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How to hit a Tennis Forehand

Updated on May 14, 2015

Forehand Grip Style

Now, I’m going to get straight to the Nitti gritty on how to hold the racquet when performing the tennis forehand. Now note this, I speak from experience and not from theory, because theory doesn’t always work in practical. We will follow the “monkey see monkey do” ideology. I believe that experience is the best teacher. So if you want to get better in tennis, then you must Practice! Practice! Practice!

I don’t really believe that every forehand stroke needs a classification. Holding the racquet and performing the forehand is all about the feel of the player. If you feel comfortable with the continental grip then go for it or if you rather choose the western grip then go for it. Although racquet grip for a forehand is an essential component to perform a textbook forehand, but then again not every champion was taught through technique and textbook theory. Talent and hard work are prerequisites to playing good tennis regardless of what grip you’re using for the forehand.

Federer Forehand Contact

Perfect Forehand

Perfect Forehand... Now let’s see.... What player on tour does a Perfect Forehand? I think it has to be Roger Federer. Yes, it’s true I’m a fan of not just Federer, but also Nadal, and a few other players on tour. But Federer’s type of forehand is the easiest to digest and breakdown. You must acknowledge that Federer isn't immortal and there are many others in the tennis world who perform a clean textbook forehand like Federer’s. A perfect forehand, is a forehand that connects the ball within the sweet spot of the racquet frame, Of course timing is essential and hand eye coordination must spot on. It doesn’t matter if you’re putting top spin on the ball or hitting it flat, the ball should always hit the sweet spot for maximum control.

Important Forehand factors

(1) Plant your feet on the ground while preparing for the forehand.

(2) Get in good position before the opponent strikes the ball.

(3) Keep calm and steady, don’t panic or get anxious.

(4) Always hit every stroke on the sweet spot.

(5) Always try pin pointing your shots to where they want to go.

(6) Finish of with your elbow facing your opponent.

The Full Forehand Motion

The picture below is simple demonstration of how a common tennis forehand should be performed. Here I will give you the key points for an effective forehand. The complete motion of the tennis forehand is one flow, with no jerks or stoppage. A jerk in the flow will cause to have less power and surprisingly more control. A very fast and non – fluent motion will cause to have more power and less control. A jerk or instant stop is caused by the unexpected bounce of the tennis ball. The bounce and swing of the ball varieties with climate changes, court surface and player profile. A very fast yet still fluent forehand will cause the ball to skyrocket to different parts of the court without any control. Finding the balance comes from practice, playing tournaments and good couching.

Full Forehand Motion

tennis forehand
tennis forehand | Source

Top Spin

Flat Forehand

Top Spin Forehand And Flat Forehand

Keep in mind that both types of forehand have their advantages and disadvantages. A top spin forehand is the most used type of forehand not only in the professional world but in general as well. The main advantages of a top spin forehand is that the ball on contact is brushed heavily upwards making the crescent trajectory of the tennis ball. A very good example of these types of top spin forehand would be Rafael Nadal’s forehand. Top spin forehand can be used defensively and offensively, and also helps clear over the net easily, if performed correctly. One of the few disadvantages of this type of forehand is that it requires a solid footing if you want to add a bit of power along with it. In Contrast to this, the flat forehand is very easy to perform, especially if the timing is down to point. Effortless power can be created if a player executes a flat forehand correctly (by hitting the sweet spot all the time). Another advantage is that flat forehand motion is very easy to perform and can be hit even with a slightly bad footing. The disadvantages of a flat forehand is to be remembered and noted down. A miss hit of the flat forehand can cause a tennis elbow, especially if you meet the contact with the ball with your arm straightened at 180 degrees. So you see, it’s up to the player to react accordingly and also to adjust with the gameplay of the opponent. Tennis to professionals is more mentally tiring then physically tiring.

Best Forehand Poll

Which Forehand is the best in Tennis?

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Forehand Variations

One of the forehand variation which is used by a lot of players in the tour is the slice forehand. The slice forehand is almost like a defensive squash like shot which is played to add reverse spin on the ball and also disorient your opponent. The slice forehand sets the ball low on the court so the opponent is forced to top spin the tennis ball so he can keep the ball in play. There have been many situations in where the slice forehand has turned into a slice forehand drop because of the amount of sheer spin put on the ball.

Positioning

Power and Accuracy

The key power of every stroke of tennis starts from the lower half of the body. Generating this strength means you must have a very flexible build. Not many people realize this but professional tennis player’s weight around about 75kg to 85kg on an average. Many people think that skinny and lean people will be better at tennis then bulky guys. I will say it a hundred times if I must. Tennis has changed and has evolved. We don’t live in the 18th century any more. We don’t live in the era when people used to play with wooden racquets and pay with long skirts and white trousers. In this era everything has gone heavier, that includes the balls, racquets, apparels, accessories, string and grips etc… So naturally you will need a pretty hefty body to generate and swing a racquet which weighs more than 300 grams. And YES 300 grams is a lot of weight especially if you’re going to be swinging it for at least 3 hours. In my opinion the main power of every stroke comes from shifting weight. Shifting all the weight from low to high and finally releasing the energy into your forehand motion.

Coach Kyril's Forehand Advice

Final Step

Forehand Finishing Position

The forehand Finishing position is very important. Many amateur players come and say to a lot of novice players that finishing position is not very important. Finishing is just as important as starting the stroke. You can see that the picture to the right has Novak Djokovic in his forehand finishing position with a clean full extension of his arm and a good twist of his flexible torso. The video above will clarify why it’s important to follow through the forehand and what the finishing position should look like.

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