How to hit forehand on short, high balls.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Paul A P, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. Paul A P

    Paul A P Guest

    This is one of my toughest shots. I am terrible at it. It is frustrating to hit a good serve or baseline shot, get an easy high, short return, only to blow what should be an easy putaway. If I were coming to the net, I'd just hit a volley. But these are on shots where I wasn't planning on coming to the net yet, so I have to take it on a bounce, inside the service line. But I either don't get over the ball and it sails out, or I get too much over the ball and hit it in the net. Today I had my partner hit me about 20 short, high balls to my forehand. I missed all but a couple of them. I tried taking it high or letting it come down, I tried my normal Eastern FH grip and a Western FH grip. Nothing seemed to work. What's the best way to hit this shot? And does anybody know of a video clip of someone hitting this shot correctly? Thanks, in advance.
    PS. I put this in bold so it is hopefully easier to read. The normal type on this new message board is a little hard on the eyes.
  2. Verbal_Kint

    Verbal_Kint Rookie

    Feb 18, 2004
    Hit an approach. Just put the ball in the corner and come in after it. You don't have to hit it hard, because the ball will reach your opponent sooner anyway (the distance to him is smaller). Another good option is the dropshot.

  3. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Feb 19, 2004
    Stop Sign

    previous reply is right on about hitting an approach, rather going for an outright winner (if you get a winner, it's a bonus).

    But the most common mistake among developing players in dealing with short balls is "running through" the shot.

    When you see a short ball, see it as a stop sign. You run forward to get into position, now STOP! and then hit the ball to your target.

    Try this, you will be pleased.
  4. jayserinos99

    jayserinos99 Hall of Fame

    Feb 18, 2004
    I'd just like to add one thing to verbal's reply. Just be sure to 'sell' the down the line approach well; what I mean by that is to not give away that you're going to hit it soft or by opening up the shoulders too early. Prepare by closing the shoulders to hit down the line and if the opponent does cover the line, you can hit the outside of the ball for the angle.
  5. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004

    I would agree with some posters here. Use the shot as an approach shot. Remember an approach shot is a shot that is primarily a placement shot not a power shot.

    You will need to have a short backswing and apply either topspin or underspin (the usual choice) to set up your next shot. Some advanced players will choke up a little on the handle for extra control. No wrist on this shot! Just go through the ball.

    Let's face it, the opponent just gave you a shot that maximizes his chances for you to make an error with that kind of ball. He is betting you will try and hit a winner which will force it into the net or sail to the next county.

    Just do something with it to set yourself up for the next shot. Which is really the shot you want anyway. The volley putaway. It sounds like 20 balls wasn't enough for you to learn the stroke, hit 100 more... :)
  6. polakosaur

    polakosaur Rookie

    Feb 19, 2004
    if your uncomfortable hitting the ball short and high let it come down to about net level after the bounce and place it down the line with a nice topspin shot that will give you a good margin or error, but making sure to keep it in, this way it can be a winner or you opponent will screw up and give you and easy volley into the open court
  7. Hyperstate

    Hyperstate Rookie

    Feb 19, 2004
    Paul, like you, I just hate missing such shots after a good serve. The advice on hitting an approach shot is good. But sometimes, you gotta mix it up and hit a fast one. I've made the following adjustments. I avoid hitting them low or high. Hit them at the height that you are most comfortable with. For me, that's just below shoulder height. Also, I find it helpful in the mental department to tell myself to DIRECT the ball and NOT JUST SWING AT IT, if you get what I mean. Accuracy is very important! This typically means that I make a very conscious effort and AIM the shot 6 inches above the net. It works for me :wink: Good luck!
  8. Joe Average

    Joe Average Rookie

    Feb 18, 2004
    With your momentum coming in, if all you did was block the ball it would stay in the court. Remember, you lose ten feet or so of court when you make contact. So you don't need a big swing. Time the ball so that when you make contact, the ball is above the net (much higher would force a swing change). In this way you can brush up the top of the ball (you don't need to brush up as much as you would from the baseline). And remember ... if all you did was block, with all the running momentum, you'd hit a decent return. So, less is more.
  9. Matt H.

    Matt H. Professional

    Feb 19, 2004
    i use to have this very same problem. I'd get a sitter, then either dump it in the net, or sail it to the back fence. I then started to add a lot of spin to it, and that made it worse cuz it gave my opponent a perfect ball to hit hard.

    My "coach" (buddy who plays college tennis) taught me 2 things that has completely changed my game and improved it ten fold.....take the racquet back as soon as you recognize it's gonna be a sitter, so you're well prepared. And, drive through the ball either on the rise or once it's at it's highest point. (aka, don't let the ball start to drop down)
  10. Pahansuopa

    Pahansuopa New User

    Feb 20, 2004
    don't worry or hurry just be happy

    I had/have the same problem with sitters. I think eastern grip is awfull for high balls and changing the grip helps of course but requires lot of work. The two most important things IMHO in putting those sitters away are first not thinking i must put this away and secondly not to hurry. When i think i must put this away i tend to miss and get myself tight. When i think i try to give him some hard running and when he gets to it ill be ready to volley or be in some other way good position ( maybe opponent is hitting from his weakness to my strenght or something positive) i usually hit more relaxed. When you get the sitter you should think that there is no reason for hurrying (the other player is scrambling) even when you are going to hit it from the rise, still you should not be in a hurry but calmly consentrating in your follow through and placement (becose hitting on the rise gives you already enough tempo). I think trying to hit those really high bouncing balls from high point is result of reading too many instructional (old) books and forgetting that nowdays we are playing in hard courts where the bounce is sometimes just too high. Think positive, if you let it drop a little, you are not in a bad position in anyways you are still dictating and opponent is guessin where you are going to hit it. When i let it drop, sometimes i get my raquet ready way too early (yes, i think there excists something like getting the raquet back too early) rush to the ball, stop and then hit from backward balance and get no weight transfer to the ball. I think one should just calmly ,like chessplayer thinking his move, wait (do little steps) and then let your weight transfer to the ball and rip it with a nice rythm. Happy hunting! :)
  11. Paul A P

    Paul A P Guest


    Thanks to everyone for all the great advice.
  12. phoenix55

    phoenix55 Guest

    prepare and punch flat

    my two cents from somebody with an eastern forehand and 2-h back....

    First, get an idea of where you are going to place it, probably either sharp angle or down the line depending on your opponents location, then look at the top of the net to get a mental lock on where it is...then get a feel for how high above the net the ball will be when you will be hitting it to make sure it will be above then net by at least 3 inches .... keep your eye on the ball....then punch (short backswing, elbow in) the ball flat and sharp similar to a hitting a volley but with regular grip...a little topspin or backspin is okay but too much slows the ball up too much... don't hesitate if your opponent happens to start moving to where you planned to hit it...hit it there anyway, it will still be hard to deal with

    practice against a wall or ball machine helps a lot

    btw if you see that you will have to contact the ball at or below the net cord height, then it is a whole different shot

    have fun
  13. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

    Feb 19, 2004
    1. Use at least a semi-western grip, or better yet, a full western.

    2. Make sure your start the racquet back on the same levelas the incoming ball.

    3. Make at least a 45 degree shoulder turn.

    4. Initiate the trough swing with the upper torso, and the lower body.

    5. Contact the ball out in front using a motion similar to waving. (Tennis Magazine)

    Personally, I try to hit the ball with enough spin that I can send the ball off the strings with more of an outward tajectory, and still have it land in safely in the court, which is similar to Corretja as I used to remember him. The great thing about sitters is that they are like practicing serves. Just toss the ball up in the air, set up to it, and let it rip. I practice approximatley 20 balls from 9 positions on the court at least once every other week.

    Left corner of the service box- 10 inside out, and 10 down the left line.

    From the T- 10 inside out, and 10 crosscourt.

    Right corner of the service box- 10 crosscourt, and 10 down the line.

    I repeat this pattern from the area between baseline and the service line, and also from the baseline.
  14. tennisdude42

    tennisdude42 Rookie

    Jul 1, 2008
    wait to see which way ur opponent is going and then wrongfoot him or her
  15. El Pelele

    El Pelele Banned

    Sep 3, 2008
    This used to happen to me every time, and sometimes right now too, if I get careless; I used to play with this guy who, was sort of a pusher, but the only thing he had was a very good 1st serve, when it landed in that is, he didn't have a second serve, he would pat it. He would beat me every time because of this.

    So when I was serving, the same thing happened to me, I would hit a really good serve, which gave me an easy put-away, but I would either over-hit it, sending it long, or smash it into the net.

    The thing is that, these kind of shots sort of like tempt you or put pressure on you, like, since they are relatively easy to put away, you "think" and say to yourself that you should be able to put them away, and that you should just kill the ball, which is wrong. You should just practice them a lot, 20 shots isn't good enough. Practice practice.

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