Hi guys Nick here from Intuitive Tennis.
Today I want to show you how to hit a flat forehand. So I’m sure you heard many
TV commentators or even teaching pros say that you must hit through the ball
and basically your hand and body go towards the direction of the ball and in
order to achieve a flat shot. Well that is incorrect and I’m going to
show you that you must hit across the body even on flat forehands. So let’s
break down the flat forehand. So what is the flattest forehand you can imagine?
Well it’s basically a feed, how a teaching pro would feed a ball out of a
basket or how you might take the ball and start a rally with it and let’s take
a look in slow motion to see what exactly happens to the hand and the
racquet when we feed a ball to the other side. So we can see that on the feed my hand
did indeed go across the body like this and not what it’s commonly believed
that the hand goes towards the direction of the target like this. It goes across
and the tip of the racket goes forward and that is exactly how some of the
players back in the day, still in the wooden racket era used to play Jimmy
Connors, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova. They used to hit the
forehand exactly like that it didn’t have a big loopy backswing they would
take the racket straight back like this and then it would hit the ball not as far in front as the players do today but then at contact they would still hit
across like this, something like this. So what is the main reason for hitting across even on flat shots? Well the simple reason is we have more power and more
strength when we pull the hand across the body like this and just imagine
yourself getting mad on the court and taking the ball and ripping it straight
into the back fence and well that’s what I’m going to do next I want you to take
a look at the slow motion when I simply take a ball and hit it as hard as I can straight for the back fence. So you can see in a slow-mo footage
indeed that I hit across even on the rip and that’s something that’s
completely intuitive. Nobody practices these type of shots. This is a completely
natural shot and and we have this intuition to always want to have the
racket and the hand go across the body for maximum power. So let’s talk about
the modern flat forehand and the way the players hit it nowadays.
Basically the forehand is going to look very similar to the topspin modern
forehand. The one detail is going to be different is the contact point so in
a flat forehand the tip of the racket will go towards the target like this but
you see my hand is going across just like it did on the feed and on the rip
into the fence. It’s the same mechanics and for more power I’m gonna put the
hand across the body but I’m not gonna allow my racquet to go up I like it would on a topspin forehand. I’m simply going to go up and across but the tip of my
racket it’s going to go forward and then back. This doesn’t have to be wristy
either. The wrist is kind of passive in a flat forehand and you can see that
simply I’m pulling my hand across without really using my wrist. What you
shouldn’t do is use your wrist at contact like this because the ball would
come off the racket way too fast and you would lose control over the ball. So this
is very much a hot topic in tennis very controversial issue as I said in the
beginning many TV commentators claim that you must hit forward through the
ball on flat shots, many teaching pros still today teach this and one of the
reason might be that when we view players it’s often from the side view
and from the side view it’s kind of difficult to tell where the hand is
going and so from here if I hit across like this and you can maybe see
that it looks like the racket is going forward like this but you’d have no way
of telling where my hand is going and that’s why this view here superior. It’s
the front view or the back view where you can clearly see that when my racket
goes through like this my hand is indeed going across the
body to make that happen. Thanks so much guys for watching this
video. I hope you enjoyed it. Please don’t forget to subscribe and I’ll see you
next time.

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Dennis Veasley

12 thoughts on “How To Hit Flat Forehands”

  1. Hello Nik! Thanks for the insightful tips on the follow through in the modern flat forehand.
    I've subscribed to your channel. Keep up the great videos!
    Also, those are some beautiful courts, I'm jealous.

  2. A real eye opener! Never been able to properly put the ball in play. Was kind of difficult when focusing on hitting through the ball instead of across…
    May I ask how you came to this insight? As you mention in the video, it is a bit of a contentious topic. Great job 👍

  3. Great lesson again. Can you teach the steps – how to hit the FLAT forehand (and of course how to hit Top Spin Forehand)? Thanks 🙂

  4. I agree with on this. I use a flatter shot when the ball is low. And the racket trajectory is exactly as you say. I get a low of pace as a result. When I watch Fed hit an agressive forehand I notice that he flattens the ball with a similar across the body finish where the racket closes immediately after contact. I don’t see many YouTube instructors comment about this. And I don’t see to many pros doing this. How about a video on this topic. Thanks.

  5. Of course, the arm comes around, but that should not be the focus on hitting flatter. If you close off your stance and focus on redirecting the ball more towards your target rather than ripping it up, it becomes flatter. Snapping across will more often than not make you hit it out as your timing has to be absolutely perfect. This can also lead to horrible tennis elbow as it is experiencing too much torque. Yes, this ball will be flat, but it will also be inconsistent, unpowerful, and painful in the long run.

  6. Nick, I think groundstroke mechanics are confusing and one of the major reasons is that we don't clearly understand what part of the swing path remains in contact with the ball. On an average speed groundstroke, say 50-60 mph, the stringbed is in contact with the ball for roughly 4 inches of the "contact" zone (assuming a 4-5 millisecond ball contact on the stringbed). If the other parts of the swing path do not alter something in this 4 inch contact zone, then they will not affect the stroke. Even this is confusing. For example, if I don't follow through on a ground stroke you might think that this has nothing to do with the contact zone; it is simply a flourish at the stroke's end. But failure to follow through causes a racquet head deceleration before the contact zone is reached, so that there is a real effect on the stroke.
    In the case of swinging straight forward vs. swinging across the body, it is quite possible to swing straight ahead for 4 inches during the contact period before the swing path turns across our body. That is why I think the instruction "swing low to high and as if you are in a narrow hallway" makes sense to achieve topspin. This reduces the lateral movement during ball contact, translating it into a stronger low to high motion. Nevertheless, when looking at the stroke on video, there will be an unmistakeable lateral motion. Therefore, I think that the instruction to swing more directly forward is useful even though our swingpath inevitably becomes lateral.

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