I played my first serious match against a player in tennis who strikes over 200km/h. I got a little feeling of pain to my elbow when I passed balls back with a little angle in the elbow. Later I changed my elbow to totally direct the point when I hit the ball so I experienced no pain anymore. I asked my experienced friend about this pain and he said that the pain may be due to poor technique and I should still continue with my old angular forehand strike and improve swing of the whole body. I am uncertain about this so:

During the time of hit in the forehand strike, is the elbow meant to be angular or direct?

2 Answers 2


No, your elbow should absolutely not be locked when you make contact with the ball. Your arm should be nearly straight but with a slight bend at the point of contact, never completely locked. This will allow for your arm to move fluidly through the stroke and will enable you to brush up on the ball, creating topspin. You can see in this video that Federer's arm is almost straight, but his elbow is not locked when he makes contact with the ball, which allows his arm to turn over after contact (this motion makes the racquet move up as well as through the ball, creating topspin).

The pain you are feeling is most likely tennis elbow, which is a strain in the tendons in your elbow from overuse. In other words, your body simply isn't used to hitting balls that are coming at you with such high speeds, causing strain. Locking your elbow, however, brings your joint against your bones, so when you hit the ball, instead of relying on your muscles and tendons for structural support, the impact is going straight to your bones and elbow joint. Repeated impacts will wear down the cartilage in your elbow joint. Instead, keep a slight bend in your elbow at contact and strengthen your muscles. As far as the pain goes, there are plenty of braces out there to help with tennis elbow, but the Band It is the one that has given me the best results. Other than that, rest and ice your elbow and it should start to feel better.

Source: I've been playing tennis since I could barely walk, and playing competitively since middle school. I used to teach classes with students ages 5-16 at a private club.

  • Tennis elbow shows up on the backhand, not on the forehand. It's an injury to the tendon that extends the middle finger, which is not being extended on the forehand.
    – user207421
    Jul 2, 2016 at 4:45

At the point when you are making contact with the ball, your arm should be straight with your elbow locked. Your wrist is what generally moves or 'rolls over' as you swing the racquet to hit the ball. Your elbow should only bend after contact during your follow-through. See this video of Roger hitting forehands to see what I mean.


  • It is very hard to see this thing in videos but the locked during the hit feels correct way of doing it -- I get far more accurate shots and no pain. Hitting the ball with even a small angle causes a little shock to the elbow which irritates the joint.
    – hhh
    Apr 7, 2014 at 1:15
  • 1
    Yes, that's what I said. At the point when your strings meet the ball (contact) your arm should be straight, not bent. It may only be straight like that for a very short moment, but it should be straight. It's your shoulders and hips that rotate and bring your arm through the hitting zone - not your arm itself.
    – jamauss
    Apr 7, 2014 at 2:58
  • I found this explanation useful here, it tries to explain that the arm need to be aligned well before the strike so that the shot is in front of your body. If it is not well aligned, then arm may not have enough time to get aligned to the proper position.
    – hhh
    Apr 8, 2014 at 1:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.