Serena Williams has the best forehand in the world and there’s only one way she got there - practice, practice, practice! Tennis forehands are the most used tennis stroke, and it’s a great way to elevate your game if you’re a beginner tennis player.
In this post, we’ll talk about how to perfect your tennis forehand and give you tips on how to consistently hit winning points. We’ll cover different styles of forehand, your stance and grip, and what clothing works best to create the perfect forehand.
Need a step back? Check out our Tennis For Beginners post!
What is a Forehand in Tennis?
Forehands in tennis, squash, and other racket sports are made by swinging the racket across the body where the inner side of the palm faces forward and in the direction of where you want the ball to land. The forehand ends when the racket is above the opposite shoulder.
Changing Your Tennis Grip for Forehand
You want to start in the “ready” position. To decide which grip is best, you’ll want to do what feels most natural for you. Try out the above forehand styles and see which grip feels the best.
Styles of Forehand
There are four types of tennis forehands grips:
- Popular in early tennis
- Great for heavy baseline games with big strokes to accumulate topspin.
- The difference between western and semi-western grips is the angle of the racquet face. Semi-western grips are closed or pointing toward the ground. So, when you swing and come in contact with the ball, you can easily brush up and over the top of a tennis ball to produce topspin.
- Preferred by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to name a few.
- The most modern tennis forehand grip for its flexibility - it allows players to transition from a forehand to volleys quickly, and is great for players who run from baseline to net.
- Popular with Serena Williams and Roger Federer
- Popular in early tennis, an easy and convenient way to hold the racket so players don’t have to change their grip from stroke to stroke. Beginner players often start with a continental grip! The biggest limitation is that the continental grip produces little to no topspin for a powerful game.
In order to be prepared to hit your forehand, you want to be in a “ready” position. Ready positions and forehand stances can be different for everyone, but the best way to feel ready for most people is having your knees slightly bent, and doing a slight bounce to increase your reaction time.
Keep moving and keep the bounce going to enable the mind to feel more alert and keep the body active. When we bounce, we’re able to move faster into our first step and react quicker.
Once you’re prepared and in a stance ready to hit the ball, you can prepare your body to make contact. The first stage is “the drop” where your racket drops to make contact with the ball. Let gravity assist you as you as you lower your racket and swing the body to build momentum. You want to make sure the back edge of your racket faces downward for a simple, yet effective swing. The best way to describe this is to let your wrist turn backward like you’re waving. Once the wrist starts turning, let the racket drop with gravity fully before you start to accelerate your swing.
Contact with the Ball
Let’s talk about swing path - The straight line your racket and body makes before and after contact. The swing path is a straight line so we can increase our chances of hitting the ball. If we swing in a circular motion, we can mistime the swing and miss the ball. Swinging in a straight line also gives us the chance to increase our accuracy.
Once you hit the ball, it may be in your repertoire to put some spin on it. This can be done by employing a rolling or brushing movement to the racket and ball once hit. This is a bit more advanced, so it’s totally fine to not put any spin on this ball while you’re practicing.
After contact, we want to make sure we follow the ball and extend our reach with the racket. This helps to aim and guide the ball to increase our accuracy. Have a clear intention on where and how you want the ball to move and this will come naturally to you! Having this intention is so important to be able to play consistently and accurately.
Ok, we’ve made contact and we’re extending the swing - what next? The follow-through! The forehand technique requires so much power, that your whole body will move with the swing. One of the most common mistakes beginners and even some more advanced players make is not following through on their swing. This makes it almost impossible to generate the amount of energy needed to perfect the swing. Be sure to take the racket over your opposite shoulder by moving your entire body, helping you to move more efficiently.
Best Clothing for Tennis Practice
If there’s one thing Jofit knows about tennis, it’s what clothing works best for your next tennis practice session. You’ll need flexibility, comfort and fit, without looking drab. Our favorite outfit for practicing your basics is our paneled tennis skort, paired with our Love racerback tank and our famous Jofit tennis visor!
Up Your Game (and Active Fashion) with Jofit
We hope these simple tips help improve your forehand - and we hope our amazing tennis fashion can keep you looking and feeling at the top of your game! Check back soon for more tennis, golf, and active tips, from clothing to pro-tips, it’s match point at Jofit!