View Full Version : A simple tip for adding TS to OH Backhand?

03-21-2004, 07:41 AM
Is there a simple change in preparation I can make to help me add some spin to my one-handed backhand.

I hit fairly flat on both sides, but can ramp up the spin on my forehand by dropping the racquet head. This is a smooth, unconscious part of the swing.

I don't seem to be able to do the same on the backhand side. Are there any tips for helping my form generate more spin?

Thanks in advance...

03-21-2004, 08:13 AM
i would try experimenting with thin or textured strings first or an open string-pattern racquet. it seems like youre not a beginner anymore and you might get confused if you change your swing.

Japanese Maple
03-21-2004, 09:06 AM

To get more spin on your bh try as you bring the racquet towards
the point of contact to have the racquet tip pointing to the ground.
As you come towards the contact point brush upwards with a
windshield wiper motion from left to right with the racquet tip
pointing at approximately 11:00 as you drive upward and forward.
First, experiment with hitting a topspin lob with heavy spin by
sweeping at a very upright angle. Then gradually reduce the severe upward angle with the racquet going both forward and upwards to still give you topspin. You will have to experiment with
how much upward and forward swing you create for the amount of
spin that you want. Just be sure to start forwards with the tip
pointing towards the ground as you sweep upwards. Good Luck!

Bungalo Bill
03-21-2004, 09:39 AM
Japanese is correct on this methid, I dont know if you have the time to practice this on the court.

If you do, I would only suggest practicing this first on slow balls to help strenghten the muscles that move the racquet this way. This is an advanced technique and takes practice because timing this is even more critical since the sweetspot of your racquet now has two forces going on to change the sweetspot position on impact.

Also if you want to learn it this way, make use of the thumb to help you with this motion. If your getting frustrated with this method after giving it a chance, let us know there are other ways to hit a topspin OH. But give it a try. Make sure you practice this with very slow balls at first for about a month. Then introduce faster speeds. You need to give your body time to develop the muscles and motor skills to perform the movement.

Frank Silbermann
03-21-2004, 05:18 PM
What Japanese Maple advised only works if you use an extreme grip -- the kind which until a few years ago was considered incorrect (due to its awkwardness against balls that are low or wide).

Topspin on the one-handed backhand is very difficult, if you do it right.

Japanese Maple
03-21-2004, 05:43 PM
I have found that the upward windshield motion can be accomplish
with an eastern bh grip and even a continental grip although the
eastern bh grip is prefered-from my experience I do not believe
you have to use an extreme bh grip to hit topspin with the
racquet tip pointing towards the ground and sweeping upwards.

Mahboob Khan
03-21-2004, 06:03 PM
Let's for a moment not talk about high balls, and you are using an eastern BH grip:

Let's assume that the incoming ball is about waist height.

Start your backswing such that the racket is under the flight of the ball.

Since the racket head is under the ball, in order to hit it, it has to go up to meet the ball .. just like an aeroplane taking off the runway .. going forward and upward at the same time.

If everything goes well, the hitting side of your strings bed will finish toward opposite fence; your palm and non-hitting side of your racket head will finish toward your face!

The bottom line is that in the point of contact strings should travel low to high as if the ball is the face of a clock and you are bypassing it from 6 to 12 o' clock causing the ball to spin forward. With more racket head speed this forward-spinning .. or topspinning .. can be increased!

Bungalo Bill
03-21-2004, 10:43 PM
I think Frank and Mahboob gave you some very important information to consider. It is easier to hit the windshield wiping motion with an extreme grip. This is because it places more of the thumb area on the bottom of the racquet handle vs. more in back of it. This gives you a lot more leverage to perform this move. But using the exteme grip will also cause timing problems because you will really have to get the racquet face around quickly as compare to a less extreme grip.

Because the onehander has a bit more complexity to the swing as compared to a twohander you have more chance for mistiming the ball with the windshield wiping motion and miss the sweetspot of the racquet.

I would only suggest dropping the racquet head and wiping up the ball after you have mastered the recommendation Mahboob gave and the insight Frank gave.

Introducing another movement in the racquet is an advanced technique. You should not introduce this until you have mastered the low to high movement described by Mahboob. Timing this getting lower then the ball will produce plenty of topspin without having to introduce another motion such as the wiping.

You can run into a lot of frustration with the movement Japanese gave if you don't have a solid low to high swing with the hand 12 inches below your intended impact point.

If you simply practice slightly rising with your legs as your swinging forward you will meet the ball in the sweetspot more consistently and you will produce very good topspin. The legs are super important for this and in previous posts I mentioned the chair drill which can aid you in the sensation of using your legs and a simple swing motion to produce the lift and topspin you need.

Remember the longer your racquet face can stay in a straight line going up to the ball the more chance you will have for a clean contact. When you drop the racquet face and then swing forward and turn up a dropped racquet head from the thumb the racquet face will be in the impact zone for much less time.

It is much like tossing a ball higher then your intended impact on a serve. The ball starts to drop and passes through the sweetspot 15 times less then if you hit the ball once it reached its peak at the toss.

I would advise you sticking with Mahboob suggestion first then when you hit the ball consistently well with placement and see that your adding topspin then you can play around with the forearm/thumb to add more topspin. A lot of good pros don't use this wiper effect and at best is an illusion that they are doing it. some do use this wiper effect and do it well. But it takes a lot of practice to master the move consistently.

Timing this windshield wiper move is difficult and should be reserved when you master the use of the legs and a simple swing from low to high on all balls you try to hit topspin on. you might find you dont even need to do this!

Japanese Maple
03-22-2004, 06:31 AM
.The method I have described to hit with more topspin is easy to
learn and very effective. Forget about using the windshield wiper
as a key thought as there appears to be some confusion regarding
this term. As you approach the ball with your normal swing pattern
you must have the racquet head below the on-coming ball just
before contact. I would not recommend starting your racquet at
thigh level in your backswing if this is not your normal backswing.
To get additional topspin it can be worthwhile to point the tip
of the racquet below the ball at approx. 7:00 and as you swing
upwards to the ball use your wrist and forearm to move the tip
to approx. 10:00-11:00 as you drive forward. The racquet tip
only moves slightly from 7:00 to 10:00 and not all the way to the
right at lets say 3:00. As you drive forward and extend the racquet
as far forward as possible, your follow-through is just like Mahboob said with the racquet high above your right shoulder and
the tip pointing to the back fence,the butt of the racquet pointing
towards the net. The majority of the pros who hit with a one-handed bh use this technique. Without knowing your level of play
this maybe very easy for you to incorparate into your game and
should not take long. Depending on the players experience and
skill level, I don't think you have to change your normal swing-just
be sure you approach below the ball just before contact and
experiment using a little wrist/forearm flexion.
One other thought regarding a comment on the serve toss-the
majority of the pros today toss their ball a foot or two above the
contact point and hit it as it is descending versus hitting the
ball at the peak of the toss while it is stationary.

Bungalo Bill
03-22-2004, 07:22 AM
Japanese, yes it is very confusing what you said. And you left out some very important information and development skills in order to perform this without injury and frustration.

Yes, pros do use this technique but they dont use it all the time and a lot of pros dont use it at all. Plus, the pros have built a solid basis of fundementals before incorporating this advanced method into their strokes. There are those few that can just start doing it - but those are few and hard to come by.

Japanese, that is exactly my point the toss should be on target or a little above the contact zone so it doesnt gain too much speed. If you look back on several of my topics on serving toss, you would see I advised the same thing, that the highest you should go is about what you said 1- 2 feet. This way the ball doesnt gain too much speed and doesnt drop to fast through the sweetspot of the racquet.

MSN, you are free to try this method and see if you are ready for it. But Mahboob, Frank and myself have shown you the right way to develop your backhand for topspin. You can eventually incorporate this method in your stroke later. But yoru arm will be strong and your timing to hit a topspin will be much better.

But for now you need to concentrate on getting your racquet below the ball and coming up through it. Use your legs to help you rise as you initiate the forward swing, this will help with lift. And keep your head down.

Japanese Maple
03-22-2004, 08:13 AM

I am assuming that you are an advance player because you can
hit flat on both sides and a nice topspin on your fh. You had asked
for a suggestion only and not a dissertation on how to hit topspin
on your bh. You mentioned that you drop the racquet head on
your fh topspin and I am suggesting that you do the same on
your bh to hit with more topspin. Don't worry about getting hurt,
this is a sound technique that can easily be added to your game.
Some posters like to make everything seem so complicated and
you always have to take numerous tedious baby steps for many months
before trying out advanced techniques-have confidence in your
ability and don't be afraid to experiment. If the advanced technique
doesn't work at least you tried. Also, take a look of the video
of Roger Federers bh on Tennisone and you will see exactly what
I am talking about-the pros swings in slow motion will always be
your best source for solid fundamentals and advanced technique-
some you will be able to incorporate and some you won't,but its
critical to try different things and experiment. Watching pros
hit their strokes in slow motion is one of the best ways to accelerate the learning curve in your tennis development. Stay
tuned, I am sure we will hear again from Bungalo Bill, but I am not
sure what else he can add. You had asked for a few suggestions
and now you have them to try out-Good Luck!

03-22-2004, 05:13 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions.

As to my level, I'm currently winning about 75% in my 4.0 league. I play an all court game and am known to have good hands. I also am able to hit half-volley groundstrokes on the FH side very well, and am starting to hit half volley topspin BH strokes, though not nearly as well. I hit eastern on both sides, though I'll return the BH (slice/ts) continental against a hard server.

I have often found that very small, simple adjustments in form are easiest to incorporate and quickest to provide improvement.

I'll take a look at the video you mentioned, though in watching the pro's OH backhands the last few years, I think Henin, Corretja, and maybe even Maresmo have more conventional strokes, whereas Fed's seems more 'wristy' and harder for your average joe to reproduce (Sampras also had a very wristy hot/cold BH).

Bungalo Bill
03-22-2004, 06:24 PM

You hit the nail on the head. You obviously know your own limitations and you play within those limitations. Keep in mind, I am not against what Japanese says because eventually you might want to incorporate that in your strokes. And he is right some pros do use this technique. But jsut because the racquet flys up does not mean they are using it, you really have to slow down the film to see if they actually used this.

Also, what may appear wristy to the naked eye can be very different when the film is slowed down. Many people throught Agassi used a lot of wrist in his forehand, nothing could be further from the truth.

The pros are a different breed. They have spent hours of practice honing their skills and have excellent eye hand coordination, balance and anticipation to almost always hit the ball within their contact zone. Very different story for most club players. But all of those players started with the basic fundamentals and developed their finesse or style later in their development.

When your hitting consistent topspin backhands with good solid technique then go for the turning of the forearm as Japanese described if you want. You have to first stablize the muscles that are bringing the racquet to the ball before adding more dramatic techniques.

I am a big believer in building blocks to improve your game. Others aren't. Nothing wrong with either approach it is just how we view the game. I thought nothing wrong with Japanese's input but I also didnt feel you were quite ready for that.

Maybe as you get confident about your abilities with the topspin onehander and your stroke mechanics are sound, ask the question again, maybe Japanese can help you with thoroughly understanding that move.

Japanese Maple
03-23-2004, 05:18 AM
There are numerous one-handed bh to view on TennisOne and
you will be surprised how similar they are. Pay attention to their
coil in the backswing, weight transfer and hip rotation during
the step forward, how far out front they meet the ball on contact,
racquet below the ball during swing forward, location of racquet
tip before contact and after contact, and their extension,follow-through and back foot coming around to aid weight transfer and
recovery. Pick a few things to work on and once mastered move
on to the next few techniques. Hit on a ball machine and if
possible video your stroke and compare to pros video-I am sure
some things your doing will be find and some things will need
additional work and time. Be patient, but persistent and you can
make significant improvements in a short period of time, especially
if you use TennisOne videos and videos of your shot. Good Luck!

Mush Mouth
03-24-2004, 07:25 PM
Sounds like someone is running for cover. Bombs away!

Thanks Mahboob, BB, and Frank for putting this guy in his place. He has knowledge but like Puma said his method of delivery is that of a little kid.

Japanese Maple
03-24-2004, 08:45 PM
Bungalo Billy/Mushmouth/Rock em Sock em Robot/JC

Come on you can be more creative than this-what an ego,you
just can't stand it if someone disagrees with some of your information, who do you think you are Vic Braden!