UGLY forehands UNITE!

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Not sure how relaxed you're feeling as you hit these shots, but your shots look very armed, with acceleration coming from the forearm.

There's also no weight transfer, as you appear to be balancing on your right leg from the beginning to the end of your forehand stroke. Your left foot is tiptoe-ing on almost all your forehands from start to finish...
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
The forehands in vid below are more representative of how I hit during a match situation (a little more deliberate), and you can see the biomechanics more clearly when I am not bundled up in warm gear.

While there may be an illusion at first glance that I am “arming” the ball with an active forearm, in actuality my forearm is passively coming along for the ride.

Some key elements of my ugly and unconventional (but strangely reliable) forehand:

1. My takeback always starts with the racquet head above my head to provide gravitational potential energy.

2. The stroke is initiated by allowing gravity to accelerate the racquet downward, converting the potential energy into kinetic energy.

3. From the point where the racquet first drops to waist level all the way through the contact point, the angle of my wrist, as well as the angle of my elbow remain constant. In other words, the stroke comprises a simple single pendulum sweep from the shoulder down. Having a tuned MgR/I value for racquet allows me to maintain these constant joint angles while keeping the muscles of my arm relaxed.

4. Once the unit turn has begun, the only effort applied to help accelerate the hand toward the contact point comes from the larger muscles that control the shoulder joint.

5. The forearm fans around after contact only because the momentum of the racquet pulls it up and across. The only time my forearm is actively working is when I am decelerating during the follow through.

The end result of my relaxed simple pendulum forehand is a very reproducible and consistent stroke. The consistency is aided by my nearly 14-oz heavy frame. The downside (other than its ugliness) is that it doesn’t have that much natural racquet speed, so my forehand is great for counter punching, but less useful for attacking with power.

I

 
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SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
The forehands in vid below are more representative of how I hit during a match situation (a little more deliberate), and you can see the biomechanics more clearly when I am not bundled up in warm gear.

While there may be an illusion at first glance that I am “arming” the ball with an active forearm, in actuality my forearm is passively coming along for the ride.

Some key elements of my ugly and unconventional (but strangely reliable) forehand:

1. My takeback always starts with the racquet head above my head to provide gravitational potential energy.

2. The stroke is initiated by allowing gravity to accelerate the racquet downward, converting the potential energy into kinetic energy.

3. From the point where the racquet first drops to waist level all the way through the contact point, the angle of my wrist, as well as the angle of my elbow remain constant. In other words, the stroke comprises a simple single pendulum sweep from the shoulder down. Having a tuned MgR/I value for racquet allows me to maintain these constant joint angles while keeping the muscles of my arm relaxed.

4. Once the unit turn has begun, the only effort applied to help accelerate the hand toward the contact point comes from the larger muscles that control the shoulder joint.

5. The forearm fans around after contact only because the momentum of the racquet pulls it up and across. The only time my forearm is actively working is when I am decelerating during the follow through.

The end result of my relaxed simple pendulum forehand is a very reproducible and consistent stroke. The consistency is aided by my nearly 14-oz heavy frame. The downside (other than its ugliness) is that it doesn’t have that much natural racquet speed, so my forehand is great for counter punching, but less useful for attacking with power.

I

Yeah, no. Bender's spot on, as he usually is. You're arming the ball.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
The forehands in vid below are more representative of how I hit during a match situation (a little more deliberate), and you can see the biomechanics more clearly when I am not bundled up in warm gear.

While there may be an illusion at first glance that I am “arming” the ball with an active forearm, in actuality my forearm is passively coming along for the ride.

Some key elements of my ugly and unconventional (but strangely reliable) forehand:

1. My takeback always starts with the racquet head above my head to provide gravitational potential energy.

2. The stroke is initiated by allowing gravity to accelerate the racquet downward, converting the potential energy into kinetic energy.

3. From the point where the racquet first drops to waist level all the way through the contact point, the angle of my wrist, as well as the angle of my elbow remain constant. In other words, the stroke comprises a simple single pendulum sweep from the shoulder down. Having a tuned MgR/I value for racquet allows me to maintain these constant joint angles while keeping the muscles of my arm relaxed.

4. Once the unit turn has begun, the only effort applied to help accelerate the hand toward the contact point comes from the larger muscles that control the shoulder joint.

5. The forearm fans around after contact only because the momentum of the racquet pulls it up and across. The only time my forearm is actively working is when I am decelerating during the follow through.

The end result of my relaxed simple pendulum forehand is a very reproducible and consistent stroke. The consistency is aided by my nearly 14-oz heavy frame. The downside (other than its ugliness) is that it doesn’t have that much natural racquet speed, so my forehand is great for counter punching, but less useful for attacking with power.

I

Here is a view from front:
 
My feedback is the same as @Bender's: it appears to me that you're using more arm than you could be. Based on the direction your Stanford logo is facing, I'd estimate you're halfway between totally arming it and totally not arming it.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
My feedback is the same as @Bender's: it appears to me that you're using more arm than you could be. Based on the direction your Stanford logo is facing, I'd estimate you're halfway between totally arming it and totally not arming it.
Well, considering that an arm is required to hit a tennis ball, and the body must also participate, I’d say that is a fair statement.

However, if you slow down the tape - easier to see all the links in the black shirt vid - you can see that the elbow and wrist stay at constant angle until contact. So any added arming effort has to come from the shoulder pivot point, which is part of the point of a simple pendulum swing, and basically what I said up above.
 
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Well, considering that an arm is required to hit a tennis ball, and the body must also participate, I’d say that is a fair statement.

However, if you slow down the tape - easier to see all the links in the black shirt vid - you can see that the elbow and wrist stay at constant angle until contact. So any added arming effort has to come from the shoulder pivot point, which is part of the point of a simple pendulum swing, and basically what I said up above.
I single-stepped through one FH. OK, maybe halfway is too harsh; maybe 2/3rd of the way [closer to not arming it than arming it].

BTW: I don't think your FH is ugly. It just appears to me you could do an even better job of being loose than you already are.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I single-stepped through one FH. OK, maybe halfway is too harsh; maybe 2/3rd of the way [closer to not arming it than arming it].

BTW: I don't think your FH is ugly. It just appears to me you could do an even better job of being loose than you already are.
The thing that I have been working on is making the contact point further away from my body. I feel more secure (less can go wrong) when the ball is close to me, but everything feels more naturally powerful (and less cramped and prettier on video) when I hit with better extension. I've actually already made some progress with this since I first started videoing myself this summer.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
The thing that I have been working on is making the contact point further away from my body. I feel more secure (less can go wrong) when the ball is close to me, but everything feels more naturally powerful (and less cramped and prettier on video) when I hit with better extension. I've actually already made some progress with this since I first started videoing myself this summer.
What grip do you use? The more extreme the grip the more out in front I believe you must hit. An eastern grip can be hit further back, like in line with your front shoulder. A continental I think is best hit between your shoulders. But a semi-western or a western has to be hit in front of your body for sure

Your stroke right now doesn't seem to look like a normal stroke. Something is strange about it, but what that is? It does look pretty armed and rigid... Are you using a continental grip? Have you got knee problems?
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
What grip do you use? The more extreme the grip the more out in front I believe you must hit. An eastern grip can be hit further back, like in line with your front shoulder. A continental I think is best hit between your shoulders. But a semi-western or a western has to be hit in front of your body for sure

Your stroke right now doesn't seem to look like a normal stroke. Something is strange about it, but what that is? It does look pretty armed and rigid... Are you using a continental grip? Have you got knee problems?
I think part of the reason it looks rigid is that I have tuned the racquet so that the lower pendulum (the racquet) is linked with the upper pendulum (the arm and torso).
My grip is about halfway between eastern and semiwestern. Sometimes I wish I had learned with a stronger (full semiwestern) grip, since it seems to me that people who start late can learn a decent high-level forehand more easily.
My knees are actually fine. I've just developed the habit of standing fairly erect on forehands, perhaps due to laziness?
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Yeah, no. Bender's spot on, as he usually is. You're arming the ball.
Thanks @SinjinCooper , that means a lot coming from you!
Sometimes I wish I had learned with a stronger (full semiwestern) grip, since it seems to me that people who start late can learn a decent high-level forehand more easily.
Nonsense, unless we include extreme grips in the equation, grips should not have a huge effect on the overall swing technique.

Off the top of my head, the only major thing that changes as a result of different grips should be the contact point, ie how close to the body and the high the ideal hitting zone is.
My knees are actually fine. I've just developed the habit of standing fairly erect on forehands, perhaps due to laziness?
Probably laziness, and you should work on fixing that.

A large chunk of power on your forehand (or any shot for that matter) should come from your legs working in tandem with your torso slinging the arm and racquet forward, with your arm itself providing some additional power if necessary and more importantly (and obviously) making minute adjustments so that you make clean contact with the ball.

With the narrow and 'erect' stance that you are employing here, you are effectively ruling out the power from your legs, which leaves you with just your upper body and arms to pick up the work. Since your upper body involvement also appears to be somewhat inadequate, your arm has to take charge, which is why your forearm appears to be driving the shot.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Thanks @SinjinCooper , that means a lot coming from you!

Nonsense, unless we include extreme grips in the equation, grips should not have a huge effect on the overall swing technique.

Off the top of my head, the only major thing that changes as a result of different grips should be the contact point, ie how close to the body and the high the ideal hitting zone is.

Probably laziness, and you should work on fixing that.

A large chunk of power on your forehand (or any shot for that matter) should come from your legs working in tandem with your torso slinging the arm and racquet forward, with your arm itself providing some additional power if necessary and more importantly (and obviously) making minute adjustments so that you make clean contact with the ball.

With the narrow and 'erect' stance that you are employing here, you are effectively ruling out the power from your legs, which leaves you with just your upper body and arms to pick up the work. Since your upper body involvement also appears to be somewhat inadequate, your arm has to take charge, which is why your forearm appears to be driving the shot.
Not disagreeing with most of what you are saying, but I assure you that you have missed the mark on your assessment of what my forearm is doing. It is just going along for the ride. My racquet weighs 14 oz and I never ever feel any tiredness or soreness in my arm in long matches or long hitting sessions - i could continue all day without my arm feeling a thing. If you look in slow motion it becomes more clear.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Medvedev just beat Nadal, Djokovic and Thiem with his ugly strokes and cunning.
I smile every time I see his forehand in action. Did he teach himself??? Surely most famous coaches would try to change that thing in juniors.

Then you have his effective flat backhand with limited torso rotation. Ugly strokes rule!
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
Medvedev just beat Nadal, Djokovic and Thiem with his ugly strokes and cunning.
I smile every time I see his forehand in action. Did he teach himself??? Surely most famous coaches would try to change that thing in juniors.

Then you have his effective flat backhand with limited torso rotation. Ugly strokes rule!
Even with his weird form he still makes them flow and fly with full follow-through. Which is remarkable and worth noticing.
 

FatHead250

Semi-Pro
Youve got nice mechanics. Pretty old school tho. I prefer straight arm forehands, so not sure what else to say.

what would be nice is doing less of the brushing motion and moving more onto the ball
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Update:
I completely re-tooled my forehand in the spring during the first lockdown. No one has seen vid yet, but my friend recorded our match the other day, so I hope to see the new form soon. My forehand had been much-improved since then - I rolled through my summer 4.5 singles league and playoffs undefeated thanks to my neo-forehand, which has better extension through the ball and more confidence - very similar to the Medvedev style. I feel more confident holding my own going forehand to forehand against my 5.0 friends now.

I think I no longer snatch across - I hope the vid will confirm this.
 
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TennisDawg

Professional
Even with his weird form he still makes them flow and fly with full follow-through. Which is remarkable and worth noticing.
Medvedev does hit the crap outta that ball with his forehand. His take back is way way back, almost like a baseball swing. I’m sure that was not taught, he probably taught himself. He can go from a defensive position to offense instantly with his forehand. It has to drive the top players crazy. Nadal seemed intimidated when they played, he probably remembered when Medvedev had him on the ropes in 2019 USO. A match Nadal was lucky to win.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Medvedev does hit the crap outta that ball with his forehand. His take back is way way back, almost like a baseball swing. I’m sure that was not taught, he probably taught himself. He can go from a defensive position to offense instantly with his forehand. It has to drive the top players crazy. Nadal seemed intimidated when they played, he probably remembered when Medvedev had him on the ropes in 2019 USO. A match Nadal was lucky to win.
I think he hits with more topspin and margin this year than last year. Still on the flatter side compared to most of the nextgen guys, but with better accuracy and control compared to the other guys due to less wrist involved.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Medvedev does hit the crap outta that ball with his forehand. His take back is way way back, almost like a baseball swing. I’m sure that was not taught, he probably taught himself. He can go from a defensive position to offense instantly with his forehand. It has to drive the top players crazy. Nadal seemed intimidated when they played, he probably remembered when Medvedev had him on the ropes in 2019 USO. A match Nadal was lucky to win.
I do like Medvedev and his ugly ass strokes, in the same way I am endeared by a puppy with a missing leg or an eye.

Medvedev seems to match up better against Nadal these days. Before this match there was the ATP Finals last year where Medvedev was something like 5-1 up in the third set before Nadal just steamrolled through the next few games and won the match.

This year seems to be the same script but reversed. TBH as a Nadal fan I'd have preferred if they had swapped victories but it's difficult to say if Nadal would've beaten Thiem in the final.
 

HBK4life

Semi-Pro
I saw a new guy at our club. I cant understsnd how he hits his forehand in ever. It looks like the ball slides of his racket like a pizza sliding off a pan.
 
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socallefty

Hall of Fame
I saw a new guy at our club. I cant understsnd how he hits his forehand in ever. It looks like the ball slides of his racket like a pizza sliding off a pan.
Does his technique look like Jack Sock or does he have an unconventional slap-shot style? There is a guy at my club who imitates Sock’s whippy style and his FH has a lot of side spin in addition to topspin when he hits it like that.
 
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