Tennis Forehand Technique – Bend Or Extend At Contact?

Tennis Forehand Technique – Bend Or Extend At Contact?

Roger Federer has really popularised the straight arm forehand. Is this the best way for you to hit your forehand or is it better to use the bent arm forehand?

Most ATP and WTA Pros use the bent arm forehand but is that the most effective way to hit a forehand?

Let’s go over the pros and cons of both methods.

Straight Arm Forehand

The benefits of this method include having more space to accelerate the racket. You also have a longer lever as your racket is further away from your body. This could also be a negative thing if timing is an issue for you.

Another major advantage is being able to really hit the ball far out in front of your body as you can see Roger Federer doing down below. This again can be a double edged sword for some players as many players prefer to feel the racket making contact with the ball closer to their body.

A major concern with the method is overextending the arm time and time again can cause elbow or should injuries. The players who use this forehand include Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco, Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych, all of which are strong, muscular guys with near perfect timing so this issue is not going to affect them as much as it would for most club players or juniors.

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Bent Arm Forehand

The bent arm forehand is the choice for most pros, one of the main reasons is that when you extend the arm at contact you put a lot of stress on the elbow joint but with the bent arm at contact you don’t have that issue.

As the arm remains bent the whole way, it’s very easy to stay loose the whole way through the stroke, whereas on the extended forehand it’s easier to tense up during the extension phase.

As the contact point is closer to the body, it’s much easier to adjust the racket head last second if there is a bad bounce, that’s not the case with the straight arm forehand as you have already extended out.

Players who use this forehand include Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Gael Monfils, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic and Andre Agassi.