Analysis of the Andy Roddick Forehand Technique

The Roddick Forehand is a world class tennis stroke and one of the most admired shots in professional tennis. An analysis of the Andy Roddick forehand reveals the technique behind the forehand shot.

Andy RoddickThe discussion below focuses how Andy Roddick executes his forehand stroke.

The Roddick forehand has become one of the most challenging and effective forehands in modern tennis. Andy Roddick’s forehand is also considered as one of the biggest forehand shots in recent times. Tennis tactics and techniques have evolved a lot through time since it was first played in the 19th century in Great Britain.

Modern tennis is characterized by improved positioning, better footwork and of course more powerful strokes or shots compared to classical tennis. Specifically, the forehand tennis technique has also changed drastically.

Andy Roddick is the former world number 1 and the top American tennis player. At present, he is in the top 8 by the ATP (Association Tennis Professionals) rankings. He has one grand slam title, which is the US OPEN in 2003. Although Roddick is more popular with his ferocious tennis serve, the Roddick forehand is very commendable as well. The discussion below focuses how Andy Roddick executes his forehand stroke.

Andy Roddick’s Forehand Preparation

roddick-forehand-techniqueGood preparation is when you have the capacity to anticipate the shot of your opponent. Like for instance, when Roddick anticipates a potential forehand stroke, he then prepares himself by bringing his racket back in a smooth manner. To prepare himself for the shot, one thing he does is support his racket’s throat with his left hand or with his non dominant hand (since Roddick is a right-handed player). It is by standard the normal way to do it.

This preparatory step helps facilitate Roddick’s full shoulder turn. At this point, his racket face is in a slightly closed position.

A slightly closed position means that the racket is slightly facing downward. At the same time, the upper part of his shoulder is in cocked position. This position allows him to hit a looping, long and very powerful racket swing. This will also enhance the brushing effect of the racket into the ball, resulting in the creation of a heavy topspin forehand.

Roddick’s Loading Phase

The Roddick forehand loading phase is one of Roddick’s assets which allow him to hit a very powerful forehand. This power is achieved in the way he plants his back leg once it reaches the ground. Through this motion, he is able to create a strong force which is converted into a powerful stroke as he makes the shot. When he bends his legs, his upper body remains in a upright position. And this gives him the advantage of a low center of gravity with a wide base. As Roddick brings his racket back, his left arm that supports the racket’s throat separates and is stretched sideways. This gives him the needed balance and good position.

One of the most important aspects of Roddick’s Forehand is the full coiling of his upper body. The coiling of the upper body means that his hips and shoulders are not aligned. This is achieved as Roddick turns his shoulder without turning his whole body. This movement allows Roddick to create power in his larger body muscles such as the legs, back, and shoulder. The transfer of the energy produced from lower body (legs-hips-trunk-shoulder-arms) to the racket is called the chain of kinetic energy. Roddick’s tremendous power is unleashed as he uncoils his body and this power is channeled up to his racket.

Roddick’s Open Stance

An open stance is normally used by Roddick in executing a forehand when he is pulled out wide by his opponent or when his opponent hits a wide return to his forehand side. In addition, Roddick also uses an open stance when he hits a running forehand that upper body full rotation is inhibited if other stances are used.

In general, many professional players prefer to do a neutral stance especially if they have more time to prepare. Many players also prefer to use a neutral stance when they are positioned more or less at the center of the court. In returning a short ball or hitting an approach shot, most players again prefer to use a neutral stance and step forward rather than using an open stance.

However, the neutral stance also has a disadvantage, which is the lack of trunk rotation. On one hand, an open stance position allows the player to utilize the full trunk rotation (as mentioned above) even on a running forehand. Roddick’s forehand skills allow him to execute the forehand open stance perfectly. This can be accounted to his versatility.

Contact Point

andy-roddick-forehand-techniqueGood preparation is when you have the capacity to anticipate the shot of your opponent. Like for instance, when Roddick anticipates a potential forehand stroke, he then prepares himself by bringing his racket back in a smooth manner. To prepare himself for the shot, one thing he does is support his racket’s throat with his left hand or with his non dominant hand (since Roddick is a right-handed player). It is by standard the normal way to do it.

The Andy Roddick forehand is a powerful stroke. As he swings his racket, Andy Roddick rotates his upper body into the ball forcefully resulting in power as the result of his rotational momentum. Roddick lifts himself up from the ground while still being able to let his body weight into the shot, creating additional power. At this instance, Roddick’s right leg is almost fully stretched. This right leg flexing motion is another trademark of the Roddick forehand that gives additional power to his shot.

Another aspect of the Andy Roddick forehand is when his body uncoils as his racket face is about to come in contact with the ball. It is very evident that at this part of his forehand stroke execution, his racket speeds up as it swings towards the hitting zone. This movement gives him the pace and the penetration he needs to hit his shot accurately.

Andy Roddick’s swing path consists of brushing the racket face creating the heavy topspin. This additional topspin into the shot gives Roddick more net clearance for his shot. In addition, it also makes the ball curve in the air and after it bounces on the ground. As a result, the shot puts the opponent in an awkward situation and puts the opponent away from his comfort zone.

Roddick uses a forehand grip close to a western grip to accomplish the forehand shot. This grip allows for the rapid brushing of the ball as well as the ability to generate a large amount of topspin. This is considered more of an extreme grip, but it is still less extreme than a player such as Rafael Nadal who uses a full western grip.

Start of Andy Roddick’s Forehand Follow-through

Brisbane International 2010 - Day 2Andy Roddick’s follow-through is very evident how his body and racket accelerates and how his body moves smoothly. After his racket makes contact with the ball, his racket extends towards the direction of the ball. He then turns his forearm and wrist over in such a way that he seems to be looking at his wrist watch to check the time.
At the same time, Roddick also starts bringing his right arm and his racket across his body in a smooth and relaxed manner. He then continues the process by rotating his body.

Completion of Roddick’s Forehand Follow-through

Roddick completes his follow through with his tennis racket over his shoulder. This end of the follow-through is typical with Roddick’s forehand as his way of slowing down his body and his racket.

Roddick’s forehand follow through is unique in that he sometimes has different variations in his follow-through. Andy Roddick’s other forehand follow-through is with his hitting arm wrapping around slightly above his left hip rather than across his body beneath the shoulder. In most cases, Roddick’s right elbow is positioned above his racket. It’s because his racket comes across his body in the follow through (not the shoulder, which is typical).

As Andy Roddick completes his forehand stroke, his right foot ends up aligned past or even with his left foot. The position of his right foot signifies that he was successful in transferring his body weight. In cases where Roddick’s back leg finishes in front of the front leg, this signifies a proper weight transfer.


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