3 Tips For Improving A Lefty Forehand Of A Junior Tennis Player
After receiving a video of Niko’s forehand, I compared it with the forehand of another lefty tennis player – Rafael Nadal – and shared three tips on how Niko can improve his biggest weapon.
Here’s a quick overview of the three forehand tips I shared in the video analysis:
1. The Preparation Is Too High
It’s easy to attempt to correct technical mistakes by simply looking at mechanics and trying to move the arm in a different way.
Unfortunately, this often doesn’t fix the problem. That’s because incorrect mechanics are often the result of an incorrect mental image of the stroke technique.
In Niko’s case, his forehand preparation is slightly high, but in my opinion, that’s because he is looking at the movement of the racquet head of top pros, most likely even of Nadal, and that high racquet head deceives him.
He wants to have a high racquet head too when preparing for the forehand stroke, but he doesn’t notice that the HAND is not that high.
So, in order for Niko to improve his tennis forehand stroke, he needs to see where Rafael Nadal’s hand is in the preparation –and look to prepare in a similar way
2. The Elbow Goes Too Far Behind The Back
Niko moves the arm slightly too far behind the back before accelerating forward on his forehand.
That’s often the case in junior tennis because kids don’t know how best to use their body to generate force and they’re not very strong yet – so the only real way to generate force for them is to have a longer swing path.
The longer the path, the more time and distance they have to generate speed.
Of course, the negative side of that is that they find it hard to time the ball well, they are often pulled off balance, and they start to put a lot of load on the shoulder rather than the legs and the trunk, which must be the main sources of power.
The arm is also often under a lot of tension, and this results in inconsistent shots.
Therefore, Niko needs to work on shortening his backswing slightly and looking to use more power from the legs and trunk rotation.
That’s why the third problem of his forehand is also quite clear…
3. Not Using Enough Leg Drive
Niko hits an open stance forehand in this video, and his left leg bends just a little bit.
He doesn’t seem to push off the ground to generate upward force which would then be transferred into trunk rotation.
In contrast, Rafael Nadal takes a big step for the open stance forehand shot and lowers and pushes himself up off his left leg, thus creating a massive amount of energy which he will transfer into the racquet head speed.
The best way to feel how the leg needs to work in an open stance forehand is to throw medicine balls (2-3 kg) from the open stance.
The weight of the medicine ball puts more load on the leg, so the player feels the load more and knows which muscles to use to overcome that load.
Another good tip to improve the open stance forehand in tennis is to stand only on the outside leg and keep the other leg in the air, and then drop the ball and hit an open stance forehand.
That drill will also put more load on the outside leg, and the player will feel more what he needs to do in order to push off and generate force from his leg.
So, these are the three tennis tips I would give to Niko to improve his forehand and make it a bigger and more consistent weapon he can use to dominate and control rallies.
(All image credits and Rafael Nadal training video credit: procomparetennis.net)