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View Full Version : 1-Handed BH Service Return Tips Anyone?


jayserinos99
02-26-2004, 12:57 PM
Lately I've been toying with the idea of switching to a 1-handed backhand in practice sessions. I can drive it consistently off the ground, but having a hard time hitting it on the return of serve. It feels like I'm hitting really late and having to end up arming the ball over. I really don't want to be limited to a slice return on my backhand wing. FYI, I have been hitting my 1-handed backhands with an Eastern bh grip.

johnsheff
02-26-2004, 01:26 PM
Get someone to hit practice serves to you; attempt to take the returns early and hit them hard. concentrate on :
a) keeping the racquet face under control
b) Lifting the strings through the hit
c) Getting some weight transfer into the shot

VJH
02-26-2004, 01:40 PM
I switched to a one hander last April. I became proficient off the ground rather quickly. I'm only now starting to become dangerous. Finally, after 10 months, I am at a point where I can start to return with Top Spin. It will take a lot of hard work and frustration. I came close to changing back several times. Essentially, you need to start with your hands well in front of you and take a terribly short backswing. It is important to alight your racket hand behind the path of the incoming serve, so that if you weren't holding a racket, you would literally catch the serve. Once in this position, you pull the butt of the racket towards the ball. The swing is very short, with little follow through on serves that are hit with pace.

VJH
02-26-2004, 01:41 PM
I switched to a one hander last April. I became proficient off the ground rather quickly. I'm only now starting to become dangerous. Finally, after 10 months, I am at a point where I can start to return with Top Spin. It will take a lot of hard work and frustration. I came close to changing back several times. Essentially, you need to start with your hands well in front of you and take a terribly short backswing. It is important to align your racket hand behind the path of the incoming serve, so that if you weren't holding a racket, you would literally catch the serve. Once in this position, you pull the butt of the racket towards the ball. The swing is very short, with little follow through on serves that are hit with pace.

@wright
02-26-2004, 01:58 PM
VJH is right, it's a very short swing and you're putting little effort into it, just get the racquet moving to the ball and let it plow through, I'm sure the serve will provide you with plenty of pace.

Bungalo Bill
02-26-2004, 04:44 PM
Be careful how yor feet are working. If you step across with your right foot to hit the shot, you will most likely be late. Learn to step out with the foot closest to the ball, show the butt cap at the ball, then pull the butt cap across you body.

All you need to do is get the butt cap behind the ball then hit. Nothing else. Your shoulders will turn naturally and be sure to step first with the foot cloest to the ball, set it, then transfer the weight forward with the racquet.

If you take a backswing and step across, the butt of your racquet will face the side fence. Big no-no for the onehander. Especially on the return of serve.

Momo
02-26-2004, 05:54 PM
Hey Bill, I'm a bit confused by your comment about stepping forward with the closer foot (left foot for right-handers). Wouldn't that put you in a really open stance position? Am I misunderstanding or is the one handed backhand return almost a totally distinct stroke from a regular one handed topspin stroke, because it seems that way from how you describe the shot?

Thanks.

jun
02-26-2004, 07:42 PM
I have one handed backhand and have trouble with return as well.

Common tips are very short backswing (or none), block it back.
You want to turn shoulder quickly as well.

It's a tough shot.

BBill-
Wouldn't swinging across the body cause the shoulder to open up too soon? And possible shanking? For one hander the shoulder has to remain closed (stay in line with the aim)

C_Urala
02-26-2004, 08:13 PM
For returns, I use 2hbh. In all other cases, I use 1hbh.
It's sort of compromise but I can not see any drawback..
Your thoughts?

kreative
02-26-2004, 09:04 PM
c_urala,

i think if you can do it, then great! i think taylor dent did this in some of his matches against big servers.

as for 1 handed backhand flat/topspin returns, i would suggest a short backswing, and remember to follow through on your shot. perhaps try setting up a bit back more than usual and step into the shot. to be really effective on the return, have good anticipation step in and swing early. make sure to make contact out in front. if you're hitting it late, you're not getting the racquet out in front (ideal contact point for 1 handed backhand). 2 handed backhands are a bit more lenient as they can be hit late yet still have a nice solid shot w/ directional control.

@wright
02-26-2004, 09:07 PM
BTW, once you get this down, you'll absolutely LOVE high bouncing kick serves and high topspin serves, because you can take them early and rope them down the line for winners! I have the most trouble with low serves with lots of pace, because it's easy to hit those long, but when that kick serve gets up into your strike zone, your opponent will be pulling out his hair, it's great!

Bungalo Bill
02-27-2004, 08:09 AM
Hey Bill, I'm a bit confused by your comment about stepping forward with the closer foot (left foot for right-handers). Wouldn't that put you in a really open stance position? Am I misunderstanding or is the one handed backhand return almost a totally distinct stroke from a regular one handed topspin stroke, because it seems that way from how you describe the shot?

Thanks.

Sometimes, it is more of a semi-open stance and it depends on how wide the ball is. With a good shoulder turn and learning to block the ball, you can stay balanced and keep the ball going in the direction you want it to go. The foot closest to the ball should be moving first irregardless - even on your groundstrokes. If it is a slower ball you will have time to transfer your weight forward on the front foot, if not you will only have time to load and fire.

What you dont want to do is over turn by stepping across your dominant foot to much, this will get a onehander in a lot of trouble.

If I am playing a onehander, and I notice when I hit a serve to his backhand side and he is stepping across his body, I will wait for the right time and hit him a wide serve to the backhand (doesnt matter which side of the court) and come in to volley away the weak reply.

Bungalo Bill
02-27-2004, 08:14 AM
I have one handed backhand and have trouble with return as well.

Common tips are very short backswing (or none), block it back.
You want to turn shoulder quickly as well.

It's a tough shot.

BBill-
Wouldn't swinging across the body cause the shoulder to open up too soon? And possible shanking? For one hander the shoulder has to remain closed (stay in line with the aim)

I think I confused you. Basically, if your butt cap is facing the ball. When you sort of pull the butt cap towards the ball, the butt cap will be traveling across the front of your body before it breaks off diagonally to bring the racquet face into the ball. Their is a good video called Right Back Atcha Returns that teach a onehander how to hit wide balls etc. It has some good info in the video on how to read a server etc.

Bungalo Bill
02-27-2004, 09:18 AM
There are several inherent problems with the onehander that all you who hit it must begin to work on or understand, otherwise you will continue to be great one day and messing up the next, or great one set and terrible the next.

Revolutionary Tennis puts it in the best way possible. I provide links below to three of the most important things to learn from this site. I think Mark's findings are right on. I don't go as far as he does by downplaying the "establishment" afterall I belong to the "establishment" but I think that a lot of his stuff is good and can really help improve your onehanded backhand. His information on balance, movement, vision and the use of the legs I think is very good.

Vision: Keep both eyes on the ball (http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/step7.html)!

Moving to the ball: Move the right way to return properly (http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/step11.html).

Balance and Footwork:You must improve the use, strength and coordination of your non-dominant leg (http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/step2.html#helpbackhand)!

jayserinos99
02-27-2004, 09:43 AM
Bill you are the man for the links, thanks!!

Thanks to everyone else as well!

BullDogTennis
06-13-2008, 02:44 PM
i was havin trouble with this...and this is good advice im bringin it back!

Steady Eddy
06-13-2008, 03:20 PM
Once I read that on the serve return you should hold the racquet parallel to the ground, not cocked upward. For some reason they said that this prevents you from taking too big of a backswing, for which there isn't time on a serve return. I didn't really understand why that should prevent a big backswing, but I tried it and it seemed to work! Now, whenever I'm returning serve, I concentrate on keeping my racquet parallel to the ground.

Rickson
06-13-2008, 04:09 PM
Try slicing some returns of serve. Works great for Federer and it's bailed me out of some monster serves to my backhand too.

Fumoffu
06-13-2008, 04:43 PM
like rickson said, if all else fails and you just cannot handle the pace or height (or perhaps both?) of your opponents serve, don't be afraid to slice a few. being rigid in any aspect of tennis is generally bad anywho.

BullDogTennis
06-14-2008, 10:48 PM
my problem is hard shots seem to shoot up on slices.

Fumoffu
06-14-2008, 11:47 PM
my problem is hard shots seem to shoot up on slices.

make sure you're in your starting grip as continental, and try not to "chop" like federer seems to do. making solid contact is equally important on a slice as it is on a drive. sitting up a bit is fine, but popping straight up is generally just a poor mechanics.

Djokovicfan4life
06-16-2008, 07:14 AM
Be careful how yor feet are working. If you step across with your right foot to hit the shot, you will most likely be late. Learn to step out with the foot closest to the ball, show the butt cap at the ball, then pull the butt cap across you body.

All you need to do is get the butt cap behind the ball then hit. Nothing else. Your shoulders will turn naturally and be sure to step first with the foot cloest to the ball, set it, then transfer the weight forward with the racquet.

If you take a backswing and step across, the butt of your racquet will face the side fence. Big no-no for the onehander. Especially on the return of serve.

Wouldn't you be hitting an open stance one-hander then?

mark rodgers
06-16-2008, 10:43 AM
I was also having some problems with my one handed backhand returns. At that time my role on our team was to play the forehand side during doubles. So I was wanting to strengthen it on that side. My local pro started me out slowly and what he wanted me to do was to let the ball come into my body more than try to hit the ball so far out in front. That took a little getting used to. I had to keep my arm and wrist bend firm and let my should point the way. When I think about hitting my backhand I think of two shots: One that is angular (or circular) for power groundies and linear for when I get shots into the body and sometimes for going down the line. The return of serve for me is a linear shot. What I also do now is to pivot a little on the back foot which allows me to go crosscourt or down the line. Let your shoulder determine the direction of the return.

By the letting the ball come into the body more, you give yourself more time which is exactly what one needs in that situation. Don't forget to have a short backswing too.

sandy28
08-17-2012, 07:17 AM
Anyone out there can give me any tip on how to return serves that are kicking high up on the backhand? with my single handed bh grip i find it a limiting factor to the extent i could lift my racket and, even if i manage to do that it puts the racket face at an awkward angle at contact and i landed up driving the ball over the baseline.


Lately I've been toying with the idea of switching to a 1-handed backhand in practice sessions. I can drive it consistently off the ground, but having a hard time hitting it on the return of serve. It feels like I'm hitting really late and having to end up arming the ball over. I really don't want to be limited to a slice return on my backhand wing. FYI, I have been hitting my 1-handed backhands with an Eastern bh grip.

mikeler
08-17-2012, 07:47 AM
Anyone out there can give me any tip on how to return serves that are kicking high up on the backhand? with my single handed bh grip i find it a limiting factor to the extent i could lift my racket and, even if i manage to do that it puts the racket face at an awkward angle at contact and i landed up driving the ball over the baseline.


You'll have to hit it with some sidespin along with topspin.

boramiNYC
08-17-2012, 08:32 AM
either take it early and slice CC or step back and hit heavy topspin CC. if you are very confident placing these shots dtl is okay but that must put the opponent in defensive position.

mightyrick
08-17-2012, 09:38 AM
Anyone out there can give me any tip on how to return serves that are kicking high up on the backhand? with my single handed bh grip i find it a limiting factor to the extent i could lift my racket and, even if i manage to do that it puts the racket face at an awkward angle at contact and i landed up driving the ball over the baseline.

This is the reason I return purely with a two-handed backhand. It seems so much easier to maneuver the racquet and punch the ball back with a 2HBH than 1HBH.

Even though the rest of my game uses a 1HBH.

LeeD
08-17-2012, 09:54 AM
Undoubtedly, it's easier to use 2hbh for topspin returns of serves.
BungalowBill is correct here. Open stance is fine, since time is of essense. Little shoulder turn is needed, since the pace of the fast serve provides your power...you're really redirecting it back higher than it came, with, as said, a combination of top and sidespin.
If you have time to slice it back, you have time to attempt a top/side spin return. It IS harder to hit clean, some balls might go long if the serve is big, and of course, the MAIN problem is if the serve is hit really wide, you've committed to a topspin swing, so your reach, the controlled one, is lessenned.

LeeD
08-17-2012, 09:55 AM
Oh, I find it easier to be confident (forget your previous mistakes) and take the ball well in front of you, since you can't turn sideways in time.

BabolatTennis9
11-13-2012, 03:58 PM
just remember don't swing at the ball but meet it to get a good return

sureshs
11-13-2012, 07:55 PM
Isner mentioned the return of serve as one of the important advantages of his 2 hander. It is a miracle Fed has survived Roddick, Karlovic, Isner and Raonic with his 1 hander.

Tafmatch
11-13-2012, 11:11 PM
I also hit a 2hbh against really fast serves. 1hbh for everything else.

martini1
11-16-2012, 10:21 PM
Isner mentioned the return of serve as one of the important advantages of his 2 hander. It is a miracle Fed has survived Roddick, Karlovic, Isner and Raonic with his 1 hander.

I think it is his read that is superior, and alone with the great first step Fed actually did a lot of I/O return, immediately putting these guys on defense. If the serve is well placed Fed can also do a great slice return. No body serve can really hurt someone if there is a great slice return.

boramiNYC
11-17-2012, 05:22 AM
there is rhythm for normal strokes. but there are times when you have to significantly speed up that rhythm not just by moving faster but also know how to shorten the stroke from the contact point. too often 1hbh is taught in a way that makes shortening the stroke very difficult. it's due to inefficient use of elbow of locking it up. so the shoulder always lead the stroke. when correctly shortened elbow should be able to lead the stroke but locked elbow prevent this. Fed is one example who can shorten his 1hbh and with great footwork he can return any serve.

LeeD
11-17-2012, 02:00 PM
means you're late to the ball, so practice against that serve more and get earlier, moving forwards, you wanting to hit the ball.

boramiNYC
11-17-2012, 03:44 PM
an explanation about Feds footwork on return. landing from the split step, recognize it's gonna b bh and push off with right foot and make the all important left step. this step should be well placed for the incoming ball and must be a solid step meaning firm heel contact on the ground and solid enough you should able to stand on the left foot alone at this point. also while all weight is on this foot the racquet should b ready to swing forward. do heel to toe weight transfer (lift heel) for timing and push off on the toe for the right step and at the same time swing forward and at the same time push the left leg back. it's kinda like a criss cross step but one leg each. this footwork counter balances the upper body rotation and stabilize the swing making it controllable.