Important lessons learned from drilling crosscourt forehands
I've always been hesitant to get into a crosscourt rally or even just a drill session. Hitting down the middle feels natural, but crosscourt I start hitting short or try to do too much with it.
Since I'm trying to improve these areas of my game I forced myself into a cc fh drill session to expose what I was doing wrong.
I found a few important gems that might help you as well
Explore the court and don't be afraid to hit out
Don't be worried about hitting stuff out now. It's practice and is a great time to overcome your fears.
Over the course of the session I explored the court - hit a few short, hit a few long, and hit more than a few wide.
Eventually you'll find your target, your stance and set up, and the corner won't feel as cramped - the court appears larger when you become comfortable with it.
It's all about depth my friend
I always seem to hit these short right into the service box. And we know at higher levels these weak short rally balls will jump right into someones forehand and get crushed.
We must go deeper and keep them back so they can't attack it.
I found I was trying to hit too flat when trying to get the extra depth, but those would sail as they didn't have the spin to bring them back down.
My solution was taking one step back (assuming a deep incoming ball) and making sure to get the spacing and really get a full big topspin stroke on it.
I was amazed at how they would go in every time. Over time I'll add swing speed to it and build that heavy ball - this isn't the time for hitting flat when you want big and heavy rally balls.
Why so closed off? Open yourself up to the world
We all know I like to step in and take that closed stance fh, but in this case it's severely limiting.
Closing off your stance on these crosscourt shots blocks your rotation towards the side where you need it most, and will make you under rotate and tend to send the ball in the middle of the court (as your closed hips will "block" the torso rotation from continuing)
Really planting that outside foot on these deep cc rally balls and taking an open or semi open stance will line your shoulders up in the direction you are going.
Opening up opens up your angle, and also allows you to get the free leg drive rotation and have heavy spin that you want.
Takeaway and bonus
One unexpected benefit of drilling these were on serve returns! The fh serve return on the deuce side felt so much more solid after practicing these and was able to really lay into a few returns once we got into a set.
I have a long way to go with these cc shots to make them a go-to ball, but after just one or two sessions of practicing them it's becoming a shot that I really love.
What are your secrets and tricks to making this your go-to ball? Send me a dm on insta and let me know!