Tennis Forehand – 011

Forehand 11


Playing Front Foot Tennis

By front-foot tennis I mean that you are delivering a hit with your weight shifting through and into the shot, and onto your front foot.

Run 1 thru 3 of Ivan Lendl and concentrate on the in-focus images to the right.

From the start, Lendl is fully turned and sideways to the net: in fact, this is one of the most side-on forehands you’ll ever see.
Now watch, as Lendl’s body weight shifts from the back foot, through contact and onto the front foot.

Body weight-forward adds beef (or soya protein) to the swung racket head and once again needs a Connect 3 to properly flourish.

The Invitation

Generally speaking, this simpler type of weight forward comes with an invitation.

Huh? What you chattin’?’

I’m chattin’ that a short ball from your opponent should be treated like an invite…

To dinner?’

Shush. Actually, you might be right.
It is a kind of dinner invitation – or an invite to feast on your opponent’s sloppy mid-court ball – it’s an invite to carve up the opposition’s short order with relish and dish out a thumping recipe of pancake-flat, ball-peeling aggression.

‘Easy on the metaphors!’

Mmm. I’ve been known to get carried away.
Watch this animation of Andy Roddick’s forehand, in which he accepts just such an invitation: Andy turns, loops and shifts up the court.

Andy Roddick

As with Ivan Lendl, we then see the weight shift as he lays into the forward connect.

This weight forward (onto a front foot) most naturally occurs when:

A: the ball bounces short and/or
B: when it is also hit central to the court.

For me, Roddick’s forehand is – power-wise – one of the best ever and there’s much to learn from it, so we’ll return to it often.

Invitation to the Sideways Dance

There’s a deftness and economy about the way skilled tennis players move around the court – they can move like sprinters, boxers and at other times like well-trained dancers.

Here’s another of my all-time favourite stroke-makers – or Stroke Models – Gabriela Sabatini, who has also been given an invitation.

Gabby accepts without hesitation and pulls the elbow back to prep for her loop in 1 – trigger cocked back, right?

In 2 & 3 she shifts into a sideways turn and then does a sideways shuffle-dance up the court.

This is nimble and efficient court coverage, which is aided by the two doubly-efficient cross-steps in 2 & 5.

Happy Feet

Movement is so important it deserves a full section. But take a moment to look-and-learn from Happy Feet in action 😉
…and this is one of the very few times you’ll hear me mention ‘feet’.