As you observe tennis strokes of top pros in slow motion, in this case Roger Federer’s forehand, your goal is probably to copy his movements so that you’re able to hit a good forehand too.
But there’s a catch and because of it most players copy the technique incorrectly. Take a look at the video above…
Special thanks to Will Hamilton from FYB for letting me use one of his videos for this article!
When you observe and attempt to copy Roger Federer’s forehand technique you probably are not aware that our brain makes a small mistake when copying a movement where a hand also holds a racquet.
The brain doesn’t really see a good difference between the hand and the racquet and what happens is that you are translating the movement of the racquet into your hand.
That’s why so many recreational tennis players swing too much. The backswing is too big, the racquet goes up too high in the preparation, the follow-through may be too exaggerated and so on.
That’s not to mention everything that goes on when it comes to serve technique.
So, to learn the strokes correctly, you would need to copy the path of the player’s hand and ignore or remove the racquet from the picture!
And for the first time, this has been done in the video above.
As you saw, this is very revealing. The racquet illusion is gone and you can now see how short and simple the forehand technique is.
In this side-by-side picture you can see how the paths of the racquet and the hand are similar but the hand’s path is much shorter and simpler.
This is what you should be looking at when learning from the pros. Ignore the racquet and look at the whole body first and only then at the arm movement.
The racquet distracts and deceives us just like a magician who waves with one hand to distract us from his other hand with which he actually executes the trick.
That’s why I called this article a tennis illusion – the racquet creates an illusion of the forehand technique that you want to learn and distracts you from seeing the body and the arm movement.
So here’s a question for you: what did you see – perhaps for the first time – when you saw Federer hit a forehand without the racquet in hand?