1h backhand, need some clarification (Bungalo Bill?)

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Exci, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. Exci

    Exci Rookie

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    Hi there,

    I have a question concerning the one-handed backhand. I've run a search on this forum, but couldn't find an answer, so here goes.

    I've been suffering from inconsistency on my backhand for quite a while now, most of it on my drives. I've been thinking about switching to a two-hander, but both my coaches I've had advised me not to. They both said that a little more topspin (like it always is :)) is the key to a more consistent forehand, but they both have a different approach to it.

    Last summer my previous coach said that the topspin should be generated from a more extreme grip with the stroke just being a basic down to up motion and a clean finish slightly above // in front of your head. If the motion was properly done, you should be able to look straight through the strings above and in front of your head.

    My coach left my local tennis club last winter, so I took lessons at another coach, but according to him, there was more to a backhand topsin stroke. Instead of have a traditional down/up stroke, he wants me to add spin by slightly rotating my forearm on contact. For example: if the ball gets near, the racquet face should be slightly more down and while performing the upwards stroke, one should rotate his forearm slightly so the racquet face brushes the ball even more. Needless to say, while performing this shot, the finish isn't right in front of your head, but slightly towards your right (being a righty) and/or with the racquet face rotated towards the right (ranging from 45-70 degrees).

    So what should I do? The last method feels good, but won't it result in even more unforced errors? And is it a common way to hit a backhand topspin drive?
     
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  2. Puma

    Puma Rookie

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    If I may.....

    I am no expert, but the person who first taught me a one hander used both approaches. The first, the more up and down method does create good topspin. For me, this stroke is most reliable. It elevates the ball, provides good topspin, net clearance and depth. However, I don't get the pace as opposed to the other method. To me, as it was shown to me, the other forearm rotation method, is a flatter swing and the forearm rotates "into" the ball big time. This shot has amazing pace and good spin. However, for me it is very difficult to time. The ball is flatter thus it lacks the net clearance I need. Also, good clean contact is more difficult. But, if done right, you can really smoke the ball.

    If you watch the Fed man he will do both. Look for his backhand finish that is lower and more to his right as a result of a flatter swing.

    Just thought I would add this for what it is worth......

    Puma
     
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  3. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Puma is very correct about his findings. Forearm rotation is usually an advanced step to further an already good onehander. If you're inconsistent with the normal method (low to high, look through the strings) you could complicate things worse by adding another moving part - such as forearm rotation.

    I get the opposite effect as Puma. So long as I am hitting the ball with my weight almost entirely on my front foot (THIS IS A BIGTIME KEY FOR THE ONEHANDER!!!!!), I can plaster the ball with the standard low to high swing. The weight on the front foot straightens the stroke out. It helps eliminate sidespin, overrotation, and facilitates a clean contact. When you have a clean contact - man does it feel good. It almost feels like you can do anything.

    Whenever I start messing around with the wrist/forearm - I often get in trouble.

    With my weight on the front foot, I have an easier time hitting high balls, low balls, and full on blasters. The key is timing the weight transfer with the contact.

    If you transfer wieght too late, you will lose control and often hit late or pull out of the shot. If you transfer weight too soon, you will hit too earlier and it will be a sitter for your opponent.

    Timing your weight transfer is key for the onehander that helps eliminate a lot of problems.

    When you can transfer your weight on most balls (fast and slow) with your contact, you will love the onehander and can then add the forearm rotation. The key is allowing yourself time to prepare the feet to allow the shift. Most players watch their ball way too long and get caught with late preparation of the feet which kills the onehander.
     
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  4. Exci

    Exci Rookie

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    Thanks for both replies! I just had my lesson, so I asked my coach as well and he said something similar. I tried both during play for about two hours and I came to the conclusion that when I have the time for a proper preperation, the forearm indeed adds a lot in terms of speed. I could really rip the balls crosscourt, but when I got caught late it ended up in the net. While it should abbreviate the topspin, it doesn't seem to clear the net comfortably.

    As for the straight method: this one was great for service returns, but I was unable to generate enough pace/spin to keep it consistent enough. I think I should definately work on my weight transfer, because lately my coach has been noticing that I often get pushed back too fast and put my weight on my rear foot, especially on my forehand. Though, with a semi-western, shouldn't you put your weight on your rear foot in difficult situations to lift the ball?

    Anyway, I want to weighten my racquet a bit I think, just to stabalise it a bit. I'm playing with a PC std. with a kevlar // synthetic hybrid @ 60lbs, so any idea if lead would help? Probably at 3 & 9 and at the troath?
     
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  5. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Just remember which ever way you go. The weight on the front foot for contact is very important for the onehanded backhand. A lazy transfer during your swing can cause numerous errors.

    It means less for power (so you dont need to stomp your foot down for more power) as it does for maintaining a straight path into the ball for a clean hit. Just get the weight on the front foot and let it fly.
     
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  6. Exci

    Exci Rookie

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    Thanks for the tips. Do you think lead tape could help with a stable follow through, because sometimes it tends to get a bit 'sloppy', especially on balls with quite some pace. Should I put some in the handle, at 3//9 and/or at the troath or do you have any other suggestions?
     
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  7. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Definitely swing to the right on the follow through, it will add pace and I even use this follow through on inside out backhands.
     
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  8. C_Urala

    C_Urala Semi-Pro

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    this forearm rotation... Is it supination or what?
     
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  9. Exci

    Exci Rookie

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    Yes it is, it is exactly on the point of contact, thus your palm should basically be shown...
     
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  10. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Generally, there are two types of swing patterns on 1-handed BH:

    -- Low to high swing

    -- High - low - high swing (Kuerton, Roger Federer, Justin Henin).

    The key is that the racket must be vertical and parallel to the ground at contact! And, as Bungalow Bill stated, your weight should be on the front foot as you hit (again to assure that the racket is vertical at contact). If your weight is on the back foot as you hit that will cause the racket face to open up, and the ball will fly high and out!

    Top spin is achieved when the knees are bent and strings are moving from low to high fashion (6 to 12 o'clock positions if the face of the ball is a clock), in addition, as you hit, you raise the front leg! The more racket head speed will result in more forward rotation of the ball (topspin).
     
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  11. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Good to see you back Mahboob, where have you been?
     
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  12. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    We were in the process of construction of a new house and the shifting took its toll. While this was happening we lost our phone connection and with that internet facility. It took us awhile to relocate, refurnish, and install phone/internet connections. It is working now and I am making my wayback in to this forum gradually.
     
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  13. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Well glad all is fine. Good to see you back in the forum, I am sure a lot of posters missed your feedback. I know I did.
     
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  14. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Thank you BB. I missed you too and all of you. Now I am going back in time to review all the posts -- albeit slowly.

    Maybe we should produce a "Super Tennis Book" incorporating all the questions and their answers from this Forum! Don Hightower, may like to consider this idea so that we do not lose our valuable work.
     
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  15. C_Urala

    C_Urala Semi-Pro

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    I woudn't recommend you to put weights as a mean to compensate flaws in your technique. With a heavier head, your stroke does not have to be long and fast to rip a ball. So, by 'stabilizing' your racket, you are going to sort of fool yourself instead of correcting your technique.
    If you want to use supination in your backhand, the heavier head is even bad. I mean that once you started to supinate it's very difficult to control it if you have a heavy head. Either your racket head twists your arm to the extreme, or you have to overstrain your wrist. Both are bad for your hand/arm.
    I'm not an expert, but I've experienced this problem myself. When I learned 1HBH, I started to hit backhand with the supination and it did allow a faster spin. But it was inconsistent. Then a coach told me to hit without it. (it's what you called low-to-high motion) It took quite awhile of time before I started to accelerate the racket with a fist rather than with a wrist.
    So, once again I woudn't recommend weights.
     
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