Player to Player: Topspin Forehands

November 12, 2012 08:53 AM
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Player to Player is’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question of the week.
Player to Player:
This week's question from Christian:
Hey, my name is Chris. I’m 18 years old and a freshman in college at the University of South Carolina in Aiken. I started playing tennis when I was five, and my parents have been great supporting me till now. With tournaments and clinics each summer for training, in my hometown, I am pretty much the best player there -- not to be arrogant, but it’s a small town whose main concern is about football. I played many players who weren’t as good or experienced as I was every school year, so I didn’t have many challenges or hitting partners. Now that I'm away at college, I play many other players who have been trained since they were 5 by professional trainers, and they played tournaments all summer, maybe even year-round. I know that it’s great to be trained so early and play many tournaments because I lose 40 percent of the time to them. So I was wondering what the options are for me to catch up to the competition and just to keep getting better as a player and not backtrack, like before.
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Last week's question from Joshua, courtesy of
(Please note: There is no need to send additional responses to this question.)
Can someone give me an explanation of how to hit a topspin forehand? Also, some tips on how to use it would be nice. Thanks.

Player Responses:

Kenny S., Highland Park, Ill.

A topspin forehand is great, but make sure you are going under and through the ball. Don't go straight across the ball. Play a diverse game using topspin but also use a flat, hard, killer forehand and even an underspin forehand for change of pace. Another great shot to use is an inside-out forehand, in which you hit a deep, high-kicking forehand to the other player's backhand. You also can use some low-to-high and across forehands to keep the ball in play, or wait for that approach shot, kill shot or just tire the other player out into making an error.
Tom L., Fort Smith, Ark., via

As your racquet travels from low to high, brush up on the ball and follow through. A semi-western grip is for some topspin, and a full western for max topspin. You will have to adjust your power/brush to get the ball to different places on the court. A good tip once you get this down is to try to get as many topspin balls as you can as close as possible to the baseline. This makes it hard for your opponent, since it will be at his feet, plus have spin. Great offensive shot.

Christian N.. Tustin, Calif., via

1. At one point in your swing, your hand needs to be below the level of point of impact. You also need to have an approximate 90-degree angle between your wrist and the top of the racquet. 2. Let the top of the racquet go up to the ball. 3. Imagine you are hitting with your bare hand. Let your thumb and your fingers go up and left if you are right-handed. 4. A good practice drill is to stand on the baseline, ball in your left hand. Toss the ball a bit in front of you, and hit up on the ball WITHOUT letting it bounce. That will force you to hit up, and the result will be a topspin forehand. Good luck!!
*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or altering your existing one, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.
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