What's the first body part to move,

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Tie between back hip and tensing of lower leg muscles?
Can we separate the parts based on the speed of the brain's signals?
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
I would say the outer leg starts the ATP forehand as you push off it to start the torso rotation which initiates the forward swing.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
While YOUR brain might MOVE, and some other's also, my brain is somewhat tied to my skull, which is part of my head, and I try to keep the head still while tracking the ball off the opponent's racket.
But, I might be wrong. Maybe I should be jumping up and down as the ball flies towards my court.
 

tennis_ocd

Hall of Fame
Interesting. Once fully loaded and ready to swing forward, I picture the dominant leg quad muscle contracting as it pushes the leg downward and against the court. Technically speaking, the brain/head might be the last to move.

Edit: Upon reflection (and reading chotobaka below) I'm going to go with the dominant glute muscle as it contracts to press down and initiate hip turn.
 
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Chotobaka

Hall of Fame
Outside hip?
With respect to the hips, I think it is hard to separate left/right hip movement because they are largely in synch. But if I had to pick the one that moves first I feel, with the inside part of the body being fully loaded, it is the inside hip that drives and pushes the outer hip rotation when the coiled energy is released. Also, very tough not to include leg involvement since none of these movements are isolated.
 
With respect to the hips, I think it is hard to separate left/right hip movement because they are largely in synch. But if I had to pick the one that moves first I feel, with the inside part of the body being fully loaded, it is the inside hip that drives and pushes the outer hip when the coiled energy is released. Also, very tough not to include leg involvement since none of these movements are isolated.
The reason why I said "outside hip" is because the player loads the outside gluteal muscles, with the unit turn and knee bend, and then explodes off that pre-rotated/loaded outside gluteal muscle, which is stretched for maximal power production. Of course the hips rotate as a unit, but IMO it's the outside hip muscles doing the initial work.
 

Chotobaka

Hall of Fame
The reason why I said "outside hip" is because the player loads the outside gluteal muscles, with the unit turn and knee bend, and then explodes off that pre-rotated/loaded outside gluteal muscle, which is stretched for maximal power production. Of course the hips rotate as a unit, but IMO it's the outside hip muscles doing the initial work.
Yeah, I got that from your original post. I simply don't agree. I think the inside hip push is the initial catalyst due to the unloading of the loaded energy on that side of the body. Initial inner hip unlocking/pushing rather than outer hip pullling.
 
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J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah, I got that from your original post. I simply don't agree. I think the inside hip push is the initial catalyst due to the unloading of the loaded energy on that side of the body. Initial inner hip unlocking/pushing rather than outer hip pullling.
If it's an inner push rather than an outer pull, what clears the outside shoulder/non-hitting arm. Wouldn't it impede the swing to some degree?

J
 

Chotobaka

Hall of Fame
If it's an inner push rather than an outer pull, what clears the outside shoulder/non-hitting arm. Wouldn't it impede the swing to some degree?

J
I feel the outer side of the entire body progressively engages as core rotation moves closer and closer towards its apex. Pushing is a more efficient and powerful way to initially release the stored energy resulting from loading/coiling. Again, I think in a practical sense, everything works in synch, but if I had to split hairs it is pushing that initiates the release of stored energy.

Regarding the off arm and shoulder, this is a natural part of rotation Remember, the question is was which moves first and my reply was if the hips move first, it is the inner hip not the outer hip. In practical terms all the body parts flow in synch -- we are talking nano-seconds here.
 
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WildVolley

Legend
When the forward swing is initiated in an ATP forehand?

J
Can you explain what this means?

My impression is that the body is already in motion at the time of the forward swing. Since a lot of the body is already in motion, what exactly are we to identify as moving "first"?

If you are talking about the forward motion, I've been told that ideally the hips should move forward before the racket. Studying slow motion of the pros when they have time is probably the best way to see what is happening.
 

Capulin Zurdo

Hall of Fame
I feel it's somewhat difficult to exactly pinpoint what body part moves first, but I'd say perhaps the feet are the ones to move first. Then all body parts move in immediate subsequent motion.
 

tennis_ocd

Hall of Fame
Can you explain what this means?

My impression is that the body is already in motion at the time of the forward swing. Since a lot of the body is already in motion, what exactly are we to identify as moving "first"?

If you are talking about the forward motion, I've been told that ideally the hips should move forward before the racket. Studying slow motion of the pros when they have time is probably the best way to see what is happening.
I think there must be a split second in time when all the coiling/back swing has stopped and the forward, uncoiling begins. One could argue the racket may be in continual motion but really due to gravity vice any muscle input.

What muscle does the brain fire to begin the forward stroke? The dominant foot? We say from the foot up....
 
I feel the outer side of the entire body progressively engages as core rotation moves closer and closer towards its apex. Pushing is a more efficient and powerful way to initially release the stored energy resulting from loading/coiling. Again, I think in a practical sense, everything works in synch, but if I had to split hairs it is pushing that initiates the release of stored energy.

Regarding the off arm and shoulder, this is a natural part of rotation Remember, the question is was which moves first and my reply was if the hips move first, it is the inner hip not the outer hip. In practical terms all the body parts flow in synch -- we are talking nano-seconds here.
But which muscle group fires first? At least I do it so that outside glute fires first. Wonder if that's how pros do it?
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
There's quite a bit of debate in the golf world about this same issue. For a long time, traditional teaching was to push off the back foot and transfer weight to the front foot. Now it seems the top players start the downswing by pulling back their front hip. Of course Slammin' Sammy Snead did it that way 60 years ago.

Given the similarities in the core motions in the two sports, I think the proper way to initiate forward motion in a modern FH is to pull the off hip around (slightly) using mainly the oblique muscle. Pushing off the dominant side leg will transfer weight to the other leg and impede rotation. Look at how many times top pros hit a Fh with their off leg off the ground. They can't be pushing off their dominant side and be in that position.

A lot of this happens close to simultaneously, and the body movements are complex, so there is plenty of room for friendly disagreement.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
It seems like a pretty simple question to me.

Wouldn't it be towards the top of the list of things you should know if you want to explain how atp forehands are hit?

J
 
It seems like a pretty simple question to me.

Wouldn't it be towards the top of the list of things you should know if you want to explain how atp forehands are hit?

J
Hip rotation is the first action IMO. The question of which exact body part moves first, or which exact muscle fires first is irrelevant IMO. What one should aim for is the "separate" initial hip rotation, which then drives the next parts of the kinetic chain.
 

Bdole

Rookie
While I'd agree about using the lower body to initiate ground force and create the most pace, I don't believe the lower body is a mandatory aspect of the ATP forehand. It's the sequencing of the torso rotation with the arm and racquet positions.

https://youtu.be/xNPaZj4yn00?t=3m28s


I'd also say there is a lot of overlap of motions occurring at first forward movement of the swing. The off arm, off shoulder, and racquet arm are all actively executing part of the stroke at that time. This 2nd video does show excellent use of ground forces through the inside leg/hip.

https://youtu.be/2lK09iYdhJs?t=1m37s
 

WildVolley

Legend
It seems like a pretty simple question to me.

Wouldn't it be towards the top of the list of things you should know if you want to explain how atp forehands are hit?

J
Why do you think this is a simple question?

Seems to make more sense to me to follow a movement pattern rather than to try to exactly determine to the fraction of a second which part of the body "starts" the movement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ImeQaAyFPc

Watching the video of the Fed, I don't see a pause between the backswing and the forward swing. I think that the hips are turning first, but it is hard to tell. Since the leg is connected to the hip, you can't necessarily isolate one part of the body and say "that moved first." Muscle groups tend to work together.
 

WildVolley

Legend
It is a simple question, it's a very simple question.

People who say it's not a simple question are trying to justify their not knowing the answer.

J
It is a simple question but not one with a simple answer because it is something that happens in the middle of a stroke. It is subject to definitional and interpretation disputes.

It is equivalent to asking what body part is first to move when swinging up at the serve. Different people are going to have different interpretations as to when the upward swing starts and since a lot of body parts are already moving, you can argue about whether it is initiated by the legs or the hips or perhaps those precede the upward swing.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Maybe this clarification will help mitigate some definitional and interpretation disputes.

When I say forward I mean not backwards or stationary.

for·ward
ˈfôrwərd
adverb
1.
toward the front; in the direction that one is facing or traveling.
"he started up the engine and the car moved forward"
synonyms: ahead, forwards, onward, onwards, on, further
"the traffic moved forward"

J
 
S

Sirius Black

Guest
Barium, Carbon, Potassium, Thorium, Astatine, Arsenic, Sulfur, Uranium, Phosphorus
 

ohplease

Professional
Why do you think this is a simple question?

Seems to make more sense to me to follow a movement pattern rather than to try to exactly determine to the fraction of a second which part of the body "starts" the movement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ImeQaAyFPc

Watching the video of the Fed, I don't see a pause between the backswing and the forward swing. I think that the hips are turning first, but it is hard to tell. Since the leg is connected to the hip, you can't necessarily isolate one part of the body and say "that moved first." Muscle groups tend to work together.
That video illustrates the problem - Fed is hitting nothing but forehands, but he hits them all differently. In the first one he plants, then rotates around his dominant leg, pulling his other leg and hip back. In the second one he plants, then transfers weight to his other leg and rotates his dominant leg and hip forward. In one near the end, he plants but then doesn't rotate around either leg but actually does a traditional closed stance step forward.

That said, there are common movements across all the forehands in that video in his hips, core, and chest. Asking what comes first is probably the wrong question. If you have to have some pedantic answer, everything seems to start with loading/unloading the dominant leg first, though.
 

dnj30

Semi-Pro
In swinging sports(tennis, golf, baseball, etc...) It's the large muscles that initiate the "kinetic chain". The hips start to open up first(along with the front leg usually). With the shoulders still not moving the torso builds up potential energy. The shoulders then get pulled around by the torso. The arms follow the shoulder, and finally the laid back wrist gets pulled thru and snaps thru the hitting zone with tremendous speed. Very much like the cracking of a whip.
So, like many others, I'd say its the hips that move first. Or maybe its a tie between the hips and legs since its impossible for you to move your hips without moving your legs a little too.
 

spinovic

Hall of Fame
It seems to me that there are a lot of parts working in unison. I'm not sure you can say for certainty that any one thing is the first to move, can you? Our bodies are marvelous creations, with different parts capable of moving in unison, so I don't necessarily view this like a line of dominoes where one single thing/move triggers the next and so on.

If I start from the end of my backswing, I would say my hips begin to rotate and my arm starts coming forward at the same time. Granted, your arm will come forward anyway due to the rotation, but you still swing the racquet and rotate your core at the same time.

I admit, maybe I'm wrong, and but that's how it seems/feels to me.
 
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dnj30

Semi-Pro
It seems to me that there are a lot of parts working in unison. I'm not sure you can say for certainty that any one thing is the first to move, can you? Our bodies are marvelous creations, with different parts capable of moving in unison, so I don't necessarily view this like a line of dominoes where one single thing/move triggers the next and so on.

If I start from the end of my backswing, I would say my hips begin to rotate and my arm starts coming forward at the same time. Granted, your arm will come forward anyway due to the rotation, but you still swing the racquet and rotate your core at the same time.

I admit, maybe I'm wrong, and but that's how it seems/feels to me.
True, we are talking about split seconds here. The best way I would describe it is to say that the hips lead the transition from backwards to forwards in the swing.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Can the hips lead without some push off the ground?
It can be argued that the hip starts the chain, but needs the push off the ground to make any kind of firing movement.
 

dnj30

Semi-Pro
Can the hips lead without some push off the ground?
It can be argued that the hip starts the chain, but needs the push off the ground to make any kind of firing movement.
Another good point. We're really splitting hairs here. Think about it, Its impossible to move your hips without your legs moving. And vice-versa. The real separation occurs in the core muscles. During the transition your lower body is beginning to open up, while your shoulders are actually doing the opposite. This is where the energy is built up. Its more noticeable in a golf swing. The hips will start to "fire" while the shoulders are still rotating back. Same with baseball.
 

LapsedNoob

Professional
Isn't it also going to depend on how the player is moving?

How are you going to separate the muscle action to set and mantain balance from the muscle action that starts the hips and torso moving for the swinging action.
 
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It seems to me that there are a lot of parts working in unison. I'm not sure you can say for certainty that any one thing is the first to move, can you? Our bodies are marvelous creations, with different parts capable of moving in unison, so I don't necessarily view this like a line of dominoes where one single thing/move triggers the next and so on.

If I start from the end of my backswing, I would say my hips begin to rotate and my arm starts coming forward at the same time. Granted, your arm will come forward anyway due to the rotation, but you still swing the racquet and rotate your core at the same time.

I admit, maybe I'm wrong, and but that's how it seems/feels to me.
My forearm (and more importantly the racquet) actually snaps backwards when I initiate the "forward swing". So my arm is definitely NOT starting to come forward when I initiate the hip rotation.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Huh, the first body part to move? What am I a doctor or a tennis player?

Some of the muscles in the back foot are the first bits to move in a normal hitting situation meaning where you have time to execute a normal stroke and aren't scampering. You load weight on back foot and unload to start forward swing so some little muscle or ligament in the back foot is the first thing to initiate forward movement. Energy goes from the ground up so something touching the ground has to move first.
 

spinovic

Hall of Fame
My forearm (and more importantly the racquet) actually snaps backwards when I initiate the "forward swing". So my arm is definitely NOT starting to come forward when I initiate the hip rotation.
Maybe. I'm not inclined to disagree in any case. There is a split second when everything "stops" when transitioning from back to forward movement it seems. I can't argue that the hip/core rotation isn't the catalyst.

I'll leave this question to better and more knowledgeable players than myself.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
My forearm (and more importantly the racquet) actually snaps backwards when I initiate the "forward swing". So my arm is definitely NOT starting to come forward when I initiate the hip rotation.
Does your forearm snap back or do you simply let the racket lag the forward pull of your arm and hand?

I think there is a difference and the word snap could confuse people but I am basically agreeing with you. Envision Federer at the fartherest point of the the "take back" - his palm is down and the racket tip is sort of pointing toward the side fence. Then the core rotation pulls his arm forward. As the arm pulls forward, the wrist lays back (extends) so the racket tip points more at the back fence now as the hand pulls the butt of the racket toward the ball. Basically, just leave the racket in take back position and pull the butt forward in a smooth relaxed motion. The word snap could cause some people to try to force this. Rick Macci sometimes uses the word "flip" for this action too but I don't think people should work on "flipping" their racket either. I think you are basically just leaving the racket hanging there and pulling the racket butt forward that causes the racket to transition into the hitting slot.
 
^^Yeah, I'm just letting loose of the forearm, hand and the racquet. What happens when I rotate the hips is that the elbow is drawn forward (by the rotating shoulders) and the loose hand (and the racquet) lags by staying in place, causing ESR and forearm rotation, which is then rotated back by ISR.

The key is the takeback position of the forearm (at ISR), and letting loose. What helped me to find that motion is thinking of swinging the arm forward with the hips, with the pinky finger leading the way forward (causing the ESR).
 

Fintft

Legend
^^Yeah, I'm just letting loose of the forearm, hand and the racquet. What happens when I rotate the hips is that the elbow is drawn forward (by the rotating shoulders) and the loose hand (and the racquet) lags by staying in place, causing ESR and forearm rotation, which is then rotated back by ISR.

The key is the takeback position of the forearm (at ISR), and letting loose. What helped me to find that motion is thinking of swinging the arm forward with the hips, with the pinky finger leading the way forward (causing the ESR).
Like I said it's comical when some of my weaker partners can't do this without a racquet (not to mention with one).

Your hand is like that drum at lockandrolltennis:

"In the monkey drum illustration, note that the strings on the drum swing only after the drum is rotated. In the same way, your hitting arm and hand should swing only after you rotate your core (a split second delay). This will help you achieve the whip-like effect that the best forehand hitters in the world have."

http://lockandrolltennis.com/forehand/
 
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Ilyam3

New User
I'd say it's the penis... It counter swings and gets the whole mechanism in motion. That's why you don't see it often on the Woman's tour.

Seriously - it is the left shoulder. The way I teach the kids to hit it - pretend you are pulling an outboard motor on a boat with left hand - that starts you shoulders moving and snapping then hips follow and hitting arm - last in tow.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
That makes perfect sense, as far away from the ground and major muscle groups as possible, working completely backwards through the kinetic chain.

Thanks!

J
 
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