There’s a moment in everyone’s tennis career where they finally face a hard hitter.
Their forehand isn’t just fast, it’s heavy.
When you return their shot, your hand and racquet shake.
Facing a powerful shot can quickly unravel your game if you’re not ready for it.
Having that kind of tool as part of your repertoire is imperative for evening the playing field and taking your game to the next level.
Luckily, you can harness this power, too.
Here are five effective tips for developing a powerful forehand in tennis!
Oh, and for all you coaches out there, these tips can help your students improve faster when you adopt them into your unique coaching style.
Don’t trust Littlefinger…
No, I don’t mean the Game of Thrones character (although, you probably shouldn’t trust him either).
I mean your pinky finger.
A tight grip on your racquet can cost you a lot of power.
By moving your hand a bit farther down the racquet, so your pinky finger isn’t able to hold onto it, you fix that.
Just like that.
And now, because your grip is relaxed, the racquet can drop a little bit more below the ball as you swing up.
This low to high swing will increase the topspin you put on the ball dramatically.
This extra topspin will make your ball heavy and powerful which your opponents will definitely notice.
Feeling strung out?
A common tip that you may have heard is to ‘swing through the ball’.
There’s a reason for it to be such a common tip – it’s good!
But you can actually take this tip to the next level with this drill.
You’ll need two racquets – one strung, one unstrung.
Simply start a return drill, having someone hit you balls or toss them to you. Hit 10 or 15 balls with the strung racquet and then switch to the unstrung one.
This will actually let you get a real feel for swinging through the ball.
Then, after another 10 or 15 balls (try to keep the amounts the same), go back to the strung racquet.
You can alternate through racquets like this on just about any drill you already do. Or, if you’re a coach, you can add switching up racquets like this to your current curriculum.
By going back and forth, you’ll develop the muscle memory of truly swinging through the ball, holding nothing back.
Get your shoulders into it
Another way you can get more power on your forehand is to use your shoulders more.
The proper technique is to get your shoulders moving as a single, cohesive piece that coils and uncoils with perfecting timing.
Developing this without an aid can feel a bit strange. And it can take a while.
The Forehand Rotator is a kinesthetic training aid that’s specifically designed to make this technique feel comfortable.
Go through a forehand drill with the aid, hit 10 or 15 balls, and remove the aid and repeat the drill.
By using the aid then removing it, you let yourself (or your student) feel the difference and quickly start adopting the technique.
After a few cycles, you or your students will start to make this a natural swinging motion.
Low is the way to go
Another way to generate a sneaky amount of speed that’s vital for a powerful forehand is by getting low on your shots and exploding up to meet the ball.
This generates even more topspin and racquet speed.
But much like getting your shoulders in perfect rhythm, it takes a lot of time… unless you use a kinesthetic training aid!
The Flex Trainer specifically keeps your core lower so building that much needed power is second nature.
Again, go through a forehand drill, hit 10 or 15 balls with the aid, then remove it, and hit an equal amount again.
By using and removing the aid in back to back drills, your muscles will quickly adopt the techniques.
It’s all coming together
The best part about these drills is that they’re not exclusive.
You can do all of them at the same time, cycle between any number of them, and cycle back to your normal swinging patterns.
This is a fantastic way to see growth and development quickly.
You can learn more about using these aids together in this short video:
These five tips will help you, or your students, develop a consistent, powerful tennis forehand.
With the help of a few training aids, you’ll quickly see these skills develop and improve so you don’t have to spend a lot of time unlocking new potentials.