Courier and my backhand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TheLambsheadrep, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    Watching some Courier backhand vids today I see similarities with mine, minus his being a pro stroke and all haha. I am a R hander, and my R hand has an eastern bh grip and my L hand has a SW grip, so not as extreme as his L hand having a Western grip. I think the follow through is the tell tale sign of a more extreme grip for the bh - it's really hard to come all the way over and/or around the shoulder without releasing the right hand (as someone kind of mentioned above with Agassi). Plus, the string bed tends to be more parallel to the ground at the end of the follow through instead of the standard perpendicular, and it's really unnatural for the racquet to come all the way back behind the head and for the racquet head to be pointing left, like what Novak tends to do. Now this is just my short experience with the shot, and like I said, I am not pro and no Courier. I see from my video footage that I need to really work on my balance and use less wrist(s), so in theory if those were fixed it may change the follow through entirely. In fact, I have a feeling my inability to follow through all the way behind my head is from using wrists and not arms to swing through the shot. But I see a lot of my follow through, at least, in this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB4FXsMBBpU

    I will say that from my videos I can see this grip does produce between half and full PTD positioning almost every time despite parts of my motion definitely not being sound, which is more than the majority of pros. Whether this is a good thing is still in debate, but I'm just putting it out there. I also see that my L arm is bent (and just like a left handed baseball swing as people said about Courier), but I think it could just as easily be straight (like the whole distance and bent/straight arm fh thing). Courier and I (see what I did there :p ) don't get the racquet head up very far up on the initial take back, but again, this could be "wrong" and easily altered.

    BTW, my hands are like this

    [​IMG]

    read this for more info
    http://tennis.about.com/od/forehandb...pclosewt_3.htm

    And as for balance...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm seeing a lot of this in myself, and I need to swing my left leg out and behind me to catch my balance. I'm going to watch Courier match play to see what he does
     
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  2. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    Anyone know where I can find some Courier backhand videos that aren't full matches or one stroke clips?! haha
     
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  3. tennisfan69

    tennisfan69 New User

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    tennisplayer.net ...
     
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  4. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Courier's bh was a bit unusual, though it worked. I saw a junior girl, about 17, hitting with this style of backhand about six months ago. She was a solid player, probably upper end of open level for her age group based on how hard and consistently she was hitting (i.e. pretty hard, pretty consistent).

    If you go with this bh I wouldn't be too worried about what other players like Djokovic, et al are doing. Their stroke is so different that the only real similarity is that they have two hands on the racquet. I think you're on the right track to find videos of Courier. You might want to experiment with his left hand grip too. I don't know what parts of that stroke you can mix and match with other things and still have it work.
     
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  5. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Is the Courier backhand similar to the Nadal backhand?

    If it is, we have;

    1). The Courier/Nadal backhand which is the most extreme and has a windshield wiper finish.

    2). The Djokovic/Gulbis/Bruguera backhand which is standard finish but with wrist snap and high 'over-the-shoulder' finish.

    3). The Connors/Murray type backhand which is very flat and horizontal and often finishes low.

    Would you agree with that? Which type is Nalbandian's?

    Not sure how the bent/bent, bent/straight, straight/straight elbows debate comes into this - I think you can hit all three styles with both arms straight, one arm straight, or both arms bent.
     
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  6. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    The Courier 2hbh is inherently a very restrictive stroke. I don't recommend it.

    As for the grip, Courier and the other guy you posted are using very different grips. Courier has his fingers bunched together in a fist and the heel pad of his palm somewhat behind the handle. The other guy has his fingers slanted and his heel pad more towards the top of the handle.

    This is a huge difference in the orientation of the racket. Courier's grip will end up playing more "stiff."

    I recommend the other guy's over Courier's.

    Courier's backhand is basically a 1hbh without the advantages of the 1hbh. In a way, it's the worst of both worlds. It has less reach than a conventional 2hbh and it lacks the racket plow-through of the 1hbh.

    If you truly are using a Courier 2hbh and are having problems, you might want to experiment with a 1hbh since you wouldn't be far off. It's interesting because I've watched him on the senior's tour and saw him hit a few 1hbh's when stretched wide. Now that he's older and slower he'll probably have to do that more.

    Also, read my comments to always_crosscourt below


    1. No. Courier and Nadal are very different, aside from their straight arms. The key is in the orientation of their wrists. Nadal has a bend in his wrist from the backswing, and this allows his loose wrist to swing the rackethead through on the forward swing. Courier has a straight wrist, like Agassi (and like a 1hbh). But unlike Agassi, Courier's extreme grip makes it harder for his racket to plow through the ball using supination of his bottom arm (instead, it moves more up and down).

    2. I'll have to review Gulbis and Bruguera.

    3. No, Conners/Murray are very different. Connors had a straight front arm along with a straight wrist (like a 1hbh). Murray's has a bent front arm, and bent wrist, while his back arm is straight. So Murray's back arm is playing a bigger role in the swing than Connor's. In fact, Connors often times let go of the racket with his top hand soon after contact, like Borg.


    So we have three players who used straight arm / straight wrist. Courier, Connors and Agassi. Courier's bh was inferior to the other two because of his extreme grip. Connors and Agassi both obviously had good/great backhands, but what made Agassi's better than Connors is that Agassi pronated his bottom arm on the backswing (look at the snap back), which gave him much more power from the resulting supination.
     
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  7. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    I think I don't have as much as a double fist going on my bh as Courier does. I shift the grip in my R hand just a bit from a SW fh to more of an eastern (than extreme eastern) bh grip. If I didn't shift, I would be hitting more with a fist since that's found on the fh (how Cheetah would have me hit at least haha, I'm trying! ). Since I do shift, I think I keep the grip as loose/spaced out as it needs to be to shift the racquet in the first place. It's hard to speculate about where that guy's heel pad is on the end of the handle, since again, on a fh it's supposed to be that low. In my eyes it looks like it could be that low in the pic, and it's hard to find other photos of that grip to compare with.

    I just think my motion and Couriers motion are very similar in regards to balance, contact, and follow through (at least). The grips are a little different from the get go since my L hand is positioned like a L handed SW fh and his is like a L handed western fh. From there, like mentioned above, there are prob little differences here and there with grip positioning and stuff.

    Just to clarify, I do want to say that I did not model my bh after Courier. I developed it out of desperation two summers ago and would say it's my "2nd" bh. The similarities are something I just saw yesterday, but I have been looking for a pro that had that same/similar grip in the About.Tennis article. I was mainly looking for pros with a similar follow through since I believe that's the biggest giveaway. I came upon this stroke since my "1st" bh - the "standard" bh - stunk. I believe now that it was bc of major supination at the beginning of the forward swing = no PTD = balls hitting the back fence. While the "2nd" has an extreme grip and shaky-ish form, there is clear PTD in my bh which gives me the results I'm looking for.

    But, as a student of the game, I now think the problem-causing-problem of my "1st" bh was that I didn't get the racquet head up hardly at all. Essentially, I swung low to high, not high-low-high, which gave the ball nowhere to go but up, created the open racquet face, and provided 0 topspin. I see that I still need to get the head higher with this "2nd" bh, but the extreme grip helps compensate (can see this with Courier). I am watching a lot of good vids on virtualtennisacademy.com about scc on the 2HBH and the 2HBH in general, so if I feel like trying the "1st" bh again I'll know what to do this time

    I'm hitting tomorrow, so I will get some good bh footage and post it. We can go over motion/technique specifics from there (it would be easier if there was more Courier/extreme grip footage). I'm excited :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
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  8. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORal0CWaYog&feature=youtu.be

    Fit in a little bit of hitting in before the rain came this afternoon. Gotta say that I was feelin' the bh today, so these are def a good representation of my stroke. I thought it would be easier to see everything from this front angle, but I can do a different one next time if there's a better angle recommended. So let me know what you guys think. The one thing I didn't like is that I thought the camera was recording during some point play when I cuh-rushed a 1st serve bh return, and it would have been another good shot to see the motion of. Oh well, it wasn't the first one and won't be the last :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
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  9. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    OK, I put slow mo in the video and re-uploaded it. Not the best editing job to get the slow mo in there, but I'm heading out the door for who knows how long tonight and and just wanted to make it available. The 1st slow mo is waist high, 2nd is shoulder, and last is as close to knee high as I got today
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    HaroldSolomon said he used a SW backhand with his right hand, and a full W with his left hand, on his 2hbh's.
    He was no slicing fool.
     
    #10
  11. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    Was looking for some videos really quick, didn't find any, but saw he was of the wood racquet era. If that was his real grip, it must have been crazy to see with that little stick haha
     
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  12. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    You definitely got the Courier vibe going with that bh. Courier won 4 GS with it so what the hey.

    Tighten up the footwork some (says king of the bad footwork). You're falling backward or to the side on a lot of your hits.
     
    #12
  13. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    I definitely agree, and the thing is this hitting video probably showed some of the better balance I have with it haha. I think getting more back (left) leg into the shot and propelling it around to finish with an open stance will help keep it from being too passive and only used to catch myself. Or should I just go with a more neutral/full neutral stance?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
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  14. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Do what Courier does. He's the expert with that swing.
     
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  15. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    I've found a healthy amount of Courier bh clips and I can see one big factor in balance - his go to bh stance is neutral where mine is leaning toward closed. In my video, I see myself taking a pretty big lunge across my left foot, I guess at some point this just felt right. I know it's not necessarily bad to be somewhat closed on the bh, but I do think it's what's throwing off my balance. If I ghost swing from a neutral stance, I find it much easier to stay upright. How this will change my shot i do not know, but I can see it definitely helping my balance.
     
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