Forehand help!

Bachir

New User
My forehand is by far the worst part of my game. It is very inconsistent. Usually my symptom is the ball going way too far out, but sometimes I hit it into the net as well.

Below is a video of my forehand in action as I hit against a wall.

I know there are many things I'm doing wrong; but what are the top couple of things I should work on to develop a more consistent forehand?

 
You quit with your hitting arm side. Drive through the ball until your hitting shoulder is due north and non hitting shoulder is due south. Drive through the shot like you mean it. That first slo mo shot, you can see you are just lifting up. The pronation/supination provides the topspin as you hit through the ball. No lifting/brushing up. See what that does. That will cure most of it.
 
Last edited:

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
I like to equate this with baseball. There is the strike zone, which is relatively large, and then there is the tiny window you need the ball to be in in order to hit a home run.

Figure out where you need to be exactly in order to hit a perfect forehand (home run). Then MOVE to position yourself to hit the ball in that little window every time. Don't be lazy and move less and hit the ball high or low or too far inside or too far outside. Right now, you're making contact with the ball all over the place. Some high, some low, some too far in front, some too far behind, etc.
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
You are only arming the ball (power comes from the muscles of your arm and your shoulders/feet never move). Without going into much technical details, arming the forehand leads to a lot of inconsistency because the hitting surface (the face of the racquet) is moving in circular path around your shoulder joint. So if you are a hundredth of a second early or late, the ball is going to be off target. Try hitting for a couple of sessions with two hands on the handle (this is very confining and limits your forearm movement but forces your to turn your shoulders), and then try a couple of sessions with your backhand side hand (I think your left) holding the handle when you prepare to take the racquet back, and then release this hand from handle during the stroke.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Look at high speed videos of ATP & WTA forehands.
1) look at the line between the two shoulders. Roughly that line turns back 90 degrees and then forward 90 degrees. The shoulder turn is used much more than yours. And the shoulder joint is not used as much or early as yours.

Separation is also very important. Please see my posts on separation.
Search forum: forehand separation Chas

2) look at ATP ball viewing habits. It really is a zoo with Thiem closing his eyes, Mendelev flicking his head like lightening, Federer locked on well before and after impact and Djokovic doing various things. A question came up in another thread about whether the player was looking at impact through the back of the racket strings or not. ?

The shoulder turn is possibly the largest source of 'power' for forehands. It brings twisting the spine and the abdominal muscles into the ground strokes. If you have any issues with twisting be sure you are safe to twist your spine and abdomen.

3) Look at the tilt on the racket face for impact for top spin drives. It tilts closed 5-10 d.. Tilts are shown later in this article. Some old bad advise for the racket face is 'hold face perpendicular to the court surface'. But that is not correct for top spin drives. What is your thought?
https://tennisspeedresearch.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-roadmap-to-hall-of-fame-forehand-part.html

Hitting against a wall & fence may not be giving you a reproducible feed to try new things. Also, the ball looks low. If you can get access to a ball machine or hitting partner, that would be better.

Choose straight arm or bent elbow forehand. Choose grip: Eastern Forehand for straight arm or semi western for bent elbow. Select model forehand ATP & WTA players that match your arm & grip. Observe the angles of elbow and forearm to racket shaft at impact.

Compare your forehand to ATP forehand one above the other and single frame. To single frame on Vimeo, stop, hold down the SHIFT KEY and use the ARROW KEYS. To single frame on Youtube, stop, and use the period & comma keys. Always select the Youtube video using the alt key + left mouse click, otherwise the video starts playing. Go to impacts and single frame back and forth, comparing the most similar racket positions. For best accuracy use very similar camera angles.

Select a model WTA or ATP forehand Youtube or Vimeo and post it right above or below your video and copy the above directions. Use the same camera angle to record your forehand. Be careful to protect your camera from ball hits.

Djokovic has a bent elbow & Semi-Western Grip forehand.
post your video from the same camera angle.

List all differences that you observe. Many of them would probably be flaws.
 
Last edited:

Dragy

Legend
Key problems are lack of prep, lack of adjustment steps, arming the ball with very shallow uncoil. Unfortunately, wall hitting doesn’t help with solving those as it robs you of time between shots.

However, you can solve it by hitting off second bounce and off drop-feeds, rather than trying to rally against the wall. Give yourself time, make all adjustments steps you need, set up fully coiled and uncoil to make chest flat forward before contact - meet the ball to the side and in front of chest plane.


And extend forward before finishing:

Good luck!
 

vex

Hall of Fame
My forehand is by far the worst part of my game. It is very inconsistent. Usually my symptom is the ball going way too far out, but sometimes I hit it into the net as well.

Below is a video of my forehand in action as I hit against a wall.

I know there are many things I'm doing wrong; but what are the top couple of things I should work on to develop a more consistent forehand?

Stop hitting forehand practice with the wall is tip 1. If you’re serious about improving your forehand find a hitting partner, the wall is pretty terrible for groundstroke improvement for many reasons. If you can’t find a decent partner buy a ball machine. They’re like $700 - I rec silent partner.

the main thing I see on your video is a lack of smooth torso turn incorporated into your FH. You are arming the ball instead of engaging your torso to pull your arm thru the shot. Also, footwork, need more tiny steps to get into better position to hit. But it’s really hard to make any judgments when your leaning forward to scoop up balls with no pace bouncing from the wall.

Wall=bad
 

Bachir

New User
Thanks everybody for the replies! I had a practice session yesterday and recorded myself again while trying to implement the advice you all gave.

I will say my form looks a lot better (might just be hitting partner vs. wall), but my results were still pretty poor. I hardly hit two forehands "in" consecutively.


Things that I tried to focus on during this session:
  • Shoulder/torso rotation
  • Footwork
  • Knee bend
Things that I observed being bad while watching this video:
  • Not hitting in the center/equator of the racket. It seems 30% - 40% of my shots hit above or below the equator making my racket wobble.
  • I don't watch the ball. But this doesn't seem to effect my backhand as my backhand is great. Is that normal?
  • My non-racket arm is a little wild and doesn't point at the ball during the stroke.
Thoughts?
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
Without watching the entire video one thing I notice now is that a lot of your racket head acceleration happens around contact, like your swing slowly comes into the hitting zone and then you snatch it out in an attempt to generate spin and/or pace.

Try for now to create a smooth, linear acceleration through the ball. Hopefully that will help get you cleaner contact more often so your body can have a positive feedback and you can build muscle memory. Once your body knows where the sweet spot is in relation to your hand, you can start accelerating more until you are generating the spin you want.

Also try to watch the ball a little longer. It's natural to look up before you've hit the ball but it hurts your performance. You need to practice. It'll help you make cleaner contact.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Thanks everybody for the replies! I had a practice session yesterday and recorded myself again while trying to implement the advice you all gave.

I will say my form looks a lot better (might just be hitting partner vs. wall), but my results were still pretty poor. I hardly hit two forehands "in" consecutively.


Things that I tried to focus on during this session:
  • Shoulder/torso rotation
  • Footwork
  • Knee bend
Things that I observed being bad while watching this video:
  • Not hitting in the center/equator of the racket. It seems 30% - 40% of my shots hit above or below the equator making my racket wobble.
  • I don't watch the ball. But this doesn't seem to effect my backhand as my backhand is great. Is that normal?Most ATP players
  • My non-racket arm is a little wild and doesn't point at the ball during the stroke.
Thoughts?
Most ATP players watch the ball at impact for ground strokes. Some keep their heads still like Federer and some flick their heads quickly to look at impact. It appears that most will be looking through the back of the strings at impact when it occurs. You must also look through the back of your racket at impact. - look at your latest side view video. Thiem closes his eyes before impact and is very high ranked but that seems an anomaly, and when his game goes off, not looking at the ball seems a likely suspect. Hitting closer to the center line of the racket head is closely related to ball watching.

I believe you observing things, realizing the statistics and deciding what to do. Look at the angle at your elbow when you have it close to your body, almost tucked into your side. I don't know the statistics of that elbow position. Please look at 10 different player's bent elbow forehands and do stats regarding where the elbow is.

Another point for consistency involves the closed tilt of your racket at impact. It looks closer to 0 degrees than 5-10 degrees. Do the video comparisons side by side to see what is going on.

Research forehand separation.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
If you wrote down all the little three or more word tennis instructions that you have accumulated, it might save a lot of time.

1) Racket face vertical at impact for forehand drive.
2) Look at ball by .....??
3) Elbow is placed ....??...................
4)...........
5)
.
.
.
 
Last edited:
Great, you are now hitting more through the ball. The problem is what golden chicken said. The way to fix it is to get the elbow higher on take back. When you move forward to hit the ball, the elbow will drop, the racquet will swivel and will lag as you move to contact. Right now, you keep your elbow in too close to your body. I’ll find a video to demo what you should shoot for.


 
You seem to be trying to hit the ball in a certain way
rather than to a certain place.

Try to imagine the cumulative force of your legs, hips, torso, arm and racket
plowing through the ball. Pick a spot over the net (say 3 or 4 feet) and focus on driving through the ball
in that direction.
 

mclee025

Rookie
Watching your last video, even though you are turning your body, you are still pretty much using mostly your arm to generate the power in your stroke. Put another way, your body is totally out of sync with your arm throughout the stroke. As such, you're getting almost nothing useful out of your body motion. Instead of using your arm to generate all the power, you want to generate the majority of the power from your body core. Power from the core will be more powerful and magnitudes more controllable. The arm including the wrist should be very relaxed (on a scale of 10 with 10 being tight, the arm should be in the 3 level) and pretty much is "just along for the ride" as the body/shoulders uncoil. Get that synced up and you'll find your control.

Adding an edit here: thinking about things, another way of looking at your video is that your arm is initiating the stroke where you push the arm forward which results in your shoulders and body following the motion your arm starts. That is backwards, and it needs to be the other way around where the body uncoils which eventually leads to the shoulder uncoiling and that in turn pulls the arm and brings it along for the ride. Use your body to provide the power and you'll get the control you're looking for.

Go to the link below and find my post for a possible remedy where I try to break down the forehand into 4 manageable checkpoints:

 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 776614

Guest
I think you have some good potential and already made a ton of improvement! It looks to me like you could be starting your swing a little earlier and hitting the ball out in front a little more. You're starting your forward swing when the ball is at the apex, rather then hitting when it's at the apex. I think you'll have a little more vertical component at contact by doing so.
 
Top