The Forehand in Racket Sports

The game is tense, the crowd waits with bated breath, and then it happens: a swift, powerful swing, sending the ball or shuttlecock rocketing across the court. This is the forehand in action. While every racket sport has its own set of skills and strategies, the forehand is a unifying, fundamental stroke that players of all levels must master.

Whether you’re watching tennis at Wimbledon or a badminton match in your local gym, the forehand remains a signature move.

Mastering the Forehand

Simply put, a forehand stroke in racket sports involves hitting the ball or shuttlecock using the palm-side of the racket. It’s typically the most natural and powerful shot for most players, executed with a swing that starts behind the body and moves forward and across, in the direction of the shot.

Across Racket Sports

  1. Tennis: The tennis forehand is a cornerstone of the modern game. Players pivot on their back foot, rotate their hips, and whip the racket forward to meet the ball. With topspin or flat, this shot is a weapon for many top players.
  2. Badminton: Given the shuttlecock’s unique aerodynamics, the badminton forehand has its nuances. The grip is more relaxed, and the swing, while still powerful, prioritizes angle and placement.
  3. Squash: In the close quarters of a squash court, the forehand can be both a defensive retrieval and an attacking shot. The swing is more compact, but wrist action and timing are crucial.
  4. Table Tennis: The table’s small dimensions require quick reflexes for the forehand. Spin, speed, and placement come into play in rapid, lightning-fast exchanges.

Unpacking the Forehand’s Popularity

  1. Power Play: For many, the forehand is the most potent shot in their arsenal. The body’s natural mechanics and the broad swing path allow for generating significant power.
  2. Versatility: From devastating down-the-line winners to crafty cross-court angles, the forehand is incredibly versatile. Players can inject topspin, slice, or hit flat, adapting to various game situations.
  3. Instinctive and Intuitive: The forehand often feels more natural and instinctive than its counterpart, the backhand. Many players start with the forehand when introduced to racket sports.

Improving Your Forehand

  1. Focus on Form: Ensure you’ve got the basics down. This includes a proper grip, stance, and follow-through.
  2. Practice Consistency: Before going for power, make sure you can consistently hit the ball or shuttlecock in the desired direction.
  3. Add Spin: Once you’re comfortable, start experimenting with topspin or slice to add variety to your shots.
  4. Strength Training: Enhance your core and arm strength. A strong core supports rotation, which is essential for a powerful forehand.


The term forehand is not just a technical jargon in the realm of racket sports. It’s a representation of power, skill, and strategy. This stroke serves as a foundational element for players, from grassroots levels to the professional circuit.

Whether you’re a player aiming to perfect your shot or a fan cheering from the sidelines, the forehand remains a testament to the blend of artistry and athleticism in racket sports. It’s more than just a swing; it’s a statement.