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Ask Tennishead: Getting more depth


Originally published on: 26/02/10 16:34

The patient

James, England

The symptoms

I have a full western grip on my forehand, but most of my forehands tend to bounce short around the service line. What should I do to get more depth?

Tennishead says

You dont say what standard you play at James, which might affect whether youre using a full western grip and hitting with an open stance.

If youre not hitting with an open stance but are using a full western grip then that can often be a cause of the ball falling short. If youre not using an open stance then have a look at our masterclass on the open stance forehand and try to work on incorporating it into your game on the practice court.

If youre already hitting with an open stance then a very simple solution to hitting too short is to try to get more height over the net.

Some players might associate a higher trajectory with a more negative style of play, but this doesnt have to be the case. Lets look at Rafael Nadal for a moment. The world No.1 is well-known for the height over the net he achieves off both wings and he does this for one reason to get the ball deep.

Many fans assume the pros hit hard, flat and low over the net all the time which isnt always the case they often hit up to six feet above the height of the net to get good depth and then vary their trajectory when they need to hit short or create angles.

The combination is devastating they hit with great height to get depth and put their opponents under pressure and then short angles to outmanoeuvre them.

Quite simply, achieving more height over the net will help you push the ball further up the court. To improve this aspect of your game, rather than thinking about where you want the ball to land, think about the process by which you are going to get the ball in that area.

The racket head should brush up the back of the ball from low to high to generate topspin think about hitting up the back of the ball rather than through it.

Finish the follow-through with the elbow of your racket arm pointing in the direction of your target area and try to hit a good six feet over the height of the net.

Hope that helps, James. Hit the practice courts and think of Rafa! Let us know how you get on

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.