Learning pro tennis forehand technique is no easy task for most players, but often times it’s due to the fact that this is little key awareness of what the proper tennis technique looks or even feels like. Players at all levels of the game, particularly club players and weekend warriors can learn the fundamentals of world class tennis technique so they can improve their tennis game.
Unit Turn Tennis Forehand Technique – Preparation
The unit turn gets it’s name from the way your body and racket turns as “one unit” during the preparation of the tennis forehand swing. Quite often, recreational players make the mistake of turning their shoulders, arm and racket back independent of each other causing a fundamental breakdown in the all too important kinetic chain.
The top pros like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and virtually every player on the top 100 ATP tour use a “unit” turn on their forehand takeback, which makes the unit turn a super key element of sound tennis forehand technique.
The reason for this, is because you want to incorporate your larger body parts (not just your racket, wrist or forearm) to contribute to overall power and racket head speed both in producing adequate power and topspin on your forehand. Larger muscle groups carry more mass and therefore allow you to incorporate more torque and power in your forehand.
Players that only use their racket, wrist or forearm tend to get injured often (via injuries like tennis elbow) and end up producing weak, poor forehand shots with very little to no topspin on their forehands. So, it’s important to incorporate rotational momentum and torque (via torso and upper body rotation in the forehand) and not just your wrist and racket in the shot.
It’s easy to see how top players like Federer, incorporates his entire body into the forehand shot. His tennis forehand technique is comprised with help from his entire body (ala the kinetic chain) and not just the arm (like most recreational players) and just like the spark that sets off the fireworks – a good unit turn on the tennis forehand is key to sound technique.
Tennis Forehand Technique – Backswing Style
While looking at various forehand tennis techniques, particularly those on tour – it may seem like there are countless idiosyncrasies in their forehands and that it is impossible or even futile for players at all other levels to replicate or even learn the key elements behind these player’s forehands. But the reality is that this notion couldn’t be father from the truth.
All top pro players share unique commonalities in their forehands that separates them from all other players at lower levels of the game. These commonalities are rarely – if ever taught to club players – the reason being is that most club coaches find teaching high level technique too overwhelming or even fruitless to club players – or worse they are not aware of these techniques themselves (as you would have to slow down the stroke in 60 fps or more in slow motion to truly understand what these tennis forehand techniques are)
Luckily for you, I can say for a fact that all top pro forehand on tour share unique commonalities in their backswing style.
Same Side Backswing (ATP Tour)
There is a distinction between the ATP Tour forehand and what is commonly known as the “WTA” forehand in tennis – mostly attributed to the difference in backswing styles amongst these top players.
The biggest key position to know at the height of the takeback is the same side backswing tennis forehand technique. Here the racket doesn’t go behind the plane of the body, allowing a player to drop right into the slot and allows for the cleanest and most efficient backswing style in the modern forehand.
I discuss the same side backswing in greater detail in my Modern Tennis Forehand Ebook course, which is a 70+ comprehensive guide on the pro forehand.
Now in contrast, watch Naomi Osaka’s forehand, and clearly her “laid-back” wrist is demonstrated here where her racket goes far beyond the plane of her body
One key component of the modern tennis forehand technique of the pros is that they all have an aggressive low to high swing path, which starts by players dropping their rackets below the level of the incoming ball in order to rapidly accelerate both forwards and in an upwards tranjectory for maximum power and topspin
Pro Forehand Tennis Technique and the Role of Rotational Momentum
In players of the past, linear momentum was used to control the ball as wooden rackets with tiny frames and slick grass courts made control and finesse an upmost priority. Think about players like John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl et. al (in my opinion one of tennis’s last great players of the old classical modern era of tennis)
Today’s modern game however, involves players using rotational forces especially through the use of a kinetic chain in tennis to generate maximum racket head speed. Looking at the aggressive tennis footwork and side to side movement of Rafael Nadal and his use of superior fitness to outlast his opponents, or Roger Federer’s keen ability to hit wicked passing shots out of what seems like the edge of the court by the stands are some hallmarks of the modern game of tennis and only made possible by utilizing modern forehand tennis techniques and the concept of rotational momentum
Here, players are using torque and their upper body to acelerate the racket like the tail-end of a whip to generate the heavy ball, and achieving speeds that were previously unimaginable just a few years ago.
Windshield Wiper Forehand Technique
Lastly, when looking at tennis forehand technique – one crucial element is the windshield wiper forehand. The windshield wiper forehand is the last piece of the puzzle in pro tennis technique and one that should not be forgotten. Here, the finish of the racket resembles that of the windshield wiper of your car where the strings of the racket point towards the net through the entire followthrough and finish of the forehand. Hence the name, “windshield wiper” because when done correctly, this tennis forehand technique allows players to generate the heavy ball with both power and topspin for a lethal killer forehand.
In the classic tennis forehand, players would finish in a more linear manner, often times with the opposite hand catching the racket and the racket extending towards the path of the incoming ball.
As mentioned, the modern tennis forehand combines both power and topspin in a way that allows players to hit the forehand with more power than ever before, while maintaining a safe margin of error through heavy use of topspin on their forehands.
Learn to Hit a Forehand Like Roger Federer
If you want to jumpstart your forehand and play like the PROS, check out my 70+ page Tennis Ebook that will immediately show you how you can take your forehand to the next level.
The Modern Forehand Domination Ebook is guaranteed to improve your tennis technique, and increase power, topspin and accuracy of your tennis forehand!
Modern Tennis Forehand Ebook
Learn How to Hit a Forehand Like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic