Rate my forehand? Been working on it with a ball machine. Ready for matchplay?


New User

I don't know what NTRP level I'd be. Recently picked up tennis again after a long time away and working on my groundstrokes with a ball machine. Any thoughts/tips on forehand and what NTRP level this would be at?


A series of forehand standing in one spot isn't really any indicator of NTRP level, which is a rating of your competitiveness against other rated players. I recommend finding a nice 3.5 rated player and videoing a match against them. You can see how you play and get a better idea of your rating, and also would have more to comment on in your game of what to work on or improve.

For the forehand strokes, they look repeatable and decent but you are bakcing up and hitting off your back foot for a known ball, so that would be something I would work on - having a solid and set stance.


Can't really make any assumptions about your rating without seeing your movement, serve and point play.

Regarding the forehand. Your stroke mechanics look good, but looks like most of the balls are either going out or close to going out. The main technical adjustment I would recommend is to engage the hips earlier in the swing.

IMO, you're targeting too high over the net. I think its a common misconception that higher net clearance is better or safer. There's a point where high net clearance is a liability and risks going long. Especially for any player who drives or steps into the shot.

I think hitting high over the net is a catch-all coaching concept just to accomplish the goal of avoiding the net and getting the ball as deep as possible, but it doesn't necessarily indicate the quality of the shot. Personally I would only hit extra high over the net if I'm being pushed back to the fence.

Instead of trying to aim as high as possible, try to aim for a specific range of height, maybe somewhere between 2-4 feet over the net cord and have it land in the middle of no-mans-land.


Like ChaelAZ says the only way to know what rating you are is to play many matches vs computer rated players that are active in league play. With that said you
have a solid looking forehand with good rotation. It's true you have an issue with falling back at the contact with most of them. I had this problem and it took a long
time to correct. I used to run up to the ball stop and even jump back at contact. I would hit a pretty good groundstroke that fooled me into thinking I had a good forehand.
I went for a serving lesson with a coach that was running clinics I attended. It was my first ever private lesson at the age of 45 aka old dog. I hit a few serves and he
said let's forget the serve I want to fix the forehand. He pointed out what I was doing and I still did not get it until I went back to my videos and I was amazed how
the problem was so huge and how I never noticed.

So try this. Look again at the video and notice the issue. Then next ball machine session focus on moving your weight into the ball toward the direction of the shot.
Only hit every 2nd ball the machine shoots out. Quality vs quanity is what is needed. Rushing to hit at the fast pace of the machine will screw you up. It will be easy
to fall back into this habit in match play so you need to put in the reps and develop new muscle memory.


3.5 just based on footwork and inconsistency? Stroke itself looks decent and headed in the right direction. I'd try to focus on moving into the shot, stop leaning backwards, and stop swinging so much upwards (like someone above said). Develop consistency like that, include more footwork drills in your practice, and your FH looks to be on it's way.


The problem with matches, especially at low level, is no player is going to give you those easy consistent feeds like that ball machine. Take me for example, I struggle against junkballers in my local league and have beaten one out of four.

Yet in practice, with someone who could give me consistent feeds, I managed to hit 50 shots in a row without missing and was making 20 with little trouble.

My point is, you will never know how good a shot is until it is stress tested in an actual match.


If you've never played a match before, then you should start at NTRP 2.5. Do you have a serve? If you don't serve properly with a continental grip, I would strongly recommend spending a year learning the "advanced" serve before joining a league. It's very hard to change from a beginner serve after you start playing.
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Hall of Fame
Tennis has nothing to do with a ball being fed to exactly where you're standing.
The only thing the determines your NTRP is how you play against MEP.
The good news is you have a great forehand, you're ready for match play.
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If you've never played a match before, then you should start at NTRP 2.5. Do you have a serve? If you don't serve properly with a continental grip, I would strongly recommend spending a year learning the "advanced" serve before joining a league. It's very hard to change from a beginner serve after you start playing.
Please listen to this OP. Hire a coach to teach you to serve. Anything else will be setting you back years.

Also, as other said the ball machine is only useful to a point. A hitting partner around your level is dramatically better than a ball machine


Hall of Fame
Just sign up and compete in a local tourney then you will know your level. Since forehand is not really used unless you can get into a rally situation after serve and serve return.


Forehand looks fine. Try setting your ball machine for different feeds such as short low forehands which require touch and feel. You could also try some footwork drills on the ball machine such as put a cone about 10 feet away from the contact area and recover to the cone. This would let you work on moving wide to hit the forehand. Serve is critically important. Get a good foundation on the serve, preferably from a good coach, and practice it at least twice a week and hit 100 serves each practice.


New User
I'm not a coach but there's got to be a transfer of weight from back to front foot during the swing
Yours is currently almost the opposite.
Your swing has a nice rhythm and arc so if you get that transfer of weight right it will really help

Chas Tennis

Post on Youtube or Vimeo and you can do single frame when viewing. You can move the slider in your OP video to catch frames.

The frame rate is too slow for a tennis stroke. 240 fps is very good for tennis strokes. 120 and 60 fps are useful.

An object moving at 100 MPH moves 1760" per second. For 30 frames per second, the racket head moves

1760" / 30 = 59"

At 30 fps - getting only one frame every 1/30 sec at 100 MPH - means the racket head moved 59" between frames.
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You're going for way too much height, topspin and depth. These balls are all slow, high bouncing and aimed right at you. It's the easiest possible ball to hit, and you're still missing a lot of them long. People are just gonna figure this out and block these balls back until you hit long. Aim a few feet over the net and well inside the baseline. Even professionals don't aim for the baseline and hit closer to the service line on average.