Snap Up-Lock Down
I come from an era when sports were not so specialized. As a kid, I played a variety of sports depending on the season. Tennis was played during the spring and summer, along with Little League Baseball and summer basketball leagues. In the fall was junior football; and then basketball all winter. Heck, I was even on a swim team one summer until I threw up in the pool during practice and promptly quit, I hated it anyway. I’m telling you all this to show that many different sports have the same characteristics that apply in tennis.
The basic premise for a forehand or backhand ground stroke drive is power and spin. Power and spin will be generated by racquet head speed, an upward snap of the wrist through the contact point. Picture a baseball or softball batter, a pro golfer on the tee and a forehand drive; all three are sideways to the ball, have a shoulder rotation and loose wrists at contact generating head speed and a long follow through. The batter will have a straighter snap line if he, or she, is trying to hit it out of the park. The golfer will snap upward causing a spin that will draw the ball and then release forward giving more distance to the drive with a forward roll. We are not trying to hit it out of a building or three hundred yards down a fairway, we have to hit it in the confines of a seventy nine foot court. Our snaps have to be up the backside of the ball, creating that forward spin getting the power with head speed and the control with spin.
Volleys are hit in a slight high to low forward motion that is when wrists must be locked. If we go back to baseball and golf looking at the finesse areas you will see locked wrists. When batters bunt and golfers putt they are not looking for power but for accuracy. Their wrists are very firm in these situations; the volley requires the same firmness for accuracy.
Slice forehands and backhands are also hit in a downward motion, brushing down on the back of the ball creates the backspin we are looking for. Remember slices are elongated volleys so lock those wrists.
So, in general, looking for power, snap the wrist up the backside of the ball. Looking for finesse, or hitting a shot that requires a downward motion, lock the wrist.
Learn all the strokes from my book “Winning Tennis Strokes”-click the tab up top (Available in download form) Kindle users go to Amazon.com
Go to the home page for links to my 117 lesson app “Complete Tennis Mastery”.
Good Luck-Have Fun!!