The myth that pro's with 1hbh's are weaker against high balls...

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by always_crosscourt, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Just to clarify, we're only talking backhand topspin in this thread, ok, not slice.

    Is it a myth that the 1hbh is more vulnerable to very high topspin shots than the 2hbh? Here is a video of Kohlschreiber and Tsonga (they are kind of messing around, but the points still stand) hitting some extreme height topspin shots to each other from 22 seconds in;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zG_gXUZkVU

    I don't think Kohlschreiber would have been even able to reach up that high if he had a 2hbh, as the two hands restrict the height of the swing. Also, even if he could reach it, he would only just reach the ball, and there would be no 'room' left in the swing to swing further up on the ball, so the only option is a low percentage flat drive.

    As you see in the video, Kohlschreiber is actually flicking and brushing up on even these extremely high balls, and returning them with very heavy topspin, so they would bounce over Tsonga's head unless Tsonga backed up, which he was forced to do.

    The myth that 1hbh's are weaker against heavy spin and high bounce is being perpetuated by Nadal's winning record over Federer. However, Nadal has a winning record over just about everyone, not just Federer, and he breaks down 2hbh's just as viciously as Federer's backhand. In fact, Federer actually has a decent amount of wins over Nadal, so it could be argued that Nadal breaks down 2hbh's with more ease than he breaks down 1hbh's.

    Djokovic has recently turned the tide with his match-up with his backhand, but his 2hbh is exceptional, and even then, it is a weapon not because of his ability to hit the ball really high, but because of his ability to take the ball early and hit it before it kicks too high.

    What do you think - is it a myth that the 1hbh is weaker against high balls?
     
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  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is probably weaker for high balls close to the body
     
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  3. albatros_forehand

    albatros_forehand Rookie

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    Not a myth. You can't accelerate from up to down with 1hbh on a high ball the way you can with your left hand playing 2hbh. Which results in flat fast stroke. With 1 hbh the movement is only upwards so u can only be defensive..
     
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  4. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    Not true. You can vary the path of your swing even with high balls to put more drive on the shot. Sure, you can't be quite as offensive.. but if you watched the video, kohly was hitting plenty of topspin on his responses.

    And let's be frank here; the pros don't get troubled too much by anyone not named Nadal. Verdasco can't give people fits with his forehand, for instance. it's only those topspin shots that kick 6, 7 feet up that cause real trouble, and not many can consistently do that at pace.

    Btw, Kohly's game is so awesome to watch.
     
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  5. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    I think it's true. Kohlschreiber has one of the best 1hbh on the planet and opted to hit moonballs back to Tsonga.

    Obviously Nadal's heavy topspin is going to be an issue for most but Gasquet does a good job of it and he stands back waiting for it to drop. I have seen Gasquet do a jumping 1hbh once and I don't know if that could ever be done consistently. It was sort of like Nalby's jumping two hander.

    Tsonga shows his 1hbh in this vid. Knowing both could be a new trend and maybe one-handers should also learn the two-hander nowadays. It's nice to have options. :)
     
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  6. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    I have a 1hbh and I actually think there is a lot of truth to it myself. I think you see exceptions where the people with one handers master taking it on the rise, but once it does get up say shoulder height. I think the one hander is weaker if we are talking about high balls and not just top spin. I still wouldn't be caught hitting a two hander. I'll take my risks with the ball getting too high versus giving up my reach with the one hander. I honestly think that's what's given Fed so many problems with Nadal. The times where he has had more success he was indoors where he didn't have to deal with any wind or elements and could time it and take it off the ground. When he's on clay it's to many elements to deal with(clay bouncing different ways...wind..etc). I think that is what gives Nadal an advantage and the fact that he plays left handed. So Fed is going to hit more backhands than he would normally have to and the ball is not coming off the ground the same way each time. So it's harder for him it seems. So again, I don't think it's a myth. I wish it were. :)


     
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  7. mandy01

    mandy01 G.O.A.T.

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    What? Kohl stands much behind the baseline to receive. No comparison. Sorry.
     
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  8. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    I agree it's a myth in a way. it's all in the technique. almagro is another one that handles high topspin balls with 1hbh. 1hbh doesn't automatically limit anything. you just have to figure out a way and get good at it.
     
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  9. smoledman

    smoledman Legend

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    Nadal has a dominant record on clay not only due to his high RPM forehand to Fed's backhand, it's his overall court coverage and court craft.
     
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  10. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Nadal has a dominant record over far more 2hbh players than 1hbh players - simply because the vast majority of the pro tour is 2hbh. In order to win, he uses the same patterns of breaking down the 2hbh players' backhands, so arguably you could say that 2hbh's are weak to high bouncing heavy topspin balls.

    In fact when he faces a player with a 1hbh (other than Federer and Haas), the player with the 1hbh usually loses for reasons other than his backhand. Wawrinka, Almagro, Gasquet, Gaudio, Kuerten...etc... are able to trade spinny groundies with Nadal's forehand all day - even on clay, but his athleticism wears them down in the end.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
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  11. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

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    Yeah a couple of casual rally shots tell you everything about 1hbh in a grand slam scheme.
     
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  12. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Have you tried to hit a high 2hbh vs a high 1hbh?

    I guarantee you that you won't even be able to reach as high with a 2hbh as you can with a 1hbh. If you can't even reach as high with a 2hbh with a 1hbh, how is it going to be stronger against a very high ball? And, as I said, even when you do reach it, you have little option but to drive it downwards and flat since you can't brush up on a high ball like you can with a 1hbh.

    Now, the 2hbh does have an advantage in that it's easier to co-ordinate yourself to hit the ball on the rise before it gets too high, but the whole point of a 2hbh being better once the ball actually is higher than your ideal contact zone, is a myth.
     
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  13. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    Davydenko rips returns on kick serves all the time above his shoulders.

    He did this in his last match vs. Gasquet.
     
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  14. paulorenzo

    paulorenzo Hall of Fame

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    gasquet does bring that out once in a while, especially on returns or on the defense. but look up bjorn phau. jumping backhands usually only happen when the situation calls for it—when you aren't in optimal position to either let the ball drop or take it early, or you just want to show off.

    the reason i mention bjorn phau is because i feel he does the most jumping one-handers of all ohbh players on tour, perhaps because of his height and counterpuncher game, and perhaps for his flashy style.
     
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  15. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    @paulorenzo...Interesting...I will def. check out some Bjorn Phau clips.
     
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  16. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    1hbh has more reach yes which probably means you can reach and hit at a higher height. But practically speaking the extra reach is useless because biomechanically it is such a weak motion when you're stretching all the way up like that.
    With the 2hbh you can certainly give heavy topspin on a very high ball by hitting the ball a little later.
     
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  17. above bored

    above bored Semi-Pro

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    Only continental and eastern gripped backhands, such as that used by Federer, make higher balls more challenging. Nevertheless, you can still hit a decent enough ball. Semi-western backhand grips, such as that used by Almagro and Kohlschreiber, are more comfortable for high backhands, but not so good for low balls. These principles are well established, based on the anatomical reality for all players, not just because of the Federer/Nadal match-up.

    You are always going to be at an anatomical disadvantage if you are going toe to toe against another pros forehand with your backhand. Forehands are almost always stronger than backhands, regardless of the opponent, but especially in the case of Nadal, who has a forehand better than most.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
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  18. rajah84

    rajah84 Semi-Pro

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    I'm sure it's been answered already, but it's no myth. And the video you posted only supports that. If you notice he's not hitting it with any force, that's because it's hard. Either hit early or be over 6'5.
     
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  19. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Federer, Haas, Dimitrov and Wawrinka uses a weak Eastern grip, Almagro and Kohlschreiber use an Eastern grip, Gasquet and Volandri use a strong Eastern grip (sometimes also known as a semi-western backhand grip - the 'full western' backhand grip is never used).

    The 'strength' of your grip doesn't always limit how well you can handle high balls. Wawrinka, for example is very strong, and can handle them well despite his weak Eastern grip.

    All it takes is that you strengthen the muscles needed to reproduce the backhand. These are muscles that people often neglect because they work out their chest instead, because the chest is a so-called 'mirror muscle'. A strong chest can give you a good forehand, but has little to no involvement in hitting a (one handed) backhand.

    A steady diet of weighted pull-ups, rows, inverted body rows and dumbbell reverse flyes would give you the strength in your upper back and posterior shoulder to rip high balls off the one handed backhand. I do all the above and relish the chance of hitting a high backhand - my high 1hbh is both stronger than my high forehand and my low 1hbh. I can frequently take high balls to my 1hbh, swing as fast upwards as I can and whip topspin into them so that they kick over my opponent's head, or even over the back fence on one occasion.

    And I'm no pro, so if you combine strength with perfect, pro-level technique the results could be devastating. The 1hbh gives you the extra ROM to hit heavier topspin on high balls than the 2hbh - I guess it is then up to you to build the necessary strength to capitalize on that extra ROM.
     
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  20. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    I recall quite a few players over the last 15 years or so who were French Open winners or finalists with great 1 handers:

    Albert Costa
    Alex Corretja
    Gustavo Kuerten
    Gaston Gaudio
    Thomas Muster

    I assume these guys used extreme grips to handle high balls on the clay. The interesting thing about these guys is regardless of surface, they hardly ever slice the ball as a change up tactic.
     
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  21. RogerRacket111

    RogerRacket111 Semi-Pro

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    Go out and try to hit some 1HBH that is head high you will know. I have been playing 1HBH for a long time its not a myth. I have been told I have a very good 1HBH but if I had a chance to start over I would prefer 2HBH.
     
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  22. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    I do play with a 1hbh and yes, I do tee off on head height balls. This is the height where I prefer to hit off my 1hbh - but it's a shame most people don't hit that high to me.

    The reason I made this thread was because I play a 1hbh and feel great about high balls, so I'm confused about why people say it sucks for high balls. A while ago I tried the 2hbh, and for me it was a nightmare. Had to bunt the ball back once it got either too high or too low or too wide - I felt very restricted.

    Anyway, try the chin ups, rows and reverse flyes - strengthen the hell out of the upper back and posterior shoulder musculature and let me know how you get on then with high 1hbh's...
     
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  23. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    Well you asked the question and everyone that responded agrees it's not a myth but true.

    If you're right you must advise Federer on a pull-up routine ASAP.
     
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  24. JonathanRF

    JonathanRF New User

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    Clown thread this. Anyone who plays tennis knows it's harder to hit a higher bouncing ball with a 1BH.

    To draw conclusions from a practise video where Kohlschrieber is about 6 feet behind the baseline looping backhands and say a 2 hander couldn't do that doesn't make sense.

    2 handers aren't going to need to wait for the ball to bounce like that anyway because it's easier to lean and take the ball on the rise. Next.
     
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  25. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Tennis players in general need to get stronger.
     
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  26. RogerRacket111

    RogerRacket111 Semi-Pro

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    Please send us your video of Teeing of a head high ball. These sentence contradict each other. One you say you have great high backhand and two no body hits it to you high. So when do you hit a high BH?

    So you say try 1HBH and 2HBH that tells me your just a beginner who has the luxury to try both shots. Most people spend years with one stroke and don't change so easily.

    Will try chin ups :shock:
     
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  27. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    how is a 1hbh a hindrance to taking the ball early, i.e. on the rise?

    it's great on half volleys, i don't see how it would be different from the baseline.
     
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  28. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    A lot of those moonballs would be absolutely crushed if it was a real point.
     
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  29. Federer20042006

    Federer20042006 Banned

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    It's been exaggerated because people can't get off the earlier Federer struggles with Nadal in this part of the game.

    But in recent years, Federer's losing to Nadal has had much less to do with the forehand-to-backhand matchup than other parts of the matchup. Nadal's defense bothers him. His passing shots bother him. And Federer struggles on the backhand return of serve against Nadal's lefty slice.

    Plus, Federer's inside-out forehand plays right into Nadal's down the line forehand, and the same for his cross court backhand. He has more trouble hitting down the line backhand winners against Nadal because Nadal camps to his backhand corner, like most players.

    In essence, Nadal just moves too well for Federer and can do too much off his forehand side in general, plus Federer doesn't like returning Nadal's serve.
     
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  30. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    #30
  31. mariecon

    mariecon Hall of Fame

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    This is no myth. Just an attempt to prove that the slow courts haven't affected Federer's game. pffffttttt!
     
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  32. Magnetite

    Magnetite Professional

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    It not that big a deal with a 1HBH. It's easier for most people to learn with a 2HBH, but a one-hander can deal well with high balls.

    You do need strong shoulders, that's for sure, since you don't have a left hand to help out.

    I find it's easier with a 2 hander to hit down on the ball aggressively, whereas with a 1 hander you generally have to hit a loopy moonball, or slice down on the ball. That's if the ball is extremely high up.

    It's just easier for kids to learn a 2 hander, because they generally aren't strong enough to properly wield a racket above their shoulders.
     
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  33. Tennis_Hands

    Tennis_Hands Hall of Fame

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    Great post.
     
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  34. joeri888

    joeri888 G.O.A.T.

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    Fixed it for ya
     
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  35. above bored

    above bored Semi-Pro

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    No pro with a single-handed backhand really struggles with high backhands in any real sense. It’s all relative, against the highest human standards. For some critics, anything less than a dominating shot, equivalent to a pro forehand, on high balls is deemed struggling, when this is not really realistic. The fact that you might have one individual who deals with high backhands the best, doesn’t mean that the guy who deals with high backhands the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 10th best, struggles with high backhands all of a sudden. We’re talking about world class standards here, across the entire span of tennis history. These are individuals who have mastered the game, not people struggling with rudimentary aspects of it.

    Also bear in mind that any type of approaching ball amongst pros, is typically going to have more pace and work on it, be directed more accurately and supported more effectively by the rest of the opponent’s game, than would be the case between amateurs. This is not going to be taking place in a vacuum. So the high balls you might have to deal with are not the same as the high balls pros have to deal with and the consequences for hitting a shot which is not dominating are much more severe. And by dominating, I don’t mean dominating in the amateurs, I mean dominating in the pros. Your world and their world are completely different, so it doesn’t make sense to compare your experience with high backhands to theirs.

    As for two-handed backhands, those who hit them well have mastered the technique, so your not being able to tackle low or high balls effectively with it, simply means you have not mastered the technique. Like any skill, you have to first learn the correct approach and then practice it a lot before you can become any good at it.
     
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  36. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    I may not have mastered the 2hbh, but it is a simple anatomical fact that there is less range of motion when you have two hands on the racket when reaching up high. With the1hbh you have more range of motion, but most people are too weak in their shoulders and/or wrists to capitalize on the advantage.

    If you have strong shoulders and wrists, however, you are in an advantage over a 2hbh's in terms of what you can do with a high ball. You can drive down on the ball (though not as easily as with a 2hbh) OR you can loop upwards on the ball, because you have more range of motion. With a 2hbh, you can't loop back an already head height ball, because your swing is shorter and does not finish high enough to impart topspin on a ball of this height. Looping back a high shot back with heavy spin is a safer and higher percentage option than driving it downwards.

    Of course I don't have experience of hitting against Nadal's forehand, but there are 'Nadal's' of my local park who are the same level as me, and who try to kick it up to my backhand and I love dealing with that shot on my one-hander. I deal with head-height balls on my 1hbh better than low balls, or even normal-height balls, but I use a semi-western 1hbh grip. Of course if Nadal kicked up to my backhand I couldn't handle it, but if I were at nadal's level, my backhand would be a lot better than it is, so you can't really compare things that way, can you?

    Not to mention there are pro's with 1hbh's who CAN go toe-to-toe with Nadal's forehand with their 1hbh's. Gasquet can use his own heavy topspin off that wing to angle Nadal off the court, probably so could Kuerten, Wawrinka can easily drive through a high ball and Kohlschreiber, Gaudio and Almagro don't do anything too flashy, but are just very stable against high balls. All these players lose to Nadal (when they lose) for reasons other than their 1hbh's.

    In fact, do you notice the trend that when a pro player has a 1hbh, it is a more often than not a very strong backhand (Lopez notwithstanding)?
     
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  37. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Anyone who thinks a one handed backhand is not at a disadvantage to the high spin on the backhand side

    DOES NOT HAVE (OR HAVE PLAYED WITH) A ONE HANDED BACKHAND!!!!!!!!

    It is most definitely a disadvantage and absolutely the hardest shot to deal with when you have a one handed backhand.
     
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  38. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    errr, but I have. I've played with a 1hbh and a 2hbh, and found it much easier to deal with high balls with my 1hbh, so I'm in a position to comment.

    What grip did you use with your 1hbh? If you're using continental grip with a traditional follow-through, obviously your experience is going to be different from someone like me who uses a semi-western backhand grip and a wristy windshield-wiper follow through.

    Each has it's trade-offs. You might be better at digging the ball off your shoelaces and hitting on the rise, but I like hitting at head-height level and when the ball bounces at its peak.
     
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  39. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Yeah I use the continental grip on my backhand.

    I have never seen or even heard of anyone using a semi-western backhand. That has to be very hard on your shoulder.

    Maybe Ill give it a try tomorrow.
     
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  40. Magnetite

    Magnetite Professional

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    It's not a HUGE disadvantage though. High balls are definitely playable, and there are definite upsides to a 1HBH as well.
     
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  41. Tropikal_Knights

    Tropikal_Knights Banned

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    Has the OP ever played tennis....if you did you would know that this thread makes no sense....

    in fact it is one the ....... threads I have read......

    A high ball to your backhand 1 handed is possibly the worst thing that can happen.......especially is the high ball has a tonne of topspin and side spin on it
     
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  42. World Beater

    World Beater Hall of Fame

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    Correct.

    I would also add though that eastern/conti bhs generally are easier to slice off of. So even though high bhs are a bigger challenge compared to semis/west grips, the player can use the slice when the ball is high.

    The problem is that the natural cross court slice goes straight to nadal's fh, which he has no trouble whipping.

    end thread

    /
     
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  43. above bored

    above bored Semi-Pro

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    I think all the pros are pretty strong in their wrists, forearms, shoulders and core. Amateurs less so, so it will obviously help if they strengthen up.

    My comments below are assuming optimal technique, not bad technique or less than optimal.

    You are right that there is less range of motion with a 2hbh and that it is more difficult to loop the ball or impart topspin, but you are wrong that this makes for lower percentage shots on high balls. What the 2hbh loses in these areas, it gains in the stability in the racket head you inherently get by using two hands. However strong you are, a 2hbh will always have a more stable head, all other things being equal. The nature of the shot means you can guide and power through the ball more safely, in a way you can’t with a 1hbh. The restricted motion of the stroke also, ironically, adds an extra layer of control.

    The 1hbh is a completely different stroke and requires completely different technique, but can be equally effective at its best, just in a different way. It gives you easier access to power and spin, but not necessarily control, because of a less stable head and the greater possibility for extension through the stroke. It can loop balls better than the 2hbh, but it cannot drill them, including high balls, as well. I think Agassi had the best technique for the driven 2hbh in the game and the clip below shows him drilling many balls, including high ones, safely and in a way you simply cannot do as well with a 1hbh, all other things being equal.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3uiZvHN9f8

    All the players you mentioned at the end have more extreme 1hbh grips than your classic continental and eastern grips, and they are all better players on clay, where loopy, top spun shots are more effective than driven top spun shots with flatter trajectories. However, I don’t know if that constitutes handling high balls better, since on hardcourts and grass they are less effective at being able to drill high balls through the court in the way the best 2hbhs can. So what one deems as more effective at its best, really depends on the surface.

    Incidentally, regarding the more extreme gripped 1hbhs, many kids end up adopting those grips precisely because they help them cope with the balls bouncing above their heads. Justine Henin at 5’ 5’’ also needed an extreme grip for her 1hbh to cope with high balls, but neither her nor the players you mentioned would be dealing with high balls in the same way if they used a more modest continental or eastern grip. As the saying goes, grip = destiny.
     
    #43
  44. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Not sure why I keep getting asked this. Guess people think it sounds cool.

    Yes I do play, and I face certain people who will try to pick on your backhand by looping forehands (either left handed or inside out righty) to your backhand. I excel at beating these kinds of loopy players because my backhand is so stable with high balls, and I have a good range of motion to hit up on high balls that would not be possible with a 2hbh.

    If I had a 2hbh, I could perhaps drive down on these high balls and go DTL for a winner, but it's a bit of a risky shot as driving down requires less net clearance.

    Instead, with the topspin afforded to me with my 1hbh, I simply kick the high balls given to me back cross-court up at my opponents, and though they're good at dishing out the high balls to me, I've found that many of them can't deal with it when I kick the ball up over their heads.

    As I've said before, your experience with high balls with the 1hbh is going to be different to mine if you're using a continental or eastern backhand grip compared to my semi-western grip.

    I'll admit that my 1hbh grip gives me significant weaknesses as well - I have to hit way out in front, can't deal with big flat-hitters nearly as well as I deal with topspin monkeys, I have to slice it back if I get sliced to my backhand, and returning flat first serves is such a nightmare I am contemplating using a 2hbh just for ROS.

    But high balls to my backhand are my favorite thing to let rip on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
    #44
  45. RogerRacket111

    RogerRacket111 Semi-Pro

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    What level do you play 3.5 ?
     
    #45
  46. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    I high balls are problem for 1 hbh - then wouldn't it make sense to hit the ball early on the rise or late when the ball is falling. Essentially, if you are hitting 1hbh high - you are out of position!
     
    #46
  47. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Well, not if you like hitting the high balls more than the normal height ones?

    Dunno if I'm a 3.5 or whatever - I'm not in the states.
     
    #47
  48. Hops

    Hops Rookie

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    #48
  49. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    #49
  50. bjsnider

    bjsnider Professional

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    I hit both, and not only does the high ball nullify the power of the 1hbh, it works in reverse for the 2hbh, where a high ball actually feeds into the power of that shot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
    #50

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