Modern Tennis Forehand

The most talked about stroke in tennis.

Grip (Eastern, Modified Eastern, Semi-Western, etc.), Stance (Neutral, Open, Semi-Open), and Topspin can all determine what type of forehand stroke you have. However, one component that is critical to all types of forehands is the “Lock and Roll” movement, or the twisting and releasing of one’s body. Regardless of which grip you use or stance you take, you will compromise your stroke if you neglect the “Lock and Roll” movement.

Grip: As a tennis coach and player, I use the Modified Eastern, which is in between the Eastern and Semi-Western.

Stance: Typically, I hit with the Semi-Open Stance unless the ball is short. In that case, I’m forced to step forward into a Neutral Stance. For the Semi- Open Stance:

  1. Swing is initiated by shoulder rotation while taking a slight step to the side. Begin by rotating your shoulder until your hip “locks” at the pelvic joint.
  2. Then, to maintain balance, lift the non-hitting hand parallel to the ground. Now you are in the “Lock” position.
  3. Next, your dominant hand should be bent and relaxed while holding the racquet vertically with the butt-cap facing the ground. Keep your body straight but bend your knees as you rotate. Bent knees allow for a full body rotation.
  4. Lastly, to maximize your forehand (for right-handed players), initiate the swing by pushing off your right leg, after which you would rotate your hips and shoulder.
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your modern tennis forehand video. You have a perfect forehand and this is exactly the shot I have been trying to master for the last few months. It has been a huge help for me to try and work out what I have been doing wrong, and I am making progress on correcting these things.

Richard Grantham, Premium Member

 

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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.

Tennis Forehand Guide: Front View

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  1. Weight on right leg with knees bent; Right foot slightly pointed out; “Lock” Position at pelvic joint; Shoulder perpendicular to the net; Look at the ball over left shoulder; Left arm parallel to the ground; Right hand holding racquet vertically.
  2. Racquet starts to drop creating the “C” shape swing towards the ball; Start uncoiling shoulders.
  3. Right Leg is pushing off so that hip and shoulder open up towards the court; Racquet drops further; Head is steady watching the ball.
  4. Body is square to the net while the racquet is below the ball; Notice how the body is rotated forward and the racquet face is still coming through (monkey drum effect); Wrist is fully cocked back, ready to snap through the ball; Right leg is even straighter from pushing off; Left foot is starting to lift off the ground; Head is still steady.
  5. Left foot is off the ground to maintain a straight body while hitting through the ball; Hitting arm is extended through contact.
  6. Finish the swing across the body rather than the “Old School” finish which is over the shoulder; Look at the ball over right shoulder.
  7. Left foot lands on the ground; Non-dominant hand catches the racquet.
  8. Right foot comes forward due to the full body rotation creating balance.

Tennis Forehand Guide: Back View

(Click image to view larger)

6. Key point: notice that the body is square to the net while the racquet is pointing backwards. This is the delayed movement.

More About Forehand Strokes:



49 Responses to “Modern Tennis Forehand”

  1. Thanks got the weapon now. Can you hide this page now so others don’t find out how to hit a heavy forehand?

    [Reply]

    Roger Reply:

    Shut up

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  2. Excellent video. This is the best explanation of the forehand that I have ever seen. Good job.

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    laradmin Reply:

    Thanks! Really appreciate the compliment!

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  3. I´m also a passionate about tennis. You´re the kind of coach I would have liked to have by my side. Your explanations are so clear and you have an edge in teaching because you exactly teach the way you play which also is THE WAY. And that´s not so usual in coaches unless they were pros but not every ex-pro necessarily is a model to follow and get the right TECHNIQUE. Let´s say I wouldn´t like to have Guillermo Cañas to teach me the way he hit THE forehand or a while ago Alberto Berasategui for example though knowing he hit the ball with a tremendous topspin for his decade, any connoisseur knew he had a limited forehand at the same time, even though it was very stable.
    I really enjoy each and every of your vids.
    I’d like you to show and comment on the Djokovich forehand as you greatly did with Rafa´s.
    For me this would be a monster ‘winner’ in your website or like we say in spanish ”un golazo”.
    I thank the Internet and you or else would have remained mistaken or half the way. I´ve seen all about the forehand you show. That´s what I´m most interested in. Because I´ve learned that this stroke is not so natural to execute and has been my achilles heel compared to my backhand though I’ve been patient enough when realized that not even Federer or Rafa or anyone else until now, name one and I will refute ( except Novak I´d say, which would blow up my certainties) that has gotten the 2 main strokes JUST as good. I mean for example you rarely see Rafa hit a down the line winner backhand except when he´s forced to do a passing shot or you see Roger hit a high backhand from Rafa with the speed and aggressiveness of a 16 year old junior.
    I´ve developed the other strokes of my game pretty well. My one handed backhand which is my natural stroke I can say I really master it, can do anything with it, any angle, any placement any height,any passing, full speed and weight, full topspin,spin,windshield or flat whatever I want, can pass over the net hundreds of backhands without fail at any position. Can even hitting the highest backhand without trouble, not the way Roger´s ja ja just a joke,don´t live in a bubble. (More like Cedric Pioline if you ever see how he hit high backhands, more or less like Guga´s). Though Roger taught me his invention of the just- wrist-palm cross backhand passing when there´s no time to take back the raquet.
    Though I give Rafa the greatest credit because he´s invented o innovated things or shots in tennis you hadn´t ever seen. He´s a revolutionary to me, he´s taken the topspin effect ( especially forehand) to a new level ever seen…just like Borg did in his epoch.
    Bye and successes in your living passion !!!

    [Reply]

    lockandrolltennis Reply:

    Where do I start?! First off, I want to thank you for taking your time to post such a long and thorough comment. You seem very knowledgeable about the history of the game.
    You are absolutely right that an x-pro wouldn’t necessarily make the best coach.
    I will eventually make more videos of professional strokes like Djokovic’s forehand. Although I’m not the biggest fan of his forehand. He has a great forehand and makes it work for himself but for others to imitate his forehand is not the best idea. From my knowledge his grip is in between semi-western and western and he closes his racquet a lot before contact. When I see developing players close their racquet, they often create too much topspin and not enough power.
    One player that comes to mind that hit their forehand and backhand almost equally the same is the great Andre Agassi. But the fact that each player has their weaknesses makes the game so interesting!
    I’m really curious to see your one handed backhand! I had a one handed backhand throughout
    my junior and college career and never fully got the hang of it. Although I switched to the two-handed backhand and feel as though it was the right move for me, I think my one hander has improved gradually just by studying the game.

    Thanks Again for the post!

    [Reply]

    Tony Reply:

    Main reason you’re not crazy about Djoker’s forhand is his double-bend style as opposed to straight-arm style of Fed’s, I like yours/Feds better(less loopy)

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  4. Great shoes. Just like mine! =D
    I’m loving these videos please keep them coming!

    [Reply]

    lockandrolltennis Reply:

    Thanks! Working on more videos for a paid subscription website. More in depth analysis!

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  5. your a genius

    [Reply]

    lockandrolltennis Reply:

    Never been called a “genius.” Thanks for the comment!

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  6. Hi!

    By looking almoast every video of tennis strokes on youtube, i came across your videos and i`m really glad i did. From all the videos i`ve seen, yours are far more educational and are easy to follow. I really need to do something with my forehand, cause may balls are often too long (not enough spin) and now i finally see the preparation of this stroke. Now i see that the movement an position of your body is really important to do the strikes right and today i will give it a try on court. Lock and hip rotation is very well explained and i thank you for that.

    I would really like to have a trainer like you so i can only hope that you come to Slovenia someday :)

    I wish you all the best and i hope you continue with your great videos….

    [Reply]

    lockandrolltennis Reply:

    Slovenia… that would be fun place to visit! It’s great to know you are enjoying the instructional videos!

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  7. Hi, Thumbs up for your site and very very very clear explanation!

    I am working on my forehand and was wondering if the Nadals Buggy Whip differs from the Windshield Wiper. I found sites which states that the buggy whip is a defense shot when on the run.

    Antoher question: as i’m developing both my normal forehand and the windshield Wiper forehand
    Is it wise to use both a normal forehand with follow-through and the Windhiels wiper? Sometimes I mix it up and then I have a mishit. But i believe it’s a powerfull variety and I can surprise my opponent. What do you think?

    [Reply]

    lockandrolltennis Reply:

    Thanks! Nadal uses the Buggy Whip whether he is hitting offensively or defensively. Usually people hit this shot when they are late and don’t have time to follow through across. It’s not always a defensive shot.

    I would stick with one style of forehand and improve on it. I haven’t seen you play so it is difficult to comment too much on your forehand.

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  8. Well… I am simply absorbed by all your vids and explanations! It is the “cause and effect” type of detail that catches me. And then, to see the pro style replicated and explained in this clear terms – it is simply awesome.

    Keep up with this great stuff, and Yes – I will subscribe!

    Thx!

    [Reply]


  9. Hello Tae
    Am anxious to get your newsletter,,,,,is it an actual couple of pages newsletter
    containing additional tips and instruction. A box thing did come on my email I did not know whati
    was so I went to Best Buy and the Geek told my it was just a web address card which he said
    was nothing at all….so he deleted it for me Could you print it out directly onto my email please
    cause I do not want to miss anything you put out as it is so totally excellant.

    I think tennis here in the USA will be on the rise now because of you A plus instruction in this
    sport,,,99% of teachers do not teach it correctly at all,,,,but thanks to Yahweh you do.

    Thanks, George……. my email is ole281@yahoo,com

    [Reply]


  10. Great, great job, thank you very much. Many coaches in Germany started learning the new techniques, but now I know, they didn’t understand the essentials. I would like – as many others here- you to have as my coach. You really want to show the students how they could be success-full and you show all these terms on your videos by your own. Internet is not every time a benefit for the humans, but in those cases, shown by people like you, it´s a wonderful medium. Thanks a lot, you even didn’t take money for this and your coaching is perfect ! You are a tennis-guru, genius, superstar !!!

    [Reply]


  11. Thank you for a wonderful detailed explanation for the inside out forehand. I was told to just hit it a little later. If I use a semi western grip on all my forehands, should I change to a eastern forehand grip for the inside out shot? I was always told that tennis was a game of many grips not a specific grip that we must change depending on the shot.

    [Reply]

    lockandrolltennis Reply:

    I wouldn’t advise you to change your grip for the inside out. A Semi-Western Grip can be used for all the FH shots. Thanks

    [Reply]


  12. EXCELLENT ::::that’s the word::::

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  13. Hi Tae,
    Many thanks for the instructions. They are magnificent.
    On the semi-open stance for the forehand, I notice that your weight is usually on the back foot. Don’t you want to take advantage of your weight moving forward to add power to the shot? Wouldn’t that necessitate moving your weight to the front foot. I’m a lefty and have to turn everything around from right to left, but I’ve gotten accustomed to doing that.
    Thanks again for your wonderful videos.
    Al

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  14. if I want to hit inside out forehand going cross court, not down the line (inside in), do I still have to shift my weight from the back to the front foot as you had shown in your video ? What about the back leg, do I still kick across behind the front leg .

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  15. Hi Tae,

    Thanks for your great video.
    You solve lots of questions on me through your video. :)

    I always have a problem when I play in mixed double or when I play with old gentlemen.

    Typically, women’s stroke is shorter and/or weaker than men’s.
    When it’s short, I frequently over hit it and the result is unforced error on me… ;(.
    When I started considering my over hitting, I often lost my chance to finish and I was knocked out by their counter shot.

    My play style can be defined as base-liner with hard hitting.

    The depth control and power transfer to weaker stroke are always problem on me.

    1. Could you give me any idea how I can easily control depth of my forehand stroke?
    2. Could you give me any idea how I can transfer my own power to weaker ball?

    Thanks.

    [Reply]


  16. Hi Tae. You say:
    “to maximize your forehand (for right-handed players), initiate the swing by pushing off your right leg, after which you would rotate your hips and shoulder.”
    Does the right leg femoral head pushes the right hips joint volountary ?
    Thanks
    Al

    [Reply]


  17. hi,
    i’m sorry to tell you this tae but you’re wrong at one thing
    rafa’s forehand isn’t the same
    he adds much more topspin to the ball
    please give a tutorial on how to get that spin
    thanks!

    [Reply]


  18. Hello Tae,
    your instruction videos are fantastic! Many thanks for them!
    I have question regarding wrist and grip in the forehand.
    Should they be firm or loose? Or what do you prefer?
    Many thanks!
    Lopez from Slovakia

    [Reply]


  19. awesome simple and easy great videos tank very much

    [Reply]


  20. How can I add topspin on the modern forehand?

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  21. This tutorial has been most helpful, thank you! :) I just started playing this year for the High school at Freshman year, and thanks to your wonderful videos, I have already been able to play for our Varsity team. The only problem is my backhand ):

    [Reply]


  22. It s a great explanation. If you try hitting a hard forehand with topspin with continental grip, you ll see you need to pronate clearly your wrist and forearm, try it, it s the unique way it could be strong and consistent. But I ve never imagine how to pronate with modern stroke, but, with that tip he explains rotating the hip your hand is left behind as the chest and shoulder face the net, so your forearm supinate like a little loading , and at contact is more supinated than if yoy haven t face the net with the chest. So at the moment of contact you ve got to pronate to close the shot. What I was doing is hitting with my chest sunken and my hand too close from me, so there was no need to pronate because my fore arm it was almost pronated, so the wrist just moves toward ulnar desviation. I think the most important thing is to create that load. Supination makes the way or road to aceleratealtouh it s not the only way of hitting. Grip must be strong at contact, arm and wrist relaxed. Am I wright? Martin from Uruguay South America.

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  23. Tae!
    I keep reading about “pulling” the racquet handle to the ball on the forehand…I am curious if you would explain this concept to me and do you ascribe to this method?
    Thanks,
    Bob

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  24. Hi Tae! have a good day.your site is great! like so much.
    could you tell me exactly how to hit the ball with forehand and two handed backhand?
    I mean contact point with flat or slicely close racket?
    I use eastern forehand,when change backhand I use continalt grip.
    hope to receive your reply soon! thank so much
    best regards
    bachduong
    email:bachduongkimcuongcz@yahoo.com

    [Reply]


  25. Dear Sir
    Your video is great and explanations are laconic and very clear.
    I have long and poorly playing on an Amateur level, but watch for changing of technique in tennis about for 30 years. And this is with regard to the current attack on the forehand that you show as modern movement from the foot it begins to rotate your hips, then begins to turn shoulders, and then hand, this option you call modern.
    But I wanted to know your opinion the worse blow to the forehand, for example of Federer? He had at first, also, the feet are then included shoulders, when he has been in the air his hips catching up! It’s all perfectly visible on the slow motion. ALL THE SAME, ONLY IN A DIFFERENT ORDER? So what are the benefits ?
    Sorry for my poor english- I am russian

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  26. Thanks for your clear explanations. They have been very helpful. On your website do you cover hitting forehands from high bouncing shots? My daughter is 5′ 2″ and is often faced with hitting balls that bounce above her shoulder level.

    Thanks,

    Charles

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  27. Tae, your modern-forehand is really great. It really helped me understand the concept of the passive wrist and how the mechanics can cause (with an extreme eastern grip) the passive wrist to result in the buttcap pointing at the ball.

    Can you tell me if these mechanics can also apply to players in their 40s? I have a modifed eastern grip, as well, but am using older school mechanics. It looks like you are swinging so fast with amazing racquet head speed. I’m not sure I could possibly swing this fast (but I’ll sure try). Can these stroke mechanics be effective with a medium-pace swing speed, also?

    Thanks so much, and wonderful video.

    – Rick

    [Reply]

    Tae Byon Reply:

    Absolutely! Go for it! It will work fine with your medium-pace swing. I recommend doing the movements very slowly when you first try. This will help your body fully understand the movements. Thanks for your post!

    -Tae

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  28. I’m so appreciative to have stumbled across this video. I have a teenager who just lost her first match of the season this evening:( Her issue, she’s overhitting the ball in many instances for a number of reasons. Ive noticed her puling up too quickly before making contact, foot placement all over the place, trying to slice and spin, etc… What’s most impressive of your words, there is no one size fits all grip, stance, serve…and many coaches now adays dont get it unfortunately! Thanks again!

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  29. Hello again!

    Your forehand video on youtube is what brought me to your site and what convinced me to sign up for the premium site. Out of all the vids on the net, it was just there most well explained and simple to follow. And with just that one video, i’ve had massive improvements with my forehand. I only have one last hitch: i keep hitting the ball to close to my body. I feel like there isn’t enough space and the shot feels more constricted than it should be. Is it a late take back? Maybe footwork? Any tips on how i can create more space between me and the ball? Maybe i could send you a video you can critique?

    Jim

    [Reply]

    jim tripon Reply:

    I forgot to ask, what does the wrist do on contact? Does it remain cocked back? Do you snap it forward and into the roll actively? Or does this happen passively?

    [Reply]

    Tae Byon Reply:

    Hi Jim,

    Did you get a chance to check out the video I uploaded, “Hitting Too Close to your body?” The video should help you with your problem. Thanks!

    Tae

    [Reply]

    Tae Byon Reply:

    Good question Jim!

    The wrist is “cocked back” at the point of contact. The wrist is passive. The momentum you created with the backswing, if done correctly, should allow the wrist to pronate naturally.

    Tae

    [Reply]


  30. very good tennis teaching video. thank you very much!

    [Reply]


  31. Hi! What’s your two cents on the folow through..there are two that i observed on the pro tour, one is where the strings are pointing towards the ground and one where the strings are pointing towards your shoulder… is it where your forehand ends up? as in when its near your hips its pointing towards the ground,and when its about shoulder height it naturally follow through like that?

    [Reply]

    lockandrolltennis Reply:

    Hi Koh, Both types follow though on the forehand is fine.

    Thanks,
    Tae

    [Reply]


  32. Hi! What’s your two cents on the folow through..there are two that i observed on the pro tour, one is where the strings are pointing towards the ground and one where the strings are pointing towards your shoulder… is it where your forehand ends up? as in when its near your hips its pointing towards the ground,and when its about shoulder height it naturally follow through like that? Please do give me your idea on that…

    [Reply]


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