File Photo Credit: VOXSPORTS for SportSG
The tennis forehand is the first shot to add to any player’s portfolio of tennis techniques. It is an essential and fundamental move that allows you to keep a game going and score some serious points from the baseline. For beginners, it is also one of the easier techniques to execute.
Step 1: Preparation - Stand Ready and Keep Moving
Getting in proper position is the most important element of any forehand. It sets the foundation for good footwork and racquet preparation which gives you the power, control and balance to produce an excellent forehand.
Having a poor ready position will cost you valuable time, making your swing more complicated to execute.
Using the right Grip
It is important to use the right grip when executing a forehand in tennis. Use a semi-western or western grip while executing a forehand.
Keep on your toes and pivot your foot in the direction the ball is coming towards you. This allows for quick movement to get to the ball which is crucial for a properly timed backswing. The reason we want to be on our toes is so that we are able to move faster with our first step and able to react faster.
Get into a proper stance once you have reached the desired position. With knees slightly bent, shoulders turned sideways; left hand stretched out in front of you, your racket should be behind your body in position for the back swing.
Step 2: Backswing - a.k.a The Drop
Take your racquet back with your elbow close to your body and turn your upper body sideways onto the ball or the net. Your left shoulder should be facing the net with arm out for balance and also track the oncoming ball. Lean slightly on your back leg preparing to shift the weight to the front. While looping your racquet in a circular motion, move your weight onto the front leg and load your body for power to hit the ball.
Create a good Racquet Lag
Creating a good racquet lag where the lead of the racket lags behind the rip will give you leverage over the ball that you need for extra power and control. This action should happen as a result of the forehand stroke without forcing the wrist to bend.
Step 3: Swing and contact
Gripping your racket tightly, keep your eyes on the ball and turn your body towards its direction. Locking your elbow, continue looping the racket to the level of the ball, bending your front leg slightly. For a flat shot, keep your racket face straight as your ball contacts the sweet spot on the racket face. For topspin, close your racket face slightly and brush the ball to give it a good speed or defend against faster shots.
Step 4: Follow through - Finish it right
After contact, continue to keep your head down and move your racket in the direction you want the ball to travel towards. This helps you to keep your balance for the transition onto your next shot. Finish your follow through by keeping your arm relaxed and ensuring your racket is completely past your shoulder.
A poor follow through may result in a lousy stroke and also cause injuries. Hence, it is important to allow your racket to travel though at the very end of the maximum swing path.
Ideal forehand technique in slow motion
Let’s take a look at Roger Federer’s forehand technique in the video below:
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