Please critique my forehand (video inside)

fredshino

New User
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M35wv1tunqY

Ok, so here's some info:

I started playing about 2 years ago.
I'm a Fed fan. (I try to learn a lot by watching his videos)
Eastern Forehand Grip. Laid back wrist.
I play with a standard BLX Six.one Tour Racket.
Luxilon Alu Power Mains, Wilson Synthetic Gut crosses, both at 55 lbs.

My problems:

I have very little control of the ball. I can direct the ball a little bit, but not very well.

My shots tend to go a little long. Like a foot behind the baseline. I feel my ball lacks spin. I'd say with a little more spin, those balls would probably go in.

I mishit A LOT. I'd say very few shots hit the racket's sweetspot. When I do hit a clean shot, it's usually a very good one.

These shots in the video are somewhat decent, but a lot of them didn't hit the sweetspot in my opinion. I usually can't hit more than 5 good shots before mishitting.

Could you guys help me? Any tips for improving my forehand?

Thanks a lot!

Fred
 

NLBwell

Legend
Very good for just 2 years of playing. Looks like you are reaching forward too much sometimes. You shouldn't feel like you are reaching forward for the ball when you hit it. Also, you should feel like you are winding a spring and then releasing the energy into the ball. Sometimes it looks like you are kind of spinning which doesn't put much energy into the ball. Overall, very good though.
First thing to focus on, more than spin or where the ball goes is to consistently contact the ball in the center of the strings. Not letting your head spin away from the ball early will help a lot, as will reaching forward a little bit less. Try to stay calm in your shot.
Remember, Fed hits a lot of his shots with a closed stance. Open stance lets you recover quicker, but when you aren't rushed, don't do anything unnecessary - no reason to make the shot harder than it is.
 

Fugazi

Professional
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M35wv1tunqY

Ok, so here's some info:

I started playing about 2 years ago.
I'm a Fed fan. (I try to learn a lot by watching his videos)
Eastern Forehand Grip. Laid back wrist.
I play with a standard BLX Six.one Tour Racket.
Luxilon Alu Power Mains, Wilson Synthetic Gut crosses, both at 55 lbs.

My problems:

I have very little control of the ball. I can direct the ball a little bit, but not very well.

My shots tend to go a little long. Like a foot behind the baseline. I feel my ball lacks spin. I'd say with a little more spin, those balls would probably go in.

I mishit A LOT. I'd say very few shots hit the racket's sweetspot. When I do hit a clean shot, it's usually a very good one.

These shots in the video are somewhat decent, but a lot of them didn't hit the sweetspot in my opinion. I usually can't hit more than 5 good shots before mishitting.

Could you guys help me? Any tips for improving my forehand?

Thanks a lot!

Fred
Your FH looks pretty good to me! To avoid mishits, just make sure you really watch the ball at impact (with your head stable). Also try to have a more solid base with your feet, for better forward weight transfer. You could also have a bit more shoulder rotation, but that's minor. Overall your swing is very nice, with good racquet head speed on most swings, especially for a guy who's been playing for only 2 years.
 

fredshino

New User
Thanks for the replies!

I guess I see what you mean by reaching forward. The thing is, in my head, I feel like I'm trying to hit the ball in front of me while transferring the weight forward. You're saying that I'm doing that earlier than I should?

About keeping my head stable, I know I tend to look at where I'm trying to send the ball instead of keeping my eyes fixed on the point of contact. Even when I try really hard not to look at the other side of the court, I can't stop that from happening... Sometimes when I manage to keep my eyes fixed on the point of contact, I get that sense of the ball floating there, waiting to get hit and I hit the shot very cleanly. I can't do that very often though :(

Any specific drills I could do to improve my timing to avoid mishits or just practice and more practice? :)

Thanks again!
 

RyanRF

Professional
"Also try to have a more solid base with your feet, for better forward weight transfer."

Agreed. I see you lifting your feet at times, but I don't really think thats helping you with power, and it probably contributes to some of your shanking. Sure the pro's will jump from time to time, but it's rarer than you think. My recommendation would be less lifting and spinning, and more forward motion through the shot.

The best ones imo were at :21 and :44

Overall pretty good stuff from someone playing just two years.
 

spacediver

Hall of Fame
great use of your body - you've really developed well here. I like that you naturally use different weight distribution patterns depending on what is needed - from what I've observed, many players are very rote about what they do - they try to replicate an "ideal model" with every stroke.

Watching you play, it's clear you have a deep procedural understanding (i.e. you're able to generate the appropriate motor responses) of what is required.

One thing that may help with your timing is to flow more fluidly between shots. There were some shots where you kind of set up your position, paused, and then took the shot.

Here is a relevant discussion from another thread

one thing I noticed is that you may be setting up too early. This introduces two problems:

1) you're commiting to your hitting position based on less visual information regarding ball trajectory. Because of this, you often end up without the ability to make those tiny real time adjustments to the available visual feedback.

2) because of this early commitment, there is a bit of a pause between takeback and forward swing. This may be ok during your learning phase, but it may serve you well to make it a goal to build up to one continuous dynamic fluid affair.


That makes sense. Even i have observed it. I try to setup early when I realize that the ball is on my forehand side. Can you tell me the exact time i should start setting up for the shot?


there is no exact time. Ideally, you want to be constantly in motion and adapting to the situation.

watch this rally between fed and hewitt - but only watch federer's feet. Don't watch the ball or the rest of the court - just the feet. Look at the seamless transitions involved. (helps to turn volume down)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Def7iMP8G0M

Granted, this is more difficult to do with a ball machine. When your brain knows that the ball is going to come to the same spot each time, it will often try to use feedforward control rather than feedback control. In other words, it will preprogram its preparation in advance, rather than adapt dynamically in real time (feedback).


http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=357137&highlight=feedforward
 
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Deleted member 120290

Guest
What's with the donkey kick? Does that help your FH?
 

eidolonshinobi

Professional
i was gonna suggest he stop waving his back foot around in the middle of the stroke, actually...

lol I never even saw the video when I posted. My guesses suck, which is why i don't gamble haha

@OP
I will stand by my statement though, your first 3 FH had good unit turns and you can tell you had more power on those. The rest of your FH fell apart, using more arms than body. Also step into the ball and, as others have posted, don't kick.
 
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fredshino

New User
"Also try to have a more solid base with your feet, for better forward weight transfer."

Agreed. I see you lifting your feet at times, but I don't really think thats helping you with power, and it probably contributes to some of your shanking. Sure the pro's will jump from time to time, but it's rarer than you think. My recommendation would be less lifting and spinning, and more forward motion through the shot.

The best ones imo were at :21 and :44

Overall pretty good stuff from someone playing just two years.

I agree with you. But the donkey kick (like the other guy said) is not something I do voluntarily, it just happens... I feel like I'm trying to push my weight forward and that ends up happening... I'll have to pay attention not to do that.

I see how those two shots look better than the others! I'll try to replicate those.

Thanks!
 

fredshino

New User
Watching you play, it's clear you have a deep procedural understanding (i.e. you're able to generate the appropriate motor responses) of what is required.

I actually think that I just "think" too much while playing instead of everything happening naturally. It's just not "automatic", you know?

I guess more practice will eventually turn that into muscle memory...
 

Mountain Ghost

Professional
FH

- Move up closer to the baseline
- Line up farther away from the ball
- Move your contact point back a bit
- make sure your shoulders are up and rotated a full 90 degrees
- "push" your hips forward underneath your shoulders
- on open stances plant your right foot farther out in front of your shoulders
- on closed stances don't lean over to the right with your shoulders

MG
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
I like the forward motion to your stroke - the problem is that you are reaching forward with your arms while falling back with your body. Stay on your toes at all times for better balance, keep that left arm up and out, and bring your right leg forward and around (for a good shoulder/torso rotation that finishes with your right shoulder pointed to the target) so that you keep stability.
 

fredshino

New User
Thanks for the tips!

I filmed myself again today and I'll post a video later tonight, I gotta go to class now.

Later!
 

RyanRF

Professional
I agree with you. But the donkey kick (like the other guy said) is not something I do voluntarily, it just happens... I feel like I'm trying to push my weight forward and that ends up happening... I'll have to pay attention not to do that.

I see how those two shots look better than the others! I'll try to replicate those.

Thanks!

One thing I would try:

Casually step forward with your right foot during your swing. Your shot will end with your right foot on the ground in front of you, instead of up in the air behind you.

Of course, here here is the definitive 'what should a forehand look like' video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTjBXVQyiwg
 

Netzroller

Semi-Pro
First off, the quality of the video is great! No shaking camera, no fence in between, no running out of the picture like some videos in the past.

As for the shot, it's great given just the 2 years you've been practicing.
Weight transfer could be better: Start with the weight loaded on your outside food, push of and rotate your upper body. Sometimes you do a little weird kick.

Secondly, focus on you non hitting arm as well. Sometimes it gets in the way of your mechanics (0:26, 0:30, 0:42) sometimes it looks a lot better. This might be a reason for the inconsistency. Extend it out across the body (not out in front!) every time and use it to rotate your upper body.

This is a great example I think:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiXIIRG38zc
 

fredshino

New User
One thing I would try:

Casually step forward with your right foot during your swing. Your shot will end with your right foot on the ground in front of you, instead of up in the air behind you.

Of course, here here is the definitive 'what should a forehand look like' video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTjBXVQyiwg

Yeah, I'm uploading today's video to youtube and I'm pretty sure I did that a couple times since I was trying hard not to do the donkey kick!

About Fed's video, he's hitting so relaxed and not trying to hit the ball hard. I can't see him doing any weight transfer, it's weird. His legs aren't even bending. The only thing he's doing is the coiling of the upper body...

I cannot comprehend how he generates so much power with so little effort. :(
 

fredshino

New User
First off, the quality of the video is great! No shaking camera, no fence in between, no running out of the picture like some videos in the past.

As for the shot, it's great given just the 2 years you've been practicing.
Weight transfer could be better: Start with the weight loaded on your outside food, push of and rotate your upper body. Sometimes you do a little weird kick.

Secondly, focus on you non hitting arm as well. Sometimes it gets in the way of your mechanics (0:26, 0:30, 0:42) sometimes it looks a lot better. This might be a reason for the inconsistency. Extend it out across the body (not out in front!) every time and use it to rotate your upper body.

This is a great example I think:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiXIIRG38zc

I've noticed my non-hitting arm getting in the way too. Need more practice to fix that! :p

Thank you for the help!
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
6'1", 175lbs. racket 12.8 oz, strings 50 lbs., long swing, faster than you think it is, new balls, incoming ball is moving too.
 

fredshino

New User
Here's today's video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl3st908fRU

My main goal was not to do the donkey kick and try to hit the sweetspot of the racket.

I failed pretty badly at the latter, lots of mishits even when trying to swing a little slowly.

I got a bit better at not doing the donkey kick, still happened sometimes.

Some of my favorite shots:

3:28
Relaxed, well balanced. Clean shot. Not much acceleration though.

4:48
Open stance, nice extended arm at contact point, lots of shoulder turn, a lot of pace. Weird leg movement during the swing?

5:12
Neutral stance, stepping forward with my right leg at the end of the swing. Hit the sweetspot, clean sound.
 

NLBwell

Legend
Looks good. Don't worry about the back foot, it is a symptom, not a cause. Focus on moving your feet to the proper place, keeping your head in the same place until after the ball is long gone, and transferring your weight correctly. When you get your stroke and body movement right, the foot will take care of itself.
 

RyanRF

Professional
Good improvements. I can tell that you made a conscious effort to change.

4:48 was good. The 'weird leg movement' isn't weird, it's just what happens when you hit off of your back foot, which is perfectly okay.
 

boojay

Hall of Fame
Nice! Wish I could've looked that good after just two years. Then again, I suppose lessons would have sped things up.

I know this is a forehand thread, but have you got any backhand footage?

Swyped from my iPhone killer/HTC Desire
 

fredshino

New User
Nice! Wish I could've looked that good after just two years. Then again, I suppose lessons would have sped things up.

I know this is a forehand thread, but have you got any backhand footage?

Thanks! Yeah I had lessons since the beginning but only 1 hour a week, though. For the last 6 months I've been having 2 hours a week, and that helped me a lot!

Here's a video of some backhands... I'm not very happy with my backhand at the moment but I'm focusing more on my forehands so I can't complain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6tVIsngwZQ
 

Fugazi

Professional
Here's today's video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl3st908fRU

My main goal was not to do the donkey kick and try to hit the sweetspot of the racket.

I failed pretty badly at the latter, lots of mishits even when trying to swing a little slowly.

I got a bit better at not doing the donkey kick, still happened sometimes.

Some of my favorite shots:

3:28
Relaxed, well balanced. Clean shot. Not much acceleration though.

4:48
Open stance, nice extended arm at contact point, lots of shoulder turn, a lot of pace. Weird leg movement during the swing?

5:12
Neutral stance, stepping forward with my right leg at the end of the swing. Hit the sweetspot, clean sound.
The donkey kick is gone, but this angle clearly shows that your left arm is in the way of your stroke. Try pulling it back has you hit, this will give better rotation, thus more power.
 
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Deleted member 120290

Guest
Seriously speaking, it seems that you are very passionate about tennis and in improving your game. It's exciting and rewarding to see and feel yourself getting better as a player. I remember when I was in high school my serve and FH started popping. It was the best of times and I couldn't wait to hit the courts. Enjoy!
 

fredshino

New User
Seriously speaking, it seems that you are very passionate about tennis and in improving your game. It's exciting and rewarding to see and feel yourself getting better as a player. I remember when I was in high school my serve and FH started popping. It was the best of times and I couldn't wait to hit the courts. Enjoy!

Thanks! It really feels awesome getting better!
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
Pretty good- keep that left arm out longer so that you hit with a torso rotation and not arming the stroke. If your arms cross during the stroke, you are not rotating your shoulders. For some people, it helps to try to catch the racquet with the left hand on the follow-through.
 
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