How to stop hitting the ball late on the forehand
Learn how to be early on the forehand with more power & hammer the tennis ball
If you’re struggling to hit the tennis ball early at a game, but you’re always late… and you start to feel jammed up because you’re constantly not hitting your forehand early, you’re not alone. Many tennis players will encounter the same problem when they’re playing.
There are many coaches and videos out there that will tell you that the solution to this is to prepare earlier. However, no matter how much you prepare you still end up with a bad shot and no power, why? because you’re not doing one key move.
In this article you’ll learn how to ensure that you’re early and hammer the ball, and why we’ve coined the technique ‘Hammerit’ tennis.
1: What you should know
Do you know why you need to hit the ball out in front? There's one key reason, when you hit the ball out in front, it allows you to use your arm like a lever and that gives you the most leverage into the shot.
A lot of you would have also heard about the racquet head speed and that's true too, however you have to understand that the force applied by racquet head speed, is momentum. Momentum is simply the weight times the velocity, it is the force onto the ball. Your racquet only weighs about 9 ½ to 11 ounces and how fast you swing it, will vary based on the player.
Now you will need to use momentum as it is very important, but instead of just using momentum you want to use the force of leverage.
Leverage does not matter how fast you swing the racquet, if you use it properly you will get a significant amount of force onto the ball.
3: Momentum and leverage
Now when you combine both momentum and leverage that equals more power. You can use momentum to give you the really big shot, but the leverage force is more powerful than the momentum force onto the ball. So that’s why the world’s best players always hit the ball out in front and they look like they are swinging so effortlessly. This is because they hit the ball out in front which allows them to use leverage into the shot.
4: Hitting the ball out in front
How to hit the ball out in front every time. Now for many players hitting the ball late, is a result of not understanding how to get the racquet to contact the ball out in front. Your brain already knows how to hit the ball out in front, but you’re possibly thinking about it all wrong.
This is where the ‘Hammerit’ technique comes into play, when you pick up a hammer to use it, your elbow leads, then the wrist and then the hammer.
Try the method by placing a ball on the net and then take a hammer or your racquet, turn it on the side and pretend you are driving a nail into a surface by mimicking the hammering movement.
You’ll notice how comfortably and freely you’re moving your hand up and down. No one hammers with the hammer head and the handle travelling together at the same time, as that will not give you any power. Handle first and then the hammer head... So it’s elbow, wrist and then the hammer goes into the ball.
5: Applying the 'Hammerit' technique
If you apply the same hammer technique, but sideways, you’ll realize that when you hit your brain naturally puts your elbow out in front, and if you put your elbow in front you’re going to hit out in front.
So simply by grabbing a hammer, you’ve already placed your elbow in the correct position.
So all you have to do is, take your racquet and pretend it’s a hammer, use the side of the frame like you’re going to hammer the ball and immediately your elbow will go out in front.
Once you begin to understand that, put the ball back and pretend that the strings is the hammer, and as you come in with the racquet you’ll see that your elbow leads and you will hit the ball out in front. You ‘Hammerit’.
Your elbow in this position forces you to turn your shoulders more toward the contact point, and it would be very awkward to hit the ball late. So as you prepare for a shot, if you already go into leading with your elbow, you naturally are going to prepare sooner than you would if you’re catching the ball late.
Getting the elbow in the proper position will allow you to hit the ball out in front, which is going to allow you to hammer the ball.
6: How to practice and the 'Hammerit' stance
So how can you practice this to help out your game? The best way to do this is to go to the courts by yourself, bring a pop or a ball and come up to the tennis service line, this is where you’ll practice your ‘Hammerit’ stance.
In a 45% angle to the target line, position yourself so that the center ‘T’ is right inline with your belly button, if you do that, when you turn your contact point should be right over the ‘T’.
So follow through with your elbow, then your wrist, then your racquet gets to the ‘T’. Now you want to drop and hit the ball, try to hit straight down to the service line. Work on a small swing, start slightly before the contact point, extend toward the target and finish slightly after the contact point.
Eventually the racquet is going to go all the way through and you’re going to have a big full swing. However, as you’re learning the parts of the hammer method, at certain stages you’re only going to be focusing on individual aspects of the swing. You’re not trying to hit every piece of the swing all at one time, it’s like you’re putting together a lego set. So you’re building different pieces on to what you’ve already got. You then continue to build until you have a finished piece, not try to get everything all in one step.
The ‘Hammerit’ method is step by step, putting together your strokes.
To work on being able to hammer the ball, you’ve got to get your elbow in front of your chest. The best way to do that is to start at the service line with the racquet before contact, turn your body to contact and then extend where you want the ball to go.
It is not the entire swing, but a very small portion of the swing. So set up a couple of cones, try to hit the ball between the cones and keep practicing the drop on the center ‘T’, turn, catch it out in front and then extend out. By doing this you’ll be able to catch the ball in front and learn how to hit the ball out in front every time.
Bring a basket and keep practicing this simple drill to give you a better feel for that contact point out in front. You’re also working on how to aim the ball horizontally, hit the ball out in front and extend towards your target. This gives you the maximum amount of leverage, more power in your forehand and helps you learn how to hammer the ball, developing that part of the ‘Hammerit’ method into your game.
The ‘Hammerit’ technique from your elbow position to the stance, will provide you with a good racquet lag which will give you maximum leverage for maximum power and control. All the elements needed for a solid forehand.