A couple of one handed backhand questions

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 1980, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. 1980

    1980 New User

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    Hey all,

    New poster here.

    I'm learning to hit a topspin one handed backhand and I have a couple of questions.

    How much Supination should I be using on the topspin backhand? Am I meeting the ball with a closed racquet face on the rise similar to the topspin forehand? Should my contact point be out front or closer in to the body?

    Thanks
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Amount of supination depends on your preference and especially your exact grip.
    Your contact point should be almost exactly the same as for a 2hbh sideways, but 1hbh is taken much much earlier, so your body is behind your shot.
    Grip tells exact location of your contact zone.
    You block or sideslice balls lower than shin high.
     
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  3. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    what did you use before? twohander or onehanded slice?
     
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  4. Vertiz

    Vertiz Rookie

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    Just a couple points. You want to have a high take back, the same high take back every shot (even high balls). Drop the racket as you begin you swing and step forward (power step) with your body weight into the ball (very important never to have your weight falling back). Make contact out in front of you but keep your arm/elbow close to your body. The part about opening and closing the racket is hard for me to say b/c it's not something you should be working hard to do, it is natural if the rest of your swing is there. Your wrist should be firm before and during contact. The one hander is hard to explain because every shot is different and it takes small adjustments to hit each individual shot correctly. Keep in mind the fundamentals, keep playing & practicing and you should be able to figure out the rest with time. Good luck :).
     
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  5. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    develop the shot with as much supination as you can.... you have more spin, more margin, bigger strike zone.
     
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  6. 1980

    1980 New User

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    I was using a two hander before, but with intermittent success. A one hander always felt more natural for me however my tennis coach thinks that I drive through the ball too much (too flat of a shot) and I need to be driving down with the butt of the racquet (after my take back at the beginning part of the swing) and then supinating my wrist to meet the ball on the rise for topspin. This is kind of odd to me because I've never consciously tried to something like this. I've always driven through the path of the ball while gradually turning my wrist over on the follow through. However, this swing only seems to work when the ball is about waist high or lower, the rest of the time I spray the ball or get no power behind the shot. I want to believe his method is going to work, its just a bit odd for me because I'm still trying to wrap my head around swinging up at the ball instead of out on the forehand and backhand really.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Most of us have an upwards swingpath on our topspin forehands.
    Seems likely the same upward swing path is good for the topspin backhand, taken earlier out in front with a closed body stance.
    And we don't hit all our shots on the rise.
    As for the supination thru the stroke, I think it's an advanced technique. Better to hold the wrist solid throughout the stroke until you can hit it pretty well, then it's up to you to modify and adjust.
     
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  8. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    supination gives you a smaller strike zone.

    i agree w/ leed. supination is a more advanced technique. better to develop a solid stroke before incorporating it.
     
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  9. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    why smaller.... unless you do it wrong
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I'll stay away from the smaller or bigger strikezone for now.
    Guga, Vilas, and Sabatini had decent topspin backhands, certainly serviceable for our needs, without supination.
    Kriek used tons of supination.
    It's got to do with preference and grip.
    ClintThompson used supination. Wonder what happenned to him.
     
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  11. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    guga and sabatini no supination?

    Lee you wrong
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You're focusing on the wrong thing here.
    Yes, Guga and Sabatini had more supination than Vilas, but not as much as the current WTA and ATP pros.
    Plenty of photos of both the above pros on the finish, and an open racket face. Depends on which shot was hit and how high the ball was.
    Vilas did finish openfaced on almost every topspin backhand, but he also used a very strong grip...prolly like Sabatini and Guga.
     
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  13. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Because it closes the face therefore there is less area to address the ball.
     
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  14. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    You're a beginner, so worry about supination later. Focusing on it now can lead to really bad habits.

    Your backswing, arm structure and the timing of the step and racket drop is more than enough to occupy yourself for a year or more.

    Watch these two videos and follow the advice. This instructor makes the best videos on the 1hbh on youtube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW2_dyj6QiM

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


    If you stay relaxed, supination will follow naturally from this. But without these fundamentals in the video, you'll be in trouble. So get first things first.


    Also, my advice on grip is to make sure you are gripping the handle like you would a mountain bike, not a steak knife.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Is that backhand supination, and forehand pronation, directly related to how tight you grip your racket?
    Old style, E gripped strokes used tighter grip, slower swingspeeds.
    New style, regardless of exact grip, uses looser gripstrength to allow the racket head to accelerate into the strikezone, and maybe allows the racket to supinate/pronate after the ball strike.
    Try it. Loose grip definitely promotes supinate/pronation.
     
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  16. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Timing is also harder, especially for a beginner. That's why there's usually no or little supination on a return of serve, I think.


    Don't forget, we're talking about a beginner here and there's a lot more for him to focus on.
     
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  17. 1980

    1980 New User

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    I'm not an absolute beginner. I just learned in the 80's through mid 90's and haven't adapted my strokes for the modern game i.e. tons of topspin. My two handed backhand is serviceable, but has never felt comfortable. My one handed backhand is, again, something that feels more natural and that I think can be decent with some consistent hard work. That being said I'm only 5' 9" and the one handed backhand is definitely a little tougher on the higher balls, hence really wanting to learn a stroke that is going to allow me to hit with a greater margin of error. I notice from watching videos of Federer's backhand that he seems to drive through the ball a little more while just naturally supinating his forearm. It works in perfect congruence with his upper body for smooth stroke. His racquet face seems quite open on most of his backhands (or even many of his forehands for that matter). Is it a common misconception that massive topspin is used for every shot in tennis nowadays?
     
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  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't get hung up on the label "beginner".
    You ARE a beginner. Your backhand is working from scratch.
    Most of the guys here giving advice have been playing tennis for over 20 years, some closer to 30.
    And using Federer as an example is about the worst thing you can do. He talented, no one else anywhere is.
    Like you want to play basketball, and use KevinDurant as your example to copy.
     
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  19. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    i sorta agree simpler is better.... and honestly the 1hbh drive is not that big a deal....

    serve is priority 1
    at baseline, fh covers 65%
    the 35% for the bh, the slice covers half of it.
    so the drive is really just some marginal nice to have stuff in the whole game.

    i wouldn't worry much about the high balls, just slice it down.

    where the topspin comes in as a must have, is when you have to hit passing shots, which is usually low ball.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    That is an excellent summation of the modern tennis game. Well done.
     
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  21. 1980

    1980 New User

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    Ok, fair play. My backhand is working from scratch, you are right. I enjoy watching and trying to emulate pros, Fed included.

    I'm pretty much just trying to strengthen my weaknesses and my backhand is certainly my weakest stroke. It gets somewhat abused when I play. I do slice quite a bit, but having a solid rally stroke on the backhand side is really the purpose here. I'm going to focus on form and drive through for now and less on supination at this stage. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction and thanks to BevelDevil for the vids.
     
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  22. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    When I had a 2hbh, the biggest source of discomfort and feeling of restriction came from me not shifting my weight enough before the forward swing. So if you end up sticking with the 2hbh, make sure you're stepping in at the start of your forward swing.


    Also, if you alternate between trying a 2hbh and a 1hbh, a huge difference in the feel will come from the direction your chin/eyes will be looking in relation to your chest.

    1hbh, you're looking either straight ahead or to your right (assuming you're right handed). 2hbh, you're looking left across your body since your are opening up your chest more on that shot.


    What kind of grip do you use? Where is the index base knuckle, and where is your heel pad?

    A grip correction is probably the easiest way to improve a flawed stroke.

    I also find opening up the chest helps on high balls.


    As Lee said, do not use Fed as a model unless you are willing to wait years for the payoff (which may never come). Fed spent his junior years developing that shot. When he was 16, he had a much more "stiff" backhand, which shows that his current bh was a product of years of gradual change based on simple fundamentals.

    I think Wawrinka and Henin are good models, especially for a 5'9" person who wants to hit high balls better.


    Depends what you mean by massive. Nadal-like, no way.

    I'm guessing the topspin devils you'll meet will be landing most their shots in the middle of the court, and you can honorably wait for the ball to come down and still have good court position.

    In any case, if you're worried about dealing with spin or moonballs, I recommend a strong grip, an early straight arm, and opening up the chest, and using the aforementioned models.
     
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  23. 1980

    1980 New User

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    Yes, Weight transfer was always an issue. My stroke never felt weight or solid like it does on the one hander especially when I catch the ball early enough and hit a low drive. I step in pretty well, but I definitely need to turn my body more and give more thought to follow through.





    I use an eastern backhand grip with my hand pretty low on the grip. Maybe a half inch or less of my hand hangs off the bottom of the racquet.



    Yeah, I was watching the Henin backhand earlier and I can really see the supination in her forearm a lot more prominently than I can others. I've noticed that the supination really starts occurring right around contact but on a lot of pictures I'm seeing of pros at ball contact the racquet face seems to be more tilted down than flat.




    Taking the ball as early as I can on this stroke seems key for dealing with spin. But a lot of times I do just let it bounce as I back up and let it enter the strike zone. I don't like that method as I'm giving up valuable court position, but dealing with the ball on the rise on the backhand side is not really something I'm used to yet.
     
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  24. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    I wasn't referring to "off the handle" as I was referring to behind the handle.

    Don't do this:
    [​IMG]
    ^^^ this guy's heelpad is mostly on top of the handle (bevel 1), or at best at the intersection of bevels 1 and 8. Borrowing Luvforty's terminology, this is an "Old Fart" eastern grip.


    Instead, do this:

    [​IMG]
    ^^^ probably bevel 8

    or do this:
    [​IMG]
    ^^^ probably on the upper side of bevel 7.

    I recommend something in-between Fed and Gasquet, but it depends on the swing style you're going for.


    The more you can get your hand behind the handle, the more you can get "behind the ball" on your shot.

    Mauresmo is an extreme example:
    [​IMG]
    She's using what appears to be a semi-western backhand and her palm is totally behind the handle. Look how open her chest is and how behind the ball she is. I'm not advocating this stroke, just using it as an illustration.


    One last note: I've been assuming (along with everyone else, I think) that Wawrinka uses an Eastern grip. But according to the About.com article, this is not true and he uses a mild Eastern grip (between Eastern and continental).

    Despite this, he manages to get his heel pad slightly behind the handle, almost entirely on bevel 7.

    (I'm out of image allotments, so I'll post Stan images in the following post)


    So I would say a good rule of thumb is to make sure your heel pad is 1-1.5 bevels behind your index knuckle, wherever it is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
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  25. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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  26. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    you´re giving really good advice on the ohbh:)

    i use the onehander since 1977, so i can honestly say, there have been many changes in technique over the years. it´s a challenge to adapt your technique to modern racquets and strings but it is doable. tennis is a game for life, and one of the most enjoyable things about it, is you can always improve

    videos like the ones you linked help enormously. Christophe Delavaut is among the very best
     
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  27. 1980

    1980 New User

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    Wow, thanks for the great examples. I hadn't really given any thought to the heelpad (had to look up the term), but it appears as though I was using the 'old guy' method. Now that I move it back more towards bevel 8/7 I am noticing that my racquet face is naturally slightly closed whereas before it seemed like I was supposed to arbitrarily close it on contact.
     
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  28. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    yeah finding the grip is KEY... to me the grip has to satisfy 2 requirements..

    1) allow me to comfortably address the ball with the leading edge, during the take back, the power position, and the first foot or so of the forward swing; this means the heel pad has to be low enough;

    2) there must be good support from the bottom of the grip, at least having the top section of the middle and ring fingers solidly support the bottom bevel.. so this means the grip size cannot be too big, and the grip should not be too extreme.

    the rest is fairly automatic, you wind up, address the ball with leading edge and then you unwind... I envision the back of my hitting shoulder draws this up and across arc that is slightly tilted forward to 'cover' the ball, and the arm/racket L unit basically follows the same arc, but at a larger radius...

    the initial 'up' part will put the pressure on the middle/ring fingers so the head will start the windshield wiping action.
     
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  29. 1980

    1980 New User

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    When you say leading edge do you mean the outside edge of the racquet face or the top edge rather? When you say cover, I take it you mean sort of brushing over the top of the ball?
     
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  30. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Btw, I found it useful to make the buttcap slightly larger, otherwise I find my grip slipping back to "old fart" after a lot of backhands.

    So I wrap my buttcap with 3 layers of overgrip. So you might want to experiment with that.

    I've heard that Fed uses an oversided buttcap (for his undersized handle), and I suspect Gasquet does too, as well as other 1-handers. But I'm not sure.

    Our hands are going to be different, so do what works for you.



    Yup. I used to use an extreme eastern grip (steak knife style) to close my racket face, but realized I didn't have to if I just moved my heelpad instead.

    Another benefit (main benefit?) to a low heelpad is that the racket will form a tighter angle with your arm (See the Mauresmo picture for an extremely sharp angle). This makes for a more stable hitting structure.
     
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  31. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    top edge... leading the way up and across..

    sorry, cover maybe misleading... on a higher ball i feel like the back of the hitting shoulder goes from below the ball to above the ball to cover it then go across to the right.... on a low ball you are hitting up, so no 'covering' :)
     
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  32. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Actually, a good backhand can improve your court coverage a lot (by not being forced to hit that many forehands) while staying offensive. My best one handed backhand was much bigger than my forehand... and I used to hit the hell out of it on the forehand side.

    I‘ll try a more extreme grip to see if I can get an easier way to pull spin next summer, but the shot‘s potential is big. And for amateurs, given most have very average BH and revert a lot to slicing, a good BH is a big advantage... forcing BH to BH rallies means winning nearly all of these rallies. Big pay off.
     
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  33. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Gasquet's racquet has a massive buttcap, or it could be having his leather grip over-wrapped on the bottom. This clip of him re-gripping clearly shows the built up buttcap area.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY3xehx-z-Q
     
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  34. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Lol, just saw your youtube comment from last week. Awesome.

    Yeah, I think it's the leather grip, seeing how short it is wrapped on the handle. Style!
     
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  35. Endless Met

    Endless Met New User

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    suprination (or what ever it's called) is supposed to be natural movement of the arm once your arms cannot go anymore forward during a backhand drive. I don't think many pro players intentionally suprinate. If you stay in place , do a backhand swing, and try not to supriinate at the end, you'll feel your elbow trying to lock out and hyper extending (correct me on this term). Instead of that hyper extension of the elbow, your arm will naturally suprinate to take the excess forward momentum of the racquet. If I were you, focus on making the backhand more forward, with a little bit of low to high rather than low to high with a little forward.
     
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  36. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    Listen to this guy. He sounds like someone that can actually hit a one-handed backhand.
     
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  37. gbgTennis

    gbgTennis New User

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    Usually i think there's nothing better in order to learn a stroke than to look at very good players doing it. With the one-handed bh that's a little bit more difficult.

    Pros will always have three things you should not copy in your backhand right away. You should not have supination at all at first. Just try to hit as far in front of you as you comfortably can, and hit the ball from below, this will give you enough spin for the beginning. Supination comes naturally as soon as you get comfortable and as a result more lose when hitting.
    That also is the 2nd point. The oh-bh always looks very fluent and lose, but when first learning it you should try to keep a solid stance and also compact throughout your body. Add the flow when you're more used to the shot.
    This is also true for body rotation. Pros will open up their waist when hitting the ball. As a beginner i recommend you to keep your body in the closed stance you approach the ball in, until after the ball is hit. This will make it much more easy to control.
     
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  38. anubis

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    1HBHs require more time to set up than a 2HBH does. If you're trying to hit a ball with a lot of pace on the run, you're better off slicing it. I suggest practicing with a wall or a ball machine so that you have plenty of time to set up.

    Setting up the shot is key. You need to put your right foot forward, turn your whole body, use your left arm to pull the racquet back nice and far, and then let it rip, but don't turn your whole body to look at the ball until after you've finished contacting it.

    A lot of beginner players turn their whole body and watch the ball travel to the other side of the court. Opening up your body like that will launch the ball into the stratosphere.
     
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  39. watungga

    watungga Semi-Pro

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    Same high take back every shot (even high balls). Drop the racket as you begin you swing and step forward (power step) with your body weight into the ball (very important never to have your weight falling back). Make contact.. SHANK!

    .. make contact, supinate early.. SHANK!

    These 2 occassions never deserted me for ages. I'm blaming "Step forward" and "suppinating early" all the effing time.
     
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  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    McEnroe would argue about the high takeback.
     
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  41. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    The step is very important, and key to a consistency and power.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW2_dyj6QiM

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


    Thinking about supinating will probably cause problems. Let it flow naturally by doing everything else right.


    And Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras and James Blake.
     
    #41
  42. gbgTennis

    gbgTennis New User

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    Edberg actually had a pretty high takeback, Blake's is probably as low as McEnroe's was though.
     
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  43. FrisbeeFool

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    That's what I've been saying for weeks. No sound ball-striker hits a shot, and thinks to themselves, "I will now supinate", during their stroke. It's a consequence of other things happening early in the stroke. That's why all these threads about how max supination and pronation and every other buzzword are the key to understanding the modern game are so counterproductive. When you're teaching someone to pronate on a serve, you don't even have to use the word pronation. You can have them throw a football and then mimic the release where the forearm and hand turn over. The guys that really pronate on serves aren't thinking at contact, ok time to pronate. It happens so dramatically because they have great fundamentals, like their shoulder turn and uncoiling which build the racket speed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
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  44. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    Don't think about supinating on a one-hander Worry about other things like early prep, hitting through contact, keeping your hips sideways and extending forward.
     
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  45. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Depends what people mean by "take back."

    When I say "low takeback", I mean, from the ready position, he's taking the racket back from underneath his shoulder. Someone once referred to this as a "pendulum" takeback, which is rare at the pro level today.

    Like a pendulum, it's low at the bottom, but can reach a high point if the arc is big enough. Edberg had a very big arc.

    So I think of "takeback" as the early part of the backswing, but not the entire backswing.

    Using that terminology, I'd say Edberg had a low takeback but high backswing.
     
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  46. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    ............................
     
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  47. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    I don't see the need for both terms to represent something different, but upon reexamining Edberg's 1hbh, you are correct. I'm not really a fan of such takeback but I'd consider it's a low takeback. It worked for him because of his height. He'll have hard time dealing with high topspin balls of modern tennis tho.

    I'd consider Fed's takeback medium high. and Guga's takeback high. and the high take back is the best imo. esp in modern game. the high takeback and strong wrist control can deal with any types of balls.
     
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  48. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    I see your point.

    On the other hand, there needs to be some word to describe the phase of the stroke we're talking about, specifically the hand movement/positioning at the early part of the unit turn.


    Arguably, a high takeback can make it easier to generate topspin.

    But for "handling" topspin, meaning hitting against a high, spinny ball, I don't think a low takeback is a liability. I think the chief advantages of a low takeback are: a smaller overall stroke, faster reaction, easier to hit on-the-rise and low balls, and easier adjustment to return of serve.

    The downside is that it's less fluid, doesn't drop into the power position as naturally, and requires more work from the off hand.
     
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  49. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The downside.
    You mean like the downsides of the 2hbh also?
     
    #49
  50. nat75

    nat75 Rookie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Messages:
    207
    #50

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