The one handed backhand: liabilities and benefits

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 10isfreak, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    I was wondering if anyone could present points regarding the value of this stroke.
    More specifically, I was expecting some support behind these ideas:
    Are the critics justified about the pitfalls of using one hand;
    Why or why not;
    What makes sort of ggame does this stroke fits best;
    Can it rival its two handed counterpart;
    Etc.

    All inputs are valued, obviously. Sometimes, arguments inspire innovation and it improves our understanding. Let‘s see what y‘all have to say about this.
     
    #1
  2. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    Just to get started, some basic points:

    Advantages:
    Farther reach
    Better complement to the slice
    More power potential (though debated in another thread)

    Disadv.:
    Less stable hitting structure
    (Therefore) Harder to get consistent
    Difficult to drive through shots above the shoulder
     
    #2
  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    As for reach, only the slice has more reach, which a 2hbh can do as well.
    A topspin 1hbh needs to be taken well out front, so there is no reach advantage, and possibly a disadvantage because it needs to be hit early.
    As for high shots above the shoulder, it's a draw. Neither is ideal, and a 1hbh slice is the best. For return of serve, a jumping 2hbh seems very effective.
     
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  4. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Here is a good article on it:

    http://www.dnaindia.com/sport/column_last-of-the-one-handed-wonders-roger-federer_1712164
     
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  5. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    There are the usual claims, but they are not substantiated. As LeeD suggested, even from a purely intuitive way, your reach is wasted toward the net... you do not swing much more to the side with it. For the power, a recent study suggests that there is no statistically significant difference in terms of pace between both backhands. For the "hitting structure," you may make it a case for an hypothesis... after all, why would a second hand not grant you with more stability? The problem I see with it is that the analogy is a little off (we're facing moving objects, for one) and it doesn't seem to prevail on the forehand side, but, still, you could try to validate this point. For the final part, players like Henin make for a very different case... as much as many clay courters who are actually brought up with one handed backhands (think of Almagro, Corretja or Kuerton...). It seems Europeans see this backhand fit for a real dance on the center court of the French Open, but not Americans. Again, these are ideas: they need to be tested.

    Regardless, thanks for the input. It summarizes very well the usual preconceptions people have about this stroke.
     
    #5
  6. HSCoach

    HSCoach New User

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    That is a good point that the reach advantage is not quite as much as one might think on the one hander, but it is still there worth mentioning. The two hander is just so much better for strong 1st serves though.
     
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  7. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    the single-handed backhand is prettier.

    is it just me or is it easier to hit aggressively angled cross court top spin shots with the one-handed backhand? With the two hander i feel more bunched up and can't let it rip.
     
    #7
  8. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

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    two hander is faster rate of growth.
    one hander is late bloomer, but has higher growth potential.
     
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  9. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    I can hit a slower ball a lot better with my single hander. I can rally and return better with my two hander.

    I seem to volley better on days where I hit a 1hbh...but that could be my imagination.
     
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  10. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Ultimately, with a skilled player holding the racquet, the biggest issue with a 1hbh is return of serve against big servers. The ball is coming so fast, with so much spin, it's really hard to get around and be offensive with the return. You can chip and block, but it's hard to consistently rip it. The 2hbh allows you to get around and punch over an aggressive return even if you're in a really awkward position - as is often the case with returning serves.

    Otherwise everything else is more or less a wash IMO. I think you can get a bit higher racquet velocity with a 1hbh, so more pace or spin. The 2hbh allows you to get more on balls that you're forced to muscle over You can flick a two hander cross court in a way that you can't do with a one hander. High balls and short balls should not be weaknesses with a proper one hander. Everyone needs a good one handed slice. With a one hander your volleys, if you volley, might be a tad crisper on the bh side.

    If you're willing to deal with the return of serve issue, try the 1hbh. It's beautiful shot. BTW, I hit a 2hbh.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
    #10
  11. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    not sure if it contributes to this thread, but i´m saying it anyway:)
    most beginners i work with have a tendency for either the onehander or the twohander. not for logical reasons i´m sure but nevertheless. that´s what i go with to begin with. it´s easy to change in the first few months.

    great point by Lee, that the advantage in reach isn´t as much as commonly thought.
     
    #11
  12. Rogael Naderer

    Rogael Naderer Semi-Pro

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    Just wrong.
     
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  13. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    For me:

    1 hander is better for:
    a) Low balls
    b) More topspin
    c) Little bit extra reach
    d) More pace than 2 hander

    2 hander is better for:
    a) High balls
    b) Return of serve
    c) Redirecting hard shots
    d) Scooping balls up that land near my feet
     
    #13
  14. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    And chicks dig it... :)
     
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  15. greystar403

    greystar403 Rookie

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    HERE HERE.
     
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  16. Anaconda

    Anaconda Hall of Fame

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    Better return of serve for the two hander? Disagree, You have better reach on the one hander and the return itself is a lot steadier (although the two hander return is more offensive on the return).
     
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  17. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    "Reach" is more than just about arm reach.

    It's about being able to lunge, or run through the ball, and put some controlled heat on it. I think the 1hbh has the lead here.

    The freer range of motion of the arm on the 1hbh allows for clean shots when taking a big step and/or leaning over. Also note the 1-hander does not have to open his shoulders as much as the 2-hander, if at all.

    In this reach regard, I think the 1hbh wins out vs. the closed-stance 2hbh heavily, and still probably has a lead over the open-stanced 2hbh (unless it is Djokovic's).

    Btw, one thing I think Wawrinka did well vs. Djokovic was precisely this. He would run to his left, take a huge step, stoop down and hit a bomb, seemingly effortlessly.


    I'd like to see, or at least read more about this study. Any links or other information?
     
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  18. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Sure you have more reach with the 1 hander but you also have to hit the ball a few inches further out in front robbing you of a little bit of time. I would have to disagree the 1 hander is more steady on returns. Even when I was using a 1 hander all the time, sometimes I'd revert back to 2 hands against the bigger servers I play. I've used both 1 handed and 2 handed backhands extensively, just curious have you?
     
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  19. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    not stable*?! how so?

    the single hander is far more 'stable' than the double hander. you have your whole body weight behind the shot, can swing freely unimpeded by having to balance both arms; the double handed backhand is basically a forehand with your non-dominant arm while having your dominant arm as a 'helper' or training wheels.

    and for hitting low balls or on the rise, you can basically hit balls as they bounce while scraping the surface of the court.


    * On groundstrokes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
    #19
  20. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    You have another hand on the handle. It is more stable because of the 'helper' hand.

    If you can find somebody that serves really hard, try and return it both ways. I'm guessing your footnote is conceding that point though.
     
    #20
  21. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    I'm flipping back and forth between the two since I haven't decided which one I like better.

    For serve return I can hit the 2 offensively much more often than the 1. I get better angles with the one hander. I get more spin with the 2. I can disguise the 1 better.

    My team mates tell me to keep the one because it seems that I hit it correctly and looks very fluid, but I have only been playing about 8 months so I'm probably pretty flexible in terms of which direction to commit to.
     
    #21
  22. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Interesting. Ideally, we modify our body position (we use different footwork patterns, jump or bend our knees) so that we're still using, overall the same form for every ball. Obviously, it can happen at times that you can't do it, which calls for unusual positions...

    What then comes to my mind is who, between a two handed player and a one handed player, pays the greater price for cheating on his form? That is, who makes the least out of the exceptional situation you introduce here?

    I didn't read the study myself... someone reported it in a backhand thread. I'll see if I can get a link.
     
    #22
  23. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps use the 2hbh for ROS, 1hbh for everything else. Some famous doubles guy did that.


    Depends on the situation. The big, lateral step is particularly well suited for the 1hbh because of the arm mobility. It's a specific situation, but one that comes up a lot since baseline rallies are all about moving side to side. The only way a lunge is cheating on form is that the player is a bit off balance. Otherwise, it's basically a normal stroke.

    It's important to note that when the player is reaching during a rally, often times he knows exactly where the ball is and what it's doing; he just needs to get there. So he has time to make some preparation.


    On the other hand, 2-handers are able to cheat all the time when it comes to adjusting to surprises (including serves). This is particularly true when players are new to the game and they can't read the ball.
     
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  24. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Polarized racquets (weight distributed more towards the tips of the racquets) tend to favour 2 hand backhands due to the less stability compared to an oldschool Depolarized racquet.

    When it comes to Racquet setups, think Yin and Yang.

    Depolarized racquets will favour a one hand backhand if you like to hit hard/flat shots. Because of its added stability and penetration off the string bed. Most serve volley players preffered it. But it has little margin for error, especially at the back of the court and will be more prone to unforced errors with out proper preparation.

    Polarized racquets have a greater room for error because it has a higher "spinny loop" clearance over the net. Usually used by baseliners who want to swing big and grind the rally out for long time. Their volleys tend to be a bit too spinny and sit up more than they like though.

    Its not always the case for all players. Not every player will fit the norm in ideal setups.

    Example : Agassi was a depolarized setup - and he had a two handed backhand and loved to work the back of the court with flat bullets over the net. He had less margin for error...but because he's Andre Agassi he was able to do it.

    Rafter was a polarized setup - and he had a one hand back hand and serve/volleyed. The spinny loop in his case was used to buy him time in charging the net more often.

    Source: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=309803
     
    #24
  25. Anaconda

    Anaconda Hall of Fame

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    I use a one hander. Tried a two hander a few years ago but wasn't to my liking; Not that my one hander is much better, but it's a lot fluid. I still think the one hander is the more conservative return though.
     
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