# One handed backhand VS two handed backhand: a statistical analysis

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 10isfreak, Jun 11, 2013.

1. ### 10isfreakSemi-Pro

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THE SUMMARY OF THE ANALYSIS (So far)
As some of you know, I did a bit of statistical analysis lately regarding this question. In a previous thread, I focused on the top 50, using ATP points (as of June 4th) as a measure of players' success on the court. I tested the statistical significance of the difference between the average points gathered by each backhand group. The conclusion I reached was that there existed a statistically significant advantage for a two handed backhand within the scope of the top 50.

However, as I warned people originally, there are limits to every analysis. I won't list them all here, but I looked for different ways of interpreting the results I got, searching for other correlations within the top 50. I did find something interesting: the top 10 seemed to heavily bias the test I performed. Because of the elitist point system of the ATP, the weight of the top 10 was much greater than any other ten ranks segments in the top 50. Following this observation, I computed the correlation coefficients for each segment of ten ranks and, overall, you can find the opposite relationship: as you get further away from the top 10, the one handed backhand actually seems to become an advantage (I did not test the statistical significance of this correlation, so I've only used it to decide what I would be looking for). So, I tried to go around the elitism of the ATP point system to see what we would get. I attributed a score ranging from 50 to 1, going from the top player to the 50th player, and I produced a new test. The result is very different: if you set aside the point system of the ATP and just bother about where you'll be in the ranking system, there exist no statistically significant advantage in using either a two handed backhand or a one handed backhand.

DISCUSSION
I could expand the scope of this analysis to make it more useful to settle this debate. However, upon what I have found, I would make the hypothesis that the difference between both strokes is not statistically significant in general. Beyond the top 20, the coefficient of correlation between your backhand type and your ATP points is either roughly null or slightly favorable to the one handed backhand. If the tendency is maintained throughout lower rankings, we could get to a point where we'd definitely claim either way is good.

2. ### Timbo's hopeless sliceHall of Fame

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what a complicated way to verify the rather obvious..

3. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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Obvious......
To get to ATP, you need to start tennis early in life.
Early in life, while still 5 years old, it's hard to swing a 1hbh.
Folks don't like to change what's working.

4. ### BevelDevilHall of Fame

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simple correlation is a very weak analysis tool and simply can't be trusted in this context. You also should be wary of cherry picking your methods until you get the result you want.

As I said before, at the minimum you should use linear regression analysis to take into account things like age and height. After all, players with 1hbhs tend to be older and more experienced, so that may be biasing your results. However, I suspect using regression analysis would strengthen the case for the 1hbh.

If you can make me a spreadsheet with 20-50 players with the variables as columns: atp points, age, height (in inches or cm), and 1-handedness (1=1hbh, 0=2hbh), then I can do the analysis for you if you want. It's pretty easy.

Let me know.

5. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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Current group of maybe 30 different doubles players at SanPablo courts in Berkeley, maybe 7 use 2hbh. 3.5 thru a good 4.0. Maybe 8 women in the mix, and 3 use 2hbh.
Last 4.5 I played with used 1hbh.
But the sampling is older folks, like over 40.
Last year's crowd at RoseGarden courts, Berkeley, out of 30, less than 7 use 2hbh. Not counting the really good guys, who all 4 use 2hbh and are under 27 years of age.

6. ### NLBwellLegend

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The correlation I was thinking of digging into was whether one-hand backhands outperform their expected results on certain surfaces (specifically clay, and then grass). If they do outperform the expected mathematical results based on overall ranking on clay (which seems to be the case the last several years at the French Open), that would tend to show that high-bouncing balls are not a disadvantage to the one-handed backhand and the Nadal-Federer matchup should not be generalized to all one-handed backhands - which many people have done.

7. ### 10isfreakSemi-Pro

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The bothersome part is gathering data. Beyond this, even Excel can automatically compute a multiple factor ANOVA, so it's not like I need someone else to compute it. If I was really motivated, I'd be also using a random sample, not the top 50.

I agree that it is not very telling, but I disagree with the later comment. The intention wasn't to solve the dispute for good; the intention was to provide a new basis upon which to start a discussion. The whole point behind my post was to generate food for thought.

Look for the average points and standard deviation for every segments of ten ranks within the top 50. As you move away from the top 10, the points which split two positions becomes always smaller. It's an elitist point system which very highly rewards top performers, so I presented the exact opposite of it, just to see: a perfectly egalitarian point system. Of course, it's not perfect either because every rank is one point apart from the following rank. There are some gaps which should be bigger, to say the least.

I'm not cherry picking my methods. I simply showed you what happens when you change the measure of player's quality. Talk about it, use it as you please.

8. ### ShroudLegend

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Sorry OP for hijacking this a bit.

Lee do you play at the San Pablo courts?

I played there a couple times. Lots of good players from the looks of it.

Hit with a guy named Mark who was always there and had a hopper full of balls. I'd say he was a 5.0 or close to it. Some mean doubles matches there too. So refreshing to find courts with serious players.

Also, "Rosegarden"? Is that Williard or the Derby courts?

Anyhow I was up at the bancroft courts and every one was under 25 and EVERYONE had a 2 hander. Not a 1 hander in site. Certainly an age bias I think as you point out.

9. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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Yeah, I usually play SanPablo MWF around 10:30, but the level of competition is slipping a bit, down to below 4.0. I drove by today, saw no one good, and drove 14 miles back home.
I try to play there on weekends, same time, as I have an hour and a half to play during my g/f's yoga class. Always better players, but only 4.0 still.
I haven't played there on afternoons because I"m a windsurfer, and winds start to blow around 3, and I do need to work a bit around the house before windsurfing, so tennis is low priority for me in the summer months. If I could run, I'd choose to play SanPablo in the afternoons.
RoseGarden is Eunice and Euclid, where they grow the roses. 3 courts, used to be some great 4-4.5 doubles, especially with kids coming home from college (which raises the standards), but that has slipped well down into 3.5-lowest 4.0 levels.
Maybe we can set up a time to hit, or play some doubles on Friday. Nobody shows on Tues-Thurs there. San Pablo.

10. ### JohnYandellHall of Fame

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Fascinating question. Leaving the ATP issue aside though I think the real question for 99.99 plus percent of all players is which backhand will better serve you in the sport for a lifetime time frame.

Now I grew up in the juniors just as the two-hander was emerging. And over time it has come to completely dominate, for obvious reasons. Junior tournament players are obsessed with rankings and most of them will struggle with a one in the 12s and after that it's too late. And most all other juniors and most junior coaches follow this pattern--the two is the way to go.

But the funny thing is at the 5.0 and 5.5 league level in NorCal a lot of these former junior player two handers aren't looking so good on the backhand side at age 35 or 40.

It's apparent that a lot of them were more natural one-handers all along. And usually because they learned a two-handed baseline style, they also aren't as adept at the net or on the slice. That means a lot in the 40 or 50 or 60 years you can play after the juniors. I know couple of former college players who are considering changing.

I think many or even most people are naturally one way or the other. There could be real long term benefits from playing with a one if that's the case for you.

11. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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what about players who started tennis after their teenage years?
I'll bet most use 1hbh, and more often the older the ages get.

12. ### PetSemi-Pro

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I´m going to wait the film.

13. ### ShroudLegend

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Hi Lee

That would be great. Though work is hectic until the 22nd so if you like we could do San Pablo on friday the 28th at 10:30 am.

Didnt know about the Rosegarden courts, but there are some courts i have seen that might be them. Thanks!

14. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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Cool!
It's Thursday now, and I'll make a real attempt to make it to SanPablo by 10:30. I live 14 miles N of there, and commute traffic can be 10mph for at least 5 miles at times.
I"m the lefty Asian guy, and usually play with the old farts in doubles, but if there's a court open, I can hit if you don't paint the lines.

15. ### ShroudLegend

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Cool Lee!

Just to be clear its not tommorrow or the next friday but the one after that on the 28th.

Lol about the traffic. I drive all over and sometimes 5 mph is optimistic

Lefty? Yikes. My old doubles partner was a lefty and well being lefty should be illegal....

Looking forward to it.

16. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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OK, that's fine.
We can keep in touch here or on travel section, where there's already a couple of threads about hitting in the East Bay.
I for sure will forget, as being a surfer for over 25 years, and crashing motorcycles REALLY hard have taken some short term memory from upstairs.

17. ### coolschreiberProfessional

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Very true. Absolutely agree.

18. ### tennis_ballaHall of Fame

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Big Mac or Whopper, now that's a real dilemma.

19. ### MongolmikeProfessional

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Go for the Royale with Cheese. (that's French)

20. ### johnchung907Rookie

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I do agree with the post HOWEVER, I believe the Federer vs. Nadal matchup could've been closer IF Federer had more of an EXTREME grip. His backhand is between modified eastern and eastern. I believe these grips are not suited for high balls ( ie. Wawrinka hits with a modified eastern and still hasn't won a SET off of Nadal. If you noticed in their Madrid final, Nadal punished Wawrinka's backhand). If federer had an extreme eastern or even semi-western the matchup could've been in his favor (I mean come-on, he has a better forehand, serve, volley, overhead, slice, and half-volleys plus a ton of insane shots). Look at Henin. Extreme one-handed backhand, was short (so balls even bounced higher then her head more often), and won most of her grandslams at the french open (4) which means CLAY COURTS. THE HIGHEST BOUNCING BALLS ARE ON CLAY COURTS. So, if Federer had chosen more of an extreme grip, yeah, he might've been ahead in their matchup.

Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
21. ### BevelDevilHall of Fame

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He'd do better against Nadal, but probably a little worse against most the rest of the field and on faster surfaces. Overall, I'm not sure what the net effect is.

22. ### BirdieLaneNew User

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See that Halle semifinals were all one handed backhands. Nice followup to FO where 8/16 and 4/8 had 1BH (and yes, 0/4 semis..)

But anyway, in the words of Mark Twain, more proof that reports of the death of the 1BH have been exaggerated.

Last edited: Jun 16, 2013
23. ### josofoSemi-Pro

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why only use 50. more than 1000 people have ranking points

24. ### 10isfreakSemi-Pro

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I wanted to start a debate and it needed to be short and quick...

25. ### BevelDevilHall of Fame

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I did some stats on the Top 100 and posted it in general. I found no effect, positive or negative, of the 1hbh within the top 100. However, this says nothing about what it takes to get into the top 100, just performance once you've reached it.

Does the ATP provide player profiles for the 101-1000 players?

26. ### 2ndServeProfessional

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I would like to see return stats for 1h vs 2h. I think this is where 2h really shines.

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28. ### BevelDevilHall of Fame

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This seems highly suspect. When was this written?

- He says for a 1hbh a closed stance is "almost a must".

- He says the 2hbh is more effective on running shots.

- He says the 1hbh needs a "full circular backswing."

- He says the 2hbh has better disguise

- He says the 2hbh has a wider range of shots (angles, spin, etc)

- He says the 2hbh is more powerful.

- He says the 1hbh requires a "very strong" shoulder, arm and wrist.

I think these points are either wrong or at least highly debatable.

In any case, there is zero evidence of 1hbh liability in the top 100. Outside of the top 100, it's certainly a possibility. Of course, in the juniors there are other considerations, but he himself said he's not talking about that.

29. ### sureshsBionic Poster

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By the time you get to the top 100, many things come into play. You had better have darn good strokes in every aspect of the game.

The issue is the pipeline. Is there any case to be made for recommending the 1 hander to juniors in today's game? Most coaches and parents have already answered the question. e.g., what backhands are being used at former 1-hander Taylor Dent's academy? I don't know the answer, but you can find it, and that is better than arguing here.

30. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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How about, which backhand for a 20-50 year old to use?
Isn't that more the point?
None of us are going to make ATP level, ever.
But lots of us almost qualify for "20-50 year old tennis.

31. ### sureshsBionic Poster

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What about today's results?

32. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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Just hitting no sets.
Crushing topspin backhands, but possibly my rightie forehand is still stronger. Nothing working on the left side, neither lefty forehands or rightie backhands.
Hard to find strong hitting 4.5's to hit with, as most don't like hitting with non mobile old farts.

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34. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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Did you see the smile ICON? Just joking, post 32 was not a seroius answer.

35. ### TennisCJCLegend

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Yes, I thought the article was presented as objective evidence but was really subjective opinion. I do think 2 HBH offers better disguise than a topspin 1hbh as you can hit the 2 HBH later in effect holding your shot longer. I bolded the ones that stand out as questionable to me. In general, I still think 2 HBH is "better" but manly because it seems to be much easier for most people to learn a topspin drive with it especially against high balls or balls with pace. Some learn great topspin drives with 1 HBH but it is far less common. Hell, I played a 20 something year kid a few weeks ago and he hit a terrific 1 HBH - much better than my 2 HBH but I don't see this very often.

36. ### 10isfreakSemi-Pro

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It might sound peculiar to you all, but every idea which is expressed bears with it a normative weight, even when it is assumed to be a purely positive and neutral statement. I'll say something obvious, but any definition involves inclusions (what it is) and exclusions (what it is not). There are right and wrong ways to express an idea from the moment you determine what an object is. So, every time you discuss, your discussion is bounded by what your concepts admit as a right definition.

There is no truth, but within the scope of a certain framework. It's always an opinion, even when done systematically and scientifically. Any cunning person will probably try to turn this reasoning back unto itself, but it's not a problem. The point of it is that it's obviously reflexive... even what I explain here only makes sense within the confines of a certain framework.

37. ### TennisCJCLegend

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You are right. This does sound peculiar to me.

I am saying the author of the article presents his conclusions like they are indisputable facts but he presents very little logical supporting discussion or objective/quantifiable evidence to support his conclusions.

I am not sure I understand your post though as I stopped smoking weed in the 70s.

38. ### ShroudLegend

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Hi Lee can you play this thursday at 10:30am at san Pablo?

39. ### LeeDBionic Poster

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Cool!
I've been trying to start a 4.0 Thursday thing for the past few weeks.
Wed is just too crowded, and the junior instruction takes 3 courts MWF.
10:30 it is. Hopefully, traffic from up N is not too threatening.
I'll pass on Wed tennis, as I haven't been able to play on Wed for a month now due to extreme crowds.

40. ### ShroudLegend

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Excellent see you this thursday at 10:30am

I'll be the bald guy with the goatee who is dressed overly warm.