In this lesson we”ll add the next step to your forehand, the forehand setup (or shoulder turn as some people call it.) All of the lessons in this category build on each other, step by step, so the forehand setup is the follow-on lesson to the ready position.
From a well-practiced ready position, where your weight is slightly more on the balls of your feet, you will shift your weight a bit to your outside foot (right foot for righties, left foot for lefties) and pivot in that direction, lifting your weight off the heel of your other foot as you do so. This will mean that you turn your shoulders sideways, towards the alley.
It is very important that you continue to hold the racquet with both hands throughout the forehand setup. The racquet remains in both hands, it does not leave its position in the center of your body and you do not tilt the racquet face in any direction. It simply stays where it is as you turn your shoulders from the waist using your legs and feet. Do not draw the racquet back to prepare for a swing in this step. Your racquet will come back only as a result of your shoulders turning in tandem, not as a result of your arms moving in relation to your body. Another important goal is to keep your head still during this movement – many players unconsciously bobble their heads around while they are turning, making it very difficult to make eye contact with a ball in rapid motion. Watch this video and focus on Mark’s racquet position and the stability of his head as he turns:
The forehand setup seems very simple, but it can take a lot of repetition to master so that you can execute it perfectly when in rapid play. I suggest practicing this motion in front of a mirror for as many as 300 repetitions per day until you get it right every time without thinking about it.