Articles, Blog

Hit Through The Ball? – Part 1 – The Forehand

August 14, 2019

The groundstrokes our rotational
circular shots and not linear shots and two main factors for this are control
and the rotation of the torso. So let’s start off with the control when
executing a linear shot. So what’s gonna happen if we do an extremely linear shot
in a complete sideways position where we are forced to hit through the ball and
there’s absolutely no a circular motion it’s a completely linear shot. You can
see that I can get the ball inside the baseline and I can make the ball curve
up and down but I have to be very gentle and I have to gently push on the ball to
be able to control it. I can very easily over hit this ball and make it go long.
And in order for me to get proper shape on the ball I need to be able to hit it
in front with my dominant shoulder at least parallel to the non-dominant
shoulder or ideally even more in front and from this position I can have more
of a circular swing path where I’m swinging up across and back and now the
ball will shape up and down with more rotation and the gravity can pull the
ball back inside the baseline. This is a very important component of tennis is
the ability to control the ball and keep it inside the baseline. Many recreational
players will indeed be forced to hit through the ball and that has to do with
the positioning on their shoulders at contact. Many recreational players are
going to be sideways when they make contact with the ball so the chest is
going to be pointing towards the side fence when they make contact and the
dominant shoulder is gonna be behind the non-dominant shoulder so now from this
position you will be forced to hit through the ball if you don’t have
rotation then it’s obvious the racket will go forward in a linear fashion but
even with rotation. So if I make contact here with my dominant shoulder behind
and then I rotate I’m still gonna be forced to hit through the ball and in
this case it’s very difficult to control the ball and many recreational players
maybe even at a subconscious level know this to be true and therefore they end
up pushing the ball very gently because they know if
in this position they hit the ball too hard it’s very easy to miss the ball
long. High-level players will have a contact point with the dominant shoulder
in front of the non-dominant shoulder so for this position it’s still possible to
hit through the ball if we stop the rotation suddenly and so if we stop the
rotation then and we could theoretically go forward on the ball and hit in a
linear way but what happens is that from the starting point from the unit turn
and the rotation already starts. Leading with the left side of the body and now
once we reach this point this rotation is not gonna stop but it’s gonna
continue so the body’s rotation goes from here to here and the racquet just
simply follows the upper body rotation and is therefore a circular shot. If a player achieves this contact point this player will be unable to hit through the
ball even if the player wanted to hit through the ball because the player will
not be able to stop at the momentum of the torso rotation so the circular
stroke is intuitive if the player has a upper body rotation that goes from this
position where the chest is pointing towards one side fence and on the finish
it goes towards the other side fence Is there extension after contact? In
other words the player will make contact and then further extend it towards the
target with the arm before the arm comes back in like this. Absolutely not,
there’s not one high level player who does it this way and the confusion is
that there are some players who have extension throughout the entirety of
their stroke. Players such as Federer Nadal etc will extend the arm upon the
racquet drop and now the arm will be straight in the forward phase in the
contact and then will remain straight in this phase right here before it
pulls back in. However, the majority of players worldwide including almost all
the top WTA players and the majority of the ATP top-100 plays the forehand with
a bent arm at contact in the preparation phase at contact and on the finish. In
other words you will never see somebody like a Djokovic make contact with the
bent arm and then continue to extend forward it simply will not happen. He
will not do this because first of all he has rotation and he will be unable to do
it anyway he will lose the ball this way you wouldn’t see something like this.
He’s simply going to remain bent through the entirety of the shot. So he’s gonna
start bent right here, he’s gonna remain bent and the forward phase, he’s gonna
make contact bent and he’s gonna finish bent. Are there
situations where players will hit through the ball? Absolutely yes, and
these are usually emergency situations such as the return of serve where the
player doesn’t have time to rotate where the contact will be with the dominant
shoulder behind in this case, yes the player will not be able to hit across
this where he will gently push on the ball like this and get the ball back in
play. The player will rarely try to go for too much when this is the case.
When the player is hitting forward on the ball it’s usually a gentle push.
Other situations where this could be true you know it could be a ball on the
run and where the player is unable to turn properly or a ball that pushes
the player behind like this. In this case a lot of players will choose to instead
of pushing on the ball they will go a reverse this way or if the player is
jammed if the ball comes into the body and the player doesn’t have time to get
out of the way in this case the dominant shoulder will be behind as well and the
player will gently push on the ball to put it back in play.


  • Reply tennis nerd May 24, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Agreed! I will say that after contact, it appears extension occurs but the wrist releases from that extended positon. Makes the arm look like it has straightened out! Thanks for the video man!

  • Reply Penn Su May 24, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Wow, I discovered this recently, as I was using the wrong way to hit, and I saw your video on my newsfeed. Awesome!!

  • Reply Alp Korkmaz May 24, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Hi everyone, I'm a 9-year-old tennis lover from Turkey. I think I have a good forehand. Could you please comment on my forehand? Here it is: Alp Korkmaz Play Tennis. Meet a young tennis lover in Turkey.

  • Reply Alexander Andreev May 24, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    this is one of the best videos on forehand swing on youtube! hopefully some day you will make a video on how to develop this rotational swing!

  • Reply Intuitive Tennis May 24, 2019 at 4:50 pm

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  • Reply sfbusinessfinancing May 24, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Another great instructional video. Thank you for the detail & clarity in your teaching and the practical examples given.

  • Reply Alp Korkmaz May 24, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Mr Aracic, I saw your message. Thank you very much. Here it is. I have 4 videos.

  • Reply sgt123 May 25, 2019 at 3:26 am

    Thanks for studying a difficult concept! Semantics are a source of a lot of the confusion for coaches and students on this. Yes absolutely, the swing is circular. But take a look at the Petra Kvitova video below. Her swing is circular, of course. But it is also reasonable to say that Kvitova is hitting "through the ball" in this clip because, comparatively speaking, Kvitova's swing plane is nearly parallel to the ground.

    So, both are true. Imagine her swing from a birds-eye view. It is circular. Now imagine a side-on view similar to the video. Rather than a steep "low-to-high" path, her racquet follows a nearly "parallel-to-the-ground" path starting from before contact, up to contact, and even after contact all the way to the finish. This results in a more penetrating, instead of loopy, ball flight. Which fits with what we know about Kvitova — powerful, flatter, more penetrating groundstrokes that pierce through the court and produce a lot of winners.
    Does Kvitova ever use a loopier, low-to-high swing? Of course, especially in defensive situations. But during most offensive and neutral situations, Kvitova "hits through the ball" much more so than others. Which makes her deadly! 🙂

  • Reply tennis 92 May 25, 2019 at 6:23 am

    That's an awesome video Nik!! You clarified a few tennis issues with this video and the one about the wrist role. One question for you. Would you say that the same principle applies to the 1hb, with the position of the body at contact determining where the ball is aimed?

  • Reply LaBambaC May 25, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    i have been trying to change from a classic swing to this style. somehow the inside out fh is difficult, is there some adjustment?

  • Reply Edu Gurian May 25, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    Excellent explanation! It is a huge myth to hit through the ball. Waiting for the backhand. Thanks!

  • Reply Guillermo Expósito June 1, 2019 at 12:29 am

    Perfect explanation! thanks!

  • Reply Pedro Koury June 5, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Is it okay to let the ball bounce twice before hitting it? Cuz my arms tire out really quickly. Perhaps I shouldn't

  • Reply Roman Zellweger June 7, 2019 at 9:07 am

    Hi Nik – great video. But I miss the role of the head position while rotation. During the explanation your head follows the body and rotates with it and you look to the left side at the end with your eyes. While hitting, your head stays at the right side, while your upper body rotates to the left – what I think its crucial and should be also be explained

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