The Windshield Wiper forehand is a type of a forehand shot that has similar mechanics from that of a classic forehand. In modern tennis, the windshield wiper forehand is a shot utilized by the majority of professional tennis players on tour.
The Windshield Wiper forehand shot name is derived from the fact that its racket swing path resembles that of a car Windshield Wiper movement.
The windshield wiper forehand technique is different than the typical forehand shot commonly taught in the past. However, both types of forehand shots shot differ in terms of their racket swing and follow-through. This type of forehand stroke is becoming popular and the number of players who want to learn this stroke is increasing.
Many professional players are already using this tennis forehand stroke. As a result many amateur and tennis beginners want to learn it as well. This forehand stroke is popular because of the heavy topspin it creates in addition to power. The heavy topspin (which is normally absent with the classic forehand) produces a deeper shot and higher ball bounce. As a result, this shot is hard to return.
In fact, many professional players use the windshield wiper forehand stroke if they want to hit a winner. In addition, it also gives the ball a high net clearance, decreasing your margin of error. Lastly, this tennis forehand shot also allows you to hit tighter angled shots.
Some professional tennis players are well known for their Windshield Wiper forehand shot. These players include Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick. This article discusses the step by step guide on how to hit this tennis forehand stroke. It also includes some tips for beginners on how to check if their technique is right.
Windshield Wiper Forehand Grip
Since a Windshield forehand shot and a classic forehand shot do not differ in terms of their general mechanics (except for the swing and follow-through), the forehand grip employed for the classic forehand stroke can be used in a Windshield wiper forehand shot as well. The Eastern forehand grip is the easiest to use for the forehand shot and is ideal by beginners. However, this tennis grip has been replaced by the Semi-Western grip that most professional players in modern tennis are using.
For beginners, they can start to learn to hit a Windshield Wiper forehand shot by holding the racket at the topmost part of the handle. Others call this as ‘choking up’ way of holding the racket. This grip can be very useful for beginners attempting to master the windshield wiper forehand stroke.
Same as the classic forehand, the ready position for the Windshield Wiper forehand shot always starts with your body and feet facing the net. Your right hand (if you are a right handed player but left hand if you are a left-handed player) is holding the racket handle with the grip mentioned above. You non-racket hand or your left hand must be supporting the racket at its throat.
Windshield Wiper Forehand Preparation
The Windshield Wiper forehand shot preparation does not vary from that of a classic forehand shot preparation. Your preparation starts with a timely split step. A timely split step means that you have to execute the step as your opponent is about to start his or her forward swing. To do this step allows you to move quickly and easily wherever your opponent hits his or her shot.
Then the second step starts by pivoting your outside foot (right foot if you are a right-handed player), at the same time transferring you weight to that foot (your weight at ready position was distributed between your two feet).
When you pivot your right foot, the heel of your inside foot or left foot should be lifted from the ground.
This motion allows you to open your hips and make the process of turning your shoulder sideways and bring your racket back easy. You have to remember that you should not bring your racket back with the use of your arms.
Completion of Preparation Phase
After the shoulder turn, the next step is to complete the body turn. You body turn is facilitated by stepping your left foot forward. As result, you should be facing sideways with your racket pointing towards the back fence but the focus stays with the ball.
This position (racket pointing towards the back fence) is essential for the proper execution of this forehand shot. It’s because when your swing your racket, your body also rotate at the same time. Thus you need to move your body and your racket simultaneously. If you remain facing the net, you won’t be able to execute the Windshield Wiper forehand shot correctly.
Timing the Windshield Wiper Forehand Stroke
Remember to extend your non-racket arm or left arm (for right handed players) at shoulder level and it must be parallel with the baseline or the net. This will help to keep your balance for you to judge correctly the right position of your opponent’s oncoming ball.
For a timely preparation, the above should be done before your opponent’s ball bounces on your court. And if the ball is a bit far from your reach, do series of small steps towards the ball but maintain your sideways position.
The Windshield Wiper Forehand Swing
The racket swing can be considered as the first step in the Windshield Wiper forehand stroke. It is very important to execute the right Windshield Wiper forehand swing to execute the shot correctly.
The swing path of a Windshield Wiper forehand differs from the classic forehand in such a way that the swing path of the Windshield Wiper shot towards the tennis ball is more vertical compared to the forehand classic swing path.
With the Windshield Wiper forehand shot, you execute your swing in a swinging “up” manner while in the classic forehand you do it in a swinging “through” manner. The swinging “up” motion creates more topspin than the swinging “through” path. Thus, more topspin is created with the Windshield Wiper forehand shot than the classic forehand shot
The Windshield Wiper forehand swing can be difficult to perfect especially for beginners. There are several ways to practice this forehand shot swing. One way is to do it in front of a wall. Position yourself from the wall at a distance where you hit the wall with your racket if you swing your racket using the classic forehand swing.
Then use the Windshield Wiper racket swing (as described above) and if you don’t hit the fence with your racket during your follow-through, it means your technique is right. If you use the classic forehand swing, you will hit the fence but not with the windshield wiper forehand swing.
Windshield Wiper Forehand Follow through
The windshield wiper forehand follow through is just an after effect of your swing before and during contact. The reason for a Windshield Wiper like follow through is due of the manner you swing up your racket to hit the ball.
Thus the follow-through starts with your racket moving in an upward direction (the upward motion is much more than in classic forehand follow-though). In addition, your racket face or stringbed faces towards the net all throughout your follow-through because you did not expend too much force on your forward swing.
As a result, you will able to see through if you look through the stringbed when you stop in the middle of your follow-through or when the racket face is in front of your face. The end of follow-through is when your racket turns over the other side and ends down low (below you waist level).
Correcting your Windshield Wiper Forehand Stroke
For players initially learning the windshield wiper forehand, there are ways to check if your technique is correct. One way is to check that the end point of your racket handle releases into the side of you forearm. The handle should not hit your forearm in your follow-through. Another way to check is if you are able to form a box like shape between your arm and you body at the point when you bring your racket to the other side or when you are about to finish you follow through.
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