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Realities of the Straight Arm Forehand

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  • johnyandell
    started a topic Realities of the Straight Arm Forehand

    Realities of the Straight Arm Forehand

    Let's discuss Brian Gordon's latest article, "Realities of the Straight Arm Forehand"!

  • BrianGordon
    replied
    Hi Guys - Thanks for your detailed description Don (and videos). I don't have much to add - great comments by all here. He is representative of the "new breed" of forehand in the second video. I agree it is here to stay but not for my players. There is too much motion (most of it unnecessary and most often counter-productive in my opinion). Given his swing, I like what Don has done and would then focus on the arm structure in the forward swing - his elbow breaks down too much for me which negates most of the benefits of the ATP backswing whether traditional or modern. Very interesting exchange - thanks.

    Leave a comment:


  • arturohernandez
    replied
    Nice to see some discussion around here. I have a different question.

    Right now the forehand looks good with balls coming with a very similar pace. What happens when the pace changes.

    How does he handle a slice ball that is really low?

    I just saw Tiafoe miss an inside out forehand during the first set tiebreak against Dimitrov.

    He seems to have something like a modern-modern forehand.

    It's great when he has time and the is coming with topspin.

    But once the ball varies or is very low then he is stuck and has to alter the entire swing to compensate.

    Doesn't this type of technique (i.e. Kyrgios, Sock) look very impressive but only under ordinary circumstances.

    I think the idea of creating a more fluid stroke is great.

    But I am very curious to see how it holds up when height and spin are varied.

    It would be great to see how "the kid" handles that.

    Leave a comment:


  • bobbyswift
    replied
    I like his forehand a lot. On the start of the gravity drop his shoulder is already starting to externally rotate and his forearm is starting to supinate. Making the flip to early. The start of his forward swing his shoulder is cramped and needs to be more abducted from his body.

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    I think Brian's latest video article could be applied to tennis_chiro's student.

    https://www.tennisplayer.net/members..._shot_outputs/

    Looking at the kid's forehand everyone can see it's a good shot, but what pressure can we put it under to see where/how it might break down. 10splayer says he wouldn't change do a thing to the stroke, and he could well be right, but let's see if we can break it down under pressure scenarios...that would be really useful.

    The problem with a player this advanced is it's a hopeless task to make judgements one way or the other until we see all sorts of scenarios getting throw at it.

    I still think the 'before' clips don't look too bad and the slowing down at the end of the backswing is no bad thing. Had the racket head actually stopped that would be different.
    Last edited by stotty; 08-08-2018, 06:42 AM.

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  • seano
    replied
    I agree with Kyle, he waits too long to start his forward swing. He definitely lets the ball play him instead of starting the swing closer to the bounce. Look at the number of mishits he has in the deep/short FH video, when his contact point is way too close to his body. The overall result of the late FH contact is 1) lack of extension thru the shot 2) jumping in an attempt to create space. Being late at contact, his energy has to go somewhere, so it goes up and back. A byproduct is his windshield wiper motion starts too early, not getting a true heavy ball. If you agree with Dr. Gordon, freeze the shot at contact and notice where the upper arm is pointing, the more forward the better. I also agree with Stotty, the more pressure the better, to see how it holds up.

    A drill I like to use to teach the heavy ball, is to have the player hit shots that have to travel over a barrier (bench etc.) that is placed slightly in front of service line and the shot has to bounce at least halfway up the back fence. It teaches to keep the ball out of the opponents comfort zone.

    Leave a comment:


  • 10splayer
    replied
    I wouldn't change a thing.

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    I think Novak's is a different forehand. I just used it to highlight momentary resistance.

    Lifting the elbow up high and above the shoulder line changes everything for me. Kyrgios is probably closer to tennis_chiro's student in that sense.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS5cZuxsjPE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb2g...ature=youtu.be

    Leave a comment:


  • klacr
    replied
    Originally posted by tennis_chiro View Post

    Thanks Kyle and Stotty for your responses. I'm pretty much on the same page as you are Stotty. But I still feel there is a little difference. After Novak's pause in the clip you site, there is still a little downward motion before the forward motion of the racket head. That's what I see in the clip that I really like where my student is hitting the short balls in the second lesson

    MS Short Fhs Second Session

    https://youtu.be/MC_G-Er1kzU

    Perhaps I am just splitting hairs, but I think there is a difference. Obviously, this is already a very good forehand. But I was thinking it was close to Brian Gordon's suggestion of what the next great forehand will be: that is a cross between the Classic Type III and the extreme modern Type III of Kygrios and Sock. I think Alex Zverev, watching him in the Washington final today, may be very close to that.

    I'm hoping we can get a comment here from Brian.

    don
    Isn't splitting hairs where all the fun lies? His forehand looks good but I do recognize what you mean when you compare him to Djokovic. Why do you think he's not moving downwards? Is he conscious of it? Does he think he is but video shows he's not? What's his racquet weight? Put a heavier racquet in his hand and have him grip it loose so he can feel the weight of the racquet and is cognizant of the racquet head. If he can feel the racquet tip he may start understanding what direction it should go. Just a hunch.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton

    Leave a comment:


  • tennis_chiro
    replied
    Originally posted by stotty View Post
    I looked at the before clips again and it doesn't look like any significant pause is taking place, just a minor slowing down. When you look at Djokovic in this clip you can see a momentary slow down; a bit like Nick Wheatley's 1-2 rhythm theory. https://www.tennisplayer.net/members...evelFront1.mov

    Aren't the key elements of the ATP forehand not a sequence of events leading to momentary resistance? Invasively that must mean the muscles and tendons are held up for just a split second....then bad-a-bing?
    Thanks Kyle and Stotty for your responses. I'm pretty much on the same page as you are Stotty. But I still feel there is a little difference. After Novak's pause in the clip you site, there is still a little downward motion before the forward motion of the racket head. That's what I see in the clip that I really like where my student is hitting the short balls in the second lesson

    MS Short Fhs Second Session

    https://youtu.be/MC_G-Er1kzU

    Perhaps I am just splitting hairs, but I think there is a difference. Obviously, this is already a very good forehand. But I was thinking it was close to Brian Gordon's suggestion of what the next great forehand will be: that is a cross between the Classic Type III and the extreme modern Type III of Kygrios and Sock. I think Alex Zverev, watching him in the Washington final today, may be very close to that.

    I'm hoping we can get a comment here from Brian.

    don

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    I looked at the before clips again and it doesn't look like any significant pause is taking place, just a minor slowing down. When you look at Djokovic in this clip you can see a momentary slow down; a bit like Nick Wheatley's 1-2 rhythm theory. https://www.tennisplayer.net/members...evelFront1.mov

    Aren't the key elements of the ATP forehand not a sequence of events leading to momentary resistance? Invasively that must mean the muscles and tendons are held up for just a split second....then bad-a-bing?
    Last edited by stotty; 08-05-2018, 02:29 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    I think Klacr is right. He is jumping to meet the bounce. It doesn't look unnatural or wrong to me.

    The asteroids trick is a good one and a drill I have used many times to cure the exact same problem. And it is a problem worth getting rid of in my view. I posted a 9 year-old some 3 years ago with a slightly stalled transition point. I got rid of it in much the same way as tennis_chiro is doing with his charge. His forehand is so much fluid and powerful now as a result...and, crucially, it's bought him a bit more time.

    The deal with tennis-chiro's kid for me is can that forehand hold up in long pressurised rallies. The backswing is a tad high on some of the strokes and his base is sometimes a little narrow. The big question with any forehand these days is can the player get the shot out at short notice keeping form and composure, and can the player rein the backswing in if necessary. The latter I find many students cannot do. The thing I like most about the original type 3 is its efficiency. It can deal with virtually any incoming ball, whatever pace or height.

    The newer forehands don't impress me as much. They go awry right at the start for me as the shot initiates....lifting the elbow up above the shoulder line, sometimes way above. tennis_chiro's student is very typical of the way forehands are going over here. They aren't pretty but I have to concede some kids can hit them awfully well.

    I would love to see the boy play a few points, or see how he gets on with a burst of twenty fast deliveries from an oscillating machine. It's tough to give observations with such a good player without seeing them under plenty of pressure. The trouble with ball machines is the player knows exactly what's coming. A method I have adopted of late are the old two on one drills; two players at the net putting a good player through his paces. It would work great with the kid in the clip.

    I will take another look and post some more.
    Last edited by stotty; 08-05-2018, 02:27 PM.

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  • klacr
    replied
    Great work Don and thanks for sharing those clips. That player seems to already hit what many would consider a superb forehand. However, looking closely at it and with the help of slo-mo we can see better detail. The double-bend hitting arm structure is apparent and his slight pause in the backswing is noticed but it is not as bad as many players. I would ask him at what point he likes to release the swing, seems like he holds it a tad longer after the ball bounces and does not release it at the bounce. Also, his jumping may be a result of wanting to take the ball early and therefore trying to get on top of it before it gets on top of him. He may feel as though he needs to jump as opposed to using the ground forces of a push down with the feet.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton

    Leave a comment:


  • tennis_chiro
    replied
    One of my friends asked me to work with one of his students with my machines to help him get ready for this week’s national 14’s. He’s a very good player and was a finalist in our recent sectionals. It looks to me like he has very close to the “modern” Type III forehand Brian is referring to in his article. The first four clips are of him hitting really before I gave him any input. My initial feeling was that I wanted him to be a little more continuous moving from the end of the unit turn to the contact point. That is, there is a slight pause in the swing as the racket goes through all the right check points but slows down a bit too much as the racket is pointed at the back fence. When that happens, he loses the momentum to get the racket head below the ball and ends up hitting a little too flat. As we worked a little more, I felt he was jumping into the ball a little too much - exploding up with leg drive is alright to a point, but I can’t find Federer, Nadal or Djokovic jumping forward when I look at side views of their forehands. This idea of jumping forward into the regular forehand, even an attacking one, is simply another fallacy that JY needs to debunk. Furthermore, I don’t think your feet should be leaving the ground on a normal forehand in a difficult exchange. Shorter kill shot - that might be a different story. As we worked a little more that day, I was also emphasizing getting to the ball before it started to drop.




    Note: you may have to copy and paste some of these web addresses into your browser. I’m not sure why but some of them are not live in my browser.

    MS Before Fhs from Rear
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVqh...ature=youtu.be

    MS Before Fhs from Rear High Speed Slo-Mo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFfu...3ViSx0KSEgbxDw

    MS Before Fhs from Deuce Side
    https://youtu.be/h_jzEhQ5F3g


    In this side view in high speed, you can clearly see the pause I am talking about, but you can also see that his head is really pretty stable. When I made him take the ball earlier at the top of the bounce, he had trouble demonstrating such a stable position for his head and was jumping into the ball a little too much

    MS Before Fhs from Deuce Side High Speed Slo-Mo
    https://youtu.be/sb2gSyweh38


    Later in our first session, I pushed him on time so that he was forced to eliminate the pause that I was talking about earlier. It’s only a couple of swings, but you can see the continuity of the swing.

    MS Fhs in Asteroid Drill
    https://youtu.be/Dz1kd162NiQ


    Our second session was a week later and I was working on simplifying his short forehands so he hit through them a little bit better. I really liked the look of his stroke as he was hitting these short forehands with quick lateral movement, a drill I use a lot. I have the advantage of being able to fire my machines at will so I can vary the interval between balls to create realistic or in this case very challenging situations. I’m actually pressing a button to activate each ball.

    MS Short Fhs Second Session
    https://youtu.be/MC_G-Er1kzU


    Then we moved from there to one diagonal of the Spanish X with a deep ball and a short ball, and while the stroke was better, he couldn’t quite hold it together as well as he did with the previous short ball drill. Hitting those short balls in the previous drills, he looked rock solid. And notice there is not a lot of jumping. The challenge is to get him to look just as solid on the admittedly much tougher deeper and faster full court ball.

    MS Deep-Short Fhs Second Session

    https://youtu.be/ddKSLJZKth0

    My own preference is for the simpler stroke of the “Classic Type III ATP forehand” with or without the straight arm, but it seems the movement of the shoulder that Brian illuminated in his article is probably here to stay. I’d still like to keep the overall stroke as simple as possible. This player has some of the characteristics that Brian points out without as much action as Sock or Kygrios. I was so impressed with the groundstroke exchanges between Nadal and Djokovic and how good their footwork was. I thought the level towards the end of the match was phenomenal and it’s very instructive to see how glued to the ground they seemed to be and how little their heads were moving as they were hitting those big shots. And when I went back and looked at my “before” videos (before I told him anything), this player’s head looked pretty good. I still feel he hit the ball even better when he eliminated the pause towards the rear fence, but I thought it would make a good set of clips for discussion here in the Forum.

    Comments?

    Don

    Leave a comment:


  • bottle
    replied
    Imitation: Don't Condemn it all-- it's One Good Way we Learn

    I believe those persons who warned me from the beginning not to imitate Roger Federer's forehand. But I ignored them and went ahead with the sincerest form of flattery. Now I'm 78 and playing doubles only. So what do I do with all those hours spent dropping balls on the Freeport High School courts in Maine?

    Try to use the shot as an occasional attempt at a clean winner from the outside foot. Use other ground stroke construction for 95 per cent of all forehand opportunities.
    Last edited by bottle; 08-02-2018, 04:47 AM.

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