How To Hit A “Heavy” Forehand – Tennis Lesson

Today we show you how to hit a “heavy” forehand. This video is for players with a PlayYourCourt rating of 50 to 80.Hey, guys, Nate, Scott from Play Your Court. Today we’re going to show you 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.

The Yellow Line Zone

This yellow line, this thing is an amazing tool. We’re going to draw back, we’re going to 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. But this is the zone above the net that we should be hitting if we want to hit the heavy ball.

The heavy ball vs. fast ball

I know a lot of you rec players are looking at this thinking, dudes, that’s not going to stay in the court if I hit the ball that high, but it will, we promise. 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.

tennis instruction  - heavy ball technique

The grip is key

So then we see the heavy ball, right, and the heavy ball of guys like Nadal and Verdasco and they have their place, too. I think the big thing to point out, the key differential is grips, right. So with a heavy ball you absolutely are going to want to 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.

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.

Three steps to hitting a heavy ball

  • So step one, semi-western grip is going to 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 going to get a lot better coil and get through position to where you’re going to 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 going to 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 going to show you.

Game styles

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 going to 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 going to 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 going to penetrate the court. You’re going to 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 going to penetrate the court more, not come in as heavy and then we’ll take a look at Nate’s heavier topspin ball that’s going to have a lot more net clearance. 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 going to get that same height as you would on Nate’s ground strip to hit heavy, so what we’re going to do now is we’re going to switch sides. We’re going to have Nate come over here and walk you through how he’s hitting the big heavy ball that his normal rally ball.

You’re only as good as your jab

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 going to get lower and I’m going to 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. So like you’re only as good as your jab. 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 going to start to find this.


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 going to 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 tennis beginner or a division I college tennis player, we’ll bring you into our community, well send you some custom video coaching that’s going to 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 tennis community. We’re really going to 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.

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