Updated: Feb 8
When I am on court playing or coaching, I get to observe many tennis players in action. I cringe whenever I see tennis players hit with very ‘strange’ forehands or backhands. In today’s lesson I am going to share with you two tennis forehand common mistakes. I also want to share some simple solutions to overcome these mistakes.
Are you ready? Let’s dive into today’s lesson.
Discover Two Common Hitting Mistakes And The Solutions To Overcome Them
One of the most common mistakes that I have observed among tennis players is that they tend to do half swing when they contact the ball. When the ball comes, they’ll hit it with a half swing as shown in the image below.
Are you one of them?
In my opinion, the number one reason for this mistake is that they want to ‘control’ the shot. When you are very conscious of controlling the shot, you are not relaxed. That is why players are not able to swing at the ball freely.
The number two reason is that they are probably beginners and they are trying too hard to put the ball in place. That is why there is a lot of tension when they contact the ball. Another common mistake that I observed among tennis players is that they tend to ‘hug’ themselves after they contact the ball as shown in the image below.
Basically this is more of a technical flaw. What actually happens is that after they contact the ball they cross both arms in front. This is a hindrance to the proper rotation of the tennis forehand.
So, in the next section, I am going to share some solutions to overcome these mistakes. Whether you are swinging a half swing or swinging with two arms crossed in front, I have three solutions to offer and help you to overcome this problem.
Solution 1: Ball throwing exercise
The first solution is to work with a ball. You can get any ball, e.g. football, basketball or netball. The purpose of this exercise is to let you have a feel of your two hands working together. This is to mimic the tennis forehand. What I want you to do here is to get a ball and throw it against the wall. If you have a partner you can also do throw and catch with your partner. The proper way of throwing is that your master hand will be behind the ball and your non-dominant hand will be under it.
You will be holding the ball as shown in the image. As you throw the ball, I want you to focus on releasing the ball in front. And make sure that your two hands move up together as shown in the images.
You must have noticed in the video that when I throw a ball I am doing a kind of C Swing. And when I release the ball out in front, my two hands are moving up in a synchronize manner. For those who are doing arm cross in front you will find that you are not throwing ball properly.
Solution 2: Catch the racket at follow through
After you have done the throwing exercise, the next solution that I am going to share is to focus on catching the racket at follow through. This is a very good exercise to help you to complete the stroke. What you need to do is once you have contacted the ball, I want you to catch the racket on the opposite side.
I have demonstrated this in the video. So, focus on catching the racket after you do the follow through. This will ensure that you complete the swing.
At this point, I want to explain that this solution is focusing on correcting the technique. There are some debates on whether catching the racket at follow through will slow down the player or make the whole stroke less efficient. We don’t really see Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic do it because their swing speed is too fast. Personally, I don’t do it either.
To fine tune a certain technique, we tend to exaggerate some movement. In this case, catching the racket at follow through is a great way to help players to remember to complete the full stroke. Eventually when we get better and better, catching the racket at follow through is NOT A MUST.
Solution 3: Change your mindset
The third solution that I share with you is regarding mindset. I want you to adopt the mindset of swinging freely at every shot.
Don’t be afraid of mistakes because those mistakes will definitely occur. So, feel relaxed and swing freely at every shot. Think of targets, e.g. if you want to hit towards the centre, go for it and swing freely. If you missed, try again. There is always a ‘next shot’. What you should feel is that you are able to complete the stroke for most of the shots. In the long run, you will feel confident when your tennis forehand becomes a weapon.
Today I shared with you two mistakes that I observed among tennis players
Mistake 1: Players hitting with half swing, thinking of controlling the ball.
Mistake 2: Players tend to hit with action of two arms crossed together.
You can try these solutions that I share with you –
Firstly, try the ball throwing exercise and ensure that your two hands are working together. Make sure that your hands are moving correctly and not crossed in front.
Secondly, when you are practicing the forehand, catch the racket at the follow through. This way you ensure that your swing is completed.
Thirdly, when you are practicing with your friend, try to swing freely without the fear of making mistakes. You can identify the target, for example, aiming at the centre then just swing freely while aiming at the centre. I assure you that in the long run your tennis forehand will definitely improve.
Question: Which solution do you think is the most helpful? What kind of tennis forehand mistakes do you usually see or experience? Share with me in the comment box below.