Tennis female player hitting ball with forehand

How To Hit a Tennis Ball – Forehand Shots

Are you on your way to becoming a professional tennis player? First of all, hold on there, as it will probably take you longer than you think it will. But if you stick to some realistic goals, then tennis can become a fun sport that is not overly difficult to learn.

There are a few foundational strokes that new players can start practicing right away, which includes

  • forehand
  • backhand
  • overhead shot

There are also some variations to these that are used by the pro players, although it’s best to take it one step at the time to begin with.

In this guide, we’ll cover how you can hit a tennis ball in the forehand style, which is the most common approach that you’ll see novice and tennis players use in their games.

When should you use a forehand?

Each type of stroke in tennis has its own specific application, strengths and weaknesses, so knowing when to use a forehand stroke is a critical part of the game.

  • The forehand is known as the most basic of strokes and is executed on the side that you use to swing your racquet.
  • Forehand shots can be used to put topspin on the ball.

How to hit a forehand shot

A woman hitting a forehand shot

Get your body into position

In order to properly execute a forehand stroke, you need to make sure your body is properly aligned with the oncoming ball.

  • You should perform a split-step as your opponent takes their shot.
  • A slip-step is where you jump roughly an inch off the ground and land on your toes while the opposing player gets ready to hit the ball.

Get ready to swing your racquet

It is important to keep your head straight and shoulders facing towards the net.

  • As the ball flies towards you, shift your shoulders into a 90-degree angle to the net and raise your opposing arm across your body.
  • Pull your racquet arm backwards as the ball approaches closer.
  • Shift your weight to your opposing leg, and point your foot towards the sideline.

Have a strong grip

Did you know that there are at least three different ways to grip your racquet when performing a forehand hit alone? The easiest grip to start with is called the Eastern Forehand Grip.

  • To begin, place your index knuckle and heel of your hand at the third bevel of the racquet’s handle (it should look like a 3 o’clock position) and the heel of your hand at the bottom lug.
  • A good way to get started with this grip type is to imagine that you’re shaking hands with the racquet.

Hit the ball

Now you finally hit the ball. Remember to keep the racquet straight and face open towards the net as you make contact with it.

  • Swing straight through as you hit the ball.
  • A bit of downward force as you make contact with the ball will produce a powerful flat shot.
  • You should be using your entire body to power the shot. This is done by pushing your foot off the ground just before you strike the ball. What happens next is a chain of kinetic energy that you’re feeding into the shot. You can make the shot even stronger by rotating your upper body into the ball as you hit it.

Complete the follow-through

The last step in the process is vital to remember as it affects the speed and spin of the ball. There are different kinds of follow-through techniques that have different qualities, which have been detailed below.

  • The out-front finish is one of the easiest to remember for newbies. With this move, the racquet’s head goes straight out and does not twist at the end.
  • The downward finish is another powerful move. As you could probably gather, this move involves putting your body in a downward motion, with your arms across your opposite hip.