The Life of the Tennis Forehand

Deontae Harper

Everyday day I ask myself why tennis is underrated and I never could get the best conclusion. Tennis is not an easy sport to play, especially when you are playing the right way. I would like for just anybody to come out and play tennis and master the sport like Rafael Nadal and Rodger Federer does. Now these guys can hit amazing shot none stop as if it was the easiest thing on earth. The way they make a forehand shot look so fantastic is phenomenal. The reason the tennis forehand shot is astonishing is because, it allows the player to maintain control over the game and their opponent, it is the most comfortable shot in tennis for most players to use when rallying during a match, and it blows your opponents’ minds with the different types of spin that you can apply to the ball.

For starters my favorite forehand shot is the running forehand shot because it allows me to apply tons more power to the ball then I would from a stable open stance forehand shot. For instance Russian tennis player Vera Zvonareva, who now holds the highest percentage of this shot in the women’s professional stats leads with only 47% out of 100, this shows the difficulty of the shot. Although I like this shot, this shot isn’t an easy shot to accomplish because, you have to keep your body balanced throughout the shot because if not you most likely will shank the ball out the court. One author explains that Vera says, “I like to use what I call a buggy whip swing with lots of upward and forward movement,” (Rolley 39).

There is a big component to the forehand shot that has a tendency to get overlooked. This component is the mental focus to hit the ball accurately, maintain control over the game and your opponent. I have the skill to do this when I choose to sometimes , but sometimes I just let my opponent get into my head and blow the match out of anger. Many people who have this skill wins outweigh the ones who have short tempers according to the stats of sports psychologist Sian Beilock: “A player who has this skill ask themselves after every point where am I going to play the next ball to either maintain or take control of the game.

Next is the comfortability of the forehand shot. Most players like to relax as much as possible when hitting this shot so that they would not mess up the shot due to tension in the body. No player like to hit a forehand that they will regret in a match because that’s usually where a player shines on the court while performing this shot. Whenever I drop a forehand into the net due to and correctable error that I mad I flat-out yell at myself for giving that point away. In comparison to my forehand shot a professional tennis players is exceptionally off the charts better than mine. Look at men’s professional tennis player Gael Monfils’ forehand, he has way more control and power than me. Gael stats that there is five basic components to the forehand shot that he uses, which are the Shoulders, Arms, Follow-through, Knees, and Feet. All these components to Gael Monfils’ forehand allows him to maximize the ultimate comfort ability that he needs to stay ahead of himself and the game. “ There’s the modern typical forehand, and there is Gael Monfils’ forehand,” says Tracy Austin.

Last but not least we have the spin to apply to the ball when striking a forehand shot. There are several different types of spin that you can apply to the ball. The common spin that most tennis players use is the basic topspin shot. A topspin shot means that you basically close the face of your racket and brush up on the backside of the ball to create that simple spin. “ I love to hit a deep topspin shot that hits the ground and takes off due to the spin which causes my opponents to struggle with their returns to this shot,” says outstanding tennis player Rafael Nadal ( Burwash 22 ). Another great spin to develop is this slice shot which simply means to cut through the ball, but at the same time push outward with the ball evenly. This also is a hard shot to hit because your timing has to be right and at the same time you must have the control to do it , but when you develop this shot you will become a much greater tennis player on both sides of the ball because this slice shot makes the ball leave the path of the opponents which plays in your favor most of the time.

In conclusion to my research over the diversity of the tennis forehand and how it enhances the positive outcome of the game, I would like to close with saying that with out the tennis forehand I think that the intensity in tennis would be taken out because only thing that’s left is the backhand and the serve. Although the backhand and the serve are big components in tennis, the forehand excels pass them because its more popular. The reason the tennis forehand shot is astonishing is because, it allows the player to maintain control over the game and their opponent, it is the most comfortable shot in tennis for most players to use when rallying during a match, and it blows your opponents mind with the several different types of spin that you can apply to the ball.

Tennis Is Bae

Deontae Harper

Tennis is a sport that I never thought I would play. From the time I can remember up until the day I stepped foot on the tennis court I would judge people that played tennis. “Tennis is lame…Tennis is not a real sport,” are things that I would usually say to people that played tennis or anytime tennis was brought up in a conversation that involved me. With that being said you are not going to believe what I am going to say next. I love tennis and it is my life now! Sit back and listen to my adventurous relationship I have developed with tennis.

It was Christmas break of my junior year, I went out-of-town to visit family and found myself playing a lot of video games with my cousins. It doesn’t matter what I am doing if it involves something of a competitive sort I am going to fight and try to win. My younger cousin figured since I always spoke so poorly of tennis that it would be a great opportunity to beat me in a Wii sports game of tennis. My first reaction was no I will not play this game. I am not a wuss. That didn’t work, my cousin knew exactly how to get back at me which was to say that I was afraid to lose, which I wasn’t, cause I felt that tennis wasn’t a real sport therefore the challenge was not hard at all. I finally gave in and we began to play the game. Instantly I began to sweat from the excessive cardio workout that was provided from the game. Honestly I started off a little shaky due to be being uncomfortable with the sport, but I managed to get it together because of my competitive instincts. I remember the most important thing that has changed my prospective on the game of tennis until this day, which was “tennis is a lot harder than it looks.” This statement was the start of a relationship I will not be willing to give up on now. Who would have ever thought those words would come out my mouth after that negativity I have thrown at the game. I did in fact beat my cousin in the game which has helped me become who I am today which I will get into later.

Christmas break was over and I was back at home for school. I just started off-season for football and began the season for basketball. Two sports that I can truly say that I am decent in and will compete to my fullest potential every time I get a chance. Such a powerful statement that had no meaning after I did what I am about to tell you. One day after school before my basketball game I went out to the tennis courts to watch a home match. Yes, I knew very shocking to see myself at a tennis match, but the replay of tennis match I played on the Wii was running through my mind and I wanted to see how hard this sport really was in real life. As soon as I got out to the courts I was in awe because it was in deed harder than I imagined. I immediately wanted to try it for myself, so I did what I figured was safe and talked to the coach. His response to my little story  was if you are serious I can turn you into something special quickly with this sport. I went to my game, and all night I thought about what he told me. The very next day at school I decided to take coach Mihok up on his offer and joined the tennis team because I figured that if this is a challenging sport then I must try to figure it out.

Now I will fast forward to the inspirational point of this relationship with tennis. Since I started, I have achieved many things in this sport. My senior year of high school I was first team all-district, district champs, and a regional qualifier. I also played some of the United States Tennis Association tournaments and received the upper level status of Champ level players. Throughout the summer going to my senior I played tennis every day and trained harder than you could imagine. I decided to quit football and basketball for tennis because I enjoyed the game a lot more, and I just had passion for the game at this point in my life. Halfway through my senior year my coach called me with some shocking news. He told me that he spoke with a few of his tennis buddies that coach on the college level and told me that he would be able to get me a spot on a college team if I trained hard every day for it. What did I do from here? you guessed right, I trained every single day regardless of the weather to assure myself that I was going to be ready to compete at the next level.

Which brings us to the current day. Here I am a sophomore in college and on a tennis scholarship to play collegiate tennis. I never would have thought that I would be this far in life with the game of tennis due to be starting so late, but that just goes to show you that if you set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve those goals in every aspect of your life, there are no limits, and you can be anything in this world you want to be, as long as you are feeding yourself positive energy and finding a true relationship with whatever it is you are trying to achieve. Honestly I never would have imagine that I would be in the position I am in today playing college tennis but it all started that day I challenged myself when playing against my cousin. I love tennis it is my life and my passion and I am proud to say that!