Take a trip down under with Judy and Cos while they provide one tip or focal point while you are viewing the Australian Open. Today’s concept is the modern groundstroke, more specifically the forehand. Tour players today are hitting the ball harder because of generating more racquet head speed. They are not sacrificing consistency because of the increased topspin, which helps with control. Note the semi western or western grips, where the hand is placed more to the right on the grip than the continental or Eastern forehand grip. The shoulders and hips turn, while the elbows remain higher and the weight is loaded on the back foot. The footwork on the classic forehand was more of a square stance, where on the modern forehand it is usually semi open. As the shoulders and hips rotate through the hit, the weight is transferred forward. Note the various follow throughs used by the different players. Watch Roger as his thumb is up at contact and then goes down as he finishes on the other side of his body. On the backhand side, watch how the right handed players “step out” with their left foot and then cross over their right foot on the recovery step.
What is best for you? If you only play doubles and use a continental grip for almost everything, adding a modern forehand to your game may not be worth the effort of learning a new grip/stroke. However, if you are a singles player or prefer the baseline, give it a try. Make sure that your grip is correct and that you turn your shoulders and hips. The modern groundstrokes are taught to all juniors, including those in the 10 and under clinics. While the increased racquet head speed and spin are benefits of the newer, modern forehands, don’t limit yourself to only those grips/strokes. Otherwise, you may have limitations with volleying, serving and using the underspin shots.