Tennis Forehand Technique | Why NOT to PULL Buttcap Toward Ball (Top Speed Tennis)

Hi guys, I’m Clay Ballard with Top Speed
Today we’re going to talk about what I think
is one of the most misleading pieces of advice
in tennis.
When we’re talking about hitting a forehand,
talking about leading with the buttcap and
pulling the buttcap through contact.
That’s not exactly what happens.
I’m going to go over the proper motions
so that you can start releasing that racket,
getting more speed and more topspin, and improving
your forehand.
Let’s go ahead and get started!
Oftentimes, when we’re trying to improve
on our tennis technique, especially our forehand
technique, we’ll often see a static picture
of a top pro and we’ll try to recreate that
That’s where the “buttcap toward the ball”
really came from.
As you see the top pros hitting a shot, if
you just pause them in this position as their
racket’s moving forward to contact, you
will see the buttcap going toward the ball.
But unless we see what’s happening before
this motion and what’s happening after this
motion, we’re not going to have an overall
idea of what’s going on throughout the entire
We’re just seeing this one static picture.
It doesn’t give us a great idea of, overall,
what’s going on.
Having the buttcap toward the ball is exactly
That’s what you should be doing, but it’s
what’s happening before and after this that
really makes the difference.
The part that I don’t like, or the part
that I disagree with, is not having the buttcap
toward the ball, but it’s the idea of pulling.
When I think of “pulling” the buttcap
toward the ball, what I think of is just pulling
my racket all the way on through contact and
never releasing this racket.
I think a lot of other people have this same
In reality, what’s happening is as I’m
loading up my racket is lagging behind.
But then as I’m coming through contact my
racket is beginning to release.
After contact it’s continuing to release,
until now my wrist is nice and neutral.
You’re going to see this with all your top
Roger Federer, all the top players are going
to be doing this same thing, because that’s
what’s going to allow them to get the energy
into the racket to get that snap, to get that
speed, tons of topspin.
That’s the only way to do it.
If we’re holding on all the way through,
we’re going to lose out on this racket speed
and we’re going to lose out on topspin.
We have to be actively letting that racket
go, and that’s what we’re going to do
in this video.
One key to know — this may be something that
you’re doing.
If you’re holding on through contact, you’re
going to be glancing across the ball.
If you imagine I’m hitting toward you, if
I’m just holding on all the way through,
look at my racket, how it’s moving kind
of sideways.
It would be moving across the ball, so I’m
getting sidespin on this ball.
The ball might start to curve a little bit
left to right if I’m doing this.
If I hit a shot holding on…I’ll try a
couple more.
You may see that I’m late, or those balls
are slightly curving left to right as I’m
doing this.
As you start to pick up the speed, you’ll
see that even more.
If that’s something that you’re doing,
that means that you’re holding on a little
bit too much.
To fix that, we’re going to break it down
into three key pieces for you.
To do this, this is exactly what we go over
in our Lag & Snap video for the forehand,
a great video that really walks you through
Let’s imagine we’re on a clock face here;
12:00 is directly in front, 6:00 is back at
the camera.
As I’m coming back and I’m beginning to
start the forward momentum with my arm, my
racket tip should be facing back to about
7:30 or so.
If 6:00 is the camera, 7:30 is over to the
right side of the camera.
That’s going to be our first piece, the
racket is lagging behind.
You’ll see the butt end of the racket is
pointing out toward the direction of the ball;
actually a little to the right of it, even.
As we go a little farther forward, that would
be when the buttcap is directly toward the
As we’re coming into contact, now my racket
is going to be basically level with the ground.
It will be turned down just a little bit because
it’s in the process of kicking up.
My arm is going to be out in front of my chest,
so I’m really extending here.
The key point here, the big difference, is
as we’re moving through this is releasing
After contact, you’re going to notice that
my wrist is nice and neutral.
That’s the process of doing that Windshield
Wiper motion.
If we watch that from the side, we’re going
to do the same thing here.
Piece #1, racket’s back toward 7:30 — the
tip of the racket is pointing toward 7:30.
Piece #2, we’re coming into contact and
now my arms are in front of my body.
My racket tip is slightly down, basically
level with the ground.
Then the real key difference here is Piece
#3, where we’ve released this racket and
now my wrist is nice and neutral.
That’s working through that Windshield Wiper
Do 100 repetitions, pausing in all three of
these different positions for about 2-3 seconds
so you can really feel these positions and
ingrain those into your stroke.
Once we’ve done that 100 times, now you’re
going to smooth this out and make it one fluid
I’m going to do the same thing, and I’m
going to do 100 reps, really making this one
smooth motion so that I can feel like it’s
a fluid motion.
I’m going to feel this racket snapping as
I’m coming through contact here.
That’s exactly how it should feel.
After we’ve done that, now we’re going
to add the ball.
We’re going to exaggerate this a little
I really want you to get that ball to curve
from right to left.
I mentioned before if you’re holding off,
if I’m never releasing this racket, my racket’s
going across the ball.
It’s a glancing blow and the ball could
be curving a little left to right.
We’re going to do the opposite.
I’m really going to get that racket to kick
out, and now my racket’s going to be kicking
this way, out, and really releasing hard.
I want to get that ball to curve a little
bit from right to left.
There we go, that turned down.
We see those going down in the court.
Let me get one to go a little bit more.
There you go, you can see that really curving
from right to left as I’m coming through
That’s what we want to work on here at first,
to exaggerate that a little bit.
So, 100 repetitions pausing, 100 fluid motions
without a ball, 100 tossing the ball getting
them to curve right to left.
Then you can go ahead and take it to your
You’re going to get more speed, more spin.
You’ve got to utilize that racket releasing,
getting that snap, and you’re going to have
a better forehand.
Good luck to you guys. Good luck with your
tennis, and I’ll see you all soon!
I hope you all really enjoyed this video.
Earlier in the video, I mentioned the Lag
& Snap video from the Forehand series.
What I’m going to do for you all as a bonus,
I’m going to play a preview of that video.
It’s going to pop up in just one second.
If you want to watch that entire video, plus
the entire Topspin Forehand series, absolutely
free of charge, just click the link that pops
up on the bottom of your screen, or down below
in the description.
You’re going to get that, it’s not going
to cost you a dime.
We’re going to go over five videos that
are really going to help your topspin forehand.
Also, if you enjoyed this video, click the
Like button below; that really helps me out.
If you have any questions at all, post them
in the comments.
I’ll be glad to talk with you a little bit
and help you with any questions that you may
Also remember to subscribe, so whenever we
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Good luck to you guys, I’ll see you all
…and make this L-type motion with our arms.
Then the racket needs to be pointed out at
basically a 45° angle.
The racket’s going to be at a 45° and the
tip of the racket, from the butt end, will
be pointing right over toward 3:00.
That’s the first motion that we want to
get into.
As we’re loading up, the racket tip is going
to be pointing out toward 3:00 and at about
a 45° angle.
The second move is where really the magic
starts to happen, and that’s the loading
of the forearms.
This is called a Stretch/Shortening cycle.
Any time you’re going to have a lot of power
and fire your muscles with good speed and
good power, we need to first stretch those
muscles and then fire them.
What’s going to happen here, from this first
move we’re now going to make a motion which
will be very similar to turning a doorknob
to the right with your wrist.
As we’re doing the first piece here, racket’s
out to the right.
Now as I’m coming back, I want to go ahead
and turn my hand to the right as though it’s
a doorknob.
I’m going to do this until the tip of my
racket, now instead of pointing at 3:00, is
all the way back to about 7:30.
Don’t mistake this with your…

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