How to aggressive forehand on high balls

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sgrv, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. sgrv

    sgrv Rookie

    Jul 28, 2008
    I have a fairly decent forehand, which gives me a bunch of weak replies in matches. But I am not able to take much advantage of them and the rally becomes neutral after that. I need advice on hitting aggressive forehand under the following two scenarios:

    1. A mid-court or deep ball which is loopy and not much pace and coming straight (meaning no inward or outward angle). I make contact near shoulder height, say in the range of 4 inches below shoulder to below head. Very rarely does it rise over the head. How to hit aggresive returns for these balls? Because I am not able to hit aggressively, I simply return them deep. But I would like to add aggression to my arsenal. I really admire how Djokovic can hit winners of these balls, esp against Nadal.

    2. Similar situation as above but in this case, the ball has angle. It is going outside the court and pulling me wide. Normally, I loop them back cross court but would love to have an aggressive shot in my arsernal.

    For background, for both (1) and (2), if they are between knee to waist (+6 inches) high, I can hit them aggressively since I am able to use deep knee bend and core rotation much more effectively. But for high balls, knee bend does not seem natural and effective. Perhaps, my technique needs work.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Sep 28, 2010
    On the high balls that you descirbe, when I have time, I set up in a fairly open stance, left arm stretched across my body, shoulders turned, racquet back, with a knee bend. The knee bend is important because it's where you will get power from. I wait until the ball comes down to about shoulder height and then I explode up and into the ball. I swing across the face of the ball and try to catch it a bit more out in front than a normal forehand because I need to be hitting down on the ball slightly. The explosion up and to the ball will cause my feet to come off the ground a bit and and my shoulders and hips will rotate through more than just facing the target.

    You have to practice this shot. It should be your same basic forehand motion, but the height of the ball and the fact that you're going to hit it so hard make it a bit different.

    When you don't have time to set-up that's different. If you can move to the ball and still get set-up then go for it. If you're really stretched wide then your opponent has hurt you and now you should probably be thinking more defensively.
  3. sportsfan1

    sportsfan1 Hall of Fame

    Sep 7, 2011
    There are some videos of Nadal where he does this. When hitting the shot, his feet are off the ground and sort of crossed. Might be key on how to do this, but depends on your level.

    Plus, other related thread where this has been discussed:
  4. TonLars

    TonLars Professional

    Nov 23, 2006
    This is my favorite shot, and it is the ball where if you get good at it, you can hit alot of winners or forced errors.

    Usually you should try to hit a hard, flat ball in this situation, and the technique is a bit different than your topspin forehand motion on lower and harder incoming balls. The simplest things to try would be to:

    -Start takeback higher, around shoulder height, racquet tip pointing to sky, elbow bend at 90-ish degrees.

    -Do not let ball drop below net level, or also too high such as at head level or higher. You want it in your strike zone which is again, about the chest/shoulder height. This may mean taking the ball on the rise if it is coming a little deeper or with more topspin, or otherwise timing the swing so it doesnt get low and you end up lunging or hitting up.

    -Hit through the court more forward, contact more out in front as mentioned in another post. Your swing path will be level around the shoulder height at which you prepared the takeback. Keep your racquet face relatively square, possibly very slightly closed.

    -If confident in all of this, make most use of legs and core rotation to maximize power.
  5. sgrv

    sgrv Rookie

    Jul 28, 2008
    Great suggesitons, thanks. I will try it next time I hit the court.

    As I said earlier my forehand is fairly decent. However, I do notice that during the prep (shoulder rotation), the non-dominant arm is bent at elbow. I do see pros who keep the arm straight.

    Is there a major disadvantage to my technique? it it worth focusing on it now, or am i better off getting aggressive with high balls, service etc.
  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Mar 31, 2008
    don't move straight at it.

    circle around for a good position on it.

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