Bradford Athletics

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Bradford Tennis Tips - Strokes

How to Hit a Tennis Forehand

Are your forehand ground strokes not making it over the net? Try these steps to improve not only your skills, but your enjoyment of the game.

  • STEP 1: Position yourself just inside the court's baseline and near the center line.
  • STEP 2: Keep your feet at the width of your shoulders.
  • STEP 3: Hold the racket at about waist level directly in front of you.
  • STEP 4: Bend your knees slightly. You should be able to feel some strain on the quadriceps muscles in your thighs.
  • STEP 5: As the ball is hit toward you, turn your shoulders to the right (or left, if you're left-handed). Lower the racket head toward the playing surface.
  • STEP 6: Pivot on your right (or left) foot. With your other foot, step forward and across your body and plant this foot pointed at a 45-degree angle toward the right (or left) net post. At the same time, swing the racket backward while pulling it up from the ground.
  • STEP 7: Stop the backswing when the head of the racket is slightly below waist level and your arm is extended and relaxed. The racket, and your arm, should be perpendicular to the net.
  • STEP 8: Wait for a split second. Before the ball reaches you, pause for a moment by holding the racket in the backswing position.
  • STEP 9: Begin driving the racket forward with your shoulders. Try not to allow your arm to change position and exert more pressure on the swing. Grip the racket firmly but avoid squeezing the handle too hard.
  • STEP 10: With the ball at waist height (and you bending or straightening your knees accordingly), continue the swing, making contact with the ball at a point slightly in front of your body.
  • STEP 11: Follow through by driving the racket forward so that it ends up above your shoulders, pointing up to the sky and in the direction of the ball you just hit.
  • STEP 12: Quickly get back into original position for the next shot.


  • Always pull the racket back as soon as the ball is approaching your forehand side. Your backswing should come from the shoulders, not the arm.
  • If you have to hit a running forehand, push your momentum up from the foot opposite to your forehand side. For example, use your left foot to lean into a ball hit to your right side.
  • Try to hit the ball on the sweet spot (middle area) of the racket. This gives you a solid forehand by maximizing the efficiency of the shot.
  • Using a two-handed forehand is quite difficult. If you're a beginner, learn the one-handed approach for more control and power. Leave the two-handed technique for your backhand.