Topspin Backhand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Coach Chad, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    I am a lefty who hits a one-handed backhand. My situation is this: I can hit a good quality shot from the duece court down the line, and from the ad court; however, when I try to go cross-court from the duece court, it's very erratic. Five out of six are in the net, or loopy junk balls. I use a semi-western grip on this shot. I played a skilled opponent yesterday, and he said that I am "opening up" way too much when I go cross-court; and when I go down the line I stay closed and have a much smoother swing and follow through. He did not think you should hit a one-handed backhand from an open stance at all. Thoughts?
     
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  2. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    One handed backhand you need to stay closed, it makes it so much easier to handle. You can get away with an open stance more often with the 2 hander.
     
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  3. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    Whenever I hit a 1HBH with an open stance its usually an emergency, like if im at the baseline and a guy just hammers a ball at my feet on the BH side. I have been known to scoop it up with a 2HBH in a case like this from time to time.

    I would rather hit my backhand with a totally closed stance (as in my back completely facing my target) than with an open stance if I could choose.

    I'm opposite. I prefer Ad to Ad exchanges on my backhand (im a righty) and if I have to DTL a backhand, id prefer deuce to ad. I cannot consistently pull off a Ad to deuce DTL with my backhand. Whenever I hit that shot, its usually cause im super late and it was an accident. HAHA
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    1 hbh topspin backhands should be hit with a closed stance, but on return of serves, it's often impossible to close the feet, so a strong shoulder turn does the job just fine.
    Going CC, don't turn your trunk like a 2hbh, instead contact the ball earlier.
     
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  5. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    Funny you should mention this. I have been working on this exact shot for the last week or so (particularly return of serves). You have to really stay closed with your shoulders. I feel like I'm keeping my back to the ball very late in the stroke (so much so that I feel like I am telegraphing the shot--but friends say I'm not).

    The other key is ball position. You just can't let the ball too close to your body. Instead you need to be swinging out to the ball with the racquet head. If you let it get too close, you have no choice but to open your shoulders early to hit the ball.
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    To create doubt in your opponent's mind, just hit a few backhands late, and DTL, with normal CC positioning.
     
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  7. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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  8. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    As others have said, only go open stance if you absolutely have to. The shoulder turn is so critically important to that shot and it's tough to get them turned enough if you're in an open stance.

    Here are two youtube videos that are excellent and pretty complete instruction on a one handed topspin backhand:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW2_dyj6QiM&list=PL01ADDE36D56DF3F6&index=1&feature=plcp

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWTPw1l3qIU&list=PL01ADDE36D56DF3F6&index=2&feature=plcp

    And if you're interested in a slice, here's another:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II7Wo0y6fC8
     
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  9. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    Good advice...thanks!
     
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  10. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    Thanks for the videos everyone. Maui you are right...gotta swing out to the ball...I was also NOT following all the way through, but stopping my swing short for some reason...having more success now that I am following through.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Every player has different problems and need different solutions.
    Choking up on your swing and followthru is basic flawed thinking.
    No watching the ball, lifting on the shot, and not recogizing your contact point can be other problems.
     
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  12. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    Yes, thanks LeeD.
     
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  13. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I have a 1HBH, and I have to agree with what your skilled opponent said. My best backhands are always hit with early racquet preparation, a closed stance, stepping into the ball, with the contact point somewhat out front, and watching the ball into the strings.
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Then how can you hit 1hbh topspin return of serves? Especially off medium speed first serves? No time to close feet, so it's open. Only time for shoulder turn. Then a slower second serve comes in, and you need to close the feet for a more effective return, of course.
     
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  15. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I can't, generally. :)

    Depends on what you call medium speed. At my level, a medium speed first serve isn't difficult even for me. :)

    In that case then, yeah, especially when I get tired and lazy. :) Simple block or slice return of serve. The thing is that I'm learning that I can do much more with serves that are difficult for me to handle than I had previously thought.

    Agree. Then closed stance and hitting out. Unless it's one of those really good twist serves, which I haven't faced enough of yet. :)
     
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  16. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Sounds like you have a good short term solution, but likely you were not swinging
    fully thru because you are trying to push out down the target line with the racket.
    Once you realize how to work across the target line on a diagonal, "up and across" the contact,
    then you should find it easy to swing on thru even more
    with more power and topspin, giving you better control as well.

    Hard to see due to frame rate and swing speed, but here you can get a feel for
    how well Fed works the racket face across the contact on a diagonal.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN_fYtEikzI&feature=player_detailpage#t=210s
     
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  17. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    It depends on the serve and how fast its coming. Granted, i've never seen a 100+ mph serve with very high spin (which is practically like a Sampras first serve serve) most of the 100+ serve ive seen are more or less flat, and dont bounce particularly high.

    For those 100+ mph serves that are bouncing about waist high I really dont have time to "put topspin" on it. I'm just trying to absorb as little pace as possible and direct it back with a very firm wrist from a stance as firmly planted and as closed as I can. Granted, against a big flat serve like that, this is a best case scenario; to take a step in, firmly planted, strong wrist and contact in front of your body. It's quite possible you will have to lunge for a ball like that or even completely miss it. It's also quite possible to get beaned from a ball like that (after a legal bounce) if its directly at you.

    For high spin second serves, putting topspin is easy. The biggest thing about this is catching that ball early, especially with a 1HBH. If you let that ball kick over your shoulder willingly, your chance of being able to take a ball that high and put topspin on it without it going like 30 mph is very slim.

    For second serves, catching the ball as low as possible is what you want to do since those balls will bounce dramatically higher. We all know the high to the backhand ball is the bane of the 1HBH.

    On first serves, you dont want to "catch it as early as possible" because those serves are dramatically faster, and you'll give up too much of the service box by being too close allowing them "easier" aces.
     
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  18. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    NTRPolice, I like your game, energy and what I see as your potential. That considered, yeah, I really do try to catch good serves, whether first or second, on the rise ... but for a player at my level this isn't always a doable thing. Especially when I get tired and lazy. :)
     
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  19. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    It is easier said than done, sure, but I wasnt trying to make it sound easy because its not. Its important to realize why you made the mistake more so than making the mistake itself. The level at which making a mistake is more critical than learning is very, very high. This applies to everything in life, especially skydiving.

    If you want to rip backhand returns (especially in doubles) you have to take that ball very low, almost as low can you can possibly get it. As we all know, the higher the ball (especially on the backhand) the harder it becomes to hit.

    Slice backhand returns arnt so hot in doubles because they're easily broadcasted (high take back for a high ball is obvious) and they're not fast so they're easily intercepted. A good slice return in doubles has to be within inches of the top of the net, or well out of reach of any potential poach.



    And yeah, im pretty sure all of us do the lazy thing. I dont see myself playing the same way sober as I do after I had 6-8 beers, wine, three plates of steak, a cigar and god knows what else im eating/drinking/smoking on Sundays. Good thing I only do that one day a week.
     
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  20. directionals

    directionals Rookie

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  21. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    Exactly right 5263...I have been working on the "up and across" swing. For some reason, hitting DTL I stay focused, swing smooth and "long". But, when I try to go CC, I push and open up. It's like two different players! My swing looks more like a "buggy whip"...short and ugly. With practice and concentration, hopefully I can relax and hit this shot well. Honestly, my game is not advanced enough to hit a one handed backhand with topspin off of a serve return...but I am working towards that. Thanks for the help!
     
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