Open Stance 2HBH?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by lolminraise, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. lolminraise

    lolminraise New User

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    I've been looking at lot of youtube videos on the backhand and most of them have a closed or neutral stance, but then I run into this bollettieri video talking about how awesome the open stance 2HBH is.

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

    I've been trying it out a bit, but I can't seem to be able to hit through the ball well. I'm wondering what you guys think if this. When's the best time to even use an open stance backhand?
     
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  2. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    This is suboptimal position from so many angles.
    Azarenka does it routinely though...
     
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  3. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    It can be used effectively for returning serve and for returning shots out wide. The William sisters use the open stance quite a lot.

    Are you coiling your torso when preparing to hit the open stance. You chest should be facing the side fence more-or-less. Notice the orientation of the feet, hips and torso in the video. Are you driving off your back leg (left leg or a righty).
     
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  4. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

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    it works best i find for returning serve or dtl. i've posted elsewhere though that it tends to make it much more difficult to hit cc. not just me, this is from the pros i went to straighten me out.
     
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  5. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    You mean it's only good for stretching and sliding to your far left? But it takes quite a lot of elasticity, no wonder we only mention women in that regard. Of all men I can only think of Djokovic... Anyway it's quite taxing to try to get behind the ball when you are stretched out wide.
     
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  6. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I only ever use this if I'm in a position where I cannot move my feet into the position I want fast enough (returning etc). It can work out perfectly fine, but I feel I lose some control over where I want the ball to go.
     
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  7. tennis_pr0

    tennis_pr0 Semi-Pro

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    It is good when you don't have time to set up, like previous posts have mentioned. I have two college students I am teaching now, both with good two handed backhands, and I am working with them both on this.

    It definitely helps on the return of serve and on out wide balls. Return of serve because you have such little time to reach and you are starting in open stance (the ready position). Out wide balls as well because you have less time to get to them and when you recover, recovering from an open stance when you are out wide is more effective as you will have better balance to bring yourself back to the middle of the court.

    It's important to time your step with your outside leg (left leg if you are right handed) so that you take a nice big step leading into the open stance shot. Also, the mechanics such as hip and shoulder turn preparation are still the same, it's just not as much of a turn and not a linear shot where you are bringing your weight forward like you would in a closed or neutral stance.

    I teach all my students to hit this shot. Most of the backhands you hit are better hit with a closed or neutral stance, but it is important to know how to hit with the open stance as well. Even with a one handed backhand, it's important to know how to hit with an open stance. I have a one handed backhand and hit with an open stance when the situation calls.
     
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  8. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    ^^ I think it's always good to define open stance first. Like I can turn my whole body to the side while still having both feet on the baseline. It is still open stance even though I hit the ball all the way to my side. Requires much flexibility to reach for the ball this way and I would not do it a lot on the hard courts.
    But for many players "open stance" means "facing the net when approaching the ball and hitting the ball in front of body". And such definition is very counterproductive.
     
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  9. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Not so. I am very inflexible, primarily due to age (61), but I manage to hit open stance BHs (both 1-handed slice and the 2HBh) in some situations when pulled out wide. I usually hit the ball x-court but after watching the IMG video, I will believe that I will be able to hit the DTL shot effectively more often.
     
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  10. Buford T Justice

    Buford T Justice Semi-Pro

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    Serena seems to do it all the time as well.
     
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  11. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    Even with an open stance, you need to swing through the ball to get your arms fully extended before finishing over the shoulder. I find that it is helpful to think of the stroke is more of squarish motion and not a circle (note that you are shifting weight sideways with your body during contact to power the stroke, but should still be extending out forward and through the ball with your arms). Extension is key to the 2-hander.
     
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  12. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    The key to understanding open stance on the two hander is grip and hitting arm position. The women are hitting with both arms bent and more of a left handed emphasis--often like Serena with a weaker bottom hand grip. They will also-- like a forehand--thend to be more open with the torso at contact.

    Some men, such as Davydenko use this config. But most men are hitting with the back arm straight or near straight--Murray, Djok. Or even both arms straight--Rafa, Agassi.

    The dynamics are different with stronger grips and more bottom arm pull. The config is bent/straight or straight/straight It is a backhand hit more with both arms--not as much a lefthanded forehand. As such it resembles a one-hander is some ways.

    The preferred stance is closed--or netural near the center of the court although obviously these players also use open.
    The torso because of this stance and arm config is much more closed at contact.
     
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  13. Buford T Justice

    Buford T Justice Semi-Pro

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    The more I see all these drastic variations in technique of the best players, how "good" technique has changed over time, etc....the more I think that it hardly matters how one hits the ball as long as it goes where you want it and with some amount of pace on it!
     
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  14. lolminraise

    lolminraise New User

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    I'll going to experiment with it a bit today. Seems like people think its only for returning serve or a stretched out wide shot.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Why do you think it should be different than an openstanced forehand?
    Same thing...it's the last and plant step, hit ball, you're on your way to recovery.
    It doesn't apply the most power to your 2hbh, but like the forehand, it works just fine and can go sharp angle CC much easier than a typical closed or neutral stance.
     
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  16. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    This thinking could get you into trouble. The modern game puts more stresses on the body than ever before. In the past decade or two, we've seen more injuries of the hip, shoulder, lower back, knees, etc. You've got to consider more than pace & accuracy if you want longevity in the modern game.
     
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  17. Buford T Justice

    Buford T Justice Semi-Pro

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    Just my thoughts as I've been pondering this a bit lately......

    My thought is not really about playing the modern game.....it's questioning that this style is 100% better for everyone.

    For every pro or expert that says "this is how you should hit the ball", there is another which says/does the opposite and is perhaps just as successful.

    When I read old tennis books, I see a way of playing being taught as "correct" that would be called "incorrect" today.

    I also see quite a number of higher level amateurs which play more old school tennis and it works just fine. Of course, I am not one of them....but am seriously considering learning the old school game for no other reason that longevity.

    Would this style work at the ATP level...probably not, but that isn't really of concern to the average player.
     
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  18. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    I don't know why you find this. I mean if you're stretched really really wide and can barely reach the ball then maybe. But otherwise it's easier to hit crosscourt than DTL. But yeah, it's very useful to be able to hit a topspin or flat shot when stretched wide, as opposed to having to hit a slice every time. The more options the better, assuming you know how to use them.
     
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  19. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Variety and low-stress biomechanics might be the keys to longevity. Federer is a good example of this. He has quite a bit of variety in his game with solid mechanics and he glides around the court. Contrast this with the harder styles of Nadal and Djoko who both put a lot of G forces on their joints repeatedly.

    Roger employs a variety of stances -- open, neutral and closed. Contrast this with Hewitt and Kuerten who both hit most of their FHs with a fully open stance. Both have had serious injuries to the right hip. I saw Hewitt, who has already had hip surgery, play recently (SAP Open). He was still hitting a lot of open stance FHs. And he was hitting some jumping (mule-kick) BHs as well. This undoubtedly puts added stress to that right hip. Others who've had recent hip issues include Haas, Nalbandian, and (Brian) Baker.

    It might be best for you to learn both classic and modern styles and try to employ variety in your game. It's ok to get creative with your shot-making but make sure that you are not setting yourself up for overuse injuries in the process. Studying Federer's footwork would not be a bad idea either.
     
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  20. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    If the preparation and the set up to the ball are correct there is no problem going crosscourt off the closed stance.
     
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  21. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Double Handed Backhand:

    John, do you mean closed stance (when the right foot crosses over to the left sideline?), or square stance (when both the feet are in the same line)?

    Going cross-court with closed stance (at least for teen-agers) could be very painful because it creates twist on the lower back. I have seen many back injuries because of this.

    Venus and Serena can hit any shot with an open stance, but I would recommend open stance when going cross court and square stance when hitting down the line. The key, as you said, is the preparation, proper set up, and good upper body turn.

    Nice to hear from you.

    Mahboob Khan
     
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  22. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Mahboob,

    It's the male female difference. Stance is related to grip and hitting arm structure--so yeah Venus and to a lesser extent Serena are going to hit open going crosscourt.

    I was surprised to find this, but it is very different for most of the men--again related to arm structure.
     
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  23. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Thank you for the clarification.
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I've seen examples of guys in the A/Open level who hit all their 2hbh's with an open stance.
    One uses a conti on his left hand, and switching his right to strong E backhand.
    The other, FrewMillian, used double conti for all his groundies when using both hands.
     
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  25. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    LD,

    I don't have film of those guys and open stance is always possible. BUT for the current top men with the arm structures noted above, the preference is closed when on the backhand side toward the sideline, more neutral stances when closer to the center.

    Because the body is less open at contact and the role of the front arm, so long as the back foot set up is good, cc is no prob. In fact prefered.

    They are doing this in my opinion because they get more pop from the initial hip and shoulder rotation caused by increase turn in closed stance and the use of more front arm.
     
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  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Watch the latest teaching segment on Tennis Channel by Jenny Hopkins (Mrs. Taylor Dent). She explains the advantage of the closed stance on the two-handed backhand and demonstrates it. Learn from the pros.
     
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  27. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    It's wrong to think open or closed stance. It can hamper your footowrk.

    If you think about getting your foot lined up behind the ball, you are closer to the proper weight transfer.

    Now which foot is that? Optimally it is closed. Easier to get your weight going into the court, but with more modern tennis you can obviously transfer weight more laterally and be fine.

    So when to do what? That is really the question. The answer is, whatever you are allowed to do during that shot. If a guy hits a weak, short ball to my forehand, I am most likely going to drive with it all my weight moving forward so I can have a nice controlled swing and hit a winner.

    If he hits wide to my outside there is no way I can be balanced and hit closed unless my name is Djoko and I possess elite ability.

    The more I thought about balance and weight transfer and less about open vs closed stance, the better my footwork got.

    Perfect example of why it is better to think this way. Get pulled wide on the FH side, hit a FH with an open stance..start crossing back to middle, opponent hits ball short but where I was so im wrong footed. Open stance can't happen and be on balance (short ball) so I hit the shot stepping in and closed because its all I can do. Doing this keeps me balanced, and I hit an easy CC winner. tough to describe each scenario, but the less I think aboout open or closed, the better my balance is.

    Also, Agassi hit a ton of 2 handers open when pulled wide. Just watch his french open match against courier. You will see it in the first few games.
     
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  28. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Thinking and doing... those don't mix that well now do they?

    But to make the point we are talking about pro level backhands and there is a reason these guys hit so many closed. It may be a matter of how it feels--that extra turn and coil.

    Applicability across levels--well there is anothe issue...
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Does this discussion sound eerily like the 1990 discussion on forehands, openstanced or closed? Don't forget, there was a discussion then about exactly that, and open proved to work just fine.
    Currently, most 2hbh's are hit with conti normal hand, and eForehand on the top hand. Eforehand traditionally are hit with closed stances, but Fed and some guys hit it well with neutral, closed, AND openstances.
    Will 2hbh follow suit?
    We're not talking about what is being done here, we're talking about whether the open stance will work in the future.
    Remember that old Verdasco match where BudColliins kept saying that he, Verdasco, would hit a better sharp angle CC if he didn't close his stance so much?
     
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  30. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Anything is possible. My opinion is that on the backhand the evolution or increase in closed stance has mirrored the evolution or increase of open stance on the forehand.

    Why? In both cases the stance is allowing more turn--and hence more energy coiling and releasing.
     
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  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, I suppose anything is possible.
    Just I saw GeneMayer and Frew hitting groundstrokes with semi open stances on their 2 handed shots, often sidespinning for DTL shots like Connors. That sidespin makes the opponent run one more step. CC, they'd hit normal topspin, so the ball curved normal.
    One of my hero's on my way up beyond C was a RonnieLouie, of the Louie sister's fame, who hit wide openstanced 2hbh's with sidespin and even a little underspin. Playing mostly in the A's when I was watching him, his 2hbh didn't seem at all a weaker side, and smart opponent's would often hit to his forehand, which was a flat E grip.
    I"m not saying we all should hit 2hbh's with an open stance, but I think there is room for a Connors like 2hbh today, where sidespin is used for DTL, and topspin for CC shots.
     
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  32. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    LD,

    Oh I agree open stance is part of the mix and if your back arm is in a double bend like Gene, yeah that's the pref. The point is there is a correlation between arm structures (which is diff than grips alone) and stance. Surprising but hundreds of high speed clips don't lie...
     
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  33. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Why do women tend to use the double bend more?
     
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  34. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Is this about the Fh or are you still referring to the Bh?

    .
     
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  35. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    BD, SA,

    I think we are talking two hander and double bend with rear arm... And the answer is, no one knows exactly why the men/women diff.

    Is is about ratios of shoulder to hip width? Is it strength since fewer women hit one handers and this carries over into two handed variations that use more front arm?

    Is it a matter of coaching or emulation? Good questions.
     
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  36. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    In certain cases close stance (Djokovic) will work if the left leg would come along so that he finishes in open stance. If the left leg will not come along the right thigh will not clear and the stroke will be inhibited.

    I still believe that it will be quite painful to go cross court with closed stance. In such situations open or semi-open will be better. For example, Djokovic uses variety of stances: open, semi-open, square, and close. I think stance is dictated by the hitting situation.
     
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  37. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    That is a 3rd possibility that I hadn't even considered. (But then I has not thoroughly read all of your previous replies ). The 1st thing that comes to mind when I hear the phrase, double bend, is the FH. I actually started a reply with that assumption. But then I realized that the conversation was primarily about BHs. My 2nd assumption was that BD was talking about both arms being bend = double bent. My bad (it was 6 o'clock in the AM).
    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Does it always HAVE to be double bend 2hbh's?
    I know FrewMcMillian didn't double bend, using a double continental with elbows close together.
    And while GeneMayer often lined up his feet, I know for sure I've seen him hit groundstrokes open stanced, a few times.
     
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  39. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    I think that's a big reason why early weight transfer onto the front leg is so important. This is why I'm suspicious of the "left-handed forehand" analogy.
     
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  40. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    LD,

    Open stance and arm config are two independent variables
     
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  41. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yes, I know that, but some here are associating one with the other.
    And more than anyone else, I believe it's a personal style that hardly ever is universal, which means it cannot be applied in all cases.
     
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  42. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Right there are a lot of combinations--but yet some general associations--open stance double bend. Closed stance straighter arms. That's in the modern footage I have studied but can't speak about other players not on film.
     
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  43. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    This makes me wonder about why there would be such a relationship.

    Is it because of the way the racket is oriented, in relation to the body?

    For example, I would imagine, given equal bends in the right arm, if the left arm is straight, the racket would protrude more in front of the chest. Whereas, if the left arm is bent, the racket would protrude more left of the chest, and thus require more body turn.
     
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  44. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    For the right handers double handed BH:

    The left arm's function is basically a lefty's forehand and you do use open, semi-open, or square stances with forehand; thus, in my view the open stance, semi-open, and square are the stances that augur well with the double handed BH; and if you do get stuck with a closed stance make sure that you transfer your weight onto the right foot allowing the left foot to come along so that you finish in an open stance.

    Try this experiment:

    Use "Closed Stance" and hit cross court; you will feel extra twitch in your lower back. It's so dangerous for children whose backs aren't strong enough.
     
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  45. rkelley

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    I have personally moved from a more equal balancing of what my hands are doing to really adopting the left handed fh model, though it's more traditional fh. But I really do think there are many ways to to hit a 2hbh successfully.

    Listen to John Yandell. The great thing about what he's saying is that it's primarily observations of the best player's technique. That's data, and data is good. We can move to a discussion of whys and hows, but it's good to start with the whats.
     
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