Explain The Relationship Between Open Stance and Neutral Stance

When contemplating the shots of the best players, you often start by observing how they swing their racquets. This is important, of course, but a player’s posture at the moment they hit the ball can significantly affect how well they hit the ball and how quickly they recover for their next shot.

But are you curious about why an open stance forehand always comes before a neutral stance? In this article, Playtenniss will explain it to you.

What Is An Open Stance In Tennis?

What Is An Open Stance In Tennis?
What Is An Open Stance In Tennis?

You must position your lower body so that it is facing the net while hitting the ball from an open stance. When you’re ready to hit, your shoulders and upper body should be comfortably away from the court. Then they will come back when you hit the ball. It’s a bit like compressing and expanding a spring.

The beneficial open stance allows you to swing the ball easily without feeling as though your legs or lower body are getting in the way. Additionally, it pairs nicely with the distinctive side slide that clay court pros often use.

The downside to an open stance is that when your body is facing the net, it doesn’t necessarily prompt you to shift your weight forward in the shot; instead, your rotation provides most of the force. If you’re in a hurry, recovering quickly from an open stance shot can be a challenge.

What Is a Neutral Stance In Tennis?

What Is a Neutral Stance In Tennis?
What Is a Neutral Stance In Tennis?

The neutral stance might also be referred to as “side-on.” Essentially, you swing smoothly while shifting your weight from your rear foot to your front foot while your lower body is facing in a direction parallel to the baseline. The heel of your back foot lifts as you strike the ball, and your front foot is pointed in the direction of the net.

With this stance, you may move into the court to hit shorter balls with ease and control from the baseline. It is not the posture to adopt if you want to produce the most racket-head speed because of the relative lack of body rotation.

Why Open Stance Forehand Always Comes Before Neutral Stance?

Why Open Stance Forehand Always Comes Before Neutral Stance?
Why Open Stance Forehand Always Comes Before Neutral Stance?

I want to show you that every forehand begins as an open stance and changes to a neutral stance as needed. Hitting an open stance forehand may sound like an advanced form of tennis forehand that you only utilize in certain scenarios.

Hitting the ball late is one of the major issues in tennis, particularly on the forehand side. You are forced to deviate from your normal stroke pattern in order to still smash the ball over the net when you hit the ball late.

One of the key reasons for those errors is that the player assumes a neutral forehand posture before reading the ball.

Players frequently take a neutral posture without first reading the ball for two basic reasons:

  • They were taught to do that by unskilled teachers who neglected to teach them the open stance, and as a result, the forehand preparation has become so entrenched in them that they involuntarily step forward when the upper body turns.
  • They choose a neutral posture because they think it is preferable to play in an open stance versus a neutral one. These players are more mindful of their stance selection, and they are pushing it due to their conviction rather than letting the brain naturally determine which stance is preferable in each unique circumstance. The remarkable thing about these players is that despite their ability to play with a wide stance, they are unaware of its advantages for deep, high, or fastballs. They could be well entrenched in their worldview.

The neutral posture forehand is perfectly acceptable when a player enters it prematurely without first reading the ball and the ball is slower, lower, and shorter. Unfortunately, those few occurrences give the players a misleading impression that this strategy is the best one.

They typically hit the ball with improper technique when they step in early when the ball is deep, high, or quick.

They may be aware that they were late, but they may not be aware that their early neutral stance placement was the reason for that late contact.

This begs the issue of what a player with greater skill levels does differently.

The ball coming in deep, high, or fast is always assumed to be a tough position, thus they always prepare with simply the unit turn while maintaining an open stance.

They shift sideways as needed to line up with the ball’s trajectory.

Then, as the ball approaches them, they read it and determine whether to maintain an open stance or adopt a neutral stance in order to more easily reach the lower, shorter, or approaching ball.

Remember that by this point, choosing whether to step into the ball or maintain an open stance is entirely subconscious.


If they need to transition into a neutral stance, waiting in an open stance also assists them with the timing of the weight transfer since a well-timed weight transfer will improve the shot’s power and control.

I encourage you to try this method out and watch how every forehand you play from a neutral stance actually begins as an open forehand.

You’ll hit more balls with the proper contact point as you become more adept at this technique, and your strokes will have more force and greater control.

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