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:
- 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.
- Then, to maintain balance, lift the non-hitting hand parallel to the ground. Now you are in the “Lock” position.
- 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.
- 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
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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- 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.
- Racquet starts to drop creating the “C” shape swing towards the ball; Start uncoiling shoulders.
- Right Leg is pushing off so that hip and shoulder open up towards the court; Racquet drops further; Head is steady watching the ball.
- 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.
- Left foot is off the ground to maintain a straight body while hitting through the ball; Hitting arm is extended through contact.
- Finish the swing across the body rather than the “Old School” finish which is over the shoulder; Look at the ball over right shoulder.
- Left foot lands on the ground; Non-dominant hand catches the racquet.
- Right foot comes forward due to the full body rotation creating balance.
Tennis Forehand Guide: Back View
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6. Key point: notice that the body is square to the net while the racquet is pointing backwards. This is the delayed movement.