1hb, impossible to hit low balls

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Tempyst, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. Tempyst

    Tempyst Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    440
    I play with a 1hb and it's ok, but whenever the balls is low, I have to return it with a slice or it will go into the net. I can't seem to drive the racquet head up as I am swinging through a low ball. I don't know if I lack the muscle strength, but it's really causing me problems.
     
    #1
  2. VGP

    VGP Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,311
    Location:
    Location: Location
    There's nothing wrong with slicing back low balls. Learn to move it around and it's a great stable shot.
     
    #2
  3. Andrew

    Andrew Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Messages:
    101
    Or, if you don't want to slice as much, try bending your knees more and see if that helps hit low balls.
     
    #3
  4. Owen0501

    Owen0501 Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    Messages:
    147
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Bend the knees - I had this problem for a while and was told it was because I was bending from the back and not getting low enough with the knees. the change has worked wonders!
     
    #4
  5. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    3,364
    Bingo!!!

    As an example, see Fed's backhand here: http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/instructionarticles/backhand/backhand.aspx?id=38286

    I've hit some nasty top-spin shots with my 1h-bh....... on the days I rember to bend my knees.
     
    #5
  6. ShcMad

    ShcMad Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,540
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    James, good to see you around. I hope your tennis is going well. We should hit sometime soon. Now that you mention it, I really wanna see if you bend your knees when you hit your backhand these days. hehe.

    Anyways, back to the topic, yes, it is essential to bend your knees, and never at the waist. If you look at Federer or Gasquet, when they get low balls, their knees will almost be touching the ground.
     
    #6
  7. warneck

    warneck Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2007
    Messages:
    174
    It's not a 1HBH related problem, rather one that issues you.

    Try practicing hitting low balls with 1HBH topspin instead of slice, be consistent - Stop hitting slice for some time, then you can return to it when you got a good topspin backhand on low balls..

    Try bending your knees more and hitting it like any regular 1HBH-stroke :)
     
    #7
  8. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,465
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    Ditto this. Like anything else you have to practice it.

    good luck!
     
    #8
  9. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    3,364

    John,

    What's happening? Yeah, if you are around, drop me some e-mail and we'll hit.

    Well, the knees bend on occasion, still working on it.

    JR
     
    #9
  10. Tempyst

    Tempyst Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    440
    Thanks for the quick insight, now I just have to pray it stops snowing or raining -_-.
     
    #10
  11. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2006
    Messages:
    573
    How do you topspin a ball that is less than a foot above the ground, even on the forehand side?
    As far as I have seen, people either hit sidespin or, if they force a topspin shot, it will be a loopy junk ball off the bottom edge of the frame.
     
    #11
  12. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    3,364


    IMHO

    A reverse forehand works pretty well on a low shot when you are trying to hit top spin.

    You'll also have to bend you knees on the forehand side and you would probably use a semi-westren or eastern forehand grip. Just get low and brush up. You may even scrape your racket off the court,

    You can still get some topspin and a fairly low ball. Maybe not a ball that you have to scrape off the court (2-3 inches), but it's possible with a ball 6 inches to a foot off the court.
     
    #12
  13. Verbal_Kint

    Verbal_Kint Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    366
    I hit a topspinbackhand crosscourt winner from less than 1 foot off the ground and at around the service line just yesterday. Hit it in front and use a lot of wrist. It is a low percentage shot though..
     
    #13
  14. porchdoor

    porchdoor Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    113
    i have the opposite problem. i actually have a 2hbh, but i wanted to try the 1hbh to see if i could actually do it. i was only to execute this shot on really low balls but not balls that were higher than knee level.

    i have a game this thursday. i dislocated a finger on my left hand, and it hurts when i use pressure on my left hand. i was just gonna chance it and use a 1hbh. if anyone can give tips that would be great.
     
    #14
  15. Tempyst

    Tempyst Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    440
    I suggest consistent and deep slices, as you are not used to the 1hb.
     
    #15
  16. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,241
    Okay....thanks for that:rolleyes: I'll just start hitting crosscourt winners now.;)
     
    #16
  17. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,053
    When faced with a very low backhand, you must change the swing path if you hope to hit a significant topspin. You can't just take the swing path up the back of the ball from behind the ball...you can't get the racquet below the ball.

    But, similar to the 'buggy whip' forehand where the player sweeps from close to their body and exaggerate brushing out away from them, you can hit a lot of topspin (and a little side spin) on a ball that is only inches off the ground. Drop your head of your racquet down by your left ankle (if your right handed) and brush up and out well away from you with a very closed stance.

    This is a shot that must be practiced and perfected. Otherwise, you can always hit an effective slice on virtually any low ball. (As others have mentioned.)
     
    #17
  18. ShooterMcMarco

    ShooterMcMarco Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    3,017
    #18
  19. tennis_hand

    tennis_hand Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Messages:
    4,427
    bending the knees is the key here. if it is a very low slice, you also need to swing very fast to get the ball over the net to counter the ball's backspin.
    It is not an easy shot. On a good day, you can do it, but what about most of the time when you are not above your normal form. so you should complement it with the slice. when the ball is so low and fast that there is even no space for you to place your racket below the ball, a slice a safe shot to keep it in play.
     
    #19
  20. tennisdude083

    tennisdude083 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    473
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    i also have that problem... i sometimes try hiting a 1 handed backhand but i find that i can only hit it well when it is like really low for some reason.
     
    #20
  21. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2006
    Messages:
    573
    Hitting a lot of topspin on a ball that is inches off the ground seem just impossible by the laws of Physics. I don't mean to be an A@#hole by refuting someone who is one of the best, if not the best, posters in the Tips section, but I do feel fairly confident in my knowledge of the first half of Physics 101.

    It is impossible for the racket to have any upward velocity when making contact that low. Assuming you are not hitting with the frame, you need a few inches of room below the ball just to make decent contact. There is no vertical room left for the racket to move up to the ball, and that means the racket can have no vertical velocity to "brush up" the ball. The only remaining way to generate topspin is to hit with a closed face, but that is ruled out on a low ball. I haven't even considered the fact that any incoming ball that has just bounced is going to have to have its own toppsin, and you need some amount of topspin in your stroke just to turn it back to a flat ball.

    I have seen people play the shot you describe(Eg Nadal). I think they are just hitting pure sidespin, with possibly an illusion of topspin.
    I have tried it too and I feel it is a useful shot because the motion allows me to maintain the feel and swing path of my normal topspin shot, but with the body bent sideways. It is easier to be consistent with this shot than with an artifical swing path forced by the low ball.
     
    #21
  22. Mike Cottrill

    Mike Cottrill Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,626
    Mav,
    First, can you fix the links in the Help with Serve Pt. 2 (new pics/vids) thread. It takes 6 days and moon for the links to time out and finish loading the thread.

    If a heavy slice come at you with slice/under spin
    And you hit up with less upward movement, does that
    Add to the spin and become topspin as a return?
     
    #22
  23. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2006
    Messages:
    573
    I posted only one picture in that thread and it loads fine.

    Almost all tennis shots have topspin after bounce. I can't rememebr where I read it, but somebody has done the research on the number RPMS that players put on the ball and how much it changes after the bounce.
    I just remember that it takes an exceptionally heavy slice to to keep a little of its backspin after the bounce.

    I guess it true that Whatever topspin you put will add to what is on the ball
     
    #23
  24. Mike Cottrill

    Mike Cottrill Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,626
    http://mavericks.cc/tennis/roddick.jpg
    http://mavericks.cc/tennis/yemen.jpg
    I see these two photos in your post. I can not reach mavericks.cc or can I ping it. Maybe it’s just me?? Has the IP address of mavericks.cc changed or is it still 65.211.92.55. I get a no response from this IP. Before I had to use the IP because mavericks.cc would not work.


    The spin: I think it is safe to say that a heavy slice will subtract LESS in any case to the imparted top spin return.
    Thanks
    Mike
     
    #24
  25. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2006
    Messages:
    573
    The IP address has changed to 65.220.79.190. I also updated the DNS info for mavericks.cc, so the problem is with your end(a stale DNS cache?)
    Certainly works from my work computer, which is a completely unrelated site.
     
    #25
  26. jktennis59

    jktennis59 New User

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Messages:
    82
    Location:
    Caracas, Venezuela
    That's very common. I also was bending from the back. Now I know that bending the knees I can hit a great BH from a low ball. The only problem is that I'm 47 y/o and at the third or fourth BH I can't go up once again. So I was wondering: what the problem? If you have a good slice, use it!. Just have to wait the ball coming at a decent height and hit your forehand with power and control.
     
    #26
  27. FitzRoy

    FitzRoy Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,415
    maverick, just yesterday I hit a passing shot (essentially half-volleyed) with moderate topspin as the edge of my frame scraped the court surface. I know I've seen pros hit similar shots. If the ball has forward rotation and travels forward and over the net, how could it not have at least some topspin?
     
    #27
  28. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,053
    Maverick,

    You're correct in that I should have reversed my point by saying: a lot of side spin and a little topspin relative to this massive amount of side spin.

    With so little vertical room, as you aptly described it, obviously, you can't get much more below the ball from behind, the side or anywhere else! However, with the swing that is moving up around the outside of the ball, or moving across the back of the ball as I described in the 'buggy whip' analogy, you can get a tremendous amount of racquet head speed generated in a motion that moves across (and slightly upward, depending truly on how low the ball really is) producing side and topspin...this opposed to swinging forward through the ball which generates too much forward velocity for the minimal amount of topspin that coming from directly behind the ball would generate.

    (I hope this makes sense! This is very tough to say with clairity!)

    I appreciate your correction (and the complement, too!) to what I had written. It would not be the first time that I let my typing get well ahead of my thoughts!
     
    #28
  29. andreh

    andreh Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    1,089
    Sometimes the ball is low because it's short and drops before it reaches the baseline. If it so then this is an opportunity for you to step into court and hit you 1hb topspinner before it dips to low. An added bouns is that this can set your opponent under pressure.

    Don't know what level you are at, but many amateurs move well sideways but not so well into the court. They simply seem to forget you can can take a step or two into the court and whack it.
     
    #29
  30. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,441
    Hmmm...interesting as I find it much eaiser to hit 1HBH's off of low balls than off of high bouncing balls. In fact, on my backhand side, I often let the ball drop until it's only one or two feet off the ground before I hit it because it allows me to drive it and put topspin on it easier. You just have to remember to step into it with a low front knee bend and hit the ball way out in front.
     
    #30
  31. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2006
    Messages:
    573
    One thing certain is that that the racket wasn't scraping the court at contact time. It is truly impossible to put topspin in that situation. The racket probably scraped the floor and was moving upwards for several inches at least, before you made contact. If you disagree, I would say that your perception of what you did is different from reality. That can easily happen, so there isn't anything to argue here.
     
    #31
  32. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2006
    Messages:
    573
    Cool TM.
    There may be others here with your kind of quality tennis knowledge,
    but you are unbeatable for your unassuming, unconfrontational style.
     
    #32
  33. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Amen,
    You are a breath of fresh air compared to other posters-----------a true credit to our profession.
     
    #33
  34. ubel

    ubel Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    871
    Location:
    Athens, Georgia
    I have a very similar backhand too. When the ball is lower, I tend to drop the racquet even more which causes me to accentuate the brushing motion of the racquet up the ball. I usually end up with more topspin and the ability to hit a with a high margin of error over the net.

    If the ball is especially low, as in the stated case, I just use more of a windshield wiper motion, where I take the racquet back behind my body then bring it both up and around the ball like I'm creating a rainbow. This motion does create a bit of sidespin (pulls ball to the right as I am a righty), but it also creates a fair amount of topspin.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
    #34
  35. FitzRoy

    FitzRoy Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,415
    You may well be right, maverick - it happened too fast for me to have had a completely accurate view of what actually happened.

    Another thing to consider is that I was hitting this off of a volley that had a fair amount of underspin, so that may have made it easier to apply topspin.
     
    #35
  36. obow

    obow Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    168
    I play 1HBH and rarely slice (my old racquet is crapy for slice shots, other than that it is OK). I find the low balls are very easy to hit probably because I am only 5'4 !!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2007
    #36
  37. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Messages:
    677
    Late to the discussion here, but man, welcome to tennis. It is your goal to force your opponent to hit low balls. If it's happening to you, not only do you need to learn to deal with them, you also need to figure out how and why your having to hit them.

    If you are any sort of net player, the slice will become your best friend. It forces your opponent to hit a low ball.

    Jet
     
    #37
  38. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    586
    Low One-Handed Backhand

    Keep trying to hit topspin. A slice may be your eventual choice is such circumstances, but knowing how to hit topspin in difficult situations is an essential skill that can only be developed with unwavering diligence.

    If you are having problems hitting a low one-handed topspin backhand, you may have to adjust the height and the path of your backswing. You don’t have the luxury of starting high, lowering the racket head as the shoulder rotation begins and then bringing it back up again during the stroke, as watching some pros may lead you to believe. If you’re not already doing so, try going more straight back and down on the backswing, so that the entire forward path is from low to high.

    One more note . . . taking the racket head back low does not mean using an elbow or a wrist bend to achieve it. Instead, push the handle down (to straighten the arm), hold a firm wrist and rotate your arm back so the buttcap is facing the netpost. That’s your starting point for rotating your arm forward to get headspeed at the beginning of the stroke.

    MG
     
    #38
  39. dennis1188

    dennis1188 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    768
    Hitting 1hdbk w/topspin frm approx. yr knee ht and below (not from ball low as yr shoelaces) can be learned. Keep yr head low (bend yr knees and always keep yr head low and still throughout the completion of the stroke, the longer the better) and generate racket head speed low to high. Finish stroke w/ hand and rackethead infront and above yr head (in the direction of yr ball path).
    A good drill 50-100 balls each;
    1) drop ball at approx, knee ht. hit consistant topspin/height above net.
    2) Next hit same as above for consistant direction/area across court or down the line.
    3)Next hit same as above for consistant depth aim ball just inside the baseline or sideline on angle.
    It helps if u do not look up across the net and just keep focus yr eyes on the ball/racket impact point. You will learn to the 'feel' the stroke (technique) and 'visualize' the target w/o distraction.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2007
    #39
  40. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,063
    Slice and topspin are hardly the only choices.

    If you don't have enough space between the ground and the ball to generate significant upward velocity, why not try hitting the ball flat? That used to be the _standard_ way to hit the ball, you know.

    Grab the racquet in a full-continental grip, making contact just after the racquet is in the lowest point in the swing, with the racquet face only slightly open, and swing the racquet forward, mostly horizontally, i.e. with only a slight upward lift.

    A flat shot may not make sense if you're taking it near the service line, but if you're near the baseline or deeper you can put a significant amount of pace on the ball without going out of bounds as long as you keep the shot fairly low.

    Try to find videos of Rod Laver hitting passing shots. Most approach shots and volleys stay pretty low, so he had plenty of opportunity to handle low balls. Yes, he was famous for his "topspin" backhand, but if you look at the videos his attacking backhands were hit rather flat.
     
    #40
  41. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    586
    Flat One-Handed Backhand

    I was always amazed the way Laver could consistently hit bullets that would clear the net by two inches, and he is definitely one of my all-time favorite tennis heroes. Obviously Ken Rosewall was famous for his flat backhands, and I also remember Jimmy Connors being able to blast away flat and get away with it.

    I can’t say I disagree with a flat option on a backhand, but I haven’t seen many players succeed with it, and I think the precision required is significant. If it’s challenging for a player to hit a topspin, that’s still where I would advise focusing attention. Even a slice is what I consider to be a second option, so a flat backhand would have to be a distant third.

    MG
     
    #41
  42. obow

    obow Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    168
    Sometimes I find I have to hit a low BH drive when the ball is short and I have no time to move to a more comfortable hitting position. What I normally do is to step the right foot forward and put my arm at full stretch, to just lift the ball and roll it back (give it some topspin but not too much power).
     
    #42

Share This Page