Backhand Technique: Agassi Speaks

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by Postpre, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Postpre

    Postpre Rookie

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    So, I'm watching a YouTube video of Roddick/Federer (2007 US Open) and Agassi was the guest commentator to start the match. McEnroe noted that Agassi's arms on his backhand (when he was playing) seemed very relaxed until he made contact, while Roddick's seemed stiffer when he takes it back on the backhand side, making it harder to generate pace. Agassi then elaborated:

    "No question. He has definitely a fundmental issue with his.....He hits the ball with his left hand (he has weak right grip), and he pushes it back in with his left hand. The harder he tries to hit it the more it looks like he is just sort of rising up on the shot. I hit primarily my backhand with my right hand until I make contact, then allow the racket head to come around at the end". McEnroe then asks if he can make that adjustment or is too late. Agassi responds, "Um, I'd have to watch him give that a go, it comes a little bit more naturally to some than others, no question. The best backhands in the world, are the ones where the racquet head is up, there's a strong right hand with it."

    I'm coaching my 7 year old son (who shows good ability). Is this what I should try to instill in him?
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
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  2. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    No, do it Roddick's way, that will be better :p
     
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  3. Postpre

    Postpre Rookie

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    Quite funny. I remember an instructional video on YouTube (that received a lot "Likes") where the instructor said that a backhand (for a righty) is like a left handed forehand, and that the left arm does 90% of the work and the right arm does 10% (basically there for just support).

    Agassi's comments run completely counter to this way of thinking.

    I guess I wonder why Agassi's method wouldn't be the best for all players, and why some players have a hard time adapting to this seemingly superior backhand technique.
     
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  4. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    Why should a player hit a two-handed backhand? Generally, it is because the forehand stroke can develop more power than the one-handed backhand stroke. Learning to hit a 2HBH like a left-handed forehand, with help from the right hand, makes sense. Learning to hit a 2HBH like it is mostly a 1HBH does not make a lot of sense to me.

    You will find that many athletes learned to do odd things while young and then got used to it. The main comments that Agassi made that you should emulate are (1) don't let the racquet head drop low on the 2HBH, and (2) have a relaxed swing, not a swing that is tight against the body (like Roddick).
     
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  5. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    You'll see some strong comments about it must be like a left handed forehand and the right hand being passive. I think it can work both ways honestly.

    Having said that, for me it works to do follow the classic advice and hit it more like a left handed forehand. I keep my right hand very soft on the grip until right before I start my swing forward. However the right hand for me is critical for whipping the racquet into the ball to generate pace so it serves a critical role.

    I think McEnroe is right on in that you have to keep your arms and hands relaxed and also Agassi's comment that the head of the racquet should be up. For me keeping my right hand soft on the grip before the swing allows me to keep my arms and wrists loose before the swing. However I've talked to other players (and apparently Agassi agrees with this) who do the opposite - they keep their left hand loose on the grip. But if both hands are tight then you cut off the kinetic chain - you won't be able to load your arms with the energy generated from the core. Even with the two hander you want the power to come from your core, not your arms. If you just push around with your left hand you'll never be able to produce much of your own power on the shot.

    BTW, here's a link to that Fed/Roddick match where Agassi makes his comments.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcZFVQCfOQg

    There's a brutally honest appraisal by Agassi of Roddick's game right before the match starts. It includes the infamous comment about Roddick that "if a rally with Roger goes past six shots Roddick might as well hit it up into the stands." At the 12 minute mark during Roddick's first service game Agassi makes the comments on the backhand.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
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  6. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    Thanks rkelley, that link is great. At around 21:10 in the video, Roddick hits a massive rocket forehand that lands right in front of the baseline, Federer just half-volley's it back for a winner! Some insane points!
     
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  7. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I'm close to ambidextrous, so leading with the left hand works better for me. I just think it depends on the individual.
     
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  8. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    This is, by far, the most common advice given on hitting the 2HBH.
     
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  9. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    Great post. I remember well Agassi saying that. I immediately thought that the right hand being dominant is contrary to everything I have ever heard about the shot. I am a 4.5 senior and a coach. I have been hitting the 2 hander for many years. When it goes off I think, "more left hand". That usually rights the ship. Admitttedly I have not broken down and studied the 2 handed backhand like I have some other strokes. I am not an expert on it.
     
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  10. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    Only if...

    ...you really understand what Agassi is describing.
     
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  11. I Heart Thomas Muster

    I Heart Thomas Muster Semi-Pro

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  12. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    Agassi's description is more lower hand involvement is more of the way people talked about the shot 25 years ago. Think Chris Evert mechanics. It's hard to argue with Andre, but if you watch the best 2H of the last 20 years (Safin, Rios, Kafelnikov, Djokovic, Hewitt, etc...) they's much more upper hand dominant strokes
     
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  13. Tennis_Bum

    Tennis_Bum Professional

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    Or you can skip all of this 2hbh and teach him a one hander.
     
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  14. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Agassi is in the minority. Most 2 hand backhands have the left hand dominant. Some, like Agassi, right hand dominant. Worked really well for him.
    More than one way to skin a cat.
     
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  15. Postpre

    Postpre Rookie

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    Why does Agassi think there is some intrinsic advantage to a more dominant right hand, then? He even went so far as to say that Roddick has a fundamental issue (negative connotation) by utilizing a dominant left hand. How could Agassi not realize that in 2007 there were supposedly many great backhands that utilized a dominant left hand (for a righty)?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
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  16. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    Actually, the Agassi quote about Roddick mixed together several issues, and he might not realize which ones are important, which are related or unrelated to each other. A lot of athletes only know the way they did things, and they believe in that way because they are comfortable with it. That is why a lot of great athletes are not great coaches.
     
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