Simplest forehand techniques

#1
Sure, Thiem has one of the most explosive forehands on tour, but it takes time to setup and fitness to swing compared to some others. I was thinking about forehands that rec players could study and learn from that are simple and effective. Here are a few that I think exemplify that:

Stan Warwrinka
To me the most compact and easiest power compared to effort. Easy short takeback and drop, then simple rotation to get into the slot and make forward contact. And even with such a simple stroke he gets immense power, so I would say this could be a good template to learn for basics and build on for advnaced play.

For me, I would also say his serve is a good model for rec players as well. No deep knee bend needed, or hips deep in causing balance issues. Very upright and direct.


Misha Zverev
One of the simplest strokes on tour with no big whip or need to lay the wrist back deep. Very quick setup, snap, and forward contact. Very Fed like in form, but much simpler (not that Fed's stroke is complicated). Also a compact BH.


Tomic
Yeah, I don't like him, and I wouldn't promote his technique as the best way to do things, but if you wanna see what simplicity can be in a stroke watch his game on both wings. For the forehand there is very little flip, lag or snap, and the racquet face stays open more than almost any player, but he gets that forward contact point and decent pop overall. Very little to make the stroke late or off timing.




What others can you think of?
 

Dragy

Professional
#3
Do you have a definition of simpleness? Or you go by how it looks to you?
What about efficiency? Wawrinka’s stroke is powerful and adoptable, he hits all the spots with it. Misha’s? Not so much in my opinion. No putaway/troublemaking power.
 
#4
Everyone coming out to play at least has some sort of a FH where they can adequately play with their peers. The problem isn't that the FH stroke is hard to learn. The problem is people aren't interested in stepping up, moving beyond the group in which they're comfortable. Another thing is most rec players are adverse to hard work which is necessary for improvement. Evidence of this: preferred choice / existence of low intensity doubles.
 
#5
Do you have a definition of simpleness? Or you go by how it looks to you?
What about efficiency? Wawrinka’s stroke is powerful and adoptable, he hits all the spots with it. Misha’s? Not so much in my opinion. No putaway/troublemaking power.
Nothing about look. It is all about effciency, with the least moving part kinda technique. And it grades out pretty much like that. So Tomic is super simple, but has the least amount of power and putaway ability. Misha's would be next up with a little more power. I'd sneak Ferrer in between Misha and Stan here. And then Stan would be what I consider the best of the three in terms of efficiency and power.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#6
Another thing is most rec players are adverse to hard work which is necessary for improvement. Evidence of this: preferred choice / existence of low intensity doubles.
Most rec players aren't looking for big improvement, just to get some exercise and social time.

Most middle-aged players I know fall into this category...
 

Dragy

Professional
#7
Before I started printing a wall of text, just an example of what I believe can be very effective for rec player with good weels and facing not that heavy incoming balls - so, not hitting most of the shots on the rise or with no time to prepare. Here we go (0:11):
 
#9
He was really born in the wrong era.

His compact strokes would have been much more effective on the fast grass/hard court/carpet of the 80's and 90's...
Agree. With that compact stroke, yeah...the face pace of grass would be easier. I would think Misha would be making better runs there now too. That is one of the reasons I would promote the simpler/compact strock like Misha or Tomic for rec players - there is very little to make a player late, and I see TONS of players with those huge backswings thinking that is where they make big power. Something I am working on myself.
 

Dragy

Professional
#10
Agree. With that compact stroke, yeah...the face pace of grass would be easier. I would think Misha would be making better runs there now too. That is one of the reasons I would promote the simpler/compact strock like Misha or Tomic for rec players - there is very little to make a player late, and I see TONS of players with those huge backswings thinking that is where they make big power. Something I am working on myself.
Funny enough my thoughts were right the opposite. Like "Ok it's trivial how you hit back faster shots. You get there, stick your racquet out to the side and try to meet the ball out in front while rotating your torso to face the net. Now what you do with a nothing ball is the question? Other than bunt-lob it back". And here's where you need smooth power you see in Garcia's stroke. Don't get the racquet behind the back - get it up and let it go down the hill, pass the bottom right below the contact height and guide through the ball.
Imagine a deep barely-backspin shot down the middle. It's a sitter, but what can you do to it with Misha's stroke? Or a deep roller which you fall back a couple of feet to hit? Now with smooth "rollercoaster" shot you easily send it high and spinny to the BH corner, for example.
 
#11
try this - put the hand out there in front of you and to the right, and don't move it... then just use the index base knuckle to push the racket into a windshield wiping motion... this 1-finger forehand will be good enough to beat most of the 4.0s.

can't be simpler that this. no back swing, no shoulder turn no leg drive no nothing else.. just 1 finger.
 
#12
try this - put the hand out there in front of you and to the right, and don't move it... then just use the index base knuckle to push the racket into a windshield wiping motion... this 1-finger forehand will be good enough to beat most of the 4.0s.

can't be simpler that this. no back swing, no shoulder turn no leg drive no nothing else.. just 1 finger.
You love attention more than tennis, don't you?!
 

Dragy

Professional
#20
I couldn't find a good vid of his FH for some time (didn't want the one from 2014), and now here it is! Sasha Zverev (slowmo neutral stance at 0:20):
Now I don't call it simple, don't think looking for simplest is the way to go in this sport :cool: but he has one of the complete and clean motions with no exaggeration or weirdness.
 
#22
My first pick would be Fognini as well, I mean just watch the forehand he hits at the 1 minute mark in the above video (watch it at 0.25 speed for maximum effect), you can't make a topspin forehand look easier than that. I actually used his forehand as a model for my own with great success, I think that it's a much easier stroke to reproduce than Federer's.

Now if we're talking about maximum simplicity I'd go with Del Potro's forehand. Del Potro is the only player I know of that uses a modern forehand technique without using any kind of forearm rotation, his arm is basically moving as a unit into the ball. The obvious tradoff is that he can't generate much topspin, but having one less moving part in his swing makes for a simpler stroke overall, and I personally that's the reason why he can be so consistent while hitting so flat.

 
#24
I would argue that just because a shot is simple doesn't mean that it is easy to do.

It's like cooking. Spaghetti Carbonara requires only five ingredients (spaghetti, eggs, cheese, guanciale, and black pepper), yet you'd be hard-pressed to find a normal restaurant that can make it right without ****ing it up one way or another. Either they scramble the egg because the pan is too hot, or they think they're some kinda hot gourmet sh*t and add things like cream or peas.

Also, I'm still on the fence about whether the straight arm forehands of Fedal + Verdasco are actually simple or not. The motion itself is fairly straightforward but not only is it easy to misinterpret, it's also a PITA to get right because of its steep footwork requirements (which is something most players just can't meet).
 
#25
I am copying this from my post in other (@FiReFTW 's) thread:

When one asks the "what is most simple fh" , it probably should be followed with immediate follow-up questions (fyi ... same for BHs):

1) what type of balls (topspin, pace, etc) do you play against?
2) what type of ball do you hit ... flat, flattish, big topspin, heavy?
3) do you have goals to play against or hit more topspin in the future?
4) do you want to hit straight arm are bent?
5) want a loop/drop?
6) racquet lag or not?

We are talking about rec tennis ... say male 3.0 - 5.0, so I start with the premise that no 5.0 tournament or USTA player requires any technique beyond a WTA stroke ... say Halep FH for example.

I also believe there is a rec player topspin threshold where the ATP flip fh is your best choice. Halep would not have a bit of trouble handling the heaviest male 5.0 fh with her technique. BUT ... if you are a rec player wanting your basic FH rally ball to be big/heavy ts ... pick the flip. You might pick Agassi flip instead of Fed flip, but big ts is just easier imo with the flip. The counter argument would be made for the flattish hitter ... why the complexity of Fed to hit a moderate topspin game.

So maybe good to ask yourself some basic questions before picking your pro. Also ... rec tennis is for fun, so it doesn't have to be based 100% on what choices are statically best for a winning low UE game. :cool: Here is an example ... I find hitting a tennis ball more fun with a loop/drop ... and some play (racquet lag) at the hands. There is a very good chance a Hewitt no lag 2hbh, and a Tomic no/minimum loop/drop FH would make me have low UE. So what ... not getting paid and love me some loop and some lose hands/wrist.

So ... don't pick Djokovic FH and think 5 years later ... I could have had a straight arm FH. :p

btw ... imo ... I think longer backswings but still on the hitting side of the body is the better repeatable choice for the rec player. I think a poorly timed rec Misha FH with some poly is TE waiting to happen. A bad patch of Hewitt rec FHs will still have "some" rhs. ;)

A rec player could do a lot worse than Ferrer both wings ... just enough loop and lag for some tennis fun.
 
#26
I am copying this from my post in other (@FiReFTW 's) thread:

When one asks the "what is most simple fh" , it probably should be followed with immediate follow-up questions (fyi ... same for BHs):

1) what type of balls (topspin, pace, etc) do you play against?
2) what type of ball do you hit ... flat, flattish, big topspin, heavy?
3) do you have goals to play against or hit more topspin in the future?
4) do you want to hit straight arm are bent?
5) want a loop/drop?
6) racquet lag or not?

We are talking about rec tennis ... say male 3.0 - 5.0, so I start with the premise that no 5.0 tournament or USTA player requires any technique beyond a WTA stroke ... say Halep FH for example.

I also believe there is a rec player topspin threshold where the ATP flip fh is your best choice. Halep would not have a bit of trouble handling the heaviest male 5.0 fh with her technique. BUT ... if you are a rec player wanting your basic FH rally ball to be big/heavy ts ... pick the flip. You might pick Agassi flip instead of Fed flip, but big ts is just easier imo with the flip. The counter argument would be made for the flattish hitter ... why the complexity of Fed to hit a moderate topspin game.

So maybe good to ask yourself some basic questions before picking your pro. Also ... rec tennis is for fun, so it doesn't have to be based 100% on what choices are statically best for a winning low UE game. :cool: Here is an example ... I find hitting a tennis ball more fun with a loop/drop ... and some play (racquet lag) at the hands. There is a very good chance a Hewitt no lag 2hbh, and a Tomic no/minimum loop/drop FH would make me have low UE. So what ... not getting paid and love me some loop and some lose hands/wrist.

So ... don't pick Djokovic FH and think 5 years later ... I could have had a straight arm FH. :p

btw ... imo ... I think longer backswings but still on the hitting side of the body is the better repeatable choice for the rec player. I think a poorly timed rec Misha FH with some poly is TE waiting to happen. A bad patch of Hewitt rec FHs will still have "some" rhs. ;)

A rec player could do a lot worse than Ferrer both wings ... just enough loop and lag for some tennis fun.
You can play with WTA forehand on higher levels too, I dont agree with this limit ur saying exists where u can do fine with wta to some level, you can do well at any level eith any of these techniques once you fully master them after years and years of hard work.

One just provides more benefits overall so you have a slight advantage with it (more spin and smaller takeback so easier to handle faster balls while not losing alot of pace/spin).
 
#27
You can play with WTA forehand on higher levels too, I dont agree with this limit ur saying exists where u can do fine with wta to some level, you can do well at any level eith any of these techniques once you fully master them after years and years of hard work.

One just provides more benefits overall so you have a slight advantage with it (more spin and smaller takeback so easier to handle faster balls while not losing alot of pace/spin).
Yes ... wasn't implying a limit. I was saying WTA style is one of the great options for rec tennis.
 
#29
I am copying this from my post in other (@FiReFTW 's) thread:

When one asks the "what is most simple fh" , it probably should be followed with immediate follow-up questions (fyi ... same for BHs):

1) what type of balls (topspin, pace, etc) do you play against?
2) what type of ball do you hit ... flat, flattish, big topspin, heavy?
3) do you have goals to play against or hit more topspin in the future?
4) do you want to hit straight arm are bent?
5) want a loop/drop?
6) racquet lag or not?

We are talking about rec tennis ... say male 3.0 - 5.0, so I start with the premise that no 5.0 tournament or USTA player requires any technique beyond a WTA stroke ... say Halep FH for example.

I also believe there is a rec player topspin threshold where the ATP flip fh is your best choice. Halep would not have a bit of trouble handling the heaviest male 5.0 fh with her technique. BUT ... if you are a rec player wanting your basic FH rally ball to be big/heavy ts ... pick the flip. You might pick Agassi flip instead of Fed flip, but big ts is just easier imo with the flip. The counter argument would be made for the flattish hitter ... why the complexity of Fed to hit a moderate topspin game.

So maybe good to ask yourself some basic questions before picking your pro. Also ... rec tennis is for fun, so it doesn't have to be based 100% on what choices are statically best for a winning low UE game. :cool: Here is an example ... I find hitting a tennis ball more fun with a loop/drop ... and some play (racquet lag) at the hands. There is a very good chance a Hewitt no lag 2hbh, and a Tomic no/minimum loop/drop FH would make me have low UE. So what ... not getting paid and love me some loop and some lose hands/wrist.

So ... don't pick Djokovic FH and think 5 years later ... I could have had a straight arm FH. :p

btw ... imo ... I think longer backswings but still on the hitting side of the body is the better repeatable choice for the rec player. I think a poorly timed rec Misha FH with some poly is TE waiting to happen. A bad patch of Hewitt rec FHs will still have "some" rhs. ;)

A rec player could do a lot worse than Ferrer both wings ... just enough loop and lag for some tennis fun.
So in conclusion ...it's just a bunch of mumbo jumbo thoughts? :) :) just kidding.

Enjoy your posting.

I play tennis for fun, too!!! <--- most understatement in this place
 
#30
For me I am always thinking of reducing moving parts.
Doesn't matter so much what kind of ball is coming in or what you want going out.
No need for this exaggerrated turns, rotations, or massively flipped/lagged wrists.
  • Decent shoulder turn at least to the 11 o'clock position
  • Some short(er) take back. Can be higher, straight back, or whatever, just not a big loop or waaaaay behind. More to the side would be good.
  • Rotation/opening to get the elbow forward of the body
  • Forward contact point - elbow bent or fully extended doesn't matter
The videos I posted to start were in order of more complex to somewhat simplest, and just for reference and study. Tomic and Cilic have very simlar, very simple strokes int eh above terms. Interesting for Tomic is he varies his takeback greatly depedning on the ball coming in. With time he has a super high take back. Quicker balls it is stragiht back.

Ayway, your mileage will vary depending on needs and level.
 

Dragy

Professional
#32
Fognini definitely has a very simple technique among the modern forehands.
Dunno, he definitely has compact range of motions among the modern forehands, but he actually hits all the checkpoints: loops his takeback with unit turn, accelerates with torso rotation, lags his racquet and puts spin on the ball with racquet head coming from below to above handle. Moreover, he has great timing and feel and core strength to perform major acceleration in a short timeframe exactly where he needs it. For those rec players trying to emulate him I see good success handling fast serves and groundies, but struggling to put heat on slower balls and higher balls, as well as lift on lower balls. It's not easy to produce that amount of RHS in that tiny range of motions.
 
#33
For me I am always thinking of reducing moving parts.
Doesn't matter so much what kind of ball is coming in or what you want going out.
No need for this exaggerrated turns, rotations, or massively flipped/lagged wrists.
  • Decent shoulder turn at least to the 11 o'clock position
  • Some short(er) take back. Can be higher, straight back, or whatever, just not a big loop or waaaaay behind. More to the side would be good.
  • Rotation/opening to get the elbow forward of the body
  • Forward contact point - elbow bent or fully extended doesn't matter
The videos I posted to start were in order of more complex to somewhat simplest, and just for reference and study. Tomic and Cilic have very simlar, very simple strokes int eh above terms. Interesting for Tomic is he varies his takeback greatly depedning on the ball coming in. With time he has a super high take back. Quicker balls it is stragiht back.

Ayway, your mileage will vary depending on needs and level.

This young man has a very simple FH stroke.

 
#34
So in conclusion ...it's just a bunch of mumbo jumbo thoughts? :):) just kidding.

Enjoy your posting.

I play tennis for fun, too!!! <--- most understatement in this place
My mind is blank on the court ... always has been. Ironic if you think about it ... many of my ttw friends that complain about my posts minutia (ok ... rants :p) probably have all of that minutia in their heads on the court.

Also ... blame it on the leaves this time of year:

https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...lder-rotation-mph-stats.630119/#post-12844621
 
#36
My mind is blank on the court ... always has been. Ironic if you think about it ... many of my ttw friends that complain about my posts minutia (ok ... rants :p) probably have all of that minutia in their heads on the court.

Also ... blame it on the leaves this time of year:

https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...lder-rotation-mph-stats.630119/#post-12844621

I'm one of those that you're talking about -- a million thoughts in the head during the match. I can't quiet them. :)

I lost badly today and last week to my friend whom I usually dominated. Oh well!
 
#37
my favorite examples of simple fh's (basically any counter puncher):
* simon
* hewitt
* ferrer
* davydenko
* agassi (though not a counter puncher, but it's simple since he plays everything on the rise)
* seles, gambill, etc... (imo 2hfh is the simplest fh to teach beginners, and good enough to get to 5.0, and is convertible to a 1hfh if desired)
 
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#38
I’ve been thinking of going full on wrist laid back “WTA-style” forehand for a while now. I mean if it was good enough for most pros when they were in the early stages of their careers it should translate to 3.5/4.0’s. At the very least help with feel and incorporating legs and body. Nishi and Shapo started off with the extreme laid back wrists. 8 year old future pro’s would prob beat 4.5’s.

 
#39
my favorite examples of simple fh's (basically any counter puncher):
* simon
* hewitt
* ferrer
* davydenko
* agassi (though not a counter puncher, but it's simple since he plays everything on the rise)
* seles, gambill, etc... (imo 2hfh is the simplest fh to teach beginners, and good enough to get to 5.0, and is convertible to a 1hfh if desired)
Good list ... but too many bent elbows in there. ;)

If I expand @ChaelAZ OP to "pick a player for their simple straightish arm FHs AND backhands" ... were going to take both of their wings

Maybe this guy for 1hbhers:


And this guy for 2hbhers:

 
#41
try this - put the hand out there in front of you and to the right, and don't move it... then just use the index base knuckle to push the racket into a windshield wiping motion... this 1-finger forehand will be good enough to beat most of the 4.0s.
I posted some time ago that I could hit a better FH than any 4.0 doing basically this. You cleverly left out the crucial component however, but we will just keep it a secret between us.
 

acintya

Hall of Fame
#43
Sure, Thiem has one of the most explosive forehands on tour, but it takes time to setup and fitness to swing compared to some others. I was thinking about forehands that rec players could study and learn from that are simple and effective. Here are a few that I think exemplify that:

Stan Warwrinka
To me the most compact and easiest power compared to effort. Easy short takeback and drop, then simple rotation to get into the slot and make forward contact. And even with such a simple stroke he gets immense power, so I would say this could be a good template to learn for basics and build on for advnaced play.

For me, I would also say his serve is a good model for rec players as well. No deep knee bend needed, or hips deep in causing balance issues. Very upright and direct.


Misha Zverev
One of the simplest strokes on tour with no big whip or need to lay the wrist back deep. Very quick setup, snap, and forward contact. Very Fed like in form, but much simpler (not that Fed's stroke is complicated). Also a compact BH.


Tomic
Yeah, I don't like him, and I wouldn't promote his technique as the best way to do things, but if you wanna see what simplicity can be in a stroke watch his game on both wings. For the forehand there is very little flip, lag or snap, and the racquet face stays open more than almost any player, but he gets that forward contact point and decent pop overall. Very little to make the stroke late or off timing.




What others can you think of?

I dont get Tomic. Sometimes he is rising the elbow on the takeback - sometimes he is not. Why?
 
#44
I dont get Tomic. Sometimes he is rising the elbow on the takeback - sometimes he is not. Why?
From what I can tell, as the ball pace increases his takeback shortens...considerably. I just wonder if sticking to the simple, compact swing for everything would do better for him.


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