Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 47 seconds
Dear Parents –
We are on FH series! Did you notice your child’s FH ready position? That is just before your child hits the FH in a rally how they make themselves ready wrt holding their rackets. We did some research on it and here we go –
Position A: If your child stands like what is shown above or something similar to this just before hitting the forehand, this is no ready position. As you can see this has no athletic base at all and the racket is held loose. Sometimes a growing child stands the way it is shown above or something similar. They need to be alert and more ready. This type of ready position will take away some precious milliseconds from them. Even if the child is playing a practice match or a weaker opponent they should invest time in getting into a better ready position to eventually make it into a muscle memory worth keeping.
Position B: This is an evolving ready position just before FH has been hit. Many pros have adopted this type of ready position for some good reasons.
Now please do notice these reasons –
1) The lower arm is in SW (semi-western)grip already and thus the player is ready to hit a forehand with this grip. Holding racket in this way (slight tilt towards the left shoulder) makes it more relaxing for the right arm (lower arm) to hold the racket in more relaxing manner with SW grip
2) From this position making a unit turn (more about unit turns later) which is needed to hit a good FH is more relaxing because of the reasons stated above in point 1as the lower arm is already holding the racket using the preferred grip (SW) and is relaxed
3) Although we are not into backhands (BH) yet it is the right time to mention that dropping towards BH side from this position needs two things – upper arm (left arm) to slide down from the throat of the racket to a SW grip and the bottom arm making a slight adjustment to become a continental grip. All this assuming that your child has a double handed BH. Sliding the upper arm (left arm) from the throat of the racket makes sure that it automatically gets into SW grip which is needed to the double-handed BH.
Position C: Again a popular position and a good one to develop just before hitting the FH.
Now please note the following very carefully, here we go –
1) In this position the lower arm is NOT in SW grip but in continental grip as holding the racket in SW grip in this position is not very relaxing and the player will feel very tight in this position if they are using SW grip in the lower arm.
2) For this reason, many pros prefer position B. Therefore, point to note – if your child is using this ready position please do notice what is their lower arm grip at this moment. If it is SW you can talk to your team and figure it out why. If the only reason is that FH is played in this grip and hence it is easy to get to FH from here (which is true) then your team has overlooked the importance of keeping the lower arm relaxed during the entire match time before hitting FHs. One effective way of doing that is by holding the racket in continental grip while in this type of ready position (position C) so that overall FH arm (right arm) is relaxed and then making an adjustment to move towards SW or W (well some kids play with W too!) from here while doing the unit turn (more on unit turns later). However, ask your kid if this feels easier than what is explained under position B grip adjustments.
3) Dropping towards the double-handed backhand is just the matter of dropping the racket towards your left side without any grip changes at all
4) Some advance coaches make a point to ensure that girls make a muscle memory to play with this position (C) rather than position B
Both position B and C are effective. However, over a period of time, this should be a muscle memory and an unconscious effort. The idea to publish this type of post (or any TuPA post for that matter) is not to confuse but an attempt to make parents more aware so that they can ask the right questions to their team and understand the reasons behind everything their child does on a tennis court.
Enjoy your tennis.