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seb85
04-15-2008, 12:27 AM
Hi all,
Unfortunately (or fortunately) I'm young enough to have grown up in the "Backhand smash not necessary" age group. However, since I have started serve volleying and getting to the net as much as possible at other times too, I have found that I need to hit a backhand smash at least once or twice per match.

I have looked on youtube and there are some great videos of sampras doing the BH smash. Unfortunately, my shoulder isn't as flexible as his and no matter how hard I try, I cannot rotate my shoulder enough to create a backwards snap from there. I have tried snapping the wrist backwards like a lot of other players seem to, but that just gave me a hurt forearm.

So, how do I execute this shot well, but without hurting myself!

Thanks in advance

Seb

Rickson
04-15-2008, 04:22 AM
Hi all,
Unfortunately (or fortunately) I'm young enough to have grown up in the "Backhand smash not necessary" age group. However, since I have started serve volleying and getting to the net as much as possible at other times too, I have found that I need to hit a backhand smash at least once or twice per match.

I have looked on youtube and there are some great videos of sampras doing the BH smash. Unfortunately, my shoulder isn't as flexible as his and no matter how hard I try, I cannot rotate my shoulder enough to create a backwards snap from there. I have tried snapping the wrist backwards like a lot of other players seem to, but that just gave me a hurt forearm.

So, how do I execute this shot well, but without hurting myself!

Thanks in advance

Seb

You need to step into the shot. You can't just have your racquet up in a backhand position, you must be in a closed stance to hit an effective backhand volley whether it be a smash or a routine backhand. You gave yourself away when you mentioned how you can't rotate your shoulder well so I assumed you weren't in the right stance for a backhand volley.

fuzz nation
04-15-2008, 04:56 AM
Regardless of whether you're a one hander, I think that trying to whup on the ball when it's high on the bh side is kind of silly if you only use your dominant hand. It's a seriously weak, unstable shot... hey, that's why smart players lob over that side against a net rusher, right? That one handed hit demands some pretty advanced timing to deliver the racquet to the ball with some pace, so if you need to develop it, get the racquet going really early so that you can swing it through the ball on time.

My "smash" is a two hander over the top on my bh side. Now it has some drawbacks for sure - the hitting zone is limited and it requires a quick move to get under the ball, but once I noodled with it and got used to finding the hitting zone, this shot has turned out to be a rock solid tool. All I do is turn sideways - essential for good movement when lobbed - and use a 2hbh grip, but I have to keep my wrists nice and loose. As the ball comes in, I just whup that racquet up and over - no strain, no gritting my teeth. Try the motion without hitting a ball and if you have a hitting partner, have him/her toss up a few balls that you can hit at half speed to see how you do making contact. Just get yourself back so that you can move forward through the shot as you take the racquet up and over.

I like this shot up at net when the ball is in range for it, but I've also gotten to like it for when I run down a lob that bouces deep on the backhand side of the backcourt. I just get under the ball and crack it with terrific consistency.

Nellie
04-15-2008, 05:57 AM
I would strongly urge you do not try to hit a backhand smash. Instead, you should hit a high, backhand drive volley - lock your wrist and step into the shot to drive it. Do not snap your wrist or you will dump the ball into the net and will, as you realize, injure yourself.

You can get more than enough zip and can better guide/aim the ball.

If you have enough time to hit a smash, take two steps sideways and hit an overhead.

slice bh compliment
04-15-2008, 06:03 AM
Other examples of great high BH smashes while moving away from the net: Rios. Andre. Rafter. Hahah, I guess I am old enough to have grown up in the era in which this was a good shot to have.

Obviously you'd rather move around it and hit an overhead smash.
Second choice, a high BH volley into a corner.
But rather than letting it bounce, why not get up for it and make a little cross court angle? Obviously this takes practice, but at a good level, it is a nice shot to have. Then when you get more strength and explosiveness with it, crack it hard and deep down the line.
The last resort is to run it down on the bounce and put up a lob of your own.

Rickson
04-15-2008, 06:06 AM
I would strongly urge you do not try to hit a backhand smash. Instead, you should hit a high, backhand drive volley - lock your wrist and step into the shot to drive it. Do not snap your wrist or you will dump the ball into the net and will, as you realize, injure yourself.

You can get more than enough zip and can better guide/aim the ball.

If you have enough time to hit a smash, take two steps sideways and hit an overhead.

The only reason I take a bh smash is because there's no time to hit an overhead smash. I'm very good at the bh smash and I credit my solid one handed backhand for that. I can see why a lot of people don't like this shot and try to avoid it, but when you have to take it, you have to take it. I do that run around smash when the ball bounces though, but you can't expect it to be done on the fly unless the incoming ball is super slow.

Nellie
04-15-2008, 06:23 AM
Obviously, there are people who hit the backhand overhead well- I just mean that given a limited amount of experience/practice time, I would start with a good high backhand volley to win the points.

Then, if you want to advance, the fundementals do not change - you would still turn, lock the wrist, and swing from the shoulders with a good forward step

slice bh compliment
04-15-2008, 06:29 AM
Obviously, there are people who hit the backhand overhead well- I just mean that given a limited amount of experience/practice time, I would start with a good high backhand volley to win the points.

Then, if you want to advance, the fundementals do not change - you would still turn, lock the wrist, and swing from the shoulders with a good forward step

Forward step? Really?

Nellie, I figure if I can step forward, I've got the time to hit a real overhead...or at least hit a strong high BH volley.

The BH smash as I understand it, is generally done while moving kind of diagonally backwards away from the net because the opponent got the ball over you and slightly behind you.

Then again, I am older, thicker and probably slower than the young guys here...and I grew up with a one-handed attacking/all-court/net-play heavy style.

Djokovicfan4life
04-15-2008, 07:34 AM
Don't be discouraged man, it's a very tough shot, one of the hardest, actually. There's a reason why the two-handed swinging volley is so popular in the WTA (shudders).

Also, if you have time, run around just like you would for a forehand, that'll show em! :twisted:

seb85
04-15-2008, 09:36 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I understand the logic behind not hitting the BH smash. I grew up hitting the alternatives- good high backhand volleys, running round to hit a FH smash, 2H drive volley back hand when I had a two hander. (a 1H backhand drive volley is out of the question for me, as it seems to be for all pros except Federer and Gasquet...)

However, as I use my net game more and more, Im finding that I need something else on the BH side- otherwise i have to run back and play a groundstroke, loosing my hard fought court position.

I'll have a look at the great SV players if i can find some clips- maybe edberg would be a good one :)

So there doesn't seem to be any concensus about how to hit this shot? Is is just a case of "what works works"?

Thanks again

Seb

boojay
04-15-2008, 09:42 AM
I have to modify my backswing drastically when going for a backhand smash. I think I know the kinetics of it, but pulling it off is another issue completely. While I can perform a BH smash, the power is lacking. My tip is to take an over the shoulder takeback.

LuckyR
04-15-2008, 10:18 AM
As many have noted, a BH "smash" is to be avoided if possible, since the alternative, the FH smash, is much more powerful etc. However there are times when there isn't enough time to run around the lob to the BH. In those cases we all hit BH overheads. You can call your BH overhead a "smash", if you want to, but they are never as powerful as what we know a real FH smash, can be.

BTW, if you can hit a swinging BH volley, then the trajectory of the ball really isn't all that compatible with a BH overhead anyway.

As an aside, I have developed a swinging two handed (I use a 1HBH normally), "smash" for short shots near the net. I call it my "Tracy Austin" shot.

Nellie
04-16-2008, 07:34 AM
If you look at this video of Sampras at Wimbledon after the 1 minute mark, you see a good backhand smash

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj8OwLBYJxI

Note that the wrist is bent on the preparation, but the contact and followthrough are straight forward, not down. Otherwise, the ball goes into the bottom of the net.

Djokovicfan4life
04-16-2008, 08:02 AM
If you look at this video of Sampras at Wimbledon after the 1 minute mark, you see a good backhand smash

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj8OwLBYJxI

Note that the wrist is bent on the preparation, but the contact and followthrough are straight forward, not down. Otherwise, the ball goes into the bottom of the net.
Good tennis. An overhead off of an overhead, haha, Federer anyone? :wink:

I love when he said "NO" right before the vid ended on that botched volley.

LuckyR
04-16-2008, 08:39 AM
If you look at this video of Sampras at Wimbledon after the 1 minute mark, you see a good backhand smash

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj8OwLBYJxI

Note that the wrist is bent on the preparation, but the contact and followthrough are straight forward, not down. Otherwise, the ball goes into the bottom of the net.


Again, you can call it a "smash" if you want to, but that shot would not have been a winner if the other guy wasn't standing on top of the net, a couple of feet away.

Djokovicfan4life
04-16-2008, 08:41 AM
Why come in on that against Sampras? Looks like suicide to me.

LuckyR
04-16-2008, 10:07 AM
Why come in on that against Sampras? Looks like suicide to me.


What he said...

Vision84
04-16-2008, 01:00 PM
Here is a very good instructional article on the shot
http://www.tennis4everyone.com/tennistips/archivedtennistip/10.html

One of the most common problems I see is that people use their wrist to much and don't hit it deep leaving it short and manageable to get back. Try to avoid wristing it down.

fer
04-16-2008, 01:48 PM
Found this article about the backhand overhead smash.http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/turbo_05_08.html

Cindysphinx
04-16-2008, 02:25 PM
At my peril, I will describe how I do it. We're talking about balls where your only decent option is to hit a crazy high 1HBH.

Someone told me that the mistake people make is they don't turn their back to the net enough. The more you turn your back, the straighter (less angle) the shot will have. You can see this by just holding your racket up like you are hitting and watch where the racket face goes.

So if you are a RH hitter in the deuce court and you don't turn your back to the net, your shot will head off into the side curtain (near opponent's ad court).

So what I do (on days when I'm playing well) is fade back as much as you can when you see the lob coming. When you are about to make contact, you should stop because if you are running away from the net, you'll never get enough on it to get it deep. You don't want to let the ball get behind you, as this will make you pop it up.

Then you reach up with 1H, being careful to turn your shoulders a lot. Then you can safely pass the ball back deep and hope to live another day. Or if you are feeling daring, you can transfer your weight a bit more as you hit and hit a more aggressive shot and kind of whip it more.

I have no idea if this is right, but I play ad court and I have to hit this shot *a lot* (cause no way are my partners running down any lob that gets over my backhand).

Rickson
04-16-2008, 05:14 PM
Rusedski comes in on everything.

WildVolley
04-16-2008, 06:06 PM
I disagree with the advice to take the backhand overhead with 2-hands. It usually isn't so much of a smash as a high volley that you can punch in a lot of different angles. When I play doubles, I normally hit 4 or 5 backhand overheads for winners a set.

It isn't a wild swing, but it should feel natural if you hit a 1hbh. I suggest normally using a continental grip and hitting with underspin if it is lower and turning your back more if it is high and hitting it flat or angled down into the court.

It is a reaction shot. If you have time run around and hit a standard overhead. As Rickson said, it is much easier to hit if you are coming forward into the shot.