Looking for advice on the forehand [video]

papahamster

New User

My forehand is decent but is lacking penetration. I can muscle a bit more than shown in this video but it will certainly become less consistent. My thoughts are that I'm not fully using my body properly in some of these shots - my weight transfer is far from perfect.

My left hand also seems a bit limp which might make the twisting less explosive?

I'm sure my forehand (including the movement on the forehand side) is riddled with subtle issues. Please let me know if you see one.

I'm orange shoes
 
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Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
It seems like a good forehand but then again I'm only a layman.

Recording in slowmo helps.

You are saying you feel like you arent using your body, are you trying torso rotation? When contact is made your dominant shoulder should be in front.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
You seem deliberate and careful, maybe squeezing to hard on the grip for the kind of topspin you are trying to hit.
Tight grip is fine for mechanical short direct swings.
Maybe loosen grip for more layback, allow pronation, and get a longer, faster swing.
 

papahamster

New User
You are saying you feel like you arent using your body, are you trying torso rotation? When contact is made your dominant shoulder should be in front.
Yea, basically in other words, I'm feeling like i'm not getting effortless power

You seem deliberate and careful, maybe squeezing to hard on the grip for the kind of topspin you are trying to hit.
Tight grip is fine for mechanical short direct swings.
Maybe loosen grip for more layback, allow pronation, and get a longer, faster swing.
Never really thought of this but you might be right. I know sometimes I'm muscling the ball and most likely death gripping the racket to put the topspin on the ball.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.

My forehand is decent but is lacking penetration. I can muscle a bit more than shown in this video but it will certainly become less consistent. My thoughts are that I'm not fully using my body properly in some of these shots - my weight transfer is far from perfect.

My left hand also seems a bit limp which might make the twisting less explosive?

I'm sure my forehand (including the movement on the forehand side) is riddled with subtle issues. Please let me know if you see one.

I'm orange shoes

Overall is a wonderful stroke and ticks all the boxes, but I see exactly what you are wanting to improve. I think @LeeD is right on with your deliberate and careful, which to me just seems like your not getting as much tension in the coil and uncoil to create a little more racquet head speed. I think it really shows in your lower body where you do not rotate your hips quickly. That might be an area I would explore with your coach and see what they say, or on your own if you are self-taught. Cheers.
 

eah123

Semi-Pro
Your FH stroke mechanics look good to me. Main thing to work on would be 1) timing - you are often late, so initiate earlier or focus on hitting the ball more in front. This will help you with better racket head speed which you can use for either more power or more top spin. 2) spacing - you are often setting up too close to the ball, which cramps up your swing. You should have a feeling of relaxed extension into the ball, which also give you greater racket-head speed due to the relaxed arm providing a whippier motion as well as a longer lever arm.

I am working on the same things in my game! Good luck.
 

matterer

New User
Your problem seems to be that on slower balls where you have more time to set up, you take a longer swing than necessary. On balls where your opponent is giving you more pace, you're taking a shorter swing, swinging harder and hitting cleaner. Taking a longer swing than you need to to generate the desired rackethead speed makes it harder to hit clean because you have to initiate your forward swing earlier, so it's harder to time. A lot of players who hit better when they're given pace have the habit of taking a longer, slower swing when given more time, but when rushed they'll be forced to shorten their swing and can hit harder and cleaner.

Effortless power is all about wrist lag. The more rackethead speed you can get from wrist lag, the less effort you need to put into your swing. Fognini is a great player to learn from. Take extremely short swings with a loose wrist to learn wrist lag. If you start out with a full swing, it's hard to get a feel for it. But once you get it down, it's a much easier shot than a stiff wrist forehand.
 

ballmachineguy

Professional
You wait just a hair too long to initiate forward swing. Your upper body does not turn into the shot until after you have flipped the racquet. Start rotating toward contact while the racquet is dropping toward the flip/lag phase and you will get more rhs and spin.
Think a little more like cracking a whip. You pull back, and while the tip is still going back you throw your hand forward. You don’t pull back, wait for the tip to fall to the ground and then throw the hand.
 
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Booger

Hall of Fame
Nice base. Good footwork and you understand how to unit turn and coil.

As for tweaks, you are right that you are arming the ball and there are a few things going on. I see a bunch of tension in your arm, particularly that concrete elbow.

  1. Move that elbow away from your body on the backswing, and give yourself more space to hit the ball. Your arm needs to act like a rubber band and follow behind your shoulder turn, not make a 1:1 turn with your shoulders. Use your hips and core to generate power and just let your arm go along for the ride.
  2. Once you loosen your arm up, you can apply it to your follow through as well. Let the tip of the racquet do the work and carry your arm through the court.

There's a bunch of stuff published on how to fix, so I won't reinvent the wheel here. Easiest way to work on this is with drop feeds. It is impossible to generate a bunch of pace and spin using only your arm from a self feed, so you'll know when it feels right.



Djoko is the bent arm, windshield wiper king. Still, look how much space he gives himself so he can get that ez pz power.
 
You look tense and the range of shoulder motion is limited on fh side. Relax and leave your gaze at the point of contact. Then, you can generate more racket head speed without sacrificing consistency.
 
I'm fairly certain I know exactly what will help you drive through with effortless power, and why you feel like you can't do that right now.

First, a point of reference. Once you really get the mechanics down, you can crank as hard as you possibly can with your legs and abs, and still make most balls (if they're sitters). I'd wager good money that when you try to hit as hard as you can, you cycle between hitting the net and hitting it long, or that you just can't seem to actually hit a 100mph forehand no matter how much effort you put in, because the transfer of force from your core, through your wrist and hand, into the racket just isn't efficient enough.

Here's why - the volitional backswing. (aka the stuff you're doing on purpose with your arm and hand muscles, not what's happening as a result of flinging the racket forward with your core)

You are extending your elbow and rotating your strings towards the net with your hand, rather than allowing those things to happen passively as you drive the racket forward with your hips and abs. This is why you feel like you have to be so careful - if you relax and swing out, you're definitely going to hit the ball long with this preparation.

Here's how you fix it:

1. Prepare palm down.
2. After you place the hand down, don't do anything else with the hand. Just rip it forward with the torso.

I think Aslan Karatsev is the player whose forehand best illustrates what I'm talking about:
https://faulttoleranttennis.com/compact-efficient-elite-aslan-karatsevs-versatile-forehand/

Check out his preparation. He places his hand down, palm down, and that's it, preparation over. His next step is to explosively rotate forward. Because he starts palm down, he can control the ball with a relaxed wrist while exploding. It is because the strings will always turn up as you explode forward that you must start with them facing down. If you start with them pointing at the other side of the net, you'll be forced to either swing slow, or use wrist tension in order to avoid them turning up during the forward explosion.

Oh, and btw, your forehand is pretty great. This is probably the one tweak that'll unlock everything, but overall the fundamentals are very solid.

Also, you are correct that a stronger left arm will improve your forehand, but marginally. The better symmetry between your elbows as you swing - using the entire upper body as one unit - the more you can rip the ball with your ab muscles while staying balanced. Your left arm is fine though, that change is maybe +10%. Fixing the string angle during preparation and removing the volitional backswing will fundamentally transform your swing. With the amount of effort you're using now, you'll feel like you literally can't miss, and you'll also be able to absolutely rip the ball with 80-90% accuracy, because the rest of the motion is already so clean.
 
Just for a little added clarification using your exact swing, I pulled out some clips from one of the cross-court forehands that you (predictably, based on the images you'll see) sailed long, despite the swing looking, well, pretty decent.

I wrote this out in the description of the image there, but I'll quote it here for you to read:

The position on the left should be the final preparation position, before exploding forward using the legs and trunk. The hand could be prepared lower, depending on the height of anticipated contact, but it shouldn't be brought farther back volitionally.

The position on the right pre-rotates the strings and pre-stretches the wrist. Due to the pre-rotation of the strings, wrist tension will be required to prevent the strings from facing up through contact. The pre-stretched wrist is also inhibitory, hampering much of the natural lag and snap action that occurs when a relaxed wrist is flung forward with the trunk.
 

Pumpkin

Semi-Pro
I don't see anything much wrong with your forehand. Looks really good actually.

If I was to nit pick, your left arm ( as you touched on) is maybe a little passive. If you stretch it out creating a stretch in your left side back muscles, then when you release the arm those back muscles will contract in a pulling motion adding some power to the shot.

Otherwise if you feel you are lacking penetration then perhaps it's an equipment issue since the forehand is already good.
 

mrmarble

Rookie
Everyone is trying to find an issue lol ignoring the most important thing that he hits the ball so cleanly
OP, try to fix the issues pointed out and start shanking balls lol
 

papahamster

New User
Just for a little added clarification using your exact swing, I pulled out some clips from one of the cross-court forehands that you (predictably, based on the images you'll see) sailed long, despite the swing looking, well, pretty decent.

I wrote this out in the description of the image there, but I'll quote it here for you to read:

The position on the left should be the final preparation position, before exploding forward using the legs and trunk. The hand could be prepared lower, depending on the height of anticipated contact, but it shouldn't be brought farther back volitionally.

The position on the right pre-rotates the strings and pre-stretches the wrist. Due to the pre-rotation of the strings, wrist tension will be required to prevent the strings from facing up through contact. The pre-stretched wrist is also inhibitory, hampering much of the natural lag and snap action that occurs when a relaxed wrist is flung forward with the trunk.

I think you are right on the money with this one.
 

papahamster

New User
Hey thank you so much all the feedbacks are amazing.

Here are the things i'll go work on
  • Instead of placing the racket in the position where it is pointing at the back fence, I should strive to keep the racket pointing more the the side fece or the net post and rely on my hips to initiate the arm swing which will create the lag that I want. Perhaps, focusing on having more tension in my left hand here would also help with the whole package.
  • Work on hitting the ball further out in front as well as side of the body
  • This is not mentioned here but I noticed that in my closed stance, I don't initially load up on my back leg that much. I should really load on the back leg then transfer a good forward momentum to the front leg to hit a heavy shot

I think if I could master the first bullet, that would yield me the most benefit.
 

innoVAShaun

Hall of Fame

My forehand is decent but is lacking penetration. I can muscle a bit more than shown in this video but it will certainly become less consistent. My thoughts are that I'm not fully using my body properly in some of these shots - my weight transfer is far from perfect.

My left hand also seems a bit limp which might make the twisting less explosive?

I'm sure my forehand (including the movement on the forehand side) is riddled with subtle issues. Please let me know if you see one.

I'm orange shoes
The indoor court looks like ODU. Where is this?
 

papahamster

New User
To all that are complimenting my strokes, I appreciate it! I'm aware that this forehand is a decent shot. When I play at parks/clubs, people will stop by to watch and often give me compliments. It's arguably my best shot and has won me points/matches over the years...

But the hard truth is, it's not an elite forehand. When I start playing against players (utr 9.5+), it became a liability rather than a weapon. It's a tough pill to swallow but indeed a humbling one.
 
To all that are complimenting my strokes, I appreciate it! I'm aware that this forehand is a decent shot. When I play at parks/clubs, people will stop by to watch and often give me compliments. It's arguably my best shot and has won me points/matches over the years...

But the hard truth is, it's not an elite forehand. When I start playing against players (utr 9.5+), it became a liability rather than a weapon. It's a tough pill to swallow but indeed a humbling one.
Cool that you're self-aware. Having extra, unnecessary backswing often doesn't matter at UTR < 8, because the balls aren't fast enough to punish it. Also, it looks like you're athletic enough to beat most of those players without ever hitting hard yourself. Always happy to see people, who are already quality players, looking to take it to the next level.

Good luck!
 
I really love both wings and I wish I had your forehand! Maybe you're take-back could be a little more compact and not so loopy. Or maybe it's the lag. But you shouldn't listen to me, because my forehand is a liability!
 

matterer

New User
Another thing is the higher you're making contact, the more you come from under the ball. You some really good forehands starting at 6:17 because you the balls were lower, so you didn't come from under the ball very much, and hit consistently low over the net. The is a very consistent way to hit a ball at waist height. On higher balls you have a tendency to swing up to contact. This sends the ball unnecessarily high, and it's really hard to bring it down with topspin so you're going to hit long more. Timing is also harder, so you're more likely to miss the sweet spot and hit balls short, too. You should actually be hitting your flattest from chest height, because it's the safest ball to attack.

Watch your partner's strokes, the lowest point in his swing is always really close to contact regardless of contact height. This makes it easier to hit clean because you're aligning your sweet spot with the ball as you're approaching the ball. "Contact point to high" is really what you should be aiming for
 
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