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View Full Version : Should I give up my 1hbh?


zebano
07-27-2009, 10:35 AM
Cliff Notes:
1. I hit a 1hbh and it's a thing of beauty but it's inconsistency destroys my enjoyment of the game.
2. Have a family and only play/hit 2x (~ 5 hours) per week.
3. Can I add two 45 minute lunch session just hitting off a wall and develop a semi-stable 2hbh or am I better off committing that time to what I've got?

Full Version:
Hi all I've been a 3.5 player since I came back to tennis 4 years ago. The real limiting factor for me seems to be time. I have two kids and a job that really only allow me to play twice during the week. Had I a willing partner I could practice for 45 minutes each day during the lunch hour since I have a shower available but I can't interest anyone in this.

Anyway I've always considered myself an "all-court" player but I've realized lately that I'm more of a counterpuncher. Some of my favorite tactics are : hit short slices then pass down the line or lob; get a cross court rally going and keep hitting sharper angles until I get a ball to take down the line.

Breaking down my game I get (note that I'm sure these are much worse when compared to good players, but this is how I feel about my game):

Serve: 4/5 other than my last tournament match, I simply don't double fault more than 1x/set. I rarely hit hard and flat so I don't accumilate winners but I successfully place my serve 70% of the time (T, Body, Wide are my three locations) and I win a fair number of points just serving to the backhand. I have both a slice & flat serve for variety but I rarely use them.

Volleys: 3/5 I *think* I'm good at the net, but what I am is inconsistent. During warmups or practices I can punch the ball anywhere and I can deal with balls at my feet. I hit drop volleys ok, but in a match I tend to not watch the ball well and I hit as many volleys into the net as I do over it. I've mostly given up rushing the net due to loss of confidence in my volleys but I still go there when given a short ball.

Return of serve 3.5/5:
Kick serve: I love these. I step back to let the ball drop and I rip em.
Slice serve: I handle these adequately and hit aggressive forehands and just hit the backhand deep. A strange note. I have recentely discovered that if I set up to
Flat serve: Varies by day. When serves reach a certain speed I hit a really abbreviated slice and try and get the ball in. Some days this works really well, and some days the return is so short that I get killed doing this (when I try and hit deep, it goes out). The only guys that really hit these are 4.0+ so this isn't a big priority yet.

Forehand 4.5/5:
I can hit it big, but mostly it's deep with heavy topspin. I put away short balls and I hit to either corner. I have brief spates of inconsistency (ball in the net) but if I didn't I don't think I'd be a 3.5. I'm very happy with this shot.

1h Backhand 2/5:
I'm very very unhappy with this piece of my game. Lets break it down:
Slice: 3/5: Oddly enough even this shot is inconsistent. I have great trouble getting low balls back over the net and while I try to drive through the ball, it's mostly just a floater unless the other player provides some power.

Topspin 2/5:
When it's on it's an amazing shot but it is so inconsistent that I cannot seem to get through a set without having to run around my backhand. The one time I am happy is approaching short balls, I angle them to the corner well but the combination of not being able to hit the shot when rushed (contact point to far in front) and long bouts of inconsistency I'm considering giving this up for a 2hbh since it seems a much more stable shot for most people. The fact that I cannot reliably sustain a rally really irks me and gets in the way my enjoying playing tennis.

So the real question here is how long would it take me to establish a stable 2h-backhand if I dedicate two lunches a week to hitting off a wall and one two hour practice session and one 3 hour match(es) to hitting a 2hbh given that
a. I can't afford a coach right now
b. I don't have a ball machine
c. I have little time due to family.

Is this feasible or should I just try and get better at my 1hbh?

I've got a video camera so I'm going to try and get some video Tuesday.

Bungalo Bill
07-27-2009, 10:57 AM
Cliff Notes:
1. I hit a 1hbh and it's a thing of beauty but it's inconsistency destroys my enjoyment of the game.
2. Have a family and only play/hit 2x (~ 5 hours) per week.
3. Can I add two 45 minute lunch session just hitting off a wall and develop a semi-stable 2hbh or am I better off committing that time to what I've got?

I would say no. Wall practice does not help you with depth perception, reading the incoming ball and setting up on time, and being able to judge the ball properly to prepare early. I can help you groove a consistent swing and give you a workout.

Full Version:
Hi all I've been a 3.5 player since I came back to tennis 4 years ago. The real limiting factor for me seems to be time. I have two kids and a job that really only allow me to play twice during the week. Had I a willing partner I could practice for 45 minutes each day during the lunch hour since I have a shower available but I can't interest anyone in this.

Anyway I've always considered myself an "all-court" player but I've realized lately that I'm more of a counterpuncher. Some of my favorite tactics are : hit short slices then pass down the line or lob; get a cross court rally going and keep hitting sharper angles until I get a ball to take down the line.

You might want to try a twohanded backhand. I can hit a nice onehander but it is inconsistent as all get out. I just see and time the ball better with a twohanded backhand than a onehanded backhand. I find myself mistiming the ball frequently and believe me I have tried EVERYTHING!!! I have been coached, I have even had Vic Braden and some of the best tennis coaches look at it. Every single one of them says, everything I do is technically correct. Yet, I still misjudge the ball, etc... I have even studied the eyes, the position of the head and everything else I could gain an understanding on and I still have trouble. And is the reason I know a lot about the onehanded backhand.

So, when someone tells me tennis can be learned "naturally", I say hogwash BS. For me, I think it is something with the way my brain perceives and judges the incoming ball and it is something I don't care to try and figure out anymore.

I can see and judge the ball well with a twohanded backhand. So I stick with it. Plus, I like returning serve with it as well.

1h Backhand 2/5:
I'm very very unhappy with this piece of my game. Lets break it down:
Slice: 3/5: Oddly enough even this shot is inconsistent. I have great trouble getting low balls back over the net and while I try to drive through the ball, it's mostly just a floater unless the other player provides some power.

Well, I dont advise players like you to drive through low balls. Those you should slice back and wait to drive a ball that sits in your strike zone for the grip you are using. Perhaps, it is a shot selection thing and you are trying to get your onehander to do everything.

So the real question here is how long would it take me to establish a stable 2h-backhand if I dedicate two lunches a week to hitting off a wall and one two hour practice session and one 3 hour match(es) to hitting a 2hbh given that
a. I can't afford a coach right now
b. I don't have a ball machine
c. I have little time due to family.

Is this feasible or should I just try and get better at my 1hbh?

I've got a video camera so I'm going to try and get some video Tuesday.

It take about six months of good practice to get the twohander down and reasonably consistent.

But you might want to post that video for us to look at.

zebano
07-27-2009, 11:07 AM
Well, I dont advise players like you to drive through low balls. Those you should slice back and wait to drive a ball that sits in your strike zone for the grip you are using. Perhaps, it is a shot selection thing and you are trying to get your onehander to do everything.



It take about six months of good practice to get the twohander down and reasonably consistent.

But you might want to post that video for us to look at.

The statements about low balls and driving were meant to be separate statements. On normal sliced balls if there is power, I can use it. On low balls I just don't seem to hit up enough to get it over the net, maybe it's the racket face, maybe I need to bend my knees, I'm not sure.

Thanks for the time estimate.

Video coming...

Bungalo Bill
07-27-2009, 08:18 PM
The statements about low balls and driving were meant to be separate statements. On normal sliced balls if there is power, I can use it. On low balls I just don't seem to hit up enough to get it over the net, maybe it's the racket face, maybe I need to bend my knees, I'm not sure.

Thanks for the time estimate.

Video coming...

On low balls, you have to get low and I would recommend staying low. Normally, I advise people to lift as they make contact but in some cases I suggest people to stay down.

For low balls you have to get lower than you probably are or think you are. Here is Edberg and how he hits with a bent front leg vs. rising from that leg at contact. You might want to practice this. The ball that Edberg is hitting is actually pretty low. This is an example of staying down as you hit the onehander which some coaches a proponents of.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTK3uOngTYM

Here is Gasquet as an example of how low he gets and stays low through the shot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTK3uOngTYM

If you are not putting topspin on it, you need to stay down and raise the racquet up relatively fast. If you pop up, you might top the ball or hit it too flat.

Also, another thing about the front foot that I don't talk about much. The front foot is also a timing step. So if you are having a tough time with various balls, it could be the timing of when you plant that front foot to hit off of.

Pay attention to the rhythm of the front foot and how it plants just before the forward swing and contact. Many times, players are late and sometimes too early.

http://www.tenniscruz.com/content/view/223/42/

SethIMcClaine
07-27-2009, 08:19 PM
its basically the question of do you stick with what you know and make it better or relearn the whole process over again. Lots of people hit this delima, I have. Unless you have a reason to completely switch (something close to a reason to giving up your dominate forehand and relearning it with your off hand) I would say fix whats wrong instead of disgarding it completely.

1hbh is where its at anyways :-D

Alafter
07-28-2009, 12:12 AM
Isnt it likely that 2 HBH will inherit the same problem anyways?

Sure did for me! So I am back to 1HBH, but trying different things. Now I have this stupid looking BH, but it works and requires less arm movement than before. Gonna see if it works out consistently.

zebano
07-28-2009, 06:14 AM
Isnt it likely that 2 HBH will inherit the same problem anyways?

Sure did for me! So I am back to 1HBH, but trying different things. Now I have this stupid looking BH, but it works and requires less arm movement than before. Gonna see if it works out consistently.

I find it interesting that your 2hbh had the same problems. The spot I thought it would really shine in is when you're rushed and can't set up properly you can still hit the ball solidly.


I did some drills yesterday with a 4.0 and played ok. My 1hbh was pretty reliable in rally drills but to be fair, it was never really attacked. I was rather happy with how I volleyed when we played ghost doubles.


Latter on, I played doubles and one of the guys I played with won a bunch of 35 and over tournaments around here so I asked him about how he deals with pace since he hits a 1hbh. His answer was basically that he uses a very minimal backswing all the time, he tapes his racket up to 14.x ounces in order to let it do most of the work and wins via superior ball placement, consistency and hustle.

In the doubles match my backhand was fine in rallies but I struggled to return serves. If I sliced, I got poached and if I hit topspin my timing wasn't good enough to keep it in the court 50% of the time. They only hit two kick serves to my backhand and I returned those, it was the slice and flat serves that caused me grief.

Anyway, practice session is set for tonight and I've dumped all existing data off the video camera I just hope a tripod gives a decent view of what's going on.

aimr75
07-28-2009, 03:22 PM
I have a similar predicament to you in that i usually at most can play once or twice a week..

Dont know about your 1hbh form, but for me, one of the biggest problems i find is if i dont keep up with fitness, my game drops off quite a bit and my 1hbh suffers for it.. getting to the ball and setting up properly makes all the difference (most of the time).. there are times when my technique screws up my shot too (not that my technique is great), but more often then not, its my ability to get to the ball and set up properly which determines whether i hit well over the course of a hitting session

as you can see, my backhand is not without issue.. so there have been a number of times ive contemplated switching to a 2hbh as well
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDtXjKXChC4

Alafter
07-29-2009, 12:16 AM
I find it interesting that your 2hbh had the same problems. The spot I thought it would really shine in is when you're rushed and can't set up properly you can still hit the ball solidly.

.

With the backhand, my problem is fundamental, which is I misjudge where I should position myself to hit the ball and contact is more often than not poor. If I cant get myself in position and cant hit cleanly, it doesnt matter if it is 2 H or 1 H. Why did I try 2 H? Well...just to see if it there is some magically unexpected aspect of the 2HBH motion that will correct this problem. Obviously, there isnt.

So far you have written that the BH is poor, but you havent really identified the reason why it is poor. So then it's really hard to confirm whether 2 HBH is the solution.

zebano
07-29-2009, 07:07 AM
Well I am a fool. I got to the court only to find that my camera was out of juice so no video yet. However, I had a better than average day with the backhand and I think there were two reasons for this.

1. This particular opponent doesn't hit hard, he's almost a pusher but he's willing to go to the net and volleys very well (for a 3.5). This means that my setup isn't as rushed as it is other times.

2. I focused better and made a point to keep my feet moving. Much like #1 this means that I was setup to make contact at the right spot and I also attacked the ball with my legs rather than my arm. During times when I lost focus, I didn't get set up in the right spot or on time and this is when I lost points.

3. Service return. What I found worked very well was to keep my off hand on the racket just above the handle, this allowed me to yank the racket back into hitting position faster. I basically hit a very short backswing and attacked the ball with my legs and this gave me great success in hitting solid returns.

coyfish
07-29-2009, 07:22 AM
I switched over to a 1H backhand and I love it. Im a 4.5. Have you tried hitting with a ball machine to perfect that backhand ??

A 2 hander is the easier shot for me (to learn) at least. More flexibility and room for error so maybe you should give it a shot.

Bungalo Bill
07-29-2009, 08:28 AM
Isnt it likely that 2 HBH will inherit the same problem anyways?

Sure did for me! So I am back to 1HBH, but trying different things. Now I have this stupid looking BH, but it works and requires less arm movement than before. Gonna see if it works out consistently.

Not for me. Mine was a vision problem. It was solved with the twohander and the relationship of my back arm to the contact point vs. the front arm to the contact point.

What you might be referring to is something like if his footwork is poor and goes unsolved then switching to a twohander isn't going to solve his footwork problems or backhand problems. In that case, I would agree with you.

coyfish
07-29-2009, 08:34 AM
Yeah I had problems with my 2 hander judging how far from the ball I needed to be. I would often hit too close to my body. I find with the one hander I get in much better position and im hitting much better backhands now.

Djokovicfan4life
07-29-2009, 08:34 AM
Not for me. Mine was a vision problem. It was solved with the twohander and the relationship of my back arm to the contact point vs. the front arm to the contact point.

What you might be referring to is something like if his footwork is poor and goes unsolved then switching to a twohander isn't going to solve his footwork problems or backhand problems. In that case, I would agree with you.

By vision problem, you mean how your back (left) eye tracks the incoming ball, right? I tried hitting backhands with my right eye closed once. That sure was an interesting experience.

Bungalo Bill
07-29-2009, 08:53 AM
By vision problem, you mean how your back (left) eye tracks the incoming ball, right? I tried hitting backhands with my right eye closed once. That sure was an interesting experience.

Hahaha, I did that too.

Yes, that is what I mean. Nothing proven although please believe me, I tried nearly everything to improve my ability to hit a clean, well-timed onehander for all kinds of balls and after all my study, trial and error, coaching, video analysis, everything, I still had trouble on certain balls and its timing.

I dont think you were here at the time, but I switched to the onehander because of a back injury (actually two back injuries) and was in two car accidents.

Yeah, I am a bit banged up which is why I don't or can't teach tennis as a profession on courts even if I wanted too. With knee, ankle, neck, and back injuries, I wouldn't last more than 4 hours on the courts teaching lessons and it is real hard to earn a living only being able to teach for 4 or less hours!

Anyway, yes, vision. My backhand stroke, and because I worked on it so much, is a thing of beauty. I love hitting a onehander but it is inconsistent as all get out. I worked on that stroke for two solid years.

After all the knowledge I gained and after all the remedies I have tried, I chalked up my woes to a vision issue or how my brain processes the incoming ball using my right eye for depth perception and the relationship to my front arm to the contact point.

When I hit a twohander? No problems judging and seeing the ball into the contact zone. I might be late or mishit, but it is mainly due to me not playing a lot of tennis and me being a bit out of shape.