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Interactive Forum April 2024: Iga Swiatek Forehand

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  • Interactive Forum April 2024: Iga Swiatek Forehand

    Iga Swiatek Forehand

    So here is Iga’s forehand. Obviously one of the best in the women’s game. But what do you think of her preparation, especially the left arm? And what about her extension? And what else? Could it be (a lot) better? Thoughts please!

    ​​
    Last edited by johnyandell; 04-02-2024, 05:55 PM.

  • #2
    In terms of the left arm, Iga clearly does not extend her left arm across her body as she prepares in the typical way that most coaches would teach. On the other had, her shoulder turn itself is perfect and she uses the left arm to pull the racquet back and help her turn into position. She also gets great extension and close to a full 180 degree shoulder turn through every shot in this clip except the last one. My instinct is that maybe she keeps the left arm bent because it is more comfortable for her to keep her two arms relatively symmetrical as she goes into the forward swing. Maybe the answer on the shape of the non-dominant arm is similar to the answer on hitting arm structure. You can hit a great FH with a wide variety of arm shapes even though the Federer/Nadal straight arm ATP swing is the most efficient and, to my eyes, the most beautiful.

    As John says, her FH is a great weapon. Overall, between her spin, her pace, and her movement to the ball, I think she has the best forehand on the WTA tour and I wouldn’t think this is a high priority area for her or her team to think about improving.

    I agree with the many commentators who think Iga’s biggest overall challenge seems to be that her game is not as dominant on faster surfaces. Looking at the pictures here, it’s hard to me to see why. The stoke looks pretty compact. Her preparation and backswing are mostly on the hitting side. Again, not as compact as the Federer model but definitely not the older WTA style you still see where the racquet head is visible on the player’s BH side like, say, a Sloan Stevens. Love to hear thoughts from others on whether there are technical adjustments that Iga could make that would help with that.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by rstrecker View Post
      I

      I agree with the many commentators who think Iga’s biggest overall challenge seems to be that her game is not as dominant on faster surfaces. Looking at the pictures here, it’s hard to me to see why. The stoke looks pretty compact. Her preparation and backswing are mostly on the hitting side. Again, not as compact as the Federer model but definitely not the older WTA style you still see where the racquet head is visible on the player’s BH side like, say, a Sloan Stevens. Love to hear thoughts from others on whether there are technical adjustments that Iga could make that would help with that.
      Matches I've seen where Iga has been upset seem to happen when her opponent is able to attack her second serve, which is largely a plain vanilla kicker in the middle of the box. She backs it up well, but some players, Pegula at one of the Tour Finals comes to mind, that have the ability to move in and attack the second, can rush her forehand and draw errors. Presumably, rushing Iga with your return is more difficult on slower surfaces.

      I've also seen video where, when hitting a running forehand, Iga is very late taking her racket back with her left arm still engaged. Whether that is an aberration or a weak spot, I have no idea.

      Comment


      • #4
        I grabbed a few frames from John's video that help me see steps in her stroke from drop through contact.

        In this particular swing, her stroke is extremely abbreviated -- starts going up immediately and there is little extension toward the target that I can see.

        P.S. Sorry for the redundant images labelled as "attached files". Forum software does that at times.

        filedata/fetch?id=103914&d=1712607705&type=thumb
        filedata/fetch?id=103915&d=1712607705&type=thumb

        filedata/fetch?id=103917&d=1712607706&type=thumb

        The upswing is so abrupt the racket is highest right in front of her face ( Which Coco does at times)

        filedata/fetch?id=103916&d=1712607705&type=thumb


        #
        Attached Files
        You do not have permission to view this gallery.
        This gallery has 5 photos.
        Last edited by jimlosaltos; 04-08-2024, 12:33 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Here are two frames that come BEFORE those above that show the off hand letting go then the high take back. (Forum allows 5 images to be uploaded at at time)


          filedata/fetch?id=103923&d=1712607705&type=thumb

          x
          Attached Files
          You do not have permission to view this gallery.
          This gallery has 2 photos.
          Last edited by jimlosaltos; 04-08-2024, 12:34 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by rstrecker View Post
            In terms of the left arm, Iga clearly does not extend her left arm across her body as she prepares in the typical way that most coaches would teach. On the other had, her shoulder turn itself is perfect and she uses the left arm to pull the racquet back and help her turn into position. She also gets great extension and close to a full 180 degree shoulder turn through every shot in this clip except the last one. My instinct is that maybe she keeps the left arm bent because it is more comfortable for her to keep her two arms relatively symmetrical as she goes into the forward swing. Maybe the answer on the shape of the non-dominant arm is similar to the answer on hitting arm structure. You can hit a great FH with a wide variety of arm shapes even though the Federer/Nadal straight arm ATP swing is the most efficient and, to my eyes, the most beautiful.

            As John says, her FH is a great weapon. Overall, between her spin, her pace, and her movement to the ball, I think she has the best forehand on the WTA tour and I wouldn’t think this is a high priority area for her or her team to think about improving.

            I agree with the many commentators who think Iga’s biggest overall challenge seems to be that her game is not as dominant on faster surfaces. Looking at the pictures here, it’s hard to me to see why. The stoke looks pretty compact. Her preparation and backswing are mostly on the hitting side. Again, not as compact as the Federer model but definitely not the older WTA style you still see where the racquet head is visible on the player’s BH side like, say, a Sloan Stevens. Love to hear thoughts from others on whether there are technical adjustments that Iga could make that would help with that.
            Great post!

            I think Iga falls into a category occupied by a number great players who have successful strokes that don't quite conform to what most coaches would consider technically acceptable. I have lost count of the number of players with sub par ISR (male and female) who nevertheless still have very good serves.

            The question is, do we as coaches get too hung up on all this stuff or would the players in the aforementioned category have had even even better strokes had they followed a more technically correct path. Would Iga's forehand be a better stroke with a better left arm stretch and better extension? As we can't wind back the clock and clone two Iga's and send them down the two different paths, we can't know for certain.

            Once again, great post.
            Stotty

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