Old dog, new tricks?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by stevenhatchy, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. stevenhatchy

    stevenhatchy New User

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    I'm 33, haven't played in 15 years, and I am just getting started for the first time ever in league play. I hit with one of the guys that runs the leagues because I wanted to get an accurate rating. While we were hitting, he noticed my crosshanded backhand and advised that I change it. He was nice enough to show me the correct two handed backhand grip and fed me some balls to try it out. I was terrible at it!

    Now the question: with league play starting in September and practice time hard to come by, should I try and change it or stick to my old way that works pretty well for me?
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I know a top 4.0 who hit's crosshanded, and it's his strongest groundstroke.
    He does it because he likes to choke up on his normal forehand, so for backhands, he grabs the bottom of the handle.
    If it's strong, consistent, and you hit it naturally, just use it. But before you use it in a league match, be sure to tell your opponent's that it's the way you hit your backhands! For sure, they will hit to your backhand, so you can show them it works well.
     
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  3. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Great short term plan for league, but the OP needs to make a longer term decision on whether to use that stroke mechanic as the rest of his game gets better or to ditch it for a more standard mechanic. A lot will depend on what his goals are and the amount of practice time and motivation he has.
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Nothing wrong with cross hand. It must work, OP uses it.
    NONE of us are going UP to 5.0 anyways, certainly not from 4.0, and the crossover 2hbh is not a liability at all at 4.5 levels.
     
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  5. tennisfreak

    tennisfreak Semi-Pro

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    At 33 years of age, OP can still get to 5.0 from 4.0 if he works hard enough. I would advise OP to learn the correct form, even if it sets him back for a few months.
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    "correct" form....
    How do you think 2 handed players hit on one side? CROSS HANDED!
     
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  7. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

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    What are you goals? Does your current technique prohibit you from attaining these goals? Do you need to make this change to achieve them, or will it help you achieve a long term goal faster? Work out how it fits in to the big picture of your tennis.

    If the goal is to have a good season now then what decision helps you best achieve this?
     
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  8. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Good post.

    OP. As you get (hopefully) better you will play people who can make you run. The crosshanded BH will be very limited in reach to that side; unless your as fast as Nadal or Chang it will be a liability.

    Get a ball machine and learn to hit a standard BH. You'll thank us later.

    PS - 33 ain't old - you can always get better (as long as you stay in shape).
     
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  9. stevenhatchy

    stevenhatchy New User

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    With this being my first time at league play, I just don't want to embarrass myself! I am playing for fun and exercise, but I definitely want to try and move up as time goes by. I tend to be too competitive and don't think I will be satisfied if I never progress. That being said, I have a 2 year old and a 7 month old, so practice is going to be extremely limited. I am going to stick with my "wrong" backhand for now, but work on the correct form when I can. I am going to start in the 4.0 level, so I have a feeling I will know fairly quickly whether or not my cross handed backhand will be sufficient or not!

    Thanks for the opinions.
     
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  10. stevenhatchy

    stevenhatchy New User

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    Is reach the only liability of the cross handed backhand? Is there mechanically less accuracy or power in the stroke? Less access to angles?
     
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  11. mightyrick

    mightyrick Legend

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    OP, I am assuming you hit with a two-handed forehand. In that case, it is perfectly acceptable to use a cross-handed backhand.

    Otherwise, if you do not have a two-handed forehand, then this is horrible for you. You will rob yourself of time and maneuverability due to excessive grip changes and hand movement. Your return game will also be horrible. Your net game will also suffer.
     
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  12. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    I watched a ex-Div I player who hits 2 handed off of both wings and was at least a 5.5 in an open tournament once. I assume he hit one side cross handed.

    Dang he was good too!
     
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  13. stevenhatchy

    stevenhatchy New User

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    I have a one handed, strong eastern grip forehand. I usually try and get to the net fairly quick and have a decent net game from mainly playing doubles in highschool. I was always able to cover up my backhand in doubles, so it never mattered much.


    Thanks for the example! I doubt I ever get to 5.5, but it's good to know that the grip isn't a limiting factor.
     
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  14. mightyrick

    mightyrick Legend

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    I guess everything depends on the level you play at and your goal. If you are starting in a friendly, non-USTA league at 4.0, then you'll probably be fine. There are good computer-rated NTRP 3.0s who play fine at non-USTA 4.0 levels.

    However, if you play in a true NTRP 4.0 tournament or USTA leagues, I do think you will get blown out using that stroke with a standard one-handed forehand. You just will not be able to handle the pace and the constant grip changes. I see you making lots of errors.

    You sound pretty confident in your abilities with it, so I say just go for it and let experience guide your decision. But I have a feeling you'll be practicing a fundamentally-sound backhand before long.
     
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  15. stevenhatchy

    stevenhatchy New User

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    mightyrick, don't mistake my reluctance to change to over confidence! I'm sure your long term outlook is right, I just am so terrible at the standard backhand right now, that I don't feel like I can use it yet and still play competitively. I am going to work on changing my backhand, I'm just not ready to use it competitively. If I get a chance to practice, I will try and video some shots so y'all can help me with the transition.
     
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