One of the easiest ways to gain control of a rally is to get into an exchange with your opponent where you are hitting your strongest shot (forehand) to their weakest (backhand). You will be able to put pressure on them with better depth, control, and spin, while they struggle to be offensive with their backhand. Runing around a ball heading to your backhand in order to hit an inside-out is fairly low risk, since typically you will be able to hit the ball with enough pace and depth that it will be a very low-percentage shot for your opponent to try to hit a backhand down the line. The inside out is key for gaining control of the rally.
If you utilize the inside-out forehand frequently, your opponent may start to wise-up and recognize that when you run around to hit it, that they should start moving to their backhand side. In this case, you can utilize an inside-in forehand, where you hit the ball to your opponent’s forehand. It is a much lower percentage play, as you are likely to yank the ball out wide as your body momentum carries you to the left, you are hitting over a higher part of the net, and you have less court space to hit into (straight line vs. diagonal).
Things to notice in the above GIFs:
- Quick feet and many steps, shuffling to get in position.
- Shoulders turned immediately
- Head and eyes track the ball closely
- Head stays level, knees stay bent
- I try to keep the racquet as compact as possible
- Good rotation through the shot.
- I could do a better job at moving into the ball, hitting through the ball (but I was dropping the feed so it was tough).