Your tennis forehand stroke should come first! It is one of the most important shots as it can be played from anywhere in the court!
Basically, it is preferential to have a strong forehand tennis game as, statistically, it is the most frequently used shot. There are two types of forehand tennis stroke:
Inside In Forehand – This is your average forehand from the forehand side.
Inside Out Forehand – This is when you run round your backhand to hit a tennis forehand.
Anyways enough of that, lets dive straight in with tennis forehand stance.
Tennis Forehand Stance
Ok we have to put importance on the stance, it is the culprit of nearly all misses! Position your self in either open position (chest facing the net), or if the ball lands short pivot your body 90 degrees to achieve a closed stance (shoulder facing the net) then you can move up and back.
Do not run forwards to hit a short ball. Unless, you are scrambling back a shot and have no other choice.
Why the closed stance? – When you close your stance you stand sideways, and can move up to short balls quickly, sort of like a crab. Additional bonuses, to a closed stance are that:
It disguises your forehand stroke. The opponent cant see as easily where you choose to hit.
It can generate more speed on the ball due to more rotation.
Why the open stance? – After you finish your tennis forehand stroke, open stance enables you to recover quickly to the center of the court. Its just a push off with your right foot (if your right handed) and cross it over your left.
Open stance: if the balls deep or pulls you out wide.
Closed stance: if the ball bounces shorter. Remember to pivot sideways THEN move.
Tennis Forehand Stroke Technique
Tennis forehand stroke is over analyzed! If you look at all the techniques of the top pros you can see a boat-load of diversity in technique.
But lets break down the basics! Check Your Grip – Lets make sure there are no wacky grips going on before we launch ahead.
A sneaky little trick is to 1, Drop your racket on the ground… 2, Pick it up with your hand. Check out how you’re holding it. Yep, this is the ideal grip. Simple huh.
Start Low – “Knees to trees” is a popular expression. Bend your knees at the beginning of your stroke and push off to make contact with the ball.
Its called planting your feet. Please do not try hitting the ball when you haven’t planted your feet. You will most likely be off balance, then your will loose power or control or both.
Take Back – When you observe the ball is heading your way turn your shoulders. This is known as (rotation) while maintaining your good old stance. Then do your take back.
If you don’t have a take back. Its Ok. Simple take the tennis racquet imagining your drawing a ‘C’ with your racquet head. This is your (loop).
Start at the top of the C, go round and down, and then end coming up slightly when you make contact. Try to make contact with the ball at waist height.
Finnish your stroke with your racket over your left shoulder (If your right handed).
It is a lot. But do not think about it too much. Do some strokes in front of a window or mirror before you play then repeat the FEEL of the action in your practice or match.
Tennis Forehand Stroke Power, Spin, and Control
Power – Is an ironic thing in tennis. The harder you try to hit the ball does NOT mean the faster it goes. You use too many muscles! This excess of tensed muscles impede the muscles you actually need. Of course this is going to make you tire quickly as well.
Hold the racket loosely, but not floppily. The same sort of tension as if you wanted to hold a small bird. Too hard will crush it, too soft and it will fly away. Then you will be able to snap your wrist into your stroke when you need more pace. It will happen naturally if you speed up your swing and don’t grip the racket hard.
You will be surprised at how light pros hold their rackets.
Top Spin – Is optional. Plenty of players play with only a little spin. However, it does increase your control as it is hard to hit it long when your ball has top spin on it.
To gain more spin, you will have to bring your racket head lower at the end of your take back or at the end of the ‘C’ and then brush up the back of the ball more. Accompany the ball with your racket on its journey. Imagine you’re hitting through 3 balls instead of just one.
To spin it effectively you will need fast racket head speed, this means a loose relaxed wrist to create the whip effect. Nevertheless top spin is not for everyone. It is a preference, that takes time to master!
This mastery is all practice, and having the right knowledge to develop your repertoire of strokes 🙂 Often a good way to do this is with the use of a portable ball machine . A sensible person will realize there are no magic formulas to how to play tennis and all these “gain a rocket tennis forehand overnight” articles are dishonest!!