Agassi's Comments on Roddick's Backhand Technique and the Role of the Right Hand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by rkelley, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    #51
  2. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    Jaramillo worked with Bollettieri for 26 years, I think he knows.
     
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  3. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    That depends on how you define an Eastern grip. In recent years, there has been an attempt to standardize the definitions by specifying specific parts of the hand and specific bevels on the racquet. But, if you consider Federer's backhand grip to be an Eastern grip, then Agassi's right hand is definitely not an Eastern grip. It appears to be about half way in between the modern definition of Eastern and Continental.
     
    #53
  4. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Look at the picture and judge for yourself. In the picture Agassi's index finger knuckle on his right hand does not appear to be on bevel one as it would for an E bh. It's on the ridge between bevel 1 and 2 at most.

    Perhaps the picture's an anomaly.
     
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  5. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    agree

    10 chars
     
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  6. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    You're correct -- brain fart on my part.
     
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  7. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    So Agassi used primarily his right hand to hit the ball.
    Interesting.
    Great insight from Agassi , thanks for the post.
    I always thought Roddick's 2HB was weak by top pro standards.
    Sometimes it looked like a push with the left hand and he was never really consistent with the 2HB , I though he would be better of slicing and chipping off the backhand cause he seem to have better placement with that shot and just try to run around to his backhand if got a short ball.
     
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  8. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    IMO, based on what Agassi said and what I see him doing when he hits, is that he uses his right hand to set-up the shot. He keeps his left hand soft on the grip. But at contact he's clearly using his left arm and extending it through the contact zone as is typical for a 2hbh. The left arm is very important to his shot.

    But key here is that when you look at slow motion of Agassi hitting he's clearly using his core to store up energy in his arms and wrists and then he lets the racquet whip into the ball. There's a strong kinetic chain.

    I believe the issue with Roddick is that he's so stiff in his bh prep that he tends to cut off the kinetic chain from his core. Even though the core is involved he can tend to mostly just push the racquet through the contact zone with the left hand. It doesn't create much power. I think this was Agassi's point.

    Having said that however, in that USO 2007 QF Roddick was hitting his bh very well - he even had some winners off of it. If you look at Roddick's recent bh you can see that he's attempted to add some softness in his wrists to get some more whip in the racquet. Either way I can't say I'm personally a fan of his bh motion.
     
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  9. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Much of his problem seems related to footwork and weight transfer. Although, it is possible that treating it too much like a left-handed forehand is interfering with his weight transfer.


    I've noticed that Agassi will occasionally let go with his left hand shortly after contact, before he's done with the finish. I think he tends to do this when he adds a lot of spin.


    The left is definitely extending, but I wonder to what degree he is actively pushing his left hand through, or if it's mainly just following through passively.


    Agassi really slaps the ball more than anyone else.

    I think this is because he keeps his right wrist straight and pronates his right forearm as his racket drops (which is triggered by straightening his left arm). This puts it into the "power position" we see on all modern 1hbhs; racket horizontal, arm wound up, "L" formation, and the buttcap leading the way. I think this is the source of much of his power.

    Other player's (including Djoker and Murray) don't get the same whipping action because they aren't configuring their arms and wrists the same way.
     
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  10. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I agree. It is like Agassi leads with the right hand but let's the left hand take a big role in the contact and finish.

    If you go back a long way, Borg hit a right hand dominate 2HBH but he would also let the left hand assist on the finish - especially on high balls.
     
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  11. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    That's funny, because Wilander, Agassi, Hewitt, Safin, Nalbandian, Nadal, Del Potro, Soderling, Djokovic, Murray, and quite a few others all hit with dominant left hands and they don't seem to have that problem.
     
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  12. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    They are not treating it too much like a left handed forehand. And I never said they did.

    But there is a point where you take it too literally and try to swing a 2hbh too much like a modern forehand, and perhaps that is what Roddick is doing.

    What is too much, you might ask?

    Well, a modern left-handed forehand forward swing usually starts with the weight on the back leg (the back leg is loaded). Whereas a closed/neutral stance 2hbh starts the forward swing with most the weight on the front leg (weight transfer).

    I was saying Roddick may have "forehand"-like mindset that is subtly affecting his backhand footwork and weight distribution.


    By the way, after this whole thread, I don't see how you can still say Agassi is using a "dominant" left hand. Why do you think that?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
    #62
  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I know you nver said they did. Quite the opposite, you've been on this bizarre crusade to prove the unprovable - that a 2hb is not primarily a lhf. But, you're wrong about that. And, they are treating their backhands like lhf's.

    Roddick does nothing like that. If anything, Nadal's 2hb is most similar to a modern forehand.

    What are you talking about! A modern lhf is no different than a modern rhf. That's not the issue at all. Roddich just had a mediocre bh with a defective set up.

    Because that's what it looks like he's doing. If you know anything about how to hit a 2hb, I don't see how you can say that's not what he's doing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
    #63
  14. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    Hey guys. Limpinhitter, I have a great time reading your posts, they are both knowledgeable and well spoken. Beveldevil, I get what you are trying to say.

    I may have had some Roddickisms in my stroke the last few weeks, as in too much forehand body language in the left side, and using footwork and setup similar to a one handed backhand with some lateral weight transfer really helped me yesterday. There may be something to what Beveldevil is getting at, and it may be related to what Agassi was trying to say.
     
    #64
  15. soyelmocano

    soyelmocano Rookie

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    I haven't looked at any video at all to see if what I am about to say is true or not, so there...

    I would guess that Agassi is talking about and maybe does something similar to Hogan. Way back in the day, someone asked Ben Hogan about the role of his right hand in his golf swing. He essentially said that he swung with his left arm/hand (as a righty should) and "smacked the hell out of the ball" with his right.
    So, I believe that Agassi probably pulled through with the right side and smacked the hell out of the ball with the left. A force multiplier.

    Then again, I hit a one hander and a two hander just feels wrong.
     
    #65
  16. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Hogan said he wished he had 2 right hands. Try hitting your 2hb with a dominant left hand and a passive right hand and see what happens.
     
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  17. soyelmocano

    soyelmocano Rookie

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    I think that would feel really weird. Maybe I have my quote or golfer mixed up. I do remember one saying they smacked the hell out of it with the right. Maybe it was Hogan and he said that so that he could smack it twice as hard.

    As I said, I hit one handed so ALL two handers feel weird to me. That said, I think if the left were to be the driving force for most of the backhand, that it would overtake the right side creating a flippy right wrist and backhand that would break down on the leading side. This would seem to create a weak push through the shot. Of course this is just me trying to imagine it. Might be all wrong.
    I would think that the best two hander would be like a golf swing. The leading arm/side would pull the butt of the racquet forward while the left hand drove through to square things up at contact, adding additional racquet head speed in the process. It would be like a race where the right hand, left hand, and racquet face all reach the finish line at the same time, even though the left and racquet face were behind for most of the race. I think the problem some people could have with that is decelerating the right side to square things up.
     
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  18. MikeyBigShot

    MikeyBigShot Rookie

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    In golf we call such a pull/push stroke a maximum participation stroke. Max out the rotation of the core, the pull, and the push of the rear hand. Good stuff! I can't wait to try it tomorrow morning!
     
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  19. MikeyBigShot

    MikeyBigShot Rookie

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    Golf was mostly taught as a left hand dominated game for right handers, and that focused all the power on the rotation of the body with a left arm pull. There are also golfers who focus on powering the golf swing with the right arm (see Tom Tomasello, Tommy Armour, and Mike Austin), and there are golfers who focus on both pull/push dynamics.

    Tommy Armour is the one who said, "hold on with the left and hit the hell out of it with the right arm."

    Hogan wanted 2 hands at impact to beat the ball into the ground as he road his pivot to the left for his famous 'Hogan Fade.'

    When it comes to stroke training/theory golf is way more interesting than tennis.
     
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  20. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    All of the top pros hit their 2hb's like lhf's. All of the top coaches teach the 2hb like a lhf. If you want to learn to hit a 2hb, then you are best advised to treat it like a lhf.
     
    #70
  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Whichever is his dominant hand, Andy sure seems to have a stiff stunted 2hbh compared to all the other pros who use 2hbh.
     
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  22. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Since you included Agassi in "they" then both Agassi himself and John Yandell disagree with you. I'm happy to be in their company.

    Perhaps Agassi and Yandell are on some bizarre crusade as well...

    I think it's rather bizarre that you encourage a strong left arm and passive right arm, yet cite Agassi as a model. The same Agassi who said, "I hit primarily my backhand with my right hand until I make contact then allow the racket head to come around at the end."

    You should probably replace him with Murray in your cut-and-paste suggestion. Murray has a much more conventional swing and gets very good results with it.

    Agassi is highly unconventional, whether or not we see his swing as right or left.


    I was saying a modern lh forehand is different from a modern 2h backhand in key ways, such as weight transfer and stance. If you treat your 2hbh too much like a LF forehand, you will run into problems with those aspects.

    A "forehand" is more than just the arm. It's everything from the feet up.


    Looks can be deceiving, especially if you're looking in the wrong place.

    If we focus on his right arm rather than left, it looks like he's plowing through the ball using the pronation-supination movement of a 1hbh.

    But I allow the possibility that he is adding a push with the left shortly before contact. But even if that is true, it's a stretch to interpret this as left-hand "dominance" throughout the entire forward swing.


    Awesome.


    If by "left-handed forehand" you mean "a dominant left arm", then yes, that's a great way to teach it.

    But if by "left-handed forehand" you mean all aspects of a forehand, from the feet up, then this is false. The closed stance and forward weight transfer figure too prominently in the 2hbh for it to be thought of as a left-handed modern forehand. (Though perhaps it's similar to a left-handed classical forehand.)
     
    #72
  23. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    And this is one of the bigger problems with Roddick's bh (though he was hitting it well in that 2007 USO QF).

    He tried to get some looseness in his wrists later in his career on the bh. Compare his 2007 bh with something from the last year or so. His recent form has him prepping the racquet kind of out front, but then rotating into the ball and letting his wrists flex back a bit before they snap back into the ball. I still didn't like the form, but I'll give him points for trying to improve.
     
    #73
  24. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    nice video thanks, i love agassi and roddick
     
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  25. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    My head is going to explode now having read all of the responses here....
     
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  26. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, I believe that when most ppl compare the the 2hBh to a lefty Fh, they are referring to a classic OTS Fh with a neutral stance & weight shift (and not to a so-called "modern Fh" with a fully open stance). More important, the hips and upper body resemble Fh mechanics much more than a single-handed Bh does. The comparison to the lefty Fh pre-dates the popularity of the open stance, modern Fh.

    What Agassi says and how it appears is a bit misleading. From his perspective, he feels that the right arm is pulling more at the start of the forward swing. Perhaps so. However, it does not look substantially different from players who pull with both arms at the start of the forward swing.

    About mid-way thru the forward swing prior to contact, the left arm takes on a more dominant role. I suspect that this is the same for Agassi (even tho' he words it a bit differently).
     
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  27. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Makes sense.

    The reason why I don't like the LHF analogy on this forum is that I suspect many players here don't really know what the classic forehand is, and probably just assume forehand = "modern forehand".



    Here's what I think is unconventional about Agassi:

    - the pronounced snap back of the rackethead when he starts his forward swing. Worded differently, he sticks out a ton of buttcap. This is caused by the next 4 points.

    - his straight right arm

    - his racket head is very far away from his body at the top of his backswing.

    - his straight wrist; It doesn't bend on the racket drop like most players.

    - the pronation of his right forearm at the racket drop. Because of his straight wrist, he has to pronate on the drop.

    - by the start of his forward swing, his right arm and racket are basically in the "power position" of the 1hbh.

    - his tendency to raise his right shoulder through contact

    - he sometimes lets go with his left hand soon after contact, like Borg. He seems to do this when he adds more spin, like for a cross-court angle. Though I'm not entirely sure how often other players do this, if at all.


    To me, this all suggests a strong right side, at least for the majority of the forward swing.


    It could be that Agassi is actively pushing with the left immediately before contact.

    Or it could be that his left is swinging through passively and his right is taking the lead by supinating.

    Or it could be that they are both passive right before contact, and we are simply seeing inertia.

    Right now, I don't see a way of telling which it is, although I suspect they are both passive before contact and that he basically flings his racket head at the ball (as in a "pull" forehand).


    In any case, I think most of the effort being exerted takes place in the early part of of the stroke.
     
    #77
  28. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I have hit a 2HBH for about 35 years now but still don't consider myself an expert.

    But, I don't buy into the current approach that a 2HBH is nothing more than a left handed forehand. To me, a 2HBH is NOT a left handed forehand.

    Differences:

    1. Footwork is different in that most 2HBH are hit in a neutral or slightly closed stance
    2. Take back is slightly different - many pros do not take the racket head back with it being as high above the hands like a normal forehand. Personally, I like to get the racket head higher than my hands on the 2 HBH but it is not exactly the same take back as my right handed forehand.
    3. Many pros seem to start the stroke with a strong front side and right arm (assuming right handed player). Agassi does this big time. Djoko also does this many times. And, then the left side seems to take a major part at contact and into the follow-thru.
    4. Most pros do not have a pronounced WW follow-thru on the 2 HBH like the normal forehand. This may be because the 2 HBH grips tend to only close the racket face a small amount compare to SW or soft E forehand grips. Modern forehand grips close racket face more on the bottom of the backswing, at contact and after contact assisting with WW finish. 2 HBH grips don't close the face quite as much and the roll into a WW motion is much later on 2 HBH.

    Just my thoughts but a 2 HBH is not exactly like a normal forehand to me.
     
    #78
  29. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    Roddick does have a weak 2HB(whether it right or left hand dominant, who cares?) and should just accept it and play more one handed slices for placement than for power strokes.
    I sure he would have won more if he adapted this stragety.

    What I find funny is that if it was Roddick commentating on Agassi's play, he
    would have said something like "there's a fundamental flaw in Agassi's serve"
    Despite Agassi having an average to below average serve by tour standards(who cares?) he got his serve in play and he played to his strengths and won more matches compared to Roddick.
     
    #79
  30. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    There's a range of 2hb's among the players and within each player's repertiore. But, first, a classic Eastern drive forehand does not finish over the shoulder, it finishes at the target or slightly past the target. Second: (1) the hip and upper body rotation of the 2hb generates angular momentum like a modern forehand, (2) some players like Nadal use a WW finish like a modern forehand, although it's not practical to finish low with 2 hands on the racquet, and (3) the left hand is (or at least should be), dominant over the right hand when hitting a 2hb. You can also hit very effectively with an open stance, although a neutral stance is preferable because you are hitting with two hands on the racquet, not from the back shoulder like you would be with a forehand.

    Nadal's right hand dominance and WW finish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnfsKxLkWlM
    Close up of Nalbandian's left hand dominance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XphTboHQLtA
    Djokovic left hand dominance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxzCe3sipgg
    More WW finishes from Nadal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=j86FuSXtWUM&NR=1
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
    #80
  31. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    1. Roddick is retired.
    2. Agassi had a very good serve, not an average or below average serve.
     
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  32. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    Limp
    Judging by the number of posts you have, you must like to win more points on the forum than on the tennis courts.
     
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  33. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Great argument. You win!
     
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  34. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    But the point is that the WW 2hbh is not the norm. Whereas the WW is the norm for the modern forehand.


    Also, in the second video, he's clearly pulling with his left, then lifting with his right just before contact. (Look at the muscle bulge in his left arm at the start of his swing. That's hardly "passive.")

    Both arms are playing important roles, but for Nadal it starts with a dominant front arm, as we can see in the clip, and as John Yandell has pointed out.

    Perhaps using a strong, straight front arm makes it easier to WW the racket head using the off hand.

    As for the first video, yes he does seem to use more right arm, but he's hitting a ball that's below his knee cap, so that's hardly a representative clip.


    Good points. I overlooked the WW aspect in my list. Nice catch.
     
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  35. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    The Man of La Mancha still tilting at windmills.
     
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