Tennis skills: the defensive forehand

The defensive forehand

Who says the forehand is only about attacking? The defensive forehand has become a formidable weapon for forcing your opponent to play yet another ball.

Return the ball again using a forehand

Rather than simply settling for a flat or lobbed ball, it's a great way to overcome an opponent or regain the upper hand in the point. Like a squash shot, the defensive forehand is far from easy to hit and involves quite a lot of risk.

The main idea with this shot is to keep the ball in play when in a defensive position (either when pinned to the back of the court or hitting the ball on the run) and to hit it with a lot of slice and keep it low to the ground. 


Hitting the perfect defensive forehand

You're only going to use this shot if you find yourself in a tricky position during a rally.

That means you need to make the absolute most of your movements and get your positioning right to give yourself enough time to hit the ball:

1) Stance position: a closed (or even very closed) stance is needed to increase reach and time on the ball.

2) Stroke: very high backswing, almost over your head. The arm comes down hard on the ball, hitting the underside of it to impart slice on the ball.
3) Posture: stay as upright as possible and engage your chest so that you don't lose shape over the ball and lose control of the shot.

Tennis skills: the defensive forehand

Don't forget to slide on clay

On a surface such as clay, you can also slide towards the ball (with an open stance in this instance) before striking it. This will allow you to resume your position more quickly for the next shot.

The ball should pass over the net at a height of between 10cm and 50cm. Any higher and it will provide your opponent with an opportunity to attack.

You now know the basics for hitting a good defensive forehand. It's time to start practising it ;) !

Tennis skills: the defensive forehand



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