Forehand stroke

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Sherwood
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Joined: 02/07/2011

I realize a lot of things can be said about forehand strokes but here is one way to describe the stroke.  I would like discussion or confirmation of this.

A) Given that you have established the starting point and ending point of the stroke, the path of the racket should be roughly a straight line from the starting point to the ending point (ignoring the cylindrical curve as your arm rotates around your body).

B) And, the angle of the racket (closed or open) should remain the same throughout the stroke.

Thanks in advance.

Larry Hodges
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Forehand stroke

Hi Toxicspin, without seeing your forehand against balls over the table I can't judge for sure, but two things likely will fix the problem. First, make sure your left side (for a righty) is close enough to the table so you aren't reaching for the ball. Second - and this might at first seem counter-intuitive - make sure to rotate your shoulders back so you aren't  hitting a cramped shot. It's counter-intuitive because rotating the shoulders back brings your hitting zone away from the table, but it frees up the playing arm to hit the ball anywhere in your forehand hitting zone. (I'm assuming you mean regular forehands. Against a very short ball on the forehand side, you don't want to hit a regular forehand; you want to step in with your right leg and do a forehand flip.) Hope this helps!

Toxicspin 2nd a...
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Joined: 06/27/2011
Re: Forehand stroke

Lately I've started to have an issue with my forehand concerning balls staying mostly over the table and not reaching my perfect hitting zone near my side.  I can put allot of pace on the ball with my backhand but seem to have a mental block on how to send the ball back with good pace with my forehard over the table.  Should I try to see if I can imitate my backhand stroke with my forehand?  Is this a common problem for folks?  I'm using Mark V on a slighlty slower blade (Butterfly Innershield ZLF) but plays like All+.

Pappy Banet
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Joined: 03/10/2011
Re: Forehand stroke

INMO (in my humble opinion) If you learn the proper "hit stroke" 1st, you can incorporate a loop stroke from that same hit stroke. When you learn to spin first, you still have to learn the proper hit stroke too which makes it difficult to distinguish between the 2 during fast level play. I am a hitter, who spins only when needed or desired. The forehand should always be in the "cocked and ready position" and the elbow shouldnt be too close to the body nor too far out away from the body. I used to keep a tennis ball under my armpit while training and the idea was to NOT let it drop while practicing. It has helped me and I still use that as a tool while training juniors. It keeps them from "leaning" back for that forehand stroke and instead back-peddling small steps to make the proper forehand stroke from their power position. Just my 2 cents, hope it helps :)

mjamja
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Joined: 01/19/2011
Re: Forehand stroke

Sherwood,

One thing to consider is that the initial starting point and the finishing point may not accurately define the actual racket path in the critical 6in before and after ball contact.  In looking at videos in slow motion I have noticed 2 things particularly on the forehand stroke.

1. The end of the backswing may not be the true starting point for the swing.  Players tend to stop the backswing and then may make a slight adjustment in racket height just before starting the swing to account for different ball bounce height.  Also, for forehand loops of underspin there is often a foreward drive with the hips before the racket is moved vertical which results in a swing that is almost horizontal early and then moves up and foreward along a more straight line.

2. The follow-through may produce a finish point that is not in line with the actual swing plane just before and after ball contact.  This is due to the natural limits on arm motion as the arm reaches its forward limit.  For forehands I notice that the very last part of the swing tends to be more vertical than the part right at ball contact.  For backhands the last part of the swing tends to flatten out (more horizontal) than the "hitting" part of the swing.

Keep this in mind if you are trying to use pictures or video to determine your swing path.  Although as Larry noted,  you normally use the straight line from starting point to finish,  adjustments for ball height and body limits on follow through might give a slightly incorrect idea of the starting and ending points of this line if you are trying to figure it out from video.

Mark

Larry Hodges
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Forehand stroke

I have a natural hook on my forehand curving to the left (I'm right handed).  Is this because my contact point is more on the right hand side of the ball verus on the back of the ball or could it be because my wrist is not where it should be at contactl?  It turns out to be a good shot but when I play the same folks already know its coming.

Actually, most top players have some hook on most of their loops, especially when looping to the opponent's wide forehand (for righties). It's natural to have what is usually called 15% sidespin. The reason is that your shoulder is usually higher than your contact point, and so the arm and racket are going to be tilted slightly downward, and so will naturally contact the ball slightly on the far side. It's actually a bit awkward to force a pure topspin all the time. Also, hooking makes it easier to loop balls from the wide forehand, where you can get your racket outside the ball and hook it back. Some players have more sidepin on their loops than others - lefties are notorious for it, probably because it seems to be extra effective into a righty's backhand. Some players intentionally go for extra sidespin on some shots, hooking it so it jumps away from the opponent. (I love doing this.)

1975 World Men's Champion Isvan Jonyer of Hungary had so much sidespin on his forehand loops that he was able to regularly loop around the net, with the ball traveling barely above table height, so the ball just rolled on the far side, nearly unreturnable. Because of Jonyer, they made the rule that the net extends six inches to the side.

toxicspin
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Joined: 03/03/2011
Re: Forehand stroke

I have a natural hook on my forehand curving to the left (I'm right handed).  Is this because my contact point is more on the right hand side of the ball verus on the back of the ball or could it be because my wrist is not where it should be at contactl?  It turns out to be a good shot but when I play the same folks already know its coming.

Larry Hodges
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Forehand stroke

Hi Sherwood, that's pretty accurate. The basic strokes are actually pretty simple; much of coaching isn't getting someone to *do something*; it's getting them to end bad habits, mostly extra motions that mess up the stroke.