Advice on my SH Backhand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by MoShow, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. MoShow

    MoShow New User

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    Hi Guys,

    Just new here (read a lot topics) and thought let's give it a shot.
    I am from the Netherlands and playing tennis a couple of years now. I really love it and still trying to improve.

    Here is a video of a single handed BH drill last year and thought maybe some of the advanced guys here could give me some advice!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlHgtRf5Yec
    (Don't bother the dutch commentary at the background :) )

    Thank you!

    PS, yesterday at the Rotterdam ATP where I saw a practise session of Fed and BabyFed, which was awesome!
     
    #1
  2. righty

    righty New User

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    OK, how can I hit like that?
     
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  3. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    YouTube is banned here (Pakistan). This is the best drill for single-handed BH:

    Establish a cross court rally with a partner (ad court), on a bit easier ball hit a winner down the line.
     
    #3
  4. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    You need to make sure your racket drops to horizontal before (or shortly after) the start of your forward swing. Use your left hand to help drop the rackethead to horizontal. In your video, you seem to be swinging before your racket gets close to horizontal.

    Watch this video and compare the "power position" of Federer/Henin with what you're doing in the video. Try to pause your video (or watch it in slow motion) and compare what you're doing with them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqBEErW0vTA#t=4m57s


    One last note: If you're willing to experiment with a different stroke style you should try straightening out your arm earlier. (If you watch the whole video, notice how much earlier Henin straightens compared to Federer). Here's Wawrinka doing it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZpIDzwuW1c

    You may find it easier to generate power and gain consistency by doing it.

    Federer and Dimitrov's backhands are unusual in how late their arm straightens out.
     
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  5. ramos77

    ramos77 Semi-Pro

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    not enough top spin IMO.

    as above, you're not dropping your racquet
     
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  6. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    if you go frame by frame, he does drop to horizontal... am I missing something?

    quite a beast of a bh... the only thing that I would suggest is to let it come around a bit earlier..... right now that 'going down the line' thing seems to be just a tad manipulated
     
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  7. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I'd say you're building a pretty nice stroke.

    I agree with our pals here, including luvforty above, in terms of your "manipulation" of the stroke and also the progression or "unwinding" of your forward move through contact. Not that you need to complicate things, but it looks like a slightly longer forward progression will really get the physics of this stroke working well for you.

    When our shoulders are a little open through contact, it's often the case that we (I hit a one-hander, too) are using too much shoulder muscle to steer the racquet through the ball. That's especially the case when we hit down-the-line instead of cross court. You could experiment with the idea of showing your shoulder blade (the back of your right shoulder) to the ball before you swing. This may give you a complete turn and generally better windup for hitting in any direction.

    What that requires is getting to the "set" position just slightly sooner so that there's time for the full progression through contact with no rush. Compared with the more compact set-and-fire we usually enjoy with a forehand stroke, the one-hander needs just a tiny extra fraction of a second to "get going", but it should also have more power and predictability that way.

    Your slightly open shoulders may also be forcing you to crowd the ball just a little bit to reach it. That prevents us from using our full swing radius for that backhand - that kills power and spin potential. If you setup with a more complete turn, you may also need to deliberately give the ball a little more room to use your comfortable full reach through the stroke. You might actually find more power than your forehand stroke when you strike the right balance here.

    Remember to adjust your body's height according to the height of the incoming ball. Many of your strokes in the video have you finish with a straight front leg, but I'm not sure that you need that too much. Just pointing this out (no emergency) so it doesn't become ingrained in your follow through. Lower balls could be under your "strike zone" too often if it does.
     
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  8. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    As far as I can tell, it's going horizontal as he's pulling the racket forward, which I think it too late for a consistent stroke.


    Btw, I tried going frame-by-frame using the right arrow key, but that usually skips several frames. What are you doing to get f.b.f? Is this browser-dependent?


    Can you clarify what you mean here?
     
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  9. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    oh.. f.b.f yes it does skips several frames... why would a late horizontal position cause inconsistency?

    what fuzz said - better coil... also, on the forward swing I'd say let the unwind happen naturally, without trying to use the arm to make the racket going down the target line.
     
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  10. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    is your grip straight E bh or is it a bit extreme?
     
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  11. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Your bh is all arm. You need to incorporate your body into the shot.
     
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  12. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    this cheetah fella has some high standards
     
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  13. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    his form looks pretty good for his level. looks like it could develop into a real nice shot. just saying that 'one' of the things he'll want to want on eventually will be incorporating more body/leverage etc .
     
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  14. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    You have any videos of your backhand as a reference?
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Very nice, especially for less than 3 years.
    Your swingspeed seems very fast, and your shots have lots of topspin. Your ball also goes barely faster than the incoming ball machine shots, but that's fine if it's good for your style of game.
     
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  16. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    why would you want my bh as a reference?
     
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  17. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Because you are the expert?
     
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  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    To give great advice doesn't mean the player has to play great.
    Often, a coach can spot flaws and give spot on advice even if he can't replicate the stroke himself.
    That's the purpose of a coach. To GIVE ADVICE.
    If the coach can do every well himself, he'd be still playing on the ATP tour.
     
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  19. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    cool story.
     
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  20. MoShow

    MoShow New User

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    Guys,

    Thank you already for the great advices!

    @righty, I am sorry, don't know, just practise a lot, hit it, and always try to improve..

    @BevelDevil, luvforty and fuzznation, well I read Beveldevel's advices and directly went out and practise :), trying to achieve a better power position definetely adds power to my stroke, although the timing and rythm of the drop and then the forward hit is something that takes a lot of time to master I guess. (Am I not going to hit my right knee with the buttcap??:shock:) After that I went on practise with a more straight arm and forward swing, that is really something that took 5 min of adjustment (felt a bit awkward at beginning), but damn! That added power and consistency, I was not aware I could hit my backhand like that. Far less frame shots because of pulling the racket to fast up.!

    @boramiNYC, I did not really know, but took my racket in my BH grip and looked it up, --> straight Eastern BH

    @Cheetah, Luvforty also mentioned it, on coiling and better (faster) ready position, which I guess is linked with to much arm usage (which I agree on that I use that) But can you clarify or give an example how to incorporate body/leverage into the shot?! Really curious to find out and practise!

    @LeeD, Nice observation, It is true that I am struggling with adding pace on the backhand side, but I already found out that incorporating the power position and a more forward swing with straighten arm adds a lot of power,....curious at Cheetah's post on bodyleverage!
     
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  21. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Tough to analyze this video in normal speed while trying to find things. Maybe I am doing something wrong but would rather provide advice with some step framing or slomo.

    Weight transfer to your front foot appears awkward or just not transferring consistently on each ball. You need to get more on that front foot for power.

    On some swings you have a hitch meaning you are not taking the racquet up and then down and back up to meet the ball.

    Ball speed for practice was way too fast and you are swinging too hard.. The fast ball speed is probably contributing to your lack of weight transfer and having a hitch in your swing which could mean you are trying to mature too fast.

    The onehandeed backhand is not a cannon. It is a bow and arrow. Power comes from weight transfer, timing, and a repeatable simplistic swing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
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  22. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    it would be good if we had a side view of your bh.

    Well... bungalo bill laid out a lot of it. If you have good weight transfer and timing then good leverage will come out of that.

    leverage is exerting force upon another object in a 'lever' like manner. at the moment of truth (contact) you should have all the parts of your body working together to provide the most leverage possible.

    If you had to smash a wall in front of you with your racquet using backhand form you would probably naturally generate more leverage. You would get your legs more into the smash. you would step into it. You would make contact far out in front of your body. you would probably use your body rotation and arm together. you would coil and uncoil. You would try to 'explode' at the moment of contact.

    currently your arm and torso rotation are not working together. your arm is swinging 'on it's own' so at contact you are not getting as much leverage as you could be from your hips, torso and legs. The timing and weight transfer could be better. Most of your energy and weight transfer are stopping before contact. Then it's your arm alone doing the work. It's not horrible but the timing is a little off.

    Also, Your grip is a little extreme imo. Most rec players who don't have a good 1hbh yet tend to gravitate towards extreme grips. The reason for that is that they get more leverage in their hand that way. They feel they can hold the racquet better. The extreme grip allows them to 'push' the ball with their hand behind the racquet more like in a fh.
    (the 1hbh should not be a 'push'. It should be a pull type action from the shoulder. Like bill said 'bow and arrow - not cannon'.)
    They feel they can't control the racquet and provide leverage with a more conservative grip. These players also tend to swing 'with their arm'.

    A good way to develop better timing, weight transfer and leverage is to go to a more conservative grip. All of the best 1hbh players have pretty conservative grips, with a few exceptions. If you make your grip more conservative like a standard eastern bh grip then that will force you to generate the power and leverage from your whole body instead of just your arm. A more conservative grip also gives your hand more range of movement for more varying spins and control etc.
    if that makes sense...
     
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  23. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    What, that's bull - or at least state it's your opinion because it's not anywhere near fact. The best 1hbh's on the tour right now use an extreme grip (Volandri, Gasquet, Almagro)

    There are two main ways of hitting a 1hbh, as far as I'm aware.

    1). Typically uses a conservative grip, (continental to weak eastern), does not use much upper body rotation, instead flys back the non-hitting arm to prevent the torso from rotating. Your problem with this style is that it's 'arming' the ball.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtSsFPX2avY

    2). Typically uses an extreme grip (strong eastern to semi-western), and does incorporate significant torso rotation. Your problem with this style is that it's 'not using the whipping effect of the kinetic chain efficiently.'

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZpIDzwuW1c

    So you have a problem with both.

    You claim that for the 'proper' way to hit a 1hbh, you should violently rotate your torso, leave your arm floppy so that it just starts moving, then violently stop rotating your torso just before contact with the ball so that your arm whips through the shot. The arm is floppy throughout the whole motion. Now who is going to be able to bear all of that information in mind whilst executing a stroke without messing it up completely. Way too much information, way too overcomplicated...

    ....and not even necessary to play the game at the highest level - I just gave video examples of a pro who barely rotates his torso at all before or during contact, and an example of a pro who continues to rotate his torso before, during and after contact.

    I don't care how good your rec level 1hbh is - it certainly isn't better than Dimitrov's or Wawrinka's, yet you're claiming the way they hit the ball is fundamentally incorrect.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
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  24. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    your level of reading comprehension is low.
    'voilently rotate'? where did i say that?
    i didn't say extreme grips were fundamentally incorrect. most players have conservative grips on the 1hbh. that's fact.

    i don't have a problem with either style and i disagree with all your statements above regarding rotation and kinetic chain etc. Just because the off arm prevents rotation past contact somewhat does not mean they are not rotating.

    Dimitrov is rotating his torso. It's obvious.
    too much info is better than your mis-info.
     
    #24
  25. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Off arm should pause rotation at contact as racquet goes through the ball before finishing.
     
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  26. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Your level of comprehending the things you have written yourself is low. You said 'all the best 1hbh's' are conservatively gripped. Need I remind you that the very best 1hbh's on tour right now are somewhat extreme. Wawrinka, Almagro and Gasquet. But whatever, I can't be fvcked to get into this pedantic tripe with you.

    I've read your advice on the forums, you say that to hit a backhand you must;

    1). Begin the stroke by rotating your torso.
    2). Your arm is loose and will drag behind the rotating torso.
    3). Stop rotating your torso just before contact. Flinging back your non-hitting arm helps with that.
    4). Stopping the torso abruptly before contact transfers all the energy onto your racket arm which is now free to whip onto the ball.

    The problem I have with all of that is it's WAY too complicated, and perhaps the best 1-hander on tour today doesn't do it.

    Look at the video of Wawrinka. He rotates his torso all throughout contact - he does not stop the rotation just before. His non-hitting arm is not flung back - it moves around with his torso rotation. This gives a simpler, more natural stroke. And has Wawrinka's spin or power suffered? Lol, I would argue not.

    But you know better than Wawrinka.

    You need to explain to me why Wawrinka is not hitting a fundamentally sound backhand, and why he is inefficiently using the kinetic chain.
     
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  27. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    it was a typo. i meant 'most' not 'all' of course.

    wawrinka has a conservative grip. his off arm doesn't move around. it's extended a little more to the side. it's still serving THE SAME PURPOSE as those with less rotation and a back flung arm.
    i never said 'the arm will drag behind'. i said 'the racquet lags. the arm is loose as it should be in all strokes. the arm and torso move together. it's called timing. the rotation slows or stops whatever and the racquet whips through.
    i never said 'stop the rotation abruptly'. nobody 'stops abruptly'. not sure how you gleaned this.

    comprehension my friend...
     
    #27
  28. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Christ, you split the finest hairs and then claim that I have no reading comprehension.

    The racket lags behind the body? That is the same thing as dragging behind the body, which is what I said. And it's definitely not the same thing as the body and arm moving as a unit, which would insinuate they move together instead of one dragging (or lagging, whatever) behind.

    If the torso is to stop rotating during the swing - how can it not stop abruptly? Think how quickly a stroke happens. How can one possibly have time to think about accelerating and then slowly decelerating their torso rotation - all before contact with the ball is made? How can the stroke possibly be explosive if you have to start rotating your torso and then slowly stop it rotating before you make contact with the ball? Furthermore, the 'whip' effect of transferring the energy from the torso to the arm can only be achieved if one component (ie. the torso) stops moving abruptly.

    I do not see this 'whip' effect in several pro backhands;

    Look at Gaudio here;

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

    His non-hitting arm is by his side all throughout contact with the ball. Only after does it extend for balance purposes - but by then the ball has long been struck.

    This means his non-hitting arm definitely did NOT 'help to decelerate his torso from rotating just before contact, therefore transferring the energy from the torso to the racket arm' - as in your theory of how the 1hbh should be hit.

    Wawrinka's non-hitting arm in the vid I linked also is pointing to the side fence, (and not the back fence) during contact and after contact, therefore cannot have stopped his torso rotating before contact. His non-hitting arm swung around with his torso - so couldn't possibly have stopped his torso from rotating.
     
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  29. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    It's nice to hear you had immediate improvement! Power position and an early straight arm make a huge difference.

    The straight arm will feel "heavier" when you swing it, so it will take some practice to get used to the timing. But the stability and power of the straight arm will pay off.


    To use your body more, at lot of it has to do with proper weight transfer. Fortunately, this is easy to do. Watch that video I posted right before he talked about the power position. Proper heel-to-toe timing at the racket drop will allow the body to uncoil more naturally. And look at how Federer/Henin are leaning into the shot.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqBEErW0vTA#t=4m26s
     
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  30. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    no. you said i said the arm lags/drags. it does not and I didnt say that.

    you dont have to think about it. technique and using your off arm handles it for you.

    the 'whip' effect is clearly there in his swing. he's transferring his weight, his rotation slows and the speed of his arm increases after his rotation slows. it's not as pronounced as some players but it's still there.

    slowing the rotation has the same effect as 'stopping'. you don't need to 'fully stop' rotation of course. but with correct technique the more the rotation slows the more racquet whipping you will get.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
    #30
  31. MoShow

    MoShow New User

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    Well I am not going to interrupt in this discussion, because I clearly don't know the 'right answer'... But I think that, whatever grip u are using, the coil-ucoiling-stop swing comes naturally if u pay attention to the other parts in the stroke (weight transfer etc)..

    I will try to practise all your advices, thank you very much! I hope that when I am able to master the weight transfer (which add leverage as I read), rotate my shoulder/body more when preparing and incorporate the power position, my backhand will improve to a level where it is stable en powerfull enough to compete. Will definetely try to make a new video then and post it!

    Unfortunately I am also just a weekend warrior so have to wait till friday before I can practise...:twisted:
     
    #31
  32. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Try to find time to shadow stroke. In the office, in the shower... ;)
     
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  33. Buford T Justice

    Buford T Justice Semi-Pro

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    Regardless of any of the banter above, know that your BH is better than 99% of them out there.

    All this gets made too complicated. And...just wait 10 years and then the "proper" way to hit a stroke will change again.....!!!!!
     
    #33
  34. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Maybe sooner than that. It's possible that the retirement/reduced visibility of Roger Federer may be the best thing for the health of the 1hbh.

    While he has inspired many people to give it a try, he's a terrible model for beginners, and has probably either significantly stunted many players development and/or created converts/re-converts to the 2hbh.

    Unfortunately, there's this Dimitrov guy coming along...
     
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