G’day from Roland Garros. 🎾🇫🇷
- The forehand is the 🗡️.
- The backhand is the 🛡️.
Once you have this key relationship ingrained in your head, you are ready to win more matches.
Forehands are better than backhands, especially the run-around variety that your opponent hits to your backhand, and you make the clever decision to turn that shot into a forehand.
Roland Garros is doing a wonderful job this year of improving their match analytics. More data = more understanding, and that’s a win for everyone!
I want to share forehand and backhand data from 2018 to 2022 at Roland Garros. That’s five years of forehand and backhand winners and errors, totaling almost 130,000 points.
We are going to look at the data set in five different ways to see if forehands really are all that I build them up to be.
1: Forehand & Backhand Winners
You make your opponent uncomfortable and get the short ball. It’s now time to finish the point with one powerful swing. Forehands are more than twice as effective hitting winners as backhands are.
- Forehand winners = (70%) 26,549
- Backhand winners = (30%) 11,177
Seventy percent of groundstroke winners at Roland Garros 2018-22 were struck from the forehand wing. That’s a substantial amount that speaks volumes to the importance of developing a strong forehand so that you can finish off this wing like a pro.
2: Forehand & Backhand Errors
We learned in Webinar 14, The Forehand Playbook, that we hit more forehands overall than backhands – even though more shots are directed at the backhand. We also learned in Webinar 15, The Backhand Playbook, that the goal of the backhand is to be a rock. Shut down the errors. And we learn now from Roland Garros that forehand errors are more prevalent than backhand errors.
- Forehand errors = (53%) 48,299
- Backhand errors = (47%) 43,274
The margin is quite close, but forehand errors definitely outnumber backhand errors. It’s good to know, but this information is not going to stop us from hitting as many forehands as possible. It really just speaks to volume.
3: Percentage Of Winners
Now we want to look at forehand and backhand winners as a percentage of the total.
- Forehand Winners = 35% (26,549)
- Forehand Errors = 65% (48,299)
- Backhand Winners = 21% (11,177)
- Backhand Errors = 79% (43,274)
This data set gives the forehand a lot of love. Thirty-five percent of ending shots on the forehand wing are winners, but only 21% of ending shots on the backhand wing are winners. This is crystal clear data that shows the forehand as the peak performer.
4: Forehand & Backhand Totals
When you look at total forehand winners and errors compared to the backhand, you see that there is simply more action from the forehand side.
- Forehand total = (58%) 74,848
- Backhand total = (42%) 54,451
We are obviously going to pay more attention to the data sets that happen the most. We are going to let the 58% be the primary focus and the 42% be the secondary focus. Forehands outnumber backhands by a healthy margin.
5: The Gap Between Winners & Errors
Lastly, we are going to start with winners and then subtract errors and get a negative number. The “gap” between winners and errors is an ideal way to evaluate the potency and consistency with each of these shots.
- Forehand winners – errors = -21,750
- Backhand winners – errors = -32,097
The first thing to consider here is that tennis is a game of errors. Many more errors than winners.
The shining light in this data set is the forehand. It wins handily over the backhand, being the closer total to zero.
This is an ideal way to evaluate forehand and backhand performance. Look at the data set from a number of angles and see what the numbers say. I have always been partial to forehands over backhands since I launched The 25 Golden Rules of Singles Strategy, and this data set continues to confirm my coaching.
You will win more matches the more you hunt with your forehand.