The inside-out forehand in tennis refers to the shot of hitting the forehand diagonally on the other side of the court. Interesting is to understand the dynamic of the movement which involves a lot of coordination and space/hit preparation.
This is a shot that can be definite in the rally, creating a lot of damage if it’s deep enough to deny the possibility to your opponent to hit back another shot.
What is an Inside Out Forehand in Tennis
In the inside-out shot in tennis where you move to avoid hitting with your backhand and hit the ball with your forehand, directing the ball diagonally to the opposite side of the court.
This shot needs a lot of coordination, preparation, and fast feet to be able to move to the left side of the ball before it reaches the hitting point.
Most tall and slow players, i.e Ivo Karlović, John Isner, and Yevgen Kafelnikov to name same have trouble hitting that as the long legs don’t help the fast movement. They prefer in this case to hit a backhand; however, it is less effective as the power you use with your backhand is lower than the forehand due to the group of muscles used for both and the mechanic of the movement.
Timing is fundamental in the hit of the inside out. Not being ready to hit it can cause your movement to be found in no man’s land.
On the other side instead, two of the most beautiful inside-out forehands in the circuit are the ones of Federer and Nadal, the 2 players share a total amount of 42 Grand Slams titles (as of July 2022) in their careers.
Roger Federer Inside Out Forehand
Here we can analyze the inside out of Roger Federer, probably the most effective in the world of tennis. You can see the technique and footwork.
- Move around the ball when it hits the ground the first time
- Don’t position yourself on the sideway but stay open
- Your hips should face the net
- Load up into a semi-open stance
Rafael Nadal Inside Out Forehand
Another champion, another story. Rafael Nadal is most likely the player that used the most his inside-out weapon, being very effective on clay, where he won 14 GRAND SLAMS (As of 2022), at Roland Garros.
The power, accuracy, and way he developed are simply unique. Here you can see a drill he used to do with uncle Toni (now his coach is not him anymore as Carlos Moya became the one). One fact that made Nadal different was that even at a small age he went towards the ball and did not wait for it as many other kids did.
Back to the technique, you’ll find out watching the video the speed of Nadal’s footwork, allowing him to be already in the perfect position before the balls arrive at the height to be hit.
Inside Out Forehand Strategy
As the whole game of tennis, you should use some weapons in specific moments, i.e never do a drop shot when your opponent is already inside the court as it would be an easy move for him to reach it, and have the time to decide what to do and take the point.
In this case, the inside-out is more successful when you previously make either an inside-in down the line or a diagonal forehand if you are right-handed.
All of this because this way your opponent will be on his right side of the court, making it for him/her difficult to return your strong inside-out which will reach his backhand.
Inside Out Forehand Drill
The simplest but even one of the more effective drills for this shot is the one with the cone on the ground, the center of the baseline.
Here, you will have to move around it sideways while your coach launches the ball to simulate what’s going to happen during a match, and then you’ll have to open your body and hit it diagonally with speed, force, precision to try to let it bounce deep at the end of the court.
Inside Out vs Inside In Forehand
The two movements are very similar, both hit with the forehand. The inside-out as we have seen before tends to be more difficult to execute due to the run on the other side of the ball not being effective if not done with the right tempo/coordination.
Instead, the inside-in as you’ll have to close your shot instead of opening your full body naturally becomes an easier shot to complete.
The main difference between inside out and inside in forehand is the direction of the shot as in the inside-out it’s done towards the backhand of your opponent while in the inside it’s down the line, on your opponent’s forehand.
To take the most important notes about the inside-out shot we are giving you another tip. When to use it? The best moment to hit a forehand inside-out is with a sliced high ball returned from your opponent’s backhand. That’s the situation when you hit will:
- Become stronger
- Give you more time to prepare and run around it
- Hit it up towards down to increase the speed of it
Many professional players use the inside-out as a definitive shot, hitting with all force towards the other side, diagonally, not giving the chance to the opponent to return it. Most likely at the beginners level, you won’t be able to do it. So, slowly increase the speed and make the shot better and better with time.
Take the great example of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer’s inside-out and try to imitate them.
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