Maximizing Topspin on 2HBH

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TheCheese, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    I have a pretty flat 2HBH in comparison to my forehand. What are your guy's methods for generating maximum topspin on the 2HBH?

    I'm right handed. I'm using a continental on the lower hand, extreme eastern on top hand. Right arm is straight on the takeback, left arm bent. Around 4.5/5.0 level.

    Any tips?
     
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  2. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    There were a couple of things that really helped me - some you're already doing.

    - I used to use an E. fh grip on my left hand. I went to a extreme E, almost SW grip like you are now.

    - I allowed my left hand to control the racquet. I really think of my 2hbh as a left handed fh now. I used to think of the hands more equally controlling the racquet, but the effect of that was that I had no looseness in my wrist, therefore no stretch-shortening to whip the racquet. My right hand grip on the racquet is very loose during take back. I tighten it up just right before contact to help whip the racquet forward.

    - I have become more mindful of the contact point - especially allowing the ball to come all the way to me instead of pulling the trigger too soon and taking it too far out front. When I take it too far out front I loose the topspin.

    - In my take back I try to keep the head up during prep, then allow the the head to dip below the ball and whip it forward and up. I can control (most of the time) how much topspin I get by how low below the ball the head dips. When I let the head drop during set-up I loose power and spin.

    - I stopped worrying about whether my arms were straight or bent. I always kind of thought of my two hander as both arms straight at contact (and certainly there are players where that's true), however after filming myself and noting when things felt right, for me the best backhands where when my left arm was mostly straight and my right was a bit more bent.

    With this all said, I still can't generate the same amount of topspin off my backhand as I can my forehand. But I can get good pace and margin over the net when I hit it right, and on good days I can push good players back off the baseline with pace.

    What are you experiencing with your bh? When does it feel right? What parts of it work for you right now?
     
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  3. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Are you right-handed or left-handed?

    And does your straight arm stay straight through contact?
     
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  4. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Thanks, great advice here that I'll have to try.

    Right now what I'm experiencing is either a rather flat ball or a slow loopy ball, as well as trouble with low balls. I think part of the problem is that I don't get enough racket head drop. I've had some serious wrist injuries in the past that have been caused by impact when my wrist was impinged, so it's partially a mental thing.

    Right now I've got good consistency, directional control and height control. When it breaks down is when I want to add more pace. On my forehand I feel like I can simultaneously increase the spin and pace, whereas I have to have more of a tradeoff on the backhand. This also hurts me on low balls because ideally I'd like to hit the ball with pace and plenty of spin to bring the ball back down, but I'm being forced to hit a much more defensive shot to keep the ball from going long. Also, I definitely have trouble achieving anywhere near the racket head speed that I do on the forehand, but I feel that's a common thing with 2HBHs.



    @Bevel

    Right handed. At contact, left arm becomes more straight, right arm bends. Pretty standard.
     
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  5. Sim

    Sim Semi-Pro

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    Since there's no video, I'll suggest bending your knees. Getting low and swinging 'up' really helps me generate good topspin with pace on my 2HBH. This might solve your wrist issue as well :)
     
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  6. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Try for a steeper, low-to-high swing path -- something akin to a WW swing path on the FH side. Also, make sure that the racket head drops lower than your hands and also lower than the intended contact point. This should enable you to generate more of an upward brushing motion on the back of the ball.

    http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/turbo_01_02/Safin3.jpg

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    This sounds like what happens to my bh when either my wrists are too tight (so no whip) or if I'm reaching out too much and am forward of my ideal contact zone. The contact zone for a two hander is kind of short so allowing the ball to come all the way in is important.

    This sounds like more of wrist looseness thing then. Shadow swinging can really help you analyze and start to correct things here.

    The low balls - yah they're more difficult with a two hander. I go for aggressive slices on those a good amount of the time and also look to see if I can come in behind them. If someone has really nailed one at you then one of the advantages of a 2hbh is that you can just get low, firm up the wrists, and swing through the shot. It's a Connors type of bh. You're using your opponent's pace and the extra stability that two hands gives you and hitting it back low and hard.
     
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  8. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Thanks for the advice guys. I'll try them out next time I'm on court and let you know how it goes.

    Another questions:

    How does the swing type effect the type of ball you can hit? You'll notice that Murray swings very across on his backhand whereas Djokovic will swing more traditionally upwards and over the shoulder.

    Which is better and for what scenarios?
     
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  9. Rjtennis

    Rjtennis Hall of Fame

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    Make sure to drop you wrists similars to what you would do on a topspin FH. Also, you want to keep your arms and upper body loose to generate maximum racket head speak. And like others have mentioned the grip is important. Generating topspin on the BH is very helpful. It allows you to get the ball high and deep, pull opponents of the court with safe angles and it let's you create sharp angles and bring to ball up and down quickly on passing shots.
     
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  10. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    You already have a lot of great advice. I recently went through a similar process on my 2hbh. You are a better player than me based on your ranking, but I still feel that my point is valid:

    Which stance are you using? I was closing my stance, using lateral weight transfer, and hitting with a straight hitting arm (left). The result was a pretty flat ball. Good for passing shots but not so good for protracted rallying from the baseline. Especially not for angles and hitting up the line.

    I changed that somewhat intuitively/organically. By that I mean it wasn't intentional. I simply stopped thinking about my arms, and whether they were straight or not. This allowed my hitting arm to bend a bit, Yandell calls it the flex. I now have a small bend in both elbows. I also have a more neutral stance and lead with my hips more. I started focusing on feeling the weight of the racquet in my hitting hand as I allow the racquet to drop, which automatically relaxed my non hitting arm. Now I generate a much better mix of pace and spin, which remain proportional to eachother as I increase swing speed. Hope this helps.

    The obvious answer here would be Murrays more horizantal swing path gives him a flatter ball, which combined with his height is great for cross court where the net is low. Djokovic's more horizantal swing path gives his ball more shape which leads to better margins up the line. This was pretty evident in the 2012 USO final, where Murray was pinning Djokovic out wide with his backhand and Djokovic was more often looking to pull the trigger up the line. More often than Murray anyway. That's how I remember it, I won't be rewatching it to check though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
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  11. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Using a semi-open stance by default. On stretch shots, I'll often go full open if forced.
     
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  12. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    I don't know how having both arms straight or bent/straight or both bent relates to topspin production of the 2hbh?

    Some people say having both arms bent (or at least one arm bent) increases topspin? Having said that, Simon is double bent, and hit a flat shot...

    ...Whereas Nadal is pretty much double straight arm, yet is the only pro on tour currently I see hitting with a windshield-wipe finish on his backhands. Despite this, his backhand is nowhere near as heavy as his forehand, and his inability to get the ball kicking way up in his opponent's face was evident against Zeballos, a lefty with a 1hbh.

    Here's Nadal hitting backhands so you can see his WW finish;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j86FuSXtWUM

    Do you guys think Bruguera and/or Gulbis hit heavier 2hbh's than Nadal? Bruguera and Gulbis are some other players brought up in conversation when talking about heavy topspin 2hbh's.

    Neither Bruguera or Gulbis use a WW finish. Gulbis uses a 'pat-the-dog' type of takeback, however.

    And I have no idea what about Bruguera's stroke made his backhand so heavy... Would be grateful if anyone knew...
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    My take....
    If your 2hbh is going IN right now, and does what you want, don't change a thing.
    If your 2hbh is too powerful, and you have to back off the power, then it's time to alter your swingpath and grips.
    If your 2hbh is weak and underpowered, do not add topspin.
     
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  14. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    You have to define "HEAVIER"

    You have to define "HEAVIER" to answer your questions
     
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  15. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Heavier = has more topspin on it.
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Want more topspin? Just switch grips to a stronger one, with both hands, and swing upwards hard and fast.
     
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  17. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    It is one possibility

    It is one possibility.
    The second possibility is some mathematical expression/combination
    of a speed of a ball (immediately) after a contact plus a topspin
     
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  18. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Kvitova

    So if you watch Li Na and Kvitova according to your definition they do NOT hit
    heavy balls.
    The same applies PROBABLY to Berdych
     
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  19. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    You might consider going more closed. I try to be around neutral to slightly closed if I can. If I'm very closed I'll swing my back foot around during the follow through. I try to limit the open stance shots to when I'm pulled wide. I just can't get the upper body rotation that I want on the more open stances, and it tends to shorten an already inherently short swing path.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    That's you.
    Maybe for someone else, an openstance is all the shoulder turn needed.
    Like your forehand, how much closed stance is needed? The answer is, depends on the player.
    A shorter stroke with long followthru might mimic a forehand.
     
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  21. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    To generate topspin:

    Think about the tennis ball as an orange.

    As you come into contact peel this orange from 6 to 12 o' clock positions this will cause the ball to rotate forward-upward.

    Try this, it works.
     
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  22. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Lee, I suggested he try it if he's not happy with what he has going now. Yes, it works for me, but I didn't say it was the only way.
     
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  23. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Nope. A ball going 60 mph with 2000rpm undoubtedly feels much heavier on the racket than one going 20 mph with 3000 rpm. As Julian points out, heaviness is a combination of linear speed and rotational speed (spin rate). It could be that heaviness is related to momentum (linear + rotational) or kinetic energy (linear + rotational).
     
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  24. TomT

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    I think you're right about this.

    Momentum (linear + rotational) and kinetic energy (linear + rotational) are related. I think you could use either to talk about the 'heaviness' of a shot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
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  25. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Deleted: forgot this thread is about 2HBHs
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
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  26. President

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    I think it is impractical to try to maximize topspin on the 2HBH, you will never be able to hit enough spin to hit a truly heavy ball and your shot will just sit up to be crushed. In addition, with the extra hand for control and stability a flat 2HBH is a lot easier to control IMO than a flat forehand.

    If you are really hitting the ball out a lot, then just focus on simply thinking of a low-to-high motion as you hit the ball. That will give plenty of topspin for your needs.
     
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  27. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    What about 1hbh, do you think it's impractical to maximize topspin on that?
     
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  28. President

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    No, most of the really good pro one handed backhands (with the exception of Haas) hit really heavy topspin (Gasquet, Wawrinka, Kohly, Almugro, Federer). With one hand there is a lot more freedom of motion, so you can actually hit heavy balls. Still nothing like a really powerful topspin forehand though.
     
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  29. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    How was Borg able to get so much topspin on his two hander? Was it because he sort of let go with his left hand as he hit the ball? Did this make it possible for him to hit more extreme topspin with his backhand than if he held on with both hands like most two handers do?
     
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  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think Borg was able to hit with heavy topspin on his backhand side because he was never out of breathe. With a super low heartrate, he seldom was caught breathing heavily, and he could put everything into this groundstrokes.
    For most of us, our limit to hitting heavy topspin balls is when we start breathing heavily and labored, and need a rest instead of running to the next ball.
     
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  31. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I'm sure that Borg's extraordinary fitness had a lot to do with it. But I wonder (what's your, or others', opinion on) how much of a factor his left hand release on his 2HBH was? I wonder, because I actually tried to emulate Borg's form back in the mid '70s. The two handed prep produced a solid stroke, and the release of the left hand enabled me, I think, to impart greater topspin than would have been possible with a normal 2HBH stroke (ie., keeping both hands on the grip through the entire stroke including follow through).

    I played a lot on clay (HAR-TRU) back in the day (at the Holiday Park courts, what's now called the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center), and that backhand stroke would produce shots that bounced so high (if allowed by those who were tentative about hitting it, or incapable of consistently hitting it effectively, on the rise), and had so much torque off the bounce that it created problems even for players that were more advanced than me.

    I mean, assuming that Borg's stroke mechanics wouldn't have been sustainable without his super fitness, I think that the mechanics of his strokes, and the shots that that mechanics produced, had a lot to do with his success.

    What do you think?
     
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  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I attribute Borgs 2hbh as a function of Borg's unique physiology.
    Lots of players let go on the followthru of 2hbh, and most don't, but few come close to generating the spin and power of Borg's 2hbh. Maybe Nadal, an you think of more players who actually can hit as hard and with as much spin?
     
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  33. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Update:

    I gave the advice a shot. Definitely focusing on dropping the wrists below the ball was important, but the most important thing that I had been leaving out was supinating my right arm to get the racket face more closed.
     
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  34. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I find I get more top on 2HBH:

    1. Use strong conti grip on lower hand and something between E and SW on top hand.
    2. Take racket back with the racket head above the hands. This allows the head to drop down below the contact point during the swing. Prep HI and loop to below contact.
    3. Let top hand take over thru contact and into follow thru.
     
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  35. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Some good advise and I have found the same tips to help my 2 hander.
     
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  36. thecode

    thecode Banned

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    It can be done and I have seen several out there thru the years. There are some amazing heavyball, top spin 2 handers. This thread may just inspire me to see what I can get out of that shot along these lines. It's never been a priority, but now the other parts of my game are hitting on all cylinders, this could be interesting to add.
     
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  37. thecode

    thecode Banned

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    I'm thinking the same type things from the ww forehand should apply for a heavy topspin ball, like not actually getting too much below the ball, but very good racket speed and a slightly closed face. Basically looking to hit the 2 handed version of the ww power forehand.
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Unique idea, hope it works out.
    Unfortunately, what I see is that player's with strong forehands don't always have the strongest backhands, and vice versa.
     
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  39. thecode

    thecode Banned

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    Do you think there is a reason or 2 for that? And maybe those reasons could be sorted out to get a better balance for most players?
     
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  40. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Because in order to develop a stronger side, you practice it more than the other side.
     
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  41. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I like practicing backhand offensive lobs with heavy topspin. It is a shot that you need to have, and really helps you develop the feel for heavy topspin with the two-hander.
     
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  42. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Also check your feet. You want your left foot lined up to the ball like you would on a forehand. Load the weight from the and transfer into your front foot. That helps a lot. It works with all stances. I hit closed when I can, and open when pulled wide.

    I do a straight takeback and then drop below the ball. Close to SW grip with my left hand, conti with right. I also consider it a left handed forehand now, and that is key as well. Takes a little while to wire the brain so it allows your right hand to stop working.

    To enforce this, I barely hold the racquet with my right hand, especially during warmups.
     
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