Coaching Tip - November 2012

    Open Your Stance
    To improve your forehand  

    The open stance forehand has become a part of the modern tennis game.
    This forehand has been one of the biggest changes in tennis over the past 5 to 10 years.
    Most of the Tennis pros now use the open stance (with their legs parallel to the baseline) when hitting the majority of their forehands.
    There are several reasons for this change.
    The open stance allows

    • More efficient use of body biomechanics
    • More power in the forehand
    • A quicker and more efficient recovery

    Body Biomechanics

    • The hips and shoulders should rotate back during the  racquet backswing
    • The legs must bend and flex at the same time
    • Results in a more efficient forehand
    • With less stress on the body

    This flexing of the body creates a dynamic loading of the muscles in the legs and body like a stretched rubber band resulting in a quick powerful action when let go.
    When these loaded muscles begin to contract in sequence they create a kinetic chain from the feet through to the hands so that when released it gives a potent more efficient power source.
    This technique doesn’t overload or over stretch the muscles so that the open stance, when hit correctly, results in a more efficient forehand with less injuries.
    The modern tennis game demands more strength and power so as to develop weapons in particular a strong forehand to help take your tennis game to a higher level.

    The open stance allows a quicker recovery due to

    • The body weight shifting from right leg to left (for a right hander) during the swing
    • This shift is lateral or sideways
    • Body moves back towards the centre of the court before the finish of the swing
    • The legs are still parallel to the baseline
    • Body therefore is into position ready for the next shot

    Players must react and recover quicker because there is less time between shots in a rally due to the increased power in the modern tennis game.

    How to Hit with an Open stance

    • Players should move so that the outside leg (right for a right hander) is behind the ball
    • During the backswing the legs bend as the hips and shoulders rotate backwards
    • The body weight moves onto to the outside leg
    • During the forward swing the legs straighten as in turn the hips and shoulders  rotate forward
    • The arm and the racquet are the last components moving forward in the sequence of the swing

    The sequencing of events or the kinetic chain is very important and the timing of the body segments must happen one after the other in the correct sequence from the feet to the hands to give you a powerful and more efficient forehand.
    Learn to Hit with an Open stance

    • Talk to your coach or the Pro at your local club to get some tips
    • Take some lessons to learn the technique
    • Watch and learn from the pros or advanced players at your club
    • Check out the latest tips via coaching websites and you tube via the internet

    You may be happy with your current forehand but don’t be afraid to take the opportunity to experiment with an open stance during your training sessions.

    Many coaches will get you to hit the forehand with a closed stance particularly if you are younger
    and/or an inexperienced player as this may initially give you more control and consistency.

    However as your skills develop I believe it is important to learn the open stance to expand both your defensive and attacking game and at the same time add weapons to your tennis game.

    These skills can be learned and/or improved by taking some specific training sessions re the open stance with your coach or the Club Professional at your local Tennis Club.

    I hope that you can learn from the tips above and adopt the open stance forehand as part of your tennis game.
    Try not to confuse yourself by thinking too much.
    Keep it Simple.

    Relax and let it happen

    Let me know if you can think of any other options to help you achieve a more consistent and effective game.

    Tennis the game of a lifetime

    Contact me by Email if you have any comments or helpful Tennis hints.

    Let me know the things that work for you.

    Coach Steve