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TENNIS FOREHAND TECHNIQUE | What To Do With Your Off Hand On The Forehand

Alright tennis fans, coaches, players, really great to have you at this video today. This is Jeff Salzenstein, out in Denver, Colorado today, it’s bright sunshine,
and we’re happy to be here to help you. Today’s video is about the forehand, and it’s about the off-hand and the off-arm. I’m a big stickler on the off-hand and the off-arm, why? Because it helps you with your balance. Because it helps connect your body. And coaches out there, for the most part, are forgetting about this all-important step.
They’re focusing more on what the swing arm and swing hand are doing, and what the body is doing instead of what this the rest of the body is doing, instead of this off-hand and off-arm, and what we see sometimes with players,
and this is what I want to point out today, is when players get ready to swing, this arm drops. So basically, right before the swing, this arm drops and then the swing happens, then the arms are not connected. You want the arms to be connected when you swing. So, see if you can become aware of not dropping this arm right before you go to make contact. You’re going to want to keep that arm up. So, I’m going to bring Max in, who has a very good forehand, and he’s going to show us how that arm is dropping when he hits, and you’re going to see, kind of, how awkward
that looks. It just doesn’t look right. And then, we’re also going to have him hit it
where he keeps his hand up the whole time, and really exaggerates it. So, that’s a really big key if you study the pros. You’re just not going to see this arm dropping or moving a lot. It’s going to be very steady. So, let’s go ahead and get Max into this lesson, and he’s going to show us the wrong way and the right way to do things. Alright, we’ve got Max here. He’s going to demonstrate the forehand, where the off-hand is dropping before contact, which is going to disconnect you. It’s going to throw you off. It’s not the best, most efficient way to hit the forehand, and of course, we’re going to have him, have him keep that arm up. You ready to go, Max? Okay. So, I’m going to toss some balls to him, just to make it easy for us to get what we’re looking for. His arm’s going to go up, and then it’s going to drop early. It might even drop more than that, down like that. There you go. So now, you can kind of see that his body is not really connected; he’s just swinging with his arm. Of course, we don’t want to have you guys see too many of the incorrect techniques on the forehand, so this time, he’s going to hold that off-hand up and steady. He’s going to really try to keep it up and steady. There you go. Very, very good. And the reference point, you want that
off-hand about a shoulder height. Okay, and you really don’t want it- that’s a big forehand he’s got there. It’s getting bigger and bigger. So, really proud of Max here, he’s worked really hard. Couple years ago, I don’t think he could have done this. Now, he’s hitting some big forehands. Sometimes they go on the fence,
sometimes they’re magical. Most of the time they’re magical. But that’s- one of the reasons is because his off-hand, you can see that off-hand really staying up. It’s not dropping, it’s helping him with his balance. I really hope you got a ton of value out of today’s short video lesson, and you can go apply it to your game right away. Now, if you want to be a part of our growing worldwide tennis community and get the best online tennis lessons on the planet, go ahead and click below, and we’re going to help you go to the next level. I’m really, really looking forward to helping you in the future with your tennis.

David Frank



  1. Kevin Doan Posted on September 17, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Sometimes they are magical…

  2. Erich Plate Posted on November 15, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Jeff, i have a question, i do drop my arm, and i only noticed it now that i watched this video. I have been working on my forehand trying to improve it. I notice that Max almost catches his racket with his off hand. Is that something good to do? perhaps to make sure all the rotation is going well? Thanks

  3. DINESH SINHA Posted on December 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    thanks a lot fot this vedio—what a great mistake I was doing but somehow I want to increase my racket speed

  4. Samir Vinchurkar Posted on January 12, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Hi Jeff: A tennis coach once told me that in the neutral stance I need to push out of my front leg also; is that biomechanically possible; I can only manage to transfer my weight to my front leg. I can't push out of it, should I even try??
    thanks for your opinion. appreciate your time.

  5. Mark Pratt Posted on March 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Still awaiting the reply from Jeff? Maybe I can help you out, I am tennis coach from Germany. Weight transfer from your back leg to your front leg is enough when blasting groundstrokes. You can jump off your front foot and land on your front foot when playing your forehand as an approach shot from inside the court. Best regards

  6. Mark Pratt Posted on March 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    No need to catch the racket. Some people do it, others don´t. But: Dropping your arm is no good, because you block your swing by doing that. Doesn´t feel it awkward to you?

  7. Samir Vinchurkar Posted on March 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Mark, thanks for the reply; I have been trying to evaluate this for both forehand and backhand during my play; and it seems for my two handed backhand I certainly need to push out of the front leg as well. For the forehand I completely agree with you. Nowadays you don't get the time to push out of your front leg during forehands. greetings Samir

  8. Spartan-Surfer Posted on April 20, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Thanks so much for this extremely fucked up forehand of mine. Going to working on between surf sessions this summer here in Honolulu. I can not believe I couldn't figure this out. Starting tennis in 1979…surfing since 1969.

  9. Mantarraya Rodman Posted on May 3, 2013 at 3:04 am

    Your student is catching the racquet which is not recommendable because that limits his whole body, he is still only using his arm, he is not transferring his weight, but what you say about the left arm is correct.

  10. BODYBUILDING EXPERTISE Posted on May 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Dear Jeff, %Mostly you give extremly good advises. The left hand was my main problem in my tennis and I corrected it, its not perfect but its done. However there are some pro players letting the left hand fall down after a correct "shoulder high" preparation. Just watch DEL POTRO… But you are right its better to stay at the shoulder height, and go then with the elbow back behind the left body side…..THANKS A LOR JEFF!!

  11. Bill DeMartini Posted on May 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    You are wrong here.

  12. Mantarraya Rodman Posted on May 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    You say I'm wrong but you don't say why, It's kind of obvious you have no idea. I'm saying this because we received students from other tennis academies who were making the same mistake, ONLY USING THEIR ARM, so what happened next? They had elbow and shoulder fatigue because they weren't using their whole body to hit the ball, we changed their technique showing how to transfer weight, we taught them not to catch the racquet, the pain was gone and their forehand was more powerful. Let me know why

  13. Bill DeMartini Posted on May 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    You say he's using only his arm, but he is CLEARLY pushing off his back foot into the shot and starting his body rotation from there. Look at his hips.

  14. Mantarraya Rodman Posted on May 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I'm SO SORRY, that's not a weight transfer, he is staying half way on his shot, he should end up on the opposite side were he started his forehand, and you know why he can't face the opposite side? Because he is limiting his shot by catching the racquet… Take a look at Federer's, Del Potro's, and Murray's forehand. So he is only using his arm here.

  15. Mili Split Method Posted on May 23, 2013 at 10:10 am

    1. Absolutely true… LEFT hand is so crucial and very often
    the reason why people have problem with Forehand and backhands (spin and slice).


    2. People who are not "deep" in tennis, try to analyze strokes by
    watching top players during the match. Bad idea, usually. It is better to watch
    warning up. Why? Because then they are using "other" arm more obvious …

    3. How 4sure to fix and memorize it is my field 🙂

  16. Mili Split Method Posted on May 23, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I was expecting these comments here as I have been asked 1000 times:
    How come top world don't use other hand in forehand?
    Answer: Sure they do, but they do it so fast – bending their left arm up and letting to fall down … They all do it – LOOK AT THE PHOTOS (off hand) … as a proof that left works like crazy to pull ie to initiate the hit:


  17. geepeeone Posted on May 31, 2013 at 8:01 am

    I love that your back fence has a small uncovered square in order for people to hang their video cameras should they choose to.

  18. Isy235667 Posted on June 14, 2013 at 8:54 am

    good point made!

  19. Sanj thaker Posted on June 17, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Hi Jeff, which racket is being used in this racket? I have a tennis elbow problem, and this frame looks like it ma be suitable?

  20. BODYBUILDING EXPERTISE Posted on June 27, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Hi Jeff, great video, great consulting, but…there are exception out there! DEL POTRO is the best example, his left hand is falling down after the first preparation….His hand drops!

  21. Hugh Smith Posted on July 1, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Great reminder.. We often fall into bad habits as you aptly described.

  22. Cayyolu Tenis Kursu Posted on July 5, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    nice video

  23. WIS Posted on August 29, 2013 at 2:34 am

    very helpful, thanks

  24. bogs cuesta Posted on November 23, 2013 at 11:41 am

    nice thanks brow… big help..:)

  25. Nishant Mistry Posted on December 6, 2013 at 11:01 am


  26. Gaston Esteban Otaegui Posted on December 11, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Is it wrong to grab the racket (the throat) with my off hand ? Because i realize that i do that in most of my forehands, am i lossing power or something for doing it ?

  27. Multilayered Posted on January 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks i have an ugly forehand and always find myself backing offto my right to try and get backhand strikes ill practise this every day for a while

  28. EuniceJP Posted on March 3, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    very helpful. Thank you

  29. Roman C Posted on April 11, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Jeff, shouldn't he move a bit more in between shots and bend his knees? 😉

  30. fred chittenden Posted on May 5, 2014 at 4:42 am

    Excellent and often overlooked part of a quality tennis game.  All top players, and especially men's pro ATP players, have highly accentuated opposite arm movement as part of their forehand strokes.  That's where their easy power, control and (tennis elbow) injury prevention comes from.

    I regularly warm up on the pulley weight machine at the club (25 lbs for starters as a guy?), initiating my forehand with an opposite arm movement straight across an imaginary net, tracking an imaginary ball to the impact point.  The elbow tucks just under the shoulder at finish. The opposite arm adds core movement and power to the stroke, much like a skater's arm movement adds spins to their spin jumps. 

    Test it yourself, hold your opposite arm to your side with your stroke on the pulley weight machine…  Repeat a few times…  Then add in the opposite arm pulling across an imaginary net.  Repeat.  See how much easier it is?   Add ten pounds and repeat…  You might not even be able to complete your stroke without your opposite are movement with higher weights…   Don't force it — without the opposite arm, you can hurt yourself with over 30 lbs, just like you can on the tennis court when not using your opposite arm… 

    Resistance bands (with a door jam attachment) can provide an excellent way to strengthen and add muscle memory with opposite arm movement to your strokes away from the club's exercise equipment…  Place the attachment near the floor and add in upward knee movement and you may really start to feel it at 25 reps or so…  If not, add another band or stronger bands…..  

  31. tom baker Posted on August 18, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Mad Max got a real nice forehand. What's he up to, playing D1 college?

  32. Mohanraj Periasamy Posted on October 18, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Nice vedio….I didn't get 4th one..can you please explain

  33. Féroce Wulff Posted on November 8, 2014 at 3:15 am

    Can i have a little help to get more precise on my serve … I will make some video in the near futur to show you … I got realy good pace … I got about 200kph last time i checked i toped a 195 … But i miss something cuz i dont have alot of precision … Please help me

  34. Aki79 Posted on December 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Great lesson. I am teaching my kids this exact thing. Keep in mind that this takes months to perfect. So don't give up.

  35. Haoliang Xu Posted on October 16, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    excellet. That's really useful. I didn't notice that before

  36. Matej Reacts Posted on October 24, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    started training tennis 1 year ago

  37. Tennis Conditioning Posted on December 28, 2016 at 3:02 am

    pretty nice!

  38. James Peters Posted on September 1, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I totally agree. The off hand is key for balance and proper spacing from the ball….and of course in preparation. Great little BIG tip😉

  39. Balbisiana A Posted on September 5, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Now I can appreciate matches that have players who use forehands ? Thanks

  40. David Posted on December 4, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Do you start the swing by pulling the offhand out of the way first? It looks like many pros do that or do you start the forehand pushing off your leg? In particular it looks like Agassi would yank his offhand out of the way forcefully to initiate the swing.

  41. SuperConnie Posted on December 10, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Is Max your son?

  42. James Peters Posted on March 2, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Jeff – this is a really important tip! Its so easy to overlook. Im always impressed by the quality of your you tube vids. I hope your business is thriving!

  43. James Peters Posted on March 2, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Jeff – just to add to your video for those people who question this this tips validity…. Please reference YouTube video Rodger Federer forehand slow motion Indian Wells 7-22-17 you will see Rodger doing EXACTLY what Jeff is teaching here.

  44. Tennis Evolution - Online Tennis Lessons Posted on March 8, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Forehand myths debunked: Former Top 100 ATP Pro, Jeff Salzenstein, is exposing 3 common myths that could be crippling your forehands potential. Most players make at least 1 of these 3 mistakes… Do you? https://goo.gl/wFTLG7

  45. Lance Jordan Posted on August 6, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Jeff, I love you videos, but as soon as I saw this I immediately thought of Juan Martin Del Potro. because he clearly does heavily drop, but then swing his off hand, still engaging good shoulder rotation. We all know he has perhaps the biggest forehand the game has ever seen. But I get what you're talking about here, and I expect it's good advice for us mere mortals. But let us know what you think about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY6o5m3jRfs
    On the other hand, we can clearly see that Federer (GFOAT?) clear does what you're talking about.

  46. Beerpal Beerpal Posted on October 17, 2018 at 2:50 pm



  47. EventHorizon Posted on December 8, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    You are talking about "majical", "wonderful", etc. This is not helpful. The IDEA is correct, but you are not actually explaining how to achieve this "majic", what to actually DO to make it happen.
    For example:
    1. Stretch the Active Non-Dominant arm along the baseline (as if pointing to the ball where you are going to hit it. This happens after you use the non-dominant arm to bring the raquet all the way back, of course, in the "ready" position as soon as you determine that the ball is going to your forehand).
    2. "Catch The Raquet" at the end of the stroke. (Just like most Top Pros do it: Federer, etc).
    And you probably could add to the above "recipe", by telling us what happens inbetween those two steps: does the torso-shoulders cause the non-dominant arm to move, or the non-dominant arm causes torso-shoulders to move (rotate), aiding in powerful "uncoiling" effect, increasing torque and Effortless Power.