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Mechanics Used In Tennis

Techniques Used in Tennis

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The Forehand

The Backhand

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The Serve

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The Slice

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The Forehand

To be able to perfect the tennis forehand, there are six important steps every player must achieve:

1. Starting in a ready position - when preparing to hit a ball with a forehand, a player must set up into ready position. This means that they should face forward to the net with their legs a shoulder width apart waiting for the ball to be returned to them

2. Positioning the body- when the ball is hit by the opponent, a player must get into position to hit the forehead. This means that their shoulders must be turned sideways in a direction so that the hand holding the racquet is to the back. 

3. Positioning the feet - a player must line themselves up with where the ball is going to go, so that they are a little behind the ball and then have an open legged stance facing away from the net so that the hand holding the racket is to the back, meaning that the legs must be at least a shoulder length apart from each other

4. Swinging the racket - the player must use their off hand as a guide to where the ball is going to go and simultaneously swing the racket straight back or in a loop style

5. Swinging the racket to hit the ball - the play must swing their racket forward in a smooth motion so that the center of the racket comes into direct contact with the ball. The arm should be fully extended and the ball should be met with the racket in front of the person

6. Following through - after hitting the ball, the player should allow momentum to smoothly propel them forward and the players racket should meet with the off hand and finish over the shoulder of the off hand

Different Types of Forehand Grips

Continental Forehand Grip

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The continental grip has been used since the beginning of tennis. However, as the years go on the grip has started to become less popular among players. The continental grip is used mostly for serving. The decrease in the usage of the continental grip can be contributed to the prevalence of topspin and the faster velocity of balls. This is due to the fact that when using the continental grip, there is a significant lack of topspin and power potential. 

The continental grip can be formed by placing the palm side of the index fingers bottom knuckle against the second bevel, for right handers, or eighth bevel, for left handers. Position the butt of the racket's handle at the base of the palm and wrap your fingers around the handle

Eastern Forehand Grip

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Western Forehand Grip

The Eastern forehand gained its popularity during the late 1980s and the 90s. It was used by legends such as Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf who have used it to win many titles. Today, the Eastern grip is still used by many players but in a slightly modified version in order to produce more topspin.

The Eastern grip can be formed by placing the palm side of the index finger's bottom knuckle against the third bevel, for right hander, or the seventh bevel, for left handers. Position the butt of the racket handle at the base of the palm and wrap your fingers around the handle.

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Semi-Western Forehand Grip

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Hawaiian Forehand Grip

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The Backhand

The backhand is also an important shot in tennis. It is very similar to the forehand in terms of the steps taken to perform one. The steps to perform a backhand are as follows:

1. Starting in a ready position - when preparing to hit a ball with a backhand, a player must set up into ready position. This means that they should face forward to the net with their legs a shoulder width apart waiting for the ball to be returned to them.

2. Positioning the body- when the ball is hit by the opponent, a player must get into position to hit the backhand. This means that their shoulders must be turned sideways, however for backhands, right handed players should have their body facing sideways to the left and left handed players should have their bodies facing sideways to the right. 

3. Positioning the feet - a player must line themselves up with where the ball is going to go, so that they are a little behind the ball and then have an open legged stance facing away from the net. Their feet should be at least a shoulder length apart from each other.

4. Swinging the racket - the player must swing the racket back with either one hand or two hands in a loop style.

5. Swinging the racket to hit the ball - the play must swing their racket forward in a smooth motion so that the center of the racket comes into direct contact with the ball. The arm should be fully extended and the ball should be met with the racket in front of the person.

6. Following through - after hitting the ball, the player should allow momentum to smoothly propel them forward and the racket should end up over the right shoulder of the player, for right handed people, and over the left shoulder of the player, for left handed people.

Types of Backhands

Two-handed backhand

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Who first used the two handed backhand in tennis is debated between Vivian McGrath and Pancho Segura. However it was Chris Evert, Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors who in the 1970's revolutionized the use of the two handed backhand. 

The two handed backhand is hit by positioning both of your hands on the handle of the racket. For right handed players, the right hand is on the bottom  between an Eastern and continental grip and the left hand is on top of the right hand between a continental and an Australian grip. For left handed players, it is the opposite way around.

One-handed backhand

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The one handed backhand was popularized in the 1940's and 1960's by Rod Laver and Don Budge. However, today less than 10% of professional players hit their backhand with one hand. This is due to the fact that using a one handed backhand requires more strength and coordination and is harder to use to return challenging balls.

To form the one handed backhand, the player must place the palm side of their index finger against the first bevel, for both right and left handed players. The the player must position the butt of the racket handle at the base of their palm and wrap their fingers around the handle. 

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