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FOREHAND TOPSPIN GROUNDSTROKE - KEY ELEMENTS

By TennisTom© 2011. Part # 2 of 2 parts. See Anatomy of a Forehand Topspin

Using the Classic Closed Stance Technique

TennisTom
▌ © C. Tom Harton 1991-2011 ▐


Here are the forehand groundstroke key elements in the order that they should happen:

  • Have a proper forehand grip for a topspin groundstroke (Eastern grip favored).

  • Always start off in the ready position. If there is enough time, return to the ready position after every stroke [For additional information, see the instructional Ready Position & Some Footwork Basics.]

  • Keep your eyes on the Incoming ball all the way to your racket - very important. (This means to start watching the ball when the opponents racket face hits it, when it bounces on the court, and as it contacts your racket.)

  • Move your body to a place that the ball will arrive near your waist - your hitting zone. (This is a key footwork, court position element. It is extraordinarily important on every groundstroke and is the basis for a controlled shot.)

  • Bend your knees as you prepare to hit the ball.the lower the ball the more your knee bend. (This is important on all balls which are contacted below chest level.)

  • Start your backswing early enough so you dont rush your stroke - timing. (Some coaches sayracket back early.What that means is to start your backswing early enough so that you do not have to rush your stroke (a frequent problem).

  • Turn, i.e. rotate, your body about 90 degrees to the net as you take your racket back. (This is in preparation for hitting a recommendedclosed forehand.)

  • Bend your hitting arm at your elbow and bend your wrist back so that the butt of your racket grip momentarily aims generally toward your target. (This arm alignment is called thedouble bendposition.)

  • Have your racket face perpendicular at contact - at right angles to the court surface, or tilted slightly downward toward the court surface. (This is recommended for all topspin shots where the ball arrives near your waist.)

  • Step forward and swing, simultaneously uncoiling your hips and shifting your body weight forward along with your racket. (Many players below a 4.0 level do not do this; instead they usually hit their forehands withall arm,This straight forward one-step body movement is a source of free power, which means that you do not need to swing as hard.)

  • Swing from low to high & contact the ball forward of your body near your foot closest to the net. (If your racket face does not brush up the back of the ball then you will not get any topspin.)

  • Follow through with your racket head ending up above your shoulder. (A good forehand & a good follow through go hand in hand. If you do not follow through on your groundstroke as you hit the ball the ball will have a different trajectory.)


THE ABOVE LIST OF 12 ELEMENTS CAN EASILY BE READ TOO QUICKLY, AND THEN JUST AS EASILY BE MOSTLY FORGOTTEN; SO YOU SHOULD COMMIT THEM TO MUSCLE MEMORY BY DOING THEM CORRECTLY AND REPEATEDLY IN PRACTICE.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

PROPER FORM explained

As a student being taught by an instructor, you will spend much of your drill time attempting to establish and improve your tennis form. After a while, if you have been paying close attention, you will be able to self-instruct yourself. You will then be able to notice when your stroke does not do certain key elements. (Mentioned in the list above.)


GOOD TIMING explained

Good timing is innate for some players but not for many. Most players need to practice many repetitions to get it going right for them. Correct forehand timing is this: Contacting the incoming ball in your Hitting Zone at the exact time it reaches a point in space even with your lead foot. Your optimal hitting zone is about waist high, give or take 12 inches. Your footwork must repetitiously carry you to the proper set-up spot, or the frequent result is that the ball ends up going astray. When hitting topspin, if you contact the ball too high, a major problem for many students, your shot will lack power and probably have less spin to bring the ball down into the court. (See “Move your body to a place that the ball will arrive near your waist - your hitting zone.” above.)


HITTING “THROUGH THE BALL” -- LINEAR SECTION explained - A More Advanced Tip

Even though your stroke, when you take your racket back in a loop and let it fall below your waist, is normally oval shaped, your stroke path when you bring your racket forward and upward should have a “linear section” which is more or less straight. The more your stroke is straight on your forward swing, the more you are hitting “through” the ball. The ball will not actually stay on your racket strings any longer, but the results will be consistently better.


LINEAR PATH OF THE RACKET DIAGRAMMED

path


The more or less straight-line racket path above depicts the racket face as it moves from the lowest point of the racket loop, forward and upward “THROUGH” the ball.

Related instructionals: Anatomy of a Topspin Forehand by TennisTom; Groundstroke Types for Beginners & Early Learners; and, Wrist Control Relating to Forehand Consistency.


[6C-Forehand Topspin Groundstroke - Key Elements by TennisTom] [Rev 7-16-11]

 
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