Straight Vs. Bent Arm Backhand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Roy125, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Roy125

    Roy125 Professional

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    Today I had a private session with my coach, who I'm glad is still coaching. I apparently had a problem with the bent arm 1 handed backhand because as I was following through, I had the habit of pushing my elbow to the sideways, not forward. He did recommend the straight arm backhand and I want to know what the main differences are between it. I read somewhere that one was more injurious than the other.
     
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  2. sh@de

    sh@de Hall of Fame

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    To me, the difference is that hitting a one handed backhand with a bent arm is simply incorrect technique. It makes the shot incosistent and increases risk of injury. It is also not an equivalent of the double bend forehand.

    To sum it up, don't hit your backhand with a bent arm. It must be straight.
     
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  3. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    yep


    :):)
     
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  4. Roy125

    Roy125 Professional

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    Thanks for the feedback. I can feel more consistency and power with the straight arm backhand.

    But just to clarify, there is no whippy motion to a 1 handed backhand, true?
     
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  5. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    There is, but don't worry about it now. focus on the fundamentals of 1hbhs and learn to be consistent and hit good pace with it. once you're happy with your backhand and are starting to look for more out of it, then you can start whipping it more. Although the 1hbh is never as whippy as the forehand (potentially speaking). To get the whip, you need to loosen your wrist a little bit, and have great mechanics or it might hurt you.
     
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  6. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, the arm, at least on "forward" part of the stroke has to be straight - the shot has to come from the shoulder. You also have to stay low throughout the shot and finish high - relevant terms but many try to pop up during the stroke.
     
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  7. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    You should never hit a bent arm one handed backhand. That's the primary cause of tennis elbow.
     
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  8. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    ...and the reason you can't hit it crosscourt.
     
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  9. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    Straight Arm on 1HBH

    A straight arm on a 1HBH allows you to rotate (supinate) the arm as a solid unit. From the racquet-back position to contact, the racquet head has much farther to travel than the racquet handle. Whereas the elbow does rotate, it should remains relatively stationary during the early part of this process so that the racquet head can start coming around and forward before the handle moves much at all. If the arm is bent, the elbow (and the handle) will lead the way and the arm will come across the front of the body. Not only will the racquet head not get around in time, but it will not be able to travel up and out, for optimum topspin and power.

    MG
     
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  10. Slazenger07

    Slazenger07 Banned

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    If you bend the arm at contact, you put unneccesary strain on the tendons in your elbow and will eventually be dealing with a case of tennis elbow, keep the arm straight!
     
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  11. JonC

    JonC Banned

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    I have to disagree with most of the comments. I suffered bad TE for over a year and I was hitting with a straight arm. The reason you get TE is from having too tight a grip and too much tension in the arm in general (trying to make it straight) - having poor hip/thoracic/neck flexibility doesn't help (makes it difficult to make the arm straight while watching the ball = tension in arm). The correct technique is a whipping motion - the arm starts bent, is whipped through by the hips and shoulders and naturally straightens at contact (timing). I hit bigger and with more topspin by relaxing the arm and letting it straighten naturally and no more TE. There is absolutely no reason to grip the 1h backhand tighter than the forehand.
     
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  12. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    I mostly agree.
    I also got TE when I played straight hand 1HBH. I backed off a bit (along with improving the technique o/a) and no more pain from BH.
     
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  13. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I agree almost totally.

    The caveat is that this is a more modern way to hit and really requires the extreme eastern or semi-western grip IME.

    I think most are talking about a classic backhand and are right in every way....for a classic backhand.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
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  14. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Interesting recent thread on the one hand backhand.
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=474949

    See reply #28 and later for discussion of the wrist angle and TE.
    One of the more creditable theories on the one hand backhand and TE involves the extended wrist. An extended wrist reduces the probability of TE and a flexed wrist increases it according to D. Knudson.

    Supportive of this view, most pro 1hbh s are struck with an extended wrist. Look at high speed videos and and note the wrist angle at impact for yourself.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    At contact, almost straight.
    How you get there is when you encounter all the devils.
     
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  16. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Nice linking to your own posts that quote your own posts!!! :)

    Good link though and a great point about the wrist. I missed this importance because I could never fathom that any one would use anything other than an extended wrist when hitting a 1hbh. Thats probably why people use 2 handed...because you can hit with a flexed wrist and get away with it.

    Though how can you hit with an extended wrist AND and eastern backhand or conti for that matter? you kind of need the extreme eastern or my fav the semi western.
     
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  17. Lack

    Lack Rookie

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    It has to be straight with your shoulders relaxed
     
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  18. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Based on what most pros do, I think this is incorrect. Most pro 1hbhs tend to straighten out much earlier in the forward swing, and some straighten out in the backswing. Federer and Dimitrov seem to be the only ones who use centrifugal force to straighten their arms out. I don't think they're good models for beginners because of this-- there's just more that can go wrong.


    I'm not sure if there is a clear relationship here, at least not in the direction you're suggesting.

    There are pros with both extreme grips and continental/mild grips that straighten their arms out early. For example, both Kuerten (extreme eastern) and Edberg (continental) straightened out early, at the start of the forward swing.

    Dimitrov uses a mild variation of Eastern and is very bent, while Gasquet uses a stronger version of Eastern and straightens very early. Wawrinka uses modified eastern (towards conti) and he straightens out early.

    If I had to take a guess, I'd say more extreme grips go with earlier straightening, but milder grips can use either method.
     
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  19. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Hi Bevel. I think I misread John C's post. I was referring to an accross the body motion like on the modern WW forehand not the arm straightening. To do accross the body WW follow through on the backhand I think you need the extreme grips.

    Though how I got "accross the body" from his post I just dont know. Its clearly not there :)
     
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  20. JonC

    JonC Banned

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  21. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
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  22. JonC

    JonC Banned

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