The forehand is an effective shot for any tennis player. Here are some basic forehand tips to get you started in the right direction. But like any aspect of tennis, mastering the forehand takes practice and dedication to be used for maximum effect. If you practice with the proper technique, you’ll find yourself overwhelming your opponents in no time.
The Right Grip
To play like the pros, or even to get started, you have to understand that there are different ways to grip the tennis racquet for different types of shots. Without the right type of grip, you may not be controlling the ball as much as you need to and you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage.
Most beginning players are taught the Easter Forehand Grip. To use the Eastern Forehand, shake hands with the racquet. The knuckle of the index finger should be on the long beveled side on the racquet’s face side. You can also use a continental grip and rotate the hand clockwise slightly. This picture illustrates the Eastern Forehand Grip in detail.
Striking the Ball
When returning a volley, it is important to have the right technique in how and where you hit the ball. Having the right grip is essential and is a topic we covered above. Beyond that, set yourself before your shot if you can. If you’re on the run, you’ll obviously have to make do, but if you’re not, don’t make things harder than they have to be.
As the ball approaches, you should be in full back swing ready to rotate your body toward the ball. Once the ball approaches, try to hit it as far out front as you reasonably can. Waiting until it is too late can result in weak and inaccurate shots. Finally, concentrate on the follow-through. Imitate that to the best of your ability, and you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Hitting topspin requires an upward swing and requires plenty of practice. Hitting the ball with the top edge of the racquet and swinging upward should give you all of the topspin you need. It is also important to try and hit the ball far out in front of you, if possible.
Although it is possible to use the Eastern Forehand grip, long-term the use of the Continental grip is discouraged as it puts undue additional stress on the arm.
Using the Entire Body
In hitting a powerful forehand, it is important to involve the whole body. If you limit your emotions to your arm, you will not get the velocity and effectiveness you need to hit winning shots. This is where it is important to involve the leg muscles in your forehand. Bending your knees before hitting the ball (and then straightening them when you hit) will allow you to get more power behind your forehand.
You can also rotate the entire upper body when striking the ball. The rotation of the shoulders and torso will provide a more powerful hit on the ball. It is also essential to have complete follow through. When you are done with your shot, the racquet should be above chin height and fully on the left side of the body.