Power on a 2hbh?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by SStrikerR, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    Hey guys. I feel like my two handed backhand doesn't have enough power, unless I'm going all out for the shot. Which, of course, results in more errors than winners right now. (You fling your racquet as fast as possible like that and see what happens)

    It's weird, because I can hit with a one handed backhand as well, and I can hit with more pace with that shot. I just don't like it because the two handed is more consistent and I have better accuracy with it. Not to mention I like being able to still hit the ball when it's about chest level...Anyway, yeah. Any suggestions on what I can do to help improve the pace a little? I'm not looking for a major weapon, but I do want it to be something that I can use to keep my opponent off balance, and to put away shots.
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    First of all, hit more balls with 2hbh.
    Lean into the shot, mostly closed stanced, but more important, closed shoulders.
    If you want more power, hit the ball FLATTER. Consider eFOREhand on your weak grip. Hit thru the ball, flat and fast swings.
    Practice, it doesn't come cheap.
     
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  3. jasonh

    jasonh New User

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    Definitely agree with more shoulder rotation. You watch someone like djokovic and he has his shoulders turned almost 180 degrees, to be parallel with the baseline.

    Also, the power (and spin) on the shot comes from your non-dominant hand, which might be a problem if you're coming from a 1hbh. It's basically a lefty forehand with right handed guidance. You can try a drill where you hit forehands with your left hand and then slowly work the right hand in for more control.
     
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  4. Sreeram

    Sreeram Professional

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    If you need power you need to hit it flatter. But to hit flat you need to know exactly how far above the net you can hit to bring the ball in. So that comes by practice. It is not easy to hit flat and stay consistent from the very 1st try.
    Also check your racquet balance. If it has less weight on the head (more HL) then you dont have power with 2HBH. Try adding lead to your racquet head untill you get the sufficient balance to hit a powerful BH.
     
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  5. Djokolate

    Djokolate Professional

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    It's normally the way you swing it or what your trying to do to hit it powerfully. Hit flat. But if you want some spin, do what Djokovic does; swing like you're hitting flat, but brush the ball. You also need to swing faster and hit through the ball. I guess you could try shoulder rotation, too. I think this will help a lot as I have had the same problem and this is how I fixed it.
     
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  6. GetBetterer

    GetBetterer Hall of Fame

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    Which two-handed backhand are you hitting? There are two (basically, but they can be expanded upon):

    1. Closed Stance
    2. Open Stance

    Closed stance provides great power, just look at Marat Safin. Closed stance, less reach, less topspin, but a lot more power.

    Open stance provides great topspin, Novak Djokovic being the example here. It provides more reach, more topspin but less power.

    Perhaps you're using an open stance two-handed backhand.

    I don't know how you found the one-handed backhand inconsistent but...okay.
     
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  7. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Consistency isn't a matter of 1h vs. 2h. It's a matter of learning to hit a backhand. :)
     
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  8. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

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    Close your stance,swing harder, and probably the most effective method would be to flatten the stroke out.
     
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  9. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    Maybe because I only hit it when I'm messing around? It's not like I practice it, because it's not the one I use.

    Anyway, I hit with a closed stance. If I get a chance to play tomorrow, I'll see if I can rotate my shoulders more and see what that does for me.
     
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  10. 10nistennis

    10nistennis Rookie

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    Drive through the ball with your hips and legs.

    A lot of power comes from the rotation of your trunks, so keep it relaxed so you can uncoil into the shot.

    As for your legs, keep them bent, and push forward when you make contact.
     
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  11. peoplespeace

    peoplespeace Semi-Pro

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    i think he was talking about the consistency of his own 1hbh vs his 2hbh, right?
     
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  12. doctor dennis

    doctor dennis Rookie

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    X2 on this advice. The tips my coach said to me with was to use an eastern forehand grip for my left hand and conti for my right. (I'm a righty)
    Then simply, relax, drop the racket under the ball, hit up and through the ball whilst getting my body going forward in to the ball. He also told me not worry about brushing the ball too much. ( I was too conscious about putting topspin on the ball) This helped me groove how flat I could hit the ball with many, many hours of practice.
    If you can, get a coach or someone you know with plenty of knowledge to analyse your strokes to see where it is going wrong then practice it to death.
    As they say, perfect practice make perfect.

    Regards
     
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  13. ci2ca

    ci2ca Semi-Pro

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    I agree with everything the previous posters have said but I just want to add a little something. You stated that you can hit your one hander with pace, now when I think of a sweet one hander I think of proper extension. Now the question is, are your hands too close to your body? That causes you to rotate with your body more and you end up hitting the ball too thin. Try bringing your contact point farther away from your body with the same type of rotation you would use as if your hands are closer and definitely try to extend towards your contact with your left hand.

    Happy hitting.
     
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  14. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    I can't hit flat at all most of the time. It either hits the net or goes long. Topspin is fine, but it's too slow to hit winners with.

    I suppose next time I'll see what happens if I hit with my hands further away from my body, I think I may be hitting too close. Grip wise, I use a continental grip on my right hand and I think a western forehand with my left. (Looked it up online and I'm pretty sure that's what I use) When I hit the ball, I do drive through and move forward. If worst comes to worst I'll try to record a video and see what you guys think.

    edit: After watching a few videos and trying to visualize my own stroke, I think I might be bringing my arms in and bending them before completely finishing the stroke.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011
    #14
  15. doctor dennis

    doctor dennis Rookie

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    If you could upload a video that'd be really helpful. Also, try going from western to eastern. It will feel weird at first but once grooved it will feel natural. I used a western on my left hand at first which made my 2hbh quite whippy and spinny. Hit up against a wall for 10-20 mins to try and get a feel for the eastern grip and see what you think. A key point to remember is that you get your topspin from the low to high racket face. I'm guessing that if your bending your elbows to soon your trying to force the spin on the ball.
    Relax, drop racket below the ball and extend up and out to your target. (keep your wrists firm)
    Your issues sound a lot like mine a few months back and this is what worked for me.
    Regards.
     
    #15
  16. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Keep your elbow in close to your body and make sure both shoulders touch your chin at start and at finish of the stroke. The shoudler turn provides the power.

    Safin and most pros hit with both stances. Closed for balls in the middle of the court that are easier to set up for and open for wider balls that are tougher to get to. the main thing is to have your weight moving forwards. You can achieve this by moving backwards before the ball gets to you, setting up your feet and then getting your weight into the shot which moves you back into the court.
     
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  17. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    The kinetic chain with the 1hbh is often easier than with the 2hbh because the arm lags the hips (you are whipping the shot). In contrast, most people tend to arm or muscle the 2hbh. If you look at videos of good 2hbh on you-tube, you will see: shoulder and hip rotation giving power to shot (A good visual clue is that you are going from one shoulder under your chin to another shoulder under you chin (180 degree rotation); and good extension of the left arm (if you are a righty) after contact so that the follow-through does not begin until well after contact.

    Regarding power of an open versus closed stance, there is no difference. The key is weight shift and rotation.
     
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  18. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. I actually mistyped though, I meant to say eastern on my non-dominant hand, not western.

    I have a match tomorrow, so hopefully I can try some of this advice out during warmups.
     
    #18
  19. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    It might get funky if you try too hard to rely on that stroke when you're playing a match. Since you can't really hit it unconsciously yet, you may want to grind it out over a few more practice sessions to produce a more useful stroke. That can include deliberately running around some forehands on the practice courts in order to force yourself to hit more backhands.

    Your thought about keeping your hands farther away from you sounds like a potentially helpful idea. It's important to use enough of a swing radius to get decent racquet speed. I use a one-handed backhand for a topspin rally stroke, but sometimes I need to use a two-hander and I get a good swing radius when I use my left arm well (I'm a righty). If I make sure to extend my left arm through the contact zone, even if I begin my stroke with slightly bent elbows, that helps me to get a good "release" of the racquet as I turn my shoulders.

    Hope I'm not echoing everyone else, but I think it's also important to keep a somewhat loose grip on the racquet with this stroke. With an extra hand holding on, some players can squeeze with too much grip pressure and that can restrict the swing. Tension kills motion. Check for a full follow through so that your left elbow (if you're a righty) is pointing in the general direction of your target at your finish.
     
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  20. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    Well I mean I'm not going to rely on it. I'll just play consistently and not really go for winners off that side. I can still place it pretty well and hit with topspin at least. The winners will be saved for the forehand though.
     
    #20
  21. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    So, I lost the first match of the year today. I'm 2nd singles on my High School team, but today I played #1 cause our guy wasn't there.

    I lost 0-6, 1-6. I wasn't hitting my backhand very well still, and the guy hit deep and with a lot of power. His serve also kicked up above my head on my backhand side nearly every time, which didn't help very much. However, I found out he's playing dII tennis next year in college, which gives me a bit of hope. I'm only a sophomore so I have time to practice and learn, and while the score looks awful, I was still winning points against him. In fact, I was only held to love once. So, I'm not taking this loss too heavily.
     
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  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You WILL get used to fast incoming balls and especially, the head high and higher bounces of kick serves.
    Everyone your age is hitting twist/kicks, and the key to returning those is to lean forwards, bending forwards at the waist even, while remaining sideways and hitting mostly CC. That's how all the short pros can return high bouncers no worse than the tall guys.
    As for power, it comes in it's own time, usually off a fast incoming ball. In the meantime, I suggest you employ spin and speed changes, 1hbh slices, and run around some backhands to hit forehands. Adding power or a new stroke takes more than a few months to fully implement.
     
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  23. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    SStrikerR, take those kick serves on the rise with your 2HBH. If you let those things bounce, peak, and drop... they can be really difficult to track. The ball is going to pop off your racquet, so take a nice, deliberate, controlled swing.

    I actually have gotten to like returning kick serves. Hit correctly, you can really just let your opponent's pace and spin do all the work for you. I can even hit winners (if you can even call them that) sometimes just by redirecting the kick serve with a very small backswing and touch/punch -- either cross court or down the line.
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Watch midget Santoro return the highest kick serves. He leans forwards, then gets sidways, and bends his trunk forwards so everything is up and forwards as he hits the ball from a closed trunk, usually feet, but not always.
     
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  25. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    seriously, this came from someone who's played for 2 years...lolol... show us a video of you doing that, I will pay you $5
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Problem is, the theory of MR is correct, but the implementation is almost impossible.
    Smart twist server can also slice into the body, hit flat into the body, or top right into your body.
     
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  27. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    that's why the $5 pay off, and also.. people who have played less than 3 years are not allowed to share technicals.

    just shut up and listen.
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    ..and the two really good twist servers I play against also can hit shorter twists to hop up when you move forwards, or deeper twists to get higher when you stay near the baseline.
     
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  29. doctor dennis

    doctor dennis Rookie

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    OP

    As most have said it will take months to learn the stroke. Focus on practicing the correct mechanics / fundementals and it will come.
    You'll be able to handle those difficult kick serves better in time too.

    Regards
     
    #29
  30. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I think returning them wasn't too hard, it was just frustrating. I had to be 110% focused on the ball every single time, or I'd mishit it. I thought about taking the ball on the rise, but I realized with how the ball was kicking and curving, I'd frame it too much for it to be worth it. So I just sat back and tracked it down, mostly hitting one handed returns deep to the center of his court.
     
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  31. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Leaning in that shoulder makes a huge difference as well. I was focusing on that tonight. Make sure you are swinging relaxed, and you will actually get more power if timed right.
     
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  32. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    That could also be part of the problem. I feel like when I'm going for a two handed backhand now, I'm focusing on it too much. I might be stiffening up a bit, and just overthinking it. I've hit the shot well before, just seem to have lost it when the outdoor season started. It'll be back.
     
    #32
  33. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    So yesterday I got out my old racquet. The one I used before was a Prince oversized racquet. I noticed when I used it, that my serves were going in more and with more pace. Then I noticed that my groundstrokes were harder and landed deeper. Then I went to the net, and noticed, wow, my volleys are actually good again. The only problem with it is that unless I put enough topspin on the ball myself, it's going out. The racquet doesn't help with that at all. So now I'm starting to think about what could be wrong with my new racquet.

    Here's some things I think may be causing some problems.

    My old racquet head was 110 sq inches, new one is 95. (Not shanking things, but not hitting as clean maybe?)

    My new racquet has less power, and I'm not generating enough to hit as well.

    The new racquet is also heavier (I'd have to check the numbers, but I can definitely get a noticeable amount of more racquet speed with the old one)

    Strings/Tension: My new racquet is strung with ALU Big banger, my old one is strung with whatever the store gave. Tensions I don't even know for either of them.

    I started getting more serious about tennis about a year ago, when I started playing 2 years ago. (Age 16 now) So if someone would care to explain tensions to me that would be nice. I'm a decent player, but the more...technical parts of equipment, I don't know very well.

    Regardless, I have 4 matches this week. In 2 I'll be using my old racquet, in the others I'll use my new one. I'll see which works better.
     
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  34. phnx90

    phnx90 Hall of Fame

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    You've become a fine apprentice troll there, young padawan.

    Just kidding, though I'd like to point out that not having played long doesn't necessarily mean they have nothing to share.
     
    #34
  35. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

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    I'm 3 yrs into it after a 20 yr layoff, and I have something to share. I'm a leaner. I find that the Connors style lean into the 2HBH gives me easy power, although if you're not careful, your momentum can carry you forward too much and leave you in no-mans land...
     
    #35
  36. 2ManyAces

    2ManyAces Rookie

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    I agree. A common fixer (?) for power on bh is to use more left hand. (If you're a righty) Vice versa for a lefty. Bjorn Borg had one of the best 2hbh ever and he used a TON of left hand in his stroke. Think of it as 2 forehands. On bh use your right hand to add more stability to the racket and the left hand to plow thru the ball.
     
    #36
  37. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Almost every time you can't get power on your backhand, it's due to not preparing properly. I love the leaning in technique also, really adds more punch.

    Another thing is when you can..step into your strokes. You will not always be able to, but when you can do it, and it is combined with good prep, you should be able to crush the ball.
     
    #37
  38. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Just to add to this, I am watching Joker/Nadal and Djoke is stepping into all his backhands...real closed stance even on some that have him stretched out wide.
     
    #38
  39. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I was going to say exactly this, but Nellie beat me to it.

    I've been trying to add some pace to my 2hbh also. I had a good solid shot (continental/eastern forehand, both arms straight), but I couldn't really rip the ball. I was hitting it very flat.

    The issue came to a head one day when I went out to the local high school to hit against the wall. Ran into this 25-ish Russian guy, about 6'3" and built like a tank. We started hitting. He was clearly better than me (I found out later he played juniors in Russia), but when I got forehands in my wheel house and got set-up well I could keep him back behind the baseline and he wouldn't try to hit winners. But off my backhand I couldn't hurt this dude at all. I'd hit what I thought was a pretty decent cross court drive, hard and flat, to his back hand. He'd just step inside the baseline, take the ball on the rise, and rip it down the line. His two hander had a smooth motion with a nice snap right before contact and he was clearly generating way more pace with it than I was with mine.

    I've spent some quality time on youtube studying backhands. I really looked at Agassi's, Djokovic's, Safin's, and Nabaldian's strokes. I concluded that I was not getting optimum use of the kinetic chain. I wasn't letting my hips and shoulders drive through the stroke and then letting my hands snap through. I was arming the ball too much and losing the power. Especially watch Agassi and Safin. They both have beautiful motions where you can clearly see how their hips and shoulders "load-up" the energy and then their hands snap through right before contact.

    I spent some serious wall time working on getting my shoulders more turned at the start of the stroke (as others have mentioned - chin on my right shoulder at the start of the swing), and then letting my hips and shoulders open up first and then allowing my hands to snap through. It's tough to break old habits. I've probably spent 10 hours on the wall hitting backhands in addition to court time.

    I also rotated my left hand to a semi-western grip because I wanted a bit more top spin on the stroke and I generally prefer a contact zone a bit more in front of my body. I've found I can still hit the ball flat if I want to, but I can more easily get topspin.

    I played a bit with the balance between my right and left hands. I'm letting my left hand do a bit more of the work than before, but both hands participate. The right hand is still important for power. If I don't use my right hand enough the stroke is weak. I'm also trying to keep both of my arms loose as I take the racquet back before contact. Like most shots, if you get all tight you rob yourself of power.

    I also worked on ball position relative to my body. With Agassi especially watch where the ball is relative to distance away from his body. When he has the time he likes the ball in very close, not far away from his body. What I found was that when I copied this, and let the contact point come in a bit closer to my body, it really allows me to aggressively snap the racquet head through contact zone.

    I've been pleased with the results. With these changes I've been able to generate quite a bit more pace off of my backhand, and also more topspin when I want it. The stroke is more consistent too because I'm not working as hard to generate pace. Played a 5.0 guy the other day (I'm not a 5.0 player) and I was able to keep him back and relatively well behaved with my backhand.

    I'm still working on it. If I had any talent it would really help this process :).

    Good luck.

    Rich
     
    #39
  40. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    Well lately my backhand has been a toss up. Either a rally shot, or just complete crap that I avoid at all costs. It's been getting better though, so now the only things left to try are:

    More left hand. I have a feeling this might help a lot, as mechanically I do everything else pretty well I think.

    Just trying to hit harder and get used to it. Never gonna hit hard if you don't go for it.
     
    #40
  41. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    I bet you when you go all out for a shot your right arm is working a lot more then it should.

    The key with power on a 2HBH isn't arm swinging, it's incorporating the hips and weight transfer. If you look at the pros, coming out of the slot the arms do very little swinging, leading with the wrists your just looking to form a strong leverage position between you and the ball.

    hitech-tennis.com has a brilliant instructional series on the 2HBH. I recommend it highly.
     
    #41
  42. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    It's really not the weight transfer that I'm not doing, trust me. My problem was not using my left hand more. I tried incorporating it more in my swing today, and my hits were a lot more accurate and powerful. I'll check out that series though, thanks.

    Anyway, lost 1-6 2-6 today. Should've been closer I think, but I was off today. Whether it was just a bad day, or me being slightly sick, I don't know. But no excuses, the guy played better than me. It was annoying though, he made some VERY questionable line calls, regardless of the fact that he was winning (their whole team made crappy calls). He also mocked me inbetween points apparently. I wasn't looking, but some of my teammates watching told me. He was constantly laughing during the match, and watching other matches going on while I was waiting to serve. Whenever he hit it into the net or out, he would pick up a ball and hit it across the court or into the fence, which wasted time and was just...stupid. You're winning 6-1, 5-2 kid, chill out. How bout instead of hitting the ball past me when I'm waiting to serve, you hit it to me like everybody else?

    All in all, just a frustrating match I didn't enjoy.
     
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