Keys of the Tennis Forehand Stroke

The forehand stroke is one of the primary groundstrokes used in tennis. Below are the keys of the forehand stroke in tennis of the top two players in on tour, namely Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

The forehand stroke of Roger Federer

The key points of Roger Federer’s forehand are one of the best if not the best in the game of professional tennis. Federer’s forehand stroke are one of the components that make him for what he is now.

Full shoulder turn

Federer’s ability to turn his shoulder fully is one of the keys of the forehand stroke. Federer’s forehand technique is unique in professional tennis. The most interesting part is the way he turns his shoulder as he moves to the ball. His left hand is always ready to hold the racket even if he is still preparing for the forehand move. This shoulder turn allows him to coil his upper body.

Federer’s forehand starts by him bringing the racket back with the racket tip positioned above the wrist. Federer uses grip a moderate eastern grip. This type of grip allows for a compact backswing as well as adequate topspin. The way Federer moves in the court is also interesting because instead of moving straight, he moves forward diagonally.

Forehand Stroke Swing Shape

federer-forehand-strokeOne reason for Roger Federer’s dominance on tour is due to his flawless forehand stroke. His stroke is unique in that the shape of the backswing consists of Federer bringing the racket back in the takeback with his upper body while his left hand is positioned off the throat.

At the same time, his racket stays at the right side through the forehand stroke. One of the keys of Federer’s forehand technique is his ability to utilize the non dominant hand (the hand not holding the racket) as the racket head progresses through the backswing in order to produce a very high velocity ball and a very powerful forehand stroke.

Effortless body movement-

Effortless body movement is another aspect of a world class forehand stroke. After Federer moves forward to reach certain point (where the opponent’s ball is supposed to land);

He then calculates or analyzes his next stride to hit the ball. This in return, this enables him to have a perfect contact between the ball and the racket head.

When Federer is executing his forehand stroke, his movement is very deceptive making his opponents fail to anticipate the direction of his shot because his actions seemed to show that his racket is back high (which seems to shows that he is going to hit the ball high) but the final stroke is a low ball.

As he continues, his left arm remains at the right side of this body and at the same time assisting his shoulder to be able to turn. His body then rotates that you are able to see the back side of his body.

Body and legs coordination

Another part of Federer’s forehand stroke is his body and legs coordination in the stroke. He lowers his body together with his legs but without bending his waist. Federer starts by bringing his racket down. It is noticeable that the racket is facing down to the ground (or the racket strings is facing down). This is because of the type of racket grip he is using and because of the way he uses his elbow to execute his back swing. This forehand stroke allows him to produce fast racket head speed on contact.

Head Position

It is very noticeable that when Federer is executing his forehand stroke, his head does not move much and his eyes always follows the ball movement. As he starts his forehand stroke, he begins it by turning the upper body and then he coils his left arm bringing it in front of his body. At this stage, the racket is still facing down. Once the opponent returns the ball, Federer’s head is stationary. A steady head position is one main key of the forehand stroke.

Racket head speed and footwork

Racket head speed along with superfluous tennis footwork is a key of the forehand stroke. Federer is always ready and he is always fast and very quick in facing the ball or the target ball to return it. The racket that he is holding comes forward at a very fast speed and he hit the ball in coordination with the very good footwork. While doing this movement, it is very noticeable that he sticks his left hand near to his body. This position on his forehand stroke helps Federer with the uncoiling of the upper body in a very fast speed.

Eye contact with point of contact

Federer’s eyes are always focused to the point of contact between his racket head and the ball. This is the reason why he is always consistent with his powerful forehand stroke. Federer’s perfection in maintaining his balance in every shot is phenomenal. He is also able to move back to the center part of the court as quickly and efficiently. This could also be the reason why injury is out of question for Federer.

Keys of the forehand stroke – Rafael Nadal

Nadal’s forehand stroke is one of the most exciting and effective forehands in the game of professional tennis. Rafael Nadal’s forehand technique allowed him to win several grand slam titles and many ATP championships. Nadal’s keys of the tennis forehand consist of exceptional preparation, great hand and body extension and magnificent upper body rotation.

Exceptional preparation

Nadal’s best skill is in his forehand preparation. Nadal’s forehand stroke is excellent. In every tennis match that Nadal’s played, one of his assets is his forehand because of his early and perfect preparation that enables him to return the ball quickly. In Nadal’s forehand technique, it is very noticeable that he completes the backswing while making sure that his shoulder is fully turned and that his body is straight. At the same time, the Nadal maintains a low center of gravity and his feet are spaced very well. These positions give him the power to hit the ball very hard. In addition, Nadal also uses the western forehand grip, which is very important in generating a fast topspin forehand hit.

Great hand and body extension

Nadal is able to use his forehand stroke to return the ball no matter how fast and wide the ball lands. Even balls close to the sidelines is well covered by Nadal. The reason for this, is the way he holds his racket and the way he moves as he completes his adjustments prior to hitting every shot. Nadal’s efficient footwork allows him to utilize his speed, this in combination with great athleticism allows him to reach the ball in balance for every shot.


Upper body rotation

Another aspect of Nadal’s forehand technique that makes his forehand powerful and effective is the way his upper body rotates as he executes the forehand stroke. In most of his games, Nadal’s forehand is clearly shown as the best weapon in the match.

The Nadal stroke is unique because of the way his body rotates once he is preparing to strike a forehand. He rotates his body to the right side first with the left side of his body slowly following around. At the same time, he begins to get up with his legs and then he shifts his weight into his front leg. This allows him to move faster and hit the ball harder.

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