The reason for the differences between the 1HBH and 2HBH?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by GoudX, May 19, 2013.

  1. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    As everyone knows, one type of backhand is vastly superior to the other. It is well known that it has the superior power and control, and it is clearly better from all parts of the court in both attacking and defensive situations.

    Naturally, which one of the shots has these magical properties depends on who you are talking to.

    Obviously we will never agree on which is the 'better shot', I thought it might be interesting to discuss the source of the differences, so we can try to understand why players might find it much easier or harder hitting a particular shot.

    My theory is that the differences between the two shots come from two main factors. The first is the fixed wrist/forearm position on a 2HBH, which make it much harder to vary the amount of topspin or trajectory with a similar swing path. This means that 2HBH players have much less ability to vary spin and direction on the fly, but it also leaves less room for unwanted variation.

    The other factor is the reduced shoulder mobility on a 2HBH, which limits variation in arm movement. I think that this is the reason that the 1HBH is seen as having better reach, as the limited shoulder movement becomes a problem on the run for the 2HBH. However this same limitation maintains a stricter racquet face angle on shoulder height shots. These factors result in much less ability to vary a 2HBH. In certain situations this is a benefit, in other situations it is a liability.

    [​IMG]
    The diagram shows the possible wrist and shoulder positions just after contact for a 1HBH and a 2HBH



    Situation 1 -
    The player steps in to win the point with a flat shot and gets an unexpectedly low ball beneath net height.

    1HBH: The ability to add extra topspin, at will, allows an aggressive shot to be played.

    2HBH: The ball is too low to hit a high speed flat shot, and extra spin cannot be added, so the player is forced to hit a neutral or defensive shot.

    Situation 2 -
    The opponent hits a big inside out forehand, whilst the player is on top of the baseline.

    1HBH: The ball is coming through the court too fast, with too much spin, so it is too hard to time elaborate wrist movements, so the shot must be pushed back, giving the opponent an easy follow up shot.

    2HBH: The simplicity of the shot removes some of the difficulty timing the shot, so a abbreviated swing is possible, placing the player in a less defensive position for the follow up shot.

    Situation 3 - A shoulder height shot in the middle of the baseline

    1HBH - An aggressive shot can be played, however the high contact point will diminish control.

    2HBH - A high 2HBH can be hit very forcefully cross court or down the line with good control.

    Situation 4 -
    A net height ball outside the tram line.

    1HBH - The good potential for combined spin and power out wide allows for a sharp angled, Gasquet style, cross court or down the line winner.

    2HBH - The 'shorter reach' makes it much harder to reliably hit an aggressive shot from this position.

    Obviously good players will find ways to work around these issues, and the grip used also plays a major part in determining how easy certain shots are. But averaging over all players, what are your opinions on this idea, and can you think of other factors which might come into play.

    DISCLOSURE: I am primarily a baseliner who hits 2HBH, except when hitting ridiculously wide defensive blocks. In general I feel that the 1HBH is superior on attack & the 2HBH is superior in neutral situations.
     
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  2. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    Anyone got anything?
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Your diagram looks like a lefty forehand to me.
     
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  4. tennisFanful

    tennisFanful New User

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    I find it easier to hit the ball properly on a 2HBH because one hand is used as a supporting point. However, 1HBH gives you more mobility.
     
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  5. LeftyRighty

    LeftyRighty Rookie

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    Idk about all that...I really just do what I'm good at or comfortable with. I use a lot of variety in my shots, so a 2hbh would never work for me, but against me.

    I don't like the 2hbh, so I don't do it no matter what.

    Personally, I think the one that is superior is the one that you are great at naturally and just improve to perfection.
     
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  6. S&V Specialist

    S&V Specialist Rookie

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    I usually hit a 1hbh but occosionally will use a 2hbh, depending on the situation. I also use the 2hbh on my serve returns as I find it to be more stable.
     
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  7. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    ^I also use the two handers off returns, but one hander in rallies and overall game. I haven't figured how to return with a one hander yet, and I'm not making a lot of efforts to figure either.
     
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  8. LeftyRighty

    LeftyRighty Rookie

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    On returns, i've tried 2hbh, but it's just not my shot. It hasn't felt unstable...I think on a bh return, using a 1hbh...the disadvantage is having too many options.

    Sometimes I feel like I can choose my shot too much and end up ruining a return until I stop being so determined to win off the return and just push it back. A 2hbh would leave me just pushing it back every time.

    I just can't do a 2hbh, and I doubt it will ever be apart of my game. In all those situations, my 1hbh would work out. I think it's just because I'm so used to it I figure out how to make it work to my advantage. Using only one style, you see a lot of different kinds of shots all the time, so things like that shouldn't be new enough to force an error off of MY shot, given no other mistakes in those situations.
     
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  9. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Can't say I agree with this as it's written...can you elaborate by what you mean with "fixed wrist/forearm position on a 2HBH"? In many ways you have more ability to vary spin and change direction - you only have t look at somebody like Murray and the outrageous running passing shots he hits off his backhand wing by using his non-dominant wrist to manipulate the racquet head for some evidence of this?

    cheers
     
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  10. nn

    nn Hall of Fame

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    You are right on most of the part. I am adding the obvious.

    PLUS:
    This is an excellent choice for players who aren't strong enough to hit a one-handed backhand. A more compact stroke than the one-hander, the two-hander relies on shoulder rotation and an efficient swing to provide power. That’s why it’s particularly effective on the return of serve. It’s also good on low shots, and the extra arm lets you power through on balls that are at shoulder level.

    MINUS:
    Because both hands are on the racquet, the two-hander limits a player’s reach. So doing anything with wide shots can be tough, especially since it’s difficult to rotate your upper body when stretched. Also, two-handers can become dependent on topspin. Hitting an effective slice calls for extending through the shot with a steady front shoulder. This is unnatural for two-handers, who are taught to open their hips and rotate their shoulders. Taking the nondominant hand off the racquet to hit the slice or volley is also troubling for many two handers; it’s the reason why they're generally not comfortable at the net.
     
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  11. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    Something called using both backhands :). Seriously I switch it up now and then. One hander actually produces more topspin in my case but I find it easier to get the ball over the net with the two hander. Winner wise I would call them equal. I usually use the two hander during rallies but easily can hit a one hander to. One hander is also generally better for lower balls while two hander is great for high balls. However the one hander does offer one distinct advantage compared to the two-hander. It develops a better slice (yep my one hander has helped me a lot with that) and the backhand volley (still need work on that). In terms of reach... One hander has a SLIGHT advantage. It's not to huge in my opinion.
     
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  12. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    Try holding a racquet at the contact point with both types of grip. See the different angles it is possible to comfortably point the racquet head in whilst holding the arm in the same position. As you said, you can vary the position with the 2HBH, however there is a significantly wider range of motion and there is less resistance around the single fixed arm.

    Because this wrist movement is also possible during the swing, there is a wider range of positions available to the wrist on the 1HBH. This extra movement allows extra racquet head speed in the 1HBH, generating more power and spin; however it also allows for more variation in the racquet position which can lead to inconsistency.

    Players like Gasquet obviously have no problems controlling the extra movement to create a very potent shot under pressure, however the average recreational 1HBH is prone to breaking down due to the extra movement.

    Equally, players like Djokovic have no problem varying spin or power on the 2HBH, while the average recreational 2HBH is consistent, but lacking in spin variety.
     
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  13. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^If, you're suggesting that the non-dominant hand significantly restricts the range of motion of the dominant wrist/hand in a two hander, then i'm don't agree i'm afraid.
     
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  14. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I've been experimenting with a two-handed prep along the lines of L. Hewitt. I find that this sort of stiff-arm prep is enabling a more solid stroke. But it's not a true two-hander the way I'm doing it because I'm letting go with the left hand (I'm a righty) before, or just about at, impact.

    As opposed to a, say, Almagro backhand racquet prep I'm finding that this way of doing it is giving me more consistent results.

    I attribute it to a sort of simplification of the stroke.

    On the other hand, I sometimes have hit some really nice (dare I say, monster) more or less flat backhand shots using the more orthodox one-handed backhand stroke prep.

    Will continue to experiment.
     
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  15. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    This is exactly what I'm finding in my experiments with using a L. Hewitt-like backhand racquet prep to hit my one-handed backhand.
     
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  16. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Many people don't know that one type of backhand is vastly superior to the other. What they do know is that there are pros and cons for one another. Just like every other stroke in tennis. Also, they don't care which is "vastly" superior, they just stick with the one that works for them and play.
     
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  17. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    Maybe I'm wrong, it's just a theory. I feel that while you can move to the same racquet head positions with a 2HBH, much more needs to be done to reach the positions. You need to change the angle of two wrists and move the arm alignment, in order to change the racquet head position to one which can easily be reached by changing the angle of the one wrist in a 1HBH.

    If this is the case, then the 2HBH doesn't restrict the angles you can swing at, but it makes it harder to change your shot selection at the last minute. The fact that you cannot move it as easily also stabilises the racquet head through the movement adding to the consistency.
     
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  18. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    Fairly good idea if you struggle with serve pace, lots of players use an extra hand to stabilise certain shots, and a fast serve return bares little resemblance to a rallying backhand.

    I know one player who S&Vs, who has great volleys, however he uses two hands on the forehand drop volley, as he finds it a more consistent way of taking the pace off of the ball. It isn't an issue, because if the ball is travelling too fast for this he would be unable to hit a drop volley anyway, and even though it is obvious what he is doing, the stability lets him hit a winner nine times out of ten.

    In most situations I hit a fairly flat 2HBH, because I find the contrast with my heavy topspin forehand and slice 1HBH draws more errors from my opponents. However I do use a 1HBH when there is no way I could hit a 2HBH on ridiculous out wide shots (kind of like Murray or Djokovic), as I find I can got to full reach and flick the wrist to put the ball nice and high as a defensive lob.
     
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  19. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    I think you are referring to at least one of the following two variants of the 1hbh:

    i) A straight takeback from below (no loop from the top)
    ii) A straight arm early in the swing (as early as the backswing)

    I think they are both good ideas.

    There are some current pros who don't make a loop from the top, such as Llodra and Volandri. In the past there was Sampras and Edberg.

    A straight arm early in the stroke also helps a lot. Note that most pros straighten their arm earlier in the swing than does Federer. If you're going to straighten your arm on the backswing it will require a little more preparation and discipline, though.
     
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  20. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Federer's backhand is indeed peculiar. I like using his backhand as an example because he's like a caricature, exaggerating so many things: his follow-through is huge, most of the time he stays dead-on side-ways, his head doesn't move until the ball is well gone, always bother adjusting himself to the ball's height, etc.

    However, as you point out and as you showed me in an other discussion, he's a rare player to straighten his arm late. In that regard, we can pick Kohlschreiber, Wawrinka, Gasquet, or Haas who all gets it done much earlier.

    One of the key aspect that they all share -- including Federer -- is that they're swinging their arm with their core, back and shoulder muscles, not with their triceps. When you extend the arm late, it's tempting to use it in order to propel the ball. I do not know what is your experience looking at amateurs, but I have seen so many of them trying to use the arm extension to hit it that I feel like we'll never highlight too much the importance of swinging the whole arm instead of thinking about swinging the racket with the arm.
     
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  21. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    I'll use an example to make a point.

    In the US, since of the horrors of last year, there has been many debates regarding the second amendment and how regulations could or shoulder (couldn't or shouldn't, if you oppose them) manage gun ownership to make public places safer. I'll pick an argument made (usually) by the left who says that fewer guns makes the odds of using one to kill (by accident or purposefully) less important. This sort of argument rely on an implicit assumption that is used also in economics: it's the ceteris paribus condition -- that is, if nothing else except variable A changes, we'll see the effects B, C, D, etc.

    I do have a problem with this because I feel like chaging the number of weapons doesn't leave reality intact, changing just the number of weapons. I think it would have effects on how people view weapons, view their use, behave with regard to them, etc.

    In sociology, laws constitute a sort of second culture and people often highlight, through criticism, that laws are late on social changes: when societies change, their laws evolve afterward. It's what we call ''stylization'' -- we make an abstract representation of our social reality in instituted regulations we call ''laws.'' But most people ignore that the relationship works back and forth: if the law says something is true, right and accepted, people will get hold of that possibility to justify themselves... i.e.: changing the law doesn't simply change the regulation of existing behaviors, it also changes the nature of behaviors people adopt.

    I would add that sort of conceptualization to your argument, if you may. It's hard to distillate one aspect out of the execution of a stroke because everyone of them exist in response to all others. Part of the usage players make out of their backhands can be conceived as a matter of culture.

    If we're thinking of the 2HBH as a majorly flat stroke, maybe do players learn to hit that way as a response to what we say about it. Furthermore, if many players hit it that way, it might seem like a ''real'' backhand is a flat backhand. After all, we learn to play by observation, practice and competition, which always involve other players who are expressing their vision of the game in their own playing styles: if people normally do something and we learn by our contact with them, we internalize this action as normal.


    So, maybe is the 2HBH we see not only a result of how it is swung, but also a matter of what people think about it.
     
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  22. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    First things first, a misconception:
    "If we're thinking of the 2HBH as a majorly flat stroke"
    Nadal gets plenty of spin on his backhand, but has problems flattening it out. I am saying it is harder to vary the amount of spin.

    Now onto the meat of the argument. As with most of tennis - I'd agree that the majority of the differences in the shot are mental rather than physical. If a player is brought into the game being told that they cannot hit a consistent topspin 1HBH, then they will be too worried about staying in the point to consistently grind with the shot - yet players like Almagro can stand back and grind all day.

    Equally, many players seem to think that you cannot vary a 2HBH as much as a 1HBH, however Fabrice Santoro had no problems with backhand variety.

    This is only worsened by the fact that each of the shots tends to attract players with the given approach. The 2HBH attracts players who tend to hit fairly steadily, whilst the 1HBH attracts players trying to play with more flair, which results in the myth perpetuating itself.

    However, trends like this don't just appear from nowhere and it is possible that the mechanical reason I suggested could create an earlier imbalance which led to the current state.
     
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  23. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    That's because players have different aptitudes for the different styles of backhands. I think it's important to factor this into the discussion. There are certainly some mechanical advantages and disadvantages with each stroke, but they don't mean too much for somebody who can't make use of one style or the other.
     
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