Lag or not to lag your wrist on your forehand

5263

G.O.A.T.
So many video lessons on wrist lag and how it generates massive power. I find it totally meaningless to focus on anything wristy on your shots. Rather focus on generating massive racket head speed using big muscles and present the right racket face to the incoming ball.
how do you get massive RHS without wrist lag into the slot? I don't think you can.
 

AnyPUG

Semi-Pro
how do you get massive RHS without wrist lag into the slot? I don't think you can.
The wrist should get into the slot position because of the need to present the correct racket face angle to the incoming ball. The RHS however "should" primarily come from -
1 gravity (racket head dropping below and coming up to make contact - check Fed/Nadal forehand technique),
2 core/hip rotation,
3 forward weight transfer
4 fast shoulder joint movement
5 distance traveled by the racket before contact (out in front means racket at max speed and at the correct racket face angle)
 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
The wrist should get into the slot position because of the need to present the correct racket face angle to the incoming ball. The RHS however "should" primarily come from -
1 gravity (racket head dropping below and coming up to make contact - check Fed/Nadal forehand technique),
2 core/hip rotation,
3 forward weight transfer
4 fast shoulder joint movement
5 distance traveled by the racket before contact (out in front means racket at max speed and at the correct racket face angle)
What is "the slot position"?
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
If you have proper wrist lag, your wrist is very stable during ball contact as it can’t be pushed back further even by hitting against a heavy shot. So, you can have stable contact with a hard-hit ball even when you generate high racquet-head speed (RHS). If you don’t lag your wrist, your wrist might be pushed back during ball contact and your shot will be more inconsistent when you play against hard-hitters. You have to consciously try to hold your wrist firm with tighter arm muscles during contact if you don’t have wrist lag and it will take away from having high RHS - so, your shot cannot be free-flowing and high-pace.

Just like a strong grip (hard to hit a 90 mph FH with a conti grip), the wrist lag allows you to have a stable impact even when your swing is high-speed - it is not what generates the high RHS.
 
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tenniscraft

New User
I always like to say that the wrist is a catalyst, not an energy source. The wrist is a very important detail of every shot but often misunderstood in what role it plays and generally over prioritized. Most beginners are better off finding a balance between a flexible and stable wrist, and focusing on fundamentals that actually give you meaningful power.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
If you have proper wrist lag, your wrist is very stable during ball contact as it can’t be pushed back further even by hitting against a heavy shot. So, you can have stable contact with a hard-hit ball even when you generate high racquet-head speed (RHS). If you don’t lag your wrait, your wrist might be pushed back during ball contact and your shot will be more inconsistent when you play against hard-hitters. You have to consciously try to hold your wrist firm with tighter arm muscles during contact if you don’t have wrist lag and it will take away from having high RHS - so, your shot cannot be free-flowing and high-pace.

Just like a strong grip (hard to hit a 90 mph FH with a conti grip), the wrist lag allows you to have a stable impact even when your swing is high-speed - it is not what generates the high RHS.
You don't need to hold your wrist firm if you use a proper racquet (with enough mass at the hoop) against your respective opposition. Wrist lag on modern forehand gets "released" by contact, to bigger or lesser degree depending on particular shot:
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
If you have proper wrist lag, your wrist is very stable during ball contact as it can’t be pushed back further even by hitting against a heavy shot. So, you can have stable contact with a hard-hit ball even when you generate high racquet-head speed (RHS). If you don’t lag your wrait, your wrist might be pushed back during ball contact and your shot will be more inconsistent when you play against hard-hitters. You have to consciously try to hold your wrist firm with tighter arm muscles during contact if you don’t have wrist lag and it will take away from having high RHS - so, your shot cannot be free-flowing and high-pace.

Just like a strong grip (hard to hit a 90 mph FH with a conti grip), the wrist lag allows you to have a stable impact even when your swing is high-speed - it is not what generates the high RHS.
The further distance the racquet tip needs to travel over a set time period, the more RHS it will have. The more lag one has, the greater distance the racquet must travel over a shorter time period, resulting in higher RHS. This is not debatable. One could say the lag is not the only contributor, but to say lag is not what generates RHS is plain wrong.
 

AnyPUG

Semi-Pro
The further distance the racquet tip needs to travel over a set time period, the more RHS it will have. The more lag one has, the greater distance the racquet must travel over a shorter time period, resulting in higher RHS. This is not debatable. One could say the lag is not the only contributor, but to say lag is not what generates RHS is plain wrong.
The wrist lag definitely increases the distance the racket must travel and likely to add to some rhs (though very insignificant), the main purpose of the lag is to control the racket face angle - without lag, the ball could land beyond the fence or hit the bottom of the net everytime.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
The wrist lag definitely increases the distance the racket must travel and likely to add to some rhs (though very insignificant), the main purpose of the lag is to control the racket face angle - without lag, the ball could land beyond the fence or hit the bottom of the net everytime.
One can control face angle without lag. A person could keep a completely linear/straight arm/wrist/racquet angle and control the face angle with only upper body rotation. What kind of RHS speed do you think that would generate? Now imagine The same upper body rotation but add wrist lag. Comparative RHS would not even be close. The effect of lag on RHS is not insignificant.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
The wrist lag definitely increases the distance the racket must travel and likely to add to some rhs (though very insignificant), the main purpose of the lag is to control the racket face angle - without lag, the ball could land beyond the fence or hit the bottom of the net everytime.
The main purpose of lag, as it happens at “slot”, going into major acceleration phase, is to allow big muscles to speed up the racquet aligned with acceleration direction - so that it’s not on small forearm muscles to withstand racquet head inertia. Then, as racquet speed is built up, racquet head pivots forward into contact.
 
Wrist lag doesn't create power, it's just something that happens naturally if you do the right things to generate power in the right sequence. If you don't naturally have wrist lag that it's probably a sign you have some issues with your swing... typically arming the ball or forcing the swing. All the forced wrist lag in the world won't help you hit the ball harder in that situation. Too many people focus on static positions in a photo and forget that these are dynamic movements. If you have wrist lag naturally then you're doing something right... you could still be terrible, but at least you're doing something right.

Also, wrist lag shouldn't be confused with being 'wrist'. Contact with the ball is not a slap and that wrist lag created stays until well after the ball is gone and you relax into your follow through. One important aspect of wrist lag is leverage. I've often taught people not to 'hit' the tennis ball, but rather to push through it at contact. Have you ever had to push something heavy, push a door open? What do you do... bend you wrists and arms to create leverage and push. That leverage and stability allows you to apply a lot of force to the incoming ball and maintain good control of the racquet face.

I know 'push' in tennis has very bad connotations in tennis, but I only emphasize it at the moment of contact when I see people that have too much of a 'hit' impulse and don't swing through the ball like they should. Sometimes that visual gets them swinging through the ball and out towards the target. It also has the added benefit of stopping them from over rotating their arm... trying to turn the racquet face over the ball 'to create topspin' as I'm often told 'like the pros do'. Many players have no idea what it fells like to create leverage on the ball.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
lag doesn't make speed...Lag 'allows' speed by shortening the radius like a figure skater and removing strength required at the wrist.....without lag, you will also lose an active segment of you "multi-segmented" swing so it will be slower to some degree and/or take more effort to generate the RHS you have.....Lag is part of the technique that cuts the effort required to generate solid RHS, which is why every top player uses it.
 
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AnyPUG

Semi-Pro
lag doesn't make speed...Lag 'allows' speed by shortening the radius like a figure skater and removing strength required at the wrist.....without lag, you will also lose an active segment of you "multi-segmented" swing so it will be slower to some degree and/or take more effort to generate the RHS you have.....Lag is part of the technique that cuts the effort required to generate solid RHS, which is why every top player uses it.
The wrist lag -

good thing in general? yes
helps to swing with more RHS? yes
creates RHS? no
helps to create RHS? no
creates 'effortless' power? no
helps to create 'effortless' power? no
helps big muscles to create RHS? no

Can lag create rhs? It could, but it's a bad thing if you do - because you will be straining your wrist for very little benefit and sacrificing the deployment of other big muscles.
So what exactly does the wrist lag do since it's found in modern forehand? It helps to keep the racket face and structure in place irrespective of the speed you create by other power sources.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
The wrist lag -

good thing in general? yes
helps to swing with more RHS? yes
creates RHS? no
helps to create RHS? no
creates 'effortless' power? no
helps to create 'effortless' power? no
helps big muscles to create RHS? no
creates RHS? no....but it must be there for best RHS
helps to create RHS? no.....yes, that is the point
creates 'effortless' power? no.....nothing is effortless in tennis, but it does reduce effort
helps to create 'effortless' power? no....sure it does and it seems you confuse lag with 'lag and snap'
helps big muscles to create RHS? no.....absolutely does...maybe read my post again that you quoted? lag is essential to good RHS and without it you are handicapped...
 

pencilcheck

Professional
RHS? How is it has to do with wrist lag or spin or pace?

Blindly following hot keywords is one reasons why a lot of players hit the ceiling and can never break through, because RHS means nothing when the ball is flying away from you at 60 mph and you have to chase and get it back CC.

RHS means nothing even when the ball comes bouncing randomly (skidding or bouncing high) that might curve into your body

RHS means nothing when the ball is bounce short and you have to go forward to hit it over the net

Anyway, the more one thing is focused on, the more you will find ways to optimize it as that's how human mind works but by focusing on RHS you miss out on what makes tennis tennis, to get the ball in play. That's why tennis is frustrating because people are misled.
 

pencilcheck

Professional
Well some advocate that and some do that...

This guy?
There is one, try holding full western and try to hit like him you will have it. But regardless focusing on this topic wouldn't help improving tennis in any shape or form beyond 3.5
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
I think someone above said it, that lag is something to strive for but I know a lot of rec players out there have little lag and compete just fine. I think contact point and racquet face are more important initially than lag.
 

myke232

Rookie
For me it looks like he holds same configuration from backswing through this pic and all the way into contact. While lag is something to be recovered by contact with racquet head catching up.
But if he held that position the whole way, then his forearm would have to be completely parallel to the sideline at contact. So he does have at least some wrist lag. Which is kind of why I'm saying everyone has some. But honestly who cares... haha...
 

Morch Us

Professional
Be careful not to get injured. You got it all wrong, if you are doing what you described below.
If you have proper wrist lag, your wrist is very stable during ball contact as it can’t be pushed back further even by hitting against a heavy shot.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
There is one, try holding full western and try to hit like him you will have it. But regardless focusing on this topic wouldn't help improving tennis in any shape or form beyond 3.5
actually understanding the "lag to drag" better is probably one of the most key things to moving past the 3.5- 4.0 range.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
For me it looks like he holds same configuration from backswing through this pic and all the way into contact. While lag is something to be recovered by contact with racquet head catching up.
yes, he uses very little lag and that is one of the issues leading to more of a big wrap Fh like that one.
 

rkelley

Hall of Fame
The wrist lag -

good thing in general? yes
helps to swing with more RHS? yes
creates RHS? no
helps to create RHS? no
creates 'effortless' power? no
helps to create 'effortless' power? no
helps big muscles to create RHS? no

Can lag create rhs? It could, but it's a bad thing if you do - because you will be straining your wrist for very little benefit and sacrificing the deployment of other big muscles.
So what exactly does the wrist lag do since it's found in modern forehand? It helps to keep the racket face and structure in place irrespective of the speed you create by other power sources.
AnyPUG, listen to 5263. He's right.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
It's like every damn week we have a meaningless thread on this topic.

At some point the mods should just pin a thread that says:

"For the last ****ing time, wrist lag is a byproduct of a loose and relaxed swing, and is most evident with eastern to semiwestern grips. Stop focusing on what is otherwise a minor detail on your quest to model your forehand after Federer's 'liquid whip forehand', and just focus on your damned footwork and kinetic chain instead."
 

AnyPUG

Semi-Pro
.. and just focus on your damned footwork and kinetic chain instead."
Frankly speaking, the focus on footwork and kinetic chain is useless and counter productive to a large degree. It's all about positioning your body correctly to hit the ball right.
If you are told how the the body should be aligned with respect to the ball, everything else including footwork will fall in place.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Frankly speaking, the focus on footwork and kinetic chain is useless and counter productive to a large degree. It's all about positioning your body correctly to hit the ball right.
If you are told how the the body should be aligned with respect to the ball, everything else including footwork will fall in place.
  1. Footwork is all about how to position yourself quickly and efficiently
  2. Kinetic chain is about how to use your body to produce a fast and efficient swing
You can quite conceivably align yourself to the ball well and still get everything wrong, eg plodding flat footed at a ball and then arming the ball with minimal involvement of your legs and core.
 

AnyPUG

Semi-Pro
  1. Footwork is all about how to position yourself quickly and efficiently
  2. Kinetic chain is about how to use your body to produce a fast and efficient swing
You can quite conceivably align yourself to the ball well and still get everything wrong, eg plodding flat footed at a ball and then arming the ball with minimal involvement of your legs and core.
You are right. My point is that if you know the exact body alignment needed to hit the ball, the footwork just happens and the use of kinetic chain kicks in without thinking about it. Once you get the fundamental stuff in place, other things such as quickness can be added later. Players very often ignore the exact body alignment needed to hit a ball well and try to master discreet concepts such as unit turn, lag etc. It leads them to miss the real big ticket item - the body alignment to the ball.
 

nyta2

Rookie
So many video lessons on wrist lag and how it generates massive power. I find it totally meaningless to focus on anything wristy on your shots. Rather focus on generating massive racket head speed using big muscles and present the right racket face to the incoming ball.
problem with *only* focusing on "massive rhs with big muscles" is if you're teaching someone who grips the racquet like their life depends on it... they will use all their big muscles, and still not produce lag.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
It's like every damn week we have a meaningless thread on this topic.
............
Stop focusing on what is otherwise a minor detail
yet so many still don't understand it.
Calling it a minor detail hints to me that you still don't get it. Without proper lag into the slot, you don't have much chance at a top level Fh for moving past 4.0. Not only is it the first of a very few basic core fundamental checkpoints for both the Fh and the Bh, but it is also probably the single biggest factor enabling quality acceleration into and thru contact.
 

nyta2

Rookie
yet so many still don't understand it.
Calling it a minor detail hints to me that you still don't get it. Without proper lag into the slot, you don't have much chance at a top level Fh for moving past 4.0. Not only is it the first of a very few basic core fundamental checkpoints for both the Fh and the Bh, but it is also probably the single biggest factor enabling quality acceleration into and thru contact.
to be fair, i know at least a couple low 5.0 folks that don't have much alot of lag on their fh...
it's not as strong a shot (spin & pace) as mine, but they've got a ton of control/accuracy, and can send me scurrying from corner to corner (so i can't load as well)
but i'd guess beyond 5.0 it's probably tough to compete with only control/accuracy, when folks have all three (accuracy/spin/pace)
my $.02
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
to be fair, i know at least a couple low 5.0 folks that don't have much alot of lag on their fh...
it's not as strong a shot (spin & pace) as mine, but they've got a ton of control/accuracy, and can send me scurrying from corner to corner (so i can't load as well)
but i'd guess beyond 5.0 it's probably tough to compete with only control/accuracy, when folks have all three (accuracy/spin/pace)
my $.02
correct, but I have never seen anyone make the mistake (yet anyway) make the mistake of arguing for max lag or even major lag......just the idea of how lag must be factored into strong RHS and good acceleration.
 

nyta2

Rookie
correct, but I have never seen anyone make the mistake (yet anyway) make the mistake of arguing for max lag or even major lag......just the idea of how lag must be factored into strong RHS and good acceleration.
i'm going to guess that folks that don't want to acknowledge it, are struggling with basic contact.
i know i made the mistake of trying to teach a beginner the idea of the pull&flip (eg. from macci), but he was having trouble with basic hand/eye, feet/eye coordination, so scrapped the idea entirely, and went the traditional approach of eliminating the idea of lag, and just focused on getting the hitting hand under the contact vs. relying on the flip/lag to drop the racquet further.
 
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