Tag Archives: tennis lesson

NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S VERSATILE FOREHAND

 

Being able to control topspin and trajectory on the forehand is crucial in today’s game. A great forehand is a versatile forehand!

The amount of spin on the ball is determined by the amount of upward motion you apply with your racket to the ball.

 

 

Which player will impart more spin? The player with the buttcap pointing diagonally upwards to the ball. The straighter the buttcap is to the ball, the flatter the shot will be.

Though, people argue that it is a hassle to constantly think how diagonally they have to point the buttcap so here’s an easier alternative: the type of follow through.

Djokovic is a prime example. He uses three follow-throughs on his forehands: by the shoulder, over the shoulder, and the reverse follow-through. He is probably the player on tour who employs three different follow-throughs on his forehand during a match the most.

By the shoulder

Djokovic’s by the shoulder follow through is normally used for more aggressive flat trajectory shots. He will often use this forehand on sitters, high balls, and balls he deems worth punishing.

Over the shoulder

Djokovic’s over the shoulder follow-through is typically used for a safer and more-spin net clearance shot. He tends to use this follow-through a lot when grinding out points. You will often see him go cross-court with this forehand. He can also create good angles with this shot.

 

Reverse

Djokovic’s reverse follow-through is often used when he is late with the ball and/or when he is going for a lot of spin. This shot is very effective in creating sharp angles/heavy bouncing balls and is a very safe shot. However, this should not be your standard forehand rally ball because this shot is not as penetrating and will tend to give short balls to your opponent.

Each of these follow-throughs produces different effects on the ball. The ability to use all three will give you a variety of options with your forehand, allowing you to better construct points. Djokovic has improved a lot in this aspect of the forehand which is one of the things that has greatly attributed to his success in recent years.

Check out Djokovic’s matches:

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Keys to the Inside Out/In Forehand

These are the three 3 big things you must be able to master to have an amazing inside-out/in forehand:

  1. Footwork – The ability to quickly run around your backhand to hit your forehand; this is known as the inside forehand. Where you choose to aim it determines whether it is an inside-out (directing the ball diagonally/down the line) or an inside-in (aiming the ball cross court/closer corner). Many people just side-shuffle around their backhand if the ball is at a comfortable distance, but if you the ball is out of that range, your first step should be a backwards cross-step and then side shuffle. The cross step covers more initial ground.
  2. The coiling of your shoulders and hips – It is crucial that for the inside-out forehand that you turn your shoulders completely to where your it is right below your chin. This allows you to load up efficient power into your shot.
  3. How you uncoil – This is very important; if you do not know how to uncoil correctly on your forehand yet, please check out my article or quick video on the modern forehand technique (https://simplemoderntennis.wordpress.com/the-modern-forehand/) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe3AEBgPJ0g) .

When hitting an inside-out forehand once you are uncoiled and ready to hit the shot, you must uncoil and transfer your energy to the direction you want the ball to go – in this case, inside-out.

Same goes for inside-in forehands – you must uncoil and transfer your energy to that direction you want the ball to go to.

The reason why you transfer your weight to your desired direction is because your racket will follow your body’s movement. Uncoiling puts you into the butt-cap position where the butt-cap of the racket is pointing at the ball.  That means focusing that energy towards your target will make your butt-cap point towards that direction as well.

Check out a video of Federer displaying these three keys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TongA3DfjgM