Looking for some feedback on my groundstrokes

Frans Bleker

Professional
Hey Folks,

I'm looking for some feedback on especially my forehand. My forehands usually have "ok" speed and depth, but not more than that, I have the feeling I'm doing something wrong that is inhibiting my forehand but I can't really figure out what it is for sure. I practically play with western fh grip.

Movie is below, it are some groundies on a slow, to moderate pace. hope you guys have some tips!


 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
Do you feel your BH is better? Or at least, stronger relative to other players' backhands than your FH is to their FHs?

You use your legs and body a lot better on the BH wing.

I don't want to overgeneralize on the FH side, because you're all over the map in terms of how you're hitting it, but you're only very rarely using your legs/hips, and you're getting powerful core rotation only a little more often than that. As a result, probably 3/4 of your strokes are mostly arm -- including a bunch of them where you're DOING a lot with your legs, but you're doing it out of sequence and ineffectively.

I suspect this is a concentration and "knowing what to look for" issue, rather than a "not knowing what to do" issue. Because you ARE using your full body well from time to time. But that inconsistency in using as much of the full-body kinetic chain as you're able to on any given ball is probably what's causing your issues with depth and consistency.

Consider: on an ideal FH, where you're there in time, and have time to set up, you want to take a plant step with that back foot, drive off it aggressively, really push the hip, then engage the core, and finally bring the shoulders and racquet around.

Go back and watch, stroke by stroke, and see if you can notice when your swing finishes, and your racquet is already across your body, before your hips or your chest have come around to square. That means you haven't gotten those parts of the chain, and thus the muscles that drive them, into your shot.

Now, SOME of that will be due to the fact that you showed a selection of warmup shots, rather than full speed ones. But the mechanics of partial strokes are usually just a subset of the full stroke. You don't always need every part of the chain, but every part you do use needs to be in tune and effective. I'm not seeing that every stroke, here.

A suggested first fix: increased use of the off arm. Really think about extending your left arm across the body and holding it there -- fully extended -- an extra beat. Don't start pulling with the off arm until you begin driving off the plant leg. And when you do drive off the plant leg, DO volitionally PULL with that off arm. That helps time and engage the whole hips-to-shoulders part of the chain. The more often you successfully engage all those parts, the more consistency you'll see.
 
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Frans Bleker

Professional
Do you feel your BH is better? Or at least, stronger relative to other players' backhands than your FH is to their FHs?

You use your legs and body a lot better on the BH wing.

I don't want to overgeneralize on the FH side, because you're all over the map in terms of how you're hitting it, but you're only very rarely using your legs/hips, and you're getting powerful core rotation only a little more often than that. As a result, probably 3/4 of your strokes are mostly arm -- including a bunch of them where you're DOING a lot with your legs, but you're doing it out of sequence and ineffectively.

I suspect this is a concentration and "knowing what to look for" issue, rather than a "not knowing what to do" issue. Because you ARE using your full body well from time to time. But that inconsistency in using as much of the full-body kinetic chain as you're able to on any given ball is probably what's causing your issues with depth and consistency.

Consider: on an ideal FH, where you're there in time, and have time to set up, you want to take a plant step with that back foot, drive off it aggressively, really push the hip, then engage the core, and finally bring the shoulders and racquet around.

Go back and watch, stroke by stroke, and see if you can notice when your swing finishes, and your racquet is already across your body, before your hips or your chest have come around to square. That means you haven't gotten those parts of the chain, and thus the muscles that drive them, into your shot.

Now, SOME of that will be due to the fact that you showed a selection of warmup shots, rather than full speed ones. But the mechanics of partial strokes are usually just a subset of the full stroke. You don't always need every part of the chain, but every part you do use needs to be in tune and effective. I'm not seeing that every stroke, here.

A suggested first fix: increased use of the off arm. Really think about extending your left arm across the body and holding it there -- fully extended -- an extra beat. Don't start pulling with the off arm until you begin driving off the plant leg. And when you do drive off the plant leg, DO volitionally PULL with that off arm. That helps time and engage the whole hips-to-shoulders part of the chain. The more often you successfully engage all those parts, the more consistency you'll see.
Thank you for your extensive reply and analysis!

Yes I feel on my backhand that when I'm concentrated I can fire them off pretty easily, and effortlessly get depth and pace!

Thank you for your analysis on the Kinitic Chain, when you say it now I feel indeed that I don't use my hips and legs correctly alot, that might also be the reasons why I sometimes have problems generating alot of forehand pace on slow balls. I will test your tips out this week, and really going to work on it!

I think the leg and hip part have never been really wired well in my brains at the forehand.

But this is much appreciated!
 

Frans Bleker

Professional
Do you feel your BH is better? Or at least, stronger relative to other players' backhands than your FH is to their FHs?

You use your legs and body a lot better on the BH wing.

I don't want to overgeneralize on the FH side, because you're all over the map in terms of how you're hitting it, but you're only very rarely using your legs/hips, and you're getting powerful core rotation only a little more often than that. As a result, probably 3/4 of your strokes are mostly arm -- including a bunch of them where you're DOING a lot with your legs, but you're doing it out of sequence and ineffectively.

I suspect this is a concentration and "knowing what to look for" issue, rather than a "not knowing what to do" issue. Because you ARE using your full body well from time to time. But that inconsistency in using as much of the full-body kinetic chain as you're able to on any given ball is probably what's causing your issues with depth and consistency.

Consider: on an ideal FH, where you're there in time, and have time to set up, you want to take a plant step with that back foot, drive off it aggressively, really push the hip, then engage the core, and finally bring the shoulders and racquet around.

Go back and watch, stroke by stroke, and see if you can notice when your swing finishes, and your racquet is already across your body, before your hips or your chest have come around to square. That means you haven't gotten those parts of the chain, and thus the muscles that drive them, into your shot.

Now, SOME of that will be due to the fact that you showed a selection of warmup shots, rather than full speed ones. But the mechanics of partial strokes are usually just a subset of the full stroke. You don't always need every part of the chain, but every part you do use needs to be in tune and effective. I'm not seeing that every stroke, here.

A suggested first fix: increased use of the off arm. Really think about extending your left arm across the body and holding it there -- fully extended -- an extra beat. Don't start pulling with the off arm until you begin driving off the plant leg. And when you do drive off the plant leg, DO volitionally PULL with that off arm. That helps time and engage the whole hips-to-shoulders part of the chain. The more often you successfully engage all those parts, the more consistency you'll see.
Btw, sometimes I also feel that when I use a Semi Western grip, I use my legs and hips more than when I'm using my normal western grip, I also hit the ball lower (lower contact point) then and swing more from low to high instead of hitting from middle to high, does this make sense?
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
Btw, sometimes I also feel that when I use a Semi Western grip, I use my legs and hips more than when I'm using my normal western grip, I also hit the ball lower (lower contact point) then and swing more from low to high instead of hitting from middle to high, does this make sense?
Absolutely. If you feel you need to physically drive the racquet through that whole topspin-producing arc when you're using the the milder grip, you might well be unconsciously using your full body better -- effectively meaning you're often using the easier vertical swingpath of the western as a crutch (sorry 'bout the negative connotation) without realizing you're doing so.

I'd encourage you to move toward the SW anyway (not you, specifically, but everyone), but both strokes can reach elite levels with practice. With the western, you need even more consistent and powerful use of the full body, because that super-vertical swingpath will lend itself to a lack of depth without proper use of the engine behind it.
 
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elkabras

Rookie
Preparation is good, but I think you need flex legs more and follow through in the shoulder or higher...run and give you time to be ready to hit is very helpful...and for me helps to a 18x20 pattern....a blade 98 leaded up would be good, or my PT57B...I need 18x20 to hit with confidence in my worse shot...that is my Western FH...try to focus on get the ball in front helps too


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Frans Bleker

Professional
Absolutely. If you feel you need to physically drive the racquet through that whole topspin-producing arc when you're using the the milder grip, you might well be unconsciously using your full body better -- effectively meaning you're often using the easier vertical swingpath of the western as a crutch (sorry 'bout the negative connotation) without realizing you're doing so.

I'd encourage you to move toward the SW anyway (not you, specifically, but everyone), but both strokes can reach elite levels with practice.
I am going try some semi western sessions this week again. I try'ed it before, in my youth and recently, I ended up going back to my western for the same reason I use a penhold grip instead of a shake hand grip with table tennis, for some reason it is wired in my brain to hit the ball too much up and the result is that my shots are going wide/long alot. I probably can train this, and will try it in any case!

Thanks:)
 

Frans Bleker

Professional
Preparation is good, but I think you need flex legs more and follow through in the shoulder or higher...run and give you time to be ready to hit is very helpful...and for me helps to a 18x20 pattern....a blade 98 leaded up would be good, or my PT57B...I need 18x20 to hit with confidence in my worse shot...that is my Western FH


Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
Thanks for the feedback! Yea I'm playing better with an 18x20 aswell normally, but I recently noticed that I especially benefit from high twistweights. I played very well with the new Pure Strike 16x19 and also with the Head Extreme Pro's. When I use an semi-western grip, high twistweights inhibit me and then I even prefer to play with low twistweights, so my Head Youtek Prestige Pro (like 11.7 TW). I was actually considering swapping to a Pure Strike 16x19 or 18x20, I like the higher twistweight of the 16x19 more, but the string pattern of the 18x20.
 

elkabras

Rookie
Pure Strike 18x20 with leather grip to decrease SW its an absolute beast....Thiem hits with it plus lead tape a 9-3....but I played good enough without it....I play with 360gr strung radical tour Candycane...lovely one...but I need to be fast with legs and allow my arm to hit free


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LeeD

Bionic Poster
You hit very well, clay court loopy strokes.
But, if you want more pure ball speed, flatten out your backswing more, linear swing thru the ball, and your current swing will produce a very fast, very hard, flattish ball.
 

Frans Bleker

Professional
You hit very well, clay court loopy strokes.
But, if you want more pure ball speed, flatten out your backswing more, linear swing thru the ball, and your current swing will produce a very fast, very hard, flattish ball.
Thank you! I can try that, but my experience is that if I don't loop my shots enough, they can easily get too long. It's also hard to flatten it out in this case, cause the hitting partner here can generates loads of spin, which result in really high bounces. But I'm gonna try to play a bit with my swing as you suggest!

Appreciate the feedback!
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Flatter faster balls always will go long more often than heavy topspin balls, but you're looking for MORE power, not more spin.
You can tighten your grip at the moment of contact to get a more solid, faster moving ball. This is demonstrated by the fact big strong guys can hit harder than little weak women.
To hit fast flat shots, like Berdyk and DelPo, you need a more linear swing, less loopy, and hit through the ball, aiming 2' above the net, no more, and with a bit of topspin. That takes better posture, balance, and footwork than you apply now.
If the incoming ball bounces high, like chin high, you raise your backswing so you can swing flat through the ball, making a faster, less spinny shot, which is lower margin for error.
.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Nice strokes.. I freezed a few of your shots to try to see contact point - I think you sometimes take the ball a bit too close and get a bit jammed. So rather then looking for technical fix I would concentrate on really cleaning up - trying to feel like you are making contact at the ideal position for you - which I think is a little farther away from your body and a little more out in front..
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
I don't want to overgeneralize on the FH side, because you're all over the map in terms of how you're hitting it, but you're only very rarely using your legs/hips, and you're getting powerful core rotation only a little more often than that. As a result, probably 3/4 of your strokes are mostly arm -- including a bunch of them where you're DOING a lot with your legs, but you're doing it out of sequence and ineffectively.

I suspect this is a concentration and "knowing what to look for" issue, rather than a "not knowing what to do" issue. Because you ARE using your full body well from time to time. But that inconsistency in using as much of the full-body kinetic chain as you're able to on any given ball is probably what's causing your issues with depth and consistency.
This. There is use of legs and rotation on the forehand, but seems many times you are choosing to hit open and forward without legs or rotation.
Good hitting overall and like the racquet head speed.
 

NLBwell

Legend
Stand facing the side fence, feet just a bit more than shoulder width apart with knees bent some, with your right hand pointed to the back fence and your left pointed at the net. Hands and feet should be lined up in a straight line. Then (since you want to do open stance) drop your left foot back so it is the same distance from the net as your right. BUT, keep your left hip pointed to the net the same way as it was before you moved your left foot back. You should feel the resistance to the coiling. Imagine being a discus thrower from this position.

Basically, right now, you are keeping your hips too open at the beginning of the stroke, so you get no potential energy from coiling them in relation to your feet. Therefore, you can't release the energy into your swing.
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
Stand facing the side fence, feet just a bit more than shoulder width apart with knees bent some, with your right hand pointed to the back fence and your left pointed at the net. Hands and feet should be lined up in a straight line. Then (since you want to do open stance) drop your left foot back so it is the same distance from the net as your right. BUT, keep your left hip pointed to the net the same way as it was before you moved your left foot back. You should feel the resistance to the coiling. Imagine being a discus thrower from this position.
Imagine being a chiropractor or orthopedic surgeon. $$$!
 

johnnyb

Semi-Pro
Hey Folks,

I'm looking for some feedback on especially my forehand. My forehands usually have "ok" speed and depth, but not more than that, I have the feeling I'm doing something wrong that is inhibiting my forehand but I can't really figure out what it is for sure. I practically play with western fh grip.

Movie is below, it are some groundies on a slow, to moderate pace. hope you guys have some tips!

Next time try to upload to Youtube so we can watch in slow motion.
 

Frans Bleker

Professional
Nice strokes.. I freezed a few of your shots to try to see contact point - I think you sometimes take the ball a bit too close and get a bit jammed. So rather then looking for technical fix I would concentrate on really cleaning up - trying to feel like you are making contact at the ideal position for you - which I think is a little farther away from your body and a little more out in front..

Nice one, I one time read something that ATP Pro's hit the ball at 10 degrees in front of them (on average). I'll try it! Thanks!
 

Frans Bleker

Professional
This. There is use of legs and rotation on the forehand, but seems many times you are choosing to hit open and forward without legs or rotation.
Good hitting overall and like the racquet head speed.
Thank you!

Yes I just figured out that I fully turn my body (90 degrees) on the backhand and on my forehand my front posture is just facing the opponent and I just kind off twist my body ~90 degrees, instead of really turning it, maby that is a wrong thing to do!
 

Frans Bleker

Professional
Stand facing the side fence, feet just a bit more than shoulder width apart with knees bent some, with your right hand pointed to the back fence and your left pointed at the net. Hands and feet should be lined up in a straight line. Then (since you want to do open stance) drop your left foot back so it is the same distance from the net as your right. BUT, keep your left hip pointed to the net the same way as it was before you moved your left foot back. You should feel the resistance to the coiling. Imagine being a discus thrower from this position.

Basically, right now, you are keeping your hips too open at the beginning of the stroke, so you get no potential energy from coiling them in relation to your feet. Therefore, you can't release the energy into your swing.
I just made a comment on this: Yes I just figured out that I fully turn my body (90 degrees) on the backhand and on my forehand my front posture is just facing the opponent and I just kind off twist my body ~90 degrees, instead of really turning it, maby that is a wrong thing to do! Do you mean something like this?

Thanks for watching the vid and for the tip! Gonna practice that!
 

KenC

Hall of Fame
A couple of questions. How accurately can you place the ball in practice and in a match? If you were to put a hula hoop down near a corner, how close do you get on average? Second question, does your arm get tired after an hour of practice?
 

Frans Bleker

Professional
A couple of questions. How accurately can you place the ball in practice and in a match? If you were to put a hula hoop down near a corner, how close do you get on average? Second question, does your arm get tired after an hour of practice?
How accurately can you place the ball in practice and in a match? If you were to put a hula hoop down near a corner, how close do you get on average?

I think in practice I would hit it like 70 percent of the time in, and the rest pretty near probably. In a match this would be less, I think 40 percent in, 30 percent near and 30 percent not near (Wild Guess).

My arms never really get more tired than the rest of my body after playing for a long time.
 

Yao_guai_nz

New User
Pretty nice hitting.
Per above @SinjinCooper says you need to use your left arm better. Check out any slo-mo vids of the pros and they have it paused across their body until they use it to pull their torso around.
When you draw the racket back it's going really high... any reason?
Also, use knees more... seems like you're a little rigid/upright - have you got a bad back?
Keep up the good work and well done for posting this video!
 
I'm an NTRP 1.5, but I wonder if my coach would tell him that he's swinging twice as fast as he should be.
Why? There are no legs at all, and is he muscling the ball?
In the unit turn, his stance is still very open.
Is that why no legs?

Are these balls are going low over the net, and landing shallow ?
If so, you want a higher arc ball than lands deeper.
Fast balls that land shallow are the easiest to return.
 
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Frans Bleker

Professional
Do you feel your BH is better? Or at least, stronger relative to other players' backhands than your FH is to their FHs?

You use your legs and body a lot better on the BH wing.

I don't want to overgeneralize on the FH side, because you're all over the map in terms of how you're hitting it, but you're only very rarely using your legs/hips, and you're getting powerful core rotation only a little more often than that. As a result, probably 3/4 of your strokes are mostly arm -- including a bunch of them where you're DOING a lot with your legs, but you're doing it out of sequence and ineffectively.

I suspect this is a concentration and "knowing what to look for" issue, rather than a "not knowing what to do" issue. Because you ARE using your full body well from time to time. But that inconsistency in using as much of the full-body kinetic chain as you're able to on any given ball is probably what's causing your issues with depth and consistency.

Consider: on an ideal FH, where you're there in time, and have time to set up, you want to take a plant step with that back foot, drive off it aggressively, really push the hip, then engage the core, and finally bring the shoulders and racquet around.

Go back and watch, stroke by stroke, and see if you can notice when your swing finishes, and your racquet is already across your body, before your hips or your chest have come around to square. That means you haven't gotten those parts of the chain, and thus the muscles that drive them, into your shot.

Now, SOME of that will be due to the fact that you showed a selection of warmup shots, rather than full speed ones. But the mechanics of partial strokes are usually just a subset of the full stroke. You don't always need every part of the chain, but every part you do use needs to be in tune and effective. I'm not seeing that every stroke, here.

A suggested first fix: increased use of the off arm. Really think about extending your left arm across the body and holding it there -- fully extended -- an extra beat. Don't start pulling with the off arm until you begin driving off the plant leg. And when you do drive off the plant leg, DO volitionally PULL with that off arm. That helps time and engage the whole hips-to-shoulders part of the chain. The more often you successfully engage all those parts, the more consistency you'll see.
Had a tournament so I didn't want to change too much on my mechanics, but tried it after very briefly and it seemed to work really well to use my off hand in order to engage my hips. Will try it asap more extensively and report back! Thanks!
 

Frans Bleker

Professional
Pretty nice hitting.
Per above @SinjinCooper says you need to use your left arm better. Check out any slo-mo vids of the pros and they have it paused across their body until they use it to pull their torso around.
When you draw the racket back it's going really high... any reason?
Also, use knees more... seems like you're a little rigid/upright - have you got a bad back?
Keep up the good work and well done for posting this video!

Thank you!

I think I drew it back that high because the high hitting point. My hitting partner here generates immense spin and angles.

No I don't got any back problems, I'm gonna try to involve my knees more.
 

Yao_guai_nz

New User
Thank you!

I think I drew it back that high because the high hitting point. My hitting partner here generates immense spin and angles.

No I don't got any back problems, I'm gonna try to involve my knees more.
Oh ok. Understand you're now combating a high ball. Logic makes sense but in practise it might be a little inefficient. I can't say I've seen any pros do it during the clay season?

Knees.. yup load them up to help generate power. Good work and God attitude mate! Looking forward to the next video update.

Sent from my SM-N910U using Tapatalk
 

Frans Bleker

Professional
Oh ok. Understand you're now combating a high ball. Logic makes sense but in practise it might be a little inefficient. I can't say I've seen any pros do it during the clay season?

Knees.. yup load them up to help generate power. Good work and God attitude mate! Looking forward to the next video update.

Sent from my SM-N910U using Tapatalk
Dominic Thiem ^^
 
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