Photo Lesson: The Inside-Out Forehand

01
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Grip and Early Footwork

grip and early footwork
(C)2007 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.

An inside-out forehand is basically a forehand hit crosscourt from the backhand side of your court. This photo captures one of the backpedaling steps usually needed to get into position. You have to move your feet farther from the center of your backcourt to hit inside-out, so you should choose to hit inside-out only when you have an opportunity to be fairly aggressive. If you hit an inside-out shot neutrally or defensively, you'll just be farther out of position for your opponent's likely aggressive reply.

The inside-out forehand shown in this series of photos happens to be hit with an Eastern forehand grip, but you can hit an inside-out forehand with the same grip you use for other aggressive forehands.

02
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Middle of Backswing

racquet at middle of backswing
(C)2007 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
On most aggressive forehands, your wrist will be laid back somewhat on the backswing. On an inside-out forehand, this is especially important. Here, the racquet is at roughly a 90-degree angle to the forearm.
03
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High Point of Backswing

racquet at high point of backswing
(C)2007 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
The semi-open stance (between sideways and facing the net) shown here allows a nice mix of linear and rotational power on the swing, and it makes aiming the ball in the inside-out, crosscourt direction relatively easy.
04
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Beginning of Forward Swing

racquet below ball
(C)2007 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
At the end of the backswing, the racquet has dropped to a point below the height of the ball, and the forward swing begins. The low position of the racquet will allow the strings to brush up the back of the ball to create topspin.
05
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Middle of Swing

middle of swing
(C)2007 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
At the middle of the swing, the racquet is still lower than the ball, and the wrist is still laid back.
06
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Point of Contact

racquet meets ball
(C)2007 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
The key to aiming the ball in the inside-out, crosscourt direction is to have your wrist still laid back somewhat on contact with the ball. In contrast, if you were hitting crosscourt from your forehand side, although your wrist would have been similarly laid back on the backswing, it would have flexed forward much farther at this stage in the swing.
07
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One Frame After Contact

one video frame after contact
(C)2007 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
One video frame (1/30 second) after contact, the racquet has risen more than a foot, indicating that the strings have brushed up the back of the ball to create topspin. Most of the back foot is off the ground, indicating the forward transfer of body weight. The wrist is still laid back.
08
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End of Follow-Through

end of follow-through
(C)2007 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
The amount of rotational energy in this swing is evident in the body position at the end of the follow-through. Here, the shoulders have turned almost 180 degrees from their position at the high point of the backswing.