November 7, 2016 - Three Ways to Play the Forehand

If you are a backhand-oriented player, you still need to play forehands. Many have difficulty with this because they stand in a backhand stance, and have difficulty switching to a forehand stance. Even some forehand players, once they play a backhand, go into a backhand stance, and have trouble with their forehand after that. So how do you go from playing a backhand to a forehand? There are three basic ways.

  • Pull Back Leg Back for Forehands. (When we say back leg, we mean the right leg for righties, the left for lefties.) A player in a backhand stance often has his legs either parallel or the back leg actually in front (i.e. a righty has his right leg in front). To play a forehand in this manner, he needs to pull the leg back quickly, rotating the body around, to get into a forehand stance. This is the most standard way, and the choice for most players. However, many backhand-oriented players, especially those who do not train regularly, have great difficulty with this. It's all a matter of training to make it a habit.
  • Play Forehands with a Neutral Stance. This was considered a no-no in the past, but in the modern game, which is faster and more two-winged, most top players learn to play with their feet mostly parallel to the table. This gives them a strong backhand. When playing forehand, if rushed or close to the table, rather than pull the back leg back, they simply rotate the body at the hips and waist. This takes a lot of training, including physical training. But once mastered, it allows players to play a strong two-winged attack without backing up.
  • Play Backhands with a Forehand Stance. This was very common in the past, but less common these days as backhand techniques have advanced and more and more players develop their backhands into strong weapons. If you play a mostly blocking or consistent backhand, then you can do this with a forehand stance, with right leg back (for righties). This allows you to play quick backhands and make a very quick transition to forehand play since you are already in a forehand stance. (Note – this is how I generally play my backhand.)