Forehand High Elbow Takeback In Backswing Is It Fundamentally Wrong?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by millenium, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. millenium

    millenium Rookie

    Jan 22, 2008
    Can someone please tell me what role does the elbow do in the forehand backswing? Some pros have a quite high elbow take backs and other pros not. For example, Pete sampras, Andy Roddick, Fernando Gonzales have a high elbow takeback while Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal not. Does it matter how high you raise the elbow on your forehand takeback.?? Is there any advantages or disadvantages in the backwing.?? Is it fundametally correct doing it??
    One thing i can think of is that, it could help someone who has a stiff backswing let it have more rhythm and speed as the backwing can be more fluid.
  2. UncleRico.

    UncleRico. New User

    Jun 9, 2008
    The best thing to do with watching pros is not to see what they do differently, but what they do in common.

    Good early takeback, incorporating coil to get your core loaded to explode into the forehand. Have essentially the same takeback for each forehand. Timing and racket acceleration are more important than the position of your elbow, tbh.
  3. anchorage

    anchorage Rookie

    Dec 29, 2007
    I agree. It's worth noting, though, that nearly every pro has the elbow leading in the backswing (both high & low).
  4. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Oct 4, 2004
    The higher elbow tends to encourage a loopier, longer swing. Nothing "wrong", per se. You may get more power, but you will be late to shots if you don't prepare and set up fast.
  5. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Feb 19, 2004
    it's more of a personal preference.

    the goal is to have a square (to the ball) face after the racket drop and thru impact.

    some people do better with big loop (myself included), some do better with less loop.
  6. millenium

    millenium Rookie

    Jan 22, 2008
    Thanks for your replies. Just wanted to be sure if it was technically wrong.
  7. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    In regards to the back to front size (length on horizontal plane) of the backswing. Leading with the elbow typically reduces the backswing, as it keeps the racquet to the hitting side of the body.
  8. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Jun 12, 2009
    Bradley Klahn is a player that uses this elbow out technique. Having the elbow out makes the swing have more momentum because it makes the swing continuous.
  9. dlam

    dlam Semi-Pro

    Aug 3, 2010
    been finding the high or flying elbow during the takeaway very helpful so i dont grip with my right hand too tight for my forehand.
    Again its a matter for style.
    No right or wrong if it works for you.
  10. T-T-T

    T-T-T New User

    Mar 25, 2013
    High Elbow

    I have a theory on the high elbow-

    When you lift your elbow higher you can attack higher bouncing balls with more ease than if you don't lift the elbow, however as someone above said the timing has to be pretty good and your preparation has to be early to allow the high elbow.

    The advantage of having the elbow lower is that it is easier to get under the ball more with the racket to get more topspin (which is so important in today's pro game)
  11. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    From high speed video I'm not seeing a clear pattern yet that shows what is happening with a high takeback. But some players such as Del Porto, Gulbis and Florian Mayer raise the elbow high (upper arm) and it appears to be adding pace.

    If some players have learned how to use a high elbow maybe they are using shoulder adduction to initially rapidly pull down the upper arm. However, this is not apparent to me in most videos of forehands.

    The reason that it would probably be used by some players in their forehands is that the largest muscle attached the arm is the lat. It can pull the upper arm bone, the humerus down very forcefully as in a pullup.

    TennisOxygen has some very nice Youtube videos on take backs for the pros and how high they are. Most are listed under user name "xstf".

    Federer, Nadal & Djokovic's and more similar forehand 1st move.

    Look for videos comparing the forehands of players.

    What high speed videos show more clearly is that body rotation contributes to FH pace.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  12. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

    Oct 14, 2009
    The Peak of Good Living
  13. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

    Apr 9, 2007
    Staten Island
    Yes, there is something fundamentally wrong with it, it's bad for balance and makes for a longer setup.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013

Share This Page