How to hit a tennis forehand

The forehand is any stroke made with a racket when the palm of the hitting hand is facing the net. Correctly executed, if you’re a righty, the left foot is advanced toward the ball, bringing the body sideways to the net.

In a previous instruction you have learned to stand sideways to the net when hitting the ball. The rule invariably applies to forehand and backhand strokes. Do not forget it. Do not forget either to keep your eye on the ball.

There are various kinds of forehands: top spin, understand or slice, and flat. They derive their names from the various spins imparted to the ball as it is struck with the racket (continued).


In the topspin forehand the ball rotates forward and hops forward as it bounces. Any understand or slice forehand the ball rotates backwards and drags, rotating against its own momentum when it strikes the court, resulting in a ball that bounces shorter.

The flat forehand

Here the ball is struck so that it travels through the air with the least possible amount of spin. In the perfect flat forehand one is able to read the label on a new ball as it travels through the air. The ball skids or scoots off the court and, as a result, takes a very low bounce.

To begin with, we shall deal with the flat drive only, because once this is mastered it is comparatively easy to learn the others.

The reverse, however, is not true. Should you learn the topspin or slice forehand first, you will find great difficulty in adapting your tennis to the flat forehand, which is the most valuable of all.

The five things to remember during the forehand stroke:

One. Ready position. The ready position, you will discover, is your ready position for all tennis strokes whether whether it’s at the net, behind the baseline, returning a serve, and after each stroke as you rally back and forth during the course of a point.

Hold your act it well in front of your body in midway between shoulder and knee, because this convenient point requires only a quarter turn of the body to prepare for either the forehand or backhand.

Hold Iraqi with both hands gripping with your right hand and balance it with your left. Bend your knees slightly and assume a comfortable crouch. You’re ready for a quick start in any direction.

Now you are ready. Physically relaxed, mentally alert. You see the ball struck by your opponent and projected in your direction. You decide which drug to apply to the approaching ball.

Let us say in this particular case you decide to employ the forehand.

Two. Racquet back. This is the second movement of the forehand. With both hands bring the racket back at the same level as your starting point. At the same time make a quarter turn of your body to the right.

It’s a mistake among players and even instructors that footwork should come ahead of the backswing. That is wrong. The backswing of the racket comes first.

Later on, and your dance tennis, you will receive many terrifically fast serves and other fast shots that come toward you and limit your reaction time. You won’t have time to move your feet into position and then swing back your racket. With the racket back first, you’ll be able to these balls without moving your feet.

This is one of the most important factors of the system. It applies not only to the forehand that all other strokes as well.

The backswing is completed and head of the footwork.

Three. Footwork. From a ready position with your racquet back, take one step forward with your left foot. This automatically brings your left foot nearest the ball and turned your body sideways to the net.

Maintaining this sideways position, advanced toward the ball (if it is short and the court) or retreat (if it is deep in the court).

The manner in which you advance toward the ball is of greatest importance. Do not rush at it. Remain sideways. Take little skipping steps, drawing the right foot up to the left foot until you have adjusted yourself into a comfortable hitting position, exactly as you did when you adjusted yourself into a comfortable throwing position.

You cannot take too many little steps. The danger lies in taking too few big ones for the beginner, the ball should be hit over the net so that he is in correct position by taking only one step forward. This will enable him to perfect his footwork in a short time, until it becomes a mechanical process of moving towards the ball.

Four. Hitting the ball. Now you have advanced into a comfortable hitting position. You have made your choice as to the height you want the ball to be at the moment of striking it. This is your choice, not your opponents. The choice depends on your footwork.

If you want to hit the ball from a high position, you advanced nearer to it. If you like the ball from a lower height, you gauge the drop of the ball accordingly. Your footwork has been completed ahead of time, and your body is at rest. You’re poised in a steady balance position.

Now hit the ball. Pivot the weight of your body into the stroke and meet the ball with your racket.

Swing into it smoothly, employing timing, one, two. One, swing–two, hit. When you hit the ball your work is over. Remember to watch the ball into the strings of your racquet.


Five. Follow through. The racket points in the direction of the flight of the ball.

If you had to let go the racket when he struck the ball, the racket would have followed the ball over the net. But, as you need your rack at for the next rope, you do not let go of it. You merely allow it to follow the ball into the right arms fully outstretched. This is the follow-through or ending, it completes the stroke.

It is not possible to think of all these five points collectively when you execute every stroke. Study each point by itself and then learn to blend them together. The process will become smoother mechanical of practice and to your able to coordinate the five points in one continuous sweep.

Let us reconsider for a moment one or two points that have already been touched on, because they apply to most of the tennis strokes and particularly to the forehand.

Why do we keep insisting that your body be sideways of the net as the stroke is made? so that you can see the ball meet the strings of your racquet with both eyes.

If you space the net you can only peek at the actual hit out of one eye. The other I cannot see the contact at all. Demonstrate this for yourself.

The tension of the grip remains the same throughout the entire stroke. There is no tightening of the muscles are squeezing of the handle with your fingers just before the ball is hit. This is commonly known as “pressing” and is, more than any other factor, cause of the faulty stroke.

By pressing, you hinder the use of your body weight. In fact, when the muscles of the former type, it is impossible to coordinate the weight of your body into the swing or stroke.

Try it yourself.

Muscle and body weight fight it out on every court. Muscle invariably loses to the great players.

The beginner will notice that the racket often turns in his hand as the ball is hit. He believes that the reason for this is that he holds the racket too loosely, that his grip is not tight enough. This is not true.

The turning of the racket in your hand is caused by hitting the ball off center, near or on the wood of the frame, instead of in the middle of the strings.

Keep your eye on the ball. See it hit the center of the racket.

The follow-through of the stroke is made of the same level as the ball is hit.

We have abdicated your hitting the balls about waist high. But, naturally, you will be compelled upon occasion to play balls from every imaginable height, high, low, around your head, around your feet.

With the proper forehand, you can execute your stroke on any ball shoulder high, waist high, and so on, down to the ankle.

In every case, the racket finishes on a level with the actual hit. For high bouncing balls, use your overhead drive. With the single exception, the racket finishes on the same level that the ball is hit on waist high balls the racket finishes waist high.

Exactly the same stroke is employed on the low ones, but the stroke is made from what one might call a sitting position. Crouch down very low, bend both knees.

The tendency is, on low balls, to help lift the ball over the net with a pulling of the motion of the racket, starting at the low point of the hit and finishing high over your head. This helping the ball over the net is the cause of netted balls.

An excellent comparison for the low forehand is the golfer. The inexperienced golfer, facing a bunker, invariably tries to help lift the ball over the bunker by pulling up on the head of his golf club.

The champion golfer hits straight into the bowl, the angle of his clubhead making the ball go up and over the bunker. Exactly the same theory applies to tennis.

If you pull up with your racket, the ball will go into the bunker, the net. The angle of your racquet is relative to the angle of the golf club. It straight into the ball, finishing on a level with your actual hit, and the ball goes up over the net.

Get your eye on a level with the ball as it comes over the net, and automatically your guy chooses the correct level at which to make the stroke.

The follow-through of the stroke actually determines the direction of the ball. If the racket were to let go at the moment of hitting, the racket would fall the flight of the ball.

Therefore if you steer the end of the racket as the ball is hit, you automatically steer the ball. This steering of the follow-through is the secret of accuracy, because it determines the flight of the ball.

The same stroke makeup is employed for shot down the alley or for shot diagonally across the court except that the ending is in a different direction.

Where you point your racket for the ending is where the ball will go. This changed ending controls the difference in the pit or actual head which is necessary to send the ball on the desired direction.

Check out.

There’ll be times in your four handles seem to go all wrong. You will discover that the fault is not in the entire stroke but is in one factor of the stroke makeup that is not functioning properly.

Check up on all the five points. Use two hands as you did in the beginning, if necessary.

Step by step, work through to your finished forehand.

You will discover your difficulty and be able to overcome it by paying special attention to the imperfect factor.

It is of invaluable benefit to be able to diagnose your own fault. All great players learn to do this. Sometimes during the course of an important match the mentally check up on why such and such a stroke is not working. This faculty of diagnosing your own faults and applying the remedy often spells the difference between victory and defeat.

Practice hints:
Always use a target of some kind at which to shoot. Change its location frequently. Do not try to rally balls back and forth at first.
Tennis forehand instruction
Hit one ball out of time. Hold the ending. Check your stroke.

If your weight is on the foot nearest the ball at the finish (the left foot on your forehand) that is a sure check of a good stroke well executed.

Hold your follow-through. Check your strokes.

To learn all the steps needed for a simple and effective forehand, take a look at the complete Step-by-Step Video Instruction series for tennis beginners.

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