Evolving to two-handed backhand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by truetifoso, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. truetifoso

    truetifoso Rookie

    Sep 8, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    At my best, I'm a 4.5 baseline specialist. Lately, I haven't been playing anywhere near my best and am about a 3.5. A lot of this is undoubtedly the fact that I play once a week as opposed to the 3-4 times per week that I was playing a few years ago.

    One shot that has completely abandoned me is my one-handed backhand. It feels absolutely foreign to me. I don't have any faith in it, and after several coaches and dozens of lessons, it's still a liability.

    Should I consider switching to a two-handed backhand? It seems that everyone is using it and is especially complementary to a baseline game. Does it make sense after playing for 18 years?

    I need something to jumpstart my game, and this switch may be it. Right?
  2. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

    Dec 20, 2005
    i would say try it out to see how it feels... get the fundamentals down, and time will tell...
    imo confidence is of utmost importance, and if you feel more confident with a 2hbh, go ahead.
    you have a long way to go anyway, and it would be wise to not let yourself go with your expectations on this stroke, just practice it, it will be good to learn something new

    one more thing i would do, is give less attention to ttechnique, there is a lot more to tennis, think about tactics, strategy and the mental factors, footwork is specially good to have a strong foundation in any stroke...
    if you have a liabillity acknowledge it, work on it, and dont let your expectations frustrate you every time the result isnt what you thought of first.

    have fun!
    ps. i did switch bhs! i havetwo of them now ;)
  3. prattle128

    prattle128 Semi-Pro

    May 17, 2009
    Portland, Oregon
    I think that switching the type of backhand that you use doesn't have much to do with your current problems. I think that it's more your timing and footwork. It sounds like you're have trouble with your game as a whole, and that especially your one-handed backhand is hurting. Now maybe it would benefit you to switch your style of backhand at some point, but your one-handed backhand probably isn't the only reason why you feel like you're playing like a 3.5 instead of a 4.5. And considering that the one-handed backhand is not the only shot that you hit, this must therefore mean that your whole game is not up to your standards. The only reason I can come up with is that your footwork is not what it should be.

    Footwork is essential to setting yourself up for every shot, forehand or backhand, slice or topspin or flat, etc. The main reason that people aren't playing to the level that they know they can is because of footwork. If you have been using a one-handed backhand for 18 years, and it's only starting to give you trouble recently (and recently you've been playing less), then it sounds again like more evidence that footwork might be the root of your problems.

    Now I'm no expert myself by any means, but what I do know is that when I go out on the court and am having one of those days where it's impossible for me to not hit a great shot, I also know that my footwork is doing exactly what it's supposed to do, which is get me setup and prepared for my next shot. Footwork is the key to consistency. I don't really know any specific things to do to try and get your footwork to improve other then working on split stepping, and making sure when you practice, to really try and implement good solid footwork. Then the strokes will follow.

    Perhaps someone who's more knowledgeable can help me out here? lol

    Anyways, I hope that that helps some, search the forums for topics about footwork to see what you can do to improve. Once you really get it right, your game will improve a lot. If at that point, you still feel like you want to switch to a two-handed backhand, then give it a shot. But I would stick with the one-handed backhand until you're sure that is the problem, and not something else.
  4. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Jul 23, 2007
    San Diego, CA

    See my thread:

  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    Try it.
    But it won't help is you insist on playing ONCE A WEEK! You'll never convert fully, your footwork will be off, your timing will be off, and you'll mishit constantly if you insist on playing ONCE A WEEK.
    Instead, maybe better to lower your expectations, or start hitting one handed backhands with slice.
  6. KenC

    KenC Professional

    Aug 31, 2009
    The Cliffs of Insanity
    Gotta' agree with LeeD on this one. At once a week I don't think you would be able to develop a reliable 2HBH either. I think with playing just once a week you could notice that also your FH starts to suffer, the serve starts to suffer, footwork suffers, everything suffers. I would bet 10 bucks that if we allowed Federer to practice just 1 hour once a week for a month that his BH, and pretty much everything else, would start to deteriorate too.

    I would find a way to get more practice in rather than start to redefine your strokes.
  7. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Mar 31, 2008
    I went to the 2 hander late and am very happy, as it helps so much against big servers, especially in dubs. The nice thing is I can smack a one hander anytime I need to and guys will ask why I hit the 2 hander with a one hander like that, but it is the return of 1st serves that make it worthwhile along with last minute control. I feel I commit a split sec earlier with a 1 hander.
    Might be worth a good try, especially for a once a week player.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    Can anyone actually LEARN a two handed backhand playing once a week?
    Remember, the strike zone is closer, the torso is used more, the footwork needs to be different, the reach is less, you need more steps to get to the ball, and it's completely DIFFERENT!
    Why not just slice the one hander back? At once a week, you'll always play a full level BELOW your best anyways.
  9. Slazenger07

    Slazenger07 Banned

    Sep 29, 2009
    I wouldnt switch if I were you, its quite a change from the one-handed backhand, I believe once you get the one-hander down it is a superior stroke and much more versatile.

    The keys to making your one-handed backhand good are this:
    1. Make sure youre getting a full shoulder turn, (shoulder facing side fence)
    2. Get a good knee bend, this is really important, helps you get in line with the ball and will help make your contact with the stroke much more solid and consistent.
    3. Keep only a slight bend in the elbow before contact, straighten arm at contact.
    4. Stay relaxed, keep the body and your hitting arm loose, this will help with your control of the shot and the amount of power you can generate.
    5. Step into your shot, you need to go after the shot and not wait on it to come to you.
    6. Try using some topspin on your stroke to help make it more consistent.
    7. **** the racquet head back(with non-dominant hand), and angled at about 45 degrees, to prepare your swing, this will help your swing motion.

    I hope this helps.

    Watch the Pros also, Haas, Gasquet, Federer are all examples of beautiful one-handed backhands.
  10. Slazenger07

    Slazenger07 Banned

    Sep 29, 2009
    lol it blocked the word c o c k on #7.
  11. mike53

    mike53 Professional

    Jul 11, 2008
    I doubt it. Probably move your game backwards for a while until you get it working for you. And I'm a fan of the 2hbh but remember, this is a major change and you'll be taking on a lot of pain.
  12. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Jan 27, 2008
    In my experience if you have correct instruction and hit slow and low power enough it's easy to learn the 2hbh or just about anything in tennis.

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