The basic forehand is the most important shot to learn when playing tennis. If you can hit a good and consistent forehand you can play good tennis. There several important steps to the basic simple forehand stroke. First the player must get into a sideways position when moving to hit the forehand. From the ready position a player should pivot the feet and turn the upper body then run to the ball. Once in this sideways position the real swing takes place. The body is positioned sideways with the left shoulder, for right handers, is pointing to the net. The arms are out in front of the body pointing sideways. This hand position I like to refer to as the â €œhand cuffâ€� position since the hands are fairly close together. The palms are facing sideways with the racquet handle pointed forward towards the net. This is the bent hand position needed for contact in front of the body. As the front leg steps the upper body rotates or turns forward brining the hands and racquet forward. Once the body has fully rotated, the hands and racquet will be meeting the ball. The shoulders stop and the racquet head is brought up by the pronation of the forearm. This turning of the forearm is called a â€œwindshield wiperâ€� swing and produces the low to high swing needed for topspin. Basically it is a turning of the fingers as if waving or turning down the volume on the radio with a knob. The forward speed of the racquet and body makes the racquet finish up over the shoulder and by the left ear. I asked players to listen to their watch tick by having the right wrist next to the left ear for right handed players. The hand remains bent back all through the swing to the finish and the racquet strings are vertical at the end. I will sometimes refer to this swing as the â€œpoint to pointâ€� swing because the racquet handles starts by pointing forward towards the net and finishes over the shoulder again pointing to the net. The major parts I focus on are the turning of the body and the turning of the fingers. Turn the body, turn the fingers and your on your way to the perfect forehand.
Doug Hofer, USPTA www.hofertennis.com December 5, 2007