How Far will My Slice Backhand Take me?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Roy125, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Roy125

    Roy125 Professional

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    Since I'm in the process of developing my 1 handed backhand, it's still kind of funky and inconsistent. I have a very consistent slice backhand though and can have it go low and skid or be a junk return for serve bombs. I am only using it as a replacement for my 1 handed backhand in tournaments though, not in practice. At what level will this take me until players start taking advantage of it?

    Also, just to be clear, a low and skidding slice will bring a lot of trouble to tall people with western grips that try to put topspin on every ball right?
     
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  2. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    I wish I had a two-hander, and I've likely been playing longer than you've been alive. My slice and sometimes solid 1HBH get me far, but not as far as I'd like.

    Depends *who*. I am tall with a western grip and slice doesn't trouble me. Does trouble many players, nothing troubles everyone.
     
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  3. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    I think you could still play high level tennis with just a slice.. if your game was remotely close to Steffi Graf's, you would be playing high level tennis today
     
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  4. lancernrg

    lancernrg Banned

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    At 3.0 and above, players will start taking advantage of your bh slice. I suggest you abandon it completely and resort to using 2hbh topspin drive.

    Under 3.0 and recreational play is fine, but if you're serious about your tennis drop the bh slice. It's useless. :oops:
     
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  5. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    :) your kidding right? or just being sarcastic?

    backhand slice works at all levels when mixed in judiciously with a BH drive. Fed, nadal, Novak, murray all use the shot.. :)
     
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  6. lancernrg

    lancernrg Banned

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    NO. Slices are for players who lack proper technique or
    late in backhand preparation.:oops:
     
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  7. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    this guy is a joker
     
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  8. animagriever

    animagriever New User

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    Yes seriously joking otherwise you better advise Federer to drop his backhand slice or call for immediate retirement :twisted:
     
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  9. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    BH slice works at non-pro level. However, at pro level i haven't seen anyone winning points with it. Surely it's a tool to mix things up and probably cause UEs for lousy opponents, but I only see BH slice used when a regular drive is likely late or no longer can be done with ease.

    Can someone post a clip where Nadal or Fed won a point with a BH slice to enlighten everyone?
     
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  10. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    you can still be competitive with it without that wing providing outright winners.. it can be used to simply keep you in the point.. im not saying its the way to go, but its not impossible to play at a pretty high level with just a slice

    the OP obviously isnt talking about pro level tennis
     
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  11. mikethehamster

    mikethehamster Rookie

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  12. tennisguy2009

    tennisguy2009 New User

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    depends what kind of slice and when its used

    if you manage to hit offensive deep slices, you can play any level player with that......

    only problem is that offensive slices have a lot of unforced errors, unless you are a brilliant tennis player. And if you are a brilliant tennis player you will be able to hit a topspin backhand. So you see where this is going......

    So assuming you are hitting deeper slices, but they are still a bit floaty, and not really dangerous/offensive, you will start getting punished for it at about the 4.5 level, mostly because you start giving opponents too much time, not that the shot itself is a horrible shot.

    I know if someone hits a defensive type backhand slice and that is all they can play, I will attack it mercilessly, waiting for a short ball or unforced error. In addition, while I am attacking it, I will stand way left of center on court, making sure every ball that comes back is on my forehand side.
     
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  13. Solat

    Solat Professional

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    your slice backhand is only as much liability as anyone else's weakest stroke (assuming it's your weakest). If your slice bh is rock solid then you wont get exploited on that chances are that your opponent (if good enough) will find whatever your weakness and hurt that first.

    If you are a grinding baseliner then having a slice bh wont hurt you, so long as you are most consistent then your opponent. If you are a S&V player then it wont hurt you as long as you use it for approaches and if you are an aggressive player then you need a weapon that is so good that your slice bh just needs to keep your opponent at bay until you can use your weapon.
     
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  14. equinox

    equinox Hall of Fame

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    lol, that's bs.

    floaty slice shots blocked 3/4 deep are fine at 3.0-4.0. going higher then you better get some serious low skid and depth or you'll be doing lots of running on the angles. 4.5 players move there feet and bend there knees to get under most decent slices and are not thrown off by mixtures of different paced top and slice shots.
     
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  15. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Heh, you're loving that high to low action on the slice huh?

    Keep developing your topspin backhand, the more rounded you become as a player the better for you. The slice is great but it has its limitations. A good player might start attacking that side more and coming in to the net, where passing shots are more difficult with a slice backhand. Deeper balls where you're off balance or forced to take a ball on the rise for example are also more difficult to time with only a slice. See what I'm getting at?
    Its a great stroke to have to change it up, or control your opponent with and keep it low out of their strike zone where they can't attack off of it but keep working on having more then just one stroke on that backhand side. Keep working on a topspin or in the mean time a flat backhand.
     
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  16. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    It seems like you already have a 2HBH. If so, why abandon it for a 1HBH? The advantages of a 1HBH are little. Even though I hit a 1HBH, its only because I personally feel more comfortable that way and was taught it at a very early age. It seems that today most people are more comfortable with a 2HBH and there are some great players out there that can wail with it.

    I have a friend who admires my backhand and asked me to help him develop his 1HBH. After many days of frustration with very soft balls, I asked him to try a 2HBH. Within an hour he was hitting pretty impressive shots. He was naturally a 2HBH player who made the mistake of trying to develop a 1HBH.

    As for the slice BH, just slice is a recipe for disaster. Its better to have a variety of tools in your tool chest. You can't pound nails with a screwdriver.
     
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  17. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    I agree with this... but would bump the level to 4.0 and above. 3.0-3.5 don't have the weaponry to punish a decent 1HBH slice.

    The BH slice is definitely not useless... but use it wisely against 4.0 and higher.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
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  18. ZPTennis

    ZPTennis Semi-Pro

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    :lol:

    every player on tour will use a backhand slice. whats wrong with you people.
     
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  19. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Everyone is better equipped with a slice backhand in addition to either a one or two handed backhand for topspin. It gives any player more capacity to deal with different incoming shots on that wing and also hit backhands with variety. I'm even in favor of learning a fh slice, but many players feel pretty well covered on that side with a dependable topspin stroke of some sort.

    Roy - Any player hitting a western fh, even a relatively short hitter, will have more trouble with a lower skidding ball than with one that's up in their wheelhouse. That's just a fundamental drawback with the western fh.

    The slice is also quicker against a faster serve, at least for me. I resort to a 2hbh for aggressive topspin returns, but if I'm not rushed, my 1hbh is my superior stroke. For defensive measures, approaching the net, and even jamming an opponent's rhythm in a rally, the slice backhand is an essential tool. Although our pals here look on it as a more useful shot at lower levels, I don't think that it's typically used all too well until I see 4.0's and 4.5's putting it to use.
     
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  20. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    ken rosewall and steffi graff did pretty well with their slice backhand. that being said not being able to drive the ball thru the court from the backhand side will be a liability as you go up the ranks. also in doubles the pace of the slice makes it more poachable.
     
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  21. Blake0

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    It took my coach to the top 100 in the world when he was playing on tour..although he was more of a serve and volley player, and on return games he really mainly used slices to set up his forehand. He can run me around around corner to corner with that slice..and i can't attack it really because it skids..then if i hit it to his forehand, a ripper. Maybe something along these line's might help. But eventually learn to hit a backhand too.
     
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  22. In D Zone

    In D Zone Hall of Fame

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    Slice definitely is a weapon for any situation and at any level.
    The question lies on the players skills and confidence. Those who claimed slice is only use as a defensive shot do not really have a clue how to use the slice to their advantage. Let me guess... ahh these are the guys who plays with 2hbh. Too weak or lazy to learn the art of 1hbh play using a slice.

    If you pay close attention to the pro's ... Yes, Fed, Nadal , Djokovic, Murray and even Henin. Pay close attention on how these guys use the slice to either use it to set up their next offensive shot (like Fernando Gonzales) or to change the pace of the match, often times causing their opponent to hit an off balanced shot and to the net.

    True, its not a spectacular, powerful , high bouncing shot. But it works and you can wins points and even matches if you know how to use it as a weapon.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You should learn both, for sure.
    A purely sliced backhand, if hit well, and backed up with superior speed and change of direction (you), still needs a superior forehand and some inside out technique at the college levels. It'd need a superior slice lob, and great low sliced angles.
    Add the topspin backhand, and the need for everything else to be great is lessenned, and you can spend more time working on your serves.
    Graf had one of the greatest ever sliced backhands, but later in her career, stunned everyone in practice with the BEST topspin backhand of any girl short of Henin, and everyone was afraid she'd use it someday in a tournament. I don't think she ever need to, as her inside out dominant forehand took over 2/3's of the court, and her slice allowed her time and rest from hitting that dominant forehand.
     
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  24. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    ....good post
     
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  25. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    .........agree
     
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  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I use the slice backhand a lot. It's good for control and for a change of pace plus it a great approach shot.

    Here's a video of two of the greatest slice backhands ever-Laver and Rosewall. Laver can hit topspin but just watch the way both can use their slice backhands for attack and defense.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8IJ0F01IiU
     
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  27. Baselineg

    Baselineg Banned

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    Keep the slice in your toolbox, its a great shot against people with poor movement.
     
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  28. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    If used correctly I'd say it's more effective then a slow loopy topspin backhand. Like any shot, if it's good enough it can take you almost anywhere. I think the ability to hit a down the line winner or beat someone with pace is helpful too off the backhand side. The 1HBH has more pace potential then any other shot so I don't think the solution is abaondoning the shot unless you are simply a natural 2 hand player, which it sounds like you aren't.
     
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  29. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    There are good and bad backhand slices.

    A short, weak backhand slice that is hit every time a player hits a backhand is an invitation for an opposing player to attack.

    A deep, hard backhand slice crosscourt or DTL altenating with a short biting crosscourt slice after a deep forehand drive will keep your opponent running and struggling to develop a rythmn.

    So what's it gonna' be for you?
     
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  30. Xenakis

    Xenakis Hall of Fame

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    Any tips for getting a faster and lower BH slice? Mine tend to go high/float, they have a lot of back and side spin so can confuse less capable opponents on the bounce but better players just put them away easily.
     
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  31. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

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    It becomes simple if you pay attention to swing path. The more you swing downward the more backspin you get, and normally this is combined with a more open face for a high shot with a lot of spin.

    If you want to hit a flatter lower ball just swing away from your body more, as opposed to swinging downward. Also make sure the racquet face is barely open, not much past perpindicular to the court
     
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  32. Xenakis

    Xenakis Hall of Fame

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    Makes sense thanks. I've been trying to get as much spin as possible and it tends to send the ball high. I'll try driving through the ball more.

    Some of Murray's slice backhands in this training video are ideal IMO (fast and low over the net.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpNFxnShJ9o
     
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  33. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

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    Yeah they are pretty. YOu can even go so far as trying to hit the ball flat, but with the face open a little, and just go from there. Overtime you will just get a feel for it.
     
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  34. Baselineg

    Baselineg Banned

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    Actually i started playing with a 1hbh but switched to a 2hbh because it was more consistent, so i still like to pull out the slice when i play someone with bad footwork because it will drive them nuts.
     
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  35. Zachol82

    Zachol82 Professional

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    Well, at lower level tennis, 3.0-4.0, a sliced-backhand will work, since players at this level still has trouble with consistency and possibly trouble dealing with the spin on a sliced-backhand as well.

    However, a sliced-backhand alone in your arsenal is not effective against 4.0 or higher level players. The reason for this is that there's a very low chance that you can hit a winner off your backhand side with just a slice. You should be able to hit winners off of both BH's and FH's to be a competitive tennis player.

    Also, the notion that "sliced-backhands are easy to deal with" is a pretty popular one, although it may be untrue, will still be going through your opponent's head. Proof for that is right here in this thread, many replies underestimate a sliced-backhand, even you yourself seem unsure of your sliced-backhand. What will this do? It'll give your opponent more confidence and a confident player is pretty hard to deal with.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
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  36. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    ... Not even close. To even take advantage of a backhand slice, one of two things must be true:
    -The slice was a terrible sitter.
    -The other player has incredible pace and control off low balls and as such, is likely a level or more above the player who hit the slice.

    Federer 2007 Wimbledon Final, 5th set, 2-all, break point for Federer; Federer hits an incredible knifer that puts Nadal on the defense and sets up the winning forehand for Federer.

    Federer 2007 Australian Open Semifinals, whole match; Federer uses the low, short slice to force Roddick in off of weak, conservative approaches (no other shot he can hit from such positions) that set Federer up for dozens of easy passes, making Roddick look like an absolute amateur at the net.

    Federer 2004 US Open Finals; Federer used a slice backhand that stayed low and curved wide, drawing Hewitt into the net with a MASSIVE hole on the left side of the net, forcing Hewitt to run faster to cover the hole and opening up the right side, which Federer then proceeds to curve a wicked backhand topspin away from Hewitt.

    Gonzales 2007 Australian Open, 3rd round and on; Gonzales essentially makes it to the final of the Australian Open with 3 things alone: his slice backhand, his incredible speed, and his passing shots (namely, his weaker backhand). He uses the same tactic on his opponents that Federer regularly uses on Roddick.

    Federer 2005 Miami Masters Semifinals; Federer hits a very low and short slice that literally skims the top of the net which Andre stretches to reach for, resulting in a weak return on which Federer proceeds to step into and roll a wide topspin backhand behind Agassi. Agassi barely gets the strings onto the ball and dumps it into the bottom of the net.

    Just off the top of my head too...

    You can pretty much look at any Federer vs. Roddick match and see Federer abuse Roddick with the slice, which performs two main functions for him in that match up:
    -Diffuse Roddick's power and give Roddick nothing to hit.
    -Draw Roddick into the net, forcing him to hit a weak or mediocre approach which allows for an easy look at a passing shot winner.

    Very true. The slice isn't about power or spin, but placement. It limits your opponent's options and messes with their positioning. If you hit a very low, skidding slice that's short and a borderline drop shot, your opponent has very few options there, and HAS to come in behind it. Result - even lower level players have the ability to hit clean passing shot winners on their opponents.

    I recently played someone recently who I demolished using a slice as a major setup shot. This time around I decided to use high rollers and very sparingly used the slice. I ended up dropping a lot more games because points lasted longer and I was getting fatigued. I became more of a mindless baseliner. I didn't really think as much about how I would set up points and didn't use much of an all court game. And since I kept going deep with the rollers, any additional deep shots did very little additional benefit to me in terms of positioning. When I used the slice to draw them inside the baseline and ripped a deep one, it was far more effective. I probably should've used more drop shots. It's actually surprising to me that I really didn't use that many drop shots that match...
     
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  37. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    This is an interesting discussion with many good points. However, I'm reminded of a singlesmatch I watched approx a year ago between a guy who was the top player from the US and one, a little older and also from the US, but was/is the top player in the world in his age category. I must tell you, I don't remember a single backhand top spin shot the entire match. The slice drives from both players were wicked and extremely effective.

    Is it the way for younger players to follow? Maybe not but to abandon the shot completely is foolish because it has its place regardless of what many might think.
     
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  38. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    In my opinion, all players who learn the one-handed backhand (and I have no students with one at this time unfortunately...) must master the slice before they even move on to flat/topspin. The slice can be used in almost any situation, and it forces the pupil to solidify his footwork so he can't cheat and hit a one-handed topspin backhand with an open-stance (ala Kuerten, which was still a SWEET shot).

    That being said, the slice is a great weapon used at the right moments, so while I would continue to work on your flat/topspin backhand, master that slice and you won't go wrong IMO.
     
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  39. Roy125

    Roy125 Professional

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    Just so you guys know, I'm using a 1HBH because my 2HBH falls apart too much and when it's on, it's not that good either. It feels like my arms aren't ever in sync and restricted with the 2HBH which results in a weak sitter in the service box. The turning point for me to switch was when I was feeding myself balls and couldn't even hit most of them past the service box with my 2HBH.

    I still use it sometimes for fun, but I mainly use a 1HBH now.
     
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  40. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Use the left hand to hit the ball and have the right hand just hold the racket and come along for the ride.
     
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  41. JDC

    JDC New User

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    What do others think about this advice? I, too, am working on my 2HBH.
     
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  42. Jonny S&V

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    His advice is correct, and to aid it, hit lefty forehands where your left hand is in the same position as if it was a righty two-handed backhand (choked up). This will teach you the real dependence of the off-hand in a two-handed backhand.
     
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  43. Roy125

    Roy125 Professional

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    I agree with this advice, when I used to play with 2 hands, the only time I felt out of sync with my shots is when my right hand was trying to dominate the stroke.
     
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  44. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    And I don't even play with a two handed backhand! lol Well, I'm trying to learn to hit one for fun, but I use a one hander when I'm serious.

    I remember when someone tried to switch me to a two handed backhand... I kept telling myself "why the hell don't I just hit with a lefty forehand?", and that's what I did. But I was a right handed player, and felt that I should be playing right handed, so I stuck with trying to develop a one hander. My hands were fighting for control of the shot, so I decided if I was going to TRY and do a two hander, I'd need to let the left hand to the work, which made it a lot easier to hit. The problem was that the right hand wasn't on the racket. If it even touched the racket, they'd fight for control again... :/

    The biggest backhands are those that start with the racket above the wrists and use a strong left hand - Andre Agassi

    Well, in Agassi's case though, it looked like he kind of used both hands. Maybe 75% left and 25% right, though it was mainly to guide the racket straight through the ball. His backhand seems to follow the line of the shot further than any other backhand I've ever seen. Still, it's powered mainly by the left arm, and Agassi probably had a strong left arm.

    There IS a reason why Nadal has an insane backhand...
     
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  45. Zachol82

    Zachol82 Professional

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    That's because he's using a 2-handed backhand!! Why all of you didn't just switch to a 2-handed backhand? I have no clue.

    No, no just kidding, don't flame me please :)
     
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  46. xFullCourtTenniSx

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    Because not all of us are playing lefty when we're natural righties. :wink:
     
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  47. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Nadal has a great BH because he has trained hard and is very talented with the tennis techniques. That's mainly it. Nothing about being leftie or rightie. Nadal's BH is not leap and bounce ahead of, say, that of Djokovic or Murray or Del Portro, etc. who are all rightie. Each of them can lose to one another on any random day.
     
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  48. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    A slice will more readily float when the racquet slides under the ball too much. This happens more when the contact point is too far out in front of you where basic mechanics force the racquet face to open up. Try a slow-motion slice and look at how your racquet face opens as it travels forward.

    To really drive that slice, experiment with a contact point that's a bit more back beside you than out in front where you'd look to hit the ball for a topspin stroke. You also need to very deliberately move onto your front foot and lean into the shot to energize it.

    This runs sort of contrary to what we learn to hit a good topspin stroke, but after you nail a few good ones with a contact point that's farther back, the lights should turn on for you. Even though you hit the ball more at the beginning of the stroke, use a nice full follow through for good acceleration and control of the shot.
     
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  49. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I sort of know what you mean. My two-hander doesn't come to me all too naturally, but it really feels alive when I make a deliberate effort to extend my left arm through contact. I used to sort of curl both arms through the hitting area in an odd attempt to take the racquet through a low-to-high path, but that was just too dead. When I extended that left arm (I'm a righty) and left my right arm rather passive, it really supercharged my shot.

    I take the racquet back with both arms bent, but taking the left arm out straight as I swing forward takes the racquet out through a more broad radius where it can move better for me. You might actually find a better release through the ball for either style of topspin backhand if you think of swinging around the outside half of the ball. I worked for me.
     
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  50. Mahboob Khan

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    Good slice is always very good to have, but slice has its own disadvantages:

    -- If your opponent pushes you back in the BH corner, a slice BH hit from that far position will either catch the net or will be short for your opponent to take advantage of.

    -- If your opponent presses your BH and comes behind very good approach shot, you ought to have the standard BH drive to pass him.

    Basically you need both the strokes: 1 handed BH drive, and slice.

    I think slice BH alone will not take you that far. Your progress will be limited.
     
    #50

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