The open stance is now a massive part of the modern tennis game. It can help with topspin, power, balance and recovery.
As a right hander, your open stance forehand is when you lean onto your right leg to generate power.
Stepping vs Leaning
Where your traditional step down the court (left leg forwards for r/h tends to be more of a step action, the open stance is more of a lean).
One handed backhand open stance?
Although the one handed backhand can be very well hit with a closed stance, it is achievable for a one hander to add an open stance to their repertoire. Justine Henin was an example of a player who sometimes used the open stance on her one handed backhand. She did have a fairly extreme grip with more rotation than many players.
If you are in the centre of the court and need to move for a wide ball, you can turn and run down the baseline before setting your open stance position to return the ball.
Split step – turn – run – lean – load – hit
Hips are turned
When playing an open stance it is a common problem of your hips remaining facing forwards towards your opponent rather than to the side to pre load your shot. If you hips get to the side they can spring back to forwards during the early stages of playing the shot. This results in more power and spin.
Ways to train open stance
1. Movement drills
Start in Squat position and then turn to the side, run and then set into a lunge position (of your outside leg)
2. Medicine ball throws
Feel the power generated by an open stance by throwing a medicine ball in a tennis stroke action.
Practice moving wide and balancing on the outside leg after the stroke is played. This ensures that the power is indeed being generated by the outside leg (open stance)
Knowing when to do open stance vs the stepping stance
If you do an open stance on a short ball then the hips will not be turned to the side and the shot will not have the right leg, hip and torso drive at the ball.
I will often refer to it being on 2 different axis. The x axis is where the open stance below (if there is movement required) and the y axis is where the stepping stance is required.
Balls that are both and down the x and the y axis can be either. Often angles winners can be hit of open stance balls that are still a little bit short. Balls near the middle of the court (y axis) will need to be stepping stance.
The open stance is a very important shot and one that is very often not done correctly. If you are in Perth, Western Australia, come down and see us at Scarborough Tennis Academy and we can help.