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Gestalt Racquetball Stroke Part 2

The Downswing or Contact Phase

—> NOW! The ball striking magic begins! …also swinging myths debunked, mysteries revealed…
 
—> …to understand the full forward swing or thru swing, here’s a mentality…
—> Have complete thru swing = Recall this is a full stroke, not a hammer strike. Your forward swing doesn’t stop at a nail. So it doesn’t even stop at the ball either. Swing all the way thru the ball, and beyond. Swing forward after you get ready to stroke with your bounce-timed backswing loop. Also, in the full downswing loop, after contact include a full, consistency enhancing, energy releasing follow-through…
—> Momentum bullets = In the full text the KEY sources of optimum stroking momentum or source of contact force for this contact swing are highlighted in bold print and numbered (1)-(12)…
 
—> First, here is the short version of those dozen key momentum sparking bullets…
 
(a) Retain a swing image: Always start with an inside out swing path…
 
> Downswing steps include…
 
(1) Push = Push off back foot…and, at the same time…
 
(2) …Draw in off arm = Off arm fold in connects both wound-up shoulders to spin throughout…and, at the same time…
 
(3) Loop racquet arm down = As elbow takes small, initial arc in tight to you, toss linked forearm back just as shoulders begin to derotate
 
(1a) Drive knees = Change push off and sway into rotating knee drive
 
(4) Invert shoulders = Exchange shoulder heights, as they spin inside your contact spot, by dropping back chest area
 
(5) Bridge = Put on legs brake and crunch core, as elbow is nearing racquet arm shoulder depth
 
(6) Twist racquet arm into torsion = While drawing elbow up toward racquet arm shoulder, rear back and windup elbow. At bottom, naturally decrease space between lower arm and upper arm, twisting and loading up elbow into torsion, while forearm points back, lagging, looming, ready…
 
(7) Cock wrist = Lastly twist wrist, by drawing thumb in to forearm right before monster racquet arm-wrist torquing snap when you’ll fiercely sweep racquet head out thru ball
 
(8) Reach out = As ball nears, ATTACK by catapulting bent elbow arcing (a short ways) outward, buoyed by body turn and shoulder spin
 
(9) …Flow thru butt to target = With racquet butt pointing to target, as butt cap very briefly points at shot target in classic interim forward swing phase and arm still bent, elbow still twisted and wrist still cocked just a beat longer, and racquet strings turning to briefly face sidewall, while readying for final contact zone’s committed, forceful racquet head wave out and over thru the ball
 
(10) Flip forearm = As ball nears, quickly begin to wave forearm from back to pointing forward, in a blink. Do that by turning forearm over at elbow, like an upside down windshield wiper, as you arrow arm
(11) Spiral arm and add wrist = Right as ball closes in on off shoulder contact spot (out front) and as arm almost fully arrows, there in mid forearm wave, SuperFast release and interweave wrist with already turning over forearm rolling both over together into…Snappow! Snap arm plus wrist powerfully spiraling racquet head thru ball, while focusing on shot shaping image that’s been planted in your mind’s eye ever since you were first picturing it
 
(12) Finish pulling inwards = ALWAYS finish pulling inwards with your wrist and arm arc. That pull in action accentuates rolling over with your wrist into a whip cracking Contact Climax. That climax is a combo of forearm, wrist and racquet head turning over driving racquet head hard thru contact zone, while frequently closing your racquet face by tilting strings pointing slightly down on your wall target for your low shot paths. Your shot angle results from 4 factors, including…(a) part of ball you pick to strike (upper = downwards); (b) part of strings that are contacted on racquet face, leaning on sweet spot; (c) combo racquet flow sideways and flowing up or down (or less often straight except with ankle bone low contact); and (d) how you slant strings, while turning racquet head over thru contact, plus how after contact you ideally initially flow racquet directly following your shot path
 
—> Follow-through = Finish with racquet head circling around behind you rising slightly
 
—> Defend = post follow-through, push from heavier front foot to back foot, freeing yourself to move to defend your shot placement by adjusting into your best achievable defensive spot, while steady watching “them”, anticipating and readying to move and rebound ball off front wall, so you get to shoot again!
 
—> …Imagery: First, from a racquet arm-centric perspective…retain YOUR key swing image…
—> Carry image of inside out swing path = As you swing forward, always start with an (a) inside out swing path. EVERY forward swing path ideally starts with your initial downswing arm loop arcing down in close to you. When it’s time to attack the ball, your loop will flow out away from you. Starting from your timed to ball speed looping prep up and back, transition into your downswing loop, with barely a beat between back and down loop. First, while beginning arcing flexed elbow down drawn in tight to you, your forearm arcs back to trail and point back. You’ll curve your racquet arm elbow arc forward until it comes up almost level with your racquet arm shoulder. Then, as ball nears your contact point, led by elbow you’ll alter racquet loop to flow out, attacking your preselected contact spot. There your swing motion unconsciously shifts loop of bent elbow and trailing forearm to now arc out away from you. That inside first path sets you up to very quickly loop your racquet head out, around and thru ball. It’s very important you begin that sweeping out section with elbow still flexed. That will let you snap your arm and wrist together. Then, as you flow your elbow out away from you, you’ll arrow your arm by spiraling over your forearm. There you’ll turn over your arm at the elbow. Right before contact you’ll add in your wrist to roll them over snapping together by how both torque or twist, firing racquet head thru ball. There, in contact zone, you’ll focus on flowing thru the ball on a flat, final arching swing plane thru your contact zone. That’s where, by feel, you control your racquet head by putting your sweet spot on the part of ball you select, as you flow your racquet head thru the ball while angling your racquet face thru contact intent on shaping your picked, imaged shot path.
—> How to create racquet head speed = You may harness potentially great stroking momentum by accelerating your racquet head in your down loop thru the ball. That means you’re able to generate great leverage force via an outward bound arcing arm powered by starting inside and then revolving over your forearm and then rolling your wrist, as you extend out. First, start with your elbow arcing down in tight to you. Then, as ball is arriving at your contact point, flow bent arm out and begin to turn over forearm before finally releasing wrist to roll over together, as you reach out attacking contact…
—> Loop sizes match contact height = Note your backswing loop and then downswing loop sizes match your contact height, with lower contact producing bigger loops and higher contact resulting in flatter, smaller loops. For any sized loop, flow thru all of the downswing steps, at same time starting with tri steps…(1) push off; (2) drawn in off arm; and (3) loop racquet arm down…
—>  (1) Push off back foot = Initiate downswing a heartbeat after setting or loading closed back foot in final prep while finalizing racquet loop up and back. Closed back foot means ideally setting back foot parallel to front wall. In your stance setting, you’ve first set that back foot, along with then anchoring your front foot up ahead of you. As the front foot touched down, with front foot’s toes ideally set out a little closer to sidewall than back foot, it pressed back loading back foot, as backswing loop maxed out. There the front foot is now ready to accept forward weight transfer and body turn into it. So AFTER setting stance, focus on completing your racquet arm loop back, while loading back foot. Then, in downswing, as you first push off back foot, immediately sway sideways into set, absorbing front foot. The goal is to optimally swing on a very balanced, weight transferring and then rotating striking stance. Keep back foot anchored, while ideally pivoting on ball of back foot throughout forward swing (as if you were squishing a bug with your back foot)…
—> …with push off, also (2) draw in off arm to your middle. For each stroke…
-> …for forehand = Initiate upper body and dual arm move by subtly drawing in bent off arm to your rib cage. This starts your forward swing. The off arm fold in action will shut down your front shoulder, allowing your back shoulder to come firing thru to attack the ball as it nears your contact point. The off arm draw in move supports at same time starting flexed racquet arm small elbow arc forward and forearm toss back arc. The dual arm motion is just like a sidearm toss. Then to stroke thru ball, you’ll flow your arm out, around and motor your racquet head thru the ball shaping your shot. The throwing motion is comparable to reaching back to skim a flat rock on a glassy body of water. To skim your rock, in identical throwing motion, release your rock very low on a flat plane bouncing stone several skips across the water’s surface…although no skipping in your shot…
-> …for backhand = Let off arm begin to draw in as initial hug move that starts DUAL shoulder de-rotation (like one used for backhand frisbee toss). There racquet arm elbow leads dual shoulders arcing forward, as racquet arm arc causes forearm to drop and point straight backwards until it’s just above contact height. After off arm initial draw in, continue flowing off arm forward trailing racquet arm’s forward arc throughout contact stroke…
—> …along with push off and off arm fold in, racquet arm also begins its building, increasing downswing loop…
—>  (3) Arc elbow down = Along with off arm fold-in and back foot push off, led by flexed elbow, BEGIN elaborate racquet arm loop down. “Elaborate” because it’s actually a loop formed by dual, connected arcs. First, start with a small arc driving elbow forward drawn it in tight to you. Then when you’re ready to attack ball right as it’s arriving at your contact point, you’ll transition to naturally curve your elbow out in an even smaller but quicker arc away from you. There you’ll flow your racquet head out, around and swinging thru the ball. In that arc out, you’ll roll over with both your forearm and ultimately your wrist joining, too. There, to arrow your arm, you’ll turn your arm AND wrist over together momentously waving your racquet face thru the ball. Swinging thru on the shot bath angle you choose, you’ll point your strings at your shot target, as you flow thru contact. That racquet face point shapes your shot’s angle by how your strings bevel or slant when swinging thru the part of ball you pick to strike, with part of the sweet spot you choose. By starting loop down in tight to you for each stroke, you build outward swinging momentum. With off arm assist and led by your racquet arm elbow arc, you’ll strongly de-rotate dual shoulders building into the final arm extension, with images of…
–> …for forehand…picture a strong sidearm racquet toss…with bent elbow leading and drawing elbow in tight to you. There, via forward elbow arc, you also loop your forearm down to trail, while loading up arm at bottom of loop, as forearm fleetingly points backwards and elbow twists…More on THAT torsion windup in just a sec…
-> …for backhand…picture frisbee hurl. With elbow leading, arc elbow down flattening out and pointing forearm back. Draw elbow forward into elbow windup as it draws toward racquet arm shoulder right before you’ll attack with your frisbee release, via a strong outwards arc of arm AND wrist spiraling into strong, accelerating arm/wrist snap…
—>  To seal your backhand arcing motion, repeat backhand elbow catch and release drill = From full arm loop back, practice arcing elbow down and forward drawn in tight to you. As elbow is arcing forward, catch and quickly release elbow with off arm hand right behind racquet arm shoulder. There releasing your elbow allows it to sweep out away from you. Emphasize down arc’s strength so it builds to a crescendo where your arm motion is primed to flow strongly out away from you by feeding off initial arc down and building shoulder spin, which both catapult arm, hand and racquet head revolving out. There your arm arrows as you roll over your arm and join your wrist to roll over, too. Also your triceps engage in the reach out action, as you fully extend toward making contact. As you reach out and roll over your arm and lastly your wrist, that spiraling, revolving action potentially creates great racquet head speed or momentum…
—>  …Mentally keep in mind your throwin’ motion image = For both strokes it’s a hurling motion, with flare. In bent racquet arm arc down, at loop’s bottom, the action is keyed on how you load up your arm. Unconsciously you’ll draw your lower arm in to you, as you toss and point your forearm and racquet head back via your small elbow arc down. At the bottom, drawing both arm parts together at the elbow creates final windup of your elbow. This produces a classic pre-throwing motion, as you’re arcing your bent elbow forward. You’ll continue your elbow arc forward until elbow comes up just short of racquet arm shoulder. Then, as ball arrives, you’ll hurl your arc arm out, around and thru, attacking ball by revolving over your forearm to arrow your arm and roll your wrist right as you SNAP hard to throw your racquet out thru the ball…
—> …First, lower body leads stroke = Continue the building shoulder and arm action going on up above (right up until your elbow draws fully forward to shoulder depth and before fully straightening your arm). Before big swing out, max out lower body action. Ideally shift push off back foot and sway sideways into leg drive. Bend your knees. Turn your hips (when your back knee turns). As you move forward, begin to crunch your core and arrest your leg action and body turn flowing upwards feeding upper body turn and augmenting the power of catapulting your racquet arm out into your contact zone leading to your Contact Climax. Your contact zone starts when your elbow arc forward reaches that racquet arm shoulder threshold…
—> …To maximize the lower body work, these are the contributing actions…
—>  Lean in = After swaying hips briefly sideways, transition into lower body turn…
—> (1a) Transition back foot push off into dual knee drive or knee turn
—> …Bend into front leg = Move forward into bending front leg and ideally open front foot, with back leg flexing, too. Ideally plié front leg. That means optimally set open front foot, with leg’s inner thigh facing out to sidewall, as you bend into 1/2 a plié. Do that assisted by setting front foot slightly closer to sidewall and open (toes pointing forward)…
—>  Bend into swing driving legs = Drop down lower (in height) to play EVERY ball by bending BOTH knees. Drive both knees forward and turning into fully accepting, planted front foot. Ideally bend both knees out over your toes in solid biomechanics. Work feet below into weight transfer and also ideally encourage lower body rotation…
—>   Let hips flip = Don’t force hip spin, but don’t block hip turn either by setting a closed front foot pointing back or setting it way out too far toward the sidewall. Ideally push off and pivot on ball of back foot. LET the action of your turning back knee into open front foot drive your hip flip. Setting your feet emphasizing an open front foot fosters beneficial hip flip…
—> …(4) with shoulders turning, be exchanging shoulder heights = As body turns and racquet arm elbow drives forward and lower body maxing out ITS spin, as major power booster, while shoulders swing around as one unit, invert shoulder heights. As accelerator and swing balancer led by bent elbow, exchanging (connected) shoulders‘ levels speeds up their spin. For each stroke, turn shoulders with action to…
—>  …Drop back chest area for each stroke = The shoulder height exchange is fueled by dropping your back chest area (chest = ribs up to shoulder). As your shoulders turn, in upper body move, interchange shoulder heights for each stroke. That connected shoulder spin waves the upper body triangle thru fueling swing. That triangle is formed by your 2 shoulders and your waist…
-> …for forehand…as off arm draws in shutting down front shoulder, drop and fire back shoulder or back chest area thru leading both shoulders, as front shoulder rises slightly…
-> …for backhand…following off hand fold in action, straight line drive front, racquet arm shoulder. And, as you turn both shoulders together, slightly drop back chest area and shoulder. Continue drawing off arm forward. Note by keeping off arm flowing forward it ensures strong dual shoulder rotation throughout forward swing. Also that way your off arm will end up out in front of you after contact creating good body balance to be able to quickly recover and move on balance…
—> …as elbow elbow is arcing forward almost at racquet arm shoulder depth…(4) Put on legs brake = When you’ve moved as far forward and turned as much as you need to (or can), brake with front leg by deepening your lead knee bend. Also, with leg bend, begin to bridge core or middle. This combo resisting move allows your upper body and shoulders to now take precedence, while boosting your forward swing, with your trailing racquet arm coming from behind ready to take over in climactic flow out…
—>  …with legs braking, keep crunching core…connecting lower body to upper body. As elbow reaches spot right behind shoulder, twist core, from bottom up, which fuels peaking shoulder spin, adding to projecting your racquet arm elbow out
—> …Stroke specifics crunch = The side your arm is on needs to turn. So the core crunch is across your core toward bridging on the side opposite contact. So you twist to crunch hardest on the front side of your body for your forehand. You twist to bridge your trail side to let your lead side spin hardest for your backhand…up above…
—>  Keep spinning shoulders inwards = keep dual shoulders spinning, even after elbow will draw level with racquet arm shoulder and elbow will be released out. Note that your shoulders continue to spin inside contact point even after contact and throughout the impact phase of your contact swing…
—> …as lower body turn reaches its peak, core is crunching and shoulders spinning, as elbow is closing in on shoulder depth…up above…
—> …Complete building arm torsion = As elbow almost reaches its forward threshold at shoulder level, the elbow is arcing forward into full arm and wrist torsion or twist there mid downswing.
—> …Here’s what torsion or windup means and how it’s optimally done fueling your optimum arm/wrist snap…think of it as an act to…
—> …Rear back = Allow downswing to create crucial lag and torsion energy at the bottom of racquet arm loop. In downward arc, when drawing elbow up to almost shoulder depth, as forearm moves forward and trails, windup elbow. There, in loop down, rear back twisting elbow followed by hinging your wrist in a dual twist that creates key lag torsion at bottom of your forward swing loop. There, before momentously swinging out thru ball, both your twisted arm and cocked wrist lag. Your wound up arm is readying and also feeding off body turn and shoulder spin. Your arm is just about to unleash and arc out away from you. As leg turn peaks and body brakes, shoulders will boost hurling loaded arm out. That lag is accentuated by BOTH arm AND wrist torsion or twisting prep. To max out that windup…
—>  Narrow elbow angle = Windup elbow at forward loop’s bottom creating lag produced by elbow-arm torsion. That windup occurs as you near bottom of your tight elbow arc. There naturally, unconsciously you draw IN your forearm to your upper arm. That key action lightly twists your elbow, loading it up with torsion energy. That occurs right BEFORE your final snap. That snap phase is when you’ll swing out thru the ball. The twist is done as you (6) rear back and windup, while drawing lower arm in to upper arm. That rear back move nicely narrows your elbow angle slightly, twisting up your racquet arm at the elbow and building torsion energy. That energy will very soon be released in the final, peaking arm AND wrist snap…
—> …Retain backhand bow-like arm angle = In rear back move, retain wider elbow angle for your backhand. For the backhand, as you draw your elbow forward, keep elbow a little more bent at bottom of your loop than a right angle. Keep a bow-like elbow bend. Don’t narrow elbow angle into a full right angle, like the elbow bend is for your forehand. Keep forearm and upper arm a little further apart for your backhand than for your forehand. That way, when you swing out, around and thru, you won’t crowd the ball, get too over top the ball and risk skipping in your shot. If you find yourself skipping in with your backhand, widen your elbow angle in your backswing loop and keep it wider as you rear back. Bending the elbow into a right angle for your backhand doesn’t allow you to reach out and properly sweep your racquet head arcing thru the ball…
—>  Cock wrist = At VERY bottom of arm loop down, with elbow twist, naturally tip racquet head in toward you. This final windup action will (7) draw thumb in to forearm cocking your wrist. Now you’ve built up BOTH arm and NOW wrist kinetic torsion energy. You’re ready to unleash that coiled energy, as your arm arrows and you snap both your arm AND wrist simultaneously rolling them over together. First, twist and hinge wrist toward forearm, loading up and priming for your big Forearm AND Wrist SNAP. That’s when you’ll torque arm and wrist, rotating your racquet head out thru ball. The snap is when you’ll rapidly and potentially very powerfully roll over your arm and lastly add in rolling over your wrist to rapidly, forcefully scythe your racquet head arcing out climactically thru ball contact…There’s the ball…NOW!…
—>  ATTACK Contact!…as ball is just off shoulder (meaning out in front of your racquet arm shoulder), as your singular focus, attack that universal contact point. In fact, emphasize THAT universal contact point or uniform contact spot throughout your entire stroke process. Use your contact spot as your focus…(1) to move with the ball, as you play its bounce; (2) to flick your feet to set up behind your uniform contact spot; (3) to prep your body and racquet behind that spot; and (4) to turn your body and arc your arm to attack THAT contact spot. First, get there by flicking your feet to get behind the contact spot about a half step back and an arm and racquet reach away all day, every day. When setting your feet, be intent on planning to move into THAT contact spot with your arcing swing out, around and thru the ball. You’re not hammering at a ball roughly somewhere undefined in your contact zone. You’re not just fanning your frame AT the ball. You’re attacking your routine contact point, while flowing thru it, after you draw your elbow up to shoulder depth to kickoff spiraling arm and wrist arc thru your contact zone to and thru that key contact spot…
—> …Contact zone = The bottom of your downswing loop, that starts when your elbow draws forward to shoulder depth, has a flat arcing plane called the contact zone. At the front of that arcing contact zone is your contact point. That spot is off shoulder or just out in front of your racquet arm shoulder where your swing peaks at Contact Climax, when you’ll wave your racquet head strongly out thru the ball…
—> …Where are YOUR contact spots = Find your contact spots for both of your strokes. Note that the off shoulder contact spot is routinely just a little further out in front of your shoulder for your backhand. How you grip your racquet handle dictates your contact spot. Too far out front contact or too deep contact is like raising a sign saying, there, that’s where I’m hitting. It’s revelatory. Mechanically it’s much improved to select that uniform spot, line up behind it, as you prep, and then light into it…
—>  …Now…to attack that contact spot, catapult racquet arm out = As ball comes right into range, attack contact. You’ve tucked in elbow right behind your racquet arm shoulder…Now (8) attack ball, catapulting still BENT racquet arm out away from you by turning upper arm at shoulder and by spinning your elbow to first begin straightening your arm by while turning over your forearm. Here, aided by body turn and dual shoulder spin, switch elbow from arcing down driving forward (with your side crunching) to now make a quick, small elbow arc out away from you. In that arc, you’ll arrow your arm by reaching out. That extension action is motored by revolving your arm over at the elbow to make ideal, leveraged, forceful contact…
—>  …(9) Flow thru butt to target = As key, interim swing phase – there almost at the very end of your arm straightening – flow racquet thru butt-to-target. That means very briefly your racquet butt cap points at your shot target. That’s a good checkpoint. You should pass thru butt-to-target in each forward swing. As you’re passing through butt to target, your arm is swinging out, while still bent and twisted. Your wrist is still cocked just a beat longer. There your racquet strings briefly face the sidewall. You’re readying to forcefully wave your racquet head out thru the ball…
—>  …There’s ball -> Slingshot hand out = Right as ball is reaching contact point, use recognizing that contact spot is just up ahead as your trigger to slingshot your racquet hand out. Do that by combining turning over of your arm with adding in unhinging and turning over your wrist to snap them both together, as you fully extend your arm out. No short-arming your forward swing where you don’t fully reach out…
—>  …Spiral swing = Note that the arm arrowing action is done by corkscrewing your arm, wrist and racquet. To attack contact, you’ll spiral your forearm over as it flows out away from you, while spinning your arm at the elbow. At climax, you’ll complete extending your arm via triceps extension, as you also intertwine your already twisting forearm with your last to join rolling over wrist. There, at the climax of your swing, you’ll Crack the Whip. That whip crack is a combination of arm-wrist rolling action. That whip action IS your sought after swing climax. It’s where and when you’ll roll over your Arm meshed WITH your Wrist to Snap Together. Time their spiral when you hit the ball right where your picture your shot should go. That snap fires your racquet head out compressing the ball, as you accelerate thru contact…while dispelling some myths and solving some mysteries, let’s make a little swing magic, as you…
—> (10) Magically, rapidly wave forearm from back to front = THIS is THE most preternatural part of the forward swing. It shows how magnificently the arm can move. It’s an action you can easily perfect on your own. The forearm wave readies you to combine both arm and wrist into a huge, snapping crescendo. The action builds to a peak in the forward arm swing. From forearm pointing back and racquet strings facing sidewall, you’ll turn over whole arm in a blink, from your shoulder on down thru your forearm. It’s done by spinning your arm at the elbow and shoulder. In that blink, you turn forearm from pointing back to pointing forward by turning it over rotating at the elbow. There midway in that forearm wave, you swing racquet head thru right as you point racquet head tip at sidewall and the racquet face is turned toward your wall target. To do that switch, from back to front, flip lower arm over extremely fast. Practiced up it’s done with great dexterity. Although it’s a little less forearm flip for your backhand due to differences in body biomechanics. Still, for your backhand, very quickly flip or turn, from palm and forearm pointing down, all the way to pointing your knuckles forward at contact. After contact it goes on to palm and underside of forearm pointing out at sidewall you face. It’s the same swing motion as if you were hurtling a disc downfield, as your backhand ultimate frisbee kickoff. For your forehand, flip forearm all the way over and pull it in, too. You’re pronating. You’re swinging, starting palm up, to palm (and forearm) pointed down AND finishing strongly pulling arm and wrist inwards. That finish pulling inwardly with both your forearm and wrist (for both strokes) multiplied great swing arcing momentum. The pulling in action melds arm and wrist to turn over into an irresistible interplay, in your Contact Climax, as you…
—>  (11) SuperFast interweave wrist with already flipping over forearm = This is THE glue that ensures your Contact Climax IS momentous. In mid forearm flip, with forearm already turning over – right before contact and with contact just up ahead – mesh last to release wrist with already spiraling over forearm. So forearm rolls and wrist joins the roll. In this most powerful, speediest racquet head action, extend by spinning forearm forward and unhinge last-to-join wrist. Combo torque both. Fluidly weave wrist with already spinning over forearm to snap them both together in unison. Simple image: roll over racquet head thru ball. Roll it from pointing at sidewall to pointing it at the target wall to pointing it at a point lower on that target wall. So you racquet is turning to bevel or slant or slope or chamfer, which means is diagonal through contact often.
—>  Dial it up = Gauge tactically required swing power and critically your racquet face angle right as you wave your racquet head thru the ball. There you racquet face tilt shaped your pictured shot. Dial up speed and set racquet face angle you sense will shape that constantly imaged shot. Adjust contact force from feather up to canon explosion. Swing thru going for your kill-shot rollout…or your 2-bounce passing shot…or your howitzer drive serve. Create swinging power from a 50% delicately placed rally shot up to a 110% drive serve, with unleashed power. Racquet head speed defines that force. How fast you swing side to side turning over or closing your racquet face defines that speed. Note that, for your pinch, splat or even your direct shot to the front wall, as kill-shots, the more force you apply or dial up, the more the shot will rebound back deeper in the court. Tip: dial up tough to get kill-shots that go in low with touch that bounce twice before reaching the next wall up in the front court. Realize what that calls for? Perfect sidewall put-aways…
—>  Place great importance on your curving swing action = The swing thru contact is a spiral of your racquet head. In the last phase toward making contact, it’s a climactic, ever widening, ever expanding, curving, spiraling spin of forearm AND wrist powering rolling your racquet head over, as you… Snappow!!!…EXPLODE racquet head HARD thru ball! Then continue wrist and racquet arc flowing on in towards you. Of course, for a touch shot, dial it down when flowing arm and wrist turning over. Still make sure to accelerate racquet head right when you flow thru contact. Don’t slow down any swing. And, by how you flow thru (and tilt your racquet face sweet spot just as it turns thru impact onto the part of ball you pinpoint) YOU create chosen shot path (optionally impart spin). That move directs the ball to your target wall ideally where you picture placing your shot on the front wall and ultimately in the court quadrant you picture (front or left or left or right rear). There you’re either leaving the ball in one corner of the front court, as a kill-shot, or you’re leaving the ball in a rear corner in the backcourt, as a passing shot. Realize leaving that low direct shot on one side in the front court takes touch more than muscle…
—>  (12) Constantly finish turning wrist inwards, when driving racquet head thru ball = Finish EACH swing rolling over AND pulling inwardly with your arm and wrist in toward you. For your backhand, pull in even though you do so a little less extremely than you naturally do for your more naturally, expansively curving forehand; just because of the way we’re built. The inwards pulling move, for both strokes, emphasizes your final arm-wrist turn over into a very strong, very quick racquet face closing action. Again, closing means your racquet face goes from facing out to sidewall, when flowing thru butt to target, to swinging your racquet strings around and thru facing your target wall, as your racquet head is turning over to close very frequently pointing down lower on your target wall at contact; not just after contact. So it slopes forward as you strike the ball. Understand in that full loop down you first arc arm down pointing forearm and racquet head backwards, even cocked a little bit in to you. Then, to swing out, you begin to spiral over your forearm, while very briefly pointing racquet strings out at faced sidewall. Then you keep turning until both your racquet strings AND your forearm points toward your chosen target right when you swing thru contact. After contact you keep turning over your racquet head to point your string-bed flowing right after the ball sealing your shot’s angle. At contact, your strings could angle to tilt back for a rare slice motion. More commonly you’ll slant your strings forward into your target wall exactly as swing thru the ball. For more frequent downwards angling, you time turning over your arm and wrist in collaboration, as you drive your racquet head thru the ball, while sloping your racquet face forward. Also you may optionally drop the ball ever so slightly on your sweet spot. That aids forming your downwards shot path. Initially go on following through toward your wall target. Then continue to loop your racquet around to point the racquet head at the sidewall behind you. YOU time turning over or closing your racquet face and how your strings often point down on your target wall right as you flow thru the ball when shaping your declining shot path.
—>  …Final contact racquet point = Shot angle. Train up the 4 tier combo of…(1) racquet swing flow angling forward thru ball; (2) racquet face angle or bevel or tilt when swinging thru contact; (3) part of ball you pinpoint with your strings; plus (4) where on racquet strings you place the ball. All those combine to shape your shot path or angle. Racquet face angling thru contact is a practiced up, muscle memorized, calculated then shot-specific, timed shot-shaping feel. Your shot depends on where on the ball you make contact with your strings where you select where on your racquet face’s sweet spot based on feel and practiced up knowledge of your racquet head’s sweet spot. Also, your shot bears heavily on how angle-wise you flow your racquet head thru the ball both sideways away from you or in toward you and straight or down on the front wall toward your shot target. How the racquet face slants flowing thru contact strongly affects your shot path. If as you flow thru the ball your palm (partially) faces your target, that’s your forehand. If as you flow thru your knuckles point target-wards, that’s your backhand. There the point of your strings heavily contributes to shaping your shot trajectory. Again, YOU time closing your racquet face when rolling over your racquet head thru the ball while setting strings’ angle right as you’re wave your strings thru the part of the ball you pick. As you flow the racquet head thru the ball, it’s key to intensify your focus intent on defining your shot path right towards your wall target by how you flow and set your racquet face. That targeting ideally matches your picked, planned, visualized and ultimately shaped shot. Through drilling and play you learn shot path shaping, when focusing on your contact point and by experiencing making multi-height contact, from multiple court positions, shots. There you learn to select part of ball, what part on your string bed, how you flow racquet thru and on to target, but what happens I last happens most consequentially. You time rolling your racquet head over and setting your racquet face tilt right as you stroke the ball to potentially make multi-angled shots from multi-contact heights at multi-court spots.
—>  …How to shoot downwards = We’ve been dancing around it. The main point here is you won’t always have the ease or liberty of contacting the ball at ankle bone low and shooting the ball straight in to the front wall. You must have the capacity to shoot downwards from contact at shin high on up to even contact at chest high to hit toward your low targets below 6 inches high for your kill-shots or to target above 6 inches high to pass the opponent by. Both being able to create that parabolic curving shot path angling down and impart useful topspin, by coming over top the ball, keeps the ball down lower coming off the front wall. That makes your low target shooting hum. There tilting the racquet face slightly forward when swinging thru contact, while striking the upper half of the ball with your sweet spot, both combine to find your low shot target. Add overspin by doing the reps and via confirming playing experiences.
—>  Let it Go = It’s key to NOT put on the brakes where you ever stop your swing, even for a drop shot or lob serve. Also avoid a recoil or snap back action right after contact. That would be unhelpful, discourage a fluid swing, and possibly cause great arm damage. Allow your forearm to roll over. Don’t brake by attempting to swing thru either with a stiff wrist or by just fanning the racquet head thru side to side as a wrist pop vs a rolling over arm and wrist SNAP. That sideways only action would cause an underpowered kluge action instead of a sound, natural arm and wrist rolling over action, with silky smooth biomechanics. Instead…S-weep with->N-o brakes->A-round->P-ulling In = S-N-A-P…
—>  After contact, swing on to target (for emphasis) = Right after pointing the very top of the racquet head at the sidewall you face, as you swing thru the ball, briefly flow racquet head following right along path the ball is taking an extra beat longer toward your wall target. THAT adds extra oomph or punch to your shot. It also ensures more consistent shot placement.
—>  …Teach yourself to flow with your swing = Learn to roll over and close your racquet face. Reps teach you no braking, as you swing thru. Also you learn to avoid closing your racquet face too early which could cause a skip ball. Similarly you learn to not delay closing your racquet face until too late after contact. That’s because a too late roll fosters a stiff-wristed, underpowered swing thru contact. ALWAYS close your racquet face when shooting from contact above ankle bone level on up to even chest high, to angle your chosen shot downwards when looking to produce your highly desirable rollout. Roll your arm-wrist over vs using a stiff, weaker, only side to side fanning motion AT the ball vs flowing THRU it. The rolling over swing THRU the ball is motored by timing closing your racquet face by feel, via the timed combination of forearm and wrist roll. There, as you flow your racquet head thru, key on how you turn over and point your racquet face by tilting it artfully right as you flow thru contact when shaping your chosen, pictured shot angle. Know that tilt could be as little as just a couple degrees chamfer…
—>  Post contact continue rolling your wrist and arm over…as, for each stroke…
-> …for forehand, post contact point strings down at floor = AFTER contact, continue rolling over your arm and wrist until your racquet strings point down at the floor out in front of you, in a palm down finish. Also go on to pull your arm and wrist inwards, completing your full pronation curving action. That pronating includes arm and wrist turn over thru contact to point strings down AND arcing finishing the swing pulling IN strongly towards you…
-> …for backhand, post contact point knuckles down at floor = Knuckles that point back in backswing and turn to point at sidewall, when swinging around thru butt to target, continue on swinging the knuckles thru contact until they point at your wall target, when making contact. Then, post contact, continue turning over your wrist until your knuckles point down at the floor out in front of you. Note that, after contact, minimally you flow all the way until your palm and underside of forearm face out to sidewall you face, as you continue to swing thru after contact. You may even turn your forearm and hand all the way to palm up, as you supinate fully in your most extreme Topspin backhand stroke follow-through. Rolling over to knuckles pointing down is plenty and much more than when blocking your wrist turn and being left just arming your motion thru the ball.
—>  …NO braking allowed! = Stopping your wrist turn occurs when incorrectly putting on the brakes way, way too early, which arrests your wrist roll. That forces your racquet head in to only a side-to-side underpowered action. That can cause mishits, skips and it may even put undue pressure on your arm on the outside (backhand) or inside (forehand)…
—>  Flow racquet on around behind you = After contact and flowing racquet head briefly on to target, go on to complete full follow-through. Allow racquet head and racquet arm to circle around behind you. Note that, when making contact, your arm is right then passing your racquet arm shoulder depth right as you flow your racquet thru contact, with your arm extended.
—>  Rebend for forehands = Specific to your forehand, you’ll re-bend your arm in your follow-through after contact…For both strokes, let it go…
—>  Finish with racquet head routinely looping up to (about) shoulder high = Loop racquet head around behind you allowing racquet head to naturally rise almost to shoulder high. Develop your swing where you don’t loop it up much higher, at the end of your full forward swing. Your arm should finish lower, again, about shoulder level. That keeps your shots down lower. If there’s too much of an up loop into your follow-through, you could spray the ball up high on your target wall, which could cause the ball to ultimately strike high on the front wall and result in a much unwanted back wall setup…
—>  Recover = Push from front to back foot. Now, with both arms finishing out in front of you, rebalancing is easier, by first pushing to your back foot from your heavier front foot. Then move to cover for your shot and defend its placement…i.e., keep playing!
Technique-wise Emphasize These Helpful Swing Thoughts
—>  Off shoulder contact spot = Off shoulder contact is your contact focus. It’s key to make off shoulder contact, which is out in front of your racquet arm shoulder for both of your strokes. First, find YOUR contact spot for both your forehand and backhand strokes. That contact spot depends on your grip. Ideally use a multi-height contact grip on your racquet handle. That means be able to make contact from ankle bone low up ideally to above waist high and even up to chest high. The focus on your contact spot begins as you line up behind that planned contact point. Then move in to the ball to attack it there at your contact spot. Be consistent with your contact spot = you’ll make more shots…
—>  Arm angle at shoulder according to contact height; with dangling arm down your contact height goal = Dangle arm down for ideal low contact. When extending racquet arm out to sidewall to make off shoulder contact, swing thru while setting your arm angle at shoulder in relationship to your chosen contact height. When scaling contact for contact at your different heights, in your low contact range from waist high on down to shoe tops low, take escalator down by making a deeper knee bend. Turn your knees forward and keep your chest up. There, for preferable waist high or lower contact, swing thru while dangling your arm down. There your arm is held at about a 45 degree angle at the shoulder as you swing thru the ball. With that dangle angle, as you swing thru, it’s easy to shoot the ball low, even lower than where you made contact into your front wall or sidewall target. Swinging thru low contact you can efficiently, effectively turn over your arm and wrist in unison right as you flow your racquet head thru the ball. Although, even above waist high contact, you can still come over top the ball and shoot down low. There you time when to close your racquet face to angle the ball downwards. You may shoot from medium belly high on up to even very high contact, at chest high. You may shoot very low from medium thigh to waist high level or even the high rib level up to chest high contact. For instance, from your picked contact height, you may shoot to your wall target below 6 inches high or even lower, as your kill-shot target. Or you may aim above 6 inches high up to about about 3 feet high for your 2-bounce passing shot. When contact is higher, your arm will be stretched out more parallel with the floor. Your arm could even swing thru above parallel with the floor, when you swing over top the ball when making rib or even chest high contact. There you loop over top via a practiced, muscle memorized bell-shaped swing motion. It’s optimal to use a versatile racquet handle grip for multi-height contact that’s viable for very low on up to even very high contact. With a versatile grip, it allows you to control your racquet face right when you swing thru the ball at multiple contact heights = your shooting goal…
—>  Horizontally flow racquet head sideways while rolling over thru the ball = Note that the racquet head swing action is a combo of side-to-side AND also turning over the racquet face as you arc your racquet head around and rolling it over thru the ball. Picture: revolve racquet head thru ball. The Trick: Time closing your racquet face thru contact. That closing action shapes your picked shot’s vertical angle, and it can impart useful spin, too. The closing action also escalates your potential shot pace. Compressing the ball causes it to spring off your strings. Swing harder = more spring and faster shots.
—>  Adding Spin = When swinging thru, you may impart spin based on what part of ball you strike with the part of racquet strings you place on the ball, as well as how your racquet angles thru the ball right as you angle your racquet face when making ball contact. So racquet face angle plus what angle you flow racquet head thru side to side and up or down, with part of strings struck creates your horizontal and vertical shot angle, with spin added…
—>  Bevel your racquet face because a flat racquet face is a myth = *Note that often your racquet face tilts down pointing slightly lower on your target wall right as you swing thru making contact. That’s as opposed to the myth that has the racquet face flat to the front wall every time you make contact. That parallel-only racquet face contact would result in lots of back wall setups. With a flat racquet face and say waist high contact, the ball would go in to front wall at 3 feet high and then rebound off the front wall at 3 feet high to bounce and then very kindly pop off back wall, setting up the opponent. There, for the flat racquet face, you’re taking an action to stop your natural arm and wrist turn over. Instead…let ‘er rip. Let ‘em turn over. Let your arm, wrist and racquet head roll over as you swing thru the ball.
Practice visualization – Use one of these swing images, or develop a swing image of your own – It could even be as simple as…“Watch the ball”…as you’re contact the ball with your racquet headeven if in reality it’s just a blur at contact, it let’s you swing thru with much better racquet head control…
—>  Turn door knob…in forearm-wrist turn image, while swinging thru ball. The climactic synergy of your forearm AND wrist turning over is like lightly grasping a door handle and turn it to open the door. Turn either to your right or to your left to spin the door handle. That handle spin is for your backhand or forehand. There turn the handle with final spiraling action of both forearm and then wrist joining together to finish your handle spin. For example, imagine facing the left sidewall. There torque with forearm and wrist, in final snap, as you turn doorknob to your right when the door handle is right there off shoulder. When facing right sidewall, torque knob to your left, by turning over your arm and wrist, to shoot the ball to your left…
—>  Ride racquet head wave = For most of your shots, as you shoot downwards, turn over the side of your racquet frame on top ceiling side, when you point the racquet head tippy top out at sidewall, as the racquet head turns over, like a wave crashing over. You time the crash of YOUR racquet head wave. From pointing back at the racquet head wave’s trough or bottom, turn arm and wrist over by swinging racquet face so side of frame wave rises, crests, briefly points at sidewall and then faces forward, right as the racquet face wave crashes over when contacting the ball. The point is you pick WHEN to execute YOUR racquet face wave closing or crashing over. When swinging thru at contact, you turn and point your racquet face at your target wall. So, when swinging thru, roll your racquet face over via arm and wrist roll. There at contact, you train up pointing your racquet face to achieve your desired shot angle. It becomes feel when you close your racquet face and where to point the racquet face when making contact to form your different shot angles. Your racquet frame wave breaks right as your wrist breaks or snaps. You time closing your racquet face thru the ball, while always accelerating FAST thru contact. The racquet wave can crash potentially extremely powerfully. Or, instead, you may opt for a smaller wave for a touch shot, as you place the ball with delicate finesse. Although, with all swings, finish by increasing your racquet head speed thru the ball. Don’t slow your racquet head down or stop turning over your arm, wrist and racquet head, which would make your wave just fizzle out…
—>  Own racquet face control = Visualize angling your racquet face to tilt generally down and sometimes out or in when swinging thru contact, while seeing yourself shaping your shot path that you picture since picking your shot’s trajectory. With reps, it becomes muscle memory producing what you picture. Shot shape via racquet face control by calling upon your muscle memories, as you improvise, in the moment, for each shot with your familiar racquet head control feel. Don’t make up new shots. Picture and do what you do well. That feel is based on drilling and playing while learning a feel for just THIS type of shot path you see working right here. Subliminally, as you swing thru and make contact, you slant your racquet strings to form your pictured shot trajectory. Via your forearm and wrist rolling drilling, you learn to time turning over your racquet face right when waving the racquet head thru the ball. There focus on pinpointing part of ball with part of racquet face you see working to make this wave motion thru to hit your pictured shot. Optionally, for instance, you may choose to contact a gamut of spots on the ball, like…upper half of the ball…the part of the ball nearest to you…or the part of the ball furthest from you…or you may pick a combo of two those, like top half and inside of the ball for a pictured pinch. Also pick part on your string-bed that you “see” working to shape THIS shot. Picture shot path as you flow your racquet head thru the ball and on toward your picked shot target, as initially flow your racquet head right thru the feeling for your visualized shot path. After you believe, your muscle memory sets your racquet face angle thru contact…
—>  Possess combo shot angle imagery and execution = THIS is the crux of shooting the ball. Shot trajectory is a combo choice of angle both sideways AND vertically or up and down. With your shot pick decision made, you form the ball’s trajectory BOTH sideways across the court and either up or much more often down into your wall target, by executing your swing mechanics. Quickly you first make those dual binary decisions. First, you pick your side of court or the other side. For example, you pick part of ball closer to you, just under center in back, as you seek to hit a ball tight in along sidewall you face. Likewise you stroke thru the inside of the ball to strike a sidewall shot by angling the ball into the sidewall you face. In many cases, a sidewall shot places the ball on other side of the court, although your plan is for your sidewall shot to be ungettable, irretrievable. Optionally pick part of ball further away from you and flow your stroke across your body to place your shot on the other side of the court or cross-court. Second and almost simultaneously, select either kill-shot or pass. Pick upper half of ball, even just barely above center back of the ball and shoot your shot more sharply downwards. That’s especially big when making higher contact above thigh high. Although it actually goes for above shin high contact all the way up to even chest high contact. There, if you pick a very low kill-shot target 6 inches high or lower on the front wall, when looking to bounce the ball twice before the ball can reach the first line in the court, ideally you’ll roll your racquet head over thru the ball. Optionally, to place a ball deep in the backcourt, you select a passing shot angle looking to strike your front wall target above 6 inches high on up to about 3 feet high (knowing you don’t wanna cause your passing shot to carom off, bounce and pop off the back wall as a setup). You ideally add a downward trajectory and overspin that’ll keep the ball down lower coming off the front wall, using an over the top motion, with slightly above center in back of the ball your focus point. That passing shot angling, after it rebounds off the front wall causes it ideally take take its passing shot bounce first in mid court and then take its second bounce right up against the back wall. That dual shot angle choice of side of court and depth in court or where you’ll leave the ball in the court is what you picture from when first play the ball’s rebound and bounce and you choose among shot options to settle on THIS shot. It occurs when you choose your contact point and then you narrow down your shot options to pick your “best” shot for this bounce. Then you set and prep to shoot. You’re doing all that as you initially read and play the bounce for each ball, with your eyes, feet, and your off the front wall (or any other wall) rebound read, while prioritizing keeping your feet moving to get behind and beside the ball to execute your selected shot.
—>  Always picture your shot = Keep THAT quantum of force concept to make your shot picture sharp in your mind throughout your stroking process. Picture the force as you set up behind the ball, while you prep, and then retain it on through swinging thru the ball. It’s key you begin to picture your shot angle first, as you settle on where you plan to set your contact point at what ball height. It’s key to focus on shaping that pictured shot while you set your feet and as you begin sizing your loop back. Keep that shot image uppermost in your mind as you develop your stroking form. That picture dials in your stroke size AND racquet head speed to make the shot. Maintain that image all the way through swinging down and out thru the ball. Seal that impression while rolling your racquet arm and wrist over, as you arc your racquet head out thru your contact zone and on thru your contact spot. Particularly focus on the picture of your shot in that final, arcing swing plane, as you subconsciously dial up pace picturing angling your shot and feeling your racquet face waving thru the ball. Pick part of your racquet head to compress the part of ball you select. And swing on the angle thru the ball extending your vision to how the ball leaves your strings to go onto your wall target. By feel, as you angle your racquet head thru, you slightly tilt the racquet face. All those facets combine to direct your shot toward your picked, internalized and then shaped shot. Then, after flowing your racquet head thru the contact zone to strike the ball at your your contact spot and swinging on toward your shot target, always finish with a full follow-through wrapping the racquet head around behind you. Then change your picturing to what shot “they” might hit, as you move and get ready to cover their shot where you picture rebounding it.
—> D-up as Ambitious Shooter, with goal to shoot again, whenever your shot isn’t a winner = After hitting, push from front to back foot, rebalance and move to cover for your shot. Move while the opponent ideally is skittering after the shot you just tactically placed difficultly. After you’ve moved to your best spot in coverage, freeze. That means stay still as they initially set to shoot. As you’re moving to your defensive spot, watch the hitter and get ready to go get and play the shot you read them hitting. If instead you were to be drifting one direction or if you were to commit too early and make your anticipatory run, you open yourself up to being wrong-footed should the opponent hit behind the direction they see you moving. Vigilant, alert defense allows you to more often cover their shot so you get to shoot again. That way you more often get to track down their shot and use your full stroke instead of just a bunt, flick or lunging get. You’re looking to shoot again and unleash your organized Gestalt stroke. THAT organized stroke is a stroke that’s much, much more than just the sum of its parts, when those parts reflect YOUR proper, familiar form, they’re well drilled and they’re well synced up.