Forehand Feedback

Dakota C

Rookie
Hey guys,

On the never-ending quest to hone in on good forehand technique as someone who started tennis as an adult. Would appreciate constructive criticism.

 

socallefty

Legend
Try hitting the ball harder. You’ll find that it is possible to be consistent while swinging much harder only if you do the following:

- Have more spacing to extend your arm more
- Bend your knee to get more leg drive and start your swing lower
- Transfer weight forward and propel your body forward during the forward swing to use your body’s power more.
- Make contact even earlier with more of a low-high swing path to generate more topspin.

You can’t get better until you swing harder in practice and make adjustments to keep the ball in the court at the higher pace. Right now, you are arming the ball with decent consistency, but will have a limited ceiling unless you use your body and legs to get more power and spin.
 
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Dakota C

Rookie
Try hitting the ball harder. You’ll find that it is possible to be consistent while swinging much harder only if you do the following:

- Have more spacing to extend your arm more
- Bend your knee to get more leg drive and start your swing lower
- Transfer weight forward and propel your body forward during the forward swing to use your body’s power more.
- Make contact even earlier with more of a low-high swing path to generate more topspin.

You can’t get better until you swing harder in practice and make adjustments to keep the ball in the court at the higher space. Right now, you are arming the ball with decent consistency, but will have a limited ceiling unless you use your body and legs to get more power and spin.
Appreciate the feedback, thank you. More room to allow better extension, bend knees, make use of body weight.

I'm getting a decent amount of topspin in this clip; I've had consistent framing issues when I try to make my swing path more vertical then this ( mental note is making sure racket head is one racket-head-height below contact point)

I'll try more low to high combined with hitting a little bit earlier and see how that goes as well.
 

socallefty

Legend
Appreciate the feedback, thank you. More room to allow better extension, bend knees, make use of body weight.

I'm getting a decent amount of topspin in this clip; I've had consistent framing issues when I try to make my swing path more vertical then this ( mental note is making sure racket head is one racket-head-height below contact point)

I'll try more low to high combined with hitting a little bit earlier and see how that goes as well.
If you try for a more vertical swing without bending your knees or driving your body forward, it is going to be ‘shank city’. This is the same reason players make more errors when they get fatigued - they stop getting low to start the swing and wait for the ball more with late contact which leads to a lot more mistimed shots and also less pace/depth.
 
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Dakota C

Rookie
If you try for a more vertical swing without bending your knees or driving your body forward, it is going to be ‘shank city’. This is the same reason players make more errors when they get fatigued - they stop getting low to start the swing and wait for the ball more with late contact which leads to a lot more mistimed shots and also less pace.
I usually shank on the bottom of the frame - incorporating properly times knee bend down/up will reduce that?
 

socallefty

Legend
I usually shank on the bottom of the frame - incorporating properly times knee bend down/up will reduce that?
Try it, but don’t forget to turn more sideways with your upper body, drive your body forward and make earlier contact also. Your shot also looks very wristy as you make adjustments with your arms rather than having better footwork and early take back to ensure proper shot prep all the time - so, that might be contributing to your shanks also. The footwork, level of knee bend and takeback height should be the primary differences to adjust for returning different shots (depth, speed, spin) to ensure that spacing is still proper and preparation is early for each shot you hit - the actual swing path should look very consistent with a lagged wrist.
 

Dakota C

Rookie
Try it, but don’t forget to turn more sideways with your upper body, drive your body forward and make earlier contact also. Your shot also looks very wristy as you make adjustments with your arms rather than having better footwork and early take back to ensure proper shot prep all the time - so, that might be contributing to your shanks also. The footwork, level of knee bend and takeback height should be the primary differences to adjust for returning different shots (depth, speed, spin) to ensure that spacing is still proper and preparation is early for each shot you hit - the actual swing path should look very consistent with a lagged wrist.
Thanks again for the follow up. I'll add these points to my short list. Ya hitting with a better player recently and his most frequency comments from his side of the court were that I stay standing straight up the whole time and that by default I use too much wrist.

I'll see about better body usage, early prep, and less extreme wrist rotation.
 

socallefty

Legend
Thanks again for the follow up. I'll add these points to my short list. Ya hitting with a better player recently and his most frequency comments from his side of the court were that I stay standing straight up the whole time and that by default I use too much wrist.

I'll see about better body usage, early prep, and less extreme wrist rotation.
You seem serious about your tennis. Get yourself a good coach for at least a few sessions - it will be a faster path to improvement. Most rec players think tinkering with their swing is the way to improve - most effective coaches work from the ground up and build a solid foundation of footwork, spacing and body rotation first.
 

Dakota C

Rookie
You seem serious about your tennis. Get yourself a good coach for at least a few sessions - it will be a faster path to improvement. Most rec players think tinkering with their swing is the way to improve - most effective coaches work from the ground up and build a solid foundation of footwork, spacing and body rotation first.
I'm actually a few sessions in with a coach who played high level college tennis (is still in good shape and is late twenties I believe), and am trying to get in at least a few intentional practice sessions before seeing him again to make the most of his advice (and my better hitting partner, and you on the forum). Improving technically is my primary goal, but it's also hard to find a high level coach in the first place (*******), and secondly one who is willing to work with an adult as opposed to serious juniors.
 

Slicehand

Hall of Fame
Are you using full western? Doesnt seem a bad forehand, as people said, practice being more agressive with it and get the body involved, you must feel youre really smacking the ball but it stays under control because you dont let it fly out, for that you need to shape it well, after that, the hard part is doing that while you are moving all over the court!
 

Dakota C

Rookie
Are you using full western? Doesnt seem a bad forehand, as people said, practice being more agressive with it and get the body involved, you must feel youre really smacking the ball but it stays under control because you dont let it fly out, for that you need to shape it well, after that, the hard part is doing that while you are moving all over the court!
I'm using semi western, and ya utilizing my body better seems like a big priority if I want to make notable improvement from here.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
Stop wobbling about for no reason - either split step or don’t.

Hit through the ball - apply weight transfer.

You have really good potential otherwise - just remember; “ball machines don’t fight back”
 

socallefty

Legend
it's also hard to find a high level coach in the first place (*******), and secondly one who is willing to work with an adult as opposed to serious juniors.
You tend to find good coaches who teach adults in addition to juniors only in private clubs typically.
 

Dakota C

Rookie
Stop wobbling about for no reason - either split step or don’t.

Hit through the ball - apply weight transfer.

You have really good potential otherwise - just remember; “ball machines don’t fight back”
I'm wobbling about to try and prevent myself from being super lazy with my feet and being in even worse position then I am for these shots lol. Hard to get my mental intensity up when hitting with a ball machine. I'm pretty quick and agile when hitting with people.

Weight transfer when I have time, another vote for that as a priority.

Thank you for saying I have good potential!
 

Dakota C

Rookie
You tend to find good coaches who teach adults in addition to juniors only in private clubs typically.
I'll have to pursue that more intentionally now, my better hitting partner said the same thing when I asked him about it last week. I'm hoping I can skirt becoming a member before being able to take private lessons lmao.
 

Slicehand

Hall of Fame
I'm using semi western, and ya utilizing my body better seems like a big priority if I want to make notable improvement from here.
Its difficult once you try to involve all the body, to consistently hit it in your strike zone, itll take some practice, but something that you can change faster, is the split step, you don t need to have a massive-technically perfect forehand if you are fast on your feet and you manage to hit it confortably all the time, i think that would even make more of a difference, the problem for a lot of people with good technically sound forehands is that they cant use its full potential a lot of times in matches because they dont move so well, so they cant set themselves up quick enough to go trough all the kinetic chain, foot work is one of the most overlooked parts in tennis and for me is one of the most important, if not the most, you can get away with a compact short swing forehand, but if you want a full swing that puts all your weight into the shot, you need the legs to set yourself up for it first of all
 

Slicerman

Professional
Very nice form.

Aside from the things that others mentioned, one thing that stuck out to me is your follow through phase. I think the follow through finish could be a bit more relaxed, such as releasing the wrist and allowing the racquet to drop during the recovery. Its a small detail but it could help to optimize energy and limit any strain.
 

Slicehand

Hall of Fame
Very nice form.

Aside from the things that others mentioned, one thing that stuck out to me is your follow through phase. I think the follow through finish could be a bit more relaxed, such as releasing the wrist and allowing the racquet to drop during the recovery. Its a small detail but it could help to optimize energy and limit any strain.
Yeah maybe i was a bit tricked overall because of the leftiness, but in the take back and followtrough the face of the raquet was in a strange position in my eyes, maybe not wrong but just strange, thats why i tought he was using full western
 

Slicehand

Hall of Fame
Thanks again for the follow up. I'll add these points to my short list. Ya hitting with a better player recently and his most frequency comments from his side of the court were that I stay standing straight up the whole time and that by default I use too much wrist.

I'll see about better body usage, early prep, and less extreme wrist rotation.
Using your wrist is not really wrong, it can give you a lot of power, but what happened to me some time ago, is that instead of relying in putting my body weight into the shot, i just slap it with my wrist because i felt that was enough, but the good thing is to do both, use your body, and a little your wrist, difgicult thing is to use all of this things togheter
 

Dakota C

Rookie
Its difficult once you try to involve all the body, to consistently hit it in your strike zone, itll take some practice, but something that you can change faster, is the split step, you don t need to have a massive-technically perfect forehand if you are fast on your feet and you manage to hit it confortably all the time, i think that would even make more of a difference, the problem for a lot of people with good technically sound forehands is that they cant use its full potential a lot of times in matches because they dont move so well, so they cant set themselves up quick enough to go trough all the kinetic chain, foot work is one of the most overlooked parts in tennis and for me is one of the most important, if not the most, you can get away with a compact short swing forehand, but if you want a full swing that puts all your weight into the shot, you need the legs to set yourself up for it first of all
I'll be even more proactive about trying to get in good position early with early preparation, to help keep thinks as consistent as possible from one shot to the next as you point out.
 

Dakota C

Rookie
Using your wrist is not really wrong, it can give you a lot of power, but what happened to me some time ago, is that instead of relying in putting my body weight into the shot, i just slap it with my wrist because i felt that was enough, but the good thing is to do both, use your body, and a little your wrist, difficult thing is to use all of this things together
I hear ya, I think using a little less wrist and notably more body is something for me to target for the moment.
 
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socallefty

Legend
I'll have to pursue that more intentionally now, my better hitting partner said the same thing when I asked him about it last week. I'm hoping I can skirt becoming a member before being able to take private lessons lmao.
Most private clubs usually have group drills that non-members can join for a fee - call a couple of them and find out. In fact, they should have different sessions for different levels of players.

It is a good way for you to see if you meet any coaches you like and also potential hitting partners. In addition, you get to check out a club’s facilities and culture before deciding whether you want to join in the future.
 

Dakota C

Rookie
Most private clubs usually have group drills that non-members can join for a fee - call a couple of them and find out. In fact, they should have different sessions for different levels of players.

It is a good way for you to see if you meet any coaches you like and also potential hitting partners. In addition, you get to check out a club’s facilities and culture before deciding whether you want to join in the future.
I'm a regular at a public indoor facility in my area, but didn't find a coach that had both the teaching know-how as well as advanced level technical strokes - I'm hoping coaches at a private facility might be more likely to have both of those pieces in a coach.
 

Dakota C

Rookie
Hey guys,

Have had a few more practice sessions and feel like I'm starting to get the hang of not 'muscling' the ball, so looking for feedback on two different slowmo shots - I intentionally tried to hit each shot differently to get feedback on which looks better, and if either/both look better then swings from my first upload. I'm also aware I'm still ignoring a few key pieces of advice you had given me, but I can only try tweaking one or two things at a time :)

 

socallefty

Legend
so looking for feedback on two different slowmo shots
The second shot looks better as you move your front foot forward, transfer body weight forward and hit the ball much earlier. I’m guessing that you likely got pace and higher topspin with that shot. On the first shot, you plant your front foot early and then wait a long time for the ball contact not using your body rotation as much to generate power.

Even when you hit an open stance, you have to transfer weight forward to make early contact by either moving your torso forward or propelling yourself off the ground to generate higher pace. Open stance with late contact is ok only when you are scrambling to play defense and get to the ball late.
 
Nice looking forehand first of all. This compact form would be useful for bunting.

You need to be able to generate more power with ease for many other situations. As @socallefty said, have more spacing to extend your arm more. In particular, raise your elbow higher at the peak of your backswing, and start your forward swing by relaxing your shoulder and dropping your elbow. Then you will have less muscling. You may feel like losing some control at the beginning, but that's okay.

Below is a couple of examples. Play frame by frame by hitting period(.) key and see how high their elbows at the peak of their backswing. The angle formed by torso and their dominant arm is about 70 degree or more. Yours look like 45 degrees or less.

Djokovic -- Look at 1:09 mark

Nishioka, lefty like you -- Look at 2:37 mark

You can also try lifting your both elbows up at ready position and maintaining that elbow height into backswing.
 
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Slicehand

Hall of Fame
I feel your body is very straight when you hit the ball, that may work for hitting in practice but playing points it gonna be difficult being consistent if you dont adapt your body to the ball a little more
 

Dakota C

Rookie
Well I'm relatively certain I've had my 'a-ha' moment in regards to what the 'modern' forehand contact is supposed to feel like. I still have to figure out all the other variables (I'm experimenting with a bunch of variables in this video, as well as hitting a few shots with a 'classic' swing), but almost all of the shots have substantial topspin, as I now know what I need the contact to feel like no matter what. The shots after 2:15 are the 'same swing' and phenomenal by my standards, but curious what swings in the video you think are the ones I should try to mimic.

I use a semi-western (index finger base knuckle on bevel 4)

The mental/feel cue that triggered this revelation for me:
  1. The racket, at contact, needs to feel parallel to the ground.
Yep, you read that correctly - not perpendicular to the ground, but parallel. This is the top priority mental cue for me right now. What I realized is that when it comes to actually swinging at a live ball, my strings are roughly 30 degrees more open at contact then what I think/feel. I believe it is due to the fact that almost as soon as the racket moves past your hip, you have much less comprehension of what is actually happening through the hitting zone. So I think that the angle my mind/body tells me the racket angle is at during the contact zone is actually the angle the racket is at as it is inline with my hip. So my mind/body might be correct about the racket angle, but mis-associating when that angle is happening.

An interesting note is that my racket face at contact (especially referring to shots after 2:15 as I think I stop altering variables from this point onward) does have some variation of slightly closed to perpendicular to the ground at contact, but they all produce a feeling and quality shot that is indistinguishable from one another.

Open to thoughts and feedback!
forehand practice video
 

ballmachineguy

Hall of Fame
Well I'm relatively certain I've had my 'a-ha' moment in regards to what the 'modern' forehand contact is supposed to feel like. I still have to figure out all the other variables (I'm experimenting with a bunch of variables in this video, as well as hitting a few shots with a 'classic' swing), but almost all of the shots have substantial topspin, as I now know what I need the contact to feel like no matter what. The shots after 2:15 are the 'same swing' and phenomenal by my standards, but curious what swings in the video you think are the ones I should try to mimic.

I use a semi-western (index finger base knuckle on bevel 4)

The mental/feel cue that triggered this revelation for me:
  1. The racket, at contact, needs to feel parallel to the ground.
Yep, you read that correctly - not perpendicular to the ground, but parallel. This is the top priority mental cue for me right now. What I realized is that when it comes to actually swinging at a live ball, my strings are roughly 30 degrees more open at contact then what I think/feel. I believe it is due to the fact that almost as soon as the racket moves past your hip, you have much less comprehension of what is actually happening through the hitting zone. So I think that the angle my mind/body tells me the racket angle is at during the contact zone is actually the angle the racket is at as it is inline with my hip. So my mind/body might be correct about the racket angle, but mis-associating when that angle is happening.

An interesting note is that my racket face at contact (especially referring to shots after 2:15 as I think I stop altering variables from this point onward) does have some variation of slightly closed to perpendicular to the ground at contact, but they all produce a feeling and quality shot that is indistinguishable from one another.

Open to thoughts and feedback!
forehand practice video
Good stuff! I now bestow your with the honorary title of ballmachineguy II.
 

Fintft

Legend
Well I'm relatively certain I've had my 'a-ha' moment in regards to what the 'modern' forehand contact is supposed to feel like. I still have to figure out all the other variables (I'm experimenting with a bunch of variables in this video, as well as hitting a few shots with a 'classic' swing), but almost all of the shots have substantial topspin, as I now know what I need the contact to feel like no matter what. The shots after 2:15 are the 'same swing' and phenomenal by my standards, but curious what swings in the video you think are the ones I should try to mimic.

I use a semi-western (index finger base knuckle on bevel 4)

The mental/feel cue that triggered this revelation for me:
  1. The racket, at contact, needs to feel parallel to the ground.
Yep, you read that correctly - not perpendicular to the ground, but parallel. This is the top priority mental cue for me right now. What I realized is that when it comes to actually swinging at a live ball, my strings are roughly 30 degrees more open at contact then what I think/feel. I believe it is due to the fact that almost as soon as the racket moves past your hip, you have much less comprehension of what is actually happening through the hitting zone. So I think that the angle my mind/body tells me the racket angle is at during the contact zone is actually the angle the racket is at as it is inline with my hip. So my mind/body might be correct about the racket angle, but mis-associating when that angle is happening.

An interesting note is that my racket face at contact (especially referring to shots after 2:15 as I think I stop altering variables from this point onward) does have some variation of slightly closed to perpendicular to the ground at contact, but they all produce a feeling and quality shot that is indistinguishable from one another.

Open to thoughts and feedback!
forehand practice video
Nope
 

socallefty

Legend
Fundamental checkpoints I use for students on the FH are:

- Grip change to SW grip helped by offhand on racquet throat which also facilitates unit turn
- Stop with back foot closer to ball and have enough spacing to be able to swing freely with extended arms even when I step forward and close the stance - more spacing needed for DTL shots
- Lift up back heel so that I can pivot the body, load back hip by bending back knee and coil enough so that opponent can see the back of the hitting shoulder
- Elbow-up takeback with loose, lagged wrist with offhand held across body parallel to the net and then use gravity to drop racquet into slot so that it is lower than desired contact point
-Front feet should take a step forward if I decide to hit a closed or semi-open stance and transfer weight forward. If open stance, propel torso forward.
- Keep loose wrist and have a fan-like motion with the wrist to brush across the ball and generate topspin
- Hit through the ball with forward momentum also driving the body weight forward
- Extend hitting arm and make early contact
- Followthrough only after driving through the ball contact with enough of a forward swing to generate high pace

While I do prefer a ATP takeback and also changing the style of follow through depending in the type of shot hit, I don’t consider them as fundamental and it is OK for students to find their own style. I would say that almost all the checkpoints are identical for a 1HBH also with minor differences. The reason is because most fundamentals are related to footwork, body coil, hip loading, proper setup, weight transfer forward etc. and the forward swing is only a small part of an advanced shot.
This is a post I wrote a few weeks ago about checkpoints on the FH. You can do your own analysis on how much of them you do.
Hint: Check your knee bend, offhand position/shoulder turn and early contact checkpoints first.
 
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