Quasi-ubiquity of 1hbh players in rec league.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by The Bawss, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. The Bawss

    The Bawss Banned

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    Recently, I noticed that about 60-70% of rec players play with a 1hbh. Considering that on the pro tour maybe 20% at best use a 1hbh and that it's a harder shot (in my opinion) to master, why would rec players be so inclined to use a 1hbh? Because of Sampras, Federer?

    Enlighten me.
     
    #1
  2. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Most are older players that grew up watching Sampras, Becker, Edberg, Lendl, Stich, McEnroe etc.
     
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  3. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    People who grew up watching them aren't old. I know because I grew up watching Rod Laver, John Newcombe and Stan Smith. When I grew up, if you were a boy and played with a two-handed backhand, all the other kids would laugh at you and say "look at the little girl" because only little girls hit a backhand with two hands. And if you said "maybe this 15 ounce chunk of wood is too heavy" or "maybe the 4 5/8 grip is a little big," you'd have gotten the same reaction. Something like "son, Pancho Gonzales wouldn't have let his face be put on the racket unless it was a good one, so stop whining, grab that chunk of wood with a continental grip and start hitting the ball hard and flat." Then Jimmy Connnors came along with his two-handed backhand. I'm sure that one of the kids around Belleville said "Jimmy is a little girl" but, after that kid was found unconscious in an alley somewhere with fragments of racket imbedded in his skull, no one ever said it again.

    I still hit with a one-handed backhand. I realize that there's absolutely no advantage to using one, but it's what I grew up using and none of you modern sissy kids are ever gonna convince me to change. :)
     
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  4. Lefty5

    Lefty5 Hall of Fame

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    How about this theory....Maybe 60-70% of people have one very dominant side, left or right hand. Its easier for a person with a very dominant hand to hit with a 1BH. On the other hand, a GOOD 2BH, requires some bit of skill on your non-dominanant side. Almost, but not quite, like a bit of ambidexterous-ness. That skill is by far in the minority, but when found, makes for a great 2BH.
     
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  5. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

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    A lot of people over 30 learnt with a one handed backhand. Simple as that as far as I'm concerned.
     
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  6. samarai

    samarai Rookie

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    There is a certain mystique associated with the 1hbh. Around my courts. The stroke is given terms like graceful and fluid. Even some of the good two handers will play around with shot while rallying. Personally, I like the two handed backhanded and have no illusions about trying to switch.
     
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  7. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Hmm, I'm almost ambidextrous and started with a 2 handed backhand. I eventually switched to a 1 hander.
     
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  8. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    1HBH just seemed more natural to me, so I started out with it. Now after playing for 4 years and giving the 2HBH several tries, I feel even more inclined to stick with the 1HBH. For me a 2HBH just doesn't feel right. Simple as that.

    A 1HBH is actually a much easier shot to hit, until you get to 5.0+ levels and start facing REAL pace. 1HBH is pretty much the easiest most basic shot in tennis because there is so little going on, so few "moving parts", etc. Technically it's a MUCH simpler stroke than a forehand.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
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  9. goober

    goober Legend

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    A lot of rec players started as adults. They have the strength to hit with a 1HBH unlike say young juniors. 1 HBH seems easier to hit with initially for male adults. Unless they played hockey or something similar where they are hitting with 2 hands, most adults find it more natural to hit with one hand when first starting.

    The majority of female adults I see hit with 2 HBH whether they started as juniors or adults.
     
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  10. olliess

    olliess Semi-Pro

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    A few reasons off the top of my head:

    1) Rec players' ages span a pretty wide range. 1hbh was pretty ubiquitous until relatively recently.
    2) Players who have played other racquet sports may have a bit of a feel for hitting 1h on the bh side and try to translate some of their technique to tennis
    3) The 2hbh seems to require a lot of flexibility, which isn't as good for a lot of rec adult players
    4) Rec players have noticed that slice really works against a lot of other rec players (especially considering the amount of effort expended), so they may not bother to learn anything else
    5) The MAN thing (Bah! Two handers are for girls!)
     
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  11. The Bawss

    The Bawss Banned

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    This is a good point.
     
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  12. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

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    Awesome. I do remember that the 2HBH was associated with women until Connors.
     
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  13. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Hey the point about women, adult or not, using 2hbh is particularly true in my circles. I can't remember one who hits with 1 hand.

    I'm not sure the real reason for men but I suspect most do not switch when their 1hander suck is because they think the 1 hander looks cooler. I have several told me that the 2hbh looks stupid on them. Basically likely they value look over practicality.

    Kinda makes sense since women don't have this ego problem and they are fully committed to 2handers in the beginning as recreational people likely must due to the challenge of hitting a bh.
     
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  14. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    If I played lefty, I would for sure play a 2HBH from hockey, but since I play righty 1HBH is just more comfortable. Plus spin is easier to come by for me at least!

    -Fuji
     
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  15. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    I started at 14 (now 15) and the feeling of constriction from the 2H proved too much. The 2H can become pretty smooth, but it'll never compare to the HUGE radius of swing you can use with the 1H.
     
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  16. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Its been my observation that as players age, they have a tendency to put on weight and most that have a significant gut find it hard/difficult to use two hands. Although some can manage it more cannot.
     
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  17. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    1H transition from and to slice pretty well as well, and that's also related to the BH volley.
     
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  18. halalula1234

    halalula1234 Professional

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    because it looks pretty!
     
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  19. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I've been playing for one year. I tried a two-handed backhand repeatedly. I just can't do it. I heard it's better for arm health which drove me to try again and again to no avail.

    So for my 1HBH I focus on staying loose and letting the racquet do the work. Oddly enough I find a "heavier" rkt makes the 1HBH easier. It sort of just smashes the ball and at my low level 12oz+ is just fine.

    My boys, 9 and 11, have also tried two-handed without success. Both use 1HBH. Genetic??? :) Probably not as my wise is strictly 2HBH.
     
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  20. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    problem is most rec players look pretty bad hitting a 1hbh
     
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  21. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    It feels great when you hit a good one. You open your arms wide like a bird, and your weight is on your front toe for a split second, like a balet dancer.

    Or like this guy:

    [​IMG]

    It is also considered a tough shot, so it feels rewarding to pull it off. For the same reason people love hitting backhand overhead smashes and tweeners (if they can).
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
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  22. Bacterio

    Bacterio Rookie

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    I'm going to say the versatility of the 1hbh is the reason you see it so much amongst rec players. I bet if you took some serious stats on the 1HBH you'd notice that it's probably 20% topspin 1hbh and 80% everything else.

    Rec players usually don't have the patience or courage to play outside their comfort zone since the majority started playing as adults and like to stick with what works. It's the same reason that most won't make it past 3.5.

    I play with a topspin 1hbh and although I do see a lot of other 1handers, they're mostly all slice or just a flat almost push on the ball. It's consistent, doesn't take much effort and it works. You won't ever see them come over on the ball.
     
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  23. FedExpress 333

    FedExpress 333 Professional

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    I did because of Fed.
     
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  24. rjw

    rjw Professional

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    I'm an older rec player and hit a pretty hard topspin 1 hander, along with a better than decent slice. I just can't see why I would need to use 2 hands, unless I was planning on converting to leftie...hmmm maybe?

    When I watch Serena, for example...it just looks so mechanical
     
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  25. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    In my area, it's more like 90% who use 1HBH. It's because the 1HBH is more versatile and has more reach. Older players can't get to the ball as fast so it's easier to get the ball back with a 1HBH than with a 2HBH. Also, most leagues are doubles only and more recreational players play doubles than singles and it's more natural to play doubles with a 1HBH than a 2HBH because of one-handed backhand volleys and serving and volleying.

    No, it has nothing at all to do with Sampras nor Federer nor any other pro player. Most recreational players couldn't care less how some pro hits the ball.
     
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  26. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I also think it may be because the 1HBH requires more shoulder strength, which more men have than women do.
     
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  27. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I agree. I find it easier to crank a 1HBH and hit the ball cleanly in the middle of the sweetspot with pace than to do the same with a forehand. I think it has to do with hitting the ball much further out front on a 1HBH where you can see the ball better than on a forehand where the contact point is more to the side of your body than way out in front.
     
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  28. rjw

    rjw Professional

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    I think that you just diagnosed the problem with your forehand...lol
     
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  29. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    So true.

    You can unleash a huge 1HBH swing and just let it rip and crush the ball, whereas, with a 2HBH, it's more like the feeling of pushing and pulling at the same time off-setting each other.
     
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  30. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    It's physically impossible to hit a forehand way out in front of your body like on a 1HBH because on a 1HBH, my right shoulder and arm are facing the net, whereas on a forehand my left shoulder and arm are facing the net (I'm right-handed). On a 1HBH, you swing away from your body with the contact point way out in front of your out-stretched hitting arm. On a forehand, you have to swing across you body and your hitting arm isn't long enough for you to hit the ball as far out in front as on a 1HBH.
     
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  31. rjw

    rjw Professional

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    I just don't like hearing forehand and beside your body in the same sentence.

    Too many people DON'T hit their forehand out front enough.....

    Also, with an open stance forehand, you aren't really hitting across your body like in the old style closed stance
     
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  32. purge

    purge Hall of Fame

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    id say it depends mostly on when you started to play. as in how old you were when you picked up a racquet the first time.

    obviously most people on the pro field started at a very very yound age (3-6 maybe), if they hadnt they wouldnt be pros now.
    at that age they almost naturally start playing with both hands since they are obviously not strong enough to do it any other way.

    alot of rec players have started much later i believe. if one is already strong enough to sustain one handed shots i guess the 1h bh feels like the more natural stroke to most. in any case thats how it was for me
     
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  33. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    In a word: Federer
     
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  34. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Doesn't your racquet arm still swing across your body even with an open stance forehand (assuming you don't hit reverse forehands like Nadal)?

    You can't hit the ball way out in front on a forehand because your arm isn't long enough regardless if it's open stance or not. The contact point on my 1HBH is directly in front of my body where I can actually see the ball hit my stringbed through my stringbed. The contact point on a forehand is not going to be directly in front of your body, whether open stance or closed stance, it's going to be more towards the side of your body. If you try to make your contact directly in front of your body on a forehand, like on a 1HBH, the ball won't cross the net because it'll hit the side fence to the left side of you. :) LOL
     
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  35. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I don't think so.

    More recreational players were using 1HBH than 2HBH even when Borg, Connors, Agassi, Courier, Roddick, Hewitt, Nadal, Djokovic, etc. were at the top of the game.
     
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  36. rjw

    rjw Professional

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    I never said that it was exactly like the backhand, but I hit my forehand with wrist back and arm out in front of my body as opposed to beside my body, if that makes sense to you....obviously it doesn't.

    I could see the ball hit the face of the racquet, thru the strings, whether it is a forehand or backhand, so what are you talking about????

    Maybe I just don't hit my backhand out in front of my body like you do....to put it in your words....the opposite would happen..the ball would never make it over the net, it would hit the RIGHT side fence....lol

    Are we having fun yet?

    Seriously tho.....I do hit my forehand out front, call it early if you want, maybe 45 degree angle or whatever, but not beside me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
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  37. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

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    BP and a few others mention the wide arc and more freedom of movement to crush TS 1HBHs, but you guys are in the vast minority. I only see one guy (a coach) at our courts who hits a hard agressive 1HBH. The rest, including the guys I play, hit slices or poufy flat 1HBHs. Why have a liability like that? That was the exact reason I switched to the 2HBH. I can still hit a slice 1HBH if I want. Anyone can do that.
     
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  38. rjw

    rjw Professional

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    Maybe that is the potential beauty of a good 1 hbh.

    When playing against 2 handers, you expect to see topspin, but against 1 handers, it is significantly more rare.

    It probably is a liability, in that I agree with you, that the 2 hbh is hit much harder and with more topspin by more players, but I find that just like hard flat serves, after a while you get used to it and adjust accordingly. What you initially might have had trouble with, you now punish, unless your opponent can provide enough variety to keep you from zoning in.

    I find that most 2 hbh players that I've played lack some of that variety, I get into a zone and try to make them pay.

    On the other hand, they see my 1hbh and don't expect heavy topspin.

    Admittedly, I don't play at a high level (3.5-4), and until warmed up, I hit a fair bit of low back/side slice to their backhand, in an effort to get them to have to dig down low, which most of them don't lke to do. In many cases, they have to go to a 1 hander.

    Once I'm warmed up and hopefuly have them kind of out of their zone, then I start to mix in some heavy topspin and if successful, then the fun begins.

    Bottom line, I guess, is that if you can hit better than decent top spin with your 1hbh, along with a variety of back/side spin slices, then stick with it. Otherwise develop a 2 hander.

    hope this makes some sense?
     
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  39. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Here's the greatest forehand of all time. Hmmm...looks like he's hitting the ball more to the side of him than directly out in front of his chest:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Let me ask you this: When the ball is coming directly at you and you want to hit a forehand, don't you have to take a step or two to your left (assuming you play right-handed) to get out of the way of the ball's path so that you can hit your forehand on the right side of your body where your racquet hand is? Of course you do! If you could hit the ball directly out in front of you, you wouldn't have to move at all to get out of the way of the ball's path. That's what I can do on a 1HBH. I can hit my 1HBH directly out in front of me by just turning my right shoulder towards the ball and taking a step forward with my right foot. That's why if the ball is coming really fast directly at me and if I don't have the time to get out of the way, I will usually choose to hit a backhand rather than a forehand.
     
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  40. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Sounds like you need to find better players to play with then. ;-)
     
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  41. rjw

    rjw Professional

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    Ok, now show someone of note, hitting a backhand DIRECTLY out in front of them???
     
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  42. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    The thing is, most pros prefer to hit forehands over one-handed backhands so if the ball was coming directly at them, they have such good footwork that they can get around the ball and hit the forehand to the side of their bodies. But they CAN hit their 1HBH's directly in front of their bodies if they wanted to. It's just simple bio-mechanics of the stroke.

    With that said, here are some pics of Almagro and Federer hitting their 1HBH's out in front of their bodies:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Here are some videos of Federer hitting his 1HBH out in front:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9az5qWcLOTk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQpBaCnVYbE&feature=fvwp&NR=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX7CcDIkMhE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZncVNX4vIOM&feature=related
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
    #42
  43. rjw

    rjw Professional

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    In the case of forehands and backhands, those players are said to be hitting out in front.

    not hitting out in front, implies hitting late, where the racquet has NOT travelled out in front of the player and is towards the player's side.

    so....is your point that forehands and backhands look different when the stick is held in the same hand? well duh...thanks for the insight
     
    #43
  44. InspectorRacquet

    InspectorRacquet Semi-Pro

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    When I first picked up tennis, the one handed backhand was the easiest to use straight out of the box, while the two handed backhand seemed to take longer to use it perfectly.

    Also, I think the one handed backhand feels more natural, so I feel that most rec players play by what feels right, and not what is technically sound. Just my two cents.
     
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  45. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    A sliced 1hbh is an effortless shot.
    Any 2hbh needs more body involvement, energy, and effort.
    KenRosewall and SteffiGraf proved sliced 1hbh is only a detriment in your own mind. For our target levels, a sliced 1hbh backhand does the job just fine.
    Now if YOU intend to level out amongst the top 500 in the world, you may use whatever backhand you please.
     
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  46. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    No, my point is that a one-handed backhand's contact point is way out in the front of the body where if you take your racquet hand and stick it straight out towards the net, the contact point is right before then. Contrast that with a forehand where you have to wait for the ball to get closer to the back of the court so that it's closer to the side of you than directly in front of you before you make contact. Watch pros like Federer. Their contact points for their forehands and 1HBH's are completely different.

    Federer seems to hit a pretty decent forehand making contact more toward to his side than directly out in front:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
    #46
  47. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Lee, I hear what your saying but if sliced backhands are used too frequently now days, they get punished quickly at the upper levels. Great if used every once in a while but IMO, not effective if used all the time.
     
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  48. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    It depends on how good your slice is. Some people can hit such great slices that the ball barely bounces up from the ground at all. Those are very hard to deal with and very hard to get under and back up over the net aggressively. I have trouble with them even with my eastern grips and 1HBH, I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be for players with western grips and 2HBH's.
     
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  49. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I love my slice backhand! It's the one shot that stays always ultra consistent, and it neutralizes the pace in a rally!

    It is easy to pick up on if you see it too often though!

    -Fuji
     
    #49
  50. Roy125

    Roy125 Professional

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    Well I notice that many of the older player have ohbh's too. However, the younger generation mostly uses two-handers (I'm the only one with a one-handed backhand in my tennis team).
     
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