How to flatten out the topspin forehand...

mightyrick

Legend
Hi all,

So I have spent the last four months changing my forehand from a flat, club, tight-wristed forehand to a pretty decent topspin forehand using a good elastic passive wrist. I've been pretty happy with the results and a lot of the balls I hit are pretty heavy now. (BTW, I hold a modified eastern grip)

I hit FAR less winners than I used to. I now have to work the ball left-to-right and try to draw errors. This is because I don't have a "putaway" shot anymore. Short balls I overhit all over the place. So pushers (who I used to crush)... now beat me pretty easily.

So I'm about to embark down the road of learning a flatter putaway shot for short balls.

My question is... how do you guys who hit heavy-ish topspin forehands alter your shot to flatten it out? Do you change your grip? Turn it a bit more towards western, but keep the swingpath the same? Keep the grip the same and try to flatten out the swing plane?

I'm just looking for a few pointers from those who have already done it as opposed to wasting time through trial-and-error.

Thanks!
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
I use a very strong SW forehand, almost full W.
To flatten out for winners, just shorten the takeback and make it more direct in line with the incoming ball. Old school, in other words.
Use the wall to work on it, don't change your grip, but just shorten your takeback, grip tighter, swing slower and directly in line with you intended ball.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
Interesting changes you have decided to make here.

If you are using a good up and across on you new Fh, then about
all you have to change to get it to flatten out a bit is to work it more
across and less up in your "up and across" contact.
This will force the racket head out and thru the ball more, while maintaining
tons of control on the shot plane.
 

mightyrick

Legend
Thank Lee and 5263, I'll give this a try. A asked a couple of good hitters last night and they pretty much said the same kinds of things: 1) Don't change your grip at all, 2) don't drop the racquet head as much on the backswing, 3) swing forward as per usual.

I'm hopeful to play another pusher next week to try it out.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
here are a couple in a sequence with at least semi open and nice work
across the flatter shot.
Most don't flatten out quite this much from this deep, but AA used it well
and likely accounts for why he was so deadly with attacking mid ct balls,
since he used the same swing so often and even well behind the BL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mDtaC5YgzjI#t=93s

if you look at earlier parts of that vid, you will see him use more lift or UP in
his stroke on several with lower contact points.
 
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I used to have problems hitting those mid court sitters long too. Personally I keep grip the same and change the swing path.

Try focusing on where the racket ends up. On those short sitters i see alot of people finish over their shoulders as if they were at the baseline. Try finishing with the racket lower than normal. Maybe finish with the racket down by your pockets? Maybe somewhere stomach level and see if that helps. Just experiment!

I know brad gillbert recommended choking up on the racket on short approach shots to take away some of the power.... i wouldn't imagine thats a good idea but he's won a lot more than i have.

Personally i found heading out to the courts by myself and simply just tossing a ball out in front of me mid court and hitting those balls very helpful. A lot of the time they don't have any pace on them so your timing has to be perfect.

Hope at least some of this info helped.
 
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10isfreak

Semi-Pro
My question is... how do you guys who hit heavy-ish topspin forehands alter your shot to flatten it out? Do you change your grip? Turn it a bit more towards western, but keep the swingpath the same? Keep the grip the same and try to flatten out the swing plane?

I'm just looking for a few pointers from those who have already done it as opposed to wasting time through trial-and-error.

Thanks!
Here are the basics.

1- Adjust the swing path vertical to horizontal ratio to adjust the launching angle of the ball (the more vertical you swing, the higher the ball will go);
2- Adjust the forward tilt of your racket face to control the spin to pace ratio of the energy transfer at impact (the closer the racket is, the more you tend to snap the upper edge of the ball, which causes it to spin).

Of course, there are other details and, yes, swinging more vertical does produce more top spin in general. However, all other things equal, the basic effect of each is well described above.

If you want a flat swing, get your racket face less closed at impact and swing very horizontally. The ball will barely lift and it will not have enough spin to fall down before it has sailed a long way into the back court of the opponent. The idea is to either exaggerate or smother your WW finish to get the result you want. If you want an arc, you swing more vertically and you try to close the racket face more. You'll loose pace and the ball will sail higher over the net.

By the way, if you have too much trouble getting a very low and powerful winner, any deep ball can be a winner (because during its flight, the ball looses less speed than when it hits the ground): as a short term solution, hit the ball higher and it will land further!
 

10isfreak

Semi-Pro
I know brad gillbert recommended choking up on the racket on short approach shots to take away some of the power.... i wouldn't imagine thats a good idea but he's won a lot more than i have.
As a short term solution, shortening your strokes is a good idea, just like choking up on the handle. Effectively, even a slower ball from mid-court, if it lands deep, is hard to retrieve, let alone attack.

However, if you play against better players, it can become problematic. If you don't hit big enough, they'll pass you easily. Furthermore, playing up and down the handle during a match can be really tricky. And, finally, being able to control mid-court strokes with your baseline grip improves your ability to strike the ball when you will be at the baseline -- it enhances your skill, basically.
 
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