Forehand and leg drive

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
I've seen Tomaz from feel tennis say this,
that you should "push up" with your legs, on your topspin groundstrokes, when the ball rises up from the bounce.
Is this a good idea? I get that it could generate some topspin. It seems to work well on my 1hbh. The forehand i'm not so sure about.
I also once saw someone say the flaw in Wawrinka's forehand is that he pushes up when he hits his forehand.


Any ideas / comments on this?
 

FiReFTW

Legend
No, it depends.

Just watch how good tennis players hit, it varies alot.

On very high balls they push before that and fully extend before or even get airborne if really high, on very low balls they are pushing and have bent legs even as they are hitting through.

Like many things in tennis it depends, almost nothing is ABSOLUTE.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
You don't need leg drive to hit a FH.
You improve your FH when you do use it.

You can watch players practicing or in match play from juniors, to good rec players, to college players, up to semi-pros and pros, and given time they load on the back leg and drive up. Sometimes a little, but with bigger shots much more.
 

Curious

Legend
You don't need leg drive to hit a FH.
You improve your FH when you do use it.

You can watch players practicing or in match play from juniors, to good rec players, to college players, up to semi-pros and pros, and given time they load on the back leg and drive up. Sometimes a little, but with bigger shots much more.
So do you think it’s mostly hip/glute and/or abdominal oblique muscles that generate the power?
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
So do you think it’s mostly hip/glute and/or abdominal oblique muscles that generate the power?
I think rec players can do well wristing and arming a stroke, not using split steps, and pancake serving. Even pros can't always mximize shots with fully proper/set mechnics. How many times have we seen Djo in the splits, Nadal bent down and inch off the ground, or Fed dropping just the raquet head, and any of them with a wrist flick send the ball down the line or cross court for a winner? Of course it isn't often because it isn't optimal, but it is possible and required at that moment.

And that is the key to me there - trying to maximize the shot quality. So it isn't as important to me where the most power is generated, but that without legs you are not maximizing the potential. Anecdotally, I know that while I hit a decent paced ball, and I am not using legs as much as I should/could, I can improve my shot quality and pace will improve if I do. Doesn't change how well I can compete now, but will at some point as I move up.

So yeah...do rec players needs leg drive?...Nah. As long as they realize that if they are truly wanting to progress there will be a point where any weakness they have will start to become a liability, and no amount of powering and muscling through a shot will get them to that next level. And to me there are always much more important and bigger improvements that can be made in footwork and setup/timing for most rec folks beyond what leg drive would add....if I was looking for the most bang for the buck changes (also me).
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I think rec players can do well wristing and arming a stroke, not using split steps, and pancake serving. Even pros can't always mximize shots with fully proper/set mechnics. How many times have we seen Djo in the splits, Nadal bent down and inch off the ground, or Fed dropping just the raquet head, and any of them with a wrist flick send the ball down the line or cross court for a winner? Of course it isn't often because it isn't optimal, but it is possible and required at that moment.

And that is the key to me there - trying to maximize the shot quality. So it isn't as important to me where the most power is generated, but that without legs you are not maximizing the potential. Anecdotally, I know that while I hit a decent paced ball, and I am not using legs as much as I should/could, I can improve my shot quality and pace will improve if I do. Doesn't change how well I can compete now, but will at some point as I move up.

So yeah...do rec players needs leg drive?...Nah. As long as they realize that if they are truly wanting to progress there will be a point where any weakness they have will start to become a liability, and no amount of powering and muscling through a shot will get them to that next level. And to me there are always much more important and bigger improvements that can be made in footwork and setup/timing for most rec folks beyond what leg drive would add....if I was looking for the most bang for the buck changes (also me).
Leg power questions/observations:

1) we hit weight transfer forehands off the loaded left leg/foot just fine ... don't think that is leg drive ... that is leg step.
2) on open FHs, we hit FHs loaded on right leg/foot ... rotate around right hip ... whether or not I drive up (or forward for NYTA). I think that is a variable for me ... sometimes just load on right leg with little drive up (I don't drive forward as far as I know). Sometimes, I feel really driving up ... I think on my max pace and max topspin strokes.

So to me the question becomes "how does the added leg drive add power on those bigger open FHs ... what is the mechanism"? I don't see any speed with leg drive ... just muscle pushing up. Same with rotation around hip ... yeah, some rotation speed but not that fast. I continue to think all of it is supporting roles to "big shoulder + arm rotation speed". The magic happens in the shoulder turn (rotation). I think by stepping up ... we get more stable base/resistance to really get after it with core/torso shoulder muscles. No doubt the leg drive also facilitates that early hip rotation ... but the speed doesn't hit until that shoulder+arm lever.

So many theories ... none of them matter unless the ball goes into the court.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Leg power questions/observations:

1) we hit weight transfer forehands off the loaded left leg/foot just fine ... don't think that is leg drive ... that is leg step.
2) on open FHs, we hit FHs loaded on right leg/foot ... rotate around right hip ... whether or not I drive up (or forward for NYTA). I think that is a variable for me ... sometimes just load on right leg with little drive up (I don't drive forward as far as I know). Sometimes, I feel really driving up ... I think on my max pace and max topspin strokes.

So to me the question becomes "how does the added leg drive add power on those bigger open FHs ... what is the mechanism"? I don't see any speed with leg drive ... just muscle pushing up. Same with rotation around hip ... yeah, some rotation speed but not that fast. I continue to think all of it is supporting roles to "big shoulder + arm rotation speed". The magic happens in the shoulder turn (rotation). I think by stepping up ... we get more stable base/resistance to really get after it with core/torso shoulder muscles. No doubt the leg drive also facilitates that early hip rotation ... but the speed doesn't hit until that shoulder+arm lever.

So many theories ... none of them matter unless the ball goes into the court.

Long, but loverly lttle tidbits of producing forehand pop/power, including loading the back leg and driving with it (not stepping into it).

 

Curious

Legend
I think rec players can do well wristing and arming a stroke, not using split steps, and pancake serving. Even pros can't always mximize shots with fully proper/set mechnics. How many times have we seen Djo in the splits, Nadal bent down and inch off the ground, or Fed dropping just the raquet head, and any of them with a wrist flick send the ball down the line or cross court for a winner? Of course it isn't often because it isn't optimal, but it is possible and required at that moment.

And that is the key to me there - trying to maximize the shot quality. So it isn't as important to me where the most power is generated, but that without legs you are not maximizing the potential. Anecdotally, I know that while I hit a decent paced ball, and I am not using legs as much as I should/could, I can improve my shot quality and pace will improve if I do. Doesn't change how well I can compete now, but will at some point as I move up.

So yeah...do rec players needs leg drive?...Nah. As long as they realize that if they are truly wanting to progress there will be a point where any weakness they have will start to become a liability, and no amount of powering and muscling through a shot will get them to that next level. And to me there are always much more important and bigger improvements that can be made in footwork and setup/timing for most rec folks beyond what leg drive would add....if I was looking for the most bang for the buck changes (also me).
I’m just after nonarm power sources for elbow health, that’s all.:)
 
I think that the difference between the older linear and more modern circular forehand techniques is very important for discussions. Linear uses terms such as 'step forward', 'weight shift'. Circular or rotational uses terms such as 'loading', 'unit turn'...... These terms tend to hide the biomechanics.

The most informative Youtube that I have seen is this Dan Brown, "I'm on Your Side Tennis" forehand video.
Look especially at 4:30 comparing the forward motion to circular motion techniques. The feet can leave the ground for the circular technique. Compare forward motion for each technique.
To find Search: Dan Brown I'm on your side forehand

Djokovic has an excellent forehand.

Here are two useful camera angle views showing the effects that the legs have on the hips/pelvis, trunk twist, separation of the hips and shoulders and uppermost body turn.

Djokovic Forehand. View from behind. Look at the slow motion forehands last in the video. Powered by right leg mostly?

View from above. See second forehand. Feet leave the ground and body does not move forward.

Note - Acceleration of the hips can cause stretching of the trunk muscles as well as turning of the uppermost body (shoulders).

Warning - Djokovic illustrates his forehand body rotations well but he probably has exceptional flexibility. Don't copy his range of motion.
 
Last edited:

Curious

Legend
I think that the difference between the older linear and more modern circular forehand techniques is very important for discussions. Linear uses terms such as 'step forward', 'weight shift'. Circular or rotational uses terms such as 'loading', 'unit turn'...... These terms tend to hide the biomechanics.

The most informative Youtube that I have seen is this Dan Brown, "I'm on Your Side Tennis" forehand video.
Look especially at 4:30 comparing the forward motion or circular motion techniques. The feet can leave the ground for the circular technique. Compare forward motion for each technique.
To find Search: Dan Brown I'm on your side forehand

Djokovic has an excellent forehand.

Here are two useful camera angle views showing the effects that the legs have on the hips/pelvis, trunk twist, separation of the hips and shoulders and uppermost body turn.

Djokovic Forehand. View from behind. Look at the slow motion forehands last in the video. Powered by right leg mostly?

View from above. See second forehand. Feet leave the ground and body does not move forward.

Note - Acceleration of the hips can cause stretching of the trunk muscles as well as turning of the uppermost body (shoulders).
In the first video of Djokovic he rotates so much that his chest faces fully to the left fence. I’d be harshly criticised here for over rotating if I did the same!
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
In the first video of Djokovic he rotates so much that his chest faces fully to the left fence. I’d be harshly criticised here for over rotating if I did the same!
Tough to see but I think he does slo the rotation slightly to increase rhs before contact, then follows through around.

Thought someone mentioned the leg drive gets the uncoiling started and should in general be used when possible to shift weight to the other foot.
 
In the first video of Djokovic he rotates so much that his chest faces fully to the left fence. I’d be harshly criticised here for over rotating if I did the same!
I agree that Djokovic rotates a lot. He probably has exceptional flexibility. I can also recall several years ago during a match that he dealt with a back injury. I'll edit in the flexibility warning that I've done often in the past. I like to watch him twist his trunk in TV broadcasts, 30 fps, when he wants to hit pace and is not pressured.

He does show some of the biomechanics used in the circular forehands. Compare to the Dan Brown video for rotating in place and the feet coming off the ground. I'm sure Djokovic gets more total rotation than the average ATP player.

In the first video, I like the camera view of the right leg and all the rotating body angles.

If he is running the two techniques may get mixed to some degree......?
 
..............................
Thought someone mentioned the leg drive gets the uncoiling started and should in general be used when possible to shift weight to the other foot.
In the first video, at 22 sec., his left foot is off the ground at impact.

In the second video, at 5 sec. both feet are off the ground at impact.

I do not understand what 'weight transfer' means and I do not understand how what he is doing is made more understandable by "shift weight to the other foot" since the left foot is off the ground in both cases.

I can understand and see the right leg straightening, providing forces at the right hip and thereby causing the pelvis to accelerate as in the first video.

I believe that if you use a lot of leg force for hip rotation, as in the second video at 5 sec, then both feet come off the ground.

Leg force and body rotational acceleration I can understand. 'Weight shift' or 'weight transfer' I don't understand.
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
In the first video, at 22 sec., his left foot is off the ground at impact.

In the second video, at 5 sec. both feet are off the ground at impact.

I do not understand what 'weight transfer' means and I do not understand how what he is doing is made more understandable by "shift weight to the other foot" since the left foot is off the ground in both cases.

I can understand and see the right leg straightening, providing forces at the right hip and thereby causing the pelvis to accelerate as in the first video.

I believe that if you use a lot of leg force for hip rotation, as in the second video at 5 sec, then both feet come off the ground.

Leg force and body rotational acceleration I can understand. 'Weight shift' or 'weight transfer' I don't understand.
Guess all I meant is what goes up, must come down....
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
We are so bad. :p I guess now we can explain why young male players around the world ended up hitting FHs, BHs and serves like Camilla. Accidental byproduct of hours of video "review".
I got a chance to sit with Camilla and her Dad years back when she played the pro circuit here and won that year. She was very quiet and her Dad is kinda crazy. Anyway, she has one of the most athletic bodies in sports. Two years back for Indian Wells I finally got my family to come along with me and as we arrived and were checking in at the Indian Wells Resort I was telling them that we would see players a bunch there, and as we walked in she was coming out of the small gym there and my two boys, and even my wife, were just floored what amazing shape she is in. I mean, pictures are all neat, but if you meet her in person you'll understand. Another is Petkovic, but Camillia is just that template athletic form.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I got a chance to sit with Camilla and her Dad years back when she played the pro circuit here and won that year. She was very quiet and her Dad is kinda crazy. Anyway, she has one of the most athletic bodies in sports. Two years back for Indian Wells I finally got my family to come along with me and as we arrived and were checking in at the Indian Wells Resort I was telling them that we would see players a bunch there, and as we walked in she was coming out of the small gym there and my two boys, and even my wife, were just floored what amazing shape she is in. I mean, pictures are all neat, but if you meet her in person you'll understand. Another is Petkovic, but Camillia is just that template athletic form.
That is when you tell your boys "you are welcome" ... and then tell your wife "Honey ... I was just checking out her fitness". Do your best Clark Griswold.

Poor Jolly ... we just cost him two days of productivity.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
That is when you tell your boys "you are welcome" ... and then tell your wife "Honey ... I was just checking out her fitness". Do your best Clark Griswold.

Poor Jolly ... we just cost him two days of productivity.
So, you're into fitness...

J
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I can't post the punchline or I'll get banned.

J
Then don't ... I will need you for garage R&D in my future theories. Ironic here since your last prototype was called the solid snake.

OK ... time to move on and live to fight/post another day. That said, half our posts must be ban-adjacent.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
This would be a good time to sidetrack (y) you with my prototype built in my garage years ago. It was a roll out mat to take up in attics ... to roll out over joists so you had a solid place to stand/kneel for work in the attic. It made me exactly 0$, but I did learn how to write my own provisional patent.



@StringSnapper ... you might be asking what does this have to do with "FH leg drive"? I would submit that it takes a lot of leg drive to work in cramped spaces in the attic. In fact, that is where the idea for the Joist Mat came from ... to many ******* trips into my cramped attic for various reasons. The better choice would be to buy a house with a floored attic. 8-B
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
This would be a good time to sidetrack (y) you with my prototype built in my garage years ago. It was a roll out mat to take up in attics ... to roll out over joists so you had a solid place to stand/kneel for work in the attic. It made me exactly 0$, but I did learn how to write my own provisional patent.



@StringSnapper ... you might be asking what does this have to do with "FH leg drive"? I would submit that it takes a lot of leg drive to work in cramped spaces in the attic. In fact, that is where the idea for the Joist Mat came from ... to many ******* trips into my cramped attic for various reasons. The better choice would be to buy a house with a floored attic. 8-B

Nice sushi roller.

 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
This would be a good time to sidetrack (y) you with my prototype built in my garage years ago. It was a roll out mat to take up in attics ... to roll out over joists so you had a solid place to stand/kneel for work in the attic. It made me exactly 0$, but I did learn how to write my own provisional patent.



@StringSnapper ... you might be asking what does this have to do with "FH leg drive"? I would submit that it takes a lot of leg drive to work in cramped spaces in the attic. In fact, that is where the idea for the Joist Mat came from ... to many ******* trips into my cramped attic for various reasons. The better choice would be to buy a house with a floored attic. 8-B
Wait what was this thread about again?
 
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