Hi guys, I’m Clay Ballard and welcome back
to Top Speed Tennis and the Topspin Forehand Series. Hopefully you guys have watched a couple of
the first videos. We talked about what makes topspin, and what’s
the perfect grip, and what’s the perfect racket setup. Now today we’re going to get to the real
fun stuff, in my opinion. We’re going to start talking about technique
and how you can use this right arm to not only create more speed, but to do it by using
physics instead of power, and also how you can use this right arm with the exact same
motion to get more topspin. Be sure to stick around to the end, I have
some great drills for you guys. Let’s go ahead and get started. As I mentioned, we want to use this right
arm in the correct way to get some speed. We’ll go over speed first, then we’ll
talk about the topspin. But if you could imagine my right shoulder
here as being a pivot point, and my right arm is going to swing on this pivot. I have a full 360 degrees range of motion,
or roughly 360. As I let my arm swing, I’m just going to
let it swing with gravity here and you’ll see that my fingertips are actually moving
with some pretty good speed without very much muscular effort. That’s because I have a pretty long lever
here, my right arm is extended and creating a long lever. Now if I bend my right arm, and shorten this
lever, then my hand is much closer to my pivot point here in my shoulder. Now as I let that swing, my hand is going
to be moving much slower. If I let that extend out, it’s going to
move much faster. That’s what we want to do in the forehand
also, is create a longer lever by keeping this right arm pretty straight all the way
through the hitting zone. That’s what you’re going to see with some
of the best players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and really all the top pros are going
to do something pretty similar to that. That’s the first reason we want to do that,
we want to create speed with the right arm by using physics and keeping it nice and long
to create this big arc and more speed. Now the second part is going to be some topspin. As we’re coming in, let’s imagine this
ball is coming in, I’m about to make contact with this ball out in front of my body. It’s coming in basically right in my strike
zone, just above waist high. Now for those of you who have a bent right
arm, it’s going to be difficult for your arm to get low enough to where you’re racket
can be moving upward very easily. If I put my arm all the way down, you’ll
see it’s about the same height as the ball. Watch what happens when I extend my arm, I
can get a lot lower. Now my arm is getting below the ball and it’s
going to be coming upward as I’m doing that. A lot of beginning players, a lot of intermediate
players will try to keep the right arm very bent, and use a lot of power from their body,
and they’re not letting the racket drop low enough. You may have also seen players do this where
they’ll keep a fairly bent right arm, and then you’ll see them do something like this,
where they really tilt their body a lot. What they’re trying to do is get that racket
underneath the ball so they can hit it on an upward motion. We don’t have to do that, we can keep our
body nice and level, get rid of all that extra movement and all that extra tilt by just letting
the racket drop. So we’re going to create more speed, we’re
going to create more consistency with more topspin. I’m going to go over a series of drills
that are going to help you to incorporate this into your own game. Let’s go ahead and get started with that
now. The first thing I want you to do is go ahead
and lose the racket. They say it’s about to start to rain here,
hopefully we can get this done before the rain kicks in. But lose the racket, lose the ball, we’re
just going to try this motion with our arm first. I want you to make an L-type shape as you’re
coming back. This is going to be the type of forehand motion
that you do. You’re going to make an L between your lead
arm going straight out and your racket arm going back. As I’m going in this shot, I’m going to
step forward and make this L-type motion. Now as I’m going forward I want to keep
my right arm pretty straight all the way through contact, and I’m going to make that circular
motion. It won’t be necessarily straight up and
down, so it won’t necessarily be this way when you’re actually playing tennis. That’s how we’re going to first feel this
though, it’s going to be a little bit more out most of the time. But I want you to do the same thing, and just
go straight down here first. I’m going to make this L motion, let my
right arm drop straight arm and make that arc. I can go ahead and pull my left arm back out
of the way as I’m going forward, and then I want you to pause here at impact with that
right arm straight. That’s the exact same position you’re
going to see in some of the game’s greats like Roger Federer in, is they’re getting
that great extension and making contact out in front of their bodies where they can get
a lot of speed. Let’s go ahead and do that a few more times. Get that right arm in front of your body,
and then after you’ve come to impact, now you can go ahead and let that fold up. I want you to do that about a hundred times,
and really get comfortable with that right arm staying straight all the way to the contact
point. That way it gets a little bit more familiar
before you add the racket. Now when we add the racket it’s going to
get a little bit more difficult, because now we’re thinking where we want the ball to
do. Let’s go ahead and pick it up, no ball right
now. We’re going to do the exact same thing. Take the racket back, make that L, and as
you’re coming up, you want your racket strings facing the opposing side of the court. So if I’m you here, you’re going to see
that my strings are going right towards the camera. I’m going to do that same thing again. Again, pausing at contact first with this
right arm nice and straight. I’m going to do that a few more times. Then I’m going to go ahead and let that
right arm bend up and come to a nice full finish, so it’s one fluid motion. Again, after contact the right arm can go
ahead and bend. I’d recommend doing that a couple hundred
times too, so you get really comfortable. You can do those drills in your living room,
it’s going to be really easy. You can really perform those anywhere. Once we’re comfortable with this, then we
can go ahead and start to do this. Toss some balls, do the exact same motion. Our arm is going back, then I’m swinging
forward. Those were a little bit low, caught a little
bit of net on that last one. So I’m going back, there we go, much better. Creating that L, really making sure that I
get contact well in front of my body, and then my right arm stays nice and straight,
creating that big arc all the way through contact. I’m going to go ahead and hit a couple more
of those. There we go, good. Not trying to get anything on these really
yet, just making sure my arm stays nice and straight. I’m going to go ahead and do one more. There we go, really far out in front of me. I’m concentrating on my arm making that
arc, and I’m concentrating on my contact being out in front of my body, then my arm
can go ahead and fold up. Do a few hundred of those, really ingrain
that motion, and then you’ll be ready to take it out there with a playing partner on
the ball machine, and get it to where it’s completely natural. So good luck to you guys, and I’ll see you
all soon. All right, so hope you guys enjoyed this video. If you did like this video, be sure to click
the like button below. Post your comments if you have any questions
at all. I’ll try and answer each and every one of
those for you personally. As a bonus for you guys, I’m going to play
you a short clip from the next video in this series, which is going to be the wrist action,
the lag and snap wrist action which is going to really create a lot of speed. The circular arm motion gets a lot of natural
speed. You pair that up with that snapping action
of the wrist, and you’re really going to turn that up to be able to create a ton of
topspin and take your game to the next level. I’m excited to share that with you guys. If you want to see the entire video after
this preview, just click the link that pops up in the screen, or down below in the description. I look forward to seeing you guys very soon. …and make this L-type motion with our arms. Then the racket needs to be pointed out at
basically a 45° angle. The racket is going to be at a 45°, and the
tip of the racket from the butt end, will be pointing right over towards 3:00. That’s the first motion we want to get into. As we’re loading up the racket tip is going
to be pointing out towards 3:00 and at about a 45° angle. Now the second move is where really the magic
starts to happen, and that’s the loading of the forearms. This is called a stretch-shortening cycle. Any time you’re going to have a lot of power
and fire your muscles with good speed and good power, we need to first stretch those
muscles and then fire them. So what’s going to happen here from this
first move, we’re now going to make a motion which will be very similar to turning a doorknob
to the right with your wrist. As we’re doing the first motion, first piece
here, racket’s out to the right. Now as I’m coming back I want to go ahead
and turn my hand to the right as though it’s a doorknob. I’m going to do this until the tip of my
racket now instead of pointing at 3:00 is all the way back to about 7:30. Now don’t
mistake this with your…

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Dennis Veasley

22 thoughts on “Topspin Forehand Series Video 3 | Straight Arm Leverage (Top Speed Tennis)”

  1. Physics doesn't work out with your explanation. Longer arm length will give you more travel distance, but less speed. Shorter arm will give more speed, but less contact zone. Just think of the pendulum of a clock: If you want to speed up the clock, just shorten the pendulum and you'll get higher frequency with the same effort.

  2. It's great that you're trying to teach this FH as we see a bunch of the top ATP players using it vs. the "double bend".

    Double check you SSC doorknob explanation! It looks like the body forces are creating the "racket flip" movement via inertia/opposite forces vs. a "forced and intentional" arm segment twisting action as you are describing. Watch Nadal rear view in super slow motion to see this unwinding action initiated by the legs bending in sync with arm straightening and extending to trigger the rest of the kinetic chain driving/"slinging" the racket into contact

    This fundamentally alters the learning of this stroke. We should explore this further. Thanks for your efforts to bring greater awareness and get players to consider and try this important FH approach and style.

  3. Clay I agreed with your lag and snap video I am not agreeing this one. Only Federer and Nadal are using the streight arm forehand technic. All the other players have the arm bent, see Djokovic.This is because the bent arm is giving much more controle and is more natural. The streight arm is putting high pressure to the arm and can lead to injuries as well. It is also much more diffoicult to be relaxed with a streight arm!

  4. The steright arm has another isde effect which you can see on your own on your video! Having the intention of the streight arm, automatically you go much more behind with your arm, ad get a BIG BACKSWING. Federer can technically manage it that he goes from the high preparation of his racket down and 45 degrees upo, but an average player cannot manage this, impossible! He will automatically get a big back swing and modern tennis is for a small backswing, big wrist movement and big ending of the shot!

  5. I think that was my problem today trying to hit the topspin for hand I had my arm bent a little .. I really wish you could come down where I live and help me improve my tennis but that's to much .. Thanks anyway Clay!

  6. I don't know about Roger Federer but it is definitely similar to Yevgeny Kafelnikov forehand esp regarding your pendulum comparison.

  7. I try to hit with a straight arm like Federer.  There is a timing issue to this also as you are hitting earlier farther out in front.  However in terms of power – when you push a fridge around your kitchen would you use straight arms or bent?  You have much more leverage with arms bent.  So I think there is a trade off between speed with a straight arm and leverage with a bent arm.  It is something maybe ESPN sports science could look at and quantify.  

  8. again thanks, its easy to drift all over different instruction videos . Clay I am staying put with you . I saw your lag and snap first before this. so I will work on this then proceed to lag and snap.
    David from the Bronx

  9. I have been watching your videos – subscribed to your channel – and they are helping so much! I wish I could take a lesson with you in person. I took a basket of balls out to a local court the other day and was practicing and did well. Then I went to my team clinic and it was like I forgot what to do! So many balls into the net or out. I was telling my team coach how I have a hard time telling if the racquet is dropped low enough to get under the ball or if my racquet face is slightly too open or closed on every hit.  He said my forehand was a swipe and not a brush up the ball – but when I do both hits they feel the same.  I said if I knew I was doing it wrong I would know to adjust – but honestly they all feel the same until the ball clearly is an error of a shot. Is there a way to really feel that the stroke is incorrect or does this just take time and practice? Thank you for your time and great videos. 

  10. hi clay! i'm always very impressed by your videoes and it really helps me to improve my skills… Anyway i want to express these things and i'll always your fan. From Korea. thank you clay!

  11. Great video, good coach! Some other online coaches state, that it would not be relevant if a forehand is hit with a straight or bend arm. From my experience as a coach this is not true and Clay is right. Of course it is beneficial to hit a ball, which travels at you at high velocity, way out in front. You have much more opposing force and a better view on the contact point. 🙂 Contact is much cleaner and solid. I really like your way of explaining things, Clay!

  12. Hi, I've been practicing with Prostaff 120z 90sq head with straight arm swing and people kept telling me to stop using heavy raquet.

    But nadal's racquet which is less heavier hurts my arm.

  13. I’ve been searching for the video and this is it. I would also think this takes pressure off the elbow and wrist joints too

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