Tips on improving forehand/one-handed backhand form?

sombowombo

New User
I’ve been playing tennis for over 6 years but in that span of time, I’ve never been coached so my form looks very strange and awkward. I hate how people would make fun of it so I want to improve and make it look nicer and also become more consistent. I have a video of my forehand and one-hand backhand so opinions and tips would help a lot! Drills and instructions would also be welcome! Thank you!
 

LuckyR

Legend
I’ve been playing tennis for over 6 years but in that span of time, I’ve never been coached so my form looks very strange and awkward. I hate how people would make fun of it so I want to improve and make it look nicer and also become more consistent. I have a video of my forehand and one-hand backhand so opinions and tips would help a lot! Drills and instructions would also be welcome! Thank you!
A couple of things. First, your video has terrible footwork/preparation, because you don't care about rallying against a wall. My guess is it actually might be a lot better in Real Life, ie in matchplay, but you know best. Secondly, because you are hitting against a wall (and you aren't playing intensely) you have half the prep time for your shots, which is why you have an abbreviated backswing on the video. You might have a normal backswing in Real Life, but again you know best. Other than that, your stroke mechanics don't appear to have obvious flaws, given the above.
 

sombowombo

New User
A couple of things. First, your video has terrible footwork/preparation, because you don't care about rallying against a wall. My guess is it actually might be a lot better in Real Life, ie in matchplay, but you know best. Secondly, because you are hitting against a wall (and you aren't playing intensely) you have half the prep time for your shots, which is why you have an abbreviated backswing on the video. You might have a normal backswing in Real Life, but again you know best. Other than that, your stroke mechanics don't appear to have obvious flaws, given the above.
I’ll try to produce a better accurate footage in match play as soon as possible, but thank you for your reply. As for the footwork, you are correct that I wasn’t as engaged because I was rallying against a wall so this time, I’ll try to get a good video of me playing an actual set with someone.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Your techniques don't include nearly enough uppermost body turn as Leed says.

Study pro strokes regarding uppermost body turn. That is probably the largest source of racket head speed. Decide to change your techniques or not.

A long detailed thread on the one hand backhand technique used by most ATP pros is
Specific sub-motions used are identified. Read OP, #51 and to end. The sub-motions were posted when they were identified.
 

ubercat

Professional
Skip the sub motions. If you have a job and a girlfriend nobody has that much time.

First stop practicing on the wall like that it's a big waste of time. Painter's tape up some targets, hit 1 stroke preferably while throwing the ball off to the side or behind you so it's more like a match and catch the ball.

One nice positive is that you have the habit of taking the back foot off the ground which automatically gives your weight transfer onto the front foot so that's nice keep that.

2 hacks will help with your turning immediately.

Point your left arm out straight to the sidelne on the forehand.

On the back hand push the racket handle tip out towards the left hand netpost, basically a 45-degree angle. As you move the racquet back near or above your shoulder. Before the racquet drop.

Do those two things and it's impossible not to have body turn.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Pull up some slow-motion YouTube videos of Stan Wawrinka for the backhand and Jacob Sinner for the forehand (lots of other good players but I just looked at their strokes and tried to model mine after them), and then compare your own video to the strokes of the pros and note the differences. Unfortunately, changing your strokes is hard to do and takes a long time and you lose a lot of matches in the process.

It's also hard for many people to translate what they see someone else doing into what they are doing. But that's my approach - and it typically takes me six months or longer to make changes.
 

Friedman Whip

Professional
I don't think your technique is that bad. I'd say yes for sure about getting your left arm away from your body on your forehand and no to saying that hitting on the wall is bad. If you have a wall that is big enough so that you can get far enough away from it, then you should have enough time between hits to do all the complete stroke preparation you need. Getting your left arm out (google Agassi forehand preparation) will not only be good technique but it will also make you look like you know what you're doing. Looks like you have a good grip for a 1 hand backhand so I'd work on coming up and over the ball to get some topspin instead the slice you hit.
 

vex

Legend
I’ve been playing tennis for over 6 years but in that span of time, I’ve never been coached so my form looks very strange and awkward. I hate how people would make fun of it so I want to improve and make it look nicer and also become more consistent. I have a video of my forehand and one-hand backhand so opinions and tips would help a lot! Drills and instructions would also be welcome! Thank you!
- grab racket
- put on slow motion Djokovic/Federer practice YouTube vids
- move your feet and shadow swing
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
If you stand in front of a mirror and at the same time view a monitor with a slow motion Youtube of a model tennis stroke, you can see your differences. Loop slow motion and go to positions. You need to pose to match the video or search for videos that look like your reflection.

I did this and posted on it, I believe, to see if the set up worked. It did.

You may have to view the monitor also throught the mirror. ?

@Curious
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Here is the thread on viewing yourself and a laptop in a large mirror to observe stroke positions. See post #12.

The player on the laptop was taken with a certain camera angle. You want your mirror image to look the same as that reference stroke video with its camera angle.

For those that like practice/shadow swings to simulate pro strokes, especially @Curious, this is enough to get your started -

With a full length mirror, place a laptop on a chair or small table facing the mirror. The mirror allows your reflection and the laptop's model player reflection to have the same orientation. Position yourself so that you see the stroke on the laptop and your reflection. I was a few feet from the mirror and the laptop was closer, maybe 2 feet. I viewed the upper body (above waist) of a Gasquet backhand. I looked at single frames of the video for positions.

As I see it now, you must be viewing the mirror so you need to find videos of similar appearing model strokes. Find the pro video head looking in the direction of the camera and then orient yourself to be looking at the mirror with the same head angle as in the pro video reflection.

Put the Youtube on loop at a slow playback speed. Single frame to view body positions.

I could reproduce the body and racket positions, but I could not place my chin to the other side of my shoulder as Gasquet was doing (See Scapular Protraction). Body positions and joint motions that you cannot reach statically will show up right away.

Note- the height of the incoming ball is a variable.

In Motion. If anyone that regularly practices shadow swinging uses this set up please post any problems and hints. Especially, I have not tried slow motion swings vs a slow motion playback of the pro player, so please post on that if you learn anything about working with slow motion.
 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
Here is the thread on viewing yourself and a laptop in a large mirror to observe stroke positions. See post #12.

The player on the laptop was taken with a certain camera angle. You want your mirror image to look the same as that reference stroke video with its camera angle.



Chas Tennis said:

For those that like practice/shadow swings to simulate pro strokes, especially @Curious, this is enough to get your started -

With a full length mirror, place a laptop on a chair or small table facing the mirror. The mirror allows your reflection and the laptop's model player reflection to have the same orientation. Position yourself so that you see the stroke on the laptop and your reflection. I was a few feet from the mirror and the laptop was closer, maybe 2 feet. I viewed the upper body (above waist) of a Gasquet backhand. I looked at single frames of the video for positions.

As I see it now, you must be viewing the mirror so you need to find videos of similar appearing model strokes. Find the pro video head looking in the direction of the camera and then orient yourself to be looking at the mirror with the same head angle as in the pro video reflection.

Put the Youtube on loop at a slow playback speed. Single frame to view body positions.

I could reproduce the body and racket positions, but I could not place my chin to the other side of my shoulder as Gasquet was doing (See Scapular Protraction). Body positions and joint motions that you cannot reach statically will show up right away.

Note- the height of the incoming ball is a variable.

In Motion. If anyone that regularly practices shadow swinging uses this set up please post any problems and hints. Especially, I have not tried slow motion swings vs a slow motion playback of the pro player, so please post on that if you learn anything about working with slow motion.
Shadow swing with youtube is very fun. It's also a bit helpful for me!

If you slow down you can achieve a lot of things but if you speed up your movements, most things go out the window.

Also, if you have to move like 10 feet to perform a stroke, that also destroys your shadow form!


Does anyone notice that in casual rallying Federer and Djokovic keep their non-dominant hands up very nicely, but in the match, they drop it?
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Shadow swing with youtube is very fun. It's also a bit helpful for me!

If you slow down you can achieve a lot of things but if you speed up your movements, most things go out the window.

Also, if you have to move like 10 feet to perform a stroke, that also destroys your shadow form!

Does anyone notice that in casual rallying Federer and Djokovic keep their non-dominant hands up very nicely, but in the match, they drop it?
I've recently taken to do the box forehand and I still have to remind myself to put the arm up. In fast exchanges with a lot of movement, though, it goes out the window. I figure that I will get better as I do it more often, but maybe not. Putting the hand out reminds you to do other stuff with other parts of your body and I think that's the important part that becomes part of muscle memory.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
I've recently taken to do the box forehand and I still have to remind myself to put the arm up. In fast exchanges with a lot of movement, though, it goes out the window. I figure that I will get better as I do it more often, but maybe not. Putting the hand out reminds you to do other stuff with other parts of your body and I think that's the important part that becomes part of muscle memory.
Isn't that weird and fascinating at the same time? I can do most things of the FH stroke well (in shadow and fairly decent in the match) except for the non-dom hand going up!

The body just doesn't understand its role or reason to keep it up. Perhaps something's still wrong or off in our stroke that forces the non-dom hand / arm to drop. Have you thought of that? It's only physics.

Maybe, pros have figured out the proper balance or cue or something and that's why their FH is virtually fail-proof (when they have perfect control of the setup).
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Isn't that weird and fascinating at the same time? I can do most things of the FH stroke well (in shadow and fairly decent in the match) except for the non-dom hand going up!

The body just doesn't understand its role or reason to keep it up. Perhaps something's still wrong or off in our stroke that forces the non-dom hand / arm to drop. Have you thought of that? It's only physics.

Maybe, pros have figured out the proper balance or cue or something and that's why their FH is virtually fail-proof (when they have perfect control of the setup).
I believe that use of the off arm is to add pace when players have time and are not presssured, but I have not studied that in videos. I ignore pressure when looking for their best technique & form. Their technique & form under pressure is a whole new ball game.
 

gold325

Professional
I’ve been playing tennis for over 6 years but in that span of time, I’ve never been coached so my form looks very strange and awkward. I hate how people would make fun of it so I want to improve and make it look nicer and also become more consistent. I have a video of my forehand and one-hand backhand so opinions and tips would help a lot! Drills and instructions would also be welcome! Thank you!
FOREHAND

You left arm drops too quickly in the forward swing and sometimes it doesnt even stay up. Hold it up for longer and when its time to hit the ball PULL it straight back instead of dropping it and maybe practise catching the racket. Will get your body more involved and eventually make forehands more effortless.


And practice with good bouncy balls. If you don't want to keep buying new balls get some wilson triniti balls to use against the wall.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Shadow swing with youtube is very fun. It's also a bit helpful for me!

If you slow down you can achieve a lot of things but if you speed up your movements, most things go out the window.

Also, if you have to move like 10 feet to perform a stroke, that also destroys your shadow form!


Does anyone notice that in casual rallying Federer and Djokovic keep their non-dominant hands up very nicely, but in the match, they drop it?
Each body position seen in videos also has
1) positions of body parts and racket
2) speeds of body parts & racket
3) stretched muscles due to what has been done beforehand

For your slowly going to positions in front of a mirror only
1) positions of body parts and racket

You can see why working with positions alone would be different. Also, doing the strokes in slow motion would also have problems as 2) & 3) are not the same for you and the real stroke on the video.

For most accurate comparisons of strokes, compare high speed videos of your strokes to those of ATP & WTA players of your choice. What other known stroke techniques are there?

First, compare techniques that don't pressure you or the ATP & WTA players. Once you have that, then worry about what if they are running, under pressure, low ball,..................
 
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