Time to learn the modern tennis forehand drills you must do to fully master the shot.
Each unique drill designed to improve a fundamental part of the stroke to give you the ability to hit your forehands with ease.
The forehand has evolved throughout the years due to a number of factors. Mainly the court surfaces have become slower and higher bouncing so the ability to generate spin has become vital to any players chances of success. The racquets have become more powerful and strings more responsive.
With the need for spin came the grip change: a. Continental (chopper/hammer) grip – the original grip for tennis used by players like Rod Laver and great for low bouncing balls on surfaces like grass. The heel pad of the palm rests on bevel 1 and 2. We now use this grips for serves, slices and volleys. b. Eastern grip – allows for some topspin and gives the ability to hit flat hard shots, it also allows for a lot of feel on the strokes. This grip was made famous by Bjorn Borg and used by players like Sampras and Federer who sometimes adjusts it more towards bevel 4 and closer to Semi-Western. c. Semi-Western – the most used grip on the pro circuit allowing for great spin generation and power while the ability to maintain a high arc trajectory of a shot making the ball bounce higher off the court creating difficulties for the opponent. The ability to create the perfect amount of spin means players can accelerate through their shots more giving them more powerful strokes which dip before the baseline. Famously used by Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal who edges closer towards the western grip. d. Western grip – used by players like Jack Sock, Kyle Edmund, Karen Khachanov and Nick Kyrgios. Gives a player a tremendous amount of topspin and the ability to deal with high balls while giving a player power of they use the wrist lag and snap correctly.
The technique had to adapt too as it was no longer possible to simply take the racquet back and forth in a linear path, the swing became more compact and the wrist lag came into effect.
We broke the modern forehand down into 5 fundamental drills that you should master in this tennis lesson.
1. The path of the racquet – working on getting the racquet under the ball and moving upwards through the shot and wrist rotation to create the maximum amount of top-spin.
2. The path (trajectory) of your shot – working on a higher net clearance which is required to accommodate the spin created to ensure that the balls are landing deep and it is tough for the opponent to attack.
3. The swing – working on the swing to be more compact and not breaking the line of your body with references to both ATP and WTA swings.
4. Hit phase – working on getting a smooth loop on your swing and lagging your wrist through the hit phase of the shot.
5. Turn & Space – making sure your shoulders are turned and you are hitting the ball far enough away from you to allow the racquet to accelerate.