Its one thing to read through something, maybe even understand it, but it can be quite another thing to actually do whatever you are reading correctly. Reading through the explanations on the forehand can be quite daunting as there is a lot of information there. The previous sections focused on the how and why in the “book sense” of things. This Forehand Practice Methods section will focus on the how in a practical sense. After this section you should be able to hit a very competent forehand whether you are just picking up a racquet or have held one in your hand for 50 years. These methods have worked for thousands of people and I am convinced they will work for you as well. If you have not read my theories on how to practice, I suggest you read through that section first. You can find it by clicking here.
Progression #1 – Forehand Shadow Swing
Start off with a very slow shadow swing, paying very close attention to details. Make sure all the key points discussed earlier are done. If you make any mistake, stop and start over again. At the end of the swing hold your finish position and check these key points:
1. Head Looking Towards Target
2. Racquet Over the Left Shoulder
3. Racquet on edge (perpendicular to ground)
4. Left Hand “catching” racquet
5. If hitting arm is bent, elbow should be pointing towards net
6. Belly Button Pointing Towards Net
7. Legs Relatively Straight
8. Toes Pointing Towards Net
9. Right Foot Still Behind Left Foot
10. Weight on Front Foot
Once you can do a shadow swing slowly and correctly you can then speed up the swing. Slowly increase the speed of the swing until you are swinging at full speed. As the speed increases, any potential balance issues will become more apparent. Try to hold the finish while you count to 5. If you can do this without stumbling, you are maintaining good balance.
Progression #1 – Forehand Cone Hitting
After the shadow swing is able to be done correctly, its time to start adding a ball to the equation. For the first use of a ball it should be stationary. The easiest tool to use is an 18 inch cone like in the above picture. By having the ball stationary a greater emphasis can still be placed on the actual swing since none of the focus will need to be placed on a moving target. By hitting off a cone a player can start to get the feeling for hitting the ball while still focusing on the correct swing.