Roger Federer’s Forehand Grip and Style

One important weapon required in any tennis player’s arsenal is modern forehand technique. In this lesson we will be using ‘a wall’ to develop modern forehand technique. This enables you to have a much simpler shorter backswing but you will be able to generate a lot more pace and spin. This method was designed by Rick Macci, who has coached the William sisters and many more professionals and is followed by most professional coaches. There are other unique ideas I have added to make things easier for you which I am going to tell in this lesson.

Let’s start by understanding the grip first. Most of the time semi western grip comes very handy in forehand shot. Here are 3 simple steps for you to make things easier-

  1. Drop the racquet on the ground.
  2. Pick it up and hold it like a frying pan.
  3. As you get in to the ready position to return the serve hold the racquet with it facing straight towards the ground.

Lots of players like Rafael Nadal prefer this ready position with semi western grip for forehand shots. You don’t have to flip the whole racquet if you are on semi western to change the grip, you can make a very quick change. Some people worry that you have to make a big move or flip the racquet to change the grip but if you are at semi western grip all you have to do is make a slight change and you are there!

Here is a step by step instruction and few important things to remember as follows-

  1. Take a unit turn and elevate the elbow, just like if some one is behind you and you want to nudge him.
  2. Do not separate the arms and hold on to the racquet.
  3. Remember to keep the frame of the racquet forward; this will help in building the momentum.
  4. As you get ready for forehand shot remember not to use your arm or swing it back too much.
  5. Try to pivot your feet and twist your upper body only and get into the position.
  6. It is important that the strings of the racquet face the ground during the swing because if you don’t do that chances are that ball will fly out of the court.
  7. Rick Macci suggests an interesting move he calls as ‘good dog move’, in which you have to take a basket of ball (about the height of you waist) and place it on your side. After you swing your body and nudge the elbow up to move the racquet bring it to tap the basket after you separate your hands. You still want the wrist to be up and not drop else you will lose the power.
  8. In the next move your wrist needs to be laid back or bent back so that you get the power to hit the ball as your hand swing racquet to hit the forward shot .
  9. In the follow through the racquet should go to rest on the shoulder.
Modern Forehand Lesson

While practicing the forehand with the wall, just throw the ball on the wall once your racquet is on the basket as mention in step 7 and hit the shot, the more you practice the better it gets. If you want to practice for topspin shots there is a tool called ‘topspin pro’ which you can get and follow the same routine as above, however you just have to brush the ball. But if you don’t have the tool you can practice by rubbing the ball on the wall with the racquet and practice the top spin.

So this was a step by step guide for modern forehand technique, just remember the more you practice the perfect it gets, until next time this is Peter Freeman signing-off.

Tennis Footwork: Different Hitting Stances Explained

Tennis footwork is a major part of your game. You’ve got to intuitively get your stances right because they have so much to do with balance and shifting your weight in the right direction to make your best shots. With sharp clean foot moves, you will get to the ball early and prepare well for the shot.

Before we take a look at the main hitting stances and how they can improve your game, I have a very solid piece of advice to share with you. It is a golden rule in tennis. Promise me you will never, ever stand on your heels on the tennis court. Don’t stay rooted to the court. Be on your toes at all times. Got it? Good!

Today’s modern groundstroke game incorporates a few footwork stances. These stances as described below are to illustrate the way you stand during the shot.

  1. Open Stance

This tennis footwork is very popular lately thanks to tennis stars like Venus and Serena Williams. Venus particularly loves the open stance two handed backhand. Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal are also famous for their open stance. To do it, you will coil your upper body sideways to the ball. However, your lower body is still facing the net. This coil between the upper and lower body creates torque that can be used as additional energy for hitting the ball. Much like a spring that has been wound, the upper body literally springs open. When done correctly, this energy is passed on to the racket when hitting the ball.

2. Neutral Stance

This step is also known as the square stance – possibly because your feet pretty much form a 90 degree angle to the baseline, making a T-square with the baseline. You stand center court on your baseline and move your left foot slightly forward when you hit the ball, then your right foot moves up to help you recover and return to ready position. This is not a big step but a very effective one.

3.Semi Open Stance

You are half way between open stance and square stance. Since open stance is facing the net – let’s say 0 degrees angle to baseline – and square stance is 90 degrees angle to baseline, the semi open stance is best described as being 45 degrees to baseline. Your body is angled and facing either one of the net posts most likely. This is a very flexible stance.

4. Closed Stance

The closed stance can be used for both forehand and backhand shots. Many coaches don’t like the closed stance forehand and discourage their students from using it. The reasons are because the stance leaves you off balance if you are moving into a forehand shot and counterproductive for players wanting to generate power. You wouldn’t want tennis footwork that is counterproductive right? In closed stance, your feet are both facing to the right or left of the court, and your front foot (opposite to your racquet holding hand) crosses over your rear foot at a sufficient angle that your body is closed off from the court. It takes extra steps to open up again for the next shot. The one handed backhand is probably the best time to get into a closed stance because you need to get into sideways position to execute the stroke.

I advise you to develop fluid tennis footwork. It’s possible to use all the stances when you play, even if you have a personal favorite. It’ll astound your opponent when you are effortlessly able to move all over the court in a matter of seconds. Lastly, I have a quick tip to share with you when you are watching videos of professional players playing. Many of us tend to watch how they hit ball and admire their beautiful strokes. Next time when you are watching, spend about 5 points watching how they move instead, i.e. look at their legs and learn how they move. I am sure you will take away some learning points from their superb footwork.

Learning Correct Tennis Footwork

Learning correct tennis footwork will be necessary if you wish to advance your game. Obviously, the game of tennis requires a substantial amount of running around the court, and of course, there are always best practices to keep in mind when doing so. That’s what tennis footwork is for. Moving around the court efficiently, being able to always reach a ball, and how to always stay prepared for the next shot are just a few key aspects we’ll be going over with you today. Let’s go ahead and get started.

How-to: Tennis Footwork

Good tennis footwork affects everything from your timing, balance, power, and consistency. The main focus of proper tennis footwork is to allow you to reach any ball that comes your way, and this will require you to always stay on your toes. Running around the court with just your heels causes you to be a step slower when compared to staying on your toes, and preparation is vital in such a fast-paced sport. It’s the difference between getting to the right position in time or having the ball fly right by you, each and every time.

Being able to get into the right position gives you options, and having options can give you the lead over your opponent by putting you on offense. If you observe a match of tennis, you’ll notice that tennis players are not taking long strides to reach the ball. It’s actually the exact opposite. Light, quick, short steps are key to reaching the ball early, since these precise movements are what allow you to get in just the right position. So, always, always stay on your toes, even if you aren’t a majestic ballet dancer.

Because of this, strong legs are a must in tennis. If your legs happen to be weak, it will affect your entire performance on the court, wasting most of your valuable energy just to get to the ball. If staying on your toes constantly isn’t enough to tone your legs, you can always strengthen your leg muscles by exercising. Some amazing exercises you can use for stronger leg muscles are jogging, lunges, running up incline surfaces, or just typical tennis drills that focuses on the legs. If you routinely exercise, you will notice a vast improvement in your stamina.

Tennis Footwork Techniques

Now, let’s move on to tennis footwork techniques, shall we? In this section, we’ll be talking more about what the best practices for moving around the court are. Some of the things we’ll be talking about include the ready position, the split step, the side shuffle, the cross step, and all four tennis stances.

Ready Position

ready position - tennis footwork techniques

Before you start approaching a ball, you will most likely start off in the most common position in tennis–the ready position. The ready position requires your legs to be shoulder width apart with your weight equally distributed on both toes and your racquet in front of you held by both hands. Your hips and knees will be slightly bent as well. What this position allows for is a stance that helps you to run in any direction the ball is sent.

The ready position should be used whenever you are anticipating the opponent’s next shot, and should be done when you are at the center of the court.

Split Step

split step - tennis footwork techniques

Another tennis footwork technique you can use is called the split step. The split step is a position similar to the ready position, but consists of short hops in the direction of the ball. With the split step, you will be in the ready position stance and perform a short hop just before running. The split step should be done right when your opponent makes contact with the ball, and upon landing on the ground again, you’ll be able to move to where the ball is faster.

If used correctly, the split step will allow for a more explosive way to get to the ball.

Side Shuffle

Once you’ve hit the ball, you might be confused on what to do next. Well, your main priority after you’ve hit the ball is to head back to the center of the court. Of course, the fastest way to get to the center of the court is to run directly there, but this can backfire if your opponent returns the ball in the opposite direction of where you are running. That’s where the side shuffle comes into play. While not the fastest way to recover, the side shuffle is a great recovery method because it allows you to move east or west depending on where the ball is headed, so it is much more safe and useful in a match. To perform a side shuffle, adopt the mindset of a crab and shuffle sideways. The outside foot (furthest away from the center) will move in while the inside foot (closest to the center) moves out toward the center. Your two feet should never touch as you perform the shuffle.

Cross Step

After hitting a shot from far away, you would need a technique to get back to the center as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there’s the tennis footwork technique known as the cross step, or crossover step. In order to perform a cross step, you will cross your leg, one over the other, in the direction you choose to move to. This allows you to cover more ground but will not let you change directions once it’s been done. What’s great about the cross step, however, is that you can quickly switch to the side shuffle method right afterward.

Tennis Stances

A main focus of tennis footwork are the four tennis stances you can take before you hit a ball, and they are used for both forehand and backhand. Each stance is used differently around the court, however, and which stance you should use is highly dependent on how much timing you have. The four tennis stances are:

  • Closed stance
  • Neutral stance (square stance)
  • Open stance
  • Semi-open stance
tennis-stances - tennis footwork techniques

Closed Stance

The closed stance–or classic stance–is a stance where both your feet are turned sideways parallel with the net/baseline. This allows for complete and proper shoulder and body turn, and although it isn’t used for forehand very often, is used mainly for backhand shots. The closed stance is mostly used while at the center of the court, and is best for returning shots. To recover from a closed stance, you will rotate your back foot to the other side as you hit the ball and side shuffle back to the center.

Neutral Stance (Square Stance)

The neutral stance is a stance where your back foot is parallel to the baseline while your front foot is stepping in at a ~90 degree angle. This stance allows you to step into the ball meaning you can add more power to your shot. This stance also gives you the option to approach the net. The way to recover from this stance is by having your back foot align with your front foot and then side shuffle back to the center.

Semi-Open Stance

The semi-open stance is used when you don’t have enough time to perform a neutral stance. Both of your feet will be diagonal relative to the net, at about a ~45 degree angle. This is a very flexible stance, where it allows for both full shoulder rotation and a complete follow through on your shots.

Open Stance

The open stance is a very powerful position that allows you to hit powerful shots. Basically, both of your feet will be facing the net in a straight line. Your upper body will be doing the rotation instead, which creates torque for your swing. This provides additional force on the ball, allows for full shoulder rotation, and helps you to recover more quickly by putting you back in the position where you can side shuffle back to the center.

Improving Tennis Footwork

improve tennis footworktennis footwork Oct 12, 2015

Here is the misconception! We have seen time and time again, players wasting their time training the incorrect way. Quality tennis footwork could be the most critical element for a solid game. You have to get it right! Let’s look at how you should structure all your footwork drills. Have you noticed how well Roger Federer moves? It can be hard to understand how smooth and graceful he moves when you watch on TV, but it was only until I saw him train and play in person, I truly appreciated why he is regarded as the greatest mover in the game.

While we can’t promise you’ll reach the same standard as Federer, there are proven ways to improve your tennis footwork on the court.

We’d like to share the ‘Tennis Fitness, Martin Method” movement patterns that we use daily with the professional players who work with us. And don’t worry it will work for you also, no matter what level you play at. The thing is all tennis players have something in common, they all want to move better on the court. Let’s show you how this can be done. Firstly it’s important you understand there are six types of footwork steps used on the tennis court.


Once you understand this, you can then plan your tennis training around the footwork steps you feel need more work.

For the majority of tennis players the first step is the most critical…however we will explain more about that later on.


Prep Steps are small controlled steps that are used when preparing to set-up for a shot.

Instead of taking large forceful steps, it is better to take small controlled rapid steps, which allows for better body position and the ability to change direction at the last moment if needed.

Prep steps are generally used when moving forward to the ball or when a player has time on their ground strokes.

Prep steps are performed by holding a wide leg base, staying predominately on your forefoot, with knees slightly bent and maintaining good athletic posture. Holding this position, you should take controlled dynamic small steps when getting in position to hit the ball.


The split step is a fundamental step for all players. It is important to get it functioning right and use it as often as possible.

The split step is generally used when starting a dynamic movement such as returning serve or preparing to move to hit a ground stroke. The split step is performed by pushing up off the toes, jumping a few inches in the air and dynamically moving towards the direction of the ball.


 The first step is one of the most important factors in dynamic court movement. The nature of tennis means that players rarely run more than five meters in one direction during most points, so that quick first step is critical.

The first step is the one taken directly after the split step or the first step taken in any direction. We generally consider the first 2-3 steps part of the first step (acceleration).

What we find important is that you lean toward the direction you need to go and step first with the leg closet to the direction you are heading (except in a cross over step). The first step is as much about attitude and mentality, as it is about the physicality of it. Having an aggressive and assertive approach to your first step will help promote good dynamic court movement.


Many players use the crossover step when changing direction moving laterally.

It is an efficient way to set-up the initial lateral movement. By taking the outside leg and crossing it over the inside leg, players can then go into a lateral shuffle. Players that have a dynamic cross over step, will be able to get into position a lot easier which will continually put pressure on their opponent.


The steps taken when changing direction on the court are known as transition steps.

These steps are critical for moving quickly around the court as they provide players with more time.

Transition steps are performed through multi-directional movements.

Once a movement has finished, such as a wide forehand being hit, the transition step is the first one taken in a multi-directional plane (diagonal, lateral, forward or backward). We typically refer to the transition step (load and lean) when pushing off in a diagonal plane.


Multi-directional steps take place on nearly every point played in tennis.

They are a combination of steps 1-5, as well as the movement between each shot.

Possessing good multi-directional movement gives players the ability to maintain good posture, while getting themselves in the best position more often.

Effective multi-directional steps leads to an increase in court agility and fluid movement.

Now you have an understanding of all the six tennis footwork steps you use on court.

Its now time to train those steps you feel are letting you down on court.

Don’t just train and hope for the best, train with a purpose.

It may sound all very simple, but even the best players in the world train this way.

We have some world class proven tennis specific footwork programs, that train these six footwork steps.

To get your FREE Introductory Footwork Program that includes the above 6 steps Click on Image Below. 

Check out our new Speed, Reaction and Agility Programs