How to hit a Forehand in Tennis

 As the weather is finally improving, it’s the perfect excuse to dust off your tennis shoes, grab your gear, and head down to your nearest tennis courts to knock a few balls around.

Tennis isn’t an easy sport to master. It takes a lot of skill, hard work, practice, and patience. Once you do get the hang of it, however, you’ll be hooked.

A key aspect of tennis is mastering the different strokes and shots. One of the most important shots in tennis is the forehand. Get this shot right, and everything else will quickly begin to fall into place.

What is a Forehand in Tennis?

A forehand is one of the first shots that people learn in tennis. Don’t let that fool you, though, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy.

How to hit a tennis forehand

A forehand is performed when the palm of the hand holding the racket is facing forwards. You’ll perform the shot by swinging the racket across your body, in the direction where you want to hit the ball.

The shot is executed with your dominant hand. So, if you’re right-handed, you’ll be holding the racket with your right hand, and will hit the shot using your right arm and wrist.

Tips for Executing a Tennis Forearm Shot

Though this is one of the more basic tennis strokes, there are still a lot of things you need to get right when performing this shot. Here are some useful tips.

Positioning for the Forehand

When you hit a forearm shot, you should be holding the racket’s handle with the palm of your dominant hand. Most players will use the Eastern forehand grip, as this is the most natural. Your other hand should be gripping the racket by its throat.

As the ball makes its way towards you, take the racket backwards and open up your shoulders. Your legs should be shoulder-width apart, with a very slight bend in the knee. Experts call this the ‘ready position’.

Usually, you’ll stand with your non-dominant shoulder pointing to the net. This is known as a ‘closed stance’. Some, however, will open their bodies up and face the net. This is called an ‘open stance’.

Forehand Backswing

When you take your backswing, try to bring the racket head up so that it is roughly level with your head as you release the racket’s throat with your other hand.

As you move your dominant arm back, keep it in harmony with your hips and shoulders turning first. You must fully turn your shoulder so that the racket is neither too low, or too high.

Most players will be tempted to take a longer backswing to try to generate more power. Don’t. This technique won’t give you enough control over the ball, meaning it could land anywhere.

Watch the Ball and Execute Your Forward Swing

The next step in this process is to execute the forward swing part of the shot.

Once you’re ready to receive the ball, bend the elbow slightly and turn your forearm to drop the racket below the ball’s flight path.

Now swing the racket so that it makes contact with the ball at just the right time to generate maximum power and accuracy. Keep your eyes on the ball at all times, don’t take them off it, even for a millisecond. This is important as it means you’ll swing at just the right second, to get the cleanest possible contact.

Forehand Follow Through

Once you’ve hit the ball with it at just the right position, extend your arm outwards so that your racket ends up high, with the head at the side of your other hand. Imagine you’re trying to scratch your non-dominant shoulder with the head of the racket.

As you execute the shot and follow through, be sure to stay in place. Don’t jerk your body around or try to look up immediately to see where your shot has ended up. If you executed the shot right, the ball will end up where you wanted it to land anyways.

Congrats, you’ve just performed a tennis forehand shot.