Switch to 1HBH?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by VeeSe, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. VeeSe

    VeeSe Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    211
    Hi all,

    About 14 months ago, I had no backhand at all. Over the last year, I've worked hard to get my two handed backhand to be serviceable, but I've sort of plateaued a bit in the last month or two. The motion still feels unnatural to me, and while I'm sometimes comfortable hitting it, I am naturally more comfortable hitting the one hander.

    If we are speaking on how much potential each shot had without training, the one hander is by far better than what I naturally hit with two hands. If I made the switch though, I'd definitely regress for about 8-10 months before it got as good as my two hander.

    The only thing keeping me back is this: if I'm more comfortable and the shot has way more natural potential than my two hander had, does that make it the right choice to develop because it's likely that it can go further than the two hander?

    What are your thoughts and/or past experiences with this? I'm not referring to the benefits/drawbacks of each type of backhand, as there have been lots of threads about that, and there's tradeoffs for everything. I just want to work on the best backhand for me.

    For reference (I don't think it's important, but you might): I would rate myself as an above average 4.0. I was computer rated at 3.5 this year but I was sandbagging it big time (played up at 4.0 in singles league, went 5-0).
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,436
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    It's up to you, and you only.
    I went from 1 to 2, played competitively in A/open, quit for 10 years, got a bit older, and went back to 1hbh. It's been 23 years now, and still 1hbh.
    With 2, it was hard to pick on my backhand. With 1, much easier, but I don't care, since I don't play tourneys or train.
     
    #2
  3. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,954
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    What LeeD said about it being totally up to you. Keep in mind that some of the greatest players of all time used 1hbh. Plus, current players like Tommy Haas, Nicolas Almagro, Philip Kohlschreiber, Richard Gasquet, Stan Wawrinska, etc., etc. Oh yeah, and R. Federer. The one hander does confer certain advantages over the two hander. If the 1hbh actually feels better to you, then it seems that it might be worth the time and effort to seriously develop it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
    #3
  4. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,504
    Only way is to try it and see for yourself. I used to play competitively using 2H, although it was solid and reliable, I felt it was only mediocre. Switched to a 1H after a long break and found the power, spin, and angles I was looking for, but it was never as solid under pressure as the 2H. Now switching back to the 2H and finding power and spin through improved technique. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, only way to see which one fits better for you is to take the time to learn it and see for yourself.
     
    #4
  5. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Messages:
    1,198
    Stay w/ 2 handed BH. There's a reason you went in that direction while learning. Unless you're a junior w/ 6-8 months to blow on learning a new stroke, new return, new defense, I don't see you getting significantly better. The 1hBH is technically a trickier shot to time and this also leads to dysfunction in form.

    If you're not happy w/your 2hBH, take a lesson and see why you've plateued. Almost certainly you can improve it much better and quicker than by switching.
     
    #5
  6. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    8,632
    If you're experiencing a more natural feel with the one-hander, you might easily have greater potential there. Although the two-hander is very popular, many of us can probably agree that there are a whole lot of mediocre backhands out there. There are advantages to the two-hander for sure, but that's little consolation for any aspiring player who has trouble with that motion.

    Among the kids and adults that I've worked with, a few have tried a switch to the one-hander because of that more natural feeling they get with it. If you've made efforts to develop a two-hander and keep running up against frustration, there's certainly no crime in devoting some time toward learning a one-hander. If nothing else, you'll probably develop a better move when hitting a one-handed slice. Even if you eventually stick more with a two-handed topspin stroke, every player should learn a slice backhand, too.

    Take some one-handed practice strokes without hitting a ball and that should familiarize you with the tempo of the stroke you want for a rally. If you then find that you get rushed into muscling a one-hander when hitting a ball, that's usually the big signal that you need to get yourself set up and start the stroke a little sooner in order to duplicate that same smooth tempo.

    It takes slightly more time and deliberate effort to get that one-hander going, especially compared with our forehands. The contact point is typically further out in front of the hitter and much of the footwork and weight transfer needs to be completed before actually swinging the racquet. I think that when a one-hander in the making understands this, it's easier to resist getting frustrated while trying to learn to trust that style of stroke. Everything needs to initiate just a bit earlier to get the racquet to the ball with good mechanics.

    I think that the best news of all is that you can honestly make good use of both strokes. Even if the one-hander becomes the style that you trust, the two-hander may bail you out of trouble. I use it to fight off a ball that shoots in near my feet and also try a two-hander for a more aggressive return of serve. You're not thinking about going to the one-hander for no reason, so it's probably worth a try.
     
    #6
  7. kopfan

    kopfan Rookie

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    223
    Which hit more natural and more effective and most importantly.. comfortable.. that will be your choice.
     
    #7
  8. KenC

    KenC Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    1,430
    Location:
    Knowhere
    I hit with a 1HBH, but often tell people who are thinking to switch not to. There are few people who can hit a 1HBH really well and not have to constantly work on it. I have to drill my BH 10X more than my FH.

    I think the advantages of a good 1HBH outweigh the advantages of a good 2HBH, but the advantages of a mediocre 2HBH outweigh those of the mediocre 1HBH.

    That being said, I will never change as I can hit shots with my 1HBH that I couldn't even hit with a FH. And I can hit my 1HBH harder than I can hit my FH. But again, that is at the expense of a couple of hours a week drilling the 1HBH.
     
    #8
  9. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Messages:
    2,014
    Unless you are naturally very ambidextrous, you may not have much success as an adult learning a 2 hander.

    It depends on how much time you have to practice. It also depends what level you hope to be playing in the future. In my opinion a one hander is like a classic car. It is really cool, but maintaining it will become a second hobby.

    I switched to a two hander, took me a while to get it too, but now it's my rock. I mean SOLID, and not just for defending. It will never have to pace and spin of my forehand, but it never leaks errors either; and I can redirect serve returns with topspin. A distant fantasy with my old one hander.
     
    #9
  10. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    442
    I decided to stay with my 1hb as well, after a few hopless attempts to switch to a 2hb, I realised it's totally not for me. Also, ever since I relaxed my wrist a bit more, I'm finding, I can put a lot more spin and pace into the shot and it has become quite a weapon. The only thing I'm still working on, is drive return.(these are easier with 2hb) So far, whenever I received a strong serve to my backhand I used to slice it and I only used drive in weaker or second serves. Last week I got some really good backhand return drives back, that I was really happy with. The most crucial part in 1hb is timing, providing your mechanics are right.
     
    #10
  11. corbind

    corbind Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,308
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Short answer: keep 2HBH. I'll type more on the subject when I get on a keyboard.
     
    #11
  12. bhallic24

    bhallic24 Guest

    I feel this same way as KenC. Personally I love the 1hbh and its an absolute joy to watch and hit with. And yes I have to work on it a lot more than any other stroke and it does break down for no good reason sometimes. But when its on, the shots, the pace , the angles I get is well worth it. Plus I have a pretty good slice backhand so if my 1hbh is just misfiring one day I just go to that.

    I find that if I prepare properly and weight transfer right, my 1hbh is a harder flatter shot that my forehand. See what works for you but I'm a little biased.
     
    #12
  13. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,504
    I mostly agree with the above. For a while I was hitting my 1HBH noticeably harder + with more spin than my eastern forehand. The fastest groundstroke I've ever hit was off a 1HBH. I was forcing more errors off the 1HBH as well, a lot of times just from the pace and spin. Problem is I'm making UE's with it too, and random ones. It broke down often on tricky shots and return of serve.
    That's a really good point from the previous posters, that it takes extra time in practice to maintain the 1HBH. Once I switched my FH to SW, concentrated my practice on it, and made an effort to run around as many balls to possible to hit FH's, my 1HBH went down the dumps. Oh well, I'll take run-around FH's and a reliable 2HBH at 75% power over a powerful but unreliable 1HBH.
     
    #13
  14. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    967
    Location:
    Ohio
    As another 1HBHer... I agree with this. A solid 2HBH is a great weapon, but I can hit AND DISGUISE shots I cannot do with a 2hander (I tried 2HBH for a year with lessons), and for me the 1hander always felt more natural. Like Ken said, a mediocre 2Her is better than a mediocre 1Her, but if the 1Her feels more natural, focus your practice and lessons on dialing it in and don't look back.

    One thing to try with the 1Her is, yes, you hit more out in front of your lead foot, but also very important that you aren't also hitting away from your body... you need to step a bit closer to the path of the ball so the swing path of the racquet- the butt of the racquet- passes close to your lead (R) leg. I never measured, but I think there should be less than 12 inches distance between the racquet and your thigh on the swing path for a normal BH return.

    Be balanced, lean into the contact, be smooth, compact, and try to keep your chest from opening up and following your arm swing.


    Edit: A tip for more racquet snap without extra effort....

    On the takeback as your are ready to step into the shot with the racquet back by your left hip, grasp the racquet throat with 2 or 3 fingers with just a couple pounds of pressure. Your racquet swing will pop the racquet out of the grasp of your left hand and that little bit of resistance will add a little pop to your swing. You know you did it right if your left hand fingers snap together as the racquet leaves them. Also at this time, since your left hand is already at your left hip... as your racquet is moving forward, move your left hand/arm back behind you to help with your balance... you'll end up with 80% of your weight on your front foot and both arms out like a crooked crucifix... your left behind you, the right out in front.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
    #14
  15. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,385
    I hit a 2hbh, but every once in a while I'll hit one handers against the wall. It's such a blast. I rotate my grip over to an E bh, take the ball more out front, and pretend I'm Roger. It feels so good to hit it right. It's not too hard to get into a nice groove against the wall. It's way different against a live opponent at full speed. That would take a lot of dedication to learn and maintain, but it's a blast against the wall.
     
    #15
  16. enishi1357

    enishi1357 Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2009
    Messages:
    195
    if you are planning to switch then i must tell you the difference between a 1hbh and a 2hbh is its contact point. 1hbh with close stance has a further out contact point than 2hbh. My conclusion is 1hbh has to be hit like a step back to get the same full control as a 2hbh. Obviously you will get more range but the disadvantage is have to set up your feet more.
     
    #16
  17. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    967
    Location:
    Ohio
    I think bhallic, KenC and I are on the same page.
    What works for some doesn't always work for others, but my 1HBH is also harder and flatter than my topspin FH. Shouldn't be a surprise because I have a big loop "C" on my forehand takeback... but when I connect on the 1HBH... it rips.

    In fact, even tho I hit, I dunno, 80% FHs?... its the outright winners from my BH that make me smile the most. I can hit many, many more FH winners, or aces, or put away volleys... but it was that one cross court BH winner I ripped which still makes me smile after the match is over.
     
    #17
  18. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2012
    Messages:
    171
    Location:
    Asheville, North Carolina
    Great point...I use 1hbh; and smashing the crosscourt BH to the duece court is a rush! (Lefty).
     
    #18
  19. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,412
    But also keep in mind that all the best of the best returners over the last several
    decades, have all had 2 handed Bhs.

    I agree to do what feels better to you, especially if you don't often face big
    servers.
     
    #19
  20. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3,173
    I just went to the future and came back. 2 yrs after Fed retired nobody even talked about the 1hbh anymore, let alone thinking about switching.

    Don't pick it just because you have seen it on TV. I haven't seen a rec player with 1hbh does it in a way that beats 2hbh'ers into submission. Most slices about half of the time and when hitting ts 1hbh it is just a defensive or neutral shot. I don't play with 5.0+ ppl, and I don't see a lot of 5.0+ 1hbh either.
     
    #20
  21. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    442
     
    #21
  22. VeeSe

    VeeSe Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    211
    Hey all,

    Lots of good responses, so thanks for that! For those of you who either mentioned technique or coaching (whether it be for the 1hbh or 2hbh), I do have a coach and take a lesson every two weeks, and I will continue to do that regardless of which one I choose, so getting the coaching is not the problem.

    I play for 7-10 hours a week on average year round, so I do have some time to devote to either one. I am in my mid-20's and aspiring to play at the high 4.5 or lower 5.0 level, so I'm making my choices with that in mind.

    For now, I have chosen to stick with the two hander for these reasons:
    1) Although it wasn't natural, I am not uncomfortable hitting the two hander, so it's not really much of a problem. I just wanted to explore the shot that I have the most potential with, and that is the one hander.
    2) My backhand is nearly as good as my forehand already, so I will just work with what I have.
    3) I can defend way better with the 2HBH and am extremely good at that already (for my level). I don't really want to give that up, even if I am giving up the offensive ability that I would undoubtedly have with one hand (could easily crack it at like 80mph to the corners already when I have time to set up).

    @martini1: I did not consider picking it because I see it on TV and think it's cool. Andy Murray has my favorite backhand by far. If I could get any backhand, it would be that one, but I am considering my own natural inclinations here.

    Thanks again everyone!
     
    #22
  23. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3,173
    Sounds like you should stick with the 2h. I haven't seen your strokes so I can't tell which one looks more effective for you. But I can tell you switching back and forth will delay your success. Just pick one and stick with it. Don't give up easy.

    I started learning my 2hbh in my 30's after learning the 1h briefly in my freshman year (and stopped playing since then). So if you are still in the mid 20's you should be OK. As of now my fastest flat shot came from my bh.

    Good luck!

     
    #23
  24. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3,173
     
    #24

Share This Page