The Semi-Open Semi-Western Forehand

01
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Starting Backswing

starting backswing
(C)2005 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.

You can use any stance from slightly closed to wide open to hit a forehand with a Semi-Western grip, but the stance most favorable to producing the even mix of topspin and power for which this grip is best suited is semi-open, facing at a 45-degree angle to the net. A semi-open stance allows you to combine the rotational energy of an open stance with the forward, linear energy of a square stance. Here, as the backswing begins, you can see the right foot about to be planted. The right leg will drive much of the stroke.

02
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High Point of Backswing

high point of backswing
(C)2005 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
Although many players like to use a larger loop on forehand backswings, a more compact loop as seen here can work at least as well. Most of the power in this stroke will come from the release of the energy that is beginning to be stored in the legs and core, as the weight is moving onto the right leg and the upper body has turned clockwise in relation to the legs.
03
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Muscles Loaded

loaded up
(C)2005 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
Here the muscles are all loaded, ready to uncoil and drive up and forward. The knees bent, upper body turned in relation to the legs, wrist laid back, and weight mostly on the right leg prepare for the creation of a kinetic chain, a linked transfer of energy through segments of the body.
04
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Uncoiling

uncoiling
(C)2005 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
Here, the uncoiling has begun. The legs are pushing up and slightly forward, the upper body is turning toward the net, and the racquet has begun to be pulled forward. The racquet has dropped below the hand, which will enhance its potential to whip upward and create heavier topspin. The wrist and racquet are still laid back. They will be the final link in the kinetic chain.
05
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Point of Contact

point of contact
(C)2005 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
Here, the upper body has finished uncoiling, so that it is now aligned with the legs, which have driven upward with enough force to lift both heels. The rotational and upward energy from the large muscles in the core and legs has been transferred to the arm, which contributes considerable energy from its own larger muscles. This accumulated energy translates into high racquet head speed, which is further enhanced as the racquet pivots forward at the relaxed wrist. The stringbed has turned from its downward tilt on the backswing so that it is now vertical.
06
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One Frame After Contact

one frame after contact
(C)2005 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
This is one video frame after contact. In that 1/30 second, the racquet has risen roughly 18 inches, an indication of how much it brushed up the back of the ball, which is still visible (as a blur) at the right edge of the frame. The upward force from the legs has almost lifted both feet off the ground; this type of stroke would often lift them well into the air.
07
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Follow-Through

follow-through
(C)2005 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
The combination of upward and rotational energy brings the entire body around to face the net, and the racquet wraps around over the left shoulder. The weight transfer onto the left leg at the follow-through is a result of the right leg having driven upward and forward more forcefully during the stroke.