The Good Shape
Shaping a future-proof forehand
The Dominant Shape
The general swing shape of the best forehands is from low to high. Within this shape, there are two options – one minor option, the other major.
Slightly Open Face
In the above image, Stefan Edberg is swinging low-to-high, but Stefan’s racket face is slightly ‘open’. This means instead of putting topspin on the ball, he’s lifting the ball over the net, with minimal spin – this is the minor low-to-high option.
Throughout these pages, only Stefan and Jimmy Connors hit what is a basic lifted forehand, which is largely a thing of the past at pro level.
Right Angles Face
In this three frame click-thru (below) you’ll see Tim Henman also hitting low to high
This low-to-high swing will also hoist the ball up-and-over the net.
But a racket at right-angles to the ground at contact means the strings will peel up the back of the ball, putting some degree of topspin on it.
For beginners, that’s a basic definition of how to get topspin: you simply rip the strings up the back of the ball.
The spin then forces the ball down and helps keep it in court… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
This second low-to-high option – the one perfectly illusrtated by Rafa, above, with the right-angles racket face at contact, is the major option – and it dominates these pages.
Testers & Teasers
To keep more advanced readers interested whilst creating a scalable structure for technical beginners, let’s dip our technical toes into deeper waters with:
One frame of this Topsin Jedi Master (who is it?) and…
…also one frame of Andy Roddick:
Each has a Low-to-High shape and a Right Angles racket face – but they’re trying to achieve different ends.
Any idea what they are?
Food for thought.