Forehand Mechanics Checkup from Dave Peck's Championship Racquetball System

If you haven't read Dave Peck's book, I would highly recommend it. Check out a few quick points on forehand mechanics from his book in the summary below.

If you haven't read Dave Peck's book, I would highly recommend it. Check out a few quick points on forehand mechanics from his book in the summary below.

Forehand Grip

  • Put the racquet frame perpendicular to the floor and shake hands with the racquet.

  • Don’t grip too high like a hammer, you will lose some control.

  • Don’t grip too low, because you may find yourself squeezing the racquet harder to maintain control. This can lead to arm fatigue and costly errors in big matches.

  • Place the index finger on the back side of the racquet, creating a trigger grip.

  • The trigger grip should provide power, stability, and control.

  • Wrap your thumb around your middle finger.

  • The V formed the thumb and index finger should be on the middle of the racquet.

  • A common error is not utilizing the trigger grip and instead wrapping the index finger all the way around the racquet.


The Forehand Stroke

  • Assume the ready position while facing the side wall.

  • Bring elbow up.

  • Forearm parallel to the floor.

  • Elbow should form a 90 degree angle from forearm to biceps.

  • Keep your arm up at shoulder height.

  • If you are not sure what this should look like, form an “L” with your shoulder and elbow.

  • A common error is putting your arm and racquet in the “salute” position. Bringing the elbow and racquet up to a salute position can cause you to hit yourself in the eye, but also can elongate the stroke and force the elbow in. The elbow coming in will cut down on maximum power and time.

  • Only take the racquet back even with the shoulder. Don’t pull your arm further behind your shoulder and back. This elongates the stroke and puts a lot of strain on your shoulder and back muscles.

  • Step into your shot with the front foot ending up at a 45 degree angle. Back foot should stay square.

  • Why have the front foot at a 45 degree angle? Power is generated by pushing your body weight forward, opening your hips, and getting hip rotation into the shot.

  • It’s vital to push off the back leg because it forces your hips to open and rotate.

  • If your front foot is even with the back or closed in, your hips will lock and you won’t reach your full power potential.

  • A closed or even stance also forces the angle of your swing upward because your hips are unable to shift through.

  • The 45 degree angle allows the lowering of your body into the ball.

  • Most elbow injuries in racquetball are a result of not using the legs and trying to muscle the ball, relying too much on the arm and not the legs.

  • Remember to drag the instep of your back foot. This will help prevent you from skipping shots.

  • When you stay up and lean over shots, you tend to skip the ball more. Dragging the instep of your back foot should help.


The Arm Swing

  • Arm swing and step are almost simultaneous.

  • First movement is to lead with the elbow, pulling down like a pendulum and not into your side.

  • Keep the elbow about 10 inches from your body and you should feel tension on your shoulder when your elbow passes through on this arc.

  • At this tension point you begin your extension.

  • Elbow-extend should be your thinking.

  • Extending at this point accelerates the racquet head and gets the proper pronation/extension of the arm to allow for maximum wrist snap.

  • When you extend, bring the racquet through square and perpendicular to the floor, like a sidearm pitch in baseball.

  • Follow through should be on the same plane as the shot so the ball remains parallel to the floor.

  • Some players follow through with racquet up by their neck or head. It looks cool, but pushes your shot upward a couple of inches, making opponent re-kills a better possibility.

  • What about wrist action? Don’t worry too much about it. It should happen automatically.


Non-Hitting Arm

  • Non-hitting arm should rotate hard away from your body, pulling your hips open and rotating your midsection.

  • This helps generate power, but more importantly it keeps the racquet level.

  • Do not try to guide your shot in your power zone.

  • The secret to controlling the forehand is hitting the ball with the same stroke every single time. The only thing that changes is where the ball is contacted in the power zone.

  • Kill shots should be contacted just above floor level.

  • Passing shots should be contacted at knee level.