should i stay or should i go

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Bach3387, Apr 18, 2004.

  1. Bach3387

    Bach3387 New User

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    i am a high school player and i am 17. i have a decent forehand but i am lacking in the two handed backhand department. today my coach said maybe i should switch to a one hander, because i slice my backhand often and when i go for the topspin 2 handed BH i often miss. my question is, would it be a good idea to switch now, and what are the pros and cons of a 2 hander and 1 handed backhand? do u think i should switch, or is it too late or should i just stick with the 2 hander? thanks
     
  2. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    First off Bach,

    There are some critical answers you need to come up with in order to determine a switch.

    If you're missing your twohander it doesn't mean it is the wrong stroke for you, it simply means you're missing and there is a mechanical problem.

    So your coach said you should maybe switch? I want to hear your rationale for switching. This is what I do with my students. Please list 5 solid reasons why you need to switch vs. finding out why your missing and fix the problem. You will need to do some research on your own and determine the strengths and weaknesses of each stroke, then match those strengths and weaknesses with the style of game you like to play. The style of game could be serve and volleying, counter puncher, all-court, etc...

    You have plenty of resources on the internet and this board to do your homework.

    The point is you have to own the change not your coach. You have to make sure this is the right move and your coach needs to help you sort this out. You can also ask him why he thinks you should change. It is a cop out for a coach to say "well you need to switch because you miss".

    Let us know what you think and the people who supports this board will be able to help guide you and support you in this decision. Be prepared for answers you may not want to hear.

    Also, you need to be prepared to practice either stroke when the decision is made. You will need to provide a self critique on what you think is the problem and what is happening when you miss if it is the twohander you are pursuing.

    Good luck.
     
  3. brijoel

    brijoel Rookie

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    i hafta agree with bill....especially since a one hander can be even more difficult to get accustomed to and execute. im VERY interested to hear your coach's justification to have you switch when you are already having trouble with the stroke you've got.
    the only reason my pro and i decided i should switch was because i was incessantly coming into the net and chipped and charged as well as i originally started out with a one hander from racquetball and was really never comfortable using two hands, i could hit with two hands, but just happened to hit better one handed.
     
  4. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

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    Too late for what? You can switch now or in two years or four-it isn't going to hurt you. Too late if your dream is to be a pro, yes, but it's too late for that anyway-you and 99.999% of all tennis players aren't going there anyway.
     
  5. Bach3387

    Bach3387 New User

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    my response

    ok, thanks for all the help. my coach didn't really just say change your stroke, he said just experiment, and it felt ok. for BB, the five reasons to justify the switch are:
    1. i have a big serve and a huge kick serve (this is my biggest part of my game)
    2. i mostly hit slices on BH side so i felt i needed a better topspin BH.
    3. on short balls, i like chipping it and coming in
    4. i like serve and volleying, it is fairly successful
    5. most of my unforced errors are missed BH
    there are the reasons. i guess i also am a little lazy sometimes on my BH, and thus, i hit more slices, but i also don't feel confident in my topspin two handed backhand. i also think i don't practice it and i hit too many slices. does anyone know if there is anything i can do to hit less slices? (i.e. hold the racquet in ready position different) i usually hold it in my FH grip.

    i also have a few questions about the topspin one-hander:
    Does it hurt your arm more than a 2hander?
    Is it as accurate as a 2 hander?
    is it easier to hit short balls with a 1 or 2 hander?
    Is it easier to learn and work on than a 2hander?
    Which is more consistant?

    not many people my age or anyone i see for the most part hit a 1 handed BH. is it a lost art, or is a 2hander better or easier? should i play with a one-hander for like a month and if it doesn't work out go back to 2 hands or should i just pick one and stick with it? i play every day, and i don't expect to go pro (but i wouldn't mind going pro). maybe this will make me better. i heard Pete Sampras switched from a 2 to 1 hander, but then again, i am no pete. i am athletic and i think i could learn it, but is it worth it, and since college is coming up next year, would i have sufficient time to learn it well, although my 2 hander is pretty bad anyway? i guess i need to just really practice one of them, i just don't know where to go with it?

    i have one more QUestion to go along with the 50 i already asked
    what are some drills and things i can do to make my 1 and or 2 hander better?

    thanks alot
     
  6. brijoel

    brijoel Rookie

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    if you cant hit a two handed backhand i dont really see why switching would solve the problem. most peole who actually switch are already proficient in a two hander, but wish to have some more versatility in the stroke(part of the reason i changed). can you tell us what it is that you do so badly with you two hander? it takes a bit more effort to hit a one hander as well as very good timing in comparison since you essentially have half of the stability and control that two hands on the racquet would provide. just cause you slice alot doesnt necesarily justify changing the whole stroke. id almost rather suggest you work on your slice/chip shot more....ever heard of steffi graff? lol.
    i dont mean to discourage you, but once again, please tell us what it is that is making your two hander so horrible right now. I.E., timing, hitting off center, weak, just over hitting, etc...
     
  7. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Re: my response

    Well based on your reasons you might want to make the switch. But be prepared for a lot of practice. It takes about a year to hit a onehander very well. The onehander is a bit more demanding on timing. You might want to perfect that slice and your chip and charge. You can develop a very solid game with just a slice and your chip and charge.

    The twohanded backhand is easier from an initial stand point. But a onehander will provide you a lot of versatility but can hit all the shots with practice a twohander can hit. I think the twohander is much more effective on taking command of a short ball because of the leverage you can get.

    However, you can still have a come forward game with a twohander as a lot of players do this. I was playing a ranked junior this weekend and he had a very good volley game and a twohanded backhand!

    dont give up on the twohander so soon, it could be that you just need some attention - seek a pro to help you workout the bugs.

    Your answers:

    i also have a few questions about the topspin one-hander:

    1. Does it hurt your arm more than a 2hander?

    Not if you practice it right. Dont push the elbow out first, this is what causes a lot of arm injuries.

    Is it as accurate as a 2 hander?

    2. The onehander can be very accurate and deadly!

    3. is it easier to hit short balls with a 1 or 2 hander? I would give the nod to the twohander for a topspin approach shot simply from a leverage point of view. But if you like to serve and volley - I would rahter you slice the ball and keep it low.

    4. Is it easier to learn and work on than a 2hander?

    Yes, in the beginning from a strength point of view, but the onehander once a level of proficiency is reached the gap closes.

    5. Which is more consistant? That depends on how much you practice either stroke. Both can be inconsistent and consistent.
     
  8. Bach3387

    Bach3387 New User

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    thanks for all the help.
    the problem with my 2 handed BH is i guess i have little confidence, and maybe i am looking for an easy way out, but a 1 hander seems to be a little more confortable.

    the problem also that i think i have is too many balls go in the net and too many balls have barerly any spin or depth. i also feel late and often push the ball wide alot. any suggestions on what to do.

    i have a few more questions also:
    Are there alot of good players that use a 1handed BH or do more use a 2hander?
    i don't expect to go pro, but with college coming up next year, would i have enough time to switch?

    i also thought that maybe the reason i hit too many slices is because i hold the racquet with one hand in ready position so maybe i am lazy and don't put my other hand on in time to hit the 2 hander. any suggestions about this also.

    i have been thinking about this change all the time, and my coach said experiment for the week, because i play every day and at the end of the week i am going to hit with him and by them i should make a choice. is this a good idea or no?

    and finally, i like new challenges and so this 1 hander seems like a good challenge for me. If Pete Sampras did it, i think i can do it (but probably not as good as him)
    thanks again
     
  9. Stitch626

    Stitch626 Rookie

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    I switched from a 2hander to a 1hander and I really think it is more versatile and even though it may take a while to get it down it will be so great once you have learned it well. I couldn't hit a 2hander worth jack before switching. When you get comfortable with the 1hander nothing will be more satisfying than ripping one of 'em off of a short ball.

    Good luck with the switch if you're going to do it.
     
  10. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Well now we are getting to more truth in this matter!

    Laziness wont help you on any stroke!

    I don't think you will get any complaints (or at least very few) that a onehander is more comfortable. At least not from me. I love to hit a onehander. But it is very inconsistent. With today's game being more of a high ball game and a fast paced game the twohander will always have an edge in development.

    A lot of players have a good onehander. With college coming up next year if you cant hit a twohander well, you will be hard pressed to develop a good onehander by that time. I would concentrate on what you know how to do - develop that slice and chip and charge.

    You have to practice after you hit a ball to put your hands in the twohanded position or be able to naturally slide it down from the throat as soon as you see the ball coming to your backhand. Agassi and many others do this.

    My guess is you are not prepared to hit a twohander and you have not developed your nervous system to put the hands where they need to be after you hit a ball - forehand or backhand. They sort of "forget" what they are suppose to do after you hit a ball. That is why it seems easier to hit a onehander because your hands don't need to move to prepare as much for a onehander.

    After I hit a serve, my hands naturally place themselves one over the other like I am going to hit a twohander - but they are loose. That way the only thing I have to do is to solidify my grip for either a forehand or backhand. I do the same for groundstrokes.

    Now as you get better you can raise the non-dominant hand higher towards the throat and move it down to hit a twohander. But that takes practice. It really does.

    Lets study two backhands, first the onehander. Tommy H. is the model:


    http://www.uspta.com/html/e-lesson-Backhand side view.swf

    1. Notice the short backswing and preparation is well before the ball bounces on his side.

    2. Notice that at the last 4-6 inches before impact the racquet levels out and goes through the ball for another 4-6 inches before heading up.

    3. Very little rotation is happening. The main rotation is to get the hitting shoulder pointed to the impact zone.

    4. Lifting with the legs is crucial

    5. There is no "extra" stuff, he just lines the racquet up and goes straight through the ball.

    Now for the twohander:

    http://www.uspta.com/html/e-lesson-twohand backhand.swf

    1. Where are the hands?

    2. Look at how steady the racquet face is throughout the swing.

    Now for the true test. Compare each one side by side in stages. Notice the similarities. Notice the preparation, the backswing, the forward swing, the contact, and the follow through - notice the head and how little it moves when contact is made, notice how the body is facing the 45 degree angle on contact!

    Which ever path you choose try and emulate these characteristics in the stroke you end up choosing.
     
  11. bcaz

    bcaz Professional

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    BB, this was an excellent lesson. Thank you.
    BC
     
  12. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Your welcome!
     
  13. Bach3387

    Bach3387 New User

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    thanks a lot BB. i will experiment a little more and tell u about it later
     
  14. andirez

    andirez Rookie

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    This is great information, thank you BB! Been struggling with my 1H BH for some time now (hitting through slow balls) and I feel paying attention to this can make the difference.
     
  15. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    The other thing I didnt mention which is tougher to see, you might have to rewind these videos over and over, but look at how relaxed the arms are and how much of the effort in the stroke is coming from the legs and torso.

    The pros are so conditioned that any little tensing in the muscles shows a lot of definition in the muscles. This makes it look like they are holding the racquet tightly and muscling their swing. But take a closer look. This is not so, they have just enough strength to keep the racquet on track but it is very relaxed and fluid. This will help you twohanders a lot.
     
  16. Bach3387

    Bach3387 New User

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    i am still experimenting the BH, but i thought of yet another question. when one uses a 1 handed BH, he or she really takes their left arm out of their tennis game(if they are righty). so my quesiton is will my right arm begin to get noticeably bigger than my left, and by how much, and does a 2hand BH do anything to strengthen the left arm, or is it also just building up the right arm? also, does a 1 hander create more arm trouble than a 2 hander,and what are some top pros with a 1 hander?
     
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous Professional

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    BB, thanks for the lessons and advice,

    Bach, out of the 9 guys on my team (2nd in the conference) 3 (including me) hit a one handed the rest hit two handed
     
  18. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Answers to Questions:

    Q. When one uses a 1 handed BH, he or she really takes their left arm out of their tennis game(if they are righty). so my quesiton is will my right arm begin to get noticeably bigger than my left?

    A. Well yes and no. The right arm will simply grow because of its use. You will have to workout the the left arm for balance. Just look at Federer.

    Q. Does a 2hand BH do anything to strengthen the left arm, or is it also just building up the right arm?

    A. To have a good twohander you will need to reach at least a 3.0 rating hitting forehnads with yoru left arm. In other words, the 2 hander is a lot like hitting a lefthanded forehand. This will strengthen the left arm and hand. YOu should always do some sort of wieght training to achieve muscle balance no matter what stroke you have.

    Q. Also, does a 1 hander create more arm trouble than a 2 hander,and what are some top pros with a 1 hander?

    A. The onehander is fine on the arm so long as you use good technique especially in the forming months/years. But you have more risk in developing tennis elbow then the twohander. Top pros to watch are numerous I will name a couple and the other posters can name more:

    1. Sampras (had to throw him in)

    2. Haas

    3. Federer

    4. Henin
     
  19. Bach3387

    Bach3387 New User

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    well, i have been practicing both stokes, and i think that i am going to stay with the two hander, although i still, for some, reason want to go one handed. so i have a few more questions.

    should i base the desicion on which BH i hit better now, or on which feels better to me now?

    which one is easier to learn and master, i have basically the summer, so can i learn the one hander in one summer, because then college is coming up?

    what are some things i should do to decide, like drills or anything?

    which shot has more control, which looks better in your opinion, and does the one hander hurt the arm more?

    also, does the two hander work out the left arm, or not, because i know the one hander doesn't work ou the left arm?

    and finally, what are the essentials (like the major 3 steps) to a one and two hander?

    thanks again
     
  20. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I know how you feel! I love the onehander but it is a more demanding stroke as far as attention, time to learn, timing, and preparation. However, it is one beautiful stroke! I chose the twohander simply because I play hard courts more then anything and I believe the twohander provides more leverage in higher balls and stability on service returns etc.

    If you only have 3 months to learn a onehander for college level play, good luck. I would stick with the twohander. Keep working on that slice.

    I wouldnt be concerned about how a stroke looks in your choice of shot. You can look great losing!

    The twohander is definetly the easier stroke to get up and running on. However, with practice the onehander can catch up but from what I can see it takes longer to master.

    I already answered how the onehander impacts the arm. Now it is your choice. If you havent worked on the twohander you really havent given it much time or attention.
     
  21. Bach3387

    Bach3387 New User

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    thanks for all the help Bungalo Bill, and i am sorry for asking the same questions over and over again. i still don't know what i am going to do, but when i figure out i will notify you. i am definately going to make a choice soon, because i need to practice one.

    and, of course, i have one more question

    which stroke takes longer to do, like preparation time, because i often play on fast hard courts?
    thanks again
     
  22. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    The nice thing about the twohander is you dont need a big take back. You can generate a good amount of racquet head speed within a short distance. It is also a lot easier to hold off till the last second and send the ball the other way with your wrists.

    The onehander needs sooner preparation time because your hitting shoulder is in front of your body. So it needs to extend the arm somewhat for a good hit. That means your contacting the ball in front of your body more then the twohander which has its hitting shoulder further back or the back shoulder.

    It is not that the onehander is a hard "stroke" to learn. What is hard is to be able to hit ball after ball and time them properly. The twohander is definitely the easier of the two in timing. Mainly because of the extra strength you have in the non-dominant arm you can fend off a late hit.

    Here is an indication for you. It took Sampras 4 years to master his onehander for his level of play. You might never reach Sampras's level, but the college level isnt for slow-pokes either. Let me put it this way, it isnt high school tennis that is for sure!

    Here is my take, master the slice this summer. Just knuckle down and master it. Take a lesson from a pro in your area that can help you isolate the bugs in your twohander. Then practice them. Practice them! Give it one year of hard work. Work on your footwork, your strength in your non-dominant arm and your coordination. Work hard. Hit lots of boring lefthanded forehands. If you're not bored to death, you're not doing something right. In about a month, you will improve and improve and improve. Pretty soon you're going to love hitting that twohanded backhand because you can smack the sucker.

    With a solid slice (offensive and defensive) and a twohanded backhand, you will be versatile college player and have very good backhand weapons to answer almost any kind of ball.

    I hope you do well!
     
  23. champ2087

    champ2087 New User

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    I sympathize with you, as i went through something similar. Let me explain about my backhand a little. I used a two hander for my first 7 years of tennis, but about 2 years ago, i somehow got a ganglian cyst on my left wrist. This is a packet of fluid that grows in your joint. It was very painful, and at times i couldnt use a two hander to play due to the pain and uncomfort. I started learning a one hander in the summer of last year. I then switched back to a two hander when my cyst was surgerically removed. Unfourutanlly it came back in a year, so im back to the one hander. Overall, i found that the two hander was much easier for being on the run and returning serves. However, when i had time to set up, i found that ripping a one hander was much more comfortable for me. Also, i also found that a slice dramatically helps your one hander, as it can slow up the game for you, as well as your oppenent finds out your hitting a topspin or slice much later then if you had a two hander (note:this may be to the lack of many experienced players i have played, as i usually play against other 16 year olds or the like). Also, you have to concentrate much harder on staying down and swinging through and up as well as lifting with your body to get a heavy topspin compared to a two hander.

    Finally, this is just my personal experience, im not saying you will experience any of this, as you may not. I just hope i said something in that rambling paragraph that might help you.
     

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