These tips don’t go deep into the forehand technique but rather focus on what happens at the moment of contact and how you can generate power and topspin.
How To Add Power To The Forehand
If you look at a modern tennis forehand stroke, it will look very complex. It’s hard to see the key parts that generate power and create a topspin forehand shot.
It’s true that an advanced forehand is a mixture of complex elements, but it can still be broken down into simple elements.
The two main engines that create power for the forehand shot in tennis are the rotation and extension of the arm.
Tennis forehand hip rotation
Note how the hips moved when Federer began rotating into the ball. (Image credit: fuzzyyellowballs.com)
In other words, the first part of the forward swing on the forehand is done with the body (hips and shoulders) rotating by about 90 degrees, and the second part is done by moving the arm forward through the contact zone toward the target.
Tennis forehand arm extension
From the point of contact onwards the hips don’t move much, rather it’s the arm that extends forward. (Image credit: fuzzyyellowballs.com)
Since the forehand stroke also includes the preparation for the forehand, the movement, the use of a certain type of stance, and eventually the release into the follow-through, you may not see clearly the parts where the body rotates and the arm goes forward, but perhaps with this idea, you’ll be able to recognize them in video clips of tennis players.
How To Add Topspin To The Forehand
In order to impart topspin for a tennis forehand, the racquet must move upwards.
But since we hold the racquet in the dominant arm, we tend to use only the arm – meaning the shoulder joint. (It’s also the strongest, and we like to use it for more power.)
The beginning of the upward racquet head movement needs to start with the legs.
Legs extending in the open stance forehand
Note how much the right leg extended (Image credit: fuzzyyellowballs.com)
You can isolate the movement of the legs by moving up and down without using any other body parts to move the racquet so that you can clearly see how much upward movement you can create simply with the legs.
There are three joints in your arm, and you can use all three to move the racquet upwards.
The first one is the shoulder, which is usually the main joint most club players use.
Isolate the movement from your shoulder to see how much you can move the racquet up.
It’s a good idea to try these forehand drills near the net or even standing near the back fence so you can see how much the racquet moves upwards in relation to the background.
The next joint is the elbow, from which you can move the forearm up and down.
You’ll see that if you naturally move the forearm upwards, it will soon start to turn inward – toward the other side of the body – but that will happen after the point of contact.