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Building the Modern Forehand:
Differences Across the Grip Styles

By John Yandell

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Given the diversity of grips and complexity of technical styles, how do we tell what is basic and what is a variation?

To state the obvious about the modern forehand: the wide variety of grips, backswings, swing patterns, ball heights, spins, and shot placements make trying to identify, understand, and develop the fundamental elements exceedingly confusing, difficult and complex.

If you talk to knowledgeable coaches and successful teaching pros, you'll hear a wide variety of emphasis and opinion, and even directly contradictory viewpoints.

This is in part because of the speed of the swings and the limits of human perception. But it is also due to the great diversity in style between players, as well as the different variations the same players use to do different things with the ball in different circumstances.

How do we, as students of the game, identify and distinguish the basic elements from variations dictated by grips, court position, tactics, shot choices, etc? Put another way-how do you build your own forehand, incorporating the fundamentals that underlie world class shot making, in a way that is appropriate and effective for your grip style, at your level?

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John Yandell is widely acknowledged as one of the leading videographers and students of the modern game of professional tennis. His high speed filming for Advanced Tennis and Tennisplayer have provided new visual resources that have changed the way the game is studied and understood by both players and coaches. He has done personal video analysis for hundreds of high level competitive players, including Justine Henin-Hardenne, Taylor Dent and John McEnroe, among others.

In addition to his role as Editor of Tennisplayer he is the author of the critically acclaimed book Visual Tennis. The John Yandell Tennis School is located in San Francisco, California.