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View Full Version : Unfortunately no more 2 hander - switching to a 1 handed bh


LittleMAC
02-02-2009, 05:44 PM
A little about my game before I get into it. I'm a strong registered 4.5 singles player with an all-court game, however I spend more of my time at the baseline. I like to use angles and getting in cross-court backhand rallies. I'm very happy with my 2 handed backhand and would love to keep it...The bottom line for why I'm switching is there is just way too much pain in my left arm/wrist/elbow. I've tried physical therapy, 2 chiropractors, an osteopath and a lot of rest. Unfortunately I've just spent so much time (3+ years and I'm only 24) trying to "fix" this (technique, racquets, string, rest, therapy and $$$$) that I'm moving to a 1 hander. Right now I can hit a fairly good one hander, or so I think so (doesn't everyone who has a two hander think that!? :) ) but I really need to start from the basics. Here are my questions:

1. When you were learning a 1 handed backhand what was the most important thing for you to remember?

2. What things did you have to change when you switched (if you switched from a 2 hander to 1)? For example: less/more spin, earlier preperation, a different racquet.

3. I'm wondering how in the heck can a person with a 1 hander hit such an effective running backhand (I know I know... practice practice practice), Or do you find yourself slicing more when pulled out wide?

I'm sorry for the long post but I'm just trying to get all the input possible. All you're help is appreciated. btw I play with a Tour 10 Gen II strung at 57 with a Signum Pro plasma in the main and OG Sheep Micro in the cross.

THANKS

aimr75
02-02-2009, 06:16 PM
here is a lengthly thread on the 1hbh:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=236777

oneguy21
02-02-2009, 06:26 PM
Early take back. But a 4.5 like you should learn quickly.

aimr75
02-02-2009, 06:27 PM
for me,

point 1)

- initiating backswing with the turning of the shoulders not the arms
- a smile pattern on the takeback
- hitting out in front with a closed stance
- dont roll or whip the wrist through impact
- maintain a long L pattern with the hitting arm with the follow through
- knee bend (something i dont do enough of)

Djokovicfan4life
02-02-2009, 06:40 PM
A little about my game before I get into it. I'm a strong registered 4.5 singles player with an all-court game, however I spend more of my time at the baseline. I like to use angles and getting in cross-court backhand rallies. I'm very happy with my 2 handed backhand and would love to keep it...The bottom line for why I'm switching is there is just way too much pain in my left arm/wrist/elbow. I've tried physical therapy, 2 chiropractors, an osteopath and a lot of rest. Unfortunately I've just spent so much time (3+ years and I'm only 24) trying to "fix" this (technique, racquets, string, rest, therapy and $$$$) that I'm moving to a 1 hander. Right now I can hit a fairly good one hander, or so I think so (doesn't everyone who has a two hander think that!? :) ) but I really need to start from the basics. Here are my questions:

1. When you were learning a 1 handed backhand what was the most important thing for you to remember?

The most important aspect for me was relaxation, and it still is to this day. I tighten up at times because it's not my natural stroke and I have it in my mind that I should be hitting a forehand sometimes. :)

I have to learn to WANT to hit backhands.

2. What things did you have to change when you switched (if you switched from a 2 hander to 1)? For example: less/more spin, earlier preperation, a different racquet.

Much more spin in my case was necessary to keep the ball in the court. Use your legs to really get under the ball by bending your knees. The rising of the entire hitting structure is what generates the topspin. Far too often I see players concentrating on the upper body to generate spin when in reality the real issue is almost the exact opposite.

3. I'm wondering how in the heck can a person with a 1 hander hit such an effective running backhand (I know I know... practice practice practice), Or do you find yourself slicing more when pulled out wide?

A strong first step is key here. I'll spare you the footwork jargen, since you're playing at the 4.5 level, but obviously you need a more explosive first step to the ball and better anticipation skills if you are getting burned out wide frequently. Obviously some added reach is one of the key benefits of the one handed backhand, so it puzzles me a bit that you are having trouble with this after using a two hander for so long.

I'm sorry for the long post but I'm just trying to get all the input possible. All you're help is appreciated. btw I play with a Tour 10 Gen II strung at 57 with a Signum Pro plasma in the main and OG Sheep Micro in the cross.

THANKS

Best of luck,

Matt

Djokovicfan4life
02-02-2009, 06:44 PM
for me,

point 1)

- initiating backswing with the turning of the shoulders not the arms
- a smile pattern on the takeback
- hitting out in front with a closed stance
- dont roll or whip the wrist through impact
- maintain a long L pattern with the hitting arm with the follow through
- knee bend (something i dont do enough of)

Perfect check list as far as one handed backhand technique is concerned. I really should print this out for a reference point for the next time I find myself struggling with the one handed backhand. In fact, EVERY day is a struggle for me with all things tennis, so I guess that's not even worth saying to begin with.

Great post.

tata
02-02-2009, 11:11 PM
I think the biggest difficulty for you is changing the point of contact and getting to the ball fast with a closed stance.So be really fast on the feet to get there to hit that ball.IMO a lot of things can go wrong with a 1 handed backhand whereas you might be able to get away with on a 2hbh.Oh and remember to fully extend your arm when hitting the ball and transfer your body weight from your left foot to give a good body rotation to give more power on it.

Djokovicfan4life
02-02-2009, 11:24 PM
I think the biggest difficulty for you is changing the point of contact and getting to the ball fast with a closed stance.So be really fast on the feet to get there to hit that ball.IMO a lot of things can go wrong with a 1 handed backhand whereas you might be able to get away with on a 2hbh.Oh and remember to fully extend your arm when hitting the ball and transfer your body weight from your left foot to give a good body rotation to give more power on it.

Wow, that was an excellent post. I'm impressed, I have to say.

I agree that the proper set up to the ball and a consistent contact point are absolute musts when it comes to the one handed backhand.

aimr75
02-03-2009, 12:26 AM
Perfect check list as far as one handed backhand technique is concerned. I really should print this out for a reference point for the next time I find myself struggling with the one handed backhand. In fact, EVERY day is a struggle for me with all things tennis, so I guess that's not even worth saying to begin with.

Great post.

thanks :) weight transfer from back to front foot should be added to that list too, as tata mentioned

i try to do the things on that list whenever i go out, i feel like i am slowly getting better at it, but still needs alot of work.. heres a couple backhands: http://www.vimeo.com/3060832

Djokovicfan4life
02-03-2009, 02:16 AM
thanks :) weight transfer from back to front foot should be added to that list too, as tata mentioned

i try to do the things on that list whenever i go out, i feel like i am slowly getting better at it, but still needs alot of work.. heres a couple backhands: http://www.vimeo.com/3060832

Hey, pretty nice backhand overall. Keep up the great work!

One key I noticed about your one handed backhand is that you are very right side dominant throughout the stroke. The right foot pretty much crosses over instantly and in the end it's killing your weight transfer into the ball. Don't worry, this is perfectly natural, but at the same time you should take this as a warning sign that the left side is in desperate need of development. Work on your step outs to correct this critical issue to your backhand. You have an excellent split step, so from here it should be incredibly easy for you to make a strong first step that ideally should be your biggest as well. The first few seconds of this video of Richard Gasquet clearly demonstrate this concept in action.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUQxb4ZtR-4&feature=related

Remember that the core principles behind all of your strokes should be to get in good position before the ball bounces, while keeping the ball inside your strike zone every single time.

For a great step out drill you can work on this: start at the baseline and practice stepping out and forwards from the singles line to the doubles line and vice versa, while staying light on your feet at the same time. This will really help your first step and you'll most likely experience a much better step out, along with improved recovery time as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upxk1CBdH3Y&feature=related

Matt

LittleMAC
02-03-2009, 05:46 PM
Thanks for all the posts guys these will be really helpful!

Matt, in reference to why I feel like it is difficult to take a wide ball is because I can use a very open stance with a 2 hander and get myself in position well for the next shot. With a one hander I have closed stance therefore the ability to "hit on the run" is much more difficult so I can obviously see where better anticipation comes into play quite a bit. Thanks guys keep the good stuff coming!!

Rickson
02-03-2009, 06:16 PM
I used to slice everything when I first switched and now, I can barely slice on the bh side. Switching to the 1hbh was a good move and you should not regret it.

Djokovicfan4life
02-03-2009, 06:50 PM
You say that as if it's something to be proud of, buddy. JMO, but I think that a good slice is absolutely crucial to a net rusher's game like yourself.

gocard
02-03-2009, 08:56 PM
As others have said, a good torso rotation and early preparation as soon as you see the ball going to your backhand are crucial. When making contact though, make sure your head is still. Don't pop up thinking it will make your shot more powerful. I have a bad habit of doing this especially since I play with some heavy-hitting guys and it always makes my ball go flying. Stay low and keep your head still when making contact. If you do this, you would also be less likely to prematurely turn your hips towards the court. This works wonders for me... when I remember to do it! :?

As for wide balls, I tend to slice them but at the same time try to throw my weight into the shot so that while it is a defensive shot, I might still be able to put some "oomph" into a low, skidding slice :)

Rickson
02-03-2009, 09:12 PM
Actually, D4, I've gotten in some lucky slices at times. One guy I play loves to hit inside out to my bh and I surprised him with a rocketing slice that came back at his feet. Most of my slices are floaters, but that one went back in a hurry and the best part: it was match point!

yellowoctopus
02-04-2009, 09:30 AM
I think the biggest difficulty for you is changing the point of contact and getting to the ball fast with a closed stance.So be really fast on the feet to get there to hit that ball.IMO a lot of things can go wrong with a 1 handed backhand whereas you might be able to get away with on a 2hbh.Oh and remember to fully extend your arm when hitting the ball and transfer your body weight from your left foot to give a good body rotation to give more power on it.

Yup, all great points! I would like to stress the closed stance--when I switched from a two-hander at age 15, I had to overcome the tendency to open up the body while swinging.

Oh, and be patient as you develop your one-hander. Your right arm needs time to adjust to a new level of demand--rushing may cause problem.

Djokovicfan4life
02-04-2009, 09:34 AM
Actually, D4, I've gotten in some lucky slices at times. One guy I play loves to hit inside out to my bh and I surprised him with a rocketing slice that came back at his feet. Most of my slices are floaters, but that one went back in a hurry and the best part: it was match point!
Ah yes, the driving underspin pass of doom. I've hit this shot a few times as well. Not the highest percentage shot, by any means, but oh, so demoralizing for your opponents. :)

Djokovicfan4life
02-04-2009, 09:39 AM
Thanks for all the posts guys these will be really helpful!

Matt, in reference to why I feel like it is difficult to take a wide ball is because I can use a very open stance with a 2 hander and get myself in position well for the next shot. With a one hander I have closed stance therefore the ability to "hit on the run" is much more difficult so I can obviously see where better anticipation comes into play quite a bit. Thanks guys keep the good stuff coming!!

Read my post in response to aimr75's reply. I think it can help you. Of course, knowledge of proper footwork is necessary before any of this can even begin to improve in the first place, so let me ask you this. Have you ever stepped on the practice court with the specific purpose of developing your feet in mind? Be honest.

hyogen
02-04-2009, 09:41 AM
thanks :) weight transfer from back to front foot should be added to that list too, as tata mentioned

i try to do the things on that list whenever i go out, i feel like i am slowly getting better at it, but still needs alot of work.. heres a couple backhands: http://www.vimeo.com/3060832

i like em.

one question for you. i've recently found that it helps my 1hander (i'm a 2hbh user) if i keep a pretty loose wrist throughout the stroke...

is this important?

Djokovicfan4life
02-04-2009, 09:57 AM
i like em.

one question for you. i've recently found that it helps my 1hander (i'm a 2hbh user) if i keep a pretty loose wrist throughout the stroke...

is this important?

When first learning the stroke, player's should be careful of any movement in the wrist whatsoever. At the beginner level, the subtle motions that occur at the higher levels of the game, such as wrist supination into contact, or hitting with a closed racquet face, or the amount of movement involved in proper footwork patterns, etc. tends to be vastly exaggerated. For them it's best to just leave this concept in the closet where it belongs. Now I don't remember your video, but seem to remember that you have slo-mo capabilities? That's a little telling to me that you're a serious player. So ask yourself, just how good is your backhand? How many things can you see that need addressing? None of them? All of them? Somewhere in between these two? Be honest.

yellowoctopus
02-04-2009, 10:16 AM
Matt, in reference to why I feel like it is difficult to take a wide ball is because I can use a very open stance with a 2 hander and get myself in position well for the next shot. With a one hander I have closed stance therefore the ability to "hit on the run" is much more difficult so I can obviously see where better anticipation comes into play quite a bit. Thanks guys keep the good stuff coming!!

Hi: I'm not sure if you are specifically referring to the ability to hit the ball cross-court on the run for the one-hander. If by chance you are, then I have good news for you. The one-handed backhand, in my humble opinion, has given me more range with more subtle change in my swing (less obvious to my opponent). I can actually pull or flick the ball crosscourt, even on the run, without necessarily having my chest facing toward the direction of the ball. So hopefully you will find out, as you gain control of the new one-handed backhand, that having a closed stance does not limit the range of your shot when hitting the backhand on the run. Again from my experience, how far in front the racquet face contact the ball mainly determines the horizontal direction.

Fay
02-04-2009, 11:16 AM
As someone coming out of figure skating to tennis I love to throw my body into rotation ... that works great on the FH, and I thought it would work on the BH. I tried it for over a year and decided I needed to get better support from my back shoulder blade.

The thing that helped me most on my 1-H BH was to keep my non-hitting arm and shoulder held back at contact ...

I notice the Roger F. used to do that and during his match with Nadal was opening his chest way open and his shots were not staying in all the time.

I absolutely hated that feeling when coaches would first mention it to me.
I loved the feeling of hitting and flowing open. But I did not have the same amount of control. I wanted a powerful topspin BH and thought that would help.

What I also found that helped more was to pay close attention to my weight transference and time it exactly with the hit and keeping the back shoulder held back hard as I saw Justine Henin do.

An exercise that I used to warm up with a basket of balls was to alternate each side with
(I am right handed so reverse this if left handed) ...
I would face the net and step off at a 45 degree angle toward the net with the right foot for the FH and count 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 with each step and time my toss of the ball for one bounce to always hit the ball on 4. That would mean I was hitting in the traditional way of the foot closest to the next, the left one, being the one I hit off of and was sure to transfer my weight at exactly that moment of contact. I use this as a warm up and for practice hitting FHs on the run.

(Not the modern open stand of hitting off the outside leg when one has a change to set up ... that is a difference exercise).

Then I would go to the left, stepping off with the left first, count 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 and hit with weight transference to the foot closest to the net (the right one).

I would always exaggerate the swing from low to high and be sure to FINISH the stroke. Since this was warm up I would pay very close attention to timing of weight transference and hitting the ball with a good swing and finish.

I have done this for a couple of years now and it has really helped to improve my FH and BH shots on the run. My approach shots are much more reliable.

From taking piano lessons most of my life I learned that things practiced slowly, as well as full tilt, will stay sorted out better in the hard wiring of the brain for some reason.

I only use a 2-H BH when a ball is hit right next to my foot on the baseline when I can not get back farther in better position to hit it better. I started developing that habit when I could not return those balls when I was playing everything left handed after injuring my right (normal hitting) elbow. I found it was good to have a few other tricks in my bag when I need them.

I was thinking about using a 2-H BH for running swing volleys on my left side. Haven't gotten to working on that yet though as I like the feeling of the 1-H BH on the run, been playing too many games and not doing enough drills. Need to get back to always working on basics and seeing if I can make more improvements to my game.

hyogen
02-04-2009, 12:00 PM
When first learning the stroke, player's should be careful of any movement in the wrist whatsoever. At the beginner level, the subtle motions that occur at the higher levels of the game, such as wrist supination into contact, or hitting with a closed racquet face, or the amount of movement involved in proper footwork patterns, etc. tends to be vastly exaggerated. For them it's best to just leave this concept in the closet where it belongs. Now I don't remember your video, but seem to remember that you have slo-mo capabilities? That's a little telling to me that you're a serious player. So ask yourself, just how good is your backhand? How many things can you see that need addressing? None of them? All of them? Somewhere in between these two? Be honest.

yeah, i'm a serious recreational player. i don't have a one-hander.. i use two hands...and feel as long as I have enough time to set-up, I can hit a decent shot either up the line or crosscourt. I sometimes will try the onehander out when rallying.

aimr75
02-04-2009, 01:05 PM
i like em.

one question for you. i've recently found that it helps my 1hander (i'm a 2hbh user) if i keep a pretty loose wrist throughout the stroke...

is this important?

it shouldnt be rigid like youre going to strangle the grip, but i dont think it should be too loose as it may create a habit of trying to whip through the ball.. when i think of a too loose wrist, i imagine less stability. see here how feds wrist is pretty stable:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyjp1_xEAfU

aimr75
02-04-2009, 01:07 PM
Djokovicfan4life, thanks for those footwork tips.. its one of the many things that need to be addressed.. as can be seen, i dont really practice footwork, but will be making more of an effort to do so

Djokovicfan4life
02-04-2009, 01:09 PM
Djokovicfan4life, thanks for those footwork tips.. its one of the many things that need to be addressed.. as can be seen, i dont really practice footwork, but will be making more of an effort to do so

You're welcome. Mail sent.

aimr75
02-04-2009, 01:20 PM
You're welcome. Mail sent.

havent received it.. can try directly with aimr75@hotmail.com

smoothtennis
02-05-2009, 07:36 AM
I went from two to one, so here are my experiences-


1. When you were learning a 1 handed backhand what was the most important thing for you to remember?


For me -
A. contact point moved out front much more than 2hbh - I didn't get it at first, and it cause major issues with my structure collapsing, ie, bent elbows, etc.
B. Don't try to over-spin the ball at first - get good clean contact - good forward drive, and slowly adjust for spin as you progress.


2. What things did you have to change when you switched (if you switched from a 2 hander to 1)? For example: less/more spin, earlier preperation, a different racquet.

A. THE most critical thing regarding overall difference between these two stokes is that the body works differently in how the racket drives through the contact zone. The two hander is much like a forehand in that your HIPS and SHOULDERS drive through with the arms, and into the ball, ie, you turn your hips into the shot just like a FH.

The 1HBH is just the opposite. The hips do initiate the forward thrust of the stroke, but they stop, and stay closed - as the racket picks up that energy and transfers through the ball - so your body stays CLOSED until after the ball has left the strings. A fundamentally different lever mechanism is at work here.

I started with less spin, and had to work into angles - angles are still harder for me than 2HBH.


3. I'm wondering how in the heck can a person with a 1 hander hit such an effective running backhand (I know I know... practice practice practice), Or do you find yourself slicing more when pulled out wide?

Remember two things here - you have a longer reach with the 1HBH, and you stay closed - so these two things buy you more time getting there. Your main goal on the wide out is footwork first, stroke second. If you get there in time - hit a safe shot! You can set the grip on the way there, stay closed, and drive into the contact zone without a bunch of heavy topspin. Have your target, grip, and trajectory all established in your mind before you get there, and focus on clean contact and balance so you can recover. No need to blaze a winner in this situation.

Last but not least - and at 4.5 I know you can understand what I am about to say here. Don't overwork the stroke. The stroke itself is very simple. The reason people have so much trouble on 1HBH at lower levels is they are almost always late turning the shoulders - they take the racket back with the arms - and they use too much extra motion to make the storke work.

1. Early prep - ie- when the ball bounces on your side of the court - there is nothing left to do, but initiate the forward swing - EVERYTHING else prep wise, should have already been done here.

2. Stay closed - and keep the swing relatively simple

3. Good follow through.

Good luck in your switch! I have right arm issues, and may have to go to a 2HBH for a while to relieve it, so I have the opposite problem you are going through. :)

bobbynorwich
02-05-2009, 07:52 AM
Why not develop both a 1 and 2 handed backhand? Use the 1 hander for reach or slice, and the 2 hander for power and control.

Djokovicfan4life
02-05-2009, 08:04 AM
Why not develop both a 1 and 2 handed backhand? Use the 1 hander for reach or slice, and the 2 hander for power and control.

Personally, I'm thoroughly opposed to this concept altogether. The two techniques are vastly different and it would be SO much easier if players would just stop focusing on the short term results and simply commit themselves to WORKING at their weaknesses, i.e. one handed serve returns, running two handers, weight transfer to the front foot in both strokes, etc.

Matt

Djokovicfan4life
02-05-2009, 08:05 AM
havent received it.. can try directly with aimr75@hotmail.com

Holla!!!!!!!!!

Fay
02-05-2009, 10:01 AM
Why not develop both a 1 and 2 handed backhand? Use the 1 hander for reach or slice, and the 2 hander for power and control.

I use a 2-H BH on those pesky fast flat balls that land near my left foot on the baseline (I'm right handed) ... and my timing is getting better at getting them back.

Yes I should position my body better, but sometimes they come back so darned fast I can only swing ....

I tried using a 2-H BH just for fun and I found that the range where I can hit it effectively into the opposite court was more limited ... it had to be about waist-high ... but I could hit it so much harder with 2 hands.

When I try to do that during a tournament, I just revert back to the 1-H BH naturally.

I don't see anything wrong with having more tools ... skaters have to learn all sort of various jumps (based upon different turns), so there is nothing wrong with having a different move. Even Rafa is now using 1=H BH more ... but no one would say any of his strokes are weak, he can choose what he wants to use.

There is nothing wrong with plastering the ball with two hands at the net either. I have a friend who does that quite successfully.