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Role Of The Wrist In Tennis – Part 1 – The Forehand

Hi guys Nick here from intuitive tennis.
This is going to be a four part video series on the role of the wrist in
tennis and in this video we’re going to talk about the role of the wrist on the
forehand. There are different movements of the
wrist on the forehand and it starts off in the take-back. So players will
have a different wrist position in the take-back and that is according to what
feels good to the individual player. Some players will have a wrist flexion as
they take the racquet back and then the wrist will straighten out and then
go into an extension as they drop the racket like this and other players like
to keep the wrist neutral as they take it back like this and then they go into the
wrist extension phase or other players set the wrist early on in the take-back.
They will have the wrist extended immediately and then as they initiate
the racquet drop the wrist really doesn’t move anymore it’s already set in
place. The primary role of the wrist at contact
is control and not power. If we use the wrist for power on the contact we’re
going to lose control immediately so we don’t want to have wrist flexion at
contact there’s some recreational players that kind of snap the wrist like
this once they make contact with a ball and there’s absolutely no way to control
the ball if you do this. The ball will just spray long most of the time and
to create this control on the forehand we maintain the wrist extension right
after contact and this is true even for players that have a massive topspin and
there’s really no active wrist movements upward wrist movement or this would be
radial deviation or pronation like this. The wrist is passive at contact this is
true even for Nadal. So what happens is, the wrist will maintain passive as
the racket starts to go up and then maybe the wrist gets activated once
the tip of the racket is pointing towards the sky, but the or the ball has
already left the racket and it really has no effect on the ball. There are
several reasons why the wrist must be passive at contact with the ball.
Reason number one is control. So any wrist movement at contact we’re going to
have immediate loss of control, whether the wrist goes into flexion at contact
or it goes into the radial deviation. We’re not going to be able to control
the ball as well as we can do it if we maintain a passive wrist and have the
body’s rotation have the racquet go up and across this way. Another reason for
using a passive wrist at contact with the ball is injury prevention. If we
indeed would use the wrist actively and the risk of injury is very high. This is a
very delicate part of our body and we must not use this small delicate fragile
piece of our body to create power. In other words we must use the bigger muscle
groups and the core of the body use the body’s rotation to gain our
swing path and therefore the wrist will be protected as we strike the forehands
and very aggressively. Once the racquet reaches this level where
the tip of the racquet is pointing towards the sky we can indeed a use our wrist a
little bit if that feels good to the individual player and there’s nothing
wrong with keeping the wrist in the extended phase all the way through and
the finish like this and many ATP and WTA players and have this technique on
some of their shots. If you feel better having a little bit of wrist flexion
the bending of the wrist on the finish you can see Federer does this
occasionally and Rafael Nadal also. Then there’s really no danger or no harm by
doing this. So basically you make contact and then once the ball leaves the racquet,
the racquet takes this position and then you can bend the wrist a little and this
might feel good for some players For the recreational player is very
important to understand that the wrist is used for control and not power and we
must use the extended position of the wrist when the wrist is in the L shape
it helps us maintain this angle of the racquet which is parallel to the net and
this is what’s gonna give us the most control. Even on flat strokes or topspin
strokes it’s gonna help us maintain a steady racquet face. What I don’t want to
see from recreational players is having an active wrist flexion and this will
give you zero control and you will gain power, but you will have a very difficult
time and keeping the ball in play if you snap the wrist forward like this at
contact. I want to try two different forehands, one with an extended wrist from the setup stage, the loop, the racket drop, the contact and the finish all in an
extended wrist position. Something you see on a WTA Tour and then I’m gonna try to
have a little bit more of a wrist flexion on the take-back like this and
then as I go into the forward phase, the wrist will go into an extension and then
after contact it will go back into a flexion and we’ll see the differences
between these two forehands. Let me first hits one with an extended wrist
through the entirety of the stroke and this actually feels very solid to me I
feel like the contact is clean every time. I’m not using the wrist at all and
let me try now with a little bit more of a looser wrist. I want to add that this is
not my forehand and some players have more rhythm, more power with this
technique, but in my case I feel like I’m losing a little bit of control and maybe
I’m gaining a little bit of spin so you can play around with these different
styles, but no matter what style you have you must have a clean contact with a
passive wrist at the most important stage of the stroke which is the contact. Radial deviation and ulner deviation
play a role on specialty forehands such as the angle forehand, the low
forehand, or the topspin lob where we do indeed use the radial deviation to make
the racket go up. This is one exception where we are actively using
the wrist and so on a low ball we are going to have ulner deviation to get
down towards the ball and then as we flip the ball up like this we’re using
radial deviation. Another ball that we use this type of movement is a topspin lob and we were not really swinging with full rotation we are basically using a
smaller part of our body to get the ball up to the desired target, which in this
case is the topspin lob. On a cross-court angle shot is very similar. We might get
this angle of the racket face and again we’re looking for a small sharp angle
and we’re not going to take a completely full swing and we’re using a smaller
part of the body to achieve this desired angle in this case it is radial
deviation the flicking of the wrist upward to get that sharp cross-court
angle. Join me two weeks from now where I discuss the role of the wrist on both the one-handed backhand and the two-handed backhand. As for now I want to
thank you for watching this video, please hit that like button, subscribe if you
haven’t already and I’ll see you next time.

David Frank



  1. kjfoehr Posted on March 8, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks, good info. What about the swinging volley? It looks like Krygios flexes his wrist at contact when hitting them.

  2. Kevin Law Posted on March 8, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Great advice, wish I saw your video sooner! For a while, I experimented with forcing wrist extension and flexion through my forehand. Gave me extra power and I could control it. However, I tried doing this for an extended amount of time in a tennis tournament and finished with a TFCC injury, which I still have today. Don't force your wrists, it's not worth it!

  3. Mauricio Castro Posted on March 8, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Another fantastic video for the already fantastic collection of the best instruction available. It does not need all the fanfare and deception that other self called experts provide. Simple. Accurate and incredible helpful. I do hope people grasp the dimension of having such great lessons. Thank you again and again

  4. George Oberlander Posted on March 8, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Very thorough treatment of the forehand wrist topic, Nick! I wonder if, with the Western forehand, there is actually wrist deviation right at ball contact, unlike forehands with the semi-Western or Eastern grips. I've briefly experimented with the Western forehand and I find it hurts my wrist because of the seeming necessity of rotating it right at ball contact.

    Also, will you be treating the use of the wrist in the serve?

  5. catalin simescu Posted on March 8, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    Interesting topic ,very well explained.
    Thank you and waiting for more quality videos from you.
    All the best.

  6. Patrick McCall Posted on March 8, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Another great video Nick. So informative and precise compared to other channels. Really looking forward to this series.

  7. Edu Gurian Posted on March 8, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    Nick is one of the best tennis coach for sure! Excellent explanation about the role of the wrist on forehand. Waiting for explanation about the role of backhand´s. Thanks!!!

  8. Dire Wolf Posted on March 9, 2019 at 2:49 am

    There is a wrist movement on contact.. but you have to keep the wrist loose in preparation… dont lock your wrist from the start

  9. Don Ho Posted on March 9, 2019 at 4:50 am

    Excellent video, as always!

  10. Omar Sultanov Posted on March 9, 2019 at 6:47 am

    Important topic. Great analysis!
    I'd just call it "fixed wrist" instead of a "passive wrist" but it's not that important given tonns of absolutely amazing insight which hopefully would save thousands of people from injuries and frustrations. 👍👏😊

  11. Doug Martin Posted on March 9, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Awesome instruction. Thank you for posting.

  12. Robert Renk Posted on March 9, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you such useful information.

  13. Ruggero Sale Posted on March 9, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Excellent video again Nick!
    Could you just add a few thoughts on Supination and Pronation on the Forehand please?
    I had the impression that you at least supinate the wrist ( eastern and semi-western ) during the takeback?
    Thanks in advance and looking forward to the next wrist videos 👍

  14. Li Wei Posted on March 10, 2019 at 2:39 am

    It's true that followthrough has no effect on the ball, but it can tell how the body hit the ball. I watched in slow mo and found that you keep your wrist in extension way too long than any top players in the world after the contact point, so you were pushing not brushing the ball, thus lack of spin? Open to discussion, thanks anyway.

  15. Alen X Posted on March 10, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Pretty good video, but you forgoet to mention one more special shot where radial deviation happens.
    The banana shot 🙂


  16. Ernest Lin Posted on March 13, 2019 at 10:55 am

    the best video for tennis players

  17. Krishna Raju Posted on April 1, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Top class instructions . thanks !

  18. Joel Hamm R.Ac. Posted on April 9, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    This is truly fantastic advice. I am critical of close to 100% of online tennis instruction, and this might be the first time I have witnessed a flawless analysis. Bravo! You have gained a new fan. 👍

  19. Charles Barton Posted on May 5, 2019 at 11:09 am

    a passive wrist is not the best selection of words here.( I think stable would be better)..however I love this guy,one of the best

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