Biomechanics of Baseline Strikes in Tennis

Sequence of movements required in sequential order, for single handed forehand and backhand strikes in a standing strike or a strike that is not performed while running.

This document is intended for oral study by the workshop participants.

The trainee receives the document before starting the process. Gradually he has to reach the point where he can repeat the items by mentioning the highlighted `code` words at the beginning of each item. The next stage is to rehears a full body motion while mentioning those words at the exact order, without a presence of a tennis ball. By doing so he creates a process of mind rehearsal that helps him perform biomechanically much better in a real game.

The initial position is the ready stance.

An explanation on its principles and the need to revert to it when striking.

  1. Eye Constant eye contact with the ball from the time of the strike by the opponent. Neck rotation movement (for tracking) should be in the horizontal axis only.
  2. Side Decision concerning the striking (strong) side – forehand or backhand and as a result - beginning the turn of the top of the body to the striking side.
  3. Spine Maintaining a horizontal rotation axis of the spine.
  4. Scaps Keeping the scapulas (shoulder blade bones) parallel (an imaginary line that passes between them), this side being parallel throughout the movement to the clavicles (collarbones).
  5. Shoulders Rotation of the shoulders (while keeping them in a straight line as stated above) towards the striking side, until stopping.
  6. Prep Shifting the hand holding the racquet behind the body in the most efficient and shortest pathway until a stopping position at which the tip of the racquet handle faces the ball trajectory.
  7. Weak arm Moving the weak (contralateral) arm away from the sides of the body (by about 20 to 40 degrees) and swinging it on the rotation axis of the striking hand.
  8. Left (For right handed strikers) shifting the contralateral leg (leaning leg) to the front of the body. When it is positioned, the body weight must be shifted to the front of the foot while lifting the heel.
  9. Right The heel of the striking side leg to the rear must be lifted off the ground at a high angle.
  10. Lock At this stage, the finger joints holding the handle must be clenched and “the leaning foot must be felt driven into the court floor”.
  11. Start Start of the forward swing towards the ball trajectory. The swing trajectory up to the sides of the body should be parallel to the ground.
  12. Rotate At this stage, the shoulder and arm movement results from a follow-on to the rotation of the spine in the horizontal axis towards the strike.
The contralateral arm moves with the spine’s rotation axis. In a backhand strike, it is swung in the turning radius till it reaches behind the
  1. Strike Position yourself so that the ball strike area is to the side of the body (the striking side) and in front of it at waist height.
  2. Finish With the EASTERN grip, the swing is ended when the wrist of the hand holding the racquet is between the contralateral shoulder and the neck. In WESTERN grip, the swing ends with the wrist beyond the contralateral shoulder. The strike should end with the racket frame touching the back. Ending in this area shows that the full swing has been used.
  3. Ready In the follow through after striking, the feet turn in the direction of the strike. After striking, return with the swing of the strike to the ready stance. While returning, the support leg must move to the front of the body, aligned with the leaning leg.

Sequence of movements required in consecutive order for two-handed backhand strike
The order of actions is similar, but with one difference; turning of the shoulder in preparation for the strike should be full, the shoulder of the striking hand facing the ball for each strike.

Reuven Rizansky