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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
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    703

    Let's talk about the Backhand Shot

    Below are two illustrations that I created to assist the point I'd like to make in hitting backhand shots .. To best understand this illustration, you should know that [TOP] & [BOTTOM] refers to the frame of your racquet being in a Vertical position and this Octagon is the handle of your racquet.



    The RED bar is to illustrate where those who use a Semi-Western Grip, places their Index Finger Knuckle on the Racquet. This is the grip I prefer for my forehand shots. I choose this because it increases my ability to hit harder controlled shots and decreases the unforced errors due to over-hitting the court because the top spin rotation on the ball this shot produces brings the ball downward and generates an abrupt upward hop (kick) of the ball when it makes court contact that can be difficult to control for lower level players.

    If I then have to hit a Backhand shot, the switch from Forehand to Backhand is a smooth simple adjustment of the racquet as illustrated by the RED bar on the next example.



    Here all I have to do is turn the face of my racquet clockwise until my Index Finger Knuckle is on the position where the Red Bar is. You can try this on either a One Hand or Two Handed Backhand. Next Post will talk about the Advantages & Disadvantages
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    703
    The age old question has been, what's better the two or one handed backhand?

    Before I give you a perspective on these two options, maybe some of our members would like to weigh in on what they think?
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    France
    Posts
    8
    I used to have one handed backhand just like the most people around me.
    But about 1.5 months ago, when I had my first lesson with my new coach (at that time I didn't play tennis more than an year), he told me to use two handed backhand.

    First two days, it was hard because I didn't have enough muscles which means 2 handed backhand requires more muscles, therefore, it's more powerful.

    After this hard time, I found that it's much easier to control the ball (especially high balls) with my new backhand and at the beginning it was even better than my forehand.
    I could also hit offensive shots from defensive position.

    The only problem I found was the short range. But I use 1 handed backhand slice when the ball is too far.


    I also heard a commentator saying that Nalbandian has one of the best backhand in the world which helped him to beat Federer. Nalbandian uses 2 handed backhand.



    I'm not a pro but that's what I know.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
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    703
    Greetings Mono ~

    Well I'm not so sure about that. Arguably one of the best in the World (Pete Sampras) starting off with a two-handed backhand. However that was during the time when He, Agassi, Courier, Krickstein and others were just youngsters trying to make some noise in regional tournaments although I really should leave Aaron out of that list because he actually was a tad step in front of them and more in the Jimmy Arias group already students of Nick B. Academy.

    NTL, Sampras's father who was somewhat of a co-coach decided with their commissioned coach that the one-handed backhand would serve him better and the rest is history. For Pete, that truly was the key that brought his game all together.

    Quote Originally Posted by mono
    First two days, it was hard because I didn't have enough muscles which means 2 handed backhand requires more muscles, therefore, it's more powerful.
    Actually upper body & arm strength is crucially more apparent when using a one-handed backhand. Your Coach / Instructor can speak to you more on this however you should think of the two-handed backhand (if you are right handed) as a one handed left handed fore hand shot with the right hand as a supportive guide. <-- Was that confusing?

    When you pivot your body turning your right shoulder towards the court, taking your racquet back to hit a two-handed backhand shot, you are actually hitting a left handed forehand shot.

    So this is what I'd like you to picture in your head. When you strike the ball on your forehand shot, I assume you do your normal follow-through across your body that aides in the top spin. On the opposite side if you use a two handed BH shot, if you were to take your right hand off the racquet, you would have your left hand holding the racquet ready to strike a left handed forehand shot with your normal follow through across your body, the same as the forehand.

    So what does the Right Hand do on a 2-Handed BH ? Great Question !!!

    Actually all your right hand does is again support the racquet and Hammer the Nail. What I mean by this is, when you are hammering a nail, don't think of the down stroke but rather the Up Stroke . So if you were to stand up right now, take a half step forward with you Right foot leaving your left foot stable for balance, slight pivot your Right Shoulder towards the imaginary Net and pretend you are swing your racquet to hit a 2-handed BH, pay attention to what your Right Arm is actually doing. You should notice that is does very little in regards to the shot production.

    So now we'll take this scenario one more step. While you're still standing up (I hope) leave your left arm down by your side. In other words as if you just took your left hand off the racquet and now you're just using your Right hand to strike the 2-handed backhand. You'll see that your Right Arm doesn't produce the across the body follow-through as your left arm does. All the Right Arm does is make an upward motion much like when you just hit a nail with a hammer and are bringing your arm back up again to repeat that function.

    So if you've done this successfully, you would then notice that your Right Arm isn't actually needed for power and actually neither is your Left Arm needed for power. So where is the power being generated from?

    Another Great Question and I'm happy you asked. The power that is generated on a two-handed backhand shot must come from you forward body motion and your legs. And the very best way to illustrate this is to visualize our friend Pete Sampras once again. Hey anytime we use Pete as an example, you can never question the concept. Have you ever noticed Pete's left foot motion just before he is ready to serve a ball? Pete lifts his left foot up keeping the heel of his foot on the court. There is a very slight backward shift of his weight to the right foot and when he's shifting back his weight to the left foot again, that's when you're in trouble. So when you are about to hit a two handed backhand, at the moment of ball contact, you are shifting your body forward and that is what produces the power you'll need. Not how many curls you can do. However the forehand is another animal and arm strength is important there of course.

    So I'd say, if you are more comfortable with a 2H BH (two hand back hand) because of control and disguise, go back to your coach and tell him/her you would like to continue working on it and make whatever adjustments you'll need. Keep in mind, aside from Pete's incredible one handed BH and Federer's one-handed BH, I think we can come up with a few giants in the business that made a pretty good living using the 2 handed backhand shot
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    France
    Posts
    8
    Hi Coach

    I think I missed something.

    when my backhand was better than my forehand, it was the accuracy and the consistency. I think that's the role of the right hand that you explained (by the way, I'm right-handed).
    But as I play regulary, my forehand has improved.

    I've got something that I'd really like to know.
    What is an eastern grip?
    how can I use it? and in which situation?
    I'm just curious and I think there must be a backhand using eastern grip.

    English is not a my native language so if there is any errors, please tell me.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    703
    Mono -
    여보세요, 당신을 위한 몇몇 보기는 여기에서 있다. 당신의 영국 쓰기는 아주 좋다.



    This is an illustration of the Continental Grip. I only refer to this grip when showing Serves and Volleys at the Net. Other than that everyone wants top spin shots and this grip is not designed for that result.

    This is an illustration of the Eastern Grip. This grip style was the most popular for many years until I'd say the late 80s when guys were closing the face of their racquets more to get more control over bringing the ball back down because they were hitting harder. You must remember, up until then most Players played a more finesse style game using angles and touch, Serve & Volley which the Eastern & Continental Grips are better suited for. One last point about the Eastern Grip, it can produce great power in shorter sustained rallies, But the margin of error is much less than that of a Western Grip that brings the ball up and down by its' rotation.

    Here is what the Semi-Western Grip looks like.

    And last this is what the Western Grip looks like. I use an extreme Western Grip which requires good timing but produces very penetrating results with serious kick for your Opponent to deal with.
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Naples, Florida
    Posts
    12

    Interesting

    I find this to be an interesting conversation for many reasons.

    Coach, in the original post I am questioning the one handed backhand grip position. If we refer to your octogon as the bottom of the racquet and begin to label the panels starting at the top and going clockwise 1-8, it seems for your one hander you have your base knucke of the index finger on the #2 panel. To create good topspin you should slide your base knuckle to the top panel (#1) in the eastern backhand grip.

    The two handed backhand will give you more power initially not because of both hands on the racquet but because of the way your body allows you to coil and uncoil into the shot. It is a question of the position of the arm that is driving the racquet. For example, a forehand is driven by your arm in which when you turn sideways to prepare is in the back. In order to execute the shot to its full potential, you must rotate your hips and shoulders from sideways to forward. This rotation is angular momentum and is stronger than the linear momentum you create by transfering you weight from back to front. This is why the pros moved from hitting closed stance forehand to open stance. Forcing your body to open and rotate does not provide near the power that an open stance forehand where you start open, coil your body on the turn and then snap your hips and shoulders back forward to their natural position.

    Getting back to how this applies to your backhand, a one hander's driving arm is in the front not allow your body to rotate into the ball. A two handed backhand the driving arm is in the back (non-dominate hand) and allows you rotate through it.

    My final thought is that Pete Sampras actually changed from a two hander to a one hander to enhance his transition game to the net and not because he wanted to improve his backhand groundstroke.

    Mike Burge
    USPTA Master Professional
    www.dynamicdoubles.com

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