Forehand Foot Positions of Choice 2021

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.

A player has a shot to work on, no pressure, and they wish to hit an aggressive forehand -

1) What foot positions are they likely to choose?
2) Like Djokovic's footwork above? [Djokovic has a bent arm forehand with Semi-Western? grip.]
3) What is the name for that Djokovic's stance?
4) If we observed many ATP & WTA players, what percent of each likely stance would we see?

For simplicity, just consider and observe forehands that don't change the direction of the ball's trajectory very much. Imagine two players choosing footwork for hitting heavier rally balls that don't go very wide. Minimize variables, no feet off the ground or inside-out forehands, etc.....

For a few first observations, I looked at the above video and estimated that a line between the feet was about 45 degrees to the ball trajectory or the forward direction of the court. I looked at a few other ATP and WTA players hitting forehands and they seemed to place their feet about like Djokovic's feet.

Looking at the Djokovic forehand, once his feet are placed, his pelvis (hips) can be moved by his legs over a certain angular range. The upper body, above the pelvis, also moves over a certain angular range (see 'separation'). See Djokovic video.

5) Is this ~ 45 degree angle of the feet widely used by many of the current forehand drives? Technique issues?

6) Does a 45 degrees angle foot placement give favorable ranges of motion to both the 'hip rotation' and the trunk twist?
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Information on stances.

Google: Images open stance forehand

Google: images semi open forehand

Google: images closed stance forehand

Drawings of stances

Does anyone disagree with this video?

Is it true that a much larger percentage of ATP & WTA players choose to use the semi open stance on the forehand when they want to hit pace and are not pressured? I believe that Djokovic does.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
It seems like most players on the ATP tour hit some form of open-stance FH (either fully-open or semi-open) when they have time and in particular are hitting cross-court - gives you more time and it is easy to generate topspin. Since crosscourt shots are the bulk of baseline rallies, I guess it is the most common stance.

You see them in a neutral stance or closed stance often only when they are hitting a short ball for a flatter FH winner or if they are hitting a DTL FH shot close to the sideline where they want to reduce the sidespin to prevent it from missing the court wide. I guess inside-in FHs can be hit with any stance while inside-out FHs might favor a more neutral or closed stance.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
It seems like most players on the ATP tour hit some form of open-stance FH (either fully-open or semi-open) when they have time and in particular are hitting cross-court - gives you more time and it is easy to generate topspin. Since crosscourt shots are the bulk of baseline rallies, I guess it is the most common stance.

You see them in a neutral stance or closed stance often only when they are hitting a short ball for a flatter FH winner or if they are hitting a DTL FH shot close to the sideline where they want to reduce the sidespin to prevent it from missing the court wide. I guess inside-in FHs can be hit with any stance while inside-out FHs might favor a more neutral or closed stance.
Watching tennis on TV, the players are usually put under some pressure on most shots. I would like to exclude the pressure shots and see what the players choose when they are not pressured. I think that Djokovic tends to the semi-open stance when he has the choice. He would be a good example to watch for use of semi-open.

Forehand compilation. How many are semi-open? How many are open?

I looked at two compilations and excluded pressure shots, shots with one or two feet substantially off the ground, low intensity drives, running shots and some others and found that about half the remaining forehands were semi-open. The other half were miscellaneous. I could not see whether cross court or not.

To get an idea of what forehands to count, I imagine an ATP or WTA player with a ball machine feeding them, no side-to-side sweep and the player intends to hit heavy pace without much ball direction change - what stance do they choose?

There are bent arm forehands with western grips and straight elbow forehands some with Eastern Forehand grips. Others...

If you look at 10 shots from a single player in a TV match, without pressure (maybe that always means not much running) you might be observing the stance of choice. ?
 
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Jake Speeed

Professional
Information on stances.

Is it true that a much larger percentage of ATP & WTA players choose to use the semi open stance on the forehand when they want to hit pace and are not pressured? I believe that Djokovic does.
I'd be more interested in the distance, from where you are to getting to where the ball is, which has to be hit. The footwork is actually something which happens automatically over practice while hitting a ball or learning to hit a ball. Unless you're clumsy or have a clumsy student.

This guy is in this for the money only. They all are. He'll have 6 different waiter tables with you wearing different colored aprons for each of his pointless explanations in his next video. He has to keep coming up with foolish crap because he's competing with other idiots just like himself, producing stupid videos, at your expense, putting foolish crap in your face and nonsense in your mind.

OH, and by the way, there's that word "pace" again. Are you sure you know what it means? Are you really really sure?

The stuff you see on line is actually making/causing all of you, to create an unnecessary effort to over-analyze all kinds of stuff when it isn't necessary. I bash instructors because I've seen first hand how badly some of them are. But, not all.

Shop around, change instructors often, until you settle in with that guy or gal you feel is capable of helping you progress.

I teach all my students how to "self train", and to rely on "self training." Especially those I see once a week, if that.

Have more confidence in yourself!

The problem I see with this is, you rely on videos of the best players on the planet and you or your students ain't gonna get anywhere near this level of actual play. You have the everyday living of your lives getting in the way. Who here trains 6 hours a day then hits the gym for two more hours? Not to mention diet and the other aspects of tennis which no one does and can't afford.

Realistically, if you're worth a grain of salt in playing ability and as an instructor, I would hope and expect, you have a stylish tennis game which may look a bit like ATP but not, technically, be at that level.

I demonstrate everything, "Do as I do." I send no one on line.

J
 
Information on stances.

Google: Images open stance forehand

Google: images semi open forehand

Google: images closed stance forehand

Drawings of stances

Does anyone disagree with this video?

Is it true that a much larger percentage of ATP & WTA players choose to use the semi open stance on the forehand when they want to hit pace and are not pressured? I believe that Djokovic does.
I think the more pure lateral the movement is the more open the stance is and the more you can move forward the more closed the stance is.

On approach shots fed often has a completely square stance

And if he has to move more to the side it is more open or semi open.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
At first, what I'm most interested in is
1) Player has to move a short distance, few steps, not under time pressure, no pressure from ball, and player choses foot positions to hit heavy pace back in the direction that the ball came from.
2) From post #6 "To get an idea of what forehands to count, I imagine an ATP or WTA player with a ball machine feeding them, no side-to-side sweep and the player intends to hit heavy pace without much ball direction change - what stance do they choose?"
3) It seems that open or semi-open would be the two most likely options. I don't know whether it's
Player A - 10% open & 90% semi-open
Player B - 90% open & 10% semi-open
Player C - 50% open & 50% semi-open
Player D - ...........

or
Players A, B, C and D - 10% open & 90% semi-open

I believe Djokovic is 10% open & 90% semi-open. A few other players seem do that also. Does 90% semi-open forehands apply to most of the top 100 ATP? WTA? Maybe there are measurements?

I'll watch tennis on TV and form an estimate.

This thread is to see if any of the readers, that pay attention to footwork, have some estimates on the percentages under favorable forehand conditions as discussed.

One motivation is -
Can we better understand the forehand stance by considering the ranges of motion of the pelvis and uppermost body turns?

The forces that muscles can produce depend on the lengths of the muscles. Does Djokovic chose his stance so that the leg muscles that move the pelvis and the trunk muscles that twist the trunk are being used at favorable lengths? See videos.

"He has a penchant for stating the obvious." Bullwinkle
 
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Digital Atheist

Professional
@Jake Speeed
Although I agree with some of what you wrote - in particular the tendency to over-analyse and/or the desire to look for some quick magical fix in a video that just doesn't exist - it strikes me as odd that you would repeatedly make this kind of statement in an online forum that is clearly dedicated to tennis improvement. Given your ethos (get a real coach and stay offline) it is not surprising that you never offer any actual tips or instruction directly related to any OP.

OH, and by the way, there's that word "pace" again. Are you sure you know what it means? Are you really really sure?

The stuff you see on line is actually making/causing all of you, to create an unnecessary effort to over-analyze all kinds of stuff when it isn't necessary
Using such a patronising tone while treating everyone else as if they are clueless might somewhat hinder the spread of your message.

I demonstrate everything, "Do as I do." I send no one on line.
So how'd you end up here again? Seems like you took a wrong turn.
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
@Jake Speeed
Although I agree with some of what you wrote - in particular the tendency to over-analyse and/or the desire to look for some quick magical fix in a video that just doesn't exist - it strikes me as odd that you would repeatedly make this kind of statement in an online forum that is clearly dedicated to tennis improvement. Given your ethos (get a real coach and stay offline) it is not surprising that you never offer any actual tips or instruction directly related to any OP.


Using such a patronising tone while treating everyone else as if they are clueless might somewhat hinder the spread of your message.


So how'd you end up here again? Seems like you took a wrong turn.
I've given a good deal of advice and I do relate to the OP. Read all my Posts. I cannot help it if my advice is not taken, disliked or challenged. It can also get buried.

Others have their opinion also. A good thing.
Threads go off topic also, A bad thing.

BTW. I may be missing something, but I see no OP asking me questions? I could be wrong.

J
 

kaninfaan

Rookie
...
This thread is to see if any of the readers, that pay attention to footwork, have some estimates on the percentages under favorable forehand conditions as discussed.
Ok.

One motivation is -
Can we better understand the forehand stance by considering the ranges of motion of the pelvis and uppermost body turns?
Of course! The answer is yes.

The forces that muscles can produce depend on the lengths of the muscles.
True, but also on a heap of other variables. A BIG heap of other variables.

Does Djokovic chose his stance so that the leg muscles that move the pelvis and the trunk muscles that twist the trunk are being used at favorable lengths? See videos.
I think you are overly fascinated with muscle-length. (see, for example, the summary of this article https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/jappl.1999.86.5.1445)

I also think you need to either formulate a testable hypothesis or at least hone in on what it is you want to find out.

#complexityofhumanmovement #kinematics #fwiw #keeponkeepingon
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
............
True, but also on a heap of other variables. A BIG heap of other variables.
........................
I think you are overly fascinated with muscle-length. (see, for example, the summary of this article https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/jappl.1999.86.5.1445)

I also think you need to either formulate a testable hypothesis or at least hone in on what it is you want to find out.

#complexityofhumanmovement #kinematics #fwiw #keeponkeepingon
For force vs length, an interested reader should search the "Sliding Filament Model" of the Sarcomere. This diagram shows the basis of the length vs force curve for active forces produced by Actin & Myosin.

(Be aware that the important part played by elastic Titin for passive forces may not be discussed in older publications on the Sliding Filament Model. Titin is not shown in the diagram below).

The forces vs length of the sarcomere are directly related to the forces vs length of muscles. Does the forehand stance place many leg & trunk sarcomeres in the "Normal Range" shown in the graph?

Testable hypothesis - For the forehand, the semi-open stance now dominates the percentage being used when ATP & WTA players are not pressured and have a choice. See other conditions posted earlier.

The purpose of this thread is to see what information is available from the forum. Some readers have studied stances and might have some interesting information. Maybe someone involved with pro tennis know this. First priority is what is the percentage of semi-open vs open stances being used in 2020 when the player is not pressured and wants to hit pace?

I don't have much of an idea but my first looks say semi-open.

Do any of the readers have information or links to information?
 
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socallefty

Hall of Fame
When I hit a semi-open FH, I can jump easier to get airborne and generate extra pace with my forward body momentum compared to a fully open stance. That’s why I hit more semi-open FHs when I have time to set up early and am hitting cross-court.

I’m more likely to hit a fully open stance if I have less time at the baseline or if I want to wait a bit longer before picking the target for my shot - like deciding whether to hit behind an opponent who is scrambling to recover back to the middle of the court.

Unless I’m hitting the FH early on my way to the net, hitting a flat-shot DTL winner or want to close my shoulder more to keep a DTL shot close to the sideline, there is no compelling reason for me to hit a closed stance FH. I think I generate more power with a semi-open stance and the extra time gives me more targeting options when I have a split-second more to observe the opponent‘s positioning.

I have no idea if my experience correlates to the decision-making of the pros on what stance to hit with.
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Compilations
WTA Compilation 2016.

WTA Top 20 Forehand Slow Motion (11 June 2019)


Individual Players
Belinda Bencic forehands, mostly open stance forehands. (Not related - For two very high forehands Bencic displays more sidespin at impact.)



Search "WTA Forehand Evolution" a Youtube. (when embedded the link has no sound for some reason ??)
Emily Webly-Smith. At 2:55, I think I hear her say "open stance" with a left step ?? but don't understand how that is open stance or its orientation to the court (as she has turned around for the camera). Can someone hear that comment and interpret?
 
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At first, what I'm most interested in is
1) Player has to move a short distance, few steps, not under time pressure, no pressure from ball, and player choses foot positions to hit heavy pace back in the direction that the ball came from.
2) From post #6 "To get an idea of what forehands to count, I imagine an ATP or WTA player with a ball machine feeding them, no side-to-side sweep and the player intends to hit heavy pace without much ball direction change - what stance do they choose?"
3) It seems that open or semi-open would be the two most likely options. I don't know whether it's
Player A - 10% open & 90% semi-open
Player B - 90% open & 10% semi-open
Player C - 50% open & 50% semi-open
Player D - ...........

or
Players A, B, C and D - 10% open & 90% semi-open

I believe Djokovic is 10% open & 90% semi-open. A few other players seem do that also. Does 90% semi-open forehands apply to most of the top 100 ATP? WTA? Maybe there are measurements?

I'll watch tennis on TV and form an estimate.

This thread is to see if any of the readers, that pay attention to footwork, have some estimates on the percentages under favorable forehand conditions as discussed.

One motivation is -
Can we better understand the forehand stance by considering the ranges of motion of the pelvis and uppermost body turns?

The forces that muscles can produce depend on the lengths of the muscles. Does Djokovic chose his stance so that the leg muscles that move the pelvis and the trunk muscles that twist the trunk are being used at favorable lengths? See videos.

"He has a penchant for stating the obvious." Bullwinkle
I think it is more about a weight transfer with semi open or closed.

Sure most of the energy is rotational but still all max power sports involve a weight transfer to the front leg and then a turn around a firm front side

Shot put

Javelin

Baseball

Spinning around the back leg is simply not the best way to generate power compared to transferring weight into a front side block and turning around the front side but in tennis there are sometimes time constraints making it necessary
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Look at Djokovic in the OP.

I am never sure of what the tennis term 'weight transfer' means. For a circular forehand where the weight stays in about the same location, where did the 'weight' transfer to?

If I look at Djokovic and consider the anatomy of the pelvis and upper body (body above the waist):
1) I see the pelvis rotate, I think, by the femurs applying forces to the hips. In the video, look at Djokovic's butt to see this pelvis turn (a line between the two hips turns, often called 'hip rotation').
2) The spine is attached to the pelvis so the upper body is turned when the pelvis is turned and the upper body probably twists with stretching of abdominal and spine muscles. See 'separation' for the forehand = the pelvis and uppermost body rotate different amounts causing a 'separation angle' between a line between the two hips and a line between the two shoulders, as viewed from above.
3) The abdominal and spine muscles then add more rotation speed to the uppermost body (often called the 'shoulders'). It could be both active muscle forces and forces from the stretch shorten cycle.

If the pelvis is at about 45 degrees to, say, the average direction of the incoming and struck ball trajectories, the pelvis seems set for a favorable angular range of movement for the legs and trunk.


For 'weight shift' and circular forehand issues this is very informative. See 3:17 for where the weight shifts to for the circular forehand.
If you don't have sound, search the title shown in the video.
 
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pencilcheck

Professional
I am not sure why choosing Djokovic in particular when his strokes is not the most easy to emulate ever for a casual. There are so many other college level, or other top 200s that have clearer form that is easier for analysis. Do you have a crush on Djokovic or something?

But I would say that if you are still stuck at analyzing static footwork and forehand it would be pointless because in tennis the most valuable strokes are the ones that you can hit while moving.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I am not sure why choosing Djokovic in particular when his strokes is not the most easy to emulate ever for a casual. There are so many other college level, or other top 200s that have clearer form that is easier for analysis. Do you have a crush on Djokovic or something?

But I would say that if you are still stuck at analyzing static footwork and forehand it would be pointless because in tennis the most valuable strokes are the ones that you can hit while moving.
I was interested in separation and started watching it on TV. Separation involves flexibility of the trunk and its use. I would watch Djokovic during TV matches, camera from behind and Djokovic located on right. Because Djokovic's forehand angles of separation on the take back and forward swing were large and well timed when he wanted to hit with pace, I noticed it easily. He does have a rhythm, a pattern. You can see its timing back and forward. Don't look at low paced shots but for what he does for aggressive shots. I did not study other players for these details.

I don't say much about my few experiences where a stroke sub-motion was easy to learn. I had studied the separation and timing on TV matches for a few months and understood it and could visualize it. I had never tried it. I was warming up for a doubles match and decided to try it. The first attempt worked and the second worked well. The lines between my hips and shoulders turned independently as I had seen with Djokovic.

I believe about tennis strokes that if your old stroke uses a sub-motion earlier in the sequence it can be very hard to stop it and do something new. The sequence is wrong. But if the new sub-motion occurs first then maybe the new sequence can occur easily because the old sequence never started. I read an analysis by Alexander in his book, Use of the Self, in the chapter on golf. I think that he describes the early motion issue well.

That full stroke takes longer for me to do and it is not used much in my old man doubles. I was able to do it on a slow set up or ball machine feed when I last played a year ago.

Djokovic was my model. I watch other ATP & WTA players to look for a very rough basic 90 degrees turn back and a 90 turn forward of the line between the shoulders to impact as a very rough estimate for basic ground stroke quality. You can do the 90 degrees with varying amounts of separation. See high speed videos.

I'm 78 and my back has been good so far. Everybody should consider their age and other risk factors before experimenting with more spine twisting.

The foot positioning sets up the separation.
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I think it is more about a weight transfer with semi open or closed.

Sure most of the energy is rotational but still all max power sports involve a weight transfer to the front leg and then a turn around a firm front side

Shot put

Javelin

Baseball

Spinning around the back leg is simply not the best way to generate power compared to transferring weight into a front side block and turning around the front side but in tennis there are sometimes time constraints making it necessary
I have never understood the tennis stroke term 'weight transfer'. How does a slow forward body motion add to the stroke? Also, a circular body motion can be used instead of a 'step forward' weight transfer and the circular motion doesn't have to change the location of the weight of the body. What's going on?

Looking at the batter in your post and remembering a Gasquet backhand where he ran across the court and then stopped (or slowed) by planting his foot, here is a thought on 'weight transfer'.

If the objective is to rotate the pelvis with acceleration, moving forward with the body mass - as in stepping quickly forward or 'weight transfer' - allows time to accelerate the body mass to a low or moderate speed. Then when the foot is suddenly planted the leg can apply strong force to the moving hip and the pelvis will be rotated with acceleration. This pelvis rotation is then used to rotate the upper body for racket head speed.

For a circular forehand where the center of mass does not move, there is no 'weight transfer' and the pelvis rotational acceleration is from one or two legs applying forces to the hip or hips.

If you have some thoughts or information on the pelvis rotationally accelerating from planting the foot to stop the body mass, please post. Baseball or tennis.
 
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I have never understood the tennis stroke term 'weight transfer'. How does a slow forward body motion add to the stroke? Also, a circular body motion can be used instead of a 'step forward' weight transfer and the circular motion doesn't have to change the location of the weight of the body. What's going on?

Looking at the batter in your post and remembering a Gasquet backhand where he ran across the court and then stopped (or slowed) by planting his foot, here is a thought on 'weight transfer'.

If the objective is to rotate the pelvis with acceleration, moving forward with the body mass - as in stepping quickly forward or 'weight transfer' - allows time to accelerate the body mass to a low or moderate speed. Then when the foot is suddenly planted the leg can apply strong force to the moving hip and the pelvis will be rotated with acceleration. This pelvis rotation is then used to rotate the upper body for racket head speed.

For a circular forehand where the center of mass does not move, there is no 'weight transfer' and the pelvis rotational acceleration is from one or two legs applying forces to the hip or hips.

If you have some thoughts or information on the pelvis rotationally accelerating from planting the foot to stop the body mass, please post. Baseball or tennis.
I think it is more that the transfer into the front leg block helps you to rotate faster. Baseball hitters and pitchers have very high front foot ground reaction forces (like 1.5 times plus body weight) and front foot ground reaction force does correlate well with pitching velocity.


There really isn't a sport were you spin on the back leg for max power. A boxer,a shot putter,a baseball hitter,a tennis server all hit off the front leg.

When federer attacks a short ball he does it off the front foot too
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I think it is more that the transfer into the front leg block helps you to rotate faster. Baseball hitters and pitchers have very high front foot ground reaction forces (like 1.5 times plus body weight) and front foot ground reaction force does correlate well with pitching velocity.


There really isn't a sport were you spin on the back leg for max power. A boxer,a shot putter,a baseball hitter,a tennis server all hit off the front leg.

When federer attacks a short ball he does it off the front foot too
That ground force publication is spot on.

Federer video looks like this pitch with plant the foot & pelvis turn.

I like playing this back at 25% speed without the slider bar. The stride leg foot plants and the pelvis rotates around an axis through the left hip. (Nice display of separation and Thoracic Extension and Flexion too.)

That is an interesting thing to look for in the tennis strokes that use 'weight shift' - pelvis rotation around some axis when the foot plants.

For the one hand backhand, I believe I saw Gasquet rotating around an axis through his neck area. Later the 1HBH uses the shoulder joint so the rotation axis would shift there or there would be 2 or more axes at the same time.
 
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GuyClinch

Legend
Chas.. you are overthinking this. Tennis is a sport and players learn it via trial and error - not just through analysis.

Stance you use for an aggressive forehand will depend on ball position - ball speed - comfort of the player - intention of the player hitting the ball... There is no one answer. Some guys might skip through with a neutral stance and then approach the net - other guys might try to hit an angled winner with an open stance shot.
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
I think the more pure lateral the movement is the more open the stance is and the more you can move forward the more closed the stance is.

On approach shots fed often has a completely square stance

And if he has to move more to the side it is more open or semi open.
This guy has it all wrong. Federer did not "hop." That is, get airborne deliberately. What you see here is quite common with this level of play.

Ferderer actually went airborne because he pushed off of his bent leg to straighten it to gain power in his shot. My guess this shot was a put away and not an approach shot. The tell is how Federer is holding the racket after the shot. He's not preparing for the next shot because the point is over.

Also, and this commentator is really conning you and misleading you, a good deal of approach shots are hit with under spin or side spin so the ball doesn't come up after it hits the court surface. It becomes a low bounce ball which will give the other player less options to choose his type of return hit and a bit of difficulty. Especially with a 2HB which would generally be sliced back with a low bounce ball.

"Fake" commentary. I didn't fall for it. The conversation should be why this "fake" commentary happens? And it's everywhere on the net.

Wake up!

J

J
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Are we seeing weight shift? Is the forward foot planted? Is it followed by the pelvis rotating in a direction that aids the forehand stroke?
 
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