Tennis Tip: Clean Up Your Forehand

Tennis Tip: Clean Up Your Forehand


Hi everyboy! Nadim here for Online Tennis Instruction. In today’s tip I’m going to talk about how to clean up your forehand. What am I talking about? If players find themselves in positions where you don’t hit the ball very clean. You have a very erratic forehand so you can’t really tell whether your ball is going to be good or not. There’s a good chance that you’re overusing your wrist and when I do my private sessions and my clinics, I notice this over and over again. Players try to impact the result of the ball with their wrist and I want to clean this up for you with a simple exercise which is a progressive exercise but I basically want to silence your wrist a little bit. Again this is not for advanced players who have a lot of lag and can generate a lot of consistent racket head speed…you’re fine. I’m talking about you guys where you try to maybe do this too early and the expense is you’re spraying balls and you’re framing your forehand. So what am I talking about? I would like to have your wrist in a what’s very important to differentiate a stable or solid position…. not a stiff or tight position. I don’t want you to tighten up your wrist. I just want it to be in a stable position. What am I talking about? For the purpose of this clean up I want you to be in a shake hand position and slightly tilted. So there’s a little arch between your forearm and your wrist, it’s not flat or rounded or limp etc. It’s slightly arched and the fingers are still loose okay so there’s total flexibility. What the key is that I’m silencing the wrist throughout the swing path. So here’s what I want to differentiate if you’re an advanced player with good mechanics and a lot of racket head speed without losing control of your shot…you will find that those players go with the tip of the racket to the right side, come down and then they’re able to activate the wrist correctly. For those of you who want to take advantage of this video, I would like for you to pay attention when you turn, that you go a little bit further so the wrist can stay silent longer and then I want you to see that when I go to contact with a silent wrist I’m able to still get to the ball in a flat manner so my racket is up and down like this. And then I can keep this position throughout the contact point. Further than the contact point I’m not trying to manipulate immediately following making contact with the ball. So what does it look like from the side? Let me show you. So I turn, i turn further than those who will lag the racket okay and I will keep the wrist nice and silent as I go to contact and I still make contact perfectly fine in front of my body with the racket being in the correct position and then I want to keep this posture of my wrist beyond contact and finish high out in front and if I do so properly I’ll still have the tip of the racket longer pointing to the right side before I release that position. All right guys let’s look at what this is like when i self feed the ball. Here is the point to take away from this. So i’m pointing forward, I’m doing my split-step and my unit turn which always precedes to making contact and I’m going to go a little further back than what I would do if I would lag the racket okay or the wrist. So I’m going a little further back. The key is my wrist is slightly arched upwards, I’m not tight! But it is in a good stable position and now i’m going to maintain this exact position throughout. I’m going to feed the ball and then i’m going to step down and come back up and you will see that the tip of the racket will stay to the right. I will still be able to generate good topspin because i’m going to be coming from a point lower than my contact point and swing beyond upwards than the contact point and you will see that the ball has good clearance and i can still generate a lot of pop without having to activate the wrist. So here we go and again sorry the main part here for you is to make sure that you make clean contact every time you hit the ball. So here we go…. split-step, unit turn, I’m going a little bit further than I normally would if I was to lag and then I’m going down and up and you see I’m getting nice clearance, depth and the tip of the racket is still over here. Now at this point I would release but we’re going to keep that for now. Split-step, unit turn, go a little bit further back feet down and up and you can see I still get the low to high swing path, a good topspin shot with clean contact and good clearance. Again one more time. Down and up and while I do all this there is no effort on the upper body because I’m really utilizing my legs and I can keep a calm hand. I can keep a calm hand and let’s look at it one more time…split step, unit turn, little further back, wrist is in a nice stable yet not tight position, feet down and up and you can see that the ball has a nice curve and the tip of the racket is here. Now if I’m advanced and I do this 20-30 times and I see that I don’t hit the frame at all then I can go ahead and do the same thing but activate after contact, down and up and then come a little bit further over okay but only at the end! Before, during and after contact the wrist structure does not change and that is the key so that you can make sure that you have clean contact! Before I let you go and work on this by yourself I want to reiterate that you want to go through the shadow swing phase first. So right here. Then I want you to do what I just showed you with the self feed and then when you’re ready with that and you still see your contact is clean, then you can either have somebody help you or use a ball machine with a low speed setting so you can really focus on clean contact. So I’m going to have Gregg feed me just a couple and I want you to pay attention to my solid yet not stiff wrist position throughout the entire swing. So here we go! Let’s just do 3 shots. Turn, down and up. Okay I’m going to exaggerate the legs a little bit more. Down and up so I can keep the tip of the racket beyond contact on the right side. Turn, down and up and see every time clean contact and a good lift on the ball. Turn, down and up. So if you don’t get that shape and you don’t cleanly hit the ball every time look at your positions! Record yourself like i am recording myself and see what you’re doing whether the wrist is too active or whether you’re not getting into the right position. So good luck when you try this and all the best!

11 thoughts on “Tennis Tip: Clean Up Your Forehand

  1. Are we talking about keeping the wrist-racquet angle same (or nearly same) throughout the shot? I've seen several coaching/training aids that do that. IMO, consciously trying to move the forearm-wrist-racquet chain as a unit will result in stiff wrist and no power. If you correctly use a training aid, you develop an idea how your wrist should and shouldn't move.

  2. And can we get at least a couple of shots where you actually complete the follow-through? It's painful (like hearing someone play a false note again and again) to watch that racquet freeze every time. Reminds me of videos where they tell you to practice your serve toss standing stiff upright, without a racquet in the other hand, and without any movement in the body.

  3. Dear OTI team or Nadim, what do you mean by foot alignement with the ball in this video? Tip of the toes pointing towards the ball? Or towards contact point?

    Ty 😉

  4. Great video ,this gives you a template to how to swing a basic forehand with structure ,a great practice tool that can only help develop a better forehand which has a lots of intangible and situational play ,problem is most people like to start hitting hard without proper balance ,understanding and feel therefore very eratic and clumpsy looking swing ,best to start with a go-to cart before jumping into an formula 1 car

  5. Coach Nadim you should be a doctor! You have given me the prescription for my dislocated forehand. For decades I have been trying to make my forehand reliable as I tried to copy Arias, Vilas, Graf, Lendl… I did not want to hit it flat but the loopy swings were not solid. You said it well at 5.07, before, during, after contact, to keep the wrist still. That is the hard part, that we have to keep the still wrist in a linear track but most of us hackers are thinking about the rotational finish of the swing. Many thanks, now I just have to practice it.

  6. I'm a 4.0 trying to get to 4.5. This was a total game changer for me. I was pulling off the ball and not extending. This helped me realize and prove to myself that topspin isn't created by a wild, windshield wiper style wrist movement. That movement happens after the ball leaves the racket and is a function of doing everything else correctly. This concept, coupled with a solid focus on the "down-up" movement, completely cleaned me up (as the video title suggests) and has me hitting it much more solidly much more often. I have a long way to go, but this is absolutely something to build off of by helping me clear up a misinterpretation of the modern forehand (a misinterpretation that I can guarantee is relatively common).

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