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Forehand: Loading the outside leg

Increasing power on the tennis forehand
By: John Shepherd

The video below shows Nadal hitting his powerful trademark forehand. On closer inspection, it shows a semi open loading position. The semi-open forehand relies predominately on rotational force. The level of rotational force delivered to the racket is highly dependent on two things;

1) the level of elastic energy stored in the trunk, resulting from  the angle of seperation between the hip and shoulder

2) the level of power (drive) transfered from the ground into the shoulder via the leg/hip complex.



To achieve both of these goals. The outside leg needs to be able to both, lock/prevent the hips from overly rotating on the take back (creating seperation between hips & shoulders) and drive the hips up and into the direction of the ball(transfer energy to shoulder-arm-wrist-racket) prior to contact.

The  video below shows an exercise that can be used to develop balance/strength/power in the outside leg. The exercise can be used sparingly with young players at the beginning of a training session (following an adaquate warm-up) to help develop balance and technical reinforcement. It can also be used with older players at the end of a session to develop strength.


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