Topspin Forehand - Should you tilt the torso/shoulders upwards?

Hey guys,

On the modern forehand should you consciously try to tilt your torso (the torso pointing slightly upwards instead of directly at the opponent) and shoulder angle so that your hitting shoulder is lower than your non-hitting shoulder? I can see how that might promote more topspin, but at the same time I'm not entirely convinced that it's a good thing.

This seems to be what Jeff Salzenstein is advocating in this video:

 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
So he shows h o w people arm the ball. If you lift up hitting shoulder probably tough to keep eye on t h e ball. So makes sense. The Fed pic of him doing hip hop step flat down the line prob not really Apple's to Apple's though.
 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Shoulder tilt is allways relative to the ball, not the shot itself. High ball, more horizontal, low ball, more tilted, but still it does not tell you, who is the better player.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
 
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So should we consciously try to make this shoulder tilt/angle steeper? Or is it just a side effect of "patting the dog" to get the racket beneath the level of the ball?
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
I tend to drop the shoulder to help get under a ball. Probably should use more legs though at that point.
 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
I think, instead of the tilt, one should concentrate to have relaxed levators. ”High shoulder” up at your ears as if you’d be cold, would tell that the shot was forced.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
I think, instead of the tilt, one should concentrate to have relaxed levators. ”High shoulder” up at your ears as if you’d be cold, would tell that the shot was forced.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
What about this Pete?

More tilt when swinging to a falling ball, putting the shoulders more congruent with the path of the incoming ball...then shoulders more horizontal for the flatter incoming balls that are more horizontal in how they come at you. Matching the shoulder plane more to the incoming ball path plane...
 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
What about this Pete?

More tilt when swinging to a falling ball, putting the shoulders more congruent with the path of the incoming ball...then shoulders more horizontal for the flatter incoming balls that are more horizontal in how they come at you. Matching the shoulder plane more to the incoming ball path plane...
Yes, I think I covered that in one of them previous posts.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
 

Kevo

Legend
I think instruction like in that video is pretty silly. He basically says in the video if the ball is out of the strike zone then the shoulders will change. In other words the location of the incoming ball will determine the tilt or not of the shoulders. So what's the point of instructing people to tilt their shoulders a certain way.

How about fixing the chicken wing elbow that he demonstrates earlier in the video. That seems like something that would indicate a true stroke deficiency.

So short answer to your question. No, you should not consciously be tilting your shoulders. The tilt should be a consequence of addressing the ball with a proper swing path for the stroke you are trying to hit.
 

NuBas

Legend
Hey guys,

On the modern forehand should you consciously try to tilt your torso (the torso pointing slightly upwards instead of directly at the opponent) and shoulder angle so that your hitting shoulder is lower than your non-hitting shoulder? I can see how that might promote more topspin, but at the same time I'm not entirely convinced that it's a good thing.

This seems to be what Jeff Salzenstein is advocating in this video:
What Jeff was trying to demonstrate was the difference between players who arm the ball versus players who utilize proper body alignment and mechanics. Don't think about it too much, you do it naturally once you turn sideways and bend low to strike the ball. There are a lot of things you can think about in tennis but if you can identify that ONE thing that connects everything else, then you only need to focus on that one thing and not a dozen things.

The way you are thinking about it is like saying, do you tilt your shoulders upward or downward to pick up an item on the floor or one on the shelf and its neither, you just pick up the item whether its on the table or on a shelf, your shoulders are naturally gonna be tiled/diagonal.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
What Jeff was trying to demonstrate was the difference between players who arm the ball versus players who utilize proper body alignment and mechanics. Don't think about it too much, you do it naturally once you turn sideways and bend low to strike the ball. There are a lot of things you can think about in tennis but if you can identify that ONE thing that connects everything else, then you only need to focus on that one thing and not a dozen things.

The way you are thinking about it is like saying, do you tilt your shoulders upward or downward to pick up an item on the floor or one on the shelf and its neither, you just pick up the item whether its on the table or on a shelf, your shoulders are naturally gonna be tiled/diagonal.
Awesome post!
 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
What Jeff was trying to demonstrate was the difference between players who arm the ball versus players who utilize proper body alignment and mechanics. Don't think about it too much, you do it naturally once you turn sideways and bend low to strike the ball. There are a lot of things you can think about in tennis but if you can identify that ONE thing that connects everything else, then you only need to focus on that one thing and not a dozen things.

The way you are thinking about it is like saying, do you tilt your shoulders upward or downward to pick up an item on the floor or one on the shelf and its neither, you just pick up the item whether its on the table or on a shelf, your shoulders are naturally gonna be tiled/diagonal.
+1

Excellently articulated.

Just a thought, say you tilt hitting side shoulder down on a high ball and lift the hand to make contact. How easy would that be?

High balls are kind of problematic, cause gravity will not help in swinging the racket freely. You need to adjust the path by tilting the other way and try not to lift, but let the racket fly up.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
 

NuBas

Legend
+1

Excellently articulated.

Just a thought, say you tilt hitting side shoulder down on a high ball and lift the hand to make contact. How easy would that be?

High balls are kind of problematic, cause gravity will not help in swinging the racket freely. You need to adjust the path by tilting the other way and try not to lift, but let the racket fly up.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
Sorry, I'm not sure I understand what you are saying :confused:
 

Curious

Legend
I noticed while watching this video that Query seems to dip the right shoulder (forehand) and load on the right leg quite obviously and thought this might be important in creating topspin. Then Muster came to mind as I remembered he was doing something similar. Then googled and came across this thread.
Anyone agree? Is any of these better? Hitting side shoulder higher/lower/same level as the nondominant shoulder.


 

pencilcheck

Professional
Not sure what tilting the shoulder really accomplish, as tilting the shoulder will mess up your contact point if you do it consciously.

The videos muster probably is doing that for lower balls.
 

Curious

Legend
Not sure what tilting the shoulder really accomplish, as tilting the shoulder will mess up your contact point if you do it consciously.

The videos muster probably is doing that for lower balls.
Jeff says it’s for balls in strike zone and the lower ones.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I noticed while watching this video that Query seems to dip the right shoulder (forehand) and load on the right leg quite obviously and thought this might be important in creating topspin. Then Muster came to mind as I remembered he was doing something similar. Then googled and came across this thread.
Anyone agree? Is any of these better? Hitting side shoulder higher/lower/same level as the nondominant shoulder.


I consciously tilt when hitting a low, slow ball in the backcourt that I want to hit very loopy.
I do this too. On the pro tour, Nadal is the best example of this--and perhaps unsurprisingly he's the best at killing low slices.




I find that a reverse finish works really well in tandem with this for I/I and DTL forehands, whereas for standard CC and I/O forehands the standard WW finish works better.
 

Mountain Ghost

Professional
The "Default" modern ground stroke ... the one everyone should envision ... and work on learning FIRST ... is NOT with tilted shoulders. The upper-body rotational axis should be vertical ... and the shoulders should be level.

What I don't like at all about "advocating" tilted shoulders ... as demonstrated and "taught" by some ... is that the hitting shoulder tends to lean outside of the outside foot ... and you lose the benefit of an efficient anchor to push off from for maximum rotational momentum. It also makes it harder to hit out ... due to the upper body lean.

Even IF the hitting shoulder does dip a bit on certain balls ... or in certain situations ... it should NOT be the go-to technical intent ... or vision ... in anyone's mind.

~ MG
 
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RogerWannaBe

New User
Sometimes with a strong coil and strong outside leg loading, there is a slight "bending over" of the whole torso, not just the right shoulder. From that position on, once you start rotating into the shot, the right shoulder will dip lower and then elevate again. This happens naturally since the rotation axis is slightly tilted forward (i.e. tilted towards the sidelines after the unit turn). Simultaneously you are also pushing off the ground with the outside leg which also helps elevate the right shoulder coming out of the dip.

There are several examples of this in the following video clip, such as the one at 6 minute mark. At 6:03 shoulders are level, 6:05 right shoulder dipped, 6:08 right shoulder elevated again.

This helps in achieving a heavier topspin swing. Analogous to the "shoulder over shoulder" action in serving in terms of adding power. Having said that, I also think that there is no active intent on tilting shoulders though, but rather an intent on loading well while staying low to the ground. This will naturally promote a slight bending over of the whole torso and the right shoulder dipping in and out through the shot.
 
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I like the video of the op. It is not really about tilting the shoulder down but about keeping the head in there and maintaining the spine angle.

Baseball players and golfers also will do that and keep the spine titled over the plate.

If you lean away to the left in the finish you are pulling off the head and the spine.

See this comparison. You don't really tilt those shoulders, more like you just set an angle an rotate on it, depends a bit on ball height too.

What you don't want to do is bend that axis to the left.

 
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