Written by Ian Westermann
Forehand Technique — 01 March 2015
Ultimate Groundstroke Power Drill

The vast majority of tennis players simply don’t get the as much out of their groundstrokes as they put into them.

Why? They don’t use their body effectively or efficiently.

Today’s video tennis lesson is going to show you my favorite drill to get the feeling for finally using your whole body while keeping your arm and hand relaxed.

Give it a try, I bet you’ll like the results!

Comments? Questions? Leave them down below. Thank you for watching!

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  1. Another fine, clear explanation of producing power on ground strokes.
    I am anxious to try this and to learn it since my forehand strokes are always stopping short!


  2. The forehand free swing with a very good follow through was very useful. Can you please demonstrater the same for backhand also? thanks

  3. Hi, Ian.

    Great drill. Can you show us one for the one-handed backhand?


    • I'll see if I can work it in, Bruce. Thanks for watching!

  4. Ditto on the Indian Wells question. I'll be there middle weekend.

    • I'll be there but not sure if there will be time for a casual meetup. We'll see :-)

  5. Big lefty,
    I am taking my machine out every Tuesday these days. I will definitely incorporate these drills into the ball tracking drills you gave us a few weeks ago. Shockingly they are actually working a little. I even saw the ball a couple times in actual point play recently. Slow progress is still progress!!!!
    Any more ball tracking ideas????
    Much Thanks!

  6. great tip! thanks.

  7. Excellent drill Ian. Start facing side line and end facing the other side line.
    I would like to add this tip: start the forward move by your hips then let your arm follow .

  8. When should you discard practice ball in your practice basket?
    Also will you be having another get together during the Indian Wells Tourney as you did last year?

  9. I'm a little worried about the player prematurely pulling the racquet across their body with this drill (not enough forward racquet movement).

    • If a player is using an arm-dominant swing then that could absolutely happen, yes. Its very important to emphasize correct usage of the kinetic chain (core/body leads the swing).

  10. Good drill, I had once a coach who was asking to to a 360 turn just to get the feel. But…hat about the importance of keeping the head still at contact and even slightly after contact? Your head is moving all the way?

  11. But I tried that I had a very difficult time keeping my head still and my eyes on the ball at contact. When I look at Roger Federer it seems to me that he turns his body to accelerate the racket until just before contact, when his body _stops_ turning. Thus, his follow-through seems to me to be mostly just arm. This allows him to leave his head facing the point of contact well into the follow-through.

    • You're right, it does make it tricky. As I mentioned in the video this is an exaggerated swing just for the sake of getting a certain feel.

  12. How hard of a grip should you use on the groundstroke?

  13. Thanks Ian, I have heard to put more attention on hip rotation rather than the upper part of your body.

  14. Not only are your drills and explanations very helpful, they are concise and to the point. You do not over complicate your comments like some other tennis coaches.

  15. I guess this is a lot better then keeping shoulders completely static and just swinging your arm, but why teach one bad habit to get rid of another? Shoulders/head should not be moving at the time of contact. Being a good tennis player, that's exactly what you when you hit live ball from a machine, but not what you demonstrate with shadow swing and static ball.

  16. very helpful and concise video

  17. Ian…another one I found via your Facebook ads which are clearly working. Can't wait to try this which I will do first thing tomorrow morning. Planning to get to the court 1/2 hour early just for this. I'll give you some actual feedback after I give it a try.

    As always, thanks…


  18. nice sequence of progressions-this is something all levels play can use

  19. This video really has help me to turn my body as I hit. Great video.

  20. This video really has help me to turn my body as I hit. Great video.

  21. like that and thanks a lot

  22. Thank you very much!

  23. I tried to hit some few balls this morning and it did a lot of improvement in my forehand especially consistency. However, I can't feel power in it. Can power be generated with the same stroke?

  24. Hi Ian,
    Awesome … as always! Thanks so much for this top quality instructions!
    Had a go with this today and it worked great!

  25. Ian
    You are perfect.
    I am 67 and I know how difficult is to improve my technique at this age.
    Your video lessons helped me so much that I will be always grateful to you.

  26. Excellent !
    Much thanks.

  27. Ian,
    How about a video on one of the hardest shots in tennis, the high backhand lob return.

  28. Ian, I follow your videos with great interess. But I have one problem remaining for the serve.I am not able to bring my raquet down in my back when I serve . I can do it but in this case the ball barely reach the net.TO much spin?
    Thank you very much
    THouvenin Bernard(France Grenoble)

  29. These really short and focussed vid lessons are excellent. Not too much for my small brain to handle. I watch them just before my in-the-flesh weekly lesson and in trying to apply the tips, notice real improvement very quickly. So, many thanks for that.
    One comment on the videos. I don't know how you're set-up for your editing,etc, but you often begin showing your stroke from the side or front or back but always seem to cut to a long shot at the point of racquet-ball contact. I find this takes my eye away from what should be the real focus – the process and technique of the stroke, and encourages (me, at least) to focus on the ball, and the result of the shot (in, out, fast, long, etc) – rather than correct technique. Personally, I'd prefer a mix of closer shots showing the whole stroke, and then longer full-court shots also showing the whole stroke. Hope you don't mind this comment, which is intended constructively. As I said, love the short lessons. Thanks.

    • That's a great piece of feedback, GDA. I'm using a new editor for these and been meaning to give him that same feedback, just hadn't taken the time to verbalize it. I'll be copying a pasting your description :-)

      • Thanks. Played yesterday after watching the vid, and hit with much more consistency and power on the forehand side – so, very content.

  30. thanks Ian, I love all your lessons it has improved my play by a 100%

  31. Ball contact is about a foot (or more) in front of you and at the knee level???

  32. I definitely will enjoy doing this drill 1)because I use a full swing, and 2)because I need to impove my technique to hit with more power. The top spin I get, but the power doesn't always come through consistently, but when it does the ball quickly rebounds off the wall at me. Thank you for the refresher and I hope to get the results in practice. Though, does this same drill work on the 2-handed backhand side?

  33. Hi Ian,
    Just thought I'd add some useful tips that work for me. On the forehand side, in addition to the follow through finish with the chest and elbow facing the side court, I try to step at a ninety degree angle so that I have more targets to aim at. Then I focus on a 4 step process to get effortless zip on my forehand.
    1. Early preparation, knee bend and compact unit turn.
    2. Watch the ball onto the strings… don't lift the eyes early.
    3. Relax the wrist. (Sometimes I hold the racket with three fingers and the thumb , little finger off, to unclench my grip)
    4. Lengthen the hitting corridor as much as possible, then finish with the chest to the opposite side, as you demonstrate.
    When my forehand is not there (i.e. too much arm muscle), I go back to these 4 steps and my forehand always gets better.
    Hope someone finds this useful.

    • Eva, I am going to follow your 4 steps. I change my forehand strokes every a few weeks. Somehow I cannot keep what I've learned.

  34. Thanks, Ian, useful as always!
    I have a suggestion for a topic to cover. I just can't kill the ball. I can receive easy overheads or other easy shots and whenever I try to kill the ball it either goes in the net, out of court or straight to an opponent! Is there a secret in placing the ball in the right place that I need to know?
    How to kill without a gun?????!!!!!!!!

  35. Hi Ian,

    I'm looking frorward to trying this out as I definately need to get more power on my forehand. I'd be really interested to get your thoughts on what proportion of max power can be genertated by simply using the core correctly as opposed to building muscle strength in the gym ?
    Also you mentioned in your video that a full turn isn't always necessary for the average groundstroke. Is this because the average groundstroke is more about hitting with topspin and perhaps requies good leg bending/straightening rather than a full core rotation ?

  36. Simple and great, do it for all tennis technical matters

  37. Ian,

    Thank you for the great lesson on how to create more effortless power with your forehand ground stroke. My question is, as a player who still uses a single handed backhand, do the same principles apply, whereby I should be focusing on my chest also rotating 180 degrees to generate power? I am concerned that this may lead to my racket arm swinging too much across my body and not enough up?

    Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,


  38. Great instructions – I can't wait to start practicing: here in Montreal, we're still waiting for Spring – it'll be another month or so before we can do any serious practice. In the meantime, we can onl,y 'shadow' practice…I guess it's better than nothing.
    Many thanks. Looking forward to the remainder of the lessons.

    Joe Patafie

  39. This is really effective for getting the feel for the turn and the racket coming through last. Most of us who need to practice this will find ourselves being undone by being late to be ready and having to arm it suddenly to try to catch up with the ball, and this drill gives us lots of practice t rotating through in easy relaxed circumstances.
    Great work, Ian!

  40. Ian that's the greatest video ,, that I have ever seen. so simple.

  41. I like the 180 degree turn. That's a nice full swing. I like the relaxed at contact- a very important nuance. Easy to employ both these ideas and I'm sure will be highly effective. Can't wait to practice it.

  42. Yes a great drill thank you Ian, so goes with the 'No Spoon' lesson – would it be a good time to also practice leaving the gaze on the contact point, is this what Federer does rather than rotating his head all the way round, not sure really?

    • It definitely does go hand in hand with the "no spoon" lesson, Aggie. Roger definitely leaves his head pointing at contact longer than most players, other pros included. It's not necessary to copy in my opinion, but can often times help.

  43. Great insight, thanks for all your instructions. I find them clear and concise!

  44. Hallo,
    how looks like the backhand drill ?


  45. good vid! – all the basics are there; maybe do one for backhand, also?…..

  46. Hi Ian

    Great stuff – I'll try this out.

    Do you have any equivalent power drill for the one handed backhand? Obviously there is a lot less body rotation in that stroke, and I was wondering what the feel should be. Me, I try and swing my hitting arm like a pendulum without making much effort, but I don't know it that is the right way to go about it.