Hi! This is Markus Hantschk from „All about
Tennis“. As this is my first video in English please bear with me if my English isn’t
perfect. But as some people asked me to also produce english versions of my videos I’ve
given it a try. Ok, let’s start. This video is an answer to some viewer’s question.
How does the wrist action of a forehand topspin work?
The most important job of the wrist is bringing the raquet-head up from down here and putting
the topspin into the ball as I already explained in my German Forehand-Video. I always describe
this as a wiping movement, just like a windscreen wiper on the car.
I am really surprised how many players spend so many thoughts on the wrist and what it‘s
doing in every phase of the stroke, even though the wrist-action is an important part of the
stroke. Some of your thoughts are going into extreme
detail. But let me tell you something – you don’t have much time to think and care about
too many little things while hitting a ball. You learn this stroke by concentrating on
the essential important movements, everything else is just a lot of practise.
However it can be useful to go into detail, if somebody has a special weakness in a certain
stroke or in a part of a stroke. As the wrist-action appears to be a very interesting part for
many players, I‘ve decided to make a Video about it and explain the things I do as exactly
as possible. When I play a forehand or backhand topspin,
I always talk about this wiping-motion of the wrist, to get the topspin into the ball.
I bring the racket straight up from down here, when the ball is already descending. I can
also close my racket a bit more and make this wiping-motion more forward. This is necessary
when I take a ball that is still rising as I take it very early just after it bounced.
This way I prevent the ball from bouncing up from my racket and flying far too long.
At this point I would like to take a closer look at this wrist-action again as there are
many discussions about that. Can I turn the wrist this way to bring the rackethead up?
Yes I can. But which joint is actually making that movement possible? The forearm is responsible
for turning my wrist. Is this important or necessary to know for a tennis player? No.
I would even go that far to say that it is confusing giving the player far more information
than needed, to improve. And don’t forget the limited time you have to practice effectively
and concentrate on the important things. So I prefer to talk about the wrist making the
racket go up and putting the spin into the ball, since the focus should be on the wrist.
I separate the forehand stroke into 3 phases: Firstly the take-back oft he racket, then
the phase of accelerating the racket and finally hitting the ball and than the finish of the
swing. My take-back is pretty extensive. As I’m
not hitting the ball yet, my wrist and my complete arm is still very relaxed at this
time. You can see that, because my hand is hanging down back there pretty relaxed. This
is a peculiarity of myself that you could do differently. Doing it this way for example,
the wrist and the racket would be already in a more useful position to start the swing.
However, the arm should be as relaxed as possible in this phase. At the end of the take-back
down here, I bring the racket in the right position, just before I start to accelerate
the racket towards the ball. The rackethead shows back and down a bit, and this side of
the racket shows slightly to the floor. Now the 2. Phase starts as I start to hit
the ball. Firstly I accelerate my racket by swinging my arm and rotating my upper body.
At this starting point my wrist and forearm are still relaxed. My racket stays back for
a short moment while my arm is already swinging. You can compare this with a car accelerating
from a standing position and your body and head is pushed into the seat. Shortly after
starting the swing and before I hit the ball, I start to turn my wrist, to bring the racket
up. At that moment my arm and wrist aren’t relaxed anymore. The grip tightens up and
my wrist and forearm have to work very hard to get the racket-head up in a perfect way
to touch the ball and put the topspin into it. It is very important that the ball doesn’t
push the racket back or up when hitting it. Otherwise I would lose control over the ball
and send it way beyond the line. The focus lies almost completely on the wrist and the
wiping movement. I always try to not actively hit the ball with the wrist because that would
results in a loss of control. Of course, during the wiping movement of the
wrist, the wrist comes a bit to the front. There the wrist just returns to its natural
position as it initially gets pushed back a bit due to the acceleration. Once you hit
the ball the arm and wrist can relax a bit again. But for me it’s very important to
completely swing the racket through to it’s final position. As the racket is extremely
fast whil hitting the ball it takes a bit of strength to control the final swing. Therefore
the wrist and arm can’t quite relax as much as during the take-back of the racket.
Ok, this is pretty much all I have to say about the wrist action during the topspin
forhand. My advise is to concentrate on the most important thing and this is the wiping
movement of the wrist. A lot of the other things come automatically through intensive
training and increasing power of the stroke. I hope this video was helpful for you. As
always I’m going to wish you a lot of fun whilst practising and really appreciate your
thumbs up. Until next time. See you.