The shot you work on the most and still can't get right

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Oh, I feel like I've almost got it: My nemesis, my terrible and hideous FH.

Since the day I started playing as a 2.5, my FH has been a hot mess. It had to be built from the ground up because pretty much every component was awful. I could never get it right. It seemed like everyone else could hit their FH effortlessly, but mine was an error factory. The more it failed me, the less I was willing to hit it.

Now, going on 15 years of instruction, practice sessions with hitting partners, drop feeding, matches, and a concerted effort to straighten this out this summer, it is finally almost there. It's mostly a matter of belief and confidence at this point.

Has anyone else suffered with a stroke like I have?
 

1HBHfanatic

Legend
-the forehand slice!!, is not a shot i have in my bag of tricks
-i cant seem to master this shot, i dont know why,??!!
-i have a wicket backhand slice!!, but the forehand slice does not come easy to me, :cautious:
-i want a forehand slice ala nicolescu
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Oh, I feel like I've almost got it: My nemesis, my terrible and hideous FH.

Since the day I started playing as a 2.5, my FH has been a hot mess. It had to be built from the ground up because pretty much every component was awful. I could never get it right. It seemed like everyone else could hit their FH effortlessly, but mine was an error factory. The more it failed me, the less I was willing to hit it.

Now, going on 15 years of instruction, practice sessions with hitting partners, drop feeding, matches, and a concerted effort to straighten this out this summer, it is finally almost there. It's mostly a matter of belief and confidence at this point.

Has anyone else suffered with a stroke like I have?
may have alot to do with the grip. having correct grip is half the battle on the forehand. Semi-western or Eastern forehand grip is what most people are comfy with. would recommend semiwestern even for women. and start with really simple swing and spin afterwards.
Chris Evert's forehand is good Foundation to build on.


i learned by 2-handed backhand by watching Evert backhand. it is so simple and yet so versatile and accurate. So my 2-handed backhand was the reliable and consistent shot i had. I could hit 25 balls in a row without missing , no problem.
 

MaxTennis

Semi-Pro
The serve is the hardest shot for me to master. If I take a few weeks off, I can't land any in the box.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I switched to SW about 9 years ago. It helped, but not enough.

I gave serious consideration to switching to a two-handed FH. I played around with it and could hit it quite solidly, but it felt like a surrender.

I'll give it another five years, and if I can't fix my FH, I'm making the switch!
 

penpal

Semi-Pro
Gotta be the serve for me. Worked on it for a couple of years, then finally decided to record myself practicing and discovered that my mechanics didn't look at all like I pictured them in my head. Worked on it for another year (probably), filming myself nearly every session, and would have a day where I looked* right, and then the next day I would be back to my old bad form habits.

Now I film myself off and on. Mostly the form is looking/feeling better, and the serves themselves are starting to get better, but it's still a struggle and I'm still plagued by inconsistency. I figure another 10-15 years of dedicated practice and maybe I'll have a decent serve. Of course, I'll be in my 60s by then and will likely be forced to learn the Pickleball serve :)

*I say "looked" right because, even if my form appeared to be decent, the results of my serves were often incredibly poor. But I still considered that a win, because I was focused on just trying to understand what it should feel like to hit a serve before I worried too much about results.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Oh, I feel like I've almost got it: My nemesis, my terrible and hideous FH.

Since the day I started playing as a 2.5, my FH has been a hot mess. It had to be built from the ground up because pretty much every component was awful. I could never get it right. It seemed like everyone else could hit their FH effortlessly, but mine was an error factory. The more it failed me, the less I was willing to hit it.

Now, going on 15 years of instruction, practice sessions with hitting partners, drop feeding, matches, and a concerted effort to straighten this out this summer, it is finally almost there. It's mostly a matter of belief and confidence at this point.

Has anyone else suffered with a stroke like I have?
I also went through hard knocks while boarding at the school of epileptic forehands.

However, my neoforehand debuted in spring 2020 during the lockdown. My new technique fixes the spraying problem and boosts my forehand wing an entire ntrp level, at the expense of my elbow. Can’t have it all I suppose.

I also honed my slice forehand last year on the red clay circuit, which gives me a goto alternative, at least in singles.
 

g4driver

Hall of Fame
Dropshot: it's either an error, a winner or a shot that gets me trouble. 1 out 3 chance for a winner at best for me, so not something I try often even though I practice them on a ball machine and during the warmup.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I've rebuilt my FH twice in the last 2 years so I get the work in progress issues. Started with a flat Eastern grip shot, decided I needed more topspin so switched to SW grip with low to high swing. But elbow issues led to going from a bent elbow FH to a straight arm FH this last year. Still don't always get the spacing right, but it's coming.

But if I had to pick one stroke that has been a true challenge, it's the serve. I went for years with a simple patty cake because of fear of shoulder injury. Only in the last decade have I had the confidence to incorporate my shoulder into the action and its still limited due to restricted ESR from surgery. So I really struggle getting a good racket drop. I am pretty consistent and I feel my motion is more fluid but I feel I'm always power limited compared to my FH and BH power.

Anything overhead is my cross to bear due to recklessness of youth and multiple shoulder dislocations. I think that's why I'll always be a better golfer than tennis player.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Topspin backhand down the line. Many years ago I accidentally developed this little wrist-flick on the follow-through of my 1HBH, which causes it to hook badly.

It’s not so bad cross-court, where it curves the ball away from a right hander’s forehand, but it makes it very hard to hit down the line without pulling the ball right into their hitting zone.

Occasionally I think I’ve fixed it with sustained practice, but it alway comes back.
 
Aggressive TS FH or one where I don't have much time to prepare: I often end up with a swing path as flat as a pancake and only gravity to bring the ball down. Then I kick myself for once again not swinging low to high and proceed to do it again, perhaps even the next point.

I'm getting better but it's far from automatic.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
I have been practicing a forehand drop shot off a mid-court ball for about two years, and just can't get it right. Because I have a pretty big forehand and use it to attack, a lot of my opponents back up 6-10 feet behind the baseline to defend it. But I just can't get coordinated to use my normal forehand takeback, then just dumping it short over the net. The few times I've accidentally hit good ones, it brings my opponent closer to the baseline and my forehand becomes much more effective, but I usually mis-hit it into the net or end up doing some variation of a drop shot/lob. I am so horribly inept at this I've basically given up trying to do it.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I have been practicing a forehand drop shot off a mid-court ball for about two years, and just can't get it right. Because I have a pretty big forehand and use it to attack, a lot of my opponents back up 6-10 feet behind the baseline to defend it. But I just can't get coordinated to use my normal forehand takeback, then just dumping it short over the net. The few times I've accidentally hit good ones, it brings my opponent closer to the baseline and my forehand becomes much more effective, but I usually mis-hit it into the net or end up doing some variation of a drop shot/lob. I am so horribly inept at this I've basically given up trying to do it.
Noooooo! Come on, ya gotta keep working on it.

What's the fun in having a killer FH that backs people up if you can't hit a drop shot that they don't even run for?
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I have been practicing a forehand drop shot off a mid-court ball for about two years, and just can't get it right. Because I have a pretty big forehand and use it to attack, a lot of my opponents back up 6-10 feet behind the baseline to defend it. But I just can't get coordinated to use my normal forehand takeback, then just dumping it short over the net. The few times I've accidentally hit good ones, it brings my opponent closer to the baseline and my forehand becomes much more effective, but I usually mis-hit it into the net or end up doing some variation of a drop shot/lob. I am so horribly inept at this I've basically given up trying to do it.
A 28” frame with a low-tension poly stringbed and you expect to be able to hit a drop shot with touch? That’s tricky. I would go mad.

But one thing you might try that really improved my forehand drop shot:

Don’t chop down at all. Move the racquethead inside out sideways so that all the spin is sidespin. This will give you a lot more control of the vertical launch angle. You will have less control of the horizontal launch angle, but the court is a lot wider than your vertical target for a drop shot. I like to aim crosscourt so that the sidespin curves the flight parallel to the net after the bounce. I use this shot at least twice per set.
 
F

FRV3

Guest
There was none. The only thing I lacked was the ability to hit against pace (no teammates that hit with pace), and therefore footwork as well. I was probably a lower 4.0 if I had to guess. Now I am 3.0 :(.

My overhead was pretty cruddy now that I think of it.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
A 28” frame with a low-tension poly stringbed and you expect to be able to hit a drop shot with touch? That’s tricky. I would go mad.

But one thing you might try that really improved my forehand drop shot:

Don’t chop down at all. Move the racquethead inside out sideways so that all the spin is sidespin. This will give you a lot more control of the vertical launch angle. You will have less control of the horizontal launch angle, but the court is a lot wider than your vertical target for a drop shot. I like to aim crosscourt so that the sidespin curves the flight parallel to the net after the bounce. I use this shot at least twice per set.
Yeah. You can try that.

Or you can close your eyes, hack at the ball, and hope it hits the net strap and dribbles over.

Try it. It's not that hard.
 
I have been practicing a forehand drop shot off a mid-court ball for about two years, and just can't get it right. Because I have a pretty big forehand and use it to attack, a lot of my opponents back up 6-10 feet behind the baseline to defend it. But I just can't get coordinated to use my normal forehand takeback, then just dumping it short over the net. The few times I've accidentally hit good ones, it brings my opponent closer to the baseline and my forehand becomes much more effective, but I usually mis-hit it into the net or end up doing some variation of a drop shot/lob. I am so horribly inept at this I've basically given up trying to do it.
For starters, don't try to disguise it by using your normal takeback. Find a takeback that you're comfortable with and can execute a high % of times. Only after you master that should you worry about disguise.

If you have such a big FH that your opponents are well behind the BL, you have the luxury of not needing disguise. As you play against better players, you'll need it but don't put the cart before the horse.

I have that problem on my BH: I hit a 2HBH but also slice with a 1HBH. When I DS with the BH, it's always with one hand. So I'm partially giving away the potential for a DS when I take my racquet back. I have not yet gotten comfortable using a standard 2HBH takeback and then switching to one hand for the DS. I lack touch when I do that and since the DS is all about touch, I choose the more obvious takeback.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
Noooooo! Come on, ya gotta keep working on it.

What's the fun in having a killer FH that backs people up if you can't hit a drop shot that they don't even run for?
Exactly. And if I expect to be competitive next year playing the 60's, I need that shot. Those age groupers that do it well torment the heck out of me with it, even if I'm not nearly that far back. I've taken lessons to try and learn it but I'm just hopeless.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
A 28” frame with a low-tension poly stringbed and you expect to be able to hit a drop shot with touch? That’s tricky. I would go mad.

But one thing you might try that really improved my forehand drop shot:

Don’t chop down at all. Move the racquethead inside out sideways so that all the spin is sidespin. This will give you a lot more control of the vertical launch angle. You will have less control of the horizontal launch angle, but the court is a lot wider than your vertical target for a drop shot. I like to aim crosscourt so that the sidespin curves the flight parallel to the net after the bounce. I use this shot at least twice per set.
I can backhand drop shot fine with my racquet - it's a stiff and firm poly so the lower tension doesn't have any effect on a shot that soft. The main problem is that I can't perform a normal looking forehand takeback if I hold a continental grip, and if I hold my normal SW grip and then try to change grips and then drop shot, I'll mis-hit it half the time, and the other half is either a drop shot/lob or something that sometimes doesn't even get to the net. So either I give it away early that I'm drop shotting on the forehand, or I just have this badly coordinated grip change and funky motion, even if I'm just trying to bunt the ball short and flat over the net.

And getting back to what I said in my last post, I've taken lessons and I can do them well enough in lessons, because I'm hitting like 50 of these over the course of a couple of hundred forehand swings. But if I'm trying to hit one every few games, it all goes to pieces.

I'm sure if I could do this one shot half decently, the lower frustration level would result in a fuller head of hair...
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I finally crossed the lob off my list of "I just can't do it". It is not fantastic but a dependable topspin lob from the backhand wing and very high backspin lob on the forehand wing.

Funny to see so many posts about the last "distinct shot" that is on my to-do list: The drop shot.
Just beginning to really work on this. I have had success treating the mechanics basically as a sliced half-volley. But I have only just begun working on it.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Just want to add @Cindysphinx your last note ... Belief and confidence. So many people have all the mechanics, don't trust their shot (or themselves) and that is the majority of their problem. Whenever I trust myself, pretty good things happen.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
The serve/ One day i hit my first serves. The other day they are gone.
I too am afflicted with a peripatetic serve. Some days it shows up unannounced, and I am suddenly serving bombs. Others days it goes wandering and I don’t even ask it where it’s going.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I’ve been working for 30 years on refining my fluffball first serve to make it deceptively juicy.
I have noticed that adult bad servers never improve after a certain number of years. There is some inherent lack of body coordination and balance which cannot be overcome when you pickup tennis as an adult (for such people).
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I have noticed that adult bad servers never improve after a certain number of years. There is some inherent lack of body coordination and balance which cannot be overcome when you pickup tennis as an adult (for such people).
I started playing competitively at age 15. My serve improved rapidly, peaked at age 20, then declined for the next 30 years. All of my other strokes improved during that time.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I started playing competitively at age 15. My serve improved rapidly, peaked at age 20, then declined for the next 30 years. All of my other strokes improved during that time.
The serve is like the drive in golf. After a certain age (probably 40) you start losing 1mph or 1yd per year. That's provided you started young.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
For starters, don't try to disguise it by using your normal takeback. Find a takeback that you're comfortable with and can execute a high % of times. Only after you master that should you worry about disguise.

If you have such a big FH that your opponents are well behind the BL, you have the luxury of not needing disguise. As you play against better players, you'll need it but don't put the cart before the horse.

I have that problem on my BH: I hit a 2HBH but also slice with a 1HBH. When I DS with the BH, it's always with one hand. So I'm partially giving away the potential for a DS when I take my racquet back. I have not yet gotten comfortable using a standard 2HBH takeback and then switching to one hand for the DS. I lack touch when I do that and since the DS is all about touch, I choose the more obvious takeback.
I'm so inept at it that I can barely hit a terrible forehand drop shot even if I prepare the moment the ball starts coming to that side. I just don't know what it is - it almost feels like the yips on that side. I can't forehand slice either.

Against age groupers, and since I'll be playing the 60's next year, it hasn't been the reason why I've lost matches. Being able to do just a half-way decent one will make it easier to win matches, and may prove to be the difference between whether or not I can compete against the best guys. But I just can't do it in a match situation.

I underspin probably 30-40% of my backhands normally and so I never try to disguise a topspin forehand takeback into a drop shot. But because I hit it so much better, my opponents have to pay some mind to it. I think in general they're not so worried about reaching the drop shot but doing something with their response so I don't have the opportunity to take a good swing at the next shot. That's all I'm really hoping for on the forehand side, but I just can't get there and am probably too old now to really learn how to do it properly in a match situation.
 
I'm so inept at it that I can barely hit a terrible forehand drop shot even if I prepare the moment the ball starts coming to that side. I just don't know what it is - it almost feels like the yips on that side. I can't forehand slice either.

Against age groupers, and since I'll be playing the 60's next year, it hasn't been the reason why I've lost matches. Being able to do just a half-way decent one will make it easier to win matches, and may prove to be the difference between whether or not I can compete against the best guys. But I just can't do it in a match situation.

I underspin probably 30-40% of my backhands normally and so I never try to disguise a topspin forehand takeback into a drop shot. But because I hit it so much better, my opponents have to pay some mind to it. I think in general they're not so worried about reaching the drop shot but doing something with their response so I don't have the opportunity to take a good swing at the next shot. That's all I'm really hoping for on the forehand side, but I just can't get there and am probably too old now to really learn how to do it properly in a match situation.
Never say never!

So maybe the easier starting point would be to hit a FH slice. Just swing, without worrying about where the ball is going. LIkely it will go deep, which is fine. Once you start getting the feel, you'll be able to start adjusting variables: racquet face angle and grip tension being two biggies for hitting DSs in addition to swing speed.
 
Oh, I feel like I've almost got it: My nemesis, my terrible and hideous FH.

Since the day I started playing as a 2.5, my FH has been a hot mess. It had to be built from the ground up because pretty much every component was awful. I could never get it right. It seemed like everyone else could hit their FH effortlessly, but mine was an error factory. The more it failed me, the less I was willing to hit it.

Now, going on 15 years of instruction, practice sessions with hitting partners, drop feeding, matches, and a concerted effort to straighten this out this summer, it is finally almost there. It's mostly a matter of belief and confidence at this point.

Has anyone else suffered with a stroke like I have?
TWO HANDED BH!! Great in self help sessions...collapses and poops the bed when under duress....Going back to a 1 Hand Bh Slice with the occasional Topspin. Hang in there fellow SUFFERERS
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I switched to SW about 9 years ago. It helped, but not enough.

I gave serious consideration to switching to a two-handed FH. I played around with it and could hit it quite solidly, but it felt like a surrender.

I'll give it another five years, and if I can't fix my FH, I'm making the switch!
Try to develop an ATP forehand using the instructions in the Tips section of this board. That is how I got to where I am today.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
Never say never!

So maybe the easier starting point would be to hit a FH slice. Just swing, without worrying about where the ball is going. LIkely it will go deep, which is fine. Once you start getting the feel, you'll be able to start adjusting variables: racquet face angle and grip tension being two biggies for hitting DSs in addition to swing speed.
Okay! I'm going to rely on the expertise of you and the TTW collective to help me perfect this shot (or at least to help me not look like an idiot trying it)!

The scenario in which my ineptness shines should actually be the one where it is easiest to make this shot. I'm usually in the backhand corner of my court, hitting forehands inside out to my righty opponent's backhand, which in the 55's and 60's will result in an underspin backhand back to me about 90% of the time. So I'll set up the ball machine to give me that shot, and we'll have a comedy show of errors as I attempt to hit a disguised drop shot.

Oh, and by the way, I've never been able to hit a forehand slice either. It's not like a longer version of my forehand volley, at least not in the same way that my backhand slice is a longer version of my backhand volley. I tend to volley fairly flat on my forehand side so it doesn't translate well into a longer stroke.

Give me a couple of days to get on a ball machine. They're pretty limited in availability at my club right now.
 

sanister

Professional
Inside in forehand from ad court side. Can build up the point where I draw opponent wide out but can never hit my forehand down the line standing in ad court. Always net it and always feels like Im arming. Ugh.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Okay! I'm going to rely on the expertise of you and the TTW collective to help me perfect this shot (or at least to help me not look like an idiot trying it)!

The scenario in which my ineptness shines should actually be the one where it is easiest to make this shot. I'm usually in the backhand corner of my court, hitting forehands inside out to my righty opponent's backhand, which in the 55's and 60's will result in an underspin backhand back to me about 90% of the time. So I'll set up the ball machine to give me that shot, and we'll have a comedy show of errors as I attempt to hit a disguised drop shot.

Oh, and by the way, I've never been able to hit a forehand slice either. It's not like a longer version of my forehand volley, at least not in the same way that my backhand slice is a longer version of my backhand volley. I tend to volley fairly flat on my forehand side so it doesn't translate well into a longer stroke.

Give me a couple of days to get on a ball machine. They're pretty limited in availability at my club right now.
I recommend using a more linear path, with minimal downward chop. My forehand volley/forehand slice is probably my best shot, relative to others my level. I have enough confidence in my control to aim a few inches over the net. Part of the reason for that is that I don’t chop down - my racquet starts behind the ball (not above it). The prep is the same for my volley, my deep slice, and my drop shot.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I recommend using a more linear path, with minimal downward chop. My forehand volley/forehand slice is probably my best shot, relative to others my level. I have enough confidence in my control to aim a few inches over the net. Part of the reason for that is that I don’t chop down - my racquet starts behind the ball (not above it). The prep is the same for my volley, my deep slice, and my drop shot.
I think my FH slice is so terrible because I only use it as an emergency. Which usually means I'm on the move, stretched out or both. Certainly if I'm casually hitting I have no problem slicing a few back for funsies. I probably should work on it more so it's more reliable under pressure. But it's not like my topspin FH is that reliable on the run either.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I think my FH slice is so terrible because I only use it as an emergency. Which usually means I'm on the move, stretched out or both. Certainly if I'm casually hitting I have no problem slicing a few back for funsies. I probably should work on it more so it's more reliable under pressure. But it's not like my topspin FH is that reliable on the run either.
spending most of 2019 playing sets against former world-ranked pros on red clay last year transformed my slice forehand from a back-up shot to my primary rally forehand (after I discovered my previous topspin drive forehand technique that sort of works on hardcourt was useless on rough clay if hitting on the rise, due to reliance on a big gravity powered pendulum sweep pre-contact that couldn’t be adjusted midswing).
 

Slowtwitcher

Hall of Fame
spending most of 2019 playing sets against former world-ranked pros on red clay last year transformed my slice forehand from a back-up shot to my primary rally forehand (after I discovered my previous topspin drive forehand technique that sort of works on hardcourt was useless on rough clay if hitting on the rise, due to reliance on a big gravity powered pendulum sweep pre-contact that couldn’t be adjusted midswing).
I see you're setting yourself up to dominate 60+ when you get there ;)

Anyway, plenty of people out there would gain on hitting underspin forehand and backhand. These are easy to master and bring a level of consistency that many players can't even smell.
 
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