Hitting a forehand is a lot like skipping a stone across water. You’ve probably heard several analogies on how to hit a forehand, but I believe this one really fits.
Remember back to when you were a kid and how much fun it was to skip stones across a lake or pond? First you found the perfect rock–one that wasn’t too heavy or too light. It had to fit your hand just right and be flat and smooth. Then you would go to the edge of the water, take a comfortable stance, and prepare to throw your stone. The goal was to get down low so you could throw the stone flat against the water and maximize the number of skips it took before disappearing under the surface.
Now shift back to present day, and you’re on the Racquetball court. First you will need to achieve the proper grip. To locate the proper grip, hold the frame of your racquet in your non-hitting hand. The racquet should be vertical, with the strings facing the side wall. Put the palm of your hitting hand flat on the strings and slide it down the handle until you reach the bottom of the racquet. Your pinkie finger should be at the very bottom of the grip. Then “shake hands” with the racquet. Your thumb should rest on your middle finger, positioned between your middle and index fingers, and your index finger should be slightly separated from the thumb. Notice that your hand will create a “V” in between your thumb and index finger. That “V” should be in line with the edge of the racquet.
Getting ready to Hit
After getting the proper grip, turn your body towards the right side wall. (Left handed players turn to the left side wall). Standing approximately 5 feet away from the side wall, place your toes in line along the same floorboard, feet shoulder-width apart. Now bring your arm up, bicep/elbow level with your shoulder, elbow bent at roughly 90 degrees. Your forearm should be tilted toward the side wall at approximately a 45 degree angle to take the pressure off your shoulder. Cock your wrist and bend your knees slightly, like you’re getting ready to sit in a chair. It’s just like you’re back at the water’s edge.
The Drop, Step and Swing
Your ball toss should permit for a comfortable step forward while allowing for a contact point at a racquet/arm’s length distance away from your body. Strike the ball after it has bounced and is falling back to the floor.
While stepping forward, bend your knees to lower your body. Let the ball reach your knee/calf level before hitting it. Keep your spine straight to allow for maximum rotation and to minimize stress on your body. The toes of your front foot should be pointed slightly towards the front wall to keep from stressing your knee.
Remember when you were getting ready to throw your stone? You are looking for the same starting position here. (The following example is for right handed players. For lefties, it’s just the opposite.) After you drop the ball with your left hand and step towards it, rotate your left shoulder and arm towards the left side wall. Your right elbow (still bent) will lead into your swing, and then extend your arm just before the point of contact. (Note: DO NOT hyper-extend or lock your elbow at the point of contact. Instead, keep it extended but relaxed to avoid injury and fatigue). Try to contact the ball in line with your front foot. Keep your head still and watch the racquet hit the ball. End your swing with a complete and fluid follow through.
So the next time you’re on the court and you want to crush some perfectly flat and low forehands, just smile, and remember being a kid on the water’s edge, and let it rip…
If you are interested in professional instruction on how to play your best “Inside the Box,” please contact Aaron Embry at 619-339-9979 or www.PlayRBall.com. Players of all levels will benefit considerably from his 30 years of playing experience and 25 years of coaching.
For the best selection and prices on Racquetball Racquets, Shoes, Gloves, Eyewear, and all other Racquetball Accessories , go to my favorite place Pacific Sports Warehouse. Your one stop place to shop…