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Interactive Forum September 2022: Jannik Sinner Forehand

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  • Interactive Forum September 2022: Jannik Sinner Forehand



    Jannik Sinner Forehand

    Analysis from Dr. Brian Gordon


    Sinner is known to produce a very big forehand. The question is: how does he do it and are the elements a good model for developing players?

    Before jumping into the core mechanical aspects, it is worth noting that his body frame is built for racquet speed. A previous article (Height in Pro Tennis Click Here) made the point that long lean body segments are conducive to producing racquet speed.

    The rationale is that the long segments imply long muscles which physiologists indicate are better for producing speed of contraction due to increased in-series contractile units (sarcomeres). There are also biomechanical advantages given appropriate technique.

    Is his technique appropriate? In some ways he is a hybrid to the stroke models I’ve defined in previous articles. The most obvious attribute of this stroke is the bent elbow during the forward swing and at contact.

    Ball-park measurement indicates his elbow bend averages about 130 degrees (180 is straight). This value varies based on the relationship between stance and contact height: more bent (~= 120 degrees) in more open stances and higher contacts; less bent (~= 140 degrees) in more closed stances and lower contacts.

    This bend compromises some of the biomechanical advantage of his long segments in producing forward racquet speed. To compensate he uses aggressive upper torso rotation as part of a unitary body rotation (not sequenced with the pelvis) with modest independent acceleration of the arm.

    Vertical racquet speed is produced primarily through shoulder internal rotation enhanced by the bent elbow flip to roll mechanism discussed in a previous article (Understanding Professional Forehands). This mechanism produces a lateral (to his left) skew in the hand path around contact but his elbow is straight enough to make this manageable if not beneficial at some contact heights.

    So far it seems I’m describing a typical “ATP Classical” forehand. Where it varies from that model is his backswing. Rather than the more typical functional shoulder driven backswing or a hybrid, Sinner utilizes a positional elbow driven backswing. These backswing types were previously described (Understanding Professional Forehands Click Here).

    His backswing ends at the exact (and variable by situation) elbow angle he will carry through the forward swing. A notable attribute of this backswing is the racquet orientation (often pointing along the baseline to the right with hitting side of the racquet face pointing toward the back fence). This orientation facilitates the bent arm flip mechanics though I note it would be a disaster for the flip mechanics of a straight arm forehand (Type III).

    I actually like Sinners forehand and it is hard to argue with the output and results. The merging of the positional backswing (Type III) with bent arm forward swing (Classical) is great and something I build in my players (that can’t hit a straight arm – which most can’t). His anthropometric attributes and muscle physiology can’t be taught unfortunately. Still, for the vast majority of players the key elements of this stroke are far more attainable than the key elements of a straight(er) arm stroke.
    Last edited by johnyandell; 08-30-2022, 08:52 PM.

  • #2
    Thanks Brian for your analysis of Jannik's forehand. It is a very explosive forehand as you know. It has seemingly effortless pop/power, from that standpoint to me like Roger and Fabio.

    Comment


    • #3
      Brian -

      I've watched Sinner hit live a few times in the past couple of years and have been very impressed with his game and the power he's able to generate. Its interesting how his positional backswing with the racquet orientation so influences the bent arm hitting structure and the same bend is maintained through out the forward swing. My thought has always been how much bigger his forehand would be if he could straighten his hitting arm more in the forward swing. However, I wasn't taking into account his racquet orientation and his flip mechanics would cause major problems if he tried to straighten it. All the different types of hitting structures are very interesting, from Sock to Kyrgios to Sinner.

      I have several questions.

      1) What would have been your approach to teaching Sinner if you got ahold of him several years ago? Would you have tried to change his flip mechanics/backswing where the strings are pointing towards the back fence, in order to allow him to hit more of a straight arm forehand? Would you have tested to see how straight you could make it?

      2) If you could teach him now, what would you be emphasizing to allow him to take advantage of his long limbs or has he maxed out his capability?

      3) How much variability does the type 3 forehand flip mechanics have? Does it need to look like a Federer or Nadal backswing or there's room for different racquet orientations?

      4) Can you go into a little more detail why Sinners bent arm flip mechanics would be a disaster with a type 3 forehand?

      5) Without fractionation, what does the lack of 2 degrees of freedom (torso & non-twisting shoulder) play in his elbow staying bent ?

      Sean
      Last edited by seano; 08-31-2022, 09:48 PM.

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      • #4
        Hi Brian, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am very curious why you essentially say most people can’t hit straight arm forehands? What do u mean and why? Thanks in advance.

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        • #5
          That's a great walk-thru of Sinner's forehand. It's very educational to get this kind of input because you can see it in the video once it's all explained. I find it interesting that long levers have the potential to create more power. Sinner looks quite scrawny yet he belts the ball as hard as anyone out there.

          Thanks, Brian. Doing this kind of thing now and again is massively appreciated by all of us. We all find it very educational.
          Stotty

          Comment


          • #6
            How similar to (or NOT) Jack Sock's forehand is Sinner's. Similar take back with racket face toward back wall, not court, nor side.

            Now, Sock is tense and muscular while Jannik's is smooth and fluid, but motion wise?

            Photo: Source unknown

            images.jpg

            Comment


            • #7
              Take back looks similar. To me in real time, not that similar. Sock in full western, Sinner in semi. To me, Nick is somewhere between the 2 forehands, grip wise and technically.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by stroke View Post
                Take back looks similar. To me in real time, not that similar. Sock in full western, Sinner in semi. To me, Nick is somewhere between the 2 forehands, grip wise and technically.
                Thanks. Helpful

                Comment


                • #9
                  “I find it interesting that long levers have the potential to create more power”.

                  As a short levered person, my experience is that even if I could perfectly mimick Sinner’s forehand motion, there is no way I could duplicate his power using the same amount of effort. I mention this not as an excuse for lack of talent due to body type, but just as an observation of the diifficulty of choosing models to copy. I remember when the Olympic East German shot putters were accused of surgically moving the tendon insertion points on their arms to create stronger levers.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by doctorhl View Post
                    “I find it interesting that long levers have the potential to create more power”.

                    As a short levered person, my experience is that even if I could perfectly mimick Sinner’s forehand motion, there is no way I could duplicate his power using the same amount of effort. I mention this not as an excuse for lack of talent due to body type, but just as an observation of the diifficulty of choosing models to copy. I remember when the Olympic East German shot putters were accused of surgically moving the tendon insertion points on their arms to create stronger levers.
                    I would of course defer to Brian on this, but to me Fabio is short levered(listed at 5'10", I seriously doubt he is that tall) and he has enormous effortless pop.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi guys - long time no chat - hope all is well. Appreciate the comments and kind words as always. Some answers/observations for what they're worth:

                      stroke/general - You don't have to have long segments to smack the crap out of the ball - just makes it a bit easier (less effort).

                      doctorhi - surgically altering the tendon attachments - love it hahaha.

                      jeremy93 - in theory it shouldn't be that difficult aside from the pristine position to the ball that is required - in practice it very difficult. My evidence is anecdotal - I've built 1000s of forehands and relatively few high level pure straight arms. Of course, it could be I'm just a bad teacher.

                      seano - attempted to answer your questions below ->


                      Originally posted by seano View Post


                      1) What would have been your approach to teaching Sinner if you got ahold of him several years ago? Would you have tried to change his flip mechanics/backswing where the strings are pointing towards the back fence, in order to allow him to hit more of a straight arm forehand? Would you have tested to see how straight you could make it?

                      Ans: I start with the straight arm for any developmental player that walks on my court. When it is apparent that is not possible then I move on.

                      2) If you could teach him now, what would you be emphasizing to allow him to take advantage of his long limbs or has he maxed out his capability?

                      Ans: I'd tell him to keep ripping it - not worth the pain of change at this point.

                      3) How much variability does the type 3 forehand flip mechanics have? Does it need to look like a Federer or Nadal backswing or there's room for different racquet orientations?

                      Ans: There is variability shot to shot. The type 3 flip targets the shoulder - there is some variability possible in the conditions that create that.

                      4) Can you go into a little more detail why Sinners bent arm flip mechanics would be a disaster with a type 3 forehand?

                      Ans: At the beginning of the forward swing, the flexion/extension anatomical axis of the wrist must be at least 45 degrees from the horizontal - Sinner's is not - that is a problem.

                      5) Without fractionation, what does the lack of 2 degrees of freedom (torso & non-twisting shoulder) play in his elbow staying bent ?

                      Ans: Not sure I understand what you are asking. He has 2 degrees of freedom. The modest shoulder acceleration (and other attributes) is an intentional piece of his bent arm proclivity - not the cause of it.

                      Sean
                      Last edited by BrianGordon; 09-04-2022, 02:51 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by stroke View Post

                        I would of course defer to Brian on this, but to me Fabio is short levered(listed at 5'10", I seriously doubt he is that tall) and he has enormous effortless pop.
                        Stroke: you took away my excuse!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by doctorhl View Post

                          Stroke: you took away my excuse!
                          I copy, I am all about excuses.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wow! What an analysis. The forehand looks really good. I had a question about the coiled vs. straight left arm as he coils. I notice that sometimes Sinner straightens out his off arm as he coils. Other times his arm is bent. He seems to have a bent arm quite often but with plenty of coiling.

                            My daughter coils with a bent arm which is similar to Sinner. I didn't see any comments on the off arm by Brian.

                            Anything bad about coiling with a bent arm vs. straight arm?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post
                              Wow! What an analysis. The forehand looks really good. I had a question about the coiled vs. straight left arm as he coils. I notice that sometimes Sinner straightens out his off arm as he coils. Other times his arm is bent. He seems to have a bent arm quite often but with plenty of coiling.

                              My daughter coils with a bent arm which is similar to Sinner. I didn't see any comments on the off arm by Brian.

                              Anything bad about coiling with a bent arm vs. straight arm?
                              JY probably has something to say on the subject, arturo.

                              Here's a quote from the latest issue's Your Stokes (Drew's Forehand):

                              "For Drew on his forehand, the first key was to improve his turn. And the key to the turn for any player is the left arm stretch.

                              Drew's left arm was bent and never straightened out completely. Although his shoulders were turned, they were around 90 degrees or less to the net."

                              Perhaps Sinner doesn't manage this when rushed? Or perhaps he just coils better, with or without a straight arm. He must have tremendous upper body flexibility, as well as strength, given what BG says about his "aggressive upper body rotation".

                              regards
                              Rob

                              Comment

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