The fifth and final step of the forehand progressions is to start in the ready position and take your racket back at shoulder level, then use all the mechanics we have discussed in the previous videos to put together a “real” forehand shot.
From the ready position, what you are going to do is pivot and turn your shoulders, then take the racket back at shoulder level the rest of the way using your arms. When you do this, you’ll be at the position we started in on Progression #4. From there, you can drop the racket down and then swing forward to your contact point. By doing this, you will develop that full loop, that “C” shape that we talked about in the forehand fundamentals section of the site.
Let’s shadow the motion at the service line. I pivot and turn my shoulders, then take the racket back at shoulder level. Notice that the racket head is angled up at the completion of this motion. I then drop the racket down and swing forward to my contact. If we watch it again in real-time, you can see that I’ve fully developed the C loop that the racket will trace out during a normal swing.
At 0:50 in the video, we hit some balls using the full technique from the service line. I pivot and turn my shoulders, then take the racket all the way back with my arms. I then drop the racket down (“shake down”) and swing forward to my contact point. You can see the loop motion in my stroke. One other key thing to note is how little my hitting arm position changes over the course of the motion. The relationship between my tennis racket, my wrist, and my arm remains nearly identical over the course of the whole motion. Work the technique here nice and slow, and make sure you have everything down pat.
Let’s now move back to the baseline and actually try and hit some “real” forehands using the technique we’ve developed in this progressions series. You can see that my motion here looks just like it did at the service line. The only difference here is that I’m swinging slightly harder. Again though, the key is that you don’t want to swing so hard that the mechanics you’re working on begin to break down. Hit just as hard as you need to to put some pace on the ball.
The forehands I’m hitting here using the progressions technique, as you can see from the back view, are great forehands. They’re technically sound and place spin and power on the ball. You *need* to be able to hit this forehand automatically from the baseline before you should really think about trying to work in more advanced techniques, such as the windshield wiper forehand motion.