Author Topic: Help with my forehand!  (Read 2875 times)

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Offline ImaMadGoat

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Help with my forehand!
« on: February 09, 2005, 05:49:45 PM »
I don't really know whats going on but recently my forehand has become about as reliable as a toothpick sailboat. It started to tear down about two weeks ago and last friday it was horrendous. The thing was a week before it started to go south, it was working pretty well.

I have a tendency to jump when I hit the ball, and I also have a tendency to turn my hitting hand from facing up (racquet head pointing to my right) all the way of to face down (to my left) The ball sails long all the time. I just got back from an hour and a half worth of wall hitting, and only made slight improvements, but still every now and then I sail it way high and long....I don't expect it to happen when it does.

My backhand has gotten extremely solid as of late and I'd almost rather hit the backhand, than my forehand. I use a two hander and so I am forced to turn my body, unlike my forehand which is more of an open stance. I can drive the ball down the line and crosscourt with my backhand pretty easily, but I have almost no direction with my forehand right now....and it wouldn't upset me so much except that I used to be able to crush the ball crosscourt.

I think a lot of it comes from me thinking to much about all of it, but if anyone has any tips for me I would appreciate it.

P.S. - most of my hitting is done in a racquetball room because of the weather and so I can't really hit sharp angles. I'm thinking this is why I have lost direction with my forehand. Any idea's. I also get crunched up a lot cause there is a lot of room running side to side.

HELP

Thanks

Chad
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Anonymous

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2005, 06:40:18 PM »
hey goat.....sounds like you need to go back to the basics. keep your feet moving, keep your eye on the ball, get the racquet back early, bend the knees and hit the s**t out of it early and don't forget to follow through! i used to live in buffalo so i know what your weather is like up there. i live in atlanta and play all year. good luck!

Offline jimbo

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2005, 06:48:11 PM »
i didn't sign in on the last post, i was the guest....sorry.
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Offline Tennis4you

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2005, 07:15:45 PM »
Madgoat - When my forehand is mis firing I like to go back to making sure I get tons of topspin and tons of clearnance on my shots.  I typically miss forehands long when I try to flatten out the shot too much and it sails on me.

As for the jumping thing, a lot of people sorta jump when they move to an open stance.  I think I do a lot of jumping off of the forehand side.

If you can get back into that racquetball court just work on hitting lots of topspin with not a lot of pace.  When you hit the court try the same thing.  Should be easier on the court because the balls will bounce higher than the gym floor.

You can hit the ball as hard as you want as long as you hit with enough topspin to bring the ball back down.
Good Luck on the Court!!!
Scott Baker
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Offline Jamesdster

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2005, 09:56:35 PM »
Scott

I liked your pointer about hitting more topspin, however, maybe Goat doesn't use a topsin grip (western) so hitting more topspin might not be the answer.  But when you also mention higher net clearance I say bravo!  Regardless of the grip, if you are making lots of unforced forehand errors, especially into the net, then higher net clearance should be at least a short term goal.  If using the western grip, then Scott is dead on....increase the top spin.  If using Continental or Eastern backhand grip, maybe take some pace off, get the high net clearance, build the confidence level back up, then gradually start going for your shot more.  Walk before you run.  Good luck.
I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, "You're gonna have to move, you're blocking a fire exit." As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammible and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.  - Mitch Hedberg

Offline MC ill Logic

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2005, 09:56:57 PM »
1.  Make sure the racket face is closed before contact.  This is super important.  Closed racket face means the side of the racket that will be hitting the ball is facing the ground.  Slightly.

2.  Make sure the racket is perpedendicular to the ground at the point of contact!!!  It sounds to me like every so often you're popping up the ball, that your racket face is open at the moment of contact.  

3.  BRUSH UP BRUSH UP BRUSH UP ON THE BALL!!!  Make sure the RACKET FACE IS BENEATH ball level before contact, and that you're SWINGING UP to make contact.  Notice I said BRUSH the ball, not HIT THROUGH or whatever.  It's almost like you're BARELY trying to touch the ball.  BRUSH UP.  And remember number 2, to make sure the racket is PERPENDICULAR to the ground as you're brushing up.  

You should be able to HEAR the BRUSHING noise.  The sound of strings shifting.  It shouldn't be a flat popping noise.

4.  Finish high.  START LOW, FINISH HIGH.  

Of course, this may not be easy to visualize.  Good luck.

Offline Tennis4you

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2005, 10:03:08 PM »
I have the bad habit of assuming everyone these days uses the semi-western or western grip on the backhand and that they will tell me differently if that is not the case.  We all cannot be as smooth as Jeffro!
Good Luck on the Court!!!
Scott Baker
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Offline MC ill Logic

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2005, 10:03:58 PM »
Quote from: "Jamesdster"
If using Continental or Eastern backhand grip...
Then slowly start moving the grip over to a semi-wester.  Good gawd.  Don't stay with a continental grip unless you were once on the pro tour.  The continental grip was fine when people used wooden rackets and played serve and volley, but there's no reason not to be hitting with AT LEAST an Eastern grip.

Okay, I'm sure you're not using a continental, but let me tell you about the one adjustment that was most responsible for making my forehand reliable again:  changing to a semi-western grip.  

Semi-western and western grip naturally "compells" you to hit with top spin.  It will feel a bit strange at first, but you'll QUICKLY adjust.  What you'll get in return is huge.  You'll be able to swing HARDER AND FASTER when you're feeling the pressure, because that's what you'll do to impart more top spin.  

I used to play with an Eastern grip and it was okay when I was timing the ball perfectly, but now my forehand is much much better.  Yeah.

edit:  this is not a huge change in terms of commiting time... I made the change one day during practice and I could instantly hit with it... it felt different but it was still better than the crappy shot I was familiar with... once you realize what the correct motion is, the change is pretty painless...

Offline Jamesdster

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2005, 10:09:10 PM »
I can't imagine not using a semi-western grip.  I've tried the continental and I don't know how more players don't suffer broken wrist using that grip.  I have seen some very smooth players who use the continental however.  One of my friends, he's now 60-something (Joe Bachmann) and living in Florida has always been ranked nationally in his age group has always used it and he is the smoothest cat on the court you've ever seen.
I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, "You're gonna have to move, you're blocking a fire exit." As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammible and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.  - Mitch Hedberg

Offline ImaMadGoat

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2005, 10:34:42 PM »
hey guys thanks for the help....

a little more info might help.....

I use a semi western grip, I hit topspin on ball and I can still hit good forehands....but occasionally....and more recently they are getting away from me more often.

I want to swing hard....its how I've always played, the semi lets me do that. I think i'm catching the ball with an ever so slightly open face....I'll look at that the next time I practice....which is tomorrow.

I really want to hit off the rise....isn't it true that it allows you to hit with a closed face and still hit it over? or is that just the half volley?

I tend to hit off my back foot too. I'll wait for the ball to bounce and come back down and I think that might be part of the reason I hit it long...cause I hit up on a ball thats coming down. Its hard for me to visual moving foreward cause I don't step into the ball cause of my open stance....I coil up and then uncoil but its just to long....I want to be able to hit more topspin for still have a forceful shot....not a super spinning ball that goes 20 mph (even tho that can work sometimes)

I get to play again of friday night and I want to come back with some confidence in my forehand....the more visuals you guys can give me the better!

THanks for the help guys! Keep it comin!
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Offline MC ill Logic

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2005, 10:50:43 PM »
What worked really well with kids I was teaching them was...

Imagine the point of contact... the racket is perdendicular, on it's side... when the racket is on the side like this, imagine that the top of the racket (which is actually the side of the racket but since it's on its side...) is a blade... and imagine that the blade should always be in the lead during your swing...

Are you getting this?

And that there's a bug on your left shoulder and you're going to swing that blade up to kill it...  

That side/blade of the racket should always be in the lead one you starting moving forward with your swing... it should always be leading the way, it should be the highest and most forward part of your racket right before contact all the way until near the end of the follow through...

If you can imagine and do this, it will mean it's impossible to hit with an open face, popping the ball up and long...

But it's probably hard to imagine.  Easy to show, but hard to describe.

Offline Tennis4you

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2005, 06:44:43 AM »
I would want to add 2 things.  

Bad back foot, bad!  Try to keep your weight moving forward if at all possible.  Do not pull the Scott Baker move and start to fall back, oh so bad.  Never works for me either.

Secondly, are you watching the ball?  Typcially when you raise your head too early the face of the racquet raises with it and then it is bad news.  If you are having problems watching the ball do the "bounce-hit" thingy in your head, always a good one.

Lots and lots of topspin to get back into the groove.
Good Luck on the Court!!!
Scott Baker
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Offline ACE

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2005, 09:26:23 AM »
Hi,

This tip helped me develope a consistent, dependable forehand which has turned into a weapon. You can learn to slice and topspin after you have mastered the basics. Good luck!

THE BASIC (CLASSIC) FOREHAND
by Mat Galemmo

At practice, some players try too many irregular motions. This will inhibit muscle retention in your strokes. It's a good idea to stay "basic" to build your stroke consistency.

THE GRIP:
Shake hands with the racket. (eastern grip) Extend your index finger in a trigger fashion.

WAITING POSITION:
Stand facing the net, knees slightly bent, weight evenly distributed and forward on the balls of your feet. The racket is held in front of your body, elbows in close and parallel to the ground. The racket is supported with your free hand.

TURN:
The shoulders and hips pivot and the right foot turns toward the net post as you transfer your weight to it. The forearm is parallel to the ground. The racket head angle with the forearm remains the same.

BACKSWING:
From the turn position, the racket goes back until it is parallel to the ground- the angle between forearm and racket still remaining the same. The butt of the racket is pointing toward the net and the racket is on edge.

STEP AND HIT:
The left foot steps toward the net with the weight shifting on to it. The ball is contacted opposite the left leg, approximately waist high; the arm is relatively straight and the wrist firm.

FOLLOW THROUGH:
The follow through is a long, continuous sweeping motion finishing high with the racket butt opposite the left eye, (for right handers). The weight is now altogether on the front foot with hips and shoulders turned into the stroke.

You can experiment with changes in your grip by trying continental or western after you have grooved your classic forehand. Try chipping and drop shots as well to build a variety of strokes.
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Offline ImaMadGoat

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2005, 12:21:40 PM »
UPDATE:

I went back and practiced today and did much better....got the body weight going forward, and really focused on watching the ball. Started finishing my stroke like Agassi more....with the racquet ending high above my left shoulder. It forces me to hit from low to high. Watching the ball and moving forward are really key. Your tips really helped guys, I'm now looking forward to playing tomorrow, backhand is solid, forehand is starting to feel good again.

So thanks very much guys. Even if it goes arrye again, I'll know what I should be doing to fix it.
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Offline Tennis4you

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2005, 12:25:52 PM »
Nice job yo, you rock!
Good Luck on the Court!!!
Scott Baker
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MC ill Guest

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stepping into the shot
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2005, 10:03:47 PM »
If stepping into your forehand feels natural, then go for it.  But I wouldn't get too hung up on it.  More important NOT to be moving backwards.  If you watch the pros, you'll notice they don't step into their forehands unless the ball's short.  It's mostly about the open stance these days.  It's a better position to be in in order to generate maximum torque.

Offline Jamesdster

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2005, 10:20:34 PM »
Mc Ill

Isn't amazing how times have changed?  You are correct about whipping the forehand with an open stance, but only a few years ago this was a taboo practice.
I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, "You're gonna have to move, you're blocking a fire exit." As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammible and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.  - Mitch Hedberg

Offline MC ill Logic

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Help with my forehand!
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2005, 10:43:02 PM »
Quote from: "Jamesdster"
Mc Ill

Isn't amazing how times have changed?  You are correct about whipping the forehand with an open stance, but only a few years ago this was a taboo practice.
Yeah, there's still a lot of influential guys who grew up playing serve and volly with wooden rackets going around voicing skepticism over the way the modern game's being played.  When I taught kids in NYC, the guy who oversaw the operation actually told me to start kids off with continental forehand grips!  And then later the "kids can decide for themselves which grip is right for them."  Needless to say I didn't listen to him.  I started them off with Eastern forehands, teaching them to hit with top spin from the very first shot.  

Imagine how boring the game would be for them for how long if they were taught a continental grip?  Only to realize perhaps YEARS later that they were using the wrong grip the whole time???  Because their instructor wanted to give them the opportunity to realize that the grip sucked all on their own???!!!  Didn't make sense to me.