Stance/Open or Closed
Tennis is a sport that has more than one correct way to hit the ball, and that’s a good thing. One area where this especially shows itself is the stance we use in our strokes. There are two stances in tennis Open, the more modern, and closed, the more Traditional. [The first picture is the Open forehand backswing and the second is the Traditional.]
Players should want to become adept at both because there are advantages that both can give you when in certain situations. If you have been playing for some time and cannot adapt to the stance you’re not using, that’s okay, you still have the other.
I’ve been teaching tennis for thirty seven years. In the past the Traditional stance was primarily taught, but the game has evolved with power, speed and more powerful equipment, teaching just the Traditional would short change the student. I personally play in the Traditional stance but have incorporated the Open into my game as well.
In the first picture notice how the Open stance allows for more rotation in the shoulders than in the second picture with the Traditional. More power can be created when uncoiling through the contact zone. [Picture three] I advise the Open stance when pulled wide to the forehand side because the outside leg is already in place to push off of to return to the center of the court.
The Traditional, I believe, offers a more controlled game especially for the intermediate and recreational players. As you can see in the fourth picture there is not a lot of movement at the point of contact. The less body parts moving as you hit the more control and consistency you will have with your shots.
The backhand, either one or two handed will be hit in the closed, or Traditional, stance most of the time. There is a natural rotation of the shoulders on the backhand that causes a turning of the hips and leads to a comfortable closed stance and natural step toward the shot. Again, if pulled wide, especially if you have a two handed backhand, then an open stance might be needed.
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