Forehand Contact Point on the Rise

Owfred

Rookie
Hi,

I have noticed from watching good tennis players that they almost always hit the ball in their strike zones (out in front and waist-chest high). To accomplish this, they hit the ball on the rise for many points, before the ball reaches its apex on the bounce.

I have recently noticed a trend in my hitting; I often hit when the ball is dropping from its max height, not rising, especially on slow but highbouncing deep balls. When I hit, I hit best when the ball is dropping from the peak into my strike zone, as opposed to on the rise.However, many shots that bounce deep and high, I hit out of my strike zone (above my shoulders) and I tend to make many errors and the whole forehand stroke seems out of whack on these shots(sails long).

I have a few questions regarding this:

1) In order to improve the forehand, should I focus on developing a stroke to hit above my shoulders or work on moving to the ball so that it is always in my strike zone?

2) I have been working to take the ball on the rise more often when I am hitting, but it is very challenging to time it right. Is the key to hitting on the rise based on predominately on positioning? Is the main goal to move to a position where you know you can hit the ball on the rise in your strikezone?

3) Most shots I hit on the rise are in power rallys where the ball ends up rising right to my strikezone. However, I often make errors on the slow deep high bouncers as a result of hitting way above my strikezone. Is this more of a positioning issue? Perhaps, I should take a step in and hit these on the rise?

4) Is there any tips/techniques to help practice on the rise?

Thanks,
 

GPB

Professional
My highschool coach always told me to hit it on the rise and I never could. Now, it comes naturally. Work on it. Once in a while you'll be stuck hitting a high shot, but hitting it on the rise feels really good when you get it down.
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
Try shortening you takeback and moving inside the baseline. You will get used to hitting on the rise very quickly.
 

Caloi

Semi-Pro
Hi,


1) In order to improve the forehand, should I focus on developing a stroke to hit above my shoulders or work on moving to the ball so that it is always in my strike zone?


Footwork, footwork, footwork!

Easier said than done but you should KNOW this is the right answer.
 

skiracer55

Hall of Fame
The easiest answer to all this...

Hi,

I have noticed from watching good tennis players that they almost always hit the ball in their strike zones (out in front and waist-chest high). To accomplish this, they hit the ball on the rise for many points, before the ball reaches its apex on the bounce.

I have recently noticed a trend in my hitting; I often hit when the ball is dropping from its max height, not rising, especially on slow but highbouncing deep balls. When I hit, I hit best when the ball is dropping from the peak into my strike zone, as opposed to on the rise.However, many shots that bounce deep and high, I hit out of my strike zone (above my shoulders) and I tend to make many errors and the whole forehand stroke seems out of whack on these shots(sails long).

I have a few questions regarding this:

1) In order to improve the forehand, should I focus on developing a stroke to hit above my shoulders or work on moving to the ball so that it is always in my strike zone?

2) I have been working to take the ball on the rise more often when I am hitting, but it is very challenging to time it right. Is the key to hitting on the rise based on predominately on positioning? Is the main goal to move to a position where you know you can hit the ball on the rise in your strikezone?

3) Most shots I hit on the rise are in power rallys where the ball ends up rising right to my strikezone. However, I often make errors on the slow deep high bouncers as a result of hitting way above my strikezone. Is this more of a positioning issue? Perhaps, I should take a step in and hit these on the rise?

4) Is there any tips/techniques to help practice on the rise?

Thanks,

...is something Peter Burwash said, which is "Tennis is a series of controlled emergencies." Everybody has an ideal contact point/hitting zone, and they're not all the same from player to player, which is something Stan Smith pointed out in an article a couple of years back. So the "right" answer to what you ought to do is to find your ideal contact point/strikezone...which I think you've already done...and make sure your preparation (footwork, grip change, backswing) always lets you hint in your ideal hitting zone. Guess what? It ain't gonna happen, or at least it ain't gonna happen all the time. Why is that? Two reasons: (1) You're human (so is everybody, including the pros) and there are times when, for whatever reason, despite your best intentions, you won't be as prepared as you'd like and (2) as somebody pointed out, "the enemy has a vote", meaning that your opponent is going to do whatever he/she can to ensure that you don't prepare properly. So does this mean you should just give up and take up bowling?

No, instead, think of things this way:

- Your biggest challenge, it sounds like, is slow deep high rollers that soar out of your ideal hitting zone. Guess what? That's everybody's problem. We'll talk more about how to prevent that from happening, but when, not if it does occur, what do you do? Short answer: Do what my coach says, which is "Pass the problem back to your opponent, and let him/her deal with it." One of my former coaches said that when you get into this situation, it's okay to hit off the back foot...just loft it up in the air and deep down the middle. You're playing defense at this point, and it ain't a beauty contest. Sometimes I'll do this, other times I'll just block it back like a volley. You do whatever you have to, just "find the court", as one of my other coaches said, and restart the rally and try to take control on the subsequent shots.

- So let's talk more about deep heavy balls for a moment, and what to do to avoid having to hit the wretched things up around your ears. First, ask yourself, are you getting a ton of these from a particular opponent? There are people, especially folks with a full Western grip and a heavy low to high stroke (e. g., Nadal) who thrive on this kind of stuff. They don't necessarily hit the hardest, or have the best angles, but they keep the ball deep and jumping over your head...until you miss one, or give them a short ball they can tee off on. What are your choices? Well, you've kind of already figured them out:

(1) Back up and wait for the ball to come down into your strike zone. If anyone tells you this ain't the right move, ask them how Bjorn Borg managed to win 6 French Opens. I prefer not to do business this way, because it cuts down on your angles and lets the other person sneak in...but it is a way to handle this tactic.


(2) Hug the baseline and hit the ball on the rise. This is what I usually do, and I think up until now, we've been assuming topspin...but if you don't have a slice backhand, develop one, because it's a major counter to heavy, loopy balls. Slice BH is one of my strengths, and especially people who love to hit heavy and loopy hate slice BH, because it stays low and runs away from them. My slice BH is almost like a volley, which is another hitting-on-the-rise tip that somebody else already pointed out, which is things usually go better if you shorten your backswing. Watch some video of Agassi hitting on the rise against this type of ball, and you'll get the joke.

I think that (2) works best also against the occasional (but not constant) deep heavy ball. If you only get this shot once in a while, you're giving up too much, IMHO, by backing up.

Hitting on the rise...it's not exactly like the half volley, technically, but you can learn a lot about the timing and prep for hitting on the rise by doing some half-volley drills...which nobody ever does. That'll also lead you into the other way to counter heavy loopy balls which is...don't let 'em bounce! If, despite all your best efforts, you're getting eaten alive by these kind of shots at the baseline, run, don't walk, to the net...
 
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Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
Hi,

I have noticed from watching good tennis players that they almost always hit the ball in their strike zones (out in front and waist-chest high). To accomplish this, they hit the ball on the rise for many points, before the ball reaches its apex on the bounce.

Good.

I have recently noticed a trend in my hitting; I often hit when the ball is dropping from its max height, not rising, especially on slow but highbouncing deep balls. When I hit, I hit best when the ball is dropping from the peak into my strike zone, as opposed to on the rise.

It is only because you are used to doing it this way.

However, many shots that bounce deep and high, I hit out of my strike zone (above my shoulders) and I tend to make many errors and the whole forehand stroke seems out of whack on these shots(sails long).

Hence, why you want to improve in taking more balls on the rise. It is part of your tennis development. It sounds like you are ready for the training.

I have a few questions regarding this:

1) In order to improve the forehand, should I focus on developing a stroke to hit above my shoulders or work on moving to the ball so that it is always in my strike zone?

You should do both because some times you will have to take it higher then you want.

However, your goal is to take the ball in your strike zone - always. This means you have to move and work on your movement skills (footwork, footwork patterns, footspeed, court position, etc...)

2) I have been working to take the ball on the rise more often when I am hitting, but it is very challenging to time it right. Is the key to hitting on the rise based on predominately on positioning? Is the main goal to move to a position where you know you can hit the ball on the rise in your strikezone?

Slow the ball down and practice. Do you know how to surf? I do. I have surfed for years. I don't know of very many people that jump in the water who have never surfed and just surf Pipeline on a big day. Do you?

Take your time. This is something your brain needs to get used too. Everything from timing to footwork need to adjust to take in the new information and when to swing.

3) Most shots I hit on the rise are in power rallys where the ball ends up rising right to my strikezone. However, I often make errors on the slow deep high bouncers as a result of hitting way above my strikezone. Is this more of a positioning issue? Perhaps, I should take a step in and hit these on the rise?

You bet! Why would you step-in though? Question goes back to you.

4) Is there any tips/techniques to help practice on the rise?

Thanks,

Slow the feed down and build up the speed slowly. By slowing it down you work on allowing your brain to "see" the ball bounce and get a feel of what it needs to do to make automatic and natural.

Force yourself to stay on or just behind the baseline. If you get a ball you can step in on, step in and take it in the strike zone. Work on your swing path, your balance and your timing.
 
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D

Deleted member 25923

Guest
I am usually right on top of the baseline or a step behind. I'm trying to take balls off the rise. Not easy. Especially when I'm hitting against my bro's heavy balls.

I like to try and hit with topspin. My bro's slice really annoys the hell out of me. Learn one, it will help. I'm also trying to learn the forehand slice. It allows me to hit those low balls back with some penetrating pace, but it needs practice.

Usually, i'll hit off the rise during a rally without noticing it.

My advice, get used to staying on the baseline. It will come soon enough with lots of practice. Slow it down if necessary.

Learn slice shots. They're not extinct as some might think. They can help if you can't get low for a shot.

And footwork footwork footwork!!!!

I had a horrible hitting day yesterday. But when I moved my feet well and stayed on my toes, I got some decent hitting out.
 

Owfred

Rookie
Thank you for all the responses.

It seems the footwork is my first concern that needs to be corrected in order to get better positioning on the court.

I often hug the baseline when rallying, and it is easy to be spoiled by balls hit directly to my strikezone and in rhythm. In a match, it is often a different story, and the first thing I need to work on is getting to every ball in good position in order to hit the ball at the ideal contact point.

Most importantly, I think I need to focus more on footwork while practicing. I often forget about this, and maybe, footwork (or the lack of) is the main culprit in my streaky tennis game.

Thanks
 
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