1HBH - does it matter if you don't spread back you non-hitting arm?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by tank_job, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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  2. tank_job

    tank_job Banned

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    But I'm questioning is it really THE proper technique? Or just a way of hitting the 1hbh?

    Some high level pro's (who have much better backhands than you or I) are hardly doing it at all, are you watching the video's I'm linking to you?

    Wawrinka hardly does it;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm2lXozOqno

    Gasquet sometimes does it but with a bent arm;

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

    Henin hardly does it;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdDwMj3_WMA

    Laver really didn't do it at all (dead non-dominant arm);

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-VeBIal8TU

    Look at the backhand Gaudio hits at 0.32 - his non-dominant arm is going forwards;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjIX-EhzEp8

    ...but Federer does it to a moderate degree, and Dimitrov really exaggerates it to the point where you're not sure if it's wasted energy and unnecessary complication.

    My question to you is: if so many pro's are NOT doing this technique of flinging back the non-dominant arm, is it a preference thing (like straight arm/double bend forehand), or is it a stroke fundamental?

    And/or is it situational? The fact that I even found SOME videos of these pro's not doing the technique in normal rallying backhands suggests it's not a stroke fundamental, like, for example, keeping the hitting arm straight through contact.

    Keeping the hitting arm straight IS a 1hbh stroke fundamental, and I wouldn't be able to find any normal rallying backhand clips where the pro's aren't doing this.

    So, after this information and watching the links, what do you think of flinging back the non-dominant arm: preference or fundamental? And why?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
  3. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    It's a question of degree. You don't have to look like a robot. Everyone's stroke will look a little different. No one has their non dominant hand hanging limply at there side. Some stick it it out more than others. They all use it for balance.

    On the one hander, if you open up too early you will hit a glancing blow as opposed to a solid controlled shot. You can tell the difference by the sound of the shot. Solid vs tinny. Your coach will have an easier time showing you in person than us random people on an Internet forum
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
  4. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    You're hips can open up some, after contact, you're shoulders as well. 120 to 160 degrees, I'm trying to visualize that, you are nearly looking at the back fence?
    The current pros that hit the 1HB, throw the off arm back for balance and they hit backhands for a living. You're average player will never hit BHs like the pros, doesn't hurt to try and emulate as best you can. If, I am practicing the 1HBH, I'm going to include that in the stroke.
    The forehand and 2HBH are entirely different strokes than 1HBH.
     
  5. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    There are different ways to swing a 1hbh, and there is more than one "correct" way to do it.

    There are two extremes: 

    1.  Neutral shoulders at contact.  Examples are Federer, Dimitrov, Kuerten.  Body stops rotating while the arm and racket continue flying forward.  "Wristiness" plays a bigger role in rackethead speed.  This style tends to involve more arm checking.

    2.  More open shoulders at contact.  Examples are Wawrinka, Gasquet, Henin, Mauresmo.  Less "wristiness" more arm swinging out. This style tends to involve less arm checking.
     
  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I couldn't disagree more. I've already explained why UBR is essential, and that throwing your left arm back impairs UBR above. Unfortunately, some of "today's" 1hb's, like Federer's, are sub-optimal because the lack sufficient UBR. Federer in particular compensates with excessive pronation/suppination to generate racquet head speed. And he can hit some spectacular winners, but, he does so at the expense of repeatability and consistency. Wawrinka and Almagro have more UBR than Federer, but, still not as much as they should, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
  7. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Limp, when you say "UBR", do you mean spinal rotation or hip rotation or both? Hip rotation does not result in as huge a turn as spinal rotation, but it's the more important component, IMO. Also, the amount of rotation will vary depending on the individual, based on age, stiffness, etc. Spinal rotation should serve to orient the player as required - I don't believe it is a good source of power.

    In the end, all that should matter is that the tension created by the wind up should be good and result in an explosive release, and not tax the individual beyond their limits, again IMO.
     
  8. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    There is no way anyone who understands 1hbh can say Fed bh is suboptimal. There is some room for even more improvement but that's not something that could be discussed easily esp on a forum.

    The level of consistency on his bh beats all the other 1hbh in match situation and even beats almost all 2hbh.

    And guess what, his ability to use his wrist is precisely what makes him great. Take your passive wrist modern thing and admire davydenko or just some other 2hbh.
     
  9. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    To the contrary, there is no way anyone who understands a 1hb can say that Federer's bh technique is not sub-optimal, topspin and underspin.
     
  10. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Ultimately, I mean shoulder rotation. But, you can't rotate your shoulder's sufficiently if you don't also rotate your hips.
     
  11. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    There is not much hip rotation involved in a good 1hbh. If there is any at the end of its rotation hip is facing sideway and the starting point is limited by neck rotation since the head must be facing the ball. Most of the rotation looking motion comes from the shoulder uncoiling but it's not a rotation at all. The major movement of hip is hyper extension as in thrusting the pelvis forward toward the side of the ball target line.
     
  12. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Whether or not his backhand is good, it is not a good model for those starting out on the 1hbh. Too much bent arm on the forward swing, to much "wristiness", too much abruptness.

    Similarly, his forehand is great, but not a good model for most, either.




    As for Laver, I think there's only one useable backhand in that clip, at 0:28. At 0:21 and 1:38 he is running through both backhands, rather than stopping to set up. This makes it hard to compare him to clips of players who are stopping and setting up their backhands.

    Based on that one useable backhand sub-clip, it seems that Laver would be considered unconventional today. He has a very compact stroke, and it almost looks like he's arming the ball a little.

    This may be the case since I've read that he had a huge left forearm, and this suggests to me he's muscling the ball. If this is true, I'm not sure if he would serve as a good model for most of us that don't have a huge forearm.



    As for whether the arm check is fundamental, the answer is, "it depends which type of 1hbh you are using." If you are hitting with neutral shoulders, it's fundamental. If you are opening up a lot, it is not essential. If you do something in between, then your arm movement should be something in-between. I think this is consistent with the players you mentioned (with the possible exception of Laver).
     
  13. tank_job

    tank_job Banned

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    It would seem most of the extreme-grip, clay-court type 1hbh's use upper body rotation (and less non-dominant arm flinging back) whereas most of the conservative-grip grass-court type 1hbh's use neutral shoulders at contact (and more non-dominant arm-flinging back), then.

    However, Kuerten's is the major exception. I wonder why?
     
  14. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    Topspin or slice?

    Lots of videos of pros mirroring the playing arm with the non playing arm when hitting slice, Federer in particular.
     
  15. tank_job

    tank_job Banned

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    I'm talking topspin 1hbh's.

    Slice is a finesse, not a power shot, so I wouldn't even care what my non-dominant arm is doing there, as it definitely won't limit the power of the shot.
     
  16. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    finesse shot? lol.

    arm should go back on slice too.
     
  17. tank_job

    tank_job Banned

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    power isn't the limiting factor - hit the slice too hard and it goes out. You can hit the topspin 1hbh as hard as you can and it'll stay in.

    And you haven't answered my question - is it preference or necessity, and, if it is necessity, how do you explain that so many pro's who hit 1hbh's for a living and have better backhands than you aren't doing it?

    Not meaning to be a jerk (well, actually I like being one) - but you're speaking as an authority on this and ignoring my evidence to the contrary.

    And people said you have a good 1hbh - got any video links?
     
  18. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Yea, that's right. I'm reading some of these comments and I'm totally amazed at what I read. I couldn't believe it, somebody referred to Federer's backhand as sub-optimal. No, off arm take back on the slice BH, that's basic tennis. It's one thing not to do it when you hit a slice BH, but you know that you should. It's another thing to say that it's not necessary.
     
  19. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    This video analzyes the 1H top spin backhands of several players.
    All of them have many things in common including throwing the off arm back. Around the 8 min mark if anyone care's to watch it. I'm convinced you do and that's all that matters.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWTPw1l3qIU&lr=1

    They all throw the off arm back on slice backhands as well.
     
  20. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Shocked as well on some of the replies. :eek:
     
  21. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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  22. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I don't have video, but I've been on the business end of it. He does have a very good 1hbh.
     
  23. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    it's a preference. apparently rod laver doesn't think you need it. i prefer to use it. works better for me and i can see / feel / understand the difference why you should use it when i don't use it for some reason (bad day/lazy/ tinkering w/ form/whatever). an overwhelming majority of pros use the non dominant arm on slice and topspin bh. amount is determined by many factors as i said before. type of shot, grip, situation, mood, setup time for shot, training, and flexibility. dimitrov goes way back like a nut because he's super flexible. he probably thought it was cool looking when he was young and learning it and it gave him confidence so he kept it.
    extra topsping bh's usually have less fling back like when roger does it. his left arm will just flick back very little and stay low. when he hits a drive it flings back behind him more. also depends on the type of player you are. do you use more arm? more shoulder? more rotation? do you have built in recovery steps? all those things factor in.

    slice bh is not a 'finesse' shot. a finesse shot is a drop shot, a topspin lob for a winner, ..situational shots that require fine touch. if you are thinking of the bh slice as a finesse shot and don't use your non dominant arm then you don't understand how to hit a good slice and you probably hit a soft floater that sits up asking to be spanked. you should be able to hit a slice hard enough to penetrate thru the court for a winner. weight into the ball, racquet face square, arm flung back, contact on the side.

    i think you are making too big a deal of the fling back. everyone's amount of fling back differs and varies on the situation. to me fling back is superior to no fling which most posters here agree with. but you can't say more fling is better than less fling. That's like saying lisiki's fh is fundamentally better than federer's because she uses way more internal shoulder rotation than he does.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  24. PrinceMoron

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    Had me worried there for a moment.
     
  25. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Well, said. Me personally I would suggest to the OP to learn to hit his 1HBH by flinging the arm back. There will be times when you may not do this like in a quick exchange during a match, so long as you execute the other things correctly. More important to me is the discussion on this thread about allowing the upper body to rotate even up to 160 degrees (if that's possible) even prior to contact, which is totally wrong.
     
  26. tank_job

    tank_job Banned

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    OK, you're entitled to your opinion, but it makes me hit a worse shot and now that I've seen evidence of top pro's with remarkable backhands (Wawrinka, Gasquet, Henin) not do it, I'm inclined to follow them.

    Actually, on a side note, is it bad for a man to model their backhand on a woman (Henin)?

    Cheetah says he does what works best for him, but apparently I have to do what works best for Cheetah?

    What grip do you use, Cheetah? And do you try to go for drive or spin more?

    I use a semi-western grip, my ideal contact point is above my shoulder (though most people I play don't hit enough top for it to bounce there), and I sacrifice drive for topspin. Maybe my backhand is just different to yours.
     
  27. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    If you look at post 119 and 121, it's clearly evident top pros do that. When I watch a match between two pros sometimes the arm flinging back is not as prominent, sometimes it is. IMO when they have time to prepare they fling it back, in a quick exchange they may not. As far as Henin, anyone man or woman would love to have that backhand!
     
  28. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    To my knowledge, none of the all time great 1hb players used it. I've just about every #1 player since Rosewall play live, and, Laver had the greatest 1hb I've ever seen.
     
  29. tank_job

    tank_job Banned

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    Hey, I'm not saying I do nothing with my back arm, just nothing as extreme as Dimitrov.

    I hope you understand, that I essentially think that it is a preference to fling back the back arm. You guys think it is a necessity.

    Therefore, it doesn't break my argument that you can show me some pro's that do fling back the back arm (Federer, Kuerten, Dimitrov) - they do it because it is their preference to do so.

    But it does break your argument that I was able to show you some pro's (Henin, Mauresmo, Gasquet, Wawrinka, Laver) who DON'T fling back the back arm - they don't do it because it's not necessary for them to do it.

    And it's not like these guys are mugs - Henin and Mauresmo had two of the all-time best 1hbh's on the WTA, and likewise for Gasquet, Wawrinka and Laver for the ATP.

    For you guys to be correct, every single pro player must use the back arm fling-back on all but the most desperately defensive backhands. Only then it would be considered essential, or a stroke fundamental.
     
  30. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    It seems to be a fad among the current few 1hb players in today's pro game. However, like the other all time great 1hb's, Stefan Edberg got almost 180 degrees of UBR and didn't throw his left arm back.

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

    Gustavo Kuerten got about 180 degrees of UBR and didn't throw his left arm back.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABldyqDQaS8
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  31. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    not do it means for slice or ts? there are videos here of all those guys doing it for both.

    I have knuckle on bevel 1 and palm on bevel 8 so extreme eastern i guess.
    i hit ts and drive. depends on the situation. mostly ts.

    so your knuckle and palm is on bevel 8?
     
  32. FrisbeeFool

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    Uh 180 degrees?? that would mean his back shoulder faces the net on his follow through. Is it even possible to do that on a one handed backhand? Why would you want to? I watched the Stephane edberg video and I didn't see anything like that.

    There is also a thread going on right now about hitting one handed backhand approach shots cross court with an open stance?? Reading these threads is like entering an alternate universe where up is down left is right and right is wrong. I give up.
     
  33. tank_job

    tank_job Banned

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    look at Wawrinka;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f97Krt-SnTM

    he leaves his back arm where he let go of the racket, and then his upper body rotates round.

    So does Mauresmo;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYlGVIvkn5s

    Dimitrov;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uVCOQY50OA

    flings his arm actively back, and his upper body doesn't come round nearly so much.

    Is Dimitrov's backhand more technically sound than Wawrinka's and Mauresmo's?

    And again, you may well find a video where Wawrinka or Mauresmo does fling his arm way back. But my point is that if that were an essential or fundamental part of the stroke as you are suggesting, then they would be doing it for every single backhand they hit and I wouldn't be able to find any footage where they're not.

    The footage I found is just normal rallying backhand as well.
     
  34. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    look at the wawrinka video again. ignore the shots where he's hand fed the ball. his hand is dangling out from his body but his elbow, upper arm and shoulder still go back and expands his chest. he bends his arm at the elbow so it looks like he doesnt fling back as much. if his arm would straight it would be more apparent. but he still has the fling back element a lot of the time.
     
  35. FrisbeeFool

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    You don't necessarily have to violently fling your back arm back in a baroque exaggerated manor, you do need to use your off arm for balance. Everyone uses that off arm. They just look slightly different in the way they do it.

    I'm a big fan of wawrinka as well. Love to watch the guy play. His contact point is identical to everybody else's. His front shoulder is facing the net when he makes contact. His torso is perpendicular to the net and he is side on with the net. If he's going cross court, he might appear a little more open, because he is lined up to hit cross court. He has a lot of racket head speed, and after he's followed through, his racket head will sometimes come around and his front shoulder will open a little more than some. You see this with othe players like federer and even dimitrov. Back in the day you'd see sabatini do this a lot, her extreme grip also contributed to this a bit.

    No one is rotating 180 degrees. At the most I've seen wawrinka or sabatini open up maybe 80-90 as the racket decelerates. A few weekends ago I watched Asaim Ul-Haq QurEshi play doubles. He has a massive one-hander with a ton of racket head speed. He opens up a little more as well. They only open up as the racket is decelerating after they've gone through the shot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  36. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    I used to hit a 1hbh years ago, and I got a great tip from a source that's being attacked ruthlessly on this board... :)

    Basically, the player will power the swing forward by squeezing the shoulder blades together. One side effect of this is to fling the non-dominant arm backwards. I'm not entirely sure that this is required if the goal is only balance, although it's clear that some kind of action/reaction type balance is happening because of this arm movement.

    I use this for my slice now, and it works great for me. Try it!
     
  37. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Good, someone has posted on this and I'm getting a little weary about posting videos of bonafide Tennis instructors doing detailed discussions and analysis on the top Pros showing just that. Like I said earlier if it's good enough for Federer, Wawrinka, Haas, Youzney, it's good enough for me!
    I actually walked outside my office and tried keeping my legs/feet stationary on the ground while I rotated my upper torso, I could never rotate 180 degrees, not even close. A contortionist might be able to do that but, my question to a tennis playing contortionist, would be! I know you can rotate 180 degrees but would you want to do that while hitting a 1HBH?

    I'm starting to wonder if TT is putting moles out there to see who really understands tennis or who is out in left field.
     
  38. BevelDevil

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    Bending the arm reduces the the rotation-checking effect. So I would say he's not checking nearly as much as Federer or Dimitrov, which makes sense since he tends to open up his shoulders more through contact.


    So if we are to talk with more nuance, it's more about how much or how little arm checking players do, not so much about whether they do it or not (though some players may not do it at all).
     
  39. Cheetah

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    sounds good
     
  40. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    As I posted before.... some tt posters have no idea about the 1h bh. Yes the off arm is used. In all the videos posted it is used . It's not body rotation. It's not turning the body to hit the ball like a fh.

    Omg some can't be serious. Please a real tennis coach come in this thread and post . Baller? Ash? Jy? Oscar? Please.... someone. Kill me now. Tennis coach Florida? Someone.
     
  41. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Yes, I feel your pain. Coaching Mastery, David Smith please help!
     
  42. PhrygianDominant

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    I think slowing down UBR by letting your nonhittingarm fly back is a good thing, because it helps me to move the racquet through contact low to high with no unwanted sidespin from UBR.

    I am not saying its better than continuous UBR, I am just saying it works and it's good.

    Also it looks really cool.
     
  43. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Thats the only rational justification for it I've read so far.
     
  44. PhrygianDominant

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    I knew you'd like that.

    But seriously, flying back with the NHA is indispensible to me. It's the balance, it's fantastic.
     

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