have some issues with some old poly strings. I'm now on syn gut with the Prince Warrior and nowhere near as much pain.
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
For a beginner, your FH is looking pretty good.
Hitting (self) hand fed is not as easy at it seems btw.

my suggs:
  • learn to work with a low center of gravity; wide feet and bent knees. Don’t be static, stay dynamic on the front of your feet.
  • By staying low, you will make it easier to rotate correctly and get the correct distance to the ball. You will also find it easier to control the weight shift forward into the ball.
  • Be aware of spaghetti hands; yes, it’s important not to tighten up, but the whole idea of the unit turn is to turn the upper body in sync with the arm with a certain muscular firmness. You need the hand, the arm, the shoulder, the upper body, the hips, the feet all Connected at the moment you start the forward phase. Just think how you would properly throw a medecine ball sideways (loose arms kill the connection to the big muscle groups)

 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
If you have time, I'd love some feedback and tips on my forearm.

I hit a lot of net shots, a couple of out not too many in my video below.

I'm still a beginner but trying to improve with weekly coaching.

I don't think I move my hips enough, my footwork or my backswing.

All comments are really welcome.

A video from last night, sorry about the lighting and also the quality of my GoPro4.


Thanks.
You have a straight elbow forehand. Federer is a good model. His grip is more Eastern Forehand. Nadal has a straight elbow too. I don't know the grip.

Djokovic has a bent elbow forehand and a Semi-Western Grip (maybe Western?). I'd say the majority of ATP forehands are this bent elbow technique but I have not done statistics to know.

Compare your forehand to ATP players, one above the other and single frame.

To select video place cursor on Vimeo video and click. To single frame on Vimeo, hold down the SHIFT KEY and use the ARROW KEYS.

To single frame on Youtube, use the period & comma keys. Always select the video using the alt key + left mouse click, otherwise the video starts playing. For best accuracy, use very similar camera angles. Go to impacts and move back and forth single frame comparing most similar racket and arm positions. You can go full screen and come back down and the video stays on the same frame. Make a note of all differences and record the video times of each video to identify the strokes.


Throw the ball up to self feed and then you can choose the timing. You drop it from low now, maybe it rushes you. ?

High level players use their off arm for a purpose. They speed it up when it is high and out and then pull it in. This off arm motion precedes the uppermost body forward turn. This pull in of the upper arm is done for the same purpose that the ice skater pulls in their upper arms and leg to spin up, momentum speeds up the spin. With your self feed you don't have the high level use of your off arm. See Federer's off arm use. (look for more forceful Federer forehands) I've posted on the off arm with videos of ice skaters and other illustrations and a demo.

Federer's lower body pelvis or hip turn is timed and positioned while yours has a 90 degrees hip turn. Watch both of those techniques and others for straight elbow forehands. Or, consider the issue of straight elbow or bent elbow forehands.

Search: forehand separation Chas

Separation is the independent movement of the line between the two shoulder and the line between the two hips. These move independently in high level strokes. This allows the stretch shorten cycle to be used on the trunk and spine muscles. Watch Federer's abdomen and spine move as he does separation. Separation angle is how the two lines would look if viewed from above. Comments and references in my past posts. You should find forceful shots in practices and matches as they represent their best techniques.

Video full of good information on the circular forehand and linear step forward forehand. Straight elbow forehand.
 
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matterer

New User
Looks like you're brushing up from below the ball for topspin. Don't do that because it's just a bad habit you're eventually going to have to break. Topspin should help consistency and control, but generating topspin by swinging too vertically hurts more than it helps because it's too hard to time and creates too much lift. You're just gonna be hitting slow balls long, and making thin contact and hitting balls that can't clear the net. You should always be making solid contact and hitting through the ball. Your swing should be more horizontal than vertical. Forward momentum should come from rotating your body/shoulders, and your arm should be passive. Minimize the amount the sweet spot on your racket drops below the contact point because it isn't necessary and just makes hitting the sweet spot harder. Your racket only needs to be moving upwards at contact, so delay the upwards motion as long as you can before contact. Focus on aligning the racket with the ball as you're swinging into it. Then swing up by raising your arm (should come from your back muscles). This will create more topspin than brushing because more force is going into the ball. The same thing that creates topspin (the main strings going up at contact) will create a slight lift in the ball that's very reliable and will almost always clear the net by at least a foot. Hit harder for more net clearance, depth and topspin. You can hit more vertically from under the ball in certain situations, but even when pros have to hit from under the ball more, they will slow their swing down because it's harder to time.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
It's more than I'm hitting into the net, although I did have some issues with some old poly strings. I'm now on syn gut with the Prince Warrior and nowhere near as much pain.
My apologies. It was actually a sad attempt at humor on my part. It was in reference to your use of the word "forearm" rather than "forehand".

All kidding aside, it looks like you've gotten quite a bit of feedback from several people but they have all overlooked the #1 reason you are hitting the ball into the net...

Your head is turning while you are swinging at the ball. This will significantly impact your ability to hit the ball cleanly and consistently. Head movement, late in your forward swing prior to contact, will throw off that swing a bit.

Try to fix your gaze on your expected contact point or at a point, in space, a foot or two (20cm to 60cm) in front of that contact point. If you are watching an incoming ball, the head & eyes I should stop moving for the last 1/3 to 1/2 of your forward swing. Keep the head still until AFTER you hear the ball hit the strings.

Do not be tempted to look up too early to watch the outgoing ball. There is no reason that you should be tracking the outgoing ball until it is well past your own service line -- somewhere between the service line and the net is where you should be watching the ball and your opponent.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
It's more than I'm hitting into the net...
Your premature head movement might already be an ingrained habit that I could take some time to overcome. My suggestion is to perform hundreds, even a thousands, of a shadow swings (no ball) where you practice keeping your head still for a majority of your forward swing. Do not lift your head & eyes until after you have seen your a racket head flash thru your imaginary contact point.

Start off by facing the net (or an imagined net) as if you are watching an opponent hit the ball. You might incorporate a split step -- but this might be something to add later. Execute a proper unit turn still watching and imaginary incoming ball. You would still be watching the ball as you drop the racket from that position and start your forward swing. However, after your forward swing has started fix your gaze on an imaginary contact point or at a point forward of that CP as I suggested in my previous response). In addition to these shadow swings, the following drill should help to promote a new habit where you are not moving your head and eyes prematurely

HITTING DRILL:

Position yourself about 3-5 meters (10-16 ft) from a fence (or hitting wall). With an easy self-feed, let the ball bounce & then drive a ball into the fence or wall with a Fh or Bh stroke. Intially, watch your self-feed long enough to determine your CP. Then, focus your eyes on your expected contact point (or slightly forward of that CP).

Now, do not move your head or shift your gaze, until you hear the ball hit the fence (or wall). If you see the ball hitting the fence at this short distance, you are moving your head too early (or looking up too early).
 

Curtennis

Semi-Pro
I’ll recommend two very simple things.
1. Slight bend of the knee as the racquet is traveling down towards contact. Straightening those knees back out at contact, giving everything upward motion. This will get the ball higher and impart more topspin keeping it in.
Just do this and you’ll be so much more consistent. Watch your video again (at least the first 20 seconds that I did). Your knees never once changed elevation. No shame man. Keep up the good work and get your lower body involved. Once you start hitting more long, come back we’ll talk again :)

2. Make your left hand do something other than get in the way. It’s clearly impeding your racquet follow through / rotation. It’s hard the way your feeding your own ball, but use your off hand to basically point straight ahead of you where you want the ball to go. Upon contact and follow through catch your swinging racquet hand in that offhand you were just pointing with. Use the momentum and power you feel from punching your own hand to further turn your body on the follow through.
 
For a beginner, your FH is looking pretty good.
Hitting (self) hand fed is not as easy at it seems btw.

my suggs:
  • learn to work with a low center of gravity; wide feet and bent knees. Don’t be static, stay dynamic on the front of your feet.
  • By staying low, you will make it easier to rotate correctly and get the correct distance to the ball. You will also find it easier to control the weight shift forward into the ball.
  • Be aware of spaghetti hands; yes, it’s important not to tighten up, but the whole idea of the unit turn is to turn the upper body in sync with the arm with a certain muscular firmness. You need the hand, the arm, the shoulder, the upper body, the hips, the feet all Connected at the moment you start the forward phase. Just think how you would properly throw a medecine ball sideways (loose arms kill the connection to the big muscle groups)
Thank you, you're the first but not the last person to mention lower center of gravity and knee bending, I'll work on it.

I do seem to have a problem with my left hand, especially if I'm hand feeding, I think when I'm returning it's not in the way as much.

Appreciate the tips, thanks, mate.
 
You have a straight elbow forehand. Federer is a good model. His grip is more Eastern Forehand. Nadal has a straight elbow too. I don't know the grip.

Djokovic has a bent elbow forehand and a Semi-Western Grip (maybe Western?). I'd say the majority of ATP forehands are this bent elbow technique but I have not done statistics to know.

Compare your forehand to ATP players, one above the other and single frame.

To select video place cursor on Vimeo video and click. To single frame on Vimeo, hold down the SHIFT KEY and use the ARROW KEYS.

To single frame on Youtube, use the period & comma keys. Always select the video using the alt key + left mouse click, otherwise the video starts playing. For best accuracy, use very similar camera angles. Go to impacts and move back and forth single frame comparing most similar racket and arm positions. You can go full screen and come back down and the video stays on the same frame. Make a note of all differences and record the video times of each video to identify the strokes.


Throw the ball up to self feed and then you can choose the timing. You drop it from low now, maybe it rushes you. ?

High level players use their off arm for a purpose. They speed it up when it is high and out and then pull it in. This off arm motion precedes the uppermost body forward turn. This pull in of the upper arm is done for the same purpose that the ice skater pulls in their upper arms and leg to spin up, momentum speeds up the spin. With your self feed you don't have the high level use of your off arm. See Federer's off arm use. (look for more forceful Federer forehands) I've posted on the off arm with videos of ice skaters and other illustrations and a demo.

Federer's lower body pelvis or hip turn is timed and positioned while yours has a 90 degrees hip turn. Watch both of those techniques and others for straight elbow forehands. Or, consider the issue of straight elbow or bent elbow forehands.

Search: forehand separation Chas

Separation is the independent movement of the line between the two shoulder and the line between the two hips. These move independently in high level strokes. This allows the stretch shorten cycle to be used on the trunk and spine muscles. Watch Federer's abdomen and spine move as he does separation. Separation angle is how the two lines would look if viewed from above. Comments and references in my past posts. You should find forceful shots in practices and matches as they represent their best techniques.

Video full of good information on the circular forehand and linear step forward forehand. Straight elbow forehand.
Very technical, but something to work towards, thank you very much.
 
Looks like you're brushing up from below the ball for topspin. Don't do that because it's just a bad habit you're eventually going to have to break. Topspin should help consistency and control, but generating topspin by swinging too vertically hurts more than it helps because it's too hard to time and creates too much lift. You're just gonna be hitting slow balls long, and making thin contact and hitting balls that can't clear the net. You should always be making solid contact and hitting through the ball. Your swing should be more horizontal than vertical. Forward momentum should come from rotating your body/shoulders, and your arm should be passive. Minimize the amount the sweet spot on your racket drops below the contact point because it isn't necessary and just makes hitting the sweet spot harder. Your racket only needs to be moving upwards at contact, so delay the upwards motion as long as you can before contact. Focus on aligning the racket with the ball as you're swinging into it. Then swing up by raising your arm (should come from your back muscles). This will create more topspin than brushing because more force is going into the ball. The same thing that creates topspin (the main strings going up at contact) will create a slight lift in the ball that's very reliable and will almost always clear the net by at least a foot. Hit harder for more net clearance, depth and topspin. You can hit more vertically from under the ball in certain situations, but even when pros have to hit from under the ball more, they will slow their swing down because it's harder to time.
I agree, I think this describes my two (three) shots perfectly, some are weak hit the net over them, others go long, a few drop nicely. I have my lesson tomorrow, so I'm going to ask my trainer to work closer on the horizontal element of the swing. I think sometimes I'm worried that when I hit flat they're too hard and go long.

Thank you.
 
Your premature head movement might already be an ingrained habit that I could take some time to overcome. My suggestion is to perform hundreds, even a thousands, of a shadow swings (no ball) where you practice keeping your head still for a majority of your forward swing. Do not lift your head & eyes until after you have seen your a racket head flash thru your imaginary contact point.

Start off by facing the net (or an imagined net) as if you are watching an opponent hit the ball. You might incorporate a split step -- but this might be something to add later. Execute a proper unit turn still watching and imaginary incoming ball. You would still be watching the ball as you drop the racket from that position and start your forward swing. However, after your forward swing has started fix your gaze on an imaginary contact point or at a point forward of that CP as I suggested in my previous response). In addition to these shadow swings, the following drill should help to promote a new habit where you are not moving your head and eyes prematurely

HITTING DRILL:

Position yourself about 3-5 meters (10-16 ft) from a fence (or hitting wall). With an easy self-feed, let the ball bounce & then drive a ball into the fence or wall with a Fh or Bh stroke. Intially, watch your self-feed long enough to determine your CP. Then, focus your eyes on your expected contact point (or slightly forward of that CP).

Now, do not move your head or shift your gaze, until you hear the ball hit the fence (or wall). If you see the ball hitting the fence at this short distance, you are moving your head too early (or looking up too early).
I liked and understood your joke after I realised my failure to use the correct word, haha.

Thanks for the drills and info. I have noticed that pros don't move their head, but I hadn't really thought about where my eyes are. I suppose I'm too amateur and concerned about the ball going over the net.

I love swinging my raquet around so I'll practice shadow swinging.

Thank you.
 
I'll recommend two very simple things.
1. Slight bend of the knee as the racquet is traveling down towards contact. Straightening those knees back out at contact, giving everything upward motion. This will get the ball higher and impart more topspin keeping it in.
Just do this and you'll be so much more consistent. Watch your video again (at least the first 20 seconds that I did). Your knees never once changed elevation. No shame man. Keep up the good work and get your lower body involved. Once you start hitting more long, come back we'll talk again :)

2. Make your left hand do something other than get in the way. It's clearly impeding your racquet follow through / rotation. It's hard the way your feeding your own ball, but use your off hand to basically point straight ahead of you where you want the ball to go. Upon contact and follow through catch your swinging racquet hand in that offhand you were just pointing with. Use the momentum and power you feel from punching your own hand to further turn your body on the follow through.
You're the second person to say about my knees, so that's something I'll work at. I think I need to try and swing vertically more, too.

I honestly don't really know what to do with that left hand, apart from catching the raquet in the finish. Your comment and one above are very helpful, thank you.

I'll keep you in mind and I'll be in touch, give me a few months :D
 

ballmachineguy

Professional
Your arm/hand is pulling your shoulder into the shot instead of your shoulder pulling the arm/hand. Shadow swing in slow motion at home and see if your chest is parallel to an imaginary baseline at contact (it should be close) or, I am guessing, you will be seeing that you short of that. If you see that your chest and arm make a deep V, that is a problem. You want to minimize that V as much as is reasonably possible.
Freeze one of this guy’s forehands at contact to see what I mean.
 
Your arm/hand is pulling your shoulder into the shot instead of your shoulder pulling the arm/hand. Shadow swing in slow motion at home and see if your chest is parallel to an imaginary baseline at contact (it should be close) or, I am guessing, you will be seeing that you short of that. If you see that your chest and arm make a deep V, that is a problem. You want to minimize that V as much as is reasonably possible.
Freeze one of this guy’s forehands at contact to see what I mean.
Yes, I totally see what you mean, lead with the shoulder into the unit turn, rather than the other way around?

Thank you, mate.
 

Slicerman

Semi-Pro
Your forehand looks good and sound.

I can tell that there's more 'brush' compared to 'thrust' of the ball because you're hitting the ball fairly low over the net but at the same time landing a bit shallow.

I think if you had more forward momentum it would resolve most of these issues. A drop feed doesn't provide any horizontal energy to the ball.

I would suggest you try dropping the ball farther away from you, which will allow you add forward momentum as you move into the ball. This will add a bit more 'thrust' element into the shot.

Also at the same time it will engage your legs and footwork more.
 
Your forehand looks good and sound.

I can tell that there's more 'brush' compared to 'thrust' of the ball because you're hitting the ball fairly low over the net but at the same time landing a bit shallow.

I think if you had more forward momentum it would resolve most of these issues. A drop feed doesn't provide any horizontal energy to the ball.

I would suggest you try dropping the ball farther away from you, which will allow you add forward momentum as you move into the ball. This will add a bit more 'thrust' element into the shot.

Also at the same time it will engage your legs and footwork more.
Yes, this compliments what others have said. I think when I drop feed it's emphasised because of the lack of forward momentum. I'll try with dropping the ball a bit farther away as you suggest.

Thanks for the pointers. :)
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I liked and understood your joke after I realised my failure to use the correct word, haha.

Thanks for the drills and info. I have noticed that pros don't move their head, but I hadn't really thought about where my eyes are. I suppose I'm too amateur and concerned about the ball going over the net.

I love swinging my raquet around so I'll practice shadow swinging.
It is important to realize the effect that head movement will have on your stroke consistency. It is much more than tracking the ball better (or attempting to see the contact).

Quite often when you start your forward swing, you will have a very good idea of where the contact point will be and how you should swing on it. But head movement during contact & just prior to contact will often sabotage that calculated swing path. That is, he act of moving the head can also slightly move the shoulder, arm & hand -- often, not much but, enough to alter the optimal swing path

It can be a tough habit to break because keep the head still and eyes "quiet" flies against our ingrained survival instincts... When our peripheral vision detects movement (which it excells at), our instinct is to turn to investigate that motion with our central (foveal) vision. So, we need to suppress this ingrained urge. Not an easy task to do for many.
 
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mrmarble

Rookie
Racquet face too closed on take back
You don’t need that. Forget about professional players that have that
No wonder you hit the net a lot
 

Fintft

Legend
For a beginner, your FH is looking pretty good.
Hitting (self) hand fed is not as easy at it seems btw.

my suggs:
  • learn to work with a low center of gravity; wide feet and bent knees. Don’t be static, stay dynamic on the front of your feet.
  • By staying low, you will make it easier to rotate correctly and get the correct distance to the ball. You will also find it easier to control the weight shift forward into the ball.
  • Be aware of spaghetti hands; yes, it’s important not to tighten up, but the whole idea of the unit turn is to turn the upper body in sync with the arm with a certain muscular firmness. You need the hand, the arm, the shoulder, the upper body, the hips, the feet all Connected at the moment you start the forward phase. Just think how you would properly throw a medecine ball sideways (loose arms kill the connection to the big muscle groups)
And step into the court on the follow thru...
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
All great tips above. Not sure if this has been mentioned but Forehand 2 and 3 - too close for comfort.

Try and maintain good distance - hitting the ball too close to you impacts your swing path, your timing and rhythm - all factors for the ones that you hit into the net
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Would be curious to see some middle rally hitting against a live person. Would be better to see your footwork and set up, as well as what your natural swing looks like. Also what consistency you have when moving.

Just from the drop feed shots the only thing I see might be a late drop. Looks like you do more scoop coming up on the ball missing some of the forward momentum and giving too much spin without depth. That might just be contact point too.
 
Would be curious to see some middle rally hitting against a live person. Would be better to see your footwork and set up, as well as what your natural swing looks like. Also what consistency you have when moving.

Just from the drop feed shots the only thing I see might be a late drop. Looks like you do more scoop coming up on the ball missing some of the forward momentum and giving too much spin without depth. That might just be contact point too.
I agree, I'll try and get some footage. I have a bit but there aren't many consecutive shots.

Thank you.
 

PJ78

New User
This a bit of pass the buck suggestion but have you gotten some formal coaching or lessons to help ? I’m only asking because I had a similar problem and worked with a local coach for several sessions and that helped a lot with a few subtle but important things to help achieve more consistency (ie hitting a bit more further out , the tempo of the swing, and the stance you would be thinking about depending on your positioning and type of shot your are going for). For example when you hit down the line it seems a bit more consistent than cross court but it’s quite hard to hit cross court in your current stance because it is a closed stance for a cross court shot.
 

mclee025

Rookie
It looks pretty good to me so you have an excellent basis to build on. To improve, I'd suggest keeping your head down and through the ball contact instead of jerking it up to see where the ball is going. Also, think of tennis as a lifting game where you have to lift the ball over the net. If I'm hitting the ball into the net like you are, for me it helps think of trying to hit the ball slightly below the "equator" so that you can get under the ball to apply the lift you need to clear the net.
 
This a bit of pass the buck suggestion but have you gotten some formal coaching or lessons to help ? I’m only asking because I had a similar problem and worked with a local coach for several sessions and that helped a lot with a few subtle but important things to help achieve more consistency (ie hitting a bit more further out , the tempo of the swing, and the stance you would be thinking about depending on your positioning and type of shot your are going for). For example when you hit down the line it seems a bit more consistent than cross court but it’s quite hard to hit cross court in your current stance because it is a closed stance for a cross court shot.
Thanks, I do have a coach, but at the moment he's not really focusing on specific areas, rather fundamentals of every shot. I did stress last week to him that I feel like I'm brushing more than hitting horizontally. I'll try again with him at the weekend at my next lesson. I worked last weekend on using my left arm to push my racquet and shoulder back and use as a guide to distance myself from the ball, too.

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.
 
It looks pretty good to me so you have an excellent basis to build on. To improve, I'd suggest keeping your head down and through the ball contact instead of jerking it up to see where the ball is going. Also, think of tennis as a lifting game where you have to lift the ball over the net. If I'm hitting the ball into the net like you are, for me it helps think of trying to hit the ball slightly below the "equator" so that you can get under the ball to apply the lift you need to clear the net.
Eyes on the ball and watching, advice from several people on here and also my coach. Something I'm finding difficult to change but I'm trying. Agree on the racquet angle and equate comments, thank you.

I'll get some better footage hopefully against a real person rather than self-feeding, I seem to struggle a bit with distance from the ball when self-feeding.

Thank you.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
......................................... If I'm hitting the ball into the net like you are, for me it helps think of trying to hit the ball slightly below the "equator" so that you can get under the ball to apply the lift you need to clear the net.

Closed Racket Face. The ATP pros first contact the ball with the racket head closed. See yellow line before the green line. The first contact on the ball must be on the top half of the ball. See high speed videos. I don't believe that creditable advice can be found for a forceful forehand drive for contacting the bottom of the ball with an open racket face.

The racket face is tilted closed but the racket head is rising. Look at 10 videos of forehand drives.

 
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