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Wrist action – forehand topspin – All about Tennis HD

Hi! This is Markus Hantschk from „All about
Tennis“. As this is my first video in English please bear with me if my English isn’t
perfect. But as some people asked me to also produce english versions of my videos I’ve
given it a try. Ok, let’s start. This video is an answer to some viewer’s question.
How does the wrist action of a forehand topspin work?
The most important job of the wrist is bringing the raquet-head up from down here and putting
the topspin into the ball as I already explained in my German Forehand-Video. I always describe
this as a wiping movement, just like a windscreen wiper on the car.
I am really surprised how many players spend so many thoughts on the wrist and what it‘s
doing in every phase of the stroke, even though the wrist-action is an important part of the
stroke. Some of your thoughts are going into extreme
detail. But let me tell you something – you don’t have much time to think and care about
too many little things while hitting a ball. You learn this stroke by concentrating on
the essential important movements, everything else is just a lot of practise.
However it can be useful to go into detail, if somebody has a special weakness in a certain
stroke or in a part of a stroke. As the wrist-action appears to be a very interesting part for
many players, I‘ve decided to make a Video about it and explain the things I do as exactly
as possible. When I play a forehand or backhand topspin,
I always talk about this wiping-motion of the wrist, to get the topspin into the ball.
I bring the racket straight up from down here, when the ball is already descending. I can
also close my racket a bit more and make this wiping-motion more forward. This is necessary
when I take a ball that is still rising as I take it very early just after it bounced.
This way I prevent the ball from bouncing up from my racket and flying far too long.
At this point I would like to take a closer look at this wrist-action again as there are
many discussions about that. Can I turn the wrist this way to bring the rackethead up?
Yes I can. But which joint is actually making that movement possible? The forearm is responsible
for turning my wrist. Is this important or necessary to know for a tennis player? No.
I would even go that far to say that it is confusing giving the player far more information
than needed, to improve. And don’t forget the limited time you have to practice effectively
and concentrate on the important things. So I prefer to talk about the wrist making the
racket go up and putting the spin into the ball, since the focus should be on the wrist.
I separate the forehand stroke into 3 phases: Firstly the take-back oft he racket, then
the phase of accelerating the racket and finally hitting the ball and than the finish of the
swing. My take-back is pretty extensive. As I’m
not hitting the ball yet, my wrist and my complete arm is still very relaxed at this
time. You can see that, because my hand is hanging down back there pretty relaxed. This
is a peculiarity of myself that you could do differently. Doing it this way for example,
the wrist and the racket would be already in a more useful position to start the swing.
However, the arm should be as relaxed as possible in this phase. At the end of the take-back
down here, I bring the racket in the right position, just before I start to accelerate
the racket towards the ball. The rackethead shows back and down a bit, and this side of
the racket shows slightly to the floor. Now the 2. Phase starts as I start to hit
the ball. Firstly I accelerate my racket by swinging my arm and rotating my upper body.
At this starting point my wrist and forearm are still relaxed. My racket stays back for
a short moment while my arm is already swinging. You can compare this with a car accelerating
from a standing position and your body and head is pushed into the seat. Shortly after
starting the swing and before I hit the ball, I start to turn my wrist, to bring the racket
up. At that moment my arm and wrist aren’t relaxed anymore. The grip tightens up and
my wrist and forearm have to work very hard to get the racket-head up in a perfect way
to touch the ball and put the topspin into it. It is very important that the ball doesn’t
push the racket back or up when hitting it. Otherwise I would lose control over the ball
and send it way beyond the line. The focus lies almost completely on the wrist and the
wiping movement. I always try to not actively hit the ball with the wrist because that would
results in a loss of control. Of course, during the wiping movement of the
wrist, the wrist comes a bit to the front. There the wrist just returns to its natural
position as it initially gets pushed back a bit due to the acceleration. Once you hit
the ball the arm and wrist can relax a bit again. But for me it’s very important to
completely swing the racket through to it’s final position. As the racket is extremely
fast whil hitting the ball it takes a bit of strength to control the final swing. Therefore
the wrist and arm can’t quite relax as much as during the take-back of the racket.
Ok, this is pretty much all I have to say about the wrist action during the topspin
forhand. My advise is to concentrate on the most important thing and this is the wiping
movement of the wrist. A lot of the other things come automatically through intensive
training and increasing power of the stroke. I hope this video was helpful for you. As
always I’m going to wish you a lot of fun whilst practising and really appreciate your
thumbs up. Until next time. See you.

David Frank



  1. poida smith Posted on December 23, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Season's Greetings Markus! I hope this finds you well. Thank you for putting this most helpful video up, you've done a fantastic job with the translation (you're English is as good as your forehand) and production (great that you have done closed captioning!) on this very controversial topic (at least controversial among coaches it seems LOL).

    I like how you have explained the phases of the stroke and the "associated feelings" of the wrist and arm with respect to the motions. Many coaches are of the view that you need to keep the arm and wrist relaxed throughout the swing however it's interesting to note that you have more or less said the opposite. To be clear, you are saying that this wiper movement of the forearm is crucial to hitting topspin and that it is an active movement in the player, at least from your perspective, meaning, it will not happen unless there is an "intention" to integrate it into the stroke. This would suggest to me that a player could/should do specific exercises to train the movement. I would be interested in your thoughts on this, as you've suggested it is a vital part of the stroke.

    It would be wonderful if you could do "closed caption English versions" of your other videos! hint, hint!! 🙂 Then you don't have to shoot new video! All the best, look forward to hearing back from you soon, and have a wonderful holiday season.

  2. honkeyness Posted on January 25, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    How did I miss this? Thank you Marcus! As I said a while back – I was advised by multiple people to keep the wrist, grip and arm relaxed through the entire swing (that was how all pros hit they said) and I was getting very inconsistent spin and trajectory. You would be amazed at the number of teachers who advise to keep the wrist, arm, and grip loose at the contact phase.

    Please do some more videos in english – you should be getting a lot of views.

  3. Dan Le Posted on July 26, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Thank you for your analysis of the wrist action but personally I feel that there is still a lack of including the elbow action together with wrist action in many analyses. I think from the back swing to contact: the elbow goes down to bring the racket head downward in the back swing; forwarding the elbow to make sure hitting the ball in front, and forwarding the elbow to assist the loose wrist to be in laid back position. The forwarding of elbow with loose wrist laid back to hit the ball – while the forearm pronates to make the wrist release forward and upward to hit the ball.

    Do you agree that wrist action cannot be discussed alone without bring up the topic of elbow in to the picture?


  4. Yiming Zhang Posted on August 26, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Great video. Could you add English subtitles to rest of your videos?

  5. wh hw Posted on September 23, 2016 at 11:33 am

    thank you for this video!

  6. Dave Seah Posted on December 6, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Great video, good english too, well done …

  7. dionisis11 Posted on December 6, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks! You answered all of my questions in jsut one video

  8. ShuXiong Bao Posted on December 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Your english is good man, awesome tips

  9. Tennis Lessons Review Posted on February 10, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Excellent English! However, the idea of focusing on the wrist is not a good idea. Little, if any power or control comes from the wrist. You have the tail wagging the dog, instead of the dog wagging the tail…sorry.

  10. Ronnie Mcinerney Posted on March 29, 2017 at 7:54 am

    your english is great ,good video.most people cant speak german,thanks.

  11. Ronnie Mcinerney Posted on March 29, 2017 at 8:04 am

    i think its more about the path of the racket to create topspin.less about the wrist.if you lead with hips the racket will naturally lag.i dont encourage using wrist unless your a very advanced player.i respect you very much that your talking english,its great.

  12. Michael Padilla Posted on April 2, 2017 at 5:17 am

    Thank you for making this very helpful video. Please keep them coming. Also, your English is superb. PS An English video on the one handed topspin drive would be greatly appreciated and helpful to many.

  13. frank mancuso Posted on June 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Any tips for wrist pain??

  14. Fernando Lobo Posted on August 1, 2017 at 10:23 am

    great video, you really broke down the stroke and talked about the key elements, keep them coming!

  15. Mark Chow-Young Posted on November 24, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Your English is perfectly fine, thanks for video.

  16. Hector Moret Posted on March 5, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Muchas gracias por compartir,muy clara y concisa tu explicaciòn,un gran abrazo,desde Argentina.

  17. Hong Kong Federer fan Posted on March 14, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Good work Markus! Even without the English version, I can still pick up your instructions and my serve and forehand has improved significantly! I pick up some German on the process too!

  18. PEERAPONG S-ANAN Posted on March 21, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Thanks for English version really clear speech and sound.

  19. Manuel Soto Posted on May 25, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Great video…excellent English

  20. kawavids Posted on July 5, 2018 at 4:50 am

    Fine video! I'd like to see a lesson on the difference between the topspin and drive forehand.

  21. ripleygordon Posted on September 23, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Your style has a big take back, akin to Juan Martin del Potro, looks powerful though Markus. Very thorough explanation too. Gordon