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Fedman
06-01-2010, 02:43 PM
Hi everyone. I'm posting about a question regarding my size and playing style.

I just graduated from high school and am looking to play in College. I'm about 5'7, and have played with a one handed backhand for 3 years now. I played #1 singles for a D1 high school my 11th and 12th grade years, was 2nd in my conference, and regional finalist both years. At state I was a quarter and semifinalist respectively.

Will I be able to play in college if I stick with a oney, or will my small stature make it impossible to play this shot against bigger guys?

forthegame
06-01-2010, 02:55 PM
Hmmmmm.........

gino
06-01-2010, 03:53 PM
Type "Alex Clayton Tennis" in on youtube and become amazed.

He has a one hander. You're backhand doesn't define you, do you slice a lot? That is a shot that a one hander should be a master of.

G

Fedman
06-01-2010, 05:12 PM
"Type "Alex Clayton Tennis" in on youtube and become amazed.

He has a one hander. You're backhand doesn't define you, do you slice a lot? That is a shot that a one hander should be a master of."

I can slice, but have forced myself to hit it with topspin since I started using the shot. I hit with topspin easily 65-70 percent of the time, and usually rip it even when on the run. I mostly slice to mix it up when playing taller people (as in 6'4 or greater) or if I need to extend a rally or am simply not consistent with the topspin.

I hit the backhand almost super on the rise most of the time, if that makes sense. I could pull that off in high school, but not sure if I could do that in college considering people are bigger stronger etc. and I'd have to react even faster than usual.

Autodidactic player
06-01-2010, 05:19 PM
Don't sell your self short. ;) Olivier Rochus (http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Ro/O/Olivier-Rochus.aspx) rode his 5' 6" one handed backhand to number 24 in the world a couple of years ago and is still well within the top 100! In the bio section of his ATP profile (http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Ro/O/Olivier-Rochus.aspx) it says: "Considers backhand and return as strengths and favorite surface is hard courts ..."

From a different era, Ken Rosewall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Rosewall), who claimed to be 5' 9" but was actually really about 5' 7" and very thin (his Aussie Davis cup team-mates nick named him "muscles") may have had the best one handed backhand of any of the great Aussies of that era (Laver, Emerson, Newcombe, Hoad, Stolle).

http://www.trishmsresearch.org.au/images/Ken%20Rosewall%20Wimbledon%201955.jpg

marosmith
06-01-2010, 05:49 PM
Well you can hit with more spin and net clearance with a 1 HBH then a 2 hander so I don't understand your question?

Fedman
06-01-2010, 06:43 PM
Well you can hit with more spin and net clearance with a 1 HBH then a 2 hander so I don't understand your question?

I raise the issue of height because it is reasonably well known that shoulder high balls are difficult with the one handed backhand. Shorter players (me) pitted against larger players (most of my competition) typically get a larger percentage of shots out of their strike zones unless they are capable of taking the ball on the rise. The two handed backhand is supposedly more suited for hitting high balls, or shots in general that are out of the strike zone of the player.

I've done this well in high school, but don't know if College players have way more firepower and would make this harder/impossible to do consistently.

Falloutjr
06-01-2010, 07:26 PM
You say you're accustomed to hitting balls on the rise. If you can do this, you almost negate the added kick of a high-spin shot to your backhand. I'm a one-hander too, and I find that slicing those really high balls to be extremely effective. Just don't be too predictable because someone who's experienced in point construction will notice that and hit high loopers to your backhand and charge the next right away.

SoBad
06-01-2010, 07:32 PM
Rochus and Phau are short, and they did just fine on the pro tour. But why not experiment with the two-hander, just invest some time, it's not like the one-hander is going to disappear.

Falloutjr
06-01-2010, 07:36 PM
Rochus and Phau are short, and they did just fine on the pro tour. But why not experiment with the two-hander, just invest some time, it's not like the one-hander is going to disappear.

Lol he sounds very skilled, but I don't think anyone with a one hander could switch to a 2 hander and play with the same level of efficiency they had in a year's time. its such a different feel you have such restricted body movement, where 1h is very free and 1h doesn't take as much body rotation its just so different.

SoBad
06-01-2010, 07:44 PM
Lol he sounds very skilled, but I don't think anyone with a one hander could switch to a 2 hander and play with the same level of efficiency they had in a year's time. its such a different feel you have such restricted body movement, where 1h is very free and 1h doesn't take as much body rotation its just so different.

True what you say, but I donít think itís all black and white. The 2H in my view has the edge in early return of serve and other situations where there is no time to prepare a full swing. And also the high balls. Thereís no reason why he wouldnít be able to mix it up for different types of shots experimentally.

darthpwner
06-01-2010, 08:03 PM
Type "Alex Clayton Tennis" in on youtube and become amazed.

He has a one hander. You're backhand doesn't define you, do you slice a lot? That is a shot that a one hander should be a master of.

G

I don't think Alex Clayton is that short (5''11) but he is my favorite college player.

darthpwner
06-01-2010, 08:04 PM
Hi everyone. I'm posting about a question regarding my size and playing style.

I just graduated from high school and am looking to play in College. I'm about 5'7, and have played with a one handed backhand for 3 years now. I played #1 singles for a D1 high school my 11th and 12th grade years, was 2nd in my conference, and regional finalist both years. At state I was a quarter and semifinalist respectively.

Will I be able to play in college if I stick with a oney, or will my small stature make it impossible to play this shot against bigger guys?

What college are you going to?

marosmith
06-01-2010, 08:27 PM
Well you can hit with more spin and net clearance with a 1 HBH then a 2 hander so I don't understand your question?

I raise the issue of height because it is reasonably well known that shoulder high balls are difficult with the one handed backhand. Shorter players (me) pitted against larger players (most of my competition) typically get a larger percentage of shots out of their strike zones unless they are capable of taking the ball on the rise. The two handed backhand is supposedly more suited for hitting high balls, or shots in general that are out of the strike zone of the player.

I've done this well in high school, but don't know if College players have way more firepower and would make this harder/impossible to do consistently.
Makes sense. I think you are fine unless you start losing matches due to topspin forehands to your backhand. If you can go down the line or hit a good slice you should be able to get out of those rallies.

Gemini
06-02-2010, 04:20 AM
Check out Jean-Yves Aubone from Florida State. About 5'9" with a very good, solid one hander. Also, USC Upstate's Jack Roux has a pretty competent one-hander as I think he's maybe 5'6".

If you've been with the one-hander all your tennis life up to now, I wouldn't switch going into college.

Tennis_Stringman
06-02-2010, 06:34 AM
If you can hit topspin off of your return of serve like Guga, then you don't need the 2-hander. If that stroke becomes a liability against bigger college serves, then you can experiment with a 2-hander.

Fedman
06-02-2010, 06:42 AM
What college are you going to?

I've been officially accepted into University of Chicago and Columbia. I'm still on the waiting list of Brown University.

So one of those three. I'm not particularly worried about playing at U of C, but Columbia or Brown on the other hand...

Fedman
06-02-2010, 06:47 AM
True what you say, but I don’t think it’s all black and white. The 2H in my view has the edge in early return of serve and other situations where there is no time to prepare a full swing. And also the high balls. There’s no reason why he wouldn’t be able to mix it up for different types of shots experimentally.

I've heard about and known some people who returned two handed and played one handed during points. I've typically found that their one handers either aren't that pretty or aren't that good.

For example, one of the pros at my athletic club is I believe a 5.5 player who is 6'4 and his one hander not only looks ugly, but it IS ugly. I feel like even my one hander is better than his.

Of course I don't have the benefit of a 130 mph serve like him...

Falloutjr
06-02-2010, 07:12 AM
True what you say, but I donít think itís all black and white. The 2H in my view has the edge in early return of serve and other situations where there is no time to prepare a full swing. And also the high balls. Thereís no reason why he wouldnít be able to mix it up for different types of shots experimentally.

I've heard about and known some people who returned two handed and played one handed during points. I've typically found that their one handers either aren't that pretty or aren't that good.

For example, one of the pros at my athletic club is I believe a 5.5 player who is 6'4 and his one hander not only looks ugly, but it IS ugly. I feel like even my one hander is better than his.

Of course I don't have the benefit of a 130 mph serve like him...

Yeah, most one handers are ugly. Go to the park, it'll burn your eyes. The fact of the matter is, if people couldn't play high level tennis with a 1 hander, you wouldn't see ANY pros with one, and as far as i know theres about 15 players in the top 100 with a 1 hander so it's doable. I'd recommend you stick with what got you where you are.

Fedman
06-02-2010, 07:20 AM
Quote:
Yeah, most one handers are ugly. Go to the park, it'll burn your eyes. The fact of the matter is, if people couldn't play high level tennis with a 1 hander, you wouldn't see ANY pros with one, and as far as i know theres about 15 players in the top 100 with a 1 hander so it's doable. I'd recommend you stick with what got you where you are

haha thanks. I've worked hard to make my strokes look good, the oney in particular, and take pride in their execution.
One of those 15 players in the top 100 with a one handed backhand goes by the name of Roger Federer...you might have heard of him.

tennisjon
06-02-2010, 09:43 AM
I coach tennis at Drew University in Madison, NJ (D3). My 2nd singles player (6' sophomore) from last year had a decent 1 hander. He had good variety off the backhand, but it was never a shot that he could hit winners from, rather, he used it to keep himself in play and set-up his forehand or his volleys. At the end of last season, he dedicated himself to developing a 2 hander. In one season, he developed a shot where he could finish off points from the baseline, however, his backhand lost some of its creativity and feel. Some of his natural body flow was lost. It was a tradeoff. He played 3rd singles this year (not because of the backand) and was equally successful. His doubles, because of his better returns with the 2 hander, was even better. My point is, that you can have a one hander or a two hander. Both have their positives and their negatives. It does depend on your competition as to when it breaks down but that is the case with all strokes.

TearSNFX
06-02-2010, 10:01 AM
Hi everyone. I'm posting about a question regarding my size and playing style.

I just graduated from high school and am looking to play in College. I'm about 5'7, and have played with a one handed backhand for 3 years now. I played #1 singles for a D1 high school my 11th and 12th grade years, was 2nd in my conference, and regional finalist both years. At state I was a quarter and semifinalist respectively.

Will I be able to play in college if I stick with a oney, or will my small stature make it impossible to play this shot against bigger guys?

Rochus was a tennis pro at 5'5" or so and he was AWESOME. He was just as quick as santoro. Rochus had to earn his points but he still managed to get them. A backhand is a backhand you just have to work harder with a 1 hander then you do with a 2 hand. Just put in more time on the court to develop your backhand instead of copping out and running away like cowards do =)

Kick_It
06-02-2010, 01:32 PM
Rochus was a tennis pro at 5'5" or so and he was AWESOME. He was just as quick as santoro. Rochus had to earn his points but he still managed to get them. A backhand is a backhand you just have to work harder with a 1 hander then you do with a 2 hand. Just put in more time on the court to develop your backhand instead of copping out and running away like cowards do =)

In what ways do you have to work harder with a 1h? I don't get it. I actually think you need to work harder with a 2H covering the court than with a 1H. Yes high balls are tougher but there are ways to deal with them effectively - hit on the rise.

If what you're saying is as a shorter player you have to work harder - I'd agree with that - but you have to do that for every shot - not just backhands. The same applies for serves, forehands, netgame, etc.

I switched from a 2HBH to a 1HBH when I was roughly 15 years old and it became a weapon. FWIW I am 5' 8" tall and walked onto a D1 college team my sophomore year. It can be done.

Good Luck! K_I

tennisspeedster
06-02-2010, 02:46 PM
Yea I agree a 1 hander should take less work, however I feel that since I am short 5'6 actually so more around rochus's height I should stick with the 2 hander to handle high balls more effectively since I have just rounded like a year of tennis I am not quite completely great when trying the hit on the rise shots so the 2 hander seemed to make more sense to me. Of course I have to work harder to get to the ball but atleast when I get to the ball I can hit high or low without problems instead of having to hit most of my backhands on the rise. Later if I do figure out how to hit on the rise I can always switch back to the 1h that I started out with and work from there.

Fedman
06-02-2010, 03:31 PM
tennisspeedster,

You said you have difficulty taking the ball on the rise? While a certain amount of being able to do this relates to talent, mostly it requires:

1) Quick reaction
2) Sharp footwork
3) Shortening of the backswing
4) Keeping the eyes on the ball

If you do all of those things, you should have no difficulty taking balls on the rise after some practice. If you feel you're hitting too flat of a shot, bend your knees, shift your weight upwards and flick your wrist a LITTLE and you'll get more clearance.

As I said previously, I'm 5'7 and have to take balls on the rise with my FH and BH all the time, so its like bread and butter to me.

Kick_It
06-02-2010, 05:52 PM
I think you can do it with a 1HBH if you actually have the courage and conviction to get better with hitting on the rise.

I guarantee no matter where you go for college players will be much better at figuring out where your strike zone is and finding ways to avoid it. That applies to _every_ shot, not just a 1HBH.

If I were you I'd focus more on strengthening your 1HBH and footwork, and strengthening your weapons so you have more tools in your toolbox to attack their weaknesses before they do so to you.

If you've done as well as you have in last 3 years with your 1HBH - you must have a decent shot to get some of the results you have. Stick with it - don't flip flop on it.

If I could do it - practically anyone with enough determination should be able to.

Good Luck, K_I

Fedman
06-02-2010, 07:31 PM
Kick It,

Even though I've done reasonably well (or at least as well as I ever wanted to) in high school tennis, I never won or made the finals of the state tournament.

Would you like to know why?

I lost to the same player both years, first in the quarterfinals (6-0, 6-3) and then this past year in the semis (6-2,6-7,7-5).
He was a tall (6'3) left handed player who hit a heavy forehand to my backhand consistently and powerfully. Despite my attempts to come into net, take the ball on the rise, twist around and attack with jumping forehands, I wasn't able to beat him either year, and had a losing record overall against him.

My fear is that college players that are right handed will be hitting balls as heavy and powerful with their backhands as this player did with his left handed forehand.

Kick_It
06-03-2010, 10:00 AM
Don't worry about one opponent. Do what is right for your game and your success over time.

Ask yourself - what success looks like - and how are you going to get there?

I really don't think it matters how many hands you use to hit a backhand with - that is a means to an end.

I'd ask myself how much time and effort do I need to put into switching to a 2HBH and better foot work to end-up where you need or want to be. I'd then ask the same question of myself about what I'd need to do to have a 1HBH to end-up where you need or want to be. Then I'd compare the two.

I'd hate to see you flip-flop and plow time and effort into switching to a 2HBH and spend more time and effort to end-up where you want to be than if you had to put less effort to end up with a decent 1HBH that works well for you.

If you are flat out convinced in a pre-mediated fashion that a 1HBH will never take you to the next level to success in college - I'd ask why are you asking others about it then if you're already pre-convinced?

I've seen a 1HBH work well in college. It did for me - but you've got to figure out what is best and right for you.

Good Luck! K_I

Fedman
06-03-2010, 11:03 AM
Kick It,

Thanks very much. You're insight has been helpful.
I'd as soon cut off my right arm than give up my oney, but I'd as soon lose both arms than have to stop playing tennis because of shot not suited to my height.

You say that you are 5'8 and walked on to a D1 College team sophomore year. That is quite impressive.

I'm just curious though...did you have to use extreme grips on your forehand and backhand, like a full western, or did eastern on the BH and semi-western on forehand sustain you?

TearSNFX
06-03-2010, 11:04 AM
In what ways do you have to work harder with a 1h? I don't get it. I actually think you need to work harder with a 2H covering the court than with a 1H. Yes high balls are tougher but there are ways to deal with them effectively - hit on the rise.

If what you're saying is as a shorter player you have to work harder - I'd agree with that - but you have to do that for every shot - not just backhands. The same applies for serves, forehands, netgame, etc.

I switched from a 2HBH to a 1HBH when I was roughly 15 years old and it became a weapon. FWIW I am 5' 8" tall and walked onto a D1 college team my sophomore year. It can be done.

Good Luck! K_I

Timing is more difficult with 1 hander then it is for a 2 hander because with a 2 hand you have some leniency to be late.
Positioning is a bit more crucial for a 1 hander then it is for a 2 hander. Hitting off center shots are a lot easier with 2 handers vs 1 handers.
If 1 handers were easier to make into a weapon then you would see it more on the pro circuit which you don't. Go check to top 100 players and tell me how many 2 handers vs 1 handers there are. im 100% sure there will be more 2 handers then 1 handers and there's a reason for that.

TearSNFX
06-03-2010, 11:12 AM
I'm just curious though...did you have to use extreme grips on your forehand and backhand, like a full western, or did eastern on the BH and semi-western on forehand sustain you?

Grip doesn't make the player. My forehand grip changes constantly depending on what I see in the ball. My grips change from eastern to slightly to semi ( main grip ) and then to semi western depending on the shot I want to make and where the ball positions itself. Same with the backhand, my top spin grip is different then the grip I use to drive the ball. With that said I hit a bit on the flat side with enough spin to drop the ball in on both sides. I'm not a huge fan of insane amounts of top spin.

As I've stated before put more time on the court and develop yourself without looking for a way out. You choose your style early on for a reason because it was more comfortable for you, a person performs best doing what they like doing. So keep at it and just train more. Losing is a good motivator to train harder so use your past losses to motivate you to get stronger.

Fedman
06-03-2010, 11:53 AM
Grip doesn't make the player. My forehand grip changes constantly depending on what I see in the ball. My grips change from eastern to slightly to semi ( main grip ) and then to semi western depending on the shot I want to make and where the ball positions itself. Same with the backhand, my top spin grip is different then the grip I use to drive the ball. With that said I hit a bit on the flat side with enough spin to drop the ball in on both sides. I'm not a huge fan of insane amounts of top spin.

As I've stated before put more time on the court and develop yourself without looking for a way out. You choose your style early on for a reason because it was more comfortable for you, a person performs best doing what they like doing. So keep at it and just train more. Losing is a good motivator to train harder so use your past losses to motivate you to get stronger.

Well, I've never heard of a player switching their grips for different types of shots.
The reason I asked whether the KickIt had a western grip on either shots is because he, like me, is a shorter player. I don't know your height, but shorter players when confronted with situations where they CONSTANTLY have to hit high balls (high for them not for a taller person) sometimes switch to more extreme grips.

I used a Federer grip (extreme eastern) on my forehand, and an eastern on the backhand as well throughout High School, so that would be a big change I'd have to make.

Kick_It
06-03-2010, 12:11 PM
Kick It,

Thanks very much. You're insight has been helpful.
I'd as soon cut off my right arm than give up my oney, but I'd as soon lose both arms than have to stop playing tennis because of shot not suited to my height.

You say that you are 5'8 and walked on to a D1 College team sophomore year. That is quite impressive.

I'm just curious though...did you have to use extreme grips on your forehand and backhand, like a full western, or did eastern on the BH and semi-western on forehand sustain you?

I primarily use eastern to extreme eastern grips on BH side (vary due to incoming ball) and used a semi-western FH in college. As you get more experience, you just adjust to the incoming ball and adapt. I don't think about it. In fact, I had to do a search to look up the names for the grips I use.

I do use a very different swingpath for high 1HBHs than low ones or in my strike zone. You can hit them early or late - once you get used to hitting on the rise, that's the preferred way to go IMO.

As for the quotes on how many top 100 players use how many hands - it would be interesting to look at grand slam champions too. In recent memory alone - didn't McEnroe, Edberg, Becker, Sampras, Kuerten, Federer, and Henin all bring home a few trophies?

Good Luck! K_I

dunno
06-03-2010, 02:26 PM
I'm 5'8 and use a 1HBH and it works fine. The great thing about the one hander is how you can take so many balls on the rise, and it feels a little more fluid/natural for me. But, if you work hard enough you can make anything work, and you should do fine.

cmb
06-04-2010, 01:10 AM
would not worry too much about the height in college. When I played college I was suprised at how many short pushers I was playing against. I guess thats why they ended up in school. College is the perfect place for a undersized push. Get ready for the ultimate college player: short, pushes, and has a really big mouth!

Fedman
06-04-2010, 07:31 AM
would not worry too much about the height in college. When I played college I was suprised at how many short pushers I was playing against. I guess thats why they ended up in school. College is the perfect place for a undersized push. Get ready for the ultimate college player: short, pushes, and has a really big mouth!

cmb,

I'm not really a pusher though. I'm an all court player...

yellowoctopus
06-04-2010, 12:18 PM
Don't sell your self short. ;) Olivier Rochus (http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Ro/O/Olivier-Rochus.aspx) rode his 5' 6" one handed backhand to number 24 in the world a couple of years ago and is still well within the top 100! In the bio section of his ATP profile (http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Ro/O/Olivier-Rochus.aspx) it says: "Considers backhand and return as strengths and favorite surface is hard courts ..."

From a different era, Ken Rosewall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Rosewall), who claimed to be 5' 9" but was actually really about 5' 7" and very thin (his Aussie Davis cup team-mates nick named him "muscles") may have had the best one handed backhand of any of the great Aussies of that era (Laver, Emerson, Newcombe, Hoad, Stolle).

http://www.trishmsresearch.org.au/images/Ken%20Rosewall%20Wimbledon%201955.jpg

Best advice on this thread. You should write a column, if not already doing so.

I would like to also add that Rochus used to beat up on Mr. Federer on the court quite a bit during their junior career. He definitely has the respect from most of the ATP players.

http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumb_429/12506022832DGsR5.jpg

subban
06-04-2010, 12:51 PM
I think it has less to do with height than how strong your wrist is and how quick you move. the one hander is about timing and being there at the right moment. Rosewall was short and he had thick wrists and a large hand. He had one of the best one handers there was. If your a state semi finalist I would'nt change a thing and your probably going to be playing the same kind of people in college. its not worth it at this late stage to try to learn a two hander, probably a lot of unenforced errrors and match loses. It takes at least a year to get used to it.

Falloutjr
06-04-2010, 03:42 PM
If players hitting heavy balls to your backhand is a concern, try hitting a slice to set yourself up for a backhand winner. If it skids low, they won't have the ability to hit a heavy ball like they normally would. This should result in a ball that will come right into your strike zone, usually without a lot of pace.

Fedman
06-05-2010, 06:48 AM
I would like to also add that Rochus used to beat up on Mr. Federer on the court quite a bit during their junior career. He definitely has the respect from most of the ATP players.

http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumb_429/12506022832DGsR5.jpg

Yes, I read about this. An interviewer asked Roger about why he used to lose to Olivier, and his response was "that was before I grew"

So yeah...its back to the height issue it seems.

BreakPoint
06-05-2010, 09:22 AM
Hi everyone. I'm posting about a question regarding my size and playing style.

I just graduated from high school and am looking to play in College. I'm about 5'7, and have played with a one handed backhand for 3 years now. I played #1 singles for a D1 high school my 11th and 12th grade years, was 2nd in my conference, and regional finalist both years. At state I was a quarter and semifinalist respectively.

Will I be able to play in college if I stick with a oney, or will my small stature make it impossible to play this shot against bigger guys?
Did you happen to catch the French Open women's final today? Schiavone is only 5' 5". :)

Fedman
06-05-2010, 11:10 AM
Did you happen to catch the French Open women's final today? Schiavone is only 5' 5". :)

I appreciate the comment and its intention


HOWEVER

Schiavione (despite her appearance) is a woman. Women on the pro tour are on average much smaller than men. Even in college, I'd be willing to bet that the average male player is much larger than the average female player. She's not facing the same proportional challenge that I am...

thejackal
06-05-2010, 11:48 AM
at the USO a couple of years ago I had the pleasure to watch flavio cippola, a really good italian player. he was maybe 5'6" or 5'7" with a nice one-handed backhand. his foot speed, court smarts and variety really stood out. talked with frederic niemeyer, who was the #2 canadian atp player at the time, and he was telling me how he's tough to play on any surface.