Double Handed on Both Sides

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Naijatennis, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Naijatennis

    Naijatennis New User

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    We have recently added a very interesting new addition to our junior girls training group. She is only 8 years old but an incredible bundle of energy with really great speed, stamina and footwork. She is short and small but is very strong without an ounce of fat on her. Her father has taught her the game with no background or resources. Due to a lack of resources she is using a full size racket with a size 4 grip (as this was the prize given to her in her last U12 tournament win). She currently plays double handed on both sides and changes her grip so on her forehand her left hand is at the bottom and vice versa on the backhand.

    What advice would people have on using this style moving forward. Do you think it will limit her as she progresses and as a result should she try and adapt now. Her Dad is very focused on her maintaining power on her strokes and it may take some persuading to get him to agree to take a couple of steps backwards now to make the adjustment as it may mean she doesn't dominate in the short-term. I am also trying to find a way to get her to use a more suitable racket as I worry although she can handle this one well it may not be affecting her physically.

    Anyone who has experience of this style of play I would really appreciate your advice.
     
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  2. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    IMO if she plays double-handed on both sides, it's also because her racquet may be too heavy for her.

    Now, some could pull off the double handed tennis. Santoro as a junkballer with some weird lefty slice with left hand at the top of his handle, true Magician, constant slices rather than full hits (but it's not going to be seen on girls' tennis); Bartoli who is full guts and hits rather than technique or strength (she really fights a lot on the court), but she's actually left-handed; Monica Seles, but she's on a whole other level too. Nadal used to, but his uncle though he couldn't make it at high level with his two-hander, and they choose a hand to go with. They chose the left, as Nadal is right-handed but actually plays football (soccer) with his left foot.

    She's going to gain power, but I personally believe the spin and range you get from one handed forehand is a much better advantage than more power. I believe personally she should learn a one handed forehand, although it isn't impossible to be at high level with a two hander, but it's difficult. Although if she has problems holding her racquet, she may have difficulties to learn it. I suggest to make her play with a proper junior sized racquet to avoid any physical and technical problems, even second hand as long as it is decently sized. If you make her learn one, avoid this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0uCQBiH2Ko

    But you have to decide which hand to use, as she seems she doesn't have a really strong hand. I also have to mention all doubles handers up there have a strong hand, and don't change their grips a lot. In fact, the main problem with the style of play for her would be to constantly switch top hand with the bottom one. That's far too time consuming. If she's going to play double handed, the top and bottom hands have to stay the same on both wings so that she doesn't loose time switching grip as the game becomes faster and faster.

    [/2cents]
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
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  3. tennisnj

    tennisnj Professional

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    Having played 2 hands on both sides for my entire tennis career, consistency is the technique's greatest asset. It also helps that I am naturally ambidextrous so I can play 1 handed on both sides if need be, so I'm always experimenting with different grips & techniques. I don't always like to teach the 2-handed technique unless a person isn't strong enough to use 1 hand. Lukhas is right in that it's difficult to generate spin & power, but the trade off is brick wall-like consistency & control.

    I wouldn't say the technique limited me, as I ended up playing in college & play Open level tournaments & leagues.

    Also, Dave Smith of Tennis Mastery (CoachingMastery) I believe is his screen name on here, is the board expert without a doubt on this technique. Although I am an instructor who plays & teaches (if need be) the 2-hands both sides technique, I pick up most of my ideas from what he discusses on here.
     
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  4. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    There have been quite few ATP and WTA as well as collegiate players who have hit double-handed on both sides. Fabrice Santoro ("The Magician"), Pancho Segura, Frew McMillan, Marion Bartoli, Monica Seles and others have done so with quite a bit of success.

    I recall watching one WTA player practicing a few years ago who was switching her hands so that she hit conventional 2-handed BH on both sides. Her hitting partner, however, hit 2-handed on both sides but did not change the positions of her hands (so her arms werre crossed on one side). Locally, there is a guy that played Div I in in this area (at SCU). He played 2-handed on both sides with his left hand on top for his right-handed FH. He could hit very well with a single-handed FH but almost always used 2 hands on both sides when he competed.

    I would have your student learn to hit a single-handed FH and practice it regularly. Do not, however, insist that she abandon her 2-handed FH. She should keep using it in practice and in competition. She may eventually switch to a single-handed FH or she may only use it occasionally. Either way, she should derive some benefit from learning a conventional FH.
     
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  5. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I see no use from hitting it two handed off both sides. You limit power and spin, both of which are crucial as you move up through juniors...

    Just my 2cents.

    -Fuji
     
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  6. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    won't the switching top to bottom of her hands all the time be bad? as she gets bigger and has real pace at her?
     
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  7. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    That's what I fear the most, more than her hitting double handed both sides. If you wanna keep it double handed, you should avoid this. Even if I think one handed forehand would be better.
     
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  8. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    There are three "two-handed forehand" models. Monica Seles/Marion Bartoli version (which I prefer, and I'll say why in a moment), where the dominant hand stays on the bottom; Gene Mayer model which he kept his dominant hand choked up and used his non-dominant hand on the bottom, (and moved his dominant hand down for serves and volleys), and the Jan-Michael Gambil version which was to switch hands and essentially have two, two-handed backhands, one on each side.

    I like the Seles/Bartoli (and many others) version because it teaches the basic advanced foundation principles to all players, improves many aspects of the stroke, (shorter backswing, forces players to move better, natural topspin finish), and it mimics a high-level forehand technique. (When taught correctly.) Also, if taught correctly, the two-handed forehand mirrors most everything about the advanced two-handed backhand. This makes learning so much more effective because the player recognizes the similarities between the two much more...rather than learning two distinctively different strokes.

    The other versions, which I've seen dozens of very successful and highly ranked players use, are more unconventional.

    Without going into all the details of what I recommend from a learning standpoint, (which would take pages to describe), I can only say that I've covered the shot in-depth in both my books, (Tennis Mastery and Coaching Mastery) and outlined the progressions and how to use the two-handed forehand as a tool and as a weapon.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  9. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    A size 4 grip racquet as a prize for a U12 girl? Looks like someone is getting rid of surplus stock.

    She should have contacted the manufacturer for a free replacement, explicitly mentioning the tournament director's name and the likely reps/pro shop owners who might have gifted this.
     
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  10. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Here is a clip of my 8-year old daughter hitting her open stance two-handed forehand after a couple months.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRRzZlrb0s8

    One thing to remember, especially about working with young kids: two-handed forehand, done right, helps the player develop a "repeatable, reliable swing path on command."

    It is no surprise the kids today are generally so much better with their two-handed backhands for this same reason.

    While there are a few exceptions, my 35 years experience has shown me without a doubt that players develop a conventional, advanced and potent forehand faster, and with few--if any--flaws when they learn with a two-handed forehand first. The beauty is that as they do get older, if they are so inclined, the proper two-handed forehand is very easy to evolve into an advanced one-handed forehand with all the properties of a great forehand installed.

    While I don't profess to say that a great two-handed forehand trumps a great one-handed forehand. However, the real issue is how many players develop terrible one-handed forehands and end up never really reaching their potential because of this common event.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Since lots of 2 handed strokes are driven by the upper placed hand, the left for rightie players, it stands to reason an open or neutral stance should work out just fine, since we're talking wraparound finishes and modern strokes here.
    Only old school eastern grips need a closed stance every time.
     
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  12. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I practiced the switch for less that 90 seconds and was able to make the switch with ease. In fact, I can make the switch much faster that I execute my unit turn. The pro players that I've observed can also make the switch in a fraction of a seconds (centi-seconds or deci-seconds). With just a little bit of practice this should be a non-issue.
     
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  13. Naijatennis

    Naijatennis New User

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    Thanks for the feedback. I am trying to sort her out with a more appropriate racket and will ask her Dad to spend some time testing out a single hander and also a more convention DH without the grip change.

    sureshs....it is very sad just how badly tournaments are run over here, i guess the mentality is that you should be happy with what you get.
     
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  14. jackcrawford

    jackcrawford Professional

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    Segura hit a two-handed forehand with his right hand at the top (correct "baseball" style), and then with very quick hands executed a one-handed, right-handed backhand with his right hand all the way at the bottom, not choking up at all. Many who saw the forehand thought it the single greatest shot in tennis history.
     
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  15. USS Tang

    USS Tang Rookie

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    Any videos of Pancho Segura hitting two-handed? I would love to see them.
     
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  16. 1st Seed

    1st Seed Semi-Pro

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQY6GyRenTA
    Hi guys i also hit the baseball style forehand.My strokes are very flat, low, hard, deep,Very little spin with minimal clearance over the net making it very difficult for players to handle.
    Believe me I hear it all the time how it takes people who havent hit with me often,having to adjust there timing footwork to deal with my strokes.Better be early.
    Coach dave my dominant hand is on top?,,,lol
     
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  17. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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  18. moopie

    moopie Rookie

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    A WTA player named Ayumi Morita hits two handed on both sides like you described, where the forehand is essentially a lefty two handed backhand. It looks like she holds her right hand around the middle of the grip and shifts it a little up for her forehand and a little down for her backhand. I think it actually looks really cool, her strokes are super fluid.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWz41HfyeMk

    It's good enough to get to 40th in the world so I don't think it's going to limit the progress of the little girl in your group.
     
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  19. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Don't change everything at once.
    Since she's used to a full-sized racket, don't go down to a really small kids racket where she will be swatting flies with it. Small changes - if she's developed long full strokes, don't eliminate them. Note that CoachingMastery's daughter isn't using a tiny fly swatter racket as recommended by the manufacturers and USTA - though it is a junior racket.
    Maybe think about keeping the dominant hand on the bottom instead of switching the hands around. Philosophically and in terms of opening up the most paths to improvement, I'm with CoachingMastery here.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
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  20. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I think learning with two hands off both sides is great. One thing it does is promote proper shoulder turn and uncoiling of the core. Just don't have her switching her hands. She may/can gravitate to using one hand later when stronger, but the natural preparation and turn will be there. My daughter started with two hands and it was very natural. In fact, I think it was a better stroke for her than when she went to one hand, and she only did that because all the other kids hit like that.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
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  21. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    The other alternative is to call up Brian Battistone (I'm sure the information is on the web somewhere) and get a racket with two handles. It really seems like she might be a perfect person to develop her game with it. (Maybe she can get a discount since $ are an issue).
     
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  22. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    It would be interesting for other players besides Battistone to play with it.. :cool:
     
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  23. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Altho' he may have sometimes hit 1-handed groundstrokes, somesources indicate that he hit 2-handed on both sides. Perhaps for some of his playing years, he did hit primarily 1-handed on one side.

    http://corfutennis.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/pancho-segura-a-tennis-peculiarity/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_Segura
     
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  24. USS Tang

    USS Tang Rookie

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    Injured my dominant (right) hand. Going to be a long recovery. Can't stop playing tennis, so I go to Plan B. Tried to hit a one-handed left-hand forehand with litle success. Too inconsistent. Windshield wiper requires precison timing. McEnroe forehand with continental grip practically impossible to learn.
    So...I went to the two-hander. Left hand stays on bottom of racket whole time, i.e., on both sides. Right hand on top.
    Backhand off my right side comes easy. Upper right hand drives ball, but there is less trauma than with one-hand forehand.
    Two-hand left-hand forehand off left side. Keeping two hands on the racket forces me to (1) surround the ball, (2) bend my knees, (3) torque the "cork," (4) wait for the ball, (5) swing with even force applied by both hands, and (6) maintain extended follow-through like a golfer.
     
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  25. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Gene Mayer kept his dominant hand on top and only dropped it down to volley and serve and overhead with. I don't have a problem and have worked with a few players who hit this way. (One of the top players at Pepperdine used this format a few years ago, as I recall.)

    I prefer keeping the dominant hand on the bottom when teaching new players for two main reasons: it is very similar to the conventional one-handed stroke, and you don't need to move the hand up and down for different shots.

    But, it can be taken to very high levels either way! Good luck!
     
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  26. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Good advice here.

    And yes, my daughter was using a full-size Wilson 110 frame, (the women's model, however).

    Two hands allows a very young player to handle the frame within the parameters of skilled, repetitive strokes...much better than one handed players do for the reasons I've stated.

    I should add too that I taught 15 years with one-handed strokes to students and then my last 20 years teaching the two-handed strokes, (both backhand and forehand), and can say that objectively, being able to compare both models in teaching, that the two handed forehand was FAR MORE successful in training players, developing offensive and consistent forehands, and limiting bad habits that I've seen millions of players develop, (even those who were taught by excellent pros!).

    I wish more pros would learn the right teaching patterns with this shot and try teaching it for six months...They will never go back!

    Thanks, NLB!
     
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  27. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Congrats on discovering the two-handed forehand!

    by the way, my "little" 8 year old daughter featured in the clip earlier in this thread is now one of the top 14 year old golfers in Utah.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI5CbF79IPU&NR=1&feature=endscreen

    Driving over 260 yards, her tennis helped her golf game. Her two-handed strokes I feel helped her feel the golf club as she developed her swing.

    And what is wrong with two handed tennis strokes when some of the most powerful implement sports all use two hands, baseball, golf, and hockey. (Of course, yes, I know those sports you are not running to hit something...except hockey is sort of like this.) But, I'm still amazed at the number of reputable pros, all of whom have never taught the stroke, criticize the teaching of it! It really is too bad there is so much ignorance still abound!
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Nothing wrong with the ball Seles, Bartoli, GeneMayer, Hewitt hit.
    Just a different way to solve the puzzle.
     
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  29. daved

    daved Rookie

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    Why don't more do it?

    I have experimented with two hands from both sides. I'm a casual but enthusiastic player, 48 yo, fit and a decent all around athlete my whole life, play USTA 3.5 and 4.0 singles.

    Only started playing in earnest 4-5 years ago but played some squash in my 20s.

    Being a contrarian by nature, I've tried everything from modern strokes to Continental grip on everything (a la McEnroe and Edberg, most recently) to two hands on both sides.

    I find I do about the same with whatever strokes/grips. I can compete up to 4.0 very well with any grip/stroke approach as long as I split step every time my opponent touches the ball and watch the ball to my racquet face every time I hit it.

    I'm surprised more people are not taught two handed on both sides. Monica Seles was probably the best female tennis player of all time and would have racked up more slams than anyone had she not been stabbed. Bartoli just won Wimbledon. Santoro was in the Top 50 for years as a little guy in an era of mostly big physical studs starting to dominate the game. Etc. Two handed on both sides has been very effective at the highest level in the last 25 years of the game, much more so, for example, than trying to play Conti on everything, which NO ONE does any more.
     
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  30. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    In answer to your post, from my experience teaching the two-handed forehand and backhand for twenty-plus years, (in addition to conventional shots on both sides), the problem is similar to the two-handed backhand in the early 1970's. While Connors, Borg, Evert and a few years later, Austin, the majority of pros frowned on something so different and new. In addition, it would take these pros to reach #1 in the world at different times, for pros teaching to sit up and take notice. Then it would take a number of years for enough pros to effectively learn how to teach the shot and then a number of years more for enough juniors to reach high levels and then have a few become pros.

    Two-handed forehand has been frowned upon by ignorant pros in the same way for 15 years since Monica showed that it indeed could be taken to the highest level. It would take another ten years or so for some pros to take the shot seriously and learn to teach it correctly. And a few more years for players to emerge on college teams and on tour.

    Now we see a few more pros reaching higher rankings and now SOME teaching pros are exploring how to teach the shot and then seeing how much validity the shot has in terms of teaching advanced foundation skills faster and with greater success.

    So, in a nut shell, you will start seeing a few more two-handers emerging among top players. (Top kids in Colorado, Hawaii and California have been ranked in the top 5 in those states with two-handed forehands!) Not saying it will grow like the two-handed backhand has...but you WILL see many more players down the road using--and winning--with two-handed forehands.

    PS: 10 of the last 50 Grand Slams on the women's side have been now won by two-handed forehand players! (9 by Seles and now 1 by Bartoli...not to mention Bartoli has been a finalist at Wimbledon before, too.)
     
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  31. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    At this point the two handed forehand is largely unnecessary. The exceptions are for very young, less strong or coordinated children as well as older players with injuries that make Tennis less fun with single handed forehands.
    Prior to progressive tennis systems (quickstart, minitennis 10andunder) it should have been the prevailing way to teach children on a larger size court with higher bouncing balls. However with smaller courts and especially balls that bounce lower and are lighter the need is largely not there. But heck, what do I know. I give players as young as 6-7 the option to use one handed backhands. So I could just be cracked.

    Now, anything objective that Dave Smith says on the two handed forehand I would take as gold. As far as I know he is the go-to guy on that stroke. I still think he has an affinity for it due to the novelty, but he is the authority.

    I teach it for the reasons listed above. I do contended that great players who use two handed forehands would be as great without. They would just be a different shade of the same player.
     
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  32. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    I agree with you on all points. I don't advocate that the two-handed forehand is a) right for everyone, b) better than solid conventional one-handers, and c) going to become a staple stroke like we have seen the two-handed backhand become.

    However, we are seeing more and more players appearing in major competition using the stroke...so, obviously more coaches are open to teaching the shot and more players are taking it, (along with other working elements), to higher levels of play.

    My experience has shown me, (and other pros who have taught the stroke), that it can be an awesome learning tool; that the shot can be taken to the highest levels.

    I do believe we are seeing somewhat similar responses and trends as we saw in the 1970's when the two-handed backhand was being shown by Connors, Borg and Evert, to be a shot taken to the highest level of the game then. Many pros balked at the shot, derided the shot, claimed it could never make it to the highest levels. It would take ten years for pros to finally recognize the shot, learn to teach it, and have enough students taught the shot to have a few make it to the pros.

    Ironically, I was teaching the shot before Seles came on the seen. I saw how great it helped beginners develop a skilled and effective forehand that didn't prohibit students from evolving to using a one-handed stroke.

    It never had anything to do with strength, per se. It was about creating a repeatable, reliable, and effective swing path. (Skilled tennis strokes have little to do with strength...I've had 8 year old girls use full size racquets very early in their development because the strokes taught and learned never require much strength.)

    It will be interesting to see if I'm right or not. I'm not claiming to be able to foresee the future at all...just, I've seen the value of this particular stroke and saw that it provided many components of skilled shot-making to the point that teaching pros would benefit from knowing how to teach the shot for these very reason. Too many pros still close their eyes to anything new to them...and then label those methods with ignorance.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Frazeur!
     
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