Most tennis players rely on their forehand as the primary weapon to keep opponents on the move and finish out points. Yes, it is a source of power, but it’s also an often-overlooked skill, especially for young players. Follow these basic forehand guidelines to take your favorite groundstroke to the next level and blast winners like Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer.
1) React to the ball.
To hit a forehand, you must first reach the ball. It’s critical to closely track the ball and immediately react to the shot once it’s been struck. The faster you can reach its predicted trajectory, the longer you have to prepare for the shot.
2) Set up your shot.
As the ball travels closer, make minor footwork adjustments to receive it in your striking zone. At the same time, choose your target to make sure you’re in position to execute the shot. Then you can concentrate solely on the ball.
3) Begin your swing.
At this point, your eyes should be completely locked on the ball. Begin your swing and adjust to hit a topspin, slice or flat winner, depending on the situation. Track the ball with your eyes even when it’s hitting the racquet, to make sure it strikes your sweet spot.
4) Follow through.
A common mistake made by many young or inexperienced players is to jump backward during the follow through. Instead, focus on maintaining balance and transferring weight to your front foot to drive the ball, avoiding any unnecessary error-producing movements.
5) Prepare for the next shot.
No matter how great a shot you hit, assume your opponent will return it. Adjust your position as you see fit for the point and repeat these steps for your next shot.