Lag and Snap Forehand


I think this is the most critical point. But what makes the hand move forward is the question. You can do it using your arm and get the flip but it won't be proper pro style forehand. Once you move your arm and hand by sudden uncoiling of torso with almost no arm muscles involved, you've nailed it.

Here are two sample strokes to demonstrate what I meant:


I'm wondering if hip rotation is separate from torso rotation and which muscles are involved? Recently I have been trying to use more rotation and getting soreness in both sides of my tummy and just above the hips.

There is a chain of events, the kinetic chain, beginning with hip rotation which pulls the torso, which pulls the shoulders which pulls the arm and racquet. This is what causes the lag - the time between initiating the swing with hip drive and contact with the ball. But, it is not something that you should think about or try to purposely manipulate. You should be loose and relaxed and allow it to happen naturally.


Yeah but it is fun and some lag is better than none, right?
We also want that effortless power and the lag is actually a good indicator.
What also helps me is if I keep my eyes at contact, through contact, somehow I also hit more relaxed that way (or maybe it's just better contact and stability?).
Lag is a good indicator, but while swing speed is one of the aspects of the lag amount, there are others as well like flexibility and keeping a relaxed grip. A rubber armed kid with a loose grip can have enormous lag without having near the swing speed of a pro. As you mention, this is how we can see it for such easy power from some young players. Imo, the best reason to work on lag is to force better use of your Kchain while avoiding an overly tight grip that can lead to arm problems.


Bionic Poster
I'm wondering if hip rotation is separate from torso rotation and which muscles are involved? Recently I have been trying to use more rotation and getting soreness in both sides of my tummy and just above the hips.

Yes, they are separate links in the chain. A couple of ways to achieve this for various strokes (serves, groundies, etc). If you coil the torso more than the hips then you create an offset or a separation angle that stores (potential) energy in the core. By releasing the stored energy in the core, you can produce a more aggressive uncoiling of the torso.

Now, if the hips and torso are coiled to the same degree, more or less, then the uncoiling of the hips must precede the uncoiling of the torso. When the hips uncoil first like this, it produces that offset that I mentioned above. Actually both of these techniques can be used together. You can start with a hips/torso offset and still lead with the uncoiling of the hips for a greater separation angle.


Hall of Fame
THANKS!! Thats an amazing offer and it gives me great sadness to put you through watching these vids! Though I promise to implement any advice you have.

Here I was learning and focusing on a real unit turn, laying back the wrist, and planting:

Here is a few month later and I am trying to hit 100 balls in a row. Honestly I never thought I would do it, as slowing down and being consistent is not a forte. If I slow down the stroke they seem to fly and I need to swing out to get spin. But this night I managed to hit bunches of 3/4 paced FHs:

Thanks again!
Seems to me that the second video is getting pretty close to where you want to be. As someone pointed out, you seem to have some "old style" stuff going on sometimes. I *think* the first video was old style, and I think that in the second video that you could have been swinging much harder and still gotten away with nice shots as you were using the "modern" stroke. One of the major differences (to me) between the "old style" and the "modern" is demonstrated in the two "freeze frames" that I just stuck into this little Flickr album. Yer racket face is already facing "left" (old style), whilst Fed's is still sorta facing his target (modern).

My sense is that you were using the modern stroke most of the time in the second video. If the racket face remains on plane, then swinging faster just means adding more spin and pace, but the trajectory remains pretty much the same, with the added spin still bringing the faster ball down into the court. It looked like there was a tendency to send a number of the balls on a little too high a trajectory, but I think that could be easily dealt with by closing the racket face angle a degree or two - probably via grip.

I don't think yer very far off. You certainly can't do what JY suggests with the contact further forward without keeping the racket face "on plane". With the old style, the racket will be facing to the left before you get to that contact area.

What a great thread. I'm still a bit lost on one thing that doesn't seem to yield itself to "commonality". Looking at JY's fine slo-mo's of Fed, Djoker, and Rafa, as well as the cool slo-mo of Jack Sock, I remain stumped by the "plane angle" variation amongst these guys during the "wipe". The extremes seem to be Socks's, which remains almost completely vertical as it was at contact, and Fed's which very quickly closes after contact (though his may be somewhat more closed *at* contact than the others, too).

Seems to me the bottom line for a modern forehand is having a laid back wrist coming into contact, which allows the counterclockwise "doorknob" move to make the racket head "wipe" on plane, and allowing for a more "driving forward" contact out front than the old eastern forehand that has the racket face aiming "left" soon after reacing its contact area (and relies mostly on a "low-to-high" swing path for a little spin). (Is the Fed closing the face as he goes through the ball???)