The Non-Dominant Hand

The Non-Dominant Hand

Using your non-dominant arm is crucial when preparing to hit a forehand. Not only does it help with your upper-body unit turn, releasing the non-dominant arm prior to contact helps generate spin and power.

From Rafael Nadal to Roger Federer, and everyone in between, it's imperative that you use your non-dominant arm to turn your shoulders, as well as judge the distance of the tennis ball from your body in order to create proper spacing.

Many times, when we're trying to correct our stroke, we are so focused on racquet movement, footwork and stroke that we forget the non-dominant hand, which can limit our ability to generate efficient power. 

But getting this right will help create much more  stability in the upper body generating power and consistency! 


Here's a quick general rule. Make sure that the non-dominant arm stays above the hitting hand at all times.

If the hand stays low and we see that the racket starts getting even, it’s going to really change the way that we uncoil.

If we don't engage the non-dominant arm correctly causes then the shoulders stay disconnected and we won't get good core rotation.


At first it can feel quite logical to only engage one side of the body i.e. the side that you're holding the racquet in, and only play with that side. The challenge here is that only if only the hand / wrist /shoulder is engaged in the shot, the joints are going to move a lot before, during and after contact. In this case contact point will be slightly different every time you hit the ball and result in inconsistency.

Engaging more of the core and upper body by using the non-dominant hand helps keep the racquet steady.

Step by Step

1. As you take your racket back, going from that "neutral / ready" position to a side-on or "coiled / power" position keep the non-dominant hand on the throat of the racket - as you do this you should feel the front shoulder turn


2. As the racquet breaks the plane of your front shoulder, the non-dominant hand will (or should!) naturally come off the racquet as you continue to coil your body into the load position (which we sometimes call angel wings or pat the dog!)





3. Make sure the non-dominant hand is across the body. Keeping the fingers spread you can use the hand to tee-up or point to the ball on the outside of the body. At this point take note how much now your shoulders have turned and how your body is now like a coiled spring!  



3. As you rotate your torso to make contact with the ball, keep the hitting hand and non-dominant hand in synch, so the hitting hand will chase the non-dominant hand around as the body rotates



And what we want to avoid is ....



Aka T-REX hands 


4. There are different ways to finish this rotation, but one simple starting point is to make sure the hitting hand finishes over the shoulder and the non-dominant hand can even catch the racket once it has completed the rotation. It actually doesn't matter whether you catch the racquet or not, but what is important is that we complete the rotation without over rotating, so chest and elbow pointed back down the court.



Try it out! 

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