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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: Loop Swing vs. Straight Back Swing for Groundstrokes

From: Randy Cummings <>
Date: Thu 2 Aug 2001 13:06:34 EDT

I am USPTR certified and teach all players at all levels. In my experience
it is better to teach a straight-back backswing rather than a loop, at least
for beginners. I have my students bring the racquet straight back and low
with a full shoulder turn and then have them swing through the ball with a
low to high trajectory, finishing with their racquet head far out toward the
net/target (not around their neck or shoulders). The shoulder turn away from
the net initiates the backswing, and the shoulder turn back toward the net
initates the forward swing.

Incidentally, the straight backswing makes it easier to teach the locked
wrist. I have the student finish the backswing with the shoulders and
racquet both perpendicular to the net. At this point, the student locks the
wrist. From there it is a simple turning back of the shoulders toward the
net and bringing the racquet back vertical through the hitting zone with a
firm wrist and a long follow-through.

I worked part-time at a club once where they wanted to be known for their
style, so the mantra was teach everyone to swing with a loop backswing. It
was a disaster. Everyone from pee-wees and juniors to adults had great loop
backswings, but for most of them the loop backswings were totally unrelated
to the rest of the stroke. The loops were too high and there was no top
spin; the loops were all done with the arm and there was no shoulder turn;
or, the loop caused everything to be hit like a lob.

I felt that the time spent teaching everyone to hit with a loop backswing
could have been better spent teaching the classic rudiments of the forehand
stroke, i.e., a straight back swing and with more emphasis on the shoulder
turn and the follow-through. Trying now to correct these mal-adapted loop
backswings is very difficult.

Granted, the pros there should have integrated the loop backswing better into
the entire forehand stroke, but it shows what can happen when style replaces

Incidentally, new research (e.g., seems to show that the loop
backswing doesn't generate a significant amount of additional racquet head
speed or topspin, which for many teaching pros was the main reason for
teaching it in the first place.

To sum up, I would teach the basic straight back swing, emphasizing the
shoulder turn and a long follow-through. The better players will likely
incorporate a loop back swing of sorts to facilitatate their rhythm or
timing. But by them they will have mastered the fundamentals and the loop
shouldn't be a problematic addition to their swing.

Randy Cummings
Match Point Racquet Sports, inc

Received on Thu Aug 02 2001 - 12:17:32 CDT

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