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wrist and downswing

Published: 06 Nov 2009 - 18:09 by Paolo

Updated: 12 Nov 2009 - 09:06

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i have two question:  the first is about the swing, and the second is about the downsing phase


I have read a lot of post in your forum about  technique and the use or not use or the wrist..

i think i have undestood that is better that the wrist stay firm (not too loose and not too tight in the swing)...  but i have a little of confusion about this..


I would like know better if is better that the wrist must be "cocked" from start to finish the swing..

the question is:

is better that i grip my racquet when i'm in ready position and than i keep this cocked from ready position till  the end of the swing or is correct that i keep my grip firm only in the backwing and than mantain firm during the shot?

I have notice the pros and when them start the backswing, the arm go back with the racquet in the same instant...and this happens when the wrist is cocked with the forearm...if the wrist isn't cocked with the forearm i have notice that there is a "little break"  between the forerm and the wrist, so when preparing the shot and go for the backswing the forearm rise up and in the second istant the racquet rise up with the forearm...


what is better? i think is better to have the wrist cocked so the racquet is connect to the forearm..


My last question is:

i have seen a video where Shawn Moxham (the coach of palmer) speaks about the swing and says that when start the downswing, the racquet don't go behind the body but go in front of the body...  but if i watch the pros, in the downsing phase, the racquet seems go behind the body becouse the head racquet goes behind for facilitate the forearm rotation...


I'm sorry for my english and i hope you understand my words and my concept..

form me this two question are really important, i hope to find a help..


thanks again,


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From Paolo - 12 Nov 2009 - 08:51   -   Updated: 12 Nov 2009 - 09:06

Hello Raystrach,

i would like thank you becouse your teaching are really precious..also  i would thank  Rippa becouse she has give me a great help about some my doubtful about  techique....

and also i would thank Adz and every people of this site becouse yours question and yours reply have gave me a great help..


thanks again,


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From raystrach - 09 Nov 2009 - 11:58   -   Updated: 12 Nov 2009 - 08:13

hi paolo

take a look at the pair routine on the home page. you will notice that the racket preparation is very early and the racket shaft is usually just off the vertical(perhaps 10-20 deg?). the racket face is also usually slightly open.

i think peta's (the girl's) technique is closer to ideal than zac's(the man's) although both are pretty good.

make sure you keep the elbow pointing more down than anything because (especially on the forehand) lefting the elbow up, usually results in the racket face being very closed.

lifting the elbow up on the forehand is a big no no. tins, when under pressure or when tired is usually the result. the elbow going up on the backhand usually does not happen if your overall technique is ok (different set of bio mechanics to forehand)

the video is pretty clear in terms of the angle of the racket shaft on preparation




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From Paolo - 09 Nov 2009 - 09:41

Thanks for your precious teaching...this is a great help for me...


Dear Raystrach can i ask you another thing...?

In another post you have talked about the backswing and that the position of backswing facilitate the correct movement... 

can you said me what is the correct ready position of the racquet in the forehand and in the backhand?

i have read in a old post that you have wrote:

"i like to see my players start  high, (racket angle either 1 o'clock - 1:30 or 11:00 o'clock - 10.30), pull the racket down and through for the swing, then return to the high position"

but i have a little confusion about what do you mean..  you refer about the racquet head that  point 1 o'clock - 1:30 or 11:00 o'clock - 10.30...? can you help me for undestand better? i have a bit of confusion... if you have also a pictures with two example (one example fore position 1 o'clock - 1:30 and another for position 11:00 o'clock - 10.30) i will be grateful


thank again for your attention and your availability



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From raystrach - 07 Nov 2009 - 20:18   -   Updated: 07 Nov 2009 - 20:21

h paolo

just expanding on what adz had to say...

the wrist is an amazing piece of machinery, being able to move in every plane. if you have a full swing at the ball, the wrist will probable move in  one plane, but it should not move in the other.

if you hold you open hand our so that your thumb is pointing upward and your little finger is closest to the ground, now move your wrist so that your fingers point up then down. this movement in the vertical plane is to be expected as your forearm rotates and the racket swings.

this is part of the reason why so much power can be generated with that forearm snap.

however, it is the movement of your fingers pointing left then right, or movement in the horizontal plane which is not desirable, especially when trying to learn the basics. incorporating that form of wrist movement is an advanced skill which can be used but also can result in injury to your wrist.

as for the swing going behind the body, if you use the down and through method of swing, the biomechanics of it are such that the previously discussed cocked wrist will mean the racket head must travel at least partly behing the body on its way through to striking the ball.

this fact is often overlooked.

what you do not want is the handle of the racket going in a circle around the body. you will notice that most of the top players will start with the racket behind (or is that in front of) the line of the ball, and will take the racket through the line of the ball

this relatively straight swing helps with accuracy. even with this, the racket head will, at least momentarily, go behind the body. this is not something mentioned in the coaching manuals

this is partially explained by the wrist going from that cocked postion to the extended position, like when your fingers point down in the earlier example.

on the forehand, what typically happens is that:

  • the racket handle is first drawn down - the racket is pretty vertical at the start of this process
  • at the same time (on the way down)  a small amount of supination occurs  and the racket lays back
  • the wrist is cocked at this point and the racket head will swing around slighty behind the body
  • the racket handle then starts to go through
  • then as the pronation kicks in, the racket head expodes through the ball
  • at this point the wrist is usually extended for a full blooded drive
  • as the pronation finishes, the wrist returns to the cocked position and should finish higher rather than lower

does any of this make sense to you?



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From Adz - 06 Nov 2009 - 18:45

Hi Paolo,

I have to say them I'm a "wrist-shot" supporter. I find that putting a slight rotation into the wrist during the swing gives me a snap to my shot and helps generate a bit of extra power and also adds a small amount of disguise as the wrist movement can mask the direction of the ball until last second.

The difficulty is that to play this type of swing is very difficult and takes a lot of practise. People just don't pick up a racquet and naturally swing with perfect timing! I'd advise people to try to learn the new swing, but don't rely on it to win you matches until you get very good at it and can play it almost effortlessly.


With regard to the racquet position compared to the body, I think I have an explanation. Probably what Shawn Moxham meant was that the racquet head shouldn't go behind the shoulder. If you look at the professionals they rotate their upper bodies so that even though the racquet head goes behind their foot position, it doesn't go behind their shoulders. Not only do you lose power when you put the racquet behind your shoulders, you will most likely be stretching your rotator cuff and this can lead to injury if you try to play this type of shot at speed.







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