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How To Hit A “Heavy” Forehand – Tennis Lesson

– Hey, guys, Nate, Scott. Today we’re gonna show
you how to hit the heavy. – From PlayYourCourt.com. – That, too. (whooshing) – All right guys, today we’re talking about how to hit a heavier forehand. This video is is for the players with a PlayYourCourt rating of 50 to 80. If you’re not in the
PlayYourCourt rating system, it makes Nate really sad at night. So join the PlayYourCourt membership so that Nate’s not so sad. If you’re not in the membership, even though we kind of
hate you a little bit, the USDA equivalent of
a PlayYourCourt 50 to 80 is about a 3.0 to a 4.5. So Nate, talk to me. We’re hitting heavy forehands. There’s this really ominous yellow rope hovering over our head, what have we got going on? – They key to hitting a heavy forehand is the ability to jump
over this yellow rope. – Perfect. And that’s actually all we
have for you guys today, so we’ll see you soon and yeah. – See you guys. (laughing) – Just kidding. Nate tell us, hitting heavy foreheads. What do we got going on. – This yellow line, this
thing is an amazing tool. We’re gonna draw back,
we’re gonna hit some balls after we give you some instruction, but what we’re showing
you here is the zone in which you should be
hitting above the net. All right, so well over 4 feet, the math isn’t all that awesome, maybe five, probably closer to four. All right, but this is
the zone above the net that we should be hitting if we want to hit the heavy ball. All right, so let’s talk a little bit about the instruction and then we’ll demo this actual heavy ball at the height above the net. – That sounds good. I know a lot of you rec players are looking at this thinking, dudes, that’s not gonna stay in the court if I hit the ball that high, but it will, we promise. – It is. So guys, I think the first thing that we need to jump
into is distinguishing what the heavy ball is and how it differs from just a fast ball. A lot of you out there may
hit really, really hard, maybe a big flat ball,
but that is absolutely not the same as a heavy ball. And it’s not that the heavy ball has a big advantage. I guess there is a significant advantage as far as depth, but
there’s plenty of players that hit predominantly flat, you know, Bautista Agut, Scott here
hits predominantly flat. – Let’s not leave out del Potro, who is almost as good as me. – But then we see (laughing). So then we see the heavy ball, right, and the heavy ball of guys like Nadal and Verdasco and they
have their place, too. – And Nate Bowling. – Yeah, so that’s definitely my, kind of my style as well. I think the big thing to point out, the key differential is grips, right. So with a heavy ball you absolutely are gonna wanna have a semi-western grip. We don’t really suggest a western, but it may lead a little
bit towards western, but it’s certainly not eastern or a Continental grip. Scott uses an eastern grip, you now the del pose, the Bautista Agut, eastern, which lends
itself to a flatter ball. – For sure. – So, step one here with the heavy ball, the big heavy top spin, deep in the court. And when we use the term heavy, like what do you think
of when we hear heavy? – A ball that comes in and kicks up and feels like the weight of the ball pushes me back off the court, right? – Yeah, it’s actually
what the ball is doing after it bounces, right. So it’s not just sheer velocity. It’s actually the weight of the ball through contact that feels
like it’s pushing you back. So step one, semi-western grip is gonna really lead you to this
heavy ball, all right. Two, most of you guys are starting with your racquet head up. I mean, really, you kind of have to. Because you got to get the leverage and the force to the ball to create the true heavy ball. Another point that I
want to really focus on is stacked shoulders here. By getting stacked shoulders you’re gonna get a lot better coil and get through position to where you’re gonna be able to get this leverage and hit the heavy ball. And the third and final is really a vertical swing, right? So if the leverage is up above the ball as my racquet is falling, I really want to make sure that I’m allowing that racquet to get below my wrist to where I’m really accelerating under the ball and really
on the outside of it. I think part of what we see are players trying to hit the heavy balls that are starting low
and they’re just going more like six to 12 on the ball and on the true heavy ball, although you’re going under the ball, you’re really going
from what six to three, you’re going on that
outside of the ball as well and getting that big windshield wiper. I think visually you’ll see this, too. I’m not sure if you
can see the yellow rope in the background here,
but it’s a big high target we’re trying to get you
hitting over the net and without that exact racket path, the ball has no chance of staying in the court, right, so
like a huge component to the heavy ball and why you have to use the semi-western foreign grip and hit so high over the net is ’cause the top spin, what goes up must come down and then it’s gonna jump back up again, right, so
you’re trying to create this arc over this big
yellow rope behind us that lends to the ball bouncing back up and pushing your opponent back, which creates the heaviness
that we’re gonna show you. – So the last little tidbit
here with this yellow line, you’ve got to have a target guys. So I know like when we were juniors, I’m a little bit older than Scott, insert joke here. But what we want to focus
on, like when I was a kid, we, you know, had these PVC pipes that had the big targets or whatever and honestly they may not have even been high enough. I would always try to aim over the window that the PVC piping gave me to focus on this heavy ball and
that’s what this yellow line is going to do. It’s going to give us a target to really make sure that we’re reaching because at that point we know we’re gonna get past the service line and that height is going to lend it to that big rebound off the court. All right. – Should we hit some, take a look? – Yeah, let’s jump in, show them what this heavy ball looks like compared to a flatter ball. So what we’ll do here, the first angle is going to be Scott and you’re gonna see his eastern grip and how
low he keeps the ball. We’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of that in a moment, but let’s first take a look at it and then I’ll come back around, I’ll hit a bigger heavier topspin ball, probably a better a ball and we’ll talk about the advantages
and disadvantages there as well. – All right guys, so as Nate mentioned, we have very different game styles. We first want to show you my forehand, which penetrates the court more. It’s not gonna go quite as high as Nate. It’s not as heavy as Nate’s ball is and I would say this is a ball that high level players are gonna use to attack when they see open court space. I myself prefer to dictate the point by penetrating the court more than using the heavy ball. It’s too different strategies, neither are wrong, but
we want to show you both, so we’ll first show you
my eastern foreign grip that’s gonna penetrate the court. You’re gonna notice that it’s a little bit below the yellow line,
but still pay attention, it’s still a couple of feet over the net. I’m still trying to make sure I’m never missing in the net. So let’s take a look first, my eastern forehand that’s gonna penetrate the court more, not come in as heavy and then we’ll take a
look at Nate’s heavier topspin ball that’s gonna
have a lot more net clearance. (ball whacking) All right guys, so as you can see there, both of my forehand and my backhand wing, I personally hit a flatter ball, an eastern forehand grip,
a very flat back hand, but the ball’s still clearing the net by a couple of feet. You’re just not gonna get that same height as you would on Nate’s ground strip to hit heavy, so what we’re gonna do now is we’re gonna switch sides. We’re gonna have Nate come over here and walk you through how he’s hitting the big heavy ball that
his normal rally ball. (ball whacking) – Okay, guys, so we’re gonna take another look at this and we’re gonna use a split screen to show
you a different angle and what I want you to notice too now is a little bit of the technique. Obviously the semi-western grip, but also the high take back with the stacked shoulders and allowing this racket to get into a lag and really this vertical swing of the ball where I’m getting this windshield wiper creating this heavy ball, this heavy effect. All right, let’s take a look at that now. (ball whacking) – All right, guys, so what you probably can’t see there, while you definitely should be able to see Nate’s ball, you know, really clearing the net, what you can’t see is all the way across the court and how
much it would push me back. So for me as a higher level player, the adjustment for me, especially with somebody, you know, somebody that has an eastern grip is I’m gonna step in and
take this on the rise, but that’s a hard thing to do for a lot of the recreational players that we coach and that’s what makes this so effective, so while Nate’s ball does a ton of damage, even to me, you know 5-0, 5-5 of a player, that same type of
heaviness is catastrophic at the recreational level because you guys aren’t as good at taking
the ball on the rise. So Nate’s ball or a big heavy ball that clears the net, that clears this big yellow rope is gonna do the damage that you’re looking for. That’s the importance of
hitting the ball heavy. – It’s margin for error, right guys? And that’s the main thing
is like you can really grow the court with this heavy ball by getting a player on the outer thirds of the court and just
like what Scott said, when he’s on, he’s a tough matchup because he’s taking everything early and taking my time away. But on an off day or on
player a weaker opponent, certainly the heavy ball, like I’m just not making
a ton of mistakes with it because the height above the net is really good and just really the topspin giving me the ability to aim fairly deep, feeling assured that it’s going to land in and this is where we want
you to really get out there and master the heavy ball. Do I flatten the ball out? Certainly, like if I
have Scott off the court, I’m trying to take time away. I’m gonna get lower and I’m gonna flatten that ball out to get the
ball to it’s target faster. But I think of the heavy forehand kind of like a jab, right. So like you’re only as
good as your jab, right. It’s like awesome if you’ve got a great knockout punch, but it’s not like you step out on the court and you’re immediately knocking people out unless you’re just playing someone totally not your level. All right, so guys, get
out there and remember the three things that we covered today. We talked about the semi-western grip, we talked about stacking the elbows, making sure the shoulders are stacked. All right, and then this
really nice vertical swing with the lag getting under the ball and getting this big windshield wiper. The cool thing, I really
think if you get out there and you just have a target and you stop being afraid of hitting deep, even if you don’t play with much spin, you’re gonna start to find this. – Yeah, it’s gonna force you to topspin and you may not have a big yellow rope you can drape across your court, but just give yourself the mental visual of I’ve got to aim this
higher than the net. – Yeah, guys. I hope you enjoyed this instruction. You know, our goal here at PlayYourCourt is certainly just to see you improve. We want so much for
you to take these tools and get out there and improve your game. – That said, that stuff is today for a very specific skill level, right? Like I know beginners are gonna have a really hard time figuring this out and I know high level players probably are already doing this stuff. So what we want to do, Nate and I, we want to give you the instruction that’s good for your specific skill level, so do us a favor, click the button or the link below, answer some questions for us about your specific skill level, whether you’re a beginner or a division I college tennis player, we’ll bring you into our community, well
send you some custom video coaching that’s
gonna help your specific skill level improve and not only that, we’ll pair you up with a
buddy just like Nate here so you can get out on the court and practice this stuff. So do us a favor, click the button or the link below, answer
some questions for us, jump inside our community. We’re really gonna take your game to the next level. Also, if you liked this video, or you just like Nate’s face, click the like button below. If you don’t like Nate’s face tell us why not. – It’s cool. – And definitely subscribe to our channel to make sure you don’t miss any of these fantastic videos we’re gonna send your way.

David Frank



  1. Christopher Fung Posted on May 27, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    nice video!going to test this on court tomorrow

  2. InfiniteQuest86 Posted on May 27, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Great video! Really funny too. I've actually been trying to lower my net clearance in the 4.0 rating so as not to be labeled a pusher or a moon baller. It's good to see this type of content to try to get rid of that stereotype. It would also be nice to see a more in-depth video on strategies to play against a heavy hitter. I also try to take it on the rise more because I know I'm going to get killed trying to take those heavy balls shoulder height or higher (which they tend to be if the opponent is really keeping it nice and deep). Lifetime member here (70 rating)!

  3. Rick Bonner Posted on May 27, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Nice video. Why not use a hybrid grip (in between an eastern and semi-western) and move that target line over the the service line on the opposite side of the court. You can hit a very heavy ball by using ulnar to radial flexion, or you can step in and drive the ball relatively flat with the same grip. Working on the various archs of the ball, depending where you put the flexion in your swing. Just a thought. Enjoy your video love the humor that you add to the game.

  4. Andy Garcia Posted on May 27, 2019 at 4:54 pm


  5. Samarth Bellur - The Audiocrat Posted on May 27, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    I don't think saying that the video ends before it actually does works anymore since everyone knows the length of the video beforehand 😅😅😅

  6. alfprieto Posted on May 27, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    You guys remind me of Louis Litt and Harvey Specter

  7. degrad9 Posted on May 27, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    thank u guys, good vid! my shots are usually rather short and low even with the semiwestern g., so I can't wait to put this to the test 🙂

  8. Benjamin Greb Posted on May 27, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Hey guys at PlayYourCourt, I''ve been trying to hit a heavy forehand for about a year now. Sometimes it works out, however, it is fairly inconsistent at times. I rarely miss the ball into the next, but I hit the ball long. I know you have never seen me play and it may be hard to help, but do you have any quick fixes for this type of issue? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks guys!

  9. David Radford Posted on May 27, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Great video but what do you mean by stacking the elbows and making sure the shoulders are stacked?

  10. Alen X Posted on May 27, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    What a ridicilous premise, that you can't hit a heavy ball with an eastern grip. Federer has almost as much spin as Nadal does on his forehand, he can hit flat penetrating shots aswell as heavy high arc shots.

  11. Chaz Beauchamp Posted on May 27, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    great vid

  12. DinkyDoodle Posted on May 27, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    I don't hit semi-western but can still do this (in between semi-western and eastern)

  13. Andrew Birch Posted on May 27, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks guys. Great video. Quick question.

    I find that I struggle to find my heavy spin and more fluid forehand strokes when there’s no pace on the ball coming back at me. Any advice on overcoming that so I can punish the pushers?

  14. diddyac Posted on May 27, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    is there somewhere we can buy that extra rope extender or did you make it yourself?

  15. Greg B Posted on May 27, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Heavy ballers kill me at the 3.5-4.0 level! I'll be awaiting 'how to defend the heavy baller' haha. I'm fairly good at defending my ground on the baseline with taking the ball on the rise, but feel like I should be attacking with approach swinging volley sometimes too. Thoughts?

  16. transklutz Posted on May 27, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    I don't understand "stacking the shoulders", they look level to me.

  17. David Sun Posted on May 28, 2019 at 12:38 am

    8:02 nate demo

  18. Carlos Angelino Posted on May 28, 2019 at 12:51 am

    With all due respect, but after watching you guys playing against Essential Tennis fellows, neither of you should consider your selves high level players. 5.0 at practice, 3.0, at best, playing…

  19. Randall Livingston Posted on May 28, 2019 at 1:31 am

    You guys talk too much.

  20. vubot1 Posted on May 28, 2019 at 3:38 am

    Nate, your grip looks more extreme than semi-western.

  21. shakabrah rob Posted on May 28, 2019 at 3:51 am

    I know this is not really the video topic, but do you guys know any tips for recoverig from elbow problems ( medial epicondilitis )
    Any good tips on elbow/arm/tendon health???

  22. Vincent Smith Jr Posted on May 28, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Great videos! How about tips on how to hit a ball that hits the net, dribbles over, with the opponent at the net too. Or when the ball hits the tape (line on the ground) and bounces awkwardly on a clay court. Great work guys, looking forward to the next video.

  23. King Trawal Posted on May 28, 2019 at 10:19 am

    So if you hit more flat like Agut and Del Potro, how high over the net should you be hitting your balls?

  24. Nick Denardi Posted on May 28, 2019 at 11:35 am

    bros when are we getting a Scott vs. Nate Exhibition Set w/ analysis?

  25. madridista1611 Posted on May 28, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Best video so far on your channel! Not that many jokes and good visual demonstrations!!

  26. Charles Kocun Posted on May 28, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Can you hit a heavy ball with a one handed backhand?

  27. Robert Mitchell Posted on May 28, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    nate bolling, that's a lot of effort for that look. 🙂 I dig your instruction

  28. Hoosier Bud Posted on May 28, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Rafa, Verdasco and "Bolling." DelPo and wise guy #2…..such humility. Great topic, but one of the worst tennis instructional videos I've ever seen. You guys don't really want to teach anything……just upload a bunch of selfies and you will be just as effective.

  29. Dave Porter Posted on May 28, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Awesome! Great humor and instruction….. I was more of a 6 to 12 hitter. Thx for the 6 to 3 image.

  30. Viscious Hattermaid Posted on May 28, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Scott is not a 5.0. Lol

  31. Austin Nale Posted on May 28, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Would love an elaboration on “stacked shoulders”

  32. jordanaus75 Posted on May 28, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Too much talking and not enough demonstrating

  33. Q Dixon Posted on May 28, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    How should I play somebody with the flatter ball when I play with a top spin forehand

  34. Glen Schneer Posted on May 28, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Very insightful video!
    My question is that it seems like a heavy ball would work very well in a singles match, what is the best way to utilize the heavy ball in a doubles match?


  35. Rob Lindley Posted on May 28, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    This is a technique I'm really struggling with I hit quite flat and even after I picked tennis up again and moved to a SW grip. I hit a lot of shanks and tighten up when I approach the ball. I also think that I'm late a lot of the time and try to go too vertical which probably exacerbates the problem. I am absolutely determined to get it right but its a real struggle. Sadly I'm UK based so can't take advantage of the online coaching but these videos are invaluable!

  36. Rik Kir Posted on May 29, 2019 at 12:35 am

    I’m guessing there’s no help for an old school player using a continental grip the past 50 years😱

  37. D Posted on May 29, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Awesome video Scott and Nate! Like Scott I grew up using the eastern forehand. During rally practice sessions I am trying to learn the semi-western modern forehand swing technique.

  38. MrTigerfan864 Posted on May 29, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Is a flatter or heavier ball better on clay? Or does it even matter the surface?

  39. capricornmagic63 Posted on May 29, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Far too much talking!! I cant imagine too many guys who are serious about being coached subjecting themselves to all this chatter. I've always felt that tennis coaches here on youtube seem to be in love with the sound of their own voices. Talk less, demonstrate more.

  40. Autran Macedo Posted on May 29, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    I member now!!!

  41. John S Posted on May 29, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Again guys this is not good. Be prepared to shank and miss and be put away and not being able to hit the winners when you need. Look at how much energy he is using. If you teach correctly you can easily tell your students why you don’t want to spin in so high. Flatten it out and use the spin with feel don’t swing below the ball. Geez geez geez

  42. davced1 Posted on May 30, 2019 at 12:17 am

    I have been courtside at Stockholm Open for many years and this is what I expected to see but the reality is most of the pros have much lower net clearance than this.

  43. Cameron Taidi Posted on May 30, 2019 at 1:05 am

    You guys talk too much

  44. Joel Posted on May 30, 2019 at 4:20 am

    I fast forward the video but I don't see demonstration. All was talking

  45. Omar maroc Posted on May 30, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Lot of talking not much of doing, thats What i have seen.

  46. RedStar6686 Posted on May 30, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    This is not how you hit a heavy ball. This is hitting a high ball over the net (which is good, and more players should get used to this), but the balls hit in this video are not "heavy", because the weight transfer from the player to the ball is incorrect.

  47. David M Posted on May 30, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Good video but a quick recap on grips or a link to a previous video that covered it would be good.

  48. nikos trixo Posted on May 30, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    You guys talk to much and play almost 0 to demonstrate

  49. James Dossan Posted on May 30, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Any chance you guys could talk less crap and be more proactive about teaching the lesson, players are watching this for the tips to better their game not for the comedy that the two of you constantly fail at.

  50. Eduardo Huerta Posted on May 31, 2019 at 12:18 am

    Terrible teachers! Have you heard the saying: monkey see, monkey do? Most learners are visual. Bla, bla, bla teaches absolutely nothing.

  51. G C Posted on May 31, 2019 at 12:44 am

    I like Nate's face 😁

  52. rfarris Posted on May 31, 2019 at 1:11 am

    4.0 USTA here. Though probably rusty enough to be playing a smidge lower presently.

  53. ray poon Posted on May 31, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    Scott really looks like the slimmer version of jack sock

  54. Jason Cragholm Posted on May 31, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks guys! Good tip.

  55. Penn Su Posted on June 1, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Would you consider a Djokovic style where it is a very spinny "flat" ball, that doesn't have the Nadal style bounces a "heavy" ball as well?

  56. mishko32 Posted on June 11, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Is it correct to hit a ball while standing and turning on your rear leg? My tennis teacher freaks out when I do that, like You din on 7.30?

  57. Liam A Posted on June 25, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Youse look like jack sock and benoit paire