– Hi, Tomaz from Feel Tennis. You may have seen two different types of dropping the racket,
from the preparation, you might’ve seen that players
sometimes drop the racket more on the edge as I
like to call it and I also teach it that way. And sometimes the players drop the racket on the face of the racket. Not like this but more on the face. These are two main different
ways of dropping the racket and you might be confused,
what should you do. There’s also a third type of the forehand where the player is
actually not going through the vertical phase so
much but they go more like this, like Jack Sock is going. Or even Federer, sometimes
he’s going more like this and then they accelerate really fast. If you’re confused a
little bit and want to know which one is better or
what are the pros and cons of each type of dropping
the racket then stay tuned, this video will explain it. Before I go on to explaining
the different types of wrist actions on the
forehand, I want to explain one concept that I call a stable wrist. I’m gonna use my friend
David here to demonstrate. A stable wrist is when the
wrist is in full extension. It’s fully laid back. The way you can show that to a player, the way I show it or you
can show it to your friend is I will push the racket
inside a bit like this. It’s even better if the arm is straight. I push the racket and then I’ll ask David you can open your fingers. That’s how the player can
feel I have a stable wrist because I don’t need to use
my muscles or my wrist muscles to stabilize the racket
to keep it straight. I don’t have to grip
the racket tight because the wrist cannot go anywhere else. It’s now in the fully laid back position. There’s nowhere else to go. That’s what we call a stable wrist. When we have a stable
wrist and we hit the ball well in front and the wrist
is stable then we don’t require any tension in the wrist. We don’t require a tight
grip because you can see the racket is stable in the hand. But if, on the other
hand, for example David hits the ball a bit late
or too much to the side and if wrist is not fully
laid back and if I now apply pressure, he has to use
these muscles in the wrist, to be really strong to
resist the pressure. So his wrist is not stable by itself. He has to stabilize it. He has to keep it firm
and the way he does it, he uses his muscles and
therefore he tightens up his grip a lot and
therefore he loses the lag, the wrist action and he also loses feel. He cannot spin the ball well, he cannot adjust to the ball
well because he’s all tight. The wrist is not stable, you
have to stabilize it yourself. It’s important just to
understand this concept that whenever you’re hitting
a forehand at contact point, you want to have a stable
wrist, which means you don’t have to do anything with your wrist because your wrist has moved back as much as possible and
there’s no way to go and that’s why we can be quite comfortable when we’re hitting a
forehand because we don’t have to do anything. It’s just biomechanics of the
arm and the wrist is holding in place and is giving us good stability. The biggest mistake that
players do when I explain to them or when they hear or learn about the cocked back wrist or laid back wrist is that when they are preparing their forehand,
they do it initially and immediately themselves. When they start the forehand they say “My wrist needs to be laid back”. We don’t want that because
then the wrist and the forearm lose the elasticity and
they don’t help us hit. What’s important to know is
that whatever drop technique you’re using, the wrist must fall into the laid back position by itself. We must allow it. One way I show that is that
I hold the player’s hand like this and I just ask the player to have a big, loose
wrist and I’ll use the arm and what I do is I just do like
this and what they realize, what they experience
is that they can create a lot of power, they can
feel that the racket hits the net very forcefully
and yet they are not using their wrist to do
it but it just happens because when I move the arm
back and then I suddenly go forward, what happens is
that the racket falls back by itself. If we have loose enough
wrist and we allow it, so we allow this to
happen, you can also do like this a little bit. (smacking) So David can feel like it’s quite easy. He’s not doing much,
I’m just using his arm and using his wrist like
a hinge maybe and he gets a lot of power very easy. When he hits, can we try one more? When he hits in this position, he will feel a very stable position. This hitting of the net
also gives this feeling of very stable racket
face and contact point. The player just experiences
that most of it just happens. I’m not using his wrist to do something. I’m holding the arm here
and I’m just asking him to hold the racket nice. You don’t have to add
or do everything, yes? It’s quite a lot of power because I go back and forward. When I go back and forward,
the wrist will fall back because of the racket’s weight. The racket’s weight is
going to have a momentum that’s going this way. While the racket’s going
this way I pull forward and the wrist falls back into
place and now it’s stable. We don’t have to squeeze the
racket, we don’t have to hit, it will all just happen. Again, the tricky thing
is that you have to let go of your wrist just before
you’re about to hit the ball and find this feeling
of a very stable wrist. For most players that’s
not so easy to do because the typical club player
does exactly the opposite. Can I show? The typical club player
does exactly the opposite. When they’re about to hit the ball, when they’re about to go
forward, they are starting to tense up their wrist
in order to hit strongly with the racket. When they tense up with the
wrist, the racket doesn’t lag in whatever technique. It doesn’t lag and the wrist never reaches the stable position so
they always have to be very strong in the wrist. That’s why a typical
recreational tennis player has no power on the forehand. So the solution is very counter-intuitive. Instead of trying to do
more you have to do less in your wrist. When you do less, the lag will
happen, the wrist will fall back into a stable position. You will start to feel
that you don’t have to squeeze the racket tight
and from this position, when the wrist is laid
back, your forearm muscle will also stretch and it
will shoot out the wrist a little bit in any direction. Maybe in this direction
or even in that direction. This mechanism, this
elasticity then just happens, but first we must allow it. We must allow the wrist to fall back into the laid back position. That’s the key point here,
that the player feels that this happens by itself and
that there is a lot of power so that’s why I use their arm a little bit so they feel that they
can do even like this for example themselves. You will feel that it’s a lot of power so you can imagine what
will happen with the ball if you hit the ball with this much power and yet you feel that
you are not doing much. You’re just using your wrist like a hinge. So now that you’re
familiar with the concept of a stable wrist, let’s
take a look at those three forehands or different types
of dropping the racket head and what the differences are. If you are dropping the racket
on the edge and typically, the racket will seem to go on the edge if you have an eastern forehand
or a semi-western forehand, if you’re semi-western you
go a bit more like this. Only if you have a western
forehand then it will always go on the face down,
or sometimes even like this. If you have an eastern or
semi-western forehand grip, then when the racket is
dropping, I say it’s dropping on the edge so in the
direction of the back edge. When we drop the racket in this position, then the wrist reaches
a very stable position very early in the stroke. When I’m somewhere here,
and coming here I’m already in a very stable position so
there is just a little bit left when I rotate my hips and
the racket will lag a little bit more behind me, then it
will be perfectly stable. But if I go this way then
my racket and my wrist is positioned correctly
very early in the stroke. I’m here and I already
feel my wrist is almost in the same position as
it will be when I make contact with the ball. If I go like this and I drop on the edge, my wrist is almost there. Only when I pull forward
it’s going to lag a bit more and fall into place. It’s very early in the
position, early in the stroke. That makes it much easier
for me to time my stroke, because I can hit the ball
here or here or here or here and my wrist is already
stable and positioned and my racket face is
in the right alignment or in the right angle. It’s like perpendicular
or almost perpendicular to the ground. So that give me very good
control of the racket head. It makes it easier for me to time the ball but I have slightly less power. If I demonstrate one forehand like that, you can see that when I start,
my wrist is already set. It’s already almost
set, it just falls back a little bit when I pull forward. In case of a forehand
when we drop the racket from this position like
this, like Roger Frederer or Grigor Dimitrov, then
what happens is that my wrist is not in a stable position now and when I go forward it is
starting to position itself and is going to position
itself in a stable position just before contact. Most of my swing forward,
the racket is not positioned correctly and my wrist is
not positioned correctly. Just when I hit the ball it’s
going to position correctly. That means if I make a
small mistake in timing, I’m a bit too early, I’m a bit too late, then my racket will not be perpendicular, almost perpendicular and my wrist will not be laid back. I might hit the ball something like this. Let me try and demonstrate. Even here when I get a very nice ball from David, I’m not consistent. For me it’s difficult to play like that, I can play but I can feel that my racket is positioning in the right position, just very, very late before contact. I find it very difficult
to play like that. I can play on an easy ball
but I find it difficult to adjust to high topspin, low slice, fast balls, and so on. So what is the advantage of this drop? Why do players use it? Because it allows them to
accelerate the racket head more. If I go like this with my
racket and my wrist cannot move a lot, so it’s more stable from the start, so I cannot accelerate
the racket head that much. If I drop the racket like this
and my wrist is very loose, now when I pull back, the
racket will really fall back and then I can accelerate it very fast. The reason why the pros are doing that is because they can accelerate
the racket head faster. If I try like this, I can
really accelerate the racket, but what you didn’t see is
that I hit the back fence. That’s because I don’t have good control. If I were to train four
hours per day for 10 years I would develop good
control through practice of my racket head because
I would accelerate and accelerate and accelerate every day for months and years and so on and I would learn to control this power. But right now for
recreational tennis player, it’s very difficult to control this power. Do you get more power? Yes you do but it’s very
difficult to control. In the same way I could say if I give you a Formula One car now,
I will give you a car with much more power but
you will constantly crash. It’s just too much power for
you, you can’t control it. You have to learn to drive
the car a bit faster, a bit faster, a bit
faster from your normal hundred miles an hour and you
gradually increase the speed and it takes years and
years and years to be able to drive a Formula One
car at 200 miles an hour. So again, do we get more power like this? Yes but we have less control and we have less margin of error in terms of timing. I’d like to thank Jorge
Capestany for letting me use his videos of Halep and
Federer for this comparison. Please visit his channel
by clicking the card above. For more videos of pros in
slow motion and of course for Jorge’s excellent clear,
concise and really practical instruction videos. What you will see here is the difference in the forehand drop technique
between Halep and Federer and I stop the video at
this moment where I believe Halep has reached a very
stable position with her wrist and at the same time
her racket is basically at the same angle as
it will be at contact. Her wrist is stable and
her racket is correctly aligned to hit the ball. As you can see that’s around
13 hundredths of a second before contact. If you look now at Federer’s
forehand you will see that his wrist is not
yet in a stable position and that his racket is not
yet aligned to hit the ball. In other words his racket
is completely closed. What you will see now is a countdown to the moment of contact and
you can observe both forehands to see how Halep’s wrist
is not moving anymore and how her racket face is not changing the angle anymore throughout the stroke, whereas Federer’s wrist and
racket are still moving. Somewhere around this
point, which is about eight hundredths of a
second before contact, I see Federer’s wrist finally
reaching a stable position, meaning it’s now fully laid
back and it has stopped moving. His racket face is still completely closed and not yet aligned to
hit the ball over the net. We need to play it forward
for a few more frames until we reach this position
which happens only about 2 hundredths of a second before contact when Federer’s racket is
finally aligned correctly so that the ball will now cross the net if he hit the ball. I hope you now understand
how challenging and demanding this drop technique is and how perfect your timing must be in
order to pull it off. In fact, even Roger slightly
mishits the ball in this clip which just shows you how difficult it is to execute a forehand like
that and hit the ball cleanly. When it comes to the
last, the most exaggerated way of accelerating the racket head, and let’s use Jack Sock as an example. That’s when the player prepares like this when the racket head is
still pointing forward. Not even like this but
sometimes like this. What do they get by that? They get even more
racket head acceleration because the racket will flip even more. It will stretch the forearm
even more and it will shoot out even more of
the wrist or of the arm even faster. Why is Jack Sock or some
players even Federer sometimes on an easy ball, he will
go like this because that’s how they can accelerate
the racket head even faster. If I try to do it I can do it. I can do like this. I can hit with a lot of power
but I’m sacrificing control. I don’t feel good control. I don’t know exactly what
will happen with the ball. Again, for me it’s too much power. I don’t need so much power. Using like a more normal
forehand technique and again this is not
classic, old-school forehand. This is the forehand technique,
dropping on the edges, what Andre Agassi was using and he had a pretty good forehand,
what most women on WTA Tour are using, Halep, Sharapova, you name it. Del Potro is playing more like this. Janko Tipsarevic is playing
a bit more like this. He’s not dropping and so on. There are a lot of players
still using this technique that gives them a lot of
control and still enough power. So dropping the racket on
the face or going like this will give you more power but less control. Again, the difficulty for a
recreational tennis player is that you don’t have enough practice, you don’t have enough
repetition to actually learn to control this power. The disadvantage that you
have is that your racket will position in the right
position and your wrist just at the last split second. If you make one small mistake
in timing of the shot, you’re going to probably miss by a lot, whereas on the other hand
when you go more like this and your wrist is already
stable, you have much more margin for error in case
you mistime the ball, which you will and yet you will still have enough power for our level of play.

Tagged : # # # # # # # # # #

Dennis Veasley

100 thoughts on “Tennis Forehand Drop Techniques – Control Vs Power”

  1. This is very good instruction. However, it definitely does not take years to gain control with Federer's technique. You will need a wall or someone who is willing to just hit without playing points. You won't get enough rhythm to learn it while playing doubles for sure. You will also need modern polyester strings or a hybrid with decent polyester and gut/synthetic gut to dampen the power in case your timing is off a bit sometimes, you won't always hit it long and it will still be fun. You will also need to make it habit that you keep your head still and facing the contact point even well through the end your follow through…very important. It is also very important to bring the left arm in to the body as you swing and stop it from moving back at some point to set the whipping action in motion and keep your balance stable throughout the shot. You cannot control the shot or your balance if your head and left arm are allowed to pull you away from the ball. One more important thing, if you intend to actually use the shot in competition once you learn it, you must be willing to lose some matches trying it. If you revert back to your old forehand during competition, then that's what you'll train yourself to do, but if you take the chance and just continue hitting it correctly even if you lose some, eventually it will be your go to shot in competition without doubt creeping into your mind and causing you to pull out of the shot.

  2. Yesterday I saw Jack Sock's match against Zverev, and I was wondering: is there any technical reason for him to drop the racket like that? or is it just a matter of style? So now you've just answered my question! Thank you very much for the video, you're definitely the best coach I've ever seen on youtube.

  3. Very helpful. I believe lots of beginner does not understand what you are talking about, but if you have played a while, you realize how true it is. Good job!

  4. coach – thank you VERY much… am a 4.0 USTA and this tip HELPED me a LOT with my forhand rhythem..worked wonders. I would say one thing – STABLE wrist is absolutely true but HOW to stabilize it is a technique everyone need to adapt on their own…

  5. Halep has one of the best shapes in history. The type of shape that only athletic women can have. Oh yea, great vid and your instruction is terrific.

  6. and even more of the exaggerated back swing after Jack Sock is Tiafoe and Kirios… it takes immense timing to hit a forehand in such a small time and racquetface window…

  7. In tennis: first control, then power. I think, at least, at club level, the wrist lag can cause more troubles than advantages, because of the timing required.

  8. An excellent tip it's a very wise advice we are recreational tennis players and we can not pretend to play like the pro tennis players do, so this coach is teeling you the naked truth, we have to play to the best of our ability and enjoy this beautiful game in the simplest way possible.

  9. Unbelievable video!!! Just from what was taught, I have to breakdown Everything!!!! Uggghhh!!! Thanks for the insights.

  10. Oh my god! you did it again Tomaz! that`s why is very difficult to copy Federe`s forehand and many people do not undestand. Thank you very much

  11. Did you major in physics? How do you understand you much about ball mechanics? I learn a lot from you. Can you please identify those beautiful places where you make your videos, if possible?

  12. This is a fundamentally Earth shattering explaination .. I have never heard any if the pros able to explain the atp vs the WTA forehand so succinctly. This guy may not be the best coach out there, but he is certainly the best free coach!!

  13. This is the best explanation of the forehand technique that I've ever read, well done Tomaz, can you give us some drills in getting to the stable wrist contact, my anticipation and footwork is poor so I'm always making contact late. Cheers!

  14. I really got a lot out of this video. There are hundreds of covers on this topic but this one really gave me the understanding of what's happening in this section of the stroke. Very helpful! Thanks!

  15. I don;t agree with what you saying. You try to bring new ideas but i think you make great mistakes.

  16. I agree the other comments that one of the best forehand instructions describing the minute details. I highly recommend this video.

  17. I want to congratulate and thank you for your clear, thoughtful & precise instruction. This is probably the best instruction I have come across. I have been struggling with my forehand & you have answered all my questions in your modern forehand video. You have a real talent. Thank you!!

  18. Hello! Thanks for the video! My coach says my backswing doesn't help me play and I should take the racquet back. I do not drop the racquet enough prior to hitting now. Is this something I should try to do consciously? I don't want to develop bad habits. The other issue he said I have is I hit the ball to far out infront of me, and that I need to wait a bit longer before I hit. Any tips or drills or advice? Thanks so much, keep up the great videos!

  19. This is excellent explanation of the forehand technique, I'm also impressed by your emphasis that weekend player should not imitate professional tennis player as they have years of training and practice, I see this a lot in tennis where coaches often promote techniques that are beyond weekend hackers.

  20. I'm not going to get into the best instructor debate, but this gentleman gave some insights I've never seen elsewhere on the internet and I found this video very informative.

  21. First of all, fantastic videos that have helped me a lot, so thank you very much Tomaz!
    I was wondering how letting go before the shot and finding a stable wrist relates to what you said in your video about power and control?
    There you spoke of being relaxed during the preparation and backswing, while adding some firmness and guiding as you approach the ball and hit to give it control and direction. I guess I'm having a little trouble combining the info from these two videos to a coherent image of an effortless swing. I never started learning proper technique until now, and I definitely have played using my arm- and wrist muscles for years, so many of your concepts are new to me, no matter how logical and good they are.
    Thank you for being a true educator rather than a plain instructor, something I greatly appreciate!

  22. Great video Thomas, except I must warn you about too much repetition of the same point. It gets boring, so I suggest employing some video editing or follow a script or outline.
    Also, I think you missed out on the early retraction of the right elbow which leads to a more 'in to out' and shortened arm stroke in the case of Federer's face down racket face on the backswing.
    I'm a retired TV/film/video producer-director and a certified PTR Pro since 1979 and I have filmed Pros from Laver personally.

  23. El mejor video que he visto sobre backswing!! Aquí se demuestra que según la posición de la cara de raqueta se conseguirá mayor potencia o mayor control. Mi única duda es En la versión "fácil", la de la potencia, se ve sacrificado el topspin, pues se golpea más plano…No?

  24. Gosh! Thr way u show how to "produce" thr wrist lag is just perfect! My students gonna thank u! Best wishes from Brazil!

  25. I think the technical explanation is correct, but I think the images are incomparable. Simona is standing in the center of the court, hits a ball that comes at waist level, only moves one step forward and as she uses a semiwestern grip her point of contact with the ball must be closer to the body, otherwise she would lose his balance. Roger is moving his back to the left to avoid the backhand, and arriving a little late to the impact zone, almost in the doubles alley, so he finds the ball in its descending phase. That's why he drops the head of the racket to apply more topspin to his usually flat shots with a fast wrist movement. As he uses an eastern grip his point of contact with the ball is away in front of the body. Roger sticks on his left foot transferring the weight of the body to the ball, while Simona remains supported on the right foot throughout the swing. Simona finish the swing in the same place where she start it. Roger continue the movement of his right feet maintaining the balance because the inertia caused by the run to reach the impact zone. He is trying to hit a winner, and Simona seems to be warming. In my opinion.

  26. Thank you Tomas for another awesome video. I’ve never seen ?better, more detailed explanation of the difference between the two forehand drop techniques. You have explained it clearly and it makes total sense. You are truly one of the best tennis instructors on YouTube!

  27. lol i seem to get more power with the edge down than the tap the dog method. it really depends on what works for you but i think the finish is the most important aspect of the stroke no matter how you prepare

  28. This is really the best explanation of wrist lagging. There are lots of videos talking about wrist lagging, none of them can show it happens naturally with loose wrist. Tried this on the court, felt so much better with forehand. Keep the good work.

  29. Thanks a lot for this really insightful video. I have been trying to improve my forehand power and accuracy for some time now. Keen to go on court and try it out!

  30. Dear Mr. Fernando Landino,
    I'm Sangyun Jung in korea.
    Can I use thses federer and halep video what you introduced in your explaination ?
    I am making tennis guide book to sell in korea.
    Your kindly comparations is very clear to distinguish drop the racquet.
    I really appreciate it if you answer kindly.

  31. After years of hitting straight back and rolling my wrist into the ball at contact, I converted to lagging but with a mid level take back. What I have found teaching kids this is that lagging is actually pretty hard. To do it with a high level take back you better be in a tennis academy and have no AP courses. I noticed a tennis club which turns out 5 star recruits the recent kids are not lagging. I think the pros at this club discovered what I did – it is not easy and maybe not worth it for most. Very few WTA players do it. The advantage of taking it back mid level and closed the exact same way you hit is that if your timing is not as good as Roger Federer and it probably won't be, you can still hit a really good ball even if your arm did not go back all the way because you have to start the swing earlier then you expected because you have amateur timing. When I lag the wrist rolls into the ball on its own.

  32. Great explanations of the forehand techniques but I completely disagree with ur conclusions that the WTA forehand has more control.I believe not only is the ATP style forehand more powerful, but also has more control when executed properly because of easier spin control. If your hitting the back fence with your forehands , then it’s an issue with your swing. The players on the WTA tour are mostly hit flat because of the swing path that comes from behind their back . Yes the reach the stable wrist position early. In fact too early and combined with a lowered elbow creates a huge backswing. That huge backswing also creates issues with timing and absorbing speed. Which is why more and more women are using a more ATP style forehand specifically to help with absorbing pace from the big hitters.

  33. At 11:50 you're preparing the racket flat horizontally from front to back and you don't use your left hand to bring the racket back. It's not Federer gesture that's why it feels unconfortable, your right wirst is tense. Federer and Halep are moving the racket back in an upward path and with the help of the left hand, the right wirst is lose before dropping the racket.
    I think the additionnal power of Federer technique comes from the myotatic reflex of the wirst activated by the sudden back flexion of the wirst, which is not activated in Halep preparation.

  34. After 3 min. of going on about the stable wrist (which was clear after 10 seconds) I lost interest and moved away to another video.

  35. There's one thing that is not correct, push force and swing force are different. You can not apply push force in a swing for a swing force. hence his explanation at 1:30 is not correct.

  36. I am thinking about sexual defamation against Google, CoEP WebTeam, n Gosabi, or make it public in Indian Express and charge significant compensation fine.. your future actions will force me

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