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Private Lessons: Forehand Preparation

By Scott Murphy

Printable Version

JC Ferrero prepares for the next shot with a balanced ready hop.

One universal problem I see when people come to my teaching court or camps is poor preparation on the forehand groundstroke. If this fundamental element is incomplete or poor it is likely the stroke will never reach its potential. Using pictures of some of the world's great pros as examples, let's examine the elements of sound forehand preparation.

Watching the Ball

Good preparation for any stroke starts with effective use of the eyes. Firstly, by using your eyes, you'll know when to make an all-important ready hop. Just before your opponent strikes the ball it's crucial to make a balanced ready hop. You want to try to time the landing of the hop so the feet touch the ground just as your opponent hits the ball. This will set your leg muscles to move one way or the other; knowing when to ready hop means you'll respond more quickly and accurately because you're assessing physical cues your opponent may be giving you just ahead of the ball leaving his racket.

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Scott Murphy is from Marin County, California where he started playing tennis at age 5 in a family of tennis nuts. Both of his parents were major influences in his development. He also took lessons from Marin legend Hal Wagner and former top 10, Harry Roach.

Scott is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he played baseball and football but continued to work on his tennis game with renowned coach Chet Murphy. He was the head pro at San Domenico Sleepy Hollow Tennis Club for over 20 years. He also directed the Nike Tahoe Tennis Camp at the Granlibakken Resort for 10 years. Scott now teaches privately on the Paradise Court in Ross, Marin County, California.

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